S 1780: Restoring America’s Watersheds Act of 2015

Directs the Forest Service to establish a Water Source Protection Program for National Forest System land derived from the public domain.

Authorizes the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to enter into water source investment partnerships with specified end water users to protect and restore the condition of National Forest watersheds that provide water to non-federal partners.

Authorizes USDA to produce a water source management plan.

Directs the Forest Service to establish a Watershed Condition Framework for System land derived from the public domain to:

  • evaluate and classify the condition of watersheds,
  • identify for restoration up to five priority watersheds in each National Forest and up to two priority watersheds in each national grassland,
  • develop a watershed restoration action plan for each priority watershed,
  • prioritize restoration activities for each watershed restoration action plan,
  • implement each watershed restoration action plan, and
  • monitor the effectiveness of restoration actions and indicators of watershed health.

Requires USDA, before awarding a contract funded by the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Fund, to determine whether the contractor has the ability to complete the proposed restoration activities, including:

  • the financial ability to raise the funds necessary, and
  • sufficient capacity to perform the type and scope of those activities.

Reauthorizes the Collaborative Forest Landscape Restoration Fund for each of FY2016-FY2024.

S 1780 is sponsored by Senator Martin Heinrich.