Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
Conservation Committee Meeting
August 23, 2006Commission Hearing Room
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department Headquarters Complex
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744
BE IT REMEMBERED, that heretofore on the 23rd day of August, 2006, there came on to be heard matters under the regulatory authority of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, in the Commission Hearing Room of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Headquarters Complex, to wit:
THE TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION:
- Philip Montgomery, Dallas, Texas, Committee Chairman
- Joseph B.C. Fitzsimons, San Antonio, Texas, Chairman
- Ned S. Holmes, Houston, Texas
- Mark E. Bivins, Amarillo, Texas
- J. Robert Brown, El Paso, Texas (absent)
- Peter M. Holt, San Antonio, Texas
- John D. Parker, Lufkin, Texas
- Donato D. Ramos, Laredo, Texas
- T. Dan Friedkin, Houston, Texas
THE TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT:
- Robert L. Cook, Executive Director, and other personnel of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
P R O C E E D I N G S
COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Okay. The first order of business for the Conservation Committee is approval for prior meeting minutes.
COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: So moved.
COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Second.
COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Motion from Commissioner Friedkin, second from Commissioner Bivins. Third from Ramos.
Item Number 1 is Land and Water Update Plan, Bob Cook.
MR. COOK: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Again, in the interest of time, I'm just going to point out one really significant step that I think we're moving along with. The draft candidate conservation agreement with assurances for the Lesser Prairie Chicken of Texas is posted for comment today in the Federal Register.
Conservation of fish and wildlife resources on private lands is critical to maintaining our nation's biodiversity. However, private property owners may face land use restrictions if species found on their land are listed under the Endangered Species Act. If the Fish and Wildlife Service approves the agreement, landowners and support partners will have much more protection and incentive to develop and implement Lesser Prairie Chicken Conservation Programs in Texas, which has been one of our
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: So we are going to get our cooperative agreement?
MR. COOK: Well, we're still taking all the steps.
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: You know, this has been a pet issue of mine.
MR. COOK: A big one.
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Commissioner Bivins has taken a lead on it.
MR. COOK: This is an important step.
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: This is really important. We don't need a Panhandle Spotted Owl.
MR. COOK: Thank you, sir.
COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Thank you. Item Number 2 is Land Sale in Briscoe County, Corky Kuhlmann.
MR. KUHLMANN: Good morning. For the record, my name is Corky Kuhlmann. I'm with the Land Conservation Program. This item is at Caprock Canyon Trailways. Caprock Canyon Trailways is 64 miles in Hall, Briscoe, and Floyd County. This particular item is in Briscoe County and, as a matter of fact, is in Quitaque, the town Quitaque. An adjacent landowner, through a mutual misunderstanding between a previous park manager and himself, has built a portion of a home and his septic system on part of the Trailway, as you can see by the red there. We proposed, because it was a mutual disagreement, to sell him that portion of the Trailway. It's 200 foot wide in there. Previously, we had stated, a couple years ago, that we would sell anything outside 100 foot. This is part of that outside the 100 foot. We'd like
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Where is the Trailway between that? That's the old railroad bed?
MR. KUHLMANN: Yes, sir, right.
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Right.
MR. KUHLMANN: As we had stated in the earlier motion a couple years ago, the Trailway fluctuates anywhere from 100 foot wide to 600 foot wide and sometimes it's hard to know what's what. Before the owner started this project, he had contacted the then manager and they thought it was 100 foot wide. After he built his house, it turned out to be 200 foot wide in there.
MR. COOK: This helps clean this up and doesn't interfere with our trail and use of it.
MR. KUHLMANN: No, sir.
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: This doesn't interfere
MR. KUHLMANN: No, sir.
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: — with the public's use?
MR. KUHLMANN: No, sir, not at all.
COMMISSIONER HOLMES: It's an honest mistake.
MR. KUHLMANN: The next step would be to publish a public notice, schedule a public meeting, and come to you with an action at the November meeting.
COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Okay. Any discussion?
COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: All right. If there's no further discussion, I'll ask the staff to begin public notice and input process.
Item Number 3 is Land Donation, Bastrop State Park, Corky, you're on again.
MR. KUHLMANN: For the record, I'm Corky Kulhmann. This is a donation at Bastrop State Park, Bastrop County. It's 265 acres. The subject tract is shown in red. It has highway frontage on 21. More importantly, it has over a mile in common with the boundary of the existing park. Again, the next step would be, with your approval, publish the public notice, anticipate Commission action at the November meeting.
COMMISSIONER BIVINS: And this is at no cost to the Commission?
MR. KUHLMANN: No, there's no cost to Parks and Wildlife.
MR. COOK: Corky, I believe this land was actually acquired by Bastrop County, I believe.
MR. KUHLMANN: Bastrop County is going to pay for about half of it with Section 6 Endangered Species funds and then the Foundation will supply the other part of it.
COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Okay, good. Any further discussion?
COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: If not, I'll ask staff to begin the public notice and input process.
Number 4, Oil and Gas Lease Nomination, Caldwell County, Corky Kuhlmann, you're on again.
MR. KUHLMANN: You've all seen this, the mineral leasing of Parks and Wildlife lands to the Board of Lease, the General Land Office. The Board of Lease has traditionally honored whatever we recommend. This is Lockhart State Park located in Caldwell County. It's the entire park, 264 acres. It's the same no surface occupancy, $150 an acre lease right minimum, 25 percent royalty, $10 an acre delay rental, and a three-year term. This is the motion you'll see before you tomorrow.
