Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
Public Hearing

Aug. 31, 2000

Commission Hearing Room
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department Headquarters Complex
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744


             1             TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION

             2                        PUBLIC MEETING

             3                       AUGUST 31, 2000

             5       BE IT REMEMBERED that heretofore on the 31st day of 

             6   August 2000, there came on to be heard matters under 

             7   the regulatory authority of the Parks and Wildlife 

             8   Commission of Texas, in the Commission hearing room of 

             9   the Texas Parks and Wildlife Headquarters Complex, 

            10   Austin, Travis County, Texas, beginning at 9:35 a.m., 

            11   to wit:


            13   APPEARANCES:  
            14      Lee M. Bass, Fort Worth, Texas, Chairman
                    John Avila, Jr., Fort Worth, Texas
            15      Nolan Ryan, Alvin, Texas
                    Alvin L. Henry, Houston, Texas
            16      Carol E. Dinkins, Houston, Texas, Vice-Chair
                    Ernest Angelo, Jr., Midland, Texas
            17      Katharine Armstrong Idsal, Dallas, Texas
                    Mark E. Watson, Jr., San Antonio, Texas
            18      Richard W. (Dick) Heath, Carrollton, Texas.
            21      Andrew H. Sansom, Executive Director and
                    Other personnel of the Parks and Wildlife    
            22      Department.



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             1   OTHER APPEARANCES:

             2   Ms. Lisa Birkman, representing Brushy Creek MUD

             3   Mr. Lemuel Randolph, representing City of Sugar Land

             4   Ms. Anne Ochoa, representing City of Lago Vista

             5   Mr. Jose Munoz, representing Sebastian MUD

             6   Mr. Ilario Rincones, Community of Sebastian

             7   Mr. Bill Wallace, County Commissioner Pct. 4,    

             8       Chambers County

             9   Mr. W. E. Irby, Commissioner Pct. 3, Chambers County

            10   Ms. Cora Alexander, representing City of Houston 

            11       Parks and Recreation

            12   Mr. Phillip T. Golden, Legal Counsel, representing

            13       Senator Lucio's Office

            14   Mr. Charles Caillouet, Galveston, Texas

            15   Mr. Edwin Price, representing Lady Joyce

            16   Ms. Donna J. Shaver, Ph.D., representing U.S.

            17       Geological Survey Padre Island National Seashore

            18   Mr. Les A. Hodgson, representing Marco Sales, Inc.

            19   Mr. Larry Hodgson, representing Marco Sales, Inc.

            20   Ms. Mina Williams, Corpus Christi, Texas

            21   Ms. Carole Allen, representing HEART

            22   Mr. Jose Antonio Ramirez, representing National

            23       Industrial Fisheries Chamber-Mexico

            24   Ms. Pat Suter, representing Coastal Bend 

            25       Environmental Coalition

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             1   Mr. Wesley Blevins, representing Calhoun County

             2       Texas Shrimpers

             3   Mr. John Shinault, Seadrift, Texas

             4   Ms. Teri Shore, representing Sea Turtle Restoration

             5       Project

             6   Mr. Terry Ricks, representing Texas Seafood Prod.

             7   Mr. James Davenport, representing Calhoun County

             8       Texas Shrimpers

             9   Ms. Pam Baker, representing Environmental Defense

            10   Mr. Jeff Noel, representing E&J Noel, Inc

            11   Mr. Robert W. McFarlane, representing Calhoun

            12       County Texas Shrimpers

            13   Mr. Pete Aparicio, representing Commercial Shrimp

            14   Mr. C. L. Standley, representing Shrimp Advisory

            15       Committee

            16   Mr. Ronald N. Hornbeck, representing Hornbeck

            17       Seafood Company

            18   Mr. Richard Moore, representing PISCES

            19   Mr. Phillip Lara, representing Bay King Seafood

            20       & Shrimpers Food Company

            21   Mr. Brian Sybert, representing Sierra Club

            22   Mr. Ken Kramer, representing Sierra Club

            23   Mr. Julius Collins, representing Texas Shrimp Assn.

            24   Mr. Richard Morrison, representing Calhoun County

            25       Shrimpers

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             1   Mr. Thomas E. Lambright, Calhoun, Texas

             2   Ms. Deyaun Boudreaux, representing Texas Shrimp Assn

             3   Ms. Terri Curtis, representing Campeche Seafood

             4       Products

             5   Mr. Ray Allen, representing Coastal Bend Bays &

             6       Estuaries Program

             7   Mr. Ivo Goga, representing Campeche Seafood Products

             8   Ms. Wilma Anderson, representing Texas Shrimp Assn.

             9   Mr. Jeff Vu, representing VASA

            10   Ms. Thuy Vu, representing VASA

            11   Mr. Ellis Gilleland, representing Texas Animals

            12   Mr. Muriel Tipps, Cedar Lane, Texas

            13   Mr. Benny J. Gallaway, representing LGL Ecological

            14       Research Assn., Inc.

            15   Mr. David Owens, University of Charleston Grice

            16       Marina Lab

            17   Mr. Tim Jones, Austin, Texas

            18   Mr. George Deshotelt, Matagorda, Texas

            19   Mr. Raymond C. Mathews, Jr., representing Texas 

            20       Academy of Science, Threatened or Endangered 

            21       Species Section

            22   Mr. Dennis Wittnebert, Sr., representing Calhoun 

            23       County

            24   Mr. John Grant, representing Colorado River MWD


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             1   Mr. Rick Van Dyke, representing Central Texas

             2       Herpetology Society

             3   Mr. Jerry Johnson, representing Texas Deer Assn.

             4   Mr. Marty Berry, representing Texas Deer Assn.

             5   Mr. Joe McCullough, representing Texas Deer Assn.

             6   Mr. David K. Langford, representing Texas Wildlife

             7       Assn.

             8   Ms. Sarah McReynolds, Groesbeck, Texas

             9   Mr. James and Patricia Manuel, Big Lake Bottom

            10       Landowners, Palestine, Texas.
















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             1                       AUGUST 31, 2000

             2                            *****

             3                        PUBLIC HEARING

             4                            *****

             5                          9:35 a.m.

             6                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Good morning.  I'd like 

             7   to call this meeting of the Parks and Wildlife 

             8   Commission to order, please.  I apologize for our 

             9   tardiness this morning.  

            10                  First order of business with Mr. Sansom.  

            11                  Would you please read our opening 

            12   statement.  

            13                  MR. SANSOM:  Mr. Chairman and members of 

            14   the Commission, a public notice of this meeting 

            15   containing all items on the proposed agenda has been 

            16   filed in the office of the Secretary of State as 

            17   required by Chapter 551 of the Government Code.  This 

            18   is referred to as the Open Meetings Law, and I would 

            19   like for this action to be noted in the official record 

            20   of the meeting.  

            21                  Ladies and gentlemen, we welcome you 

            22   here today.  We have a number of items on our agenda 

            23   that I know are of great interest to all of you, and we 

            24   are certainly anxious to hear your comments and have 

            25   you participate in the meeting.  

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             1                  The Chairman, of course, is in charge of 

             2   the meeting, and, as usual, I'll kind of be assisting 

             3   him today in sort of moving things along and making 

             4   things smooth.  

             5                  I want to make sure that anyone who has 

             6   asked to speak or desires to speak today has filled out 

             7   a card, because the Chairman will use the cards to ask 

             8   the speakers to come to the podium.  So make sure 

             9   you've filled out a card.  

            10                  When he calls your name, please, come to 

            11   the podium, state your name and who you represent if 

            12   someone other than yourself.  The Chairman will also 

            13   call the second person to speak, and if you could move 

            14   to the back of the room when your name is called, then 

            15   we can move the process along much more quickly.  

            16                  Each person is going to be given three 

            17   minutes to speak as is our usual custom.  I will keep 

            18   track of the time with this traffic light here and 

            19   notify you, as the light changes, when your three 

            20   minutes are up.  When your time is up, please, resume 

            21   your seat so that others can have a chance to speak.  

