15A NCAC 02R .0601 RIPARIAN BUFFER MITIGATION FEES TO THE NC DIVISION OF MITIGATION SERVICES
(a) For the purposes of this Rule:
(1) "cost" or "costs" shall mean the NC Division of Mitigation Services In-Lieu Fee Mitigation Program's costs associated with riparian buffer mitigation projects in a given rate area, as described in this Rule; and
(2) "credit" or "credits" shall mean the number of credits of riparian buffer compensatory mitigation that have been:
(A) requested by the applicant; and
(B) specified in the approved certifications issued by the Department.
(b) The Program shall calculate and publish one general riparian buffer mitigation payment rate applicable to all river basins where Commission rules allow riparian buffer mitigation payments and premium rates for specific watersheds, as identified in Paragraph (c) of this Rule. Rates shall be published on the Division's website (https://deq.nc.gov/about/divisions/mitigation-services). All rates shall be based on the costs incurred by the program in those watersheds.
(c) Premium Watershed Rates. The Program shall apply premium watershed rates to:
(1) The Randleman Lake Watershed;
(2) The Jordan Lower New Hope Watershed; and
(3) Any 8-digit cataloging unit, mitigation service area, or smaller watershed where costs are 33 percent greater than the general statewide rate shall have a surcharge equal to the difference between the general statewide rate and the actual cost of mitigation in that mitigation service area.
The initial rate for a premium watershed with fewer than two riparian buffer mitigation projects that have reached the design stage shall be the highest riparian buffer rate in effect under the Program. The initial rate shall be revised for a premium watershed in the quarter following a quarter in which at least two riparian buffer mitigation projects in that watershed have reached design stage.
(d) Rate Adjustment Frequency. Initial rates shall be effective as of the readoption effective date of this Rule. They shall be adjusted quarterly whenever the rate calculation set forth in Paragraph (e) of this Rule exceeds the existing rate by at least 10 percent. The rates shall also be adjusted annually. Annual calculations and adjusted rates shall be published by June 15 on the Program's website, http://deq.nc.gov/about/divisions/mitigation-services, and shall become effective July 1. Any quarterly rate adjustments shall become effective on the first day of October, January, or April, as applicable, and shall be published on the same website two weeks prior to that date. The rate shall be adjusted within two business days if the Program suspends acceptance of payments at the current rate
(e) Payment rates shall be determined for a rate area using the following equation and presented in per-credit values:
(1) Actual CostsPresentDay means the sum of all costs, adjusted for inflation, as described in this Subparagraph. Costs shall mean project costs and administrative costs and shall include the costs of completed projects, terminated projects, and projects in process. At the time the rate is set, all completed land acquisition contracts and expenditures shall be adjusted to present-day values using the current North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Agricultural Statistics Farm Real Estate Values, incorporated by reference including subsequent amendments and editions. All other completed contracts and expenditures shall be adjusted to present day values using the annual composite USACE Civil Works Construction Cost Index. Future land acquisition contract costs for projects in process shall be calculated using the Program's per-credit contract costs of the same type adjusted to the inflated future value at the time the contracts will be encumbered using the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' Agricultural Statistics Farm Real Estate Values. All other future contracts shall be calculated using the Program's per-credit contract costs of the same type adjusted to the inflated future value at the time the contracts will be encumbered using the current composite USACE Civil Works Construction Cost Index. For projects in process where the contract type has not been determined, the cost of the project shall be calculated using the Program's average per credit cost adjusted to the future inflated value when the project will be initiated. Future year annual inflation rates shall be drawn from the USACE Civil Works Construction Cost Index. If not available from either source, future year annual inflation rates shall be calculated using the average annual percentage change over the last three-year period;
(2) As used in this Rule:
(A) "Project Costs" means the total costs associated with development of riparian buffer mitigation projects including identification, land acquisition, project design, project construction, monitoring, maintenance, and long-term stewardship.
(B) "Administrative Costs" means costs associated with administration of the Program including staffing, supplies and rent.
(C) The "cost for projects in process" means the sum of expenditures of project contracts to date, contracted cost to complete existing contracts, and the projected cost of future contracts needed to complete those projects required to fulfill Program riparian buffer mitigation obligations in the rate area.
(D) "Total Riparian Buffer CreditsPresentDay" means the total amount of credits provided by projects in the rate area at the time of calculation. If the Total Riparian Buffer CreditsPresentDay for an existing or completed project is reduced, the Actual CostsPresentDay for that existing or completed project shall be proportionally adjusted;
(3) The Adjustment Factor shall be applied only in those calculation periods where actual costs are calculated to be greater than actual receipts.
The Adjustment Factor shall not comprise more than 60 percent of the overall rate;
(A) "Actual Costs" shall be the same as Actual CostsPresentDay as defined in Subparagraph (1) of this Paragraph, except that the existing contracts and completed land acquisitions shall not be adjusted for inflation.
(B) "Actual Receipts" means the sum of all riparian buffer mitigation payments made to the Program in the rate area at the time of calculation.
(C) "Number of Riparian Buffer Credits Paid During Adjustment Period" means the average number of riparian buffer mitigation credits paid to the Program over the last three years in the rate area, multiplied by the adjustment period. If no payments have been made to the Program in a rate area the number of credits paid shall be 435,600 riparian buffer credits until greater than 435,600 riparian buffer credits have been purchased in that rate area.
(4) Adjustment Period shall be one to four years determined as follows for a rate area.
(A) One year if Actual Costs exceed Actual Receipts by less than five percent.
(B) Two years if Actual Costs exceed Actual Receipts by 5 percent or more but less than 15 percent.
(C) Three years if Actual Costs exceed Actual Receipts by 15 percent or more but less than 25 percent.
(D) Four years if Actual Costs exceed Actual Receipts by 25 percent or more.
History Note: Authority G.S. 143-214.1; 143-214.5; 143-214.5(i); 143-214.7; 143-214.12; 143-214.21; 143-215.3(a)(1); 143-215.6A; 143-215.6B; 143-215.6C; 143-215.8B; 143B-282(c); 143B-282(d);
Eff. August 11, 2009;
Amended Eff. May 1, 2015;
Transferred from 15A NCAC 02B .0269 Eff. May 1, 2015;
Readopted Eff. March 1, 2018.