Healthy Headwaters Program

The headwaters landscapes that provide most of the West’s water for cities, farms, businesses and ecosystems are fundamentally threatened by climate change. Downstream communities are concerned about their water security. These factors provide an opportunity to build the next generation of ecological protection and restoration.

Carpe Diem West’s Healthy Headwaters Program supports an alliance of upstream land managers, downstream water utilities, scientists, economists, and conservation advocates whose goal is to increase the climate resiliency of the headwaters systems that provide water for the West. 

The Healthy Headwaters Program works to:

  • Ensure clean abundant water for communities around the American West
  • Connect upstream and downstream communities in a shared mission to preserve water supply
  • Build resilience for stressed watersheds as the climate changes
  • Support wise, multi-factored approaches to headwaters forest preservation and restoration

We support:

  • Collaborative, community based partnerships
  • Comprehensive water planning
  • Science- and evidenced-based approaches
  • Broadly shared investment
  • Promoting long-term resilience not just short-term solutions

More Information

Healthy Headwaters Alliance Policy Platform
Leadership Team
Leadership Convenings
Program Information
Success Stories
Literature Review, Articles & Tools 

"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)


"What we really like about working with Carpe Diem West, is that for us to be successful, we need other utilities in the region to be successful.  We're all learning from each other."

Karl Morgenstern Drinking Water & Source Protection Coordinator, Eugene Water & Electric Board

 "Carpe Diem West is a natural partner for the Forest Service to work with as we figure out how to implement the Watershed Condition Framework.  The whole connection with downstream users is a critical piece."

Anne Zimmermann U.S. Forest Service 

Program Information

Healthy Headwaters Alliance

Healthy Headwaters Testimony Before the United States Congress, March 2012

Watershed Investment Programs in the American West - Report, November 2011

USFS Watershed Condition Framework Webinar, October 2011

"User Contribution Programs: Linking Upstream Watershed Health to the Hearts, Minds & Wallets of Downstream Water Users", Carpe Diem West, October 2010

“Climate Change, Water, and National Forests in the West “ Carpe Diem West Briefing Paper, July 2009


Leadership Convenings

Healthy Headwaters' 2013 Leadership Team Meeting - Salt Lake City

Healthy Headwaters' Seventh Leadership Convening - Sacramento

Healthy Headwaters' Sixth Leadership Convening - Portland

Healthy Headwaters' Fifth Leadership Convening - Phoenix

Healthy Headwaters' Fourth Leadership Convening - Oakland

Healthy Headwaters' Third Leadership Convening - Denver

Healthy Headwaters' Second Leadership Convening - Salt Lake City

Healthy Headwaters' First Leadership Convening - Seattle