Administrative Code

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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 4. Conservation And Natural Resources

4VAC5. Department of Conservation And Recreation




The Department of Conservation and Recreation is empowered to prescribe rules and regulations necessary or incidental to the performance of duties or execution of powers conferred by law, pursuant to the Administrative Process Act.

With the advice of the Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board and the Board of Conservation and Recreation, the department shall assist in the Commonwealth's nonpoint source pollution management program (§10.1-104.1). The department is also responsible for operation of a voluntary nutrient management training and certification program, in accordance with regulations adopted by the Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board (§10.1-104.2). Such regulations shall include criteria for the development of nutrient management plans for various agricultural and agronomic practices. The department is required to develop written procedures for the development, submission, and the implementation of a nutrient management plan or planning standards and specifications that shall be provided to all state agencies, state colleges and universities, and other state governmental entities that own land upon which nutrients are applied (§10.1-104.4).  Persons that own land operated as a golf course and upon which specified nutrients are applied, must implement nutrient management plans by July 1, 2017, in accordance with regulations promulgated by the Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board (§10.1-104.5).  

The department is authorized to recognize farms that utilize practices designed to protect water quality and soil resources by administering the Clean Water Farm Award Program (§10.1-104.3). 

The director may convey, lease, or demise departmental lands, lease state-owned housing under the control of the department to state employees for the purposes of providing security and operational efficiencies, grant easements to governmental agencies and public service corporations for renewable periods of not more than 10 years, sell trees, and authorize the removal of minerals from such lands under conditions prescribed by law.  Title 10.1, Chapter 1, Article 3

The director may request the Governor to commission individuals designated by the director to act as conservation officers of the Commonwealth. Commissioned conservation officers shall be law-enforcement officers and shall have power to enforce the laws of the Commonwealth and the regulations of the department and the collegial bodies under administrative support of the department. The director may designate certain conservation officers to be special conservation officers, who shall have the same authority and power as sheriffs throughout the Commonwealth to enforce the laws of the Commonwealth.  Title 10.1, Chapter 1, Article 4

The department is responsible for acquiring, developing, improving, managing, licensing, and regulating the use of state parks and for undertaking a master planning process for all existing state parks, following the substantial acquisition of land for a new state park, and prior to undertaking substantial improvements to state parks. The department is authorized to acquire properties or interests therein of scenic beauty, recreational utility, historical interest, biological significance or any other unusual features that should be acquired, preserved and maintained for the use, observation, education, health and pleasure of the people of Virginia. The department also is charged to establish, maintain, protect and regulate a statewide system of trails.  Title 10.1, Chapter 2, Article 1

The department is authorized to establish criteria for the selection, registration and dedication of natural areas and natural area preserves; provide recommendations to the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and to the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries concerning their regulatory activities related to endangered species; and other responsibilities related to the conservation of natural heritage resources.  Title 10.1, Chapter 2, Article 3.

The director is authorized, subject to the provisions of the chapter, to issue revenue bonds of the Commonwealth to pay the cost of acquiring, constructing, enlarging, improving, and maintaining camping and recreational facilities in any of the state parks and to establish and collect fees and charges for the use of such facilities.  Title 10.1, Chapter 3.

The department has the duty of studying rivers or sections of rivers, reporting upon and recommending to the Governor and the General Assembly those to be considered for designation as scenic rivers. Title 10.1, Chapters 4 and 4.1.

The department is required to develop a flood protection plan for the Commonwealth and to establish guidelines which will meet the minimum requirements of the National Flood Insurance Program under the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968 (42 USC § 4001 et seq.). Title 10.1, Chapter 6, Article 1. 

The department is responsible for coordinating a comprehensive flood control program for the Commonwealth. Title 10.1, Chapter 6, Article 6.

The director upon approval from the Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board may make grants or loans from the Dam Safety, Flood Prevention and Protection Assistance Fund to local governments and private entities for the purpose of providing matching funds for flood prevention or protection or for grants or loans to local governments or loans to private entities for certain engineering studies, design, repair, and safety modifications of dams.  The Virginia Resources Authority shall administer and manage the Fund.  Title 10.1, Chapter 6, Articles 1.2 and 2.

The department is authorized to coordinate shoreline erosion control programs. Title 10.1, Chapter 7, Articles 1 and 2.

The Virginia Cave Board is responsible for protecting rare, unique, and irreplaceable minerals and archaeological resources found in caves; rare and endangered animal or other life forms found in caves; ground water flow in caves; and the integrity of caves that have unique characteristics or are exemplary natural community types. Title 10.1, Chapter 10.

The director shall serve as executive secretary to the Virginia Land Conservation Foundation and shall be responsible for providing technical assistance and performing any administrative duties that the Foundation may direct. The department shall provide assistance to the board in developing grant criteria and recommendations on grant priorities for funds deposited to the Virginia Land Conservation Fund. . Title 10.1, Chapter 10.2.

