How much of a watershed must remain forested to produce clean water?
What kind of information do water utilities, government agencies, and other funders need to support further investment in land protection as a strategy to maintain water quality? Answering these questions is essential to keeping clean water clean.
Protecting Forests for Clean Water
This report synthesizes findings from a four-part, multi-year assessment of the 10-year Delaware River Watershed Protection Fund (DRWPF) administered by the Open Space Institute as part of the Delaware River Watershed Initiative. The study presents the water quality benefits of 21,000 forested acres across New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania that were permanently conserved by DRWPF grantees and recommends practices to advance forest protection as a clean water strategy. The report summarizes findings from the Related Resources, below.
- The Water Quality Connection (2019), summarizing key findings from two reports conducted by Open Space Institute (OSI): Literature Review: Forest Cover and Water-Quality Implications for Land Conservation (Morse et al. 2018) and Water Quality Protection Programs: Insights from Six Eastern United States Cases (Morse and Weinberg, 2019) and offers recommendations for addressing gaps in knowledge that clarify the case for land protection as a high impact investment to safeguard water quality.
- Estimating the Influence of Land Protection on Water Quality (Modeling study) (2021)
- Measuring the Impact of Protecting Forest on Water Quality and Stream Health (Stream sampling study) (2022)
The Delaware River Watershed Protection Fund and this report were funded by the William Penn Foundation. Research was conducted by partners at the Stroud Water Research Center, the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, and Shippensburg University Center for Land Use and Sustainability.