Watershed Condition Framework

Headwaters of Mississippi River, Itasca State Park, Minnesota
ruf_d, Flikr creative commons
The U.S. Forest Service has made restoring damaged forests a priority. The Watershed Condition Framework initiative launched by the Forest Service helps the agency restore America’s watersheds.

National forest watersheds provide 66 million Americans with clean drinking water. The Forest Service is getting serious about protecting and restoring our water, and the Watershed Condition Framework is an important tool in this effort.

Watershed Condition Framework gets started

The Forest Service recently made restoration a priority. The Watershed Condition Framework started in 2011 to help implement this new restoration vision. The framework sets priorities and holds the Forest Service accountable for restoring our national forests.

The Wilderness Society and partners on the ground long advocated for a watershed restoration plan. We are excited to see the Forest Service and Department of Agriculture addressing the threats affecting water.

Watershed Condition Framework in action

The Watershed Condition Framework aspires to maintain and improve the condition of national forest watersheds across the United States. The framework spells out certain steps:

  • A detailed field assessment of the condition of every national forest watershed
  • A prioritized list of watersheds to restore, based on these field assessments
  • Plans recommending actions, called “essential projects,” to remedy problems uncovered by the assessments
  • Implementation of the essential projects, followed by tracking of restoration accomplishments and monitoring of how well the watershed’s condition improves after completing the projects

What you can do

To understand the condition of national forest watersheds near you, check out the Forest Service’s interactive map online at: http://apps.fs.usda.gov/WCFmapviewer.

Contact local Forest Service staff to learn about watersheds near you and how to get involved with improving their condition.

Helpful links: