The U.S. Water Partnership with support from The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and the World Resources Institute (WRI) convened a webinar on watershed protection.

As the forests are degraded, water resources are increasingly threatened globally. Natural infrastructure solutions such as protecting and restoring forests, wetlands and grasslands, and reducing agricultural runoff in watersheds have been demonstrated as effective alternatives to conventional solutions that create ‘win-wins’ for people and nature. Accordingly, forests are needed to filter water and prevent erosion and without them, soil run-off and chemicals contaminate lakes and rivers which increases costs of water treatment. Such costs are not affordable in developing countries.

In response to this need, WRI and TNC developed Global Forest Watch (GFW) Water and Water Funds Toolbox respectively.

  • GFW Water is a publicly available tool that will allow anyone with internet access to visualize critical watershed related information and threats to watershed health, and screen for cost-effective, sustainable solutions.
  • Water Funds are innovative financial and governance tools that bring together watershed users to identify collective priorities and shared investments to be used for conservation of key lands and watershed stewardship upstream that filter and regulate water supply. TNC and its partners have been working to standardize their +15 years of experience developing water funds to help meet the rapid increase in demand for guidance on how to scope, design, and operate water funds. This Toolbox has been designed by water funds practitioners for practitioners and advocates of the water fund concept.


This webinar focused on both tools and their role in watershed protection and were demonstrated by the following experts:

  • Todd Gartner, Senior Associate, Food, Forests & Water Program, World Resources Institute. Todd runs WRI’s Natural Infrastructure for Water project working with governments and businesses to invest in conserving and restoring forests, wetlands, and other ecosystems in order to secure freshwater supplies, reduce flood risks, and obtain other economic and social benefits.
  • Yiyuan Jasmine Qin, Research Analyst for the Natural Infrastructure for Water project. Jasmine led the development of GFW Water. At WRI, Jasmine develops and applies spatial analytical tools and remote sensing technology to display, analyze, and project water related risks and trends. Jasmine identifies priority areas for sustainable solutions and conducts research on opportunities for implementing natural infrastructure projects for source water protection both in a domestic and international context.
  • Cory Zyla, Program Manager, Global Water Program, The Nature Conservancy. Cory is a specialist in the fields of water resources management and planning. As a dynamic leader, Cory has led a range of challenging projects, including environmental impact assessments, watershed management planning processes, and the provision of technical guidance on a range of environmental issues