Scaling Up Payment for Watershed Services Programs In the Upper Neuse River Basin: A Feasibility Analysis and Guidance Framework
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The Falls Lake Reservoir in the Upper Neuse River Basin (UNRB) of North Carolina is currently classified as “impaired,” meaning that it fails to meet state water quality standards for its designated use for aquatic life. To retain its designated use and come into compliance with the Clean Water Act, the Falls Lake Rules stipulate specific goals for nitrogen and phosphorus load reductions in the watershed. Payments for Watershed Services (PWS) could provide a cost- and environmentally-effective approach to meeting the Falls Lake Rules goals. We examine successful PWS case studies across the United States to assess the feasibility of scaling up current PWS programs in the UNRB. We compile the relevant attributes, experiences, and lessons learned from these case studies to determine 1) the UNRB’s general state of “readiness” for scaling up PWS programs in the basin, 2) which case studies can serve as model programs for the UNRB, 3) what a basin-wide PWS program might look like and steps UNRB stakeholders can take to better ready themselves for such a program, and 4) potential challenges, limitations, and benefits of basin-wide PWS program implementation. Results from this study suggest that the UNRB is well-positioned for scaling up a payment for watershed services program, as the basin already satisfies many of the designated preconditions for success. We provide five actionable recommendations for UNRB stakeholders and offer a guidance framework for program design and implementation moving forward.
DepartmentNicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences
Subjectpayment for watershed services
Upper Neuse River Basin
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Rights for Collection: Nicholas School of the Environment