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CHAPTER 310-A

NATURAL SCIENTISTS


310-A:75 Purpose. The general court finds it in the best interests of the citizens of the State of
New Hampshire to establish the board of natural scientists to certify and regulate the professions of soil scientists and wetlands scientists.This certification is to guard the citizens of New Hampshire and the professions from unqualified practitioners of soil science and wetland science and to foster intelligent application of the knowledge of soil properties and wetlands characteristics in planning and implementing land use decisions consistent with New Hampshire department of environmental services rules or standards adopted by the board.

310-A:76 Definitions. In this subdivision:

I. Board means the state board of natural scientists authorized to certify soil scientists
and wetland scientists pursuant to this subdivision.

I-a. Business organization means any enterprise, whether corporation, partnership,
limited liability company, proprietorship, association, business trust, real estate trust, or other
form of organization; organized for gain or profit, carrying on any business activity within the
state.

II. Certified soil scientist means a person who, by reason of special knowledge of
pedological principles acquired by professional education and practical experience, as specified
by RSA 310-A:84, I and II, is qualified to identify, classify, and prepare soil maps according to the
standards of the National Cooperative Soil Survey, or standards adopted by the New Hampshire department of
environmental services, or standards adopted by the board, and who has been duly certified by the
board.

II-a. “Certified wetland scientist” means a person who, by reason of his or her special knowledge of hydric soils, hydrophytic vegetation, and wetland hydrology acquired by course work and experience, as specified by RSA 310-A:84, II-a and II-b, is qualified to delineate wetland boundaries and to prepare wetland maps; to classify wetlands; to prepare wetland function and value assessments; to design wetland mitigation; to implement wetland mitigation; to monitor wetlands functions and values; and to prepare associated reports, all in accordance with standards for identification of wetlands adopted by the New Hampshire department of environmental services or the United States Army Corps of Engineers or their successors, and who has been duly certified by the board.

III. Pedological principles means, but is not limited to, the taxonomic identification,
classification, and morphological description of soils as natural bodies.

IV. Practice of soil science means any professional service that requires the application
of pedological principles to identify, classify, and prepare maps delineating soils according to the
standards of the National Cooperative Soil Survey or other standards approved by the board.

310-A:77 Application. Any person, except as specifically exempted in this subdivision, who
practices or offers to practice soil science or wetland science for the general public in this state shall be subject to the provisions of this subdivision.

310-A:78 Business Organization.

I. Nothing in this subdivision shall prohibit one or more soil
scientists from practicing soil science through a business organization. In any such entity
engaged in the practice of soil science at least one partner, officer, or employee shall be a
certified soil scientist, and all maps produced in the practice of soil science shall be signed by a
certified soil scientist, who shall be responsible for the accuracy of such maps.

II. Nothing in this subdivision shall prohibit one or more wetland scientists from practicing
wetland science through a business organization. In any such entity engaged in the practice of wetland
science at least one partner, officer, or employee shall be a certified wetland scientist, and all
delineation produced in the practice of wetland science shall be signed by a certified wetland scientist
who shall be responsible for the accuracy of such delineation.

310-A:79 Exemption. This subdivision shall not be construed to prevent or to affect:

I. The practice of soil science by a nonresident having no established place of business in
this state when such practice does not exceed, in the aggregate, more than 30 working days in
any calendar year, provided such person is legally qualified to practice in a state or country in
which the requirements and qualifications for obtaining a certificate are not lower than those
specified in this subdivision. Practice for any portion of a day shall be deemed to constitute
practice for an entire day.

II. The work of an employee or a subordinate of a person holding a certificate under this
subdivision, or any employee of a person practicing lawfully under paragraph I, done under the
direct supervision of a person holding a certificate under this subdivision or a person practicing
lawfully under paragraph I.

III. The practice of officers and employees of the government of the United States or of
the state of New Hampshire while engaged within this state in the practice of the profession of
soil science or wetland science for the government.

