Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 2.2. Administration of Government
Chapter 2. Governor's Secretaries

§ 2.2-220.2. Development of strategies to prevent the introduction of, to control, and to eradicate invasive species.

A. The Secretaries of Natural and Historic Resources and Agriculture and Forestry shall coordinate the development of strategic actions to be taken by the Commonwealth, individual state and federal agencies, private businesses, and landowners related to invasive species prevention, early detection and rapid response, control and management, research and risk assessment, and education and outreach. Such strategic actions shall include the development of a state invasive species management plan. The plan shall include a list of invasive species that pose the greatest threat to the Commonwealth. The primary purposes of the plan shall be to address the rising cost of invasive species, to improve coordination among state and federal agencies' efforts regarding invasive species prevention and management and information exchange, and to educate the public on related matters. The Secretaries of Natural and Historic Resources and Agriculture and Forestry shall update the state invasive species management plan at least once every four years. The Department of Conservation and Recreation shall provide staff support.

B. The Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources shall establish and serve as chair of an advisory group to develop an invasive species management plan and shall coordinate and implement recommendations of that plan. Other members of the advisory group shall include the Departments of Conservation and Recreation, Wildlife Resources, Environmental Quality, Forestry, Agriculture and Consumer Services, Health, and Transportation; the Marine Resources Commission; the Virginia Cooperative Extension; the Virginia Institute of Marine Science; representatives of the agriculture and forestry industries; the conservation community; interested federal agencies; academic institutions; and commercial interests. The Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry shall serve as the vice-chair of the advisory group. The advisory group shall meet at least twice per year and shall utilize ad hoc committees as necessary with special emphasis on working with affected industries, landowners, and citizens, and shall assist the Secretary to:

1. Prevent additional introductions of invasive species to the lands and waters of the Commonwealth;

2. Procure, use, and maintain native species to replace invasive species;

3. Implement targeted control efforts on those invasive species that are present in the Commonwealth but are susceptible to such management actions;

4. Identify and report the appearance of invasive species before they can become established and control becomes less feasible;

5. Implement immediate control measures if a new invasive species is introduced in Virginia, with the aim of eradicating that species from Virginia's lands and waters if feasible given the degree of infestation; and

6. Recommend legislative actions or pursue federal grants to implement the plan.

C. As used in this section, "invasive species" means a species, including its seeds, eggs, spores or other biological material capable of propagating that species, that is not native to the ecosystem and whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health; however, this definition shall not include (i) any agricultural crop generally recognized by the United States Department of Agriculture or the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services as suitable to be grown in the Commonwealth, or (ii) any aquacultural organism recognized by the Marine Resources Commission or the Department of Wildlife Resources as suitable to be propagated in the Commonwealth.

Nothing in this section shall affect the authorities of any agency represented on the advisory group with respect to invasive species.

2009, cc. 144, 619; 2020, c. 958; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 401.

The chapters of the acts of assembly referenced in the historical citation at the end of this section may not constitute a comprehensive list of such chapters and may exclude chapters whose provisions have expired.