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Chesapeake Bay Regional Water Quality Trading Program

Executive Order 13508

In May 2010 the Federal Government adopted the Strategy for Protecting and Restoring the Chesapeake Bay Watershedexternal site as directed by Executive Order 13508. The Executive Order Strategy identified environmental markets (for carbon sequestration, water quality, wetlands, and wildlife habitat) as an emerging, innovative tool for accelerating restoration of the Chesapeake Bay and its watershed. While still in their infancy, environmental markets show promise for encouraging innovation and investment in conservation, improving accountability, reducing the costs of restoration, and expanding opportunities for landowners. The Strategy called on USDA and other federal agencies to help develop the infrastructure for environmental markets in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

Intergovernmental Environmental Markets Team

OEM chairs the Chesapeake Bay Environmental Markets Team (CB EMT), a unique collaboration of over 12 different federal agencies working to enable environmental markets to function effectively in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed. The group also works to develop guidance and remove barriers to establishing markets for water quality and other ecosystem services. The CB EMT supports the missions of individual regulatory agencies as well as those encouraging voluntary conservation.

The CB EMT adopted the Charter for Federal Cooperation on Environmental Markets in 2010 to guide its work in response to the Executive Order Strategy.

Water Quality Markets

The Chesapeake Bay Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) completed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in December 2010 provides a driver for water quality credit trading as pollution is capped, new sources are offset, and current sources are reduced.

The CB EMT developed a discussion paper examining some of the issues and considerations regarding eligibility requirements for landowners, verification of environmental credits, and a report out of a recent environmental credit registry workshop.

Building a Multistate Trading Platform

The World Resources Institute (WRI) received a Conservation Innovation Grant in 2010 to develop a common platform to support water quality trading for agricultural participants in the Chesapeake Bay watershed. The platform will include a credit registry, interactive farm mapping, a profit calculator, and a calculation tool for estimating on-farm nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment losses as well as carbon sequestration rates. OEM is working closely with WRI, NRCS, and Bay tributary states on this project. Visit NutrientNetexternal site for more information.


PSU: Economics of Trading in the Bay

EPA: Chesapeake Bay TMDLexternal site

The Chesapeake Bay TMDL, MD's WIP and MD's 2012-2013 Milestone Goalsexternal site

Nutrient Credit Trading for the Chesapeake Bay: An Economic Studyexternal site

Comparison Tables of State Nutrient Trading Programs in the Chesapeake Bay Watershedexternal site

Trading Nutrient Reductions from Nonpoint Source Best Management Practices in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed: Guidance for Agricultural Landowners and Your Potential Trading Partners

Virginia Tech: Transaction costs of nonpoint source water quality credits: Implications for trading programs in the Chesapeake Bay watershed

WRI: Administrative and Transaction Costs of Nutrient Trading Programs in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed

WRI: Comparison and Effectiveness of Chesapeake Bay Nutrient Trading Program Policies

State Programs

Chesapeake Bay Programexternal site

Chesapeake Bay Watershed Program: NY and the Chesapeake Bayexternal site

Pennsylvania’s Chesapeake Bay Programexternal site

Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay Programexternal site

West Virginia Potomac Water Quality Bank and Trade Programexternal site

Delaware's Chesapeake Bay Watershed Implementation Planexternal site

Maryland Nutrient Trading Program