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Watershed Initiatives - Impaired Impacted Streams Initiative

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The Impaired and Impacted Streams Initiative initially began as the Agricultural Sediment Initiative in 1999. That year, a handful of districts surveyed waters impaired by agricultural sediment on the 1998 303(d) list. Information collected through the survey process was used for an EPA 319 grant that funded several projects to address agricultural nonpoint source pollution in assessed waters.

While the Impaired and Impacted Streams Initiative (IISI) has since grown statewide, the program’s intention remains the same: to encourage Districts to survey waters with documented impaired or deteriorating water quality from agricultural activity and identify opportunities for targeted projects and Best Management Practice (BMP) installation to improve water quality. Since the 2007 Program Year, based on an Association adopted resolution, a portion of Agriculture Cost Share Program (ACSP) funds are annually directed to the Impaired and Impacted Streams Initiative (IISI) to fund projects identified through the survey process. To date, over half of districts statewide participate in the program and millions of dollars in funding have been requested to complete projects.

Upcoming Program Year

All districts interested in participating in the Impaired and Impacted Streams Initiative in the upcoming program year must complete the online FY2024 Impaired and Impacted Streams and Watershed Survey for one or more HUC-12 watersheds and the FY2024 Cost Share Programs Strategic Plan by June 1, 2023.

Submissions to both surveys will be automatically compiled into a database by the Division of Soil and Water Conservation. IISI fund requests for the upcoming program year will be provided to the Soil and Water Conservation Commission, which allocates IISI ACSP funds at the start of the fiscal year.

All districts must submit FY2024 Impaired and Impacted Streams and Watershed Surveys for HUC-12 watersheds in which IISI funds are expected to be used in the upcoming program year. Completed FY2024 survey submittals and all future completed survey submittals can remain active for five years, meaning a survey for the same watershed is not required to be re-submitted again for five years. However, survey submittals for watersheds should be re-done if there are changes in resource concerns, water quality, or expected projects.

Surveys can be completed for watersheds with impaired AND impacted streams. Impaired streams are those exceeding state water quality criteria for one or more parameters based on state approved water quality monitoring data. Segments of streams determined to be impaired are listed on the state’s biannual 303(d) list. Impacted streams are defined less precisely. Impacted streams are determined by districts and are based on local knowledge of agricultural activity, watersheds, and waterways. An ‘impacted’ determination may be based on many considerations:

  • Good-Fair determinations in monitoring data,
  • Exceedances found in monitoring data that are not yet statistically significant for inclusion of the stream on the 303(d) list
  • Water quality classification drop between the last two NC Water Quality Integrated Reports
  • Recommendations in local watershed or basin plans
  • District documented resource concerns based on field observations or cooperator requests

Make sure to share reasoning and data (field observations, resource concern pictures, etc.) behind ‘impacted’ determinations in survey submittals. Review the downloadable resources, survey tutorial videos, and survey resource links for helpful materials and information.

Contact the DSWC Nonpoint Source Planning Coordinator if additional information is needed:
Allie Dinwiddie, Nonpoint Source Planning Coordinator
919-707-3795 (office) or 828-550-2104 (cell)

Thank you for your interest and work in improving the water quality in our state.

Survey Tutorial Videos

Tutorial Video #1 NEW - to help you complete water quality concerns questions

Tutorial Video #2 NEW - to help you complete resource needs and district activity questions

Materials and Resources

 The following materials were prepared to assist Districts in completing the online survey and all necessary steps to successfully request Impaired and Impacted Streams Initiative funds for the upcoming program year.

MS Word Document Impaired and Impacted Streams and Watershed Survey NEW- available for download to help you prepare responses prior to completing the online form

Impaired and Impacted Streams Initiative Funding Request Process NEW - flowchart identifying the steps to successfully participate in the IISI program

Resource Links for Survey Completion & Program Participation

The following resource links may be necessary to review to successfully answer questions in the FY2024 Impaired and Impacted Streams and Watershed Survey.

Find your NC watershed Hydrologic Unit Code (HUC) Mapper

Mapping tool to determine NC 8, 10, or 12-digit Hydrologic Unit Codes.

Watershed Action Plan Mapper

Mapping tool displaying all active NC Watershed Action Plans. Note: this takes time to load.

9-element Plan Mapper

Mapping tool displaying all active NC nine-element Watershed Plans.

NC Watershed Restoration Plans webpage

Website listing all NC Watershed Restoration Plans.

NC River Basin Plans webpage

All NC River Basin Plans are linked in the left-hand box.

2022 Integrated Report Mapper Tool

Mapping tool displaying all 2022 NC Integrated Report water quality ratings.

2020 Integrated Report Mapper Tool - Dashboard

Map dashboard displaying all 2020 NC Integrated Report water quality ratings.

NC Integrated Report webpage

All recent NC Integrated Report data including the 2022 303(d) list.

Stream Visual Assessment Protocol (SVAP2) Summary Sheet

Summary sheet for completing stream walks/visual assessments to document resource concerns. More resources are available in USDA AgLearn or on the NC NRCS electronic Field Office Technical Guide.

Agriculture Cost Share Program Supplemental Allocation Policy/Process

Starting in FY2024 IISI funds will follow a similar mid-year voluntary return and supplemental allocation processes as the Agriculture Cost Share Program.


NCDA&CS Division of Soil & Water Conservation, Vernon Cox, Director
Mailing Address: 1614 Mail Service Center, Raleigh NC 27699-1614
Physical Address: 216 West Jones Street, Raleigh North Carolina 27603
Phone: 919.707.3770

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