Integrated Solutions for Achieving Nutrient Compliance in the Kickapoo Watershed

A green riverbank shadowed by trees

It is often difficult for small communities to comply with water quality requirements due to increasing standards and limited resources. ERG, in coordination with Applied Ecological Services (AES), recently helped EPA’s Office of Research and Development scope a project to assess regionalized, watershed-based, and cost-effective approaches for small, rural communities to meet water quality standards. In addition to determining realistic ways that communities can improve water quality by leveraging watershed-based solutions—for example, through reforestation or water quality trading—ERG and AES investigated strategies to improve the distribution of the cost burden and improve both economic and ecological resiliency in participating watersheds. The project’s data and analyses will support the development of an integrated tool that helps communities evaluate the economic costs and environmental benefits of different options for meeting water quality standards. The work, which currently focuses on the Kickapoo River Watershed in southwest Wisconsin, builds on ERG’s continued support for developing systems analysis tools for EPA to comprehensively assess the environmental and economic implications of water management methods.