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Hydrography Seminar Series, Seminar 5 (Main) - November, 2015

USDA Forest Service Watershed Condition Framework: An approach for assessing and improving watershed condition

Thursday, November 5, 2015 - 2:00 PM Eastern - One Hour, One Main Presentation & Two Lightning Talks

Mike Eberle - USFS Surface Water Program Leader, Watershed, Fish, Wildlife, Air & Rare Plants

Abstract - The USDA Forest Service (Forest Service) has developed a nationally consistent, comparable, and credible process for maintaining or improving the health of watersheds across all national forests and grassland called the Watershed Condition Framework (WCF). The WCF is a comprehensive approach for proactively implementing integrated restoration on priority watersheds on national forests and grasslands. The WCF structures the way the Forest Service approaches watershed restoration by targeting implementation of integrated suites of maintenance or improvement activities in those watersheds that have been identified as priorities for restoration. The WCF also establishes a nationally consistent reconnaissance-level approach for assessing and classifying watershed condition, using a set of 12 indicators that are surrogate variables representing the underlying ecological, hydrological, and geomorphic functions and processes that affect watershed condition. In late 2010, the Forest Service assessed the condition of over 15,000 6th level (12-digit) HUCs containing National Forest System lands. Since then, over 250 Priority Watersheds have been designated and over 200 associated Watershed Restoration Action Plans (WRAPs) have been developed. Partner engagement has been an integral component of the WCF implementation. During the session, participants will be led through the WCF map viewer website (, where the public and partners can view the results of WCF planning, including priority watersheds, WRAPs, the watershed selection process, estimated costs, and involved partners. Session participants will learn about plans for future work in the WCF process, focusing on the availability of watershed condition data and tools for the upcoming watershed condition reassessment.

Biography – Mike Eberle is the Forest Service’s Surface Water Program Leader. Since coming to the FS in January 2011, his work has primarily focused the agency’s implementation of the Watershed Condition Framework through the development of policy, technical resources, and national guidance. In addition, Mike has assisted with the effort to implement the agency’s National Best Management Practices Program. Mike has worked for the USDOI’s Bureau of Land Management as its Water Program Lead and as the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Pacific Region’s Chief of Water Resources, in Portland, OR.