            22                  If a commissioner asks you a question, 

            23   then that's not going to count against your three 

            24   minutes, or if they talk among themselves or ask the 

            25   staff questions during the time that you are at the 

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             1   podium, that will not count against you.  

             2                  I want to reiterate that although we 

             3   have a lot of things that are -- that we feel very 

             4   passionate about, each one of us, that we're not here 

             5   to argue with each other or to make statements that are 

             6   uncomplimentary or -- and I really want to make sure 

             7   that everyone shows the proper respect, not only for 

             8   our Commission, but for our staff and for the other 

             9   members of the audience.  

            10                  If you have something that you would 

            11   like to present to the Commission in writing, please, 

            12   give it to Mrs. Estrada here on my right, and she will 

            13   make sure that the commissioners have it.  

            14                  So thank you very much for being here 

            15   today and we look forward to hearing your testimony.

            16                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you, Mr. Sansom.  

            17                  First order of -- Next order of business 

            18   would be the approval of the minutes from our previous 

            19   meetings, which have been circulated for review, if 

            20   there are any additions, deletions, or a motion to 

            21   approve them.  

            22                  VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Mr. Chairman, I 

            23   gave a few remarks or comments about typographical 

            24   errors, and with those changes, I would move the 

            25   approval of the minutes.  

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             1                  COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  I had a -- I guess 

             2   it's a typographical error, too, but it's -- that does 

             3   affect the meaning, to some extent, on Page -- Let's 

             4   see what page that is -- 20.  On Line 5, it should say 

             5   "move approval from consent agenda," instead of "to 

             6   consent agenda."

             7                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  With those corrections 

             8   noted, any further comment?  

             9                  Chair to entertain a motion.

            10                  VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Motion.  

            11                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  A second?  

            12                  COMMISSIONER HEATH:  Second.

            13                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Motion and a second.  

            14   All in favor?  Any opposed?  Thank you very much.

            15                (Motion carries unanimously.) 

            16                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  The second order of 

            17   business would be the acceptance of gifts which have 

            18   been distributed thereof.  Are there any questions 

            19   or comments concerning these items?

            20                  COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Move approval of 

            21   the list.  

            22                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Motion for approval. 

            23                  COMMISSIONER IDSAL:  Second. 

            24                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  And a second.  All in 

            25   favor?  Opposed?  None.  Motion carries.

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             1               (Motion carries unanimously.)  


             3                            *****

             4   DONOR                               DESCRIPTION

             5   1)  Amer. Conservation &       CASH

             6          Education Society 

             7          Houston Safari Club

             8   PURPOSE OF DONATION:  Hunter Education Program

             9   2)  Wildlife Research Ctr     Deer lure, scent pads, 

            10                                 brochures

            11   PURPOSE OF DONATION:  Hunter Education Program

            12   3)   Doskocil Manu Co Inc    15 Hard gun cases

            13   PURPOSE OF DONATION:  Hunter Education Program

            14   4)   Blazing Gun Production   2 Trucks

            15   PURPOSE OF DONATION:  Texas State Railroad

            16   5)   Friends of Pedernales    Tractor

            17        Falls S.P.

            18   PURPOSE OF DONATION:  Pedernales Falls Park Maint.

            19   6)   Friends of Pedernales    Vehicle

            20        Falls S.P.

            21   PURPOSE OF DONATION:  Volunteer Program

            22   7)   Monument Hill/Dreishce   Misc goods

            23        Brewery Docent Org

            24   PURPOSE OF DONATION:  Monument Hill State Park

            25   8)   Dallas Arms Collector    5 muzzleloaders

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             1   PURPOSE OF DONATION:  Parrie Haynes Youth Ranch 

             2                          Shooting Sports Program

             3   9)   Compaq Computers         3 Computers, zip drives

             4   PURPOSE OF DONATION:  Webcasts

             5   10)  Texas Bighorn Society    4 trail cameras, 1

             6                                 scope, binoculars

             7   PURPOSE OF DONATION:  Desert bighorn sheep                        

             8                          restoration at Black Gap WMA

             9   11)  Special Interest Fords   Office equipment

            10          of the 50's Club

            11   PURPOSE OF DONATION:  Office, maintenance, and gift

            12                          shop equipment

            13   12)  Natural Resources        CASH

            14          Foundation of TX

            15   PURPOSE OF DONATION:  Lone Star Land Stewards Awards

            16   13)  Builder's Supply         2 Trailers

            17   PURPOSE OF DONATION:  Water safety use - to 

            18                          transport watercraft

            19   14)  CNG Producing Company/   CASH and goods

            20          Dominion E&P, Inc.

            21   PURPOSE OF DONATION:  Enhancement of State 

            22                          Artificial Reefs

            23   TOTAL:  $818,615.33

            24                            *****

            25                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Mr. Sansom, would you 

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             1   please proceed with the retirement certificates and 

             2   service awards. 

             3                  MR. SANSOM:  Mr. Chairman, if you could 

             4   join me at the podium, I would like to take this 

             5   opportunity to recognize those employees who are not 

             6   only retiring today, in some cases, but being 

             7   recognized for many years of valuable and loyal and 

             8   dedicated service to Parks and Wildlife.  

             9                  The first is Nyra Gonzalez, and Nyra has 

            10   worked at Falcon ever since, basically, it opened.  She 

            11   started in 1966 as a clerk.  Falcon, as you know, has 

            12   been, over the years, one the most important places in 

            13   Texas to fish for large mouth bass, and it's a place of 

            14   endangered species; it's a tremendous resource along 

            15   the Texas border. 

            16                  Nyra is an administrative technician, 

            17   and she has served there for 34 years, and she retires 

            18   today with more service than most people can give to 

            19   Parks and Recreation in a lifetime. 

            20                  Please recognize Nyra A. Gonzalez from 

            21   State Parks, with 34 years of service, retiring today.  

            22                         (Applause.) 

            23                  MR. SANSOM:  And you look wonderful.  

            24                  MS. GONZALEZ:  Thank you.

            25                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Congratulations.  

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             1                  MS. GONZALEZ:  Thank you.

             2                  MR. SANSOM:  Thank you, Nyra.  

             3                  MS. GONZALEZ:  Thank you. 

             4                  MR. SANSOM:  Congratulations. 

             5                         (Applause.) 

             6                  MR. SANSOM:  Congratulations.  Bill Russ 

             7   started in the dove program in the Austin headquarters 

             8   in 1971.  He's worked in Wildlife for 29 years.  He's 

             9   now in the Trans-Pecos District in Sanderson, and he 

            10   started there in September of 1973.  He's a natural 

            11   resource specialist from the Wildlife Division.  

            12                  Please recognize William B. Russ 

            13   retiring today with 29 years with Texas Parks and 

            14   Wildlife.  

            15                         (Applause.) 

            16                  MR. SANSOM:  Hey, Bill.  

            17   Congratulations.

            18                  MR. RUSS:  Thank you.

            19                  Mr. Bass, thank you.

            20                         (Applause.)

            21                  MR. SANSOM:  Here's a name that's 

            22   synonymous with Parks and Wildlife: Roy Inks.  

            23                  Roy Inks started working at Parks and 

            24   Wildlife in 1973 as a member of the old engineering 

            25   division.  He moved to its administrative section and 

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             1   then, for a while, worked in what is now the chief 

             2   financial officer's area to administrator construction 

             3   contracts for the entire department.  

             4                  In 1979, he was named the Region 6 

             5   operations and maintenance supervisor in Kerrville 

             6   where he remains today.  

             7                  His first big assignment, if many of you 

             8   remember when the floods hit the Hill Country in 1978, 

             9   was to clean up all of the devastation that had 

            10   occurred to our parks along to the Guadalupe.  

