Sebago Clean Waters Image

Year in Review 2022: Protecting Drinking Water Sources

Image Credit: Courtesy Sebago Clean Waters

By advocating for and protecting key forests alongside streams for conservation, OSI continues to safeguard the drinking water resources for countless communities along the eastern seaboard.

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The Delaware River Watershed provides drinking water for 15 million people, and is now supported by a new loan program by OSI.
Image Credit: Greg Miller

To secure the future of New York’s clean air and water, OSI and its coalition partners worked to shape, advance, and advocate for a $4.2 billion statewide environmental Bond Act, which was overwhelmingly approved by voters in November. The Bond Act will provide historic investments in clean air, clean water, and expanded access to the outdoors.

An effort to create the first publicly owned Community Forest in Saratoga County, New York made major headway this year as supporters raised funds for trails and other improvements. The OSI-supported Graphite Range Community Forest is home to lush, forested ravines carved by tumbling creeks, whose waters directly drain into the drinking water supply of the city of Saratoga Springs.

Within the Delaware River Watershed, the source of drinking water for 15 million people, OSI continued to protect forested acreage with the launch of a new loan program; and an ongoing OSI research effort reinforced the critical role that protected forests play in filtering pollutants and maintaining high-quality streams for clean water and wildlife. Both announcements mark the latest successes of the eight-year-old Delaware River Watershed Protection Fund, through which OSI has protected some 27,700 acres — including a new addition to Pennsylvania Game Commission lands; a fifth and sixth expansion of Yards Creek Preserve; and a seventh expansion of Cherry Valley National Wildlife Refuge.

Meanwhile, in Maine, Sebago Clean Waters marked a milestone in innovative efforts to tap forests for clean water with the acquisition of more than 12,000 acres. The coalition, partly founded by OSI, aims to protect the forested land that drains into Sebago Lake, the source of drinking water for one in six Maine residents.

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