Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 10.1. Conservation
Subtitle I. Activities Administered by the Department of Conservation and Recreation
Chapter 1. General Provisions
9/30/2022

Chapter 1. General Provisions.

Article 1. Department of Conservation and Recreation.

§ 10.1-100. Definitions.

As used in this subtitle, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Department" means the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

"Director" means the Director of the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

1988, c. 891; 1989, c. 656.

§ 10.1-101. Department continued; appointment of Director.

The Department of Conservation and Historic Resources is continued as the Department of Conservation and Recreation. The Department shall be headed by a Director appointed by the Governor to serve at his pleasure for a term coincident with his own.

1984, c. 750, § 10-252; 1988, c. 891; 1989, c. 656.

§ 10.1-102. Powers and duties of Director.

The Director, under the direction and control of the Governor, shall exercise the powers and perform the duties that are conferred upon him by law and he shall perform such other duties as may be required of him by the Governor or the appropriate citizen boards.

1984, c. 750, § 10-252.1; 1988, c. 891.

§ 10.1-103. Organization of the Department.

The Director shall establish divisions through which the functions of the Department and the corresponding powers and duties may be exercised and discharged. The Director shall appoint competent persons to direct the various functions and programs of the Department, and may delegate any of the powers and duties conferred or imposed by law upon him.

1984, c. 750, § 10-253; 1986, c. 567; 1987, c. 234; 1988, c. 891; 1989, c. 656.

§ 10.1-104. Powers of the Department.

A. The Department shall have the following powers, which may be delegated by the Director:

1. To employ such personnel as may be required to carry out those duties conferred by law;

2. To make and enter into all contracts and agreements necessary or incidental to the performance of its duties and the execution of its powers, including but not limited to contracts with private nonprofit organizations, the United States, other state agencies and political subdivisions of the Commonwealth;

3. To accept bequests and gifts of real and personal property as well as endowments, funds, and grants from the United States government, its agencies and instrumentalities, and any other source. To these ends, the Department shall have the power to comply with such conditions and execute such agreements as may be necessary, convenient or desirable;

4. To prescribe rules and regulations necessary or incidental to the performance of duties or execution of powers conferred by law;

5. To establish noncompetitively procured contracts, notwithstanding the Virginia Public Procurement Act (§ 2.2-4300 et seq.), with private nonprofit organizations that are exempt from federal taxation, to conduct revenue producing activities on Department lands provided the revenue generated after expenses is used to benefit Virginia State Parks and the Natural Area Preserve System. This subsection shall not provide for establishing contracts for capital improvements to state-owned facilities or on Department lands;

6. To establish the Office of Environmental Education to provide increased opportunities for public education programs on environmental issues. The Office shall initiate and supervise programs designed to educate citizens on ecology, pollution and its control, technology and its relationship to environmental problems and their solutions, population and its relationship to environmental problems, and other matters concerning environmental quality;

7. To perform acts necessary or convenient to carry out the duties conferred by law; and

8. To assess civil penalties for violations of § 10.1-200.3.

B. Pursuant to the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.), the Department may promulgate regulations necessary to carry out the purposes and provisions of this subtitle. A violation of any regulation shall constitute a Class 1 misdemeanor, unless a different penalty is prescribed by the Code of Virginia. However, a violation of the Virginia State Park Regulations (4VAC5-30) shall constitute a Class 3 misdemeanor.

1984, c. 739, §§ 10-21.3:4, 10-21.3:5; 1984, c. 750, § 10-254; 1985, c. 448; 1988, c. 891; 2001, c. 370; 2007, c. 632; 2009, c. 392; 2012, cc. 803, 835.

§ 10.1-104.01. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2020, c. 490, cl. 2.

§ 10.1-104.1. Department to assist in the nonpoint source pollution management program.

A. The Department, with the advice of the Board of Conservation and Recreation and the Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board and in cooperation with other agencies, organizations, and the public as appropriate, shall assist in the Commonwealth's nonpoint source pollution management program.

B. The Department shall be assisted in performing its nonpoint source pollution management responsibilities by Virginia's soil and water conservation districts. Assistance by the soil and water conservation districts in the delivery of local programs and services may include (i) the provision of technical assistance to advance adoption of conservation management services, (ii) delivery of educational initiatives targeted at youth and adult groups to further awareness and understanding of water quality issues and solutions, and (iii) promotion of incentives to encourage voluntary actions by landowners and land managers in order to minimize nonpoint source pollution contributions to state waters.

The provisions of this section shall not limit the powers and duties of other state agencies.

1993, cc. 19, 830; 2004, c. 474; 2013, cc. 756, 793.

§ 10.1-104.2. Voluntary nutrient management training and certification program.

A. The Department shall operate a voluntary nutrient management training and certification program to certify, in accordance with regulations adopted by the Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board pursuant to subsection D, the competence of persons preparing nutrient management plans for the purpose of (i) assisting landowners and operators in the management of land application of fertilizers, municipal sewage sludges, animal manures, and other nutrient sources for agronomic benefits and for the protection of the Commonwealth's ground and surface waters and (ii) assisting owners and operators of agricultural land and turf to achieve economic benefits from the effective management and application of nutrients.

