1998 Regular Session

To: Wildlife and Fisheries; Agriculture

By: Senator(s) Posey, Thames, Canon, Browning, Woodfield

Senate Bill 2883



SECTION 1. Section 49-7-201, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

49-7-201. (1) There is hereby established a beaver control program which shall be developed by the Beaver Control Advisory Board created in Section 49-7-203 and administered by the Department of Agriculture and Commerce with the advice of the board or administered by a federal agency pursuant to an agreement with the department * * *. The program shall be limited to the control or eradication of beavers only on private lands or public lands, excluding federally-owned lands but including lands whereupon easements are granted to a federal entity. The department may employ * * * personnel as is necessary to implement its duties to administer the program and set the salary of the personnel subject to State Personnel Board guidelines.

(2) Any state, local or private funds available * * * to fund the program shall be used to match available federal funds * * *. The department may execute * * * agreements with any agency of the federal government as are necessary to obtain federal matching funds to finance the beaver control program. The department may charge fees, upon the recommendation of the advisory board, for participation in the program and may expend funds for the purpose of beaver control.

(3) Nonfederal funds to help finance the program may be obtained by the department from the following sources:

(a) Appropriations by the Legislature;

(b) Contributions from participating counties;

(c) Charges on participating landowners; and/or

(d) Contributions from any other sources for such purpose.

(4) (a) Any county in the state desiring to participate in the program during its fiscal year shall contribute Two Thousand Dollars ($2,000.00) * * * from any funds available in its general fund. A county shall commit the funds to the program for the ensuing fiscal year by adopting and submitting a resolution to that effect on or before August 1 to the department. The department shall establish the due date for the payment of contributions by counties.

(b) The sum of county contributions may be matched by nonfederal funds available to the state for the beaver control program.

(5) (a) "Participating landowner" means any person, corporation or association owning land in this state and taking part in the beaver control program.

(b) "Department" means the Mississippi Department of Agriculture and Commerce for the purposes of Sections 49-7-201 and 49-7-203.

SECTION 2. Section 49-7-203, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

49-7-203. (1) There is hereby created the Beaver Control Advisory Board which shall be composed of the administrative head of the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks, State Forestry Commission, Department of Agriculture and Commerce, Department of Transportation and Mississippi State Cooperative Extension Services.

(2) The Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture and Commerce shall be the chairman of the board and shall preside over meetings.

(3) The members of the board shall serve without compensation but shall be entitled to reimbursement for all actual and necessary expenses incurred in the discharge of their duties, including mileage as authorized by law.

(4) The board shall have the following duties and responsibilities:

(a) To adopt rules and regulations governing times and places for meetings and governing the manner of conducting its business;

(b) To develop a beaver control program to be administered by the department or by a federal agency pursuant to an agreement with the department * * *;

(c) To designate the areas of the state having the greatest need for beaver control or eradication and establish a list of priority areas on an annual basis;

(d) To recommend to the department any fees as may be necessary to charge participating landowners; and

(e) To function in an advisory capacity to the department regarding the implementation of the beaver control program.

SECTION 3. Section 49-1-29, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:

49-1-29. The commission may promulgate rules and regulations, inaugurate studies and surveys, and establish any services it deems necessary to carry out wildlife laws. A violation of any rules or regulations promulgated by the commission shall constitute a misdemeanor and shall be punished as provided in Section 49-7-101.

The executive director shall have authority with commission approval:

(a) To close or shorten the open season as prescribed by law in cases of urgent emergency on any species of game birds, game or fur-bearing animals, reptiles, fish or amphibians, in any locality, when it finds after investigation and public review that the action is reasonably necessary to secure the perpetuation of any species of game birds, game or fur-bearing animals, reptiles, fish or amphibians and to maintain an adequate supply in the affected area. The statutes shall continue in full force and effect, except as restricted and limited by the rules and regulations promulgated by the commission.

(b) To designate wildlife refuges, with the consent of the property owner or owners, in any localities it finds necessary to secure perpetuation of any species of game birds, game or fur-bearing animals, reptiles, fish or amphibians and to maintain an adequate supply for the purpose of providing a safe retreat where the animals may rest and replenish adjacent hunting, trapping or fishing grounds or waters.

(c) To acquire and hold for the state by purchase, condemnation, lease, or agreement as authorized from time to time by the Legislature, and to receive by gifts or devise, lands or water suitable for fish habitats, game and bird habitats, state parks, access sites, wildlife refuges, or for public shooting, trapping or fishing grounds or waters, to provide areas on which any citizen may hunt, trap or fish under any special regulations as the commission may prescribe.

(d) To extend and consolidate lands or waters suitable for the above purposes by exchange of lands or waters under its jurisdiction.

(e) To capture, propagate, transport, sell or exchange any species of game birds, game or fur-bearing animals, reptiles, fish or amphibians needed for stocking or restocking any lands or waters of the state.

(f) To enter into cooperative agreements with persons, firms, corporations or governmental agencies for purposes consistent with this chapter.

(g) To regulate the burning of rubbish, slashings and marshes or other areas it may find reasonably necessary to reduce the danger of destructive fires.

(h) To conduct research in improved wildlife and fisheries conservation methods and to disseminate information to the residents of the state through the schools, public media and other publications.

(i) To have exclusive charge and control of the propagation and distribution of wild birds, animals, reptiles, fish and amphibians, the conduct and control of hatcheries, biological stations and game and fur farms owned or acquired by the state; to expend for the protection, propagation or preservation of game birds, game or fur-bearing animals, reptiles, fish and amphibians all funds of the state acquired for this purpose arising from licenses, gifts or otherwise; and shall have charge of the enforcement of all wildlife laws.

(j) To grant permits and provide regulations for field trials and dog trainers.

(k) To prohibit and to regulate the taking of nongame gross fish, except minnows.

(l) To enter into agreements with landowners to trap and purchase quail on the premises of the landowner and to provide for the distribution of quail.

(m) To operate or lease to third persons concessions or other rights or privileges on lakes owned or leased by the department. Owners of land adjoining land owned or leased by the department shall have priority to the concessions or rights or privileges, if the owners meet the qualifications established by the commission.

 * * *

(n) To apply for, receive and expend any federal, state or local funds, contributions or funds from any other source for the purpose of beaver control or eradication.

(o) To require the department to divide the districts into zones if necessary, and periodically survey the districts or zones to obtain information that is necessary to properly determine the population and allowable harvest limits of wildlife within the district or zone.

SECTION 4. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after its passage.