Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
Conservation Committee Meeting
Nov. 4, 2009Commission Hearing Room
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department Headquarters Complex
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744
BE IT REMEMBERED, that heretofore on the 4th day of November, 2009, there came 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:
- Mark E. Bivins, Amarillo, Texas, Committee Chairman
- Peter M. Holt, San Antonio, Texas, Chairman
- Ralph H. Duggins, Fort Worth, Texas
- Antonio Falcon, MD, Rio Grande City, Texas
- T. Dan Friedkin, Houston, Texas (Absent)
- Karen J. Hixon, San Antonio, Texas
- Dan Allen Hughes, Jr., Beeville, Texas
- Margaret Martin, Boerne, Texas
- S. Reed Morian, Houston, Texas
THE TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT:
- Carter P. Smith, Executive Director, and other personnel of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
P R O C E E D I N G S
COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Thank you. The first order of business on Conservation Committee is the approval of the previous Committee meeting minutes, which have been distributed. Is there a motion for approval?
COMMISSIONER HOLT: Mark, can I? Sorry. I was going to say, I think we have a lot of people here that were interested in water spinach. That will be the last discussion of that today. And then we will discuss it tomorrow. The meeting starts at 9:00 tomorrow morning.
So if you all would like to leave. I mean, you are welcome to stay. This is a public meeting. But that is our discussion on water spinach. You might want to wait a couple of minutes.
COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Yes. Thank you.
(Whereupon, a short recess was taken.)
COMMISSIONER BIVINS: I will just begin again. The first order of business is approval of the previous Committee meeting minutes which have already been distributed. Is there a motion for approval?
COMMISSIONER MARTIN: So moved.
COMMISSIONER HIXON: Second.
COMMISSIONER BIVINS: By Martin, second by Hixon. All in favor, please say aye.
(A chorus of ayes.)
COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Any opposed, same sign?
COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Hearing none, the motion carries. Committee Item Number 1, Update on TPW Progress in Implementing the TPW Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan. Mr. Smith, please.
MR. SMITH: Mr. Chairman, thank you. Just a couple of things I want to share with the Commission.
One, I hope that all of you who can will join us out in West Texas next weekend for the Big Bend Ranch Fiesta. And that is a celebration honoring kind of the acquisition of Big Bend Ranch and really, our only true large scale kind of wilderness park in the state. Roughly 300,000 acres. It will be a celebration honoring Bob Armstrong and Andy Sansom who were instrumental in the acquisition of that special park. Very important from an archaeological perspective, and a natural resource perspective.
Saturday, we will have a public day there on the park. We've tried to do this two times. We have had to cancel, flood and swine flu got us the first two times. Let's hope that grasshoppers and pestilence stay away for the third time.
So I was out there last weekend, just as an aside. That very prominent peak behind the Sauceda headquarters is called La Mota Peak. And that was donated to the state as a function of the spirit of generosity of a long-standing West Texas and South Texas ranching family, the Donells, who donated, and the Rices, 14,000 acres. And just a wonderful feature on the landscape. And the team put together a celebration honoring them last weekend. It went very well.
Also I just wanted to report, Lydia and a lot of members of our team played a very instrumental role in September of helping to host the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies that gathered in Austin for the annual conference. Very successful gathering. Our folks, really, in every division are actively involved in that national organization.
Out of the major topic du jour at that conference had to do with renewable energy. Its escalation throughout the country and impacts on fish and wildlife habitats. So the development of wind energy, geothermal energy, solar energy. It was an excellent panel discussion.
And the plenary that Boone Pickens came to participate in, Jack Hunt from the King Ranch, and Tom Strickland who is the new Assistant Secretary for the Department of the Interior. And he laid out the Administration's position on that matter, and other things. So it was helpful for us to kind of hear what they are thinking about from a conservation perspective.
The last thing I will mention, every Thursday, you all get a reporting of philanthropic gifts to the Agency from companies and individuals and foundations that make, and partners that make very generous gifts to this Agency. I just completed one that Jeannie Munoz Poor worked on, on behalf of the Agency with Apache Oil Company that has donated 68,000 native trees for us to use, in restocking and revegetation efforts at about five or six Wildlife Management Areas and five or six state parks and a couple of our fish hatcheries. And so a great partnership with Apache Oil Company.
The first time we have done something with them. And Jeannie and others who have worked on that did a great job. So we are very proud of that partnership. And want to see that grow in the future as we work on our restoration of longleaf pine, bottom land hardwoods and so forth.
So Mr. Chairman, that is it, in terms of my report. And I would be happy to answer any questions that any of you may have.
COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Is there any way we could get a copy of the remarks from the seminar, the wind or the
MR. SMITH: Sure. From the plenary session and the three plenary speakers? Absolutely. Yes. We will assemble that and distribute it to all of you who are interested. Yes.
COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Good to see that.
MR. SMITH: Okay. Thank you.
COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Thank you very much. Committee Item Number 2, Right-of-way Easement, Hays County. Approximately five acres, at Stokes Island, Inland Fisheries property. Permission to begin the public notice and input process. Mr. Corky Kuhlman.
MR. KUHLMANN: Good morning. For the record, Corky Kuhlmann with the Land Conservation Program. This is an item in Hays County, Texas. It is a small island that was donated to us, that is within the city limits of San Marcos, Texas. It is directly across the river from the San Marcos fish hatchery.
The island is known as Thompson's Island. It was donated by the Stokes family to Parks and Wildlife. It is important because the water intake structure for the hatchery is in the middle of the river between the hatchery and the island. It is maintained by the City of San Marcos, and run as a city park through an informal agreement with them.
The City has a need to repair a bridge across the San Marcos River. TxDOT is going to do the project as an offline project. They will need some acquisition from us to rebuild this bridge to make it a little larger, and for a retention pond of sorts.
If you look at the polygon, the magenta polygon. The first one to the southwest is what the TxDOT had required for their bridge repair. During the surveys for that tract, we found out that the City actually did not have any right-of-way easement through the whole tract for the road. That city road has been there for quite a long time. And just never really got access.
So we propose to give them an easement that they need for the bridge repair and throughout our island property for future use. We ask your permission to publish public notice, solicit public comment; we will conduct a public meeting. Anticipate action at the January meeting. I would be glad to take any questions.
COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Is Cape Road what we are looking at?
MR. KUHLMANN: Yes, sir.
COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Okay. Any other questions? Commissioner Duggins?
COMMISSIONER MORIAN: I have just got one. Is this a permanent draining and right of way
MR. KUHLMANN: Yes. Yes, sir.
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: — that you're going to grant?
MR. KUHLMANN: Yes, sir.
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Is there any concern that the agreement with the City is [inaudible]?
MR. KUHLMANN: With the maintenance of the park?
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Whatever the agreement.
MR. KUHLMANN: Well, the
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Is it a maintenance agreement only?
MR. KUHLMANN: The island itself is used by the people to fish, to swim. It is also used by a lot of outfitters to do canoeing and kayaking. So all the mowing, trash pickup, everything on the island is done by the City, without any formal agreement. It is just kind of handshake deal.
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: And I am asking though, is there any concern on your part that it is just an informal agreement? At least, should we consider
MR. KUHLMANN: One of the things that we will probably negotiate, and it may be a reason why we are not going to ask any money for this easement is to, when we grant them the easement for the bridge and the road right of way, they have a prescriptive easement on the road already, that we'll just make it formal. It is to do a formal agreement with them for maintenance.
Yes. You are right. It would be it wouldn't be a good deal for us to give them this easement, and then a year from now, say well, we are going to quit maintenance on the park. Yes, sir.
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Thank you.
COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Any other questions, comments or discussion?
COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Hearing none, I will authorize staff to begin public notice and input process. Committee Item Number 3, Land Sale and Conservation Easement. San Saba and Lampasas Counties, 12.5 acres at Colorado Bend State Park. Permission to begin the public notice and input process. Once again, Corky.
MR. KUHLMANN: Again, for the record, Corky Kuhlmann. This is an item at Colorado Bend State Park, San Saba County, which is just outside of Lampasas, San Saba. This item is a land sale and a conservation easement donation. This is a polygon showing the entire park. And in the red circled area is where this transaction is going to take place. It is right at the entrance to the park. If you look at this map, there is a landowner that has been trying for a lot of years to get access through the side road, coming in the park entrance, and then running off, in the polygon you see in red.
We dealt with him for a lot of years. We have gone over different versions of what we could or couldn't do, and came up with the concept of selling them 12.5 acres of land that you see in the red polygon. They will buy that. We'll have it appraised. They will purchase that tract of land and then donate on their tract a 750-foot-wide easement, which is going to be approximately 144 acres. That says 144. I just recently received some survey maps. It will be closer to 150 acres that they are going to donate. And the 12.5-acre tract will also have a conservation easement on it, a pretty limiting conservation easement.
So in summary, we will sell them the 12.5 acres. And they will purchase that, donate a conservation easement on that, and also on a 750-foot strip of land adjacent to the park. I will take any questions.
COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Any questions? Yes. Commissioner Duggins?
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Why do we why does he need to own the 12.5 acres?
MR. KUHLMANN: The 12.5 acres, we have been over this quite a bit. If we gave them an easement on the 12.5 acres in exchange, sold him an easement in exchange for the conservation easement, it would leave kind of a no man's land of that twelve acres, that Park staff thinks it would be hard to manage, because basically, it would be on the other side, across a not a public road, but it would be an easement road. On that site, the old dump site for the ranch, previous to us getting it, which will be cleaned up, but for operational purposes, it would be easier for us to sell that to them, and then take the donation of the 144 acres of conservation easement.
I know we are selling 12.5 acres of Colorado Bend State Park. It will have very little impact to the park use. But we are also putting another 144 acres into conservation.
COMMISSIONER HOLT: What is he going to do with it, is what I was going to ask.
MR. KUHLMANN: Oh, basically what is driving this is that the family owns about I am going to guess they own another 1,400 well, they own around 1,600 acres there. The family has financial difficulty. They have used this access to the park forever. They have other access to the main body of the ranch.
This is the stuff that they have bought, besides the family ranch. They are in need to sell 600 acres of the ranch. And this is the best access they could get to sell that portion of the ranch.
Now one of the benefits of this is that if we didn't do something here, a deal like this, and they were forced, which they don't necessarily want to do, but if they had to sell the 600 acres and gave them access through the other access from the ranch, if they sold it to a developer, then we would see one-acre tracts all along that boundary.
And this would give us a 750-foot buffer to the boundary of the park there for that 1.7 mile. That would be the benefit of what we are looking at the benefit for it being.
MR. SMITH: Corky, you might just comment on some of the specifics of the conservation easement that will be overlaid on the 12 acres that would be sold. You mentioned that it was a stringent easement. Can you just say a few words about that?
MR. KUHLMANN: Actually, the way and the easement has all been agreed to between myself and their attorney and the family. The only thing they can put on the easement, both the 12-1/2-acre tract and the 144-acre tract are deer blinds. And those deer blinds in the easement, even those deer blinds can't be within, I think we put 200 or 300 foot from the fence line.
But they can put deer blinds and feeders. And that is all they can do within that easement tract. Any time there is any brushwork done, if they want to do any cedar removal or mesquite removal, it has to be approved by our staff.
And one of the reasons for that is because we are doing the trade to keep that as help the viewshed from that fence line, putting a trail along that fence line. So it is pretty restrictive. It will remain like it is. Just pastureland.
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Is there any reason to try to negotiate a right to buy or a right of first refusal as to the acreage that they say they are planning to use this to sell?
MR. KUHLMANN: It could be. But to this park, buying that acreage, to this park would probably add very little to the park, basically because it is a river use park. You know, the going the wrong way. Excuse me.
Mostly, everything that happens in this park happens down along the river. If you see the main road that goes all the way to the park, and then dead ends down at the river, that is where all our facilities are. Having an additional 600 acres up in that section where we would probably take it, I doubt that it would be a priority for the Agency to purchase that 600 acres.
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Is there any harm in asking for a right of first refusal? In case we change our mind?
MR. KUHLMANN: They would be more than glad to do that. I mean, they would sell it to us tomorrow. But if they put it on the market, it is not 100 percent sure that they are going to put it on the market. The family really doesn't want to sell it.
There is a lot of family dynamics going here with this deal. As a matter of fact, to do this deal, we have got a contract in place that had to be signed by the two owners, the man and woman who are divorced and three daughters. One in Dallas, one here in Austin, one in Brooklyn.