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Is it to be on the location or is it offsite
MR. KUHLMANN: Offsite, no surface occupancy.
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Good, no surface.
COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Any further discussion?
COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Okay. I will place the item on the Thursday Commission meeting agenda for public comment and action.
Number 5, Land Donation, Brown County.
MR. KUHLMANN: Again, Corky Kuhlmann. You all saw this at the last meeting. This is just brought up again. Actually, this isn't a land donation. It's more for the minerals. The phrase in the estate in the will of Leona Muse stated that she's leaving us the mineral rights plus any properties not associated with the 1998 conveyance. After looking over the deeds, that was just a catch-all phrase I think they put in there to make sure, but I think we were deeded everything they owned in 1998. It would just be the donation of mineral rights at that site. This is the motion you will see before you tomorrow.
COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Any discussion?
MR. KUHLMANN: Thank you.
COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Okay. If there are no further questions or discussion, I'll place the item on the Thursday Commission meeting agenda for public comment and action.
Committee Item Number 6, Land Donations, Brewster County, Black Gap Wildlife Management Area, Ted Hollingsworth.
MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, my name is Ted Hollingsworth. I'm with the Land Conservation Program. This item pertains to the donation of several inholdings, small tracts surrounded by Black Gap Wildlife Management Area. You were briefed on this item in May. As you can see, this is part of a larger Trans-Pecos conservation initiative.
If you'll look at that Black Gap Wildlife Management Area, the circle there, you'll see that there are still some small parcels of land that are not in conservation. Our goal is to get as many of those into conservation as is practical. The inholdings I apologize for the quality of this map but the inholdings are shown in white. There is one not showing, but we do have five willing sellers of six different tracts of land. The funds are being provided by the Texas Bighorn Society. In March, they voted to set aside $100,000 for the purpose of trying to plug these remaining few holes at Black Gap Wildlife Management Area. These are specifically all in prime Desert Bighorn habitat. Tomorrow, you will see a recommendation to authorize the Executive Director to accept the transfer of these inholdings to Texas Parks and Wildlife.
COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Thank you. Any discussion or questions?
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: I just want to thank you for your good work on that. I'm familiar with that part of the world and that piece of land. You've brought it a long way toward getting more and more land in conservation and get away from the hodgepodge.
MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: There are fewer and fewer holes in that all the time.
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Yes. Well, good job. That's a good job.
COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Okay. If there's no further discussion, we'll place the item on the Thursday Commission meeting agenda for public comment and action.
We have another Black Gap item
MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: This is a closely related item. It pertains to
COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: — Item Number 7, yes.
MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: It pertains to the donation of a Conservation Easement on a 9,400-acre ranch adjacent to Black Gap. You were also briefed on this one in May. Another one of those gaps in that whole conservation area. This is a close up. The ranch has historically been known as the Adams Ranch. The area in blue comprises almost 9,500 acres. The previous owner placed a conservation easement on it, which was accepted by the Foundation, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation, with the idea that at some point it would be transferred to Texas Parks and Wildlife. The green areas are owned by the General Land Office. The recommendation is that the acceptance of the holder of that easement be transferred from the Foundation to Texas Parks and Wildlife to be managed consistent with the mission of management at Black Gap. This is the motion you will see tomorrow if you wish to proceed.
COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Any questions or discussion?
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Again, I want to thank you for getting that work done. If it weren't for the Texas Bighorn Society and all their work, that wouldn't be happening. As I understand it, that tract is presently, the easement is presently held by the Foundation, but the Foundation doesn't have the resources to monitor it. Right?
MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Correct. They accepted it.
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: The Department can now monitor it.
MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Yes, sir. They accepted that with the intention of being an intermediary and holding it until we could accept it, yes, sir.
COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Okay. If there's no further discussion, I'll place the item on Thursday's Commission meeting agenda for public comment and action.
We'll now recess to Executive Session. Therefore, I'd like to announce that pursuant to the requirements of Chapter 551 Government Code, referred to as the Open Meetings Act, an Executive Session will be held at this time for the purpose of deliberating on real estate matters under Section 551.072 of the Texas Open Meetings Act and for the purpose of seeking legal advice from General Counsel under Section 551.071 of the Open Meetings Act.
Mr. Chairman, because I have to go to a funeral, I won't be the chairman reopening. So I'll pass the gavel to you when you resume.
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: All right.
(Whereupon, at 11:50 a.m., the hearing was adjourned to Executive Session, to reconvene this same day, Wednesday, August 23, 2006, at 2:00 p.m.)
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Mr. Cook, are we ready?
MR. COOK: Yes, sir, we are.
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: All right. We have a little housekeeping here, we need to reconvene the Conservation Committee meeting from this morning. Any further business to come before the Conservation Committee?
COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Hearing none, we are adjourned in the Conservation Committee at 2:05 and I will open the annual Public Hearing.
(Whereupon, at 2:05 p.m., this Conservation Committee meeting was concluded.)
C E R T I F I C A T E
MEETING OF: Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
LOCATION: Austin, Texas
DATE: August 23, 2006
I do hereby certify that the foregoing pages, numbers 1 through , inclusive, are the true, accurate, and complete transcript prepared from the verbal recording made by electronic recording by Penny Bynum before the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.
Debbie Greene 8/31/06
On the Record Reporting, Inc.
3307 Northland, Suite 315
Austin, Texas 78731
ON THE RECORD REPORTING