In 2014, the U.S. Forest Service published Private Forests, Housing Growth, and America’s Water Supply. The 29-page reports provides rankings of watersheds across the conterminous United States according to the contributions of private forest land to surface drinking water, and according to threats to surface water from increased housing density.
The key overall findings of the report, according to the report abstract, are the following:
1) “Private forest land contributions to drinking water are greatest in the East but are also important in Western watersheds.”
2) “Development pressures on these contributions are concentrated in the Eastern United States but are also found in the North-Central region, parts of the West and Southwest, and the Pacific Northwest.”
3) “Nationwide, more than 55 million acres of rural private forest land are projected to experience a substantial increase in housing density from 2000 to 2030.”
4) “Planners, communities, and private landowners can use a range of strategies to maintain freshwater ecosystems, including designing housing and roads to minimize impacts on water quality, managing home sites to protect water resources, and using payment schemes and management partnerships to invest in forest stewardship on public and private lands.”
More information on the publication and access to the full document are available online at http://www.treesearch.fs.fed.us/pubs/47201; on contact the Forest Service at P.O. Box 96090, Washington, D.C. 20090-6090; phone (202) 205-8333. Specify Gen. Tech. Rep. RMRS-GTR-327, from the Rocky Mountain Research Station in Fort Collins, Colorado.