143B-135.156. Administrative agency; federal grants; additions to the system; regulations.

(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 is 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, the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Agriculture and Natural and Economic Resources, and the Fiscal Research Division proposals for the additions to the system of rivers and segments of rivers which, in the Secretary's judgment, fall within one or more of the categories set out in G.S. 143B-135.148. 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.

(c1) Before submitting any proposal under subsection (c) of this section for the addition to the system of a river or segment of a river, the Secretary or the Secretary's authorized representative shall hold a public hearing in the county or counties where the river or segment of river is situated. Notice of the 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 the hearing is to be held, the second of the notices appearing not less than 10 days before the hearing. Any person attending the hearing shall be given an opportunity to be heard. No public hearing, however, is required with respect to a river bounded solely by the property of one owner, who consents in writing to the addition of the river to the system.

(c2) 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 shall file a written report with the proposal described in subsection (c) of this section.

(c3) The Department, before submitting a proposal under subsection (c) of this section, shall notify in writing the owner, lessee, or tenant of any lands adjoining the river or segment of river of its intention to make the proposal. In the event the Department, after due diligence, is unable to determine the owner or lessee of the 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 for the addition of a river or segment of river to the system.

(d) 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. 143B-135.150, 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 Part applicable to designated rivers, except for acquisition by condemnation or otherwise, and to any rules adopted pursuant to this Part. The Secretary shall make a full report and, if appropriate, a proposal for an addition to the natural and scenic rivers system to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Agriculture and Natural and Economic Resources and the Fiscal Research Division within 90 days after the convening of the next session of the General Assembly following issuance of the designation, and the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee on Agriculture and Natural and Economic Resources 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.

(e) The Department may adopt rules to implement this Part. (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; 2015-241, ss. 14.30(f), (m); 2017-57, s. 14.1(kk).)