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Maryland State Government Maryland Department of the Environment

Maryland Water Quality Trading Advisory Committee (WQTAC)

The Maryland Water Quality Trading Advisory Committee acts as an ongoing consultative group to provide direction to the overall trading program and to oversee further enhancement of the trading infrastructure. Its first task will be to review and refine a comprehensive Maryland Trading Manual document. A series of four initial meetings is anticipated, with the goal of finalizing a manual document and identifying other necessary actions in the Spring of 2016.

Maryland Water Quality Trading

In recent years, Maryland Water Quality Trading has emerged as a promising strategy for bringing cost-effectiveness and market- driven efficiency to the achievement of nutrient reduction goals. Trading is an important element of Maryland’s approach for restoring the Bay by creating opportunities for the sectors facing the highest costs to meet a portion of their responsibilities by purchasing offsets or credits created by other sources.

The path forward on nutrient trading includes the issuance, with input from the Maryland Water Quality Trading Advisory Committee (WQTAC), of a policy manual and guidelines that would be used to initiate trades within Maryland. It also includes the adoption of regulations proposed by the Maryland Department of Agriculture establishing the requirements and standards for the generation, verification and certification of nutrient and sediment credits on agricultural lands.

The new trading program will provide expanded opportunities for all point and nonpoint sources by giving them access to the water quality marketplace and flexibility in meeting and maintaining their load limits by acquiring credits and/or offsets generated from load reductions elsewhere.

Maryland Water Quality Nutrient Trading Policy Statement

In October, the Maryland Departments of the Environment and Agriculture released the Maryland Water Quality Nutrient Trading Policy Statement in announcing that Maryland is pursuing new tools for faster, better restoration of the Chesapeake Bay. The Policy Statement is a road map for the development of cross­sector, water quality trading programs that use innovation, economies of scale and public­private partnerships to speed improvements to the Bay and local rivers and streams.

Draft Maryland Trading and Offset Policy and Guidance Manual

Maryland’s new comprehensive Draft Water Quality Trading Manual builds on the significant work of the Maryland Departments of the Environment (MDE) and Agriculture (MDA) with input of the stakeholder groups and committees to develop both point and nonpoint source trading policies and guidelines for the generation and acquisition of water quality credits. This new phase of the trading program and the draft manual, once adopted, will provide the framework for local governments and State and federal agencies with Municipal Separate Storm Sewer Systems permits (commonly known as MS4 permits) to engage in trading. The 2016 Draft Trading Manual describes policies and provides guidance to ensure transparency and accountability of all water quality credit exchanges.

WQTAC Membership

Maryland Water Quality Trading Advisory Committee members

  • Tom Ballentine, NAIOP Maryland Commercial Real Estate Development Association
  • Patty Bubar, Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection
  • Lynn Buhl, Maryland Department of the Environment
  • Jim Caldwell, Howard County Office of Community Sustainability
  • Valerie Connelly, Maryland Farm Bureau
  • Candace Donoho, Maryland Municipal League
  • Jim Edward, Chesapeake Bay Program Office
  • Brent Fewell, Earth and Water Group
  • Patricia Gleason, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Region 3
  • Terron Hillsman, U.S. Department of Agriculture/Natural Resources Conservation Service, Maryland Office
  • Mark Hoffman, Chesapeake Bay Commission
  • Matthew Holloway, Wicomico County Council, Clean Chesapeake Coalition
  • George Kelly, Resource Environmental Solutions
  • Les Knapp, Maryland Association of Counties
  • Stephen Lafferty, Maryland House of Delegates
  • Erik Michelsen, Anne Arundel County Department of Public Works
  • Thomas Middleton, Maryland State Senate
  • Shannon Moore, Frederick County Sustainability & Environmental Resources Office
  • Doug Myers, Chesapeake Bay Foundation
  • Dan Nees, University of Maryland Finance Center
  • Susan Payne, Maryland Department of Agriculture
  • Talmadge Petty, Maryland Agricultural Commission
  • Chris Pomeroy, AquaLaw, Maryland Association of Municipal Wastewater Agencies, Maryland Municipal Stormwater Association
  • Dusty Rood, Maryland State Builders Association
  • Mindy Selman, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Environmental Markets
  • Rob Shreeve, Maryland Department of Transportation, State Highway Administration
  • Phillip Stafford, Maryland Department of Natural Resources
  • Joe Tassone, Maryland Department of Planning
  • Lindsay Thompson, Maryland Association of Soil Conservation Districts, Maryland Grain Producers Association
  • Al Todd, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay
  • Lisa Wainger, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
  • Sara Walker, World Resources Institute

Meeting Schedule

Agenda/ Presentations/ Meeting Minutes

Meeting Minutes





Additional Information

March 20, 2017

December 12, 2016

November 17, 2016

October 17, 2016


October 5, 2016


September 22, 2016


May 19, 2016 - Draft WQTAC Meeting Documents




Additional Documents and Links

Contact Information and Public Comment

Marya Levelev

Bay Restoration
Water Management Administration
Maryland Department of the Environment
Phone: 410-537-3720


Susan Frick Payne

Program Coordinator
Ecosystem Markets
Maryland Department of Agriculture
50 Harry S. Truman Parkway
Annapolis, MD 21401
Phone: 410-841-5897


Kathy Stecker

Maryland Department of the Environment
Phone: 410-537-3864


Public Comment

MDE is committed to assuring public participation and stakeholder involvement in all the Department's activities through numerous programs that encourage public participation and public responsibility in order to achieve Maryland's public health and environmental protection goals.

The Water Quality Trading Advisory Committee is interested in hearing from you.

Please send an email to, or with your comments or recommendations.