Ecosystem Markets

When it comes to environmental matters, regulators, industry groups, businesses and entrepreneurs need not work at cross purposes. The rapid development of ecosystem service markets — such as wetland and species banking and water-quality trading — are a clear demonstration that parties often perceived as being in conflict can work together to achieve real conservation results.

Troutman Sanders has a deep understanding of how these markets work. Through our national experience and leadership, including spearheading the National Water Quality Trading Alliance and other leading-edge market consortiums, we are uniquely positioned to assist clients on all aspects of developing and working within effective market frameworks.

We have been particularly active in water-quality trading and offsets, conservation banks, and wetland and stream mitigation banks. We have been involved in a range of unique trading initiatives around the country, including trades within the Long Island Sound, a proposed trading framework for the Savannah Harbor, trading and offset projects within the Appalachian coalfields, and trading rules and policies in the Pacific Northwest, Iowa, Michigan, Virginia and Wisconsin. We have assisted clients on the establishment and sale of stream and wetland and species credits throughout the United States and have advocated on behalf of these clients on various policy matters effecting the mitigation banking industry before state legislatures and regulators and the U.S Army Corps of Engineers.

Representative Experience

  • Virginia Nutrient Trading Program: Our lawyers have been involved in Virginia’s nutrient trading program since its inception, helping develop the original enabling legislation, wasteload allocations and watershed general permitting framework. We were instrumental in establishing a non-point source credit trading platform in the commonwealth and we continue to actively advise nutrient bankers in the establishment and sale of credits within this market. Most notably, Troutman Sanders has worked on behalf of its clients to drive nutrient credit demand by securing the passage of creative legislative authorizing the use of non-point source nutrient credits for stormwater compliance. These changes have created a viable market opportunity for nutrient bankers in the state, while providing developers a compliance option that can be more cost effective and that does not consume the developers’ land area.
  • Ohio River Basin Water Quality Trading Program: We have been at the forefront of the development of the largest interstate water-quality trading program in the United States since its inception in 2009. We have provided advice and legal assistance on all phases of this innovative project, from program design to implementation.
  • National Water Quality Trading Alliance (NWQTA): Recognizing a need for collaboration and cooperation in the face of challenges and opportunities facing water-quality trading nationally, Troutman Sanders is currently leading a national alliance focused on accelerating the scope and pace of water-quality markets throughout the United States.
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