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Anadarko recognized as UW College of Ag Outstanding Research Partner in 2015

Written by UW College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

A long-time contributor to research and outreach programs at the University of Wyoming has been selected to receive the Outstanding Research Partner Award from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

Anadarko Petroleum Corporation is one of the largest energy companies in Wyoming in terms of lease holdings and production and was the largest oil producer in the state in 2014.

The company is also the largest private landholder, with approximately 4.2 million acres of private mineral holdings and 1.2 million acres of surface holdings formerly associated with the Union Pacific land grant.

“Anadarko contributes greatly to natural resource issues and reclamation science in Wyoming, as evidenced by its being awarded the Wyoming Game and Fish Department’s Landowner of the Year in 2007,” says Jeff Beck, an associate professor in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management and nominator.

The company has helped fund several research studies through the college, including those by Beck.

The company is also the largest taxpayer in Wyoming – averaging almost $1 million per day in taxes and royalties to state and local governments since 2002. Beck notes the company has invested over $3.2 billion in capital investments in Wyoming since 2002.

The company’s commitment to research and outreach is spread across the UW campus.

It includes a $1.6 million donation to the School of Energy Resources, which was used to create the Anadarko Fellowship for Excellence in Energy Scholarship for graduate students.

Anadarko is one of a consortium of energy companies funding the Mitigation Opportunity Mapping Tool through the Petroleum Association of Wyoming. The tool involves mapping disturbances within two miles of all sage grouse leks in Wyoming. The maps include annual lek count data to assist in monitoring local sage grouse population responses to disturbances and restoration activities.

The company also provided funding for more than $1 million of research for the management of the Fortification Creek elk herd in northeast Wyoming as part of adaptive management with the state and the Bureau of Land Management.

That effort has included funding $129,000 as part of a study conducted by a Ph.D. student advised by Beck.

Since 2008, Beck and colleagues received $630,181 to conduct research on a number of areas, including sage grouse in the Atlantic Rim area, elk at Fortification Creek and pronghorn in the Red Desert and their response to environmental features and energy development structures characterizing their habitats.

In addition, Beck and his colleagues have studied the impacts of ravens on sage grouse populations in the Atlantic Rim and southwest Wyoming, a project conducted in collaboration with Utah State University.

Also, Anadarko funding aided a new study that seeks to evaluate the influence of fall hunter-harvest on range-wide sage grouse population trends.

Beck says these funds have supported one postdoc, two Ph.D. students and two master’s students and led to nine journal articles published and several in various stages of revision or preparation.

Several University of Wyoming programs and departments have been involved with Anadarko’s research efforts.

They include the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management and Wyoming Reclamation and Restoration Center (WRRC) in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, the Wyoming Geographic Information Science Center (WyGISC) and the Wyoming Natural Diversity Database.

Both WRRC and WyGISC are working with Anadarko and the Petroleum Association of Wyoming to develop the Mitigation Opportunity Mapping Tool to provide accessible information about habitat condition and sage grouse use of all leks in Wyoming.

Colleen Faber of Anadarko is participating in the vegetation task force with which the WRRC has been involved. The group is working to bring more consistency to reclamation monitoring methods used in Wyoming. Dennis Ellis, Anadarko’s government relations adviser for Wyoming, serves on the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Board of Advisors.

This article is courtesy of UW's College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.