Big Bend seminar series explores common ground for landowners and energy development on Oct. 8

ALPINE — Residents of West Texas are invited to attend a free webinar on October 8 from 6:30-8:00 p.m. “Landowners, Energy Development, and Conflict: Finding Common Ground” will explore how landowners and energy companies can work together to find solutions when conflicts occur. The webinar will feature experts in the field, including Dr. Chase Currie with San Pedro Ranch in South Texas, David Yeates with the Texas Wildlife Association and Chris West with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.

David Yeates of the Texas Wildlife Association will speak about the statewide landowner and wildlife perspective, acknowledging continuing issues with energy development, but also recognizing that many partnerships have resulted in positive outcomes for landowners, habitat and wildlife. Chris West of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation will describe conservation opportunities for landowners that can result from working with energy partners, and Dr. Chase Currie of the San Pedro Ranch will step it down to the ranch level to explain how appropriate measures can result in enhanced habitat features in spite of development.

“The October 8 webinar will build on the discussions we’ve been featuring as part of this ongoing seminar series,” said Billy Tarrant, who is associate director of stewardship services for the Borderlands Research Institute. “We’re pleased to bring these experts to the table to add their perspective to the important issue of energy development in the greater Big Bend region.”

Chase Currie graduated with his Ph.D. in Range and Wildlife Management from The Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute at Texas A&M University-Kingsville. He was the natural resources manager for the San Pedro Ranch in South Texas from 2012-2015, where he focused primarily on restoring land damaged by oilfield and pipeline activity in the Eagle Ford Shale, as well as watershed management and forage enhancement. In January of 2016, Currie became the general manager for the San Pedro Ranch.

David Yeates is the chief executive officer of Texas Wildlife Association, a 35-year old organization with approximately 10,000 members. TWA focuses on natural resource education, hunter recruitment and retention, while maintaining a robust advocacy presence at the Texas Capitol. Yeates graduated with an agricultural economics degree from Texas A&M University, and completed the Southwestern Graduate School of Banking at Southern Methodist University.

Chris West, director of the Rocky Mountain Regional Office in Denver, Colorado, brings more than two decades of conservation experience to his position. Prior to joining NFWF, West served as the executive director of the Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust, one of the nation’s leading land conservation organizations that now protects more than 450,000 acres on 300 working ranch properties statewide. West has an undergraduate degree in geology from Colby College and a master’s degree in Natural Resource Policy and Economics from Duke University.

The October 8 webinar is part of a seminar series designed to engage a broad constituency of Big Bend community members to better inform them on recent energy projections, potential impacts on communities and conservation values, and to develop creative strategies to conserve the unique resources and communities of the region. The seminars are sponsored in part by the Respect Big Bend coalition, The Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation, Permian Basin Area Foundation, The Meadows Foundation, Still Water Foundation and the Borderlands Research Institute at Sul Ross State University.

Register for the event at https://respectbigbend.org/events/landowners-energy-development-and-conflict


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