Streams and Wetlands Certification

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“Blue Line Stream”

What are waters of the State?

Waters of the State include any stream, river, brook, swamp, lake, sound, tidal estuary, bay, creek, reservoir, waterway, or other body or accumulation of water. They can be surface or underground, public or private, natural or artificial. Finally, they must be contained in, flow through, or border upon any portion of this State (including any portion of the Atlantic Ocean over which the State has jurisdiction). [G.S. 143-212(6)]

What is a stream?

A stream is a body of concentrated flowing water in a natural low area or natural channel on the land surface [15A NCAC 02B .0233(2)]. There are three types of stream:

Ephemeral: are features that only carry stormwater in direct response to precipitation. They may have a well-defined channel and they typically lack the biological, hydrological, and physical characteristics commonly associated with intermittent or continuous conveyances of water.

Intermittent: have a well-defined channel that contains water for only part of the year (typically during winter and spring). The flow may be heavily supplemented by stormwater. When dry, they typically lack the biological and hydrological characteristics commonly associated with continuous conveyances of water.

Perennial: have a well-defined channel that contains water year round during a year with normal rainfall. Groundwater is the primary source of water, but they also carry stormwater. They exhibit the typical biological, hydrological, and physical characteristics commonly associated with the continuous conveyance of water.

What is the difference between a “modified natural stream” and a “ditch” or “canal”?

A modified natural stream means the channelization or relocation of a stream. Consequently, the flow is relocated. They exhibit the typical biological, hydrological, and physical characteristics commonly associated with the continuous conveyance of water.

A ditch or canal means a man-made channel other than a modified natural stream. They are constructed for drainage purposes and typically dug through inter-stream divide areas. They may exhibit hydrological and biological characteristics similar to streams. These features are typically not regulated by NC DWR or the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Who determines if a stream is jurisdictional?

Division of Water Resources (DWR) determines the presence and location of waters of the State, including streams.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers determines waters of the U.S.
Guilford County Watershed Protection/Stormwater Management staff for compliance with Buffer Regulations.

What does the term “blue-line stream” mean?

“Blue-line stream” means that a stream appears as a broken or solid blue line (or a purple line) on a USGS topographic map. Streams do not have to be “blue-line” to be considered waters of the State.

Do streams have to be on a map to be regulated?

NO!!! While topographic maps and soil surveys may be helpful for some streams, a stream does not have to appear on a map to be regulated