Administrative Code

Virginia Administrative Code
12/1/2021

Part III. Administrative and Technical Criteria

9VAC25-900-80. Procedure for application for certification of nutrient credits.

A. An applicant requesting certification of nutrient credits shall submit an application to the department in accordance with this part. Applicants requesting a renewal of a certification of term nutrient credits shall submit an application to the department at least 60 days prior to the expiration of the nutrient credit term. If the renewal application is not received by the department at least 60 days prior to the expiration of the nutrient credit term, the application will be deemed a new application. The application or renewal application shall be in the form required by the department including signature in accordance with 9VAC25-900-130 and shall include the following elements:

1. A brief narrative description of the nutrient credit-generating project.

2. Contact information for the applicant including name, address, and telephone number.

3. Contact information for the nutrient credit-generating project, including the project's mailing address, street address, telephone number, and the contact person's name and email address.

4. Status of the applicant as owner, co-owner, operator, or lessee of the nutrient credit-generating project or the site on which the project is located. The applicant shall provide documentation of the applicant's right to exercise control of the nutrient credit-generating project and the site on which it is located for the purposes of generating and maintaining the proposed nutrient credit-generating project via a title, deed, grant, lease, or easement agreement. Evidence of such documentation must be recorded in the property chain of title and must identify contact information for the applicant or long-term steward for perpetual credits. If the applicant cannot demonstrate control, those parties who singularly or in conjunction with the applicant exercise control over the nutrient credit-generating project or the site on which it is located shall be required to jointly apply for nutrient credit certification with the applicant.

5. The name, mailing address, telephone number, and responsibilities of all known contractors responsible for any operational or maintenance aspects of the nutrient credit-generating project.

6. The number and type of potential nutrient credits to be generated and supporting information including (i) a description of the baseline practices in place within the management area and the nutrient credit-generating project's practices that may result in generation of nutrient credits beyond baseline requirements; (ii) the potential nutrient credit calculation including the efficiencies and factors used; and (iii) the associated documentation supporting the potential nutrient credits calculation. Baseline shall be determined in accordance with the requirements of 9VAC25-900-100. The number of potential nutrient credits shall be as calculated in accordance with 9VAC25-900-110.

7. A topographic map, survey, or another type of map deemed acceptable by the department that delineates the property boundary of the management area and clearly shows the location of all practices, including nutrient credit-generating projects and any baseline practices.

8. A description of current site conditions with photographs.

9. The 8-digit, 10-digit, and 12-digit HUC in which the nutrient credit-generating project is located.

10. For land use conversion projects, documentation of the condition of the land and land use controls in place as of the date specified in 9VAC25-900-100 E noting any changes in the condition of the land or land use controls since that date.

11. An implementation plan that meets the requirements of 9VAC25-900-120.

12. For structural BMPs or restoration projects required to submit and maintain financial assurance in accordance with 9VAC25-900-230, the draft financial assurance documents and financial assurance cost estimate calculated pursuant to Part VI (9VAC25-900-230 et seq.) of this chapter. As required by the schedule of release provisions of subsection B of 9VAC25-900-90, prior to the release of nutrient credits all required financial assurance mechanisms shall be established per Part VI (9VAC25-900-230 et seq.) of this chapter and approved by the department.

13. The appropriate fee required pursuant to Part V (9VAC25-900-190 et seq.) of this chapter.

14. For perpetual credits, a draft of the proposed site protection instrument for the site on which the nutrient credit-generating project is located. If the landowner is not an individual, documentation will be required establishing that the person executing the protection instrument has the authority to do so.

15. A description of other permits and approvals that may be necessary to operate the nutrient credit-generating project.

16. A description of any state or federal water quality grants received for water quality actions in the management area.

17. For perpetual credits, demonstration by the applicant that the site on which the nutrient credit-generating project is located is held with title free from all defects, liens, and encumbrances that would interfere with or be in conflict with the establishment and operation of the nutrient credit-generating project. The demonstration may include documentation of the subordination of property interests (e.g., mineral rights, mortgages, easement) if the department determines that the property interest would interfere with or be in conflict with the establishment and operation of the nutrient credit-generating project.

