Substitute Senate Bill No. 859
          Substitute Senate Bill No. 859

               PUBLIC ACT NO. 97-54


AN ACT CONCERNING NATURAL AREA PRESERVES.


    Be  it  enacted  by  the  Senate  and House of
Representatives in General Assembly convened:
    Section   1.  Section  23-5b  of  the  general
statutes  is  repealed  and   the   following   is
substituted in lieu thereof:
    AS   USED   IN   SECTIONS   23-5a   TO  23-5i,
INCLUSIVE:
    [(a)]  (1)  "Natural  area"  means  an area of
land or water, or land and water,  containing,  or
potentially  containing,  plant  or animal life or
features of biological,  scientific,  educational,
geological,   paleontological,   or  scenic  value
worthy of preservation in their natural condition;
    [(b)]    (2)    "Commissioner"    means    the
Commissioner of Environmental Protection; [and]
    [(c)]  (3)  "Natural  area  preserve"  means a
natural  area  which  has  been  approved  by  the
commissioner  and designated by the Governor. Such
designation  shall  be  effective   only   as   to
interests  in  land owned by the state or conveyed
to the state in form approved by the  commissioner
within  ninety days after such designation or land
subject to a conservation restriction, as  defined
by  section  47-42a,  conveyed  to  the state by a
private landowner; AND
    (4)    "PROTECTED    RESOURCES"    MEANS   THE
PARTICULAR  CONDITIONS,  VEGETATION   OR   NATURAL
FEATURES   WITHIN   A   NATURAL   AREA   PRESERVE,
INCLUDING, BUT NOT  LIMITED  TO,  ANY  SPECIES  OF
PLANT  OR  WILDLIFE,  WHICH REQUIRE PROTECTION AND
PRESERVATION IN ORDER TO CONTINUE AND FLOURISH.
    Sec.  2. Section 23-5c of the general statutes
is repealed and the following  is  substituted  in
lieu thereof:
    The  commissioner  shall establish a system of
natural   area   preserves    and    shall    have
responsibility   for   selection,  care,  control,
supervision and management  of  all  natural  area
preserves  within  the system to the extent of the
interest held by the  state,  and  shall  maintain
such  preserves  in as natural and wild a state as
is   consistent   with   THE   PRESERVATION    AND
ENHANCEMENT    OF    PROTECTED    RESOURCES    AND
educational, scientific,  biological,  geological,
paleontological    and    scenic    purposes.   In
establishing such system, the  commissioner  shall
consider  as  a  priority the acquisition of areas
identified as essential habitats of endangered and
threatened   species   pursuant   to  the  program
established    under    section    26-305.     The
commissioner,   alone   or   in  cooperation  with
individuals or other public bodies, including  the
federal  government,  may  conduct  inventories of
areas within the state that may  prove  worthy  of
inclusion   within   a   system  of  natural  area
preserves,  and   may   gather   and   disseminate
information   concerning   inventoried  areas,  or
natural  area   preserves   under   his   control.
Information  collected  in  such inventories shall
become part of the natural diversity  database  of
the  Department  of  Environmental Protection. The
commissioner shall ensure the use of natural  area
preserves for research consistent with purposes of
sections 23-5a to 23-53,  inclusive,  and  26-314.
The  commissioner  may adopt regulations under the
provisions  of  section  23-4  for  managing   the
natural  area  preserves system including, but not
limited  to,  procedures  for  the  adoption   and
revision  of a management plan for each designated
natural  area  preserve.  A  MANAGEMENT  PLAN  MAY
PERMIT   RECREATIONAL   ACTIVITIES  WHICH  DO  NOT
ADVERSELY IMPACT THE PROTECTED  RESOURCES  OF  THE
NATURAL AREA PRESERVE.

Approved May 14, 1997