S T A T E O F N E W Y O R K
I N A S S E M B L Y
May 18, 2020
Introduced by COMMITTEE ON RULES -- (at request of M. of A. Thiele) --
read once and referred to the Committee on Environmental Conservation
AN ACT to amend the environmental conservation law, in relation to
permitting seaweed cultivation in underwater lands at Gardiner's and
THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM-
BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS:
Section 1. Section 13-0302 of the environmental conservation law, as
added by chapter 425 of the laws of 2004, subdivision 10 as added by
chapter 322 of the laws of 2016, is amended to read as follows:
§ 13-0302. Lands underwater of Gardiner's and Peconic bays.
1. Underwater lands ceded to county of Suffolk. All the right, title
and interest in which the people of the state of New York have in and to
the lands under water of Gardiner's and Peconic bays in the county of
Suffolk, except underwater lands within one thousand feet of the high
water mark is hereby ceded to such county, for the purposes of shellfish
OR SEAWEED cultivation, to be managed and controlled by such county,
provided that such lands shall revert to the state when they shall cease
to be used for shellfish AND SEAWEED cultivation. For the purposes of
this section, the term "Gardiner's and Peconic bays" shall mean the
waters of Gardiner's and Peconic bays and the tributaries thereof
between the westerly shore of Great Peconic bay and an easterly line
running from the most easterly point of Plum island to Goff point at the
entrance of Napeague harbor.
2. Ratification. The grant of lands under the waters of Gardiner's and
Peconic bays, by the commissioners of shell fisheries, in accordance
with the provisions of chapter 385 of the laws of 1884, as amended,
subsequently held and used by the grantees, heirs, successors, and
assigns on which all taxes and assessments have been paid, are hereby
ratified and confirmed. Any underwater lands in Gardiner's and Peconic
Bays previously granted that revert or escheat to the state or are
subject to tax deed by the county of Suffolk shall be available to the
county for leasing pursuant to this section. All other lands under such
waters, which pursuant to such chapters, have escheated or reverted to
EXPLANATION--Matter in ITALICS (underscored) is new; matter in brackets
[ ] is old law to be omitted.
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the state, are hereby ceded to Suffolk county for the purposes of the
cultivation of shellfish, subject to existing valid grants and ease-
ments; provided however, that nothing in this section shall interfere
with the right of the commissioner of general services to grant lands
and easements under water to owners of adjacent uplands, pursuant to the
provisions of the public lands law, or of the legislature to make such
grants without regard to upland ownership, and to grant franchises to
utilities, municipalities and governmental, educational, or scientific
bodies for cables, outfalls, ecological studies, and experimentation
with controlled marine life.
3. Leases FOR SHELLFISH CULTIVATION. Suffolk county may lease lands
under water ceded to it by the state for the purpose of shellfish culti-
vation. Provided if no such leases have been executed by December thir-
ty-first, two thousand ten, such authority to lease pursuant to this
section shall terminate.
a. Leases may be issued only within areas designated as shellfish
cultivation zones on a map or maps to be prepared and approved by the
county of Suffolk.
b. No lease shall be granted except upon written application on forms
furnished by the county of Suffolk, and properly executed and signed by
c. Before a lease is approved, notice shall be provided for at least
two months by posting such notice at the bureau of marine resources in
the department, the office of the county clerk, and the office of the
town clerk in which all or any part of the lands to be leased are
located. Such notice shall also be published in the official newspaper
of the county. The notice shall include the name of the lessee, the
boundaries of the lease, and the area of the lease. A copy of the
proposed lease shall be available for public inspection and copying in
the office of the county clerk.
4. Establishment of shellfish cultivation zones. Before leasing or
using the lands hereby ceded to it, the county of Suffolk shall cause an
accurate survey to be made of such lands, and a map or maps to be
prepared therefrom. Such map or maps shall establish shellfish culti-
vation zones within Gardiner's and Peconic bays. Such map or maps shall
be approved by local law. After such map or maps have been adopted, the
county shall have the authority to issue leases for shellfish culti-
vation within the shellfish cultivation zones, as provided herein. Such
map or maps shall be updated by the county of Suffolk every five years.
a. Underwater lands within one thousand feet of the high water mark
shall not be included in a shellfish cultivation zone.
b. Underwater lands where bay scallops are produced regularly and
harvested on a commercial basis shall not be included in a shellfish
c. Underwater lands where there is an indicated presence of shellfish
in sufficient quantity and quality and so located as to support signif-
icant hand raking and/or tonging harvesting shall not be included in a
shellfish cultivation zone.
d. Underwater lands where the leasing will result in a significant
reduction of established commercial finfish or crustacean fisheries
shall not be included in a shellfish cultivation zone.
