Neutrogena® Naturals Champions Clean Water

Laura McCarthy, Senior Policy Advisor for Fire & Forest Restoration, New Mexico

“Forests are the water towers of the west. So, when you’re thinking about what comes out of your faucet, look to the ridgelines.”

Laura spent the first part of her career fighting fires, but now she’s fighting for clean water. She has helped launch an innovative new way to protect water supplies in Santa Fe, New Mexico – a conservation solution that has the potential to help protect water all around the country.

Having lived through the devastating Cerro Grande fire near Los Alamos, New Mexico in 2000, she understands the deep connection between land and water, particularly in an area like Santa Fe, where the city's drinking water supply is surrounded by forests – some of which are overgrown and highly vulnerable to wildfire. The Cerro Grande fire sent ash and erosion into Los Alamos’ water supply and cost millions to clean up.

To avoid that fate in Santa Fe, Laura helped establish a Clean Water Fund that will use a small amount of money from the community to pay for controlled burns to thin out the forests and reduce the chances of massive wildfires. The fund will save the people of Santa Fe money and they won’t have to worry about the security of their water supply.

Before coming to work for the Conservancy, Laura spent 12 years with the USDA Forest Service in Idaho, California and New England and also worked as a wildland firefighter, silviculturist, ski area administrator and forest planner.

Always on the go, it’s hard to believe Laura finds any free time – and when she does, she still doesn’t slow down. Instead, she goes trail running, hits the slopes Telemark skiing or goes freshwater swimming. One of her greatest joys is sharing her passion for nature with her children, who think it’s pretty cool to have parents who are working to protect the planet.


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