|(a) Purpose. The purpose of this program is to carry
out the mandate in Agriculture Code §201.026(g) relating to the
abatement of agricultural and silvicultural nonpoint source pollution
through a water quality management plan certification program.
(b) Definitions. For the purposes of this section the
following definitions shall apply.
(1) Animal feeding operation--A lot or facility (other
than an aquatic animal production facility) where animals have been,
are, or will be stabled or confined and fed or maintained for a total
of 45 days or more in any 12-month period, and the animal confinement
areas do not sustain crops, vegetation, forage growth, or postharvest
residues in the normal growing season.
(2) Coastal Zone Act Reauthorization Amendments--The
1990 amendments to the federal Coastal Zone Act that created the Coastal
Nonpoint Program under §6217, "Protecting Coastal Waters." Under §6217,
all states with approved coastal zone management programs must develop
a Coastal Nonpoint Program to control polluted runoff to coastal waters.
(3) Dry-litter poultry facility--A poultry animal feeding
operation that does not use a liquid waste handling system.
(4) Clean Water Act--Federal Water Pollution Control
Act, 33 USC, §§1251 - 1387 (1977, as amended).
(5) Field Office Technical Guide (FOTG)--The official
Natural Resources Conservation Service guidelines, criteria, and standards
for planning and applying conservation practices.
(6) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)--An
agency of the United States Department of Agriculture which includes
the agency formerly known as the Soil Conservation Service (SCS).
(7) Operating unit--Land or lands, whether contiguous
or non-contiguous, owned and/or operated in a manner that contributes
or has the potential to contribute agricultural or silvicultural nonpoint
source pollution to water in the state. An operating unit must be
determined through mutual agreement by the holder of the water quality
management plan, the soil and water conservation district, and the
State Board. When determining the applicability of an operating unit,
the following criteria must be considered:
(A) Contiguous lands under the same ownership and/or
operational control must be considered one operating unit.
(B) Non-contiguous lands under the same ownership and/or
operational control may be considered as more than one operating unit
when there is mutual agreement by the soil and water conservation
district and the potential holder of the water quality management
plan unless the lands are associated with an animal feeding operation.
(C) An operating unit, when devised for an animal feeding
operation, must at a minimum encompass all land or lands owned and/or
operated by the holder of the water quality management plan that are
used to produce feed that is consumed by the animals, as well as all
land or lands owned and/or operated by the potential holder of the
water quality management plan where manures or other agricultural
by-products are beneficially used as a source of nutrients to produce
food or fiber for any use.
(D) Land or lands within the scope of an existing operating
unit for a certified water quality management plan may not be separated
from the existing operating unit to establish another operating unit
unless the ownership of the lands being separated into a new operating
unit has changed.
(E) Where mutual agreement regarding an operating unit's
consistency with these rules is not achieved by the potential holder
of the water quality management plan, the soil and water conservation
district, and the State Board, the State Board will make a final determination
whether or not to certify the water quality management plan.
(8) Practice standard--A technical specification for
a conservation practice within the NRCS FOTG that contains information
on why and where the practice should be applied, and sets forth the
minimum quality criteria that must be met during the application of
that practice in order for it to achieve its intended purpose(s).
(9) Resource management system--A combination of conservation
practices and resource management activities for the treatment of
all identified resource concerns for soil, water, air, plants, animals,
and humans that meets or exceeds the quality criteria in the NRCS
FOTG for resource sustainability.
(10) Soil and water conservation district (SWCD)--A
governmental subdivision of this state and a public body corporate
and politic, organized pursuant to Chapter 201 of the Agriculture
(11) State Board--The Texas State Soil and Water Conservation
Board organized pursuant to Chapter 201 of the Agriculture Code.
(12) Status Review--An assessment performed by the
State Board on a water quality management plan for the purpose of
determining adherence to the plan's implementation schedule and conservation
plan of operations.
(13) Texas Nonpoint Source Management Program--The
comprehensive management strategy to protect and restore water impacted
by nonpoint sources of pollution jointly developed and administered
by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality and the State Board
and approved by the Governor of the State of Texas and the United
States Environmental Protection Agency.
(14) Texas surface water quality standards--The designation
of water bodies for desirable uses and the narrative and numerical
criteria deemed necessary to protect those uses established by the
Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.
(15) Water in the state--Groundwater, percolating or
otherwise, lakes, bays, ponds, impounding reservoirs, springs, rivers,
streams, creeks, estuaries, wetlands, marshes, inlets, canals, the
Gulf of Mexico, inside the territorial limits of the state, and all
other bodies of surface water, natural or artificial, inland or coastal,
fresh or salt, navigable or nonnavigable, and including the beds and
banks of all watercourses and bodies of surface water, that are wholly
or partially inside or bordering the state or inside the jurisdiction
of the state.
