NSW Strategies - Falls Lake

NEW: Resources for Equine Operations

Farm Best Management Practices and Education for Equine Operations in the Falls Lake Watershed:

Landowner Fact Sheet

Workshop Presentation: August 2013

We’re excited to announce the kick-off of our Horse Farm Project in the counties of the Falls Lake Watershed!  We’ve started writing contracts in Wake, Orange, Durham, Granville, and Person counties for water quality best management practices on equine farm operations large and small.  Much like traditional livestock operations, horse farms can be a significant contributor of nonpoint source pollution to the watershed.  There are a number of BMPs that can be implemented on a cost share basis with landowners and farm leasees that help protect sensitive waters in the triangle, and we have a great team of district staff and horse farm professionals that are helping us put some practices on the ground.

In 2012, the Division was awarded an EPA 319 grant to implement best management practices (BMPs) on horse farms throughout the Falls Lake watershed.  It includes funds for BMP design and construction, as well as education and outreach.  As part of this grant project, Sustainable Stables LLC and the North Carolina Horse Council are teaming up to produce several public workshops to introduce local landowners and horse farm managers to the kinds of practices that can be installed at their facilities to help protect the integrity of nearby water bodies and streams.  Since horse farms produce nutrient-laden waste material much the same way as a cow or hog operation, we’re hoping this will lead to adoption of these practices by horse farm owners across the state, thereby helping to protect our waterways from excessive nutrient and soil inputs and ensuring that local landowners have the resources to effectively control and manage their sources.

We welcome anyone and everyone, from hobby farm owners to commercial horse breeders, who would like to find out about the resources we can bring to the table, and we encourage you to contact your local SWCD staff if you have any questions or to find out more information!




Falls Lake Agricultural Rule
15A NCAC 2B Rule 0280
Establishes collective nitrogen and phosphorus reduction goals for agricultural operations in the watershed to be achieved in two stages.

Stage I establishes collective agricultural reduction goals of 20 percent nitrogen and 40 percent phosphorus must be achieved by 2021.
Stage II requires a reduction of 40 percent nitrogen and 77 percent phosphorus by 2036 and may also require buffering all cropland and excluding all pasture if agriculture does not meet Stage I goals.
Who is affected by the rule?
Anyone who engages in agricultural operations in the Falls Lake Watershed, produces crops or horticultural products (excluding trees) primarily for financial profit or engages in research activities in support of commercial production or has:
 5 or more horses
20 or more cattle
20 or more swine not in a feedlot
150 or more swine in a feedlot
120 or more sheep
130 or more goats
650 or more turkeys
3,500 or more chickens
any combination that exceeds 20,000 pounds of live weight at anytime
 All persons who are affected must register with the local advisory committee starting in January 2011.
Falls Lake Watershed
Register online here.
Several practices are available to help reduce nutrient runoff from pasture land. The two most commonly used best management practices are livestock exclusion fencing and buffers. Livestock exclusion fencing keeps animals out of waterways. When installing fencing, you should consider leaving at least a 20 foot buffer. This would give your farm reduction credit for the fence and an added reduction for the width of the buffer. Other companion practices to livestock exclusion include: wells, spring development, watering tanks, stream crossings, cross fencing, heavy use areas, prescribed grazing, livestock feeding areas and livestock trails.
Several practices are available to help reduce nutrient runoff from cropland. The most common best management practices for nitrogen reduction in the Falls Lake Watershed are buffers, nutrient scavenger crops and nutrient management. Other practices help prevent erosion and possibly reduce phosphorus runoff. These other practices include: grassed waterways, diversions, terraces, conservation tillage, rock-lined outlets, agricultural road repair, sod-based rotation, crop residue management, critical area planting, conservation cover and micro-irrigation systems.
There are cost share programs available to help install best management practices on your farm. These programs include the NC Agricultural Cost Share Program, the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) and Natural Resources Conservation Service programs such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP). Contact your local soil and water conservation district for further information.
Durham SWCD - 919.560.0558
Franklin SWCD - 919.496.3137 ext.3
Granville SWCD - 919.693.4603 ext.3
Orange SWCD - 919.245.2750
Person SWCD - 336.597.2973 ext.3
Wake SWCD - 919.250.1050


Initial Assessment of Agricultural Operations’ Stage 1 Reductions
Falls Reservoir Water Supply Nutrient Strategy: Agriculture
(15 A NCAC 02B.0280)



For more information contact:
Tom Jones, Neuse/Tar-Pamlico Basin Coordinator


NCDA&CS Division of Soil & Water Conservation, Pat Harris, Director
Mailing Address: 1614 Mail Service Center, Raleigh NC 27699-1614
Physical Address: 512 North Salisbury Street, Raleigh North Carolina 27604
Phone: 919.733.2302; FAX: 919.715.3559