B. The Department shall develop a flexible, tiered, Voluntary Nutrient Management Plan Program to assist owners and operators of agricultural land and turf in (i) preparing nutrient management plans for their own property that meet the nutrient management specifications developed by the Department and (ii) achieving economic benefits for owners and operators as a result of effective nutrient management. The Department shall convene a stakeholder group composed of individuals representing agricultural and environmental organizations to assist in the development of this Program. Individuals representing the agricultural stakeholders shall include both farmers who currently operate farms and agribusiness representatives who serve the farming community. Individuals representing environmental stakeholders shall include at least two members and a staff member of the Virginia Delegation to the Chesapeake Bay Commission and one representative from the Rappahannock River Basin Commission. The Program shall: (a) allow owners and operators of agricultural lands and turf who are not required to have a certified nutrient management plan to prepare their own nutrient management plans; (b) include a tiered approach for lands of different sizes, agricultural production, and nutrient applications; (c) consider similar online programs in other states or sponsored by baccalaureate institutions of higher education; (d) address how the nutrient management plans can be verified and receive credit in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Model for properties in the Chesapeake Bay watershed; (e) begin testing the software for the Program by July 1, 2013, and begin full implementation by July 1, 2014; and (f) include any other issues related to developing a flexible, tiered, Voluntary Nutrient Management Plan Program for owners and operators of agricultural lands and turf.

C. Any personal or proprietary information collected pursuant to subsection B shall be exempt from the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (§ 2.2-3700 et seq.), except that the Director may release information that has been transformed into a statistical or aggregate form that does not allow identification of the persons who supplied, or are the subject of, particular information. This subsection shall not preclude the application of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act in all other instances of federal or state regulatory actions.

D. The Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board shall adopt regulations:

1. Specifying qualifications and standards for individuals to be deemed competent in nutrient management plan preparation, and providing for the issuance of documentation of certification to such individuals;

2. Specifying conditions under which a certificate issued to an individual may be suspended or revoked;

3. Providing for criteria relating to the development of nutrient management plans for various agricultural and urban agronomic practices, including protocols for use by laboratories in determining soil fertility, animal manure nutrient content, or plant tissue nutrient uptake for the purpose of nutrient management;

4. Establishing fees to be paid by individuals enrolling in the training and certification programs;

5. Providing for the performance of other duties and the exercise of other powers by the Director as may be necessary to provide for the training and certification of individuals preparing nutrient management plans; and

6. Giving due consideration to relevant existing agricultural certification programs.

E. There is hereby established a special, nonreverting fund in the state treasury to be known as the Nutrient Management Training and Certification Fund. The fund shall consist of all fees collected by the Department pursuant to subsection D. No part of the fund, either principal or interest, shall revert to the general fund. The fund shall be administered by the Director, and shall be used solely for the payment of expenses of operating the nutrient management training and certification program.

F. For the purposes of this section, the term "turf" shall have the same meaning as defined in § 3.2-3600.

1994, c. 159; 2011, cc. 341, 353; 2012, c. 781; 2013, cc. 593, 658.

§ 10.1-104.2:1. Nitrogen application rates; regulations.

A. The Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board shall adopt regulations that amend the application rates in the Virginia Nutrient Management Standards and Criteria by incorporating into such regulations or the documents incorporated by reference the recommended application rates for nitrogen in lawn fertilizer and lawn maintenance fertilizer and the recommended application rates for "slow or controlled release fertilizer" and "enhanced efficiency lawn fertilizer," as such terms are defined and adopted or proposed for adoption by the Association of American Plant Food Control Officials, as described in the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services' December 2011 "Report on the Use of Slowly Available Nitrogen in Lawn Fertilizer and Lawn Maintenance Fertilizer."

B. Such regulatory amendment provided for in subsection A shall follow a fast-track regulatory process established pursuant to § 2.2-4012.1 of the Administrative Process Act and shall be adopted no later than July 1, 2014.

2012, c. 796; 2013, cc. 593, 658.

§ 10.1-104.3. Clean Water Farm Award Program.

The Director shall establish the Clean Water Farm Award Program to recognize farms in the Commonwealth which utilize practices designed to protect water quality and soil resources. A farm shall be eligible for recognition upon application from the farmer or the local soil and water conservation district, if the district concurs that the farmer is implementing conservation practices that effectively address agricultural nonpoint source pollutants. Such practices may include vegetative riparian buffers, cover crops, conservation tillage, livestock exclusion from waterways, and nutrient management plans. The Director may establish guidelines for limiting the quantity of annual recipients, receiving and ranking applications, ensuring geographical representation of awards from the major watersheds of the Commonwealth including the Chesapeake Bay watershed, providing local farm recognition through the local soil and water conservation districts, and providing special statewide recognition to select farms. Recognition under this program shall not be a requirement under any other state program.

1998, c. 93; 2009, c. 349.

§ 10.1-104.4. Nutrient management plans required for state lands; review of plans.

A. On or before July 1, 2006, all state agencies, public institutions of higher education in the Commonwealth, and other state governmental entities that own land upon which fertilizer, manure, sewage sludge or other compounds containing nitrogen or phosphorus are applied to support agricultural, turf, plant growth, or other uses shall develop and implement a nutrient management plan for such land. The plan shall be in conformance with the following nutrient management requirements:

1. For all state-owned agricultural and forestal lands where nutrient applications occur, state agencies, public institutions of higher education in the Commonwealth, and other state governmental entities shall submit site-specific individual nutrient management plans prepared by a certified nutrient management planner pursuant to § 10.1-104.2 and regulations promulgated thereunder. However, where state agencies are conducting research involving nutrient application rate and timing on state-owned agricultural and forestal lands, such lands shall be exempt from the application rate and timing provisions contained in the regulations developed pursuant to § 10.1-104.2.

2. For all state-owned lands other than agricultural and forestal lands where nutrient applications occur, state agencies, public institutions of higher education in the Commonwealth, and other state governmental entities shall submit nutrient management plans prepared by a certified nutrient management planner pursuant to § 10.1-104.2 and regulations promulgated thereunder or planning standards and specifications acceptable to the Department.

