The Willamette Partnership is a non-profit coalition of diverse leaders with a mission to increase the pace, scope, and effectiveness of restoration. At Willamette Partnership, we believe that naturally functioning ecosystems form the cornerstone of livable communities and productive, sustainable economies. We work at the interface of policy and science through diverse partnerships to shift the way people think about, value, manage, regulate, and invest in ecosystems. The approaches we use and tools we build enable others to deliver higher quality conservation, more quickly, and at larger scales.
In 2008 we launched the Counting on the Environment project, a stakeholder process for setting up ecosystem credit markets. In 2009 we achieved agreement from twenty-five stakeholders including conservation organizations, bankers, and academics as well as all the federal, state, and local natural resource agencies necessary to pilot a multi-credit market in Oregon. Credits for pilot restoration projects are now being calculated, verified, registered, and tracked through an Ecosystem Credit Accounting System developed through a grant from the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
The Ecosystem Credit Accounting System is a package of tools, protocols, and documentation for a transparent and credible ecosystem credit market. Currently, metrics have been developed and approved for calculating credits based on ecosystem functions for wetlands, upland prairie habitat, oak woodland habitat, salmon habitat, and water quality (for temperature, nitrates, phosphates, and sediment). Metrics are being developed for floodplain habitat, sagebrush habitat, and instream flow so that land owners and bankers will have a larger portfolio of potential credits generated from a restoration project.
As markets take off, the Willamette Partnership is acting as a regional coordinator for the Pacific Northwest, sharing market infrastructure and their experiences from administering the multi-credit market in the Willamette Basin.