DMS Temporarily Suspending New Buffer and Nutrient ILF Applications in Jordan Lake Upper New Hope and Lower New Hope
Effective March 2, 2022, the NC Division of Mitigation Services (DMS) will temporarily suspend the acceptance of new riparian buffer and nutrient offset mitigation credit applications in the Jordan Lake Upper New Hope and Lower New Hope service areas. This suspension will not affect any applicant who has already received an acceptance letter from DMS.
Riparian buffer restoration has been the primary project type implemented to generate both riparian buffer credits and nutrient offset credits. In the last five years, DMS has noted a decrease in opportunities for traditional riparian area reforestation in these small urbanizing watersheds. The temporary suspension will allow DMS to focus procurement efforts on existing mitigation needs while DMS and its partners explore alternative mitigation solutions including stormwater wetlands and other stormwater control measures.
The Jordan Lake Haw River service area is unaffected by the suspension. DMS will continue to accept eligible riparian buffer mitigation and nutrient offset applications in the Jordan Lake Haw River service area.
The Jordan Lake watershed is located in the Cape Fear River basin and is within the 03030002 USGS watershed. The Jordan Lake Upper and Lower New Hope subwatersheds can be viewed at this URL:
No, there are no other mitigation types or locations under consideration for suspending In-Lieu Fee (ILF) applications.
- Entities with new development projects who had intended to use the DMS ILF programs but have not yet received an acceptance letter. Developers who have already requested and received an acceptance letter from DMS will not be affected.
- Local government entities DMS has contacted local governments delegated to enforce Jordan nutrient and/or buffer rules to obtain input on how this temporary suspension might affect them. Most entities responded that they expect minimal or no impact. There are options for local governments to develop alternative solutions under 15 NCAC 02B .0265 (3)(a)(viii).
Over the last 5 years, DMS has received between 2 and 5 requests per year for riparian buffer mitigation credit in the Upper New Hope and Lower New Hope service areas. DMS has received one request for nutrient offset credit in these service areas in the last two years.
No, DMS will honor all existing acceptance letters in Upper New Hope and Lower New Hope watersheds. However, since DMS acceptance letters do have expiration dates, it will be necessary for the applicant to request an extension prior to the expiration date. DMS will extend existing acceptance letters in the Upper New Hope and Lower New Hope service areas.
The NC legislature suspended portions of the Jordan Water Supply Nutrient Strategy rules and barred local implementation, including the New Development Stormwater rule (.0265). Neither the nutrient offset rule (.0273), nor the stream, wetland, and riparian buffer (.0267) rules have been delayed. DMS has received one application for nutrient offset credits in the Jordan in the last two years.
The suspension will last until DMS is able to fulfill all existing buffer and nutrient requirements and determine appropriate rates going forward to operate the program using alternative measures to offset nutrient loading and mitigate impacts to riparian buffers. DMS will need to contract a minimum of two alternative type projects to adjust rates per 15A NCAC 02R .0601 and .0602.
It is recommended that developers consult their local government to verify available options. Developers may have the following options to consider: 1) Avoid and minimize impacts to eliminate or reduce mitigation, 2) provide on-site mitigation, 3) provide off-site mitigation, if available, 4) purchase credits from private mitigation banks, if available, 5) use an offset option provided by the local government, if available, and/or 6) other options available under 15A NCAC 02B .0295.
Currently, there are no private mitigation banks in the Lower New Hope watershed. There are private mitigation banks in the Upper New Hope watershed, but credit availability is limited. Interested parties and prospective buyers should contact the private mitigation banks directly to determine the status and availability of credits. DWR publishes a list of private banks on their website: