Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
November 7, 2002Commission Hearing Room
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department Headquarters Complex
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744
7 BE IT REMEMBERED, that heretofore on the 7th day of 8 November, 2002, there came on to be heard matters under the 9 regulatory authority of the Parks and Wildlife Commission 10 of Texas, in the Commission Hearing Room of the Texas Parks 11 and Wildlife Headquarters Complex, beginning at 9:00 a.m. 12 to wit: 13 APPEARANCES: 14 THE PARKS AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION: 15 Katharine Armstrong, Austin, Texas 16 Joseph B.C. Fitzsimons, San Antonio, Texas 17 Ernest Angelo, Jr., Vice Chairman, Midland, 18 Texas 19 John Avila, Jr., Fort Worth, Texas 20 Alvin L. Henry, Houston, Texas 21 Philip Montgomery, Dallas, Texas 22 Donato D. Ramos, Laredo, Texas 23 Kelly W. Rising, M.D., Beaumont, Texas 24 Mark W. Watson, Jr., San Antonio, Texas 25 THE TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT: 26 Robert L. Cook, Executive Director, and other personnel of 27 the Parks and Wildlife Department ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 2 1 SPEAKERS: 2 3 Marty Berry, Berry Ranches, 601 Louisiana, Corpus 4 Christi, Texas 78404 5 Karl Kinsel, Texas Deer Assn & Private Landowner, 5413 6 Bandera Road, Ste 408, San Antonio, TX 78238 7 Kirby Brown, Texas Wildlife Assn, 401 Isom Rd, Ste 237, 8 San Antonio, TX 78216 9 Ellis Gilleland, Texas Animals, POB 9001, Austin, TX 10 78766 11 Charles Edwards, City of Lakeway, 104 Cross Creek, 12 Lakeway, TX 78734 13 Dave Benson, City of Lakeway, 104 Cross Creek, Lakeway, 14 TX 78734 15 Harold Burris, Town of Hollywood Park, #1 Mecca, 16 Hollywood Park, TX 78232 17 Gene Riser, Texas Deer Assn 18 Tony D. Holt, 501 Highlander Blvd, Lakeway, TX 78734 19 Jerry Johnston, POB 1203, Castroville, TX 78009 20 Bruce Picker, 777 Main St., Suite 1295, Fort Worth, TX 21 76102 22 Tom Nezworski, 6600 Mira Vista Blvd, Fort Worth, TX 23 76132 24 Amy Morris, The Trust for Public Land, 815 Brazos #400, 25 Austin, TX 78701 ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 3 1 COMMISSIONER HENRY: Good morning. The meeting 2 is called to order. 3 Before proceeding with any business, I believe 4 Mr. Cook has a statement to make. 5 MR. COOK: Mr. Chairman, thank you, sir. 6 A public notice of this meeting containing all items on 7 the proposed agenda has been filed in the Office of the 8 Secretary of State as required by Chapter 551 of the 9 Government Code, referred to as the Open Meetings Law. I 10 would like for this action to be noted in the official 11 record of this meeting. 12 So that everyone will have a chance to address 13 the Commission in an orderly fashion, the following 14 ground rules will be followed. The Chairman is in charge 15 of the meeting, and, by law, it is his duty to preserve 16 order, direct the order of hearings and recognize persons 17 to be heard. I will be assisting the Chairman today as 18 Sergeant at Arms. 19 We have sign-up cards for everyone wishing to 20 speak, and the Chairman will call names from those cards 21 one at a time. Each person will be allowed to speak from 22 the podium one at a time. When your name is called, 23 please come to the podium, state your name and who you 24 represent if anyone other than yourself. And we'll also 25 have an on-deck person coming up -- named and coming up. ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 4 1 State your position on the agenda item under 2 consideration and add supporting facts that will help the 3 Commission understand your concerns. Please limit your 4 remarks to the specific agenda item under consideration. 5 Each person who wants to address the Commission 6 will have three minutes to speak. I will keep track of 7 the time and notify you when your three minutes is up on 8 this handy-dandy little traffic light here. So when that 9 light turns red, please stop so that we can move on to 10 the next person. 11 Your time may be extended if a Commissioner has 12 a specific question for you. And if Commissioners ask 13 you a question or get into a discussion among themselves 14 about the topic, that time will not be counted against 15 you. 16 Statements which are merely argumentative or 17 critical of others will not be tolerated. There's a 18 microphone at the podium, so it is not necessary to raise 19 your voice. I also request that you show proper respect 20 to the Commissioners, as well as the other members of the 21 audience. You will not be recognized out of turn by 22 raising your hand or interrupting others. Disruptive or 23 offensive behavior will be grounds for immediate ejection 24 from the meeting. 25 If you would like to submit written materials ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 5 1 to the Commission, please give them to Ms. Lori Estrada, 2 here on my right, or Michelle Klaus. Ms. Estrada will 3 pass that written material out to the Commissioners. 4 Thank you, sir. 5 COMMISSIONER HENRY: Thank you, Mr. Cook. 6 Next is the approval of the minutes from the previous 7 meeting which have already been distributed. Is there a 8 motion for approval? 9 COMMISSIONER WATSON: I move approval. 10 COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Second. 11 COMMISSIONER HENRY: I have a motion and a 12 second. All in favor, please say aye. 13 (A chorus of ayes.) 14 COMMISSIONER HENRY: Opposed? 15 (No response.) 16 COMMISSIONER HENRY: Hearing none, the motion 17 carries. 18 Next is the acceptance of gifts which have been 19 distributed, also. Is there a motion for approval? 20 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: I move approval. 21 COMMISSIONER HENRY: I have a motion by 22 Commissioner Montgomery. 23 Commissioner Ramos: Second. 24 COMMISSIONER HENRY: Seconded by Commissioner 25 Ramos. All in favor please say aye. ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 6 1 (A chorus of ayes.) 2 COMMISSIONER HENRY: Any opposed? 3 (No response.) 4 COMMISSIONER HENRY: Hearing none, the motion 5 carries. 6 7 8 9 10 COMMISSIONER HENRY: Next are the retirement 11 ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 7 1 certificates and service awards. 2 MR. COOK: Mr. Cook, would you please make 3 these presentations? 4 MR. COOK: Thank you, sir. 5 Commissioners and guests, Russell Downey began 6 his employment with TPWD in October as a regional 7 maintenance specialist in the Waco Regional State Parks 8 office. He later became a project manager for TPWD 9 Engineering Division at Austin headquarters. He was 10 later transferred to the Construction, Design and 11 Management Branch, which became the Infrastructure 12 Division. 13 As a project manager, he was involved in 14 overseeing the design and construction of the following 15 parks: Possum Kingdom State Park, Lake Arrowhead State 16 Park, Dinosaur Valley, Abilene and Sheldon Lake Fish 17 Hatchery. Russell was transferred to the Grants-in-Aid 18 Office; there he reviewed hundreds of designs for local 19 park grants for a number of communities across the state 20 and from Texas' largest to smallest communities until his 21 retirement. 22 Celebrate with me today Russell Downey in the 23 State Parks Division, Engineer III, with 34 years of 24 service. 25 (Applause.) ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 8 1 MR. DOWNEY: Thank you, sir. 2 MR. COOK: Another retirement certificate: 3 Jorge Zapata, Park Ranger IV, State Parks, Falcon 4 Heights, Texas. Jorge began his employment in 1971 as a 5 part-time, and, after three or four years, he became a 6 full-time employee. Jorge has worked at Falcon State 7 Park for more than half of his life, and thanks to the 8 people that gave him the opportunity to work in one of 9 the best parks in the state of Texas. 10 Jorge Zapata, Park Ranger IV, Falcon Heights, 11 Texas, with 31 years of service. 12 (Applause.) 13 MR. ZAPATA: Thank you, sir. 14 MR. COOK: Our last retirement certificate: 15 Larry J. Shahan, Park Ranger IV, State Parks, Wichita 16 Falls, Texas, with 26 years of service. 17 Larry began working for the Texas Parks and 18 Wildlife Department in December of 1976 at Lake Arrowhead 19 State Park, where he spent his entire career. He became 20 interested in the water and wastewater treatment plants 21 at Lake Arrowhead and soon became the backup operator. 22 After the retirement of the utility plant operator, Larry 23 was promoted into that position. Larry plans to leave 24 behind the park where he grew up and move on to Seguin, 25 an area of the state where he has long wanted to live. ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 9 1 Retiring with 26 years of service, Larry 2 Shahan. 3 (Applause.) 4 MR. SHAHAN: Thank you, very much. 5 MR. COOK: Now, in our service awards, with 30 6 years of service: Cullen S. Reeves, State Parks Manager 7 I, Rockport, Texas. Stormy Reeves began his employment 8 with TPWD in the summer of 1970 as an intern at 9 Washington-on-the-Brazos. In 1972, he became the park 10 manager at Palmetto State Park and, in 1973, became the 11 park manager at Goose Island State Park. 12 Goose Island State Park has helped lead the 13 state parks system into the information age. In 1995, 14 Goose Island was chosen as one of the four beta parks to 15 utilize and evaluate the park office program. Goose 16 Island was also the trial park chosen to accept credit 17 card payments for camp sites, park store merchandise and 18 licenses. He works there today. 19 Please welcome Stormy Reeves, with 30 years of 20 service. 21 (Applause.) 22 MR. REEVES: Thank you, sir. 23 MR. COOK: Next, Jerry D. Hearn, Game Warden V, 24 Law Enforcement, Roby, Texas, with 30 years of service. 25 Game Warden Jerry Hearn began his employment ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 10 1 with TPWD in August of 1972. He graduated from the 28th 2 Texas Game Warden Academy class at Texas A&M University 3 and was assigned to Tom Green and Irion Counties. In 4 July 1980, Jerry transferred to Fort Davis, Texas. Since 5 1993, he has been stationed in Fisher and Stonewall 6 Counties. Jerry has been a participant in the Shikar- 7 Safari Award of the Year. 8 Welcome for me Jerry D. Hearn, 30 years, Law 9 Enforcement, from Roby, Texas. 10 (Applause.) 11 COMMISSIONER HENRY: Seconded by Commissioner 12 Ramos. All in favor please say aye. 13 (A chorus of ayes.) 14 COMMISSIONER HENRY: Any opposed? 15 (No response.) 16 COMMISSIONER HENRY: Hearing none, the motion 17 carries. 18 Next are the retirement certificates and 19 service awards. 20 Mr. Cook, would you please make these 21 presentations? 22 MR. COOK: Thank you, sir. 23 Commissioners and guests, Russell Downey began 24 his employment with TPWD in October as a regional 25 maintenance specialist in the Waco Regional State Parks ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 11 1 office. He later became a project manager for TPWD 2 Engineering Division at Austin headquarters. He was 3 later transferred to the Construction, Design and 4 Management Branch, which became the Infrastructure 5 Division. 6 As a project manager, he was involved in 7 overseeing the design and construction of the following 8 parks: Possum Kingdom State Park, Lake Arrowhead State 9 Park, Dinosaur Valley, Abilene and Sheldon Lake Fish 10 Hatchery. Russell was transferred to the Grants-in-Aid 11 Office; there he reviewed hundreds of designs for local 12 park grants for a number of communities across the state 13 and from Texas' largest to smallest communities until his 14 retirement. 15 Celebrate with me today Russell Downey in the 16 State Parks Division, Engineer III, with 34 years of 17 service. 18 (Applause.) 19 MR. DOWNEY: Thank you, sir. 20 MR. COOK: Another retirement certificate: 21 Jorge Zapata, Park Ranger IV, State Parks, Falcon 22 Heights, Texas. Jorge began his employment in 1971 as a 23 part-time, and, after three or four years, he became a 24 full-time employee. Jorge has worked at Falcon State 25 Park for more than half of his life, and thanks to the ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 12 1 people that gave him the opportunity to work in one of 2 the best parks in the state of Texas. 3 Jorge Zapata, Park Ranger IV, Falcon Heights, 4 Texas, with 31 years of service. 5 (Applause.) 6 MR. ZAPATA: Thank you, sir. 7 MR. COOK: Our last retirement certificate: 8 Larry J. Shahan, Park Ranger IV, State Parks, Wichita 9 Falls, Texas, with 26 years of service. 10 Larry began working for the Texas Parks and 11 Wildlife Department in December of 1976 at Lake Arrowhead 12 State Park, where he spent his entire career. He became 13 interested in the water and wastewater treatment plants 14 at Lake Arrowhead and soon became the backup operator. 15 After the retirement of the utility plant operator, Larry 16 was promoted into that position. Larry plans to leave 17 behind the park where he grew up and move on to Seguin, 18 an area of the state where he has long wanted to live. 19 Retiring with 26 years of service, Larry 20 Shahan. 21 (Applause.) 22 MR. SHAHAN: Thank you, very much. 23 MR. COOK: Now, in our service awards, with 30 24 years of service: Cullen S. Reeves, State Parks Manager 25 I, Rockport, Texas. Stormy Reeves began his employment ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 13 1 with TPWD in the summer of 1970 as an intern at 2 Washington-on-the-Brazos. In 1972, he became the park 3 manager at Palmetto State Park and, in 1973, became the 4 park manager at Goose Island State Park. 5 Goose Island State Park has helped lead the 6 state parks system into the information age. In 1995, 7 Goose Island was chosen as one of the four beta parks to 8 utilize and evaluate the park office program. Goose 9 Island was also the trial park chosen to accept credit 10 card payments for camp sites, park store merchandise and 11 licenses. He works there today. 12 Please welcome Stormy Reeves, with 30 years of 13 service. 14 (Applause.) 15 MR. REEVES: Thank you, sir. 16 MR. COOK: Next, Jerry D. Hearn, Game Warden V, 17 Law Enforcement, Roby, Texas, with 30 years of service. 18 Game Warden Jerry Hearn began his employment 19 with TPWD in August of 1972. He graduated from the 28th 20 Texas Game Warden Academy class at Texas A&M University 21 and was assigned to Tom Green and Irion Counties. In 22 July 1980, Jerry transferred to Fort Davis, Texas. Since 23 1993, he has been stationed in Fisher and Stonewall 24 Counties. Jerry has been a participant in the Shikar- 25 Safari Award of the Year. ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 14 1 Welcome for me Jerry D. Hearn, 30 years, Law 2 Enforcement, from Roby, Texas. 3 (Applause.) 4 MR. HEARN: Thank you, sir. 5 MR. COOK: Raymond Kosub, Law Enforcement 6 Division, from Kirbyville, Texas, is a Game Warden V with 7 30 years of service. Game Warden Raymond Kosub began his 8 employment with TPWD in August of 1972. He also 9 graduated from the 28th Game Warden Academy class at 10 Texas A&M University. 11 He was assigned to Kirbyville, Texas, in Jasper 12 County, and has been there his entire career. Raymond 13 was the 1999 recipient of the Texas Officer of the Year 14 Award for the Southeastern Association of Fish and 15 Wildlife Agencies. 16 Raymond Kosub, Law Enforcement Division, 30 17 years of service. 18 (Applause.) 19 MR. KOSUB: Thank you, sir. 20 MR. COOK: Tim Moorman, Game Warden V in the 21 Law Enforcement Division, works in Brady, Texas, and has 22 30 years of service. Game Warden Tim Moorman, another 23 graduate of the 28th Texas Game Warden Academy class at 24 Texas A&M University, was assigned to Liberty County. In 25 1975, Tim transferred to McCulloch County and has been ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 15 1 there since. 2 One of Tim's most significant contributions to 3 the law enforcement division was the creation of law 4 enforcement's Wildnet site this past year, which is 5 bringing game wardens electronically into the 21st 6 century. This internet/intranet site enables wardens to 7 stay apprised of the latest events in the division as 8 well as retrieve electronic forms created by Tim for 9 routine enforcement duties. 10 With 30 years of service, Tim Moorman, Brady, 11 Texas. 12 (Applause.) 13 MR. MOORMAN: Thank you. 14 MR. COOK: That 28th game warden class must 15 have been a pretty rough bunch. John Muery was also in 16 that class. 17 John is a Captain Game Warden in Law 18 Enforcement Division at Rockport, Texas, and another 19 graduate of that 28th academy class at Texas A&M 20 University. His first assignments included Jefferson and 21 Palo Pinto Counties. John was promoted to Lieutenant 22 Training Officer at the Game Warden Training Academy and 23 was there until 1992. He is currently the district 24 supervisor in Rockport, Region 10. 25 John Muery, Law Enforcement Division, with 30 ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 16 1 years of service. 2 (Applause.) 3 MR. MUERY: Thank you, sir. 4 MR. COOK: David Perry in the Law Enforcement 5 Division, with 30 years of service, is a Game Warden V 6 from Plum, Texas. Game Warden David Perry is another 7 graduate of the 28th academy class. His first duty 8 station was at Freeport, Brazoria County, and he remained 9 there for 14 years. In 1987, he transferred to Colorado 10 County, where he worked for almost 13 years. And in 11 December of 2000, he transferred to Fayette County, where 12 he serves today. 13 With 30 years of service, David Perry, Game 14 Warden V, Plum, Texas. 15 (Applause.) 16 MR. PERRY: Thank you, sir. 17 MR. COOK: This next gentleman I want to -- 18 sometimes I regress and get into telling stories on some 19 of these gentlemen, but I'm going to be good today and 20 not do that. 21 David Sinclair I have known a long time, and he 22 is a good friend. David Sinclair in the Law Enforcement 23 Division, with 30 years of service, began his career with 24 TPWD in August of 1972; he is another graduate of the 25 28th Game Warden Training Academy class at Texas A&M ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 17 1 University. He was a field game warden for three-and-a- 2 half years in Crockett and Houston Counties and 16-1/2 3 years in Kerrville in Kerr County. 4 In 1989, while in Kerr County, David was 5 selected as the Texas Outstanding Law Enforcement Officer 6 of the Year, an award presented by the Southeastern 7 Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. 8 In 1993, David was promoted to captain on the 9 staff at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department 10 headquarters here in Austin and, in March of 1994, to 11 assistant commander. On January 1, 1997, he assumed the 12 role of chief of wildlife enforcement, where he serves 13 today. 14 With 30 years of service, David Sinclair. 15 (Applause.) 16 MR. SINCLAIR: Thank you, sir. If you don't 17 tell, I won't tell. 18 (Laughter.) 19 (Applause.) 20 MR. COOK: Royce Wells, Chief of Training, Law 21 Enforcement, Austin Texas, with 30 years of service, 22 again from the 28th Game Warden Academy class at Texas 23 A&M. His first duty station was in El Paso County. He 24 also served in Hudspeth and Brewster Counties prior to 25 coming to Austin, where he was promoted to lieutenant ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 18 1 instructor at the game warden academy; from there, he was 2 promoted to district supervisor at the Temple regional 3 office. 4 Then, in 1992, Royce promoted to chief of 5 training at the game warden academy and served there for 6 ten years. Royce retired after 30 years of dedicated 7 service as a Texas game warden, but he has recently 8 returned to work as a recruiter for the law enforcement 9 division. 10 With 30 years of service, Royce G. Wells, 11 Austin, Texas. 12 (Applause.) 13 MR. COOK: Just when you think you've gotten 14 rid of them, they come back. 15 (Laughter.) 16 MR. WELLS: Thank you, Bob. 17 MR. COOK: Page Campbell in the Coastal 18 Fisheries Division has 25 years of service. Page started 19 her career with the Coastal Fisheries Division in 1997 20 [sic] as a fish and wildlife technician in Seadrift, 21 conducting interviews at boat ramps. Within two years, 22 she was promoted to biologist and quickly rose through 23 the ranks. 24 Today, she is a program specialist with 25 expertise in recreational and commercial fisheries in ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 19 1 Texas bays and the Gulf of Mexico. She represents our 2 Agency on several committees of the Gulf of Mexico 3 Fisheries Management Council and the Gulf States Marine 4 Fisheries Commission. She is also involved in fishery 5 program design, cost estimates, data collection and 6 analyses, report writing and presentations. She has 7 truly been an asset to the Coastal Fisheries Division and 8 to our Agency. 9 With 25 years of service, Page Campbell, 10 Rockport, Texas. 11 (Applause.) 12 MR. COOK: Thank you, very much. 13 MS. CAMPBELL: Thank you. 14 (Applause.) 15 MR. COOK: Johnny Dominguez with the State 16 Parks Division in West Columbia, Texas, has 25 years of 17 service. Johnny began his employment with TPWD in 18 October 1977 at Goose Island State Park. During his 19 tenure, he has been at Goliad State Historical Site and 20 at Varner-Hogg State Historical Park. He is currently at 21 Varner-Hogg and has been there since 1991. 22 With 25 years of service, Johnny Dominguez, 23 West Columbia, Texas. 24 (Applause.) 25 MR. DOMINGUEZ: Thank you. ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 20 1 MR. COOK: Thank you, sir. 2 Daniel A. Flores, Game Warden IV from 3 Huntsville, Texas, in our Law Enforcement Division has 25 4 years of service. Game Warden Flores began his 5 employment with TPWD in 1978 in Noxious Vegetation 6 Control, then transferred to Austin in 1980, working at 7 the game warden training academy. 8 In 1987, he was accepted to the game warden 9 academy, and he graduated in February of 1987. His first 10 duty station was in Galveston County. He is currently 11 stationed in Walker County, where he serves today. 12 With 25 years of service, Daniel Flores, Law Enforcement 13 Division, Huntsville, Texas. 14 (Applause.) 15 MR. COOK: Thank you, sir. 16 MR. FLORES: Thank you. 17 MR. COOK: John Thompson, with 25 years of 18 service, works here in Austin in Executive Administration 19 as an Auditor IV. John began his employment with TPWD in 20 1975. He served in various positions throughout the 21 finance division, beginning as an accounting clerk in the 22 accounting branch. In 1979, he became chief accountant 23 in the accounting branch. 24 In 1991, he was promoted to director of 25 accounting and payroll. John is currently an auditor in ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 21 1 our Internal Audit Branch. 2 With 25 years of service, John Thompson, 3 Austin, Texas. 4 (Applause.) 5 MR. THOMPSON: Thank you. 6 MR. COOK: Keith L. Ahrens, State Parks 7 Division, Somerville, Texas, has 20 years of service. He 8 has spent his entire 20-year career with TPWD taking care 9 of Birch Creek State Park on Lake Somerville. He was 10 hired as a seasonal employee in the summer of 1977 and, 11 except for a short period when he left to go to college, 12 has been there since. 13 Keith currently serves as Park Ranger V and 14 utility plant operator, but, over the years he has served 15 in many capacities. He has done everything from general 16 maintenance and repairs to registering campers to playing 17 grim reaper on the park's haunted Halloween hayrides. 18 Keith also serves the public as a volunteer fire fighter 19 EMT first responder. 20 Keith is described by his co-workers as 21 dedicated, dependable and a team player who always looks 22 out for the park's best interests. We commend Keith for 23 a job well done and wish him another great 20 years at 24 Birch Creek State Park. 25 Keith Ahrens, Somerville, Texas. ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 22 1 (Applause.) 2 MR. AHRENS: Thank you. 3 MR. COOK: Thank you, sir. 4 Rocky Alba in our Law Enforcement Division has 5 20 years of service. Rocky's a Game Warden V. 6 Game Warden Rocky Alba began his employment 7 with TPWD in September of 1982. He graduated from the 8 37th game warden training academy in January of 1983, and 9 his first duty station was at Matagorda Island, where he 10 worked until 1985. 11 In 1985, Rocky transferred to Cameron County 12 and has been there until -- and was there until 1984 -- 13 excuse me -- 1994. He then transferred to Comal County 14 as a water recreational specialist on the Guadalupe 15 River, where he works today. 16 Rocky Alba, Game Warden V, New Braunfels, 17 Texas, with 20 years of service. 18 (Applause.) 19 MR. COOK: Randy Bell, Manager V in our State 20 Parks Division, Waco, Texas, has 20 years of service. He 21 began his employment with TPWD in 1979 as a volunteer and 22 seasonal worker at Lake Brownwood State Park. 23 In 1983, he was hired full time as Park Ranger 24 III at Lake Livingston State Park. From 1987 to 1995, 25 Randy's managerial positions have included assistant park ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 23 1 manager at Martin Dies, park manager at Copper Breaks 2 State Park, park manager at Ray Roberts Lake State Park, 3 and he currently serves as the Regional Director for the 4 State Parks Division in Waco, Texas. 5 Randy Bell, with 20 years of service. 6 (Applause.) 7 MR. BELL: Thank you. 8 MR. COOK: John N. Bonham, Junior, Game Warden 9 V, from Floresville, Texas, with 20 years of service. 10 John Bonham graduated from the 37th game warden training 11 academy in 1983 and was stationed in Aransas Pass until 12 1990. He then transferred to Floresville, where he 13 remains today. 14 John Bonham, Game Warden V, Floresville, Texas, 15 with 20 years of service. 16 (Applause.) 17 MR. BONHAM: Thank you, sir. 18 MR. COOK: Jerry Delgado, Game Warden V from 19 China Springs, Texas, with 20 years of service. Game 20 Warden Jerry Delgado began his employment with TPWD in 21 September of 1982. He is also a graduate from the 37th 22 game warden training academy and was first stationed in 23 McLennan County and remains there today. 24 During his tenure with the Agency, he has 25 received several awards for rescue and recovery efforts ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 24 1 and awards for outstanding contributions to local water 2 safety programs and has been recognized by the National 3 Water Safety Congress. 4 Jerry Delgado, Game Warden V, China Springs, 5 Texas, with 20 years of service. 6 (Applause.) 7 MR. DELGADO: Thank you, sir. 8 MR. COOK: Catherine Flores in the State Parks 9 Division at Port Aransas, Texas, has 20 years of service. 10 Catherine first went to work for Texas Parks and Wildlife 11 Department at Goose Island State Park in June of 1975. 12 She worked as a Clerk III for Stormy Reeves and was there 13 for five years. 14 She left the Agency for a short while and 15 returned to work in the Region II headquarters office as 16 an hourly worker. In 1988, she was hired at Mustang 17 Island State Park, where she serves today as an 18 Administrative Tech III. 19 Catherine Flores, State Parks Division, Port 20 Aransas, Texas, with 20 years of service. 21 (Applause.) 