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New Jersey

New Jersey Statutes Annotated. Title 23. Fish and Game, Wild Birds and Animals. Chapter 2A. Wildlife Generally

Statute Details
Printable Version
Citation: NJ ST 23:2A-1 to 23:2A-1:15

Citation: N. J. S. A. 23:2A-1 to 23:2A-1:15


Last Checked by Web Center Staff: 01/2014

Summary:   These statutes comprise the New Jersey Endangered and Nongame Species Conservation Act.  The definitions used in the Act are described as well as the rules for listing species, the powers and duties of the supervising department, and the designation of funding.  Under the statute, violation of the Act incurs a civil penalty of $250-5,000.


Statute in Full:

23:2A-1. Short title

23:2A-2. Legislative findings and declaration

23:2A-3. Definitions

23:2A-4. Investigations; determinations; management programs; list of endangered species

23:2A-5. Rules and regulations; inspections; fees

23:2A-6. Taking, possession, transportation, sale of endangered species or regulated nongame species

23:2A-7. Programs for conservation and management; agreements; cooperation with and acceptance of funds from other agencies; committee of experts

23:2A-8. Obstruction, hindrance or delay of personnel of department

23:2A-9. Investigation of suspected violators

23:2A-10. Violations; commissioner actions; civil administrative penalties; criminal penalties

23:2A-11. Severability

23:2A-12. Functions, powers and duties of department under other laws

23:2A-13. Liberal construction of act

23:2A-14. Intentional feeding of black bears banned; penalty for violation

23:2A-15. Appropriation of matching sum to qualify for federal grants to benefit wildlife

 

 

23:2A-1. Short title

This act shall be known and may be cited as "The Endangered and Nongame Species Conservation Act."

CREDIT(S)
L.1973, c. 309, § 1, eff. Dec. 14, 1973.

 

23:2A-2. Legislative findings and declaration

The Legislature hereby finds and declares the following:

a. That it is the policy of this State to manage all forms of wildlife to insure their continued participation in the ecosystem;

b. That species or subspecies of wildlife indigenous to the State which may be found to be endangered should be accorded special protection in order to maintain and to the extent possible enhance their numbers; and

c. That the State should assist in the protection of species or subspecies of wildlife which are deemed to be endangered elsewhere by regulating the taking, possession, transportation, exportation, processing, sale or offer for sale or shipment within this State of species or subspecies of wildlife including those on any Federal endangered species list.

CREDIT(S)
L.1973, c. 309, § 2, eff. Dec. 14, 1973.

 

23:2A-3. Definitions

For the purposes of this act, unless the context clearly requires a different meaning:

a. "Commissioner" means the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection;

b. "Department" means the Department of Environmental Protection;

c. "Endangered species" means any species or subspecies of wildlife whose prospects of survival or recruitment are in jeopardy or are likely within the foreseeable future to become so due to any of the following factors: (1) the destruction, drastic modification, or severe curtailment of its habitat, or (2) its over-utilization for scientific, commercial or sporting purposes, or (3) the effect on it of disease, pollution, or predation, or (4) other natural or manmade factors affecting its prospects of survival or recruitment within the State, or (5) any combination of the foregoing factors. The term shall also be deemed to include any species or subspecies of wildlife appearing on any Federal endangered species list;

d. "Nongame species" means any wildlife for which a legal hunting or trapping season has not been established or which has not been classified as an endangered species by statute or regulation of this State;

e. "Take" means to harass, hunt, capture, kill, or attempt to harass, hunt, capture, or kill, wildlife;

f. "Wildlife" means any wild mammal, bird, reptile, amphibian, fish, mollusk, crustacean or other wild animal or any part, product, egg or offspring or the dead body or parts thereof.

CREDIT(S)
L.1973, c. 309, § 3, eff. Dec. 14, 1973. Amended by L.1981, c. 281, § 1, eff. Sept. 10, 1981.

 

23:2A-4. Investigations; determinations; management programs; list of endangered species

a. The commissioner shall conduct investigations concerning wildlife in order to develop information relating to populations, distribution, habitat needs, limiting factors and other biological and ecological data to determine management measures necessary for their continued ability to sustain themselves successfully. On the basis of such determinations the commissioner shall develop management programs which shall be designed to insure the continued ability of wildlife to perpetuate themselves successfully.

b. On the basis of such investigations of wildlife and other available scientific and commercial data the commissioner may by regulation promulgate a list of those species and subspecies of wildlife indigenous to the State which are determined to be endangered, giving their common and scientific names by species and subspecies. The commissioner shall periodically review the State list of endangered species and may by regulation amend the list making such additions or deletions as are deemed appropriate.

