98 -- H 8816

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LC03195
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S T A T E     O F    R H O D E    I S L A N D

IN GENERAL ASSEMBLY

JANUARY SESSION, A.D. 1998

____________

A N     A C T

AN AQUACULTURE ACT

Introduced By: Representatives Naughton, Ginaitt, Little, Reilly and Lowe

Date Introduced : March 11, 1998

Referred To: Jt. Committee on Environment and Energy

It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:

SECTION 1. Section 2-1-22 of the General Laws in Chapter 2-1 entitled "Agricultural Functions of Department of Environmental Management" is hereby amended to read as follows:

2-1-22. Procedure for approval by director -- Notice of change of ownership -- Recordation of permit. -- (a) Application for approval of a project to the director of environmental management shall be made in a form to be prescribed by the director and provided by the director upon request. Prior to the application, a request may be made for preliminary determination as to whether or not the wetlands act, this chapter, applies. A preliminary determination shall be made by the director only after an on-site review of the project and the determination shall be made within thirty (30) days of such request. The wetlands act, this chapter, shall be determined to apply if a significant alteration does appear to be contemplated and an application to alter a wetland will be required. Within fourteen (14) days after receipt of the completed application accompanied by plans and drawings of the proposed project, the plans and drawings to be prepared by the registered professional engineer to a scale of not less than one inch (1") to one hundred feet (100'), the director shall notify all landowners whose properties are within two hundred feet (200') of the proposed project and he will also notify the town council, the conservation commission, the planning board, the zoning board, and any other individuals and agencies in any town within whose borders the project lies who may have reason in the opinion of the director to be concerned with the proposal. The director may also establish a mailing list of all interested persons and agencies who may wish to be notified of all applications.

(b) If the director receives any objection to the project within forty-five (45) days of the mailing of the notice of application from his office, the objection to be in writing and of a substantive nature, the director shall then schedule a public hearing in an appropriate place as convenient as reasonably possible to the site of the proposed project. The director shall inform by registered mail all objectors of the date, time, place and subject of the hearing to be held. The director shall further publish notice of the time, place, date, and subject of the hearing in one local Rhode Island newspaper circulated in the area of the project and one statewide Rhode Island newspaper, the notices to appear once per week for at least two (2) consecutive weeks prior to the week during which the hearing is scheduled. The director shall establish a reasonable fee to cover the costs of the above investigations, notifications, and publications, and hearing and the applicant shall be liable for the fee.

(c) If no public hearing is required, or following a public hearing, the director shall make his decision on the application and shall notify the applicant by registered mail, the applicant's attorney and any other agent or representative of the applicant by mail of this decision within a period of six (6) weeks. If a public hearing was held, any persons who objected in writing during the forty-five (45) day period provided for objections shall be notified of the director's decision by first class mail.

(d) In the event of a decision in favor of granting an application, the director shall issue a permit for the applicant to proceed with the project. The permit may be issued upon such terms and conditions, including time for completion, as the director may require. Permits shall be valid for a period of one year from the date of issue and shall expire at the end of that time unless renewed. A permit shall be renewed for up to three (3) additional one year periods upon application by the original permit holder or a subsequent transferee of the property subject to permit, unless the original permit holder or transferee has failed to abide by the terms and conditions of the original permit or any prior renewal thereof. The director may require new hearings if, in his or her judgment, the original intent of the permit is altered or extended by the renewal application or if the applicant has failed to abide by the terms of the original permit in any way. In addition, in the event a project authorized by a permit was not implemented by the permit holder or transferee because approval of the project by a federal agency, for which application had been timely made, had not been received or a federal agency had stopped the project from proceeding, prior to the expiration of such permit, the permit holder or transferee may apply for a renewal of the permit at any time prior to the tenth (10th) anniversary of the original issuance, and such application shall be deemed to be an insignificant alteration subject to expedited treatment. The request for renewal of a permit shall be made according to such procedures and form as the director may require.

(e) The original permittee or subsequent transferee shall notify the director in writing of any change of ownership which occurs while an original or renewal permit is in effect by forwarding a certified copy of the deed of transfer of the property subject to the permit to the director.

(f) A notice of permit and a notice of completion of work subject to permit shall be eligible for recordation under chapter 13 of title 34 and shall be recorded at the expense of the applicant in the land evidence records of the city/town where the property subject to permit is located, and any subsequent transferee of the property shall be responsible for complying with the terms and conditions of the permit.

(g) The director shall notify the person requesting a preliminary determination, the person's attorney, agent and other representative of his decision by letter, copies of which shall be sent by mail to the city or town clerk, the zoning board, the planning board, the building official and the conservation commission in the city or town within which the project lies.

(h) The director shall report to the general assembly on or before February 1 of each calendar year on his or her compliance with the time provisions contained in this chapter.

(i) Normal farming activities shall be considered insignificant alterations and as such, shall be exempted from the provisions of this chapter in accordance with the following procedures:

(1) Normal farming and ranching activities are those carried out by farmers as herein defined, including plowing, seeding, cultivating, land clearing for routine agriculture purposes, harvesting of agricultural products, pumping of existing farm ponds for agricultural purposes, upland soil and water conservation practices, and maintenance of existing farm drainage structures, existing farm ponds and existing farm roads shall be permissible at the discretion of farmers in accordance with best farm management practices which assure that the adverse effects to the flow and circulation patterns and chemical and biological characteristics of fresh water wetlands are minimized and that any adverse effects on the aquatic environment are minimized.