18. For term credits, the desired term of the credit shall be submitted; however, the term shall not exceed five-years.

19. A tax map showing the management area and adjacent parcels.

20. For nutrient credit-generating projects using innovative practices, the department may request submittal of additional information in order to review the innovative practice. This additional information may include application provisions that are deemed relevant to the innovative practice.

21. Any other information deemed necessary by the department.

B. Applications for certification of nutrient credits based on nutrient reductions from practices other than land conversion shall be processed in accordance with this subsection.

1. Administrative review. Upon receiving an application pursuant to subsection A of this section, the department shall perform a cursory review of the application within 30 calendar days of receipt. If the application does not contain all the necessary elements in accordance with subsection A of this section, the department shall notify the applicant of the missing elements. Otherwise, the department shall notify the applicant that the application will be evaluated for nutrient credit certification.

2. Public notification. After receipt of an application, the department shall post a public notification of the proposed nutrient credit-generating project on its website. The public notification shall include the name of the nutrient credit generating entity that proposes to generate nonpoint source nutrient credits, the location of the nutrient credit-generating project, and a description of the practices utilized. The public notification shall also include the name and contact information for a department staff person.

3. Technical evaluation. Once the application contains all the required elements, the department shall perform a technical evaluation of the application. As part of the evaluation, additional information may be required and the department shall, if warranted, perform a site visit of the proposed nutrient credit-generating project. Additionally, the department may convene a certification advisory committee to provide input regarding the review of an application such as those which incorporate the use of innovative practices by the nutrient credit-generating project. Within 120 days of the department's notification that the application will be evaluated, the department shall notify the applicant of the status of the evaluation of the application and, for innovative practices, provide a projected processing timeline for the application.

4. Completeness. The nutrient credits shall not be certified until the application is complete; however, a determination that an application is complete shall not require the department to issue the nutrient credit certification.

a. An application for nutrient credit certification is complete when the department receives an application in accordance with subsection A of this section, and the application and any supplemental information fulfills the application requirements to the department's satisfaction.

b. For applications for certification of nutrient credits generated from innovative practices, a second public notification shall be provided after the application is complete and prior to the issuance of the nutrient credit certification. The department shall post on its website a public notification of its intent to issue a nutrient credit certification, and the notification shall include the name of the applicant, the location of the nutrient credit-generating project, a description of the innovative practice, and the proposed quantity of term nutrient credits to be certified. The public notification shall also include the name and contact information for a department staff person.

5. Nutrient credit certification. Once the application is deemed complete, the department shall either (i) deny the application and notify the applicant that the nutrient credit-generating project does not qualify for any certified credits pursuant to the requirements of this chapter or (ii) approve the application by issuance of a nutrient credit certification and provide any applicable conditions including the schedule of release and retirement of nutrient credits in accordance with 9VAC25-900-90.

C. Applications for nutrient credit certification based on nutrient reductions solely from land conversion practices shall be processed in accordance with this subsection.

1. Application review. Within 30 days of receipt of an application, the department shall, if warranted, conduct a site visit. Within 45 days of receipt of an application, the department shall either determine that the application is complete or request additional specific information from the applicant. A determination that an application for a land conversion project is complete shall not require the department to issue a nutrient credit certification.

2. Public notification. After receipt of the application, the department shall post a public notification of the proposed nutrient credit-generating project on its website. The public notification shall include the name of the nutrient credit generating entity that proposes to generate nonpoint source nutrient credits, the location of the nutrient credit-generating project, and a description of the land conversion practice. The notification shall also include the name and contact information for the department staff person.

3. Nutrient credit certification. Within 15 days of the department's determination that the application is complete pursuant to subdivision 1 of this subsection, the department shall either (i) deny the application and notify the applicant that the nutrient credit-generating project does not qualify for any certified credits pursuant to the requirements of this chapter or (ii) approve the application by issuance of a nutrient credit certification and provide any applicable conditions including the schedule of release and retirement of nutrient credits in accordance with 9VAC25-900-90.