22 MS. FLORES: Thank you, very much. 23 MR. COOK: Howard L. Fluitt, Game Warden V in 24 the Law Enforcement Division in Bacliff, Texas, has 20 25 years of service. Game Warden Rip Fluitt graduated from ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 25 1 the 37th game warden training academy and was assigned to 2 Galveston County and continues to work there today. 3 Howard L. "Rip" Fluitt, Game Warden V, Bacliff, 4 Texas, 20 years of service. 5 (Applause.) 6 MR. FLUITT: Thank you. 7 MR. COOK: Thomas R. Gallenbach, Game Warden V, 8 Tenaha, Texas, with 20 years of service. Game Warden Tom 9 Gallenbach was also a graduate of the 37th game warden 10 training academy. He was assigned to St. Augustine 11 County and was there for nine years. He is currently in 12 Panola County, where Tom has been stationed for 11 years. 13 Thomas R. Gallenbach, Law Enforcement Division, 14 with 20 years of service, Tenaha, Texas. 15 (Applause.) 16 MR. GALLENBACH: Thank you, sir. 17 MR. COOK: Keith W. Gerth, Game Warden V, 18 Kingsland, Texas, with 20 years of service, also 19 graduated from the 37th game warden training academy. He 20 was first assigned to Cameron County at Port Isabel. He 21 later moved to Los Fresnos in Cameron County. And after 22 ten years on the lower coast, he transferred to Burnet 23 County, at Kingsland, where he serves today as a Game 24 Warden V. 25 Keith Gerth, Law Enforcement Division, ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 26 1 Kingsland, Texas, with 20 years of service. 2 (Applause.) 3 MR. GERTH: Thank you, sir. 4 MR. COOK: Kenneth R. Jackson, Lieutenant Game 5 Warden from Rusk, Texas, has 20 years of service. He 6 graduated from the 37th game warden training academy. He 7 served at his first duty station, in Moore and Sherman 8 Counties, for nine-and-a-half years. In 1992, Ken 9 transferred to Nacogdoches County for six-and-a-half 10 years, promoted to lieutenant game warden and was 11 assigned to the Rusk Regional Office, where he currently 12 serves. 13 Kenneth R. Jackson, Lieutenant Game Warden from 14 Rusk, Texas, with 20 years of service. 15 (Applause.) 16 MR. JACKSON: Thank you, sir. 17 MR. COOK: Jim Lundberg, Game Warden V in Era, 18 Texas, with 20 years of service. Game Warden Jim 19 Lundberg also graduated from the 37th game warden 20 training Academy. His first assignment was Cold Springs 21 in San Jacinto County. In 1987, he transferred to Denton 22 County, and, in 1998, he transferred to Cook County, 23 where he serves today. 24 Jim Lundberg, Game Warden V, 20 years of 25 service, Law Enforcement Division. ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 27 1 (Applause.) 2 MR. LUNDBERG: Thank you. 3 MR. COOK: Thank you, sir. 4 Rex Mayes, Captain Game Warden, Victoria, 5 Texas, with 20 years of service. Captain Rex Mayes 6 graduated from the 37th game warden training academy. 7 His first duty station was in Victoria County. In June 8 1997, he was promoted to captain and continues to serve 9 in Victoria County. 10 With 20 years of service, Captain Game Warden 11 Rex. L. Mayes. 12 (Applause.) 13 MR. MAYES: Thank you. 14 MR. COOK: Ralph Montemayor, Game Warden V, 15 Groveton, Texas, with 20 years of service. Ralph 16 graduated from the 37th game warden training academy and 17 was assigned to Trinity County and has been there his 18 entire career. He's an active participant with the Texas 19 Game Warden Association and their fund-raising efforts. 20 Ralph Montemayor, Game Warden V, Groveton, 21 Texas, with 20 years of service. 22 (Applause.) 23 MR. MONTEMAYOR: Thank you. 24 MR. COOK: Bobby Schumacher with the -- is a 25 Park Ranger III at the Somerville State Park with 20 ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 28 1 years of service. Bobby began his 20-year career with 2 the Department as a summer seasonal employee at Birch 3 Creek State Park on Lake Somerville in August of 1982. 4 Bobby currently serves as a Park Ranger III 5 with additional duties as a park safety officer and as a 6 backup utility plant operator. Bobby has served in 7 numerous capacities, including maintenance and repairs, 8 prescription burning, customer service and interpretive 9 programs. Bobby is described by his co-workers as 10 dedicated, dependable and a team leader through his 11 positive outlook. We commend Bobby for a job well done. 12 Bobby Schumacher, Park Ranger III, Somerville, 13 Texas, with 20 years of service. 14 (Applause.) 15 MR. SCHUMACHER: Thank you. 16 MR. COOK: Congratulations. 17 Gary W. Voges is a Game Warden V at 18 Goldthwaite, Texas, with 20 years of service. Game 19 Warden Gary Voges also graduated from the 37th game 20 warden training academy. His first assignment was in 21 Reeves County, and his assigned area of responsibility 22 also included Ward, Winkler and Loving Counties. 23 In 1989, he transferred to Bell County, at 24 Temple. And in 1993, he transferred to his current 25 assignment in Mills County, at Goldthwaite. ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 29 1 With 20 years of service, Game Warden V, Gary 2 Voges from the Law Enforcement Division, Goldthwaite, 3 Texas. 4 (Applause.) 5 MR. VOGES: Thank you, sir. 6 MR. COOK: That concludes our retirement and 7 service awards, sir. 8 COMMISSIONER HENRY: Thank you, Mr. Cook. 9 At this time, I would like to inform the 10 audience that everyone is welcome to stay for the 11 remainder of the meeting; however, if anyone wishes to 12 leave, now would be an appropriate time to do so. Please 13 be reminded to move away from the doorway as you are 14 leaving so as to let everyone through the doorway. And 15 thank you for being with us. 16 (Pause.) 17 COMMISSIONER HENRY: Thank you, again. 18 Mr. Cook, would you continue, please? 19 MR. COOK: Thank you, sir. 20 Mr. Chairman and Commissioners, each year, the 21 Shikar-Safari International recognizes game wardens from 22 North America as wildlife conservation officers of the 23 year. This marks the 23rd year this award has been 24 presented to a deserving Texas game warden. 25 The Texas Wildlife Officer of the Year for 2002 ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 30 1 is Brent Isom, a Texas Tech-ex who graduated from the 2 Texas Game Warden Academy in October of 1992. His first 3 and only duty station has been Young County in Graham, 4 Texas, where he excels in all areas of game, fish and 5 water safety enforcement through education, deterrence 6 and apprehension. 7 During Brent's career, he has had an excellent 8 work record and has displayed a positive and willing 9 attitude. He has a background in emergency medical 10 treatment as a field paramedic and a flight medic and has 11 initiated a remarkable plan and a team in responding to 12 emergency incidents. 13 He has organized and managed several search and 14 rescue operations. In December 2001, Brent led one of 15 the largest search and rescue operations in north-central 16 Texas involving a six-year-old child who became missing 17 while on an outing with his family. 18 He works on Possum Kingdom, one of the highest- 19 profile lakes in the state. Brent and his wife, Drew, 20 open their lake home to game wardens that work the lake 21 while on boating-while-intoxicated task forces, saving 22 the state commercial lodging costs. 23 Brent is certified as a marine safety officer 24 instructor and a boater, angler and hunter education 25 instructor and a life-support provider and instructor. ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 31 1 He is always the first choice as a training officer 2 because of how he positively impacts less-experienced 3 officers. 4 Warden Isom projects self-confidence, authority 5 and enthusiasm. He is the ultimate team player and has 6 displayed a strong personal commitment to his profession 7 and goes beyond what is expected. It is the action and 8 results like these that give me great pleasure in 9 recognizing Game Warden Brent Isom as the Shikar-Safari 10 International 2002 Texas Wildlife Conservation Officer of 11 the Year. 12 We have several members of the Shikar-Safari 13 group with us here today. I hope they will join me at 14 the microphone for this presentation and welcome Texas 15 Game Warden Brent Isom. 16 (Applause.) 17 MR. COOK: Congratulations, Brent. 18 MR. STUMBERG: I'd like to introduce who's 19 going to make the award. Mark Barron is head of this 20 program for this year, as each of our president-elects -- 21 and he'll be president next year -- of Shikar-Safari. 22 Mark's a rancher and oil producer, but, more than that, 23 he's a great conservationist. 24 And I'm really pleased to introduce our 25 president-elect and head of this program, Mark Barron. ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 32 1 Mark? 2 MR. BARRON: Thank you, Luis. 3 Luis is our past president and, of course, a 4 past commissioner in this body. And as -- since I've 5 been doing this program this year -- I've been in it for 6 about six months -- and seeing the quality game wardens 7 from all over our country and Canada being awarded -- 8 going through the program, it's just amazing to me how 9 much of the fabric of our country and the world the game 10 wardens make up -- and hold everything together. 11 And Texas always seems to have a very good 12 quality candidate, and Brent is obviously very well 13 qualified. And we're just honored to have such a good 14 guy be the award winner. 15 Thank you. 16 (Pause.) 17 MR. ISOM: Thank you. 18 MR. COOK: I suggest let's move right back 19 here. We've got several people who want to get pictures. 20 You all come on up -- the ones who would like to get 21 pictures. 22 (Pause.) 23 (Applause.) 24 MR. COOK: I know that all of us -- we all 25 assume that we know Commissioner Luis Stumberg, but I ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 33 1 want to make sure that the audience recognizes that the 2 gentleman who introduced this program, one of our former- 3 and-always commissioners, I believe, Luis Stumberg, a 4 gentleman who has been of incredible assistance and help 5 to this Agency for his entire life and continues to 6 support us. And we appreciate him very much. 7 Mr. Chairman and Commissioners, our next award 8 is for the Texas Boating Law Enforcement Officer of the 9 Year. The National Association of State Boating Law 10 Administrators is comprised of 50 U. S. states and the U. 11 S. territories. This association was created to achieve 12 uniformity in boating laws from state to state and to 13 ensure enjoyment of the waters for all boaters. 14 Each year, the association recognizes an 15 enforcement officer from each state as a State Boating 16 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year. The Texas Boating 17 Law Enforcement Officer of the Year for the year 2002 is 18 Game Warden Bill Jones. 19 Bill Jones is a 19-year game warden with the 20 Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and has been an 21 outstanding water safety enforcement officer. Bill is 22 stationed in Palo Pinto County and has enforcement 23 responsibility for one of the highest boating volume 24 boating lakes in Texas. He assisted in setting up one of 25 the first BWI task force operations, involving local law ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 34 1 enforcement and game wardens from Region II and Region 2 IV. 3 As a certified Intoxilyzer operator, and 4 trained in field sobriety, Bill began research methods 5 for instruction of law enforcement officers in these 6 techniques. He developed a hands-on training course 7 designed to empower game wardens and other Agency 8 officers to perform at a high level of self-confidence 9 and assure that they do it correctly. 10 First year results contributed to an over-400 11 percent increase in boating-while-intoxicated cases in 12 his district. Bill's belief in the work-harder-and- 13 smarter work ethic has impacted his fellow enforcement 14 officers to excel in providing protection to the public 15 on our waterways. 16 It is my honor and privilege to present to you 17 the 2002 Texas Boating Law Enforcement Officer of the 18 Year, Texas Game Warden William "Bill" Jones. 19 (Applause.) 20 MR. JONES: Thank you. 21 MR. COOK: Congratulations, sir. 22 (Pause.) 23 MR. COOK: Mr. Chairman, I believe that 24 concludes our awards and recognition ceremonies. 25 COMMISSIONER HENRY: Thank you, very much, Mr. ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 35 1 Cook. 2 Our first order of business is the approval of 3 the agenda which we have before us. And as was noted 4 yesterday, because of the conflict, I'm proposing that we 5 move Dr. Brown's briefing item on the future of hunting 6 and place it on the agenda after Agenda Item 9. 7 Is there a motion for approval? 8 COMMISSIONER WATSON: So moved. 9 COMMISSIONER HENRY: A motion by Commissioner 10 Watson. 11 COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Second. 12 COMMISSIONER HENRY: A second by Commissioner 13 Ramos. All in favor? 14 (A chorus of ayes.) 15 COMMISSIONER HENRY: Any opposed? 16 (No response.) 17 COMMISSIONER HENRY: Hearing none, the motion 18 is carried. This brings us to Agenda Item 2, the 19 briefing on the Texas Wildlife Expo. Ernie Gammage will 20 make that presentation. 21 (Whereupon, a briefing ensued.) 22 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: The next item of business 23 is a presentation by Mr. McCarty on the Commission Policy 24 Resolution. 25 MR. McCARTY: Chairman and Commissioners, I'm ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 36 1 Gene McCarty, Chief of Staff for the Department. The 2 item before you today is a resolution to amend two 3 Commission policies: Commission Policy 5, which is the 4 travel policy, and Commission Policy 9, which is the 5 budget policy. 6 The current Commission travel policy provides 7 for reimbursement of explains incurred while attending 8 meetings. This is consistent with the statute. However, 9 the current policy also requires Commission approval for 10 any additional travel pertaining to Department programs, 11 and this is more restrictive than the statute. The staff 12 would propose the removal of this restriction in an 13 effort to make the Commission policy consistent with 14 statute. 15 The proposed amendment to Commission Policy 9, 16 the budget policy, is a revision to clarify that 17 additional federal funds and interest on bond funds are 18 exempt from the requirement of a budget adjustment 19 approval from the Commission. This is as it was 20 presented verbally to the Commission in August -- and 21 adopted -- but the printed copy that was signed had this 22 omission, and we propose to put it back the way it was 23 verbally presented to the Commission in August. 24 Staff would recommend that the Commission adopt 25 the following motion: The Parks and Wildlife Commission ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 37 1 adopts by resolution the revised travel of Commission 2 members and the revised budget policy. Do you have any 3 questions? 4 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Is there any discussion 5 from the Commission? 6 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: I move approval. 7 COMMISSIONER WATSON: Second. 8 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: All in favor? 9 (A chorus of ayes.) 10 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Opposed? 11 (No response.) 12 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Motion carries. 13 Thank you. 14 Agenda Item Number 4: Artwork approval. 15 Ms. Frances Stiles, will you please make your 16 presentation? 17 MS. STILES: Good morning. My name is Frances 18 Stiles, and I'm with the Administrative Resources 19 Division. I have an action item for your consideration. 20 Under the terms of the contract with Collectors 21 Covey for artwork design and marketing of the print 22 program, the Commission reviews the artwork each year for 23 the waterfowl, the saltwater, the turkey and the non-game 24 stamps. Yesterday, we had the original artwork here, and 25 today, we have the artwork on the monitors. ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 38 1 This year, for the waterfowl, we have a Mottled 2 Duck by Sherri Russell Meline. The saltwater artwork is 3 the Speckled Trout by Mark Sussino. The turkey artwork 4 is the Rio Grande Turkey by Reggie McLeRoy, and, 5 actually, this one has probably had our most positive 6 comments out of all the artwork that we've had. And the 7 non-game is the Green Jay by John Dearman. And staff 8 recommends approval. 9 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Is there any discussion 10 from the Commission -- or comments? 11 (No response.) 12 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: I think they're beautiful. 13 And I agree. I love the turkey. I think that's 14 spectacular. 15 We don't have anyone signed up on this item. 16 Do I have a motion? 17 COMMISSIONER WATSON: So moved. 18 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: A second? 19 COMMISSIONER HENRY: Second. 20 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: A second by Commissioner 21 Henry. All in favor? 22 (A chorus of ayes.) 23 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Opposed? 24 (No response.) 25 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Motion carries. ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 39 1 Thank you, Ms. Stiles. 2 MS. STILES: Thank you. 3 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Agenda Item Number 5, Crab 4 trap season. 5 Mr. Robin Reichers? 6 MR. REICHERS: Madame Chairman and 7 Commissioners, my name is Robin Reichers, and I'm the 8 Management Director of the Coastal Fisheries Division. 9 And I'm presenting to you a proposal regarding the 10 abandoned crab trap removal program, which is in the 11 statewide hunting and fishing proclamation. 12 This item proposes final adoption of amendments 13 to Chapter 65 Section 78, Crabs and Ghost Shrimp. In the 14 77th Legislature, Senate Bill 1410, of course, granted 15 the authority to create the closed crab trap season for 16 the purpose of removing abandoned traps. 17 Closure could range from ten to 30 days. And 18 after the first seven days, the traps were declared as 19 litter, and that's when we could use volunteer help in 20 that regard. 21 In quickly reviewing the 2001 abandoned trap 22 clean-up, we were able to pick up over 8,000 traps during 23 the week. We had over 550 volunteers, using over 200 of 24 their own vessels, to help us collect those traps. In 25 all, we had over 58 companies, municipalities, ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 40 1 organizations and government entities who donated 2 resources ranging from tarps and gloves and grappling 3 hooks to pick up the traps, as well as their time and 4 effort. 5 Again, as we had in a more lengthy review 6 earlier in the year, we had help from almost all of the 7 divisions who were within reach of the coastal areas of 8 the state in the Commission, as well. 9 Based on input from the Crab Advisory Committee 10 and a review of last year's closure, the Department again 11 proposed in The Texas Register a 16-day coast-wide 12 closure, which would range from March 1 to March 16. And 13 that differed from last year's closure in that it was 14 actually the first two weeks in March instead of the last 15 two weeks of February. 16 We held four public hearings along the coast. 17 We had 41 people in attendance, and we received 22 18 comments at those hearings. I might add, since that 19 slide and since yesterday evening, we've received an 20 additional seven comments, as well. 21 In general, most of the comments directly 22 related to the closure were about the timing of the 23 closure; most of those comments basically wanted us to 24 move the closure back up into the last two weeks of 25 February. Based on those comments, staff concurs and ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 41 1 proposes that we move the closure back, and it would 2 actually start on February 15 and run through March 2, 3 with re-opening of the fishery on March 3. 4 If you look at the calendar there, it -- 5 basically, the red or pink-type coloring starts the first 6 seven days of the closure, when law enforcement officials 7 can actually pick up traps. And then our major event day 8 would be on the 22nd of February, and then we would have 9 the backup weekend of March 1 and 2 if, for some reason, 10 we have weather difficulties on the first weekend. 11 Staff recommends adoption of the following 12 motion which reflects the change in the item, as proposed 13 in The Texas Register, in Chapter 65 Section 78 changing 14 the timing of the proposed time frame from March 1 to 16 15 to February 16 through March 2. I'd be happy to answer 16 any questions. 17 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Are there any comments or 18 discussion by the Commission? 19 (No response.) 20 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: I hope that this year's 21 event is as wonderful as last year's and that we're 22 blessed with as perfect weather as we had. And I 23 encourage any Commissioners that can do it to do it. 24 It's a lot of fun, and we get a lot of good stuff done. 25 MR. REICHERS: Thank you, Madame Chair. ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 42 1 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Do you have a motion? 2 COMMISSIONER WATSON: So moved. 3 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: A second? 4 COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Second. 5 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: All in favor? 6 (A chorus of ayes.) 7 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: All opposed? 8 (No response.) 9 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Motion carries. 10 Agenda Item Number 6 is a briefing item: Texas 11 Coastal Paddling Trails. 12 Dr. Bill Harvey? 13 (Whereupon, a briefing ensued.) 14 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Agenda Item Number 7 is an 15 action item: The scientific breeder proclamation - 16 importation. 17 Dr. Jerry Cooke, will you please make your 18 presentation? 19 DR. COOKE: Madame Chairman and members, my 20 name is Jerry Cooke, Game Branch Chief of the Wildlife 21 Division. I'll be presenting to you the proposed changes 22 to the scientific breeder proclamation for action. 23 If you'll recall, at the last meeting, there 24 was a number of adoptions that you made, and then we were 25 directed to publish so that the suspension that we placed ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 43 1 on the importation of white-tailed and mule deer could be 2 repealed. Unfortunately, some of the sections that were 3 adopted had to be withdrawn in order to accomplish the 4 adoption at this time. So there's two items that need to 5 be re-adopted from the last meeting if you choose. 6 Obviously the Number 1 issue is removing the 7 prohibition of importation so that animals imported into 8 the state would fall under the Animal Health Commission's 9 entry requirements. Second, we thought it was relatively 10 clear before that a temporary transfer of an animal from 11 a scientific breeder facility could not leave the 12 jurisdiction of the state, but it was not clear to 13 everyone. So we wish to clarify that issue, that 14 temporary transfers cannot leave the state of Texas. 15 And the final part was -- it was also not clear 16 who should or could buy a purchase permit when animals 17 were being transferred in ownership. And we're 18 clarifying in the rules that either party could in fact 19 make that purchase. 20 Staff's recommended motion is that the Texas 21 Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt 31 TAC 65.609, 610 22 and 611 concerning scientific breeder permits with 23 changes to the proposed text as published in the 24 September 27, 2002 issue of The Texas Register. If you 25 have any questions, I would be happy to try to entertain ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 44 1 them for you at this time. 2 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Do we have any comments or 3 discussion from the Commission of Dr. Cooke? 4 (No response.) 5 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: We have a few people 6 signed up to speak. 7 DR. COOKE: Yes, ma'am. 8 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: So if we don't have any 9 comments or discussion, would Marty Berry come up to 10 speak, followed by Karl Kinsel? 11 (Pause.) 12 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Marty Berry? 13 MR. BERRY: Yes. 14 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: You are up to speak on 15 scientific breeder proclamation - importation. 16 Is Karl Kinsel here? He's next? 17 MR. BERRY: I just walked up, Chairman. I 18 think it must be perfect timing. Good morning. 19 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Good morning. 20 MR. BERRY: How are you all doing this morning? 21 I guess, to keep it real brief and allow the other ones 22 to also speak, that -- I'm Marty Berry. I'm from Corpus 23 Christi, Texas. 24 I have breeder pens, and I have land in about 25 five counties. And it scares me to think that -- under ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 45 1 the circumstances that exist to the north with the CWD 2 and while it's still shaking out, how this Commission 3 would allow deer to be brought back in under any 4 circumstances. And I'd like for you all to keep the 5 borders closed until we know a little bit more about this 6 disease. Thank you. 7 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Following Karl will be 8 Kirby Brown. 9 MR. KINSEL: No comment necessary on behalf of 10 TDA at this time. I just want to thank the Commission 11 and especially Jerry Cooke for the work well done. Thank 12 you. 13 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Kirby, followed by Ellis 14 Gilleland. 15 MR. BROWN: Thank you, Madame Chairman and 16 Commissioners. I just want to say that we appreciate the 17 task force coming together and working on this. It 18 was -- we were able to work out any problems. And this 19 is great. We fully support the staff's proposal. Thank 20 you. 21 MR. GILLELAND: My name is Ellis Gilleland; I'm 22 a private citizen representing Texas Animals, an internet 23 organization. 24 Since your secret meeting in San Antonio last 25 year a year ago with the Texas Deer Association, you ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 46 1 have -- at almost every meeting, you've talked about the 2 need for testing and monitoring of deer in Texas for CWD. 3 It has been all talk, smoke and mirrors. 4 The publication here of your new scientific 5 breeder -- your publication says, quote, "We do not adopt 6 the proposed provision for mandatory testing and 7 monitoring protocols." That's a lie, because there were 8 no proposed protocols presented. 9 The second thing that I'd like to bring to your 10 attention: September 27, in The Texas Register, you say, 11 quote, "The Department strongly believes that vigilance 12 and early detection are crucial to minimizing CWD," et 13 cetera. So you recognize all this verbally, but you do 14 not take any action to institute a testing and monitoring 15 program. 