Healthy Headwaters envisions resilient public watersheds throughout the western U.S. that provide safe and reliable water supplies for all downstream users while supporting healthy, functioning forested ecosystems.
Originally a project of Carpe Diem West, the Healthy Headwaters Alliance moved to the National Wildlife Federation in 2020. We are grateful for the visionary leadership and direction that Kimery Wiltshire provided in growing Healthy Headwaters from a concept to a working coalition.
Our vision: Healthy, resilient public watersheds throughout the western U.S. that provide safe and reliable water supplies for all downstream users while supporting healthy, functioning forested ecosystems.
Who we are: A network of western water innovators, including water utility executives, federal land managers, scientists, community and water justice leaders, and conservation professionals who share a commitment to equitable, science-based actions to build resilience back into the critical forested, headwaters of the West’s streams and rivers.
As described here, the National Wildlife Federation assumed the lead coordination role for the Healthy Headwaters Alliance in 2020, a strategic partnership aimed at achieving healthy forests, healthy water, healthy people, and water for wildlife.
Learn more about the connection between western fires, public water supplies, and innovative watershed partnerships to build resilience in this blog from Healthy Headwaters Leadership Team member Eugene Water and Electric Board.
For more information, contact Alicia Marrs, Director of Western Water, National Wildlife Federation.
Watershed Investment Programs - Updates From the Field 2015
This briefing paper looks at six key western communities and what they are doing to protect their watersheds and water supply. April 2015
Healthy Headwaters Federal Policy Platform May 2020
In this time of a rapidly warming climate, it is imperative that watershed protection work be quickly scaled up and implemented based on scientifically sound principles that will lead to more resilient landscapes. This, in turn, requires innovative federal policy and significantly higher levels of federal investments.
Key Principles of Watershed Investment: Restoration Priorities
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.
Watershed Investment Partnerships 2011
This report provides more complete and up-to-date information on existing watershed investment programs across the West, identifies some communities and watersheds that could be fertile ground for new programs, and discusses some fundamental questions that merit careful consideration by policy makers, water utilities and public land managers as these programs develop and expand in the future. November 2011
Recommendations for Improving Forest Health, Water Protection and Wildfire Resilience
Carpe Diem West, in partnership with the National Forest Foundation spearheaded a research project in February 2019 in three locations near national forests across the rural West (Wenatchee, WA; Buena Vista, CO; and Flagstaff, AZ) in order to better understand the connections voters in these types of communities make between forest health and clean water and wildfire prevention, and to assess their willingness to support dedicating additional funding for these purposes.
Focus group participants in these places valued forests for a variety of benefits they provide, ranging from the spiritual to the economic. They saw prevention of wildfires - and wildfire smoke specifically - as a compelling rationale for additional investment in forest conservation and health.
Read the full report and its findings by downloading the report below.
More than one-third of U.S. fish and wildlife species are at risk of extinction in the coming decades. The National Wildlife Federation is on the ground in seven regions across the country, collaborating with 53 state and territory affiliates to reverse the crisis and ensure wildlife thrive.