TX NATURAL RESOURCES CODE

SUBTITLE B. SURVEYS AND SURVEYORS

CHAPTER 33. MANAGEMENT OF COASTAL PUBLIC LAND

SUBCHAPTER G. COASTAL WETLAND ACQUISITION


§ 33.231. SHORT TITLE.
     This subchapter may be cited as the Coastal Wetland Acquisition Act.

Added by Acts 1979, 66th Leg., p. 1993, ch. 785, § 2, eff. June 13, 1979.

§ 33.232. POLICY.
     It is the declared policy of the state:
          (1) to protect the property rights of those who sell interests in land to the state by fairly compensating the sellers;
          (2) to protect that coastal wetland which is most essential to the public interest by acquiring fee and lesser interests in the coastal wetland and managing it in a manner that will preserve and protect the productivity and integrity of the land as coastal wetland; and
          (3) to assure that the state does not expend funds to acquire any coastal wetland to which it already holds a valid title at the time of the expenditure.

Added by Acts 1979, 66th Leg., p. 1993, ch. 785, § 2, eff. June 13, 1979.

§ 33.233. DEFINITIONS.
     In this subchapter:
          (1) "Acquiring agency" means the Parks and Wildlife Department.
          (2) "Land office " means the General Land Office.
          (3) "Coastal wetland" means wetlands underlying or adjacent to tidal waters in the coastal area.
          (4) "Wetlands" has the meaning assigned under Subchapter J, Chapter 11, Water Code.
          (5) "Seawater" means any water containing a concentration of one-twentieth of one percent or more by weight of total dissolved inorganic salts derived from the marine water of the Gulf of Mexico.

Added by Acts 1979, 66th Leg., p. 1993, ch. 785, § 2, eff. June 13, 1979. Amended by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 265, § 4, eff. June 5, 1991.

§ 33.234. DUTIES AND AUTHORITY OF ACQUIRING AGENCY.
     (a) The acquiring agency shall do the following:
          (1) accept gifts, grants, or devises of interests in land;
          (2) acquire, by purchase or condemnation, fee and lesser interests in the surface estate in coastal wetland certified as most essential to protection of the public interest, provided that in each instance in which an interest in land is acquired by the acquiring agency pursuant to this section, a sufficient interest shall be acquired to preserve and protect the productivity and integrity of such land as coastal wetland; and
          (3) manage interests in land acquired pursuant to this section in a manner that will preserve and protect the productivity and integrity of the land as coastal wetland.
     (b) This subchapter shall not be construed to authorize the condemnation of any interest in the mineral estate in any coastal wetland.
     (c) The acquiring agency shall promulgate reasonable rules and regulations necessary to preserve and protect the productivity and integrity of the land as coastal wetland acquired pursuant to this subchapter. The rules and regulations shall include regulations governing activities conducted on the land in conjunction with mineral exploration, development, and production.
     (d) If the acquiring agency seeks to condemn an interest less than the fee interest in the surface estate in any coastal wetland, the owner of the coastal wetland may demand that the acquiring agency instead seek condemnation of the fee interest in the surface estate in the coastal wetland. Upon this demand, the acquiring agency shall either:
          (1) seek to condemn the fee interest in the surface estate in the coastal wetland; or
          (2) cease all condemnation proceedings pursuant to this subchapter against the coastal wetland.

Added by Acts 1979, 66th Leg., p. 1993, ch. 785, § 2, eff. June 13, 1979. Amended by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 265, § 5, eff. June 5, 1991.

§ 33.235. AGRICULTURAL EXEMPTION.
     Coastal wetland used only for farming or ranching activities, including maintenance and repair of buildings, earthworks, and other structures, shall not be subject to any power of condemnation exercised pursuant to this subchapter. However, this exemption from condemnation shall terminate upon the receipt by any state or federal agency of an application for a permit, license, or other authorization to conduct on the wetland, activities other than farming and ranching activities, including irrigation and water well drilling, and activities necessary to exploration, development, or production of the underlying mineral estate.

Added by Acts 1979, 66th Leg., p. 1993, ch. 785, § 2, eff. June 13, 1979.

§ 33.236. DUTIES AND AUTHORITY TO CERTIFY.
     (a) The land office and the acquiring agency, in coordination, shall do the following:
          (1) certify coastal wetlands which are most essential to the public interest in accordance with criteria developed by the land office and the acquiring agency under Chapter 14, Parks and Wildlife Code, and this subchapter, assign priorities for acquisition of interests in the coastal wetland, and revoke certification made pursuant to this section when it is in the public interest to do so; and
          (2) publicize the importance to the public interest of coastal wetland in general, and of designated coastal wetland in particular.
     (b) A certification, assignment of priority for acquisition, or revocation of certification made pursuant to this subchapter does not constitute a "contested case" within the meaning of Chapter 2001, Government Code.
     (c) to (h) Repealed by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 265, § 7, eff. June 5, 1991.

Added by Acts 1979, 66th Leg., p. 1993, ch. 785, § 2, eff. June 13, 1979. Amended by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 265, § 6, 7, eff. June 5, 1991; Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 76, § 5.95(49), eff. Sept. 1, 1995.

§ 33.237. MOST ESSENTIAL COASTAL WETLAND CERTIFICATION.
     (a) In selecting and certifying coastal wetland
      most essential to the public interest, and in assigning priorities of acquisition to coastal wetland, the land office and the acquiring agency shall consider the following criteria:
          (1) whether the land is coastal wetland within the definition, intent, and purpose of this subchapter;
          (2) whether the state owns the coastal wetland or claims title to it, which title can be validated by bringing an appropriate action in a court of law;
          (3) whether the biological, geological, or physical characteristics of the coastal wetland, including the interrelationship of the coastal wetland with other coastal wetland, is essential to the public interest;
          (4) the degree to which the coastal wetland is in danger of being altered, damaged, or destroyed, and the imminence of that danger; and
          (5) the cost of acquiring the coastal wetland.
     (b) The legislature declares that certifications, assignments of priority for acquisition, and revocations of certifications made pursuant to Section 33.235 of this code are made only for the purpose of administering the provisions of this subchapter. No certifications, assignments of priority for acquisition, or revocations of certification shall be grounds for an inference, or admissible in a court of law to prove, that any coastal wetland is of greater or lesser value than any other coastal wetland for any purpose other than administering the provisions of this subchapter.
     (c) A certification made pursuant to this subchapter shall expire one year from the date of certification.
     (d) If on or before the expiration date of such certification the acquiring agency files suit in a court of law to condemn the certified coastal wetland, the certification shall extend until the suit is settled, dismissed, or otherwise terminated.
     (e) If a contract of sale between the state and the owner of the certified coastal wetland is entered into on or before the expiration date of the certification, the certification shall extend until title to the coastal wetland is conveyed to the state or the contract is rescinded, invalidated, or otherwise terminated.

Added by Acts 1979, 66th Leg., p. 1993, ch. 785, § 2, eff. June 13, 1979. Amended by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 265, § 8, eff. June 5, 1991.

§ 33.238. FUNDING.
     The acquiring agency may compensate the seller of land acquired pursuant to this subchapter with funds obtained through:
          (1) gift, grant, or devise;
          (2) legislative appropriation; or
          (3) gift or grant from the United States.

Added by Acts 1979, 66th Leg., p. 1993, ch. 785, § 2, eff. June 13, 1979.