December 20, 2017:
Having conducted more than 30 separate biological and hydrological studies over the last two years in connection with the application to renew Special Use Permit #7285, Nestlé Waters North America has submitted to the United States Forest Service (USFS) a proposed Final Adaptive Management Plan (AMP) that provides transparent, science-based methods for managing water collection at the Arrowhead Springs and adjusting our operations when conditions meet interim triggers. This plan reflects our ongoing commitment to sustainably manage the Arrowhead Springs we steward.
While NWNA holds senior, state-regulated appropriative rights to the waters in Strawberry Canyon, we have voluntarily agreed to develop the AMP as a component of the USFS’ process to renew our Special Use Permit for the right-of-way for the four-inch, stainless steel pipeline we use to transport water from the springs. This AMP includes a series of interim triggers and proposed actions, as well as a five-year plan for data gathering and analysis. An integral part of the AMP is the longer-term study of the connection between our water collection and the environmental conditions in Strawberry Canyon. Following analysis of this data, the AMP may be adjusted to address and minimize any potentially significant impacts.
The AMP addresses the following standards provided in the Land Management Plan for the Southern California National Forests:
- Water Standards: These standards ensure that the water extracted does not exceed the current and reasonably foreseeable future needs of the San Bernardino National Forest resources. We propose to monitor hydrologic conditions in the canyon and local drought conditions, and adapt operations to retain needed water in the forest in line with interim triggers, when necessary.
- Riparian Standards: These standards include a multi-step screening process that is typically only applied to newly proposed projects, including soil, groundwater and aquatic characteristics. Even though this is not a new project, and the Arrowhead pipeline and easement has been in use since at least 1930, we have committed, as part of the interim triggers and actions, to apply these riparian screening criteria to the existing pipeline easement.
- Species Standards: These standards are intended to avoid, minimize or mitigate negative long-term effects on threatened, endangered, proposed, candidate or sensitive species and habitat. While studies have demonstrated that none of these species exist within the project area, we are committed to monitoring potential habitat areas periodically and adapting operations if significant changes in habitat conditions are detected.
- Invasive Species Standards: These standards are intended to detect and control effects from invasive species. It is highly unlikely that our operations will introduce invasive species or otherwise expand existing invasive species infestations within the Canyon. We propose to monitor for new occurrences of invasive species within the project area and will consult with the USFS regarding the best methods to address any new infestations.
Our operations at Arrowhead Springs have been managed sustainably for more than a century and we look forward to continuing to work with the USFS to support a healthy ecosystem.