Water Quality Trading


Data and Modeling for Environmental Credit Trading: A CEAP Bibliography

USDA. NAL. Water Quality Information Center.

A guide to literature on the data and modeling requirements for environmental credit trading; 105 citations from a number of topical indexes. A dynamic version searches the NAL catalog (AGRICOLA) for the most recent article and book citations.

Water Quality Markets

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of the Chief Economist

Information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture on the topic.

Partnership Agreement Between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Regarding Water-Quality Trading (PDF | 59KB)


Establishes a "collaborative framework to support water-quality trading and other market-based approaches for ecosystem services, consistent where applicable with the protection of water quality pursuant to the Clean Water Act."

Water Quality Trading Assessment Handbook (PDF | 1.6MB)

EPA. Office of Wetlands, Oceans, and Watersheds.

"The information in this handbook focuses on conducting an analysis to determine whether watershed scale trading is likely to be viable in a particular watershed once environmental and economic factors are considered."

Sunset Water Quality Trading Policy

EPA. Office of Water

"The United States Environmental Protection Agency believes that market-based approaches such as water quality trading provide greater flexibility and have potential to achieve water quality and environmental benefits greater than would otherwise be achieved under more traditional regulatory approaches."

Economics of Water Quality Protection from Nonpoint Sources: Theory and Practice

USDA. Economic Research Service.

"Outlines the economic characteristics of five instruments that can be used to reduce agricultural nonpoint source pollution" including economic incentive-based instruments like water quality trading.

Market-Based Conservation Initiatives White Paper (PDF | 267 KB)

National Association of Conservation Districts.

"Offers insights on market-based engagement opportunities for conservation districts, Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) field staff and other interested conservation practitioners..Market-based strategies for water quality offer great potential to help improve water quality in both urban and rural settings."

AgEcon Search

University of Minnesota. Magrath Library and Department of Applied Economics.

Search for articles on environmental credit trading in this full text collection of scholarly research including working papers, conference papers, and journal articles. For example, find "Nitrogen Sources and Gulf Hypoxia: Potential for Point-Nonpoint Trading."

Fertile Ground: Nutrient Trading's Potential to Cost-Effectively Improve Water Quality (PDF | 291KB)


"Using case studies in three states, WRI develops a framework to assess the cost-effectiveness of various policies and combinations of policies to reduce phosphorus loads in specific watersheds."

Nitrogen Control Program for Long Island Sound (PDF | 186KB)

Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection.

Gives an overview of Connecticut's efforts to implement its nitrogen credit exchange strategy. Includes TMDL materials on baselines, permitting, etc. and annual credit exchange reports.

DWQ Logo Tar-Pamlico Nutrient Strategy

North Carolina Department of Water Quality.

"Outlines the evolution of the strategy including its first phase from 1990 through 1994 which produced an innovative point source/nonpoint source trading program that allows point sources to achieve reductions in nutrient loading in more cost-effective ways. Its second and third phases provide improvements."

Field Plowing Water Quality Pollutant Trading in Idaho: A Step-by-Step Agricultural Community Guide

Idaho Department of Environmental Quality.

"Provides detailed guidance on how to execute a water quality trade for agricultural operators in a watershed with an established market."