Only six weeks into the New Year and it’s already shaping up to be a contentious one, at least for those in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed and in Florida’s Lake Okeechobee and the heart of the Everglades. We are referring to attempts in both cases to establish Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) to curtail new loadings of nitrogen, phosphorus and sediments into already severely stressed watersheds. Legal challenges to EPA’s proposed TMDL are under way in both the Chesapeake Bay and Florida. (For more information on these cases, see our news briefs in the Domestic Markets section below.) For those promoting and tracking the use of market-based mechanisms as tools for improving water quality (and ecosystem services in general), tougher regulations (in this case in the form of caps on new loadings into already impaired waters) usually boost demand for water quality credits and lead to a stronger, more robust marketplace. But what’s truly at stake in these two landmark cases goes to the heart of how the US will engage in the protection and restoration of the country’s water resources. In the words of one water quality expert in the Chesapeake Bay region, the odds of either side winning the lawsuit are about even. The outcome, either way, will have profound impacts on the water resources in these two iconic drainage basins; it’s a dramatic story which is being closely watched by water resource managers and policy makers across the country.
These challenges mirror our own “stresses on resources” as we at the EM-Water program are trying to survive a severe financial drought. Tightening government and donor budgets have hit us hard and just as our growth was taking off. We are at risk of shutting down if new resources are not identified by the end of March. It bears mentioning that Ecosystem Marketplace (a project of the non-profit, Forest Trends) brings vital, timely news about water markets and payments for watershed services directly to your in box—free of charge. Producing our newsletters and reports requires manpower and brainpower. Reader feedback tells us that you, our readers, value our work so we ask you to join us in keeping the information flowing, by making an annual donation of $150 (or more) to Ecosystem Marketplace. We’ll recognize your contribution as a “newsletter donor” along with a web link to your organization, which will circulate to all subscribers of W.E.T., in each issue for one year. We also invite you or your organization to become a sponsor of Ecosystem Marketplace. Click here for information about sponsorship and rates.
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Lastly, on a much lighter note, the editors at EM were recently informed by Lexis-Nexis that our blog EKO-ECO.com has been nominated as one of the candidates for the LexisNexis Top 50 Environmental Law & Climate Change Blogs for 2011. Lexis has asked for comments from our readers. If you'd like to support our nomination, please leave a comment at this link.
— The Ecosystem Marketplace Team
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