CREDIT(S)
L.1973, c. 309, § 4, eff. Dec. 14, 1973. Amended by L.1981, c. 281, § 3, eff. Sept. 10, 1981; L.1981, c. 511, § 14, eff. Jan. 12, 1982.

 

23:2A-5. Rules and regulations; inspections; fees

a. The commissioner shall have the power to formulate and promulgate, adopt, amend and repeal rules and regulations, limiting, controlling and prohibiting the taking, possession, transportation, exportation, sale or offer for sale, or shipment of any nongame species or any wildlife on the endangered species list. Such rules and regulations shall be designed to promote the public health, safety and welfare and shall be adopted in accordance with the "Administrative Procedure Act" (P.L.1968, c. 410, C. 52:14B-1 et seq.).

b. The commissioner is authorized to conduct periodic inspections in order to determine compliance with the rules and regulations adopted pursuant to this section, and, to that end, is authorized to charge and collect fees in an amount sufficient to cover the costs of the inspections and services performed pursuant to this amendatory act. Such fees shall be devoted entirely and exclusively to carrying out the purposes and provisions of this amendatory act. Inspection fees shall be established in accordance with a fee schedule adopted by the department as a rule and regulation pursuant to the provisions of the aforesaid "Administrative Procedure Act."

CREDIT(S)
L.1973, c. 309, § 5, eff. Dec. 14, 1973. Amended by L.1981, c. 281, § 2, eff. Sept. 10, 1981.

 

23:2A-6. Taking, possession, transportation, sale of endangered species or regulated nongame species

Except as otherwise provided in this act or regulations adopted thereunder, no person shall take, possess, transport, export, process, sell or offer for sale, or ship, and no common or contract carrier shall knowingly transport or receive for shipment any species or subspecies of wildlife appearing on the following lists: (1) the list of wildlife determined to be endangered by the commissioner pursuant to this act; (2) the list of nongame species regulated pursuant to this act; and (3) any Federal list of endangered species. Any species or subspecies of wildlife appearing on any of the foregoing lists which enters the State from another state or from a point outside the territorial limits of the United States and which is transported across the State destined for a point beyond the State may be so entered and transported without restriction in accordance with the terms of any Federal permit or permit issued under the laws or regulations of another state.

CREDIT(S)
L.1973, c. 309, § 6, eff. Dec. 14, 1973. Amended by L.1981, c. 281, § 4, eff. Sept. 10, 1981.

 

23:2A-7. Programs for conservation and management; agreements; cooperation with and acceptance of funds from other agencies; committee of experts

a. The commissioner shall establish such programs, including acquisition of land or aquatic habitats, as are deemed necessary for the conservation and management of nongame and endangered species of wildlife.

b. In carrying out programs authorized by this act, the commissioner may enter into agreements with Federal agencies, political subdivisions of the State, or with private persons for administration and management of any area established under this section or utilized for management of nongame or endangered species of wildlife.

c. With the approval of the Governor, the commissioner may cooperate with and receive money from the Federal Government, or any county or municipal government or from private sources for the purposes of this act. The commissioner may establish a separate fund from these contributions for the support of nongame and endangered species programs.

d. The commissioner may authorize, under such terms and conditions as may be prescribed by regulation, the taking, possession, transportation, exportation or shipment of nongame species and wildlife which appear on the State list of endangered species for scientific, zoological, or educational purposes, for propagation in captivity of such wildlife, or for other special purposes. e. The commissioner shall appoint a committee of experts to advise and assist the commissioner in carrying out the intent of this act. Said experts shall include persons actively involved in the conservation of wildlife.

CREDIT(S)
L.1973, c. 309, § 7, eff. Dec. 14, 1973. Amended by L.1981, c. 281, § 5, eff. Sept. 10, 1981.

 

23:2A-8. Obstruction, hindrance or delay of personnel of department

No person shall obstruct, hinder or delay, or interfere with by force or otherwise, the performance by the department or its personnel of any duty under the provisions of this act, or refuse to permit such personnel to perform their duties by refusing them, upon proper identification or presentation of a written order of the department, entrance to any premises at reasonable hours.

CREDIT(S)
L.1973, c. 309, § 8, eff. Dec. 14, 1973.

