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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 9. Environment
Agency 25. State Water Control Board
Chapter 900. Certification of Nonpoint Source Nutrient Credits

9VAC25-900-10. Definitions.

The following words and terms when used in this chapter shall have the following meanings unless the context clearly indicates otherwise:

"300 animal units" means the term as defined in 9VAC25-192-10.

"Act" means the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Nutrient Credit Exchange Program, Article 4.02 (§ 62.1-44.19:12 et seq.) of Chapter 3.1 of Title 62.1 of the Code of Virginia.

"Animal feeding operation" means the term as defined by 9VAC25-31-10.

"Applicant" means the person who submits an application to the department for nutrient credit certification pursuant to this chapter.

"Bankfull event" means the storm event that corresponds with the stream stage at its incipient point of flooding. The bankfull discharge associated with the bankfull event is the flow that transports the majority of a stream's sediment load over time and thereby forms and maintains the channel dimension, pattern, and profile.

"Baseline" means the practices, actions, or levels of reductions that must be in place before credits can be generated. The best management practices to be implemented for achieving baseline are provided in 9VAC25-900-100.

"Best management practice," "practice," or "BMP" means a structural practice, nonstructural practice, or other management practice used to prevent or reduce nutrient loads reaching surface waters or the adverse effects thereof.

"Board" means the State Water Control Board. When used outside the context of the promulgation of regulations, including regulations to establish general permits, "Board" means the Department of Environmental Quality.

"Certification of nutrient credits" or "nutrient credit certification" means the approval of nutrient credits issued by the department as specified in 9VAC25-900-80. Nutrient credit certification does not include the certification of point source credits generated by point sources regulated under the Watershed General Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit issued pursuant to § 62.1-44.19:14 of the State Water Control Law.

"Chesapeake Bay Watershed" means the land areas draining to the following Virginia river basins: the Potomac River Basin, the James River Basin, the Rappahannock River Basin, the Chesapeake Bay and small coastal basins, or the York River Basin.

"Concentrated animal feeding operation" means the term as defined by 9VAC25-31-10.

"Cropland" means land that is used for the production of grain, oilseeds, silage or industrial crops not defined as hay or pasture.

"DCR" means the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

"Delivery factor" means the estimated percentage of a total nitrogen or total phosphorus load delivered to tidal waters as determined by the specific geographic location of the nutrient source. For point source discharges the delivery factor accounts for attenuation that occurs during riverine transport between the point of discharge and tidal waters. For nonpoint source loads the delivery factor accounts for attenuation that occurs during riverine transport as well as attenuation between the nutrient source and the edge of the nearest stream. Delivery factors values shall be as specified by the department. In the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, the Chesapeake Bay Program Partnership's approved delivery factors shall be used.

"Department" means the Department of Environmental Quality.

"Director" means the Director of the Department of Environmental Quality or his designee.

"Exchange" means the transaction in which a person acquires released nutrient credits produced by a nutrient credit-generating project.

"Field office technical guide" or "FOTG" means technical guides about conservation of soil, water, air, and related plant and animal resources and are the primary scientific reference for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resource Conservation Service. These guides are used in each field office and are localized so that they apply specifically to the geographic area for which they are prepared.

"Hayland" means land that is used to grow a grass, legume, or other plants such as clover or alfalfa, which is cut and dried for feed.

"Highly erodible soils" means land that is defined as highly erodible by the Sodbuster, Conservation Reserve, and Conservation Compliance parts of the Food Security Act of 1985 (P.L. 99-198) and the Food, Agriculture, Conservation, and Trade Act of 1990 (P.L. 101-624). Lists of highly erodible and potential highly erodible map units are maintained in NRCS field office technical guide.

"HUC" means the hydrologic unit code.

"Impaired waters" means those waters identified as impaired in the 305(b)/303(d) Water Quality Assessment Integrated Report prepared pursuant to § 62.1-44.19:5 of the State Water Control Law.

"Implementation plan" means a plan that has been developed to meet the requirements of 9VAC25-900-120 and is submitted as part of the application.

"Invasive plant species" means non-native plant species that are contained on DCR's Virginia Invasive Plant Species List.

"Innovative practice" means practices or BMPs not approved by the Chesapeake Bay Program Partnership or the Virginia Stormwater BMP Clearinghouse. Nutrient credits generated by innovative practices may only be certified as term credits.

"Landowner" means any person or group of persons acting individually or as a group that owns the parcel on which a nutrient credit-generating project is sited including: (i) the Commonwealth or any of its political subdivisions, including localities, commissions, and authorities; (ii) any public or private institution, corporation, association, firm, or company organized or existing under the laws of this or any other state or country; or (iii) any officer or agency of the United States.

"Land use controls" means legal measures or instruments that restrict the activity, use, and access to property.

