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Part I
VWP Permit Program Definitions, Exclusions, Prohibitions and Requirements

9VAC25-210-10. Definitions.

A. Definitions specific to surface water withdrawals are in 9VAC25-210-300.

B. Unless a different meaning is required by the context, the following terms as used in this chapter shall have the following meanings:

"Adjacent" means bordering, contiguous, or neighboring wetlands separated from other surface water by man-made dikes or barriers, natural river berms, sand dunes, and the like.

"Administratively withdrawn" means a decision by the board that permanently discontinues the review or processing of a VWP permit application or request to modify a VWP permit.

"Applicant" means a person applying for a VWP individual permit or for coverage under a VWP general permit.

"Aquatic environment" means surface waters and the habitat they provide, including both plant and animal communities.

"Avoidance" means not taking or modifying a proposed action or parts of an action so that there is no adverse impact to the aquatic environment.

"Beneficial use" means both instream and offstream uses. Instream beneficial uses include, but are not limited to, the protection of fish and wildlife resources and habitat, maintenance of waste assimilation, recreation, navigation, and cultural and aesthetic values. The preservation of instream flows for purposes of the protection of navigation, maintenance of waste assimilation capacity, the protection of fish and wildlife resources and habitat, recreation, and cultural and aesthetic values is an instream beneficial use of Virginia's waters. Offstream beneficial uses include, but are not limited to, domestic uses (including public water supply), agricultural uses, electric power generation, commercial uses, and industrial uses.

"Best management practices" or "BMPs" means a schedule of activities, prohibition of practices, maintenance procedures, and other management practices that prevent or reduce the pollution of surface waters.

"Board" means the State Water Control Board.

"Channelization" means the alteration of a stream channel by widening, deepening, straightening, cleaning, or paving certain areas.

"Compensation" or "compensatory mitigation" means (i) the restoration (reestablishment or rehabilitation), establishment (creation), enhancement, or in certain circumstances preservation of aquatic resources or (ii) in certain circumstances an out-of-kind measure having a water quality, habitat, or other desirable benefit for the purposes of offsetting unavoidable adverse impacts to aquatic resources that remain after all appropriate and practicable avoidance and minimization has been achieved.

"Construction site" means any site where land-disturbing activity is conducted or physically located for the purpose of erecting buildings, roads, or other discrete structures, including on-site or off-site areas used for dependent, support facilities, such as quarries, mines, or temporary stormwater management or erosion control structures.

"Conversion" means those impacts to surface waters that permanently change an existing wetland or aquatic resource type to a different wetland or aquatic resource type.

"Coverage" means authorization to conduct a project in accordance with a VWP general permit.

"Cowardin classification" or "Cowardin classification method," unless otherwise specified in this chapter, means the waters classification system in Classification of Wetlands and Deepwater Habitats of the United States (Cowardin, Lewis M. II, et al., U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, December 1979, Reprinted 1992).

"Creation" means the establishment of a wetland or other aquatic resource where one did not formerly exist.

"Cross-sectional drawing" means a scaled graph or plot that represents the plane made by cutting across an object at right angles to its length. Objects may include, but are not limited to, a surface water body or a portion of it, a man-made channel, an above-ground structure, a below-ground structure, a geographical feature, or the ground surface itself.

"Department" or "DEQ" means the Department of Environmental Quality.

"Director" means the Director of the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) or an authorized representative.

"Discharge" means, when used without qualification, a discharge of a pollutant, or any addition of any pollutant or combination of pollutants, to state waters.

"Draft VWP permit" means a document indicating the board's tentative decision relative to a VWP permit action.

"Draining" means human-induced activities such as ditching, excavation, installation of tile drains, hydrologic modification by surface water runoff diversion, pumping water from wells, or similar activities such that the activities have the effect of artificially dewatering the wetland or altering its hydroperiod.

"Dredged material" means material that is excavated or dredged from surface waters.

"Dredging" means a form of excavation in which material is removed or relocated from beneath surface waters.

"Ecologically preferable" means capable of providing a higher likelihood than alternative proposals of replacing existing wetland acreage and functions, stream functions, water quality, and fish and wildlife resources.

"Emergent wetland" means a class of wetlands dominated by erect, rooted, herbaceous plants growing in water or on a substrate, excluding mosses and lichens. This vegetation is present for most of the growing season in most years and is usually dominated by perennial plants.

"Enhancement" means activities conducted in existing wetlands or other portions of the aquatic environment that increase one or more aquatic functions.

"Excavate" or "excavation" means ditching, dredging, or mechanized removal of earth, soil, or rock.

