Energy policy — oil and gas: Colorado State University Receives $2 Million from Shell Oil Company for Endowment in Restoration Ecology


Here’s the release from Colorado State University (Kimberly Sorensen):

Shell Oil Company has endowed a $2 million chair in Colorado State University’s Warner College of Natural Resources. Mark Paschke, associate professor of restoration ecology in the Department of Forest and Rangeland Stewardship, has been designated the Shell Endowed Chair in Restoration Ecology. Paschke will continue his research on mitigating ecological impacts associated with energy development in the Rocky Mountain region.

“We are so grateful for Shell’s investment in our college and generous support of Dr. Paschke’s groundbreaking work in restoration ecology,” said Joyce Berry, dean of the Warner College of Natural Resources. “This endowed chair will allow us to have an ongoing partnership with Shell and to focus on the most pressing and state-of-the-art practices in restoration related to energy development in the West. This support is a testament to Shell’s desire to be responsible stewards of the land, and we look forward to working with them to sustainably manage Colorado’s natural resources.”

CSU has a long history of conducting reclamation research and, continuing in that tradition, partnered with Shell in 2008 to build on work conducted during the past 30 years. In 1976, CSU began a substantial research project in the Piceance Basin of Northwest Colorado to provide basic and applied information that would aid in the reclamation of land disturbances associated with energy development.

The 2008 CSU and Shell partnership allowed scientists to revisit some of the original studies and make recommendations to the energy industry regarding long-term effects of various revegetation approaches.

“Shell and CSU share the goal of finding new, innovative ways to restore habitats affected by energy development,” said Chandler Wilhelm, Shell Exploration Manager for the Onshore U.S. and Latin America. “Shell has a long history of working with universities to support critical research, and we look forward to a long and productive partnership with CSU.”

In recent years, the Piceance Basin – located northeast of Grand Junction, Colo. – has become a valuable study site as a source of long-term data on ecosystem development resulting from a variety of reclamation approaches that were initiated by CSU researchers in the 1970s.

Paschke was a lead scientist on the latest project with Shell in which his team of researchers and graduate students studied long-term ecological dynamics including effects of disturbance on plant communities and ecosystems. The information collected helped determine how to optimize ecosystem restoration following land uses such as temporary road construction associated with oil and gas drilling or oil shale development.

“This generous support from Shell will allow CSU to explore new methods for healing damaged and degraded ecosystems. Our research will focus on lands impacted by energy development, but in the long term, we hope that our discoveries will lead to improved stewardship of all ecosystems impacted by a growing human population,” Paschke said.

Endowed chairs help attract and retain outstanding scholars and teachers and provide them with recognition and additional funding. Funds may be used to help upgrade laboratories and equipment as well as for seed money to develop innovative technologies with the help of undergraduate and graduate students performing cutting-edge research.

Paschke has been at the university since 1993 and became a faculty
member in 2005.

About Shell Oil Company

Shell Oil Company, including its consolidated companies and its share in equity companies, is one of America’s leading oil and natural gas producers, natural gas marketers, gasoline marketers and petrochemical manufacturers. Shell, a leading oil and gas producer in the deepwater Gulf of Mexico, is a recognized pioneer in oil and gas exploration and production technology. Shell Oil Company is an affiliate of the Shell Group, a global group of energy and petrochemical companies employing 93,000 people in more than 90 countries. The company’s goal is to help meet the energy needs of society in ways that are economically, environmentally and socially responsible.

About the Warner College of Natural Resources

The Warner College of Natural Resources is the most comprehensive and largest named college of its kind in the country. It boasts an enrollment of 1,500; 1,200 undergraduate and 300 graduate students. The college facilitates $50 million in research annually in 40 countries on every continent and has 500 research scientists and staff alongside its 65 tenured track faculty. Experiential learning is a mandatory component of each of the college’s five disciplines and speaks to the strength of the undergraduate experience. As part of its outreach efforts, the Warner College is home to several centers and special units such as the Colorado State Forest Service, the Center for Collaborative Conservation and the Center for Environmental Management of Military Lands.

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