Developing a Process to Quantify and Facilitate Water Withdrawal Driven Ecosystem Improvements
The team developed several tools in order to identify resource improvements from changes in land and water uses, and to register those ecosystem improvements in a standardized way. One of these tools is a “quality gallon” accounting system, which can develop guidelines and performance standards for quantifying and verifying the improvements resulting from changing water and land use management practices. The “quality gallon” measurement could be used to implement flow regime-based ecosystem improvements in the communities where the team worked—the Menomonee River watershed near Milwaukee, WI and the Rouge River watershed in southeast Michigan.
The team then identified what legal, financial, and insurance mechanisms would be required to support future trading or sales of improvement credits to those interested in securing increased water withdrawals from the Great Lakes basin. Team members also created example ecosystem improvement transaction contracts for a biorentention easement, a performance zoning resolution, and a rain garden maintenance agreement.