Maryland Nutrient Trading

Welcome to the Maryland Nutrient Trading Program . . .

Please Read This Notice before Using the Maryland Nutrient Trading Tool

Work to update the calculation tool has been completed as of 9:30 p.m., Monday, December 3, 2012. The latest version of the tool incorporates Chesapeake Bay Model 5.3.2 segments, edge of segment and delivery factors, and baselines. In addition, local TMDL tables have been updated with new baseline values and other requested modifications have been made. While most of the revisions are behind the scenes, the names of the Bay segments will change and the baseline numbers will be different from what has appeared in the past. All existing worksheets have been transferred to the new version and current users have been sent instructions for revising entries in order to confirm baseline compliance and re-calculate credit generation capacity. First-time users will not be affected. Any comments, questions, or requests for assistance should be directed to Susan Payne, Coordinator of Ecosystem Markets, at 410-841-5865 or

What is Nutrient Trading?

Nutrient trading is a form of exchange (buying & selling) of nutrient reduction credits. These credits have a monetary value that may be paid to the seller for installing Best Management Practices (BMPs) to reduce nitrogen or phosphorous. In general, water quality trading utilizes a market-based approach that allows one source to maintain its regulatory obligations by using pollution reductions created by another source. As a market-based approach, increased efficiency and cost-effectiveness are achieved by letting the market determine costs. To achieve a desired load reduction, trades can take place between point sources (usually wastewater treatment plants), between point and nonpoint sources (a wastewater treatment plant and a farming operation) or between nonpoint sources (such as agriculture and urban stormwater sites or systems).

Why is there a need for a Nutrient Trading Program?

Over the years, pollution levels in the Chesapeake Bay have been increasing. Chief among these pollutants are nutrients, nitrogen and phosphorus. Much has already been done to reduce these pollutants with the development of Maryland's Tributary Strategies, but more is still needed. Over the last 15 years, federal, state and local programs have been developed to assist in mitigating the impacts of pollutants in the Bay; however, the amount of public sector funding required to achieve the desired reductions has fallen short in meeting the goals of a clean Bay.
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What is Maryland's Trading Program?

Maryland’s Nutrient Trading Program is a public marketplace for the buying and selling of nutrient (nitrogen and phosphorous) credits. The purpose of the Program ranges from being able to offset new or increased discharges to establishing economic incentives for reductions from all sources within a watershed and achieving greater environmental benefits than through, existing regulatory programs. To facilitate trading, a web-based Calculation Tool, Marketplace and Trading Registry have been established. The Calculation Tool will assess credit generating capacity while the Market Place and Trading Registry will record approved credits and transactions and provide a means for the public to track the progress of Maryland's trading program.
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Learn more about Nutrient Trading here:


Office of Governor

View Nitrogen and Phosphorous Credits

Login to Market

Technical References & Guidelines

Farmers . . .


For more information about the nomination of the Maryland Nutrient Trading Program for the Growing Blue Award, see the press release put out by the Maryland Department of Agriculture.