CHAPTER 701

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 3, DELAWARE CODE, BY ADDING CHAPTER 24, THERETO RELATING TO JOHNSON-GRASS CONTROL, TO DECLARE THE EXISTENCE OF JOHNSONGRASS TO BE A PUBLIC AND COMMON NUISANCE, TO PROHIBIT THE CONTAMINATION OF UNINFESTED LAND WITH JOHNSONGRASS, TO REQUIRE LANDOWNERS TO PREVENT SEED SET ON LAND INFESTED WITH JOHNSONGRASS; TO INSTITUTE PROGRAMS FOR ITS CONTROL AND ERADICATION; TO PERMIT THE STATE BOARD OF AGRICULTURE TO ENTER INTO AGREEMENTS WITH ANY COUNTY, SUBDIVISION, ADJOINING STATE, AND AGENCY OF THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO EFFECT A PROGRAM OF CONTROL AND ERADICATION; TO ACCEPT AND EXPEND GIFTS AND GRANTS FROM ANY SOURCE FOR THE PURPOSE OF CONTROL AND ERADICATION OF JOHNSONGRASS; AND TO PROVIDE FOR THE PROSECUTION OF VIOLATIONS, AND THAT VIOLATORS SHALL BE GUILTY OF A MISDEMEANOR, AND PROVIDING PENALTIES THEREFOR.

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of Delaware (two-thirds of all the members elected to each house thereof concurring therein):

Section 1. Title 3, Delaware Code, is amended by adding thereto a new Chapter 24 to read as follows:

CHAPTER 24. JOHNSONGRASS CONTROL

§ 2401. Johnsongrass; common nuisance

The existence of growth of a species of grass, Sorghum halepense, commonly known as "Johnsongrass," is hereby declared to be a public and common nuisance.

§ 2402. Board of Agriculture; empowered to investigate, make rules, etc.

The State Board of Agriculture is hereby empowered to make such investigations, studies and determinations as it may deem advisable in order to ascertain the extent of growth and infestation of Johnsongrass in this State, and the effect of such species on agricultural production.

The Board is hereby empowered to promulgate such rules and regulations as in its judgment are necessary to carry into effect the provision of this Act and to alter or suspend such rules when necessary.

The Board is further empowered to institute programs of control and eradication.

The Board is authorized to enter into agreements with any county or subdivision of the State, with any adjoining state, and with agencies of the Federal or State government to effect a program of control and eradication.

The Board may accept, use, or expend such aid, gift, grant, or loan as may from time to time be made available from any source, public or private, for the purposes of carrying out the provisions of this Act.

§ 2403. Board of Agriculture; agreements relating to eradication

The State Board of Agriculture may enter into an agreement with any county in the State for the purpose of control and eradication of Johnsongrass within the county. When such an agreement is executed and certified in writing to the Secretary of State, the Board and the county may conduct surveys to determine the location and amount of infestations of Johnsongrass within the county, and may provide technical and financial assistance to landowners in a cooperative control or eradication program, and may effect a program of mowing, spraying, or other control or eradication practices on road rights-of-way, drainage ditch banks, parks, playgrounds, and other public or private lands. The agreement between the Board and county may be terminated by either party on thirty (30) day written notice.

§ 2404. Johnsongrass; unlawful to import

It shall be unlawful to import Johnsongrass into this State or to transport Johnsongrass within this State in any form capable of growth, except for purposes of research with the prior written approval of the State Board of Agriculture. It shall be unlawful to knowingly contaminate any uninfested land or roadway with Johnsongrass through the movement of rootstocks, seed, soil, mulch, nursery stock, farm machinery, or other medium.

It shall be unlawful to knowingly allow Johnsongrass to set seed on any idle or vacant land and it shall be the duty of each landowner to mow, to cultivate, or to treat with chemicals, or use such other practices as may be prescribed by the State Board of Agriculture as effective in preventing seed set on all Johnson-grass infestations on his property.

§ 2405. Attorney General; duty to prosecute

Failure to comply with the provisions of this Act shall be reported to the State's Attorney General and/or any other prosecuting officer of any county or city in which any violation of this Act may occur, and it shall be the duty of the State's Department of Justice to prosecute all violations and to bring an action to enjoin such nuisance.

§ 2406. Violation; misdemeanor

Any person who shall knowingly violate any of the provisions of this Act, or any rule or regulation made thereunder, or who interferes with the State Board of Agriculture in the enforcement of the provisions of this Act, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor, and upon conviction thereof shall be fined not less than $50 nor more than $500 on each count.

If any provision of this Act or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid for any reason, such invalidity shall not affect the other provisions or any other application of this Act which can be given effect without the invalid provision or application, and to this end, all the provisions of the Act are hereby declared to be severable.

This Act shall take effect July 1, 1970.

Approved July 14, 1970,