            11                  He managed the renovation of the Admiral 

            12   Nimitz museum.  He participated in the completion of 

            13   Guadalupe River, Lost Maples, Enchanted Rock, Kickapoo, 

            14   and the Old Tunnel.  His work has extended from Garner 

            15   to the Battleship of Texas, and he retires today after 

            16   27 years with Texas Parks and Wildlife.  Roy B. Inks 

            17   from the State Parks Division.  

            18                         (Applause.) 

            19                  MR. SANSOM:  Congratulations, Roy.  

            20                  I know Commissioner Dinkins knows where 

            21   Mathis is.  Santiago Munoz has worked there for 26 

            22   years.  He started as a Park Ranger and has 

            23   continuously moved up the ladder.  He has enjoyed 

            24   working with the public; he still lives in Mathis, and 

            25   he works there today as a part-time wastewater 

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             1   consultant.  He still volunteers when we need it at 

             2   Lake Corpus Christi State Park whenever he's needed.  

             3                  Please recognize Santiago Munoz, 

             4   retiring with 26 years Texas Parks and Wildlife. 

             5                         (Applause.)

             6                  MR. SANSOM:  Congratulations and thank 

             7   you.  

             8                  All right.  You know, every once in a 

             9   while, you have to learn to do something that you 

            10   weren't prepared for.  I guess the best example of that 

            11   that I could give you is Allen Forshage.  

            12                  Allen Forshage started working as a 

            13   biological technician at the San Marcos Fisheries 

            14   Office in 1969.  

            15                  In 1996, after all those years, we began 

            16   to get ready to open the Texas Freshwater Fisheries 

            17   Center in Athens, which, of course, is one of our 

            18   premiere projects.  We were really not sure whether we 

            19   were going to open on time and on budget and with the 

            20   kind of staff and preparation we needed.  And so Alan 

            21   was basically assigned, as having been the regional 

            22   director there, to go over there and get this facility 

            23   open.  

            24                  He liked it so much, and Phil liked him 

            25   so much and the job that he did that he was named 

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             1   director of the center where he is today.  

             2                  He has become a key part of the outreach 

             3   effort of the department, and under his leadership and 

             4   management, the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center is 

             5   known throughout the world today.  

             6                  With 30 years of service in Inland 

             7   Fisheries, the service award today goes to Allen 

             8   Forshage from the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center.  

             9                         (Applause.) 

            10                  MR. SANSOM:  Good job.  Way to go, 

            11   Allen.  

            12                  MR. FORSHAGE:  Thank you. 

            13                         (Applause.) 

            14                  MR. SANSOM:  I first met Albert or Beto 

            15   Gonzalez when he was a supervisor lieutenant in the 

            16   Houston Law Enforcement office.  

            17                  Albert went to work for the department 

            18   in 1971.  His first duty station was in Brownsville.  

            19   He has also worked in Rio Grande City, out of Starr 

            20   County.  

            21                  He transferred to Houston in 1986 where 

            22   I first met and became acquainted with him.  

            23                  In 1992, Albert was promoted to regional 

            24   director or regional commander in Houston and has 

            25   transferred since to San Antonio where he is the 

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             1   regional director. 

             2                  Please recognize, with 30 years of 

             3   service, Albert Gonzalez, Commander Game Warden.  

             4                         (Applause.) 

             5                  MR. SANSOM:  Congratulations, Albert.  

             6   Thank you, Albert.  

             7                  John Gould.  John Gould is a Game Warden 

             8   V that started to work for the department in 1970 as a 

             9   graduate of the 25th Game Warden Academy class.  He's 

            10   been in Potter County, Randall, Oldham, and Deaf Smith, 

            11   and he's currently assigned to Tom Green after 30 years 

            12   at Texas Parks and Wildlife as a game warden.  

            13                  Please recognize, from San Angelo, John 

            14   D. Gould.  

            15                         (Applause.) 

            16                  MR. SANSOM:  Congratulations, John.

            17                  MR. GOULD:  Thank you.

            18                  MR. SANSOM:  For many years, the center 

            19   of our Inland Fisheries activity in East Texas was 

            20   Tyler.  Raymond Cooper, from Inland Fisheries, started 

            21   as a biology field worker at the Tyler Fish Hatchery, 

            22   which was the predecessor of our wonderful facility at 

            23   Athens.  

            24                  In 1977, Raymond transferred to the 

            25   Tyler Fisheries management crew as a fish and wildlife 

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             1   technician and then worked in hatchery subsequently.  

             2                  Today, along with Allen and the rest of 

             3   the crew, he is working as a wildlife technician IV at 

             4   the Texas Freshwater Fisheries center in Athens.  

             5                  Raymond Cooper, today receiving his 

             6   award for 25 years of service to Texas Parks and 

             7   Wildlife.  

             8                         (Applause.) 

             9                  MR. SANSOM:  Hey, Raymond.  How are you?  

            10   Glad to see you.  

            11                  Congratulations, Raymond.  

            12                  Johnny Wade basically started to work at 

            13   Stonewall, Texas, at the LBJ State Historical Park, 

            14   about the time it opened.  

            15                  He started as a Ranger and he was 

            16   promoted to Ranger I in the maintenance department.  

            17   After several years, he was promoted to Ranger II.  

            18                  Johnny is somebody who is a true 

            19   ambassador to anybody who's visited LBJ.  He's a great 

            20   ambassador, not only for that park, but for our agency.  

            21                  Let's congratulate Johnny Wade for 25 

            22   years of service as a Park Ranger at LBJ State 

            23   Historical Park in Stonewall.  

            24                         (Applause.)

            25                  MR. SANSOM:  Hey, Johnny.  How are you?

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             1                  MR. WADE:  All right. 

             2                  MR. SANSOM:  Thank you, Johnny.  

             3   Congratulations.  

             4                  I was up last fall quail hunting along 

             5   the Canadian River, and I went over to the Gene Howe 

             6   Wildlife Management Area to visit Bob Rogers.  And a 

             7   fellow had been down there hunting, from Kansas, and he 

             8   had lost his bird dog.  And Bob Rogers found the bird 

             9   dog, called the guy, took care of the dog until the guy 

            10   could come down and get it back.  

            11                  He started as a part-time employee at 

            12   Copper Breaks, and in the years that he has been at 

            13   Texas Parks and Wildlife, most of those years now in 

            14   the Wildlife Division, he has been recognized 

            15   repeatedly for the outreach efforts that he has made in 

            16   one of the most beautiful but little-known parts of our 

            17   system, up along the Canadian.  

            18                  He has done an enormous amount of work 

            19   up there with children.  He's made that wildlife 

            20   management area much more of a destination and a place 

            21   for people to come and visit for all sorts of wildlife 

            22   appreciation. 

            23                  So please recognize Bob Rogers from the 

            24   Wildlife Division at Canadian, with 25 years of 

            25   service.  

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             1                         (Applause.) 

             2                  MR. SANSOM:  It was a great dog.  It was 

             3   a great dog.  Thank you.  

             4                  Members, in 1995, the Law Enforcement 

             5   Division joined an organization which is known as the 

             6   Association of Midwest Fishing and Game Law Enforcement 

             7   Officers.  That's basically a professional association, 

             8   among six Canadian provinces, the U.S. Fish and 

             9   Wildlife Service, and 17 Western states, that 

            10   encourages cooperation between law enforcement agencies 

            11   and natural resources; integrates natural resource law 

            12   enforcement practices among them; strives for a 

            13   continuing and increasing higher education and training 

            14   opportunities.  

            15                  In June, at the 56th annual meeting of 

            16   this organization held in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, a 

            17   Texas Game Warden was recognized for his outstanding 

            18   accomplishments.  

            19                  He has been a lead investigator of the 

            20   illegal release of harmful exotic shellfish -- and we 

            21   talked about that the other night at our employee 

            22   awards -- from shrimp farms in Cameron County, having 

            23   prosecuted/convicted over 21 violators.  He has removed 

            24   more than 500,000 feet of illegal gill nets and 

            25   trotlines from the public waters of Texas.  He has 

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             1   investigated numerous migratory bird baiting violations 

             2   and trespass complaints, and over his career, has made 

             3   over 4500 arrests.  

