Erie P Market: Project Archive

Dec 2018 | Library, Project Archives, Water Quality

This project has ended. Archived project materials are available below.

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. In December 2017, representatives from environmental and agricultural agencies in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana signed a Memorandum of Understanding signaling their agreement to use the Erie P Market Framework as a guide for future efforts to catalyze water quality trading when determining who is eligible to trade, where and when trading can occur, trade ratios to buffer against uncertainty, and the process for verifying conservation practices are working to improve water quality . The province of Ontario also participated in the project as an observer.

Learn More about Erie P Market

The Erie P Market was first envisioned as a cost-effective way for National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permittees operating under phosphorus limits to achieve regulatory compliance. When the project’s Demand Analysis revealed a current lack of compliance drivers (a problem commonly experienced by other water quality trading markets nationwide), interest shifted to potential buyers in a “stewardship” credit market. Accommodating both compliance and stewardship markets within Erie P Market opened the market to more diverse buyers, including private sector entities and anyone interested in advancing personal or organizational sustainability goals.

In December 2017, representatives from environmental and agricultural agencies in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana agreed to use the Framework to guide the generation and sale of phosphorus credits with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding. The province of Ontario also participated in the project as an observer. In June 2018, the first two contracts were signed for an Erie P Market stewardship trade in Fulton County, Ohio, and in August 2018, a third contract was executed with a producer in Lenawee County, Michigan. Conservation practices were installed over the summer and fall of 2018 on 536 acres of agricultural land. Through a filter strip, two grassed waterways, cover crops, and no-till farming, 1,156 pounds of total phosphorus will be prevented from entering surface waterways over the five-year contract period. Despite the change in project direction and limited resources available for marketing to a general public audience, five stewardship credits were sold at a price of $30 per credit/pound of total phosphorus to three separate buyers before the project funding period came to a close in December 2018.

The Erie P Market captured the attention of partners interested in using environmental markets as a tool to help heal Lake Erie from excessive nutrient loads, as well as those who see its potential to connect urban areas with upstream neighbors in agriculture. With additional funding, the GLC team and partners hope to apply the lessons learned from the Erie P Market to the entire binational Great Lakes basin.

Erie P Market Work Products

Erie P Market Framework & Signed Memorandum of Understanding

Framework Appendices

Technical Documents and Reports

Additional Materials for Potential Buyers & Sellers

Links to Other Water Quality Trading Programs


*The products on this page were developed based upon work supported by the Natural Resource Conservation Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under number 69-3A75-16-035. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in these publications and other products are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

For More Information

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