And that was one of the things about this deal is, getting those five people to agree on anything has been a nightmare. But they will, I am sure they will be more than happy to sign that, and to sell it to us, if we went there.
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: I would like to suggest that we ask for the right of first refusal, should they put it on the market.
MR. KUHLMANN: We can certainly do that.
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: As to all of the property. Not just the 600.
MR. KUHLMANN: Yes, sir.
COMMISSIONER MORIAN: The appraisal work has not yet been done?
MR. KUHLMANN: No, sir.
COMMISSIONER MORIAN: So you will have an appraiser who will take into account the access, which can be priceless, and that the conservation easement also increases the value of the owner of the land who's putting the conservation easement on in many cases. So it is a complicated evaluation that somebody has to be pretty aware of all the moving parts.
MR. KUHLMANN: Yes, sir.
COMMISSIONER MORIAN: And who owns, who holds the conservation easement in a case like this?
MR. KUHLMANN: In a case like this, Parks and Wildlife. We will hold conservation easements on properties adjacent to our own properties. And that is our policy now.
I mean, I am sure there could be exceptions to that policy in the future, because they are looking down the line, I could think of a couple of places now where we would hold an easement not adjacent to us, for us to hold it. Right now our policy is only properties adjacent to our own do we hold the easement.
COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Any further questions or discussion?
COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Hearing none, I will authorize staff to begin the public notice and input process. Committee Item Number 4, Land Acquisition, Hidalgo County, 30 acres at Estero Llano Grande World Birding Center. Permission to begin the public notice and input process. Once again, Corky Kuhlmann.
MR. KUHLMANN: Again, for the record, Corky Kuhlmann, Land Conservation Program. This is Estero Llano Grande, and one of the headquarters of our World Birding site in Hidalgo County. It is just right south of Weslaco, Texas. It is a tract of land that is a church camp. Methodist Camp Thicket is what it is called.
This 30 acres that borders the World Birding Center site there, it is some of the best habitat left in the valley. And it also, a lot of the success, the birding success of this site, Llano Grande, comes from the habitat and birds that come to this Methodist camp site. The church has put it on the market.
As soon as they put it on the market, they contacted us, knowing how important it was to the area, as far as birding in that. If it did sell, chances are and on a trip down there, my first visit down there, there was a developer on the property with it. And he said, if this was mine, the first thing I would do is doze it all clear, put in lots and then plant trees.
COMMISSIONER HOLT: Saplings. Yes.
MR. KUHLMANN: This site is a church camp. There's facilities there to run a church camp. There is a swimming pool. There is a chapel. There is a lodge with a huge kitchen complex. There is cabins that sleep anywhere from 16 to 32 people. That, we are going to discuss.
We have already done studies. Our Infrastructure Division has done a detailed study on the buildings, the condition of the buildings, what improvements have to be made; whether they are worth keeping. As far as what we do with the infrastructure on this site, that is fairly pretty much in the air.
There is a lot of people willing to do different things with it. We have already been, it was before we even had a contract on the property, which we do now, we have been contacted by different universities that like to use it, a variety of people have shown interest. If we wanted to partner with someone, which I don't know if we will. I mean, we may not, we may. But the end use of the camp basically, is up in the air.
Our priority was saving the habitat. Again, we ask your permission to publish public notice, seek public comment and anticipate action at the January meeting. And I would be glad to take any questions.
COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Any questions or comments? Commissioner Duggins?
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Who owns this tract?
MR. KUHLMANN: That is
MR. SMITH: That is Genevieve Meadows.
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Is it one owner that owns that?
MR. SMITH: Yes.
COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Are you referring to the rectangular piece on the bottom?
MR. SMITH: Yes.
COMMISSIONER HOLT: It is kind of cut out. And you said we did have some kind of easement on it, a conservation easement?
MR. SMITH: We had some kind of an agreement with her.
Corky, do you recall what shape that took? Was it a conservation lease or agreement to use that? It was kind of negotiated as part of the original acquisition of that site.
MR. KUHLMANN: Right. I am not sure what that agreement is. And I have visited with her. But it has probably been eight or ten years ago since I had anything to do with that site. I don't remember if I
MR. SMITH: Let us look that up. There was some kind of an arrangement. Ms. Meadows and her family used to own the trailer park that is delineated there as lake view property. Her husband has passed away. I presume she still lives in the family house there that adjoins this there. She has been very, I think, fairly favorably inclined to the park there.
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: I would just like to know where we stand on that, when this is next brought to the group.
MR. KUHLMANN: Okay. I will do that.
COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Corky, is anybody else looking at this property, or are we the only ones interested in it?
MR. KUHLMANN: I am uncertain. The only entity that I know of that was looking at it was the Catholic Church, to use as a church camp. When I negotiated with the elders at the Methodist Camp, at that time, which has been about a month and a half ago, they said the only other interested party was the Catholic Church.
I am not sure. It took us a while to get a contract on it. And I am not sure it is because the people handling the deal have their own businesses, their own lives. They were just the church elders handling the deal, or if they were looking at other offers. I doubt it.
I think they really, they would like to sell to us. And they would like to sell to us because they would take a lot of heat if it was bought by developers and dozed.
COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Sure.
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: And we are planning to just pay market price for this?
MR. KUHLMANN: We will pay market price for this. We have a contract right now. It will be we will have our own appraisal done. And the contract we have is null and void if it comes in under their asking price. They had an appraisal done. And we have a contract right now for a little bit under what their appraisal was.
COMMISSIONER BIVINS: I don't want to get in a bidding war over this.
COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Any other comments?
COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Let's see. Hearing none, I will authorize staff to begin the public notice and input process.
Committee Item Number 5, Nomination for Oil and Gas Lease, Dimmit and Lasalle Counties, Chaparral Wildlife Management Area. Once again, Corky.
MR. KUHLMANN: Corky Kuhlmann. This is at the Chaparral Wildlife Management Area in LaSalle and Dimmit County. One of our major research areas for whitetail deer, and probably the only one in South Texas. The Chaparral is a little over 15,000 acres, just west of Artesia Wells, South Texas.
