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Ecosystem Credit Accounting

Overview | Protocols & Tools | Pilot Projects


The Ecosystem Credit Accounting System is a package of protocols, tools, and resources that allow buyers and sellers to trade in multiple types of ecosystem credits. The Willamette Partnership's Counting on the Environment project is piloting this system from September 2009 through September 2011.

The Ecosystem Credit Accounting System was built to provide the following:

  • A more efficient and effective use of planned, compliance-driven expenses
  • Opportunities to accommodate growth without environmental degradation
  • Increased coordination among various conservation and restoration efforts
  • Rewards for voluntary actions on private lands
  • Healthier ecosystems

The first credits to be trading include wetlands, salmon habitat, upland prairie habitat, and the water temperature benefits created from riparian restoration.

You can download overview documents by clicking on the links below:

Ecosystem Credit Accounting System Brochure

Willamette Ecosystem Marketplace Powerpoint Presentation (pdf)

Protocols & Tools

The Ecosystem Credit Accounting System is a work-product of the Willamette Partnership, but represents agreement among federal, state, and local agencies, conservation organizations, and the buyers and sellers likely to use an ecosystem credit trading system to leverage investment in the environment.

Twenty-five key organizations agreed to pilot the protocols and tools governing the Accounting System for two years. You can download the Working Group's final Agreement in Concept. The final organizational agreements were received in October 2009.

Approved credit calculation methodologies:


Salmon Habitat

Upland Prairie Habitat

Water Temperature

Nutrients (Nutrient Tracking Tool)

Oak Woodland Habitat

Floodplain Habitat

Sagebrush/Sage grouse

The rules on how to buy and sell, how actions taken on the land translate into credits, and how those credits are verified, registered, and sold are described in Version 2.0 of the General Crediting Protocol. Version 1.1 of the General Crediting Protocol is also available.

We have developed a Guide to the Crediting Process, a diagram summarizing the process of bringing credits to market, and standard tools and templates for the contracts and procedural documentation needed to support a transparent and creditable accounting system.

We also have our Ecosystem Crediting Platform which is a web-based application that allows organizations to standardize the operations and management of ecosystem credit creation.

Klamath Tracking & Accounting Program

Since 2009, Willamette Partnership has been engaged in and helping to facilitate the development of the Klamath Tracking and Accounting Program (KTAP). KTAP defines a consistent system to quantify and track the benefits of conservation/restoration actions and measure progress towards achieving basin-wide water quality goals, including the implementation of the Oregon and California Klamath TMDLs. KTAP is primarily focused on tracking voluntary investments. In the future, regulatory agencies may choose to use KTAP to track the water quality benefits of regulatory-driven investments.For non-point sources (landowners), KTAP is completely voluntary and non-regulatory in nature—the program will not regulate agricultural producers or require them to change management. 


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