"Fill" means replacing portions of surface water with upland, or raising the bottom elevation of a surface water for any purpose, by placement of any pollutant or material including but not limited to rock, sand, earth, and man-made materials and debris.

"Fill material" means any pollutant that replaces portions of surface water with dry land or that raises the bottom elevation of a surface water for any purpose.

"Forested wetland" means a class of wetlands dominated by woody vegetation that is approximately 20 feet (six meters) tall or taller and three inches (7.6 centimeters) or larger in diameter at breast height (DBH). These areas typically possess an overstory of trees, an understory of trees or shrubs, and an herbaceous layer.

"Hydrologic regime" means the entire state of water movement in a given area. It is a function of the climate and includes the phenomena by which water first occurs as atmospheric water vapor, passes into a liquid or solid form, falls as precipitation, moves along or into the ground surface, and returns to the atmosphere as vapor by means of evaporation and transpiration.

"Impacts" means results caused by those activities specified in 62.1-44.15:20 A of the Code of Virginia.

"Impairment" means the damage, loss, or degradation of the acreage or functions of wetlands or the functions of state waters.

"Independent utility" means a test to determine what constitutes a single and complete project. A project is considered to have independent utility if it would be constructed absent the construction of other projects in the project area. Portions of a phased development project that depend upon other phases of the project do not have independent utility. Portions of a phased development project that would be constructed even if the other phases are not built can be considered as separate single complete projects with independent public and economic utility.

"In-lieu fee program" means a program operated by a nonprofit organization or governmental agency that receives moneys from persons impacting wetlands or streams pursuant to an authorized, permitted activity and that expends the moneys received to provide consolidated compensatory mitigation for permitted wetland or stream impacts.

"Isolated wetlands of minimal ecological value" means those wetlands that (i) do not have a surface water connection to other state waters, (ii) are less than one-tenth of an acre (0.10 acre or 4,356 square feet) in size, (iii) are not located in a Federal Emergency Management Agency designated 100-year floodplain, (iv) are not identified by the Virginia Natural Heritage Program as a rare or state significant natural community, (v) are not forested, and (vi) do not contain listed federal or state threatened or endangered species.

"Joint Permit Application" or "JPA" means an application form that is used to apply for permits from the Norfolk District Army Corps of Engineers, the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, and local wetland boards for work in waters of the United States and in surface waters of Virginia.

"Law" means the State Water Control Law of Virginia.

"Legal name" means the full legal name of an individual, business, or other organization. For an individual, legal name means the first name, middle initial, last name, and suffix. For an entity authorized to do business in Virginia, the legal name means the exact name set forth in the entity's articles of incorporation, organization or trust, or formation agreement, as applicable.

"Minimization" means lessening impacts by reducing the degree or magnitude of the proposed action and its implementation.

"Mitigation" means sequentially avoiding and minimizing impacts to the maximum extent practicable, and then compensating for remaining unavoidable impacts of a proposed action.

"Mitigation bank" means a site providing off-site, consolidated compensatory mitigation that is developed and approved in accordance with all applicable federal and state laws or regulations for the establishment, use, and operation of mitigation banks and is operating under a signed banking agreement.

"Mitigation banking" means compensating for unavoidable wetland or stream losses in advance of development actions through the sale or purchase of credits from a mitigation bank.

"Nationwide permit" means a general permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) under 33 CFR Part 330 and, except where suspended by individual USACE Corps Districts, applicable nationwide.

"Nontidal wetland" means those wetlands other than tidal wetlands that are inundated or saturated by surface water or groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions, as defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency pursuant to 404 of the federal Clean Water Act in 40 CFR 230.3(t). Wetlands generally include swamps, marshes, bogs, and similar areas.

"Normal agricultural activities" means those activities defined as an agricultural operation in  3.2-300 of the Code of Virginia and any activity that is conducted as part of or in furtherance of such agricultural operation but shall not include any activity for which a permit would have been required as of January 1, 1997, under 33 USC  1344 or any regulations promulgated pursuant thereto.

"Normal residential gardening and lawn and landscape maintenance" means ongoing noncommercial residential activities conducted by or on behalf of an individual occupant, including mowing; planting; fertilizing; mulching; tilling; vegetation removal by hand or by hand tools; and placement of decorative stone, fencing, and play equipment. Other appurtenant noncommercial activities, provided that they do not result in the conversion of a wetland to upland or to a different wetland type, may also be included.

"Normal silvicultural activities" means any silvicultural activity as defined in  10.1-1181.1 of the Code of Virginia, and any activity that is conducted as part of or in furtherance of such silvicultural activity but shall not include any activity for which a permit would have been required as of January 1, 1997, under 33 USC  1344 or any regulations promulgated pursuant thereto.

