In March 2013, water quality agency staff from Idaho, Oregon, and Washington, U.S. EPA Region 10, Willamette Partnership, and The Freshwater Trust convened a working group for the first of a series of four interagency workshops on water quality trading in the Pacific Northwest. Funded by a USDA Conservation Innovation Grant, the Willamette Partnership facilitated the group’s discussions that drew lessons learned from water quality trading policies, practices, and programs across the country. The group also sought to better understand EPA’s January 13, 2003, Water Quality Trading Policy, its 2007 Permit Writers’ Toolkit, and the existing states’ guidance and regulations on water quality trading. All documents presented at those conversations and meeting summaries are posted on the Willamette
The effort began in response to the growing interest in trading in the region, as well as concern for the wide diversity of proposed approaches. The participating agencies were interested in comparing and contrasting their experiences and identifying some common principles and practices to guide consistent approaches to trading in the region. In particular, the discussions focused on how trading can help point sources meet their permit effluent limits in a way that provides greater environmental benefits. The final product is intended to be a set of recommended practices for each state to consider as they develop their water quality trading programs.