The worlds of land protection and watershed management often function in parallel despite their many areas of overlap. This session will explore three key questions that can facilitate development of best practices for natural lands protection for water quality and potentially unlock the millions of dollars of available water quality funding for land protection : (1) How can land protection help achieve watershed management goals?, (2) Which lands within a watershed are most important for protecting water quality?, and (3) How do you quantify the water quality outcomes of land protection? The Land Trust Alliance, US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Open Space Institute (OSI) have worked to integrate land protection within watershed-based initiatives, for example through LTA’s Chesapeake Land and Water Initiative, EPA’s Healthy Watersheds Program, and OSI’s work through the Delaware River Watershed Initiative. Through this work, LTA, EPA and OSI have identified the need for compiling best practice standards for integrating land protection in watershed-based initiatives aimed at achieving water quality goals. Presenters will briefly highlight insights from research and case studies, which will serve as discussion prompts for participants to share their experiences. We anticipate this session serving as a critical starting point for land trusts and partners to provide grounded, practical input to inform future work to establish best practice standards for integrating land protection in water quality work. The session will provide time for participants to share their experience and ideas for advancing best practices related to the questions above. Note: this session will primarily focus on forest protection and will not address landscapes with severe water shortages/drought.