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

Sarah Bates

Deputy Regional Director and Senior Director, Western Water - National Wildlife Federation

Laura Briefer

Director - Salt Lake City Department of Public Utilities

Christopher Carlson

Assistant Director for Water and Aquatic Resources, USDA Forest Service

Kim Carr

Principal, KCarr Consulting

David Edelson

Sierra Nevada Project Director - The Nature Conservancy

Charlie Ester

Manager of Water Resource Operations - Salt River Project

Todd Gartner

Senior Associate, Natural Infrastructure & Water, World Resources Institute

Sterling Grogan

Senior Advisor & Ecologist - Carpe Diem West

Rob Harper

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

Holly Hartmann

Climate Scientist

Cathy Kellon

Green Infrastructure Program Director - The Geos Institute

Karen Knudsen

Executive Director, Clark Fork Coalition

Dale Lyons

Senior Planning Consultant - Souder, Miller and Associates

Mike McHugh

Environmental Permitting Coordinator - Aurora Water

Mary Mitsos

President - National Forest Foundation

Karl Morgenstern

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

Marian Rice

Salt Lake City Department of Public Utilities

Ann Schwend

Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation 

Jennifer Sokolove

Director of Programs and Strategy - The Water Foundation

John Shepard

Senior Director of Programs - Sonoran Institute

Steve Whitney

Senior Program Officer - The Bullitt Foundation

Rebecca Wolfe

Public Lands Team - Sierra Club

Anne Zimmermann

US Forest Service, Ret.


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)


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


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  


Federal Policy In Western Water and Climate Change - Las Vegas

Convening summary from Carpe Diem West's meeting held in Las Vegas March, 2009, examines possible changes to the federal government’s role in adaptation strategies addressing climate change impacts on the West’s water supply, water dependent industries, agriculture, and river ecosystems.


Federal Policy in Western Water & Climate Change

This white paper provides a brief summary of the evolving federal role in western water management, suggests the driving forces for change, and sets out questions to frame the discussion from the March 2009 convening.


Rethinking Storage in the Era of Climate Change

Convening summary - November 2008, Denver, CO Examining the evolving role of water storage - new, proposed and re-operation of existing projects - in the face of climate change impacts. Exploring the opportunities to find common ground among stakeholders.


Getting Ready: Western Water & Climate Change in the Southwest

On May 29, 2008, seventy-five leaders from the non-profit, private, academic, policy and government sectors met in Albuquerque at the offices of the Mid-Region Council of Governments to examine the impacts climate change will have on water supply, water quality and riparian ecosystems in the Southwest.


Convening Summary - Western Water & Climate Change

On November 30, 2007 the Carpe Diem - Western Water & Climate Change project brought together 45 key stakeholders and lead decision makers from around the Western United States to begin a conversation and to find answers to: Is there an opportunity to build common agendas to respond to climate change impacts on western water? If yes, what might some of those common agendas look like? What would we need to know and do next?