IV. The determination of a hydric soil boundary or test pit evaluation to the extent permitted
pursuant to RSA 485-A:35 for the purposes of septic system design or subdivision application pursuant to
RSA 485-A or rules adopted under RSA 485-A. For this work, a municipality shall not require qualifications different from those established pursuant to RSA 485-A:35.

310-A:80 Reciprocity. A nonresident of this state who is certified as a soil scientist or wetland scientist in another state may be certified under this subdivision by filing an application with the board accompanied
by a copy of his certification in such other state, and by paying a fee to the board, provided the
applicant's qualifications meet the requirements of this subdivision and the rules adopted by the
board. The board may certify applicants under this section, provided that the other state's licensing
requirements are substantially equivalent to, or higher than, those of this state, and provided that
the other state certifies New Hampshire soil scientists or wetland scientists under a similar provision.

310-A:81 Board of Natural Scientists; Establishment; Criteria; Terms; Expenses;
Meetings; Records and Reports; Roster.

I. A board of natural scientists is established to administer the provisions of this
subdivision. The board shall consist of 7 persons appointed by the governor and council, 2 of
whom shall be soil scientists, 2 of whom shall be wetland scientists and who are not also soil scientists
and 3 of whom shall be public members. The initial professional board members shall meet the educational
requirements of RSA 310-A:84, I(a) or II-a, respectively. The public members of the board shall be persons who are not, and never were, members of the soils science profession, members of the wetlands science profession, or the spouse of any such person, and who do not have and never have had, a material financial interest in either the provision of soil science or wetland science services or an activity directly related to soil science or wetland science, including the representation of the board or profession for a fee at any time during the 5 years preceding appointment.

II. (a) Each member of the board shall be a citizen of the United States and shall have been a
resident of this state for at least 1 year immediately preceding appointment.
(b) Each soil scientist member shall have actively practiced soil science for at least 6
years prior to appointment and shall have held a responsible position in charge of such work for at least 2 years prior to appointment, which may include the teaching of soil science.
(c) Each wetland scientist member shall have actively practiced wetland science for at least 6
years prior to appointment and shall have held a responsible position in charge of such work for at least 2
years prior to appointment, which may include the teaching of wetland science.

III. Members shall be appointed for 5-year terms, except that no more than one appointed
member's term may expire in any one calendar year. Appointments for terms of less than 5 years
may be made in order to comply with this limitation. No appointed member shall be eligible to
serve more than 2 full consecutive terms, provided that for this purpose only a period actually
served which exceeds 1/2 of the 5-year term shall be deemed a full term. Upon expiration of a
member's term, the member shall serve until a successor is qualified and appointed. The
successor's term shall be 5 years from the date of expiration of the predecessor's appointment,
regardless of the date of the successor's appointment. Vacancies occurring prior to the expiration
of a specific term shall be filled by appointment for the unexpired term. A board member may
be removed for cause by the governor and council under RSA 4:1.

IV. Members of the board shall be reimbursed for mileage at the state employee rate.

V. The board shall hold at least 3 regular meetings each year and special meetings at
such times as it may deem necessary. Notice of all meetings shall be given in such a manner as
rules adopted by the board may provide. The board shall biennially elect or appoint a chair-
person, vice-chairperson, and secretary. A quorum of the board shall consist of 4 members.

VI. (a) The board shall keep a record of its proceedings and a register of all applications for
registration, which shall show:
(1) The name and residence of each applicant.
(2) The date of application.
(3) The place of business of such applicant.
(4) The applicant's educational and other qualifications.
(5) Whether or not an examination was required.
(6) Whether the applicant was rejected and the reasons for such rejection.
(7) Whether a certificate of registration was granted.
(8) The date of the action of the board.
(9) Such other information as may be deemed necessary by the board.
(b) The records of the board shall be prima facie evidence of the proceedings of the board,
and a transcript of such records certified by the secretary of the board under seal shall be
admissible in evidence with the same force and effect as if the original were produced.
Biennially, as of December 31 of each even-numbered year, the board shall submit to the
governor a report of the transactions of the preceding biennium, and a complete statement of the
receipts and expenditures of the board.

