In It Together: A How-To Reference for Building Point-Nonpoint Water Quality Trading Programs (Part 1 of 3)

Jul 1, 2012
Across all types of water quality trading, only 100 point source facilities have participated in trading, with 80% of those facilities trading in point-point trades in the Long Island Sound. Throughout the country, there are 24 active point-nonpoint trading programs that have brought together state agencies, industrial and municipal wastewater facilities, farmers, environmental groups, and other stakeholders. "Active" programs have completed trading program designs and/or completed transactions between a permitted buyer and a seller. These programs represent decades of useful experience in building water quality programs. This Trading Reference distills that experience with the goal of helping new trading programs lay the groundwork for success.

The examples, experience, and recommendations that follow are intended as a foundation, increasing the capacity of stakeholders across the country to successfully design and operate water quality trading programs. Designed well, trading programs can help achieve water quality goals in a way that is good for farmers, good for communities, and good for the environment. The Trading Reference is intended to build upon existing information provided by U.S.EPA, USDA, and others, such as:
  • U.S.EPA Water Quality Trading Policy (2003) and
  • Toolkit for Permit Writers (2007)
  • USDA Office of Environmental Markets
  • World Resources Institute publications
This Trading Reference, produced for USDA's Office of Environmental Markets, addresses Section 2709 of the 2008 Farm Bill and responds to the need for USDA to provide support in helping market-based approaches engage more landowners in conservation.


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