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This entry was published on 2016-09-16
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SECTION 13-0302
Lands underwater of Gardiner's and Peconic bays
Environmental Conservation (ENV) CHAPTER 43-B, ARTICLE 13, TITLE 3
§ 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
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 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
the state, are hereby ceded to Suffolk county for the purposes of the
cultivation of shellfish, subject to existing valid grants and
easements; 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. Suffolk county may lease lands under water ceded to it by
the state for the purpose of shellfish cultivation. Provided if no such
leases have been executed by December thirty-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
the applicant.

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
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
shellfish cultivation 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
cultivation zone.

c. Underwater lands where there is an indicated presence of shellfish
in sufficient quantity and quality and so located as to support
significant 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. The county shall, by local law, before leasing any
such underwater lands, adopt regulations governing:

a. applications for leases;

b. notices to be given;

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;

h. fees;

i. recording of leases;

j. bonds; and

k. such other matters as are appropriate to the leasing program.

6. Department authority. 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. 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
this section.

8. 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 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. 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
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
thousand twenty-six.

* NB Repealed July 1, 2026