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  • NJ A4646
  • Prohibits certain activities impacting animal and plant species that are of special concern, rare, threatened, or endangered on State-owned lands, and codifies DEP's "Landscape Project" concerning critical habitat.
Introduced
(2/28/2017)
In Committee
(2/28/2017)
Crossed OverPassedSignedDead/Failed/Vetoed
2016-2017 Regular Session
This bill would protect populations of species of fauna or flora that are of special concern, rare, threatened, or endangered, and their habitats and unique and fragile ecosystems by (1) setting forth certain conditions impacting such species and habitat on State-owned lands, and (2) codifying the Department of Environmental Protection's (DEP) "Landscape Project." The bill would establish a prohibition on actions undertaken on State-owned lands that would negatively impact the natural habitat, functioning ecosystem, and populations of species of fauna or flora that are of special concern, rare, threatened, or endangered, or rare biological communities. This prohibition would apply to controlled burns, logging activities including clear-cut, selective cutting, or thinning activities, undergrowth removal, wetlands alteration or filling, and other similar activities that have the potential to alter critical habitat for fauna or flora on State-owned lands. The bill further provides that any plan to alter, modify, or remove natural habitat from State-owned lands be limited to activities that enhance habitat for populations of fauna or flora that are of special concern, rare, threatened, or endangered, and may proceed only after the DEP conducts a primary source natural resource inventory and environmental assessment. This natural resource inventory and environmental assessment would be based upon animal species occurrence data prepared by the department's Endangered and Nongame Species Program as part of the "Landscape Project," which would be incorporated into the Natural Heritage Program by this bill, as well as rare plant species occurrences based on surveys and Natural Heritage Program data. These provisions of the bill would not apply to stewardship activities on State-owned lands if the DEP Commissioner determines the activity is necessary to: protect human health; prevent or minimize outbreaks of alien invasive pests or pathogens; control invasive species; or prevent or minimize fire hazards. In addition, this bill would codify the DEP's "Landscape Project" for species that are of special concern, rare, threatened, or endangered by incorporating it into the DEP's current Natural Heritage Program. The "Landscape Project" was originally started in 1994 by the DEP's Endangered and Nongame Species Program as a pro-active, ecosystem-level approach for the long-term protection of imperiled species and their habitats. Through this project, the program identifies critical areas for imperiled species based on land-use and land-cover classifications and species location information. The Natural Heritage Program, established by statute in 1988, requires the DEP to identify the most critically important natural areas in the State. This bill would specify that the program is to include those areas that are of critical importance to those species listed pursuant to the "Endangered Plant Species List Act" and "The Endangered and Nongame Species Conservation Act." Incorporating the Landscape Program's critical habitat maps into the Natural Heritage Program will provide comprehensive information concerning ecological communities and populations of fauna or flora that are of special concern, rare, threatened, or endangered, and their habitats.
Agriculture and Natural Resources
Introduced, Referred to Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee  (on 2/28/2017)
 
 

Date Chamber Action Description
2/28/2017 A Introduced, Referred to Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee
Date Motion Yea Nay Other
None specified