16 The third item I've given you -- these are 17 handouts I'm reading that I've given you. The third item 18 I've given you is from the "Target Talk," Texas Parks and 19 Wildlife's newsletter, dated summer of 2002, in which 20 Director Cooke says, "We plan to detect and control it 21 quickly." Well, you've been planning for a year now. 22 Will you please get off the dime and please do something 23 on getting testing and monitoring of deer? 24 I've also indicated in yellow on this handout 25 that the Texas -- it's your publication, not mine. The ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 47 1 Texas Veterinary Diagnostic Lab in College Station, your 2 words, says it can handle, quote, "500 animal tissues per 3 week," unquote. You have not implemented one tissue 4 under any provision or rule or plan that you have. 5 You've never published anything. You've orally, every 6 meeting, yak, yak, yak by Jerry Cooke, and nothing ever 7 gets done in terms of a concrete proposal for testing. 8 I am very much opposed to importing deer into 9 Texas, more because we have 500,000 hunters and 4 million 10 deer. According to my high school mathematics, that's 11 eight deer per hunter. That's far in excess of what your 12 bag is. 13 The excess deer every year goes up. A couple 14 or three years ago, it was 3-1/2 million. A couple or 15 three years before that, it was 3 million. Next year, it 16 will be 4-1/2 million deer. So there's no reason to 17 bring in more deer from Illinois or Missouri or wherever. 18 The second thing is Lakeway is just overrunning 19 with deer. Anything between Austin and San -- if you've 20 ever driven from Austin to San Angelo at night, you've 21 hit a deer. 22 MR. GILLELAND: If you bypass and go to San 23 Antonio and you go from San Antonio to Junction to Menard 24 up there, you will see if you don't hit one -- on I-10, 25 if you don't hit one, you'll see six or eight, I ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 48 1 guarantee you, dead deer. They're just all over the 2 place. Why bring in more? 3 The third thing I'd like to bring to your 4 attention in combating this bringing in of more deer is 5 that the incubation period is years and years. Everybody 6 finesses an exact number, but it's years. I've heard 7 five, and I've heard ten, or whatever. 8 So bringing them in and -- under the assumption 9 that, "Oh, animal health commission has a plan" -- well, 10 their plan is predicated on something that happens in 11 another state in terms of herd monitoring. That's 12 something they have no control over. 13 And the last thing I'd like to say is: I would 14 ask you to hold off on this for one year -- bringing in 15 deer. Allow the Texas veterinary diagnostic lab to 16 examine these deer on your management areas and park-life 17 areas for one year. If they can do 500 a week, god, you 18 could do an ungodly number in a year. 19 And then, at the end of the year, tell Karl and 20 all these other people that are chomping at the bit, 21 "Okay, you can bring in deer," or, "You can't bring in 22 deer." But why do it now, in the midst of trying to 23 determine what the parameters are? Thank you. 24 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Is there any discussion by 25 the Commission? ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 49 1 (No response.) 2 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: That concludes the public 3 comments on this issue. 4 Commissioner Rising? 5 COMMISSIONER RISING: Mr. Cooke, could you kind 6 of go over what the Texas Animal Health Commission has 7 done, the safeguards that have been put in place? 8 DR. COOKE: The entry requirements -- I almost 9 said they're simple. They are not simple. They're 10 simple when you're used to dealing with it. But, 11 basically, what is required is a monitoring program which 12 is defined in their rules as to what they consider to be 13 an acceptable monitoring program in another state. 14 Basically, if a facility is in a state that has 15 never had a positive case of CWD and has a state- 16 sponsored monitoring program and the facility has been in 17 that monitoring program for three years, those animals in 18 that facility would be eligible for importation into 19 Texas. Now, the TB testing requirements and those kinds 20 of things would still be applied, but as far as CWD would 21 be concerned, they would be qualified. 22 Any state that does not have a state-owned 23 monitoring program or state-supported monitoring program 24 or has had CWD found in the state, a facility would have 25 to be in a monitoring program for a minimum of five years ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 50 1 with no positives during that period in order to qualify 2 for entry into the state of Texas. So that's basically 3 their entry requirements -- 4 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Commissioner Angelo -- 5 DR. COOKE: -- for white-tailed -- 6 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Oh, I'm sorry. 7 Commissioner Angelo? 8 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: How many facilities would 9 you think around the country would meet the requirements 10 today? Are -- 11 DR. COOKE: Not many. 12 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: -- these things -- these 13 requirements going to mean that for most of them, there's 14 going to be a significant delay before they can be 15 imported from them? 16 DR. COOKE: There's only a couple of states 17 that actually have had a state-sponsored monitoring 18 program for the adequate amount of time. So the number 19 of facilities that would be eligible would be few. I 20 don't know how many that would be. 21 Basically, a facility operator has the 22 opportunity to come before the Texas Animal Health 23 Commission and lay out their monitoring program that they 24 have applied on their facility to clarify their 25 qualifications, but it's not going to be a vast number of ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 51 1 facilities at this time. 2 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: So that should be a 3 pretty significant limiting factor as to how many imports 4 there are going to be in the next year or two? 5 DR. COOKE: All by itself, it would be. And 6 basically, if someone would qualify we should be 7 relatively comfortable with those kinds of facilities, I 8 would think. 9 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Is it accurate to say that 10 we are working very closely with the Texas Animal Health 11 Commission and that the Texas Animal Health Commission is 12 very comfortable with these guidelines? 13 DR. COOKE: Absolutely. We've -- I mean, from 14 the very get-go, I mean, our suspension of importation 15 was for the purpose of assisting the Animal Health 16 Commission in gaining the time necessary to work through 17 the process of developing an acceptable entry requirement 18 that addressed the issues and also could be accommodated 19 by the industry. 20 Basically, they -- at their meeting, when they 21 placed those entry requirements in place, they lifted 22 their importation suspension on elk and their suspension 23 on white-tailed and mule deer, although ours remained in 24 place because we couldn't act without a 30-day comment 25 period. ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 52 1 So basically, what we're doing is completing 2 the cycle in that respect of addressing the issues and 3 ensuring the public safety for many animals that may come 4 in under this -- under these requirements. And so this 5 action is brought to you today for that purpose. 6 COMMISSIONER RISING: Madame Chairman? 7 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Commissioner Rising? 8 COMMISSIONER RISING: Jerry, are our wardens 9 able to enforce the rules -- the TAH rules? 10 DR. COOKE: Texas -- that's a good question, 11 and I'm glad you asked it. 12 Agencies have different enabling acts. With 13 our Agency, basically, any rule that you adopt can be 14 enforced by any peace officer in the state of Texas. 15 Certainly, our enforcement division is in the lead on 16 those items, but any peace officer could enforce them. 17 As I understand the Animal Health Commission's 18 authority, basically, their commission has the authority 19 to deputize anyone to specifically enforce their 20 regulations. And, for instance, when the importation 21 suspension was put in place, they identified our 22 enforcement division as being actors in their behalf, 23 which helped our guys and helped their guys, too. 24 So I think that those still apply. I'd have to 25 re-read their last adoption, but I think it was their ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 53 1 intent that we and our enforcement division be in a 2 position to assist them in enforcing those kinds of 3 rules. 4 COMMISSIONER RISING: Thank you. 5 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Are there any further 6 comments? 7 (No response.) 8 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Do I have a motion? 9 COMMISSIONER WATSON: So moved. 10 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: A second? 11 COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Second. 12 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: All in favor? 13 (A chorus of ayes.) 14 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Any opposed? 15 (No response.) 16 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Motion carries. 17 Thank you, Dr. Cooke. And you may still be up. 18 Agenda Item Number 8 is an action item: Trap, 19 transport and transplant of game animals and game birds. 20 Dr. Cooke, will you please make your 21 presentation? 22 DR. COOKE: Madame Chairman and members, my 23 name is Jerry Cooke, Game Branch Chief of the Wildlife 24 Division, presenting you this proposed change to the 25 trap, transport and transplant proclamation. ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 54 1 As you will recall, the publication of the 2 proposed change was very straightforward. It was rather 3 rigid, but that was to provide you all with the greatest 4 opportunity for taking action if you choose to do so. 5 And the proposal was basically to remove white-tailed 6 deer and mule deer from the trap and transport 7 proclamation. 8 I'd like to present to you a brief presentation 9 to, first of all, bring you up to date as I did 10 yesterday. But, again, we'll be a little quicker than we 11 were yesterday. 12 To bring you up to date, the Animal Health 13 Commission has placed in their rules their entry 14 requirements. Our action that you just took addresses 15 that, as well. The scientific breeder community has 16 established a voluntary monitoring program with the 17 Animal Health Commission. And, also, we have initiated 18 testing in Texas and, as you saw yesterday, have been 19 briefed on the developing chronic wasting disease 20 management plan that has been developed by us and the 21 Animal Health Commission. 22 Updating the map even from yesterday, since the 23 first time I presented this to you, new outbreaks have 24 been found in free-ranging white-tailed in Wisconsin and 25 mule deer in New Mexico and white-tailed in Illinois. ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 55 1 And we just found out this morning, also, in -- I think 2 it's Saskatchewan or one of the provinces of Canada. It 3 has been found in a confinement facility there. Also, it 4 has been found in elk -- confined elk in Minnesota and 5 confined white-tailed in Wisconsin, as well. 6 So briefly, let's look at the potential impact 7 of the disease on the state. And you've seen some of 8 these maps before. We have approximately 4 million 9 white-tailed deer in Texas, and about a third of those 10 deer are found in 25 percent of the state which is there 11 in the center of the Edward's Plateau. 12 Hunting brings about $1.6 billion in to Texas 13 annually; about 640 million of that can be attributed to 14 white-tailed deer only as it is applied to rural 15 economies. Now, half of that money goes to the Edward's 16 Plateau, Piney Woods and South Texas with fully a quarter 17 of it going to the Edward's Plateau alone. 18 This graph is to show you that we've had 19 permits for trapping and moving deer before the Triple-T 20 program came along, but it was relatively small in 21 number. And the number of deer moved grew pretty 22 dramatically through '97, and it dropped in '98 when the 23 Commission adopted their position that a wildlife 24 management plan was required for a release site and 25 adequate habitat be clearly shown to be in place before ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 56 1 animals could be released. 2 The rise in 2000/2001 was a reflection of your 3 identification that if there is a release, it would be so 4 small as to not be a resource issue. And those numbers 5 have increased. 6 To put in context the number of animals moved 7 under this program, in 1939, the Game and Fish 8 Commissioner or Game and Fish and Oyster Commission, or 9 whatever its name was at that time, began restoring 10 white-tailed deer into Texas. Between 1939 and the early 11 '80s, when this restoration effort was complete, the 12 Department trapped and moved about 31,000 white-tailed 13 deer to accomplish the distribution of animals that we 14 have today. Since 1993, 38,000 deer have been trapped 15 and moved under this program. 16 The map on your left shows where deer were 17 trapped over the last two years, and the map on the right 18 shows you where those deer were released over the same 19 period of time. We placed both of those maps on one map. 20 The yellow counties are those in which only trap sites 21 were found, the green counties were where only release 22 sites were found, and the red counties were where both 23 trap and release sites were found. 24 The Animal Health Commission, in the exercise 25 and development of the management plan, did what is ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 57 1 called a risk assessment. That's an unfortunate use of 2 terms, but there it is. They looked at the number of 3 white-tailed, mule deer and elk brought into the state, 4 where they were delivered and what population sizes were 5 in the counties at the time of those releases. And this 6 was used to develop an index to relative risk within the 7 state. 8 These 14 identified counties are those who are 9 prioritized because they were so high on the list and so 10 different than the other counties that we want to be sure 11 that any sampling that we do over the next year or so 12 certainly includes those counties. The assessment itself 13 identified 84 counties in the assessment, of which 64 had 14 a relatively significant value; the other 20 were, you 15 know, like one introduction or two introductions, nothing 16 of great importance in that respect. 17 The potential impact as it applies to the 18 Triple-T program is shown on these two maps. On the map 19 on the left are the counties that were identified among 20 the 64 as being trap sites over the last two years. The 21 map on the right shows where the deer trapped were 22 released. Over the two-year period, this represented 23 about 2,200 deer, which was about a quarter of all the 24 deer that were trapped and moved in this state during 25 that period of time. ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 58 1 The Department has used a task force -- we call 2 it the Triple-T MLD task force -- to help us work through 3 very prickly issues. And they've been very, very 4 successful in the past. And because of the reactions to 5 the proposal, we thought it would be a good idea to bring 6 this task force together again and help us work through 7 this particular issue. They did meet. 8 There was an interesting conversation because, 9 as the initial introductions took place and initial 10 positions were clarified, it seemed that the table was 11 quite polarized when it began. But when it came to the 12 end of the day, they in fact had reached a compromise 13 that I think everybody at the table was nodding at at the 14 time. 15 I redistributed these conclusions to the 16 members and -- to make sure that we had not 17 misrepresented the conclusions in our report to you and, 18 also, to Mr. Cook. The recommendation of the committee 19 as it relates to the Triple-T proposal was this: That 20 rather than remove white-tailed and mule deer from the 21 proclamation, allow some trapping to take place in this 22 year and in the coming years; however, in order to 23 qualify for a trapping permit, a testing requirement 24 would be in place. 25 In other words, if I intended to trap deer on ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 59 1 my property and I knew the number of animals that I 2 intended to trap, during the preceding hunting season -- 3 in other words, the hunting season that is corresponding 4 to the same trapping season -- I would be asked to take a 5 number equivalent to 10 percent of the animals that I 6 intended to move during my normal hunting season from my 7 hunter-killed animals to be tested for CWD. 8 However, this number should not be less than 9 ten in order for it to be a useful sampling on the 10 property. But it need not be more than 40 lets it weight 11 our own survey efforts in the state. If a negative 12 animal -- excuse me. If a positive animal was returned 13 in any of these samples, then, simply, the permit would 14 be denied. Also, for trace-back purposes, any animal 15 trapped and moved under this program should be 16 permanently tattooed with a number identifiable and 17 presented by us probably to link it to a permit, a 18 specific permit. 19 Also, one final recommendation of the committee 20 was to consider setting a deadline for submissions, for 21 example, December 10, in which, if samples were presented 22 to the Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Lab for 23 testing, should a problem arise either in the test 24 facility because there was -- they were swamped or their 25 equipment went down, or whatever, that would satisfy the ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 60 1 requirement for issuing a permit by January 15, whether 2 or not all the tests were completed by that date. 3 The recommended motion is that Texas Parks and 4 Wildlife Commission adopt 31 TAC 65.102 concerning 5 permits to trap, transport and transplant game animals 6 and game birds with changes to the proposed text as 7 published in the September 27, 2002 issue of The Texas 8 Register. If you have any questions, I would be happy to 9 try to entertain them at this time. 10 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Is there any discussion by 11 the Commission? 12 (No response.) 13 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: We have quite a few public 14 comments on this item. 15 Marty Berry and Karl Kinsel. 16 MR. BERRY: Good morning. I'm Marty Berry. 17 I'm from Corpus Christi, Texas. 18 I participate in the Triple-T program. I've 19 received, and I've also trapped off our properties and 20 sent to other properties. It's probably the most 21 valuable tool or one of the most valuable tools that the 22 legislature has given us, as ranchers and managers. 23 The proposal today as it exists -- although the 24 MLDP Triple-T committee has met before, I will point out, 25 contrary to what was just said -- that nothing was worked ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 61 1 out in those meetings -- they were worked out after that 2 meeting, if I remember correctly, and, although, with 3 some of the same participants. 4 The people in that committee this past week 5 obviously did not understand all that was up for grabs 6 when they talked about sampling the deer and getting a 7 permit based on the sample. For example, if you sample a 8 ranch and it becomes a positive, you become a liability 9 if you're within three to four miles of the fence-line of 10 your neighbor. I predict there will be lawsuits and 11 you're going to cause them problems because then they're 12 going to have to sample. 13 Any ranch that has transported to you in the 14 past or you've transported to -- they're going to be 15 sampling on those ranches. They'll do what they call a 16 trace-back. 17 At this time -- basically, you know, just a few 18 weeks ago, we were told that -- we asked -- I asked -- 19 personally asked that let's do a sampling across the 20 board. Let's take the leaseholders that get lease books, 21 and we'll get all them to sample. And it wasn't based on 22 science; it was based on money. We said we didn't have 23 enough money to do that. 24 We said -- you said, But, Marty, you know, if 25 we just sample our wildlife management areas, those areas ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 62 1 will be enough, and that'll be fine. We'll know; we'll 2 get a feel for what's going on in those areas; we've got 3 the scientific breeders testing; we've got the wildlife 4 management areas testing. A good plan -- I like that 5 plan. 6 I'm totally against this plan because it 7 singles out one certain type of permit that people do and 8 you're going to make those people test. You're going to 9 make -- for the people that get a positive, it's going to 10 devalue their land. You think through it if you don't 11 think it will. With the CWD hysteria that's out there 12 today, it will devalue their land, and it will hurt 13 anybody they've done business with in the past. 14 I don't -- the reason I don't feel like the 15 Committee represented me? I don't think they realize 16 what will happen when there is a positive. 17 And if Ken Waldrup's here, maybe somebody will 18 ask him about how the positives will be worked out. I 19 think they were told on the committee there wasn't a 20 plan. There is a plan. It may be not USDA-approved, but 21 there is a plan that at the Animal Health Commission that 22 if there's a positive on your land, you will do more 23 sampling. And it will be quarantined for live deer 24 movement for sure. 25 I would suggest personally that -- I wish that ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 63 1 we could have a cooling-off period for a year. Let's let 2 the Triple-T flow as it flowed this -- in the past. The 3 deer have been moved. You saw the counties. They're 4 just -- it's red and green and all kinds of colors and is 5 a nice map. It shows they've been moved and they're all 6 mixed. 7 If we have it here, because it's naturally 8 occurring, it's going to show up in one of your wildlife 9 management areas. If we don't see it there, maybe we 10 don't have a problem. 11 I think what we have -- if we say we really 12 don't have a program for what we're going to do when we 13 find it, then we're saying, "We're going to do surgery on 14 you, and we're going to look for cancer." "What are you 15 going to do, doctor, when you find it?" "I don't know." 16 "I'm not going to let you do surgery." 17 So, you know, basically, what a number of staff 18 members and this staff -- regardless of what you think -- 19 because they do not like Triple-Ts, they know they're 20 killing it by putting this on there. And on that little 21 chart that shows 5,000, it will be about 200 next year, 22 animals total, if any are moved. 23 And the cities -- I can't even think about 24 these poor cities that were at these different hearings. 25 I went to two hearings and heard over 150 people say they ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 64 1 were opposed to any changes to the Triple-T. I hope you 2 all have looked at that and listened to their reasonings. 3 It also is affecting -- because of this, when 4 you put this on here and there will not be Triple-10 -- 5 because the risk is on the landowner with the deer, the 6 trap site. There's going to be land values that decrease 7 in Valverde County, where there was a huge die-off due to 8 anthrax. 9 There's people that were at the meetings that 10 spoke and said, I've already built fences; I have no 11 deer. Are you telling me that you're not going to be 12 able to get me deer. Tell me what I need to do. And 13 you're not going to be able to get people willing to give 14 up their deer based on this type of sampling. So I 15 would -- I'm totally against it. Thank you. 16 MR. KINSEL: Good day to all again. It has 17 been a beautiful day inside here with all of the awards 18 and a beautiful day outside. I'm Karl Kinsel, Executive 19 Director of TDA. 20 I've come before you for over a year as 21 executive director of TDA. And I come before you again 22 today as that, but, also, I'm going to take a few minutes 23 before the light turns red and let you know a little bit 24 more about me because the statements I'm going to make 25 today with regard to Triple-T deal with my own landowner ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 65 1 rights, my own abilities and my own concerns. 2 I'm a fourth-generation rancher. Primarily, 3 our cattle business is our business. We're sizable 4 LaSalle County landowners, and we're large cow/calf 5 stocker operators. And I'm a strong supporter of TSCRA 6 and the ADEFA. I'm on the board of EWA and TWA. My 7 ranch property is low-fenced, high-fenced, traditional 8 livestock, native livestock, and I do deal some in the 9 exotic wildlife management. 10 In essence, I take a very broad aspect of all 11 proposed actions. And I'm going to address to you today 12 what I'm talking about as Karl Kinsel, not as TDA- 13 responsible wildlife management, regarding also our 14 landowner ecosystem enhancement concerns. 15 Dr. Waldrup says -- and he and I have a great 16 relationship, and I certainly appreciate that -- that 17 more testing is always better. That is a great statement 18 and a true statement, but, "At what cost," is what I'm 19 going to ask you. And I will ask you also to question 20 Dr. Waldrup, as Marty Berry brought forth, what is that 21 cost if we do possibly more surveillance than is 22 necessary. 23 And when I say, "More than is necessary," I 24 applaud you, and I applaud the landowners, and I applaud 25 the deer enthusiasts. We're doing more as a state than ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 66 1 any other state has even considered when we don't have 2 such a disease as that here at present. And we are 3 extremely responsible. Let's not go past responsibility 4 into irrationality. 5 Let's look at this phrased real simply: Let us 6 not look for a cure that is worse than the disease 7 itself. Surveillance can be worse than a disease itself 8 in a situation in which we don't know yet. If we're 9 going to Triple-T, then let's not change a lot of the 10 Triple-T, because it is a valuable resource. 11 Maybe we could consider warden inspection. I'm 12 going to get a little deeper into this in just a little 13 bit, but maybe we could also mark permanently those deer 14 for identification. But, certainly, we can already 15 stand up and say we are doing a lot as a state, as the 16 state of Texas, as a TPW, as a responsible landowner. 17 With all that we're doing, why take on another 18 task that -- I offer for your consideration this: It's a 19 valuable tool; if we change that tool in any form or 20 fashion at this point, it could cause, as Marty said, 21 landowner problems, landowner against landowner, neighbor 22 questioning neighbor. We're asking for a civil war here 23 that we certainly don't need at a time when we're trying 24 to stay together to fight public hysteria. 