113A-223. Powers and duties of the Secretary.

(a) The Secretary shall direct the control, eradication, and regulation of noxious aquatic weeds so as to protect and preserve human health, safety, and the beneficial uses of the waters of the State and to prevent injury to property and beneficial plant and animal life. The Secretary shall have the power to:

(1) Conduct research and planning related to the control of noxious aquatic weeds;

(2) Coordinate activities of all public bodies, authorities, agencies, and units of local government in the control and eradication of noxious aquatic weeds;

(3) Delegate to any public body, authority, agency, or unit of local government any power or duty under this Article, except that the Secretary may not delegate the designation of noxious aquatic weeds;

(4) Accept donations, grants, and services from both public and private sources;

(5) Enter into contracts or agreements, including cost-sharing agreements, with public or private agencies for research and development of methods of control of noxious aquatic weeds or for the performance of noxious aquatic weed control activities;

(6) Construct, acquire, operate, and maintain facilities and equipment necessary for the control of noxious aquatic weeds; and

(7) Enter upon private property for purposes of conducting investigations and engaging in aquatic weed control activities.

(b) The Secretary may control, remove, or destroy any noxious aquatic weed located in the waters of the State or in areas adjacent to such waters wherever such weeds threaten to invade such waters. The Secretary may employ any appropriate control technology which is consistent with federal and State law, regulations, and rules. Control technologies may include, but are not limited to drawdown of waters, application of chemicals to shoreline and surface waters, mechanical controls, physical removal from transport mechanisms, quarantine of transport mechanisms, and biological controls. Any biological control technology may be implemented only after the environmental review provisions of the State Environmental Policy Act have been satisfied.

(c) In determining the appropriate strategies and technologies, the Secretary shall consider their relative short-term and long-term cost-efficiency and effectiveness, consistent with a margin of safety adequate to protect public health and the resources of the State.

(d) All activities carried out by the Secretary, his designees, and others authorized to perform any function under this Article shall be consistent with all applicable federal and State law, regulations, and rules. (1991, c. 132.)