             4                  Jim Robertson is going to stand up here, 

             5   with Mr. Bass and I, and recognize Game Warden Shane 

             6   Teeters of Laredo, the Midwest Conservation Officer of 

             7   the Year in Texas.  

             8                  Way to go, Shane.  

             9                  MR. ROBERTSON:  Good job, Shane. 

            10                  MR. TEETERS:  Thank you.  

            11                  MR. SANSOM:  Congratulations, Shane. 

            12                  Members, in 1997, the Cross Timbers 

            13   Chapter of Quail Unlimited funded a major Parks and 

            14   Wildlife study on scaled quail in West Texas.  They've 

            15   been a tremendous partner for us.  

            16                  The Cross Timbers Chapter is probably 

            17   the most active chapter of Quail Unlimited that we have 

            18   in Texas and has continued that tradition by 

            19   contributing $10,000 toward a study on bobwhite quail 

            20   in East Texas.  

            21                  This contribution, along with donations 

            22   from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, Dow 

            23   Chemical, matching funds from local farmers who are 

            24   involved in the projects, will investigate the wildlife 

            25   benefits and cost-effectiveness of converting coastal 

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             1   Bermuda grass fields back to native pastures, probably 

             2   the single most important thing we can do to restore 

             3   quail to our lands in Texas.  

             4                  Matt Wagner is a Wildlife Division 

             5   biologist who designed the project, and he's here 

             6   today, and I would like to ask him to come forward, 

             7   along with Robert Cantrell, co-chair of the Cross 

             8   Timbers Chapter of Quail Unlimited, so that we can 

             9   thank them and present them with a certificate "I 

            10   Support Wildlife Research at Texas Parks and Wildlife."  

            11                         (Applause.) 

            12                  MR. SANSOM:  Hey, Mr. Cantrell.  Thank 

            13   you.

            14                  MR. CANTRELL:  Thank you. 

            15                  MR. SANSOM:  Good job, Matt.  

            16                  We appreciate so much those of you who 

            17   participated in our employee awards ceremonies the 

            18   other night at the U.T. Alumni Center.  Along with 

            19   recognizing these individuals at each of our meetings, 

            20   that is certainly the highlight of the year for us.  

            21                  I would like to call your attention to 

            22   the fact that Walt Dabney is a recipient of the 

            23   Department of Interior's Meritorious Service Award.  He 

            24   received it last week, on behalf of Secretary Babbitt, 

            25   he was given the award by Robert Stanton here in 

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             1   Austin, who is the director of the National Park 

             2   Service.  

             3                  Mrs. Lyndon Johnson and her daughter, 

             4   Luci, participated in this ceremony, and it recognized 

             5   Walt for his exemplary 30-year career in the National 

             6   Park Service.  

             7                  He was recognized for his role, not only 

             8   in the superintendency of various major parks, but his 

             9   role as the Chief Ranger of the National Park Service, 

            10   in which he furthered the professionalism of the 

            11   National Park Field Rangers through training and 

            12   benefits, and the award originated from his peers 

            13   throughout the National Park Service.  

            14                  Mr. Chairman, I would like to ask you to 

            15   help me re-present Walt Dabney with the Meritorious 

            16   Service Award.  

            17                         (Applause.) 

            18                  MR. SANSOM:  Congratulations. 

            19                  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  That concludes 

            20   our awards.  

            21                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you, Andy.  

            22                  The next item will be approval of our 

            23   agenda today.  We have one item, Item 14: Contract 

            24   Dispute Resolution, that's available for movement to 

            25   the Consent Agenda, as we don't have any public input 

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             1   at this time on that.  

             2                  That being the case, the Chair would 

             3   entertain a motion for movement to the consent agenda 

             4   and approval of the agenda. 

             5                  COMMISSIONER RYAN:  So moved. 

             6                  COMMISSIONER HENRY:  Second.  

             7                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Motion and second.  

             8                  All in favor?  Opposed?  None.  Motion 

             9   passes.  

            10               (Motion carries unanimously.)  

            11               AGENDA ITEM NO. 1:  CONSENT AGENDA

            12                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Chair would ask for a 

            13   motion to approve the Consent Agenda.

            14                  VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  So moved.  

            15                  COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Second.  

            16                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Motion and a second.  

            17                  All in favor?  Any opposed?

            18                  Motion carries.  Thank you.

            19                (Motion carries unanimously.) 

            20         AGENDA ITEM NO. 2:  ACTION - LOCAL PARK FUNDING

            21                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Next order of business 

            22   is Local Park Funding, Tim Hogsett.

            23                  MR. HOGSETT:  Good morning, 

            24   Mr. Chairman, members of the Commission.  I'm Tim 

            25   Hogsett, Director of the Recreation Grants Program in 

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             1   the State Parks Division.  

             2                  This morning we're bringing to you 47 

             3   applications for consideration for outdoor recreation 

             4   grants.  These are all the applications that we 

             5   received as of our January 31, 2000, deadline.  

             6                  We have performed site visits of all 

             7   these applications.  We have scored them using our 

             8   priority ranking system.  They have been rank-ordered 

             9   and are placed in your Exhibit A, in their rank order.  

            10                  We're recommending funding for the first 

            11   15 of those projects in the amount of $6,913,206, and 

            12   to read into the record, our recommendation is:  

            13   "Funding for the projects listed in Exhibit A, in the 

            14   amount of $6,913,206, is approved as described for 

            15   individual projects in Exhibit B."  

            16                  I feel certain there are probably people 

            17   here to testify, but I'd be glad to take any questions 

            18   that you have.  

            19                  VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Thank you.  

            20                  Are there any questions by any of the 

            21   members of the Commission? 

            22                  Thank you, Mr. Hogsett.  

            23                  We do have people signed up to speak to 

            24   this issue, and first is Lisa Birkman, and I would ask 

            25   that Lemuel Randolph be prepared to speak following Ms. 

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             1   Birkman. 

             2                  Welcome. 

             3                  MS. BIRKMAN:  Thank you. 

             4                  Good morning.  I am Lisa Birkman and I 

             5   serve on the board of directors of Brushy Creek 

             6   Municipal Utility District.  It's not quite so far as 

             7   some of these people that came from the Gulf or right 

             8   up the road, near Round Rock.  

             9                  And we also have several other 

            10   representatives here: Mr. Jimmy Griffith, the president 

            11   of the Board; Mr. Tom Brown from Nasmith Engineering, 

            12   our district engineering firm; and Ms. Katy Hutchison, 

            13   our Parks and Recreations director.  They're right over 

            14   there.  

            15                  I would like to thank you for giving me 

            16   this opportunity to speak on behalf of the district.  I 

            17   am very excited to be here, as I began work on this 

            18   project over a year ago, before my election to the 

            19   board, when I was the chairperson of the district's 

            20   Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee.  

            21                  This project is the result of hard work 

            22   on the part of many in our district as well as the 

            23   staff of the TPWD.  I would like to thank Mr. Tim 

            24   Hogsett, Mr. Joe Seffel, and the other staff members 

            25   for their work on our grants proposal and for the 

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             1   favorable recommendation given to the proposal.  Both 

             2   Mr. Hogsett and Mr. Seffel visited our site and braved 

             3   the 100-degree weather to do so, and we really 

             4   appreciate that.  

             5                  Brushy Creek Municipal Utility District 

             6   is a large suburban district with approximately 12,000 

             7   residents currently, and projections expect our 

             8   population to double within the next 10 years if not 

             9   before.  They're building quite a bit out there.  

