Photo by John D. Morrison, Prairie Vistas Photography

PLJV ConocoPhillips Land Trust Program

With just 1.2% of grasslands currently protected for plants and wildlife, the PLJV region has some of the lowest rates of grassland protection in the country. Our goal is to reach 5% protection, or a total of 2.2 million acres, in the next 15 years. The PLJV ConocoPhillips Land Trust Program is designed to help the PLJV partnership reach that goal.

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

For over 30 years, ConocoPhillips’s funding has led to the conservation or restoration of over 100,000 acres through PLJV grants to organizations implementing effective strategies for the management of bird species. In 2019, as part of our core grassland conservation strategies, PLJV shifted that successful grant program, and the ConocoPhillips funding, to focus on grassland habitat protection via voluntary conservation easements on working lands. This program is now the PLJV ConocoPhillips Land Trust Program.

“As land-use change intensifies and woody plant encroachment continues to impact grassland dependent species, it is important that we prioritize initiatives preserving and expanding habitats critical to those species,” said Jesse Wood, ConocoPhillips Director of Permian Ecology and Sustainable Development and a PLJV Management Board member.

Currently, four land trusts operating in five states are active grantees under this program: Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust, New Mexico Land Conservancy, Ranchland Trust of Kansas, and Texas Agricultural Land Trust. These land trusts have protected more than 62,000 acres as part of their grant activities, with 147,000 more acres expected this next year, alone.

“The PLJV ConocoPhillips Land Trust program is an innovative approach that builds the capacity needed to identify key habitats and takes action to preserve intact grasslands at the landscape scale,” said Wood. “ConocoPhillips is proud of our long-term partnership with PLJV. Through this strategic partnership, we can work towards a common goal to reverse species decline trends and achieve long-lasting ecological gains.”

Program Funding

The PLJV ConocoPhillips Land Trust 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. In facilitating the selection and cultivation of these grantees, ConocoPhillips continues to be critical to the success of our habitat protection goals, helping us to develop a highly valuable collaborative partnership that can generate over 140,000 acres of grassland protection per year. We thank ConocoPhillips for its foundational role in facilitating such remarkable growth.

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 former 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 Land Trust 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.

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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