Code of the District of Columbia

Chapter 17A. Natural Resources Conservation.


§ 8–1731.01. Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, the term:

(1) "Critical aquifer recharge areas" means areas with a critical recharging effect on aquifers, including areas where an aquifer that is a source of drinking water is vulnerable to contamination that would affect the potability of water or is susceptible to reduced recharge.

(2) "Critical areas" include the following areas and ecosystems:

(A) Areas containing species of local importance;

(B) Critical aquifer recharge areas;

(C) Fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas;

(D) Frequently-flooded areas; and

(E) Wetlands.

(3)(A) "District waters" means flowing and still bodies of water in the District, whether artificial or natural, whether underground or on land.

(B) "District waters" shall not include:

(i) Water on private property that is prevented from reaching underground or land watercourses; and

(ii) Water in closed collection or distribution systems.

(4) "Fish and wildlife habitat conservation areas" means areas that serve a critical role in sustaining needed habitats and species for the functional integrity of the ecosystem and which, if altered, may reduce the likelihood that species will persist over the long term.

(5) "Frequently-flooded areas" means lands either in the floodplain subject to a 1% or greater chance of flooding in any given year or within areas subject to flooding due to high groundwater.

(6) "Invasive plant" means a terrestrial or aquatic plant species that:

(A) Is not indigenous to the District or District waters; and

(B) If introduced or allowed to spread within the District, will cause or is likely to cause economic harm, ecological harm, environmental harm, or harm to human health.

(7) "Living shoreline project" means shoreline protection measures that use non-structural stabilization practices to control shore erosion by trapping sediment, filtering pollution, and providing important aquatic and terrestrial habitat.

(8) "Natural resources" means the land, air, water, minerals, flora, and fauna in the District and District waters.

(9) "Nonindigenous nuisance species" means a terrestrial or aquatic animal species that does not naturally occur in the District and whose presence in the District or in District waters poses or is likely to pose a significant threat of harm to:

(A) The diversity or abundance of any species indigenous to the District or District waters;

(B) The ecological stability of District lands or District waters; or

(C) The commercial, industrial, public, recreational, aquacultural, or other beneficial uses of the District or District waters.

(10) "Person" means any individual, partnership, corporation (including a government corporation), trust association, firm, joint stock company, organization, commission, the District or federal government, or any other entity.

(11) "Shoreline protection measures" means coastal engineering activities that reduce the risk of flooding, erosion, or inundation of land and structures.

(12) "Species of local importance" means those plant and animal species that are:

(A) Of concern in the District due to their population status, emerging threats to their population status, or their sensitivity to habitat alteration; or

(B) Game species.

(13) "Wetlands" means a marsh, swamp, or other area that is:

(A) Periodically inundated by tides or having saturated soil conditions for prolonged periods of time; and

(B) Capable of supporting aquatic vegetation.


(May 19, 2017, D.C. Law 21-282, § 201, 64 DCR 2055.)

Construction of Law

Section 601 of D.C. Law 21-282 provides that nothing in this act shall be construed to affect an action or proceeding commenced before May 19, 2017.


§ 8–1731.02. Critical areas.

The Mayor, pursuant to subchapter I of Chapter 5 of Title 2, shall issue rules to:

(1) Designate critical areas for protection within the District; and

(2) Protect, conserve, or enhance the environmental function and value of the critical areas designated pursuant to paragraph (1) of this section.


(May 19, 2017, D.C. Law 21-282, § 202, 64 DCR 2055.)


§ 8–1731.03. Shoreline protection.

The Mayor, pursuant to subchapter I of Chapter 5 of Title 2, shall issue rules to require shoreline protection measures, which shall, to the maximum extent possible, promote the use of living shoreline projects.


(May 19, 2017, D.C. Law 21-282, § 203, 64 DCR 2055.)


§ 8–1731.04. Invasive plants and nonindigenous nuisance species.