            10                  We were fortunate enough several years 

            11   ago to acquire about 100 acres of park land and 

            12   greenbelt to serve the area, but it is, as yet, 

            13   undeveloped.  Located within this property are several 

            14   caves which are the habitat of endangered species, 

            15   including one of the largest caves in our area, the 

            16   Beck Ranch Cave.  It is the habitat of Mexican 

            17   free-tailed bats, as well as other species.  

            18                  If we are awarded this grant today, we 

            19   will acquire another endangered species cave and 

            20   protect all the caves from future degradation and 

            21   development.  We will also be able to build a viewing 

            22   area so that our citizens and others can view the bats 

            23   as they come and go from the Beck Ranch Cave.  

            24                  Additionally, we propose to build a 

            25   community park that would include some ball fields and 

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             1   other amenities, and approximately 7,850 linear feet of 

             2   hike and bike trails that will connect our parks and 

             3   greenbelts in the district to the Williamson County 

             4   Trail System which was funded by our regional park 

             5   grant from the Commission several months ago.  

             6                  So we are very pleased about this grant 

             7   and the opportunity for our citizens and our community, 

             8   and we thank you for this opportunity.

             9                  VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Well, thank you for 

            10   coming to speak to us.  Good luck with that project.  

            11                  Lemuel Randolph.  And if Anne Ochoa 

            12   would be prepared to speak next. 

            13                  MR. RANDOLPH:  Thank you.  My name is 

            14   Lemuel Randolph and I'm here to represent the City of 

            15   Sugar Land as their Parks and Recreation director.  

            16                  I've left with you some packets that 

            17   describe a project that you recently funded in the City 

            18   of Sugar Land: A 108-acre complex that includes a 

            19   20-acre water garden.  Through the Commission grant 

            20   system, we were awarded a grant for that project.  The 

            21   opening day was July 4th, this past July 4th.  We had 

            22   over 20,000 people in attendance, and I just want to 

            23   thank you personally for the commitment you've made to 

            24   local parks in making the Orchard Creek Park in Sugar 

            25   Land a reality.  Thank you. 

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             1                  VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Thank you for being 

             2   here.  

             3                  Anne Ochoa, and then if Jose Munoz would 

             4   be prepared to speak next.  

             5                  Good morning.

             6                  MS. OCHOA:  Good morning.  My name is 

             7   Anne Ochoa and I'm a council member at the City of Lago 

             8   Vista, and I just wanted to say thank you to the 

             9   Commission for their hard work.  I know these are tough 

            10   decisions that we have to make in public life. 

            11                  Our city park proposal did not make the 

            12   cut this year.  This is the first time we've ever tried 

            13   to do this, and all I wanted to say was we're in a 

            14   learning mode, and we know that, like you, we want to 

            15   provide the best possible facility for our residents 

            16   and the residents of our area, and we're going to try 

            17   again, and we're going to do a better job next time.  

            18   So thank you again for your hard work.

            19                  VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Well, thank you for 

            20   being here, and I know Mr. Hogsett will help you as 

            21   much as he can.  

            22                  MS. OCHOA:  Yes. 

            23                  VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Jose Munoz. 

            24                  MR. MUNOZ:  Good morning.  

            25                  VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Morning.

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             1                  MR. MUNOZ:  My name is Jose Munoz.  I'm 

             2   with the engineering firm of Guzman & Munoz 

             3   Engineering, here representing the Sebastian Municipal 

             4   Utility District.  

             5                  Upon your approval of the grant 

             6   application, the community will be building a six-acre 

             7   baseball and hike and bike and picnic park.  

             8                  Here with me is Larry Rincones with the 

             9   Empowerment Zone, who will also be matching funds for 

            10   the project.  I'll let Larry say a few words for the 

            11   Empowerment Zone. 

            12                  VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Thank you. 

            13                  MR. RINCONES:  Thank you very much, Mr.  

            14   Munoz. 

            15                  We are very excited about this 

            16   opportunity -- 

            17                  VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Could you identify 

            18   yourself. 

            19                  MR. RINCONES:  My name is Ilario 

            20   Rincones, and I live in the community of Sebastian.  

            21   It's a large colonia community in Willacy County, in 

            22   the lower Rio Grande Valley.  

            23                  Let me share with you why we're so 

            24   excited about this opportunity.  

            25                  In Willacy County, there is only one 

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             1   little league park for the entire county.  Our children 

             2   in that community have to drive 10 miles to a little 

             3   league field in one county where children practice on 

             4   Saturdays and Sundays.  That's how many children we 

             5   have interested in sports, and we've had that major 

             6   challenge for years.  

             7                  I got a call last year and said, "You 

             8   know, we have so many kids.  What can we do to partner, 

             9   where the -- Sebastian is a designated Empowerment Zone 

            10   community, and we decided to leverage this with some 

            11   Empowerment Zone funds. 

            12                  In addition to that, we had a tremendous 

            13   need for our youth in the community.  We certainly 

            14   had -- we had three deaths in our community over the 

            15   last five years from people that were walking along the 

            16   highway, simply because we don't have sidewalks or a 

            17   park, and the community felt -- this was an initiative 

            18   that came from the community to do this, and we are so 

            19   pleased because, as you know, many of our elderly, as 

            20   part of their exercise program, in controlling their 

            21   diabetes, is a need to exercise and walk.  And this 

            22   initiate is a template for us to do, in many 

            23   communities in south Texas, where we can integrate a 

            24   healthy community with recreation facilities and 

            25   certainly improve the quality of life in that 

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             1   community, and I will really appreciate the staff's 

             2   recommendation and your time to consider this 

             3   application.  Thank you so much.  

             4                  VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Thank you both for 

             5   traveling such a distance.  

             6                  Any further discussion by members of the 

             7   Commission?  Hearing none, the Chair would entertain a 

             8   motion for approval of this item.

             9                  COMMISSIONER AVILA:  So moved. 

            10                  COMMISSIONER WATSON:  Second. 

            11                  VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Thank you.  Motion 

            12   by Commissioner Avila, second by Commission Watson.  

            13   Any further discussion?  

            14                  All in favor say aye.  Those opposed say 

            15   nay.  

            16                  Motion carries.  Thank you.  

            17                (Motion Carriers unanimously.)

            18   "Funding for projects listed in Exhibit A in the amount 

            19   of $6,913,206 is approved, as described for individual 

            20   projects in Exhibit B."

            21         AGENDA ITEM NO. 3:  ACTION - BOAT RAMP FUNDING

            22                  VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Mr. Hogsett.

            23                  MR. HOGSETT:  Item Number 3 is Proposals 

            24   for Boat Ramp Funding.  

            25                  We received four applications last July 

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             1   and placed those on hold pending our initiating a 

             2   program of repair and major improvements at some of our 

             3   State Park and Wildlife Management Area boat ramps.  A 

             4   number of those are about to begin, so as a result, we 

             5   would like to go back and fund a few local projects 

             6   this time.  

             7                  We are recommending funding for all four 

             8   projects since there's sufficient Federal funds 

             9   available to do that, and we're recommending funding in 

            10   the amount of $1,297,750 in Federal-matching 75 percent 

            11   funds for the four projects that you'll find in Exhibit 

            12   A.  

            13                  The recommendation is funding for new 

            14   boat ramp construction projects as listed in Exhibit A 

            15   in the amount of $1,297,750 is approved, as described 

            16   for individual projects in Exhibit B.

            17                  VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Thank you, 

            18   Mr. Hogsett.

            19                  Any questions?

            20                  COMMISSIONER WATSON:  Tim, on the 

            21   Leggett Light Breakwater -- 

            22                  VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Could you put your 

            23   microphone on.

            24                  COMMISSIONER WATSON:  Can they get that 

            25   done for $1,000,000? 

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             1                  MR. HOGSETT:  Actually, I think they've 

             2   got some additional funds locally that they're putting 

             3   into it.

             4                  COMMISSIONER WATSON:  Yeah, I thought -- 

             5   Okay.

             6                  MR. HOGSETT:  I would hope so.  That's 

             7   all -- a million dollars has been our limit on how much 

             8   we can give them, and I anticipate that they're going 

             9   to be putting some more local dollars into that.

