Soil and Water Conservation

Johnston County, North Carolina

Neuse River Regulations

The North Carolina Environmental Management Commission (EMC) has established the goal of reducing the average annual load of nitrogen delivered to the Neuse River Estuary from point and non-point sources by a minimum of 30%.  The Neuse River Regulations were developed to achieve this nitrogen reduction goal.

The Neuse River Regulations address agricultural nitrogen reduction, nutrient management, protection and maintenance of riparian areas, urban stormwater management and waste water dischargers. They will impact landowners, farmers, counties, cities, towns, developers, foresters, golf courses, landscapers, lawn care companies, agribusinesses, and nurseries.

The Neuse Agricultural Rule, .0238, applies to all persons engaging in agricultural operations in the Neuse River Basin.  It includes those involved in the production of crops, livestock, and poultry.  It states that these operations shall collectively achieve and maintain a 30% net nitrogen loading reduction from the 1991-1995 nitrogen loadings.

The Neuse Agricultural Rule provides two options for reaching the nitrogen reduction goal.  Farmers must choose between Option 1 and Option 2 and must sign up for Option 1 no later than July 31, 1999.

Option 1 Participants

Participate in a local nitrogen reduction strategy that would include specific plans for each farm that would collectively meet the nitrogen reduction goal of 30%.  This includes the installation of site specific best management practices (BMP's) for each individual operation.   All of these practices must be implemented by July 31, 2003.

Option 2 Participants

Those who did not sign up for Option 1 will need to implement standard Best Management Practices (BMP's) by July 31, 2002, that include one of the following:

  • a 50-ft. forested riparian buffer,
  • a 20-ft forested riparian buffer, or 30-ft. vegetated riparian buffer with a nutrient management plan or water control structure
  • No riparian buffer is required if both nutrient management plans and water control structures are used
    (A riparian buffer is an area of trees and/or shrubs located adjacent to streams, lakes, ponds and wetlands.)