5 Unexpected Corporate Partnerships Benefitting Conservation

Texan by Nature worked with the McDonald Observatory and energy companies to share dark skies friendly lighting practices

Tag Archive: evergreen

  1. 5 Unexpected Corporate Partnerships Benefitting Conservation

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    Texas has the world’s 10th largest economy and is home to many of its largest companies. These businesses represent a huge source of state pride—and a huge source of stewardship for the natural world. Texan by Nature helps Texas businesses channel their innovation and pride into conservation, matching it with the expertise of the state’s 150+ conservation organizations. We recognize conservation best practices through our Texan by Nature Certification program, accelerate the intersection of conservation and business through our Conservation Wrangler program, and work with our Catalyst Business Members to create custom projects that help meet their conservation and sustainability goals. Below are some of the creative partnerships that our team has facilitated to benefit the people, prosperity, and natural resources of Texas.

    NRG Dewey Prairie Garden

    NRG Dewey Prairie Garden
    The NRG Dewey Prairie Garden is currently under construction

    NRG Energy is a Houston-based Fortune 500 company that generates electricity and provides energy solutions and natural gas to millions of customers through a diverse portfolio of brands. NRG approached Texan by Nature to collaborate on ways to enhance their conservation mission, particularly at its lignite mine reclamation project for the benefit of the communities around Jewett, Texas. This conversation resulted in extensive research by the TxN team and ultimately a recommendation to use the land to help alleviate food insecurity in the area. Through a custom business membership project, Texan by Nature is now partnering with NRG to build a 10-acre garden on the site. In May of 2021, the project broke ground on an initial one-acre plot, which will yield up to 10,000 pounds of fresh produce per year for the community. Learn more…

    Capital Metro Green Transit Guide

    Capital MetroRail Red Line approaching Lakeline Station, Austin, Texas. Greg Houston / Wikimedia Commons

    CapMetro joined Texan by Nature as a member in 2020. With recent developments surrounding the Project Connect funding approved by voters in November 2020, CapMetro is working to ensure sustainability and environmental conservation exist at the forefront of transit project development.

    Through a custom business membership project, Texan by Nature is developing a “green transit guide” that will focus on the importance of conservation and highlight the possibilities that exist for various transit projects, including metro and bus stops, sidewalks, parking lots, and trails, including general habitat, water management, and dark skies considerations. Additionally, the guide will include a listing of conservation organizations and their areas of expertise, encouraging project managers to reach out to partner organizations for guidance and collaboration whenever possible. This guide will not only allow CapMetro employees and contractors to implement conservation practices throughout the Austin area, but it will also serve as a best practices guide that will be made available to metro areas across the state. Texan by Nature anticipates the completion of this guide by Fall 2021. Learn more…

    BNSF and Friends of RGV Reef

    Friends of RGV Reef
    Concrete rail ties are loaded onto a ship at the Port of Brownsville

    Decades of trawl fishing in the Gulf of Mexico have resulted in the loss of low-relief reef material that is vital to sustaining juvenile fish and other marine species’ survivorship and recruitment. Historically, this low-relief nursery reef was composed of loosely cemented sandstone, clay, caliche, and associated soft coral cover, and formed the base for a significant portion of the bottom of the Gulf food chain. 2019 Conservation Wrangler, Friends of RGV Reef (FoRGVR) has been combating reef loss by deploying artificial reefing materials of different concentrations and sizes that act as graduated stepping stones of habitat for marine species. RGV Reef now contains the first industrial-scale nursery reef in the world.

    FoRGVR secured a donation from BNSF of 16,000 recycled concrete rail ties, creating graduated stepping stones of habitat for Gulf marine species. With the help of partners such as Bryant Industrial Services and EMR International Shipbreaking, FoRGVR was able to load up the ship and deploy the reef materials. The concrete was used to create 54 patches of nursery reef across 400 acres. This installment will increase red snapper juvenile survivability, double the number of snapper the reef can raise, and provide the substrate for microorganisms like plankton to thrive that in turn feed many species in the Gulf. Learn more…

    Apache, WPX Energy, and Diamondback Dark Skies Efforts

    Apache Dark Skies Program
    Apache Corporation’s dark skies friendly lighting

    In recent years, the increase of oil and gas activity in the Permian Basin and all the development that comes along with that has resulted in an increase in light pollution. The McDonald Observatory’s Dark Skies Initiative staff educates oil and gas companies, businesses, and homeowners in local communities on the benefits of dark skies friendly lighting – reduction in glare, improved safety, energy savings, benefit wildlife, and more. Texan by Nature selected the Observatory as a Conservation Wrangler in 2018 to amplify the awareness and benefit of dark skies-friendly lighting best practices for the energy industry. Through our TxN Certification program we have highlighted industry-leading examples set by Apache Corporation, Diamondback Energy, and WPX. These companies have implemented a number of important modifications, including installing shielding on certain lights, experimenting with different fixtures, and adjusting their lighting to point downward rather than up toward the night sky. Facility upgrades included the installation of warm white LED lightbulbs and redirection of lighting fixtures to point downward to help safeguard dark skies.

    EOG Resources Pollinator Habitat

    Monarch pollinator habitat
    Monarch butterfly

    EOG Resources is working in partnership with Texan by Nature and landowners in the Eagle Ford Shale, with support from National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the Still Water Foundation to restore native grassland and nectar-producing forbs on pad sites and pipeline right of ways (ROW). The EOG pollinator project will restore 350+ acres of pollinator habitat and set the standard for future operating procedures for their ROW restoration that can be shared industry-wide. Re-seeding native plants on oil well sites, ROW, and other energy infrastructure creates the potential for wildlife food plots over thousands of acres. Monarch butterflies must pass through our state during both phases of their migration each year. This happens every spring and fall and makes Texas a crucial place for monarch habitat. Well pads, pipelines, and ROWs are a significant opportunity for critical habitat, especially because they represent food plots that transect the state, connecting existing blocks of habitat along the migratory path. For the second phase of this project we are comparing soil carbon storage of native vegetation to non-native vegetation, along with the benefits to water and biodiversity in an effort to quantify holistic impact of the work EOG is doing in their ROWs. Learn more…

    To learn more about becoming a Catalyst Business member, visit our Membership page.