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Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the proposed Forest Service Guidelines on Groundwater. These comments are submitted on behalf of the national, state and local organizations listed below.

Water is a scarce and precious resource, particularly in the western United States where the demand for fresh water is often out-pacing the supply. Protection of our nation’s groundwater is of the utmost importance. It supplies cold, clean water to springs, streams, rivers and wetlands, which sustain essential fish and wildlife.

The Forest Service manages 193 million acres of federal lands, much of which is located in the headwaters and recharge areas of the nation’s streams and aquifers. National Forest Service lands provide source of drinking water for people in 42 states.