SRP Customers Step Up to Support Forest Health
SRP Healthy Forest Initiative™ has cleared more than 1,600 acres of unhealthy forest
More than 1,600 acres of critical forests that contain the watersheds for the Valley’s water have been thinned and restored thanks to the help of SRP customers.
Over the last 3 years, almost $800,000 has been raised to support the SRP Healthy Forest Initiative™ (HFI), a customer-funded program that supports strategic forest thinning projects to help reduce the risk and devastating impacts of catastrophic wildfire and protect the health of the watersheds that provide water to the Valley.
The community-funded initiative is part of SRP’s 2035 Sustainability Goals to protect the health of the watersheds through forest restoration treatments. The work is done through partnerships, education and support for industry to thin 50,000 acres per year or 500,000 acres of unhealthy overgrown forested lands by 2035.
“We are so appreciative of our customers who see the value in forest health and want to be a part of the solution to help prevent devastating wildfires,” said Elvy Barton, SRP Manager of Water and Forest Sustainability.
The majority of the Valley’s water supply originates as rain and snow from 8.3 million acres of watershed lands spread across northern and eastern Arizona.
Wildfires sear the forest floor and soil, keeping snowmelt and rain from being absorbed into the ground and can fill rivers and streams with ash and debris, causing water quality and supply issues, Barton said.
HFI funding supported the Baker and Roosevelt Projects, which restored a portion of the ponderosa pine forest in northern Arizona. The small-diameter trees removed from this project, which is currently underway, are shipped to a Phoenix pallet company and to Novo BioPower, Arizona’s only biomass renewable energy facility located in Snowflake.
Partners in the Baker and Roosevelt Projects include the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management, Arizona Game and Fish, U.S. Forest Service and the Town and Payson.
In addition to preventing and slowing catastrophic wildfires, this strategic thinning effort:
- removes small, unhealthy trees and leaves large, mature trees,
- helps store more carbon in healthy trees and in wood products made from small trees,
- creates a healthier ecosystem more resilient to the effects of climate change,
- protects and enhances wildlife and habitats,
- brings jobs to the area.
Residential customers can now sign up for the SRP Healthy Forest Initiative™ at srp.net/healthyforest
SRP is a community-based, not-for-profit public power utility and the largest electricity provider in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, serving approximately 1.1 million customers. SRP provides water to about half of the Valley’s residents, delivering more than 244 billion gallons of water (750,000 acre-feet) each year, and manages a 13,000-square-mile watershed that includes an extensive system of reservoirs, wells, canals and irrigation laterals.