Rules and Legislation

Effective Sept. 2010, 15A NCAC 02B .0240 addresses procedural requirements for offset payments, including:

  • Narrows geographic scope of offsets to within the same 8-digit USGS cataloguing unit or to smaller watersheds as required by the Jordan and Falls nutrient strategies, and generally encourages locating projects within 10-digit hydrologic units where loading increases are concentrated.
  • Sets out standards for offset project approval.
  • Clarifies that use of DMA in a given watershed is contingent upon DMS’s ability to accept payments there.
  • Requires payment for both nitrogen and phosphorus reductions when needed by a purchaser.  

For developers seeking to use a third party provider, one must be selected in accordance with rule 15A NCAC 0.2B .0240 and Session Laws 2009-337 and 2011-343.  These laws direct all entities except for state and federal governments to first seek nutrient offsets through a state approved private nutrient bank within the watershed where the development project is located.  In areas without available credit from approved private banks and for state and federal governmental entities, seekers of nutrient offsets are eligible to participate in DMS’s Nutrient Offset Program.  Information on the availability of private banks can be found at DWR’s Surface Water Protection Web site.

In response to questions received by both the N.C. Division of Water Resources and the N.C. Division of Mitigation Services (EEP), the Department of Environmental Quality provided a clarification memo on the acceptability of using DMS’s in-lieu fee programs for Nutrient Offsets and/or Buffer Mitigation to satisfy local government requirements that go beyond those found in State rules or legislation.  For more information, see Use of DMS In-Lieu Fee Programs by Developers to Meet Elective Local Government Requirements.Specific rules governing the use of nutrient offset options on stormwater from new development projects can be found at the links below. 

Additional Nutrient Offset Rule Links