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Water resources (Chapter 12)

Brown, Thomas C.; Foti, Romano; Ramirez, Jorge. 2012. Water resources (Chapter 12). In: Future of America's forest and rangelands: Forest Service 2010 Resources Planning Act Assessment. Gen. Tech. Rep. WO-87. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service. p. 109-121.

In this chapter, we focus on the vulnerability of U.S. freshwater supplies considering all lands, not just forest and rangelands. We do not assess the condition of those lands or report on how much of our water supply originates on lands of different land covers or ownerships, because earlier Resources Planning Act (RPA) Assessment work addressed these topics. Regarding the source of water supply, we found that forests are the source of more than one-half of the U.S. water supply and of fully two-thirds of the water supply in the West and the South, and that national forests and grasslands alone are the source of one-half of the water supply in the Western States (Brown et al. 2008). Because forests are also generally the source of the highest quality runoff (Brown and Binkley 1994), it is not an exaggeration to say that forests play an extremely important role in the provision of water in the United States. Regarding the current condition of watersheds with National Forest System lands, we found, among other things, that the watersheds in the Interior West are generally at lower risk of impairment than those along the West Coast, which in turn are generally at lower risk than those in the East (Brown and Froemke 2010; Brown and Froemke 2012).

Keywords: freshwater supplies, runoff, watersheds

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Title: RMRS Other Publications: Water resources (Chapter 12)
Electronic Publish Date: September 27, 2012
Last Update:
September 27, 2012

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