The National Network develops collaborative products that can benefit the water quality trading community and advance Network goals of consistency, innovation, and integrity.

Featured Content

Breaking Down Barriers: Priority Actions for Advancing Water Quality Trading

Water quality trading is a cost-effective way to meet clean water goals and deliver multiple benefits for people, fish, and wildlife. Yet, compared to other environmental markets (think: carbon offsets), interest and demand for water quality credit trading has been slow to catch on.

Breaking Down Barriers: Priority Actions for Advancing Water Quality Trading investigates what’s keeping water quality trading on the sidelines and proposes a detailed action agenda to help get water quality trading on the ground in more watersheds across the United States.



Building a Water Quality Trading Program: Options and Considerations

Building a Water Quality Trading Program walks through 11 key elements many trading programs consider in their design, with examples, options, and clear pros and cons for program design to help stakeholders build a program that meets local needs. For each of these elements, there is no “one size fits all solution.” Instead, there are considerations that make different options more or less viable under different conditions.

Water quality trading programs are still evolving and must adapt to ever-changing circumstances and requirements, so this is a “living” document, open to additions and updates.

Stakeholder Summaries

These stakeholder summaries were written by National Network participants, each one authored by a member of a different stakeholder community – agriculture, clean water utilities, environmental advocates, regulatory agencies, and trading practitioners. The summaries provide an overview of why members of that community would care about trading, opportunities and challenges for participation, the roles that they are likely to play, and the critical issues affecting those communities most.


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Clean Water Community

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State and Interstate Water Quality Administrators

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Environmental Community

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Trading Practitioners

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Tools and Templates


The Water Quality Trading Toolkit


Willamette Partnership and the Association of Clean WaterAdministrators (ACWA) developed five water quality trading policy templates to make it faster and easier to develop transparent and accountable water quality trading programs that drive meaningful investment toward achieving clean water goals. The templates go along with the National Network on Water Quality Trading publication, Building a Water Quality Trading Program: Options and Considerations, to provide a blueprint for those states and organizations seeking to create a water quality trading program.

Click here to download the templates and to view a series of videos that explain what's in the templates and how to use them.


Policy Briefs


Water Quality Trading and Federal Farm Policy

The National Network has identified “supportive policy” as an important aspect of successful water quality trading programs. In the Network’s first analysis of federal policy, individuals from the Network Steering Committee and guests brainstormed ideas for ways existing federal farm programs could better support water quality trading.

This summary is a gathering of initial ideas organized under the important factors shaping success in markets for water quality:

  • Clear demand: Clarity in water quality goals, authority to use market-based approaches, and willingness of buyers and the private sector to invest in water quality;
  • Clear risk: The policies and people clearly manage risk so that the private sector and buyers want to participate; and
  • Clear path: The tools, systems, and capacity needed to develop and support markets.




Economic Approaches to Green Stormwater Infrastructure

This report is designed to help stormwater program managers leverage market forces for implementation and investment in green infrastructure. It is based upon discussion at the National Network 2016 fall dialogue, covering the motivations that drive investment in stormwater infrastructure; a set of program options that work with market forces for more effective and efficient investment in stormwater infrastructure; the issues that limit these approaches; and ways to get beyond these hurdles. It was written by Storm & Stream Solutions LLC and Willamette Partnership, with collaboration from WEF’s Stormwater Institute. It benefited from expert review by the workshop conveners - Mami Hara and Paula Conolly of the Green Infrastructure Exchange and Dan Vizzini of Oregon Solutions and Willamette Partnership - as well as numerous dialogue participants.

Download the full report, or read the summary handout.