5. Regulations FOR SHELLFISH CULTIVATION. The county shall, by local
law, before leasing any such underwater lands, adopt regulations govern-
a. applications for leases;
b. notices to be given;
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c. the form and terms of leases;
d. standards for the approval or denial of leases;
e. administration of leases;
f. the transfer or renewal of leases;
g. marking grounds and testing;
i. recording of leases;
j. bonds; and
k. such other matters as are appropriate to the leasing program.
6. Department authority OVER SHELLFISH CULTIVATION. Notwithstanding
any of the provisions of this section:
a. any person engaging in the cultivation or harvesting of shellfish
in a shellfish cultivation zone pursuant to this section shall obtain a
permit in accordance with section 13-0316 of this title; and
b. the department shall regulate and control the use of certain types
of vessels and equipment for harvesting shellfish, requirements for
reseeding, the right to enter upon such leased lands for reseeding or
making shellfish population surveys, and enforce all other applicable
state laws relating to said underwater lands.
7. LEASES FOR SEAWEED CULTIVATION.
A. SUFFOLK COUNTY MAY LEASE LANDS UNDER WATER CEDED TO IT BY THE STATE
FOR THE PURPOSE OF SEAWEED CULTIVATION AFTER APPROVAL BY THE COUNTY
LEGISLATURE OF A SEAWEED CULTIVATION VIABILITY STUDY. PROVIDED IF NO
SUCH LEASES HAVE BEEN EXECUTED BY DECEMBER THIRTY-FIRST, TWO THOUSAND
TWENTY-TWO, SUCH AUTHORITY TO LEASE PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION SHALL
TERMINATE. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, "SEAWEED" MEANS ANY SPECIES
OF MARINE MACROALGAE APPROVED BY THE COMMISSIONER FOR CULTIVATION IN THE
WATERS OF GARDINER'S AND PECONIC BAYS.
B. LEASES MAY BE ISSUED ONLY WITHIN AREAS DESIGNATED AS SEAWEED CULTI-
VATION ZONES ON A MAP OR MAPS TO BE PREPARED AND APPROVED BY THE COUNTY
C. NO LEASE SHALL BE GRANTED EXCEPT UPON WRITTEN APPLICATION ON FORMS
FURNISHED BY THE COUNTY OF SUFFOLK, AND PROPERLY EXECUTED AND SIGNED BY
D. BEFORE A LEASE IS APPROVED, NOTICE SHALL BE PROVIDED FOR AT LEAST
TWO MONTHS BY POSTING SUCH NOTICE AT THE BUREAU OF MARINE RESOURCES IN
THE DEPARTMENT, THE OFFICE OF THE COUNTY CLERK, AND THE OFFICE OF THE
TOWN CLERK IN WHICH ALL OR ANY PART OF THE LANDS TO BE LEASED ARE
LOCATED. SUCH NOTICE SHALL ALSO BE PUBLISHED IN THE OFFICIAL NEWSPAPER
OF THE COUNTY. THE NOTICE SHALL INCLUDE THE NAME OF THE LESSEE, THE
BOUNDARIES OF THE LEASE, AND THE AREA OF THE LEASE. A COPY OF THE
PROPOSED LEASE SHALL BE AVAILABLE FOR PUBLIC INSPECTION AND COPYING IN
THE OFFICE OF THE COUNTY CLERK.
E. BEFORE LEASING OR USING THE LANDS HEREBY CEDED TO IT FOR SEAWEED
CULTIVATION, THE COUNTY OF SUFFOLK SHALL CAUSE AN ACCURATE SURVEY TO BE
MADE OF SUCH LANDS, AND A MAP OR MAPS TO BE PREPARED THEREFROM. SUCH MAP
OR MAPS SHALL ESTABLISH SEAWEED CULTIVATION ZONES WITHIN GARDINER'S AND
PECONIC BAYS. SUCH MAP OR MAPS SHALL BE APPROVED BY LOCAL LAW. AFTER
SUCH MAP OR MAPS HAVE BEEN ADOPTED, THE COUNTY SHALL HAVE THE AUTHORITY
TO ISSUE LEASES FOR SEAWEED CULTIVATION WITHIN THE SEAWEED CULTIVATION
ZONES, AS PROVIDED HEREIN. SUCH MAP OR MAPS SHALL BE UPDATED BY THE
COUNTY OF SUFFOLK EVERY FIVE YEARS.
F. UNDERWATER LANDS WITHIN ONE THOUSAND FEET OF THE HIGH WATER MARK
SHALL NOT BE INCLUDED IN A SEAWEED CULTIVATION ZONE.