VII. The secretary of the board shall provide, upon request, a roster listing the names and places of
business of all soil scientists and wetland scientists certified under this subdivision by the board.
Copies of this roster placed on file with the secretary of state, and furnished to the public upon request at a fee to be established by the board. The board may include in such roster any other information it deems
appropriate.

310-A:82 Rulemaking Authority. The board shall adopt rules, pursuant to RSA 541-A,
relative to:

I. The application procedure for obtaining a certificate to practice under this subdivision.

II. The qualifications of applicants in addition to those requirements under RSA 310-
A:84, and satisfactory evidence of good professional character.

III. How the applicant shall be examined, including the time and place of the
examination.

IV. How a certificate to practice under this subdivision shall be renewed, including the
requirement for continuing education.

V. The establishment of all fees required under this subdivision as listed in RSA 310-
A:92.

VI. Ethical and professional standards required to be met by each holder of a certificate
under this subdivision and how disciplinary actions by the board shall be implemented for
violations or these standards.

VII. Matters related to proper administration of this subdivision.

310-A:83 Additional Powers. The board shall adopt and have an official seal. The board shall
have the power to subpoena witnesses and compel, by subpoena duces tecum, the production of
books, papers, and documents in a case involving the revocation of registration. Any member of
the board may administer oaths or affirmations to witnesses appearing before the board. Such
subpoenas issued by any member of the board or by any justice of the peace shall have the same
effect as though issued for appearance before the superior court.

310-A:84 Qualifications for Certification.

I. To be eligible for certification as a soil scientist, a person shall be of high ethical
professional standards, have successfully passed an examination designed to determine the
person's proficiency and qualifications, including references to soil characteristics in the New England region, to be engaged in the practice of soil science, and shall have one of the following qualifications:
(a) Be a graduate of an accredited 4-year college curriculum leading to a baccalaureate degree,
where the applicant successfully completed 30 semester hours in biological, physical and earth science, including 15 semester hours in soil science, and have a specific record of an additional 3 or more years experience in the practice of soil science.
(b) Be a graduate of an accredited college curriculum leading to a baccalaureate or an
associate degree, where the applicant has successfully completed 15 semester hours in soil
science, and have a specific record of an additional 4 or more years experience in the practice of
soil science.
(c) Be a graduate of an accredited college curriculum leading to a baccalaureate or
associate degree, or have earned the equivalent number of credits, and have a specific record of
an additional 6 or more years in the practice of soil science.

II. Experience in the practice of soil science shall be of a grade and character that
indicates to the board that the applicant is competent to practice as a soil scientist. Experience
shall be determined as follows:
(a) Teaching soil science courses or performing research in soil science at an
accredited college, university, or institution offering an approved soil science or agronomy
curriculum shall be considered as experience in the practice of soil science.
(b) Educational training shall not be considered as experience. Summer employment
shall be considered experience for purposes of this section.
(c) Actual field mapping experience in an acceptable apprenticeship program shall
count as experience time and shall account for a minimum of one year of the experience requirement.
(d) Each advanced degree in a related field shall be counted as one year of
experience.

II-a. To be eligible for certification as a wetland scientist, a person shall meet high ethical
and professional standards, have successfully passed an examination designed to determine the person's proficiency and qualifications, including references to wetland characteristics in the New England region,
be engaged in the practice of wetland science, and shall have one of the following qualifications:
(a) Be a graduate of an accredited college curriculum leading to a baccalaureate or an associate degree, where the applicant has successfully  completed a minimum of 24 combined credit or non-credit semester hours in any of the following environmental sciences: botany, soil science, hydrology, wetland science, biology, forestry, wildlife, ecology, water resources, plant science, agronomy, geology, or earth science, and have one or more years experience in the practice of wetland science.
(b) Have a minimum of 12 combined credit or non-credit semester hours in any of the environmental sciences under subparagraph (a), and have 3 or more years experience in the practice of wetland science.

