Employees recognized by Wildlife Habitat Council for their efforts at conservation area
Employees at Occidental Petroleum Corporation’s Elk Hills Conservation Area received international recognition for their contributions to wildlife habitat conservation at the Wildlife Habitat Council’s (WHC) 22nd Annual Symposium, The Business of Biodiversity. Occidental Petroleum Corporation demonstrates its commitment to environmental stewardship and increasing native biodiversity by achieving Wildlife at Work recertification at the Elk Hills Conservation Area.
The Elk Hills Conservation Area consists of 7,801 acres of managed valley saltbush scrub/annual grassland habitat. As required by a Conservation Management Agreement (CMA) with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service and the California Department of Fish and Game, professional biologists, employees and contractors intensively monitor and conduct surveys of endangered and threatened species populations that exist in the conservation area. During required road surveys for endangered blunt-nosed leopard lizards, the surveyors go above and beyond mitigation requirements by also collecting data about western whiptail lizards, side-blotched lizards and grasshoppers. Similarly, during required surveys of endangered kangaroo rats, surveyors do non-required monitoring of coyotes, bobcats, cottontail rabbits, jackrabbits and raptors.
In addition to carrying out extra monitoring, employees and contractors attend species-awareness training programs and receive pocket-sized booklets that include descriptions of protected species, field identification marks and tracks and a point of contact for questions regarding the Elk Hills Endangered Species Program.
“The Wildlife Habitat Council believes that collaboration among all stakeholder groups is critical to addressing the complex issues facing the sustainability of the planet,” said Robert Johnson, WHC President. “WHC members take a leading role in connecting community stakeholders through wildlife habitat enhancement, community outreach and conservation education. Congratulations to Occidental Petroleum Corporation for their commitment to a healthy natural world and connected communities.”
Throughout the last decade, employees have collaborated with university researchers who study the effects of cattle grazing on a variety of protected species within the San Joaquin Valley, including those that reside within the conservation area.
The Elk Hills Conservation Area was one of 281 sites recognized at the 2010 Symposium for creating a Wildlife at Work program.
In addition, 56 Corporate Lands for LearningSM programs reach thousands of learners from schools and scout groups to master gardeners and university researchers. Since 1990, WHC has certified 640 Wildlife at Work and 128 CLL programs worldwide.
The certification program recognizes outstanding wildlife habitat management and environmental education efforts at corporate sites, and offers third-party validation of the benefits of such programs. Certification requirements are strict and require that sites apply for periodic renewal.
The Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC) is a nonprofit, non-lobbying organization dedicated to increasing the quality and amount of wildlife habitat on corporate, private and public lands. WHC devotes its resources to building partnerships with corporations and conservation groups to create solutions that balance the demands of economic growth with the requirements of a healthy, biodiverse and sustainable environment.
WHC-assisted wildlife habitat and conservation education programs are found in 43 states, the District of Columbia and nine other countries. To learn more, visit www.wildlifehc.org.