Coastal Nonpoint Source Program


Section 6217 of the Federal 1990 Coastal Zone Act Reauthorization Amendments (CZARA) requires every state participating in the Coastal Zone Management Act program to develop a Coastal Nonpoint Source Program (CNPSP).   The purpose of this requirement, as stated in the Act, is to strengthen the links between Federal and State coastal zone management and water quality management programs and to enhance State and local efforts to manage land use activities that degrade coastal waters and coastal habitats.  To accomplish these goals, the federal agencies established 56 Management Measures [1] that are to be used by each state to address the following nonpoint source pollution categories (first five items) and that provide tools to address the various sources of nonpoint pollution (last item):

  • Agricultural Sources
  • Forestry
  • Urban Areas (urban runoff; construction activities; existing development; onsite disposal systems; pollution prevention; and roads, highways, and bridges)
  • Marinas and Recreational Boating (siting and design; and marina and boat operation/maintenance)
  • Hydrologic Modification (channelization and channel modification; dams; and streambank and shoreline erosion)
  • Wetlands, Riparian Areas, and Vegetated Treatment Systems  

At the Federal level, the program is called the Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program and is administered jointly by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).   Within North Carolina, the state program is administered by the Division of Coastal Management (DCM) and is referred to as the Coastal Nonpoint Source Program.  

North Carolina received approval from NOAA and EPA for its state program on August 13, 2003.   To receive this approval, North Carolina had to identify that we have enforceable policies and mechanisms for the 56 Management Measures, and establish our program boundary. We are now required to develop a strategy to ensure all applicable Management Measures to protect and restore water quality are implemented within 15 years.

North Carolina is relying on existing authorities and programs and proposed projects to meet federal requirements but it may become apparent in the future that additional Management Measures and new regulations are needed to address significant sources of nonpoint sources. If a need arises for new or modified regulations they would be proposed under existing agency frameworks. The core of the state's CNPSP is increased communication and coordination between DWR and key state agencies that have regulatory responsibilities for controlling nonpoint sources of pollution. This increased dialogue is facilitated in part by the state's CNPSP Coordinator, and promotes identification of gaps, duplications, inadequacies, and/or inefficiencies of existing programs and policies.   Responsibilities of the state program coordinator also include developing the 15-year Strategy Plan, serving as a liaison between DWR and DCM, and participating in the development of nonpoint source outreach and educational activities.    

[1] The 56 Management Measures are defined in Section 6217(g)(5) of CZARA as:   “economically achievable measures for the control of the addition of pollutants from existing and new categories and classes of nonpoint sources of pollution, which reflect the greatest degree of pollutant reduction achievable through application of the best available nonpoint pollution control practices technologies, processes, siting criteria, operating methods or other alternatives.”   Detailed descriptions of the management measures, where they are intended to be applied, their effectiveness, and their costs can be found in EPA's “Guidance Specifying Management Measures for Sources of Nonpoint Pollution in Coastal Waters”

NC Coastal NPS Update (Five-Year Implementation Plan: 2010 through 2014), October 2009