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Publications and Reports » Details

Innovations in Market-Based Watershed Conservation in the United States

Payments for Watershed Services for Agricultural and Forest Landowners


Terhi Majanen, Rachel Friedman, Jeffrey C. Milder - EcoAgriculture Partners






Water is crucial for many human needs, yet water resources in the United States face unprecedented threats from pollution, urbanization, aquifer depletion, and many other challenges. A variety of programs and incentives has been developed to foster watershed stewardship on private agricultural and forest lands. One such approach is payments for watershed services (PWS). This voluntary, market-based mechanism offers cash payments or other benefits to landowners in exchange for providing “watershed services” through the adoption of specific agricultural, forestry, or land management practices. For instance, landowners may manage water quantity through practices that recharge aquifers, store flood waters, or control the timing and amount of water withdrawals, or they may manage water quality through erosion control or pollution attenuation measures. This study surveyed new or emerging PWS project models in order to understand their scale, characteristics, and future potential. Findings from the survey are examined in the report. Further details on each of the PWS projects identified are available at the Conservation Registry, an online repository of conservation projects in the United States.


Document Stats:

Release Date: June 2011
File Type: PDF [PDF]
File Size: 1003 KB


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