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.

9VAC25-900-90. Nutrient credit release and registration.

A. Retirement of credits.

1. Pursuant to the requirements of § 62.1-44.19:20 of the Act, 5.0% of the total credits certified will be retired by the department at the time of nutrient credit certification and will not be placed on the registry for exchange.

2. When phosphorus credits are acquired in accordance with 9VAC25-870-69, the associated nitrogen credits generated by the nutrient credit-generating project will be retired and removed from the registry by the department.

3. When nitrogen credits are acquired for purposes other than compliance with 9VAC25-870-69, the associated phosphorus credits generated by the nutrient credit-generating project shall not be available for compliance under 9VAC25-870-69.

4. Except as limited by this subsection, associated nitrogen and phosphorus credits generated by a nutrient credit-generating project may be exchanged independently.

B. Schedule of release of nutrient credits. The department shall establish a schedule for release of credits as follows:

1. For nutrient credit-generating projects using land use conversion, 25% of the credits will be released by the department after the department has verified completion of the conditions of the nutrient credit certification. For afforestation projects, an additional 25% of credits will be released by the department after the site has been planted with a minimum of 400 woody stems per acre. The remaining balance of credits will be released by the department after it is satisfied that the implementation plan's performance criteria required pursuant to 9VAC25-900-120 has been achieved. When a request for credit release is made concurrently with the application for nutrient credit certification from land conversion practices, the concurrent 25% initial release, and additional 25% release if planting has occurred, shall be processed on the same timeline as the application as provided in 9VAC25-900-80 C. When the request for credit release is from a previously approved land conversion project, the department shall schedule a site visit, if warranted, within 30 days of the request and shall deny, approve, or approve with conditions the release of the remaining 75% of the nutrient credits within 15 days of the site visit or determination that a site visit is not warranted.

2. For nutrient credit-generating projects using wetland or stream restoration, after construction 25% of the credits may be released by the department after the department has verified completion of the conditions of the nutrient credit certification. Every monitoring year thereafter, 25% of the credits may be released if all performance standards are met, the area or channel is stable, and, for streams, evidence is presented that a bankfull event occurred within the monitoring year. For streams, if a bankfull event did not occur, but performance standards are met and the channel is stable, 10% of the credits may be released. No additional credits will be released after the fourth monitoring year until a bankfull event has occurred. After the fourth monitoring year, if a bankfull event occurs, the channel is stable, and all performance standards are met, 25% of the credits may be released that monitoring year, not to exceed the remaining credits available. The schedule for release of credits shall also require, prior to the release of credits, the approval of any required financial assurance mechanism established pursuant to Part VI (9VAC25-900-230 et seq.) of this chapter.

3. For nutrient credit-generating projects using practices other than land use conversion or wetland or stream restoration, the schedule for release of credits will be determined by the department on a case-by-case basis and provided to the applicant with the nutrient credit certification. For projects using structural BMPs, the schedule shall also require, prior to release of credits, the approval of any required financial assurance mechanism established pursuant to Part VI (9VAC25-900-230 et seq.) of this chapter.

C. Registration of nutrient credits. Credits will be placed on the registry and classified as term or perpetual credits by the department. The registry will also indicate the number of credits that have been released for exchange. Only credits released by the department are available for exchange.

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.

9VAC25-900-91. Exchange of credits.

A. Exchange of a credit released by the department is subject to the provisions of § 62.1-44.15:35, 62.1-44.19:15, or 62.1-44.19:21 of the Code of Virginia.

B. Where necessary to ensure compliance with local water quality requirements, the exchange of a credit released by the department is conditioned as follows:

1. Within the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, the exchange of credits within an area subject to an approved local TMDL for total phosphorus or total nitrogen with allocations more stringent than the Chesapeake Bay Watershed TMDL shall be limited to those credits generated upstream of where the discharge reaches impaired waters.

