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Vermont

West's Vermont Statutes Annotated. Title Ten. Conservation and Development. Part 4. Fish and Wildlife Conservation. Chapter 123. Protection of Endangered Species

Statute Details
Printable Version
Citation: 10 V.S.A. 5401 - 10

Citation: VT ST T. 10 5401 - 10


Last Checked by Web Center Staff: 10/2013

Summary:   These Vermont statutes set out the state's endangered species provisions, including the related definitions, rules for listing species, and regulations for establishing the committees.  Violation of the provisions against taking incur penalties ranging from $500 - 1,000 for the first offense.  Interestingly, there is a provision that provides for the location of listed endangered species to be kept "confidential in perpetuity" except to landowners and bona fide purchasers of relevant land.


Statute in Full:

 

§ 5401. Definitions

§ 5402. Endangered and threatened species lists

§ 5403. Protection of endangered and threatened species

§ 5404. Endangered species committee

§ 5405. Conservation programs

§ 5406. Cooperation by other agencies

§ 5407. Enforcement

§ 5408. Limitations

§ 5409. Repealed

§ 5410. Location confidential

 

§ 5401. Definitions

As used in this chapter:

(1) "Agency" means the agency of natural resources.

(2) "Secretary" means the secretary of natural resources.

(3) "Species" includes all subspecies of wildlife or wild plants and any other group of wildlife or wild plants of the same species, the members of which may interbreed when mature.

(4) "Wildlife" means any member of a nondomesticated species of the animal kingdom, whether reared in captivity or not, including without limitation, any mammal, fish, bird, amphibian, reptile, mollusk, crustacean, arthropod or other invertebrate, and also including any part, product, egg, offspring, dead body, or part of the dead body of any such wildlife.

(5) "Plant" means any member of the plant kingdom, including seeds, roots and other parts thereof.

(6) "Endangered species" means a species listed on the state endangered species list under this chapter or determined to be an "endangered species" under the federal Endangered Species Act. [FN1] The term generally refers to species whose continued existence as a viable component of the state's wild fauna or flora is in jeopardy.

(7) "Threatened species" means a species listed on the state threatened species list under this chapter or determined to be a "threatened species" under the federal Endangered Species Act.

(8) "Endangered Species Act" and "federal Endangered Species Act" means the Endangered Species Act of 1973, Public Law 93-205, as amended.

(9) "Habitat" means the physical and biological environment in which a particular species of plant or animal lives.

(10) "Conserve," "conserving" and "conservation" mean to use and the use of all methods and procedures both for increasing the number of individuals within species and populations of wildlife or wild plants to the optimum carrying capacity of the habitat, and for maintaining those numbers.

(11) "Optimum carrying capacity" for a species means a population level of that species which, in that habitat, can indefinitely coexist with healthy populations of all wildlife and wild plant species normally present.

(12) "Methods" and "procedures" means all activities associated with scientific resources management, including, without limitation, research, census, law enforcement, habitat acquisition and maintenance, propagation, live trapping and transplanting. The terms also include the periodic or continuous protection of species or populations, where appropriate, and the regulated taking of individuals of the species or population in extraordinary cases where population pressures within a habitat cannot be otherwise relieved.

(13) "Possession" of a member of a species means the state of possessing, exporting, importing, processing, selling, offering to sell, delivering, carrying, transporting or shipping by any means a member of that species.

(14) "Taking," with respect to wildlife means "taking" as defined in section 4001 of this title, and with respect to wild plants means uprooting, transplanting, cutting, injuring or killing or any attempt to do the same or assisting another who is doing or is attempting to do the same.

1981, Adj. Sess., No. 188, § 2; 1985, Adj. Sess., No. 192, § 1; 1987, No. 76, § 18.

[FN1] 16 U.S.C.A. § 1531 et seq.


 

§ 5402. Endangered and threatened species lists

(a) The secretary shall adopt by rule a state-endangered species list and a state-threatened species list. The listing for any species may apply to the whole state or to any part of the state and shall identify the species by its most recently accepted genus and species names and, if available, the common name.

(b) The secretary shall determine a species to be endangered if it normally occurs in the state and its continued existence as wildlife or a wild plant in the state is in jeopardy.

(c) The secretary shall determine a species to be threatened if its numbers are significantly declining because of loss of habitat or human disturbance and unless protected will become an endangered species.

(d) In determining whether a species is endangered or threatened, the secretary shall consider:

(1) the present or threatened destruction, modification or curtailment of the range or habitat of the species;

(2) over-utilization of the species for commercial, sporting, scientific, educational or other purposes;

(3) disease or predation affecting the species;

(4) the adequacy of existing regulation;

(5) actions relating to the species carried out or about to be carried out by any governmental agency or any other person who may affect the species; and

(6) other natural or man-made factors affecting the continued existence of the species.

(e) In determining whether a species is endangered or threatened, the secretary shall:

(1) use the best scientific, commercial and other data available;

(2) consult with interested state or federal agencies, other states having a common interest in the species, and any interested persons; and

(3) notify the governor of any state contiguous to Vermont in which the species affected is known to occur.

-- Added 1981, No. 188 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.

 

§ 5403. Protection of endangered and threatened species

(a) Except as authorized under this chapter, a person shall not take, possess or transport wildlife or plants that are members of an endangered or threatened species.

(b) The secretary may, with advice of the endangered species committee, adopt rules for the protection and conservation of endangered and threatened species.

(c) A person who violates subsection (a) of this section with regard to an endangered species shall be fined not more than $1,000.00 on the first offense. For a subsequent conviction the person shall be fined not less than $500.00 nor more than $1,000.00.

(d) A person who violates subsection (a) of this section with regard to a threatened species shall be fined not more than $500.00 on the first offense. For a subsequent conviction the person shall be fined not less than $250.00 nor more than $500.00.

