Background on the Dunes Sagebrush Lizard
The dunes sagebrush lizard (DSL) inhabits dune complexes with shinnery oak vegetation in southeast New Mexico and west Texas. Currently, estimates suggest that approximately 200,000 to 400,000 acres of potentially suitable habitat for DSL occurs across the range of the species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) previously considered the DSL for listed as threatened or endangered, but determined in 2012 that listing was not warranted. Recently, some groups have expressed concern about the impacts of the sand mining on the DSL and its listing status.
However, the sand mining in west Texas will be a much slower process than many may realize. It takes 10 – 15 years (depending on depth of sand deposit) to mine a single section (640 acres) of land; therefore, it would take 20-30 years for a typical plant to mine +/-1,000 acres, or <0.5% of the potential extent of DSL habitat. Also, researchers and industry are currently partnering to explore ways to restore or create DSL habitat as part of the mine reclamation process, which—if successful—could make impacts of sand mining on the DSL temporary or even provide a net increase in habitat. Atlas intends to champion such efforts and is proactively exploring ways to take a leadership position in this pursuit.
- Cooperation with Industry – Atlas has been and will continue to be engaged with the Texas Comptroller’s Office, USFWS, the GLO, TXOGA, PBPA, and its fellow miners to promote best practices and diligent operations.
- Avoidance and Minimization – Atlas has already and will continue to survey all areas of future activity for habitat with the purpose of avoiding and minimizing impacts to any DSL habitat.
- Reclamation & Species Understanding – Atlas along with some of its fellow WTX sand miners is talking to the teams at Texas State University, Texas Tech University, Sul Ross University, and the University of New Mexico (all leading Universities in DSL science) about a number of projects:
- Shinnery oak propagation & transplant
- Dune Restoration
- Presence/Absence Surveys
- Creation of new habitat assessment protocol – the science behind this species is still in its early stages
- DNA mapping the species across geographical areas
- Species movement and interconnectivity studies
History of Good Stewardship
The Atlas Management Team has a history of good stewardship and giving back to the communities they have been a part of. From the building of parks in Williston to the donation of $1.2 million to preserve the Sawtooth Mountains of West Texas, the long list of philanthropy speaks for itself.
- Contributed to parks, firemen and the recreational center
- Invested substantially in pipeline & infrastructure to reduce traffic, wear and tear on stressed roadways
- Invested in homes and neighborhoods which benefited employees and families
- Watford City Fire Dept – Pump Truck/Fire Clothing PPE
- Williston Fire Dept- ATV Fire Suppression Vehicle
- Stanley Fire Dept – Donation
- Trenton Fire Dept – Donation
- Grenora Fire Dept – Donation
- Handicap Boat Dock/Ramp
- Spring Clean Up Days – Lead these efforts
- Babe Ruth World Series Sponsorship
- Band Day Sponsorship
- After School Program – Daycare (paid for teachers & supplies)
- HS Auditorium Renovation
- Williston Community College – New Facility Donation $150K
- Elementary Playground Facilities- 3 Schools
- Children’s Home Improvement Project
- Williston Park Improvement Project
- Hosted Bakken 50 yr Celebration- Governor & Senator Spoke
- Organized a 6 company consortium to give back to the community and lead the efforts to execute in the field