B. Plans or planning standards and specifications submitted under subdivisions A 1 and A 2 shall be reviewed and approved by the Department. Such approved plans and planning standards and specifications shall be in effect for a maximum of three years, and shall be revised and submitted for approval to the Department at least once every three years thereafter.

C. State agencies, public institutions of higher education in the Commonwealth, and other state governmental entities shall maintain and properly implement any such nutrient management plan or planning standards or specifications on all areas where nutrients are applied.

D. The Department may (i) provide technical assistance and training on the development and implementation of a nutrient management plan, (ii) conduct periodic reviews as part of its responsibilities authorized under this section, and (iii) assess an administrative charge to cover a portion of the costs for services associated with its responsibilities authorized under this section.

E. The Department shall develop written procedures for the development, submission, and the implementation of a nutrient management plan or planning standards and specifications that shall be provided to all state agencies, public institutions of higher education in the Commonwealth, and other state governmental entities that own land upon which nutrients are applied.

2005, c. 65.

§ 10.1-104.5. Nutrient management plans required for golf courses; penalty.

A. On or before July 1, 2017, all persons that own land operated as a golf course and upon which fertilizer, manure, sewage sludge, or other compounds containing nitrogen or phosphorous are applied to support turf, plant growth, or other uses shall develop and implement nutrient management plans for such land in accordance with the regulations adopted pursuant to § 10.1-104.2. However, such lands shall be exempt from the application rate and timing provisions contained in any regulations developed pursuant to § 10.1-104.2 if research involving nutrient application rate and timing is conducted on such lands.

B. Nutrient management plans developed pursuant to this section shall be submitted to the Department. The Department shall approve or contingently approve such nutrient management plans within 30 days of submission. Such nutrient management plans shall be revised and resubmitted for approval to the Department every five years thereafter or upon a major renovation or redesign of the golf course lands, whichever occurs sooner.

C. Golf courses shall maintain and properly implement approved nutrient management plans, planning standards, and specifications on all areas where nutrients are applied.

D. Nutrient management plans shall be made available to the Department upon request.

E. The Department shall (i) provide technical assistance and training on the development and implementation of nutrient management plans, planning standards, and specifications and (ii) establish, prior to July 1, 2015, a cost-share program specific to golf courses for implementation of this section.

F. Any information collected pursuant to this section shall be exempt from the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (§ 2.2-3700 et seq.).

G. A golf course owner found to be in violation of this section after July 1, 2017, shall be given 90 days to submit a nutrient management plan to the Department for approval before a $250 civil penalty is imposed. All civil penalties imposed under this section shall be deposited in the Nutrient Management Training and Certification Fund (§ 10.1-104.2).

H. Golf courses in compliance with this section shall not be subject to local ordinances governing the use or application of fertilizer.

2011, cc. 341, 353.

§ 10.1-104.6. Supplemental environmental projects.

A. As used in this section:

"Supplemental environmental project" means an environmentally beneficial project undertaken as partial settlement of a civil enforcement action and not otherwise required by law.

B. The Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board or the Director acting on behalf of the Board or under his own authority in issuing any administrative order, or any court of competent jurisdiction as provided for under this Code, may, in its or his discretion and with the consent of the person subject to the order, provide for such person to undertake one or more supplemental environmental projects. The project shall have a reasonable geographic nexus to the violation or, if no such project is available, shall advance at least one of the declared objectives of the environmental law or regulation that is the basis of the enforcement action. Performance of such projects shall be enforceable in the same manner as any other provision of the order.

C. The following categories of projects may qualify as supplemental environmental projects, provided the project otherwise meets the requirements of this section: public health, pollution prevention, pollution reduction, environmental restoration and protection, environmental compliance promotion, and emergency planning and preparedness. In determining the appropriateness and value of a supplemental environmental project, the following factors shall be considered by the enforcement authority: net project costs, benefits to the public or the environment, innovation, impact on minority or low income populations, multimedia impact, and pollution prevention. The costs of those portions of a supplemental environmental project that are funded by state or federal low-interest loans, contracts or grants shall be deducted from the net project cost in evaluating the project. In each case in which a supplemental environmental project is included as part of a settlement, an explanation of the project with any appropriate supporting documentation shall be included as part of the case file.

D. Nothing in this section shall require the disclosure of documents exempt from disclosure pursuant to the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (§ 2.2-3700 et seq.).

E. Any decision whether or not to agree to a supplemental environmental project is within the sole discretion of the Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Board, Director, or court and shall not be subject to appeal.

F. Nothing in this section shall be interpreted or applied in a manner inconsistent with applicable federal law or any applicable requirement for the Commonwealth to obtain or maintain federal delegation or approval of any regulatory program.

2011, c. 505.

§ 10.1-104.6:1. ConserveVirginia program established.

A. The Department shall develop a program for the creation, maintenance, operation, and regular updating of a data-driven Geographical Information Systems model to prioritize potential conservation areas across the Commonwealth that would provide quantifiable benefits to the citizens of Virginia. Such program shall be known as ConserveVirginia. The model shall synthesize multiple mapped data inputs, divided into categories, each representing a different overarching conservation value, including (i) agriculture and forestry, (ii) natural habitat and ecosystem diversity, (iii) floodplains and flooding resilience, (iv) cultural and historic preservation, (v) scenic preservation, (vi) protected landscapes resilience, and (vii) water quality improvement.

B. The Department shall consult regularly with the Chief Resilience Officer, the Special Assistant for Coastal Adaptation and Protection, the Department of Forestry, the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the Department of Historic Resources, the Department of Wildlife Resources, the Department of Environmental Quality, the Marine Resources Commission, and any other state or federal agency or private organization deemed appropriate to provide data or information to update methodologies, map layers, and emerging conservation priorities.