(2) In the case of construction of new farm ponds, construction of new drainage structures and construction of new farm roads, the division of agriculture shall be notified by the filing of a written application for the proposed construction by the property owner. The application shall include a description of the proposed construction and the date upon which construction is scheduled to begin, which date shall be no earlier than thirty (30) calendar days after the date of the filing of the application. The division of agriculture shall review such applications to determine that they are submitted for agricultural purposes and to assure that adverse effects to the flow and circulation patterns and chemical and biological characteristics of fresh water wetlands are minimized and that any adverse effects on the aquatic environment are minimized and will not result in a significant alteration to the wetlands. Pursuant to this review, the division shall notify the applicant in writing whether the proposal is an insignificant alteration. Such notice shall be issued not later than thirty (30) days after the date that the application was filed with the division. In the event notice is given by the division as required herein said application shall be conclusively presumed to be an insignificant alteration. If no notice is given as required herein or if an application is approved as an insignificant alteration, the applicant may cause construction to be done in accordance with the application, and neither the applicant nor his agents or employees who cause or perform the construction in accordance with the application shall be liable for any criminal, civil, administrative or other fine, fee, or penalty including restoration costs for violations alleged to arise from the construction.

(3) The division of agriculture shall, in coordination with the agricultural council's advisory committee, adopt regulations for subsection (i)(2), and shall determine whether a proposed activity, other than an activity listed in subsection (i)(1), constitutes a normal farming activity, or involves the best farm management practices.

(4) Except as otherwise provided for farm road construction, filling of wetlands shall conform to the provisions of this chapter.

(j) For purposes of this {DEL section DEL} {ADD chapter and chapter 10 of title 20 ADD}, a farmer is an individual, partnership or corporation who operates a farm and has filed a 1040F U.S. Internal Revenue Form with the Internal Revenue Service, has a state of Rhode Island farm tax number and has earned ten thousand dollars ($10,000) gross income on farm products in each of the preceding four (4) years {DEL . DEL} {ADD , or ADD}

{ADD (ii) intends to operate a farm and has filed a written statement of such intention with the division of agriculture on a form to be prescribed by the director which includes, but is not limited to, the qualifications and experience of the person or entity desiring to commence farming; or ADD}

{ADD (iii) intends to operate an aquaculture project, lease facility or site, and has filed written notice of such intention with the CRMC on a form to be prescribed by the executive director of the CRMC which includes, but is not limited to the qualifications and experience of the person or entity desiring to commence aquaculture. ADD}

SECTION 2. Section 16-7-20 of the General Laws in Chapter 16-7 entitled "Foundation Level School Support" is hereby amended to read as follows:

16-7-20. Determination of state's share. -- (a) For each community the state's share shall be computed as follows:

Let R = state share ratio for the community.

v = adjusted equalized weighted assessed valuation for the community, as defined in section 16-7-21(3).

V = sum of the values of v for all communities.

m = average daily membership of pupils in the community as defined in section 16-7-22(3).

M = total average daily membership of pupils in the state.

E = approved reimbursable expenditures for the community for the reference year minus the excess costs of special education, tuitions, federal and state receipts, and other income.

Then the state share entitlement for the community shall be RE where

R = 1 - 0.5vM/(Vm),except that in no case shall R be less than zero percent (0%). This percentage shall be applied to one hundred percent (100%) of all expenditures approved by the board of regents for elementary and secondary education in accordance with currently existing rules and regulations for administering state aid, including but not limited to the setting of appropriate limits for expenditures eligible for reimbursement; provided, however, that the costs of special education required under chapter 24 of this title shall be excluded; and the costs for regional vocational school operation and tuition which are funded in chapter 45 of this title for the reference year 1987-1988 and thereafter, shall be excluded. "Special education costs" shall mean the costs which are in excess of the average per pupil expenditure in average daily membership for the second school year preceding. The average per pupil expenditure in average daily membership of those students receiving special education shall be included in the cost of the basic program for the reference year, as "reference year" is defined in section 16-7-16; provided, further that expenditures from federal money in lieu of taxes shall not be counted and, provided further, however, in the case of regional school districts, the state's share shall be increased by fourteen and seven-tenths percent (14.7%) for 1994-1995 for the Bristol-Warren regional district, and four and eight tenths percent (4.8%) for 1994-1995 for the Exeter-West Greenwich regional district and for the Foster-Glocester regional district; provided further that the individual communities in the Chariho regional districts shall each receive the seven and five hundredths percent (7.05%) for those grades serviced by the regional school district; and provided further, however, that it shall be the duty and obligation of the city or town where any minor is placed in foster care by a Rhode Island licensed child placing agency or a Rhode Island governmental agency, with a private family, to provide the minor with the same public education provided all other residents of that city or town during the time that child is in foster care in the city or town, and the city or town shall pay the cost of the education of the minor and shall be reimbursed by the state in the same manner as previously described in this section; and provided further, that all exceptional children, as defined in section 16-24-2, including those children whose parents or legal guardian are unknown or whose whereabouts are unknown, and whose education is provided by the department of mental health, retardation, and hospitals pursuant to section 16-24-13, as of April 2, 1979, shall have all their educational program costs paid for until they complete the school year during which they reach the age of twenty-one (21), from funds appropriated to the department of mental health, retardation, and hospitals by the general assembly; and provided further, that all other school age children, except those children receiving care and treatment in accordance with chapter 7 of title 40.1, who are placed in group homes, child caring facilities, independent living accommodations, supervised apartments or other community residences, or other residential facility by a Rhode Island state agency or a Rhode Island licensed child placing agency shall have the cost of their education paid for by the city or town in which the child's parent(s) or guardian live as determined by section 16-64-1. The cost of the child's education shall be paid to the town where the child's group home, child caring facility, independent living accommodation, supervised apartment or community residence, or other residential facility is located and the town making the payment shall be reimbursed by the state in the same manner as previously described in this section, except in the case of handicapped children who are appointed state beneficiaries under chapter 25 of this title, in which case the reimbursement shall be in the manner described in section 16-24-6. Children, except those children receiving care and treatment in accordance with chapter 7 of title 40.1, who are placed, assigned or otherwise accommodated for residence by the department of children, youth, and families in a state operated or supported community residence licensed by a Rhode Island state agency shall have the cost of their education paid by the department of children, youth, and families. The department of elementary and secondary education shall designate the city or town to be responsible for special education for children in the care, custody, and control of the department of children, youth, and families who have neither a father, mother, nor guardian living in the state or whose residence can be determined in the state or who have been voluntarily surrendered for adoption by a father, mother, or guardian or who have been freed for adoption by a court of competent jurisdiction, using the following criteria: (1) last known Rhode Island residence of the child's father, mother, or guardian prior to moving from the state, dying, surrendering the child for adoption, or having parental rights terminated; (2) when the child's parents are separated or divorced and neither parent resides in the state, the last known residence of last parent known to have lived in the state. The city or town or state agency responsible for payment shall be responsible for the special education and related services including all procedural safeguards, evaluation, and instruction in accordance with regulations under chapter 24 of this title except that where payment is the responsibility of the department of children, youth, and families, the department of elementary and secondary education shall be responsible for assuring that all procedural safeguards, evaluation, and instruction in accordance with regulations under chapter 24 of this title are provided. (b) (1) The calculations in subsection (a) notwithstanding, the following formula is to be used to determine the entitlement for each school district for children attending regional vocational-technical schools and the satellites of those schools: net local cost for area vocational schools statewide divided by full time equivalent students in area vocational schools statewide multiplied by the full time equivalent students in area vocational schools district multiplied by the share ratio for the district equals the incentive entitlement. (2) No school district shall receive for area vocational-technical students more than one hundred percent (100%) of its expenditures in the reference year from a combination of state operations aid and the area vocational-technical school incentive program. (3) If the sum appropriated by the state for any fiscal year for making payments to the cities and towns under this program is not sufficient to pay in full the total amount which all cities and towns are entitled to receive for the fiscal year, the maximum entitlement which all cities and towns shall receive for the fiscal year shall be ratably reduced. (4) Expenditure reports shall be submitted to the commissioner of elementary and secondary education in accordance with rules and regulations promulgated by the board of regents for elementary and secondary education. Further, the board of regents shall promulgate rules and regulations which shall include the eligible expenditures, a standardized method for calculating area vocational-technical school tuitions, and other rules and regulations for the purpose of carrying out the intent of this incentive program. (c) (1) Reimbursement payments as calculated under this section shall be made in twelve (12) monthly installments. The July and August payments shall be two and one-half percent (2 1/2%) and the September through June payments shall each be nine and one-half percent (9 1/2%) of the amount to which each school district is entitled. The calculations for vocational education as set forth in this section shall be used to support students attending area vocational facilities. (2) The foregoing provision relating to entitlement for school districts for children attending regional vocational technical schools shall terminate beginning with reference year 1987-1988. (d) The department of elementary and secondary education shall base reimbursement on 100% of the expenditures for its state operated schools in accordance with the reference year provision as defined in section 16-7-16(11). Any funds to supplement the reimbursement shall be appropriated and included in the department budget. (e) This section shall apply to the School for the Deaf and the Davies Vocational School notwithstanding any provisions of this section to the contrary. (f) Whenever any funds are appropriated for educational purposes, the funds shall be used for educational purposes only and all such state funds must be used to supplement any and all money allocated by a city or town for educational purposes and in no event shall state funds be used to supplant, directly or indirectly, any money allocated by a city or town for educational purposes. The courts of this state shall enforce this section by writ of mandamus. (g) Notwithstanding the calculations in subsections (a) and (b), the hospital school at the Hasbro Children's Hospital shall be reimbursed eighty thousand dollars ($80,000) in the fiscal year ending June 30, 1995, and thereafter one hundred percent (100%) of all expenditures approved by the board of regents for elementary and secondary education in accordance with currently existing rules and regulations for administering state aid, and subject to annual appropriations by the general assembly including but not limited to expenditures for educational personnel, supplies, and materials in the prior fiscal year.

( {ADD h) Any public secondary school may establish an aquaculture program if the regional career and technical center serving the district in which the secondary school is located does not have a vocational aquaculture program. Any such program in the secondary school which satisfies the regulations for vocational programs as determined by the commissioner of education, shall be reimbursed in the same manner as vocational programs in area career technical centers, pursuant to (b)(1). A secondary school may offer the program either as a regional full-time program or as a regional skill center program at the discretion of the superintendent of schools who assigns children to the program. ADD}

SECTION 3. Section 20-3-1 of the General Laws in Chapter 20-3 entitled "Marine Fisheries Council" is hereby amended to read as follows:

20-3-1. Council created -- Membership -- Compensation. -- There is hereby created a marine fisheries council. The council shall be composed of the director of the department of environmental management or his or her designee who shall serve as chairperson and {DEL eight (8) DEL} {ADD nine (9) ADD} private citizen members. The private citizen members shall be chosen from among those with skill, knowledge and experience in the commercial fishing industry, {ADD the aquaculture industry, ADD} the sport fishing industry, and in the conservation and management of fisheries resources and shall be appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the senate. Three (3) of the private citizen members shall be representatives of the commercial fishing industry; three (3) shall be representatives of the sport fishing industry; and the remaining two (2) shall have skill, knowledge, and experience in the conservation and management of fisheries resources and/or marine biology. The chairperson of the coastal resources management council and the chiefs of the divisions of enforcement and fish and wildlife in the department of environmental management shall serve in an advisory capacity to the council. Members of the council shall serve for a term of four (4) years and may succeed themselves. Initial appointments to the council shall be appointed as follows: three (3) members for a term of two (2) years, three (3) members for a term of three (3) years, and {DEL two (2) DEL} {ADD three (3) ADD} members for a term of four (4) years. {ADD The governor shall appoint one (1) private citizen who shall be a representative of the aquaculture industry to serve for a term of four (4) years, commencing August 1, 1998. ADD} All members of the council shall serve without compensation and shall be reimbursed for their necessary expenses incurred in travel and in the performance of their duties as such.