(16) Water quality management plan--A site specific
plan for agricultural or silvicultural lands which includes appropriate
land treatment practices, production practices, management measures,
technologies or combinations thereof which when implemented will achieve
a level of pollution prevention or abatement determined by the State
Board in consultation with the local SWCD and Texas Commission on
Environmental Quality to be consistent with Texas surface water quality
(1) To be certified, a water quality management plan
must at a minimum meet the resource quality criteria for water quality
at the resource management system level specified within the NRCS
FOTG and encompass all lands that constitute an operating unit for
agricultural or silvicultural nonpoint source pollution abatement
purposes. It is the decision of the State Board that the implementation
of a water quality management plan based on the NRCS FOTG, including
all practices required to minimally meet the resource quality criteria
for water quality at the resource management system level, represents
the best available technology for meeting Texas surface water quality
(2) The State Board may conditionally certify a water
quality management plan for the purpose of demonstrating experimental
technologies or alternative combinations of practice standards at
the request of a landowner or operator. Conditional certification
of a water quality management plan shall provide the landowner or
operator all the benefits and limitations of certification under traditional
circumstances. Conditional certification will remain applied to a
water quality management plan until such time that the experimental
technologies or alternative combinations of practice standards have
been determined by the State Board to be equivalently effective as
the traditionally applied practices for water quality criteria at
the resource management system level within the NRCS FOTG. If the
experimental technologies or alternative combinations of practice
standards are determined to be not as effective as the traditionally
applied practices for water quality criteria at the resource management
system level within the NRCS FOTG, the State Board shall remove the
conditional certification and the water quality management plan shall
be considered not certified. Landowners or operators receiving conditional
certification must enter into an agreement with the State Board allowing
for intense monitoring of soil and water quality and compliance with
management measures contained within the water quality management
(d) A water quality management plan should be modified
and re-certified when there is a land use change of any part of the
operating unit; an addition or deletion of significant acreage to
or from the operating unit covered by the water quality management
plan; alteration of planned permanent practice measures including
addition or deletion of such; changes identified by research and advanced
technology as being needed to meet Texas surface water quality standards;
or when more stringent measures become necessary to meet Texas surface
water quality standards.
(e) Process for obtaining or modifying a Water Quality
(1) Landowners and operators may request the development
of a plan or plan modification by the local SWCD. Landowners and operators,
following consultation with their SWCD, will be encouraged and aided
in working with the SWCD in the preparation of a plan or plan modification
based on standards adopted by the State Board to prevent or abate
their nonpoint source pollution.
(2) The SWCD will determine the priority of plan development
or plan modification and subsequently cause the development and approval
of the plan or plan modification.
(3) Landowners and operators may appeal SWCD decisions
relative to practices and practice standards to the State Board in
the manner prescribed by the State Board.
(4) When determined to be consistent with the provisions
of subsection (c) of this section, the State Board may certify the
(f) Practice selection.
(1) Practices eligible for water quality management
planning will be selected by the State Board in consultation with
(2) Practices will address activities determined by
the State Board in consultation with the SWCD to be in need of pollution
prevention or abatement.
(3) Insofar as practicable, those practices shall be
consistent with the Texas Nonpoint Source Management Program developed
by the State Board and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality
pursuant to the federal Clean Water Act, §319 and Coastal Zone
Act Reauthorization Amendments §6217.
(g) Practice standards.
(1) Practice standards will be based on specific local
(2) Practice standards will be based on criteria in
the NRCS, FOTG; however, modification of those practice standards
to ensure consistency with Texas surface water quality standards and
the Texas Nonpoint Source Management Program will be made as necessary.
(3) Practice standards will be selected or developed
in consultation with the local SWCD, with assistance and advice of
the NRCS, Texas AgriLife Extension Service, Texas Forest Service,
Texas AgriLife Research, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality,
the local underground water conservation district and others as determined
to be needed by the State Board.
(h) Implementation schedule.
(1) A water quality management plan must contain an
(2) The implementation schedule will, as far as is
practicable, balance the state's need for protecting water quality
with need of agricultural and silvicultural producers to have sufficient
time to implement practices in an economically feasible manner.
(3) Highest priority will be given to the implementation
of the most cost effective and most needed pollution abatement practices.
(4) The State Board in consultation with affected SWCD
will conduct status reviews of plan implementation.
(5) The State Board in consultation with the local
SWCDs may withdraw certification of a water quality management plan
that is not being implemented in accordance with its schedule. Prior
to certification being withdrawn, a landowner will be notified and
provided a reasonable period of time to implement the water quality
management plan according to the schedule or a modified schedule approved
by the SWCD.
(6) The holder of a certified water quality management
plan shall notify the local SWCD in the event he or she deviates from
the implementation schedule.
(i) Applicability of Texas surface water quality standards.
To the extent allowed by available technology, water quality management
plan development, approval and certification will be based on Texas
surface water quality standards as established by the Texas Commission
on Environmental Quality.
(j) Water Quality Management Plans for Poultry Facilities.
(1) All poultry facilities producing poultry for commercial
purposes are required to develop and implement a certified water quality
management plan covering the poultry operating unit. Poultry facilities
must request development and certification or recertification of a
water quality management plan prior to placing poultry at a new facility
or placing additional poultry at an existing facility.