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Ducks Unlimited

A forested floodplain restoration site at Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge.


Since its founding in 2009, Apex Clean Energy has accelerated the shift to a renewable energy future. Driven by its core values of entrepreneurship, integrity, sustainability, professionalism, and safety, the company founded the first and only grant program that supports local or regional wildlife conservation, reforestation and flora restoration, protection of sensitive habitats, and other on-the-ground conservation initiatives in or near clean energy project communities. The Apex Conservation Grant (ACG) Program voluntarily commits approximately $1,000/megawatt for each Apex-commercialized project.

Since the program launched in 2021, it has donated $2.4 million to support conservation projects in six states, totaling approximately 2,900 acres of habitat restored or protected. Grant recipients have collectively leveraged Apex’s donations to secure another $6.1 million in matching funds.

“Apex’s Conservation Grant Program, a first in the industry, has afforded us the opportunity to work alongside Ducks Unlimited and many other conservation organizations to scale the benefits of renewable energy development,” said Ryan Henning, Apex’s vice president of environmental. “DU excels in the competitive grant space, bringing both a science-based approach as well as multiple match partners to further grow the impact of these collaborative projects.”

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Over the past three years, Apex has donated nearly $900,000 to DU for conservation projects across the country. Apex awarded its inaugural grant, $300,000 on behalf of Lincoln Land Wind, to DU for work at the Two Rivers National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) in Illinois—a migratory bird refuge and one of DU’s major project areas within the larger Illinois River Valley Landscape Initiative. Apex helped DU restore forested floodplain habitat on the refuge and improve timber stands on adjacent Portage Island.

In the Texas Panhandle, DU was awarded a $150,000 grant from Young Wind and El Sauz Wind to fund the Texas Playa Conservation Initiative partnership with the Playa Lakes Joint Venture, Texas Parks and Wildlife, and others. This work will restore critical wildlife habitat by managing and enhancing altered playas, along with generating recharge benefits to the Ogallala Aquifer.

In 2023, ACG contributed $198,000 from Jayhawk Wind to fund the DU acquisition of a 190-acre tract of emergent wetland, native grassland, and woodlands that will be protected and restored in the high-priority area of Cherokee County, Kansas.

Most recently, Apex’s Angelo Solar and Big Elm Solar awarded DU $200,000 to complete wetland restoration within the Laguna Atascosa NWR in Texas and the La Joya Wildlife Management Area in New Mexico. These are critical areas for migrating waterfowl, bats, birds, and insects, and this restoration will provide habitat improvements at crucial wetland stopovers while improving groundwater aquifer recharge for the region’s residents, who rely on a clean, dependable water supply.

In addition to its investments in habitat conservation, Apex has supported research activities being conducted by DU and its partners in wind development areas. The results from these studies will help industry and conservation groups responsibly site future development areas and minimize impacts to migratory birds, bats, and other sensitive species.

“We’re grateful for the significant investment that Apex has made in a number of DU partnership projects across the country,” said Eric Lindstrom, DU’s senior managing director of development for the Great Plains Region. “We’re excited about future growth opportunities in a number of shared priority landscapes in the coming years.”