Soil erosion, nutrient loss, and the runoff of pesticides and other contaminants from America’s vast agricultural land base are the leading causes of water quality impairment in the United States. More miles of rivers and acres of lakes are impaired by overland agricultural runoff than by “point” sources such as industrial facilities, municipal sewage plants, and point source runoff from municipal storm sewer systems.
Congress chose to address point source pollution under the Clean Water Act using a regulatory approach with mandatory and prescriptive standards and permits. Agricultural runoff pollution, on the other hand, is managed via a state-led approach that is largely voluntary (albeit financially incentivized).
States use a broad array of voluntary approaches that allow individuals to choose whether or how to follow a course of conduct that could reduce the negative impacts of agricultural runoff on water quality. In this webinar we’ll discuss types of voluntary approaches to agricultural water pollution reduction, particularly focusing on the current state of water quality trading and adaptive management frameworks.