The department is directed to cooperate with the Commonwealth Transportation board in the designation of scenic highways and byways. Title 33.2, Chapter 4.

The director has the responsibility to designate a public recreational area as such and recommend to the Commonwealth Transportation Board that an access road or bikeway be provided to the area. Title 33.2, Chapter 15, Article 3.

Employees of the department may utilize limited over-the-road operation of golf carts and utility vehicles provided that the speed limit on the highway is no more than 35 miles per hour. Title 46.2, Chapter 8, Article 13.1.

The director has the responsibility to verify the conservation value of any donation of land or an interest in land for which a tax credit in an amount of $1 million or more is claimed. The director is required to verify the conservation value of certain donations described under the Virginia Land Conservation Incentives Act of 1999 that are from the same parcel of land if the land preservation tax credit from the donation would be at least $250,000. Title 58.1, Chapter 3, Article 20.1.

The director of the department is responsible for prescribing uniform standards relating to real estate devoted to open-space use under Special Assessment for Land Preservation commonly known as the Land Use Assessment Law. Title 58.1, Chapter 32, Article 4.

The department, in consultation with the Department of Environmental Quality and the Virginia Cooperative Extension Service, is required to develop or approve a training program for persons operating confined animal feeding operations covered by the General Permit. Title 62.1, Chapter 3.1, Article 3.

The department shall assist the Department of Environmental Quality in the adoption of regulations related to the land application of sewage sludge. Title 62.1, Chapter 3.1, Article 4.


The Board of Conservation and Recreation provides recommendations to the director on grants and loans pertaining to outdoor recreation, on the designation of recreational sites eligible for recreational access road funds, on master plans and substantial acquisition or improvement amendments to master plans, and on designations for scenic rivers, scenic highways, and Virginia Byways. The board shall advise the Governor and the director concerning the protection or management of the Virginia Scenic Rivers System as defined in §10.1-400. The board shall have the authority to promulgate regulations necessary for the execution of the Public Beach Conservation and Development Act , Article 2 (§10.1-705 et seq.) of Chapter 7 of Title 10.1. Title 10.1, Chapter 1, Article 2.

The board may provide advice to the director on expenditures from the State Park Projects Fund. Title 10.1, Chapter 2, Article 1.

The board shall be responsible for the allocation of grants from the Public Beach Maintenance and Development Fund to local governments Title 10.1, Chapter 7, Article 2.


The Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board shall adopt regulations which include criteria relating to the development of nutrient management plans, qualifications and standards for individuals necessary for individuals preparing nutrient management plans, and fees for individuals enrolling in the training and certification programs. Title 10.1, Chapter 1, Article 1.

The board shall, in consultation with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Department of Environmental Quality, adopt regulations that specify the criteria to be included in a resource management plan. Title 10.1, Chapter 1, Article 1.1.

The board has responsibilities related to the funding of, collaboration and cooperation between, and oversight of programs by the soil and water conservation districts.  The board is authorized to approve the creation, boundary modification, and discontinuance of soil and water conservation districts. Under the direction of the Board, Districts shall locally deliver the Virginia Agricultural Best Management Practices Cost-Share Program described under § 10.1-2128.1. Title 10.1, Chapter 5, Articles 2 and 3.

The board shall promulgate regulations to ensure that impounding structures in the Commonwealth are properly and safely constructed, maintained and operated. The board may delegate to the director or his designee any of the powers and duties vested in the board by the Dam Safety Act, except the adoption and promulgation of regulations. Delegation shall not remove from the board authority to enforce the provisions of the Dam Safety Act. Title 10.1, Chapter 6, Article 2.

The board is authorized to prescribe regulations for the conduct of referenda regarding watershed improvement districts. Title 10.1, Chapter 6, Article 3.

The board is authorized to establish guidelines for the proper administration of the Conservation, Small Watersheds Flood Control and Area Development Fund. Title 10.1, Chapter 6, Article 4.

Under the Agricultural Stewardship Act, the board shall review appeals by persons aggrieved by decisions of the Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services regarding agricultural water pollution complaints. Title 3.2, Chapter 4.

The department and its boards operate under the supervision of the Secretary of Natural Resources. Regulations may be found in the Virginia Administrative Code and their associated guidance may be found on the Regulatory Town Hall. Regulations or guidance may also be requested from the department's principal office at 600 East Main Street, 24th floor, Richmond, VA 23219 or by contacting the regulatory coordinator at

Rev. 1/2016

Website addresses provided in the Virginia Administrative Code to documents incorporated by reference are for the reader's convenience only, may not necessarily be active or current, and should not be relied upon. To ensure the information incorporated by reference is accurate, the reader is encouraged to use the source document described in the regulation.

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