Some vegetation along powerline corridors in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve is being cut back to maintain public safety and protect infrastructure. The work also will help reduce wildfire hazard.
The project is taking place along a corridor that runs northeast from Scottsdale Road just north of Happy Valley. The work will extend into the McDowell Sonoran Preserve northeast of Pima and Dynamite roads continuing to Stagecoach Pass and the 112th Street alignment and is expected to be completed within the preserve by late February or early March.
The work is being done by the Western Area Power Administration (WAPA). The portion that passes through the McDowell Sonoran Preserve is known on trail maps as Powerline Road No. 1.
As a federal power marketing authority within the U.S. Department of Energy, WAPA has the responsibility to comply with federal standards to ensure reliable delivery of energy in a manner that promotes public safety.
Incompatible plants (typically all trees and very tall cacti) will be removed from the right-of-way to help establish low-growing plant communities. Most saguaro, barrel, ocotillo and other cacti will remain as well as low level shrub/groundcover plants and be monitored to avoid violating minimum clearance distances to the power lines.
Management of non-native grasses also will be part of long term efforts by WAPA to assist with reduction of possible wildland fire threat.
WAPA has consulted with the Arizona State Historic Preservation Office to ensure that cultural sites contained within their right-of-way are protected. Other biological concerns will be identified and protected within sensitive areas.
Resources will be present at the work sites to prevent wildfires. WAPA also will follow all required permits to abate dust generation.
If you have any questions about this project, you are encouraged to contact WAPA’s IVM Manager Steve Narolski, at 602-605-2428.