Jordan Lake Nutrient Strategy

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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.


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 started stakeholder engagement meetings and interviews. We aim to hear feedback on current implementation and new rule concepts. Due to readoption deadlines, we aim to deliver draft rules to the Water Quality Committee (WQC) of the Environmental Management Commission (EMC) in early 2025. 

Combined Stakeholder Meetings - open attendance forums to inform the general public about ongoing engagement and technical review

Technical Advisory Groups (TAGs) - structured discussions with representative technical specialists for each rule domain. There will be three meetings for each rule type and a written Q&A. These meetings will be virtual. We aim to close all TAGs by December 2024. To sign up for a TAG, please fill out this google form: or email

Steps after stakeholder meetings:

  • DWR/NPSB full rule draft for internal review
  • Draft rules shared with stakeholder groups
  • Draft rules filed with the WQC
  • Draft rules presented to the WQC with request to proceed to the full EMC for approval
  • Fiscal Analysis with OSMB
  • Request EMC for approval to proceed
  • 60-day public comment period
  • Hearing Officers deliberation
  • EMC adopts rules
  • Rules Review Commission 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. 

Jordan Update Memo (Oct 31, 2019) explains how Session Law has affected these rules.  (Oct 24, 2014 version here

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. 

Jordan Update Memo (Oct 31, 2019) explains how Session Law has affected the rules.  (Oct 24, 2014 version here)

Below is information on the current 2009 rules.


15A NCAC 0.2B .0264

Fertilizer Training

15A NCAC 0.2B .0272

  • 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, 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

15A NCAC 02B .0265

Delayed by SL. See Jordan Update Memo (Oct 31, 2019) explains how Session Law has affected the rules.  (Oct 24, 2014 version here)

Existing Development Stormwater

15A NCAC 02B .0266

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

Delayed by SL. See Jordan Update Memo (Oct 31, 2019) explains how Session Law has affected the rules.  (Oct 24, 2014 version here)

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.

Protection of Existing Buffers

15A NCAC 02B .0267

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.

Ellie Rauh
(919) 707-3672

Nonpoint Source Planning Branch Chief
Rich Gannon
(919) 707-3673

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