Water Quality Trading

Traditional philanthropy and government agency dollars have done a lot to restore our rivers and streams over the last 40 years. But existing funding mechanisms are just not enough. We are applying “millions of dollars” to a “billions of dollars” problem.

While we must figure out how to better spend traditional funding, we must also drive new conservation investment by converting conservation spending on facility improvements, with little environmental benefit, to restoration actions with better ecosystem response. Water quality trading is a means to that end.

Using Water Quality Trading To Fix Rivers

The Freshwater Trust has worked with Willamette Partnership and numerous other organizations to build scientific standards that quantify the ecosystem services nature provides into “units of uplift”—credits that can be traded and purchased by wastewater treatment facilities, power plants and other facilities to meet regulatory compliance, and for developers to mitigate their negative environmental impacts.

Even philanthropists and grant makers can buy credits from completed projects as an alternative to traditional grant making, to better meet missions and mandates. In all cases, the credits are generated through restoration actions that quantitatively improve overall freshwater health—the end result we seek at The Freshwater Trust.