(a) The Department is the agency of the State of North Carolina with the duties and responsibilities to administer and control the North Carolina natural and scenic rivers system.
(b) The Department shall be the agency of the State with the authority to accept federal grants of assistance in planning, developing (which would include the acquisition of land or an interest in land), and administering the natural and scenic rivers system.
(c) The Secretary of the Department shall study and from time to time submit to the Governor and to the General Assembly proposals for the additions to the system of rivers and segments of rivers which, in his judgment, fall within one or more of the categories set out in G.S. 113A-34. Each proposal shall specify the category of the proposed addition and shall be accompanied by a detailed report of the facts which, in the Secretary's judgment, makes the area a worthy addition to the system.
Before submitting any proposal to the Governor or the General Assembly for the addition to the system of a river or segment of a river, the Secretary or his authorized representative, shall hold a public hearing in the county or counties where said river or segment of river is situated. Notice of such public hearing shall be given by publishing a notice once each week for two consecutive weeks in a newspaper having general circulation in the county where said hearing is to be held, the second of said notices appearing not less than 10 days before said hearing. Any person attending said hearing shall be given an opportunity to be heard. Notwithstanding the provisions of the foregoing, no public hearing shall be required with respect to a river bounded solely by the property of one owner, who consents in writing to the addition of such river to the system.
The Department shall also conduct an investigation on the feasibility of the inclusion of a river or a segment of river within the system and file a written report with the Governor when submitting a proposal.
The Department shall also, before submitting such a proposal to the Governor or the General Assembly, notify in writing the owner, lessee, or tenant of any lands adjoining said river or segment of river of its intention to make such proposal. In the event the Department, after due diligence, is unable to determine the owner or lessee of any such land, the Department may publish a notice for four successive weeks in a newspaper having general circulation in the county where the land is situated of its intention to make a proposal to the Governor or General Assembly for the addition of a river or segment of river to the system.
(c1) Upon receipt of a request in the form of a resolution from the commissioners of the county or counties in which a river segment is located and upon studying the segment and determining that it meets the criteria set forth in G.S. 113A-35, the Secretary may designate the segment a potential component of the natural and scenic rivers system. The designation as a potential component shall be transmitted to the Governor and all appropriate State agencies. Any segment so designated is subject to the provisions of this Article applicable to designated rivers, except for acquisition by condemnation or otherwise, and to any rules adopted pursuant to this Article. The Secretary shall make a full report and, if appropriate, a proposal for an addition to the natural and scenic rivers system to the General Assembly within 90 days after the convening of the next session following issuance of the designation, and the General Assembly shall determine whether to designate the segment as a component of the natural and scenic rivers system. If the next session of the General Assembly fails to take affirmative action on the designation, the designation as a potential component shall expire.
(d) The Department may adopt rules to implement this Article. (1971, c. 1167, s. 2; 1973, c. 911; c. 1262, ss. 28, 86; 1977, c. 771, s. 4; 1985, c. 129, s. 1; 1987, c. 827, ss. 125, 128; 1989, c. 727, s. 123.)
Last modified: March 23, 2014