Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 29.1. Wildlife, Inland Fisheries and Boating
Chapter 1. Administration of Wildlife Resources

Article 2. Board of Game and Inland Fisheries.

§ 29.1-102. Board of Wildlife Resources; how constituted; meetings.

A. The Commission of Game and Inland Fisheries is continued and shall hereafter be known as the Board of Wildlife Resources (the Board).

B. The Board shall consist of 11 members. Each member of the Board shall be appointed by the Governor, subject to confirmation by the General Assembly. The members appointed shall be citizens of the Commonwealth and shall be knowledgeable about wildlife conservation, hunting, fishing, boating, agriculture, forestry, or habitat. Each Department region, as constituted on July 1, 2014, shall be represented by two members, and three members shall be members-at-large, each representing a different Department region. Members shall be appointed for terms of one to four years; however, appointments shall be made in a manner whereby no more than three members shall have terms which expire in the same year. An appointment to fill a vacancy shall be made in the same manner, but only for the unexpired term. No person shall be eligible to serve more than two consecutive four-year terms. Members may be removed from office during their respective terms by the Governor.

C. The Board shall adopt rules and procedures for the conduct of its business that shall be set forth in a Governance Manual. The Board may establish committees to assist it with its duties and responsibilities. All decisions by a committee shall be reviewed by the Board, and shall only take effect if approved by the Board.

D. The Board shall elect one of its members as its chairman whose duties shall be limited to (i) presiding at all regular and called meetings of the Board; (ii) serving as the Board liaison to the Director, other Board members, and the Secretary of Natural and Historic Resources; and (iii) the other duties set forth in the Governance Manual as approved by a majority of the Board. The Board shall also elect a vice-chairman to preside in the absence of the chairman. Any additional duties of the vice-chairman shall be set forth in the Governance Manual. The Board shall annually elect one of its members as chairman and one of its members as vice-chairman. At such annual election, the chairman and vice-chairman shall not be eligible to be re-elected to their respective positions and no person shall serve more than one year as chairman and one year as vice-chairman during a four-year term.

E. The Board shall meet at least once every quarter of the calendar year for the transaction of business, and other meetings may be called if necessary by the chairman or at the request of any three members. The majority of the members shall constitute a quorum. Meetings shall be held in Richmond or at such other places within the Commonwealth as may be necessary.

Code 1950, §§ 29-3, 29-4, 29-8, 29-17; 1952, c. 608; 1956, c. 447; 1975, c. 152; 1987, c. 488; 2006, cc. 69, 915; 2014, c. 592; 2020, c. 958; 2021, Sp. Sess. I, c. 401.

§ 29.1-103. Powers and duties of the Board.

The Board is responsible for carrying out the purposes and provisions of this title and is authorized to:

1. Appoint the Director of the Department.

2. Acquire by purchase, lease, exchange, gift or otherwise, lands and waters in the Commonwealth and to establish buildings, structures, dams, lakes and ponds on such lands and waters. However, it is the policy of the Commonwealth that there shall be no net loss of those public lands managed by the Department that are available for hunting in Virginia.

3. Conduct operations for the preservation and propagation of game birds, game animals, fish and other wildlife in order to increase, replenish and restock the lands and inland waters of the Commonwealth.

4. Purchase, lease, or otherwise acquire lands and waters for game and fish refuges, preserves or public shooting and fishing, and establish such lands and waters under appropriate regulations.

5. Acquire by purchase, lease, or otherwise, lands and structures for use as public landings, wharves, or docks; to improve such lands and structures; and to control the use of all such public landings, wharves, or docks by regulation.

6. Acquire and introduce any new species of game birds, game animals, or fish on the lands and within the waters of the Commonwealth, with the authorization and cooperation of the local government for the locality where the introduction occurs.

7. Restock, replenish and increase any depleted native species of game birds, game animals, or fish.

8. Have educational matter pertaining to wildlife published and distributed.

9. Hold exhibits throughout the Commonwealth for the purpose of educating school children, agriculturists and other persons in the preservation and propagation of wildlife in the Commonwealth.

10. Control land owned by and under control of the Commonwealth in Back Bay, its tributaries and the North Landing River from the North Carolina line to North Landing Bridge. The Board shall regulate or prohibit by regulation any drilling, dredging or other operation designed to recover or obtain shells, minerals, or other substances in order to prevent practices and operations which would harm the area for fish and wildlife.

11. Exercise powers it may deem advisable for conserving, protecting, replenishing, propagating and increasing the supply of game birds, game animals, fish and other wildlife of the Commonwealth.

12. Adopt resolutions or regulations conferring upon the Director all such powers, authorities and duties as the Board possesses and deems necessary or proper to carry out the purposes of this title.

13. Administer and manage the Virginia Fish Passage Grant and Revolving Loan Fund pursuant to Article 1.1 (§ 29.1-101.2 et seq.) of Chapter 1.

14. Establish and collect admittance, parking, or other use fees at certain Department-owned facilities as determined by the Board. Any daily fee established by the Board shall not exceed $3. Any annual fee established by the Board shall not exceed the cost of an annual state resident fishing license pursuant to subdivision A 2 of § 29.1-310, or an annual state resident hunting license pursuant to subdivision 2 of § 29.1-303.

15. Establish and collect a use fee through the issuance of an annual hunting stamp required to be obtained to hunt on private lands managed by the Department through a lease agreement or other similar memorandum of agreement. The annual hunting stamp shall be in addition to the required licenses to hunt, and the cost of such stamp shall be the same as the cost of the annual state resident hunting license in § 29.1-303.

