This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from the USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.
This week marks the 19th year of World Water Day. The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development designated this day as an annual international event focusing on the importance of sustaining and managing fresh water resources. This year’s theme is water and food security. This is such a critical issue to not only to our international friends, but also for U.S. farmers, ranchers, growers, consumers, and conservationists. Read more »
More and more these days we recognize that clean water is one of the most important products of our forests. Forest lands are the source of nearly two-thirds of water in the 48 contiguous states — the clean water that fills our rivers, streams, lakes and wetlands, sustains our fisheries, or flows from the taps of our homes and businesses. Forests serve as a living sponge to capture, store and slowly release precipitation as well as trapping and transforming the chemicals and nutrient deposits that come in the rain or from adjacent runoff. All the benefits that forests provide—like erosion and sediment control, maintenance of water quality, regulation of flows, and provision of clean drinking water—are called ecosystem services, and in this case can be called watershed services. Read more »