Water Restoration Certificates™: Building a Bridge Between Urban Water Users and Flow Restoration Needs in the Rural West
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|Title||Water Restoration Certificates™: Building a Bridge Between Urban Water Users and Flow Restoration Needs in the Rural West|
|Date Issued||2011-05-24 (iso8601)|
|Note||Presented at The Oregon Water Conference, May 24-25, 2011, Corvallis, OR.|
|Abstract||Across Oregon and other PNW states thousands of miles of rivers, streams and adjacent wetlands are chronically de-watered as a result of over-appropriated water rights. In Montana alone, chronic or periodic de-watering occurs in over 4,000 miles of streams across 381 different river or stream systems. The ecological harm resulting from this hydrologic modification is manifold. In many locations throughout the West, chronic low flows exacerbate water quality; severely restrict the movement and productivity of fisheries and wildlife populations; reduce the vigor and function of riparian communities; and limit human recreational opportunities.
In 2008 the Bonneville Environmental Foundation (BEF) began exploring the potential for a market-based approach to support voluntary, incentive-based flow restoration efforts. The result is BEF's Water Restoration Certificate™ Program - the first nationally marketed, voluntary environmental flow restoration program. The WRC program is built on the premise that private enterprise and the voluntary market can solve large-scale environmental challenges when society is empowered to both understand and directly address those challenges. WRCs offer an innovative, market-based solution that allows companies and individuals to take responsibility for their water use by restoring to the environment an amount of water equal their own consumptive use of water.
This presentation will showcase BEF’s WRC Program and will elaborate on: the challenges and potential of voluntary, incentive-based programs; instream flow as an important expansion opportunity for ecosystem services; and how potential financial gains may be used to reinforce long-term ecosystem restoration activities.
|Topic||Flow restoration incentives|