Disturbed Land Restoration


A 280-acre tract of land in Arizona was severely degraded by sand and  gravel mining as well as storm water retention activities. We provided  guidance on land and water restoration through development of The Sanctuary at WestWorld  in Scottsdale, AZ, an 18-hole championship golf course and equestrian  center. The course has since been named McDowell Mountain Golf Course.  This project is a model for implementing native ecological restoration  programs for degraded land. 

The property has won numerous awards for being environmentally  friendly and has several key elements that were implemented:  a) to  provide for ground water recharge; b) to remove through filtration,  salts that accumulate in pumps when ground water is pumped to the  drinking water plant, c) to protect one of Phoenix’s drinking water  supplies, and d) to provide flood control.  All of these objectives were  met. 


A multi-use trail links the equestrian center and the golf course to  the adjacent McDowell Mountain Preserve to the east, the 7-mile Desert  Greenbelt Basin to the north, a major hiking and riding trail to the  south, two major community parks and a library.  The trail accommodates  hiking, biking, and horseback riding. 

The golf course design provides a ‘target golf’ concept; a design  that reduces disturbance of the restored native desert landscape and  minimized the amount of maintained turfgrass to 60 acres. Vegetation is  all native and provides habitat for native wildlife. We developed an  Ecological Land Plan that protected and enhanced water quality and  quantity, and wildlife habitat and connections within the property and  to surrounding lands. 


A detailed management plan was developed and implemented for the golf  course that incorporated environmental protection for every aspect of  course management.  We prepared and implemented a Natural Resource  Management Plan that provides detailed protocols and processes for  managing the course. Ecological risk assessments were conducted to  evaluate the pesticides proposed for use on the property.  We selected  materials that were safe for wildlife, safe for aquatic environments,  and were as short lived as possible.  Extensive Best Management  Practices (BMP) were specified and implemented to protect soil, water,  and vegetation. 

Integrated Pest Management (IPM) strategies have been incorporated  into every aspect of the plan and maintenance of the golf course. IPM  strategies reduce the need for large scale applications of fertilizers,  pesticides and other chemicals, ensure that materials used to maintain  the landscape are safe for the environment, and that materials are  applied properly by trained and licensed contractors.