This map identifies 415 eutrophic and hypoxic coastal systems worldwide. Of these, 169 are documented hypoxic areas, 233 are areas of concern and 13 are systems in recovery.
Overcoming Barriers to Better Targeting of U.S. Farm Conservation Funds
This issue brief identifies the technical, political, and implementation challenges of cost-effectively targeting agricultural conservation funds to achieve greater improvements in water quality and suggests options for addressing these challenges.
This publication is the third in a...
The U.S. Department of Agriculture could potentially spend part of its budget for water quality improvements seven to 12 times more cost effectively than it does now. A new WRI analysis shows how, explains why USDA isn’t already doing so, and proposes ways to make a complex policy a reality.
For more than 30 years, the USDA has worked to reduce water pollution by offering farmers throughout the nation financial and technical help to put conservation measures in place. While these efforts have successfully addressed environmental problems at the individual farm level—such as soil erosion—agriculture remains a key source of water pollution.
However, it’s only a small portion of farms that generate the majority of agriculture’s contribution to U.S. water pollution. New research shows that targeting conservation funds to these farms with the most potential to reduce pollution could be up to 12 times more cost effective than the usual practice of disbursing funds widely. And encouragingly, a new USDA program aims to capitalize on a similar targeted approach.
A National Modeling Analysis on Increasing Cost Effectiveness Through Better Targeting of U.S. Farm Conservation Funds
In this second installment of our 3-part series on better targeting of U.S. farm conservation funds, WRI found that combining geographic targeting with benefit-cost principles could potentially yield seven to 12 times...
This issue brief identifies the major types of uncertainties in water quality trading markets and summarizes the various mechanisms that could be used to address them.
Few programs have seen widespread success in tackling water quality problems in the Mississippi River Basin and Gulf of Mexico, but an emerging initiative could present a way forward. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) launched the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI) in 2009. New WRI research finds that with some specific improvements, the MRBI’s new approach could play a key role in improving the nation’s inland and coastal water quality.
A Review of the Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI) To Target U.S. Farm Conservation Funds
This paper, first of a 3-part series, provides an assessment of the USDA’s Mississippi River Basin Healthy Watersheds Initiative (MRBI), a promising new approach to achieving cleaner water in agriculturally dominated...
One of America’s great natural resources, the 64,000 square mile Chesapeake Bay, is in a state of decline largely as a result of nutrient pollution from farms and wastewater treatment plants. Too many nutrients in the water can lead to explosive algae growth which in turn blocks out sunlight and absorbs oxygen. Aquatic life dies out. More than 400 coastal waterways worldwide suffer from adverse effects of nutrient over-enrichment, also known as eutrophication.
Three states with an impact on the Chesapeake Bay – West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Maryland – have been working with WRI to set up and launch a state-based regional nutrient trading market. Farmers can now go online and sell the nitrogen and phosphorous reduction credits they earn from better conservation practices to municipalities and companies that must meet mandated water pollution reduction requirements. It’s similar to the cap-and-trade approach that has reduced acid rain.
The establishment of a robust water quality trading market in the Chesapeake region will not only help reduce hard to manage nutrient pollution, but it will serve as an example for other multi-state watersheds, such as the Mississippi River Basin, as they seek cost-effective solutions for addressing eutrophication.
Measuring, mapping and understanding water risks around the globe.