"Notice of project completion" means a statement submitted by the permittee or authorized agent that the authorized activities and any required compensatory mitigation have been completed.

"Open water" means an area that, during a year with normal patterns of precipitation, has standing water for sufficient duration to establish an ordinary high water mark. The term "open water" includes lakes and ponds but does not include ephemeral waters, stream beds, or wetlands.

"Ordinary high water" or "ordinary high water mark" means that line on the shore established by the fluctuations of water and indicated by physical characteristics such as a clear, natural line impressed on the bank; shelving; changes in the character of soil; destruction of terrestrial vegetation; the presence of litter and debris; or other appropriate means that consider the characteristics of the surrounding areas.

"Out-of-kind compensatory mitigation" or "out-of-kind mitigation" means a measure that does not replace the same type of wetland or surface water as was impacted but does replace lost wetland or surface water functions or provide a water quality, habitat, or other desirable benefit.

"Perennial stream" means a well-defined channel that contains water year round during a year of normal rainfall. Generally, the water table is located above the stream bed for most of the year and groundwater is the primary source for stream flow. A perennial stream exhibits the typical biological, hydrological, and physical characteristics commonly associated with the continuous conveyance of water.

"Permanent flooding or impounding" means a permanent increase in the duration or depth of standing water on a land surface, such as from a dam. Permanent increases in duration or depth of standing water that result from extended-detention basins and enhanced extended-detention basins, when designed, constructed, and maintained to function in accordance with Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) standards for such facilities (Virginia Stormwater Management Handbook, First Edition, 1999, Volume 1, Chapter 3), or when designed in accordance with local standards that, at a minimum, meet the DCR standards, are not considered to be permanent flooding and impounding.

"Permanent impacts" means those impacts to surface waters, including wetlands, that cause a permanent alteration of the physical, chemical, or biological properties of the surface waters or of the acreage or functions of a wetland.

"Permittee" means the person who holds a VWP individual or general permit.

"Permittee-responsible compensatory mitigation" or "permittee-responsible mitigation" means compensation or compensatory mitigation, as defined in this section, that is undertaken by the permittee, or an authorized agent or contractor, for which the permittee retains full responsibility.

"Person" means individual, corporation, partnership, association, governmental body, municipal corporation, or any other legal entity.

"Phased development" means more than one project proposed for a single piece of property or an assemblage of contiguous properties under consideration for development by the same person, or by related persons, that will begin and be completed at different times. Depending on the relationship between the projects, a phased development may be considered a single and complete project or each project may be considered a single and complete project if each project has independent utility, as defined in this section.

"Plan view drawing" means a scaled graph or plot that represents the view of an object as projected onto orthogonal planes. Objects may include, but are not limited to, structures, contours, or boundaries.

"Pollutant" means any substance, radioactive material, or heat that causes or contributes to or may cause or contribute to pollution.

"Pollution" means such alteration of the physical, chemical, or biological properties of any state waters as will or is likely to create a nuisance or render such waters (i) harmful or detrimental or injurious to the public health, safety, or welfare or to the health of animals, fish, or aquatic life; (ii) unsuitable with reasonable treatment for use as present or possible future sources of public water supply; or (iii) unsuitable for recreational, commercial, industrial, agricultural, or other reasonable uses; provided that (a) an alteration of the physical, chemical, or biological property of state waters, or a discharge or deposit of sewage, industrial wastes or other wastes to state waters by any owner which by itself is not sufficient to cause pollution, but which, in combination with such alteration of or discharge or deposit to state waters by other owners is sufficient to cause pollution; (b) the discharge of untreated sewage by any owner into state waters; and (c) contributing to the contravention of standards of water quality duly established by the board, are "pollution" for the terms and purposes of this chapter.

"Practicable" means available and capable of being done after taking into consideration cost, existing technology and logistics in light of overall project purposes.

"Preservation" means the protection of resources in perpetuity through the implementation of appropriate legal and physical mechanisms.

"Profile drawing" means a scaled graph or plot that represents the side view of an object. Objects may include, but are not limited to, a surface water body or a portion of it, a man-made channel, an above-ground structure, a below-ground structure, a geographical feature, or the ground surface itself.

"Public hearing" means a fact finding proceeding held to afford interested persons an opportunity to submit factual data, views, and comments to the board pursuant to 62.1-44.15:02 of the Code of Virginia.

"Regional permit" means a general permit issued by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers under 33 CFR Part 330 and applicable within a specified geographic area.

"Restoration" means the reestablishment of a wetland or other aquatic resource in an area where it previously existed. Wetland restoration means the reestablishment of wetland hydrology and vegetation in an area where a wetland previously existed. Stream restoration means the process of converting an unstable, altered, or degraded stream corridor, including adjacent areas and floodplains, to its natural conditions.

