(a) The Secretary, after consultation with the Director of the North Carolina Agricultural Extension Service, the Wildlife Resources Commission, and the Marine Fisheries Commission, and with the concurrence of the Commissioner of Agriculture, may designate as a noxious aquatic weed any plant organism which:
(1) Grows in or is closely associated with the aquatic environment, whether floating, emersed, submersed, or ditch-bank species, and including terrestrial phases of any such plant organism;
(2) Exhibits characteristics of obstructive nature and either massive productivity or choking density; and
(3) Is or may become a threat to public health or safety or to existing or new beneficial uses of the waters of the State.
(b) A plant organism may be designated as being a noxious aquatic weed either throughout the State or within specified areas within the State.
(c) The Secretary shall designate a plant organism as a noxious aquatic weed by rules adopted pursuant to Chapter 150B of the General Statutes.
(d) The Secretary may modify or withdraw any designation of a plant organism as a noxious aquatic weed made previously under this section. Any modification or withdrawal of such designation shall be made following the procedures for designation set out in this section. (1991, c. 132.)