Maryland Nutrient Trading

Welcome to the Maryland Nutrient Trading Program . . .

Rescheduled Healthy Soils Workshops and $100,000 Grant Opportunity

The Adaptation and Response Work Group of the Maryland Commission on Climate Change has rescheduled the regional workshops focusing on soil science and soil health that were cancelled in March because of the blizzard. The new dates for the workshops are April 21 at Chesapeake College in Wye Mills and April 26 at Frederick Community College in Frederick. The workshops also include a presentation on the guidelines and application process for a $100,000 Innovative Technology grant that will be awarded for projects dealing with the integration of nutrient reductions with climate change adaptation. Click here to view the event flyer with more details and the agenda.

The Maryland Water Quality Trading Advisory Committee to Meet on May 1

The next meeting of the Trading Advisory Committee will be held on Monday, May 1, from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m., at the Maryland Department of the Environment’s headquarters, 1800 Washington Boulevard, Baltimore, MD. The Committee acts as an ongoing consultative group to provide direction to the overall trading program and oversee further enhancement of the trading infrastructure.

Rescheduled Trainings in Use of Online Calculation Tool (MNTT) May 9 in Frederick and May 12 in Wye Mills

The training sessions that were cancelled in March will now be held on Tuesday, May 9, from 9:00 a.m. to noon. at Frederick Community College in Frederick, Maryland, and Friday, May 12, from 9:00 a.m. to noon at Chesapeake College in Wye Mills, Maryland. MDA has just completed a re-calibration of the MNTT to reflect the updated APEX model and some changes in the way grazing rotations are entered in the tool. Individuals who would like to learn how to use the calculation tool, as well as those who would like to become or remain Certified Verifiers under the education requirement for both programs, can gain the necessary proficiency (and credits) in the use of the MNTT by attending one of two training sessions.

Participants should bring a current Nutrient Management Plan, and updated Soil Conservation and Water Quality Plan, and if applicable, a Waste Storage Management Plan for the property to entered into the calculation tool (note that these documents are confidential and will require permission from the farmer or landowner to use them). Those without access to these materials will be provided with inputs for a fictional farm so that they can learn how the tool works. Everyone planning to participate in the workshops will need to have an online account established in advance of the training dates. Accounts can be opened by going to the trading website,, clicking on the "Login to CBNTT," and following the instructions found there.

The workshops are open to Soil Conservation District personnel, farmers, landowners, and others with an interest in one or both programs. Space is limited to twenty participants so those who would like to attend should contact Susan Payne, MDA's Coordinator of the Ecosystem Markets and Certainty Programs, at ASAP but no later than Friday, May 5. More information and directions will be forwarded in advance of the workshops.

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 CBNTT
Login to Market (Under Construction)

Technical References & Guidelines

What's New

National Network on Water Quality Trading

The Maryland Department of Agriculture is a member of the National Network on Water Quality Trading. In June 2015, that group published a comprehensive reference providing the essential tools for new and evolving water quality trading programs. “Building a Water Quality Trading Program: Options and Considerations” identifies common trading issues and the options, considerations, and examples important to building a trading program. It captures several decades of experience in trading programs and is the product of a dialogue between National Network participants who represent agriculture, wastewater utilities, environmental groups, regulatory agencies, and practitioners. To learn more about the National Network and its activities, go to; to download the full publication, go to


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