25 For an example, what is the financial benefit ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 67 1 to a deer trading hands? There is none, with the 2 exception of the landowner in Karnes County that has got 3 600 acres and no deer, and then it's significantly more 4 valuable. And it mirrors the mission statement of Texas 5 Parks and Wildlife to manage and conserve the natural 6 resources of Texas and to provide hunting and fishing and 7 outdoor recreation. It does do that in the long term. 8 Going a little faster, let's also be sure that 9 we look at the relevance of CWD with regards to TAHC -- I 10 mean, with regards to blue-tongue and a lot of the other 11 diseases, including anthrax. So, in other words, let's 12 be sure that we measure twice before we cut once. 13 And I believe we need a little more time. 14 Jerry Cooke did accurately present. We went fast on a 15 task force that was fast brought into place. I do not 16 say that that was a consensus amongst everybody. That 17 was a consideration, and we tried to look at it in a 18 hurry. Only Monday did we look at it for the last time. 19 There is a little more that needs to be looked at to 20 that. 21 Last but not least, this response plan is more 22 important than dealing with Triple-Ts and all these other 23 issues. We're already extremely responsible. Let's go 24 to the next step. That's the TRC plan. That's what 25 we're dealing with, and we are doing so. ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 68 1 In summary, I'll stop and I'll say this, two 2 issues: One, let not surveillance for a ghost disease 3 causes us more political and media harm and, therefore, a 4 reduction in hunters and hunter opportunity than dealing 5 with just the disease, if we have it or even if we don't 6 have it, as though we're dealing with any other disease. 7 Secondarily, please postpone and wait until we 8 can at least measure twice before we cut once. Thank 9 you. 10 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Kirby Brown and Charles 11 Edwards. 12 MR. BROWN: Madame Chairman and Commissioners, 13 I represent the Texas Wildlife Association, a group that 14 represents about 30 million acres in Texas of 15 landowners'. We have concerns, but we're here to support 16 the staff proposal as it is, as worked out in the Triple- 17 T task force. 18 I appreciate the Commission's comments 19 yesterday in discussion and recognize that you have 20 concerns. And certainly, if you all make changes, that's 21 your prerogative, and I understand that, but I did want 22 you to know that the task force was evenly split -- very 23 evenly. 24 We had people who wanted to completely suspend 25 Triple-T. There were people who wanted to leave it open ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 69 1 as a good wildlife and habitat management tool. And we 2 at TWA had initially proposed and still -- I think, you 3 know, we all still think that Triple-T activities should 4 be placed within the CWD action plan, the response 5 plan -- we think that's a reasonable place for that -- 6 and that Triple-T would continue until a CWD positive was 7 found. 8 We think that's a reasonable course, but, at 9 the same time, we understand that this is the deal we 10 cut. We got together Thursday. We had a lot of people 11 and a lot of different positions, and we talked about it. 12 And a deal's a deal. 13 It was a good group, good representatives of 14 hunters, landowners and wildlife managers. And TWA has 15 members on both sides in this issue. And on the 16 committee, we had members on both sides. So we were well 17 represented with our directors. 18 But the staff proposal today is where we 19 arrived at consensus, and we're going to support that 20 consensus. We had talked about sampling within the 21 committee, but the concerns of the unknown of the lab -- 22 the timing at the lab and the turn-around at the lab -- 23 was a problem. 24 And, basically, as we talked through it, we 25 thought that the best thing was to go ahead and sample ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 70 1 and turn in samples 30 or 35 days out, as proposed, and 2 proceed if no reporting had been delivered, using January 3 15 as that time line, that reporting deadline, so that 4 anyone submitting samples after December 10 -- they would 5 have to wait, but anyone submitting samples within the 6 time line would be okay. And that was what broke the 7 log-jam. 8 That was where the compromise was actually 9 made. So I would encourage you to consider that as you 10 go through that. 11 There's a lot of landowners that have plans out 12 there, and they're in place. They're in the hunting 13 season right now. Their manpower and everything that 14 they have is already working in this regard, and they're 15 expecting to use Triple-T. And I think sampling is 16 something people can do. I think it's difficult, but 17 it's something they can do. So that January 15 date is 18 important. 19 Finally, I want to say that I appreciate the 20 scoping; it allowed discussion and give and take on the 21 issue. And I appreciate that the proposed changes in the 22 statewide proclamation are going to be scoped prior to 23 public hearings. 24 And I understand, you know, that the Triple-T 25 issue came up in August. But -- the Commission wanted to ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 71 1 be prepared for action at this November meeting, but it 2 was short on our part. It was short to scope this -- 3 there's no question about it -- because of the time frame 4 that we had. And I appreciate that issues are going to 5 be scoped, and I appreciate the Chairman's comments to 6 that regard. I think that's important. 7 The last thing is that we also need to work on 8 that CWD response plan ASAP. And I appreciate that the 9 staff and Chairman asked that the MLD Triple-T task force 10 do that again. I think that's very important, because we 11 are really stepping out in good faith on it right now, 12 because this regulation will pull us into that, and we 13 understand that. And so we want to just work with you as 14 we go through that. 15 Thank you. And I appreciate it, and I would 16 answer any questions. Thank you. 17 COMMISSIONER HENRY: May I just ask some 18 questions? 19 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Sure, Commissioner Henry. 20 COMMISSIONER HENRY: Kirby, did you indicate 21 that the association was in favor of the staff's 22 suggestion itself? 23 MR. BROWN: We think that the staff -- 24 COMMISSIONER HENRY: You're not on one side and 25 Gary on the other? ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 72 1 MR. BROWN: Well, no. The association is 2 there. We're going to be in a position to support this as 3 the compromise that's out there. We think it's a prudent 4 compromise. We have a lot of landowners who are going to 5 have concerns, and we have a lot of members who are going 6 to have concerns -- in either camp. So it's -- it is a 7 compromise. We recognize that. 8 And we recognize that there will be people who 9 won't want to sample. And so they won't be able to 10 participate in this activity because of that decision, 11 but it is a decision on their part. 12 COMMISSIONER HENRY: Thank you. 13 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Commissioner Angelo? 14 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: Kirby, I've got a major 15 concern, as I expressed yesterday, with the waiver that 16 would apply if the testing didn't come back. And my -- 17 first of all, my thinking is that we don't have any 18 reason to believe that the tests won't come back in time. 19 MR. BROWN: That's correct. 20 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: And the second is that, 21 in any case, if we're just going to waive the testing 22 because of the time situation, then there's not much 23 point in putting the testing in. If this is removed from 24 the final action by the Commission, does that adversely 25 affect your organization's support for the proposal or -- ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 73 1 how adversely does it affect it, I guess I should say. 2 MR. BROWN: Well, you know, as I expressed, the 3 compromise -- the log-jam was broken by having a date 4 assurance. And I think we believe, you know, according 5 to what the Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Lab has 6 said, that those samples will be done on time. 7 I think the concern is that you have to do so 8 much work ahead of time and be prepared, and your dates 9 are set -- and your manpower and the helicopter time and 10 all the scheduling that goes on and the landowner's crew 11 and his part. It's all set ahead of time. And it just 12 gives assurance out there to that trapper that this is 13 all going to occur if they meet that December 10 14 deadline. 15 And I fully believe that the samples will be in 16 place. I fully believe that, you know, regardless of 17 which side that falls, the samples will be done. But it 18 did break the logjam, and it does give assurance to those 19 folks who are going forward and who are doing the thing 20 that's required. So that was part of the process. 21 Thank you, very much. 22 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Thank you. 23 Charles Edwards? 24 And Dave -- 25 MR. EDWARDS: Good morning, Madame Chairman and ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 74 1 Commission members. 2 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: And then we'll have Dave 3 Benson. 4 MR. EDWARDS: My name is Charles Edwards; I'm 5 mayor of the City of Lakeway. We appreciate this 6 opportunity to speak about this. 7 We would like to urge at least an avenue for 8 the municipalities such as Lakeway to be able to trap and 9 transport deer as we have in the past three years in the 10 interest of public safety. I'm strictly speaking from a 11 public safety point of view here. 12 In 1999, we were killing approximately 70 deer 13 per month on the streets in Lakeway. We have less than 14 5,000 acres in the city, and we estimate that we have 15 more than 3,000 deer. Since that time, we have moved 16 over 1,500 deer through the trap and transport program. 17 This has decreased our accident rate, or our dead deer 18 removal -- that's the way we gauge it -- to approximately 19 15 per month. But, of course, we're -- the herd is 20 building back up with each year that we can't trap and 21 transport, of course. 22 So therefore, we're urging at least an avenue 23 be available for us to move a significant number of deer. 24 We need to move a thousand deer this year, and we need to 25 do it through the trap and transport program, where we ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 75 1 believe there are plenty of rancher interests to take on 2 our Lakeway deer, as there has been in the past. 3 And it significantly reduces the economic 4 impact on the city so that we don't have to go into a 5 depredation program. We'd rather see the deer go out to 6 the ranchers that actually need the deer, as you've heard 7 in some testimony here this morning already. 8 So we would like to urge at least an avenue 9 still be available to those communities like us who have 10 a desperate need to get the deer out of our 11 municipalities. Thank you. 12 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Harold Burris. 13 MR. BENSON: Madame Chair and members of the 14 Commission, I'm Dave Benson; I'm the city manager in 15 Lakeway. 16 The mayor has pretty much said it all. I just 17 wanted to take you back in history a little bit and 18 remind -- certainly, Parks and Wildlife understands that 19 we've been in the trap and transport business almost from 20 the very beginning. 21 The progress that we've made over the last 22 couple of years going into this last winter has been 23 pretty remarkable. The ground that we will lose if there 24 is a suspension in trap and transport, as the mayor said, 25 is going to have implications both from a traffic and ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 76 1 public safety perspective to perhaps, if there's any 2 extensive suspension period, a public health factor, as 3 well. 4 I was disappointed in the proclamation when we 5 got our hands on it that there was no impact -- negative 6 impact addressed about the municipalities in the central 7 Texas area and in the hill country who are fighting these 8 over-populations of urban deer. We think it definitely 9 should have been addressed to your attention, as well, 10 because they are many and significant. 11 I think there are a whole lot more communities 12 out there with deer problems that have even approached 13 trap and transport and, certainly, we have been in the 14 lead. We would hope to be able to continue this, and we 15 ask for your consideration in this regard. 16 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Manager Burris [sic], how 17 many deer did you say you transported last year? 18 MR. BENSON: Well, last year, we had a very 19 small program. We only were able to move, I think, less 20 than 100, and I'm going to say about 85. Obviously, 21 that's a very bad winter for us in terms of trap and 22 transport. Obviously, we needed to do a big program this 23 year. And in that regard, obviously a suspension is just 24 moving us backwards at warp-speed in terms of our being 25 able to deal with the over-population that currently ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 77 1 exists. 2 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Have you utilized other 3 management tools, such as sharp-shooters or bow hunters 4 or the like? 5 MR. BENSON: Two years ago at about this time, 6 we had a -- the second referendum -- non-binding 7 referendum in the city of Lakeway, and the referendum was 8 whether or not to use lethal means. This is a pretty 9 provocative vote in an urban community growing as fast as 10 the city of Lakeway. The vote was close. The vote was 11 51 to 49 in terms of percentage in favor of lethal means. 12 As a matter of fact, we had begun the process 13 of a depredation permit through the administrative 14 channels and actually were within weeks. And should not 15 the Mexican trap and transport program have come along, 16 we would have implemented a lethal depredation program in 17 the city of Lakeway with professional sharp-shooters. 18 And at 51 to 49, you'd say, well, that's a 19 split. But what I say is it's a very strong message by 20 those people who came to vote that they would use lethal 21 means in an urban environment to take care of what they 22 saw clearly as a continuing public safety problem and, 23 certainly, a nuisance and, in many cases, concerns of a 24 public health problem, as well. 25 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Thank you. ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 78 1 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: I've got one question 2 for the city manager. 3 Can you characterize the data on public safety 4 a little more clearly in terms of what types of 5 accidents, whether there were fatalities or injuries? 6 Could you just give us a little more data on that? 7 MR. BENSON: We only started keeping this 8 record about two years ago. And the mayor touched on 9 numbers a little bit. We were averaging 365 dead deer 10 removal statistics at the time we started. And we 11 started -- the main months of mortality are right in this 12 time period, obviously, with the rut in progress and the 13 activity involved. It's very difficult for us to -- 14 there have been no fatalities to our knowledge in the 15 city of Lakeway. 16 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: I'm talking about 17 people, not on deer. 18 MR. BENSON: Pardon me? 19 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: I meant the impact on 20 the people in the city. 21 MR. BENSON: Yes. I understand. We've had no 22 fatalities -- no human fatalities. We've had major car 23 crashes out on 620, which is our state highway that runs 24 through town, in which there have been major car damages 25 and some injuries. We have had any number of smaller -- ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 79 1 in fact, it occurs daily right now. If we produce the 2 police logs to show the indications of the vehicles- 3 versus-deer incidents at this particular point, it's 4 almost on a daily basis during the rut period. 5 The good news about trap and transport -- and 6 believe me, nobody particularly cares about it. We're 7 certainly not in the business. We're in the business of 8 dealing with what we consider a very serious problem from 9 a public safety perspective and, certainly, which could 10 be a public health problem. We're not crazy about having 11 to do it. 12 We've never come to Parks and Wildlife and 13 asked for a dime; we're doing this on our own and at 14 major expense. Even your staff has presented you with 15 the statistics of what it costs to trap and transport a 16 deer. We've been lucky. We've also had wonderful 17 cooperation from your staff and been able to do it for 18 much less. 19 The Mexican program was a wonderful boon to us 20 at very little cost, and it helped a lot. But if we stop 21 Triple-T right now and if you don't give us another 22 avenue to use and even if we went to depredation, the 23 costs per deer are going to go off the charts for us, and 24 it probably will become too expensive for us to do. That 25 kind of -- we were willing to attempt that a couple of ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 80 1 years ago, but there's no question about it that when 2 you're talking about in the neighborhood of 2- or $300 a 3 deer what that can impact the city budget in these days, 4 when city budgets are tough things to do, anyway. 5 So Triple-T, as distasteful as it is for many 6 of us, is the only really economical process that we have 7 found where we can afford to do things without asking for 8 anybody else to assist us in a financial way. 9 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: I have one more quick 10 question. When you say, "Public health," are you talking 11 about Lyme Disease? And have you had any incidences of 12 Lyme Disease in your city? 13 MR. BENSON: There was one instance of it way 14 back. I've been in the city for eight-and-a-half years. 15 There was one report of a Lyme Disease victim way back -- 16 and I would say six or seven years ago -- and, to my 17 knowledge, none since that time. 18 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Do you have any 19 evidence of a public health issue other than that? 20 MR. BENSON: It -- actually, no, we do not. 21 But on the other hand, it's almost a psychological fear. 22 A lot of people know of Lyme's Disease. 23 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Thank you. 24 MR. BENSON: Thank you. 25 COMMISSIONER RAMOS: I had a question -- ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 81 1 COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: I -- 2 COMMISSIONER RAMOS: -- Madame Chairman. 3 Well, go ahead. 4 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: A question from 5 Commissioner Fitzsimons. 6 MR. BENSON: Yes, sir? 7 COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: I just want to be 8 clear. You're testifying against the suspension of the 9 program but not against or -- are you testifying against 10 the compromise that would allow the program to continue? 11 MR. BENSON: Our -- I think the mayor said it 12 best. If we can find another avenue for Triple-T for 13 cities with urban deer over-populations, we'd be very 14 grateful. 15 COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: So what -- so you are 16 in favor of the compromise that allows the program to 17 continue, or not? I'm not clear on where you are. 18 MR. BENSON: Well, I'm not sure what the 19 compromise is, either. 20 COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: You saw what was 21 reviewed by the staff that would require the testing and 22 identification of the deer and allow you to continue the 23 program? 24 MR. BENSON: Absolutely. 25 COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Okay. So you're in ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 82 1 favor of that? 2 MR. BENSON: We're in favor of that. 3 COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: All right. I'm clear 4 now. Thank you. 5 MR. BENSON: Yes. 6 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: I had a question in that 7 regard, but I guess maybe it's for Dr. Cooke. 8 How would the testing work with the 9 communities? 10 DR. COOKE: The technical question is -- 11 basically, as long as an animal's head is placed on ice, 12 you know, within like 24 hours, the test can be 13 completed. So, basically -- 14 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: So the deer that are 15 killed by automobiles would be -- 16 DR. COOKE: Could certainly be qualified. 17 Because this is not -- you know, it's not a structural 18 diagnosis using the histo-immunochemistry. So it would 19 be -- 20 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: You've got a problem with 21 where these deer come from, do you not, when you're 22 dealing with a city? 23 AUDIENCE MEMBER: We can't hear. 24 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: Is it on now? I turned 25 it off. I guess that light's not working. ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 83 1 It seems to me that you've got or we've got 2 some significant problems in dealing with a residential 3 situation or an urban situation, as opposed to a ranch. 4 Do we not? 5 DR. COOKE: Yes. 6 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: Have we addressed that? 7 Or -- 8 DR. COOKE: Not -- 9 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: -- what's your thinking 10 on that? 11 DR. COOKE: It has not been singled out in the 12 proposal as being a separate item. In other words -- 13 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: And, of course, as the 14 population density is so great in some of those areas, 15 that possibly, the dangers of a disease of any kind would 16 seem to me to be higher than it would be on a free- 17 ranging ranch situation. So -- 18 DR. COOKE: Intuitively, one would expect that. 19 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: -- if you've got half-a- 20 dozen communities that have the problem, this is 21 something we probably ought to be looking at specifically 22 as opposed to just kind of a sideline to the overall 23 recommendation. Is that not correct? 24 DR. COOKE: I would agree. 25 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: I have the same ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 84 1 concern. I'd like to see some follow-up of how we 2 address that specific circumstance. 3 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Well -- 4 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: But I intend to 5 support the staff resolution. 6 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: We're discussing, Madame 7 Chairman, the problem with the residential urban deer as 8 opposed to those on a ranch from the standpoint of 9 testing them and obtaining samples to test and so on. 10 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Dr. Cooke, I was not 11 present. 12 DR. COOKE: That's okay. 13 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: I am unclear as to why -- 14 so if the city of Lakeway moved 100 deer last year, they 15 would have to test 1 percent of that number? 16 DR. COOKE: 10 percent. 17 MR. BENSON: 10 percent. 18 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: 10 percent? 19 DR. COOKE: Yes. 20 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Excuse me. 21 DR. COOKE: No less than. 22 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Ten deer -- 23 DR. COOKE: No less than ten. 24 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: -- and no more than 40? 25 DR. COOKE: Yes. ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 85 1 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: At their highest number, 2 did I hear 1,500 in a year? Is that correct? 3 MR. BENSON: 1,500 total. 4 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Total? 5 DR. COOKE: Yes, total. 6 MR. BENSON: 850 -- 7 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: 850? 8 MR. BENSON: -- in one year. 9 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: In one year. 10 Would the actual testing of those deer be any 11 different or pose any difficulties to a city that are any 12 more onerous than they would be to a landowner? 13 DR. COOKE: Only through municipal regulations 14 related to firearms use and archery equipment use. I 15 think that -- I can't speak for their rules, because I'm 16 not familiar with them, to be very frank with you. The 17 use of a sharp-shooter, as an example, would be one. But 18 use of -- animals that were already killed by traffic 19 certainly could be used within a testing context here. 20 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: If you are telling me that 21 a road-killed deer can be tested -- and how many road- 22 killed deer did they have last year? 23 DR. COOKE: I believe it was -- 24 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Seventy? Did I hear -- 25 DR. COOKE: I believe the testimony that I ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 86 1 heard earlier was that they were approximating like 15 a 2 month -- 3 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Fifteen a month? 4 DR. COOKE: -- during the high -- during their 5 peak. 6 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: That's a pretty good 7 sampling. 8 (Laughter.) 9 DR. COOKE: But I don't want to misrepresent 10 what was said. I don't want to testify for them. 11 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Well, we're just getting a 12 rough idea -- 13 DR. COOKE: Yes, ma'am. 14 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: -- of what we're talking 15 about here. 16 DR. COOKE: Yes, ma'am. 17 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Okay. Thank you. 18 DR. COOKE: Thank you. 19 COMMISSIONER RISING: Excuse me, Madame 20 Commissioner. 21 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Commissioner Rising? 22 COMMISSIONER RISING: Jerry, I had another 23 question. 24 DR. COOKE: Yes, sir. 25 COMMISSIONER RISING: If I understand -- who ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 87 1 will bear the cost of testing the animals? 2 DR. COOKE: The landowner. 3 COMMISSIONER RISING: The landowner? 4 DR. COOKE: Yes. 5 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Or the city? 6 DR. COOKE: Or the -- 7 COMMISSIONER RISING: Or the city? 8 DR. COOKE: -- city. In our case, any animals 9 that we take on our state-owned management areas or our 10 parks hunts or any clinical animals that we place our 11 hands on, we pay those costs directly to TVMDL. However, 12 these testings as described under the Triple-T would be 13 at the cost of the landowner. 14 COMMISSIONER RISING: Do we know how much each 15 testing of each animal would cost? 16 DR. COOKE: If you present a fixed brain stem 17 for testing, it's $25 a pop. If you present a head for 18 testing, there's a $15 disposal fee on top of that. So 19 it would be like $40. 