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 are 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.
- Development of the Jordan Lake Nutrient Strategy
- US Army Corps of Engineers History of B. Everett Jordan Dam and Lake
- WTVD article and video: "Hidden History: The Lost Community Beneath Jordan Lake"
Session Law 2016-94 and 2018-5 established the NC Policy Collaboratory; directed the Collaboratory to begin a 3-year study on areas subject to the Jordan Lake Water Supply Nutrient Strategies relative to the readoption of the Jordan Rules; directed the Collaboratory to commence modeling of Jordan Lake and its watershed; and set the final date for receipt of the study and modeling at Dec 31, 2019, at which time Jordan Rules readoption could begin. The Collaboratory submitted its final report of the Jordan Lake Nutrient Management Study in December 2019. The individual research reports can be found on that same website under the resources tab.
Jordan Lake Nutrient Strategy rules readoption began in 2020. As part of this ongoing process DWR is participating in facilitated stakeholder engagement beginning in 2023. In anticipation of the rules readoption process, Jordan Lake One Water (JLOW) was formed by local stakeholders to develop an integrated watershed management plan and inform future rulemaking.
Jordan Lake Stakeholder Engagement Process
To prepare for the Jordan Lake rule readoption process, DWR has outlined a tentative schedule for stakeholder meetings and their purpose. The timeline below outlines DWR NPSB staff’s plan for Jordan stakeholder engagement workflow up to delivery of draft rules to the Water Quality Committee (WQC) of the Environmental Management Commission (EMC) in 2024. Individual interviews with stakeholders for rule concepts will also be ongoing in the engagement process. DWR will be coordinating with JLOW and the UNC Policy Collaboratory to capture rule concept ideas and gauge perceptions.
Combined Stakeholder Meetings - open attendance forums to inform the general public about ongoing engagement and technical review
- November 2, 2023: Joint JLOW/DWR Autumn meeting - JLOW annual meeting
- February 2024: New Year Reintroduction meeting - Re-introduce watershed model results, reorient stakeholders to Jordan background and rules, present preliminary high-level concepts, conduct workshop.
Technical Focus Groups - structured discussions with representative technical specialists for each rule domain. There will be two meetings for each rule type and a written Q&A. These meetings will be virtual.
- Feb 26-April 29, 2024: Round 1 of Stakeholder Engagement (2 meetings each for 3 Rules, 9 weeks)
- June 1-August 15, 2024: Round 2 of Stakeholder Engagement (2 meetings each for 3 Rules, 9 weeks)
Steps after stakeholder meetings:
August - September 2024: DWR/NPSB full rule draft for internal review
September 2024: Draft rules shared with stakeholder groups
October 16, 2024: Draft rules filed with the WQC
November 13, 2024: Draft rules presented to the WQC with request to proceed to the full EMC for approval
For information about the Jordan Lake Nutrient Strategy rules and the rule readoption process, please subscribe to the Jordan Lake listserv.
The Jordan Lake Nutrient Strategy rules became effective in August 2009. Later Session Law affected some of the rule implementation dates.
- All the Rules in one file. (A pdf portfolio you may need to download to view.)
- Links to individual rules:
- Purpose and Scope 15A NCAC 02B .0262
- Definitions 15A NCAC 02B .0263
- Agriculture 15A NCAC 02B .0264
- New Development 15A NCAC 02B .0265
- Existing Development 15A NCAC 02B .0266
- Buffers 15A NCAC 02B .0267
- Wastewater 15A NCAC 02B .0270
- State & Federal Entities 15A NCAC 02B .0271
- Fertilizer Managment 15A NCAC 02B .0272
- Nutrient Offsets 15A NCAC 02B .0273
- Cape Fear River Basin 15A NCAC 02B .0311
- Rulemaking Process Archive includes Hearing Officers Report of Proceedings (a pdf portfolio of individual pdfs - may need to be downloaded to view)
The Jordan Lake rules went into effect on August 2009. Since that date, there have been many milestone steps toward rule implementation. There have also been delays to some of the rules.
Below is information on the current 2009 rules.
- Jordan Lake Watershed Oversight Committee (WOC) was appointed according to the Ag rule. (WOC Members-Dec 2021)
- Annual Progress Report on the Jordan Ag Rule for: 2014(baseline-CY11) / 2017 (CY12-15) / 2018 (CY16) / 2019 (CY17) / 2020 (CY18) / 2021 (CY19) / 2022 (CY20)
- More information can be found on the NC Division of Soil and Water Conservation webpage.
- NLEW factsheet: Nitrogen Loss Estimation Worksheet tool factsheet about the agricultural nitrogen accounting tool.
- The rule 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 Management Training: Applicators comply with the rule by obtaining a certificate for completing nutrient management training developed by NC Cooperative Extension. Training presentations are separated into
- Download and view the appropriate training. Once the training has been reviewed, please email Ellie.Rauh@deq.nc.gov, 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)
New Development Stormwater
Existing Development Stormwater
Stage One Adaptive Management Program Annual Reports
Local governments are required to submit Annual Reports to the Division's Nonpoint Source Planning Branch staff by Oct. 31 of each year. Please use this form.
Please submit the form as a Word document so it can be imported into a database. (Please don't submit a pdf.) Guidance about Stage One programs can be found here.
Stage Two Adaptive Management Program
Based on ongoing monitoring of the lake, local governments may be required to develop Stage Two Programs to reduce nutrient loading from existing developed lands. DWR has developed a draft Model Program.
- Model Program for Existing Development (DRAFT) - for Falls and Jordan Watersheds, including Supporting Information - July 2013
- Approval Process for Nutrient Nutrient Practices - Sept 2015 / Overview graphic
- Jordan Lake Watershed Model - July 2014 report
- DWR Nutrient Reduction Practices and Crediting
Protection of Existing Buffers
Jordan Model Buffer Ordinance. In accordance with the rules, governments in the watershed developed local buffer programs and submitted them for approval by the Environmental Management Commission in September 2010, with local implementation beginning two months later. To assist in the development of these programs, the Division of Water Resources provided a model ordinance for use by the local governments.
DWR and its partners actively monitor water quality in the Jordan Lake watershed and routinely assess its performance against existing water quality standards.
State and Federal Agencies
- DEQ Water Supply Watershed Program
- DEQ Riparian Buffers Protection Program
- DEQ Stormwater Program
- NC Nutrient Offset In-Lieu Fee Program
- Jordan Lake State Recreation Area
- US Army Corps of Engineers Jordan Dam & Lake
- EPA: Nonpoint Source Pollution Resources
- Piedmont Triad Regional Council of Government
- Central Pines Regional Council of Government
- WRRI Watershed Retrofit & Management Evaluation for Urban Stormwater including Costs and Benefits-2012
Outreach & Education Programs