At the end of February, Denver Water along with state and federal officials renewed the “Forests to Faucets” partnership with a reinvestment of $33 million. The money used to renew the project will help prevent wildfires and soil erosion, which directly affects water quality of natural waterways.
Federal officials estimate that 60 million Americans rely on drinking water, where water quality is directly influenced by the health of national forests and grasslands. Municipal water providers are often proactively involved in forest health because of their direct link to water quality. Forests that are prone to beetle damage can result in millions of acres of dead and dying trees that weaken the soil and lead to large amounts of sediment that is then deposited into streams, rivers, and reservoirs.  
“We’ve seen tremendous results during the first five years of this partnership and we are excited to now expand the program to include private lands,” Denver Water Manager Jim Lochhead said in an interview with the Denver Post. 
Started in 2010 as a response to wildfires concerns, Forests to Faucets utilizes GIS to map and model forested areas throughout the United States that are critical to surface drinking water supplies. Speaking with KUNC Community Radio, Mike Lester, Director of the Colorado State Forest Service explained the importance of the program to the state’s water supply.
“The link between healthy forests and clean water is nowhere more evident than in Colorado, where we provide water for 19 states. That is why this partnership is so critical to providing both resilient forests and sustainable water supplies for residents of Metro Denver and the Front Range.”
The new investment into the program will pay for forest restoration and wildfire fuels reduction projects in select areas throughout Colorado. Targeted areas include Dillon, Strontia Springs, Gross, Antero, Eleven Mile Canyon, and the Cheesman and Williams Fork reservoirs. Officials estimate that with this new influx of funds, the partnership will be able to treat more than 40,000 acres and 5,000 acres of private land.  
Speaking with the Denver Post, Federal Forest Service Director, Brian Ferebee, commented on the continued success of the partnership. “Together we will proactively work to conserve, maintain, and restore watersheds, ecosystems, and the services they provide Americans. 
 Finley, Bruce. Denver Water tree-thinning effort to protect watershed, prevent fires is expanded to private property. The Denver Post, February 27, 2017. Web. http://www.denverpost.com/2017/02/27/denver-water-tree-thinning-protect-watershed/  O’Boyle, Desmond. Colorado Renews Plan To Protect Water And Prevent Wildfires. KUNC, March 3, 2017. Web. http://www.kunc.org/post/colorado-renews-plan-protect-water-and-prevent-wildfires  USDA Forest Service. From the Forest to the Faucet. USDA Forest Service, October 2011. Web. https://www.fs.fed.us/ecosystemservices/pdf/forests2faucets/FTF_Methods_Final.pdf
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