20 COMMISSIONER RISING: Have we looked at 21 possibly establishing some type of collecting permit for 22 cities maybe or some special thing for -- 23 DR. COOKE: It -- that could be accommodated. 24 It's really not necessary so long as you're during an 25 open season. In other words, you know, weren't ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 88 1 prescribing a new season for the landowners elsewhere 2 under the Triple-T program. If there's an open season, 3 it's an open season in the county; only restrictions 4 related to the municipality itself would restrict take 5 during that period of time. 6 COMMISSIONER RISING: Okay. Thank you. 7 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Commissioner Ramos? 8 COMMISSIONER RAMOS: I wanted to ask the city 9 manager. 10 How many animals do you anticipate would be -- 11 you would attempt to move this year? 12 MR. BENSON: To anticipate as opposed to a 13 desire are two different things, but -- 14 COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Well -- but I mean -- 15 MR. BENSON: -- if we could, we'd love to move 16 a thousand deer this year if we could find relocation 17 sites suitable. 18 COMMISSIONER RAMOS: With the exception of your 19 movement of deer to Mexico, on an average, how many deer 20 were you moving per year for the last ten years? 21 MR. BENSON: It has not been static; it has 22 varied from year to year based on the availability of 23 receiver sites. We had a previous year prior to the 850 24 that went to Mexico in which we relocated, I think, 25 somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 to 450 to a national ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 89 1 forest. And we would hope to be able to explore those 2 areas again. 3 But, obviously, the wildlife management plan 4 and even your own slides showed that when the wildlife 5 management plans went into place, the ability to get 6 permits dropped rather dramatically. And that is -- one 7 of the restrictions that we face right now today that 8 hampers us in trap and transport is the inability to -- 9 on our own, by the way -- find relocation sites that 10 qualify. 11 COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Yes. And, of course, if 12 you were to move 400 deer this year and we approved the 13 10 percent, that would be an additional cost to you of 14 $1,000 for the movement of all the deer. At $40 -- that 15 would be 40 animals at $25 each. So that would be 16 $1,000. 17 MR. BENSON: Well, we would take on the cost if 18 we could find suitable places to move the deer at a 19 reasonable price. The cost of testing -- we would assume 20 that burden. 21 COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Yes. But what I'm saying 22 is that the cost of testing -- your cost of trapping is 23 going to be a fixed cost, anyway. The only additional 24 burden to the city would be $1,000. 25 MR. BENSON: That's satisfactory. We -- ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 90 1 COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Okay. That's acceptable 2 for -- 3 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: You should have no trouble 4 then? 5 MR. BENSON: Our only trouble is finding places 6 to take them. 7 COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Okay. 8 MR. BENSON: Okay. 9 COMMISSIONER RAMOS: But that's -- 10 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: That's another issue. 11 COMMISSIONER RAMOS: That's another issue. 12 MR. BENSON: Yes. 13 COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Thank you, very much. 14 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Next is Harold Burris and, 15 after Mr. Burris, Gene Riser. 16 MR. BURRIS: Good morning, Chairman Armstrong 17 and members of the Committee. My voice doesn't carry 18 very well; I may have to speak loudly. I stand with the 19 city of Lakeway. I'm Harold Burris, the mayor of the 20 town of Hollywood Park. And we are one of those small 21 cities who are, I think, more severely impacted with the 22 over-population of the white-tailed deer. 23 For example, we have approximately 1,000 acres 24 and 3,500 residents. We are located at the intersection 25 of 1604 and 281, surrounded by the city of San Antonio. ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 91 1 Okay? 2 I am shocked at their numbers. Sometimes we 3 average as many as 25 dead deer per week by car strikes. 4 If I walked up to the average citizen and said, "What do 5 you think about this CWI [sic] disease" -- big question 6 marks -- they don't know what you're talking about. 7 According to the information I've gotten from Karl Kinsel 8 and others, there is not one single case in the state of 9 Texas. 10 You know, this reminds me of the walking 11 catfish scare back in the early '70s. We were told that 12 the walking catfish were going to crawl into every lake 13 and every stream in the state of Texas and kill all our 14 fishes. Okay? Well, I think that's where we are today 15 with the CWI [sic]. 16 I am against taking them in -- bringing them 17 into the state of Texas. All right? I don't think we 18 need to import a disease. But if you all do decide to 19 eliminate the Triple-T as it presently stands or if you 20 decide to alter it, you will severely impact the health, 21 safety and welfare of our citizens. 22 As the mayor of a small town, everybody has my 23 number. Two days ago, I got a crying call from a widowed 24 lady. She said, I can't take it any more. These deer 25 are eating me out of house and home, all of my garden and ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 92 1 all of my yard. Okay? And it goes on and on. 2 We have permission from our citizens to trap 3 deer in their yards. 90 percent-plus support our 4 trapping efforts and the Triple-T that you gave us as a 5 vehicle for removing the excess deer. Okay? We have 6 according to, I'd say, conservative estimates 900 deer in 7 the town of Hollywood Park. That equates to one deer per 8 acre. The average size of our lot is about a-third of an 9 acre. So that tells you the over-population problems we 10 have. 11 Last year was our first year to trap. Mr. Karl 12 Kinsel did a beautiful job. We trapped approximately 115 13 deer. We had one deer fatality out of that total group. 14 We have no disease deaths to my knowledge. We have 15 poachers our citizens are concerned about. People -- 16 they know it's a haven for hunting. They come in at 17 night in our drainage areas and kill deer and leave the 18 deer carcasses headless. Not a pretty sight. It costs 19 us a lot of money to get rid of these deer, the dead 20 carcasses. 21 So we appeal to the state, to the Texas Parks 22 and Wildlife Commission. Please don't take away our 23 vehicle that controls the population to some extent of 24 our white-tailed deer. And we love the deer; they're 25 beautiful animals. ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 93 1 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: I have a question. Have 2 you used lethal means to control as a management tool? 3 MR. BURRIS: We have not. Our people -- we 4 have such a small, you know, lot size that they're 5 very -- they're terrified of using lethal weapons. And I 6 don't know if I could get that through city council or 7 not for approval; as do most cities, we have firearms 8 codes. 9 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: It sounds like you had one 10 citizen that might vote for it. 11 MR. BURRIS: Yes, ma'am. Well, we are 12 representing the maximum, the greatest percentage. We 13 have a few people that don't want this, but over 90 14 percent of the population supports it. In fact, we have 15 been threatened by lawsuits by citizens: "We're going to 16 sue the city if you don't do something about the deer." 17 You see? That's our problem. 18 And so is it true, Commission, that the deer 19 belong to the citizens of the state of Texas? Is that a 20 true statement? 21 Is that right, sir, Mr. Montgomery? 22 (No audible response.) 23 MR. BURRIS: Now, if that's so, then it looks 24 to me like we are harboring a problem that belongs to the 25 citizens of the state of Texas. So why should we have to ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 94 1 foot the expense, whether it's testing -- and, 2 incidentally, $25 per head will not do it. That's only 3 for the stem cell test. There's other costs. You didn't 4 say anything about the cost -- you mentioned $1,000 for 5 100 deer? Did you -- 6 DR. COOKE: No. For 40 deer. 7 MR. BURRIS: For 40 a deer? 8 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Mr. Burris, I have to call 9 your attention to the time. 10 MR. BURRIS: Okay. That's -- I'm sorry. I 11 didn't see the light. 12 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Okay. 13 MR. BURRIS: But, anyway -- 14 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Could I ask a -- 15 MR. BURRIS: -- thank you, very much. 16 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: We have one follow-up 17 question. 18 MR. BURRIS: Okay. 19 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: But please keep your 20 answer brief. 21 MR. BURRIS: Yes, ma'am. 22 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Just to know -- I 23 want to understand, Mayor -- 24 MR. BURRIS: Yes, sir. 25 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: -- that you ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 95 1 understand that we're not taking away the right to ship; 2 we're simply requiring test -- we're considering 3 requiring testing. 4 MR. BURRIS: Yes, sir. 5 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: And I want to 6 understand. If you will -- the same question that Mr. 7 Fitzsimons asked: Are you supportive of our staff 8 recommendation if you can ship if you will test? 9 MR. BURRIS: I would have to say no to that. 10 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: And why? 11 MR. BURRIS: For the simple reason that I 12 believe in conservation of the public funds. And I think 13 that's money expended unwisely given the fact that we 14 have no cases of CWD in the state of Texas to my 15 knowledge. And so I believe I'm correct in that, sir. 16 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Thank you. 17 MR. BURRIS: Thank you. 18 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Gene Riser and Tony Holt. 19 MR. RISER: Good morning, Madame Chairman and 20 members of the Commission. I'm very pleased to be here 21 and represent the Texas Deer Association. 22 And I'd like to say very clearly that I'm 100 23 percent against any further restrictions of the Triple-T 24 movement of deer in Texas, which, again, as other people 25 have testified today, we find to be a very, very valuable ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 96 1 tool for wildlife managers in Texas as well as some of 2 our urban people that have needs, as well, to move deer. 3 This is a very successful program that has been used for 4 several years, and I wish that you would not put further 5 restrictions on them. 6 I believe that some of -- in our MLD task force 7 meeting that was recalled on very short notice recently, 8 some of our esteemed members, very important members of 9 the TDA and, if I may say, the TWA, offered a compromise. 10 And I think they did that under a certain amount of 11 duress that they were led to believe that you as the 12 Commission saw it as something that you should do in 13 restricting Triple-T's this year. It -- we knew that 14 there was a staff recommendation coming forward. 15 And I would suggest that they should not have 16 made that compromise but, rather, have stood strongly and 17 said, No; we think Triple-T is very good; we want to 18 continue Triple-T's. 19 And we already are involved in cooperation with 20 the state in the monitoring program that we believe will 21 work, but we have to give this program time to work. And 22 we don't need to keep adding layer upon layer upon layer 23 of testing and surveillance and time constraints, and so 24 forth, to something that, as has already been mentioned 25 today, is in process now. ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 97 1 We're in hunting season. Right after that, 2 we're going to -- and we're making decisions during the 3 hunting season about how many deer we have to take off 4 our properties. And if we're anticipating moving some to 5 other people that want them very bad, we don't need to 6 kill them. 7 So all this ties together. And we're -- I 8 think we're having rather a rushed judgment to think that 9 we have to jump on this and make some very basic and far- 10 reaching changes on a very short notice. We do have a 11 monitoring program, and all of the deer people in Texas 12 are trying very hard to cooperate with the state, and we 13 believe in it. 14 We are the ones that have something at stake. 15 We appreciate your interest that you're showing in the 16 CWD monitoring program, and we want to cooperate with 17 that, but we are very much against complicating the 18 Triple-T program. Let's stay with the programs that we 19 already have going. And thank you, very much. 20 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Tony Holt? 21 MR. HOLT: Madame Chairman and Commissioners, 22 my name's Tony Holt; I am a resident of Lakeway, Texas, 23 as well. 24 And first I want to say to Mayor Edwards and 25 Mr. Benson that if we do have to take up lethal means, I ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 98 1 have the pleasure of looking at a 160-class buck every 2 day, and I'll get involved, and I'll charge you only a 3 nominal fee. So -- 4 (Laughter.) 5 MR. HOLT: But that's not why I'm here today. 6 I'm a ranch owner in Milam County, and I've owned the 7 ranch a year. It has been a life-long dream of mine. As 8 Karl stated earlier when he talked about with 600 acres 9 with no deer, well, that person has a face, and it's me. 10 I've got two deer on my property. I've done the work. 11 I've done the planning. I've done the wildlife 12 management. I've prepared the habitat. I've spent a lot 13 of money. Triple-T is part of my plan, and I need it. 14 I have a permit, issued this week. I think I'm 15 one of the only ones, because I was fast, efficient and I 16 did the right work. So this throws a major kink in my 17 plans as a landowner. 18 I understand that testing is important, and God 19 forbid that we ever have a case of CWD; as a landowner, 20 I'd never want it. I do also want to state that I think 21 if you make changes to the Triple-T, I'm in full 22 agreement that you'll kill it. 23 As you stated earlier, a landowner is not going 24 to want to test deer coming off their property. They're 25 going to find every means available to take care of that ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 99 1 problem other than going through Triple-T and testing 2 their deer proactively. 3 Let's talk about the logistics about this plan 4 which you're talking about implementing in the middle of 5 hunting season, in the middle of a Triple-T move season. 6 Assume it take seven days to get the changes that the 7 Commission decides to make today written up and sent to 8 the registrar's office. It then takes 20 days, as I 9 understand, which is an official waiting period before 10 it's implemented. 11 And let's talk about trap site landowners. 12 What's the plan and the logistics around sending all 13 those animals to be tested? We have to educate the 14 landowners. They have to understand it. There'll be 15 many, many questions, and it's going to take time. 16 Then it's going to take time to test, three to 17 four weeks at best, then it's going to take one to two 18 weeks to get permits issued. That's a best-case 19 scenario. Any logistical kinks in that is going to put 20 you at the end of the Triple-T season, thereby 21 effectively killing it this year. 22 Landowners have prepared -- not just myself -- 23 trap sites. They've put together numbers of -- the 24 numbers of deer they need to take off this year. And 25 Triple-T is part of that program, and I think you're ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 100 1 going to negatively impact them. 2 If we do have to implement testing in the 3 Triple-T, which I don't agree with, let's do it for next 4 season's permits. Let's take the time over the summer 5 and all the coming months to put the logistical issues in 6 place or -- the solutions, I should say. We're still 7 testing in the wildlife management areas. We can still 8 find other ways to test other than doing this in the 9 Triple-T. 10 And if you are going to implement it now, 11 exempt the people that have currently approved permits. 12 And that's a selfish request for me, but I have an 13 approved permit. I don't have it in my hand, but I have 14 it, and I need to use it. Thank you. 15 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Questions? 16 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Questions? 17 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: As I understand it, 18 you intend to import deer to your property. 19 MR. HOLT: Correct. 20 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: And just out of 21 curiosity, where -- you were saying you were willing to 22 import deer that have not been tested? 23 MR. HOLT: Currently, yes, I am. 24 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: You are? 25 MR. HOLT: Yes, absolutely. ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 101 1 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Would you not rather 2 have import deer that have been tested? 3 MR. HOLT: Well, sure. That's -- yes. 4 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: And so -- 5 MR. HOLT: I mean, if you're giving me those 6 two options, yes, I would. But I'm not a believer that 7 we have a case. There's no proved cases of CWD in the 8 state. 9 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: I understand. 10 MR. HOLT: So I'm not worried about it, if 11 that's what you're saying. It would be a financial ruin 12 to my property, obviously, if I moved in a deer with 13 CWD -- and to landowners around me. So no, I'm not 14 worried about it. 15 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Well, one point I 16 wanted to make was that one of our responsibilities is -- 17 although we don't have a case is to consider the 18 potential of what happens to landowners who are in not 19 only the immediate area and make their own choice to 20 import but in the immediate surrounding area if infected 21 deer are moved into their areas. So I think that's part 22 of our responsibility and part of our decision. 23 And for those of you who spoke against this, 24 one of the things that we've got to consider is that 25 possibility. Are you -- do you believe that no one will ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 102 1 test if we pass this resolution, or do you believe there 2 will be sellers of deer that will test? 3 MR. HOLT: Within the Triple-T? 4 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Uh-huh. 5 MR. HOLT: I think you'll have people that 6 will, but I think they'll be extremely reluctant to it. 7 I think they're going to look for every other alternative 8 method. And what's the effectiveness of a program if 9 it's the very last choice of things that they have to do? 10 I think it's not going to -- 11 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: But you do believe 12 there will be sellers who will test. So there will be a 13 market still out there. 14 MR. HOLT: I think for people that don't have 15 any other alternatives, yes, that's correct. But I want 16 you to understand what my position is. 17 I believe that testing needs to be done; I just 18 think this is being done very quickly, and you're talking 19 about implementing this in the middle of the season. 20 When I think -- I mean, obviously, there's much concern 21 about CWD, and it's -- I wouldn't want to call it a 22 hysteria, but it's definitely being talked about. And I 23 think it's -- this move this quickly is being done a 24 little bit in haste. 25 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Have you talked to Mayors ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 103 1 Benson and Burris? Have you talked to them? They don't 2 want deer, and you want deer. They're going to test. 3 You want tested deer that test free. I know that the 4 mayors have had difficulty finding locations to send 5 their deer. If they -- 6 MR. HOLT: Yes. The city of Lakeway has even 7 done advertising looking for ranchers that want to take 8 deer. I have called that number and spoken with the 9 trapper for the city of Lakeway. It happens to be in the 10 ending stages of my planning; given the time frame that 11 we have here around the Triple-T and the potential 12 changes, I couldn't afford to back up and, therefore, go 13 through all the approval cycles again. So I went with 14 the current plan, the current trap site, that I have. 15 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Well, maybe next year? 16 MR. HOLT: Yes. I'd be willing to do that, 17 yes. 18 COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Madame Chair, may I? 19 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Commissioner Fitzsimons? 20 COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: I'm a little confused 21 here, and I want to connect the dots. You say you'd 22 rather have deer that were tested. Right? 23 MR. HOLT: If you're giving me those -- yes. I 24 mean, anybody, I think, if -- you know -- 25 COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Right. ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 104 1 MR. HOLT: -- in a best-case scenario would 2 sure like -- 3 COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: So there's a demand 4 for that from people who need deer. And you're saying 5 that people who are going to trap won't do it, yet you're 6 telling me there's going to be a demand by the people who 7 want to receive deer for deer that have been tested, and 8 I'm not able to connect those two thoughts. 9 MR. HOLT: I'm not sure exactly how to answer 10 that question other than the fact -- I think I mean if I 11 could have all the 160-class deer on my property, I 12 would, if you're giving me that as an option. But -- 13 COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Well, that wasn't the 14 question. 15 MR. HOLT: I know it wasn't the question. 16 COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Yes. 17 MR. HOLT: Your question was around CWD. Sure, 18 I'd love to have deer that were tested for CWD, but my 19 concern over CWD is not so much that I would demand that 20 to happen currently. I think we're already doing things 21 currently to find cases of CWD -- if they are here and 22 present in Texas -- enough currently, rather than going 23 through and expanding and implementing this in the 24 Triple-T program. 25 COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Would you agree with ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 105 1 the Animal Health Commission that you don't know whether 2 or not you have CWD -- 3 MR. HOLT: Sure. We don't know. 4 COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: -- unless you're 5 testing? 6 MR. HOLT: Sure. We don't know. 7 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: And I'd like to 8 mention one thing that's more than to just your comments 9 but just as a personal note. From the reading I've done 10 in the sort of thoughtful pieces that follow up on how 11 these problems, prion-based disease management problems 12 have been dealt with in other places, one fundamental 13 recurring criticism of the areas where they've been 14 handled poorly is that the regulatory and governmental 15 agencies responsible for management of them did not 16 anticipate them and did not deal with them early enough. 17 We all hope to God that we don't have that 18 problem here, but we would be really remiss if we were 19 not anticipating this. So I appreciate that this may 20 have a big impact on landowners, but it might have a very 21 large impact if we're wrong and we don't test on 22 landowners who receive diseased deer or deer imported. 23 And I hope you all appreciate that we're also 24 trying to pay attention to the lessons that have been 25 learned around the world here with a still unknown ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 106 1 disease, a prion-disease. We believe we've got to 2 anticipate and pay attention and be responsible to all 3 the citizens of Texas. 4 MR. HOLT: I understand completely. And I 5 understand we are implementing a testing program in the 6 WMA, this year -- the wildlife management areas. 7 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: (No audible 8 response.) 9 MR. HOLT: Okay. Thank you. 10 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: I think that concludes all 11 the -- okay. I've got two more now? Oh. 12 Ellis Gilleland and Jerry Johnston. 13 (Pause.) 14 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Mr. Gilleland, you're up. 15 MR. GILLELAND: My name is Ellis Gilleland. 16 I'm speaking for Texas Animals and Animal rights, an 17 organization on the internet. 18 I've given you a handout which is the proposed 19 rules in the 27 September, 2002 Texas Register. What is 20 at issue is one line which says, quote, "Until this 21 section is repealed, no permits to trap, transport and 22 transplant white-tailed deer or mule deer will be issued 23 by the Department," unquote. It's one line. There is no 24 reference or word in here about testing. 25 There is no reference about 10 percent deer, 40 ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 107 1 percent deer, and there's no monitoring or testing. And 2 what you have published, what you're going to vote on, is 3 what I just quoted you. Now, if you publish something 4 next time about testing and monitoring as related to 5 Triple-T, fine. We'll deal with it. But that is not the 6 legal issue which is here today. 7 The second thing I'd like to mention to you is 8 that you are attaching a testing program -- and testing, 9 by the way, means killing the deer. It's 40 deer that 10 will be killed. You're attaching a testing program to a 11 trapping program, and there's no correlation that I can 12 see between the two. 13 CWD is coming from Karl's yahoos, who are 14 bringing deer -- CWD deer from Colorado. There are 467 15 greedy guys that will bring it in just to make a buck, no 16 pun intended. 17 (Laughter.) 18 MR. GILLELAND: Now -- 19 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Well done that was. 20 (Laughter.) 21 MR. GILLELAND: There are 500,000 deer killed 22 every year in Texas. You are not testing those, those 23 that -- because that's where the CWD is. You're testing 24 the Lakeway deer, where there's no CWD. Very smart. 25 (Laughter.) ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 108 1 MR. GILLELAND: So you're never going to find 2 CWD. Yea for the Parks and Wildlife Commission. 3 Brilliant. 4 Now, the Vietnam veterans in this audience will 5 appreciate what I'm going to say. For three years, '65 6 to '68, we knocked the jocks off of the Vietcong because 7 we searched and we made contact and we killed them. 8 After Tet, from '69 on for five years or six years until 9 that debacle ended, we did search and avoid. 