Reaching the Potential of Water-Quality Trading

by Richard H. Moore

Jan 1, 2012
Presently there are 24 active water-quality-trading programs in the United States although the actual figure may be somewhat less and even fewer are truly functioning. Currently, nine states have rules defining the local interpretation of the rules through statewide regulatory authority for trading via statute, regulation, policy, or guidance.

This article reflects on the successes of one program, the Alpine Cheese Phosphorus Nutrient Trading Plan, and the reasons why it was successful. It is one of the few programs in the country to have fully met the requirements of an NPDES permit. As a result, this permit was renewed in 2012 for a second five-year term. Additionally, the local popularity of the program led to the creation of a 21-county Muskingum Joint Board of Soil and Water Conservation District whose supervisors proposed a water-quality-trading plan that will cover nearly a quarter of Ohio.

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