UTC and Pratt & Whitney recently donated 1,831 pristine acres of undeveloped land to the Open Space Authority of Santa Clara County, California. The acreage, a parcel subdivided from land adjacent to a now-retired test site, adds to the Open Space Authority’s Coyote Ridge in the Diablo Range of Santa Clara County.
The property, worth more than $15 million, was donated through the California Natural Heritage State Tax Credit Program and represents the Open Space Authority’s largest acquisition to date. For UTC, it is one of a number of similar transfers completed in various locations globally. Those include 38 acres of valuable wildlife refuge in China’s Sichuan Province to offset the footprint of the China Engine Center; and a wetlands easement in West Palm Beach, Florida, to the J.W. Corbett Wildlife Management Area. Other similar transactions are also in the works.
“Whenever we have assets that we are no longer using, we pursue partnerships to repurpose the assets for the betterment of the communities where we live and work,” said Renée Welsh, senior director, Facilities and Security in Operations & Engineering. “Our goal is long-lived and healthy ecosystems - indefinitely.”
For 45 years, engines that powered military and NASA equipment were built and tested on a 3,282 acre parcel of land adjacent to the Coyote Ridge property. “The donated acreage was part of a two-mile long section along Coyote Ridge as a buffer zone to separate the manufacturing and testing activity from the public,” explained Maura Heffernan, West Palm Beach site EH&S manager, who was part of the team that helped execute the San Jose land transfer.
The Coyote Ridge property encompasses one of the most significant wildlife habitat areas in the Bay Area. It contains nearly a fifth of the remaining undeveloped serpentine grassland habitat in Santa Clara County and is the area's primary habitat for the endangered Bay Checkerspot butterfly. In addition, it provides critical habitat for the California tiger salamander and California red-legged frog, as well as Tule elk, burrowing owls, golden eagles, and many other raptors.
“We are pleased to donate more than 1,800 acres of land to the Open Space Authority of Santa Clara County,” said EH&S Vice President Mary Anne Cannon. “This donation, through California's Natural Heritage Preservation Tax Credit Program, will ensure the continued protection of endangered and threatened species inhabiting the area and will provide recreational and educational uses for decades to come.”
Between April 18 and 22, Pratt & Whitney will celebrate "Earth Week" by publishing a series of stories and videos highlighting the company's commitment to preserving the environment through sustainable products, operations and other activities. Keep watching mysite throughout the week for more.