 

23:2A-9. Investigation of suspected violators

Whenever the department has cause to believe that any person is violating any provision of this act, or a rule or regulation promulgated pursuant to the provisions of this act, the department shall cause a prompt investigation to be made in connection therewith.

CREDIT(S)
L.1973, c. 309, § 9, eff. Dec. 14, 1973.

 

23:2A-10. Violations; commissioner actions; civil administrative penalties; criminal penalties

a. Whenever, on the basis of available information, the commissioner finds that a person is in violation of the provisions of P.L.1973, c. 309, or any rule or regulation adopted, or permit or order issued pursuant thereto, the commissioner may:

(1) Issue an order in accordance with subsection b. of this section requiring the person to comply;

(2) Bring a civil action in accordance with subsection c. of this section;

(3) Levy a civil administrative penalty in accordance with subsection d. of this section;

(4) Bring an action for a civil penalty in accordance with subsection e. of this section; or

(5) Petition the Attorney General to bring a criminal action in accordance with subsection f. of this section.

The exercise of any of the remedies provided in this section shall not preclude recourse to any other remedy so provided.

Whenever, on the basis of available information, the commissioner finds that a person is in violation of any provision of P.L.1973, c. 309, or any rule or regulation adopted, or permit or order issued pursuant thereto, the commissioner may issue an order: (1) specifying the provision or provisions of P.L.1973, c. 309, or the rule or regulation, or order or permit issued pursuant thereto, of which the person is in violation; (2) citing the action that constituted the violation; (3) requiring compliance with the provision of P.L.1973, c. 309, the rule or regulation, or order or permit issued pursuant thereto, of which the person is in violation; (4) requiring the restoration to address any adverse effects resulting from the violation; and (5) giving notice to the person of a right to a hearing on the matters contained in the order.

c. The commissioner is hereby authorized and empowered to commence a civil action in Superior Court for appropriate relief from a violation of the provisions of P.L.1973, c. 309, or any rule or regulation adopted, or any permit or order issued pursuant thereto. This relief may include, singly or in combination:

(1) A temporary or permanent injunction;

(2) Recovery of reasonable costs of any investigation, inspection, sampling or monitoring survey that led to the discovery of the violation, and for the reasonable costs of preparing and bringing a civil action commenced under this subsection;

(3) Recovery of reasonable costs incurred by the State in removing, correcting, or terminating the adverse effects resulting from any violation of P.L.1973, c. 309 for which a civil action has been commenced and brought under this subsection;

(4) Recovery of compensatory damages for any loss or destruction of natural resources, including but not limited to, wildlife, fish, aquatic life, habitat, plants, or historic or archeological resources, and for any other actual damages caused by any violation for which a civil action has been commenced and brought under this subsection. Assessments under this subsection shall be paid to the "Endangered and Nongame Species of Wildlife Conservation Fund," established pursuant to section 1 of P.L.1981, c. 170 (C.54A:9-25.2), except that compensatory damages to privately held resources shall be paid by specific order of the court to any persons who have been aggrieved by the unauthorized regulated activity;

(5) An order requiring the violator restore the site of the violation to the maximum extent practicable and feasible or, in the event that restoration of the site of the violation is not practicable or feasible, provide for off-site restoration alternatives as approved by the department.

d. The commissioner is authorized to assess a civil administrative penalty of not more than $25,000 for each violation of the provisions of P.L. 1973, c. 309, and each day during which each violation continues shall constitute an additional, separate, and distinct offense. Any amount assessed under this subsection shall fall within a range established by regulation by the commissioner for violations of similar type, seriousness, duration, and conduct; provided, however, that prior to the adoption of the regulation, the commissioner may, on a case-by-case basis, assess civil administrative penalties up to a maximum of $25,000 per day for each violation, utilizing the criteria set forth herein. In addition to any administrative penalty to be assessed under this subsection, and notwithstanding the $25,000 maximum penalty set forth above, the commissioner may assess any economic benefits from the violation gained by the violator. Prior to assessment of a penalty under this subsection, the property owner or person committing the violation shall be notified by certified mail or personal service that the penalty is being assessed. The notice shall include a reference to the section of the statute, regulation, or order or permit condition violated; recite the facts alleged to constitute a violation; state the basis for the amount of the civil penalties to be assessed; and affirm the rights of the alleged violator to a hearing. The ordered party shall have 35 calendar days from receipt of the notice within which to deliver to the commissioner a written request for a hearing. After the hearing and upon finding that a violation has occurred, the commissioner may issue a final order after assessing the amount of the fine specified in the notice. If no hearing is requested, the notice shall become a final order after the expiration of the 35-day period. Payment of the assessment is due when a final order is issued or the notice becomes a final order. The authority to levy an administrative order is in addition to all other enforcement provisions in P.L.1973, c. 309, and the payment of any assessment shall not be deemed to affect the availability of any other enforcement provisions in connection with the violation for which the assessment is levied. The department may compromise any civil administrative penalty assessed under this section in an amount and with conditions the department determines appropriate. A civil administrative penalty assessed, including a portion thereof required to be paid pursuant to a payment schedule approved by the department, which is not paid within 90 days of the date that payment of the penalty is due, shall be subject to an interest charge on the amount of the penalty, or portion thereof, which shall accrue as of the date payment is due. If the penalty is contested, no additional interest charge shall accrue on the amount of the penalty until after the date on which a final order is issued. Interest charges assessed and collectible pursuant to this subsection shall be based on the rate of interest on judgments provided in the New Jersey Rules of Court.

