Establishes the seagrass protection act; defines terms; outlines department of environmental conservation's responsibilities in developing seagrass management areas.
Ayes (12): Grisanti, Johnson, LaValle, Little, Marcellino, Young, Avella, Espaillat, Oppenheimer, Perkins, Serrano, Stewart-Cousins
Ayes W/R (2): Maziarz, O'Mara
Ayes (61): Adams, Addabbo, Alesi, Avella, Ball, Bonacic, Breslin, Carlucci, DeFrancisco, Diaz, Dilan, Duane, Espaillat, Farley, Flanagan, Fuschillo, Gallivan, Gianaris, Golden, Griffo, Grisanti, Hannon, Hassell-Thomps, Huntley, Johnson, Kennedy, Klein, Krueger, Lanza, Larkin, LaValle, Libous, Little, Marcellino, Martins, Maziarz, McDonald, Montgomery, Nozzolio, O'Mara, Oppenheimer, Parker, Peralta, Perkins, Ranzenhofer, Ritchie, Rivera, Robach, Saland, Sampson, Savino, Serrano, Seward, Skelos, Smith, Squadron, Stavisky, Stewart-Cousin, Valesky, Young, Zeldin
BILL NUMBER:S4287B REVISED 05/07/12
TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation to establishing the seagrass protection act
PURPOSE: To authorize the Department of Environmental Conservation to adopt rules and regulations to regulate coastal and marine activities that threaten seagrass.
SUMMARY OF PROVISIONS: The bill amends Article 13 of the environmental conservation law by adding a new Title 7 granting DEC the authority to:
o Designate seagrass management areas; o Restrict the types of mechanically powered fishing gear in seagrass areas that could be harmful to the grass; o Make this information available on the DEC website; and o Develop and adopt, after consultation with stakeholders, a seagrass management plan for designated seagrass management areas to protect seagrass beds and preserve traditional recreational activities.
JUSTIFICATION: New York seagrass beds are a vital habitat and nursery grounds for numerous commercially, recreationally and ecologically important fish and shellfish species. Seagrass beds used to be much larger - some estimates reaching as large as 200,000 acres in 1930. Today only 21,803 acres remain. Seagrass is such a vital part of our underwater environment. The DEC should have authority to protect it. The substance of this legislation was recommended by the NYS Seagrass Task Force.
LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: New bill.
FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: Minimal.
EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect on the one hundred fiftieth day after it shall have become a law.
STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 4287--B 2011-2012 Regular Sessions IN SENATE March 28, 2011 ___________Introduced by Sens. JOHNSON, AVELLA -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Environmental Conservation -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee -- recommitted to the Committee on Environmental Conservation in accordance with Senate Rule 6, sec. 8 -- committee discharged, bill amended, ordered reprinted as amended and recommitted to said committee AN ACT to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation to establishing the seagrass protection act THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Article 13 of the environmental conservation law is amended by adding a new title 7 to read as follows: TITLE 7 SEAGRASS PROTECTION ACT SECTION 13-0701. SHORT TITLE. 13-0703. DEFINITIONS. 13-0705. DEPARTMENTAL RESPONSIBILITIES. S 13-0701. SHORT TITLE. THIS ACT SHALL BE KNOWN AND MAY BE CITED AS THE SEAGRASS PROTECTION ACT. S 13-0703. DEFINITIONS. 1. "COASTAL COMMUNITY" SHALL MEAN A MUNICIPAL CORPORATION, AS DEFINED IN SECTION TWO OF THE GENERAL MUNICIPAL LAW, IN NASSAU AND SUFFOLK COUN- TIES. 2. "SEAGRASS" SHALL MEAN ROOTED, VASCULAR, FLOWERING MARINE PLANTS THAT ARE SUBMERGED IN NEW YORK'S BAYS AND COASTAL WATERS, INCLUDING ZOSTERA MARINA AND RUPPIA MARITIMA. S 13-0705. DEPARTMENTAL RESPONSIBILITIES.EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets [ ] is old law to be omitted. LBD10538-04-2 S. 4287--B 2
1. THE DEPARTMENT SHALL DESIGNATE SEAGRASS MANAGEMENT AREAS. DESIG- NATION OF SUCH AREAS SHALL INCLUDE CONSIDERATION, ON A GEOGRAPHIC OR ESTUARINE BASIS, OF LIKELY THREATS TO SEAGRASS. 2. FOR EACH DESIGNATED SEAGRASS MANAGEMENT AREA, THE DEPARTMENT SHALL DEVELOP AND ADOPT A SEAGRASS MANAGEMENT PLAN TO GUIDE THE DEVELOPMENT OF RULES AND REGULATIONS PURSUANT TO SUBDIVISION THREE OF THIS SECTION. SUCH PLAN SHALL BE DEVELOPED AFTER CONSULTATION WITH LOCAL GOVERNMENTS, REPRESENTATIVES OF RECREATIONAL BOATING INTERESTS, THE MARINE INDUSTRIES (INCLUDING COMMERCIAL AND RECREATIONAL SHELL FISHERMEN, AND COMMERCIAL SHELL FISH FARMERS), AFFECTED PROPERTY OWNERS, AND OTHER STAKEHOLDERS, SO AS TO EFFECTIVELY MANAGE AND PROTECT SEAGRASS BEDS AND SEAGRASS RESTORATION EFFORTS AT THOSE LOCATIONS AT WHICH THE RESTORATION OF SEAG- RASS IS REASONABLY POSSIBLE. SUCH PLANS SHALL, TO THE EXTENT PRACTICA- BLE, TAKE INTO CONSIDERATION, THE GOALS OF EXISTING ESTUARY PROGRAMS. IN ADDITION, SEAGRASS MANAGEMENT PLANS SHALL SEEK TO PRESERVE TRADI- TIONAL RECREATIONAL ACTIVITIES, INCLUDING RECREATIONAL BOATING AND MARI- NA OPERATIONS, AS WELL AS FINFISHING, SHELLFISHING AND TOURISM WHILE ENSURING SUCH ACTIVITIES DO NOT THREATEN SEAGRASS BEDS OR NEGATE SEAG- RASS RESTORATION EFFORTS. 3. THE DEPARTMENT SHALL HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO ADOPT RULES AND REGU- LATIONS TO REGULATE COASTAL AND MARINE ACTIVITIES THAT THREATEN SEAGRASS BEDS OR SEAGRASS RESTORATION EFFORTS. 4. THE DEPARTMENT SHALL HAVE THE AUTHORITY TO RESTRICT THE USE OF MECHANICAL-POWERED FISHING OR SHELLFISHING GEAR WHICH MAY DIRECTLY IMPACT SEAGRASS BEDS, INCLUDING CHURNING, DREDGES, RAKES AND TONGS. 5. THE DEPARTMENT SHALL IDENTIFY WATER QUALITY IMPACTS SUCH AS NITRO- GEN POLLUTION AND MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS ON HOW TO MINIMIZE SUCH IMPACTS. 6. THE DEPARTMENT SHALL MAKE INFORMATION CONCERNING THE IMPORTANCE OF SEAGRASS PROTECTION AND THE STATUS OF SEAGRASS RESTORATION EFFORTS AVAILABLE ON THE DEPARTMENT WEBSITE. S 2. This act shall take effect on the one hundred fiftieth day after it shall have become a law.