Markets for Better Water Quality
Better Water Quality
Foster river restoration that’s good for fish, good for farmers, and good for business.
We need new tools to achieve fishable, swimmable rivers, lakes, and streams. We also need to invest in resilient, functioning ecosystems while also supporting public health and economic growth. Water quality trading is one such tool that offers a flexible, more cost-effective and environmentally beneficial approach to reducing pollution in our waterways than more traditional engineered solutions.
As an alternative to installing expensive technology to meet requirements of the federal Clean Water Act, wastewater and stormwater facilities can use the water quality trading to work with landowners within the watershed to implement conservation and restoration practices that reduce pollutants at a lower cost. This can create new sources of revenue for farmers, ranchers, land managers, and conservation groups. In addition, trading projects may provide a range of additional environmental benefits, such as air quality improvements, fish and wildlife habitat creation, and climate change mitigation. Projects like planting trees to shade the river or changing tillage and the timing of fertilizer keeps river water cool and clean. Landowners are compensated for their efforts after the water quality benefits are verified. These verified benefits become “credits,” which can be purchased by point sources to meet regulatory requirements. Willamette Partnership is involved in all levels of water quality trading, from the national discourse on best practices to tracking, accounting, and verifying credits.
State Policy Tools
The Water Quality Trading Toolkit makes it faster and easier for state agencies and stakeholders to develop robust trading programs that achieve clean water goals. The toolkit consists of fives templates that work in concert with each other: state guidance, watershed framework, state rule, NPDES permit, and program annual report. The templates can be used as a starting point, a checklist of important considerations, or customizable sample language.
Building a Water Quality Trading program
The Water Quality Trading Toolkit was designed to go along with the following National Network on Water Quality Trading publication.
Publications and News
Get in touch with your questions about our work on water quality trading.
Kristiana Teige Witherill, Partner, Natural Infrastructure
email | firstname.lastname@example.org
phone | 503.946.1904