ASSEMBLY, No. 2608
STATE OF NEW JERSEY
INTRODUCED DECEMBER 16, 1996
By Assemblywoman ALLEN and Assemblyman DeSOPO
An Act concerning certain stream cleaning activities and amending P.L.1993, c.376.
Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. Section 1 of P.L.1993, c.376 (C.58:16A-67) is amended to read as follows:
1. a. The provisions of any other law, or any rule or regulation adopted pursuant thereto, to the contrary notwithstanding, a county or municipality, or designated agency thereof, before undertaking any project to clean, clear, or desnag a stream within its jurisdiction, shall submit to the Department of Environmental Protection or to any State agency requiring a stream cleaning permit or an application for the proposed stream cleaning, clearing or desnagging project, a written notice of intent to undertake a project to clean, clear, or desnag a stream and a certification attested to by the county or municipal engineer or the local soil conservation district, provided that the certification is made by a licensed professional engineer. The engineer shall certify that:
(1) the project is being undertaken solely for the purpose of stream cleaning, clearing, or desnagging;
(2) the removal of any material will not extend below the natural stream bed;
(3) the activities will not alter the natural streambanks;
(4) the activities will consist of the removal only of accumulated debris and garbage from a stream with a natural stream bed or the removal of any accumulated material from a stream previously channelized with concrete or similar artificial material;
(5) every effort will be made to perform work from only one streambank and that vegetation and canopy on the more southerly or westerly banks will be preserved for stream shading; and
(6) the activities are necessary and in the public interest.
The notice shall also include a description of the nature of the project, a description, including a photograph, of the reach of the stream in which the activity is to take place, and an identification of the regulatory water quality classification of the stream in which the activity is to take place. The reach of the stream may be provided by the submission of a photostatic copy of the United States Geological Survey topographic quadrangle.
b. Upon receipt of a notice and certification submitted pursuant to this section, the department, or any other State agency requiring a stream cleaning permit or an application for the proposed stream cleaning, clearing or desnagging project, as the case may be, shall have 30 days to notify the county or municipality, or designated agency thereof, if particular circumstances mandate that the stream cleaning not be done in this particular case. If the department, or any other State agency requiring a stream cleaning permit or an application for the proposed stream cleaning, clearing or desnagging project, as the case may be, makes such a determination, it shall provide the county or municipality, or designated agency thereof, with the technical reasons therefor.
c. Notwithstanding the provisions of this section or any other law, rule, or regulation to the contrary, a county or municipality, or designated agency thereof, shall not be required to obtain a permit from or the approval of the Department of Environmental Protection or any other State agency prior to conducting a stream cleaning, clearing or desnagging project for any nontrout stream or intermittent stream. A county, municipality, or designated entity thereof may clean, clear or desnag a stream pursuant to this subsection only if the notice and certification requirements set forth in subsection a. of this section are met.
As used in this subsection,
"Intermittent stream" means a stream with a minimum average seven consecutive day flow with a statistical recurrence interval of 10 years, of less than one-tenth (0.1) cubic foot per second; and
"Nontrout waters" means fresh waters not designated by the Department of Environmental Protection as trout production or trout maintenance.
d. Any person or governmental entity violating the provisions of this [act] section shall be subject to penalties imposed for violations of the "Flood Hazard Area Control Act," P.L.1962, c.19 (C.58:16A-50 et seq.).
(cf: P.L.1993, c.376, s.1)
2. This act shall take effect immediately.
This bill would eliminate the need for counties and municipalities, and their agencies, to get a permit or approval from the Department of Environmental Protection or any other State agency in order to engage in a stream cleaning, clearing or desnagging project upon certain streams. The intent of this provision is to allow local governments to engage in minor stream cleaning activities without the need to wait long periods of time for State approvals.
Local governments would only be exempted from the need to obtain a permit or approval for those activities on nontrout waters and intermittent, or small, streams. The bill provides that only certain minor cleaning activities may be undertaken under this exemption. The local government would also be required to submit a notice and an engineering certification to the relevant State agencies prior to the commencement of the project. The limitations, notices, and certifications will prevent any actions being undertaken that may cause environmental harm to the stream or the surrounding area.
Eliminates the need to obtain State permit or approval for certain stream cleaning activities.