SECTION 4. Sections 20-10-1, 20-10-2, 20-10-3, 20-10-4, 20-10-5, 20-10-6, 20-10-8 and 20-10-16 of the General Laws in Chapter 20-10 entitled "Aquaculture" are hereby amended to read as follows:

20-10-1. Declaration of intent and public policy. -- Whereas, R.I. Const., Art. I, Sec. 17, guarantees to the people the right to enjoy and freely exercise all rights of fishery and imposes on the general assembly the responsibility to provide for the conservation of water, plant, and animal resources of the state, and

Whereas, it is in the best public interest of the people and the state that the {DEL land and DEL}waters of the state, are utilized properly and effectively to produce plant and animal life, and

{DEL Whereas, the process of aquaculture is a proper and effective method to cultivate plant and animal life, and DEL}

Whereas, the process of aquaculture should only be conducted within the waters of the state in a manner consistent with the best public interest, with {DEL particular DEL} consideration given to the effect of aquaculture on other uses of the free and common fishery and navigation, and the compatibility of aquaculture with the environment of the waters of the state, t {DEL herefore DEL} {ADD and ADD},

{ADD Whereas, sustaining the natural resources of the state will promote economic development of this state; and ADD}

{ADD Whereas, aquaculture properly conducted is beneficial to the environment because it produces both plant and animal life; and ADD}

{ADD Whereas, aquaculture properly conducted does not impede the free and common fishery or navigation; and ADD}

{ADD Whereas, aquaculture has produced thriving industries in other states; and ADD}

{ADD Whereas, the natural resources and the scientific and technical expertise which are necessary to a thriving aquaculture industry exist in this state; and ADD}

{ADD Whereas, aquaculture can produce needed economic and social benefits to the state of Rhode Island; and ADD}

{ADD Whereas, based upon the foregoing factors, the legislature hereby finds and declares that aquaculture is compatible with the public interest, and ADD}

It is the public policy of this state to {ADD encourage and promote aquaculture and to ADD} preserve the waters of this state as free and common fishery. The health, welfare, environment, and general well being of the people of the state require that the state {DEL restrict DEL} {ADD balance ADD} the uses of its waters and the land thereunder for aquaculture {ADD fishing, navigation and other uses ADD} and therefore, in the exercise of the police power, the waters of the state and land thereunder are to be regulated hereunder.

20-10-2. Definitions. -- As used in this chapter:

(a) The term "aquaculture" shall refer to {DEL the cultivation, rearing, or propagation of aquatic plants or animals under either natural or artificial conditions. DEL} {ADD the farming or husbandry of aquatic plants and animals, including fish, shellfish, seaweed, hydric plants, such as cranberries, and other aquatic organisms, conducted by any person in freshwater, brackish or coastal water, marine water or on land. ADD}

{ADD The term "coastal aquaculture" shall refer to aquaculture conducted in the coastal waters of the state. ADD}

{ADD The term "inland aquaculture" shall refer to all other aquaculture which is not coastal aquaculture. ADD}

(b) The terms "director" or "department shall mean the director of or the department of environmental management.

(c) The term "CRMC" shall mean the coastal resources management council {DEL . DEL} {ADD which shall be the state agency with primary jurisdiction over all forms of aquaculture, including inland and coastal and public aquaculture. ADD}

(d) The term "water column" shall mean the vertical extent of water, including the surface thereof, above a designated area of submerged bottom land.

(e) The term "MFC" shall mean the marine fisheries council.

{ADD (f) The term "aquaculture coordinator" shall mean a person appointed by the executive director of the CRMC who has a bachelors degree in aquaculture or a closely related discipline. The aquaculture coordinator shall have the duties and responsibilities set forth in section 20-10-4.1. ADD}

{ADD (g) The term "aquatic biosecurity board" shall mean the fisheries and aquaculture biosecurity control board established in section 20-10-3.2. ADD}

{ADD (h) The term "spat collection" shall mean the use of any artificial spat collector, or other proper device, designed to allow settlement and collection of bivalve molluscan shellfish from free-swimming larval forms. Spat collection includes, but is not limited to, collection of scallops, quahaugs and oysters. ADD}

{ADD (i) The term "artificial spat collector" shall mean any material or device used in spat collection, including but not limited to plastic mesh bags containing monofilament lines; boxes containing sand; or crushed oyster shells. ADD}

{ADD (j) The term "non-indigenous" shall mean any species of plant or animal that has not established a reproducing population within the state of Rhode Island on the effective date of passage of this act. ADD}

{ADD (k) A "hydric plant" shall mean a plant which grows in wet soil. ADD}

{ADD (l) For purposes of this chapter, the word "person" shall mean a person, firm, corporation or state agency. ADD}

20-10-3. Authority to grant permits for aquaculture. -- The CRMC may grant permits for {DEL the conduct of DEL} {ADD coastal and inland ADD}aquaculture {DEL in the coastal waters of the state, including coastal ponds and estuaries to coastal rivers, DEL} to any person, {DEL or any corporation or business entity, chartered under the laws of this state, DEL} subject to the provisions of this chapter. Those permits shall be for a term not to exceed ten (10) years, and shall be renewable upon application by the permittee for successive periods, {DEL up to five (5) DEL} {ADD of at least ten (10) ADD} years for each renewable period, provided the terms and conditions of the permit and of any previous renewal and the rules and regulations promulgated by the CRMC pursuant to this chapter, have been met {ADD . ADD} All permits with their terms and stipulations presently in effect, as of May 15, 1980, under existing laws and regulations shall continue until their expiration.

