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Groundwater Resources
on National Forest System Lands















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Forest Service Groundwater Program


The Forest Service Groundwater Program is an integral component of fulfilling the Agency’s stewardship responsibility for water resource on National Forests and Grasslands.   Groundwater is a critical component of the hydrologic cycle and is important in sustaining groundwater-dependent ecosystems, such as perennial streams, springs, riparian areas, and wetlands, that support biodiversity on many forests and grasslands. 


Forest Service Directive on Groundwater

On May 7, 2014, the Forest Service published a proposed directive addressing groundwater resources on National Forest System lands for public comment and initiated tribal consultation.  The comment period was extended twice and closed on October 3, 2014, after 150 days.  In December 2014, the Forest Service Chief stopped work on the proposed directive to initiate further engagement with States and Tribes.  The Chief has committed that the Agency will only move forward with a new proposal after it has completed its discussions with States and Tribes and is confident that it can appropriately address their concerns.  At that point, a new proposed directive will be published for public comment and tribal consultation will be initiated.


Further Information on the May 2014 proposed directive can be found here






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Last Modified:  April 2015 USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.