As you all know, the Board for Lease with the General Land Office accepts nominations for mineral rights on Texas Parks and Wildlife-owned properties. They have a nomination to lease Chaparral WMA. But we only own one-sixth of the mineral interests there. So they have a nomination for that one-sixth mineral interest.
Right now the terms, and when I say right now, the minimum 600-per-acre bonus may change. That was set about a week ago by the GLO, comparing comps in the area. And that is why it says a minimum of 600. It may be more by the time it goes to bid. A 25 percent royalty. A ten-acre delay rental. A three-year lease.
And this is going to be something that we are going to have to work at. Because we only own one-sixth of the mineral interests, we have no, we can't keep the other drillers off. The five-sixths mineral holders, if they lease their property, they have the right to come on the property. And pretty much drill where they want.
We are going to negotiate a surface use agreement with whoever ends up being the drillers, the exploration company, and try to minimize the damage done to the Chaparral. It is going to be a struggle. This is the motion that you will see before you tomorrow.
COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Any comments, questions?
COMMISSIONER HUGHES: I have one.
COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Go ahead.
COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Do we know if the other five-sixths minerals is currently leased?
MR. KUHLMANN: We know they are either leased or in the process of leasing.
COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Did we negotiate the surface use agreement in-house? How is that
MR. KUHLMANN: We do it in-house. Yes, sir. And we generally do it with the exploration company, the drilling company.
COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Probably, if this is right in the middle of a very developing trend in South Texas, the Eagle Ford Shale
MR. KUHLMANN: Yes, sir.
COMMISSIONER HUGHES: It could be horizontal drilling. And I am familiar with several leases that have been pretty restrictive on the surface use. Because it is horizontal drilling.
The wells can be placed I know of leases where there is corridors of wells to be drilled in, and only quarters that the wells can be drilled in. And also pipelines and easements have to be along boundaries of the particular lease. So there is our surface use agreement could probably be pretty tough and still allow the operator to conduct their business on the property.
MR. KUHLMANN: It could be pretty tough if we owned all the minerals. And in this case, we only own one-sixth of the minerals. That reduces our negotiating power for the surface use agreements.
COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Somewhat. It is still pretty tough for an operator to come in and drill with five-sixths of minerals. It can be done. But you still have, I would still think you are going to have some negotiating latitude.
MR. KUHLMANN: Yes, sir. We hope to.
MS. BRIGHT: For the record, I am Ann Bright, General Counsel. And just to let you know, we have been very firm with the General Land Office about the fact that we want this property to be protected. And we do, even in instances where we would probably have even less authority here, we have been pretty successful at getting the terms we want in our surface use agreement.
Corky is exactly right. You know, when we don't own the minerals, sometimes it is difficult. But I do, I am optimistic that we can get what we want.
MR. KUHLMANN: And in this case, we generally do not, haven't done this in the past. But in this case, we have a surface use agreement incorporated into the bid package at the GLO.
And it is about a six-page surface use agreement. And the bottom line on it says that drilling sites will have to be coordinated with the Area Manager. Now that may hamper someone bidding on it. We will see.
COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Would you like to review the land use agreement?
COMMISSIONER HOLT: I was just going to say, Dan will you help us on this? Because you have got more expertise, I think, than anybody else on the Commission.
COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Absolutely. I would like to do that for you.
COMMISSIONER HOLT: Because it gets complicated. We have to work through the GLO too. So it is not easy. Yes.
COMMISSIONER HOLT: Just like the Army, watch out what you volunteer for. Or volunteer for you.
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: I just want to echo what Dan Allen said. I think you are in a better position than you're giving yourself credit for on this surface use agreement. And I am glad that you said what you did. Because I think we ought to be very firm on that.
MR. KUHLMANN: Yes, sir. Yes, sir, we are
COMMISSIONER HOLT: Ann, and everybody understand though, we have to work through GLO. They have to understand there is a layer here between ourselves and
MS. BRIGHT: Yes, sir. There is a provision in the Natural Resources Code that requires that all of Parks and Wildlife minerals are leased by the Board for Lease at the General Land Office. And the Board for Lease consists of the Commissioner, a representative from the Land Commissioner, a representative from Parks and Wildlife, and member of the public.
So these normally are submitted to the General Land Office as a courtesy. However, they have been very good at not leasing these until we get a chance to bring these to the Commission for a recommendation.
And we have sent a letter. And that is what actually, I just gave to Commissioner Hughes to the General Land Office, talking about the conditions that we would like to see in a surface use agreement, just as an outline. Obviously, that is not the last word on that. But we are very protective of that property.
If you may recall, a few years ago, there was a fire there. Our staff took the opportunity, as a result of that fire, to initiate a number of research projects. And we want to make sure that those research projects are not in any way impaired by this activity.
COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Ann again, I know of leases in South Texas that are shaped like a rectangle, they may be drilling along the north boundary, the south boundary and maybe a quarter, a couple of quarters through the middle, and all ingress and egress has to go in along the boundary of the property and all pipeline also come back to that point. And it is not uncommon.
And again, I think with a sixth of the minerals, you probably have a little bit more latitude than you might be giving us credit. But this is something to consider. And I will be glad
MS. BRIGHT: That would be great.
COMMISSIONER HUGHES: To have my staff show you some examples of what we have seen.
MS. BRIGHT: That would be great. You notice one of our first conditions is no service occupancy if at all possible.
COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Yes.
MS. BRIGHT: That would be we would really appreciate that expertise.
COMMISSIONER HUGHES: I can show you a couple of examples of what we work with that don't hamper what we need to do but still protect the surface and protect the property.
MS. BRIGHT: That would be great. Most welcome. Thank you.
MR. KUHLMANN: We would appreciate that.
COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Can the Board of Lease lease this without [inaudible]?
MS. BRIGHT: Yes.
COMMISSIONER MORIAN: So they are the ones
MR. KUHLMANN: The Board of Lease.
MS. BRIGHT: Yes. They listen to the recommendations of Parks and Wildlife. And frankly, I am not sure what the history of that is. It has been that way for many years.
MR. KUHLMANN: The Board of Lease is charged with leasing the mineral interests on all state-owned property, whatever Department it is the Criminal Justice. We are the only people that they ask for recommendations from. And it because our lands are special.
MS. BRIGHT: And we will make that argument very strongly in this negotiation.
COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes, please.
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Who is our representative on the Committee?
