Fixing Water By Fixing (Managing) Forests

Preserving Drinking Water is just one of the many reasons that Landscape Level Sound Sustainable Forest Management Is Needed everywhere including our National Forests. This doesn’t preclude hands off management nor does it preclude tailored management to provide for the desires of society when it fits within acceptable parameters as dictated by:

  • The safety of society and the assets of the populace.
  • Landscape level long range planning providing for forest succession in order to insure sustainable habitat niches for the species of interest which depend on the availability of a continuum over time of forest types at all stages of type succession within the landscape.

The following are quotes from various synopses of related articles:

A) Fixing Water By Fixing Forests

  1. “Moreover, healthy forests reduce the amount of funds cities need to treat their water to ensure it’s safe to drink. According to the report, seven US cities saved between $725,000 and $300 million in annual water treatment through investments in nature.
  2. Denver’s program, which involves a partnership with the US Forest Service, has resulted in nearly 40,000 acres treated to reduce wildfire risk and restore burned acres in critical watersheds. And the programs that followed in other cities are modeled after Denver’s and involve the same network of practitioners.”
  3. “Plus, the private sector appears to be stepping up – albeit slowly. Ecosystem Marketplace’s report from 2014 on watershed investments found companies such as Coca Cola and SAB Miller going the extra mile to protect their water supply by engaging with other users in a watershed and using it sustainably.”

B) U.S. Cities Go to the Source to Protect Drinking Water

  1. In 2002, a catastrophic wildfire that burned 138,000 acres of forest made Denver’s drinking water supply run black with ash and soil. Cleanup of infrastructure damage, debris and erosion cost more than $25 million, while the fire-ravaged landscape caused increased flooding that wreaked havoc on water infrastructure and roads for years.
  2. “To lessen wildfire risks, Denver Water and the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) started a watershed investment program to improve management of source water forests, together dedicating a total of $32 million to forest restoration over five years. Starting in 2011, Denver Water has invested in forest restoration and improved forest management to reduce the risk of wildfires, and USFS shares costs and implements those restoration activities.”

C) Forest Trends: “State of Watershed Investment 2014”

  1. “Last year, governments and companies invested $12.3 billion (B) in initiatives implementing nature-based solutions to sustain the world’s clean water supplies. According to a new report from Forest Trends’ Ecosystem Marketplace, this funding – which supports healthy watersheds that naturally filter water, absorb storm surge, and perform other critical functions – flowed to more than seven million households and restored and protected a total of 365 million hectares (ha) of land, an area larger than India. Up from $8.2B in investment tracked in 2011,”

D) Report: Protecting Drinking Water At Its Source

  1. THE SOURCE DOCUMENT = 140 pages of maps, graphs and details

2 Comments

  1. http://usgovinfo.about.com/od/defenseandsecurity/fl/What-is-the-Government-Doing-to-Fix-Flood-Control-Levees-Nothing.htm?utm_campaign=list_usgovinfo&utm_content=20161101&utm_medium=email&utm_source=exp_nl&utm_term=list_usgovinfo

    http://www.gao.gov/assets/680/678674.pdf

    LEVEE SAFETY Army Corps and FEMA Have Made Little Progress in Carrying Out Required Activities

    Agency officials identified resource constraints as a primary reason for their lack of progress in implementing such activities, and Corps officials said that not implementing these activities could potentially result in safety risks and federal financial risks for disaster relief, among other impacts.

    So what happened? Did FEMA and other federal agencies fail to ask Congress for budget to do levee repair? Or did Congress refuse to appropriate money and authorize expenditures?

    • Richard

      Having worked around the Mississippi River Levees on the Mississippi side and lived and worked around various smaller levees in Louisiana, I’d say that the problem is just so big that there isn’t enough money to throw at it. Constant patrolling looking for boils and erosion is just the 1st step and may not even be informative when water levels are low. Then there is the problem of assessing the risk and priorities when the water isn’t high and assessment is somewhat intuitive. Finally there is the repair which could be a shot in the dark if you can’t say how the damage is going to develop.

      It just seems that it is a lot easier to wait for an obvious problem to develop or the flood waters to get high enough to easily tell where the problems are and fix them then. In addition, it is impossible to prevent all breaks and sometimes it is even necessary to make a break in order to keep a bigger break from happening where people are unexpectedly endangered. With levee fragility being subject to how the water comes up and slight deviations in river courses and debris buildup impacting levee exposure, it would seem to be pretty easy to throw a whole lot of money away and not reduce the risk by much.

      Most people living in the rural areas choose to live there knowing the risks. They are generally very resilient people who know how to cope and bounce back. Personally, I don’t have much desire for my tax money to go towards bailing these people out or those who live on beaches or in the middle of a forest where they have taken a risk that I don’t deem to be responsible behavior. So, I’m not too concerned about the gov’t spending money based on a whim and a prayer and hoping that it will do some good.

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