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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 9. Environment
Agency 25. State Water Control Board
Chapter 900. Certification of Nonpoint Source Nutrient Credits
12/1/2021

9VAC25-900-100. Establishing baseline.

A. Practices for establishing baseline must be in place prior to the generation of any credits by a nutrient credit-generating project except in the case of land use conversion as described in subsection E of this section. The practices for establishing baselines, as provided in this section, shall be implemented and properly maintained for each type of operation within the management area. Baselines are applicable statewide for nutrient credit-generating projects including those located in either the Chesapeake Bay Watershed or the Southern Rivers watersheds. Baseline practices are, at a minimum, in accordance with the requirements of the WIP or an approved TMDL, whichever is more stringent.

B. Cropland, hayland, and pastures. Baselines for cropland, hayland, or pastures within the management area shall be established in accordance with subdivision 1, 2, or 3 of this subsection.

1. The owner holds a valid Certificate of Resource Management Plan Implementation for the management area that has been issued pursuant to the Resource Management Plans regulation (4VAC50-70).

2. If the owner does not hold a valid Certificate of Resource Management Plan Implementation for the management area, the owner shall implement the following practices for establishing baseline:

a. Soil conservation. Soil conservation practices for the management area shall be implemented and maintained to achieve a maximum soil loss rate not to exceed "T" and to address gross erosion when it is present as gullies or other severely eroding conditions.

b. Nutrient management. Implementation and maintenance of the nutrient management practices required by the nutrient management plan written by a certified nutrient management planner pursuant to the Nutrient Management Training and Certification Regulations (4VAC50-85).

c. Riparian buffer. A woodland or grass riparian buffer shall be installed and maintained around all water bodies with perennial flow within the management area and shall be installed and maintained along all water bodies with perennial flow bordering the management area. The riparian buffer shall be a minimum width of 35 feet as measured from the top of the channel bank to the edge of the cropland, hayland, or pasture and in accordance with DCR Specifications for NO. FR-3 or DCR Specifications for NO. WQ-1 contained in the VACS BMP Manual.

d. Cover crop. For croplands, cover crops shall be planted to meet the standard planting date and other specifications in accordance with DCR Specifications for NO. SL-8B contained in the VACS BMP Manual. This requirement applies to all croplands where summer annual crops are grown and the summer annual crop receives greater than a total of 50 pounds per acre of nitrogen application from any nutrient source; however, if the cropland is planted to winter cereal crops for harvest in the spring, then cover crops do not need to be planted on these croplands during that production year.

e. Livestock water body exclusion. For pastures or when livestock are present within the management area, livestock exclusion fencing shall be placed around perennial streams, rivers, lakes, ponds, or other water bodies having perennial flow. This exclusionary fencing shall be constructed in accordance with DCR Specification NO. WP-2W contained in the VACS BMP Manual in order to restrict livestock access to the water body. Livestock shall be provided with an alternative watering source. The livestock exclusion fencing shall be placed at least 35 feet from the top of the channel bank and this exclusion zone shall contain the riparian buffer required by subdivision 2 c of this subsection. Access points for livestock watering or crossing over a water body shall be a hardened surface constructed to DCR Specifications for NO. WP-2W contained in the VACS BMP Manual and shall be fenced to limit livestock access to the water body at the crossing point. Ponds that have been specifically built for the purpose of livestock watering and that do not have perennial flow through an overflow pipe or spillway are not required to meet the provisions of this subdivision 2 e.

3. The department may approve a load-based baseline determination equivalent to full implementation of the practices identified in subdivision 2 of this subsection.

C. Agricultural animal feeding operations. Baselines for agricultural animal feeding operations within the management area shall be established in accordance with either subdivision 1 or 2 of this subsection:

1. The animal feeding operation is in compliance with a valid VPDES or VPA permit in compliance with the board's regulations.

