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Ohio River Basin Demonstration Project
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How the Pilot Trades Will Work: Generating and Transacting Credits

Farm in OhioTaken from Pilot Trading Plan 1.0 for the Ohio River Basin Interstate Water Quality Trading Project (available on the EPRI project website).

Credit Generation Steps

The steps below summarize the process that will be used to generate agricultural credits during the Pilot.

  • The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) enters into agreements with relevant State Agencies and State Agencies enter into agreements with Soil and Water Conservation Districts (SWCDs).
  • SWCDs conduct outreach with landowners to secure their participation. 
  • SWCDs review BMP projects for eligibility, size, and value, and then make recommendations to EPRI. EPRI selects and approves BMP projects to receive funding. 

Note: EPRI intends to use its available resources to select a range of different practices from a range of different counties and subwatersheds in each of the participating ORB states, so that it gains maximum knowledge and understanding from the Pilot. 

  • SWCDs enter into agreements with selected landowners.

Note: We anticipate that the payment to landowners for implementation of BMPs will be approximately 75% of the costs established by the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (“NRCS”) practice payment schedule.*  Payments may vary depending on the priorities and resources of the Project. 

  • Landowners implement BMPs with technical support and oversight from SWCDs.
  • State Agencies serve as verifiers to monitor, inspect, and verify BMPs.
  • SWCDs register BMPs and associated credits using credit registration and tracking system.
  • Verifiers conduct annual monitoring, inspection, and verification of BMPs.

Credit Transaction Steps

The steps below summarize the process that will be used by EPRI to transact credits during the Pilot

  • Register Point of Generation credits using credit registration and tracking system.
  • Set aside, at a minimum, 10% of total credit pool for reserve / assurance, as provided in Section 13 of the Plan. Retire or donate, at a minimum, an additional 10% of the total credit pool to provide additional conservation benefits for the ORB.
  • Post remaining credits for sale.
  • Buyers submit purchase requests.
  • For any credits that are sold, apply trading equation to account for watershed-specific nutrient attenuation between the point of credit generation (defined as the HUC-10 that encompasses the relevant BMPs) and the point of use to determine Point of Use Credits.  Attenuation factors will be estimated using the WARMF model, as described in Section 8 of the Plan. 
  • Credits are transacted.
  • Unused credits are donated for conservation benefit.
  • EPRI will use revenues from credit transactions to support adaptive implementation of the Pilot, including funding for additional credit generation activities and long-term management of the Project.

*Conservation practice costs can be obtained from the County Field Office Technical Guide, within Section 1, General References. The project will use conservation practice costs calculated for the USDA NRCS EQIP program.  See http://www.nrcs.usda.gov/wps/portal/nrcs/main/national/technical/fotg. (Last accessed July 9, 2012).


American Farmland Trust