Hats off to Intel Corp. for funding work by the Greenbelt Land Trust in Oregon to restore a lake’s natural habitat. The recent work at Horseshoe Lake near Corvallis, a 236-acre property, re-opened water access to its natural floodplain.
“The road removal work is just one small piece of the ongoing reclamation efforts at the Horseshoe Lake property, which the land trust has been restoring from farmland to riparian habitat for threatened chinook salmon and other native fish and wildlife species since 2012,” according to an article in the Corvallis Gazette-Times newspaper.
“(Intel has) made a commitment to offset all of their water use,” said Matt Blakely-Smith, Greenbelt’s restoration coordinator. “It’s kind of like carbon sequestration, only they’ve made a commitment to store water.”
Intel, based in Silicon Valley, makes semiconductors. The company made more than $70 billion last year and employs 20,000 workers in Oregon. Producing semiconductors requires vast amounts of water and, although the company has reduced the amount of water it uses, the overall impact is still huge. “Intel has saved more than 60 billion gallons of water in its worldwide operations over the past 20 years and currently treats and returns 85 percent of the water it uses to the environment,” Fawn Bergen, Intel’s global sustainability program manager for water stewardship and carbon footprint, told the Gazette-Times. “But the company wanted to reduce its environmental footprint further still.”
To that end, the company has publicly committed to restoring 100 percent of its water use by 2025, and has begun funding a number of initiatives in several states.
This is a great example of what companies can do – without government mandates. Intel is leading by example to find innovative, long-term strategies to offset the impact of thirsty industries. It’s a lead other companies should follow.