2. Within the Southern Rivers watersheds, the exchange of credits within an area subject to an approved local TMDL for total phosphorus or total nitrogen shall be limited to those credits generated upstream of where the discharge reaches impaired waters.

3. Within an area with waters impaired for dissolved oxygen, benthic community, chlorophyll-a, or nutrients but with no approved local TMDL, the exchange of credits shall be limited to those credits generated in accordance with the following hierarchy:

a. Upstream of where the discharge reaches impaired waters if credits are available;

b. Within the same 12-digit HUC if credits are available;

c. Within the same 10-digit HUC if credits are available;

d. Within the same 8-digit HUC if credits are available;

e. Within an adjacent 8-digit HUC within the same tributary if credits are available; or

f. Within the same tributary.

C. The hierarchy of subdivision B 3 of this section shall not apply when:

1. The department determines through issuance of a VPDES permit that local water quality cannot be protected unless exchange of credits are restricted to upstream of where the discharge reaches impaired waters; or

2. It has been demonstrated to the department's satisfaction that:

a. The water quality impairment is not likely caused by nutrients; or

b. The use of credits would not reasonably be considered to cause or contribute to the impairment.

Statutory Authority

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

Historical Notes

Reserved, Virginia Register Volume 36, Issue 23, eff. September 1, 2020; amended, Virginia Register Volume 37, Issue 3, eff. January 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.

9VAC25-900-110. Credit calculation procedures.

A. Pursuant to this section, the applicant shall calculate the potential nutrient credits generated by the practices implemented at the nutrient credit-generating projects. The applicable delivery factors, dependent upon the tributary in which the nutrient credit-generating project is located, shall be applied when calculating the potential credits generated.

B. For agricultural practices, except land use conversion, the potential nutrient credits shall be calculated using removal efficiencies for practices approved by the department. In the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, these practices shall be approved by the department based on the efficiencies assigned by the Chesapeake Bay Program. In the Southern Rivers watersheds, these practices shall be approved by the department based on submitted calculations and demonstrations. The standards and specifications for implementation of the practices will be established by the department and shall be in accordance with the VACS BMP Manual or the FOTG, as applicable.

C. For urban practices, the potential nutrient credits shall be calculated using the applicable removal efficiencies pursuant to 9VAC25-870-65 or using the best available scientific and technical information available at the time of nutrient credit certification as approved by the department. Limitations on potential nutrient credits from certain BMPs are:

1. In the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, nutrient load reductions from practices in place prior to July 1, 2005, may not be used to generate credits. Removal efficiencies shall be based upon those efficiencies approved by the Chesapeake Bay Program partnership where applicable. These efficiencies shall be reviewed at the time of certification renewal and adjusted as necessary based upon changes made by the Chesapeake Bay Program Partnership.

2. In the Southern Rivers watersheds, nutrient load reductions from practices in place prior to July 1, 2009, may not be used to generate credits.

D. For land use conversions, conversion of land to a more intensive land use activity will not generate nutrient credits. The number of potential nutrient credits shall be determined by calculating the nutrient credits per acre and multiplying that number by the total acreage that will undergo land use conversion. The nutrient credits per acre is equal to the amount calculated by subtracting the load per acre of nutrient nonpoint source pollution for the proposed land use after conversion from the load per acre for the preconversion land use. The values used for the loadings per acre in this calculation shall be based on the applicable loading levels provided in the WIP or the approved TMDL, where applicable. The preconversion land use shall be based on the land use as of the date specified in 9VAC25-900-100 E. The load per acre for the preconversion land use shall reflect the implementation of any applicable baseline practices necessary to comply with 9VAC25-900-100 B, C, and D. No credits shall be generated from the conversion of land within 35 feet of a water body with perennial water flow as measured from the top of the channel bank.

E. For wetland or stream restoration, an existing conditions assessment survey will be completed prior to restoration activities to use as a pre-restoration condition (baseline pursuant to of 9VAC25-900-100 F) and will be used for comparison to post-restoration conditions. The potential number of credits shall be determined by applying protocols or guidance on a case-by-case basis using the best available scientific and technical information, as approved by the department.