20-10-4. Application for a permit to conduct aquaculture. -- Any {DEL applicant DEL} {ADD person ADD} desiring a permit to conduct {ADD coastal or inland ADD}aquaculture {DEL in the coastal waters of the state, including coastal ponds and the estuaries of coastal rivers DEL}, shall file with the CRMC a written application {DEL in such a DEL} form {ADD designated by the CRMC in collaboration with a designee of the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) and/or the appropriate federal agency or agencies having jurisdiction over federal aquaculture permits ADD} {DEL as it may prescribe, setting forth DEL} {ADD which shall contain ADD}the following information:

(a) The name and address of the applicant;

(b) A description of the location and amount of submerged land and water column to be subject to the permit;

(c) A description of the aquaculture activities to be conducted, including:

(1) Whether such activities are to be experimental or commercial;

(2) A description of the species to be managed or cultivated within the permitted area; and

(3) A description of the method or manner of aquaculture activity;

(d) An assessment of the current capability of the applicant to carry out those activities;

(e) Such other information as the CRMC {ADD , the Army Corps of Engineers (ACOE) and/or any federal agency having jurisdiction over federal aquaculture permits, ADD} may by regulation require.

20-10-5. Procedures for approval. -- (a) Upon submission of a completed application to the CRMC, the CRMC shall notify the director and MFC {ADD by promptly delivering a copy of the application to them ADD} and such other parties as the CRMC may by regulation designate.

(b) {DEL No application shall be approved by DEL} {ADD Upon receipt of an application ADD}the CRMC {DEL or a permit granted prior to the consideration of DEL} {ADD shall simultaneously seek ADD}recommendations {DEL by both DEL} {ADD from ADD} the director and the MFC.

(c) The director {ADD for all kinds of aquaculture ADD} shall {ADD in a time period not exceeding forty-five (45) days ADD} review the application to determine whether the aquaculture activities proposed in the application are:

(1) Not likely to cause an adverse effect on the {DEL marine DEL} {ADD native ADD} life adjacent to the area to be subject to the permit and the waters of the state;

(2) Not likely to have an adverse effect on the continued vitality of indigenous fisheries of the state.

(d) The MFC {ADD in the case of coastal aquaculture ADD} shall {ADD in a time period not exceeding forty-five (45) ADD} days review the application to determine whether the aquaculture activities proposed in the application are consistent with competing uses engaged in the exploitation of the marine fisheries.

(e) The {DEL approval by the DEL} CRMC shall {DEL be subject to such DEL} {ADD develop regulations for the implementation of a ADD} public {DEL hearings, DEL} {ADD hearing process ADD}consistent with chapter 35 of title 42, as it may require.

20-10-6. Leases. -- (a) The CRMC, in accordance with chapter 6 of title 37 is authorized and empowered, when it shall serve the purposes of this chapter, to lease the land submerged under the coastal waters of the state, including any coastal ponds or estuaries to coastal rivers, and the water column above those submerged lands, to {DEL an applicant DEL} {ADD any person ADD}who has been granted an aquaculture permit pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, provided that the CRMC finds that a lease giving the applicant exclusive use of the submerged lands, and water column, including the surface of the water, is necessary to the effective conduct of the permitted aquaculture activities.

(b) Those leases shall be granted for a term concurrent with the term of the aquaculture permit and may be renewed from time to time upon renewal of the aquaculture permits.

(c) Those leases shall be subject to the terms and conditions of the aquaculture permit, and any renewal thereof, and the provisions of this chapter and the rules and regulations adopted hereunder, and failure to comply with the terms and conditions of the permit or renewal, or the provisions of this chapter or the rules and regulations adopted hereunder, shall be grounds for termination of the lease at the discretion of the CRMC.

(d) Any assignment or sublease of the whole or any part of the area subject to lease shall constitute a breach of the lease and cause for the termination of the lease, unless that assignment or subletting has received the prior approval of the CRMC.

20-10-8. Performance requirements -- Bond. {DEL {ADD -- ADD} The CRMC may require the execution of a bond by the permittee to DEL} To ensure the performance by the permittee of all of the conditions of his or her permit, and, in the event of a failure so to perform, to ensure the removal of aquaculture apparatus from the waters of the state {DEL . DEL} {ADD , the CRMC shall require the permittee to execute a bond, or post cash security, which shall remain in effect and kept on file at the office of the CRMC throughout the duration of the lease and for six (6) months subsequent to the expiration of the lease. ADD}

20-10-16. Penalties. -- (a) Any person who conducts aquaculture activities in excess of those authorized by an aquaculture permit shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and subject to imprisonment for not more than one year or a fine of not more than five hundred dollars ($500), or both. In addition to that fine and imprisonment, all works, improvements, fish, and animal and plant life involved in the project may be forfeited to the state.

(b) Any person who shall damage, disturb, or interfere with any area subject to an aquaculture permit or any person who shall damage, disturb, interfere, or take by any means whatsoever, or possess, the cultivated species in an area subject to an aquaculture permit, without the permission of the permittee, shall be guilty of a {DEL misdemeanor DEL} {ADD felony ADD} and subject to imprisonment for not more than {DEL one year DEL} {ADD five (5) years ADD} or a fine of not more than five {DEL hundred dollars ($500) DEL} {ADD thousand ($5,000) ADD}, or both. In addition to that fine and imprisonment, all vessels, dredges, tongs, rakes, and other implements used to damage, disturb, interfere, or take cultivated species {DEL in those areas DEL} {ADD , in violation of this section, ADD} may {ADD , upon conviction ADD}be forfeited to the state.

