CHAPTER 485
MULTIPLE USE RIVERS

Table of Contents

Sec. 25-231. Definitions.
Sec. 25-234. Resource inventory. Statement of objectives. Map. Notice. Hearing. Review by state officials. Management plan.

      Sec. 25-231. Definitions. As used in sections 25-230 to 25-238, inclusive:

      (1) "Approved river corridor management plan" means a river corridor management plan approved by the commissioner pursuant to section 25-235;

      (2) "Commissioner" means the Commissioner of Environmental Protection or his agent;

      (3) "Local drainage basin" means a local drainage basin as referenced on a map entitled "Natural Drainage Basins of Connecticut", published by the Department of Environmental Protection, 1981;

      (4) "Major state plan" means any of the following: The master transportation plan adopted pursuant to section 13b-15, the plan for development of outdoor recreation adopted pursuant to section 22a-21, the solid waste management plan adopted pursuant to section 22a-211, the state-wide plan for the management of water resources adopted pursuant to section 22a-352, the state-wide environmental plan adopted pursuant to section 22a-8, the historic preservation plan adopted under the National Historic Preservation Act, 16 USC 470 et seq., the state-wide facility and capital plan adopted pursuant to section 4b-23, the long-range state housing plan adopted pursuant to section 8-37t, the water quality management plan adopted under the federal Clean Water Act, 33 USC 1251 et seq., any plans for managing forest resources adopted pursuant to section 23-20 and the Connecticut River Atlantic Salmon Compact adopted pursuant to section 26-302;

      (5) "Member municipality" means a municipality which is a member of a river commission established pursuant to section 25-232;

      (6) "Person" means person, as defined in section 22a-2;

      (7) "River advisory board" means any of the following: The Five Mile River Commission established pursuant to section 15-26a, the Connecticut River Gateway Commission established pursuant to section 25-102e, the Connecticut River Assembly established pursuant to section 25-102dd, the Bi-State Pawcatuck River Commission established pursuant to section 25-161, the Niantic River Gateway Commission established pursuant to section 25-109e, the Housatonic Estuary Commission established pursuant to section 25-170, the Farmington River Coordinating Committee established pursuant to the National Wild and Scenic Rivers Act, 16 USC 1274 et seq., the Shepaug-Bantam River Board established pursuant to sections 25-102pp and 25-102qq or a river committee established pursuant to section 25-203;

      (8) "River corridor" means any river, river segment or river system, together with its floodplains, wetlands and uplands, contributing overland runoff to such river, river segment or river system;

      (9) "River commission" means a river commission established pursuant to section 25-232;

      (10) "River system" means a river, its tributaries and any lands draining into such river or its tributaries;

      (11) "Secretary" means the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management or his agent;

      (12) "State rivers assessment database" means the state-wide assessment of the state's rivers prepared by the commissioner pursuant to subdivision (3) of subsection (d) of section 25-102qq;

      (13) "State plan for conservation and development" means the state plan for conservation and development prepared pursuant to part I of chapter 297;

      (14) "Subregional drainage basin" means a subregional drainage basin as referenced on a map entitled "Natural Drainage Basins of Connecticut", published by the Department of Environmental Protection, 1981;

      (15) "Water-dependent use" means a use which, by its nature or function, requires direct access to, or location in or immediately adjacent to, water and which therefore cannot be located upland, and includes such recreational uses as riverside trails and bicycle paths;

      (16) "Use" means agriculture, public and private water supply, power generation, waste assimilation, transportation, recreation, including, but not limited to, boating, swimming, fishing, camping and hiking and residential, commercial, industrial and other water-dependent uses; and

      (17) "Resource" means any riparian waters of the state, related fisheries and wildlife habitat and adjacent shorelands, both developed and undeveloped; any vegetation, fish and wildlife; endangered and threatened species, species of special concern and essential habitat identified by the commissioner pursuant to chapter 495; tidal and inland wetlands; unique geologic features; scenic areas; forest lands, as defined in section 23-65f; agricultural lands, as defined in section 22-26bb; and archaeological and other historical resources.

      (P.A. 95-333, S. 2; P.A. 96-118, S. 3; P.A. 99-94, S. 8; P.A. 03-140, S. 23; P.A. 06-76, S. 7; P.A. 07-242, S. 113.)