F. For a practice not previously approved by the department, the department will perform a case-by-case review in order to calculate the number of potential nutrient credits generated. The owner shall submit the removal efficiency calculation information for the practice and the calculation of the potential number of credits generated using that efficiency. The department may also request that the submittal include requirements for demonstration projects, the collection of sufficient data to evaluate the results, and any other information the department deems necessary to determine the validity of the credits. In the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, for a practice not approved by the Chesapeake Bay Program Partnership, the department will perform a case-by-case review in order to calculate the number of potential nutrient credits generated on a term basis.

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.

9VAC25-900-120. Implementation plan.

A. The implementation plan submitted pursuant to 9VAC25-900-80 shall provide information detailing how the nutrient credit-generating project will generate credits for the term of the credits. The implementation plan will include the applicable information as required in subsections B through J of this section.

B. For all nutrient credit-generating projects, the implementation plan shall include:

1. An operation and maintenance plan that provides a description and schedule of operation and maintenance requirements and detailed written specifications and process diagrams for the practices used at the nutrient credit-generating project. The plan must be adhered to for the term of the credits and shall include a description of site management activities to be performed after meeting all performance standards to ensure long-term sustainability of the site.

2. The performance standards that shall be used to evaluate whether the nutrient credit-generating project is generating credits as calculated in 9VAC25-900-110.

3. Applicable requirements for the project required pursuant to Part IV (9VAC25-900-140 et seq.) of this chapter.

C. For nutrient credit-generating projects utilizing managed afforestation land use conversion, the implementation plan shall also include:

1. A project plan submitted in the form required by the department and prepared by a person trained in (i) forestry management, (ii) nutrient management, or (iii) other applicable land management training that includes an understanding of whole land management planning. The project plan shall include (i) methods for invasive plant species control and eradication if woody invasive plant species impacts 5.0% or more of the nutrient credit-generating project's acreage; (ii) a requirement that any harvesting of timber shall adhere to best management practices as set forth by Department of Forestry's Water Quality Guide and any other applicable local, state, or federal laws or requirements; (iii) the land management goals; (iv) a statement that no fertilizer is to be used on the nutrient credit-generating project's land conversion acreage for the term of the credit generated; (v) a planting plan to include size, species, and spacing of trees; and (vi) any planting phases planned for the project if the area will not be planted all at one time, but will be planted in different phases. Additionally, if timbering is planned within the land conversion area, a copy of the timbering plan shall be submitted to the department at least 90 days prior to the occurrence of any land disturbance or timbering.

2. Provisions for planting forests to achieve an initial survival density of a minimum of 400 deciduous tree or evergreen tree woody stems per acre including any noninvasive volunteers. Survival of planted deciduous trees shall not be established until the start of the second complete growing season following planting. Survival of planted evergreen trees may be established after completion of the first complete growing season following planting. Survival of mixed specie plantings with a minimum of 200 evergreen trees per acre may be established after completion of the first complete growing season following planting.

3. A description of agricultural baseline requirements implemented in accordance with 9VAC50-900-100 B and C that apply to any remaining portions of the management area that are not undergoing land use conversion.

4. Performance standards and reporting procedures demonstrating ongoing compliance with the baseline requirements of 9VAC25-900-100 B and C.

D. For nutrient credit-generating projects utilizing natural succession land use conversion, the implementation plan shall also include provisions for:

1. Forests to achieve an initial density of a minimum of 400 noninvasive woody stems per acre.

2. Invasive plant species control and eradication if woody invasive plant species impacts 5.0% or more of the nutrient credit-generating project's acreage.

3. A description of agricultural baseline requirements implemented in accordance with 9VAC25-900-100 B and C that apply to any remaining portions of the management area not undergoing land use conversion.

4. Performance standards for demonstrating ongoing compliance with the agricultural baseline requirements of 9VAC25-900-100 B and C.