{ADD (c) The CRMC in conjunction with the state and municipal police and DEM conservation officers shall enforce the provisions of this chapter in accordance with sections 46-23-7 and 46-23-7.1. ADD}

SECTION 5. Chapter 20-10 of the General Laws entitled "Aquaculture" is hereby amended by adding thereto the following sections:

{ADD 20-10-2.1. Provision relating to harvest and possessing of aquaculture crop. -- ADD} {ADD In recognition that aquaculture crops are separate and distinct from wild fisheries stocks, the provisions of this chapter shall be exempt from chapter 1, title 2 and any provision in the general laws and any rule or regulation restricting the taking of wild fisheries stocks, including but not limited to the taking restrictions contained in chapters 6, 7 and 8 of title 20, and any other statute, rule or regulation which prohibits or restricts the taking of fish, by means of bag limitations, size restrictions, harvest gear restrictions, seasonal restrictions or by any other means whatsoever. ADD}

{ADD 20-10-2.2 Spat collection permitted--ADD} {ADD Aquaculturists licensed pursuant to this chapter may engage in spat collection. All shellfish settling on substrate or in artificial spat collectors is the property of the aquaculturist who is licensed pursuant to this chapter, to conduct aquaculture at the site in which the spat collector or substrate is located. ADD}

{ADD 20-10-3.1. Creation of the Aquatic Biosecurity Board.ADD} {ADD -- There shall be a disease control board within the CRMC which shall meet, at minimum, on a quarterly basis and shall be composed of seven (7) members to be designated by the executive director of the CRMC, one (1) of whom shall be the executive director of the CRMC or his or her designee, one (1) of whom shall be certified either in veterinary medicine, with a specialty in aquatic diseases, or by the American Fisheries Society, one (1) of whom shall be a doctor of veterinary medicine from the division of agriculture or the state veterinarian as designated by the director, one (1) of whom shall be a representative of the division of fish and wildlife, and one (1) of whom shall be a representative of the department of health, one (1) of whom shall be a representative from the aquaculture industry and one (1) of whom shall be a faculty member of the University of Rhode Island, Department of Fisheries, Animals and Veterinary Science. ADD}

{ADD 20-10-3.2. Aquatic Biosecurity Board -- Powers and duties.ADD} {ADD -- (a) It shall be the duty of the Aquatic Biosecurity Board to cooperate with appropriate federal agencies and conduct inspections as necessary to ensure compliance with public health standards. The aquatic biosecuirty board shall from time to time review state agency regulations pertaining to aquaculture disease and the importation of non-indigenous and genetically altered species and to make inspections as necessary to ensure compliance with aquaculture disease regulations and state law. The aquatic biosecurity board shall have exclusive jurisdiction with respect to the powers and duties established by this section. The disease control board is hereby granted all powers necessary and appropriate to carrying out these duties, including but not limited to, entering on the premises of any aquaculture operation and inspecting any facility, device, product, substance, or mechanism. ADD}

{ADD (b) The aquatic biosecurity board shall promptly assist and advise any person who is conducting aquacultural operations, or any person contemplating such activities, who seeks advice on how to remedy any disease in live stock. ADD}

{ADD (c) The members of the aquatic biosecurity board shall serve without salary. ADD}

{ADD 20-10-4.1. Aquaculture Coordinator. --ADD} {ADD(A) Within fourteen (14) days of receiving a copy of an application, pursuant to section 20-10-5, the aquaculture coordinator shall send notice to the applicant that the aquaculture coordinator is in receipt of the application and will be responsible for overseeing and facilitating the application process. In overseeing the application process, the aquaculture coordinator shall ADD}

{ADD (1) faithfully enforce the policies of this chapter, as set forth in section 20-10-1; ADD}

{ADD (2) make all necessary correspondence among the applicant, the CRMC and any state or federal agency in order to ensure an effective and expedient application process; ADD}

{ADD (3) keep abreast of advances in aquaculture research and technology through participation in the National Association of Aquaculture Coordinators; and ADD}

` {ADD (4) assist the applicant in any area relating to the application process, including but not limited to: ADD}

{ADD (i) providing information on technical, scientific, engineering or financial matters concerning the relevant aquaculture operation. Such information shall include referrals to the disease control board and other appropriate professional agencies; ADD}

{ADD (ii) corresponding regularly with the Rhode Island Export Assistance Center and the Rhode Island Seafood Council for the purpose of promoting the exportation of aquacultural products. ADD}

{ADD (B) Commencing January 1, 1999, the aquaculture coordinator shall submit annual reports to the General Assembly and to the Chairperson of the Joint Committee on Energy and Environment, due on the first day of March, providing information concerning aquacultural permit applications. Such information shall include but not be limited to the following: ADD}

{ADD (1) the number of aquaculture permit applications received in the previous year; ADD}

{ADD (2) the number of aquaculture permits renewed, denied and revoked in the previous year; ADD}

{ADD (3) the number of aquaculture permit applications which are pending as of the date of the report; ADD}

{ADD (4)_the average harvest size, including numerical size and average weight, produced from aquaculture operations in this state; and ADD}

{ADD (5) statistics on aquaculture production in the state. ADD}

{ADD 20-10-34. Appeals from orders of CRMC. --ADD} {ADD Any person, firm or corporation aggrieved by any order made by the CRMC under the provisions of this chapter may appeal therefrom in accordance with chapter 35 of title 42. ADD}

SECTION 6. The title of Chapter 20-12 entitled "Fish Cultivation" is hereby amended to read as follows:

CHAPTER 12

{DEL FISH CULTIVATION DEL}

{ADD PUBLIC AQUACULTURE ADD}

SECTION 7. Sections 20-12-1, 20-12-2, 20-12-5, 20-12-6, and 20-12-7 of the General Laws in Chapter 20-12 entitled "Fish Cultivation" are hereby amended to read as follows:

{DEL 20-12-1. Cultivation of inland fish. -- DEL} {DEL The department of environmental management shall be empowered to introduce, protect, and cultivate fish in the inland waters of the state, and to construct, maintain, and operate such fish cultivation and breeding facilities and undertake such fish cultivation projects within the state as may be in the opinion of the director appropriate. The director may take fish from the fisheries of the state for any purpose connected with fish culture or for scientific observation. DEL}

{ADD 20-12-1. Declaration of intent and public policy. --ADD} {ADD WHEREAS, It is in the best public interest of the people and the state that the waters of the state, and those waters, are utilized properly and effectively to produce plant and animal life; and ADD}

{ADD WHEREAS, The process of aquaculture is a proper and effective method to cultivate plant and animal life; and ADD}

{ADD WHEREAS, Sustaining the natural resources of the state will promote economic development of this state; and ADD}

{ADD WHEREAS, Aquaculture properly conducted is beneficial to the environment because it produces both plant and animal life; and ADD}

{ADD WHEREAS, Aquaculture has produced thriving industries in other states; and ADD}

{ADD WHEREAS, The natural resources and scientific and technical expertise which are necessary to a thriving aquaculture industry exist in this state; and ADD}

{ADD WHEREAS, Aquaculture can produce needed economic and social benefits to the state of Rhode Island; and ADD}

{ADD WHEREAS, Based upon the foregoing factors, the legislature hereby finds and declares that aquaculture is compatible with the public interest, and it is the public policy of this state to encourage and promote aquaculture. ADD}

{DEL 20-12-2. Acquisition of land for fish cultivation. DEL} {ADD 20-12-2. Acquisition of land for public aquaculture. ADD} -- For the purpose of protecting and propagating fish and providing fishing preserves, the director of environmental management may in the name and for the use of the state, and subject to approval of the state properties committee, acquire, by gift, lease, or purchase, land, fresh water streams, lakes, or ponds, or any part thereof or rights and interests therein.

20-12-5. Fishing prohibited in or near waters set aside. -- No person shall catch or attempt to catch any fish, or use any seine for catching fish, in waters acquired by the {DEL director of environmental management DEL} {ADD state ADD} for {DEL fish cultivation DEL} {ADD public aquaculture ADD}projects, or within one-half (1/2) mile from the mouth or outlet of any {DEL fish cultivation DEL} {ADD public aquaculture of finfish in freshwater ADD} project; provided, however, the director may by regulation {DEL adopted pursuant to section 20-1-12, DEL} or by special permit, allow persons to fish at or near a {DEL fish cultivation DEL} {ADD public aquaculture of finfish in freshwater ADD} project.

{DEL 20-12-6. Obstructions to fish culture. DEL} {ADD 20-12-6. Public aquaculture project with freshwater finfish. ADD} -- {ADD The director may, by regulation, restrict specific kinds of fishing at or near all other public aquaculture projects for freshwater finfish. ADD} The {DEL director of environmental management DEL} {ADD CRMC ADD} may seize, and remove summarily if need be, all obstructions erected to hinder the passage of fish, or which are illegally erected to obstruct or in any way impede {DEL the growth and culture of fish DEL} {ADD public aquaculture ADD}; and every person who shall rebuild or continue any such obstruction after it has been removed and notification thereof given by the {DEL director DEL} {ADD state ADD} shall be fined not less than five hundred dollars ($500) for each offense.

{DEL 20-12-7. Violations as to fish cultivation projects. DEL} {ADD --20-12-7. Violations as to public aquaculture projects. -- ADD} No person shall take any fish or fish spawn, or any apparatus used in hatching or protecting fish, from any pond, lake, river, or stream stocked with or set apart by the {DEL director of environmental management, by any town, or by private parties DEL} {ADD state ADD}, without the consent of the {DEL director DEL} {ADD appropriate state agency ADD}, town {DEL council DEL}, {ADD municipality ADD} or private party, nor shall any person violate any rule or regulation adopted regarding {DEL fish cultivation DEL} {ADD public aquaculture ADD} projects.

SECTION 8. Chapter 20-12 of the General Laws entitled "Fish Cultivation" is hereby amended by adding thereto the following section:

{ADD 20-12-1.1. Definitions. -- ADD} {ADD As used in this chapter: ADD}

{ADD (a) The term "public aquaculture" shall mean all forms of aquaculture operated, managed or conducted by the state. ADD}

{ADD (b) The term "stock enhancement" shall refer to techniques designed to augment or protect aquatic animals and plants for purposes of increasing their numbers in the wild harvest fisheries. Such techniques shall include, but are not limited to, the operation of hatcheries to obtain juveniles; predator reduction programs; disease management programs; and habitat enhancement programs. For purposes of this chapter, simple transplant or relay of shellfish stock from areas of high population density to areas of low population density shall not be considered stock enhancement. ADD}

{ADD (c) The term "constructed wetlands" shall refer to the establishment of either salt water or fresh water wetland areas for the treatment of aquaculture effluents or municipal sewage effluents. ADD}

{ADD (d) The terms "state" or "state agency" shall mean any department, division, agency, commission, board, authority or any school within Rhode Island. ADD}

