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 USDA Forest Service
1400 Independence Ave. SW
Washington, D.C. 20078-5500

(202) 205-8333

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Watershed Forestry

The use of forests and forestry practices to protect, restore, and sustain water quality, water flows, and watershed health and condition.

A watershed is an area of land that catches rainfall and other precipitation and funnels it into a marsh, stream, river, lake or groundwater. There is a direct link between what we do on the land and the health of our watersheds and the quality of the water in our waterways. Those watersheds that are forested offer a wide array of benefits. Healthy urban and rural forested watersheds absorb rainfall and snow melt, slow storm runoff, recharge aquifers, sustain stream flows, filter pollutants from the air and runoff before they enter the waterways; and provide critical habitat for fish and wildlife. In addition, forested watersheds provide abundant recreational opportunities, help support local economies, provide an inexpensive source of drinking water, and improve the quality of our lives.

Through the use of forests and forestry practices applied on a watershed basis, we can provide cumulative water quality benefits and offer low cost, long term solutions to many of the nation’s nonpoint source pollution problems. The USDA Forest Service Cooperative Forestry staff provides assistance to communities and landowners through a variety of programs to promote sustainable forestry.

FORESTS & THE ENVIRONMENT: For an overview of the environmental benefits provided by trees and forests.

FORESTS & QUALITY OF LIFE: For an overview of less obvious benefits of forests and trees.

COMMUNITY-BASED WATERSHED RESTORATION PARTNERSHIPS: For information on prototype projects to work collectively across ownership boundaries to restore watersheds.

WATERSHED TOURS: To take interactive tours of five of the community-based watershed projects.

NORTHEASTERN AREA: For information on watershed partnerships, initiatives, grants, workshops and other programs offered by the Forest Service Northeastern Area.

WATERSHED FORESTRY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM: For information on the watershed forestry program authorized in the Healthy Forests Restoration Act of 2003 Title III.

WILDLAND WATERS: To view a series of six Forest Service publications, each issue highlighting the important role of forestry in a different water resource management topic.

CONTACTS: For national and regional program manager information and links to regional Cooperative Forestry web pages.

USEFUL LINKS: For a list of other water and forestry web pages.



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 Last Modified: Monday, Dec 16, 2013 at 02:19 PM CST