E. For nutrient credit-generating projects utilizing other land use conversion not subject to either subsection C, D, or G of this section, the implementation plan shall also include:

1. Description of the land use conversion project and its implementation and maintenance criteria.

2. Description of the applicable baseline practices implemented in accordance with 9VAC25-900-100 for the management area including the nutrient credit-generating project.

3. Performance standards and reporting procedures demonstrating ongoing compliance with the baseline practices requirements of 9VAC25-900-100.

F. For nutrient credit-generating projects utilizing non-land use conversion agricultural practices, the implementation plan shall also include:

1. A description of the entire management area. This description shall include (i) the acreage and use including descriptions for the proposed practices of the nutrient credit-generating project and baseline area; (ii) water features including all streams, ponds, lakes, and wetlands; (iii) environmentally sensitive sites as defined in 4VAC50-85-10; (iv) areas with highly erodible soils; and (v) the current agricultural operations, crops, or animal facilities.

2. Copies of the current nutrient management plans developed by a certified nutrient management planner and approved by the department and any soil conservation plans completed by a certified conservation planner.

3. Information on the location and status of all existing and proposed BMPs including implementation schedules, lifespan, and maintenance procedures for each BMP that constitutes the baseline requirements.

G. For nutrient credit-generating projects utilizing approved wetland and stream mitigation projects pursuant to § 62.1-44.15:23 of the Code of Virginia, the implementation plan shall also include:

1. A copy of the approved mitigation banking instrument.

2. A plan view map clearly delineating and labeling areas to be considered for credit conversion.

3. A spreadsheet or table listing each labeled area. For each labeled area, the table shall include:

a. The type of eligible land use conversion or restoration practice;

b. The acreage or linear feet of the area;

c. The available mitigation credits;

d. The potential nutrient credits; and

e. The ratio of mitigation credits to nutrient credits.

4. Documentation that complies with the department-approved procedure to ensure credits are not used for both wetland or stream credit and nutrient credit purposes.

5. Documentation shall include written approval from the Interagency Review Team, which oversees stream and wetland mitigation projects pursuant to 33 CFR 332.8 and § 62.1-44.15:23 of the Code of Virginia, to establish a nutrient credit generating site within an approved mitigation bank.

H. For nutrient credit-generating projects utilizing proposed new wetland or stream restoration projects not subject to 33 CFR 332.8 and § 62.1-44.15:23 of the Code of Virginia, the implementation plan shall also include, where appropriate to the type of restoration and project:

1. Certification that the owner will obtain all appropriate permits or other authorizations needed to construct and maintain the restoration activities, prior to initiating work in state waters.

2. An initial wetland restoration plan, which shall include the following:

a. The goals and objectives in terms of proposed nutrient reductions and restoration activities;

b. A detailed location map (e.g., a U.S. Geologic Survey topographic quadrangle map) including latitude and longitude to the nearest second and the hydrologic unit code (HUC) at the center of the site;

c. A description of the surrounding land use;

d. A hydrologic analysis, including a draft water budget based on expected monthly inputs and outputs that will project water level elevations for a typical year, a dry year, and a wet year;

e. The groundwater elevation data or, if not available, the proposed location of groundwater monitoring wells to collect this data;

f. Wetland delineation confirmation and data sheets and maps for existing surface water areas on the proposed site;

g. A preliminary grading plan;

h. A preliminary wetland planting scheme, including suggested plant species and zonation of each vegetation type proposed;

i. Descriptions of existing soils, including general information on topsoil and subsoil conditions, permeability, and the need for soil amendments;

j. A preliminary design of any water control systems or structures for wetland restoration or establishment;

k. Depiction of any land conversion or other buffer areas associated with the nutrient credit-generating entity;

l. A description of any structures or features necessary for the success of the site; and

m. A preliminary schedule for site construction.

