Incentives for Nutrient Management


This CLEAN Center’s integrated approach includes multiple projects that together present a systems approach to address nutrient management in the United States. Projects 1 through 4 focus on nutrient removal and recovery solutions in wastewater, urban stormwater, cropland, animal feeding operations, and riparian sectors. This project aims to understand socioeconomic factors and policies that help or hinder adoption of sustainable nutrient controls. Incentives among the private and public sectors are evaluated for effectiveness. Farmers need production but the public requires policies to balance farmer’s needs with nutrient impacts. Similar examples apply to stormwater and wastewater management. This project will help construct simple, pragmatic, and context-appropriate plans for nutrient trading in the demonstration watersheds, the Jordan Lake Watershed in North Carolina and the South Platte River Basin in Colorado.

The most important impact of this project will be to integrate lessons that can be learned from decades of study about institutional arrangements and incentives into other Center projects, thereby creating comprehensive solutions based on the whole system. Specifically, knowledge about positive and negative incentives for stakeholders and institutional constraints will allow the Center to develop more realistic and appropriate solutions. Commensurable sustainability indicators such as social viability, economic feasibility, and shared responsibility will also be developed and assessed for nutrient control in urban and agricultural sectors in accordance with the findings of the other Center projects.


The objectives of this project are to:

Identify and quantify effective incentives for adoption of sustainable nutrient management solutions in utilities, crop production agriculture, livestock operations, public works agencies, and by other stakeholders.

Build context-appropriate approaches for nutrient credit trading programs in each pilot watershed for each center activity.

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Dana Hoag
Neil Grigg