Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 28.2. Fisheries and Habitat of the Tidal Waters
Chapter 13. Wetlands

§ 28.2-1301. Powers and duties of the Commission.

A. The Commission may receive gifts, grants, bequests, and devises of wetlands and money which shall be held for the uses prescribed by the donor, grantor, or testator and in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. The Commission shall manage any wetlands it receives so as to maximize their ecological value as provided in Article 2 (§ 28.2-1503 et seq.) of Chapter 15 of this title.

B. The Commission shall preserve and prevent the despoliation and destruction of wetlands while accommodating necessary economic development in a manner consistent with wetlands preservation and any standards set by the Commonwealth in addition to those identified in § 28.2-1308 to ensure protection of shorelines and sensitive coastal habitats from sea level rise and coastal hazards, including guidelines and minimum standards promulgated by the Commission pursuant to subsection C.

C. In order to perform its duties under this section and to assist counties, cities, and towns in regulating wetlands, the Commission shall promulgate and periodically update (i) guidelines that scientifically evaluate vegetated and nonvegetated wetlands by type and describe the consequences of use of these wetlands types and (ii) minimum standards for protection and conservation of wetlands. The Virginia Institute of Marine Science shall provide advice and assistance to the Commission in developing these guidelines and minimum standards by evaluating wetlands by type and continuously maintaining and updating an inventory of vegetated wetlands.

D. In developing guidelines, standards, or regulations under this chapter the Commission shall consult with all affected state agencies. Consistent with other legal rights, consideration shall be given to the unique character of the Commonwealth's tidal wetlands which are essential for the production of marine and inland wildlife, waterfowl, finfish, shellfish and flora; serve as a valuable protective barrier against floods, tidal storms and the erosion of the Commonwealth's shores and soil; are important for the absorption of silt and pollutants; and are important for recreational and aesthetic enjoyment of the people and for the promotion of tourism, navigation and commerce.

1972, c. 711, §§ 62.1-13.1, 62.1-13.4, 62.1-13.17; 1982, c. 300; 1990, c. 811; 1992, c. 836; 1995, c. 850; 2020, c. 809.

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.