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News Release

NRCS Offers Funding for Water Quality Credit Trading Projects

Dee Carlson, Water Quality Specialist
(208) 685-6985

For More Information:
Alexis Collins, Public Affairs Specialist - 208.685.6978

Boise, ID, January 27, 2012 -- USDA's Natural Resources Conservation Service is providing up to $10 million nationwide in Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) for projects to enhance the effectiveness of water quality credit training.  Proposals for projects are due March 2, 2012.

“Water quality credit training is a market-based approach to lowering pollution reduction costs, said Jeff Burwell, Idaho NRCS State Conservationist.  "Credit trading may connect more farmers and ranchers to water quality improvement efforts when they benefit by applying certain conservation practices on their land."

Through water quality credit training, a producer who implements conservation practices to reduce water quality pollutants can also benefit by generating water quality market credits.  These credits could be sold in an open market, which would reduce the costs of implementing and maintaining the conservation practices.

"The program goal is to support cooperating entities that want to design and launch water quality credit trading markets.  We're looking for projects that demonstrate that trading markets are a cost-effective way to improve water quality and agricultural producers are critical to the function of these markets," Burwell said.

CIG funds will be awarded through a competitive grants process.  To compete for the national funds, proposals should:

  • Support the completion of state water quality market rules and infrastructure needed to carry out water quality trading between point and non-point sources;
  • Deploy and test tools and metrics needed for crediting and verifying the effectiveness of conservation practices on agricultural lands;
  • Establish certification, registry and reporting systems; and
  • Educate and reach out to agriculture and other sectors.

At least 50 percent of the total cost of CIG projects must come from non-Federal matching funds, including cash and in-kind contributions provided by the grant recipient.  Projects must involve producers who are eligible for the NRCS Environmental Quality Incentives Program.

To view the complete Announcement of Program Funding go to ; to apply electronically, visit or contact a local NRCS office.



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