The Vermont Statutes Online
NOTE: The Vermont Statutes Online is an unofficial copy of the Vermont Statutes Annotated that is provided as a convenience.
NOTE: The online version of the Vermont Statutes does NOT yet include the actions of the 2023 legislative session. The 2023 updates should be available by the end of October.
§ 6551. Definitions
As used in this chapter:
(1) “Fragile area” means an area of land or water that has unusual or significant flora, fauna, geological, or similar features of scientific, ecological, or educational interest.
(2) “Register” means the fragile areas register that lists those fragile areas designated by the Secretary.
(3) “Secretary” means the Secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources.
(4) “Adjacent” means those lands and waters directly abutting a site on the register, including lands and waters separated from the site by highways or bodies of water where such separated lands and waters are an integral part of the site’s ecosystem.
(5) “Registry” means the act of voluntary agreement between the owner of a fragile area and the Secretary for designation of the fragile area and its placement on the register of fragile areas.
(6) “Register of fragile areas” means the listing of fragile areas that are being managed by the owner of the fragile area according to guidelines adopted by the Secretary. (Added 1977, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1987, No. 76, § 18; 1989, No. 207 (Adj. Sess.), § 1.)
§ 6552. Fragile areas
(a) The Secretary shall consider for designation on a register of fragile areas only a site that:
(1) is a significant statewide scientific, ecological, or educational value; or
(2) is exemplary for the purposes of education or research in the natural sciences; or
(3) has rare, remnant, or other unusual plants or animals or contains endangered species as determined by the Secretary under chapter 123 of this title; or
(4) contains a necessary habitat as that term is defined in section 5401 of this title.
(b) To assist in the designation, the Secretary shall seek the advice of a fragile areas committee comprising five members, one from each of the following disciplines: zoology, botany, plant community ecology, geology, and wildlife.
(c) Prior to designating a fragile area on the register, the Secretary shall:
(1) document the technical and scientific basis for the designation;
(2) contact each owner of the fragile area to inform the owner of the significance of the fragile area and to achieve voluntary agreement from the owner to protect and manage the fragile area according to stewardship guidelines adopted by the Secretary;
(3) provide information and assistance to each owner of the fragile area concerning the identification, protection, and management of the fragile area. (Added 1977, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1989, No. 207 (Adj. Sess.), § 2.)
§ 6553. Powers of the Secretary
(a) The Secretary shall:
(1) establish and maintain a register of fragile areas, including status, current ownership, and size of each area; and
(2) adopt stewardship guidelines for maintenance and protection of registered fragile areas on private and State-owned lands.
(b) Actions by the Secretary shall be made pursuant to 3 V.S.A. chapter 25. (Added 1977, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1989, No. 207 (Adj. Sess.), § 3.)
§ 6554. Impact statement
A State agency, municipality, or organization, before making a capital improvement, which is funded in whole or in part by federal or State money, within or adjacent to a fragile area on public land shall, in compliance with rules adopted pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 3334, attach to the notice of intent for the State clearinghouse a statement of the impact of the proposed action on the fragile area. (Added 1977, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1989, No. 207 (Adj. Sess.), § 4; 2015, No. 97 (Adj. Sess.), § 31.)
§ 6555. Cooperation of agencies
State agencies shall:
(1) notify the Secretary before altering or transferring any publicly owned property that is listed in the register; and
(2) provide for the maintenance or protection of State-owned properties listed in the register. (Added 1977, No. 129 (Adj. Sess.), § 1; amended 1989, No. 207 (Adj. Sess.), § 6.)
§ 6556. Terms of fragile areas registry
(a) If the owner agrees to register a tract of land, and the Secretary so designates the tract a fragile area, the owner shall receive a certificate and stewardship guidelines to protect and manage the area.
(b) The agreement may be terminated by either party by written notice to the other. The owner, upon termination, shall surrender the certificate.
(c) The agreement shall be terminated when the owner of a registered fragile area sells, conveys, or otherwise transfers ownership or interest in the land containing the fragile area to another party, unless the new owner requests to remain on the register.
(d) The name, location, and other information relating to the fragile area will be kept confidential if the owner so desires. (Added 1989, No. 207 (Adj. Sess.), § 5.)