In the midst of a staggering five-year drought, the National Forest Foundation (NFF) has secured commitments from a group of water-conscious corporations to restore watersheds on the newly-designated San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. Working in close partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, the NFF will use this support to improve watershed conditions, benefiting millions downstream.
The San Gabriel Mountains National Monument and the Angeles National Forest are critically important to area water supplies, providing one-third of Los Angeles County’s drinking water. The rivers and creeks that flow out of the mountains recharge the local groundwater aquifers and provide important surface water for millions of people that live downstream.
In 2009, the Station Fire caused extensive damage to the area, necessitating a multi-year restoration effort. Since that time, the NFF has worked with local groups to restore burned areas of the Angeles National Forest. The 2014 designation of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument created the urgency for intensified work and led the NFF to commit to raise $3 million for the Monument.
Priorities include restoring impaired watersheds on the Monument to benefit threatened and endangered wildlife, as well as securing water supplies for the millions that rely on water from the Forest and Monument. The 2009 fire exposed much of the Forest and Monument to invasive plant species, such as Arundo donax, or giant cane. Favoring streamside locations near available water, this plant transpires water at a rate five times higher than native vegetation. By removing 50 acres of the plant, this project will return significant amounts of water to streams within the Monument.
The NFF has gathered public and private partners to support removal of this invasive species. Partners include the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the Coca-Cola Company, The Walt Disney Company, the California Wildlife Conservation Board, Edison International, MillerCoors, and Anheuser-Busch. Recognizing their reliance on the forested headwaters that provide their businesses with water, these organizations are investing to improve watershed conditions.
“Private investments becoming increasingly important in helping us protect watersheds within the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. Particularly during the drought, these contributions are critical to the health and wellbeing of wildlife and the millions of people that depend on them.”
“The NFF is grateful for the support of our corporate partners in addressing watershed restoration needs on the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument”, said NFF Interim President, Mary Mitsos. “By working together, we’re helping secure the future of our National Forest headwaters.”
Implementation of watershed improvement projects on the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument will begin in October 2015 and will continue through the winter of 2015-16. The NFF is working with U.S. Forest Service, local partners and Youth Conservation Corps to remove Arundo from the watershed.