Biodiversity and Ecosystem Protection
Healthy habitats and ecosystems are vital to a thriving world. Crestwood works to minimize our impacts, reduce long-term habitat disturbances and integrate biodiversity conservation efforts into our land use management. Biodiversity and ecosystem protection remains a strategic focus of the company and a key component of our sustainability strategy.
Our goal is to be an MLP midstream industry leader in biodiversity and ecosystem protection by upholding the strategic and responsible practices described in our Biodiversity Policy. The policy, developed in 2020, contains provisions on sustainable management of natural resources and raw materials as well as respecting Indigenous peoples and minimizing community impacts.
The Environmental Services department, with support from the Land Services department and Operations team, manages Crestwood’s land use practices, entrenched in protecting and conserving the biodiversity in areas where we operate.
Protecting and conserving a habitat or species requires stakeholder inclusion and collaboration. We are committed to applicable regulations, best practices and exceeding the expectations of landowners. Our teams work regularly with government entities such as the EPA, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, National Park Service, Bureau of Indian Affairs and tribal, state and local permitting and wildlife management agencies to define management plans and minimize impacts.
Restoration at all our sites is a vital part of our approach to Biodiversity. Each year, Crestwood reclaims numerous rights-of-way (ROW) that have been temporarily disturbed to facilitate pipeline construction projects. These projects vary in length, geographic orientation and soil type. Recognizing the importance of land reclamation on biodiversity, Crestwood’s Environmental Services team manages land reclamation as a stand-alone scope of work and employs the services of specialty reclamation contractors to facilitate successful reclamation efforts. Topsoil is segregated during ROW clearing and is separated from subsoil throughout construction. Following pipeline installation, Crestwood ensures pre-construction contours are restored and topsoil is properly redistributed across the ROW. Erosion control devices are utilized both during and after construction to minimize erosion and topsoil loss. Seed mixes are customized for each project based on input from landowners and regulatory agencies. Once seeded, ROWs are regularly monitored for restoration success and noxious weeds. Correction actions plans, if necessary, are developed and implemented based on inspection findings.
During project design, Crestwood takes a mindful approach in developing project routing and workspace planning. Routing, workspace design and construction methodologies are employed that avoid and/or minimize impacts to sensitive habitats such as wetlands, waterbodies, wooded areas and native grasslands. In non-agricultural areas, native seed mixes are designed and implemented post-construction to expedite reclamation and restore biodiversity. Noxious weed monitoring and control plans are implemented in sensitive areas subject to potential noxious weed encroachment. This management program allows for the reestablishment of natural vegetative communities, and the associated fauna that rely on them.
To monitor our awareness of any sensitive biodiversity areas within the lands we operate, we track the percentage of lands within a 30-foot average corridor of a pipeline’s centerline in proximity to areas designated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as threatened and endangered species habitats. To view this data, please visit our performance data table.
Crestwood understands that long-lasting, meaningful conservation requires commitments from a variety of stakeholders. Therefore, we cultivate environmental stewardship partnerships in key operating locations at the community, state and federal level. In 2021, we engaged with the local Indigenous community in North Dakota, solicited expert advice from local remediation specialists, partnered with state-led conservation organizations and sought and received certification from the Wildlife Habitat Council (WHC). Our approach to our team’s grassland reclamation work was further recognized through the WHC’s 2021 Grassland Award.
Internship Program: Strengthening Indigenous Relations
In the summer of 2021, Crestwood selected Francis Short Bull from Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish (NHS), a fully accredited Tribal College, to work as an intern with our environmental services team. His internship in North Dakota supported our reclamation programs, noxious weed control and remediation programs while strengthening Crestwood’s relationship with the MHA Nation.
Our focus on minimizing impacts of our operations goes beyond flora and fauna. We include the cultural landscapes of the areas in which we operate. At the start of the routing or siting process, we examine the potential presence of recorded cultural resources along the proposed pipeline route or operational site. The results of this due diligence guide the extent of any additional research or adjustments necessary for the routing or siting process. We work to minimize our construction footprint, specifically managing our developments to avoid impact to cultural resources.
If potentially significant cultural resources are identified in proximity to proposed pipeline routes or facilities, Crestwood works with the appropriate state Tribal Historic Preservation Office to avoid or minimize any potential impact. This includes following processes outlined in Crestwood’s Unanticipated Discovery Plans for projects executed in North Dakota and Wyoming. In 2022, we will develop a similar plan for a project located in the Delaware Basin.
For more information about our commitment to Indigenous Peoples, please see the Indigenous Relations page of this report.
We will follow on the successes of 2021 by maintaining strong, integrated biodiversity programs in 2022. We plan to:
- Continue to incorporate biodiversity considerations in pre-planning stages of our operational and construction phases to avoid long-term impacts
- Continue to prepare for opportunities with certification and recertification for projects aligned with the WHC. Our preparations will include Biodiversity Action Plans, including goals specific to each operational location
- Partner with the West Virginia Division of Forestry to develop native tree planting plans inclusive of species recommendations, spacing and maintenance for facilities in the Marcellus Shale
- Incorporate biodiversity and ecosystem protection indicators into our ESG due diligence process for existing and newly acquired operating activities
- Develop plans to continue the environmental internship program in North Dakota in partnership with NHS College while cultivating opportunities for conservation and reclamation through purposeful and strategic collaboration with our tribal communities and their local organizations
- Incorporate Oasis Midstream assets into our biodiversity and land stewardship practices