            10                  COMMISSIONER WATSON:  When do they plan 

            11   to start that?

            12                  MR. HOGSETT:  I don't know.  It will be 

            13   after -- as soon as we can contract with them, but I 

            14   don't know what their construction schedule is.

            15                  COMMISSIONER WATSON:  And that's long 

            16   overdue.  That's a serious situation.

            17                  VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  I saw a hand up in 

            18   the back.  If you would like to address the Commission, 

            19   please, fill out a form and it will be brought forward 

            20   to us.  Thank you.  

            21                  Any other questions of Mr. Hogsett?  

            22   Thank you.  

            23                  We do have two people signed up to speak 

            24   on this agenda item.  The first is Bill Wallace, Mr. 

            25   Wallace.  And if Mr. W. E. Irby would be prepared to 

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             1   speak next.

             2                  MR. WALLACE:  Thank you very much for 

             3   having us today.  

             4                  I'm Bill Wallace.  I'm county 

             5   commissioner in Precinct 4, Chambers County.  

             6                  I'd certainly like to thank the 

             7   commissioners and the Texas Parks and Wildlife for the 

             8   opportunity of Chambers County being considered for a 

             9   boat ramp grant of this size.  

            10                  I would also like to say that this new 

            11   boat ramp will serve not only our county, but we lay up 

            12   next to two existing counties; this will open a new 

            13   gateway into the river system and into Trinity Bay.  It 

            14   will also be a deep water facility, so I certainly 

            15   thank you for your consideration.

            16                  VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Thank you.  

            17                  W. E. Irby?  

            18                  MR. IRBY:  My name is Buddy Irby and I'm 

            19   county commissioner of Precinct 3, Chambers County.  I 

            20   also want to thank you for consideration of these 

            21   projects.  

            22                  The one in Chambers County will allow a 

            23   deep water access to the wonderful water resources in 

            24   Chambers County, and we urge your approval.  And, 

            25   again, thank you very much.

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             1                  VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Thank you for being 

             2   here.  

             3                  Are there any other questions of 

             4   Mr. Hogsett? 

             5                  Hearing none, the Chair would entertain 

             6   a motion for approval of this agenda item.

             7                  COMMISSIONER RYAN:  So moved.

             8                  COMMISSIONER HENRY:  Second.

             9                  VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Thank you.  Motion 

            10   by Commissioner Ryan, seconded by Commissioner Henry.  

            11   Any other further discussion? 

            12                  All in favor say aye.  Those opposed 

            13   nay.  

            14                  Motion carries.  Thank you.

            15                (Motion carries unanimously.)

            16   "Funding for new construction projects as listed in 

            17   Exhibit A in the amount of $1,297,750 is approved, as 

            18   described for individual projects in Exhibit B."


            20                   TRAIL FUND GRANTS

            21                  MR. HOGSETT:  Thank you.  In the 

            22   interest of time, I'm going to go ahead and do the next 

            23   two items as well.  

            24                  The National Recreation Trails fund is a 

            25   Federal grant pass-through program.  Federal funds that 

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             1   are derived from gasoline tax on off-road recreational 

             2   vehicles.  

             3                  We have 71 applications requesting over 

             4   $5 million.  All of these applications have been 

             5   reviewed by our State Trails Advisory Review Board.  

             6   They have been rank-ordered, and recommendations for 

             7   funding can be found in your Exhibit A, and we are 

             8   recommending, as the Trails Advisory Board has 

             9   recommended, funding for 44 projects.  

            10                  The staff recommendation is funding for 

            11   44 projects recommended in Exhibit A, in the amount of 

            12   $2,232,385, is approved.  

            13                  I'll be glad to answer any questions.

            14                  VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Thank you, 

            15   Mr. Hogsett. 

            16                  Are there any questions by any members 

            17   of the Commission?  

            18                  All right.  We do have one person signed 

            19   up to speak to this item, Cora Alexander.  

            20                  Welcome, Ms. Alexander.

            21                  MS. ALEXANDER:  Thank you. 

            22                  Good morning.  My name is a Cora 

            23   Alexander.  I just completed one month tenure with the 

            24   City of Houston Parks and Recreation Department. 

            25                  I'm here today to thank you for your 

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             1   consideration of the Memorial Trails Project.  This new 

             2   project will provide 11 new miles of jogging trails, as 

             3   well as the renovation of 6 miles of bike trails and 2 

             4   new bridge projects. 

             5                  We are especially appreciative of the 

             6   wonderful support we have received from the staff, in 

             7   particular, Tim Hogsett and Andy Goldbloom.  

             8                  We are looking forward to continuing 

             9   this wonderful working relationship with the Texas 

            10   Department of Parks and Wildlife.  Again, thank you.

            11                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you very much, 

            12   Ms. Alexander. 

            13                  Are there any questions or comments for 

            14   Mr. Hogsett at this time?  

            15                  The Chair would entertain a motion, if 

            16   it's the Commission's pleasure, on this item.

            17                  COMMISSIONER WATSON:  So moved. 

            18                  MR. BASS:  Motion for approval.

            19                  VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Second it. 

            20                  MR. BASS:  And a second.  

            21                  All in favor?  Any opposed?  

            22                  Being none, motion carries.  Thank you 

            23   very much.

            24              (Motion carries unanimously.)     

            25   "Funding for 44 projects recommended in Exhibit A in 

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             1   the amount of $2,232,385 is approved."


             3                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  And Target Range 

             4   Program.  

             5                  MR. HOGSETT:  Item 5 is the National 

             6   Hunter Education Target Range Program, grants to 

             7   construct target ranges.  

             8                  These are Federal funds from the 

             9   Wildlife Restoration Act.  You can find the evaluation 

            10   criteria that are used to evaluate these projects at 

            11   your Exhibit A.  

            12                  These are 75 percent matching grants.  

            13   They can be made, both, to local governments and to 

            14   private enterprise.  And we're recommending funding for 

            15   two projects in the amount of $100,000.  

            16                  Our staff recommendation is that the 

            17   Parks and Wildlife Commission authorizes the executive 

            18   director to execute contracts funding the projects 

            19   found in Exhibit B and C pending availability of 

            20   Federal funds.  

            21                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  I don't believe there's 

            22   any public comment on this item today.  No, there's 

            23   not.  

            24                  Any questions or comments from the 

            25   Commission on this? 

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             1                  COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  I move approval of 

             2   the recommendation.  

             3                  COMMISSIONER IDSAL:  Second.

             4                  MR. BASS:  Motion and a second.  

             5                  All in favor?  Any opposed?  

             6                  Motion carries.  Thank you very much.

             7               (Motion carries unanimously.)   

             8   "The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission authorizes the 

             9   Executive Director to execute contracts funding the 

            10   projects at Exhibit B and C pending availability of 

            11   federal funds."

            12     AGENDA ITEM NO. 6:  ACTION - 2000-2001  MANAGEMENT 

            13                         PROCLAMATION

            14                  MR. HOGSETT:  Thank you.

            15                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  The next item of 

            16   business is the Shrimp Management Proclamation.  

            17                  I'd like to take a moment to make a few 

            18   comments prior to the staff presentation.  

            19                  You know, I think that this is obviously 

            20   one of the tougher or toughest issues to come before 

            21   this Commission in quite a long time.  It's difficult 

            22   because it involves not only resource issues, but also 

            23   human and economic issues.  

            24                  We're dealing with the resources of the 

            25   state here, which we are charged, first and foremost, 

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             1   with the stewardship of, but we're also dealing with 

             2   the livelihoods of an industry that's been a part of 

             3   the fabric of our state for decades and generations.  

             4                  There is a lot of data that is involved 

             5   in the study of this issue and trying to choose the 

             6   proper course of action, and lots of statistics we've 

             7   been presented with, by, both, advocates and proponents 

             8   and opponents of stricter regulation.  

