The Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Choose Clean Water Coalition (which is comprised of 225 environmental organizations throughout the entire Chesapeake Bay watershed) felt that they had consensus on the use of nutrient trading as a viable tool to help meet the nutrient and sediment runoff goals as outlined by the U.S. EPA’s bay wide TMDL. They were wrong.
Last month, two “liberal” environmental watchdog groups filed lawsuits “seeking to erase one of the plan’s key programs — nutrient trading.” Earthjustice and Food and Water Watch now join the American Farm Bureau and the National Association of Home Builders in opposing the EPA’s initiative to clean up the Bay. Albeit for different reason, but none-the-less the lawsuits will, at least, certainly slow the clean up process down.
The watchdog groups contend that nutrient trading cannot be monitored for effectiveness. The Bay Foundation and members of the Clean Water Coalition contend that the monitoring of nutrients and sediments in each of the watersheds should suffice for monitoring their effectiveness. If there is improvement over time, they are working. If there isn’t improvement, then the system is not. Sounds pretty simple, right?
Please weigh in with your thoughts, and possible experiences with nutrient trading. Is this a viable tool to get agricultural and rural landowners the necessary funding to implement water quality programs? Does nutrient trading ensure that urban and suburban areas can continue to experience economic growth, while programs in other parts of the watershed are cleaning up the Bay? Do you believe this is an effective tool, or not? We want to hear from you!
For more information on the conflict go to:
Author Doug Pickford of Trout Headwaters, Inc. (THI), an environmental planner with 20 years of experience in the Chesapeake Bay area, follows events in the bay watershed as the tide turns from voluntary to mandatory for bay cleanup regulations and protections. Doug’s blog series for THI will document what is likely the largest and most significant watershed clean up effort in the history of the U.S., and offer his insights into some practical ways to assist the health of this magnificent natural resource