(e) A person who violates a rule of the secretary adopted under subsection (b) of this section shall be fined not more than $500.00.

(f) A person who violates subsection (a) by knowingly injuring a member of a threatened or endangered species may be required by the court to pay restitution of no more than $500.00 for veterinarian costs and related expenses incurred in treating and caring for the injured bird or animal to the person incurring these expenses.

-- Added 1981, No. 188 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; amended 1985, No. 192 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; 1987, No. 216 (Adj. Sess.).

 

§ 5404. Endangered species committee

(a) A committee on endangered species is created to be known as the "endangered species committee," and shall consist of nine members, including the secretary of agriculture, food and markets, the commissioner of fish and wildlife, the commissioner of forests, parks and recreation, and six members appointed by the governor from the public at large. Of the six public members, two shall be actively engaged in agricultural activities, two shall be knowledgeable concerning flora, and two shall be knowledgeable concerning fauna. Members appointed by the governor shall be entitled to reimbursement for expenses incurred in the attendance of meetings, as approved by the chairman. The chairman of the committee shall be elected from among and by the members each year. Members shall serve terms of three years, except that the governor may make appointments for a lesser term in order to prevent more than two terms from expiring in any year.

(b) The endangered species committee shall advise the secretary on all matters relating to endangered and threatened species, including whether to alter the lists of endangered and threatened species and how to protect those species.

(c) The agency of natural resources shall provide the endangered species committee with necessary staff services.

-- Added 1981, No. 188 (Adj. Sess.), § 2; amended 1987, No. 76, § 18; 2003, No. 42, § 2, eff. May 27, 2003.

 

§ 5405. Conservation programs

The secretary, with the advice of the endangered species committee, may establish conservation programs for the conservation of threatened or endangered species of wildlife or plants. The programs may include the purchase of land or aquatic habitat and the formation of contracts for the purpose of management of wildlife or wild plant refuge areas or for other purposes.

-- Added 1981, No. 188 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.

 

§ 5406. Cooperation by other agencies

All agencies of this state shall review programs administered by them which may relate to this chapter and shall, in consultation with the secretary, utilize their authorities only in a manner which does not jeopardize the conservation programs established by this chapter or by the secretary under its authority.

-- Added 1981, No. 188 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.

 

§ 5407. Enforcement

In addition to other methods of enforcement authorized by law, the secretary may direct under this section that wildlife or wild plants which were seized because of violation of this chapter be transferred to a zoological, botanical, educational or scientific institution, and that the costs of the transfer may be charged to the violator. The secretary, with the advice of the endangered species committee, may adopt rules for the implementation of this section.

-- Added 1981, No. 188 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.

 

§ 5408. Limitations

(a) Notwithstanding any provision of this chapter, after obtaining the advice of the endangered species committee, the secretary may permit, under such terms and conditions as the secretary may prescribe by rule, any act otherwise prohibited by this chapter if done for any of the following purposes: scientific purposes; to enhance the propagation or survival of a species; economic hardship; zoological exhibition; educational purposes; or special purposes consistent with the purposes of the federal Endangered Species Act. [FN1]

(b) Nothing in this chapter shall prevent a person who holds a proper permit from the federal government or any other state from transporting a member of an endangered or threatened species from a point outside this state to another point within or without this state.

(c) Nothing in this chapter shall prevent a person from possessing in this state wildlife or wild plants which are not determined to be “endangered” or “threatened” under the federal Endangered Species Act where the possessor is able to produce substantial evidence that the wildlife or wild plant was first taken or obtained in a place without violating the law of that place.

(d) No rule adopted under this chapter shall cause undue interference with normal agricultural or silvicultural practices. This section shall not be construed to exempt any person from the provisions of the federal Endangered Species Act.

(e) Nothing in this section permits a person to violate any provision of federal law concerning federally protected endangered species.

(f)(1) Fees to be charged to a person applying to take a threatened or endangered species under this section shall be:

(A) To take for scientific purposes, to enhance the propagation or survival of the species, or for educational purposes or special purposes consistent with the federal Endangered Species Act, $50.00.

(B) To take for a zoological or botanical exhibition or to lessen an economic hardship, $250.00 for each listed animal or plant taken up to a maximum of $25,000.00, or if the secretary determines that it is in the best interest of the species, the parties may agree to mitigation in lieu of a monetary fee.

(2) Fees or mitigation payments collected under this subsection shall be deposited in the threatened and endangered species fund within the fish and wildlife fund, which fund is hereby created. Expenditures may be made for monitoring, restoration, conservation, and the acquisition of property interests and other purposes consistent with this chapter. Where practical, the fees collected for takings shall be devoted to the conservation of the taken species or its habitat. Interest accrued on the fund shall be credited to the fund.

CREDIT(S)

1981, Adj. Sess., No. 188, § 2; 1985, Adj. Sess., No. 192, §§ 3, 4; 2003, Adj. Sess., No. 163, § 17; 2011, Adj. Sess., No. 128, § 35, eff. July 1, 2012.

[FN1] 16 U.S.C.A. § 1531 et seq.

 

§ 5409. Repealed. 1985, No. 192 (Adj. Sess.), § 5.


§ 5410. Location confidential

All information regarding the location of endangered species sites shall be kept confidential in perpetuity except that the secretary shall disclose this information to the owner of land upon which the species has been located, or to a potential buyer who has a bona fide contract to buy the land and applies to the secretary for disclosure of endangered species information, and to qualified individuals or organizations, public agencies and nonprofit organizations for scientific research or for preservation and planning purposes when the secretary determines that the preservation of the species is not further endangered by the disclosure.

-- Added 1995, No. 159 (Adj. Sess.), § 3.

 



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