Watershed Forestry Support for the Northeastern Area State and Private Forestry Strategic Plan Update for Fiscal Years 2008-2012
The Northeastern Area (NA) has completed a Strategic Plan Update for 2008-2013. The NA Watershed Forestry Program directly supports several goals and objectives in the plan.
Goal 1: Promote Sustainable Forest Management
Includes four strategic objectives intended to reduce forest fragmentation, maintain sustainable timber harvests, increase awareness of the value of forests, reduce tree mortality by damaging agents, and enhance watersheds. In particular, strategies that directly address water and watershed related activities include
Strategic Objective 1D: Protect and enhance the health of watersheds.
This objective focuses on the ability of forested watersheds to meet the needs of people and communities. In the Northeast and much of the Midwest, trees and forests are critical to the health and proper functioning of watersheds. Acre for acre, forests provide the best land cover when it comes to protecting soil, moderating stream flow, supporting healthy aquatic systems, and sustaining good water quality. In the absence of mitigating actions, conversion of forests to other land uses generally decreases the ability of a watershed to produce clean water.
Objective 1D Management Strategies
1) Build critical mass (Provide watershed leadership)
- Restore and protect watersheds by participating in and leading development of watershed-based partnerships.
- Heighten public awareness about and communicate the role of forests in water quality and watershed health.
2) Improve management practices
- Cooperate with State partners to implement effective Best Management Practice (BMP) Programs to protect soil and water and apply consistent monitoring protocols.
- Improve the consistency and utility of watershed-related data across jurisdictions, including watershed condition, stream impairment, and cost to produce clean water.
3) Protect critical watersheds
- Protect important forests from development in watersheds that supply municipal drinking water or support critical aquatic habitat.
- Improve forest management on non-industrial private forest lands to protect municipal drinking water supplies.
4) Restore impaired watersheds
- Promote public and private programs to restore riparian buffers and bottomland hardwoods, to enhance water quality, and to restore streams, wetlands, and habitat.
Goal 2: Enhance the Capacity of Forests to Provide Public Benefits
The Objectives under Goal 2 are directed at sustaining the flow of goods, services, and other societal benefits from private forest land in the Northeast and Midwest.
Strategic Objective 2D: Maintain and enhance the benefits that communities within metropolitan areas derive from their forests and trees.
Objective 2D focuses on sustaining the environmental services that communities derive from tree and forest cover within metropolitan areas. These urban forests directly influence public health and community well-being by providing these services: clean water, fresh air, cooler summer temperatures, and reduced air pollution. To achieve the same environmental conditions without tree cover, urban communities would have to turn to costly technological solutions. The functional benefits derived from trees and forests in urban communities, such as carbon sequestration, air pollution mitigation, storm water reduction, and energy conservation are conservatively valued in the hundreds of millions of dollars across the region.
Objective 2D Management Strategies
3) Enhance the health of urban watersheds
- Promote innovation in design and planning for low impact development, encouraging States and communities to incorporate trees into watershed practices.