e. Any person who violates any provision of P.L.1973, c. 309, or any rule or regulation adopted, or permit or order issued pursuant thereto, or an order issued pursuant to subsection b. of this section, or a court order issued pursuant to subsection c. of this section, or who fails to pay in full a civil administrative penalty levied pursuant to subsection d. of this section, or who fails to make a payment pursuant to a penalty payment schedule entered into with the department, or who knowingly makes any false or misleading statement on any application, record, report, or other document required to be submitted to the department, shall be subject, upon order of a court, to a civil penalty not to exceed $25,000 for each day during which the violation continues. Any civil penalty imposed pursuant to this subsection may be collected with costs in a summary proceeding pursuant to the "Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999," P.L.1999, c. 274 (C.2A:58-10 et seq.). In addition to any penalties, costs or interest charges, the court may assess against the violator the amount of economic benefit accruing to the violator from the violation. The Superior Court and municipal courts shall have jurisdiction to enforce the "Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999."

f. A person who purposely, knowingly or recklessly violates any provision of P.L.1973, c. 309, or any rule or regulations adopted, or permit or order issued pursuant thereto, shall be guilty, upon conviction, of a crime of the third degree and shall, notwithstanding the provisions of subsection b. of N.J.S.2C:43-3, be subject to a fine of not less than $5,000 nor more than $50,000 per day of violation, or by imprisonment, or both. A person who purposely, knowingly, or recklessly makes a false statement, representation, or certification in any application, record, or other document filed or required to be maintained under any provision of P.L.1973, c. 309, or any rule or regulation adopted, or permit or order issued pursuant thereto, or who falsifies, tampers with or purposely, knowingly, or recklessly renders inaccurate, any monitoring device or method required to be maintained pursuant to P.L.1973, c. 309, or any rule or regulation adopted, or permit or order issued pursuant thereto, shall be guilty, upon conviction, of a crime of the third degree and shall, notwithstanding the provisions of subsection b. of N.J.S2C:43-3, be subject to a fine of not more than $50,000 per day of violation, or by imprisonment, or both.

g. All penalties collected pursuant to this section shall be deposited in the "Endangered and Nongame Species of Wildlife Conservation Fund," established pursuant to section 1 of P.L.1981, c. 170, (C.54A:9-25.2), and kept separate from other receipts deposited therein, and appropriated to the department for the purposes outlined in that fund.

h. Each applicant or permittee, upon the request of the department, shall provide any information the department or the commissioner requires to determine compliance with any provision of P.L.1973, c. 309, or of any rule or regulation adopted, or permit or order issued pursuant thereto.

CREDIT(S)

L.1973, c. 309, § 10, eff. Dec. 14, 1973. Amended by L.1979, c. 385, § 1, eff. Feb. 5, 1980; L.1991, c. 91, § 278, eff. April 9, 1991; L.1995, c. 411, § 1, eff. Jan. 10, 1996; L.2007, c. 246, § 7, eff. Jan. 4, 2008.

 

23:2A-11. Severability

If any provision of this act or rule or regulation adopted hereunder or the application thereof to any person or circumstances is held invalid, the remainder of the act or rule or regulation and the application of such provision to persons or circumstances other than those to which it is held invalid, shall not be affected thereby.

CREDIT(S)
L.1973, c. 309, § 11, eff. Dec. 14, 1973.

 

23:2A-12. Functions, powers and duties of department under other laws

The powers, duties and functions vested in the State Department of Environmental Protection under the provisions of this act shall not be construed to limit in any manner the functions, powers and duties vested in the State Department of Environmental Protection under any other provisions of law.

