Water conservation

Forest Service tool highlights connection between forests and water | News

Have you ever wondered where exactly your drinking water comes from? To help land managers and the public understand where their water comes from and what affects it, the USDA Forest Service has launched an interactive map called Forests to Faucets 2.0. The map shows that forests are an essential link in providing reliable drinking water across the country.

The interactive map, also called the Story Map, is designed to increase public and land manager understanding of the relationship between forests and water quality. The map visualizes the role of forests in providing drinking water across the country. It can help forestry professionals, watershed groups, educators and others see how forests help protect water supply and quality.

“In the eastern United States, public and private forest lands are essential to water management, whether providing clean water through natural filtration, reducing erosion and flooding, and to sustain life and well-being,” said Bob Lueckel, assistant regional forester for the Eastern Region. “Forests to Taps is a powerful yet user-friendly tool that reveals the direct link between healthy forests and clean water. It can help communities and private landowners determine where the best conservation practices are needed to maintain the many benefits of clean water,” Lueckel added.

From Forests to Taps 2.0 features an interactive layered map that shows how some watersheds are more important than others for drinking water. Maps illustrate threats to water sources, including insects and disease, land use change, future decline in water supplies, and the potential for forest fires.

“The map shows that we are all watershed managers – it connects our water supply to the landscapes around us, in the natural and built environments,” said Erika Mack, lead author of the technical report underlying the map. narrative.

The map is useful for anyone interested in the country’s watersheds and drinking water. Businesses, organizations and landowners can use the app to identify reliable water sources, have more information for planning and develop grant applications for activities such as water conservation and tree planting. The data can also be used for teaching and learning geography, environmental studies, biology, hydrology, and other disciplines.

First released 10 years ago, this enhanced version of Forests to Faucets adds to the original data – including climate change impacts – and improves the user experience. Researchers and staff from the Forest Service’s Eastern Region, Southern Research Station, and Washington office developed the narrative map and supporting technical report.