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G. UNDERWATER LANDS WHERE BAY SCALLOPS ARE PRODUCED REGULARLY AND
HARVESTED ON A COMMERCIAL BASIS SHALL NOT BE INCLUDED IN A SEAWEED
H. UNDERWATER LANDS WHERE THERE IS AN INDICATED PRESENCE OF SHELLFISH
IN SUFFICIENT QUANTITY AND QUALITY AND SO LOCATED AS TO SUPPORT SIGNIF-
ICANT HAND RAKING AND/OR TONGING HARVESTING SHALL NOT BE INCLUDED IN A
SEAWEED CULTIVATION ZONE.
I. UNDERWATER LANDS WHERE THE LEASING WILL RESULT IN A SIGNIFICANT
REDUCTION OF ESTABLISHED COMMERCIAL FINFISH OR CRUSTACEAN FISHERIES
SHALL NOT BE INCLUDED IN A SEAWEED CULTIVATION ZONE.
J. THE COUNTY SHALL, BY LOCAL LAW, BEFORE LEASING ANY SUCH UNDERWATER
LANDS, ADOPT REGULATIONS GOVERNING:
(1) APPLICATIONS FOR LEASES;
(2) NOTICES TO BE GIVEN;
(3) THE FORM AND TERMS OF LEASES;
(4) STANDARDS FOR THE APPROVAL OR DENIAL OF LEASES;
(5) ADMINISTRATION OF LEASES;
(6) THE TRANSFER OR RENEWAL OF LEASES;
(7) MARKING GROUNDS AND TESTING;
(9) RECORDING OF LEASES;
(10) BONDS; AND
(11) SUCH OTHER MATTERS AS ARE APPROPRIATE TO THE LEASING PROGRAM.
K. NOTWITHSTANDING ANY OF THE PROVISIONS OF THIS SECTION:
(1) ANY PERSON ENGAGING IN THE CULTIVATION OR HARVESTING OF SEAWEED IN
A SEAWEED CULTIVATION ZONE PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION SHALL OBTAIN ALL
PERMITS REQUIRED BY THIS CHAPTER;
(2) THE DEPARTMENT SHALL REGULATE AND CONTROL THE USE OF CERTAIN TYPES
OF VESSELS AND EQUIPMENT FOR HARVESTING SEAWEED, REQUIREMENTS FOR
RESEEDING, THE RIGHT TO ENTER UPON SUCH LEASED LANDS, AND ENFORCE ALL
OTHER APPLICABLE STATE LAWS RELATING TO SAID UNDERWATER LANDS; AND
(3) ANY PERSON ENGAGING IN THE CULTIVATION OR HARVESTING OF SEAWEED IN
A SEAWEED CULTIVATION ZONE PURSUANT TO THIS SECTION SHALL RECEIVE
SPECIES APPROVAL FROM THE COMMISSIONER.
8. Duties of the county clerk. Leases issued pursuant to this section
shall be recorded in the office of the county clerk in the manner and
form to be determined by local law as provided in subdivision five of
[8.] 9. Summary proceedings. Upon the failure of a lessee to pay the
rental on any date due under the terms of the lease or upon revocation
as provided for by local law pursuant to subdivision five OR SEVEN of
this section, the county may, after written notice to the lessee declare
the lease cancelled as of the date set forth in such notice, and may
immediately thereafter evict the lessee from such lands. The provisions
of article seven of the real property actions and proceedings law shall
apply and govern the procedure in such case.
[9.] 10. Disposition of fees and rents. All fees and rents received
shall be deposited into the general fund of the county. However, in the
alternative, nothing shall prohibit the county of Suffolk, by local law,
from establishing a special fund for the promotion of aquaculture where
such fees and rents shall be deposited.
[10. Suffolk county shall be authorized to allow the underwater lands
at Gardiner's and Peconic Bays within the shellfish cultivation zone to
be used for the implementation of a pilot program to conduct research
and scientific assessment of the feasibility of seaweed cultivation.
Such pilot program shall be limited to persons holding a lease from
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Suffolk county for shellfish cultivation and shall be limited to a total
of five acres of such cultivation zone provided that any one person may
be authorized to conduct seaweed cultivation on no more than one acre of
the lease. Suffolk county shall provide a report to the legislature and
the department on the pilot program no later than January first, two
§ 2. If any clause, sentence, paragraph, section or part of this act
shall be adjudged by any court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid,
such judgment shall not affect, impair or invalidate the remainder ther-
eof, but shall be confined in its operation to the clause, sentence,
paragraph, section or part thereof directly involved in the controversy
in which such judgment shall have been rendered.
§ 3. This act shall take effect immediately.