Agriculture-Watershed Rules

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Due to impaired water quality in both the Jordan Lake and Falls Lake, the NC Environmental Management Commission adopted Nutrient Reduction strategies for both watersheds in the effort to improve the overall health of the lakes. Both strategies establish rules for reducing Nitrogen (N) and Phosphorous (P) from entering the lakes. To accomplish the reductions, the strategies have goals for specific groups. Agricultural operations and owners of livestock above the set threshold automatically fall under the Agricultural Rule in both lakes’ strategies and are subject to the rules. Though each strategy has a different reduction goal, both require the Agricultural community to work together to achieve the reductions. The ultimate goal being that the health of both lakes (and surrounding watersheds) improve.

 

Falls Lake Agriculture Rule Jordan Lake Agriculture Rule
15A NCAC 2B Rule .0280 Agriculture
15A NCAC02B Rule .0264 Agriculture
Rule: Collective N and P reductions for agricultural operations in two stages; Stage I - reduction goals of 20% N and 40% P achieved by 2021. Stage II -reduction of 40% N and 77% P by 2036 AND may require buffering all cropland and excluding all pasture if agriculture does not meet Stage I goals. Mandatory Registration of all ag operation with Local Advisory Councils.

Who does this apply to: Anyone who engages in agricultural operations in the Falls Lake Watershed, produces crops or horticultural products (excluding trees) primarily for financial profit or engages in research activities in support of commercial production or has the following:
  • 5 or more horses
  • 20 or more cattle
  • 20 or more swine not in a feedlot
  • 150 or more swine in a feedlot
  • 120 or more sheep
  • 130 or more goats
  • 650 or more turkeys
  • 3,500 or more chickens
  • any combination that exceeds 20,000 pounds of live weight at anytime
Rule: Collective N and P reductions for agricultural operations based on sub-watershed location. In the Upper New Hope Creek Watershed (SW Durham County), Agriculture is required to: Meet a collective reduction of 35% N and 5% P.

Who does this apply to: Anyone who engages in agricultural operations in the Falls Lake Watershed, produces crops or horticultural products (excluding trees) primarily for financial profit or engages in research activities in support of commercial production or has the following:
  • 5 or more horses
  • 20 or more cattle
  • 20 or more swine not in a feedlot
  • 150 or more swine in a feedlot
  • 120 or more sheep
  • 130 or more goats
  • 650 or more turkeys
  • 3,500 or more chickens
  • any combination that exceeds 20,000 pounds of live weight at anytime 
Registration: All persons who are affected by the Falls Lake Ag Rule MUST register with the local Durham County Advisory committee.

 

     Registration: All persons who are affected by

     the Jordan Lake Ag Rule are encouraged

     to register with the Durham SWCD.

 

For more information visit on the rule visit
       For more information on the rule visit

Financial Assistance: Major natural resource concerns facing farms are soil erosion, pasture management, waste management and animal access to stream, rivers and ponds. The nutrients the rules are trying to reduce enter our waters through the movement of soil (erosion from a pasture) or the direct discharge of waste into a body of water. By addressing natural resource concerns, you can help to reduce the amount of nutrients inadvertently leaving your farm and keep them from further impairing the water quality of the lakes.

Best management Practices (BMPs) are effective, practical, structural or nonstructural methods which prevent or reduce the movement of sediment, nutrients, pesticides and other pollutants from the land to surface or ground water. Several practices are available to help reduce soil and nutrient runoff from farms.

For qualified farms there are cost share programs available to help install BMPs on your operation. One such program is the NC Agricultural Cost Share Program (ACSP). The NC ACSP is a voluntary program for farmers and agricultural landowners to help address natural resource concerns on their farm. In Durham County the ACSP is administered by the Durham Soil and Water Conservation District. Please contact us today to learn more about the assistance we can provide: Durham SWCD (919) 560-0558

Please take a few moments to sign-up your agricultural operation with us. The information you provide will help us help Agriculture meet its goals. Thank you.