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Flint Hills refinery recognized for environmental efforts

Employees at Flint Hills Resources, LLC's Flint Hills Resources Pine Bend received international recognition for their contributions to wildlife habitat conservation at the Wildlife Habitat Council's 24th Annual Symposium, Working for a Greener World. Flint Hills Resources, LLC demonstrates its commitment to environmental stewardship and increasing native biodiversity by achieving Wildlife at WorkSM recertification at Flint Hills Resources Pine Bend.

"Wildlife Habitat Council members continue to raise the bar for conservation success. We connect corporations, conservation and community to create habitat and increase biodiversity. The projects being honored today are the best examples of our model at work," said Margaret O'Gorman, WHC President. "Congratulations to Flint Hills Resources LLC for its successful efforts towards habitat enhancement and biodiversity."

The Flint Hills Resources LP Pine Bend facility is located near the banks of the Mississippi River and adjacent to the Pine Bend Bluffs Natural Area, one of the largest and most diverse native ecosystems left in the seven-county metro region. The site lies on 4,000 acres, 500 of which are actively managed for wildlife habitat. The site's wildlife team consists of approximately 75 employees and numerous volunteers from the surrounding community.

The team has long partnered with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Friends of the Mississippi River and Great River Greening in its efforts to restore sand gravel prairie along the bluffs of the southern portion of the property. These rare prairie remnants over time became infested with exotic, invasive species such as cheatgrass. FMR and GRG mapped cheatgrass locations with GPS survey and conducted a research project in an effort to determine the most effective method of controlling cheatgrass. The partners continue to study cheatgrass test plots and share the findings with other natural resource professionals. Volunteers periodically supplement the sand gravel prairie remnants by removing invasive species and planting native grasses and forbs propagated from locally-collected and germinated seeds through a horticultural club connected with a local technical college.

Near a newly constructed administrative building, the wildlife team planted a five-acre native prairie, and constructed several ponds and wetlands to eliminate water runoff from the newly constructed area. Although these water features were designed for stormwater management, the team planted native wetland vegetation around the ponds and wetlands, and manages them to benefit waterfowl.