The Walt Disney Company has a long-term commitment to protecting the environment, including shared community resources like water. With major operations in Southern California, Florida, and Sydney, Disney operates in several water-stressed urban regions. Our commitment to the responsible use of water in our operations includes investments in infrastructure that reduces consumption, minimizes waste, and increases the use of reclaimed water for irrigation, toilet flushing, and other areas where potable water is not required.
Disney’s investments also extend beyond our own direct operations and includes funding for watershed protection and restoration in critical ecosystems. Over the last five years, the Disney Conservation Fund awarded more than $1.5 million to nonprofit organizations supporting these efforts including the Bonneville Environmental Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, Amigos de Los Rios and others. Below are highlights from some of our recent investments in 2019 and 2020.
Project: Cody Meadow Restoration
Location: Placerville, CA
Organization: Bonneville Environmental Foundation
Details: Cody Meadow is a high elevation wet meadow located in the Eldorado National Forest. The 16 acre project is located at the headwaters of Cody Creek. One hundred years of natural events and man-made impacts from road building, livestock grazing, and other changes to the land have damaged the natural water management of the land and resulted in channel degradation and loss of floodplain connection. Restoration efforts aim to restore the natural hydrologic function of Cody Meadow, promoting rainfall infiltration and reducing erosion resulting in increased groundwater replenishment, water quality improvement, and wildlife and habitat protection.
Project: Citrus Irrigation Management
Location: Lake Alfred, FL
Organization: University of Florida Foundation
Details: Over the course of two-years, researchers will assess the impact of irrigation scheduling and use of fertilization on citrus tree growth, root density, yield, and nutrient leaching. The University of Florida’s mission is to develop and disseminate science-based information about tropical natural resources through applied research methods. Findings will help citrus growers address root loss of trees, promote effective use of water and fertilizer to support citrus production.
Project: Jackson Elementary Watershed Campus
Location: Los Angeles County
Organization: Amigos de los Rios
Amigos de los Rios launched The Emerald Necklace Coalition, comprised of 48 agencies, with an objective to protect water resources, and develop greenways and education opportunities in Los Angeles County. The organization is tackling the reduction of impervious surfaces to help support recharge with storm water, reduce pollutant runoff, and prevent flooding. This project will remove and replace hardscape with native habitat and permeable surfaces at Jackson Elementary and will have the added benefits of reducing outdoor water use, promoting active lifestyles and reducing the urban heat island effect.
Project: LA Stormwater Capture and River Restoration
Location: Los Angeles County
Organization: The Nature Conservancy
The project on the LA River will remove obstructions to drainage and restore the waterway allowing it to function more like a natural arroyo and increasing the area’s water storage and slow-release functions for water flows during storms. This natural infrastructure wetland will enhance water quality by treating water from the catchment area and enabling it to infiltrate soils and filter particulate pollutants. Additionally, the project will help increase public access to the river, restore habitat for local wildlife, and serve as a demonstration project for future improvements along the LA River. The project will be located on a 2.5-acre portion of an 18-acre parcel owned by California State Parks.
Photo Credit: Mike Dennis