For decades conservation organizations and watershed stewardship groups have worked to circumscribe environmental flow requirements to sustain healthy ecosystems, endangered populations, and social and cultural needs in watersheds. We draw on lessons learned from this body of work to develop robust environmental allocations under the umbrella of shares-based water market systems. Our session will articulate unexplored opportunities of such a system, the data and modeling needs for determining baseline and future conditions, the specific needs when endangered species or other regulatory processes are invoked, and how this approach may need to vary as it is transferred to different locations – across state lines, to eastern water, and to other countries.
This session will provide background on the shares based water market approach that is gaining interest and present a draft framework developed by academic researchers, the US Fish and Wildlife Services and the Nature Conservancy for prescribing and sustaining a share for the environment within the market. We will convene a group of academic experts, practitioners and regulators to develop an ecological allocation framework that could be applied to solve real world problems.