Ohio River Basin Water Quality Trading Pilot Project – first trading begins March 11, 2014

In August 2012, Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio became participants in the Ohio River Basin (ORB) Water Quality Trading Pilot Project, sponsored by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI). On March 11, 2014, EPRI hosted a Stewardship Credit Transaction Event at which the first water quality credits were transferred, and program specifics were presented and discussed by federal and state agencies, the electric utility that purchased the stewardship credits, as well as participating farmers and soil and water conservation districts.

The Kentucky Division of Water has collaborated with state partners in Ohio and Indiana to develop a consensus approach to the possible use of credits in a future permitting scenario. The Trading Pilot could potentially benefit the Commonwealth by providing additional methods for reducing nutrient loading.

The first regional/interstate water quality trading program of its kind, the goal of the project is to reduce the amount of total nitrogen and phosphorus released into the ORB watershed by calculating nutrient credits to agricultural conservation and best management practices that can be traded with power companies and other permitted facilities. In light of the nutrient impairment in the ORB, this project will reduce nutrient loading. Project benefits also include funding for additional conservation practices, and developing a robust tracking registry for nutrient trading.

The pilot will continue through 2015 under EPRI’s leadership and is expected to demonstrate a self-sustaining credit market that achieve improved water quality at a faster rate and reduced cost, as well as improve the agricultural economy.

For more information on the premier Stewardship Credit Transaction Event, contact Larry Taylor of the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection, by email at LarryC.Taylor@ky.gov or call (502) 564-2150.