Louisiana Refining Division - Garyville Refinery

Project #: 16713  –   Updated: December 07, 2015

Project Summary

The Marathon Petroleum Corporation, Garyville Refinery is located east of the Mississippi River near the town of Garyville, Louisiana. The site encompasses approximately 3,275 acres, of which 450 acres are actively managed for wildlife. The site is a crude oil refinery and produces products such as gasoline, diesel, propylene, asphalt, sulfur, and petroleum coke. The site is surrounded by mostly rural and residential areas. The program was first certified in 2002.

Nest boxes were first installed on-site in 2001. The team installed purple martin boxes, song bird boxes, and wood duck and w...

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Location (by county):
Saint John the Baptist Parish (LA)

Watersheds:
Lake Maurepas

Congressional Districts:
LA District 02

Bird Conservation Regions:
Mississippi Alluvial Valley

USFWS Regions:
Southeast Region

Public Access

Site Name Publicly Accessible
Project Site 1 No

Full Project Description

The Marathon Petroleum Corporation, Garyville Refinery is located east of the Mississippi River near the town of Garyville, Louisiana. The site encompasses approximately 3,275 acres, of which 450 acres are actively managed for wildlife. The site is a crude oil refinery and produces products such as gasoline, diesel, propylene, asphalt, sulfur, and petroleum coke. The site is surrounded by mostly rural and residential areas. The program was first certified in 2002.

Nest boxes were first installed on-site in 2001. The team installed purple martin boxes, song bird boxes, and wood duck and woodpecker nesting boxes. Nest boxes provide birds with a place to create nests and rear young. Contracted biologists annually inspect each nest box to ensure they are providing the best habitat possible. In addition, the team installed signage to inform ground crew of nest box locations so they can avoid disrupting the birds.

Approximately seven acres of wildflower gardens were planted in the north part of the site to attract a variety of pollinator species to the site. The wildflower project was selected because of the wildlife and aesthetic value that can be achieved in close proximity to the main access roadway into the Garyville Refinery. The gardens attract various bird, insect, mammal and predator species. In 2010, an assessment of the soil type and hydrology of the site was performed to determine the ideal wildflower species. The garden includes a variety of plants like cosmos, and prairie verbena. Invasive plants like Johnson grass are managed with herbicides.

A six-acre food plot was installed in 2001. The team collaborated with Louisiana State University’s (LSU) Cooperative Extension Service who provided assistance in determining the best plant species to use. A soil test was performed in order to determine the best design of the food plot.

In the spring of 2013, a pair of red-tailed hawks began building a nest on the access platform of a heater stack on the refinery. Due to safety concerns for the hawks and employees, the team asked LSU Department of Ornithology, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for guidance. After monitoring the hawks, they were able to move the nest to a safer location. They also installed nesting platforms to provide hawks a safe place to nest if they decide to return. East St. John High School helped construct the platforms, and Entergy of Louisiana donated light poles and helped with installation. Construction was completed in February 2014.

The team implements several educational programs on site. They partner with students and teachers at Louisiana State University and East St. John High School to provide hands-on programming in the site’s wildlife habitat. The education program was first certified in 2014.

In order to educate employees, the team utilizes the closed circuit TV network hosted by the facility. Each month the network provides education information (“tidbits”) about wildlife and habitats located in and around the facility to help educate Marathon Petroleum Corporation employees about the local natural environment. The Wildlife Habitat Tidbits and photographs are all submitted by employees.

The team worked with East St. John High School wood shop class to build various nest boxes for the on-site habitat. Through this exercise students learned that all species need food, water, and shelter, and why building these boxes is necessary for cavity nesters losing valuable habitat. Students were able to utilize and refine their carpentry skills while providing a product that could benefit wildlife. While constructing these nest boxes, students also learned that different species of birds require different nest sizes and nest box entryway shapes/dimensions. The students then took a field trip to the site to install their 10 eastern blue bird/song bird boxes, 6 woodpecker boxes, and 10 wood duck boxes.

Louisiana State University students enrolled in an “Integrating Natural Resources Management, Policy and Human Dimensions” class toured the different wildlife areas around the facility during the 2013-2014 school year. While on tour, students collected data regarding habitat types and quality. Each student used data collected on site to form their own research to develop: a project proposal; natural resource and wildlife management techniques; and a cost-benefit analysis. The final project for the class is a land management exercise designed to simulate the experience of a natural resource consultant or state agent providing information and technical support to a private landowner assisting with wildlife and natural resource management. Students normally propose projects based on fictitious landowners and objectives, but are now able to create a management plan for a real world site. The team will select one student’s project to implement as a part of their wildlife management plan.

In October of 2013, the team brought their Bringing Science to Life Program to third graders from East St. John Elementary. This program provides an opportunity to the students to participate in fun hands-on science. About 50 third graders rotated to several different learning stations to perform several simple science experiments, including examining fossils, making glow slime, launching Alka-Seltzer rockets, electric circuits and homopolar motors, and making sun prints.

Actions

Project Actions
Establish artificial dens/nests/roosts Show/Hide details
Other: Wildlife at Work Show/Hide details
Other: Conservation Certification Show/Hide details
Education Show/Hide details
Other: Corporate Lands for Learning Show/Hide details
Plant native trees and/or shrubs, herbs, forbs, grasses Show/Hide details
Control invasive plants Show/Hide details

Outcomes

Is the success of this project's actions being monitored?   No/Unknown

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Organization

Marathon Petroleum Corporation
(Company/Business)

Primary Contact

Certification Department
Wildlife Habitat Council
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