Trading pollution “credits” has proved to be a successful way to cost effectively reduce pollution in various places around the country, and interest is growing in the Bay region for establishing a trading program as part of nutrient control efforts.

The idea is that by establishing a “market” that allows trading credits, people or facilities who achieve more nutrient reductions than they would normally be asked to do could take the extra reductions and sell them as credits to others.

For more than a year, the Bay Program has sponsored a negotiation team representing different interests in the watershed that discussed key issues for a nutrient trading program in the Chesapeake watershed. For example, they agreed, any trade could not produce any water quality impacts that would cause a violation of water quality standards or harm habitat.

Based on the team’s work, the Bay Program is producing a draft Nutrient Trading Guidelines Document that will be available for public review this fall.

In addition, a series of public workshops are planned to provide information about trading and to gather comments on the guidelines document.

While details are still being worked out, workshops are planned for:


  • Bridgewater, Sept. 26.
  • Manassas, Sept. 28.
  • Richmond Oct. 3.

Contact: Roy Hoagland, Chesapeake Bay Foundation, 804-780-1392, or Waldon Kearns, Virginia Tech at 540-231-5995


  • Williamsport, Sept. 28.
  • Harrisburg, Oct. 5.
  • Wilkes-Barre Sept. 26.

Contact Stu Gansell, Department of Environmental Protection, 717-783-7420


  • Laurel, Sept. 26.
  • Hagerstown, Sept. 27.
  • Eastern Shore, Sept. 29.

Contact Virginia Kearney, Maryland Department of the Environment, 410-631-3574.

For copies of the draft guidelines document, contact July Trask at the Chesapeake Bay Program Office, 410-267-5753.