Healthy Headwaters

Headwaters forests provide over 60% of the American West’s water supply and they are in grave danger.

Catastrophic wildfires, a changing climate and past management decisions have hurt the forests’ ability to provide clean water to millions of people.

Today leaders around the region are pioneering innovative ways to build resilience back into our forests through watershed restoration and source water protection. More resilient forests give us a more resilient water supply.

Carpe Diem West leads the Healthy Headwaters Alliance, a coalition of water utility managers, conservationists, public agency staff, scientists, community advocates and businesses.

Together, we guide and connect successful efforts around the region to multiply their impact and tell the stories of successful source water protection efforts and spreading these innovative approaches.

Join the Healthy Headwaters Alliance

Leadership Team

Mike Anderson

Senior Resources Analyst - The Wilderness Society

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Sarah Bates

Deputy Director - Northern Rockies & Prairies Regional Center National Wildlife Federation

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Laura Briefer

Director - Salt Lake City Department of Public Utilities

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Christopher Carlson

Assistant Director for Water and Aquatic Resources, USDA Forest Service

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Kim Carr

Director, California Programs - National Forest Foundation

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Rebecca Davidson

Director, Southern Rockies Region, National Forest Foundation

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David Edelson

Sierra Nevada Project Director - The Nature Conservancy

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Jonas Epstein

ORISE Economic Research Fellow - US Forest Service

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Charlie Ester

Manager of Water Resource Operations - Salt River Project

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Todd Gartner

Senior Associate, Natural Infrastructure & Water, World Resources Institute

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Sterling Grogan

Senior Advisor & Ecologist - Carpe Diem West

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Rob Harper

National Director for Watershed, Fish, Wildlife, Air, Rare Plants, and Subsistence in Alaska - US Forest Service

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Holly Hartmann

Climate Scientist

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Polly Hays

Water Program Manager - USFS Rocky Mountain Region

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Cathy Kellon

Green Infrastructure Program Director - The Geos Institute

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Karen Knudsen

Executive Director, Clark Fork Coalition

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Dale Lyons

Senior Planning Consultant - Souder, Miller and Associates

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Mike McHugh

Environmental Permitting Coordinator - Aurora Water

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Mary Mitsos

President - National Forest Foundation

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Karl Morgenstern

Environmental Supervisor, Watershed Protection and Property Management - Eugene Water & Electric Board

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Jennifer Sokolove

Senior Program Officer - The Compton Foundation

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John Shepard

Senior Director of Programs - Sonoran Institute

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Steve Whitney

Senior Program Officer - The Bullitt Foundation

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Rebecca Wolfe

Public Lands Team - Sierra Club

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Anne Zimmermann

US Forest Service, Ret.

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We are developing a new understanding of where water comes from - not from the streams, but from the forest.

- Ron Lehr, President Denver Water Board (1993-1999)

Reports

Albuquerque releases it's New 100 Year Water Resources Management Strategy

This 100-year water plan explores a number of supply alternatives while considering various scenarios of climate change and population growth. July 2017  

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Carpe Diem West Twelfth Healthy Headwaters Leadership Convening – Aurora, CO

Carpe Diem West convened its twelfth Healthy Headwaters leadership meeting, bringing together scientists, policy makers, water managers, and regional leaders from around the West. March 2017

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Restoration Priorities

One of the first steps in creating an actionable watershed investment plan is prioritizing what, where, and how restoration will take place in your watershed. This process can be overwhelming, if you don’t know where to start. We’ve sorted through dozens of watershed protection plans from around the American West to get a sense of what actions and outcomes communities are prioritizing, and how those priorities were decided upon. We hope this guide will get you thinking about what successful restoration looks like in your watershed. If you need help getting started, let us know. Our Healthy Headwaters Network is here to support you on your path to investing in the future of your watershed.

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VIP Analysis

Carpe Diem West put together a team of experts to assist Eugene Water & Electric Board (EWEB) in analyzing the outcomes and lessons learned of their McKenzie Watershed Voluntary Incentives Program pilot project (VIP). Our team made recommendations specific to EWEB, but also identified elements of the program that could be transferred to other watersheds and characteristics of communities that would be likely candidates for a VIP program of their own. We know there are members in our network who are looking to adopt similar programs and could benefit from the insights into EWEB’s VIP –  read the report below!

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Healthy Headwaters Eleventh Leadership Convening Summary - Salt Lake City, Utah

At our Eleventh convening  June 3, 2016, Carpe Diem West convened scientists, policy makers, water managers, and leaders from NGOs, philanthropic organizations, and the private sector. We met in Salt Lake City, Utah, home of the recently signed Mountain Accord, a comprehensive and holistic approach that addresses four areas of concern - environment, recreation, transportation, and economics – to create consensus around solutions that will stand the test of time. Read the key take-aways below. June 2016

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Healthy Headwaters Alliance - 2016 Policy Platform Update

The updated Policy Platform identifies three frameworks for new policies that could be enacted in a fairly short period of time.  February 2016

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Healthy Headwaters Alliance Policy Platform Criteria

The updated Healthy Headwaters Policy Platform companion piece on criteria we will use to assess proposed legislation or policies. While the Healthy Headwaters Alliance does not advocate for specific legislation, as opportunities arise we do use our criteria to provide thoughtful commentary to interested parties.  November 2015

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Healthy Headwaters Tenth Leadership Convening Summary - Eugene, Oregon

At its tenth convening the Healthy Headwaters Leadership Team and invited Western Water Leaders discussed next steps for restoring and protecting headwaters and water supply in the American West. The meeting summary covers some of the key points. October 2015

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