You are here

Building a Water Quality Trading Program: Options and Considerations

WRI and other members of the National Network on Water Quality Trading launch a new publication providing the essential tools for new and evolving water quality trading programs.

Related Resources

About the Event

The United States has made significant progress in cleaning its rivers, lakes, and oceans. Investment in wastewater treatment plant technology, conservation practices with land managers, and restoration of natural systems is working in many places. The public continually supports clean water, yet there is still a long way to go in achieving the vision of fishable, swimmable waters.

More than half of the country’s streams, lakes, and estuaries are not meeting the water quality standards established under the Clean Water Act to provide clean drinking water, recreation, fish and wildlife habitat, and other designated uses.

The work that lies ahead to achieve clean water will require additional tools and new approaches that can account for watershed dynamics, allow flexibility on how to achieve clear, enforceable goals, and target investment where it can most effectively improve water quality. Water quality trading, under the right conditions, can fit these criteria.

The National Network on Water Quality Trading was established in 2013 to discuss these challenges and to develop information resources for others interested in building trading programs that meet clean water goals. The Network’s 18 initial participating organizations represent a diversity of agricultural operations, wastewater utilities, environmental groups, regulatory agencies, and practitioners delivering trading programs. This diversity is similar to that found in most emerging programs around the country.

Over the past two years, the Network’s dialogue has focused on identifying common trading issues and the options, considerations, and examples important to building a trading program. The publication, Building a Water Quality Trading Program: Options and Considerations, is the product of that dialogue.


Speakers and Panels:

Opening Addresses

  • Betsy Otto, Water Director, World Resources Institute
  • Bobby Cochran, Executive Director, Willamette Partnership
  • Robert Bonnie, Under Secretary for Natural Resources and Environment, US Department of Agriculture
  • Ellen Gilinsky, Senior Advisor, Office of Water, US Environmental Protection Agency
  • Moderater: Todd Gartner, Senior Associate and Natural Infrastructure for Water Manager, World Resources Institute

Panel 1 – Value of the National Network in building water quality trading programs that meet clean water goals

  • Moderator: Todd Gartner, World Resources Institute
  • Carrie Sanneman, Willamette Partnership
  • Bob Rose, US Environmental Protection Agency
  • Patricia Sinicropi, National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA)
  • Ryan Bennett, National Milk Producers Federation
  • Joe Furia, The Freshwater Trust

Panel 2 – Looking Ahead; How to broaden participation and the impact of the National Network on Water Quality Trading moving forward.

  • Moderator: Jimmy Daukas, American Farmland Trust
  • Brooks Smith, Troutman Sanders
  • Mark Kieser, Kieser & Associates, LLC
  • Chris Hartley, USDA Office of Environmental Markets
  • Julia Anastasio, Association of Clean Water Administrators
  • Beth McGee, Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Stay Connected