             9                  Sometimes the data has been seemingly 

            10   confusing and contradictory, and, I guess, the other 

            11   glaring aspect of it is that, like all scientists, we 

            12   wish we had more data and the definitive answer, but 

            13   I'm afraid that scientific data doesn't work that way, 

            14   and there's always some confidence issue of dealing 

            15   with data.  

            16                  I'm reminded a little bit of my -- what 

            17   my great uncle used to say when I was boy and before he 

            18   a passed away, that -- about some of this data as we're 

            19   seeing wave upon wave of it over the last couple of 

            20   days and several months, as well, that, you know, 

            21   statistics show that seeing a doctor and going to a 

            22   hospital is the best way to save your life when you're 

            23   sick.  Statistics also show that more people die in a 

            24   hospital than any other place.  So pick your poison.  

            25   You know, it's -- you can turn data in lots of ways, 

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             1   and, ultimately, it's not definitive; it's just simply 

             2   something to help guide human judgment as best we can.  

             3                  Our charges, I think, as a Commission, 

             4   are to try to sort through all of the public input and 

             5   the professional input that we have and choose a course 

             6   of action that's in the best long-term interests of the 

             7   resources of the state, and, therefore, in the best 

             8   long-term interests of the citizens of the state to 

             9   whom these resources belong and whom we are stewards 

            10   for, and, obviously, that includes members of the 

            11   industry who gain their livelihood from this.  It 

            12   obviously also includes many other Texans and 

            13   stakeholders who have an interest in this issue.  

            14                  I'd also, for the record, like to 

            15   clarify something that has come to my attention in the 

            16   last day or so.  There have been rumors or accusations 

            17   from many quarters that the Commission's positions in 

            18   the latest proposals have been amended or taken at the 

            19   specific direction of our governor.  Accusations have 

            20   come to my attention that -- both, from the ecological 

            21   interests representing sea turtle interests, et cetera, 

            22   that the governor has directed us to make certain 

            23   concessions to the industry. 

            24                  I've also heard accusations the governor 

            25   has directed us to take steps adverse to the industry's 

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             1   interests, for political reasons.  

             2                  I'd like to clarify the record on that, 

             3   that the governor nor the governor's office has given 

             4   me or, to my knowledge, anybody else here any specific 

             5   direction on this other than the following:  

             6                  And that is that they have been briefed 

             7   on the facts and the science and the issues.  They have 

             8   encouraged us to do the right thing, recognizing that 

             9   it may not be the popular thing, and they've left it 

            10   for us to define that, as to what the right thing is, 

            11   and relying on the judgment that they delegated to us 

            12   when they appointed us to these positions, to choose 

            13   what the right thing would be. 

            14                  I'm afraid, in this case, there probably 

            15   is no, you know, popular thing, because there's hardly 

            16   a course of action we could take that would make 

            17   everyone happy.  But, you know, the governor's office 

            18   has given us no directive other than to follow our 

            19   judgment, to do our job, and to take a balanced 

            20   approach, which is certainly his legacy here.  

            21                  That being said, I would like to ask the 

            22   staff to come forward and make their presentation.  

            23                  MR. OSBURN:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman. 

            24                  I'm Hal Osburn, Coastal Fisheries 

            25   Division director.  Yesterday, the Regulations 

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             1   Committee did forward to the full Commission the 

             2   revised set of proposed shrimp regulations as 

             3   recommended by the staff.  We held eight public 

             4   hearings -- we held eight public hearings this summer.  

             5   Got a lot of very good input; a lot of folks came out 

             6   and participated in our process.  To expand the input 

             7   on that process, we did hold two meetings of the Shrimp 

             8   Advisory Committee, 12 members in that group.  We also 

             9   added a shrimp working group of 14 members to diversify 

            10   the stakeholders that had shown interest, and I want to 

            11   thank those folks for their sacrifice and, actually, 

            12   their civility and their very good manners in dealing 

            13   with some very hard issues for them.  

            14                  Quickly summarizing the public comments, 

            15   in total, we've had over 5500 individual comments.  

            16   They are still coming in.  We had -- most of those, 

            17   about 80 percent, were in-state folks, and most of 

            18   those were speaking to the entire package of the 

            19   proposals, with a 96 percent favorable rating.  

            20                  Staff continues to manage based on the 

            21   guidance provided us, not only in the statute 

            22   legislative direction, but also in our Texas Shrimp 

            23   Fisheries Management Plan adopted by the Commission in 

            24   1989.  It establishes some clear management strategies 

            25   that continue to guide us in -- and that's what we used 

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             1   to formulate our final recommendations to you.  We do 

             2   have some final conclusions and recommendations.  That 

             3   includes that we think there is valid concerns, 

             4   scientific basis for shrimp overfishing.  We still see 

             5   the trend in the harvest of the smallest sized shrimp, 

             6   documenting the growth overfishing.  We've not seen 

             7   evidence that is not occurring.  We see shrimping 

             8   effort also on upward trend, has stabilized some in the 

             9   last few years, with, I believe, our limited entry 

            10   program success, but it still remains at historically 

            11   high levels with the capacity to go very high in some 

            12   years, and we believe that that needs to be reversed.  

            13                  We also see the declining catch rates in 

            14   our bay and in the Gulf as a clear indication for a 

            15   proactive management strategy.  I'd like to point out, 

            16   for example, in this graph, that historically we do 

            17   have some high production years.  We can see peaks, for 

            18   example, in 1975 and '77 and '82, and perhaps this 

            19   year, in 2000, will be another one of those peaks of 

            20   some level compared to the last few years.  But those 

            21   occasional peaks do not erase the long-term downward 

            22   trends, and those downward trends form the basis of our 

            23   concerns about overfishing.  In fact, we support the 

            24   testimony provided to us by Dr. Gracia from Mexico 

            25   yesterday, and from Dr. Zimmerman and Dr. Nance from 

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             1   the National Marine Fisheries Service.  They certainly 

             2   documented the growth overfishing occurring in the 

             3   Gulf, not only off of Texas but also in Mexico.  Those 

             4   problems do occur with shrimp populations when they are 

             5   fished hard.  We are certainly in concurrence with the 

             6   National Marine Fisheries Service position that we at 

             7   are at maximum exploitation of our shrimp stocks, and I 

             8   believe Dr. Zimmerman used the term "we're walking the 

             9   line," in terms of risk on recruitment overfishing 

            10   which is why we are here today.  

            11                  We also concur with his statement that 

            12   the data used to evaluate this problem is robust in 

            13   that it can be utilized, is adequate to be utilized to 

            14   make management decisions.  

            15                  And, certainly, finally, we concur with 

            16   Dr. Gracia that unregulated growth overfishing can lead 

            17   to stock collapses as it happened on the white shrimp 

            18   and the pink shrimp in Mexico, and we will continue to 

            19   work with partners, with those folks, we learn from 

            20   them how to prevent those mistakes, and we want to keep 

            21   a partnership there.  

            22                  The regulations committee did offer a 

            23   package that was a simplification of the proposed 

            24   rules.  We based the simplification on the public 

            25   comments we've heard throughout this process and the 

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             1   guidance from the Fisheries Management Plan.  Those 

             2   recommendations from the regulations committee include 

             3   liberalizations.  Two right now would be to increase 

             4   the net size for the seabob fishery in the Gulf to a 

             5   34-foot net; extend the baitfish season by adding the 

             6   month of May; the adoption of the originally proposed 

             7   new nursery area and bait bays on the upper coast, with 

             8   the exception of a small decrease in the proposed 

             9   nursery in the East Bay area.  

            10                  We were -- he had some folks come 

            11   forward in a very positive manner with some specific 

            12   recommendations on their fishery, which was a small 

            13   boat fishery where they actually launched their boats 

            14   near Rollover Pass and fish in that area, and we think 

            15   it's viable to continue that small boat fishery, so we 

            16   move that nursery line.  

