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Groundwater Program

Image of a Hellbender.
Hellbender Salamander

Freshwater Illustrated. Photograph by Dave Herasimtschuk.

Starlight Cave

Starlight Cave in limestone on the Tongass National Forest, Alaska. Photograph: Under Earth Images, Dave Bunnell

Blanchard Springs Cavern

Water flowing through Blanchard Springs Caverns resurfaces at Blanchard Springs, Ozark-St. Francis National Forest, Arkansas. Under Earth Images, photograph by Dave Bunnell.

Hanging Lake

Hike to a beautiful groundwater-fed lake on the White River National Forest!

Groundwater Stewardship

Within healthy watersheds, groundwater-dependent ecosystems contain a whole new world of unique plants and animals. These features, from caves and subsurface streams to fens and springs, contain amazing and unique plants and animals that depend on water beneath the surface.

The Forest Service serves as a steward of groundwater resources together with local communities, states, and other partners. Our goal is to maintain and enhance groundwater fed streams, springs, wells, and wetlands, which supply healthy watersheds and communities with much-needed water.


Image from inside a cave facing out at the Ricks Spring Recreational Site on the Uintah-Wasatch Cache National Forest.

Ricks Spring Recreational Site

Learn more about caves and springs on the Uinta-Wasatch Cache National Forest!

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Image of a sinkhole on the Leon Sinks Trail

Leon Sinks Trail

Hike and learn about sinkholes on the National Forests in Florida!

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Male member of the Hopi indian tribe

Hopi-Kaibab National Forest Springs Restoration Project

The video documents ongoing partnership between the Kaibab National Forest and the Hopi Tribe to conduct restoration treatments on natural springs while outreaching and training Hopi youth. Through this partnership, Hopi tribal elders share traditional ecological knowledge to be integrated into Forest Service natural resource management plans.

Concrete culvert system on a river in the Monongahela National Forest

Watershed Restoration on the Monongahela National Forest

Monongahela National Forest and partners work together to improve watershed health by removing roads that are no longer needed, both soil health and water flow are improved; water gets absorbed into the soil and is released more gradually into streams at cooler temperatures. Not only is this good for native brook trout and other aquatic organisms, but it can help buffer streams against both heavy precipitation and periods of drought that may become more common as the climate changes.

Image of a waterfal at hanging lake

Hanging Lake

Hanging Lake on the White River National Forest in central Colorado, has a new designation as a National Natural Area. Learn about the area and the value of leaving no trace.