Freshwater Trust forges new environmental markets
By Andy Giegerich
Digital Managing Editor
Joe Whitworth is the president of Freshwater Trust.
Joe Whitworth believes his Freshwater Trust nonprofit has cracked the proverbial code on building environmental markets.
His organization, which teams nonprofit and private business sources to back environmental causes, collected five contracts from ports and traditional funders who wanted compliance grade work done in the name of conservation.
Primarily, the Portland-based nonprofit scored $8 million from the city of Medford to ensure that the Rogue River meets Oregon Department of Environmental Quality temperature requirements.
Plus, Freshwater Trust procured $1.5 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to help create standardized procedures that allow water trading to occur between Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Northern California. The grant money will pay for staff at various agencies to build a water-trading foundation.
Also, in 2012, the group registered the first credits for compliance under the federal Clean Water Act.
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“This is the beginning of what will be a very significant evolution in conservation,” said Whitworth, Freshwater Trust’s president.
The Freshwater Trust attempts to use “cooperative, market-based solutions” to restore and clean rivers. Whitworth’s goal is to enhance aquatic habitats by working with local communities and businesses.
The group is exploring programs that would take its water quality trading strategies nationally.
In Medford, the trust will use the money to plant trees in strategic areas to keep the river cool and track and monitor the ecological impact of the restoration work using its StreamBank software.
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