CREDIT(S)
L.1973, c. 309, § 12, eff. Dec. 14, 1973.

 

23:2A-13. Liberal construction of act

This act shall be liberally construed to effectuate the purpose and intent thereof.

CREDIT(S)
L.1973, c. 309, § 13, eff. Dec. 14, 1973.

 

23:2A-14. Intentional feeding of black bears banned; penalty for violation

a. No person shall:

(1) feed, give, place, expose, deposit, distribute or scatter any edible material or attractant with the intention of feeding, attracting or enticing a black bear; or

(2) store pet food, garbage or other bear attractants in a manner that will result in bear feedings when black bear are known to frequent the area.

b. Subsection a. of this section shall not apply in the case of an unintentional feeding of a black bear. "Unintentional feeding" means using or placing any material for a purpose other than to attract or entice black bears but which results in the attraction or enticement of a black bear, and shall include but need not be limited to the use and placement of bait for deer in accordance with section 1 of P.L.1997, c. 424 (C.23:4-24.4) and the State Fish and Game Code.

c. (1) If any person violates subsection a. of this section, the department may institute a civil action in a court of competent jurisdiction for injunctive relief to prohibit and prevent such violation or violations and the court may proceed in the action in a summary manner.

(2) Any person who violates the provisions of subsection a. of this section shall be liable to a civil penalty of up to $1,000 for each offense, to be collected in a civil action by a summary proceeding under the "Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999," P.L.1999, c. 274 (C.2A:58-10 et seq.) or in any case before a court of competent jurisdiction wherein injunctive relief has been requested. Civil penalties recovered for violations hereof shall be remitted as provided in R.S.23:10-19. The Superior Court and municipal court shall have jurisdiction to enforce the "Penalty Enforcement Law of 1999."

If the violation is of a continuing nature, each day during which it continues shall constitute an additional, separate and distinct offense.

No person shall be assessed a civil penalty pursuant to this paragraph unless the person has first been issued a prior written warning for a violation of subsection a. of this section.

(3) The department is hereby authorized and empowered to compromise and settle any claim for a penalty under this section in such amount in the discretion of the department as may appear appropriate and equitable under all of the circumstances.

d. The provisions of this section shall be enforced by all municipal police officers, the State Police, and law enforcement officers with the Division of Fish and Wildlife and the Division of Parks and Forestry in the Department of Environmental Protection.

e. Nothing in this section shall be construed to restrict in any way the attraction, capture, or taking of black bears by or at the direction of the Division of Fish and Wildlife for management or research purposes.

CREDIT(S)

L.2002, c. 97, § 1, eff. Nov. 13, 2002.

 

23:2A-15. Appropriation of matching sum to qualify for federal grants to benefit wildlife

a. There shall be appropriated each fiscal year to the Department of Environmental Protection a sum sufficient to provide the State match required to qualify for any federal grants or other assistance apportioned and made available to the State of New Jersey under the State Wildlife Grants Program or any similar program established pursuant to federal law, rule, or regulation for the purpose of benefitting wildlife and their habitat, including species that are not hunted or fished.

b. The annual State match appropriation requirement under subsection a. of this section shall be met through the appropriation, from the "Endangered and Nongame Species of Wildlife Conservation Fund" established by section 1 of P.L.1981, c. 170 (C.54A:9-25.2), from the "Wildlife Conservation Fund" established by section 1 of P.L.1993, c. 119 (C.39:3-33.10), or from any other fund or account established by law exclusively or primarily to fund the conservation of endangered or nongame wildlife and their habitat, of moneys, credited in such funds or accounts, that cumulatively exceed an amount equal to the total amount from those funds or accounts that was used in State fiscal year 2005 to support programs and activities related to the conservation of endangered or nongame wildlife and their habitat, which support is ineligible to meet the State match requirement under the State Wildlife Grants Program.

c. In any fiscal year, to the extent that funds directed to be appropriated under subsection b. of this section are insufficient to meet the annual State match appropriation requirement under subsection a. of this section, the remaining amount necessary to meet that requirement shall be made from the General Fund.

d. The sum appropriated under this section each fiscal year shall be expended by the Division of Fish and Wildlife in the Department of Environmental Protection for the purposes and in accordance with the requirements of the federal program and to allow the Endangered and Nongame Species Program in the division to perform its duties and responsibilities.

CREDIT(S)

L.2005, c. 211, § 1, eff. Aug. 29, 2005.

 



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