{ADD 20-12-1.2. Public aquaculture facilitiesADD} {ADD. -- The state shall be empowered to conduct public aquaculture in the waters of the state, and to construct, maintain, and operate such public aquaculture facilities and undertake such public aquaculture projects within the state as may be in the opinion of the CRMC appropriate. The state may take aquatic plants and animals from the waters of the state for any purpose connected with public aquaculture or for scientific observation. ADD}

{ADD 20-12-3.1. Coastal fisheries and shellfisheriesADD} {ADD. -- The executive director of the CRMC shall, no later than January 1, 1999, establish rules and regulations for the establishment of estuarine and coastal fisheries stock enhancement programs. The state may establish and maintain hatcheries for marine and estuarine fish and shellfish to be used for the purpose of restoring wild fisheries. All of the output of those hatcheries not so used shall be sold at a fair market price and for cash only, and money received therefor shall be retained by the state for public aquaculture use. ADD}

{ADD 20-12-3.2. Aquatic plantsADD} {ADD. -- The executive director of the CRMC shall, no later than January 1, 1999, establish regulations and guidelines for the production, restoration and acquisition of aquatic plants. The state may establish and maintain nursery and culture facilities for aquatic plants for the purpose of restoring fresh water and coastal wetlands and for the establishment of constructed wetlands. All of the output of those facilities not so used shall be sold at a fair market price and for cash only, and money received therefor shall be retained by the state for the purpose of maintaining wetland management programs. ADD}

{ADD 20-12-3.3. Economic analysis and planning for public aquaculture facilities.ADD} {ADD --The executive director of the CRMC shall, no later than January 1, 1999, establish rules and regulations for the establishment of a plan to promote and sustain economic development of the state aquaculture facilities established pursuant to this section. ADD}

SECTION 9. Sections 46-12-2 and 46-12-5 of the General Laws in Chapter 46-12 entitled "Water Pollution" are hereby amended to read as follows:

46-12-2. Administration. -- (a) It shall be the responsibility of the director of environmental management to administer this chapter. Within the department of environmental management, the director may employ personnel who shall come within the classified service in accordance with the laws of this state for the purposes of this chapter, and may delegate to a subordinate or subordinates any or all the powers and duties vested in the director hereunder. The general assembly shall annually appropriate such sums as it may deem necessary for the expenses of administering this chapter.

(b) The department of environmental management {DEL is DEL} {ADD and the coastal resources management council are ADD} hereby designated as the state water pollution control agency for this state for all purposes of the Clean Water Act, as amended, 33 U.S.C. 1251 et seq., and is hereby authorized to take all action necessary or appropriate to secure to this state the benefits of that act {DEL . DEL} {ADD ; provided, however, that the coastal resources management council's authority under the provisions of this chapter shall be limited in its activities to non-point source pollution activities and the National Estuaries Program for those areas which relate to coastal waters or an aquaculture project, lease, facility or sites. The director of environmental management and the executive director of the coastal resources management council shall enter into a protocol to administer the duties as set out hereunder and the parties shall share the federal funding under the Clean Water Act in accordance with their duties and activities. ADD}

(c) The department of environmental management is hereby designated to operate the underground injection control program under the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 300f et seq., and is hereby authorized to take all action necessary or appropriate to secure to this state the benefits of that program.

(d) The department of environmental management is hereby designated to administer the wellhead protection program as approved by the federal environmental protection agency and in accordance with the federal Safe Drinking Water Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 300f et seq., and is hereby authorized to take all actions necessary or appropriate to secure to this state the benefits of that program. The department of environmental management shall cooperate and coordinate wellhead protection program activities with the department of health public drinking water supply program.

(e) The department of environmental management is hereby designated to administer the underground storage tank program as approved by the federal environmental protection agency pursuant to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, as amended, 42 U.S.C. 6901 et seq., and is hereby authorized to take all necessary or appropriate actions to secure to this state the benefits of this program, including participation via cooperative agreement with the environmental protection agency (EPA) in the leaking underground storage tank trust fund.

46-12-5. Prohibitions. -- (a) It shall be unlawful for any person to place any pollutant in a location where it is likely to enter the waters or to place or cause to be placed any solid waste materials, junk, or debris of any kind whatsoever, organic or non organic, in any waters.

(b) It shall be unlawful for any person to discharge any pollutant into the waters except as in compliance with the provisions of this chapter and any rules and regulations promulgated hereunder and pursuant to the terms and conditions of a permit.

(c) It shall be unlawful to construct or install any industrial, commercial, or other establishment, to make any modification or addition thereto, or to undertake any development which may result in the discharge of any pollutant into the waters of the state, unless the discharge is made to a system or means to prevent pollution approved by the director.

(d) Notwithstanding (a) and (b) above, an applicant seeking a water quality certification from the department of environmental management in connection with the disposal of dredge material at a site as provided for in section 46-23-18.3 and in a manner consistent with a comprehensive program as provided for in section 46-23-6(1)(ii)(H), shall be granted said water quality certification if the department of environmental management determines that the proposal is consistent with the water quality standards adopted pursuant to section 46-12-3(24).

{ADD (e) Aquaculture activities. The placement of spat collectors, artificial reefs or molluscan shell material for the collecting of juvenile shellfish or enhancing shellfish or finfish populations shall not be construed as unlawful disposal of solid waste. Therefore these activities conducted pursuant to chapters 10 and 12, title 20, shall be exempt from the provisions of this section. ADD}

SECTION 10. This act shall take effect upon passage.

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LC03195
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EXPLANATION
BY THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL
OF
A N     A C T
AN AQUACULTURE ACT

***

This act would develop and promote Rhode Island's aquaculture industry by creating a "one-stop" permitting process and by designating the Coastal Resources Management Council as the lead agency for the regulation of aquaculture and by creating various mechanisms to assist individuals in the establishment and maintenance of aquaculture projects.

This act would take effect upon passage.



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