Key Principles of Watershed Investment: Restoration Priorities

Carpe Diem West is a nonprofit dedicated to addressing “the profound challenge of increasing climate impacts on our water resources in the American West.” They developed this brief to offer an overview of watershed restoration initiatives in the western U.S. that demonstrate successful agency partnerships, investments, and climate adaptive and restoration projects for watershed resiliency - in order to support the creation of more actionable watershed investment plans.

Watersheds filter pollutants, control erosion, regulate temperature, attenuate floods, and buffer human activities from drinking water resources. Watershed level restoration provides the foundation for protecting water at its source, as well as the surrounding landscape from climate impacts such as drought, extreme storms, and wildfires.

Here are 2 example projects as profiled in the report, one focused on the water source, and the other on forest resiliency:

Water Source Protection Program Santa Fe, New Mexico 2009-present

Recognizing the need for a long-term source water protection solution, the City of Santa Fe formed a collaborative planning group with the U.S. Forest Service, the Santa Fe Watershed Association and The Nature Conservancy. The group was awarded a USFS Collaborative Forest Landscape Program grant to develop a watershed management plan. The resulting 2009 twenty-year Santa Fe Municipal Watershed Plan established the method and plan for forest treatments, the protocol for water quality and quantity monitoring, promoted public awareness and outreach, and made recommendations for long-term project funding.

Ashland Forest Resiliency Stewardship Project Ashland, Oregon 2013

The Ashland Forest Resiliency Stewardship Project is a stewardship agreement between the U.S. Forest Service, the City of Ashland, The Nature Conservancy, and the Lomakatsi Restoration Project. At an initial workshop, 20 diverse technical stakeholders came together to develop a long-term forest monitoring plan. The group advocated for science-based decision making and for placing data on a user-friendly website to ensure transparency and accessibility. Priorities include reducing fire fuel loads in the forest while preserving old forest habitat for wildlife, and stream-side habitat to ensure water quality. 



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