Shell Oil Company, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF), and five other oil and natural gas companies have formed a new partnership to support conservation projects in the Permian Basin of Texas and New Mexico.

The new Pecos Watershed Conservation Initiative (PWI) will identify significant conservation opportunities to improve habitat, address water scarcity, improve water quality and engage local communities.

Several iconic rivers in the Southwest, including the Rio Grande, Colorado, Pecos, Gila and San Juan, wind their way through arid landscapes. These rivers are the lifeblood of the region and provide critical resources for both local communities and wildlife.

The aquatic and grassland wildlife dependent on these rivers is as varied as the lands themselves, encompassing everything from the tiny bird called the Chestnut-collared Longspur to the hearty deer-like Pronghorn. As human population and development increase, the demands on watersheds also increase, requiring conservation action.

“The Pecos River Watershed is important to the sustainability of wildlife and countless species in the Permian Basin. Shell is committed to being a good neighbor and protecting the environment where we live and operate. Collaborating with key organizations, such as NFWF, has enabled us to leverage our conservation program to ensure we are achieving the highest impact,” said Amir Gerges, Shell’s General Manager for Permian.

Shell and the other energy companies have committed more than $3.5 million over three years in initial funding for this on-the-ground conservation project. Working with other funding partners, including the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in Texas and New Mexico, NFWF will match the companies’ funding, boosting the total conservation impact to at least $7 million.

The Pecos Watershed Conservation Initiative will work closely with federal agencies, including the Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, and the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management and Fish and Wildlife Service, in addition to the New Mexico Game and Fish Department and Texas Parks and Wildlife, to fund and implement projects that will have the greatest positive return on investments for wildlife species, habitat and local communities.

For more information on the Pecos Watershed Conservation Initiative, and the broader Southwest Rivers Program, please visit www.nfwf.org/swrivers/pecos/Pages/home.aspx

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