      History: P.A. 96-118 deleted reference to "the Housatonic River Commission established pursuant to section 25-102r of the general statutes," from Subdiv. (7); P.A. 99-94 amended Subdiv. (4) by changing "housing advisory plan" to "long-range state housing plan"; P.A. 03-140 replaced "16a-35m" with "16a-7a" in Subdiv. (4), effective July 1, 2003; P.A. 06-76 amended Subdiv. (4) to delete reference to the Connecticut hazardous waste management plan; P.A. 07-242 amended Subdiv. (4) to delete reference to comprehensive energy plan adopted pursuant to Sec. 16a-7a, effective July 1, 2007.

(Return to
Chapter Table of Contents)
(Return to
List of Chapters)
(Return to
List of Titles)

      Sec. 25-234. Resource inventory. Statement of objectives. Map. Notice. Hearing. Review by state officials. Management plan. (a) A river commission shall prepare a written inventory of all resources and all existing uses within those areas of the local drainage basin of the river corridor for which the commission was established which are within the boundaries of the municipalities represented on the commission. Such inventory shall also identify within such areas any locations providing public access to resources and any portions of the river or riverfront lands which have been degraded by human use and could be restored. The Commissioner of Agriculture shall prepare an inventory of agricultural land within such areas and shall submit such inventory for inclusion in the commission's inventory. In preparing the inventory a river commission shall utilize all relevant available information, including, but not limited to, the state rivers assessment database and wetland maps prepared pursuant to sections 22a-30 and 22a-42a.

      (b) After completing an inventory pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, a river commission shall prepare a written statement identifying in such areas those resources which should be preserved or enhanced, those existing uses which should be maintained, those degraded areas which should be restored and those areas in which potential industrial, commercial and other uses could be accommodated without degrading the resources of the river corridor. Such statement shall be known as the river commission's statement of objectives. In preparing a statement of objectives, the river commission shall consider the best uses of the river corridor as identified by the state rivers assessment database and potential conflicts among resources on the one hand and existing and potential uses of the river corridor on the other hand. The statement of objectives shall attempt to balance competing uses within the river corridor and its watershed lands and provide for multiple uses thereof.

      (c) After completing an inventory prepared pursuant to subsection (a) of this section and a statement of objectives prepared pursuant to subsection (b) of this section, the river commission shall prepare a map which shall be consistent with said inventory and statement of objectives and which defines the boundaries of the river corridor to be managed under the river corridor management plan prepared pursuant to subsection (h) of this section.

      (d) Upon completion of an inventory, statement of objectives and map pursuant to subsections (a), (b) and (c) of this section, the river commission shall publish in a newspaper having a substantial circulation in the affected area notice of a public hearing to be held not less than thirty days thereafter in one of the municipalities represented on the commission. Such hearing shall provide an opportunity for oral and written comments regarding such documents. After considering all comments received, the river commission shall revise said documents as appropriate and submit them to the commissioner and the secretary. Within sixty days of receiving the revised documents, the commissioner shall provide written comments to the river commission and shall furnish a copy of such comments to the secretary. The secretary shall coordinate a review of the revised documents by all other relevant state agencies and regional planning organizations established pursuant to section 8-31a and, within ninety days of receiving such revised documents, shall provide written comments thereon to the river commission and shall furnish a copy of such comments to the commissioner. After considering all comments received from the commissioner and the secretary, the river commission shall adopt a final inventory, statement of objectives and map and shall publish, in a newspaper having a substantial circulation in the affected area, notice of the adoption of the final inventory, statement of objectives and map.

      (e) After adoption of an inventory, statement of objectives and map, pursuant to subsection (d) of this section, the river commission shall prepare a report on all federal, state, regional and municipal laws, plans, programs and proposed activities which may affect the river corridor defined in such map. Such federal, state, regional and municipal laws shall include regulations adopted pursuant to chapter 440, and zoning, subdivision and site plan regulations adopted pursuant to section 8-3. Such federal, state, regional and municipal plans shall include plans of development adopted pursuant to section 8-23, the state plan for conservation and development, water utility supply plans submitted pursuant to section 25-32d, coordinated water system plans submitted pursuant to section 25-33h, the master transportation plan adopted pursuant to section 13b-15, plans prepared by regional planning organizations pursuant to section 8-31a and plans of publicly-owned wastewater treatment facilities whose discharges may affect the subject river corridor. State and regional agencies shall, within available resources, assist the river commission in identifying such laws, plans, programs and proposed activities. The report to be prepared pursuant to this section shall identify any conflicts between such federal, state, regional and municipal laws, plans, programs and proposed activities and the river commission's objectives for river corridor management as reflected in the statement of objectives. If conflicts are identified, the river commission shall notify the applicable state, regional or municipal agencies and such agencies shall, within available resources and in consultation with the river commission, attempt to resolve such conflicts.