C. The Department shall review and revise the methodology used to develop and prioritize each conservation value identified in subsection A. The Department shall conduct such review and revision process no less than once every two years, and such process shall include public hearings and solicitation of public comment. The Department shall continue to develop ways to incorporate and encourage environmental justice, as defined in § 2.2-234, into all existing and future conservation values. The Department shall not utilize any methodology or conservation value to limit a landowner's decision on implementing any aspect of an approved forest management plan or any appropriate best management practice to achieve water quality improvements.

D. The Department shall provide access to the ConserveVirginia model to the public and all state and federal agencies that benefit by using ConserveVirginia to determine conservation priorities.

E. The Department shall incorporate ConserveVirginia into acquisition or grant decisions when appropriate.

F. The Department shall utilize information provided by the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Department of Forestry when creating the Agriculture and Forestry map layers of ConserveVirginia. Such information shall include, as appropriate, new data sources that better reflect the economic viability of working farms and forests. The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Department of Forestry shall engage agriculture and forestry stakeholders to improve and refine the ConserveVirginia model to accurately reflect the conservation value of agricultural and forestal land in the Commonwealth. Such information shall inform whether the ConserveVirginia conservation values related to agriculture and forestry have been achieved.

2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 99.

Article 1.1. Resource Management Plans.

§ 10.1-104.7. Resource management plans; effect of implementation; exclusions.

A. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, agricultural landowners or operators who fully implement and maintain the applicable components of their resource management plan, in accordance with the criteria for such plans set out in § 10.1-104.8 and any regulations adopted thereunder, shall be deemed to be in full compliance with (i) any load allocation contained in a total maximum daily load (TMDL) established under § 303(d) of the federal Clean Water Act addressing benthic, bacteria, nutrient, or sediment impairments; (ii) any requirements of the Virginia Chesapeake Bay TMDL Watershed Implementation Plan; and (iii) applicable state water quality requirements for nutrients and sediment.

B. The presumption of full compliance provided in subsection A shall not prevent or preclude enforcement of provisions pursuant to (i) a resource management plan or a nutrient management plan otherwise required by law for such operation, (ii) a Virginia Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit, (iii) a Virginia Pollution Abatement permit, or (iv) requirements of the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act (§ 62.1-44.15:67 et seq.).

C. Landowners or operators who implement and maintain a resource management plan in accordance with this article shall be eligible for matching grants for agricultural best management practices provided through the Virginia Agricultural Best Management Practices Cost-Share Program administered by the Department in accordance with program eligibility rules and requirements. Such landowners and operators may also be eligible for state tax credits in accordance with §§ 58.1-339.3 and 58.1-439.5.

D. Nothing in this article shall be construed to limit, modify, impair, or supersede the authority granted to the Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services pursuant to Chapter 4 (§ 3.2-400 et seq.) of Title 3.2.

E. Any personal or proprietary information collected pursuant to this article shall be exempt from the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (§ 2.2-3700 et seq.), except that the Director may release information that has been transformed into a statistical or aggregate form that does not allow identification of the persons who supplied, or are the subject of, particular information. This subsection shall not preclude the application of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (§ 2.2-3700 et seq.) in all other instances of federal or state regulatory actions. Pursuant to subdivision 45 of § 2.2-3711, public bodies may hold closed meetings for discussion or consideration of certain records excluded from the provisions of this article and the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (§ 2.2-3700 et seq.).

2011, c. 781; 2015, cc. 27, 169; 2017, c. 616.

§ 10.1-104.8. Resource management plans; criteria.

A. The Soil and Water Conservation Board shall by regulation, and in consultation with the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services and the Department of Environmental Quality, specify the criteria to be included in a resource management plan.

B. The regulations shall:

1. Be technically achievable and take into consideration the economic impact to the agricultural landowner or operator;

2. Include (i) determinations of persons qualified to develop resource management plans and to perform on-farm best management practice assessments; (ii) plan approval or review procedures if determined necessary; (iii) allowable implementation timelines and schedules; (iv) determinations of the effective life of the resource management plans taking into consideration a change in or a transfer of the ownership or operation of the agricultural land, a material change in the agricultural operations, issuance of a new or modified total maximum daily load (TMDL) implementation plan for the Chesapeake Bay or other local total maximum daily load water quality requirements, and a determination pursuant to Chapter 4 (§ 3.2-400 et seq.) of Title 3.2 that an agricultural activity on the land is creating or will create pollution; (v) factors that necessitate renewal or new plan development; and (vi) a means to determine full implementation and compliance with the plans including reporting and verification;

3. Provide for a process by which an on-farm assessment of all reportable best management practices currently in place, whether as part of a cost-share program or through voluntary implementation, shall be conducted to determine their adequacy in achieving needed on-farm nutrient, sediment, and bacteria reductions;

4. Include agricultural best management practices sufficient to implement the Virginia Chesapeake Bay TMDL Watershed Implementation Plan and other local total maximum daily load water quality requirements of the Commonwealth; and

5. Specify that the required components of each resource management plan shall be based upon an individual on-farm assessment. Such components shall comply with on-farm water quality objectives as set forth in subdivision B 4, including best management practices identified in this subdivision and any other best management practices approved by the Board or identified in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed Model or the Virginia Chesapeake Bay TMDL Watershed Implementation Plan.

a. For all cropland or specialty crops such components shall include the following, as needed and based upon an individual on-farm assessment:

(1) A nutrient management plan that meets the nutrient management specifications developed by the Department;

(2) A forest or grass buffer between cropland and perennial streams of sufficient width to meet water quality objectives and consistent with Natural Resources Conservation Service standards and specifications;