2. For animal feeding operations excluded from or not required to hold a VPDES or VPA permit under the board's regulations, the practices for establishing baseline shall be implemented and properly maintained as required in this subdivision 2.

a. Implementation and maintenance of the nutrient management practices required by the nutrient management plan written by a certified nutrient management planner pursuant to the Nutrient Management Training and Certification Regulations (4VAC50-85).

b. For animal feeding operations, except confined poultry operations, a storage facility designed and operated to prevent point source discharges of pollutants to state waters except in the case of a storm event greater than a 25-year/24-hour storm and to provide adequate waste storage capacity to accommodate periods when the ground is frozen or saturated, periods when land application of nutrients should not occur due to limited or nonexistent crop nutrient uptake, and periods when physical limitations prohibit the land application of waste shall be implemented and maintained.

c. For confined poultry operations, storage of poultry waste according to the nutrient management plan and in a manner that prevents contact with surface water and groundwater. Poultry waste that is stockpiled outside of the growing house for more than 14 days shall be kept in a facility or at a location that provides adequate storage. Adequate storage management practices shall meet the following minimum requirements:

(1) The poultry waste shall be covered to protect it from precipitation and wind.

(2) Stormwater shall not run onto or under the area where the poultry waste is stored.

(3) The ground surface of the poultry waste storage area shall have a minimum of two feet separation distance to the seasonal high water table. If poultry waste is stored in an area where the seasonal high groundwater table lies within two feet of the ground surface, the storage area shall be underlain by a low-permeability, hard-surfaced barrier such as concrete or asphalt.

(4) For poultry waste that is not stored inside or under a roofed structure, the storage area must be at least 100 feet from any surface water, intermittent drainage, wells, sinkholes, rock outcrops, and springs.

D. Urban practices. Achievement of baseline for new development, redevelopment, or retrofits to existing development shall be required prior to generation of credits. These baselines are:

1. For new development and redevelopment, baseline shall be achieved through compliance with the post-construction water quality design criteria requirements of the Virginia Stormwater Management Program (VSMP) Regulation under 9VAC25-870-63. Additionally, for development in a locality with a local stormwater management design criteria more stringent than 9VAC25-870-63, baselines shall be achieved through compliance with the local stormwater management ordinance.

2. For retrofits within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, baseline shall be at a level necessary to achieve the nutrient reduction assigned in the urban sector of the WIP or the approved local TMDL, whichever is more stringent.

3. For retrofits within the Southern Rivers watersheds and within a watershed with an approved TMDL with total phosphorus or total nitrogen allocations, baselines shall be at a level necessary to achieve reductions of the approved TMDL. For all other retrofits within the Southern Rivers watersheds, baseline shall be achieved through compliance with the post-construction water quality design criteria requirements for development on prior developed lands pursuant to 9VAC25-870-63 A 2.

4. No credits may be certified for a nutrient credit-generating project owned by an MS4 permittee and located within the permittee's MS4 service area until the level of nutrient reduction required by the WIP or approved TMDL, whichever is more stringent, is achieved for the entire MS4 service area. MS4 permittees generating credits for exchange shall have an accounting system demonstrating that the exchanged credits are not used to satisfy the MS4 permit requirements.

E. Land use conversions. Baselines for land use conversion shall be established using the preconversion land use. The preconversion land use shall be based on the land use as of (i) July 1, 2005, for a nutrient credit-generating project located within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed; (ii) the date of the approved TMDL for a nutrient credit-generating project located within a TMDL watershed but not within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed; or (iii) July, 1, 2009, for a nutrient credit-generating project not within an approved TMDL watershed or the Chesapeake Bay Watershed.

F. Stream or wetland restoration. Baseline for stream restoration shall be established using the pre-restoration condition of the stream. Baseline for wetland restoration shall be established on a case-by-case basis, depending on the current land use of the proposed wetland restoration area.

G. Other nutrient credit-generating projects. The department shall establish baselines for other nutrient credit-generating projects not otherwise regulated by subsections B through F of this section. The practices necessary for establishing baseline at these other nutrient credit-generating projects shall be in accordance with the requirements of the WIP or the approved TMDL and shall utilize the best available scientific and technical information regarding the practices.

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.

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