A. In this chapter, the following terms have the meanings indicated.
B. Terms Defined.
(1) “Aggregator” or “Broker” means a person who collects and compiles credits from individual agricultural non-point sources to resell them.
(2) “Agronomic Practice” means an annual crop or soil practice that reduces or minimizes nutrient or sediment loss. Examples include but are not limited to cover crops, conservation tillage, reductions in nitrogen fertilizer application, and precision agriculture.
(3) “Agricultural Land” or “Farm” means a parcel of land which has an Agricultural Use Assessment as determined by the Department of Assessments and Taxation.
(4) “Agricultural operation” or “Operation” means a business or activity where a person tills, crops, keeps, pastures, or produces an agricultural product, including but not limited to livestock, poultry, plants, trees, sod, food, feed or fiber by in ground, out-of-ground, or other culture.
(5) “Animal Waste Management System Plan” means a plan developed and approved by a local soil conservation district to identify and address the management of animal waste generated on an agricultural operation, including operation and maintenance guidelines.
(6) “Baseline” means the level of nutrient and sediment reduction, expressed as an annual nitrogen, phosphorus, or sediment per-acre loading rate that an agricultural nonpoint source seller’s operation is required to achieve before the seller becomes eligible to enter the trading market and sell credits.
(7) “Best Management Practice” or “BMP” means an agronomic, conservation, or pollution control practice, installation, or structure that manages soil loss, nutrients, animal wastes, or agricultural chemicals so as to minimize their movement into the waters of the State.
(8) “Category 1 Practice” means a BMP as determined by the Department and approved by the Chesapeake Bay Program Partnership that is currently in widespread use, with fully documented installation and maintenance specifications and well-established and understood nutrient and sediment removal efficiencies.
(9) “Category 2 Practice” means a BMP that is currently in use and is acceptable by the Department but nutrient removal efficiencies are not well established, or a practice required by state regulation.
(10) “Category 3 Practice” means a new or innovative technology or practice as determined by the Department that is not in widespread use and for which no recognized nutrient removal efficiency exists.
(11) “Credit” means a pollution reduction credit or the unit of trade that is equal to one pound of nitrogen, phosphorus, or sediment delivered to a specified location per year.
(12) “Department” means the Maryland Department of Agriculture.
(13) “Land Conversion Practices” means a change in management on an agricultural operation that involves a shift to less nutrient-intensive agricultural land use, including but not limited to the installation of forest or grass buffers, the retirement of highly erodible lands, or the switch to alternative or perennial crops.
(14) “Maryland Nutrient Tracking Tool” or “MNTT” means a Department approved online performance-based calculation platform that enables users to analyze agricultural parcels and their management to determine eligibility and credit generation potential for participation in the Program.
(15) “Nonpoint Source” means a source of pollution that is not from a single point of origin or from a specific outlet. Nonpoint source pollution generally results from land runoff, precipitation, atmospheric deposition, drainage, seepage, or hydrologic modification.
(16) “Nutrient and Sediment Credit Certification Program” or “Program” means the program established under this Chapter giving the Maryland Department of Agriculture the authority to certify, verify, and register agricultural nonpoint source nutrient and sediment credits in support of market-based trading activities to fund agricultural practices that enhance water or air quality or both by further reducing nutrient or sediment runoff, movement, or emissions below baseline.
(17) “Nutrient Management Plan” or “NMP” means a plan that complies with the requirements of COMAR 15.20.07 and 15.20.08 that is prepared by a certified nutrient management consultant to manage the amount, placement, timing, and application of manure, fertilizer, biosolids, or other plant nutrients in order to:
(a) Minimize nutrient loss or runoff; and
(b) Maintain the productivity of soil when growing agricultural products.
(18) “Nutrient or Sediment Reduction” means the difference between the nutrient and sediment loads delivered to a specified location achieved by implementation of best management practices and the current load after meeting eligibility requirements.
(19) “Operator” means a person who is the owner of an agricultural operation or a lessee who has the owner’s expressed consent to operate or manage an agricultural operation.
(20) “Person” means the State, any county, municipal corporation, or other political subdivision of the State, or any of their units, or an individual, receiver, trustee, guardian, executor, administrator, fiduciary, or representative of any kind, or any partnership, firm, association, public or private corporation, or any other entity, unless otherwise provided.
(21) “Soil Conservation and Water Quality Plan” or “SCWQP” means a farm plan approved by a local soil conservation district to minimize soil erosion and to minimize the movement of sediment, animal waste, nutrients, or agricultural chemicals into waters of the State.
(22) “Structural Practice” means a practice acceptable by the Department that reduces or minimizes nutrient or sediment loss through the installation or construction of physical edifices, barriers, or systems to trap, block, or filter pollutants, including but not limited to manure sheds, fencing, grassed waterways, and constructed wetlands.
(23) “Total Maximum Daily Load” or “TMDL” means the amount of a particular pollutant, in this case nitrogen, phosphorus, or sediment inputs, that a water body can assimilate and still meet water quality standards.
(24) “Watershed Implementation Plan” or “WIP” means the plan developed by a jurisdiction showing how the jurisdiction, in partnership with federal and local governments, will achieve and maintain the pollution reduction goals and allocations necessary in implementing the Chesapeake Bay TMDL.