(3) A soil conservation plan that achieves a maximum soil loss rate of "T," as defined by the Natural Resources Conservation Service; and

(4) Cover crops meeting best management practice specifications as determined by the Natural Resources Conservation Service or the Virginia Agricultural Best Management Practices Cost-Share Program.

b. For all hayland, such components shall include the following, as needed and based upon an individual on-farm assessment:

(1) A nutrient management plan that meets the nutrient management specifications developed by the Department;

(2) A forest or grass buffer between cropland and perennial streams of sufficient width to meet water quality objectives and consistent with Natural Resources Conservation Service standards and specifications; and

(3) A soil conservation plan that achieves a maximum soil loss rate of "T," as defined by the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

c. For all pasture, such components shall include the following, as needed and based upon an individual on-farm assessment:

(1) A nutrient management plan that meets the nutrient management specifications developed by the Department;

(2) A system that limits or prevents livestock access to perennial streams; and

(3) A pasture management plan or soil conservation plan that achieves a maximum soil loss rate of "T," as defined by the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

2011, c. 781.

§ 10.1-104.9. Regulations under this article.

Regulations adopted by the Board for the enforcement of this article shall be subject to the requirements set out in §§ 2.2-4007.03, 2.2-4007.04, 2.2-4007.05, and 2.2-4026 through 2.2-4030 of the Administrative Process Act (§ 2.2-4000 et seq.), and shall be published in the Virginia Register of Regulations. The Board shall convene a stakeholder group to assist in development of these regulations, with representation from agricultural and environmental interests as well as Soil and Water Conservation Districts. All other provisions of the Administrative Process Act shall not apply to the adoption of any regulation pursuant to this article. After the close of the 60-day comment period, the Board may adopt a final regulation, with or without changes. Such regulation shall become effective 15 days after publication in the Virginia Register of Regulations, unless the Board has withdrawn or suspended the regulation or a later date has been set by the Board. The Board shall also hold at least one public hearing on the proposed regulation during the 60-day comment period. The notice for such public hearing shall include the date, time, and place of the hearing.

2011, c. 781.

Article 2. Board of Conservation and Recreation.

§ 10.1-105. Board of Conservation and Recreation.

The Board of Conservation and Recreation shall be reorganized and is established as a policy board in the executive branch in accordance with § 2.2-2100 and shall consist of 12 members to be appointed by the Governor. The Board shall be the successor to the Board on Conservation and Development of Public Beaches and the Virginia State Parks Foundation. The members of the Board shall initially be appointed for terms of office as follows: three for a one-year term, three for a two-year term, three for a three-year term, and three for a four-year term. The Governor shall designate the term to be served by each appointee at the time of appointment. Appointments thereafter shall be made for four-year terms. No person shall serve more than two consecutive full terms. Any vacancy shall be filled by the Governor for the unexpired term. All terms shall begin July 1. Board members shall serve at the pleasure of the Governor. In making appointments, the Governor shall endeavor to select persons suitably qualified to consider and act upon the various special interests and problems related to the programs of the Department. The Board may appoint subcommittees of not less than three to consider and deal with special interests and problems related to programs of the Department.

Code 1950, § 10-3; 1954, c. 487; 1958, c. 427; 1966, cc. 477, 510; 1984, c. 750; 1988, c. 891; 1989, c. 656; 1991, c. 84; 2003, cc. 79, 89.

§ 10.1-106. Officers; meetings; quorum.

The Board shall elect one of its members chairman, and another as vice-chairman. The Director or his designee shall serve as executive secretary to the Board.

The Board shall meet at least three times a year on the call of the chairman or the Director. The vice-chairman shall fill the position of chairman in the event the chairman is not available. A majority of the members of the Board shall constitute a quorum of the Board.

Code 1950, §§ 10-4, 10-5; 1958, c. 427; 1968, c. 126; 1988, c. 891; 1991, c. 84; 2003, cc. 79, 89.

§ 10.1-107. General powers and duties of the Board.

A. The Board shall advise the Governor and the Director on activities of the Department. Upon the request of the Governor, or the Director, the Board shall institute investigations and make recommendations.

The Board shall formulate recommendations to the Director concerning:

1. Requests for grants or loans pertaining to outdoor recreation.

2. Designation of recreational sites eligible for recreational access road funds.

3. Designations proposed for scenic rivers, scenic highways, and Virginia byways.

4. Acquisition of real property by fee simple or other interests in property for the Department including, but not limited to, state parks, state recreational areas, state trails, greenways, natural areas and natural area preserves, and other lands of biological, environmental, historical, recreational or scientific interest.

5. Acquisition of bequests, devises and gifts of real and personal property, and the interest and income derived therefrom.

6. Stage one and stage two plans, master plans, and substantial acquisition or improvement amendments to master plans as provided in § 10.1-200.1.

B. The Board shall have the authority to promulgate regulations necessary for the execution of the Public Beach Conservation and Development Act, Article 2 (§ 10.1-705 et seq.) of Chapter 7 of this title.

C. The Board shall assist the Department in the duties and responsibilities described in Subtitle I (§ 10.1-100 et seq.) of Title 10.1.

D. The Board is authorized to conduct fund-raising activities as deemed appropriate and will deposit such revenue into the State Parks Projects Fund pursuant to subsection C of § 10.1-202.

