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 Resource Analyst - The Wilderness Society

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Sarah Bates

Deputy Regional Director and Senior Director, Western Water - 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

Principal, KCarr Consulting

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David Edelson

Sierra Nevada Project Director - The Nature Conservancy

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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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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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Marian Rice

Salt Lake City Department of Public Utilities

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Ann Schwend

Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation 

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Jennifer Sokolove

Director of Programs and Strategy - The Water 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

Healthy Headwaters Third Leadership Convening Summary - Denver, CO

Carpe Diem West's third Healthy Headwaters Leadership convening was held on March 25, 2011. The  convening summary focuses on how Carpe Diem West can support successful headwaters programs across the West, and strengthen its unusual alliance of leaders that form the core constituency for headwaters protection.

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User Contribution Programs - Linking Upstream Watershed Health to the Hearts, Minds & Wallets of Downstream Water Users

This Carpe Diem West Report provides a snapshot look at some leading Western examples of user contribution programs. These are innovative approaches that cities, utilities, and resort owners are employing as a means of having downstream water users help pay the cost of managing the health of the upstream watersheds that supply them with reliable supplies of clean water. October 2010

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Literature Review - The Economic Value of Water and Watersheds on National Forest Lands in the US

Prepared for Carpe Diem West's September 2010 Healthy Headwaters meeting. Alison Berry/Sonoran Institute

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Bibliography - The Economic Value of Water & Watersheds on National Forest Lands in the US

Prepared for Carpe Diem West's September 2010 Healthy Headwaters meeting. Alison Berry/Sonoran Institute

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Healthy Headwaters Second Leadership Convening Summary Salt Lake City, UT

Building on it’s March 2010 meeting in Seattle, Carpe Diem West’s Healthy Headwaters Project working group met September 16, 2010 in Salt Lake City. The group focused its discussion on specific policy, management, and scientific issues that western water managers and advocates are facing in their work to make watersheds more resilient to climate change.

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Healthy Headwaters First Leadership Convening Summary Seattle, WA

Carpe Diem's Western Water & Climate Change Project hosted the first Healthy Headwaters leadership working group meeting on March 19, 2010 at the Wilburforce Foundation in Seattle to explore and discuss opportunities for a new level of national forest and watershed protection in the era of climate change.

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Western Water & Climate Change Communications Guidelines

A comprehensive framing analysis of existing media coverage and public opinion data on the issues of climate change and water in the West. September, 2009

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Climate Change, Water, and National Forests in the West

This policy brief outlines key issues and opportunities arising from the impacts of climate change on the western National Forests—and on the millions of users who depend on water that comes from those headwaters. July 2009  

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