16. Revise, as it deems appropriate, through the promulgation of regulations as prescribed in Article 1 (§ 29.1-500 et seq.), the fees charged for all hunting, fishing and trapping licenses authorized under Articles 1 (§ 29.1-300 et seq.) and 2 (§ 29.1-340 et seq.) of Chapter 3, notwithstanding any other provision of this title. Beginning July 1, 2004, and no more frequently than once every three years thereafter, such license fees for residents may be increased or decreased no more than $5. Beginning July 1, 2007, and no more frequently than once every three years thereafter, the Board may increase or decrease license fees for nonresidents, authorized under Article 1 (§ 29.1-300 et seq.) of Chapter 3, no more than $50.

17. Take such regulatory or other action as it may determine to be necessary to enable the Commonwealth to become a party to the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact, as authorized in Article 2.1 (§ 29.1-530.5), and to implement the Compact in the Commonwealth. The promulgation of any regulations pursuant to this subdivision shall be as prescribed in Article 1 (§ 29.1-500 et seq.).

18. Adopt regulations that allow any person who holds a valid license to hunt or trap to manufacture and sell products made from wildlife that he has lawfully taken, except where the Board determines that such manufacture or sale is detrimental to public health or sound wildlife management.

Code 1950, §§ 29-6, 29-11; 1970, c. 254; 1979, c. 264; 1980, c. 301; 1987, c. 488; 1992, c. 887; 2003, c. 562; 2004, cc. 280, 1027; 2007, cc. 35, 906; 2009, c. 648; 2011, cc. 805, 841; 2016, c. 121.

§ 29.1-103.1. Control and eradication of wildlife diseases; Board authorized to promulgate regulations.

The Board, in consultation with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the State Veterinarian, and representatives of appropriate agriculture agencies and organizations, may promulgate regulations pertaining to diseases in wildlife populations. The regulations shall include, but not be limited to, (i) measures to be implemented to eradicate or prevent the spread of such diseases and (ii) procedures for the condemnation and indemnification of captive wildlife. Regulations promulgated by the Board under this section shall not conflict with (a) the laws enforced by the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, or (b) the regulations, orders, proclamations, quarantines, or authority of the Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services, the State Veterinarian, or the Board of Agriculture and Consumer Services. Livestock and poultry shall not be governed by any regulations promulgated under this section by the Board.

2006, c. 12.

§ 29.1-103.2. Assent to wildlife restoration projects and sport fishing restoration and management projects.

The Commonwealth hereby assents to the provisions of the Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act of September 2, 1937 (16 U.S.C. § 669 et seq.), as amended, and to the provisions of the Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act of August 9, 1950 (16 U.S.C. § 777 et seq.), as amended. The Director and the Board are hereby authorized to perform all such acts as may be necessary for the establishment and implementation of cooperative wildlife restoration projects and fish restoration and management projects, as defined in these federal statutes and the implementing regulations promulgated thereunder. Revenues derived from license fees paid by hunters and fishermen, as well as interest, dividends, or other income earned on such revenues, shall not be diverted and shall be used solely for the administration of the Department's fish and wildlife programs.

2006, c. 24.

§ 29.1-104. Acceptance of gifts, etc.

In addition to the authority granted the Board by § 29.1-103, the Board may receive gifts, grants, bequests, and devises of property, real or personal, and of money which, if accepted, shall be taken and held for any uses prescribed by the donor, grantor, or testator and in accord with the purposes of this title. The Board shall manage such properties or money in such a way as to maximize their value to the citizens of Virginia.

1973, c. 191, § 29-11.2; 1987, c. 488.

§ 29.1-105. Lease or contract respecting land or buildings.

The Board is authorized, with the approval of the Governor, to enter into contracts respecting or to lease any land or buildings leased or owned by it to private persons, corporations, associations, other governmental agencies, public authorities duly created by law or political subdivisions of the Commonwealth. The contracts or leases shall be (i) upon terms and conditions as deemed advisable by the Board, (ii) in a form to be approved by the Attorney General, and (iii) consistent with the powers, authority and responsibilities of the Board. If any such lease or contract is to be effective for a term of more than five years, it shall be authorized only after a public hearing by the Board. All amounts received pursuant to leases and contracts hereunder shall be deposited in the state treasury to the credit of the game protection fund.

1970, c. 406, § 29-11.1; 1972, c. 520; 1973, c. 4; 1978, c. 835; 1979, c. 140; 1987, c. 488.

§ 29.1-106. Forest and watershed areas.

The Board is authorized to exercise full control of the hunting and fishing rights and privileges in and on all impounded water areas in this Commonwealth resulting from power development; and in all forest and watershed areas in this Commonwealth which are now owned, or which may hereafter be acquired, by the United States government, subject to the rights and power of the United States Department of Agriculture. The Board shall have the power to establish refuges, sanctuaries and public shooting and fishing preserves in these areas, under such regulations as it may deem proper.

Code 1950, § 29-12; 1987, c. 488.

§ 29.1-107. Rules and regulations.

All rules, resolutions, regulations and policies adopted by the Board shall be reduced to writing for the Director, shall be public documents and shall be available to the public on request.

Code 1950, § 29-7; 1987, c. 488.

§ 29.1-108. Audits and examinations.

The minute books and other records of the Board shall be open to examination by the Governor, members of the General Assembly, and Auditor of Public Accounts, or their representatives, at all times. The accounts of the Board shall be audited in the manner provided for the audit of other state agencies. In addition, the Board shall ensure that the Auditor of Public Accounts, or an entity approved by him, conducts an audit of a fiscal and compliance nature of the accounts and transactions of the Department as determined necessary by the Auditor of Public Accounts. The Board may order such other audits as it deems necessary and desirable.

Code 1950, § 29-18; 1987, c. 488; 2006, cc. 69, 915; 2018, cc. 57, 307.