Invasive Species Laws and Regulations

Aquatic Nuisance Species Control

The Watershed Management Division manages the Vermont Aquatic Nuisance Control Program. The goal of the Program is "to prevent or reduce the environmental and socio-economic impacts of nuisance (primarily non-native) aquatic plant and animal species." Many species are included in the Program; however, the priority species at this time are listed here.

Aquatic Nuisance Control Permit.  Boat dock surrounded by water chestnut

Pursuant to 10 V.S.A. Chapter 50, an Aquatic Nuisance Control Permit is required to control nuisance aquatic plants, insects or other aquatic life (including lamprey) in Vermont waters. Some types of nuisance control activities are exempt. The use of chemical herbicides, bottom barrier materials or powered mechanical devices may also require a wetland permit. As required by 10 V.S.A., Chapter 47, Section 1263a(i), the Secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources has adopted the revised Public Review and Comment Procedures for Aquatic Nuisance Permit Applications and General Permits, effective January 30, 2003.

A boat's outboard mootor with Eurasian watermilfoil attachedTransport of aquatic plants and aquatic nuisance species (10  V.S.A. §1454)

(a) No person shall transport an aquatic plant or aquatic plant part, zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha), quagga mussels (Dreissena bugensis), or other aquatic nuisance species identified by the secretary by rule to or from any Vermont waters on the outside of a vehicle, boat, personal watercraft, trailer, or other equipment. This section shall not restrict proper harvesting or other control activities undertaken for the purpose of eliminating or controlling the growth or propagation of aquatic plants, zebra mussels, quagga mussels, or other aquatic nuisance species.
(b) The secretary may grant exceptions to persons to allow the transport of aquatic plants, zebra mussels, quagga mussels, or other aquatic nuisance species for scientific or educational purposes. When granting exceptions, the secretary shall take into consideration both the value of the scientific or educational purpose and the risk to Vermont surface waters posed by the transport and ultimate use of the specimens. A letter from the secretary authorizing the transport must accompany the specimens during transport.

A person who violates a requirement under 10 V.S.A. § 1454 shall be subject to enforcement under 10 V.S.A. chapter 201, provided that the person shall be assessed a penalty of not more than $1,000.00 for each violation. 

Emergency Response General Permit

The Secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources has new emergency permitting authority aimed at initiating a rapid response to a new invasive species invasion. An emergency rapid response general permit for both chemical and non-chemical methods with coverage is available to the commissioners of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation and the Vermont Department of Fish & Wildlife.

Ban of Felt-soled Boots and Waders (Repealed as of July 1, 2016)

In May 2010, the Vermont legislature enacted, and the Governor signed into law, a ban on the use of felt-soled boots and waders in Vermont waters, effective April 1, 2011. Due to  changes in the science behind Didymo, the species  most responsible for the implementation of the ban, it has since been repealed.

Use of Public Water Rules, Section 4.1

The Vermont Use of Public Water Rules Section 4.1 authorizes the Secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources to identify areas of public waters as temporarily closed to all persons, vessels or both in order to prevent, control or contain the spread of aquatic nuisance infestations.

Other Regulations

Pest Survey, Detection, and Management

(Vermont Statutes Annotated Title 6, Chapter 84, § 1030-1040) 
The Vermont Department of Agriculture, through the Commissioner, has regulatory authority over plant pests pursuant to Title 6, Chapter 84, Pest Survey, Detection & Management. Within this statute the commissioner may conduct surveys, establish quarantines and eradicate plant pests. 

A plant pest is defined as any living stage of: insects, mites, nematodes, slugs, snails, protozoa or any other invertebrate animals; bacteria, fungi, mycoplasma or other parasitic plants, weeds or reproductive parts thereof; viruses or any organisms similar to or allied with any of the foregoing; and any genetically modified organisms or biological control agents that may directly or indirectly injure or cause disease or damage to any beneficial organisms, plants, parts of plants, or plant products.

Noxious Weed Quarantine #3

In general, this rule prohibits the sale, movement, distribution, and in some cases, possession or cultivation of certain species of plants that have been recognized as invasive in Vermont or adjacent States. The impacts of these plant species on native ecosystems outweigh their value as ornamental plants in the nursery and landscaping trades to the extent that the Agency of Agriculture has banned their sale in an effort to prevent their introduction into as yet uninfested areas, or slow their further spread across the state through commerce.

Click here for more information from the Vermont Deparatment of Agriculture, Food and Markets

Minnow Nets, Traps, Transporting, and Use

(Vermont Statutes Annotated Title 10, Chapter 2, § 122) 

According to Vermont baitfish laws, anglers may harvest wild baitfish for personal use, provided they use them only on the same water where harvested and only species approved for use as baitfish. Anglers may NOT transport baitfish they harvest away from that waterbody, but may store them on that waterbody indefinitely.

When purchasing baitfish, anglers must purchase baitfish from a state-approved commercial bait dealer. At the time of purchase, a Baitfish Transportation Receipt will be issued, which is valid for 96 hours from time and date of sale. This means that when baitfish are purchased from a baitshop, anglers have 96 hours to transport and use said baitfish on the designated waterbody indicated on the receipt. These baitfish may NOT be transported to any waterbody other than the one indicated on your receipt.

Control of Fish, Game; Powers of Commissioner

(Vermont Statutes Annotated Title 10, Chapter 103, § 4138
The Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife, through the Commissioner, "may take, permit, or cause to be taken at any time from any waters, and in any manner, fish which hinder or prevent the propagation of game or food fish and may take, permit, or cause to be taken at any time wild animals which are doing damage. Such removal or taking and the possession and disposition of such fish or wild animals shall be under such regulations as the Commissioner may prescribe. The Commissioner may take necessary measures to control, in public waters, aquatic vegetation, insects, or aquatic life, for the purpose of improving such waters as a habitat.”

Placing Fish in Waters

(Vermont Statutes Annotated Title 10, Chapter 111, § 4605
The Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife, through the Commissioner, has the authority to regulate the introduction of all live fish or the live spawn thereof, into any of the inland or outlying waters of the state. The Department also may dispose of unlawfully imported fish as it may judge best, and the state may collect damages from the violator for all expenses incurred. In this regard, no person is to bring into the state to introduce into any of the public waters any live fish or eggs unless a permit is first obtained from the Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Importation, Stocking Wild Animals 

(Vermont Statutes Annotated Title 10, Chapter 113, § 4709)

The Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife, through the Commissioner, has the authority to regulate the introduction of any live wild bird or animal of any kind. The Department may dispose of unlawfully imported wildlife as it may judge best, and the state may collect damages from the violator for all expenses incurred.

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