How Intel is supporting reforestation in Texas

Cristina RodriguezThis blog was posted on behalf of Cristina Rodriguez, vice president in the Data Platforms Group, general manager of the group’s Wireless Access Network Division (WAND), and general manager of the Austin site. She leads Intel’s efforts in innovative solutions for highly scalable fully virtualized networks as well as highly optimized custom deployments models, with a focus on 5G. Rodriguez is also a member of the Intel Hispanic Leadership Council. 

I will never forget the first time I came to Austin, Texas. One of the first places I visited was the lake, and I thought it was one of the most remarkable places I had ever been. After experiencing the unique atmosphere, I knew this was where I wanted to live and one day raise my family. More than 20 years later, my family and I enjoy spending lots of time hiking near water, and my kids love to jump off a rope swing into the lake during the hot summer months.

The Colorado River is the largest river located entirely in the state of Texas, with Austin the largest city in its basin, and is important to the state’s economy, environment, industry, agriculture and the community. Healthy forested areas within a floodplain provide multiple benefits to the river including supporting wildlife habitat, filtering pollutants, shading streams and stabilizing streambanks, and sequestering carbon, which mitigates climate change.

As part of our commitment to achieve net positive water use globally by 2030, I’m excited to share that Intel is supporting a project that will help restore the Colorado River – our first water restoration project in Texas. Through Intel funding, our partner TreeFolks, the only nonprofit organization dedicated to rebuilding the urban tree canopy and reforesting degraded floodplains in Central Texas, will work with landowners in Travis County, Texas, to plant and maintain healthy trees. As part of a large-scale planting effort covering hundreds of acres, the project’s main goal is to restore healthy forest buffers in the Colorado River floodplain, by planting approximately 4 acres of trees that will support wildlife habitat and restore an estimated 160,000 gallons of water annually. The project will also help the City of Austin meet its 2020 carbon neutrality goal through carbon offsetting.

As the site leader for Intel in Austin, I’m proud of the innovative technology our Texas team – more than 1,700 people strong – supports. Although I’ve been with Intel for six years, Intel has had a presence in this community for over two decades. Intel Austin has always been committed to supporting the company’s long-standing commitment to environmental sustainability, looking to our company-wide 2030 goals to drive our efforts. We understand our presence in Texas affords us a responsibility to do our part in protecting our environment.

We’re excited to support this TreeFolks project and to join several other organizations including the City of Austin’s Office of Sustainability and Watershed Protection Department, Travis County, and City Forest Credits in supporting the Travis County floodplains. The project is also partially funded by The Nature Conservancy, in partnership with the Dorris Duke Charitable Foundation.

We all depend on water, and we should all support our water resources. Our beautiful and valuable creeks and lakes are what first attracted me to Austin, and I want to ensure they are around for generations to come. This conservation project is a step towards improving the environment for all, and towards honoring our commitment to sustainability.