(b)...Not later than June 22, 1991, the commissioner shall so adopt regulations to identify, where biologically feasible, essential habitats for endangered and threatened species.
(c) The commissioner shall adopt regulations in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54 to establish criteria to be included in a petition pursuant to section 4-174 to add or remove a species from the list of endangered or threatened species or species of special concern or to add or remove an area identified as an essential habitat for such species.
Citation: C.G.S.A. § 26-306.
(a) Each state agency, in consultation with the commissioner, shall conserve endangered and threatened species and their essential habitats, and shall ensure that any action authorized, funded or performed by such agency does not threaten the continued existence of any endangered or threatened species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of habitat designated as essential to such species, unless such agency has been granted an exemption as provided in subsection (c) of this section. In fulfilling the requirements of this section, each agency shall use the best scientific data available.
(b) Each state agency responsible for the primary recommendation or initiation of actions on land or in aquatic habitats which may significantly affect the environment, as defined in section 22a-1c, shall ensure that such actions are consistent with the provisions of sections 26-303 to 26-312, inclusive, and shall take all reasonable measures to mitigate any adverse impacts of such actions on endangered or threatened species or essential habitat. The Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management shall consider the consistency of such proposed actions with the provision of said sections 26-303 to 26-312, inclusive, in determining whether or not an environmental impact evaluation prepared pursuant to section 22a-1b satisfies the requirements of sections 22a-1a to 22a-1h, inclusive, and regulations adopted pursuant to said sections.
(c) If the Secretary of the Office of Policy and Management, in consultation with the commissioner, determines that a proposed action violates subsections (a) or (b) of this section and there are no feasible and prudent alternatives the state agency may apply to the commissioner for an exemption. The commissioner may grant an exemption after considering the following factors: (1) The agency did not make an irreversible or irretrievable commitment of resources after initiation of consultation with the department that forecloses the opportunity for formulating and implementing feasible and prudent alternatives, (2) the benefits of the action clearly outweigh the benefits of alternative courses of action, consistent with conserving the species or its essential habitat, and such action is in the public interest, (3) the action is of regional or state-wide significance, and (4) the agency plans to take reasonable mitigation and enhancement measures necessary and appropriate to minimize the adverse impacts of the action upon the species or essential habitat, including, but not limited to, live propagation, transplantation, and habitat acquisition and improvement...
Citation: C.G.S.A. § 26-310.
(a) The commissioner may acquire for and on behalf of the state, essential habitat, or interests therein, for the conservation of endangered, threatened, or species of special concern by gift, devise, purchase, exchange, condemnation or any other method of acquiring real property or an interest therein.
(b) The commissioner may enter into agreements with federal agencies, or political subdivisions of this state or other states, or with individuals or private organizations for administration and management of any program established and utilized for the conservation of endangered and threatened species and for management of any area identified as essential habitat for such species pursuant to section 26-306.
Citation: C.G.S.A. § 26-309.
Notwithstanding the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act, as defined in section 1-200, the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection may withhold from disclosure to any person maps and records that disclose the location of any essential habitat or that disclose the location of any threatened species, endangered species, or species of special concern, upon determination that disclosure of such information to such person would create an unacceptable risk of destruction of, or harm to, such habitat or species. Prior to disclosure of any maps or records to any person, the commissioner may impose any reasonable conditions including the condition that the person to whom the information is disclosed furnish the commissioner with security in an amount and kind sufficient to guarantee that such person shall not destroy or harm, or cause to be destroyed or harmed, any such habitat or species. Any person whose request for disclosure has been denied shall be afforded the opportunity for a hearing to establish (1) that the requested information should be disclosed because disclosure would not create an unacceptable risk of destruction of, or harm to, such habitat or species, and (2) the unreasonableness of any condition imposed, including the amount or kind of any security to be established. Any hearing or other proceeding pursuant to this section shall be held in accordance with the provisions of chapter 54.
Citation: C.G.S.A. § 26-313.
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 Energy and 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. The commissioner may use funds available under section 23-79 for the development and implementation of such management plans.
Citation: C.G.S.A. § 23-5c.
(a) The Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection shall acquire land by purchase, gift or devise for the purposes set forth in section 23-74. The title to any land acquired pursuant to sections 23-73 to 23-79, inclusive, shall be vested in the state. In determining whether sites shall be acquired, the department shall consider whether the site is: (1) Identified as having high priority recreation, forestry, fishery, wildlife or conservation value and as being consistent with the state comprehensive plan for outdoor recreation and the state plan of conservation and development . . . (3) habitat for native plant or animal species listed as threatened or endangered or of special concern in the data base or pursuant to the program established under section 26-305, particularly areas identified as essential habitat for such species . . . In acquiring a site that has been identified as having a high priority recreation value, the department shall give priority to sites near population centers.
There is hereby created the recreation and natural heritage trust program to: (1) Acquire land that represents the ecological diversity of Connecticut, including natural features such as riverine, montane, coastal and geologic systems or other natural areas, on behalf of the state, in order to ensure the preservation and conservation of such land for recreational, scientific, educational, cultural and aesthetic purposes . . . (3) acquire land identified as essential habitat for endangered and threatened species pursuant to the program established under section 26-305...
Citation: C.G.S.A. § 23-74.
(b) No site shall be acquired which has not been evaluated by the department, through the data base, to determine if threatened or endangered species or species of special concern inhabit or use the site or to determine if the site is of special ecologic quality or has other outstanding natural values as a community of living things.
