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This project is one of 11 announced in conjunction with the USEPA's release in January 2003 of its Final Water Quality Trading Policy. The study is working to create and implement “multi-credit” trading opportunities in the Conestoga Watershed, in conjunction with a nutrient credit trading pilot project previously established.

Multi-credit trading involves trading pollution reduction credits and ecosystem values across multiple environmental media, using watersheds as a basis of trade. This approach recognizes the ecosystem values of the watershed, i.e., its water, wetlands, habitats, riparian forests, etc., and provides multiple incentives for restoration and improvement of ecosystem functions. In multi-credit trading programs, organizations or individuals can invest in best management practices, pollution controls, or restoration projects and earn tradable credits to sell or use toward requirements or voluntary commitments associated with water quality, TMDLs, wetlands, endangered species habitat protection, or carbon sequestration.

The nutrient trading pilot providing the launching pad for the multi-credit pilot is a partnership with the mission of creating: a credible banking and pollutant trading pilot in the Conestoga River Watershed; and a framework for a statewide trading program that facilitates cost-effective nutrient reductions targeted at meeting nutrient reduction goals and encourages restoration and watershed stewardship. The partnership includes representatives from state agencies, not-for-profits and consulting engineers, planners and economists: CH2M HILL; Chesapeake Bay Foundation; The Conservation Fund; Enterprising Environmental Solutions; Environmental Defense; and Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.

The objectives of the multi-credit project are to: identify opportunities to expand and enhance water quality trades and advance restoration and watershed stewardship; involve additional stakeholders who are interested in environmental credits that can be leveraged to reduce water quality nutrient levels; develop a trading registry that supports nutrient and other credits; and develop pro-forma or actual multi-credit trading proposals consistent with Pennsylvania's water quality trading policies.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2003

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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