TitleInnovation in Outcomes-Based Water Quality Policy: A Case Study from the Yahara Watershed, Wisconsin, USA
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsWardropper, C, Gillon, S, Rissman, A
JournalCase Studies in the Environment
Date Published2018/01/01

This case examines the risks and opportunities for stakeholders involved in an experimental water quality management program in Wisconsin, USA. This program pays for pounds of pollution reduced through soil conservation practices on farm fields and other high-runoff areas across the landscape—nonpoint sources of pollution—by redirecting funds from the sewerage plant and municipal point sources of pollution. Uncertain monitoring and modeling of pollution sources used for program payments and accountability create perceived and real risks to program participants and the environment, including the threat of regulatory enforcement, lost revenue, and failure to achieve environmental outcomes. On the other hand, in this case study, regulatory flexibility also opened a space for stakeholder dialog and programmatic cooperation that could lead to more adaptive and locally acceptable watershed pollution control in the future.