Rules provide for the use of nutrient offset payments in the Neuse and Tar-Pamlico basins along with the Falls and Jordan watersheds as an option to meet nutrient reduction requirements for new development and redevelopment. While rules vary by watershed, they allow developers not meeting the nutrient requirements on their site to have the option of offsetting nutrient loading through payment to a DWQ-approved third-party credit provider such as the Ecosystem Enhancement Program (EEP) or a private nutrient offset bank to “buy down” their nutrient loads to where they meet targets for nutrient export.
When developers choose the nutrient offset option, payments are used to transfer the responsibility for offsetting increases in nutrient load from the developer to EEP or other third party provider. These payments are then used to fund implementation of nutrient-reducing projects in the same hydrologic area as where the impact occurred. Third party nutrient offset providers, in turn, report compliance with regulatory requirements in annual reports and as requested to DWQ.
The nutrient offset option, therefore, allows development projects not meeting on-site treatment thresholds to proceed under the assurance that associated increases in nutrient loads will be at least equally offset by nutrient reducing activities elsewhere in the watershed.
Click above map for detailed watershed information.