National Forest Foundation

Cragin Watershed Protection Project

Collaborative Planning

Cragin Watershed Protection Project

In partnership with the Salt River Project, Town of Payson, Bureau of Reclamation, and the Coconino National Forest, the NFF is working to accelerate activities that will reduce wildfire risk in the National Forests surrounding the City of Payson’s primary water supply – C.C. Cragin Reservoir (formerly Blue Ridge Reservoir). The current state of fuel loading and vegetation in the watershed leaves the area at high risk of unnaturally severe wildfire—requiring action to mitigate the risks to the watershed and the resources in the area. 

Western watersheds of similar size and vegetative characteristics have burned with high intensity, causing significant impacts to reservoirs, water quality, recreational resources, habitat, private property and many other resources causing precedent for concern.

The overarching purpose of the Cragin Watershed Protection Project is to reestablish a fire adapted, resilient, diverse, and sustainable forest ecosystem, thereby reducing the risk of post-fire erosion and/or flooding that could impact reservoir operations and storage. This strategic public-private partnership will also increase public safety, support recreation opportunities, protect our natural resources, and support economic vitality in surrounding communities. 

As part of the process, the Coconino National Forest is currently collecting and analyzing data on existing conditions of the watersheds and adjacent areas that feed into the C.C. Cragin reservoir – with plans to complete an environmental analysis using the Healthy Forest Restoration Act authority. This is the first step in the project planning process. The Coconino National Forest must also develop desired conditions and the needs for change in the project area, which will lead to the development of a Proposed Action to help put the landscape on a trajectory of achieving desired conditions. 

To help inform development of the Cragin Watershed Protection Project’s Proposed Action, the National Forest Foundation is leading a short-term collaborative planning effort. Stakeholder meeting notes and additional information can be found below. Forest Service information about the Cragin Watershed Protection Project and scoping documents can be located here and here.

To learn more about the collaborative planning effort please contact Rebecca Davidson at rdavidson@nationalforests.org.

Craigin Watershed Protection Project FAQs

December 6, 2016 stakeholder meeting - documents

OCTOBER 21, 2016 STAKEHOLDER FIELD TRIP - DOCUMENTS

SEPTEMBER 9, 2016 STAKEHOLDER MEETING - DOCUMENTS

FEBRUARY 11, 2016 STAKEHOLDER MEETING - DOCUMENTS

CRAGIN WATERSHED PROTECTION PROJECT DRAFT PROPOSED ACTION FOR PUBLIC SCOPING

The 64,000 acre area.

Click here to download the Project Area map above.