Maine Revised Statutes

§544. Natural Areas Program

1. Establishment.  The Natural Areas Program is established within the Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry and is administered by the commissioner.
[ 1999, c. 556, §13 (NEW); 2011, c. 657, Pt. W, §5 (REV) .]
2. Definitions.  As used in this subchapter, unless the context otherwise indicates, the following terms have the following meanings.
A. "Commissioner" means the Commissioner of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. [1999, c. 556, §13 (NEW); 2011, c. 657, Pt. W, §6 (REV).]
B. "Critical area" means any natural area documented by the Natural Areas Program that is conserved or protected in its natural condition through voluntary action. [1999, c. 556, §13 (NEW).]
C. "Endangered plant" means any native plant species that is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range within the State or any species determined to be an endangered species pursuant to the United States Endangered Species Act of 1973, Public Law 93-205, as amended. [1999, c. 556, §13 (NEW).]
D. "Natural area" means any area of land or water, or both land and water, whether publicly or privately owned, that retains or has reestablished its natural character, though it need not be completely natural and undisturbed, and that supports, harbors or otherwise contains endangered, threatened or rare plants, animals and native ecological systems, or rare or unique geological, hydrological, natural historical, scenic or other similar features of scientific and educational value benefiting the citizens of the State. [1999, c. 556, §13 (NEW).]
E. "Register of critical areas" means the official listing of critical areas. [1999, c. 556, §13 (NEW).]
F. "Species" means any recognized taxonomic category of the biota including species, subspecies or variety. [1999, c. 556, §13 (NEW).]
G. "Threatened plant" means any species of native plant likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range in the State or any species of plant determined to be a threatened species pursuant to the federal Endangered Species Act of 1973, Public Law 93-205, as amended. [1999, c. 556, §13 (NEW).]
[ 1999, c. 556, §13 (NEW); 2011, c. 657, Pt. W, §6 (REV) .]
3. Functions of the Natural Areas Program.  The Natural Areas Program shall perform the following functions.
A. The Natural Areas Program shall conduct an ongoing, statewide inventory of the State's natural areas, including, but not limited to, rare plants, animals, natural communities and ecosystems or other geological, hydrological, natural historical, scenic or other similar features, and may conduct investigations related to the population, habitat needs, limiting factors and other biological and ecological data to support the mandates of the Natural Areas Program or other cooperating agencies. [1999, c. 556, §13 (NEW).]
B. The Natural Areas Program shall maintain a biological and conservation database that must contain data from inventories and other data sources and other relevant biological, ecological or other information about natural features described in paragraph A and about ecologically significant sites that harbor these features. Information contained in the biological and conservation database may be made available as necessary or appropriate for conservation and land use planning, environmental review, scientific research and inquiry, education or other appropriate use. For the purpose of this paragraph, an appropriate use is one that will not jeopardize sensitive species or habitats. [1999, c. 556, §13 (NEW).]
C. The Natural Areas Program may coordinate inventory and data management and planning activities with other appropriate state agencies or entities to maximize efficiency and increase communication among agencies and to provide appropriate data interpretation and technical services to support the mandates and programs of those agencies. [1999, c. 556, §13 (NEW).]
D. The Natural Areas Program may levy appropriate charges to those using, for commercial gain, the inventory and information services provided by the Natural Areas Program to recover the costs of providing the services and a reasonable portion of the costs associated with building and maintaining the biological and conservation database. Charges must be fixed in a schedule prepared and revised as necessary by the Natural Areas Program and supported and explained by accompanying information. [2007, c. 395, §8 (AMD).]
E. The Natural Areas Program may enter into cooperative agreements with federal or state agencies, political subdivisions of this State or private persons or organizations to receive or disburse funds for the purposes of this subchapter. [1999, c. 556, §13 (NEW).]
F. The Natural Areas Program shall maintain a database of areas designated as ecological reserves as defined in section 1801, subsection 4-A and other public lands designated and managed for equivalent purposes and shall provide scientific review of areas on state land proposed as ecological reserves. [2001, c. 471, Pt. B, §6 (NEW).]
G. The Natural Areas Program shall provide staff assistance to support the Land for Maine's Future Board established under Title 5, chapter 353. [2011, c. 655, Pt. II, §3 (NEW); 2011, c. 655, Pt. II, §11 (AFF).]
[ 2011, c. 655, Pt. II, §3 (AMD); 2011, c. 655, Pt. II, §11 (AFF) .]
SECTION HISTORY
1999, c. 556, §13 (NEW). 2001, c. 471, §B6 (AMD). 2007, c. 395, §8 (AMD). 2011, c. 655, Pt. II, §3 (AMD). 2011, c. 655, Pt. II, §11 (AFF). 2011, c. 657, Pt. W, §§5, 6 (REV).

Data for this page extracted on 12/03/2013 11:52:35.