(a) The Mayor, pursuant to subchapter I of Chapter 5 of Title 2 shall issue rules to list invasive plants and nonindigenous nuisance species; provided, that the Mayor shall not list the species Felis catusas a nonindigenous nuisance species.

(b) Except as provided in § 8-1731.07, no person shall knowingly import, transport, offer for sale, sell, purchase, give, receive, plant, spread, or introduce into the District or District waters any invasive plant listed pursuant to subsection (a) of this section.

(c) Except as provided in § 8-1731.07 no person shall knowingly possess, import, transport, offer for sale, sell, purchase, give, receive, breed, or introduce into the District or District waters an animal belonging to a nonindigenous nuisance species listed pursuant to subsection (a) of this section.

(d) It shall not be a violation of subsection (b) or (c) of this section to possess, import, transport, offer for sale, sell, purchase, give, receive, or introduce into the District:

(1) An invasive plant listed pursuant to subsection (a) of this section if it is dead and no longer capable of growth and reproduction;

(2) An animal belonging to a nonindigenous nuisance species listed pursuant to subsection (a) of this section if it is dead or no longer capable of reproduction; or

(3) An animal belonging to a nonindigenous nuisance species listed pursuant to subsection (a) of this section that is domesticated.


(May 19, 2017, D.C. Law 21-282, § 204, 64 DCR 2055.)


§ 8–1731.05. Entry and inspection.

(a) To ensure compliance with this chapter, the Mayor may, at any reasonable time and upon the presentation of appropriate credentials to, and with the consent of, the owner, operator, or person in charge:

(1) Enter any place to determine a person's compliance with this chapter or regulations promulgated pursuant to this chapter; and

(2) Inspect and copy any record, report, or other document or information related to compliance with this chapter or regulations promulgated pursuant to this chapter.

(b) If the Mayor is denied access to enter or inspect and copy records pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, the Mayor may apply to the Superior Court for the District of Columbia for a search warrant.


(May 19, 2017, D.C. Law 21-282, § 205, 64 DCR 2055.)


§ 8–1731.06. Enforcement and penalties.

(a) The Mayor may impose civil infraction penalties, fines, and fees as sanctions for any violation of this chapter or regulations promulgated pursuant to this chapter, pursuant to Chapter 18 of Title 2.

(b) In addition to any penalties authorized by this section, the Mayor may require reimbursement for the costs of investigation, control, and eradication incurred by the District as a result of a violation of this chapter or regulations promulgated pursuant to this chapter.

(c) The Attorney General for the District of Columbia may commence appropriate civil action in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia or any other court of competent jurisdiction for damages, cost recovery, reasonable attorney and expert witness fees, and injunctive or other appropriate relief to enforce compliance with this chapter or regulations promulgated pursuant to this chapter.


(May 19, 2017, D.C. Law 21-282, § 206, 64 DCR 2055.)


§ 8–1731.07. Exception for research.

(a) Notwithstanding § 8-1731.04(b) and (c), the Mayor may issue a permit to allow the importation, possession, purchase, gift, receipt, transportation, planting, or breeding of an invasive plant or a nonindigenous nuisance species listed pursuant to § 8-1731.04(a) in the District for research by a recognized institution or government agency upon determining that adequate safeguards will be implemented and maintained to prevent the release, escape, or introduction of any such invasive plant or nonindigenous nuisance species into the District or District waters.

(b) The Mayor may modify, suspend, revoke, or deny a permit issued under this section for failure to comply with any conditions associated with the issuance of the permit, this chapter, or regulations promulgated pursuant to this chapter.

(c) A person aggrieved by an action of the Mayor taken pursuant to this section may appeal the action of the Mayor to the Office of Administrative Hearings pursuant to § 2-1831.03(a).


(May 19, 2017, D.C. Law 21-282, § 207, 64 DCR 2055.)


§ 8–1731.08. Rules.

The Mayor, pursuant to Chapter 5 of Title 2, may issue rules to implement the provisions of this chapter, including rules to establish fees.


(May 19, 2017, D.C. Law 21-282, § 208, 64 DCR 2055.)