(c) No site which is to be acquired with the assistance of a municipal cooperator shall be acquired unless the department and such cooperator enter into a written agreement which specifies the recreational activities which will not be allowed on such site. Such agreement may be modified at any time by mutual consent of the municipal cooperator and the department.
Citation: C.G.S.A. § 23-75.
There is established a Natural Area Preserves Advisory Committee which shall consist of seven members. Three members shall be employees of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and shall serve at the pleasure of the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection, one of whom the commissioner shall designate as chairman of the committee, and four members shall be appointed by the governor from persons with an interest in the preservation of lands in natural condition for scientific and educational purposes. Members appointed by the governor shall serve for four years. The governor shall fill any vacancy among his appointees for the remainder of the unexpired term. The committee shall meet semiannually and may meet more often upon the call of the chairman. The members of the committee shall receive no compensation for their services as such but may be reimbursed for necessary expenses in connection with the performance of their duties. Members shall be persons with experience or professional training in ecological, biological or natural sciences, or environmental education(,) or representatives of institutions with experience in natural area research, education or preservation. The committee shall meet semiannually and may meet more often upon the call of the chairman or the call of any four members, upon delivery of forty-eight hours written notice to each member. The commissioner shall provide technical staff and clerical support services to carry out the business of the committee. The Natural Area Preserves Advisory Committee shall advise the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection relative to the administration of sections 23-5a to 23-5i, inclusive, and shall cooperate with the commissioner (1) in the establishment of standards for the acquisition, designation, maintenance and operation of natural area preserves within the system; (2) in making periodic state-wide surveys to determine the availability of that land which should be designated as a natural area preserve; (3) in recommending the acquisition of specific lands or interests in lands which are suitable for natural area preserves; (4) in preparing and disseminating literature and other materials to inform the public with respect to the natural area preserve program; (5) in consulting and cooperating with conservation and naturalist groups and organizations in the acquisition and maintenance of natural area preserves; (6) in recommending the acquisition of specific lands or interests in lands which are suitable for natural area preserves with funds available under the recreation and natural heritage trust program or other programs under which funds are available to the commissioner; (7) in the preparation of management plans for specific natural area preserves; and (8) in recommending the alienation or revocation of a natural area preserve for just cause.
Citation: C.G.S.A. § 26-314.
(a) There is established the protected open space and watershed land acquisition grant program. The program shall provide grants to municipalities and nonprofit land conservation organizations to acquire land or permanent interests in land for open space and watershed protection and to water companies, as defined in section 25-32a, to acquire and protect land which is eligible to be classified as class I or class II land, as defined in section 25-37c, after acquisition. All lands or interests in land acquired under this program shall be preserved in perpetuity predominantly in their natural scenic and open condition for the protection of natural resources while allowing for recreation consistent with such protection and, for lands acquired by water companies, allowing for the improvements necessary for the protection or provision of potable water.
(b) Grants may be made under the protected open space and watershed land acquisition grant program established under subsection (a) of this section or under the charter oak open space grant program established under section 7-131t to match funds for the purchase of land or permanent interests in land which purchase meets one of the following criteria: (1) Protects land identified as being especially valuable for recreation, forestry, fishing, conservation of wildlife or natural resources . . . (3) protects habitat for native plant or animal species listed as threatened or endangered or of special concern, as defined in section 26-304...
(d) Any municipality or group of contiguous municipalities may apply to the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection for a grant-in-aid of a program established to preserve or restrict to conservation or recreation purposes the use of open space land. Such grant shall be used for the acquisition of land, or easements, interests or rights therein, or for the development of such land, or easements, interests or rights therein, for purposes set forth in this section, or both, in accordance with a plan of development adopted by the municipal planning commission of the municipality within which the land is located. Any application for a grant-in-aid relating to land located beyond the territorial limits of the applying municipality shall be subject to approval of the legislative body of the municipality within whose territorial limits the land is located. A municipality applying for aid under this section, may designate its conservation commission as its agent to make such application.
(e) At closing, a permanent conservation easement, as defined in section 47-42, shall be executed for any property purchased with grant funds, which conservation easement shall provide that the property shall remain forever predominantly in its natural and open condition for the specific conservation, open space or water supply purposes for which it was acquired provided any improvements or changes to the property shall be supportive of such condition or purposes. The permanent conservation easement shall be in favor of the state acting through the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection, or his designee, which may be a municipality or a land conservation organization. In the case of land acquired for water supply protection, a water company may hold an easement in conjunction with the state or a nonprofit entity to protect the water supply. Such permanent conservation easement shall also include a requirement that the property be made available to the general public for appropriate recreational purposes, the maintenance of which recreational access shall be the responsibility of the grantee provided such access shall not be required for land which will be classified as class I or class II land by a water company if such access is inconsistent with the provision of pure drinking water to the public. An exception to the provision of public recreational access may be made at the discretion of the Commissioner of Energy and Environmental Protection when provision for public access would be unreasonably detrimental to the wildlife or plant habitat or other natural features of the property or, for land where development rights have been purchased, would be disruptive of agricultural activity occurring on the land. Any instrument conveying an interest in land less than fee which interest is purchased under this section shall provide for the permanent preservation of the land and public access consistent with the land's use or protection and with any restrictions prescribed by the Department of Public Health in order to protect a public drinking water source.
Citation: C.G.S.A. § 7-131d.