"The care of the earth is our most ancient and most worthy and, after all, our most pleasing responsibility. To cherish what remains of it, and to foster its renewal, is our only legitimate hope." - Wendell Berry

Water and Watersheds

Drought, fires, and changing climate conditions are escalating water resource challenges across the West, while demand for water continues to increase, creating a cascade of ecological, economic and political tensions.

Western settlement patterns, past and present, have always followed the water. The majority of fertile valley bottoms and accessible water resources are thus privately owned. Decisions private landowners and agricultural producers make about water use are critical to the West’s future.

WLA helps landowners conserve and restore water resources by providing peer-based support, education and resources for:

  • Riparian restoration
  • Water conservation and retention projects
  • Irrigation efficiency improvements
  • Sustainable water and land use decisions

WLA also advocates for policies that enable landowners to use water resources more efficiently:

Landowner Resources

Many states, including Colorado, New Mexico, Montana, and others, are implementing statewide Water Planning. WLA drafted and adopted the following WLA Principles for State Water Planning [299KB PDF] for use by its members and others who are engaging in these planning processes throughout the West.

WLA members receive Water Weekly e-newsletters with program updates, funding announcements, and relevant events. Here’s a sample [860KB PDF].  Join WLA to get these in your inbox too.

A new booklet produced by WLA highlights the importance of private stewardship of streams and riparian areas in New Mexico’s arid environment. Infographics, maps and information on streams that flow across private land are provided in this beautifully illustrated publication. An online digital version is available here.

WLA Water and Watersheds staff have been working to help members and others understand and engage on the EPA/Corps rule proposals related to federal Clean Water Act jurisdiction, including a Policy Brief and comments to the agencies. A “Waters of the U.S.” video, below, includes an explanatory presentation by EPA staff, as well as Q&A, from a recent Montana state legislative committee meeting (video quality is less than ideal due to low light and resolution):



Water and Watersheds


Energy Planning


Working Lands Health


Sustainable Economies


Land Use Policy


Native Species

"To waste, to destroy our natural resources, to skin and exhaust the land instead of using it so as to increase its usefulness, will result in undermining in the days of our children the very prosperity which we ought by right to hand down to them amplified and developed."
― Theodore Roosevelt