See 2008 250.53 (G). .......................The upper end of the electrode shall be flush with or below ground level unless the grounding electrode conductor attachment are protected from physical damage as specified in 250.10.Not a requirement of the NEC.
The issue with an 8' rod is not because of the exposed part might be damaged, it is because code states it must have 8' in contact with Earth 250.53(G), and I agree with the plated screws, but I have seen many of those clamps coming with stainless steel screws lately, and mark DB, I still prefer to see an acorn clamp instead, a water pipe clamp whether DB rated or not is easily knocked off or loosened, but a acorn clamp will take a beating before coming off.As an electrical inspector I would not hassle this person because the ground rod was ~2" above grade; placed where it is I feel it is protected enough from probable damage.
I agree with the 250.64(E)....but there is also the 250.70 issue...that pipe clamp used on the rod has zinc screws - thus is not rated for direct burial....because it is outdoor and at grade the zinc screws do rust through [at least they do in my area]. If these screws were stainless there would be a tag on the fitting.
I agree...that's what the code says....but here's the Catch-22:The issue with an 8' rod is not because of the exposed part might be damaged, it is because code states it must have 8' in contact with Earth 250.53(G).