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From Forest to Faucet: Priority for Healthy Watersheds by Albert H. Todd, Executive Director
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From Forest to Faucet: Priority for Healthy Watersheds by Albert H. Todd, Executive Director

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  • We have known for a long time that our well-being in living on the land was connected to the forest. Water is the product of its watershed.
    The connection between our forests and the health and condition of our waters and watersheds is not new. William Penn went so far as to require in the charter for settlers in “Penn’s Woods” that no less than 25% of woodlands should be maintained on any farm or homestead.
  • Watershed health is measured by its functions….
  • How do trees influence watershed function and water quality
    THE BLOTTER STORY – Gifford Pinchot & Congress – early national forests – watershed protection forests
    three main ways:
    rainfall interception
    evapotranspiration
    Infiltration
    the overall effect:
    Giant sponge
    decrease volume of stormwater
    delay peak runoff during storms
    increase soil infiltration
    Promote groundwater recharge
    store nutrients and other pollutants
  • Presented in descending order of certainty.
  • Raise your hand if you know the specific physical source of your drinking.
    Is it a well?
    Is it a reservoir?
    River or stream?
  • The Forests to Faucets project expands on Forests, Water, and People by enlarging the geographic scope to the entire US, and shrinking the map unit scale from 8-digit HUCs with an average size of 1,500 sq mi to 12-digit HUCs with an average size of 35 sq mi. With the database as developed we can quantify number of intakes and number of consumers from those intakes, but to be able to compare the importance of one watershed to another we create an index that depend on intake location and population served by those intake.
  • the main question we pose in objective 1.
  • Disguising the EPA intake data
    Population as proxy Total number of customers depending on supply
    Distance to Let’s say the star = intake serving 10,000 people. The blue lines are rivers flowing downstream.
    Importance is assigned by each intake in decreasing percentages of the population served as you go upstream. These values are added up for all intakes across the country.
  • Results for mountainous areas of the west.
    Mean annual water supply, Q, (precipitation minus evapotranspiration) from period 1953-1994 from Brown, et al (2008). Each subwatershed assigned an index weight based on the mean annual water supply characteristics . Then multiplied by importance based on risk.
  • Composite surface drinking water importance index, IMP.
  • main question we pose in objective 2.
  • Figure 6. The index of forest importance to surface drinking water, FIMPn,
    shows the extent to which forests are currently protecting areas of surface drinking water importance.
  • Figure 7. The index of private forest importance to surface drinking water, PriFIMPn,
    shows the extent to which private forests are currently protecting areas of surface drinking water importance.
  • the main question we pose in objective 3.
  • Here is the map showing % of each subwatershed expected to increase housing development in forested areas between 2000 and 2030.
  • What do you see?
  • What would motivate people to consider a PWS system?
    A Threat!
    An added cost!
    Our analysis provides some indicators
    A consumer demand for the clean water and a willingness to pay
    We use # of consumers to indicate importance
    A clear connection between forest management and drinking water
    instills stakeholder confidence in the proposed management action
    A threat to the existing watershed services that can be avoided or averted through a payment designated for management or protection
    We look at threat of development, insect and disease, wildfire, and climate change
    **This assessment provides the groundwork for identifying potential sites for PWS schemes, and sets the stage for more site-specific analysis.
  • Poster child for Watershed Service Markets
    So, [point] here’s NYC down here. They get their drinking water from reservoirs upstate here and here in the Catskills [point].
    Map: http://content.answers.com/main/content/wp/en/thumb/0/02/500px-Watershed.gif
    New York City has been famous for the quality of their basically untreated drinking water. Consumer Reports once ranked among the best in the Nation, and they even at one point bottled it and sold it throughout the US.
    In recent years, this natural purification system was diminishing due to sewage from septic systems and agricultural runoff, and the water quality has dropped below EPA standards. So New York City looked the cost of replacing the natural water treatment system with a drinking water filtration plant. The estimated price tag for this installation was $6 to 8 billion, for filtering services that basically had been performed for free. So facing this high cost, New York City decided to find out whether they could avoid those costs by investing in the natural system – basically purchasing conservation easements to protect the forests in the water supply watersheds and updating septic systems – and the cost of doing that was about $1 billion. So, they were like… $1 billion or $6-8 billion… they chose plan B, the ecosystem services approach, and saved [click] $5-7 billion dollars in capitol costs plus more in operating costs.
    The decision to conserve the Catskills ecosystem for water purification will also confer protection on other valuable services, such as flood control and the storage of carbon by plants. This sort of financial mechanism could be extended to other geographic locations and other ecosystem services that would benefit municipalities and habitats throughout the Nation." (case study from http://www.esa.org/ecoservices/)
  • Buffalo Creek fire in 1996 and Hayman Fire of 2002
    $27 million cost of dredging reservoirs to deal with sediment from these fires.
  • According to the 2010 State of Watershed Payments report, worldwide, Latin America has the longest experience with PWS programs. Of 101 programs, the 36 active Payment for Watershed Services (PWS) programs provide $31million for watershed conservation across 5.7 million acres (State of Watershed Payments Report). [FYI, China generates the most money worldwide (7.8 billion from its 47 PES programs, across 270 hectares)].
