The NC Division of Water Quality is in the process of crafting rules related to the protection and mitigation of streamside forests – aka, buffers. We offered input on these rules back in March. The rules are meant to consolidate and simplify the regulation of streamside forests. This is a good thing because, currently, the State has a different set of rules and criteria in each river basin where these rules exist. The rule changes would make them more consistent throughout the State, which is a worthy goal to aid those trying to figure out how to comply with them.
One aspect of the rules which we commented on is an option that would promote less restoration of stream buffers. Without getting too detailed, the rule proposes to allow stream restoration sites to have multiple credits that they could sell on the same footprint. Based on the excess nutrient problems faced by the state, this is a bad idea. Described in previous posts, areas with nutrient problems are either not getting better or expanding to other parts of the state. Considering the lack of nutrient reduction progress we’ve made, let’s not reduce the protections we have for our lakes and estuaries.