Home > Informational > Innovations in Market-Based Watershed Conservation in the United States: Payments for Watershed Services for Agricultural and Forest Landowners

Innovations in Market-Based Watershed Conservation in the United States: Payments for Watershed Services for Agricultural and Forest Landowners

EcoAgriculture Partners is pleased to announce the release of a new study, Innovations in Market-Based Watershed Conservation in the United States: Payments for Watershed Services for Agricultural and Forest Landowners. We would like to extend our appreciation for your input and support for this project, and share with you the findings.

 This study is the culmination of a broad survey of innovative payments for watershed services (PWS) activities in the United States designed to examine the current state of PWS and its future potential to improve the way that conservation and rural land stewardship take place in this country. The study describes a highly diverse set of 32 PWS projects from around the country, including public drinking water protection efforts, watershed-friendly certification labels, and “landscape auctions” that secure cost-effective watershed protection services through projects proposed by landowners.

 The study focused on PWS in which municipal, private, and philanthropic organizations purchased ecosystem services from private farm and forest landowners. While the scale of such PWS remains small relative to established conservation mechanisms, such as conservation easements and Farm Bill programs, the diversity of cases suggests that these new PWS models could have wide applicability and significant potential for scaling up. Expanding the use of PWS as an effective watershed conservation approach will require identifying and securing appropriate buyers, developing cost-effective land management and monitoring practices, and engaging landowners and local organizations in project design and implementation.

 Innovations in Market-Based Watershed Conservation was supported by the U.S. Endowment for Forestry and Communities, Inc., and the USDA Office of Environmental Markets. The full study is available for download on our website. Further details on each of the 32 PWS projects are available at the Conservation Registry, an online repository of conservation projects in the United States. The USDA has also posted about the project on their blog.

Categories: Informational
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