E. The Board shall advise the Governor and the Director concerning the protection or management of the Virginia Scenic Rivers System as defined in § 10.1-400. Upon the request of the Governor, or the Director, the Board shall institute investigations and make recommendations. The Board shall have general powers and duties to (i) advise the Director on the appointment of Scenic River Advisory Committees or other local or regional committees pursuant to § 10.1-401; (ii) formulate recommendations concerning designations for proposed scenic rivers or extensions of existing scenic rivers; (iii) consider and comment to the Director on any federal, state, or local governmental plans to approve, license, fund, or construct facilities that would alter any of the assets that qualified the river for scenic designation; (iv) assist the Director in reviewing and making recommendations regarding all planning for the use and development of water and related land resources including the construction of impoundments, diversions, roadways, crossings, channels, locks, canals, or other uses that change the character of a stream or waterway or destroy its scenic assets, so that full consideration and evaluation of the river as a scenic resource will be given before alternative plans for use and development are approved; (v) assist the Director in preserving and protecting the natural beauty of the scenic rivers, assuring the use and enjoyment of scenic rivers for fish and wildlife, scenic, recreational, geologic, historic, cultural, or other assets, and encouraging the continuance of existing agricultural, horticultural, forestal and open space land and water uses; (vi) advise the Director and the affected local jurisdiction on the impacts of proposed uses of each scenic river and its related land resources; and (vii) assist local governments in solving problems associated with the Virginia Scenic Rivers System, in consultation with the Director.

Code 1950, § 10-12; 1958, c. 427; 1962, c. 355; 1984, c. 750; 1988, c. 891; 1991, c. 84; 1998, c. 780; 2003, cc. 79, 89; 2005, cc. 25, 102; 2009, c. 856; 2012, cc. 803, 835.

Article 3. Disposition of Department Lands.

§ 10.1-108. Definitions.

As used in this article, unless the context requires a different meaning:

"Environment" means the natural, scenic, scientific and historic attributes of the Commonwealth.

"Exploration" means the examination and investigation of land for the purpose of locating and determining the extent of minerals, by excavating, drilling, boring, sinking shafts, sinking wells, driving tunnels, or other means.

"Mineral" means petroleum, natural gas, coal, ore, rock and any other solid chemical element or compound which results from the inorganic process of nature. For the purposes of this article, the word mineral shall not include timber.

1978, c. 835, § 10-17.113; 1988, c. 891.

§ 10.1-109. Lease of lands and other properties.

A. The Director is authorized, subject to the written recommendation of the Department of General Services to the Governor and the written approval of the Governor, following review as to form and content by the Attorney General and the provisions of this article, to lease to any person for consideration, by appropriate instrument signed and executed by the Director, in the name of the Commonwealth: (i) any lands or other properties held for general recreational or other public purposes by the Department, for the Commonwealth, or (ii) any lands over which the Department has supervision and control, or any part of such lands where such lease is for the purposes of recreation, agriculture, or resource management and is consistent with the purposes and duties of the Department. Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (ii), whenever land is acquired by purchase or otherwise for public recreation and conservation purposes under the administration of the Department, the Director is authorized to lease the land or any portion of it back to the owner from whom the land is acquired upon terms and conditions in the public interest. No lease granted under this section shall be for an initial term longer than ten years, but any such lease may contain provisions for lease renewals, either contingent or automatic at the discretion of the Director, for a like period upon the same terms and conditions as originally granted. If written notice of termination is received by the Director from the lessee or if use of the lease is in fact abandoned by the lessee at any time prior to the end of the initial term or any renewal, the Director may immediately terminate the lease.

B. The Director is authorized to lease state-owned housing under the control of the Department to state employees. Such leases shall be approved as to form and content by the Attorney General and the Department of General Services. The leasing of Department-controlled housing to state employees shall be for the purposes of providing security and operational efficiencies to property of the Department and shall not cause the property to be considered surplus to the agency's need. If the Director determines that the availability of state-owned housing is inadequate to meet the onsite security and operational efficiencies requirements for Department-owned property, he may lease residential property not owned by the Commonwealth from prospective landlords for the purposes of subleasing to state employees who otherwise qualify for leasing state-owned housing. Such leases and subleases shall be approved by the Director.

C. Property leased under this section shall not be considered surplus to the agency's need.

D. The Department shall include information about leasing activities carried out pursuant to this section in an annual report to the General Assembly.

1978, c. 835, § 10-17.114; 1980, c. 451; 1984, c. 739; 1987, c. 453; 1988, c. 891; 1991, c. 461; 2008, c. 22; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 400.

§ 10.1-110. Easements to governmental agencies and public service corporations.

A. The Director is authorized, subject to the consent and approval of the Governor following review as to form and content by the Attorney General, to grant to any governmental agency, political subdivision, public utility company, public service corporation, public service company or authority for consideration by proper deed or other appropriate instrument signed and executed by the Director in the name of the Commonwealth, any easement over, upon and across any lands or other properties held by the Commonwealth or over which it has supervision and control, provided that the easement is consistent with and not in derogation of the general purpose for which the land or other property is held. No easement shall be granted for an initial term longer than ten years, but may contain provisions for renewals either contingent or automatic at the discretion of the Director, for a like period on the same terms and conditions as originally granted. If written notice of termination is received by the Director from the grantee or if use of the easement is in fact abandoned by the grantee at any time prior to the end of the initial term or any renewal, the Director may immediately terminate the easement. If the Department amends its master site plan to include buildings, structures or improvements on or in the vicinity of any easement granted under this section, the Director reserves the right to require, upon written notice given 180 days in advance, the relocation of the easement at the expense of the grantee of the easement.

B. The relocation requirement of subsection A shall not apply to any easement granted by the Director to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

1978, c. 835, § 10-17.114; 1980, c. 451; 1984, c. 739; 1987, c. 453; 1988, c. 891; 1991, c. 360.

§ 10.1-111. Removal of minerals.

