—By Andi Cooper

ConocoPhillips's commitment to conservation across North America exemplifies the many ways corporations can work with Ducks Unlimited and other partners to achieve common goals. For example, ConocoPhillips's Canada business unit is a partner with DU and the city of Calgary on habitat preservation efforts. Together, they have supported Bullshead Conservation Area, which encompasses more than 2,000 acres of wetland-rich prairie as well as interpretive sites and education programs.

Additionally, in partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the company funds the ConocoPhillips SPIRIT of Conservation and Innovation Program, which works to improve habitat quality and connectivity. Since 2005, the program has awarded 81 grants totaling $10.7 million to 41 conservation groups in 13 states and five countries. Grantees, including Ducks Unlimited, matched this funding with an additional $22.9 million, facilitating the conservation of more than 293,500 acres.

ConocoPhillips has supported a variety of initiatives dedicated to the preservation of prairie wetlands, sagebrush, grasslands, prairie potholes, and playa lakes—all vital habitats for millions of birds. And in Louisiana, as the nation's largest nongovernmental owner of wetlands, ConocoPhillips is a crucial conservation partner for Ducks Unlimited along the Gulf Coast, where the company owns nearly 640,000 acres of coastal marsh. "Louisiana's loss of coastal wetlands is not just a local problem, it is a national issue," said retired ConocoPhillips Coastal Wetlands Director Phil Precht. 

Realizing that this coastal wetland loss is a crisis requiring the cooperation of public and private entities, Precht initiated the partnership between Ducks Unlimited and the company's Coastal Wetlands division and managed the relationship for six years until retiring in 2018. John Harrington, the new Coastal Wetlands director for ConocoPhillips, is continuing the company's restoration efforts.

"The habitat in this area is not only vital to the survival of many species of concern, it provides crucial storm protection for the nation's shipping, seafood, and energy industries. We are proud to be on the front lines of this effort through our support of several important programs," Harrington said, citing joint conservation efforts that include freshwater-introduction and marsh-terracing projects, shoreline stabilization, coastal ridge restoration, and hydrologic improvements.