"Land use conversion" means a change from a more intensive to less intensive land use resulting in nutrient reductions.

"Management area" means all contiguous parcels deeded to the same landowner that includes the site of the nutrient credit-generating project within its boundaries. The term contiguous means the same or adjacent parcels that may be divided by public or private right-of-way. For a public entity that owns or operates an MS4 and generates credits within the MS4 service area, the management area is the MS4 service area.

"Mitigation" means sequentially avoiding and minimizing impacts to the maximum extent practicable and then compensating for remaining unavoidable impacts of a proposed action.

"Mitigation bank" means a site providing off-site, consolidated compensatory mitigation that is developed and approved in accordance with all applicable federal and state laws or regulations for the establishment, use and operation of mitigation banks and is operating under a signed mitigation banking instrument.

"Mitigation banking instrument" means the legal document for the establishment, operation, and use of a stream or wetland mitigation bank.

"MS4" means a municipal separate storm sewer system as defined in 9VAC25-870-10.

"MS4 service area" means (i) for Phase I MS4 permittees, the service area delineated in accordance with the permit issued pursuant to 9VAC25-870-380 A 3; and (ii) for Phase II MS4 permittees, the term as described in 9VAC25-890.

"Non-land use conversion" means practices, except for land use conversion, that are used by a nutrient credit-generating project to produce nutrient reductions.

"Nonpoint source pollution" or "nonpoint source" means pollution such as sediment, nitrogen, phosphorus, hydrocarbons, heavy metals, and toxics whose sources cannot be pinpointed but rather are washed from the land surface in a diffuse manner by stormwater runoff.

"NRCS" mean the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resource Conservation Service.

"Nutrient credit" or "credit" means a nonpoint source nutrient reduction that is certified pursuant to this chapter and expressed in pounds of phosphorus and nitrogen either (i) delivered to tidal waters when the credit is generated within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed or (ii) as otherwise specified when generated in the Southern Rivers watersheds. Nutrient credit does not include point source nitrogen credits or point source phosphorus credits as defined in § 62.1-44.19:13 of the Code of Virginia.

"Nutrient credit-generating entity" means an entity that implements practices for the generation of nonpoint source nutrient credits.

"Nutrient credit-generating project" or "project" means a project developed to reduce the load of nitrogen and phosphorous nonpoint source pollution in order to generate nutrient credits for certification pursuant to this chapter.

"Nutrient reductions" means the reduction in the load of nitrogen and phosphorous nonpoint source pollution.

"Owner" means the Commonwealth or any of its political subdivisions, including sanitation district commissions and authorities and any public or private institution, corporation, association, firm, or company organized or existing under the laws of this or any other state or country, or any officer or agency of the United States, or any person or group of persons acting individually or as a group that owns, operates, charters, rents, or otherwise exercises control over or is responsible for any nutrient credit-generating project.

"Pasture" means land that supports the grazing of domesticated animals for forages.

"Performance standards" means the minimum objectives or specifications required of a particular management practice by the department in order to assure predicted nutrient reductions will be achieved.

"Perpetual nutrient credits" or "perpetual credits" mean credits that are generated by practices that result in permanent nutrient reductions from baseline and certified as permanent in accordance with this chapter.

"Person" means any individual, corporation, partnership, association, state, municipality, commission, or political subdivision of a state, governmental body, including a federal, state, or local entity as applicable, any interstate body or any other legal entity.

"Potential nutrient credits" means the possible credits generated by a nutrient credit-generating project as calculated pursuant to 9VAC25-900-110. These potential nutrient credits shall be expressed in terms of the estimated number of phosphorus and nitrogen credits generated.

"Redevelopment" means a project that includes new development on previously developed land.

"Registry" means the online Virginia Nutrient Credit Registry established and maintained by the department in accordance with § 62.1-44.1.19:20 D of the Code of Virginia.

"Released nutrient credit" means credits that the department has determined to be eligible for placement on the Virginia Nutrient Credit Registry.

"Restoration" means the reestablishment of a wetland, stream, or other aquatic resource in an area where it previously existed. Wetland restoration means the reestablishment of wetland hydrology, soils, and vegetation in an area where a wetland previously existed. Stream restoration means the process of converting an unstable, altered, or degraded stream corridor, including adjacent areas and floodplains, to its natural conditions.

"Retrofit" means a project that provides improved nutrient reductions to previously developed land through the implementation of new BMPs or upgrades to existing BMPs.

"Site" means the physical location within the management area where the nutrient credit-generating project and its associated practices, both baseline and credit-generating, are located.

"Site protection instrument" means a deed restriction, conservation easement, or other legal mechanism approved by the department that provides assurance that the credits will be maintained in accordance with this chapter and the certification requirements.