MS. BRIGHT: Corky has been attending those meetings for us. You know, traditionally, I will say, this is one of the first that has come up where we have had a little bit of concerns. Normally, there's no surface occupancy. So we just get to collect the money. But this one is a little trickier.
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: But you are our designee on this?
MR. KUHLMANN: Yes, sir.
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Who is the public appointee?
MS. BRIGHT: You know
MR. KUHLMANN: I forget his name. But I will get that for you.
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Is he a gubernatorial appointee?
MR. KUHLMANN: Yes.
MS. BRIGHT: It is an attorney out of, I believe, Waco.
MR. KUHLMANN: Yes.
MS. BRIGHT: But I can get you his name.
MR. KUHLMANN: And I hate to say this my Alzheimer's kicked in because I was visiting with him yesterday. This, the Commission meeting for this is going to be Friday, to approve this leasing. And he is not going to be able to make it. And I am sorry, I just I might think of it, before we leave here today. But I will get it before we go to the meet Executive Session.
MR. SMITH: Corky, and if that meeting is Friday, in which the decision is going to be made, if we could get with Commissioner Hughes post-haste.
COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes. Right away.
MR. SMITH: I didn't realize that was coming up so quickly.
MS. BRIGHT: And I am not sure that they will approve all the conditions. They probably will just approve it generally with surface conditions acceptable to the Department. So we still may have some time to negotiate.
MR. SMITH: Some time? Okay. Thanks.
COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Any other questions or comments about this? Thank you very much for your help, Commissioner Hughes, on this issue. If there is no further discussion, I will place this item on the Thursday Commission meeting agenda for public comment and action. Committee Item Number 6, Pipeline Easement, Harris County. San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site.
Mr. Ted Hollingsworth.
MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Chairman, Commissioners, good morning. My name is Ted Hollingsworth. I am with the Land Conservation Program. This item asks you to consider a request for a pipeline easement across the San Jacinto Battleground in Harris County.
I think most of you know that San Jacinto is the location where Texas won her independence from Mexico. The park is essentially an urban park now. But it is about 25 miles east of downtown Houston. While we have been working with this pipeline company Mustang is the pipeline company, but they are doing engineering and installation work on behalf of Lyondell/Equistar.
We looked at several routes to get from their point of insertion adjacent to the Houston Ship Channel to their destination just south of the park. Park staff and myself as well have evaluated several routes and feel like this is the least intrusive route. You see in yellow, alongside the state highway, is the greatest portion of that. And then they would pass under Vista Road to the south there.
Those would be the two locations where they are on state park property. We ask them to directionally drill to avoid any potential impacts to cultural resources. They have agreed to do that, with a bottom depth of 45 feet. There will be one bore pit, and where that pipeline turns the corner, headed east from the state road, there will be a little bit of vegetation control involved, where they have to make room to insert the pipe into that drill pit location.
The product would be carried as a gasoline additive. I would mention that there is already 15 pipelines that I know of under the battleground, containing about seven existing pipeline corridors. Most of those are traditional surface trenches. The last three or four we have been able to convince them to directionally drill underneath the park.
It would be a standard ten-year lease term, and we would be issuing that lease. This is the motion that you would see tomorrow. Simply authorizing the Executive Director to continue the process of negotiating those terms and enter into a lease when we felt those terms were acceptable. And minimize impact to the park. I would be happy to answer any questions you might have.
COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Commissioner Duggins?
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Are our regulations about the assessment of the impact on the historical area, the historical use impacted in any way by this?
MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Yes, and no. The fact that it is a historical site has allowed us to require far more cultural resource testing of the surface than we would at other sites. In fact, we have required them to do a complete reconnaissance consistent with the research we are doing in the park on the entire corridor, even those areas where the pipeline is going to be 45 feet underground. So we have gotten just taking a wild guess, but probably about $10,000 worth of free archaeological research in that corridor to add to the body of knowledge that we are building about the surface of the site.
COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Okay. Ted, one question. Looking at the map, going back to your map, the route of the pipeline on the west side there, where it parallels, that looks like a highway, the yellow
MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Yes, sir.
COMMISSIONER HUGHES: I know there is plenty of pipe. You said there is already several pipelines on the San Jacinto ground but it looks like that pipeline could be taken right across that road and run off of the battleground also.
MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Yes, sir. That property, directly across the street is the property of the tank farm operator there who is the direct competition for this pipeline owner/operator. And they simply refused to grant access. It is just that simple. They could not take that route.
COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Well, it looks just pretty simple. They could come across the highway and they are still going up and going back to the northwest. I assume that white line is the route of the pipeline.
MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Yes, sir. We pointed that out to them early in the process. And I can't remember the name of the tank farm operator. They are also a good neighbor to the park, but a very intrusive and again, they are direct competitors. And we are assured by both the pipeline operator and the owner of the tank farm that they will not get an easement to cross that property.
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Well, it could be condemned.
COMMISSIONER HOLT: By who?
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: By the party that wants the easement from us.
COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes. But they are going to spend how many years.
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Well, I am just saying though. It could contend it even from a competitor.
MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: You know, it is the responsibility of this Commission to determine what that standard of demonstration is, that there is no reasonable and prudent alternative. I believe the staff has done everything they can to minimize the impacts to the park. But again, this Commission has the discretion to determine what that standard of proof is.
COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Any other comments for Ted on this issue? Questions?
COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Hearing none, I will place this item on the Thursday Commission meeting agenda for public comment and action.
Committee Item Number 7, Land Acquisition, Hardin County. Approximately 1,500 acres at Village Creek State Park. Once again, Mr. Ted Hollingsworth.
MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Chairman, Commissioners. My name is Ted Hollingsworth. I am with the Land Conservation Program. This will be the second reading of this proposal to acquire approximately 1,500 acres that will more than double the size of Village Creek State Park. Village Creek State Park is about ten mines north of Beaumont. It is in the community of Lumberton, which is growing very rapidly.
As you can see, in this picture in fact, all of the land immediately west of the park and much of the land north of the park is already in subdivisions. This addition represents the last opportunity to really significantly increase the size of the park. The park was opened to the public in 1993. Public visitation has increased steadily.