    70% of those funds, encompassing 90% of the total area protected, were generated by just two programs, the Payments for Ecosystem Services Program of Costa Rica and the National Hydrological Services Program of Mexico. However programs
    “The key supporters of these initiatives have been the drinking water companies and hydroelectric generators (both public and private) who have come to realize that investing in conservation of the habitat surrounding their catchment makes good business sense. In some cases, the protection of a watershed’s forest cover has proven to be the most cost-effective way to guarantee ample and good quality water; therefore, a conservation approach is the best policy” (State of Water Payments Report).
    Need to improve monitoring of results
  • 80% of supply for Quito and surrounding areas - comes from two public reserves
    Water Conservation Trust fund - as of 2008 - $9.3 million dollars in govt. fund.
    Watershed tariff (1 cent /m3 )/user fees on water users or dependent goods
    Water consumers, Beer/bottled water, Electric utilities
    Land acquisition, management practices within 1.3 million acre area.
    Landowners receive support for improved management not payments.
    Where: Quito region -
    When: First pilot project began in 1998
    Risk being addressed: Drinking water supply for city and surrounding areas of Quito - 80% of Quito’s water supply comes from two public reserves: Cayambe-Coca and Antisana Ecological Reserves (Photo is from Antisana region (Nicole Balloffet).
    Service: Water quality and quantity
    Solution/Type of Scheme/Mechanism: Payments for upper watershed conservation. Water Conservation Trust Fund (FONAG – Fondo Nacional de Agua)
    Scale: Regional (Nearly 1.3 million-acres, may be expanded to Condor Biosphere Reserve (5.4 million-acre Condor Bioreserve is located east of Quito in the Andean region and includes seven protected areas: Sumaco Napo-Galeras National Park, Cotopaxi National Park, and Llanganates National Park, Cofan-Bermejo Reserve, Cayambe-Coca Reserve, Antisana Reserve and Pasochoa Wildlife Refuge, as well as several watershed protection areas and private reserves. Source: TNC))
    Water Trust Fund: Quito’s Water Fund, FONAG, was US$9.3 million dollars between 2000 and 2008 (state of the water report)
    Supply: Public reserves, local communities living within reserves
    Demand: Quito region water users – largest user is the Municipal Sewer and Water Agency
    Type of Activities: (will fund management and conservation projects in water supply areas.
    Terms of Payments: Private upland users do not receive individual payments, but may receive technical support for improved management.
    Financial: Between 2000 & 2008, FONAG held US$9.3 million- Operations and Projects are funded with the interest.
    References: IIED Watershed Markets, State of Water Payments, The Nature Conservancy, Ecosystem Marketplace
  • Transcript

    • 1. Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay From Forest to Faucet: Priority for healthy watersheds Albert H. Todd , Executive Director Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay
    • 2. Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay If you invented a BMP that would optimize watershed protection … it would look like a forest!
    • 3. Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay linking forests and water… “... our runs dry up… several which would turn a mill are now scarce sufficient for the farm. The reason is this, when the country was covered with woods, the rain that fell was detained and had time to insinuate into the earth and contribute to our springs. But now the country is cleared and the rain as fast as it falls is hurried into our creeks and washes away the soil...and hence creeks told by Mr. Penn to be navigable are no longer so” from “Agriculture and County Life, 1753
    • 4. Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay “With the disappearance of the forest, all is changed” George Perkins Marsh, 1864, from “Man and Nature”
    • 5. Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay Measures of Watershed health* A healthy watershed…  Intercepts and stores rainfall  Moderates runoff & stream flow  Retains & recycles nutrients  Soils protected from erosion  Supports healthy aquatic systems  Has capacity for self-repair *Forests, water and climate change, USDA Forest Service 2008
    • 6. Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay the “forest hydrologic cycle” Forests intercept, store, clean, and regulate the flow of water Source: Federal Interagency Stream Restoration Working Group, 1998
    • 7. Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay Watershed health is linked to forests…  Extent - amount of forest in watershed  Location - “critical” forests Riparian forests & wet woods/wetlands Steep slopes, erodible soils, urban tree cover  Condition - age, growth, health, etc.  Stewardship – ownership/management
    • 8. Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay How we get water in our homes… I don’t have any information on this bit!