The Director, with the approval of the Governor, is authorized to make and execute leases, contracts or deeds in the name of the Commonwealth, for the removal or mining of minerals that may be found in Departmental lands whenever it appears to the Director that it would be in the best interest of the Commonwealth to dispose of these minerals. Before any deed, contract or lease is made or executed, it shall be approved as to form by the Attorney General, and bids therefor shall be received after notice by publication once each week for four successive weeks in two newspapers of general circulation. The Director shall have the right to reject any or all bids and to readvertise for bids. The accepted bidder shall give bond with good and sufficient surety to the satisfaction of the Director, and in any amount that the Director may fix for the faithful performance of all the conditions and covenants of the lease, contract or deed. The proceeds arising from any contract, deed, or lease shall be deposited into the state treasury to the credit of the State Park Conservation Resources Fund established in subsection A of § 10.1-202.

1978, c. 835, § 10-17.114; 1980, c. 451; 1984, c. 739; 1987, c. 453; 1988, c. 891; 2003, cc. 79, 89.

§ 10.1-112. Capital improvement projects.

The Director is authorized to make and execute leases and contracts in the name of the Commonwealth for the development and operation of revenue-producing capital improvement projects in Virginia state parks upon the written approval of the Governor. Prior to approval, the Governor shall consider the written recommendation of the Director of the Department of General Services and the Attorney General shall review such leases and contracts as to form.

Any contract or lease for the development and operation of the capital improvement project shall be in accordance with the provisions of the Virginia Public Procurement Act (§ 2.2-4300 et seq.). The accepted bidder shall give a performance bond for the construction, operation and maintenance of the project with good and sufficient surety in an amount fixed by the Director for the faithful performance of the conditions and covenants of such lease or contract.

Such lease or contract, with an initial term not exceeding 30 years, shall be subject to terms, conditions, and limitations as the Director may prescribe and may be renewed with the approval of the Director. The proceeds arising from a contract or lease executed pursuant to this section shall be paid into the State Park Conservation Resources Fund established in subsection A of § 10.1-202.

1987, c. 835, § 10-17.114; 1980, c. 451; 1984, c. 739; 1987, c. 453; 1988, c. 891; 1998, c. 168; 2003, cc. 79, 89.

§ 10.1-113. Sale of trees.

For the purpose of managing Departmental lands or maintaining the production of forest products in Departmental lands, the Director, upon the recommendation of the State Forester, may designate and appraise trees to be cut under the principles of scientific forest management, and may sell them for not less than their appraised value. When the appraised value of the trees to be sold is more than $50,000, the Director, before selling them, shall receive bids, after notice by publication once a week for two weeks in two newspapers of general circulation; but the Director shall have the right to reject any and all bids and to readvertise for bids. The proceeds arising from the sale of the timber and trees from state park lands shall be paid into the State Park Conservation Resources Fund established in subsection A of § 10.1-202. The proceeds arising from the sale of the timber and trees from natural area preserves owned by the Department in fee simple shall be paid into the Natural Area Preservation Fund established in § 10.1-215.

1988, c. 891; 2003, cc. 79, 89; 2007, c. 158.

§ 10.1-114. Commemorative facilities and historic sites management; duties of Director.

In order to further public understanding and appreciation of the persons, places and events that contributed substantially to the development and enhancement of our Commonwealth's and nation's democratic and social values and ideals and in order to encourage, stimulate and support the identification, protection, preservation and rehabilitation of the Department's significant historic, architectural and archaeological sites, the Director has the following duties:

1. To ensure that Departmental historical and cultural facilities are suitable for public, patriotic, educational and recreational assemblies and events;

2. To plan, establish, construct, operate, maintain and manage historic museums, commemorative memorials and other facilities as directed by acts of the General Assembly;

3. To acquire lands, property and structures deemed necessary to the purposes of this chapter by purchase, lease, gift, devise or condemnation proceedings. The title to land and property acquired shall be in the name of the Commonwealth. In the exercise of the power of eminent domain granted under this section, the Director may proceed in the manner provided in Chapter 3 (§ 25.1-300 et seq.) of Title 25.1; and

4. To lease acquired property to any person, association, firm or corporation for terms and conditions determined by the Director with the Governor's consent.

1989, c. 656; 2003, c. 940.

§ 10.1-114.1. Directory of cultural heritage sites.

A. The Director is authorized to develop a state directory of cultural heritage facilities and sites. The directory shall recognize commemorative and historic facilities and sites that interpret significant aspects of national, state, or regional culture or history. Sites included in the directory shall not be owned or operated by state agencies.

B. Owners or managers of a potential commemorative or historic facility desiring to be included in the directory of cultural heritage sites shall submit an application to the Department. To be eligible for inclusion in the directory, the application shall include a discussion of the cultural and historic significance of the facility or site; a description of how the facility or site is staffed and managed; information on any oversight or advisory boards, including their mission statements and goals; information regarding the accessibility of the site to persons with special needs; information confirming the availability of the facility or site to the public for tours and educational or recreational programs on a regular basis; letters of support from local governments, chambers of commerce, tourism bureaus, or other supporting entities; and other information as the Department determines to be necessary. The Department may develop additional qualification criteria and application materials that may be necessary to implement the registry program. Such criteria may be adopted by the Director after considering the recommendations of the Board of Conservation and Recreation.

C. The Director shall evaluate whether the facility or site qualifies for inclusion in the directory. In evaluating the facility or site, the Director shall consult with the Department of Historic Resources, the Virginia Tourism Corporation, and other state and federal agencies when such consultation would benefit the evaluation.

