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Overview of the Alliance’s Mission and Goals

The National Water Quality Trading Alliance seeks to advance the science, law and policy underlying water quality trading (WQT) and to develop and enhance related market opportunities, while serving as a practical resource for WQT managers and practitioners.

Our goals are to enhance and promote informed communication, coordination, certainty and comfort in the application of WQT at all levels.  We intend to achieve these goals by supporting comprehensive and coherent government rules and policies on trading; promoting the development of existing state and regional trading markets and the establishment of new markets; providing a platform to advance the science and ecological effectiveness of WQT; and serving as a catalyst and champion for the new strategic partnership between EPA and USDA.

Membership Benefits

The Alliance will provide the following core areas of service and leadership to its members: 

  • Monitor, report on, and provide incisive commentary regarding federal and state WQT developments;
  • Maintain high-level, ongoing dialogue with EPA, USDA and key state partners on WQT, involve members in this dialogue, and provide regular updates on developments, trends and issues;
  • Manage and provide access to a repository of WQT information (i.e., federal and state trading laws and policies, key project documents, lawsuits and decisions);
  • Host an annual meeting of members; and
  • Provide an annual report on the state of WQT in the U.S.

In addition to these core benefits, the Alliance may pursue additional opportunities and needs, such as developing model state trading legislation and/or regulation, providing testimony to Congress or commenting on federal or state rules, at the direction of members in the “advocacy” tier (as described below)

Committee Structure

We anticipate forming the following member committees to target key areas of our mission and goals:

  • Private Market Development:  Private investment is critical to the success and sustainability of any environmental market, thus the Alliance’s efforts will be appropriately informed and directed by the perspectives of its members who participate in WQT markets as credit buyers and sellers.

  • Rule of Law:  Approximately 13 states have trading laws and policies in place; others are still evaluating demand and need.  The Alliance will monitor state trading developments, as well as those at the federal level, with a dual goal of (a) promoting consistent and defensible approaches, and (b) leveling the “learning curve” from state to state by sharing the broad and diverse perspectives of its members.  The Alliance will also focus its attention on overcoming administrative impediments to WQT (for example, where a state has a strong WQT law or policy in place but agency staff at the state or local level do not have the background, skills, training or comfort to apply the law or policy in practice). 

  • Communication and Outreach:  By fostering communication and collaboration – both internally among a diverse membership of WQT practitioners and externally with key policymakers and interested stakeholders – the Alliance will allow its members to identify and overcome WQT-related challenges and engage in WQT-related opportunities more effectively.

  • Science Policy:  The Alliance will seek to encourage greater private investment in, and public approval of, WQT markets by working in concert with federal and state agencies and other organizations to advance the scientific record and rationale for WQT.

Tiered Membership

The Alliance values the diverse perspectives and interests of its members.  Toward this end, the Alliance welcomes participation from all stakeholders that share the Alliance’ mission and goals, including market entrepreneurs, managers and participants, federal and state agencies, local clean water agencies, industries, agriculture and forestry, NGOs, financial institutions, WQT consultants, and other interested stakeholders.

To accommodate a diverse membership, the Alliance will offer the following tiered memberships, in addition to full Voting Member: 

  1. Advisor:  This tier is designed for the Alliance’s federal and state agency partners as well as other organizations who are limited in their ability to participate in lobbying or policymaking efforts.
  2. Subscriber:  This tier is designed to allow for limited access to the Alliance’s informational resources.


Click here for membership "Bylaws."

If you have questions about membership, please contact

Shannon R.  Varner