U.S. Forest Service Valuing Ecosystem Services
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Forests to Faucets

The USDA Forest Service National Forests to Faucets 2.0 Assessment builds upon an earlier version of the project from 2011. The Assessment uses Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to determine the relative importance of small watersheds to surface drinking water. Imbedded in the data is the vital role forests play in protecting source water: the extent to which these forests are threatened by development, insects and disease, and wildland fire. The 2.0 Assessment updates and improves base data layers and adds climate change as another threat considered in the threat assessment. In addition, an interactive map viewer with reporting capabilities is being developed for the project.

This Assessment provides information that can identify watersheds of interest for protecting or restoring forests to benefit surface drinking water supply. The spatial dataset can be incorporated into broad-scale planning, such as the State Forest Action Plans, and can help identify areas for further local analysis. In addition, it can be incorporated into existing decision support tools that currently lack spatial data on important areas for surface drinking water.

This project connects downstream users to conservation actions that may be needed to improve the source of their water. In this respect, the data indicates where a payment for watershed services (PWS) project may be an option for financing management of forest lands. The National Forests to Faucets data identifies areas that 1) supply surface drinking water, 2) have consumer demand for this water, and 3) are facing significant threats—all important criteria for successful PWS initiatives.

In perhaps its most important role, this work can serve as an education tool to illustrate the link between forests and the provision of surface drinking water—a key watershed-based ecosystem service.


Explore the National Forests to Faucets StoryMap …

Forests to Faucets story map and map viewer screen capture.



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Forest to Faucets Team
USDA Forest Service
Washington, DC

Location: https://www.fs.fed.us/ecosystemservices/FS_Efforts/forests2faucets.shtml
Updated: January 28, 2022 11:57 AM