Northeast/Mid-Atlantic Forests and Water Forum Held this Week

Photo Courtesy of Sebago Clean WatersOn June 22, U.S. EPA Regions 1, 2, and 3 and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) Region 9 hosted the virtual Northeast/Mid-Atlantic Forests and Water Forum. Participants included state source water protection coordinators and state foresters, Rural Water Association staff, tribes and nations, and representatives from the associated EPA Regions, USFS, and state NRCS offices from Maine to Virginia. ASDWA staff also participated and provided a joint presentation with the National Association of State Foresters about the key role of partners from the National Source Water Collaborative and State Forestry and Drinking Water Programs.

The goal of the forum was to convene a group of source water protection and forestry experts to learn from each other and share success stories; and to plant some seedlings for developing a plan to formalize a new Northeast/Mid-Atlantic partnership focused on healthy forests and clean drinking water. During the forum, participants heard a keynote address from Anita Thompkins of EPA’s Office of Ground Water and Drinking Water. Other speakers included Kira Jacobs of EPA Region 1 who provided a vision for establishing a Northeast/Mid-Atlantic Forests and Water Partnership, and others who shared information about the use of USFS Landscape Scale Restoration program grants and DWSRF and CWSRF funds for source water protection. Forestry and water professionals also presented examples of coordinated efforts from Virginia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, and the Southeastern Partnership for Forests and Water.

The rest of the time was spent in breakout discussions to come up with next steps for each of the states and the broader partnership. These next steps included building a complete list of additional contacts and partners based on the models from states participating in the Southeastern Partnership, sharing more information, and planning to conduct additional meetings.