    • 9. Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay From the forest to the faucet… • Why do we care? • Forested watersheds supply over 150 million people with drinking water nationally, 12 million in Bay watershed • Lost forest means increased treatment costs and risk of contamination • Concerns for the by-products of chemical treatment
    • 10. Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay Analysis Objectives 1. Identify areas important to provision of quality surface drinking water supply 2. Understand the role of forests in protecting those surface drinking water 3. Identify threats that could affect forests future ability to protect drinking
    • 11. Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay Limits • Surface water intakes only not groundwater wells (make direct quality connection) Source: Surface water intakes, EPA Safe Drinking Water Information System (SDWIS)
    • 12. Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay Map Scale • Sub-watersheds = 12-digit HUC, lt blue lines • > 88,000 HUCs • Ave. size = 35 sq mi
    • 13. Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay Step 1: Create an index of watershed importance to drinking water supply • What is the relative importance of each subwatershed in providing surface drinking water? • Water Yield • Population served • Distance to intake
    • 14. Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay Surface Drinking Water Importance Index: water protection risk model PRn = P0 + ∑ (Wi * Pi) Pi = the population served by intakes in the ith downstream sub-watershed, Wi = the proportional weight for ith downstream subwatershed
    • 15. Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay Surface Drinking Water Importance Index: weighting by water supply mean annual mean annual water supply water supply
    • 16. Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay areas of surface drinking water importance (weighted by mean annual water supply)
    • 17. Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay
    • 18. Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay Step 2: Importance of forests for surface drinking water • To what extent do forests protect important watersheds for surface drinking water? • All forests • Private forests • All protected forests
    • 19. Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay the extent to which all forests are currently protecting areas of surface drinking water importance.
    • 20. Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay the extent to which private forests are currently protecting areas of surface drinking water importance.
    • 21. Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay Step 3: Threats facing forests important for surface drinking water • To what extent do development, fire, and insects and disease threaten forests important to surface drinking water supply?
    • 22. Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay % of each sub-watershed expected to increase housing development in forested areas between 2000 and 2030 (Theobald)
    • 23. Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay Distribution of systems – small and medium sized supplies Diversity of run of the river Moderate Importance in coastal plain
    • 24. Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay
    • 25. Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay Top 25% highest ranked watersheds
    • 26. Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay How is this information be used? • Decision Making systems • Evaluate impacts from land development • Prioritize land protection • Target local government/utility outreach • Identify opportunities for payment systems • Link with aquatic system & water quality goals
    • 27. Impact of Forest Cover on Chemical Treatment Costs A 10% decline in forest cover leads to an $8-12 increase in chemical costs per million gallons of water treated. E.g. 26 MGD ($10) = 228.8 (365) = $ 95,000/yr $250.00 $200.00 Chemical cost/MG Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay Less Forest Cover = Higher Treatment Costs $150.00 Or … $100.00 $50.00 $0.00 0 20 40 60 80 Percent Forest in Drainage Area 100 For every 10% decline in forest cover, there may be a 8-20% increase in treatment costs. May be higher when other costs like energy are added.
    • 28. Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay Putting a value on water payment for watershed services • Consumer demand/willingness to pay • A clear connection between forest and drinking water • Future threat avoided or averted through management or protection
    • 29. Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay Examples of source water protection/drinking water payments for watershed services programs
    • 30. Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay NYC Watershed • Supply for 6+ million people • Threat of regulation or protection of forests and agricultural lands • Avoid $7+ billion investment • $50 million/year in conservation vs. $300+ million/year in operating costs • Enhanced services model
    • 31. Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay Sebago Watershed, Portland Water District • Portland, Maine • Water supply for 200,000 residents • 92% of 282,000-acre watershed unprotected • PWD recently approved program to spend $225K annually for forest easements • Goal: double protected acreage over next ten years
    • 32. Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay Denver Water • 2.5 + million people • Colorado Front Range • Fires result in floods and erosion -damaged treatment and storage facilities ($27 million) • $25 million fund ($27 per household for 5 years – matched by USFS)
    • 33. Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay Sante Fe, NM • City of Sante Fe, Watershed Association, TNC, USFS • Prevent wildfire damage • Forest thinning 17,000 acres • 20-year 6.2 million plan $6.50 per household per year • $43.5 million in avoided costs in provisioning/regulating services
    • 34. Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay Common Waters Partnership • Delaware River Basin • PIC and US Endowment • Priority conservation areas. • Finance forest conservation & management practices for water quality • Seeking donations from water users
    • 35. Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay Upper Neuse River Basins, NC • Partners: Land trusts, water utilities of Raleigh and Durham • Declining water quality • Land acquisition & easements, BMPs, riparian buffers • Raleigh and Durham raised $10 M in “nutrient impact fees” and increased water rates
    • 36. Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay Payments for Watershed Services in Latin America • Longest Running PWS programs Costa Rica • National Programs in Costa Rica, Mexico, & Ecuador • 5.7 Million Acres - $31M for Watershed Conservation Mexico • Drinking Water, industry, and Hydropower partners Equador
    • 37. Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay Ecuador - Quito Region • Water Conservation Trust fund • Water tariff /user fee(1 cent /m3) on water use or water dependent goods Quito, Ecuador - David Berkowitz ©© • Land acquisition, management practices in 1.3 million acre area. • Landowners receive enhanced support for improved management not cash payments. Antisana Volcano – Nicole Balloffet
    • 38. Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay "A town is saved, not more by the righteous citizens within it, than by the woods that surround it..." -Henry David Thoreau, 1862
    • 39. Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay Questions? Albert H. Todd, Executive Director atodd@allianceforthebay.org Data and tools available at: www.fs.fed.us/ecosystemservices/