This addition would again, more than double and significantly would add a significant amount of uplands. Much of that park does go underwater during floods, and this would add areas where trails, camping areas, and so forth could be added in the future. This tract has been identified for many years as a very high priority for acquisition for the obvious reason that it is the one location, the one direction that we can go from the park and significantly expand the park.
There is an opportunity to restore longleaf pine, savannah on this track. It has high biological value, as well as high conservation and recreation value. The property is currently owned by the Conservation Fund. They acquired it because it is, again just we have all agreed for a long time, it is a very high conservation priority. And they are offering it to us at a bargain sale.
They were able to get federal grant dollars to acquire to pay much of the balance due on this tract. I apologize, the last bullet is wrong. The National Park Service has requested that everything within their authorized boundary for the Village Creek corridor be sold to them at appraised value, and the remaining tract is the tract you see in yellow.
We do have an MOU that we signed with the National Park Service in 2007 that basically obligates them to work with us on a public use plan that would give visitors to the state park access to that entire additional seven acres of creek frontage. And we do intend to generate a new public use plan and exercise the rights in that MOU to make everything in the red and the yellow and in fact, make that creek all the way up to the river accessible to the public.
Staff does recommend this acquisition. It would be very significant for the state park and, again, a state park which is increasing in public use and public value. I would be happy to answer any questions you might have.
COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Commissioner Duggins?
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Did you say the area to the east of the yellow line over the river [inaudible]?
MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: It is federally authorized for addition to the Village Creek unit of the Big Thicket Preserve. A little over a hundred acres, something over 100 acres of the property that the Conservation Fund owns is in that footprint. And the National Park Service has requested that that portion of this tract be sold to them as opposed to being sold to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. And inasmuch as they have been partners in this acquisition from the very beginning, we have agreed to that transfer. They will be paying full appraised market value, because their rules require that. So their participation in this project is actually reducing our cost. It is reducing our cost per acre for this acquisition.
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: But this MOU that you have talked about would give our users access through that country?
MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: What the MOU says is that at any site where we have adjacent boundaries, this being one of a couple of sites, that if we request public access through development of a mutual public use plan, that it obligates them to participate in that public use process and develop a public use plan that gives visitors to our sites access to their adjacent properties. Yes, sir.
COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Any other comments? I guess I had one question. What exactly is the Conservation Fund?
MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: It is a private non-profit organization whose mission is to acquire funds for the acquisition and conservation of biologically important properties. They are nationwide. They work with us on several acquisitions, particularly in East Texas is an area of high interest for them.
COMMISSIONER BIVINS: All right. Oh, that is them. Right. Okay. The agencies all get confusing. Any other questions or comments?
COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Hearing none, I will place this item on the Thursday Commission meeting agenda for public comment and action. Committee Item Number 8. Request Commission approval of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Land and Water Resource Conservation and Recreation Plan. Mr. Ted Hollingsworth and Ms. Jeannie Munoz Poor. Please make your presentation.
MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Chairman, Commissioners. Good morning. My name is Ted Hollingsworth. I am with the Land Conservation Program. And this is Jeannie Munoz Poor with the Project Management Office. And with your blessing, we are going to refer to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Land and Water Conservation and Recreation Plan as the Land and Water Plan for the purposes of this discussion.
To begin with, this is essentially an update. Actually, it is a rewrite of a plan that was first approved by the 77th Legislature in 2001. This will be the second revision. Actually, the first full rewrite of what we refer to as the strategic plan or the Land and Water Plan. It is a broad overview plan that outlines, it elaborates on our mission and talks about what we do and goes into a little bit of detail about how we propose to do that over the years ahead.
We approached this rewrite a little differently than we have in the past. It was very important to the Executive Office of this Agency and to the Commission that there be broad participation in the writing of this plan. And so we used the Texas Conservation and Recreation Forums, which is a newly developed vehicle for us, to be sure that we got input from staff at all levels as well as from our key stakeholders and conservation partners across the state. There were twelve forums, all of which met at least once, and several of which met two or three or four times, to make sure we had broad input into this plan. We tried to be sensitive to the audience for the plan. Primarily, it is Texas Parks and Wildlife. It is our staff. It is their guiding strategic document. But we also want it to be a plan that was readable and made good clear sense to legislators, to our stakeholders and partners, and to the citizens of Texas. We want to make sure this was a plan that almost anybody could read and understand what we do and why we do it.
As I mentioned, we had 43 meetings of the Texas Conservation and Recreation Forum. We invited several hundred of our partners specifically, and several hundred more indirectly. We had a web presence for about three months. We solicited public comments through our website as well. Jeannie and myself and two others who constituted basically what we call the edit team, reviewed literally thousands of individual comments. I will tell you that we read every single comment that was submitted. That the plan, the draft plan went through, depending upon how you count them, several dozen revisions to take into account not just those comments but comments provided to us by yourselves and by staff, and by the public.
We wanted this plan to be, just to be candid, be a little more fun to read than previous versions of the plan. And you have copies in front of you, as you can see. The plan is a little more colorful. We didn't want the pictures to distract from the content, but we did want the Plan to be one that people would enjoy looking at and would again, link visually the significance and the importance of what we do to how we say we are going to do it. We wanted the plan to be establish a very clear vision. I mentioned the fact that we wanted not just involvement, but buy-in to the plan at all levels. And again, the most important thing is that the plan link directly to what everyone in this Agency does. We want the plan to be a little easier to read. In the last version of the plan there were essentially 66 pages of background information before a reader got to the goals. We have reduced that down to about ten pages. There were eight goals in the last plan. Now there are four. We haven't eliminated anything, but we have combined those, so they are a little simpler to understand the bottom line of what we do as an Agency.
And just as an overview, the plan now is broken up into the goals and objectives section, which are complemented by several pages of narratives which again, provide that background and go into a little bit more detail about some of the specific things we do as an Agency. And then scattered amongst those, we have got some very specific deliverables. We have got about 25 deliverable quantifiable bullets in there. They certainly don't represent everything we do, but we feel like they represent a good cross-section. And that by reporting to you regularly on the achievement of those goals, it paints a picture of whether or not or to what extent we are implementing the entire plan.
Those four goals in a nutshell: The first goal we call the stewardship goal. It basically says we are going to use the best available science to manage our sites. And we are going to make that science available to everyone else who wants to manage their own properties for conservation in Texas.
