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.
§ 1454. Transport of aquatic plants and aquatic nuisance species
(a) Transport of aquatic nuisance species; prohibition. A person shall not transport an aquatic plant, aquatic plant part, or aquatic nuisance species to or from any Vermont water. This section shall not restrict:
(1) proper harvesting or other control activities undertaken for the purpose of eliminating or controlling the growth or propagation of aquatic nuisance species; or
(2) proper collection of water samples for the purpose of water quality monitoring.
(b) Inspection of vessel entering or leaving water. A person transporting a vessel to or from a water shall, prior to launching the vessel and upon leaving a water, inspect the vessel, the motor vehicle transporting the vessel, the trailer, and other equipment, and shall remove and properly dispose of any aquatic plants, aquatic plant parts, and aquatic nuisance species.
(c) No-cost boat wash; aquatic nuisance species inspection station. It shall be a violation of this section for a person transporting a vessel to or from a water to not have the vessel, the motor vehicle transporting the vessel, the trailer, and other equipment inspected and decontaminated at an approved aquatic nuisance species inspection station prior to launching the vessel and upon leaving a water if:
(1) an aquatic nuisance species inspection station is maintained at the area where the vessel is entering or leaving the water;
(2) the aquatic nuisance species inspection station is open; and
(3) an individual operating the aquatic nuisance species inspection station identifies the vessel for inspection or decontamination.
(d) Draining of vessel; transport.
(1)(A) When leaving a water of the State and prior to transport away from the area where the vessel left the water, a person operating a vessel shall drain the vessel, trailer, and other equipment of water, including water in live wells, ballast tanks, and bilge areas. A person is not required to drain:
(i) baitboxes when authorized under 10 App. V.S.A. § 122(5) to transport bait in a baitbox away from a water; or
(ii) vehicles and trailers specifically designed and used for water hauling.
(B) A person operating a vessel shall drain the vessel, trailer, and other equipment of water in a manner to avoid a discharge to the water of the State. This subdivision (d)(1) does not authorize a person to discharge waste, as defined in section 1251 of this title, to waters of the State. A person shall dispose of waste in the manner required by law.
(2) When a person transports a vessel, the person shall remove or open the drain plugs, bailers, valves, and other devices that are used to control the draining of water from ballast tanks, bilge areas, and live wells of the vessel, trailer, and other equipment, except for vehicles and trailers specifically designed and used for water hauling and emergency response vehicles and equipment.
(e) Presumption of compliance; aquatic nuisance species inspection station. A person transporting a vessel to or from a water will be presumed to have not violated subsections (a), (b), and (d) of this section if, upon launching a vessel and upon leaving a water, the vessel is decontaminated at an approved aquatic nuisance inspection station. If staff of an approved aquatic nuisance inspection station observe a violation of subsection (a), (b), or (d) of this section, staff shall notify the person transporting the vessel.
(f) Exceptions to transport prohibition. The Secretary may allow the transport of aquatic plants, aquatic plant parts, or aquatic nuisance species for scientific purposes, educational purposes, or other purposes specifically authorized by the Secretary. When allowing the transport of aquatic plants, aquatic plant parts, or aquatic nuisance species under this subsection, the Secretary shall take into consideration both the value of the scientific or educational purpose and the risk to Vermont surface waters posed by the transport and ultimate use of the specimens. A letter from the Secretary authorizing the transport must accompany the specimens during transport.
(g) Signage; access areas and marinas. Signage shall be posted at all public access and landing areas regulated under section 4145 of this title and at all marinas regarding the requirements of subsections (a)-(d) of this section relating to aquatic nuisance transport and inspection and decontamination of vessels, motor vehicles transporting vessels, trailers, or other equipment. The Secretary shall provide marinas with the signs required under this section.
(h) Violations. Pursuant to 4 V.S.A. § 1102, a violation of this section may be brought in the Judicial Bureau by any law enforcement officer, as that term is defined in 23 V.S.A. § 3302(2), or, pursuant to section 8007 or 8008 of this title, a violation of this section may be brought in the Environmental Division of the Superior Court. If a violation of this section is adjudicated in the Judicial Bureau or the Environmental Division, the violation shall not be addressed or adjudicated a second time in the other court. (Added 2009, No. 46, § 1, eff. July 1, 2010; amended 2013, No. 172 (Adj. Sess.), § 8; 2015, No. 61, § 10, eff. June 17, 2015; 2017, No. 67, § 2, eff. June 8, 2017.)