Got Clean Water? Protect Wilderness Headwaters in the West!

From WildEarth Guardians in Santa Fe, NM

Dear Guardian,

What do you think is one of the most outstanding qualities of a
wild forest?

Though there are many outstanding values of wild forests –
wildlife habitat, natural beauty, solitude and silence – I
believe that the single greatest thing about a wild forest is
its clean water. Our wild forests are our watersheds: they
capture, purify and store water unlike any other ecosystem.

If you care about clean water, sign our petition and become a
Watershed Guardian today:

Whether it’s clean water for native trout and frogs or clean
water for downstream cities or farmers, the entire community of
life depends on water from headwater streams that originate in
roadless and wilderness national forests.

In fact, most people think of clean water as a birthright.

But the promise of clean water in our nation’s rivers and
streams and even on our national forests has been mostly
unfulfilled. Today more than half of our nation’s rivers are too
polluted by sediments, toxic wastes and other pollutants to be
safe for native fish and wildlife, for drinking water or for
recreational uses.

Recognizing the powerful link between wild forests and clean
water, WildEarth Guardians sat down a few years ago and decided
to develop a new strategy to help protect more than 57 million
acres of unprotected wild forests and their clean waters at the
same time. We knew we needed something that would help us keep
our clean waters clean forever!

So we devised our Clean Water, Wild Forests campaign. It’s our
goal to use one of the most powerful parts of the Clean Water
Act to protect all waters in all of our roadless national
forests by designating them as “Outstanding Waters” under the
Act. Once designated, these watersheds cannot be polluted and
are thus protected from logging, road building, cattle grazing
and off-road vehicles.

Our bold vision captivated Governor Bill Richardson (D-NM) so
much that on Earth Day he announced the state will seek
permanent protection for all of New Mexico’s headwaters in
roadless and wilderness areas of national forests by designating
them as Outstanding Waters. On April 22nd, Governor Richardson
directed state natural resource agencies to take up the
Outstanding Waters banner and assure that all 5,000 miles of
perennial and ephemeral streams within the 1.6 million acres of
roadless national forest and adjacent wilderness areas are
designated and protected for future generations.

Securing Governor Richardson’s endorsement and leadership is
great news for our Clean Water, Wild Forests campaign but now
the hard work begins. There will be public hearings on the
Outstanding Waters proposal this fall and opponents of clean
water and wild forests will strongly contest new protections.

Which is why we need you! Sign our petition and become a
Watershed Guardian today: As a
Watershed Guardian, you can protect Outstanding Waters in a
variety of ways. First, your signature will show policy makers
that citizens like you want clean water protected. Then, you’ll
have the chance to participate in our Clean Water, Wild Forests
photo contest. When the time is right, we will also provide
Watershed Guardians the opportunity to document clean water in
roadless national forests and to participate in public hearings
that decide the fate of our precious watersheds.

With threats like climate change, drought, population increase,
oil and gas development, logging, and livestock grazing
continuing to mount, we need to protect our clean water now more
than ever.

Once we’ve worked to secure watershed protection in New Mexico,
WildEarth Guardians plans to take our bold initiative to other
states across the West. Together, we can ensure the success of
our Clean Water, Wild Forests campaign and secure protections
for both our rivers and our forests.

For Outstanding Waters,

Bryan Bird
Wild Places Program Director
WildEarth Guardians

P.S. More than 1.6 million acres of roadless national forests in
New Mexico are at stake and by supporting WildEarth Guardians
you can help us protect their watehseds:

P.P.S. Sign our petition and become a Watershed Guardian; help
us create a powerful, unified voice to designate every single
river in our roadless national forests and wilderness areas as
Outstanding Waters:

WildEarth Guardians
505 988-9126
312 Montezuma, Santa Fe – New Mexico – 87501


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