Innovations in Market-Based Watershed Conservation in the United States: Payments for Watershed Services for Agricultural and Forest Landowners

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New innovations in payments for watershed services (PWS) have emerged in the past decade and are pointing the way toward watershed protection approaches that might effectively complement existing government conservation programs and incentives for rural landowners. The purpose of this study was to survey these new or emerging PWS project models to understand their scale, characteristics, and future potential. To do so, we surveyed conservation professionals, experts, and others across the country to identify and characterize a range of PWS projects and programs in which municipalities, other local government entities, non-profit organizations, private companies, and individuals are buyers of ecosystem services.

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