TEMPE, ARIZ. (Dec. 2, 2021) – Reducing wildfire risk and restoring the forested watersheds that provide water to about half of the Valley is why company officials at Terracon, an engineering firm, decided to take action.
Terracon is the first Salt River Project commercial customer to contribute $10,000 to the SRP Healthy Forest Initiative™ (HFI).
“Terracon’s employee-owners are deeply invested in the communities where we live and work,” said Brent Borchers, P.E., Terracon regional manager for the Phoenix area. “We are proud to contribute to SRP’s Healthy Forest Initiative™ to help the water supply for the Valley for years to come.”
A drier than normal winter has been forecast for the Southwest U.S., which includes the forests of Northern Arizona bringing with it the potential for more devastating wildfires that will continue to threaten the state’s unhealthy forests and watershed. Over the past 10 years, large wildfires have ravaged the watershed in and around the Salt and Verde Rivers and more of these fires are expected.
The community-funded initiative is part of SRP’s 2035 Sustainability Goals to protect the health of the watersheds through forest restoration treatments and strategic thinning projects in the 8.3 million acres of watershed lands spread across Northern and Eastern Arizona.
“Terracon has been fortunate to have profitable operations in Arizona for nearly 30 years. In this season of giving, we wanted to impact our community in the broadest, most sustainable way possible,” said Chuck Reynolds, Terracon senior client development manager. “SRP’s stewardship of the watershed is historic and insightful for the continuing economic success of the Valley. We hope to inspire other companies to join us in this important partnership.”
Terracon is an employee-owned engineering consulting firm with more than 5,000 employees providing environmental, facilities, geotechnical, and materials services from more than 150 offices with services available in all 50 states. Terracon ranks 24th on Engineering News-Record’s 2021 list of Top 500 Design Firms.
HFI allows SRP customers to invest $3 a month towards strategic forest thinning projects to help reduce the risk and devastating impacts of catastrophic wildfire and protect the health of the forests.
On average, the forested lands in the northern part of the state have about 100 trees per acre, but in many areas, there are thousands of trees per acre. Overcrowded forests can fuel large, uncontrollable wildfires with catastrophic impacts. Since 2000, 3.2 million acres have burned in and around the Salt and Verde River and East Clear Creek watersheds.
“We are grateful for Terracon taking action to invest in the protection and restoration of forests, and we invite other Arizona businesses to partner with SRP on important forest restoration projects. Not only is this important to the Valley’s water supply, but it’s also critical to the state’s tourism industry for the beautiful forests of northern Arizona and helps protect the residents who live there,” said Elvy Barton, SRP Forest Health Management Principal. “Our customers and community want to help prevent devastating wildfires and be a part of the solution together with SRP.”
The first two restoration projects are expected to begin later this year.
The strategic thinning effort:
- Removes small, unhealthy trees and leaves large, mature trees.
- Helps store more carbon in healthy trees.
- Creates a healthier ecosystem more resilient to the effects of climate change.
- Protects and enhances wildlife habitats.
- Brings jobs to the area.
SRP commercial customers can call (602) 236-5104 and residential customers can sign up at srpnet.com/healthyforest
The goal of the Healthy Forest Initiative is to thin 500,000 acres of unhealthy overgrown forested lands by 2035.
For additional information about Terracon, visit terracon.com.
SRP is a community-based, not-for-profit public power utility and the largest provider of electricity in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, serving more than 1 million customers. SRP is also the metropolitan area’s largest supplier of water, delivering about 750,000 acre-feet annually to municipal, urban and agricultural water users.
An example of an unhealthy forest in Arizona. (Photo courtesy of SRP)