D. The Director shall present any findings to the Board for its recommendation. Upon the favorable recommendation of the Board, the Director may designate a facility or site for inclusion in the directory with the Governor's written approval.

E. The Department shall maintain the directory of cultural heritage facilities and sites on its website and actively promote those facilities or sites.

2010, c. 29.

Article 4. Conservation Officers.

§ 10.1-115. Appointment of conservation officers; qualifications; oath.

A. The Director, when he deems it necessary, may request the Governor to commission an individual designated by the Director to act as a conservation officer of the Commonwealth. Upon concurring with the Director's request, the Governor shall direct the Secretary of the Commonwealth to issue a conservation officer commission to the designated individual. The Secretary of the Commonwealth shall deliver a copy of the commission to the Director. Any individual so commissioned shall hold his commission during his term of employment with the Department, subject to the provisions of § 10.1-118.

B. The Director, upon the request of the Breaks Interstate Park Commission, may request the Governor to commission an individual who meets the requirements of § 10.1-120 and is designated by the Director to act as a conservation officer of the Commonwealth. Upon concurring with the Director's request, the Governor shall direct the Secretary of the Commonwealth to issue a conservation officer commission to the designated individual. The Secretary of the Commonwealth shall deliver a copy of the commission to the Director.

C. To be qualified to receive a conservation officer commission, a person shall (i) be at least 21 years of age and (ii) have graduated from high school or obtained an equivalent diploma.

D. Each conservation officer shall qualify before the clerk of the circuit court of the city or county in which he resides, or in which he first is assigned duty, by taking the oaths prescribed by law. An employee of the Breaks Interstate Park Commission shall qualify before the clerk of the circuit court of Dickenson County.

E. The Director may designate certain conservation officers to be special conservation officers. Special conservation officers shall have the same authority and power as sheriffs throughout the Commonwealth to enforce the laws of the Commonwealth.

1994, c. 205; 2015, cc. 64, 489.

§ 10.1-116. Jurisdiction of conservation officers.

Conservation officers shall have jurisdiction throughout the Commonwealth on all Department lands and waters and upon lands and waters under the management or control of the Department, on property of the United States government or a department or agency thereof on which the Commonwealth has concurrent jurisdiction and is contiguous with land of the Department or on which the Department has a management interest, on property operated by the Breaks Interstate Park Commission within the Commonwealth of Virginia with the written agreement of the Commission, on a property of another state agency or department whose property is contiguous with land of the Department, and in those local jurisdictions in which mutual aid agreements have been established pursuant to § 15.2-1736.

Special conservation officers appointed pursuant to § 10.1-115 shall have jurisdiction throughout the Commonwealth.

1994, c. 205; 2005, c. 87; 2015, cc. 64, 489.

§ 10.1-117. Powers and duties of conservation officers.

A. It shall be the duty of all conservation officers to uphold and enforce the laws of the Commonwealth, the regulations of the Department, and the rules and regulations of the Breaks Interstate Park Commission.

B. Commissioned conservation officers shall be law-enforcement officers and shall have the power to enforce the laws of the Commonwealth, the regulations of the Department and the collegial bodies under administrative support of the Department, and the rules and regulations of the Breaks Interstate Park Commission. If requested by the chief law-enforcement officer of the locality, conservation officers shall coordinate the investigation of felonies with the local law-enforcement agency.

1994, c. 205; 2005, c. 88; 2015, cc. 64, 489.

§ 10.1-118. Decommissioning of conservation officers.

Upon separation from the Department or the Breaks Interstate Park Commission, incapacity, death, or other good cause, the Director may recommend in writing the decommissioning of any conservation officer to the Governor. Upon concurring with the Director's request, the Governor shall direct the Secretary of the Commonwealth to issue a certificate of decommissioning to the conservation officer. The Secretary of the Commonwealth shall deliver a copy of the certificate to the Director. Upon receipt of the decommissioning certificate, the Director shall ensure that the certificate is recorded at the office of the clerk of the circuit court of any city or county in which the individual took his oath of office.

1994, c. 205; 2015, cc. 64, 489.

§ 10.1-119. Defense of conservation officer of the Department prosecuted on criminal charges.

If any conservation officer shall be brought before any regulatory body, summoned before any grand jury, investigated by any other law-enforcement agency, or arrested or indicted or otherwise prosecuted on any charge arising out of any act committed in the discharge of his official duties, the Director may employ special counsel approved by the Attorney General to defend such officer. Upon a finding that (i) the officer did not violate a law or regulation resulting from the act that was the subject of the investigation and (ii) the officer will not be terminated from employment as the result of such act, the Director shall arrange for payment for the special counsel employed. The compensation for special counsel employed pursuant to this section shall, subject to the approval of the Attorney General, be paid out of the funds appropriated for the administration of the Department of Conservation and Recreation or the Breaks Interstate Park Commission as may be applicable.

2007, c. 595; 2015, cc. 64, 489.

§ 10.1-120. Commissioning of Breaks Interstate Park Commission employees as conservation officers.

A. The Director shall ensure that an employee of the Breaks Interstate Park Commission whom the Commission recommends for commissioning as a conservation officer in accordance with subsection B of § 10.1-115 meets the minimum qualifications for law-enforcement officers set out in § 15.2-1705, is subject to the minimum training standards set out in § 9.1-114, abides by the Department's law-enforcement in-service training requirements, and abides by the law-enforcement directives of the Department unless exceptions by the Department are granted in writing. For the purposes of law-enforcement directives, the Breaks Interstate Park shall be treated as a Virginia State Park.

B. The Commission shall bear the expenses associated with training and equipping a Commission employee as a conservation officer to Department standards unless the Department agrees otherwise.

2015, cc. 64, 489.