3. An initial stream restoration plan, which shall include the following:

a. The goals and objectives in terms of proposed nutrient reductions and restoration activities;

b. A detailed location map (e.g., a U.S. Geologic Survey topographic quadrangle map), including the latitude and longitude (to the nearest second) and the hydrologic unit code (HUC) at the center of the site;

c. A description of the surrounding land use;

d. The preliminary proposed stream segment restoration locations, including plan view, profile, and cross-section sketches;

e. The existing stream deficiencies that need to be addressed;

f. The proposed restoration measures to be employed, including channel measurements, proposed design flows, types of instream structures, and conceptual planting scheme for streambank plantings;

g. Reference stream data, if available;

h. Depiction of any land conversion or other buffer areas associated with the nutrient credit-generating project; and

i. A preliminary schedule for site construction.

4. Prior to construction of the restoration site, the following final plans shall be submitted where appropriate to the type of restoration:

a. The final wetland restoration plan, which shall include all of the items listed in subdivision H 2 of this section and the following:

(1) A summary of the type and acreage of existing stream and wetland impacts anticipated during the construction of the restoration site and the proposed compensation for these impacts;

(2) A site access plan;

(3) An erosion and sediment control plan meeting the requirements of 9VAC25-840;

(4) The final construction schedule; and

(5) A monitoring plan as detailed in subdivision H 4 c of this section.

b. A final stream restoration plan, which shall include the items listed in subdivision H 3 of this section of this section and the following:

(1) A summary of the type and acreage or linear feet of impacts to state waters anticipated during the construction of the restoration site and the proposed compensation for these impacts;

(2) A detailed plan view, profile, and cross-section sketches with the location of proposed restoration measures;

(3) A site access plan;

(4) An erosion and sediment control plan meeting the requirements of 9VAC25-840;

(5) The final construction schedule; and

(6) A monitoring plan as detailed in subdivision H 4 c of this section.

c. A monitoring plan, which shall include: (i) monitoring goals; (ii) proposed performance standards; (iii) parameters to be monitored; (iv) methods of monitoring; (v) length of monitoring period; (vi) monitoring and reporting schedule; (vii) reporting requirements; and (viii) projects responsible for monitoring and reporting.

(1) Performance standards for wetland or stream restoration shall include specific, measureable parameters for determination of performance in comparison to as-built conditions. For wetland restoration, performance standards may include applicable parameters to demonstrate characteristics of wetland formation and stability for the type of wetland restored, including hydrology, soils, vegetation, and stability of any water control structures or berms. For stream restoration, performance standards may include applicable parameters to demonstrate characteristics of channel stability, including dimension, pattern, profile, materials, and stability of the channel and any structures.

(2) Monitoring methods and parameters shall be selected based on type of wetland or stream restoration, the implementation plan, and performance standards of the nutrient credit-generating project, and will be outlined in the monitoring plan. For wetland restoration, the monitoring plan shall include the location and number of photo stations, monitoring wells, vegetation sampling points, other monitoring equipment, and reference wetlands, if available. For stream restoration, the plan shall include the location and number of stations utilized for photo-monitoring, cross-sections, profiles, pattern measurements, streambank stability measurements, streambank vegetation surveys, bank pins, scour chains, stream gages, rain gages, other monitoring equipment, and reference streams, if available.

(3) The monitoring and reporting schedule shall include an as-built survey conducted directly following construction and at least six monitoring and reporting events over a 10-year monitoring period following construction. All monitoring activities shall occur during the growing season, with the exception that after year three, physical monitoring of stream condition (cross-section, profiles, pattern) may be conducted outside the growing season. For any year in which planting was conducted, monitoring of woody vegetation shall take place no earlier than October and at least six months following planting. If all performance standards have not been met in the 10th year, then a monitoring report shall be required for each consecutive year until two sequential annual reports indicate that all performance standards have been successfully satisfied. The extent of monitoring may be reduced, upon approval by the department, on a case-by-case basis, in response to exceptional attainment of performance standards. Submittal of a final monitoring report, typically prepared the 10th growing season following construction completion, shall be required as a baseline for long-term management.

