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U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture


About the Watershed Service Line

The mission of the Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the nation’s forests and grasslands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The Watershed Management Service Line (WMSL) is important to fulfilling this mission as it provides services that enhance, remedy, rehabilitate or restore watershed health and resilience to promote the preservation and restoration of NFS lands.

Our Mission

Provide quality services, support and expertise in protecting, conserving and restoring watersheds and water dependent ecosystems, and build capacity for water and soil resource conservation and restoration across the National Forest System.

Services Offered

This offering provides Hydrologists, Soil Scientists, and Geologists to support project planning through the NFMA and NEPA process as participating members of Interdisciplinary Teams. Services provided can be tailored to the specific needs of the project. As members of an Interdisciplinary Team, specialists will participate in team meetings (either virtually or in person), and may develop design criteria, recommend mitigation measures, and provide analyses of proposed actions to hydrologic function, riparian condition, water quality, soil productivity, erosion potential, detrimental disturbance, landform stability, and groundwater resources. Products of this offering may include:

  • Landscape Assessments
  • Watershed Analyses
  • Watershed Restoration Action Plans
  • Specialist Reports
  • Cumulative Watershed Effects Analyses

This offering provides on-the-ground assistance from Fisheries Biologists, Geomorphologists, Hydrologists, Engineers, and Surveyors in the design and implementation of projects to improve and restore watershed health.

Examples of projects that enhance, rehabilitate, and restore rivers, streams, lakes, ponds, wetlands, and riparian areas include:

  • Aquatic Organism Passage Improvement
  • Invasive Fish Barrier Design and Construction
  • Channel and Aquatic Habitat Rehabilitation
  • Stream Morphology Restoration
  • Stream Channel Survey and Design Services
  • Contract Administration, Package Preparation, Permitting, and COR Services
  • Construction/Implementation Oversight
  • Dam Removal/Restoration Projects
  • Wetland Mitigation and Restoration

One of the goals of the WMSL is to share the experiences and lessons learned with USFS specialists across the Agency using real life experience that Enterprise staff has gained from projects they have participated on. This offering is aimed at meeting that goal with services such as:

  • Webinar Development and Hosting
  • Workshops – Field and Classroom
  • In-person or On-Call Mentoring

Predictive modeling, GIS, and spatial analyses are often the baseline and starting point to determining cumulative effects within watersheds; identifying areas with high potential for valuable restoration efforts; and determining locations that may be at risk from various man-made and environmental factors. This offering provides assistance from specialist with expertise in modeling, GIS, spatial analyses, data interpretation, and target reporting as it pertains to watershed management issues, such as:

  • Flood Prediction and Stream Channel Restoration Modeling
  • GIS Data Development and Spatial Analyses
  • Watershed Improvement Tracking (WIT)
  • Watershed Condition Assessment Tracking Tool (WCATT)
  • Cumulative Watershed Effects
  • Sediment Generation Prediction

This offerings include the inventory, monitoring, and assessment of water quality, water quantity, flow seasonality and temporal distribution, water rights, watershed condition, aquatic condition, and soil and geologic resources. Examples of services for this offering include:

  • Land and Resource Management Plan Monitoring Assistance
  • Water Rights Inventory and Verification
  • Best Management Practices Monitoring
  • Water Quality Monitoring
  • Riparian Health Assessments
  • Soil Surveys and Detrimental Soil Disturbance Monitoring
  • Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems Inventory
  • Monitoring Network Installation and Data Collection
  • Sediment Source Inventories
  • Landslide Hazard Assessments
  • Stream Crossing Inventories and Assessments

The EP WMSL has specialist available to assist with recovery of watershed resources after fires or floods by determining scale and magnitude of resource damage, developing rehabilitation techniques, and prescribing design features to aid in recovery. Examples of services and products that may be provided in the service offering include:

  • BAER Team Members and Leaders
  • Post-fire BAER Assessments
  • Resource Advisors
  • Wetland Mitigation Assistance
  • Dam Mitigation Assistance

This WMSL offering is in development with room to grow. The offering concept is to provide assistance to land managers, partners, and resource specialists to make the best use of Stewardship Agreement Authorities. By providing assistance in facilitating Stewardship Agreements, these services allow resource managers to focus on large-scale, but localized program management. Examples of how this service offering may be utilized are:

  • Training opportunities inside Stewardship Agreements
  • Development of strategic plans to determine when Stewardship
  • Agreements may be beneficial
  • Facilitate finding potential partners that fit clients objectives
  • Assist with Project Management
  • Stewardship and Partnership Development
  • Partnership Coordination and Oversight
  • Grants and Agreements Assistance

Featured Project

Enterprise in Peru!

Enterpriser Camilo Arias ( recently collaborated with colleagues from the Amazonian states of San Martin and Ucayali environmental agencies in Peru on designing and conducting a watershed condition assessment workshop. These states have recently enacted legislation in an effort to use a watershed approach in the decision-making process. Watersheds are well-defined areas appropriate as organizational units, where natural resources and the socio-economical systems interrelate. The workshop gathered a group of stakeholders within two pilot watersheds, and together defined guidelines and indicators to assess the existing condition of watersheds. This work in progress aims at establishing a regional methodology for rapid assessments of Amazonian watersheds, which would then provide a reference for decision makers to work along stakeholders on management strategies to develop the region’s economy while protecting the natural resources.