The second goal is the recreation goal. It says we are going to do everything we can to make a broad variety of outdoor recreational opportunities available to the people of Texas and to visitors to Texas. The third one says that we are going to try and make sure that Texans understand why conservation is important, through education, public outreach. We have, as part of our mission, making sure that people understand why our mission is what it is, and why we think it is important. We want the public to support what we do in conservation and recreation in Texas.
And the fourth one is our business goal. Obviously, we want to operate efficiently. We want the public to understand and our legislators to understand and be able to see that we are taking the resources we have and applying them efficiently to our mission.
Again, these are just some examples of pages from the copy you have in front of you. Visually, it is a very different product than the last two versions of the plan. One of the things we struggled with a lot is how much information to include in the plan. It either needed to be an umbrella document, or it needed to be about a four-volume document that you needed a forklift to carry around. We decided that the printed version should be an overview. It should be easy for anyone to read.
But we also realize that our staff, our legislators, those who are interested in what we do need access to the other information. They need access to our other plans, our other operating plans, our division operating plans, our restoration plans, our conservation plans.
So over the next few months, we will take the electronic version of this plan, and we will link it to all of those other plans. The division operating plans, which will be developed. Program operating plans, specific conservation plans such as seagrass plans, wetland plans, deer management plans. All those plans that we developed, we would like for the public and staff to have easy access to through this electronic version.
The division operating plans we now have for a couple of divisions. But not all of the divisions. Those will be developed over the next year. They will be linked to the plan. And then individual performance plans will link to the division operating plans and ultimately to the Land and Water Plan.
I think you know that we have got somewhere in the region of probably 8- or 9,000 staff hours invested in this plan, now. We have read thousands of comments. We believe we have taken every single one of those into account.
And we believe that the draft plan that you are looking at does a good job of representing our mission and what we do, and how we propose to do it over the years ahead. And we hope tomorrow that you will adopt the motion that you see before you. My mouth is dry. So Jeannie will be happy to answer any questions that you might have about the Land and Water Plan.
COMMISSIONER HOLT: That was a mouthful.
COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Yes. Any questions or comments for Ted or Jeannie? First of all, I would like to ask if this is the final size of the document?
MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Actually, the take home message is don't get the Plan wet. The box got wet on the way over here.
COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Well, if no one else has any comments, I would just like to take this opportunity to thank you all, everyone involved for creating what I think is a very forward thinking, very dynamic document that is something that people will actually want to pick up and look at and to pay attention to. And I think also the fact that we have it electronically is going to be very important, especially with all of the various lengths to the various focus points, department aspects and things of that nature. But all in all, just congratulations on a job well done. Thank you very much.
MS. MUNOZ-POOR: Thank you.
COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes. Kudos to everybody and also, I want to thank our fellow Commissioners too. I appreciate everybody coming to the retreat, and everybody's input. And everybody did give us input. So I don't think it was overwhelming. Hopefully not. But also helpful. And Ted, I appreciate you and Jeannie. And of course, Scott is not here today, but I want to thank Scott also for all the work, and then setting up the retreat and getting us all together. So, excellent. It looks excellent to me.
MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Well, as much as we are looking forward to getting back to our day jobs, it really has been a lot of fun. It has been a lot of fun. It has been a lot of fun receiving those comments from staff and the public to see what people think about this Agency and what they think about what we ought to be doing. And it has been a lot of fun. And we really appreciate the attention that the Commission has shown and the very positive feedback, and all the fresh eyes. It was obvious that you read it, took it seriously, and provided very thoughtful comment. We appreciate that.
COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Absolutely. If there are not further comments or discussion, I will place this item on the Thursday Commission meeting agenda for public comment and action.
Committee Item Number 9. Land sale, Travis County, Eight Acres on Stassney Land. Permission to Begin the Public Notice and Input Process. Mr. Corky Kuhlmann.
MR. KUHLMANN: For the record, Corky Kuhlmann. And also, I do enjoy buying land more than selling land. But sometimes I have no choice. This is right here at our headquarters, McKinney Falls State Park. This is a small piece of property. You can see where the headquarters is, where we are sitting. It is across Stassney Lane. And actually, this small piece of property was separated from the main body of the park by the extension of Stassney Lane. The General Land Office has deemed this tract as underutilized by Parks and Wildlife, and would like for us to designate it as surplus land and sell it. We have had a request from the City of Austin to buy a portion of this eight-acre tract, approximate eight-acre tract for a drainage project along Williamson Creek. This next slide is kind of ugly, but it tells the story. The red is the three-quarters of an acre that the City would like to purchase from us for a drainage project. If you look at the red tract, the northern part of it, the blue line is the hundred-year flood plain, and the line above that is the five hundred-year. If you look right to the southwest of the red tract, there is a half-acre that we own. But if you notice the triangle that runs along Stassney Lane, that half-acre is actually landlocked. Only a half-acre there. The main bulk of what we own that is worth any money is the 6.6 acres with about 175 foot of Stassney Lane frontage. We, of course, would like to work with the City of Austin and would sell the red section which is in the flood plain anyway for appraised value. The 6.6, we would like to be able to put on the market and get whatever we can for it. And we would like to, your permission to publish public notice, solicit public comment, conduct a public meeting and anticipate action at the January meeting. I would be glad to answer any questions.
COMMISSIONER BIVINS: On the prior, can you put the prior slide back up?
MR. KUHLMANN: Yes.
COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Where is Williamson Creek?
MR. KUHLMANN: If you notice, coming from the left side of the picture, it is the center between the blue lines.
COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Okay. All right. I just want to make sure of that. I know Commissioner Duggins has a comment.
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Well, since this property that GLO tells us do they have the right to tell us we have to sell it?
MR. KUHLMANN: They put it on an underutilized list. And generally when they put it on that list
COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes.
COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes. GLO has the right.
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Okay. Well, assuming we have come under an obligation to dispose of it, since it is right across the highway from the park, should we, do we consider whether we ought to seek some sort of conservation easement or some deed restriction on what can go there. I mean, I sort of hate for that to wreck the park, what went in.
MR. KUHLMANN: It would, if it yes. It would be developed. As a matter of fact, TxDOT is interested in buying it for new office space to replace where they are in on Riverside. Riverside Drive here, I think the GLO owns that property and wants to sell it to developers. And so TxDOT is looking to put their office off of Riverside. But its value would be to sell it unrestricted.