5. A long-term management plan, which shall include:

a. Restoration projects shall include minimization of active engineering features (e.g., pumps) that require long-term management and appropriate site selection to ensure that natural hydrology and landscape context will support long-term sustainability;

b. Long-term management and maintenance shall include basic management as necessary to ensure long-term sustainability of the nutrient credit-generating project such as long-term repair or replacement, maintenance of water control or other structures, or easement enforcement;

c. The owner shall designate a responsible long-term steward in the plan. The owner of the nutrient credit-generating project is the default long-term steward and is responsible for implementing the long term management plan and management of the financial assurance. However, the owner may transfer the long-term management responsibilities and management of the long-term financial assurance to a long-term steward or land stewardship project, such as a public agency, nongovernmental organization, or private land manager, upon review and approval by the department;

d. Long-term management needs, annual cost estimates for these needs, and identifying the funding mechanism that will be used to meet these needs shall be included.

I. For nutrient credit-generating projects utilizing urban practices, the implementation plan shall also include:

1. A description of the contributing drainage area (CDA) for the proposed nutrient credit-generating project's BMP. This description shall include (i) the acreage and land covers (e.g., impervious, forest or open space, managed turf); (ii) water features including all streams, ponds, lakes, and wetlands; (iii) identification of all impaired waters and approved TMDLs; and (iv) identification or mapping of the soil types within the CDA, by USDA hydrological soil group.

2. A list of all of the current urban nutrient management plans developed by a certified nutrient management planner and being implemented within the CDA.

3. Information on the location and description of existing BMPs within the CDA. For BMPs that constitute the baseline requirements include implementation schedules, lifespan, and maintenance procedures.

4. For development and redevelopment projects, the implementation plan shall include the erosion and sediment control plan and the stormwater management plan developed in accordance 9VAC25-870.

5. For retrofits, the implementation plan shall include relevant credit calculations and documentation as deemed appropriate by the department.

J. For other types of activities or projects not presented in subsections C through I of this section, the implementation plan shall include information as deemed appropriate by the department in order to evaluate the credits for nutrient credit certification.

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.

9VAC25-900-130. Signature requirements.

A. All applications for certification of nutrient credits shall be signed as follows:

1. For a corporation, the application shall be signed by a responsible corporate officer. For the purpose of this section, a responsible corporate officer means a president, secretary, treasurer, or vice-president of the corporation in charge of a principal business function or any other person who performs similar policy-making or decision-making functions for the corporation or the manager of the nutrient credit-generating project provided the manager is authorized to make management decisions that govern the operation of the project;

2. For a partnership or sole proprietorship, the application shall be signed by a general partner or the proprietor, respectively; or

3. For a municipality, state, federal, or other public agency, the application shall be signed by either a principal executive officer or ranking elected official. For purposes of this section, a principal executive officer of a federal agency includes the chief executive officer of the agency or a senior executive officer having responsibility for the overall operations of a principal geographic unit of the agency.

B. All reports required by this chapter and other information requested by the department shall be signed by a person described in subsection A of this section or by a duly authorized representative of that person. A person is a duly authorized representative only if:

1. The authorization is made in writing by a person described in subsection A of this section;

2. The authorization specifies either an individual or a position having responsibility for the overall operation of the project; and

3. The written authorization is submitted to the department.

C. If an authorization under subsection B of this section is no longer accurate because a different individual or position has responsibility for the overall operation of the project, a new authorization satisfying the requirements of subsection B of this section shall be submitted to the department prior to or together with any reports or information to be signed by an authorized representative.

D. Any person signing a document under subdivision A or B of this section shall make the following certification: "I certify under penalty of law that this document and all attachments were prepared under my direction or supervision in accordance with a system designed to assure that qualified personnel properly gather and evaluate the information submitted. Based on my inquiry of the person or persons who manage the system or those persons directly responsible for gathering the information, the information submitted is to the best of my knowledge and belief true, accurate, and complete. I am aware that there are significant penalties for submitting false information including the possibility of fine and imprisonment for knowing violations."

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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