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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 6, 2014 the Forest Service published a proposed groundwater directive in the Federal Register for public comment and tribal consultation. The Agency invested in numerous internal and external outreach efforts associated with publication of the proposed directive, raising awareness of the Forest Service groundwater program and the groundwater resources on National Forest System (NFS) Lands. From the comments received through the formal comment process, tribal consultation, and informal outreach with partners, the Agency learned that additional engagement with key States, Tribes, and other organizations is needed before a directive addressing groundwater on NFS lands would be published. The Forest Service withdrew the proposed directive on June 19, 2015, and will be working toward a new proposed groundwater directive after additional partner engagement.


Federal Register Notice (Vol. 80, Number 118, Friday, June 19, 2015) - Notice of withdrawal of the Forest Service proposed groundwater directive

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



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Last Modified:  June 2016 USDA logo which links to the department's national site. Forest Service logo which links to the agency's national site.