(a)  The following requirements shall apply for forest harvesting operations and practices in the riparian areas.

(1)           Logging decks and sawmill sites shall not be placed in the riparian buffer.

(2)           Access roads and skid trails are prohibited except for temporary and permanent stream crossings established in accordance with 15A NCAC 01I .0203.  Temporary stream crossings shall be permanently stabilized after any site disturbing activity is completed.

(3)           Timber felling shall be directed away from the stream or water body.

(4)           Skidding shall be directed away from the stream or water body and shall be done in a manner that minimizes soil disturbance and prevents the creation of channels or ruts.

(5)           Individual trees may be treated to maintain or improve their health, form or vigor.

(6)           Harvesting of dead or infected trees or application of pesticides necessary to prevent or control extensive tree pest and disease infestation is allowed, when approved by the Division of Forest Resources for a specific site in accordance with G.S. 113-60.4. A copy of the Division of Forest Resources approval must be provided to the Division of Water Quality in accordance with Session Law 2001-404.

(7)           Removal of individual trees that are in danger of causing damage to structures or human life is allowed.

(8)           Natural regeneration of forest vegetation and planting of trees, shrubs, or ground cover plants to enhance the riparian buffer  is allowed provided that soil disturbance is minimized. Plantings shall consist primarily of native species.

(9)           High intensity prescribed burns shall not be allowed.

(10)         Application of fertilizer is not allowed except as necessary for permanent stabilization.  Broadcast application of fertilizer or herbicides to the adjacent forest stand shall be conducted so that the chemicals are not applied directly to or allowed to drift into the riparian buffer.

(b)  In the riparian buffer, forest vegetation shall be protected and maintained.  Selective harvest as provided for below is allowed on forest lands that have a deferment for use value under forestry in accordance with G.S. 105-277.2 through G.S. 277.6 or on forest lands that have a forest management plan prepared or approved by a registered professional forester.  Copies of either the approval of the deferment for use value under forestry or the forest management plan shall be produced upon request.  For such forest lands, selective harvest is allowed in accordance with the following:

(1)           Tracked or wheeled vehicles are not permitted within the first 50 feet the riparian buffer top of bank landward except at stream crossings designed, constructed and maintained in accordance with 15A NCAC 01I .0203.

(2)           Soil disturbing site preparation activities are not allowed.

(3)           Trees shall be removed with the minimum disturbance to the soil and residual vegetation.

(4)           The first 10 feet of the riparian buffer directly adjacent to the stream or waterbody shall be undisturbed.

(5)           In the zone from 10 feet to 50 feet of the riparian buffer, a maximum of 50 percent of the trees greater than five inches diameter breast height (dbh) may be cut and removed.  The reentry time for harvest shall be no more frequent than every 15 years, except on forest plantations as defined in 15A NCAC 02B .0233(e)  where the reentry time shall be no more frequent than every five years.  In either case, the trees remaining after harvest shall be as evenly spaced as possible.

(6)           In the outer riparian buffer (landward of 50 feet), harvesting and regeneration of the forest stand is allowed provided that sufficient ground cover is maintained to provide for diffusion and infiltration of surface runoff.


History Note:        Authority G.S. 143-214.1; 143-215.3(a)(1); 143-215.8A;

Eff. February 1, 2009.