10 I didn't send my men in where they were going 11 to be killed for some political reason, and nobody else 12 did, either. But for the first three years, we killed 13 them by the bucket full. And the last few years, we 14 avoided it. And that's exactly what you're doing. Think 15 about it. You're searching and avoiding. You're 16 avoiding CWD because you're afraid it will kill your 17 profits. 18 (Pause.) 19 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Mr. Johnston? 20 MR. JOHNSTON: That's a pretty hard act to 21 follow. 22 (Laughter.) 23 MR. JOHNSTON: Commissioners, Executive 24 Director Bob Cook and Madame Chairman, first of all, I'm 25 Jerry Johnston. I have about two or three well-designed ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 109 1 paragraphs here that I was going to read, but I don't 2 think I'm going to do that. 3 You know, one of the worst car wrecks I ever 4 had was on the way to work one morning because I was 5 late. And the point is: Sometimes when you get in too 6 big of a hurry, you can make a mistake and have an 7 accident. And where I'm leading here is I think we're in 8 an awfully big rush over this deal. 9 When I look back on when this process started, 10 it was the public hearings. And we had a notice that was 11 mailed out by the Department that was supposed to go to 12 everybody that either trapped -- was a trap site or a 13 release site. A list of people that came out of the 14 Department were the people that were invited to those 15 initial public hearings. 16 And the notice that went out went out on a 17 Wednesday, if I'm not mistaken, and the first meeting -- 18 the first public hearing meeting was on a Monday. I 19 guess you got to report on how many people showed up on 20 Monday. There was two people. 21 The Wednesday meeting was in Cotulla. And, of 22 course, all of these deer people like me -- they're like 23 a bunch of washer-women; they get on the phone at night. 24 And so I'd say that more than 50 percent of the people 25 that was at Cotulla were there because somebody called ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 110 1 them, not because they got the notice. 2 And then the last meeting was in Kerrville on a 3 Friday night in the middle of football season. So I 4 think they had seven or eight people turn out there. 5 And then we got the -- we nicknamed it -- the 6 blue-ribbon committee together here last week. And I 7 asked for a list, because it had been so long since we 8 had had a meeting, of who was on the committee, and I got 9 it. And one of the key people that should have been 10 there was Robert Saunders, but he didn't receive an 11 invitation and didn't even know about it. Another one 12 was David Hayward; he didn't know about it. 13 And all I'm saying is the horse is out of the 14 gate. We've been Triple-T'ing for years. These deer are 15 mixed up here and there, and you name it. What is the 16 rush here? That's all I'm asking. What's the rush? 17 We've got some things in place. Why don't we go through 18 this season and see what kind of reading we get? 19 And let this committee get back together 20 because there are several of them, including myself, that 21 didn't feel like we gave it enough time to do a little 22 talking with people. I visited with several landowners 23 after that meeting, and some of them were pretty irate. 24 And I don't think that end of it was thought out very 25 well. ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 111 1 So I think we're in a little bit too much of a 2 rush, and I think that maybe we ought to put this thing 3 off until next year. Thank you. 4 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Thank you. 5 Do we have any questions or comments of Mr. 6 Johnston or of staff on this issue? 7 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: I've got a couple. 8 Thank you, Jerry. 9 Do you have a question of Jerry? 10 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: I -- it's more or less 11 general, I think. 12 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Okay. 13 Well, thank you. 14 MR. JOHNSTON: I've got one more thing I'd like 15 to say if you don't mind. All of you all know how I feel 16 about CWD and how serious it is, and so forth, and I'm 17 going to state it again. The only disease that we have 18 in this state right now is hysteria. And I'm violently 19 opposed to the people that are stirring the pot and 20 stirring up the media. 21 And I'm not sure -- with no cases in Texas, I'm 22 not sure how good of an idea this was. This is going to 23 scare the devil out of a bunch of housewives right here. 24 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Commissioner Angelo? 25 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: I guess I'm not sure that ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 112 1 I understand everything that we've been hearing this 2 morning. First of all, it seems to me that if we were 3 going to be hysterical, what we'd do is go back and ban 4 any imports and shut down Triple-T and lock the gates. 5 So I don't believe the Commission's being hysterical. 6 That's the first thing. 7 But the problem that I'm having in 8 understanding this whole situation is -- it seems to me 9 that what I'm hearing is that people are -- really, what 10 they're concerned about is -- they're afraid that we're 11 going to find CWD, and so they don't want to look for it. 12 And if we don't look for it, we're not going to find it. 13 That's -- we know that. 14 So I have -- the concern about -- that has been 15 expressed about this testing program doesn't make sense 16 to me. If I -- unless I misunderstand something, all 17 we're adding here is a fairly insignificant expense and 18 some inconvenience to the people that want to move deer. 19 And if that's the case, then the only fear they've got is 20 that we'll find CWD, and I would assume that our 21 responsibility is either to find it or to prove that it's 22 not there. And we can't do that if we don't test. 23 So it seems to me that it's not an unfair 24 obligation to those that want to move deer that they be 25 obligated to do some testing before those deer are moved. ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 113 1 And to say that we've already been moving deer for ten 2 years? All that says is that we may in the past have 3 already created the problem; we ought to be looking today 4 for ways to either find out that we have the problem or 5 prove that we don't. 6 So unless I'm missing something, this seems to 7 me to be a reasonable and not a hysterical approach to 8 solving or to approaching the problem. Am I missing 9 something? 10 DR. COOKE: I was hoping that was a rhetorical 11 question. 12 (Laughter.) 13 DR. COOKE: I don't think you're missing 14 anything, sir. That's the way I read it myself. 15 COMMISSIONER HENRY: I'd like to ask Dr. Cooke. 16 Would you briefly review the time lines that 17 the recommendation talks about? I've heard various 18 comments made this morning regarding when this program 19 would be implemented and the impact it would have on -- 20 DR. COOKE: I understand. 21 COMMISSIONER HENRY: -- hunting, et cetera. 22 So -- 23 DR. COOKE: Can I speak to that -- 24 COMMISSIONER HENRY: Would you please? 25 DR. COOKE: -- or would you rather? ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 114 1 Okay. I discussed that with our general 2 counsel this morning specifically because of the 3 expectation of the Commission taking some kind of action 4 and how it might be applied. 5 Basically, any application that arrives in this 6 Agency is going to be treated under the rules within 7 which it's found. In other words, these requirements, 8 unless you take some other kind of action that would be 9 rather complicated in my mind, that a permit that exists 10 today would operate under the rules under which it was 11 reviewed and applied, you know, in terms of granting the 12 permit. 13 So an application that arrived after the 14 effective date of this rule, whatever that may be, 15 whether it's 20 days following filing or some other date 16 that you designate -- applications that arrive after that 17 effective date would be the ones for which these rules 18 would apply. So in other words, if a permit's already in 19 hand, it's in hand. These rules would not affect those 20 permits at all. 21 Is that what -- is that the question you were 22 asking, sir? 23 COMMISSIONER HENRY: That's part of it. So the 24 question that was raised -- 25 DR. COOKE: By Mr. Holt? ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 115 1 COMMISSIONER HENRY: -- from Lakeway is -- are 2 you saying is not an issue since he already has his 3 permit in hand? 4 DR. COOKE: Mr. Holt has a permit. And 5 that's -- and the rules under which it was reviewed and 6 granted are the rules that he will operate under. It 7 will not affect him at all. 8 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: A question for Jerry. 9 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: A question from 10 Commissioner Montgomery. 11 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Two thoughts. One, I 12 agree completely with what Commissioner Angelo said. I 13 think that's exactly the right way to look at it, and I 14 would only add that I think the Triple-T permit holders 15 really have the incentive to prove that the disease isn't 16 there. If we test and don't find it, they're clean -- 17 those holders are clean, and they can then sell not only 18 in good conscience but at a ready market, and they've got 19 a more valuable asset. 20 If the disease is found and we had allowed the 21 movement, we would have been, I think, highly responsible 22 to landowners in the area where the deer ended up. I 23 think that's another responsibility we've got to consider 24 and that I hope you all understand. 25 My question, Jerry is still on the issue. ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 116 1 There's sort of a fairness issue that rattles around in 2 these discussions of why only test the Triple-T; why 3 don't we test WMAs, and why not test a lot of other 4 places during the hunting season. And I'd like you to 5 address that -- 6 DR. COOKE: Okay. 7 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: -- if you could for 8 us. And what are the ins and outs? And particularly, if 9 you could, address -- as I have understood the 10 presentations and the reading I've done of the science -- 11 that the disease is far more likely to occur and be 12 transmitted where there are concentrations of animals. 13 And that, as I understand it, is part of the reasoning 14 here. If you could, address that question, as well. 15 DR. COOKE: I'll start with the last one 16 because it's fresh on my mind. Intuitively, one would 17 expect the transmission of disease between individuals to 18 be more readily transmitted when high concentrations of 19 animals are available, not because of any reason other 20 than -- not every animal is susceptible. Not everyone is 21 proximal enough to actually acquire an organism, whatever 22 that may be. But the more contacts you have between a 23 sick individual and individuals that are not sick, the 24 greater the probability of transmitting a disease. Okay? 25 So even with the limited amount of knowledge ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 117 1 related to how CWD might be transmitted, there's nothing 2 that would suggest to me or anyone that I've discussed it 3 with to think that CWD would operate in any different 4 fashion than any other disease that you normally 5 encounter. 6 The question of why we would only be testing 7 where we're testing is fairly straightforward. The 8 wildlife management areas and state parks belong to us. 9 And by testing all of the animals that we take from those 10 management -- from those properties, I believe, we're 11 being very responsible, just as we've asked the 12 scientific breeders to be responsible, in testing where 13 we can readily do so. 14 We also will test every single clinical animal 15 that we can encounter. Any hunter -- I spent three years 16 on the wildlife disease project. We got 90 percent of 17 our calls during hunting season because there were lots 18 of eyes out there. We have tested nine animals up until 19 now that were clinical and we knew were possibles for 20 this disease, and none of them have been positive to this 21 date. But I routinely expected calls to increase 22 significantly during the hunting season, because you have 23 lots of eyes, again. 24 The issue of why we would test only on our 25 properties is a good question. We're not intending to ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 118 1 test only on our properties. However, we do require 2 landowner permission in writing to enter onto a tract of 3 land, in writing to record data in any database that we 4 collect there and in writing if we make that data public. 5 So there's a confidentiality issue that we have 6 to deal with on going onto private property. There's no 7 problem. We have a number of private landowners who have 8 already stepped up and said, I want you to test animals 9 here, you know. And we are going to do that. 10 There's also a question of sample size and how 11 you distribute it across the state of Texas. If we took 12 2,000 animals from one county, that would not be of as 13 much value as if those same 2,000 animals were stratified 14 across the state of Texas. For an initial survey, the 15 intent is to determine an index to find an individual 16 animal somewhere in the state if the disease actually 17 occurs. 18 And so the best way we can stratify that is, 19 first of all, using our own properties. Second of all, 20 utilizing any hunter-submitted animals and, certainly, 21 dealing with any clinical animals, we'll be going to 22 high-risk beasties, you know, for testing. 23 Did you have another question? Did I miss one 24 in that mix? 25 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: No. Thank you. ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 119 1 DR. COOKE: Thank you, sir. 2 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Are there any further 3 questions from the Commission? 4 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: Could we see the 5 recommendation again on the screen? 6 DR. COOKE: I hope so. 7 (Pause.) 8 DR. COOKE: No, you can't. I'm sorry. They've 9 already changed the program. 10 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: Well, that's all right. 11 Are we ready for a motion? 12 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Well, why don't you 13 read -- could you read it? 14 DR. COOKE: I can read the motion. 15 The motion before you is, basically, that the 16 Texas Parks and Wildlife Department adopts 31 TAC 65.102 17 concerning permits to trap, transport and transplant game 18 animals and game birds with changes to proposed text as 19 published in the September 27, 2002 issue of The Texas 20 Register. What that basically means is you can adopt it 21 as written or you can amend it so long as your amendment 22 is less restrictive than the proposed regulation. 23 So in other words -- and, again, I don't want 24 to speak for our general counsel. But as we discussed it 25 before, your proposal is removing white-tailed deer and ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 120 1 mule deer from anywhere in the state of Texas to be 2 trapped. That's pretty easy to come off of and be less 3 restrictive. 4 To allow them to remain and place conditions on 5 that trapping so long as we're not bringing in new 6 individuals or new geography is allowed as I understand 7 it. So if you were to adopt something other than what 8 was published, those would be the conditions under that 9 adoption, I think. 10 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: Does the motion have to 11 include an effective date, or is that automatic? 12 DR. COOKE: There's a 20-day delay for a rule 13 to become effective -- 20 days following the filing of 14 the adoption with the secretary of state. You can make 15 that longer or you can make that shorter, I believe. 16 MS. BRIGHT: There are some additional 17 procedural requirements you have to have -- 18 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: We can't hear you. 19 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Introduce yourself, 20 please. 21 MS. BRIGHT: I'm Ann Bright. I'm the General 22 Counsel. 23 There are some additional procedural 24 requirements that you have to do in order to make it a 25 sooner effective date; otherwise, making it later is not ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 121 1 a problem. 2 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: Are those procedural 3 requirements that we have not met already or that -- 4 MS. BRIGHT: We -- 5 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: -- in other words, could 6 not be met? 7 MS. BRIGHT: I don't know. There are some 8 special findings that would have to be made in order to 9 make it effective earlier. I believe they have to do 10 with basically imminent danger and that sort of thing. 11 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: Okay. Thank you. 12 COMMISSIONER HENRY: What about the matter of 13 testing not being specifically mentioned? Is that a 14 concern? 15 MS. BRIGHT: Right. There are a couple of 16 cases about changes between the proposal and the 17 adoption. And I think Jerry Cooke accurately stated it. 18 As long as it doesn't affect additional subject matters 19 or additional people, additional individuals, then you 20 can change the proposal in the adoption process. You can 21 make changes. 22 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: When it's less 23 restrictive? 24 MS. BRIGHT: When it's less restrictive, as 25 long as it's not affecting, again, additional people or ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 122 1 additional subject matter or if, for example, you wanted 2 to affect some other type of wildlife or something that 3 wasn't actually addressed in the proposal. 4 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Thank you. 5 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: Well, Madame Chairman, 6 I'd move approval of the recommendation with the 7 condition that the last three sentences or three lines, 8 or whatever, which were the provision that the testing be 9 waived if the test results had not been received -- I 10 would move the adoption of it without that provision. 11 DR. COOKE: I'm sorry. I misunderstood what 12 you were asking me to do earlier. I mean, basically, the 13 proposal from the advisory committee, the task force, was 14 to test a number equivalent to 10 percent of the number 15 of animals to be trapped, but that sample would be no 16 less than ten and no more than 40, and any positive 17 animal in the testing sample would prohibit a permit from 18 being issued and that animals trapped under these 19 provisions would be permanently marked for a potential 20 trace-back. Any other -- 21 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: I move approval of that 22 portion of the recommendation. 23 DR. COOKE: Thank you, sir. 24 COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Second. 25 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Well, I have a motion from ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 123 1 Commissioner Angelo. Do I have a second? 2 COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Could I have a 3 clarification? I'm in favor of -- 4 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Wait. 5 COMMISSIONER RAMOS: I'm sorry. 6 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: We've got to undo it. 7 COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: I'll remove my 8 second. 9 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: We'll just -- we won't ask 10 for a motion just yet. 11 COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Just a clarification. Is 12 your proposed motion, Commissioner Angelo, that we accept 13 the staff recommendation with the exception that as it 14 relates to the January 15 deadline, it would be a 15 condition of a Triple-T permit that the testing be done? 16 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: Yes, that the testing be 17 done, period. 18 COMMISSIONER RAMOS: It's mandatory? 19 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: It's mandatory. 20 COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Okay. 21 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: That there would be no 22 exception -- 23 COMMISSIONER RAMOS: No exception. 24 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: -- to testing? 25 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: To testing. ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 124 1 DR. COOKE: Completed testing? 2 COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: So if I can be clear, 3 there are six recommendations, and you're taking out the 4 last one? 5 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Commissioner Fitzsimons, 6 would you speak into the microphone, please? 7 COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: I counted it as six 8 recommendations on your presentation. And it's the final 9 one, the January 15 assurance of a permit if it's not 10 tested by the 15th, that we're removing? 11 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: The motion includes all 12 but that provision. 13 COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Okay. I second that 14 one. 15 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Now do we need a motion 16 for your recommendation? 17 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: That's what we just did. 18 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: You have -- have you just 19 made a motion again? 20 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: Yes. 21 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Okay. 22 And I have a second from -- 23 COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: I second. 24 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: -- from Commissioner 25 Fitzsimons? ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 125 1 COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Yes. 2 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Okay. 3 All in favor? 4 (A chorus of ayes.) 5 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Opposed? 6 (No response.) 7 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Motion carries. 8 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Madame Chairman, 9 could I ask you one correction? I apparently made the 10 comment that the deer are sold, and I know better than 11 that. And I was thinking about something else when I 12 said that. So I'd like to correct the record if I could. 13 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: What did he say that we 14 missed? 15 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: I didn't hear that. 16 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Well, two other 17 people heard it because -- I got notes on it. And I know 18 better. 19 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: What did you say? 20 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Apparently, I said 21 the deer were being sold. 22 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Oh. 23 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: And I understand 24 that's not the case. 25 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Oh, yes. That's not the ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 126 1 case. 2 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: I was thinking in 3 market terms. So if I could correct the record, I would 4 appreciate it. 5 COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Demand. 6 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Demand. 7 We are on Agenda Item Number 9. It's a 8 briefing item on our quail plan. 9 Mr. Vernon Bevill, will you please make your 10 presentation? 11 (Whereupon, a briefing ensued.) 12 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: We have -- did we have a 13 future of hunting? That was supposed to be -- 14 MR. COOK: Bob Brown is here. 15 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Yes. Is it before, or 16 after the quail plan? 17 MR. COOK: After. 18 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Okay. 19 Could we have Mr. Brown up here to do a 20 briefing on the future of hunting? 21 (Whereupon, a briefing ensued.) 22 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Our next agenda item, 23 Number 10, is again a briefing item: Lake Austin Aquatic 24 Vegetation Plan. 25 Phil Durocher, will you please make your ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 127 1 presentation? 2 (Whereupon, a briefing ensued.) 3 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Agenda Item Number 11: 4 Land Sale, Tarrant County. 5 Jack Bauer, will you please make your 6 presentation? 7 MR. BAUER: Madame Chairman and Commissioners, 8 my name is Jack Bauer; I'm Director of the Land 9 Conservation program. This presentation summarizes 10 discussions in the executive session Conservation 11 Committee of the Commission yesterday, and it's 12 summarized below for your consideration and action. 13 The sale of the 400-acre Tarrant County 14 property is recommended to allow Texas Parks and Wildlife 15 to re-invest the proceeds of the sale of Eagle Mountain 16 Lake to acquire other real estate property dedicated to 17 public use. Staff recommends that the Parks and Wildlife 18 Commission adopt the following motion: The Texas Parks 19 and Wildlife Commission rescinds the portion of its 20 motion regarding Eagle Mountain Lake State Park made 21 August 29, 2002. The Executive Director is authorized to 22 negotiate an exclusive option contract for the sale of 23 this property to the Trust for Public Lands for public 24 use. 25 The terms of the agreement shall be as follows: ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 128 1 A six-month option period renewable at Texas Parks and 2 Wildlife Commission's discretion; the sale price of $6 3 million for the entire property; the Department will 4 reserve mineral interests; the Trust for Public Lands 5 will secure the option with $10,000 in earnest money; the 6 Department will retain the right to independently market 7 the property to other public or public/private entities 8 whose use upon acquisition would be in accordance with 9 the mission of Texas Parks and Wildlife. 10 And I would be happy to answer any questions. 11 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Mr. Chairman? 12 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: Mr. Montgomery? 13 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: I'd be happy at the 14 end of the discussion to make a motion to approve this 15 with one modification if it's all right with everybody 16 else, and that is that we get -- apparently, we have had 17 some discussions both in our negotiations and in our 18 executive session. And our staff and even some 19 Commission members have indicated that we would give this 20 group about a year to get this put together. 