II-b. (a) Experience in the practice of wetland science shall be of a quality and character that indicates to the board that the applicant is competent to practice as a wetland scientist. Experience shall be defined as one or more of the following:

(1)  Teaching wetland science courses or performing research in wetland science at an accredited college, university, or institution offering an approved wetland science or wetland ecology curriculum.
(2)  Actual field experience gained in an acceptable apprenticeship program.
(3) Actual field mapping experience, defined as the delineation of wetland boundaries and the preparation of wetland maps; the classification of wetlands; the preparation of wetland function and value assessments; the design of wetland mitigation; the implementation of wetland mitigation; the monitoring of wetlands functions and values; and preparation of associated reports, all in accordance with standards for the identification of wetlands adopted by the department of environmental services or the United States Army Corps of Engineers or their successors.
(b)  For the purposes of this paragraph, educational training shall not be considered as experience; summer employment shall be considered experience.
(c)  For the purposes of this paragraph, each advanced degree in a related field may be counted as one year of experience, however, a minimum of one year of actual field experience shall be required for all candidates.

III. A candidate failing an examination may apply for a re-examination upon payment of
an additional fee as determined by the board in its rules and shall be re-examined on the next
regularly scheduled semi-annual examination date. A candidate failing the examination 3
consecutive times shall be required to furnish evidence of additional experience, study, or education credits acceptable to the board before being allowed to proceed with the examination.

310-A:85 Apprentice.

I. To be eligible for recognition as an apprentice soil scientist, a person
shall have the following qualifications:
(a) Be of responsible character;
(b) Have completed the formal education under RSA 310-A:84, I; and
(c) Be in training to become a certified soil scientist and be engaged in the
practice of soil science under the direct supervision of a certified soil scientist
who is performing soil science work.

II. To be eligible for recognition as an apprentice wetland scientist, a person shall have
the following qualifications:
(a) Be of responsible character;
(b) Have completed the formal education under RSA 310-A:84, II-a; and
(c) Be in training to become a certified wetland scientist and be engaged in the
practice of wetland science under the direct supervision of a certified wetland scientist who is
performing wetland science work.

310-A:86 Certification Procedure.

I. Application for certification shall be on forms prescribed and furnished by
the board. Such forms shall include the applicant's educational background, including transcripts
from educational institutions attended, a detailed work experience history, and such other
information as the board may by rule require. All applications shall be signed under oath by the
applicant.

II. Any person who has successfully passed the examination or has otherwise qualified
as a certified soil scientist, apprentice soil scientist, certified wetland scientist, or apprentice wetland scientist,
shall, upon payment of a fee, be issued a certificate attesting that the applicant is a certified soil scientist,
apprentice soil scientist, certified wetland scientist or apprentice wetland scientist.

310-A:87 Certificates. Certificates shall show the full name of the certified soil scientist,
apprentice soil scientist, certified wetland scientist or apprentice wetland scientist, have a serial number,
and be signed by the chairperson and the secretary of the board under seal of the board. Each certified soil
scientist or wetland scientist shall obtain a seal of the design authorized by the board bearing the name of the certified individual, the legend "Certified Soil Scientist" or "Certified Wetland Scientists", as appropriate, and a place for the certified individual's signature. Plans and reports prepared by a certified individual shall be stamped with the seal and signed by the certified individual during the life of the certificate.

310-A:88 Expiration. A certification shall expire on the last day of the certificate holder's
month of birth in the year 2 years following the year of issuance.

310-A:89 Certificate Renewal. Certificates may be renewed by written application prior to the
expiration date and by payment of the prescribed renewal fee. The secretary shall notify each
certified individual one month prior to expiration of such certificate.

310-A:90 Failure to Renew. Failure to remit the biennial renewal fee when due shall
automatically cancel the certification. If properly renewed, a certification shall remain in effect
continuously from the date of issuance, unless suspended or revoked by the board for just cause.
A person whose certification is canceled for such failure may reinstate such certification by
paying, within one year of cancellation, all fees due, plus a late fee as established by the board.

310-A:91 Waiver. Repealed

310-A:92 Fees.