      (f) (1) After adoption of an inventory, statement of objectives and map pursuant to subsection (d) of this section and completion of a report pursuant to subsection (e) of this section, the river commission shall prepare a river corridor management plan. The river commission shall publish in a newspaper having a substantial circulation in the affected area notice of a public hearing to be held not less than thirty days thereafter in one of the municipalities represented on the commission. Such hearing shall provide an opportunity for oral and written comment regarding the plan. The commission shall send a copy of such notice to the chief elected official of each municipality located wholly or partially in the subregional drainage basin in which the subject river corridor is located and shall send such notice by certified mail, return receipt requested, to each person who owns property adjacent to the river segment which is the subject of the river corridor. After considering all comments received, the river commission shall revise said documents as appropriate and submit them to the commissioner and the secretary. Within sixty days of receiving the revised documents, the commissioner shall provide written comments to the river commission and shall furnish a copy of such comments to the secretary. The secretary shall coordinate a review of the revised documents by all relevant state agencies and regional planning organizations established pursuant to section 8-31a. Within ninety days of the date the secretary receives such revised documents, he shall provide written comments thereon to the river commission and to the commissioner. After considering all comments received from the commissioner and the secretary, the river commission shall prepare a document responding to all comments received, shall revise the river corridor management plan as appropriate and shall publish in a newspaper having a substantial circulation in the affected area notice of the availability of the response to comments and the revised plan.

      (2) A river corridor management plan shall set forth a strategy for achieving the objectives contained in the statement of objectives adopted pursuant to subsection (d) of this section for the river corridor mapped pursuant to said subsection and for resolving any conflicts identified in the report prepared pursuant to subsection (e) of this section. Such plan shall make recommendations for the modification of municipal plans of development and zoning, subdivision, site plan and wetlands regulations as necessary to allow implementation of such plan and to assure that each member municipality similarly manages that portion of the river corridor under its jurisdiction. Such recommendations may concern tourism, navigation, utility and transportation rights-of-way and water-dependent recreational, industrial, commercial and other uses, as well as proposals for specific setbacks from the river, dimensions of new lots and buildings, restrictions on cutting of vegetation, restrictions on earth-moving for mining or other purposes, prohibited activities and regulation of paving and other forms of impervious ground cover. Such plan may also include recommendations that member municipalities enact or adopt incentives for property owners to protect lands within the river corridor and to develop such lands in a manner that is compatible with resource protection. Such incentives may include tax credits for donation to appropriate parties of open space easements or land development rights and incentives for cluster development.

      (3) The river corridor management plan shall include the results of an instream flow study if the commissioner deems it necessary. An instream flow study shall be conducted in accordance with the commissioner's guidance and shall document water flow in the river corridor for the purpose of determining whether there is sufficient flow to allow withdrawals of water consistent with the resource protection and enhancement objectives of the river corridor management plan.

      (P.A. 95-333, S. 5; P.A. 03-140, S. 24; June 30 Sp. Sess. P.A. 03-6, S. 146(e); P.A. 04-189, S. 1; P.A. 07-242, S. 114.)

      History: P.A. 03-140 replaced "16a-35m" with "16a-7a" in Subsec. (e), effective July 1, 2003; June 30 Sp. Sess. P.A. 03-6 replaced Commissioner of Agriculture with Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Protection, effective July 1, 2004; P.A. 04-189 repealed Sec. 146 of June 30 Sp. Sess. P.A. 03-6, thereby reversing the merger of the Departments of Agriculture and Consumer Protection, effective June 1, 2004; P.A. 07-242 amended Subsec. (e) to delete reference to comprehensive energy plan adopted pursuant to Sec. 16a-7a, effective July 1, 2007.

(Return to
Chapter Table of Contents)
(Return to
List of Chapters)
(Return to
List of Titles)