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Jordan Lake Nutrient Strategy


CLICK to view an interactive ARCGIS map of Jordan Lake Buffer and Permit programs


The Jordan Lake Rules are a nutrient management strategy designed to restore water quality in the lake by reducing the amount of pollution entering upstream. Restoration and protection of the lake is essential because it serves as a water supply for several thriving communities, as well as a prime recreation area for more than a million visitors each year. The lake and surrounding forests also provide critical habitat for many plant and animal species.

Jordan Lake was impounded in 1983 by damming the Haw River near its confluence with the Deep River. It was created to provide flood control, water supply, protection of water quality downstream, fish and wildlife conservation, and recreation. The lake has had water quality issues from the beginning, with the North Carolina Environmental Management Commission declaring it as nutrient-sensitive waters (NSW) the same year it was impounded. Since that time, Jordan Lake has consistently rated as eutrophic or hyper-eutrophic, with excessive levels of nutrients present. The Jordan Lake Rules are designed to protect and improve water quality in the lake. The rules were developed over several years through a process that involved extensive meetings, public hearings and negotiations between residents, environmental groups, local and state government agencies and other stakeholders in the watershed. Specific issues addressed by the rules include reducing pollution from wastewater discharges, stormwater runoff from new and existing development, agriculture and fertilizer application.

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Rules and Implementation

The Jordan Rules became effective in August 2009.  Later Session Law affected some of the rules implementation dates. 

Agriculture Rule and Fertilizer Management Rule


  • Read the Jordan Fertilizer Management Rule (15A NCAC 0.2B .0272) It requires the application of fertilizer be done either (1) by applicators who have completed Fertilizer Management Training produced by NC Cooperative Extension, or (2) pursuant to a nutrient management plan that is approved by a certified technical specialist.  Requirements apply to applicators AND to property owners, who are responsible to ensure anyone applying fertilizers to their land has met the requirements. The rule does not apply to the use of fertilizer by homeowners on residential property.  Animal waste application in compliance with a permitted waste utilization plan is considered to be compliant with this rule.
  • Fertilizer Managment Training: Applicators comply with the rule by obtaining a certificate for completing nutrient managment training developed by NC Cooperative Extension. Training presentations are separated into Ag Only, Urban Only, and Ag and Urban.  Download and view the appropriate training. Once the training has been reviewed, please email, stating you have reviewed the training materials and include your Name, Mailing Address, and Telephone # to obtain a certificate of completion.  
  • Jordan Fertilizer Management Rule Factsheet
  • Caring for Your Lawn factsheet (NC Cooperative Extension)
  • Nutrient Management Tools (NCSU Soil Science)

Monitoring and Assessment

DWR and its partners actively monitor water quality in the Jordan Lake watershed and routinely assess its performance against existing water quality standards.