Fertilizer and manure containing phosphorus help crops grow, but when phosphorus runs off into surface water it can lead to algal blooms and dead zones, damaging water quality for people and wildlife. Current conservation programs aim to reduce water pollution, but do not quantify reductions or track water quality improvements.
Current conservation programs spend over $4 billion annually to reimburse farmers for implementing a limited set of conservation practices without tracking environmental outcomes.
This data-driven, performance-based approach tracks the environmental impacts of farmer-selected conservation practices and offers payments based on verified environmental improvements.
The Milwaukee River Pay for Performance project is a collaboration of Winrock International, Sand County Foundation, and Delta Institute with capital support provided by the Great Lakes Protection Fund.
Winrock International is a nonprofit organization that works with people in the United States and around the world to empower the disadvantaged, increase economic opportunity, and sustain natural resources.
Delta Institute is Chicago-based non-profit organization working as a catalyst for environmental sustainability and economic development throughout the Great Lakes region. Delta works in partnership with business, government and communities in the Great Lakes region to create and implement innovative, market-driven solutions that build environmental resilience, economic vitality and healthy communities.
The Governors of the Great Lakes states created the Great Lakes Protection Fund in 1989 to help them protect and restore their shared Great Lakes resources. The Fund helps teams test the application of new technologies, new approaches to governance, and sometimes new styles of leadership.