The National Network on Water Quality Trading

We’re facilitating a national conversation on how to improve consistency, innovation, and integrity in water quality trading.


cPriority Actions for Advancing Water Quality Trading

See the National Network on Water Quality Trading’s newest report, “Breaking Down Barriers: Advancing Water Quality Trading.” Despite being a cost-effective way to meet clean water goals and deliver multiple benefits for people, fish, and wildlife, demand for water quality credit trading has been low compared to other environmental markets (think: carbon offsets). This new report delves into what’s keeping water quality trading on the sidelines and proposes a detailed action agenda to help get water quality trading on the ground in more watersheds across the United States.


The National Network on Water Quality Trading works collaboratively on advancing water quality trading as a strategy to help achieve clean water goals in a watershed near you.



national network water quality trading, fenced cattle, clean water services

Water quality trading is an option for meeting clean water goals through conservation practices, like keeping cattle fenced away from rivers. Photo / Clean Water Services

More than half of the country’s rivers, lakes, and estuaries are not meeting the goals of the Clean Water Act to provide clean drinking water, support recreation, or fish and wildlife habitat.

Significant progress has been made through regulation of factories, power plants, wastewater facilitiesand other such “point” sources, but there’s a lot of improvement to be made in unregulated places, like neighborhoods, forests, and farms.

Water quality trading is a means of reaching clean water goals in which point sources can purchase pollution reductions created by land managers using conservation practices. Despite a strong community of practitioners, however, water quality trading has not been widely adopted.


In 2013, Willamette Partnership and World Resources Institute convened 18 organizations representing farmers, utilities, environmental groups, and regulatory agencies delivering water quality trading programs to form the National Network on Water Quality Trading.

Willamette Partnership continues to coordinate and facilitate the network with funding from the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service.


The National Network on Water Quality Trading started with 18 organizations in 2013, representing the diversity found in most emerging trading programs in the country, including agriculture, wastewater and stormwater utilities, environmental groups, regulatory agencies, and practitioners delivering water quality trading programs.


national network on water quality trading, steering committee, participants

Original participants of the National Network on Water Quality Trading (2013)

Learn more about the National Network on Water Quality’s work, products, and participants on their website.


Publications and News


Get in touch about the national conversation on water quality trading.


Kristiana Teige Witherill


Have questions about the National Network on Water Quality Trading?

Kristiana Teige Witherill, Clean Water Project Manager