Section 5F: Aquatic nuisances; control; cost sharing programs
Section 5F. The department shall undertake the control of algae, weeds and other aquatic nuisances in waters within the commonwealth in accordance with priorities established under this section; provided, however, no funds of the commonwealth shall be expended for a control program in waters to which there is no public access. In undertaking such control work the department shall consider the public health implications as they relate to public and private water supply uses, bathing and industrial process uses.
The department shall receive requests from any person or agency of the commonwealth to consider waters for control and shall submit to the water resources commission all such requests which it approves. The water resources commission shall review such requests and establish priorities for control, considering public accessibility, recreational and agricultural uses, the general public advantage, the importance to commercial, agricultural or other interests, the local interest therein as manifested by municipal or other contributions therefor, and other considerations affecting the feasibility, necessity or advantage of the proposed work. The water resources commission shall forward the results of its review to the department within a period of sixty days, and if such review is not completed within sixty days or within such further time as may be mutually agreed upon, the department shall establish priorities.
No work authorized under this section shall be begun until the department conducts bioengineering surveys to determine the types and extent of nuisance aquatic growth, evaluates water usages, establishes restrictions where necessary to protect the public health, safety and property, as well as fish and other animal life, and develops estimates of costs. Personnel of the department of environmental protection in the performance of their duties under this section may enter upon, pass through or over private lands or property whether or not covered by water.
A city or town may participate in the cost sharing program for the control of aquatic nuisances in those waters of the commonwealth selected for control by the department. To participate in such program, the city or town may contribute up to one-half of the total cost of the control program but not less than one-quarter of the total cost as determined by the department. If a body of water is located in a state park or reservation, or if the body of water is a great pond which the department determines is more heavily used by inhabitants of cities or towns other than the one in which the pond is located, the commonwealth may bear the entire cost of the control; provided, however, that if a state agency operates a recreational facility on a body of water, the department may authorize the city or town to contribute less than one-quarter of the total cost.
In determining the amount of the contribution, the department shall consider the following:
(1) the economic capabilities of the city or town as determined by the department of corporations and taxation;
(2) the use of the waters by communities outside the city or town in which the waters are located; and
(3) the advantages to the commonwealth of the work.
When the body of water is located in more than one city or town, the department shall determine the amount of water area in acres lying in each city or town and shall apportion the local contribution in accordance with said amount. In instances where a city or town boundary is merely contiguous to the shoreline of the waters but does not encompass any water area, the department shall appropriate the costs in accordance with the amount of shoreline in linear feet lying in each town or city as determined by the department.
All city or town funds to be used in the cost sharing program for the control of aquatic nuisances shall be paid to the state treasurer and may be expended by the department for said purposes.