Innovations in Water Quality Trading: Significant Tools, Significant Progress
In 2013, Willamette Partnership and its partners from The Freshwater Trust, the States of Idaho, Oregon, and Washington, and US EPA Region 10 received a Natural Resources
Conservation Service (NRCS) Conservation Innovation Grant to make it faster and easier for states to support water quality trading (WQT)—a flexible approach for permitted entities (e.g., stormwater and wastewater utilities, transportation infrastructure) to save money, meet clean water goals, and support a vibrant local economy.
We’ve done that—locally, and nationally. Clear, practical, and defensible policy at the state level gives regulatory agencies what they need to write permits that allow trading to occur, and gives permittees the confidence that they need to invest ratepayer dollars in a green infrastructure option. The project team built policy and technical approaches that have been shared across the state agencies in the Pacific Northwest and across the country. In the last four years:
- Four states have used products from this project to build state trading policies;
- The National Network on Water Quality Trading formed and published a comprehensive guidebook
on trading program design; and
- The Association of Clean Water Administrators (ACWA) with Willamette Partnership released a
toolkit of WQT policy templates for states.
These policy innovations have made it easier for regulators, permittees, and landowners to build programs that invest compliance dollars in conservation that gets results, saves money for ratepayers, supports local economies, and provides multiple additional benefits to soil, air, and wildlife.
To read more, download this five-page Joint Regional Recommendations Summary Fact Sheet.