DEP Notice of Intent to Amend Regulations and Notice of Public Hearing

The Commissioner of Environmental Protection, pursuant to Sections 4-168 and 22a-6 of the General Statutes of Connecticut, hereby gives notice of her intention to adopt a new section 26-55-5, and amend sections 26-48a-1, 26-55-1, 26-66-4, 26-112-43, 26-112-44, 26-112-45, 26-112-46, 26-112-142a-1 and 26-142a-12 of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies. These regulations will be adopted under authority of Sections 26-48a, 26-55, 26-66, 26-112 and 26-142a of the General Statutes.

The proposed regulations will: 1) Extend the pheasant hunting season to be consistent with other small game seasons and replace the current pheasant tagging system with a pheasant stamp, 2) Update live fish importation requirements to be consistent with current practices concerning fish health certification, 3) Establish a list of prohibited aquatic nuisance invertebrates, 4) Close two additional areas to waterfowl hunting, 5) Allow children to ice fish with the same number of devices as adults, prohibit the use of gaffs in inland waters and include references to prohibited invertebrates in the definition of bait species, 6) Establish a closed fishing season for three waters and remove one pond from the list of Children’s Ponds, 7) exclude rusty crayfish from the list of bait species, 8) Replace all Trophy Trout Lake references with Trout Management Lakes, 9) Establish one Trout Management Area on the West Branch Farmington and Farmington Rivers by combining two existing Trout Management Areas and two existing Trophy Trout Stream areas, 10) Rename Trophy Trout Lakes as Trout Management Lakes and reduce the creel limit for trout during March at two of these lakes, 11) Rename one Wild Trout Management Area, 12) Remove the existing Trophy Trout Stream designations from portions of the West Branch Farmington River and the Farmington River, 13) Exclude rusty crayfish and other nuisance invertebrates from the list of bait species that can be taken commercially in inland waters and sold, and 14) Exclude rusty crayfish from the list of bait species that can be sold under a bait dealers license.

Copies of the proposed regulations small business impact statement and a fiscal note indicating no additional expense to the state or municipal governments to implement these proposed regulations are available for public inspection during normal business hours at the Department of Environmental Protection’s Bureau of Natural Resources, Inland Fisheries Division, 6th Floor, 79 Elm Street, Hartford, CT, 06106-5127. A link to the proposed regulations is available on the Department’s website at http://www.ct.gov/dep/publicnotices These documents can also be obtained by contacting Bill Foreman at the above address, by phone at (860) 424-3474or by email (dep.inland.fisheries@ct.gov).

One public hearing has been scheduled to obtain public comment to determine whether to adopt the proposed regulations or to adjust the measures. All interested persons are invited to express their views on the proposed regulations at the following public hearing:

Date:           March 16, 2011
Time:          6:30 pm
Location:  Department of Environmental Protection
Phoenix Auditorium
79 Elm Street
Hartford, Connecticut 06106

Interested persons may also choose to present their views regarding the proposed regulations in writing. Written comments should be submitted no later than 4:30 PM on March 30, 2011 to Bill Foreman at the Department of Environmental Protection, Inland Fisheries Division, 79 Elm Street, Hartford, CT, 06106-5127. Comments may be submitted by post, facsimile to 860-424-4070 or by electronic mail to william.foreman@ct.gov. Based on public comment, the proposed regulations may be adjusted to meet the objective of the proposal.