American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers



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Nutrient Credit Trading--a Market-based Approach for Improving Water Quality

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.org

Citation:  2008 Providence, Rhode Island, June 29 – July 2, 2008  083254.(doi:10.13031/2013.24573)
Authors:   Harbans Lal, Jorge A Delgado, Chris M Gross, Eric Hesketh, Shaun P McKinney, Harris Cover, Marv Shaffer
Keywords:   Water Quality, Market-based Approach, Nutrient Trading, Conservation, Nitrogen Managemen

Farmers are getting financial rewards for implementing conservation measures on their farms. Industrial wastewater treatment plants are buying credits generated from these measures to meet their NPDES permit regulatory requirements. This is referred to as water quality trading. The treatment plants find it less expensive to pay agricultural producers to implement conservation practices than to upgrade or install new technologies at their plants, the producers get rewarded for their efforts, and the environment benefits in multiple ways including water quality, wildlife habitat, and carbon sequestration. This paper reviews the approaches to water quality trading, its current status of implementation around the nation, and different tools, including the Nitrogen Trading Tool (NTT) being developed by the USDA/ NRCS in cooperation with USDA-ARS Soil Plant Nutrient Research Unit to facilitate this process.

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