BP American Production Company has donated nearly 200 acres near Bayfield to be preserved as open space, said Amy Schwarzbach, executive director of La Plata Open Space Conservancy.
The land, now placed in a conservation easement, encompasses about 187 acres off County Road 523 near the HD Mountains. Schwarzbach said the property is important winter habitat for wildlife, especially for elk and mule deer.
“It’s kind of a puzzle piece of land that contributes to a much larger picture for wildlife,” Schwarzbach said.
Brett Clanton, spokesman for BP, said the donation is part of an agreement with Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to help offset the physical disturbance of oil and gas development.
BP has contributed nearly 450 acres to conservation efforts, Clanton said, including 250 private acres BP assisted with in 2011. The land recently donated as a conservation easement is owned by BP.
“The contributions highlight BP’s ongoing commitment to mitigating the impact of its operations on the environment and to working with local communities,” Clanton wrote in an email.
Schwarzbach said BP will receive no tax incentives as a result of placing the land under a conservation easement, as is usually the case when private landowners choose to put development restrictions on their land.