Photo by John Morrison

PLJV ConocoPhillips Capacity Grant Program

PLJV awards capacity grants to invest in conservation organizations and help them build the capacity necessary to provide ongoing bird habitat conservation — now and in the future. Each grant provides funding for multiple years, often four to five, which gives organizations the time and support needed to make conservation programs sustainable.

Our granting focus is to build capacity for organizations working to preserve undisturbed grassland habitat and working lands.

Through the years, PLJV capacity grants have supported many conservation organizations as they worked to become self-sustaining. For example, organizations such as Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition, Kansas Alliance for Wetlands and Streams, and Oklahoma Prescribed Burn Association have continued to grow and increase their capacity for conservation work since receiving a grant.

In 2018, we worked with ConocoPhillips to restructure their long-term grant program (see below), to focus on building capacity for organizations working to conserve undisturbed grassland habitat. Our objective is for 5% of undisturbed grasslands within our region to be protected from development, with the vast majority remaining as working lands. The capacity grant program is one of our key strategies for conserving grasslands and addressing grassland bird declines.

Program Funding

The PLJV ConocoPhillips Grant Program is made possible through ongoing contributions by ConocoPhillips and as well as through annual support for Joint Venture operations from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. ConocoPhillips has been investing in bird habitat conservation in the PLJV region for more than thirty years — first by funding grants for habitat projects and now by funding capacity grants.

“With one in four adult grassland birds lost since 1970, we know there is more that must be done before some species are lost forever,” said Josh Demorrett, Director of State Government Affairs at ConocoPhillips and PLJV Management Board Member. “The PLJV ConocoPhillips Capacity Grant program helps address this issue by providing partner states with critical resources needed to deliver grassland habitat conservation projects which are essential to slowing and ultimately reversing species decline trends. With program grants matched more than 9:1 on average, we can achieve a greater total conservation investment and impact.”

Why ConocoPhillips Invests in Habitat Conservation

ConocoPhillips’ heritage of environmental care dates back more than 100 years. Conoco and Phillips, the key predecessor companies, often had early operations on the plains in areas vital to migrating birds. So habitat preservation has been a natural interest of multiple generations of company leaders and employees.

“When Playa Lakes Joint Venture launched in 1989, it offered a unique opportunity for our company to collaborate with regional partners from wildlife agencies, conservation groups, and private industry who shared a common goal of conserving and protecting the playas, prairies, and landscapes that benefited grassland birds and other wildlife, across a six-state region near our areas of operation,” said Josh Demorrett, Director of State Government Affairs at ConocoPhillips and PLJV Management Board Member.

In 2016, PLJV celebrated 25 years of partnering with ConocoPhillips on habitat conservation (see infographic). Over the course of the partnership, more than $2.9 million in PLJV ConocoPhillips grants have been awarded to support over 175 conservation projects throughout the PLJV region. Together with partner match, the funds have been leveraged to more than $20 million. Cumulatively, the awarded projects have positively affected nearly 90,000 acres of critical habitat and benefited more than 65 priority bird species.

ConocoPhillips support still continues and now funds grassland conservation through our Capacity Grant Program. This ongoing partnership has also paved the way for collaborative efforts between ConocoPhillips and other migratory bird joint ventures and broader initiatives, including the JV8 Central Grasslands Conservation Initiative to stem grassland losses and reverse or stabilize the decline of grassland bird populations.


The Capacity Grant program is by invitation only. Prospective grantees are encouraged to contact PLJV Business Director Andrew Mackintosh to discuss opportunities and learn more about the program.

Contact Us

Playa Lakes Joint Venture is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization (EIN 84-1623284).

PO Box 957 Erie, CO 80516

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