Jordan Lake Nutrient Strategy

Tab/Accordion Items

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 Rule readoption began in 2020.


As of February 2023, the current projected timeline for rules readoption is the following:

2020 – 2022                                Collaboratory products review

                                                    Lake model supplemental contracting

Spring - Fall 2023                       Lake model completion, external review, finalization

Sum 2023 to Sum 2024              Facilitated stakeholder engagement Part 1 -> rule concepts

Latter 2024                                 Rules text development

                                                    Stakeholder engagement Part 2 -> rules refinement

2025                                            Formal rulemaking:

                                                    WQC approval to proceed

                                                    Fiscal analysis, OSBM approval

                                                    EMC approval to proceed, 60-day comment period, hearings, hearing

                                                    officer deliberations

2026                                            EMC adoption, RRC approval, Rules Effective


As part of this process NC DWR has embarked on a public participation process. DWR is partnering with Jordan Lake One Water - JLOW - a TJCOG administered collaborative to develop an integrative watershed management plan as the first step toward the best nutrient management strategy for the Jordan Lake watershed. The JLOW website contains its workplan, timeline, workgroups to join, past meeting summaries, and is the best place to stay up to date on the collaborative process. 

For information about Jordan Lake Rules, the readoption process and JLOW, please subscribe to the Jordan Lake listserv.

The Jordan Rules became effective in August 2009.  Later Session Law affected some of the rules implementation dates. 

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

  • Rule Making Process Archive includes Hearing Officers Report of Proceedings  (a pdf portfolio of individual pdfs - may need to be downloaded to view)

The Jordan 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 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

Subscribe to the Jordan Lake Listserv