Conservation Kick and Environmental Markets


The Great Lakes Commission launched Conservation Kick in March 2020 to create a water quality marketplace for the Great Lakes Basin. Building on the pioneering vision of the Great Lakes Basin Compact to efficiently and responsibly develop, use and conserve the water resources of the Basin, Conservation Kick aims to keep soil and nutrients out of the Great Lakes and protect drinking water by allowing utilities, industries and businesses, nonprofit organizations and concerned citizens to invest in water quality credits.

Over the past decade the Great Lakes Commission has designed and led watershed-scale water quality trading efforts in Wisconsin’s Fox River Basin and the Western Lake Erie Basin. Conservation Kick takes lessons learned from these efforts to catalyze water quality trading across the Great Lakes Basin. Conservation Kick will expand the universe of credit buyers and reduce the transaction costs that often present a barrier to entry in traditional water quality trading markets.

Conservation Kick is supported by Great Lakes Restoration Initiative funding administered by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Past Projects

Erie P Market

From 2016 to 2018, the Great Lakes Commission developed and piloted the Erie P Market to address the excessive runoff of pollution from agricultural land that contributes to the formation of algal blooms and dead zones in the Great Lakes. The project was designed to test water quality trading and stewardship crediting as nutrient reduction tools capable of crossing state and provincial boundaries in the Western Lake Erie Basin.  Click here to learn more about Erie P Market.

Fox P Trade

From 2013 to 2016, in partnership with the Fox-Wolf Watershed Alliance, U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service, and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the Great Lakes Commission developed and piloted the Fox P Trade program with funding from a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant. This project was designed to alleviate high nutrient levels and algal blooms in Wisconsin’s Lower Fox River Watershed by establishing a water quality trading market.  Click here to learn more about Fox P Trade.

For More Information

Nicole Zacharda
Program Manager • Great Lakes Commission
[email protected]

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