"Southern Rivers watersheds" means the land areas draining to the following river basins: the Albemarle Sound, Coastal; the Atlantic Ocean, Coastal; the Big Sandy River Basin; the Chowan River Basin; the Clinch-Powell River Basin; the New Holston River Basin (Upper Tennessee); the New River Basin; the Roanoke River Basin; or the Yadkin River Basin.

"State waters" means all water, on the surface and under the ground, wholly or partially within or bordering the Commonwealth or within its jurisdiction, including wetlands.

"Steward" or "long-term steward" means any person who is responsible for implementation of the long-term management plan of a perpetual nutrient credit-generating project.

"Structural BMPs" means any man-made stormwater control measure or feature that requires routine maintenance in order to function or provide the hydrologic, hydraulic, or water quality benefit as designed. Structural practices include bioretention, infiltration facilities, wet ponds, extended detention, wet and dry swales, permeable pavement, rainwater harvesting, vegetated roofs, underground or surface chambers or filters, and other manufactured treatment devices (MTDs).

"T" means the soil loss tolerance rate as defined by the NRCS.

"Term nutrient credit" or "term credit" means nutrient reduction activities that generate credits for a determined and finite period of at least one year but no greater than five years.

"Total maximum daily load" or "TMDL" means the sum of the individual wasteload allocations (WLAs) for point sources, load allocations (LAs) for nonpoint sources, natural background loading, and a margin of safety. TMDLs can be expressed in terms of either mass per time, toxicity, or other appropriate measure. The TMDL process provides for point versus nonpoint source trade-offs. TMDLs in Virginia are expressed as both a daily load and an annual load. For nutrient trading, annual loads are most often utilized.

"Tributary" means those river basins for which separate tributary strategies were prepared pursuant to § 2.2-218 of the Code of Virginia and includes the Potomac, Rappahannock, York, and James River basins, and the Eastern Coastal Basin, which encompasses the creeks and rivers of the Eastern Shore of Virginia that are west of Route 13 and drain into the Chesapeake Bay. For areas outside of the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, "tributary" includes the following watersheds: Albemarle Sound, Coastal; Atlantic Ocean, Coastal; Big Sandy; Chowan; Clinch-Powell; New Holston (Upper Tennessee); New River; Roanoke; and Yadkin.

"Urban lands" means lands characterized by developed areas with buildings, asphalt, concrete, suburban gardens, and a systematic street pattern. Classes of urban development include residential, commercial, industrial, institutional, transportation, communications, utilities, and mixed urban. Undeveloped land surrounded by developed areas, such as cemeteries, golf courses, and urban parks is recognized as urban lands.

"VACS BMP Manual" means the Virginia Agricultural Cost Share BMP Manual.

"Virginia Chesapeake Bay TMDL Watershed Implementation Plan," "Watershed Implementation Plan," or "WIP" means the Phase I watershed implementation plan strategy submitted by Virginia and approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in December 2010 to meet the nutrient and sediment allocations prescribed in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed TMDL or any subsequent revision approved of EPA.

"Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit" or "VPDES permit" means a document issued by the department pursuant to the State Water Control Law authorizing, under prescribed conditions, the potential or actual discharge of pollutants from a point source to surface waters and the use or disposal of sewage sludge.

"Virginia Stormwater Management Program" or "VSMP" means a program to manage the quality and quantity of runoff resulting from land-disturbing activities and includes such items as local ordinances, rules, permit requirements, annual standards and specifications, policies and guidelines, technical materials, and requirements for plan review, inspection, and enforcement, where authorized in the Stormwater Management Act and pursuant to 9VAC25-870, 9VAC25-880, or 9VAC25-890.

"Virginia Water Protection permit" or "VWP permit" means an individual or general permit issued by the department under § 62.1-44.15:20 of the Code of Virginia that authorizes activities otherwise unlawful under § 62.1-44.5 of the Code of Virginia or otherwise serves as Virginia's Section 401 certification.

"VPA" means Virginia Pollution Abatement.

"VPDES" means Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System.

"VSMP authority" means a Virginia stormwater management program authority as defined in 9VAC25-870-10.

"VWP" means Virginia Water Protection.

"Water body with perennial flow" means a body of water that flows in a natural or man-made channel year-round during a year of normal precipitation as a result of groundwater discharge or surface runoff. Such water bodies exhibit the typical biological, hydrological, and physical characteristics commonly associated with the continuous conveyance of water.

"Water Quality Guide" means Virginia's Forestry Best Management Practices for Water Quality.

"Wetlands" means those areas that are inundated or saturated by surface or groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions. Wetlands generally include swamps, marshes, bogs, and similar areas.

Statutory Authority

§ 62.1-44.19:20 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from Virginia Register Volume 36, Issue 23, eff. September 1, 2020; amended, Virginia Register Volume 38, Issue 26, eff. September 14, 2022.

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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