COMMISSIONER HOLT: So to go farther back to your McKinney Falls State Park, you might explain how Stassney ended up cutting this off.
MR. KUHLMANN: When you say Stassney
COMMISSIONER HOLT: That is what changed this. Please go ahead.
MR. KUHLMANN: Right. The Jimmy Clay Golf Course is a city course, and actually we wrap around it. There is not a lot of public use associated with the park along Stassney Lane at this point. I think we have none there.
MR. SMITH: And that is certainly not to say that we couldn't add more public use on that part of the park in the future. But certainly, that is where it stands right now. Stassney is and will be a fairly major thoroughfare.
COMMISSIONER HOLT: It is.
MR. SMITH: And so that little tract is very disjunct from the core part of the park. I mean, we already have a lot of audible pollution from other developments in and around the park. You know, we can certainly do what we can, as we are trying to find a buyer for that to ensure that whatever measures we think are appropriate could be taken to limit its impact on the park. But it is Stassney Lane really does render that parcel almost unusable to us in many ways.
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: I don't question that, but I would hate to see a 20-story high rise there.
MR. SMITH: Sure.
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: I don't know why we wouldn't at least explore a deed restriction on height. Maybe no submit plans or something in terms of industrial uses that might affect the ability of our users to enjoy the park.
MR. SMITH: So explore some kind of a more compatible development of that site. It is commercial or residential in nature, but it is not going to be provide visual problems or some other kind of pollution related thing that would impact the park. We can certainly look at that.
MR. SMITH: Sure. Yes. Absolutely.
COMMISSIONER HIXON: Corky, do we know the open space that is to the north and the east that is across that way, private ownership. Who owns that?
MR. KUHLMANN: I am not sure who. I am sorry. I am not sure who owns that. In this tract that you see here, the extension of the road out of the subdivision and the small tract along Stassney Lane actually belongs to the same gentleman that deeded us the rest of the six acres or eight acres there. And I don't we didn't find out this we went through three title companies trying to figure out the ownership of that stuff in there. And it was difficult to do. And then we ended up with the City wanting to buy the three-quarters of an acre. They spend a ton of money getting it surveyed and trying to figure out ownership. And the General Land Office had different configurations of what we owned there, and different acreages. But this is as close as we can get. I can find out who owns the rest of that tract.
COMMISSIONER HIXON: I understand. I just mean, I come that way. There is just a whole lot of open space.
MR. KUHLMANN: Yes, ma'am.
COMMISSIONER HIXON: Thank you.
COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Any other comments or questions for Corky on this item? Hearing none, I will authorize staff to begin the public notice and input process.
MR. KUHLMANN: Thank you.
COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Thank you, Corky. Let's see, Conservation Committee Items Number 10, 11, and 13 will be discussed in Executive Session. Item Number 12, an Easement in Freestone County, has been withdrawn. After Executive Session, we will receive a presentation on Item Number 13. We will now deviate from our normal process and recess Conservation Committee, and move to Finance Committee. Now, do we move to Executive Session?
MR. SMITH: Well, I think we have a little time before lunch. And so if the Finance Committee wants to proceed with some of the items before recessing to Executive Committee, that would be
COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Fine. I will then turn it over to the Finance Committee.
(Whereupon, a recess was taken until 2:18 p.m.)
COMMISSIONER FALCON: Commissioner Bivins.
COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Thank you. At this time, we will reconvene the regular session of the Conservation Committee. Regarding Committee Item Number 10, Possible Land Acquisition in Tarrant County, no further action is required. Regarding Committee Item Number 11, Land Acquisition in Uvalde County, 178 acres at Garner State Park, I will ask staff to begin the public notice and input process. Regarding Committee Item Number 13, Request for Representation Regarding Property Partition, Tom Green County, San Angelo Regional Office Complex, Ann Bright, will you please make your presentation?
MS. BRIGHT: Good afternoon, Commissioners. For the record, I am Ann Bright. This is really just going to be a brief recap of issues regarding the San Angelo we have been referring to it as original headquarters. We have also referred to it as the fish hatchery. This is in Tom Green County.
There is a total of 60 acres in two different tracts. There is infrastructure on the 7.61 acres. The 52.39 acres is primarily the property that was used previously for ponds. 1928 landowners in Tom Green county authorized, donated property to the Commission, the predecessor to the Commission to be used as a fish hatchery. But provided if it stopped being used as a fish hatchery for a year or more, it was to revert. Over the years, it has been used less and less as a fish hatchery, as a result of the lack of water. Over the years, we have contacted the heirs to these eleven original grantors, and we have acquired all or a portion of six of the interests. We have got offices located on the property. We would like to try to clean up the title. And we recommend that the property be partitioned. If authorized, we will come back to the Commission tomorrow and request that you approve a motion to send this to the Attorney General's office with a request that they partition the property. I would be happy to answer any questions.
COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Commissioner Duggins?
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: I don't know whether this is the whether today or tomorrow this would be a proper time to ask this. But I would like to suggest that the proposal be framed more broadly to get the lawyers full authority to explore all possible causes of action or other avenues, including partition as we move forward, and not just limit it to the partition action.
MS. BRIGHT: Absolutely. We can do that. And I will actually change that motion to reflect that when this presentation is made tomorrow.
COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Any other comments or questions for Ann?
COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Hearing none, I will place this item on the Thursday Commission meeting agenda for public comment and action. Chairman Holt, this Committee has completed its business. And I will pass the gavel back to Chairman Falcon, is that correct? Or have you completed your business?
COMMISSIONER HOLT: I am going to immediately flip it to Chairman Duggins.
COMMISSIONER HOLT: Anyway, Chairman Duggins is our Ad Hoc, is it Ad Hoc, or are you our new Infrastructure Chairman? I think you are Infrastructure Chairman.
COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: I will take either one.
COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. We will give it to you.
(Whereupon, the meeting was concluded at 2:50 p.m.)
C E R T I F I C A T E
MEETING OF: Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
LOCATION: Austin, Texas
DATE: November 4, 2009
I do hereby certify that the foregoing pages, numbers 1 through 55, 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.
On the Record Reporting, Inc.
3307 Northland, Suite 315
Austin, Texas 78731