I. The board shall adopt rules under RSA 541-A which establish fees for the following;
(a) Application for examination.
(b) Application for certification without examination.
(c) Application for certification by reciprocity.
(d) Application for certification upon examination.
(e) Biennial renewal for individuals under this subdivision.
(f) Application for certification as an apprentice soil scientist or apprentice wetland scientist.
(g) Late reinstatement fee for a late renewal.
(g) Replacement of lost or mutilated certificate.

II. The fees established by the board shall be sufficient to produce estimated revenues
equal to 125 percent of the direct operating expenses of the board for the previous fiscal year.

310-A:93 Disciplinary Action.

I. The board may undertake disciplinary proceedings:
(a) Upon its own initiative; or
(b) Upon written complaint of any person which charges that a person certified
by the board has committed misconduct under paragraph II, and which specifies the grounds
therefore.

II. Misconduct sufficient to support disciplinary proceedings under this section shall
include:
(a) The practice of fraud or deceit in procuring or attempting to procure a
certificate to practice under this subdivision,
(b) Conviction of a felony or any offense involving moral turpitude.
(c) Any unprofessional conduct, or dishonorable conduct unworthy of, and
affecting the practice of soil science or wetland science.
(d) Unfitness or incompetency by reason of negligence or willful misconduct by a
certified soil scientist or certified wetland scientist in the performance of professional duties.
(e) Addiction to the use of alcohol or other habit-forming drugs to a degree which
renders the person unfit to practice under this subdivision.
(f) Repealed.
(g) Willful or repeated violation of the provisions of this subdivision.
(h) Suspension or revocation of a certificate, similar to one issued under this
subdivision, in another jurisdiction which was not reinstated.

III. The board may take disciplinary action in any one or more of the following ways:
(a) By reprimand.
(b) By suspension, limitation, or restriction of certificate for a period of up to 5
years.
(c) By revocation of certificate.
(d) By requiring the person to participate in a program of continuing education in
the area or areas in which the person has been found deficient.

310-A:94 Hearings. The board shall take no disciplinary action without a hearing. At least 14
days prior to a hearing, all parties to a disciplinary proceeding shall be served, either personally
or by certified mail, return receipt requested, with a written copy of the complaint filed and
notice of the time and place for hearing. All complaints shall be objectively received and fairly
heard by the board, but no complaint shall be acted upon unless in writing. A hearing shall be
held on all written complaints received by the board within 3 months of the date of notice of a
complaint received by the accused, unless otherwise agreed to by the parties. Written notice of
all disciplinary decisions made by the board shall be given to both parties to the proceeding upon
their issuance. Orders of the board shall b subject to rehearing and appeal in the manner
prescribed by RSA 541.

310-A:95 Violations; Penalties. Any person who practices or offers to practice soil science or wetlands science in
this state for others without a certificate in accordance with this subdivision, or any person
presenting or attempting to use the certificate or seal of another, or any person who gives any
false or forged evidence of any kind to the board or to any board member in obtaining or
attempting to obtain a certificate, or any person who falsely impersonates any other certified soil
scientist or certified wetland scientist, or any person who attempts to use an expired or nonexistent or revoked certificate or authorization, or any person who violates any of the provisions of this subdivision, shall be
guilty of a class B misdemeanor if a natural person, or guilty of a felony if any other person.

310-A:96 Restraint of Violations. The superior court shall have jurisdiction in equity to
restrain violations of RSA 310-A:95 on proceedings brought by the attorney general, the board,
or any society of certified soil scientists or certified wetland scientists duly incorporated under the laws of this state.

310-A:97 Title. [Repealed 2007, 300.7,1 eff. July 1, 2007.

This act shall take effect July 1, 1997; RSA 310-A:76, II-a and RSA 310-A:84, II-b (a) (3) amended June 21, 2010


These laws are made available to the public by the
New Hampshire Joint Board of Licensure and Certification
121 South Fruit Street
Concord, New Hampshire 03301
(603) 271-2219

*FOR THE OFFICIAL VERSION OF ANY STATUTE, PLEASE CONSULT THE BOUND VOLUMES AND SUPPLEMENTS OF THE NEW HAMPSHIRE REVISED STATUTES ANNOTATED
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Updated June 24, 2010.