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Apache Foundation honored for ranching practices

Ucross Ranch receives 2012 Wyoming Excellence in Rangeland Management Award

HOUSTON (Jan. 4, 2013) – Apache Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Apache Corporation (NYSE, Nasdaq: APA), was recently selected as the 2012 Wyoming winner of the Excellence in Rangeland Management Award for its integrated livestock, wildlife, education and conservation programs at the Ucross Land Co.

The annual award was bestowed upon Apache Foundation by the Wyoming Section of the Society for Range Management. The award recognizes outstanding examples of rangeland management that result in long-term health and sustainability of the range resource while providing efficient production of livestock, wood products, water, wildlife, aesthetic values, recreation and other non-commodity values.

"We're very proud of this award in that it shares our vision of what conservation-minded ranching operations can accomplish," said Doug O'Neil, Apache's vice president of Wyoming operations. "Through these operations at Ucross Ranch, we hope to not only act as the best possible stewards of this rangeland, but to educate others as well."

In addition to this award, the ranch is automatically entered for a national award, which will be given during the International Annual Meeting of the Society for Range Management in Orlando, Fla., February 2014.

Ucross Ranch sits in northeast Wyoming near Sheridan in an area with a long history and tradition of rangeland-based agriculture. The ranch has experienced a common suite of challenges facing many operations in this part of the state – reclamation following energy development, invasive species, drought and change of ownership.

"A commitment to adaptively managing the resource base and to providing research and educational opportunities that have impacts well beyond the ranch's borders clearly demonstrate Apache Foundation's and the Bauers' excellence in rangeland management," said Ben Bonella, president of the Wyoming Section, SRM.

Apache Foundation has been managing the stewardship of natural resources since the late 1990s and its long-term commitment to conservation and active management of the rangeland resources have led to overall improvements to the ranch.

"To say that cooperation is key in this operation would be an understatement," said Nathan Lindsey, manager of conservation and stewardship for Apache Foundation – Wyoming. "Energy leases, grazing leases, hunting operations, fishing and educational programs all require attention – sometimes simultaneously, and coordination among these diverse interests toward an overarching goal of ecological sustainability is key to their success."

The Apache Foundation creatively implements many of the long-recognized standards of rangeland management. Extensive water developments over the past several years have increased flexibility of grazing and improved livestock distribution. Rotational multi-species grazing provides significant periods of recovery for desirable plants. Monitoring programs include data, not only on rangeland condition, but on wildlife populations, riparian condition, stream flow, erosion and soil stability, and other indicators of whole-ecosystem health.

The many ongoing programs at Ucross Ranch have resulted in significant improvement to the resource base. Grazing management is an integral component of its overall management strategy.

Barry and Shirley Bauer, owners of the Bauer Land & Livestock Co., lease grazing on the ranch incorporating both cattle and sheep to meet production and land-management goals. Sheep follow cattle in their rotation as part of an integrated management program for leafy spurge, a state-listed noxious weed. Cattle open the grass canopy before the sheep so leafy spurge is more readily found and consumed. After the sheep graze, the ranch uses leafy spurge flea beetles and spot herbicide treatments to further stress the perennial root reserves of spurge and other undesirable vegetation. Incentives for improved ecological condition are built into the grazing lease to provide a direct economic feedback for managing, with a goal to improve rangelands.

Apache Foundation is strongly committed to educational and research partnerships. Ucross Ranch is proud to be involved in the following programs:
 

  • The University of Wyoming is currently conducting research into more effective reclamation techniques and has hosted several reclamation workshops on the ranch. 
  • The Yale School of Forestry is evaluating reestablishment of woody vegetation for wildlife habitat.
  • Kansas State University research is investigating relationships between rangeland management practices, upland erosion patterns and stream ecosystems. Their work in re-reading historic transects established by Luna Leopold and Bill Emmett in the 1960s may represent the longest-term and largest scale investigation of rangeland erosion and stream deposition in semi-arid systems.
  • Sheridan College's rangeland management program uses the ranch for field trips to learn about rangeland assessment, monitoring and management.

Apache Foundation also hosts interns who gain hands-on experience in both the ecological and economic sides of ranching enterprises.

With its conservation-minded operations, Ucross Ranch's efforts have yielded drastic reductions in bare ground, erosion in draws and invasive weed populations, and resulted in an increase in forage productivity. The ranch is protected by a conservation easement with The Nature Conservancy, ensuring it will remain an intact agricultural operation into the future.

About Apache
Apache Corporation is an oil and gas exploration and production company with operations in the United States, Canada, Egypt, the United Kingdom North Sea, Australia and Argentina. Apache posts announcements, operational updates, investor information and copies of all press releases on its website, www.apachecorp.com.