Environmental markets are the buying and selling of ecosystem services such as clean air and water, and wildlife habitat. The U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) is a federal leader in supporting the development of environmental markets, largely through its Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program, according to NRCS.
On Sept. 15 NRCS announced its 2015 CIG awards, with 23 of the 45 awarded to environmental markets projects. These projects are in three categories — water quality trading, greenhouse gas markets, and conservation finance and impact investments. The third category is new to CIG and focuses on projects that develop innovative approaches and partnerships to attract private capital to private lands conservation.