Skip to main content

Forest to Mi Faucet

Image of water flowing over Ocqueoc Falls with green forest in the background

Forest to Mi Faucet

Forest to Mi Faucet program graphic in blue and green showing trees and a faucet image

Forests protect drinking water

The DNR Forest Stewardship Program is leading a team of twenty conservation partners on a new initiative called “Forest to Mi Faucet” to explain how forests in Michigan protect our drinking water.

The project builds on the national Forests to Faucets 2.0 analysis identifying priority watersheds for protecting surface drinking water in the United States.

Forests protect water quality for everyone and can lower treatment costs for municipal water utilities.

Watersheds with forests covering more than half of the land area tend to have better water quality than those with fewer trees. Watersheds with lots of people, farms and factories tend to have poorer water quality.

Which Great Lake would you drink from? The table below shares the relationship between a watershed's forest cover and its U.S. EPA rating.

Great Lake U.S. EPA rating Forest Cover Agricultural Use Urban Area
Lake Superior Good 91% 1% 2%
Lake Huron Good 67% 22% 6%
Lake Michigan Fair 49% 32% 10%
Lake Erie Poor 19% 61% 18%
Land cover map showing built areas in red, mostly southern MI, and areas with the most forest cover, mostly in the UP and northern lower MI
A river, waterfall, and deep green forest


Forest to Mi Faucet has five main objectives:

  1. Educate people in Michigan about connections between forests and drinking water.
  2. Help municipal water utilities implement source water protection plans to lower treatment costs.
  3. Protect forests from land use change with conservation easements to retain important forests in a watershed.
  4. Manage forests well with landowner education, forest certification, Master Loggers, prescribed fire and other methods.
  5. Expand forests by planting trees in strategic places, especially riparian zones in urban and agricultural areas.


Contact partners in your region to find out how you can protect and manage your woods for better water quality.

Watershed councils 

Partner Project Focus Contact
Lower Grand River Organization of Watersheds Grand River watershed and Grand Rapids Robert Cloy
Huron River Watershed Council Huron River Watershed and Ann Arbor Kris Olsson
Flint River Watershed Coalition Flint River Watershed and Flint Nancy Edwards
Kalamazoo River Watershed Council
Kalamazoo River Watershed and Kalamazoo Doug McLaughlin
River Raisin Watershed Council River Raisin watershed and Monroe Lydia Lopez

Land conservancies

Partner Project Focus Contact
Legacy Land Conservancy Conservation easements in Huron River watershed Diana Kern
Southeast Michigan Land Conservancy Conservation easements in River Raisin watershed Jill Lewis
Mid-Michigan Land Conservancy Conservation easements in upper Grand River watershed Jaren Harmon
Land Conservancy of West Michigan Conservation easements in lower Grand River watershed Justin Heslinga
Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy Conservation easements in Kalamazoo River watershed Mitch Lettow

Regional organizations

Partner Project Focus Contact
Superior Watershed Partnership Dead River watershed and Marquette Kathleen Henry
Conservation Resource Alliance Boardman River watershed and Traverse City DJ Shook
Huron Pines
Thunder Bay River watershed and Alpena Samantha Nellis

Statewide organizations

Partner Project Focus Contact
Michigan Master Loggers 25 new Michigan Master Loggers in the southern Lower Peninsula Kari Divine
Michigan Forest Association 250 new members in the southern Lower Peninsula Amanda Curton
Michigan Prescribed Fire Council Use prescribed fire for ecological restoration to restore water quality Stephanie Diep

Conservation districts

Partner Project Focus Contact
Kent Conservation District Grand River watershed and Grand Rapids Jessie Schulte
Washtenaw Conservation District Huron River watershed and Ann Arbor Summer Roberts
Genesee Conservation District Flint River watershed and Flint John Cohoon

National organizations

Partner Project Focus Contact
Old Growth Forest Network Protect old forests in floodplains, riparian zones for water quality Nick Sanchez
USDA Forest Service Project funding and national coordination of Forests to Faucets 2.0 Ryan Toot

More information

Questions? Contact project coordinator Mike Smalligan, 517-449-5666.

Forest to Mi Faucet is a Michigan Department of Natural Resources program funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. All partners are equal opportunity providers.