The Appalachian Basin is home to regionally and federally threatened and, in some cases, endangered species. Some of these species are known to occur in CNX’s operational footprint. CNX recognizes these species as stakeholders in our operational activity and works to ensure our operations do not adversely impact these species and their habitat. Our overarching goal is to minimize operational impact and leave the land where we operate in a better condition than we found it.


During site planning and development, we identify wildlife, habitats, and areas with high biodiversity or conservation value, and take a proactive approach to reducing potential impacts to environmentally sensitive areas and endangered species. Our first priority is gaining awareness of these locations. CNX has evaluated the publicly available protected conservation and endangered species habitat data and determined that approximately 30% of CNX proved reserves and 22% of CNX’s probable reserves are located within five kilometers of these habitats.*

*These percentages were developed using regional publicly available species habitat and conservation data related to CNX’s specific operational acreage areas while also including recommended datasets from the SASB, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Protected Areas (categories I-VI), Ramsar Wetlands of International Importance, UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Biosphere Reserves recognized within the framework of UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere (MAB) Programme, Natura 2000 sites, and sites that meet the IUCN’s definition of a protected area. In generating our analysis of potential impacted areas, we used the data available and overlapped it with our proved and probable reserves using Geographic Information Systems (GIS).


CNX conducts thorough assessments, consulting with internal and external resources—including U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, other state land management agencies, and professional consultants and ecological subject-matter experts—as part of our pre-operational planning process. This allows us to identify potential issues up front. CNX’s current operating footprint does not overlap with any globally or internationally recognized areas of importance. We continue to assess these aspects and are committed to taking appropriate action if we determine our operations overlap with these or other areas with biodiverse significance. We evaluate new sites utilizing available habitat tools and are aware of the areas of proposed development in our core operating area that will occur near habitats of rare, endangered, or protected flora and fauna species. Coordination to avoid, minimize, or mitigate these habitats begins long before operations are put into motion. The following table represents a few of the known species of concern we anticipate encountering and protect in our core operating area:

Species of Concern 1st Tier of Protection 2nd Tier of Protection
Running Buffalo Clover Avoidance Approved Relocation Plan with monitoring
Tricolored Bat, Little Brown Bat, Northern Long Eared Bat & Indiana Bat Avoidance Seasonal tree clearing restrictions, and/or other approved monitoring plan
Bald Eagle Avoidance Approved Eagle Protection Plan mitigating impacts to nests, roosting, foraging, wintering areas
Any protected mussel or clam (Rayed Bean Mussel, Long-solid Mussel, Pink Mucket Mussel, Sheepnose Mussel, Snuffbox Mussel, etc.) Avoidance Approved Relocation Plan with monitoring


Photo by Perry Lupinetti

For areas with significant importance from a biodiversity standpoint, including wetlands, wildlife habitat, mature forests, and areas that are potentially home to threatened and endangered species, CNX develops management plans that prioritize avoidance of these locations. Our team proactively engages with state and federal agencies to preserve habitat areas while minimizing any direct impacts. Working directly with agencies and environmental scientists, CNX ensures that protected conservation areas and endangered species are identified early during project development, while also taking steps to reduce the likelihood of habitat or operational impacts. Since most of our future project areas are also areas where other human development—in the form of roads, housing, and other commercial or industrial activity—is present, we see an opportunity to partner with agencies and other community stakeholders to minimize cumulative impact on habitats. This land management approach, paired with our focus on spill prevention and robust monitoring and protection programs, are the primary ways we safeguard biodiversity. Failure to manage these aspects can result in non-compliance and potentially Notices of Violation from regulatory agencies. We closely evaluate our potential for non-compliance and carefully investigate each violation to ensure corrective actions are put in place to protect biodiversity, and public health and safety.


If avoidance is not a possibility, agency-approved mitigation activities are developed and tailored to the environmental needs for specific sites and species. This includes decreasing our activities during certain times of the year or planning activity at a further distance from water sources. Additionally, we adjust project designs to co-locate infrastructure within existing facilities to maximize the use of existing roadways, access roads, utilities, and existing non-wooded areas.

Introducing the Wharton Run Bat Hiber

With years of stewardship projects under our belt, CNX is doubling down on efforts to support our official mascot: the Appalachian bat. In 2024, in collaboration with academia, state and federal agencies, and international partners, CNX intends to construct a first-of-its kind project on CNX property in Greene County, Pennsylvania. CNX is as proud of the collaborative as the project itself, which aims to create a replicable man-made bat hibernaculum in an area with few hibernation options for bats. Stay tuned as we build the hiber!

Tree Pittsburgh

In 2023, CNX Foundation granted $24,000 to Tree Pittsburgh to support the distribution of 400 trees to residents across southwestern Pennsylvania. The trees will help offset tree canopy loss that has occurred over the last several decades and assist in improving the region’s air quality. Tree Pittsburgh’s vision is to create a healthy urban forest for everyone by inspiring and engaging people to maintain, plant, and protect trees. Since 2019, Tree Pittsburgh has distributed more than 18,000 trees to residents throughout Allegheny County. It is anticipated these trees will intercept over 17.2 million gallons of rainfall, eliminating over 34 million gallons of run-off into waterways. 

Value in Carbon Storage

In 2022, CNX initiated an assessment of an Improved Forest Management (IFM) project in partnership with ClimeCo, a global sustainability company, on CNX-owned lands located primarily in Buchanan and Tazewell Counties, Virginia. The project area was experiencing logging activities, and with an active timber contract in place, there were no plans to discontinue the harvesting efforts. CNX secured full control of the timber to halt future harvesting activities, which allowed the forestland to grow unconstrained and increasingly sequester carbon year after year. With a sizeable swath of Appalachian hardwood forests, this project site also creates a haven where many local plants and animal species can thrive.

CNX expects to officially list the project in 2024 through Verra, a nonprofit carbon registry and well-known leader in setting standards for climate action and sustainable development.