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SECTION 235-A
New York state biodiversity research institute
Education (EDN) CHAPTER 16, TITLE 1, ARTICLE 5, PART 1
§ 235-a. New York state biodiversity research institute. 1. The New
York state biodiversity research institute is hereby created within the
New York state museum within the education department. The purposes of
the institute shall include:

(a) advising the governor, governmental agencies, the regents, and the
legislature on matters relating to biodiversity in New York state;

(b) fostering, pursuing and sponsoring collaborative biological and
ecological research;

(c) increasing understanding of biodiversity research and conservation
needs in New York by establishing and reporting on what is known and
what is not known about the biological diversity of the state;

(d) identifying priority needs for biodiversity research and inventory
work within New York that currently are not receiving adequate
attention, and identifying public or private entities that are best
situated to address such needs, thereby leading to better coordination
of biodiversity research efforts in the state;

(e) promoting awareness of existing and new sources of biodiversity
information and biodiversity expertise among planners, policy makers,
and resource managers;

(f) educating elected officials, governmental agencies, and the
general public on biodiversity issues through such means as it may
determine;

(g) organizing and sponsoring meetings on biodiversity topics;

(h) encouraging the establishment of networks of collaborating
scientists engaged in related aspects of biodiversity research;

(i) raising sensitivity to biodiversity concerns among state and local
government agencies, and serving as a forum for enhanced interagency
information sharing and cooperation;

(j) recommending priority activities for funding through the state
land biodiversity stewardship account, created pursuant to section
ninety-seven-oo of the state finance law;

(k) assisting the commissioners of environmental conservation and
parks, recreation and historic preservation in conducting reviews,
pursuant to section 3-0302 of the environmental conservation law and
subdivision eighteen of section 3.09 of the parks, recreation and
historic preservation law, of lands currently in state ownership, to
identify lands and waters that harbor plants, animals, and ecological
communities that are rare in New York state;

(l) assisting the commissioner of parks, recreation and historic
preservation in identifying ecologically significant sites within state
parks and historic sites that are candidates for park preserve or park
preservation area designation pursuant to article twenty of the parks,
recreation and historic preservation law; and

(m) assisting the commissioner of environmental conservation in
identifying lands of ecological significance, currently in state
ownership, to recommend to the governor and the legislature for
dedication to the state nature and historical preserve trust pursuant to
article forty-five of the environmental conservation law.

2. Definitions. When used in this section, the following terms shall
mean:

(a) "Biodiversity" or "biological diversity" means the total variety
of living organisms found in the state, and the natural processes that
support them; and

(b) "Institute" shall mean the New York state biodiversity research
institute created pursuant to subdivision one of this section.

3. Research programs. The institute shall foster, pursue and sponsor
original systematic and ecological research, field studies, and
inventories of biological collections that are designed to:

(a) increase the information base pertaining to plant, animal,
biological community, and ecosystem occurrences in the state, including
descriptions, collections and catalogs of fauna and flora, plant and
animal life-cycle requirements and characteristics, the dynamics of
ecological processes, and the status of rare plants, animals, and
biological communities;

(b) detect, document, and interpret patterns and changes in the flora
and fauna of the state, including expansions, losses, and introductions
of species;

(c) explore and foster the gathering of data in poorly known or
vulnerable areas of the state; and

(d) investigate techniques designed to conserve, protect, and manage
biodiversity.

4. Education and information transfer programs. The institute shall
foster the collection, transfer, and application of biodiversity
information in the state by:

(a) fostering access, compatibility, interchange, and synthesis of
data among biological information systems maintained by public entities,
academic and research institutions, and private organizations;

(b) employing advanced technology to coordinate for ease of use the
scattered biological collection resources of the state;

(c) promoting adherence to accepted standards for biodiversity
research, including quality control for the collection of voucher
specimens and data, and protocols for responsible collection policies;
and

(d) supporting the preparation and publication of interpretative works
that draw upon biological collection resources.

