Code of Virginia

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

Article 7. Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources.

§ 2.2-215. Position established; agencies for which responsible.

The position of Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources (the Secretary) is created. The Secretary shall be responsible to the Governor for the following agencies: Department of Conservation and Recreation, Department of Historic Resources, Marine Resources Commission, Department of Wildlife Resources, and the Department of Environmental Quality and for the Chief Resilience Officer pursuant to § 2.2-220.5. The Governor may, by executive order, assign any state executive agency to the Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources or reassign any agency listed in this section to another Secretary.

1972, c. 641, §§ 2.1-51.7, 2.1-51.9; 1974, cc. 44, 45, 354, 420; 1975, c. 390; 1976, cc. 729, 732, 733, 734, 743, 767; 1978, c. 32; 1979, c. 294; 1982, c. 459; 1984, cc. 590, 720, 739, 750; 1985, cc. 193, 447, 448; 1986, cc. 335, 492, 567, 492; 1988, cc. 608, 707, 891; 1989, c. 656; 1992, c. 887; 2001, c. 844; 2004, c. 142; 2005, c. 41; 2012, cc. 803, 835; 2020, c. 958; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 401; 2022, c. 786.

§ 2.2-216. Coordination of water quality information; monitoring the quality of the waters, habitat, and living resources of Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.

The Secretary shall:

1. Serve as the lead Secretary for the coordination of technical assistance, information, and training to ensure that consistent water quality information is provided to all citizens of the Commonwealth; and

2. Consult with the Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry and the Secretary of Health and Human Resources and cooperate with appropriate state and federal agencies in the development and implementation of a comprehensive program to monitor the quality of the waters, habitat, and the living resources of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.

1984, c. 183, § 2.1-51.8:2; 1986, c. 492; 2001, c. 844; 2004, c. 58; 2008, c. 368.

§ 2.2-217. Friend of the Bay Award.

The Secretary shall establish the "Friend of the Bay Award" program. The program shall annually recognize those individuals, businesses, organizations and other entities that have made significant efforts to preserve and enhance the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. The program shall make such awards on a noncompetitive basis, using criteria to be developed by the Secretary, in consultation with those agencies within the Secretariat, the Virginia delegation to the Chesapeake Bay Commission and the Citizens Advisory Committee to the Chesapeake Executive Council.

1994, c. 392, § 2.1-51.8:3; 2001, c. 844.

§ 2.2-218. Development of Watershed Implementation Plans to restore the water quality and living resources of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries.

The Secretary shall coordinate the development of Watershed Implementation Plans (WIPs) pursuant to the total maximum daily load (TMDL) for the Chesapeake Bay released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in December 2010 and amendment thereto. The WIPs shall be designed to improve water quality and restore the living resources of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. The WIPs shall be developed in consultation with affected stakeholders, including local government officials; wastewater treatment operators; seafood industry representatives; commercial and recreational fishing interests; developers; farmers; local, regional and statewide conservation and environmental interests; and the Virginia delegation to the Chesapeake Bay Commission.

1996, c. 1031, § 2.1-51.12:1; 1999, c. 548; 2001, c. 844; 2003, c. 885; 2015, c. 380.

§ 2.2-219. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2016, c. 120, cl. 1.

§ 2.2-220. Repealed.

Repealed by Acts 2015, c. 48, cl. 1.

§ 2.2-220.1. Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement; annual report.

By November 1 of each year, the Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources shall report to the Governor and the Chairs of the House Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources and the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources on the implementation of the 2014 Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement. The Secretary may use documents, reports, and other materials developed in cooperation with other signatories to the agreement, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other relevant federal agencies or nongovernmental organizations, to fulfill this reporting requirement.

2001, c. 259, § 2.1-51.12:4; 2015, c. 475; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 401.

§ 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.

§ 2.2-220.3. Development of strategies to collect land use and conservation information.

The Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources, with assistance from the Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry, shall establish and maintain a database of the critical data attributes for onsite best management practices implemented in the Commonwealth that limit the amount of nutrients and sediment entering state waters. The database shall document voluntary actions taken by the agricultural and silvicultural sectors and should enable the application of the collected data towards projections of progress towards Virginia's water quality goals by sharing the data with the appropriate federal or state agencies. To the extent possible or appropriate, the database shall (i) be uniform in content and format to applications in the other states of the Chesapeake Bay watershed, (ii) maintain the confidentiality of information, and (iii) use existing methods of data collection including reports to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency, soil and water conservation districts, and localities for the purpose of land use valuation. Any information collected pursuant to this section shall be exempt from the Freedom of Information Act (§ 2.2-3700 et seq.).

2010, c. 172; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 401.

§ 2.2-220.4. National Flood Insurance Program; annual report.

The Secretary shall report participation by affected localities in the Community Rating System (CRS) of the National Flood Insurance Program (42 U.S.C. § 4001 et seq.) to the Governor and the General Assembly no later than November 1, 2018. The report shall list any affected locality that does not participate in the CRS, determine the costs and benefits to localities of participation in the CRS, and recommend any legislation necessary to encourage participation.

2017, c. 274.

§ 2.2-220.5. Chief Resilience Officer.

A. The Governor shall designate a Chief Resilience Officer. The Chief Resilience Officer shall serve as the primary coordinator of resilience and adaptation initiatives in Virginia and as the primary point of contact regarding issues related to resilience, recurrent flooding, all flooding-related pre-disaster hazard mitigation, and adaptation. The Chief Resilience Officer shall be equally responsible for all urban, suburban, and rural areas of the Commonwealth.

B. The Chief Resilience Officer's duties, in consultation with the Special Assistant to the Governor for Coastal Adaptation and Protection, shall include but not be limited to the following:

1. Identify and monitor those areas of the Commonwealth that are at greatest risk from recurrent flooding and increased future flooding and recommend actions that both the private and public sectors should consider in order to increase the resilience of such areas.

2. Upon the request of any locality in the Commonwealth in which is located a substantial flood defense or catchment area, including a levee, reservoir, dam, catch basin, or wetland or lake improved or constructed for the purpose of flood control, review and comment on plans for the construction or substantial reinforcement of such flood defense or catchment area.

3. Serve as the primary point of contact on all issues relating to pre-disaster hazard mitigation and coordinate the planning of resilience initiatives across state government.

4. Create and oversee the implementation of a Virginia Flood Protection Master Plan and a Virginia Coastal Resilience Master Plan in accordance with § 10.1-602 to anticipate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from significant multi-hazard threats with minimum damage to social well-being, health, the economy, and the environment.

5. Initiate and assist with the pursuit of funding opportunities for resilience initiatives at both the state and local levels and help to oversee and coordinate funding initiatives of all agencies of the Commonwealth.

6. Coordinate the dissemination of the best available science, legal guidance, and planning strategies to the public.

7. Beginning July 1, 2023, and every two years thereafter, report to the Governor and the General Assembly on the status of flood resilience in the Commonwealth. The report shall serve as an evaluation of flood protection for critical infrastructure, including human and natural infrastructure. The report shall identify risks to critical transportation, energy, communication, water and food supply, waste management, health, and emergency services infrastructure. The report shall also include the status of flood resilience planning. In preparing the report, the Chief Resilience Officer shall also coordinate with the Director of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and shall be assisted by all relevant Secretariats and agencies.

2022, c. 786.