"Riprap" means a layer of nonerodible material such as stone or chunks of concrete.

"Section 401" means 401 of the Clean Water Act, or 33 USC 1341, as amended in 1987.

"Scrub-shrub wetland" means a class of wetlands dominated by woody vegetation, excluding woody vines, approximately three to 20 feet (one to six meters) tall. The species include true shrubs, young trees, and trees or shrubs that are small or stunted because of environmental conditions.

"Significant alteration or degradation of existing wetland acreage or function" means human-induced activities that cause either a diminution of the areal extent of the existing wetland or cause a change in wetland community type resulting in the loss or more than minimal degradation of its existing ecological functions.

"Single and complete project" means the total project proposed or accomplished by a person, which also has independent utility as defined in this section. For linear projects, the single and complete project (e.g., a single and complete crossing) will apply to each crossing of a separate surface water (e.g., a single water body) and to multiple crossings of the same water body at separate and distinct locations. Phases of a project that have independent utility may each be considered single and complete.

"State waters" means all water, on the surface and under the ground, wholly or partially within or bordering the Commonwealth or within its jurisdiction, including wetlands.

"Stream bed" or "stream channel" means the substrate of a stream, as measured between the ordinary high water mark along each side of a stream. The substrate may consist of organic matter, bedrock, or inorganic particles that range in size from clay to boulders, or a combination of both. Areas contiguous to the stream bed, but outside of the ordinary high water mark along each side of a stream, are not considered part of the stream bed.

"Surface water" means all state waters that are not groundwater as groundwater is defined in 62.1-255 of the Code of Virginia.

"Suspend" or "suspension" means a decision by the board that stops the review or processing of a permit application or request to modify a permit or permit coverage until such time that information requested by the board is provided, reviewed, and deemed adequate.

"Temporary impacts" means impacts to wetlands or other surface waters that do not cause a permanent alteration of the physical, chemical, or biological properties of surface waters or the permanent alteration or degradation of existing wetland acreage or functions. Temporary impacts include activities in which the impact area is restored to its preconstruction elevations and contours with topsoil from the impact area where practicable, such that previous wetland acreage and functions or surface water functions are restored.

"Tidal wetland" means vegetated and nonvegetated wetlands as defined in 28.2-1300 of the Code of Virginia.

"Toxic pollutant" means any agent or material including, but not limited to, those listed under  307(a) of the Water Pollution Prevention and Control Act (33 USC 1317(a)), which after discharge will, on the basis of available information, cause toxicity. Toxicity means the inherent potential or capacity of a material to cause adverse effects in a living organism, including acute or chronic effects to aquatic life, detrimental effects on human health, or other adverse environmental effects.

"Undesirable plant species" means any species that invades, naturally colonizes, or otherwise dominates a compensatory mitigation site or mitigation bank, such that it causes or contributes to the failure of the vegetative success criteria for a particular compensatory mitigation site, mitigation bank, or in-lieu fee program project, or it otherwise prohibits the restoration of the same vegetation cover type that was originally present.

"VWP general permit" means the general permit text, terms, requirements, and conditions set forth in a regulation that constitutes a VWP permit authorizing a specified category of activities.

"VWP permit" means an individual or general permit issued by the board under 62.1-44.15:20 of the Code of Virginia that authorizes activities otherwise unlawful under 62.1-44.5 of the Code of Virginia or otherwise serves as the Commonwealth of Virginia's 401 certification.

"Water quality standards" means water quality standards adopted by the board and approved by the administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under 303 of the Clean Water Act as defined in 9VAC25-260-10.

"Watershed approach" means an analytical process for making compensatory mitigation decisions that support the sustainability or improvement of aquatic resources in a watershed and that ensures authorized impacts and mitigation have been considered on a watershed scale.

"Wetlands" means those areas that are inundated or saturated by surface or groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient to support, and that under normal circumstances do support, a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions. Wetlands generally include swamps, marshes, bogs, and similar areas.

Statutory Authority

62.1-44.15 of the Code of Virginia; 401 of the Clean Water Act (33 USC 1251 et seq.).

Historical Notes

Derived from VR680-15-02 1.1, eff. May 20, 1992; amended, Virginia Register Volume 16, Issue 25, eff. September 27, 2000; Volume 17, Issue 21, eff. August 1, 2001; Volume 23, Issue 21, eff. July 25, 2007; Volume 24, Issue 9, eff. February 6, 2008; Volume 25, Issue 5, eff. December 10, 2008; Volume 32, Issue 21, eff. August 2, 2016.


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