DNR seeks public comment on 12 legislative rules

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SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The West Virginia Division of Natural Resources is seeking public comments on 12 proposed legislative rules.

The proposed rules have been filed with the Secretary of State’s office and will be open for review and written comment until July 10, 2019, at 5 p.m. They will be advertised in the State Register and are available for review at the DNR South Charleston and Elkins offices. Written comments are accepted at DNRComments@wv.gov or may be mailed to West Virginia Division of Natural Resources, Attn: Wendy Greene, 324 4th Avenue, Room 343, South Charleston, WV 25303.

The first proposed rule concerns commercial whitewater outfitters. The Whitewater Commission approved the addition of a section of the Gauley River and a section of the New River near Gauley Bridge be added to the permitted rental sections on whitewater, Section 14 of the rule.

The second proposed rule concerns transporting and selling wildlife pelts and parts. Revisions to the rule follow passage of HB2521 during the 2018 Legislative Session expanding the permitted parameters of fur-bearer parts that may be sold, traded or bartered. Technical cleanup changes have also been included.

The third proposed rule concerns boating. Revisions to this rule follow passage of HB2716 during the 2018 Legislative Session relating to vessel lighting, equipment requirements, and pilot and navigation rules. These changes ensure state boating rules follow established regulations of the United States Coast Guard and provide for state regulation where the absence of federal regulations exist.

The fourth proposed rule is a special boating rule. Revisions to this rule include the addition and removal of government-owned lakes and ponds (added Cameron, Coonskin, Deegan, Dents Run, Fairfax Pond, Hinkle, Millers Fork, Newburg Lake, Pendleton, Pettigrew and Upper Deckers) and (removed Burches Run, Jonathan Larck and Lumberport). A penalty provision was also added in order to clarify W.Va. Code location of already existing penalties.

The fifth proposed rule removes special requirements concerning boating. This rule is no longer necessary and is being repealed.

The sixth proposed rule revises the governing of public use of campgrounds. Revisions to this rule are necessary in order to implement the new online campground reservation system and includes changes related to authorized occupancy of campsites in state park campgrounds. Updates include the removal of no-longer-existing state wildlife management areas under the Parks & Recreation section and adding regulations for campsites located within State Rail Trails.

The seventh proposed rule involves special projects and grants for West Virginia State Parks, State Forests, and State Rail Trails under the Division of Natural Resources. Changes to this rule include the removal of no-longer-existing state wildlife management areas under the Parks & Recreation Section, adding State Rail Trails and an increase in matching grant funds to $25,000.

The eighth proposed rule defines the terms used in all hunting and trapping. Due to the passage of HB 2715 during the 2018 legislative session relating to Class Q permits, the definition of “individual permanently disabled in the lower extremities” is no longer necessary. An additional change is the addition of the definition of crossbow.

The ninth proposed rule relates to prohibitions when hunting and trapping. Changes to this rule include a clarification relating to allowable State Park controlled deer hunts under W.Va. Code §20-2-5 and a prohibition of baiting or feeding wildlife on public lands at any time. At the present time, baiting and feeding of wildlife is prohibited only between Sept. 1 and Dec. 31 and during the spring gobbler seasons. A penalty provision was also added in order to clarify W.Va. Code location of already existing penalties.

The 10th proposed rule relates to fishing. Changes to this rule include a change to definition of daylight to be consistent with other agency hunting and trapping rules, prohibiting fish taken by bowfishing from being left in the water or on the bank (making it consistent with existing spearfishing regulations), prohibiting jug fishing, updating permissible throw net size, clarifying an adult must accompany a minor in special fishing areas, increasing the maximum age of minor to 14 for special fishing area use, updating prohibitions for public access areas to be consistent with other agency rules, and updating use of live minnow areas. A penalty provision was also added in order to clarify W.Va. Code location of already existing penalties.

The 11th proposed rule concerns the catching and selling of bait fish. Changes to this rule include changes to permissible cast net size and updates to outdated language. A penalty provision was also added in order to clarify W.Va. Code of State Rules location of already existing penalties.

The 12th proposed rule concerns falconry. Changes to this rule include modifications to language pertaining to requirements for obtaining a West Virginia falconry permit, banding of raptors used for falconry, taking and trapping of raptors, radio transmitter requirements, as well as several technical changes.