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.
Deputy Regional Director and Senior Director, Western Water - National Wildlife FederationMore
National Director for Watershed, Fish, Wildlife, Air, Rare Plants, and Subsistence in Alaska - US Forest ServiceMore
Environmental Supervisor, Watershed Protection and Property Management - Eugene Water & Electric BoardMore
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)
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.Download
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!Download
Healthy Headwaters 11th Leadership Convening Summary - Salt Lake City, Utah
Carpe Diem West's 11th convening brought together 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 2016Download
The Legal Framework for Public Watershed Investment Partnerships
This policy report takes a look at a particular type of collaborative partnership involving non-federal parties’ investment in restoration and other activities aimed at improving the health of publicly owned watershed lands to enhance the security and quality of public drinking water supplies. This comprehensive report was written by Carpe Diem West Healthy Headwaters Leadership Team member Sarah Bates in collaboration with the University of Montana, Center for Natural Resources and Environmental Policy.Download
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 2016Download
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 2015Download
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 2015Download
Watershed Investment Programs - Updates From the Field
This briefing paper looks at six key western communities and what they are doing to protect their watersheds and water supply. April 2015Download