21 And I think we want to maintain our credibility 22 and consistency. And what I'd like to suggest is a 23 modification here that we include in this measure an 24 option on the buyer's part to extend the right to close 25 the contract through August of '03 provided that at the ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 129 1 six-month interval, they meet certain mutually-agreed- 2 upon performance criteria which we and they negotiate. 3 So that we -- I guess the spirit of what I'm 4 looking for if it's, again, satisfactory to the 5 Commission is if we see that there is not just an 6 intermediary but there is an entity with the funding 7 capacity to close this that's committed morally, if you 8 will, to do this -- to pursue this transaction and to 9 close it subject to whatever due diligence or other 10 performance criteria that it has got to have, but that 11 the six-month interval or something like a letter of 12 intent from an entity who intends to fund this to allow 13 the purchaser to get that full year of time that we 14 discussed with them and with the various groups that are 15 interested in pursuing this. 16 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: Is that maybe making it 17 more complicated than just saying to extend it to -- give 18 it August as opposed to six months? 19 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: I just -- my concern 20 here is that we -- well, it's an intermediary with a 21 great track record -- we have an intermediary that -- who 22 does not have a source of funding nailed down; the 23 various funding sources are working on it -- and simply 24 that we set up a transaction in which if the full time is 25 taken, we have some assurance that there's a high ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 130 1 likelihood of this succeeding and that if we're -- well, 2 we would like them to tell us if it's not working -- that 3 we have a contractual arrangement which gives us some 4 assurance that it is working and, if it's not working, 5 that we don't go forward and we look for other avenues to 6 move this property. Rather than just give the full time, 7 I'd like to see that performance criteria put in there. 8 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: Do you have a comment? 9 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Jack, do you think 10 that would allow and -- 11 Bob, would that allow us to be consistent with 12 the spirit of what we've discussed -- 13 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: Well, before we -- 14 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: -- with the various 15 interested parties? 16 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: Excuse me. Before -- I 17 was going to suggest maybe before we get too far into 18 that if -- we do have some people that would like to 19 speak to it from the public, some public comment. If the 20 Commission doesn't have any other questions for Mr. Bauer 21 at this point, we'll go ahead and -- 22 COMMISSIONER RAMOS: I do. 23 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: Mr. Ramos? 24 COMMISSIONER RAMOS: What is the intent of that 25 very last sentence, "The Department would retain the ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 131 1 right to independently market"? Are we saying there that 2 subject to the option, we would continue to look for a 3 prospective purchaser? 4 MR. BAUER: Sir, my interpretation of the 5 discussion yesterday is that what that would mean is that 6 if we secured an option contract with the Trust for 7 Public Lands, we could market the property to other 8 potential buyers, but only if at the end of the option 9 period Trust for Public Lands could not execute that, we 10 would then have a backup contract. 11 COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Okay. So to the extent 12 that we would pursue that, whatever new contract quote we 13 might have would obviously be subject to the option that 14 we would be granting here? 15 MR. BAUER: That's my understanding -- 16 COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Okay. 17 MR. BAUER: -- yes, sir. 18 COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Okay. Because that 19 language -- 20 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: That was intended to keep 21 us from wasting six to nine months, or whatever the term 22 was, if they were not able to meet the terms. 23 COMMISSIONER RAMOS: My suggestion is if that 24 is the intent -- I think that's correct -- we add 25 language to the effect that subject to the existing -- ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 132 1 subject to the rights granted -- 2 COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Subject to the 3 option? Is that -- 4 COMMISSIONER RAMOS: To the option, yes, to 5 clarify that. 6 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: Any other questions for 7 Mr. Bauer at this point? 8 (No response.) 9 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: Let's see what public 10 comment we have. First we have Mr. Gilleland, and then 11 Mr. Bruce Picker. 12 Ellis Gilleland? 13 MR. GILLELAND: My name is Ellis Gilleland, 14 speaking for Texas Animals. I've pretty well said what I 15 wanted to say at the last meeting about my comments on 16 the sale of this jewel. I wish Mr. Avila was here to 17 hear this and to make a decision on this. 18 And I wish Mr. Watson were here, because I want 19 to make sure I quoted him correctly. Mr. Watson said 20 earlier or this was attributed to him -- his motto was, 21 quote -- I'm reading it so I don't mess it up, quote, 22 "Weekend in the park," unquote. Well, you cannot have a 23 weekend in the park if there is no park. And so that is 24 the wisdom that Mark Watson has imparted to all of us: 25 That in order to have a weekend in a park, we must have a ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 133 1 park. 2 That's the first point. And so I encourage you 3 very strongly to maintain this park in the public system 4 of government. And this leads me to my second comment. 5 And the second comment is that there's all 6 sorts of legalese written into this statement, this 7 motion, that you're talking about here, but, as you 8 lawyers have discerned already, you're talking about 9 options. You people retain options, discretion, to do 10 this and that. And, hopefully, your heart is in the 11 right place, because you did not pass it last time. 12 So there's a glimmer -- down at the far end of 13 that 100-mile tunnel, there's a glimmer. I can see it. 14 So I'm flinging my trust onto your backs. I'm before you 15 and asking you to -- not only to exercise good faith if 16 this thing goes forward with the options and discretions, 17 but I would like to see and which I know you will 18 probably not even consider -- I would like to see some 19 prohibitive language, one sentence, written into it: 20 This property shall not and will not be sold to a private 21 entity, but will be sold only to a government entity, a 22 city, county or state, period. In other words, you 23 prohibit it. 24 Suppose this matter doesn't get settled and you 25 all die and we have nine new people come in at the next ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 134 1 meeting. Well, these next people will be bound to follow 2 your decision which had been made, that it would only be 3 sold to a public entity, and keep it in the public trust, 4 so that we can all adhere to the Watson dictum, a weekend 5 in the park. Thank you. See you in the park. 6 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Bruce Picker, and then Tom 7 Nezworski. 8 MR. PICKER: Good afternoon. My name is Bruce 9 Picker; I'm a resident of Tarrant County. I have lived 10 there and worked there for over 13 or -- for nearly 13 11 years. I'm here today to oppose specifically the request 12 to have this property placed under this option agreement 13 as discussed. 14 We've just had a chance to really review this 15 language for the first time here at the meeting. We 16 appreciate the Department's and Commissions concerns for 17 a responsible sale, but what I think in essence is 18 happening is that there is clearly in essence a decision 19 to be -- that's being made right now that $6 million is 20 acceptable but with no guarantee that it will ever close. 21 For a very nominal deposit, an assurance that 22 this transaction would go forward and -- what I think you 23 are precluding yourselves from doing is really 24 identifying, What's the true value of this property. And 25 for that, what I think you need to re-assess is, What are ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 135 1 the long-term goals of this Department. 2 Under the conservation plan and recreation plan 3 that was just approved a couple of months ago, there are 4 25-plus projects of priority that have been identified 5 for expansion within the parks system and wildlife 6 management areas. You want four 5,000-acre parks, and 7 you don't have the funds to do that admittedly within the 8 plan. 9 And this is -- there's only three properties 10 that have been identified for potential sale, and this is 11 one of the most valuable ones. And so as a 12 responsibility to the citizens of the state, I think you 13 need to allow yourselves the ability to really see what 14 this property is worth before you make a decision right 15 now that, in essence, you're tying it up at below 16 appraised value. 17 It's probably understood that right now, the 18 trust doesn't have the funds tied up. Local governments, 19 as we all know, are under very dire fiscal 20 responsibilities such that they don't have the capacity 21 to go out. But if you give opportunity for others to 22 come in and make responsible proposals and work with the 23 Department, they're not going to want to do that and 24 spend their own money and so forth if this option is tied 25 up -- if this land is tied up under an option, assuming ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 136 1 that they have the right to extend it at their own will 2 for at least some period of time and not knowing if in 3 fact the funds that are spent to investigate the due 4 diligence process to make a proposal and it might all be 5 wasted. 6 And so I think that you're immediately blocking 7 out any other creative idea that could come to the table 8 and, very likely, a significantly higher price. But no 9 one knows that yet without having had the opportunity to 10 really do their homework. And so I would just submit to 11 you to reconsider that you go back to the original 12 resolution that was approved in August, and let's work 13 together with the Department to see what we could do 14 that's really a win/win for everybody and to allow the 15 Department to maintain and achieve their long-term goals. 16 I'll be happy to take any questions. 17 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Any questions? 18 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Are you representing 19 any particular organization, or just representing 20 yourself? 21 MR. PICKER: Myself, yes. 22 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Amy Morris, would you get 23 ready? 24 MR. NEZWORSKI: I would say, "Good morning," 25 but I think it's now afternoon. So we've been here ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 137 1 awhile. I'll try to be brief; although I am an attorney, 2 I'll try to be done in five minutes. I promise. 3 So my name's Tom Nezworski; I'm an attorney 4 that has been licensed by the state since 1981. I'm a 5 life-long resident of Fort Worth; I call it my home town, 6 and I grew up there. I live and work in the community, 7 and I've always strived to improve and enhance Fort Worth 8 in whatever business objective we try to pursue. 9 In the last ten years, I've been associated 10 with a group of very talented individuals and financial 11 partners who have created and developed really unique and 12 innovative recreational facilities in some of the most 13 sensitive areas in the United States: The mountains of 14 Colorado, the deserts of Arizona and, most recently, a 15 project in Lake Tahoe, which has very, very sensitive 16 environmental issues. 17 Most of the projects vary in style and in 18 scope, but most of them have significant open space, they 19 preserve animal habitat, are low-density, environmentally 20 responsible and are negligible impact on the neighboring 21 property such as the lake in this situation. Because 22 Eagle Mountain is in Fort Worth, a group of people that 23 I'm involved with are interested in evaluating it and 24 trying to determine what type of innovative plan can best 25 serve the needs of the local community. ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 138 1 This is 400 acres which is in Fort Worth's 2 extra-territorial jurisdiction. It's very close to the 3 current city limits under annexation. It's going to be 4 in the city of Fort Worth at some point in time. 5 I want to touch briefly on a couple of points 6 which -- I've tried to read the transcript from the 7 August meeting to understand the kind of environment, but 8 we're just learning about this. What are really the 9 responsibilities and the goals of this Commission with 10 respect to this piece of property? 11 Mr. Picker just talked about -- and Mr. 12 Picker's an associate of mine. So I'm not trying to hide 13 any of that. There seems to be an implied duty for this 14 Commission to maximize the return of the taxpayer dollars 15 that were invested in this property 22 years ago and then 16 to re-invest those dollars into a large recreational site 17 that you guys have identified. 18 The history of this property -- as you guys are 19 aware, the 400 acres wasn't donated to the state. It was 20 actually purchased with taxpayer money back in 1980 from 21 private landowners and private developers. No useable 22 park has ever been created or opened for public use. 23 That surprised me when I first read about this in the 24 newspaper back in August. I thought that, you know, for 25 some crazy reason, we were going to dispose of a park ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 139 1 that was being used. 2 But when I got out there and actually learned 3 what was going on -- there is no park there. It is a 4 piece of open space. And it -- basically, I asked Jack 5 Bauer, Why hasn't it been developed. And he said, 6 There's no money; and really, the neighbors around that 7 area didn't want to see it developed into a park; they 8 didn't want to see the congestion, and they didn't want 9 to see the usage. And that was actually in the 10 transcript from the August discussion by Mr. Stripling on 11 behalf of one of the neighboring property owners. 12 They didn't want to see usage, such that the 13 public has never enjoyed this piece of property. In 14 essence, it has only been a buffer and an open spaces. 15 Now, there's something to be said for buffers and open 16 spaces in urban areas -- I'll grant you that -- but 17 nothing in this new resolution that Jack read today 18 refers to how the public will be ultimately provided 19 access to this piece of property if you enter into this 20 option agreement. 21 Previously, in August, you talked about how the 22 criteria for distribution or -- disposition of this 23 property was to get at or above fair market value and 24 then try to slow down this process and see if you could 25 come up with the best proposal that would try to meet ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 140 1 your goals, your original mission statement. 2 And it is somewhat ironic that the original 3 mission statement of this Commission hasn't been 4 implemented over the 22 years; we haven't been able to 5 let the public enjoy this property. 6 If I could have another minute, please? 7 For us to determine what type of innovative 8 plan can happen here, we asked for access on September 16 9 in writing to Jack, but we only got on the property 10 yesterday for about six hours for the first time for 11 really any lengthy evaluation of the piece of property. 12 We've got a significant interest in this property, but we 13 need some time to talk to the local government, which is 14 the city of Fort Worth in our minds. 15 We want to understand the concerns of the 16 people there and their needs. We need to meet with the 17 city -- I've only had a couple of preliminary 18 conversations with the city council people there -- to 19 come up with this alliance that you guys have said is the 20 criteria we need to satisfy, find out what sort of joint 21 development or annexation or donation plan needs to be 22 created here, and just see if we can go forward. 23 Once we've had that opportunity, we will bring 24 to you a specific written proposal with a specific price 25 that I think would be in excess of the fair market value, ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 141 1 probably substantially in excess of the fair market 2 value, and with a specific date for performance and with 3 true earnest money. In my mind, 2 percent or less than 2 4 percent earnest money is really very deficient in this 5 kind of proposal. 6 The last thing I want to say is if this is the 7 best proposal that's before this Commission -- this one 8 with the Trust for Public Lands -- if it's the best 9 proposal today, it will be the best proposal in three 10 months or six months. But if it's not the best proposal, 11 that will also become aware of if you give other people 12 the opportunity to look at this seriously. 13 If -- as Bruce said, if you enter into this 14 option, I think you're going to have a chilling effect on 15 this piece of property. People aren't going to want to 16 keep spending time and energy and money in evaluating 17 whether there's something to do here, something that's 18 innovative that can be done with the property. 19 So it's certain that if you do this, I think, 20 you'll never know if this is the best offer. If you are 21 patient, which is what you expressed in August, you may 22 find definitely what the best proposal is. 23 And I'll answer any questions if there are any. 24 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Do we have any comments or 25 discussion or questions from the Commission? ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 142 1 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Who do you represent? 2 MR. NEZWORSKI: I work for a lot of different 3 people, but I -- there's a group out of Arizona that's 4 called Highlands Management Group. I also work for a 5 company, a real estate investment trust, that's located 6 in Fort Worth, which is Crescent Real Estate Equities. 7 And then I'm in a project that has multiple 8 facets of operations that's called Mira Vista. And it's 9 a community in Fort Worth that's a pretty nice community. 10 If you ask anybody in Fort Worth -- 11 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Today -- are you 12 representing one group in particular today? 13 MR. NEZWORSKI: Technically, I'd probably have 14 to say that I'm representing Crescent, because I have a 15 fiduciary obligation to them initially. We've just 16 briefly talked to them about this project. Once again, I 17 don't have enough information to say they'd ultimately be 18 interested. If they're not, then I think there are other 19 people that we would go to with a substantial interest in 20 this project. 21 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Have you been engaged 22 by one prospective purchaser to appear here, or are you 23 simply appearing believing one of your clients would 24 pursue it if we give them the opportunity? 25 MR. NEZWORSKI: Well, let me clarify my status. ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 143 1 Although I am an attorney, I am no longer actively 2 practicing in Texas; I'm in the real estate business. So 3 the people I've referenced are people I'm in partnership 4 with. So I'm here representing myself as an interested 5 party, as well as the different groups that I have 6 alliances and associations with. So -- 7 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Okay. 8 MR. NEZWORSKI: -- I think it's very clear I 9 can find somebody that'll finance this project and 10 whatever we can come up with that the city of Fort Worth 11 thinks are their needs or their concerns, but we've got 12 to talk to a lot of people. And that's going to take 13 some time. I've started talking to a few people. But 14 without access and information about the property, it's 15 kind of hard to talk about it and say, well, what can you 16 do with this thing. 17 The same thing's true with the Trust for Public 18 Land. We're not certain what they're going to do with it 19 yet or who's going to be the ultimate end user. But I 20 think to have a level playing field here and get the best 21 offer, you ought to just say, What are we in a hurry for. 22 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Well, I just -- 23 again, my question was simply to understand -- 24 MR. NEZWORSKI: Yes, sir. 25 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: -- who we're speaking ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 144 1 with and who's speaking with us -- 2 MR. NEZWORSKI: I understand. 3 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: -- because you're a 4 prospective purchaser. 5 MR. NEZWORSKI: Absolutely. 6 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Okay. That's -- 7 which is great, you know. 8 MR. NEZWORSKI: But I -- 9 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: We're glad to hear 10 you're interested and hope you maintain your interest. 11 MR. NEZWORSKI: Well, I'd love to spend more 12 time. I'd like -- I think we're going to try to go 13 finish some stuff Friday subject to what you decide here. 14 But if you decide here that you've already figured out 15 what the best offer is, then I'm not sure if there's any 16 reason for us to keep going forward. So thank you for 17 your time. 18 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: Madame Chair? 19 MR. NEZWORSKI: Yes, sir? 20 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: Excuse me. Would you be 21 envisioning something that would have some public usage 22 of at least part of the property -- 23 MR. NEZWORSKI: I think -- 24 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: -- or a significant part 25 of it? ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 145 1 MR. NEZWORSKI: I think you've already 2 established that some part of it -- and my conversations 3 with Jack have centered around that there needs to be 4 some public feature to it. Now, what the public feature 5 is right now I'm not certain, because I don't know enough 6 about it. And I don't know what the city might want and 7 what the local people might want there and what they 8 would tolerate and what they wouldn't tolerate. I'm 9 just -- I'm not certain, and I need some time to figure 10 that out. 11 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: Based on some of the 12 other projects you've been involved in, would you 13 envision that being a significant portion of it as a 14 percentage of the land, or a minor portion, or what? 15 MR. NEZWORSKI: Well, I think that right now, 16 it's fair to say that I think half of it would be open 17 space. It wouldn't be covered with houses and those 18 kinds of things. What type of use that open space might 19 be? It could be golf. It could be -- we've got a 20 project in Lake Tahoe where we've actually got an outdoor 21 concert venue for the symphony to play in, you know, four 22 or five times a summer. 23 So I don't know if -- I don't know what the 24 community wants or what they need, but I'd like to 25 investigate that because that's ultimately, I think, what ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 146 1 we're trying to do here, which is to, one, maximize how 2 much money this Commission gets to go re-invest. And 3 really, what do the local people there want? 4 If they just want a buffer because there's a 5 few neighbors that are very powerful in Fort Worth and 6 they say, "We don't want to see any development at all," 7 then let's face facts. That's what it's going to be. 8 But that doesn't necessarily serve the community very 9 well. 10 So I just think we're -- we've kind of sped up 11 this process based on what happened in August. And, you 12 know, we've only had 60-plus days happen since August, 13 when we said -- everybody that was here -- even 14 Commissioners on this panel -- were saying, Let's slow 15 this process down and find the best proposal. Well, now 16 we've got it all sped up again. I'm not certain of what 17 has changed since last August, when you were being asked 18 to slow the process down. 19 And from my perspective, I'd like to see the 20 process kind of go its natural course. And let's get the 21 best offers in front of you and then let you guys make 22 the intelligent decision. So thank you. 23 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: I've got a discussion 24 point with the Commission. I think that the assumption 25 behind the resolution is that there's some public use by ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 147 1 the purchasers that are working here, and that is the 2 justification for a negotiated rather than an auction or 3 appraised price. 4 And I wonder whether we ought not to include in 5 this resolution some acknowledgment or confirmation that 6 there will be some public use -- appropriate public use 7 which fits with the original intention of the funding, 8 because I believe that is the basis for a negotiated 9 price in this case. 10 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: I think that's a very 11 good point. And I think it's a concern that -- it was 12 somewhat expressed in our executive session because at 13 this point, we don't have any idea what they're talking 14 about using it for. 15 MR. NEZWORSKI: Right. 16 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: And I think the gentleman 17 has made a point that certainly occurred to me yesterday, 18 that it may well be that they're talking about using 19 this -- making this a buffer or a watershed protection, 20 or whatever, which doesn't give it any more public access 21 than it has today in reality. I have to say that I'm a 22 little uncomfortable with proceeding with the motion or 23 the resolution that has been proposed to us, frankly. 24 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: I'm comfortable 25 proceeding with the negotiated deal provided we have some ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 148 1 assurance and the approval right that we do have a public 2 use, which is consistent with our mission. I think then 3 we are well within our policy-making prerogatives, since 4 we intend to use this money to further the land and water 5 conservation plan. 6 And if we ensure there's some public use, to 7 the extent there is any -- and we don't know right now 8 whether there is -- between this price or an appraised or 9 competitive market price, we're still achieving the same 10 public purpose, which is our mission. So I would be open 11 to some suggestions from either staff or other Commission 12 members as to how to craft that language. 13 COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: I would just point 14 out that all your suggesting -- and I agree with you -- 15 is making the option consistent with the exception, which 16 is -- 17 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Right. 