The Nature Conservancy is advancing Development by Design at several sites in the United States, focusing on improving mitigation for energy projects:
Our pilot with BP at the Jonah gas field in Wyoming helped direct $24.5 million in mitigation funding to conservation priorities, protecting over 80,000 acres and improving management for more than 200,000 acres of important lands. With that pilot as a proving ground, the Conservancy is carrying forward two more pilots with BP in Wyoming and Colorado.
Beyond the oil and gas sector, the Conservancy is working with the American Wind Wildlife Institute and other partners to guide the siting of renewable energy zones, transmission lines and wind projects across the United States, as well as to support appropriate compensatory mitigation practices. Outcomes from this work indicate that the U.S. can meet its wind energy goals, as set by the Department of Energy, by siting wind farms and infrastructure on lands already disturbed by human development from farming or energy exploration. This strategy could limit wind energy development on new lands and minimize disruption to important conservation priorities, habitats and species.
As part of the Sage Grouse Initiative, the Conservancy helped identify core sage grouse habitat areas to guide permitting decisions regarding oil, gas and wind development. In an effort to reverse the decline of birds and prevent an endangered species listing, this program has designated $112 million to protect and restore priority habitat on cattle ranches and other private lands.