Aligning for Growth

Final Report of the Workgroup on Accounting for Growth (AfG) in Maryland - PDF

As required by the State’s Watershed Implementation Plan (Bay Restoration Plan), Maryland is developing an Aligning for Growth (AFG) policy that will address the increase in the State’s pollution load from increased population growth and new development. To restore the Bay each of the Bay states, including Maryland, not only needs to reduce its current nutrient load, but also hold the line against new pollution. Maryland is expected to add an estimated 478,000 households by 2035, which will add more than 2 million pounds of nutrient pollution to the Bay per year. 

Maryland’s plan for addressing pollution load from new development centers on:

  1. the strategic allotment of nutrient loads to large wastewater treatment plants to accommodate growth;
  2. the requirement that all other new loads must be offset by securing pollution credits.

To ensure that there are sufficient credits available, the State is designing its AFG policy to induce a robust nutrient trading market in Maryland, which would, in turn, lower pollution reduction costs, especially for local government, developers, tax and rate payers, and accelerate the Bay’s restoration. The Maryland Department of Agriculture’s Nutrient Net (leaving MDE) will be the platform on which the trades will be accomplished.

A draft of a proposed AFG policy was widely circulated through stakeholder meetings and documents posted online, however, extensive outreach and public comment revealed that there was a lack of consensus on many fundamental issues. Therefore, a work group was established with various stakeholders to find common ground, clarify areas of disagreement and make recommendations for a draft AFG policy. Ten meetings of the work group were held, beginning January 18, 2013 and ending July 19, 2013. The workgroup followed these guiding principles. The report from the workgroup was finalized in August 2013.

For more information on Aligning for Growth in Maryland, please contact our Office of Communications at (410) 537-3003.

MDE Guidance on Nutrient Trading Policy

Nutrient trading is an innovative approach to help offset new or increased discharges, and offers an interesting alternative for achieving greater environment protection than through existing regulatory programs. The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) is a lead agency for the state in the development of a nutrient trading policy. The final policy will address both point source and nonpoint source trades.

MDE's Policy on Nutrient Cap Management and Trading in Maryland's Chesapeake Bay Watershed establishes an approach for trading between point sources and trading involving the removal of onsite sewage disposal systems (OSDSs). It establishes definitions, key principles, and fundamentals that are applicable to trading programs involving both point sources and nonpoint sources.  The Maryland Department of Agriculture issued two draft guidance documents to address the requirements and procedures for point-nonpoint agricultural trading, The 2008 Maryland Policy for Nutrient Cap Management and Trading in Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay Watershed (To be Updated) Phase II A—Guidelines for the Generation of Agricultural Nonpoint Nutrient Credits (leaving MDE), and Phase II B—Guidelines for Agricultural Nonpoint Credit Purchases  (leaving MDE).


Meeting Materials


Meeting 1 - January 18, 2013 Meeting 2 - February 15, 2013
Meeting 3 - March 22, 2013 Meeting 4 - April 19, 2013
Meeting 5 - May 10, 2013 Meeting 6 - May 31, 2013
Meeting 7 - June 14, 2013 Meeting 8 - June 28, 2013

Meeting 9 - July 11, 2013

Meeting 10 - July 19, 2013




Archived Materials

Archived AFG Materials - file containing items that had been previous posted to the AFG website (Discussion Draft, Draft Regulations, Outreach Presentation)

Outreach Events Transcripts - file containing the transcipts for each outreach event in 2012. Note: Not all transcripts are available at this time. As new files are available the website will be updated.

Comments - f
ile containing the comments received during the comment period for the Discussion Draft (July 12, 2012) and Draft Regulations (August 27, 2012). 


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