18 COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: -- that you can 19 continue to market. 20 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Right. 21 COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: But if you read that, 22 it says, To other public or public/private entities whose 23 use upon acquisition would be in accordance with the 24 mission of TPWD. I think you just need to make the 25 option consistent with the exception, and then it's ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 149 1 uniform. 2 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: We do have one more 3 speaker that -- I think it would be correct to have Amy 4 Morris speak. And then we can continue this discussion. 5 Amy Morris? 6 MS. MORRIS: Thank you, and pardon my 7 chattering. I'm so cold that I may be shaking, and it's 8 not from fear; it's from being cold. Anyway, my name is 9 Amy Morris; I'm with the Trust for Public Land. Thank 10 you for the opportunity to speak today, and I know it's 11 at the end of the day. 12 We were in attendance at the meeting several 13 months ago where the results of the land and water 14 conservation study showed that there was a lack of 15 available park space in Texas. And we think that Eagle 16 Mountain Lake -- the property represents an ideal 17 opportunity to keep the property and make it available to 18 the community. 19 If you've not been there, the rolling terrain 20 and this waterfront property which is unique to the area 21 represents a truly unique opportunity for connection to 22 the land in an area of rapidly diminishing open space. 23 Although Eagle Mountain Lake is only several miles from a 24 major metropolitan area, it would provide an active 25 nature retreat for many urban dwellers. ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 150 1 Trust for Public Land, as a conservation buyer, 2 is charged with and our mission is providing land for 3 public use. We are a 30-year-old organization. We have 4 offices throughout the United States. We are highly 5 capitalized in that we buy property and we're 6 available -- able to buy property, but we don't hold it. 7 So although we can buy the property, we want to make sure 8 that we have the right take-out agent to buy the property 9 back from us. So it's kind of a unique role. 10 We value our relationship that we've had with 11 other partnerships with Texas Parks and Wildlife. And I 12 want to make sure that we manage expectations by not 13 promising to deliver something that we're unable to do 14 so. We do utilize option agreements to place property 15 under option, although a lot of times we just call that a 16 purchase and sale agreement with some earnest money. 17 And as a part of that, I -- along those lines, 18 I have, I guess, a modification to the recommendation 19 that Jack made. And that was that we -- I propose that 20 we stick with the original option time period that was 21 discussed in the August meeting, which was a year from 22 this most recent August, which would be -- the option 23 period would extend until August of 2003, and that this 24 option period be an exclusive right to market the 25 property, as well, as opposed to an open right to market ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 151 1 the property. 2 And the reason that we've found this works best 3 is that it's hard to garner the coalition and the public 4 support if you don't have an exclusive right to market 5 the property. If you're generating activity and you're 6 soliciting funds and you're talking to the city and 7 you're talking to the foundations and you're talking to 8 the local representatives, if you say that we are one of 9 many that may or may not have the right to close on the 10 property, it dilutes your ability to generate those funds 11 to buy the property. So we feel that's really important. 12 So our first proposal to or -- amendment to the 13 recommendation is to keep the option period the same as 14 it was before, to grant an exclusive right and to provide 15 some option at fair market value for the landowner to -- 16 the new landowner, which, again, would allow public 17 access to the property, but to allow the option for them 18 to purchase or -- us to purchase the mineral rights at 19 fair market value. 20 Finally, we fully realize and can appreciate 21 the realities of Texas Parks and Wildlife's financial 22 obligations and opportunity to utilize the funds from the 23 sale of Eagle Mountain Lake to buy a larger park while, 24 at the same time, we feel that there are options for 25 compromise that are available in order to obtain the best ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 152 1 possible stewards of this property. And that's all I 2 had. 3 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: May I address some of 4 those points? 5 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Commissioner Montgomery? 6 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Ms. Morris, thank 7 you. I think what we're proposing is that the time frame 8 would be allowed -- the modification would allow the year 9 time frame but would require a performance measure as a 10 check-point. I think we don't want to be tied up and 11 have a deal happen, and we do want to pursue other 12 options. 13 I'm speaking my own opinion, but I think that's 14 consistent with the executive session discussions the 15 Commission has had. I certainly as a buyer would want 16 the exclusive right to market, and I respect you for 17 asking for it. I think we do want to retain -- feel very 18 strongly -- and we had a strong discussion on that -- 19 that we want to retain the right to market the property 20 if we see a deal that's not going to happen. 21 I think what you're seeing, though, is that we 22 do intend to proceed in good faith if we enter into this 23 agreement to help you all and assist you and make it 24 happen. But we're as a group very determined to move 25 this property into some other hands which keeps some kind ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 153 1 of purpose consistent with our mission but which pays us 2 a reasonable price for it and allows us to execute our 3 strategic plans we have. 4 So chilling the market, as the first gentleman 5 alluded to, I think, is a real issue. If we absolutely 6 lock ourselves up and take ourselves off the market with 7 no conditions, no rights or anything else for a full 8 year, I don't think we're going to do that. And I don't 9 think we should do that. 10 So with that spirit of it, I think what I would 11 like to move when everyone's ready is that we make the 12 modification Commissioner Fitzsimons said, which is that 13 we have some check-point and approval that the use is 14 consistent with our mission as it's outlined there and 15 that we have an ability of the buyer to extend -- the 16 prospective purchaser to extend through August, but 17 subject to performance criteria and perhaps an option 18 payment that's more substantial than this at that point. 19 I'd like to see us go that route so that we 20 have a check-point and we know that we've got a high 21 likelihood of making a deal and, otherwise, that we're 22 free to pursue other options. 23 COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Madame? 24 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Commissioner Fitzsimons? 25 COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Just as a ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 154 1 clarification, the option is exclusive. When you read 2 the motion, everything is subject to your exclusive 3 option. So I think that satisfies or should your concern 4 about having people going around you or not being able to 5 negotiate in good faith with these partners. 6 Also, it -- again, Jack has done a very good 7 job in the drafting. It does state that it is for public 8 use, "Trust for Public Land for public use." And I don't 9 know that -- Donato may disagree with me. I don't know 10 that you need to be any clearer than that. 11 COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Well, let me express my 12 comments. I feel that we ought to maximize the value of 13 this property but, in the same breath, maximize the value 14 with a dedicated public use. And I personally at this 15 point am not satisfied that we're at that level. So I 16 personally would rather have us maximize the value and 17 perhaps grant some first right of refusal. 18 But I still think that this is a very valuable 19 asset. I would like to see us maximize that value, 20 again, and be satisfied that there's some public use in 21 there. And that's my concern. 22 MS. MORRIS: Well, as a part -- when we're a 23 buyer of the property, as the buyer of the property, 24 we -- there must be public access to a property that we 25 buy. So that's a part of our -- ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 155 1 COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Could I ask the gentleman 2 that addressed us? I forgot your name. 3 MR. NEZWORSKI: Mine, or Mr. Picker's? 4 COMMISSIONER RAMOS: You or either one of you. 5 MR. NEZWORSKI: Yes? 6 COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Assuming that -- just 7 theoretically assuming that you -- that a first right of 8 refusal were to be granted here, do you feel that that 9 would impede your efforts to attempt to maximize the 10 value assuming that that was just theoretical? 11 MR. NEZWORSKI: I understand the question. And 12 I -- 13 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Mr. Nezworski, could you 14 please step up to the microphone and re-introduce 15 yourself? 16 MR. NEZWORSKI: I'm Tom Nezworski. 17 I understand your question, Commissioner Ramos. 18 If -- I'll put my lawyer hat back on. I never ask a 19 client to try to put a right of first refusal on 20 something, because it also chills the interest. And 21 that's just what happens with people. 22 Now, as it relates to us, I think if we have 23 any encouragement from this Commission that you want to 24 see competing offers and you want to try to, as you've 25 just said, maximize the value of this piece of property, ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 156 1 then we'll work very hard and very diligently, and I'll 2 try to be back here at the January meeting with something 3 specific to show this Commission in terms of the things I 4 said earlier. Now, that's -- 5 COMMISSIONER RAMOS: But it's not only 6 maximizing the value of the property. 7 MR. NEZWORSKI: I understand. 8 COMMISSIONER RAMOS: It's maximizing the value 9 but still having a public use inherent in that 10 transaction. 11 MR. NEZWORSKI: Yes. And all I can do is 12 commit to you that I'll work hard with the public partner 13 I've got to locate, which may be the city of Fort Worth, 14 which is my best guess right now, and say, What -- can 15 we come forward to you in January and say we're going to 16 make this commitment to you at this price, and this will 17 be the public aspect to it. We understand that that's 18 very important to this Commission. 19 COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Right. But a first right 20 of refusal would not chill the transaction as much as an 21 option would. 22 MR. NEZWORSKI: I think they're basically the 23 same because, you know, if I'm behind her with respect to 24 a right of first refusal, then this organization has the 25 ability to, I guess, take that down -- at least, that's ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 157 1 what she's telling this Commission, although they seem to 2 not be putting up their money where their mouth is. 3 If I were in their position, I would say, I'll 4 show you my money where my mouth is by putting up 10 5 percent of the purchase price, whatever that might be, as 6 a performance of showing that I'm serious about closing 7 on this thing at the time frame that you give me to close 8 it. Obviously, due diligence has to be done. Obviously, 9 information has to be gathered, and alliances have to be 10 formed. She's talking about doing the same thing. 11 If I'm behind her and she's working hard, then 12 I suspect I'm always going to finish in second place. 13 And I just want an equal chance to participate. And that 14 seemingly is the best thing for this Commission. 15 COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Okay. Thank you, very 16 much. 17 MR. NEZWORSKI: Yes, sir. 18 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: I think if we're 19 going to ask the land -- Trust for Public Land to work on 20 it, they need a clear contract that they can close on, 21 period. So I think you have -- we're -- that proposal 22 gives you that. And while I understand, because I've 23 been in both positions, it's far better to have 24 exclusivity, I don't think that's something we're willing 25 to grant. ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 158 1 So I would like to see us have some approval 2 right that -- some approval that the public use is 3 something we're happy with and it's not just a nominal 4 public use, because I think that's a critical point in 5 this. Beyond that, I'd like to perhaps modify the 6 language, Joseph, if you'd give us a little detail. And 7 I'm ready to make a motion that we move in this 8 direction. 9 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: Madame Chairman, I'm 10 concerned as to whether or not we really have a clear 11 consensus from the Commission on what we ought to do on 12 this and wonder what problems it would create for the 13 Trust for Public Lands and other interested parties if we 14 were to delay further action on this until January, the 15 January meeting. 16 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: If we do that, we 17 should decide whether we're going to encourage proposals 18 or simply give them time to put theirs together. If 19 we're -- I mean, we're -- I think to delay for the sake 20 of delay only hurts our prospects -- 21 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: Well -- 22 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: -- of getting it 23 sold. 24 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: It would be with the 25 understanding that anyone that has -- any other -- ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 159 1 anybody that has proposals would have an opportunity to 2 make them. 3 COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: And our previous 4 motion will stand -- correct -- from August? 5 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: Yes. It wouldn't change 6 the motion in August. 7 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Ms. Morris, could you 8 answer a question for me? 9 MS. MORRIS: Certainly. 10 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Would you step up to the 11 microphone? 12 MS. MORRIS: Yes, ma'am. 13 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Thank you. I think the 14 previous speaker made a point about the deposit that is 15 hard to ignore. Would you -- 16 MS. MORRIS: We can certainly increase our 17 deposit, our earnest money deposit. That's not a problem 18 at all. We have revolving funds that we can access 19 immediately once we have an acceptable purchase and sale 20 agreement or option agreement and proceed with that. 21 One more thing I did want to add about, again, 22 non-exclusive or creating partnerships and coalitions is 23 that we are in the stages of creating this coalition to 24 bring the groups together to buy the property. We've 25 talked to several private organizations and the Tarrant ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 160 1 Regional Water District. We've made some inroads with 2 the city of Fort Worth, and we're talking to foundations. 3 So, again, I think it's important to get -- in 4 order to get their commitment, we have to have or we -- 5 it's important to have the exclusive right to market -- I 6 mean, to have control of the property; otherwise, again, 7 everybody's going to be talking to the same people to get 8 the same thing. 9 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: I need to ask staff a 10 question if -- and the Commission, too. If we wait until 11 January, it seems to me we're saying we're open to all 12 comers, but we're going to make a decision on price and 13 on use combined. If we do that, it seems to me -- there 14 are potential purchasers that are not in the room, and 15 we've got to really open it up and make it clear that 16 we're opening it up -- that we're really talking about a 17 quasi-auction or an advertised RFP process. 18 I think we get right back into the same 19 argument. If we just delay and say to the people here 20 today, Come back with proposals. I'm not sure we're 21 solving our problem if we do that. I'm not necessarily 22 opposed to it. The other solution would be to take this 23 amendment and say, "Its appraised value," and have an 24 appraisal ordered right now so that in January, we have 25 an appraisal and we have a price and it's at appraised ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 161 1 value. 2 And, you know, the Trust for Public Land may 3 not like that, and that may kill the deal with them, in 4 which case, we'd know where we are. But that's the other 5 solution to this riddle that we're dealing with. 6 COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Well, if you -- I'm 7 very hesitant to ever disagree with my fellow 8 Commissioner Montgomery. 9 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Well, I'm just 10 raising questions right now. 11 COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: I -- maybe I need 12 some guidance from Jack Bauer on this, but my 13 understanding is if you table, then you're at status quo; 14 you're where you were before. That's -- Jack could maybe 15 help me with that, but -- 16 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Jack, could you answer 17 that question, please? 18 COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: And then we're under 19 the terms of our previous motion. Correct? 20 MR. BAUER: It would be -- 21 Where's Ann Bright? 22 I think we have an existing motion. You have 23 told us what to do, and we're operating under the 24 existing motion of August. 25 COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Right. And that ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 162 1 limits it to the sort of proposals we're looking at right 2 now. So the only thing -- I disagree with you, Phil -- 3 is that it doesn't really open it up to some sort of 4 general bidding process; it's still open space, public 5 use, public/private partnerships and public entities, if 6 I remember our previous motion. So I don't think it 7 throws us all the way back. 8 COMMISSIONER HENRY: Doesn't the previous 9 motion say, "Preference," though? 10 COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: I think you're right. 11 Preference is -- 12 MR. BAUER: Yes, sir, it does. It says, To 13 sell at or above appraised value, give preference to a 14 public or a public/private partnership with the 15 anticipation that it would be available for public use. 16 COMMISSIONER RAMOS: To me, the extent of the 17 public use will impact the appraised value. And I 18 thought the motion's intent was that there would be a 19 preference but not an exclusivity. 20 So it seems to me that if -- and just 21 theoretically, if there were four offers, one of which 22 incorporated a much larger park area or a much greater 23 public use area at a stipulated price -- I think part of 24 the exercise is weighing how much of the acreage will 25 actually be dedicated to the public. Obviously, the more ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 163 1 that's dedicated to the public, I would think the buyer 2 would probably feel that there's less property available 3 for other uses, and the appraised value would drop. 4 So that's what I'm struggling with. And I just 5 feel that we owe it to the citizens of this state to 6 maximize the value but ensure as great a public access as 7 possible at the same time. 8 COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Consistent with our 9 mission. Right. 10 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: That's exactly the way I 11 feel about it. 12 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: If -- 13 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: And I don't think we're 14 there today. 15 COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Nor do I, sir. 16 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: If we delay until 17 January, let's be sure we're going to make a decision in 18 January. We really need to resolve that we're going to 19 make a decision and stay on this time schedule. That's 20 my biggest concern. 21 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: I agree with that. 22 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: So I think we really 23 need to look each other in the eyes and say, We're going 24 to step up here if the Commission's not ready to do 25 something today. I'd be ready to do something today, ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 164 1 personally, but I think consensus is important and 2 unanimity is a worthy goal for us to be sure that we're 3 acting as a group. 4 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Jack? 5 MR. BAUER: Madame Chairman and Commissioners, 6 in listening to Mr. Picker and Mr. Nezworski, would it 7 not be in the sense of the existing motion if between now 8 and then they would make a proposal under the intent of 9 the existing motion? I think that would be -- in my 10 view, that would be very consistent with what you -- the 11 direction you gave us in August. 12 COMMISSIONER RAMOS: They and anyone else that 13 you're -- 14 MR. BAUER: Or anyone else. 15 COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Or -- yes, or anyone 16 else. 17 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Do I understand clearly 18 that what we're discussing here is opening up a two- 19 month -- three-month period where we would entertain 20 proposals from other groups consistent with our mission 21 and that we would examine those proposals and come to 22 some kind of a firm decision in January that would 23 then -- we would then adopt some sort of an agreement 24 along the lines we've discussed if that's appropriate or 25 if that's the way it works out -- at the January meeting? ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 165 1 COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Well, we're extending 2 really for two more months our August motion. Correct? 3 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: That's -- 4 COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Technically, isn't 5 that what we're doing? 6 MR. BAUER: That's what I'm interpreting. If 7 you will, give me that confirmation. 8 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: Yes. 9 COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: I'll make the motion. 10 COMMISSIONER HENRY: Can we have the minutes 11 reflect that it was requested that -- with the intention 12 that we'll make a final decision at the January meeting? 13 COMMISSIONER ANGELO: I'll second that. 14 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: All in favor? 15 (A chorus of ayes.) 16 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: All opposed? 17 (No response.) 18 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Motion carries. 19 Agenda Item Number 12 is an action item: Land 20 Acquisitions, Cameron County, Somervell County. 21 Jack Bauer? 22 MR. BAUER: Madame Chairman and Commissioners, 23 the proposed land acquisition transactions heard by the 24 Conservation Committee of the Parks and Wildlife 25 Commission yesterday are summarized below for action. ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 166 1 The purchase of approximately 72 acres in Cameron County 2 is recommended as a habitat addition to the Longoria Unit 3 at Las Palomas, and the purchase of approximately 60 4 acres in Somervell County is recommended as a natural 5 resource addition to Dinosaur Valley State Park. 6 Staff recommends you consider the motion before 7 you to acquire these sites. And I'll be happy to answer 8 any questions. 9 COMMISSIONER HENRY: So moved. 10 COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Second. 11 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: We may have -- is there an 12 Agenda Item Number 13? 13 (Pause.) 14 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Is -- Ellis Gilleland, did 15 you sign up to speak to this issue, or not? 16 MR. GILLELAND: I did not sign up to speak on 17 the acquisition issue, only on the Tarrant County sale. 18 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Thank you. 19 Do we have a motion? 20 COMMISSIONER HENRY: I moved. 21 MR. BAUER: Commissioner Henry moved approval 22 COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Second. 23 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Do we have a second? 24 COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Second. 25 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Commissioner Ramos has ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 167 1 seconded. All in favor? 2 (A chorus of ayes.) 3 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: All opposed? 4 (No response.) 5 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Motion carries. 6 Mr. Cook, is there any other business to come 7 before this Commission today? 8 MR. COOK: No, ma'am. 9 CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Meeting adjourned. 10 (SESSION ENDS.) ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 168 1 2 3 4 5 APPROVED this the 23rd day of January 2003. 6 7 8 _________________________________ 9 Katharine Armstrong, Chairman 10 11 12 _________________________________ 13 Ernest Angelo, Jr., Vice Chairman 14 15 16 _________________________________ 17 John Avila, Jr., Member 18 19 20 _________________________________ 21 Joseph B. C. Fitzsimons, Member 22 23 24 _________________________________ 25 Alvin L. Henry, Member 27 26 28 _________________________________ 29 Philip Montgomery, III, Member 30 31 32 ________________________________ 33 Donato D. Ramos, Member 34 35 36 ________________________________ 37 Kelly W. Rising, M.D., Member 38 39 40 ________________________________ 41 Mark E. Watson, Jr., Member 42 ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 . 169 1 C E R T I F I C A T E 2 3 4 5 MEETING OF: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department 6 Public Hearing 7 8 LOCATION: Austin, Texas 9 10 DATE: November 7, 2002 11 12 13 14 I do hereby certify that the foregoing pages, 15 numbers 1 through 169, inclusive, are the true, accurate, 16 and complete transcript prepared from the verbal 17 recording made by electronic recording by Penny Bynum 18 before the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. 19 20 21 22 23 24 12/10/02 25 (Transcriber) (Date) 26 27 On the Record Reporting, Inc. 28 3307 Northland, Suite 315 29 Austin, Texas 78731 30 31 32 33 34 ON THE RECORD REPORTING (512) 450-0342 .
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