5. Biennial reports. The institute shall prepare and submit a report
on or before January first, nineteen hundred ninety-five and every two
years thereafter to the governor, the regents, and the legislature
describing programs undertaken or sponsored by the institute, the status
of knowledge regarding the state's biodiversity, and research needs
related thereto.

6. Executive committee. The institute shall be guided by an executive
committee. Members of the committee shall be from varying backgrounds
with members selected from the stewardship community, from the
scientific community, as well as from government service. Such committee
shall consist of seventeen members including the commissioner, the
commissioner of environmental conservation, the commissioner of parks,
recreation and historic preservation, the chancellor of the state
university of New York or their designees, seven at large members
appointed by the governor, one of whom shall be chairperson, two members
appointed by the temporary president of the senate, one member appointed
by the minority leader of the senate, two members appointed by the
speaker of the assembly and one member appointed by the minority leader
of the assembly. Appointed members shall serve for a term of three
years, provided that such members may be reappointed. The executive
committee shall:

(a) adopt policies, procedures, and criteria governing the programs
and operations of the institute;

(b) recommend to the governor and legislature appropriate actions to
identify, manage and conserve exemplary occurrences of common ecological
communities on state-owned lands. An "exemplary occurrence of a common
ecological community" shall mean a representative, high quality example
of a given ecological community type, characterized by a distinctive
assemblage of interacting plant and animal populations;

(c) develop and implement the research, education and information
transfer programs of the institute;

(d) identify and rate proposals for biodiversity research;

(e) identify and rate proposals for biodiversity stewardship;

(f) submit to the director of the budget, and the chairpersons of the
senate finance committee and the assembly ways and means committee on
the first day of October nineteen hundred ninety-three and on or before
August first in each year thereafter, a budget request for the
expenditure of funds available from the biodiversity stewardship and
research fund, for the purposes established by section ninety-seven-oo
of the state finance law;

(g) meet publicly at least twice a year. The committee shall widely
disseminate notice of its meetings at least two weeks prior to each
meeting. The commissioners of environmental conservation, education and
parks, recreation and historic preservation and the chancellor of the
state university shall aid in such dissemination.

7. Scientific working group. The executive committee shall appoint a
scientific working group composed of not more than fifteen individuals
representing governmental agencies (including a biologist from the
department of environmental conservation), academic or research
institutions, educational organizations, the forest products industry
and non-profit conservation organizations. Members of the scientific
working group shall have knowledge and expertise in biodiversity
conservation and research and shall serve for a term of three years,
provided, however that members may be reappointed for more than one term
at the discretion of the executive committee. The scientific working
group shall make recommendations to the executive committee with respect
to:

(a) the identification of priority biodiversity research needs in the
state;

(b) the development and implementation of the institute's research,
education, and information transfer programs;

(c) the allocation and expenditure of funds from the biodiversity
stewardship and research fund created pursuant to section
ninety-seven-oo of the state finance law;

(d) identification and rating of proposals for biodiversity research;
and

(e) identification and rating of proposals for biodiversity
stewardship.

8. Institute director. The institute shall have a director who shall
be appointed by the executive committee and shall after appointment be
an employee of the state museum and science service. The institute
director shall serve at the pleasure of the executive committee. The
institute director shall serve as chief administrative officer of the
institute and provide the necessary support for the executive committee.

9. Compensation. The members of the executive committee and the
scientific working group shall serve without additional compensation,
but shall be eligible to receive reimbursement for their actual and
necessary expenses from the biodiversity stewardship and research fund
established by section ninety-seven-oo of the state finance law,
provided however, members of the executive committee representing state
agencies may receive reimbursement for their actual and necessary
expenses from their respective agencies. Members of the executive
committee and scientific working group shall be considered state
employees for the purposes of sections seventeen and nineteen of the
public officers law.

10. Memorandum of understanding. The education department, the
department of environmental conservation, and the office of parks,
recreation and historic preservation shall enter into a written
memorandum of understanding to facilitate the appropriate implementation
of the biodiversity research institute and the goals, responsibilities,
and programs established by this section.