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      RS 56:639.8     

  

§639.8. Department of Wildlife and Fisheries; Artificial Reef Development Fund

            A. The secretary is authorized to accept and receive grants, donations of monies or materials, and other forms of assistance from private and public sources which are provided to the state for the purpose of siting, designing, constructing, monitoring, and otherwise managing an artificial reef system.

            B. Any funds received by the department pursuant to the provisions and purposes of this Subpart shall be deposited immediately upon receipt into the state treasury.

            C. There is hereby established a fund in the state treasury to be known as the Artificial Reef Development Fund, hereinafter referred to as the "Reef Fund" or "Fund", into which the state treasurer shall each fiscal year, and beginning with the 1986-87 Fiscal Year, deposit the funds received as provided in R.S. 56:639.8(A) and (B), after those revenues have been deposited in the Bond Security and Redemption Fund. Out of the funds remaining in the Bond Security and Redemption Fund after a sufficient amount is allocated from that fund to pay all obligations secured by the full faith and credit of the state that become due and payable within each fiscal year, the treasurer, prior to placing such funds in the state general fund, shall pay into the Reef Fund an amount equal to the funds deposited by the department into the treasury as provided in Subsection B. The monies in the Reef Fund shall be used solely as provided by Subsection E herein and only in the amounts appropriated by the legislature. All unexpended and unencumbered monies in the Reef Fund at the end of the fiscal year shall remain in the fund. The monies in the fund shall be invested by the state treasurer in the same manner as monies in the state general fund, and interest earned on the investment of these monies shall be credited to the fund, again, following compliance with the requirement of Article VII, Section 9(B) of the Louisiana Constitution, relative to the Bond Security and Redemption Fund.

            D. The council shall review and comment on proposed expenditures from the fund at the time of budget preparation by the department. The department shall maintain records of the sources of money received and the purpose therefor, as well as the person or persons to whom money is paid and the purpose therefor. Vouchers or receipts shall be kept for all money paid out. The department shall employ such personnel as are necessary to meet the department's responsibilities under the program. The department shall allocate from the fund an amount sufficient to pay the salaries of personnel assigned to or responsible for the conduct of the program and shall allocate such amount as necessary for related operating expenses. Money appropriated or otherwise made available to the participants in the program for authorized purposes shall be withdrawn from the treasury on warrant of the secretary or his designee.

            E.(1) Monies may be withdrawn directly from the Reef Fund for the operation of the program as described in R.S. 56:639.5, including evaluation of the program and administrative and field support for the permitting, establishing, monitoring, and maintenance of artificial reefs established pursuant to this Subpart until such time that the council determines that the annual interest earnings from the fund are sufficient to run the program.

            (2) In addition to the expenditures authorized in Paragraph (1) of this Subsection, an amount not to exceed ten percent of the funds deposited to the fund each year and ten percent of the interest income to the fund may be used by the department to provide funding in association with the wild seafood certification program, particularly in support of wild-caught shrimp, established by the department. Such funding may be used for a subsidy granted to seafood harvesters or processors to assist in their efforts to comply with the certification program requirements and may be used for administration of the program.

            (3) In addition to the expenditures authorized in Paragraphs (1) and (2) of this Subsection, an amount not to exceed ten percent of the funds deposited to the fund each year and ten percent of the interest income credited to the fund each year may be used by the department to provide funding for inshore fisheries habitat enhancement projects, particularly in support of the Artificial Reef Development Program established by the department. Such funding may be used for grants to nonprofit conservation organizations working in cooperation with the department.

            (4) In addition to the expenditures authorized in Paragraphs (1), (2), and (3) of this Subsection and prior to depositing expenditures authorized in Paragraphs (1), (2), and (3) of this Subsection, an amount not to exceed two million dollars of the fund may be used by the department for the administration and conducting of the saltwater fish stock estimate.

            F. The secretary shall insure that the Reef Fund contains sufficient reserves to operate the program in a manner consistent with the state plan.

            G. In future years, if interest income exceeds operational costs for the artificial reef program, marine fisheries research and habitat enhancement projects may be funded through the department with advice from the council.

            Acts 1986, No. 100, §1, eff. June 23, 1986; Acts 1993, No. 271, §1; Acts 2003, No. 1015, §1; Acts 2010, No. 315, §1; Acts 2011, No. 237, §1, eff. June 27, 2011; Acts 2018, No. 41, §1, eff. May 10, 2018.



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