US Endowment for Forestry and Communities develops database of sustainable watershed protection programs; US Forest Service estimates 180 million Americans receive their drinking water from a forested watershed

GREENVILLE, South Carolina , December 6, 2012 (press release) – The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) promotes the conservation and improved management of forested watersheds as a cost-effective strategy to safeguard public drinking water supplies. The USDA Forest Service estimates that 180 million Americans receive their drinking water from a forested watershed. Protecting these drinking water sources is essential for America’s continued health and prosperity.

Given the enormous scope of this challenge, the Endowment is focusing on projects and strategies that engage water-users in sustainable approaches to conserve their forested watersheds. This includes watershed protection fees, developing water as a forest ecosystem service market, and other approaches to monetize water. To that end, Sofi Delgado Perusquia, an intern at the Endowment, has compiled a database of watershed protection programs from across the country.

The goal of the Watershed Protection Database is to identify all such programs in one location for study and analysis by anyone interested in this topic, and to give us a better understanding of how watershed protection programs could proceed in the future. The most recent version of the Watershed Protection Database is also included in a factsheet that was developed in partnership with Earth Economics. The factsheet provides more detail on the experiences of three utilities that have added watershed protection fees to their water rates: Central Arkansas Water (AR), The City of Bellingham (WA), and The City of Raleigh (NC).

The database is a living document and we are always on the lookout for new data and updates to existing records. To add or correct information on the database, please email sofi@usendowment.org.

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For more information contact: Carlton N. Owen, President & CEO, 864-233-7646, carlton@usendowment.org The U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities (the Endowment) is a not-for-profit public charity working collaboratively with partners in the public and private sectors to advance systemic,transformative, and sustainable change for the health and vitality of the nation’s working forests and forest-reliant communities – www.usendowment.org

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