            17                  On the lower coasts, we do recommend the 

            18   adoption of the original proposals.  

            19                  Recommendation continues for time 

            20   closures, which are recommended by the FMP as a primary 

            21   management, 15 days off of the 4-month fall bay season, 

            22   and 30 days off of the 8 1/2 Gulf near-shore season.  

            23                  Bycatch reduction devices are 

            24   recommended for all trawls except for the commercial 

            25   and recreational bait shrimp trawls. 

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             1                  The federal rules for turtle excluder 

             2   devices in the Gulf trawls are also recommended as 

             3   state rules.  I would note it would also be our 

             4   intentions, on the bycatch reduction devices, to 

             5   purchase the first set of BRDs for the entire fleet, 

             6   using a portion of our buyback funds.  

             7                  When we get to our Gulf options, 

             8   certainly had a lot of diverse opinions there.  We had 

             9   recommendations from the industry itself that were more 

            10   restrictive than we had originally proposed.  We sought 

            11   a balance between the different stakeholders there and 

            12   offer the change of the current year-round nighttime 

            13   closure inside seven fathoms to be moved to five 

            14   nautical miles, and inside three nautical miles 

            15   coast-wide during the day, there would be a two-net 

            16   restriction year-round.  Simplification from the 

            17   original proposal, there would be one exception to 

            18   that, and it would be a closure, basically, of adding 

            19   the months of mid February to mid May to the current 

            20   closures out to five miles day and night to have a 

            21   December 1 to July 15 closure in that area, 

            22   essentially.  

            23                  And the final recommendation would be -- 

            24   the final would be the fee increases as originally 

            25   proposed.  If I could, I will mention that some brief 

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             1   staff responses to some comments that we heard during 

             2   the regulations committee yesterday, and I appreciate 

             3   you-all taking the time to have those eight folks 

             4   participate in that process, as well as the comments 

             5   that we heard during the open session.  

             6                  We did hear a concern about a potential 

             7   addition of a pulse fishery occurring in the south zone 

             8   when we open that area that could have negative impacts 

             9   on turtles.  We need to point out that there is already 

            10   a two-month closure on the entire coast that goes in 

            11   conjunction with federal waters, out to 200 miles from 

            12   mid May to mid July, and so that opening is a 

            13   historical phenomena back to the sixties.  We do have a 

            14   lot of boats that come and fish hard at that point, but 

            15   I would note that our rules do not change that except 

            16   to actually lessen that problem, because in the south 

            17   zone, within three nautical miles, they would be 

            18   restricted to two nets, which should reduce the impacts 

            19   on sea turtles and other species.  

            20                  There was comments about the rising 

            21   catch-per-unit effort in the Gulf in the late nineties, 

            22   as documenting that there was -- we had reversed our 

            23   problems.  I would note that that rise in the 

            24   catch-per-unit effort was a Gulf-wide estimate from 

            25   Dr. Nance.  It has gone up and down.  It has gone up in 

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             1   the nineties; it's gone down less than it's gone up, 

             2   which is the contention for why we have a slight rise; 

             3   however, off of Texas specifically, we do not see that 

             4   same amount of increase.  The downward trend has 

             5   stabilized temporarily, but we have not risen anywhere 

             6   near to the historical, and, basically, you still have 

             7   a 40-year downward trend in, both, the Gulf and off 

             8   Texas in that very critical measure of overfishing, the 

             9   catch-per-unit effort.  And, in addition, we have not 

            10   seen a rise in the bay catch-per-unit effort, which is 

            11   fishing on the same stocks.  

            12                  In regard to some issues brought up 

            13   about the differences in privileges associated with the 

            14   bay and bait licenses, the legislature, in 1959, did 

            15   create two separate licenses with different intents for 

            16   those licenses.  The bait license was given year-around 

            17   fishing privileges but with substantially less poundage 

            18   per day, to provide for a moderate amount of bait for a 

            19   recreational fishery on a year-round basis.  

            20                  The bay license was created with seasons 

            21   and higher poundage limits.  In fact, in the fall food 

            22   season, there is no limit per day.  That was in order 

            23   to take advantage of the large biomass that occurs, of 

            24   shrimp, when the brown shrimp peak in the spring and 

            25   the white shrimp peak in the fall, and they could fill 

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             1   their food markets at those times.  

             2                  Relating specifically to the issue of 

             3   the bycatch reduction devices and the differences 

             4   between a bay and bait license requirements, it is our 

             5   experience, from our working with the industry and 

             6   actually being on board the boats, that the bait 

             7   license holder, when he is using his shrimp as live 

             8   bait, the practices are that they will have a shorter 

             9   tow time; they will have different handling techniques 

            10   that will basically return a much larger percentage of 

            11   the bycatch to the bay in a live condition, so the 

            12   bycatch reduction device serves less purpose in the 

            13   bona fide bait license users' world.  And when we 

            14   also -- it obviously also has created, and has been for 

            15   a long time, a live fish bait market from our sport 

            16   anglers, expanded from pin fish and pig fish, to 

            17   croakers now, and that market is a social demand that 

            18   the BRD exemption would make difficult to -- or without 

            19   the BRD exemption would make difficult to fulfill, and 

            20   that is a market that we think is worthy of being 

            21   served.  

            22                  I would point out that the current 

            23   harvest of croakers for -- and used for bait, is less 

            24   than one percent of the current croaker bycatch that 

            25   we've documented throughout the fleet, on the bays, on 

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             1   an annual basis.  

             2                  Had some issues surrounding the 

             3   management practices between Texas and Mexico and how 

             4   Mexico should not be used -- experience there should 

             5   not be used as an example of how to manage in Texas.  

             6   We would dispute that in that we recognize that they do 

             7   not have a limited entry in their inshore area, and 

             8   Texas does; that is major difference, but we both have 

             9   overcapitalization in our bay fleets, and we both do 

            10   not have limited entry in our Gulf fleets, which 

            11   continues to capitalize.  Dr. Gracia, at his 

            12   presentation yesterday, actually documented that they 

            13   have more restrictive regulations on their shrimping, 

            14   in terms of closed seasons, than Texas does.  They, for 

            15   example, have a 3 1/2-month -- we have a 3 1/3-month 

            16   closure in the Gulf; they have a 6 1/2-month closure or 

            17   longer in their Gulf.  In the bays, they close their 

            18   bays to shrimping, basically, at the exact same time 

            19   that we open our bays to shrimping to protect -- their 

            20   goal was to protect the small shrimp.  They also 

            21   prohibit shrimping day and night out to five fathoms on 

            22   their entire coast.  Our depth closure off of Texas is 

            23   only for a nighttime closure, so there is fishing 

            24   during the day.  Certainly, the lack of law enforcement 

            25   that has been alleged in Mexico complicates fishery 

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             1   management down there.  We continue to have illegal 

             2   activity.  Both legal and illegal activity contributes 

             3   to fishing mortality.  But I would note that their 

             4   fishery -- we -- even with their closures and their 

             5   illegal fishing, led to collapses of their stocks.  We 

             6   think that our regulations, which include some 

             7   additional closures, but with a higher level of law 

             8   enforcement that I think we'll be able to demonstrate 

             9   off Texas, will prevent that problem from happening in 

            10   Texas.  

            11                  And, lastly, the issue of the 

            12   difference -- a changing of the market by having areas 

            13   that would no longer allow medium-sized shrimp to be 

            14   available to the market, I would tell you that 

            15   throughout this long process, as we meet with different 

            16   factions of the industry, we have heard that there is a 

            17   demand for every size shrimp that is available in the 

            18   life cycle, from the very smallest ones for the peeler 

            19   plants, the medium size for different markets, the 

            20   jumbo size, and that high rate of fishing pressure on 

            21   all those life cycles is certainly what has led to the 

            22   need for some of these regulations.  The allegation 

            23   that the closed times in lower coast would reduce the 

            24   availability of medium-sized shrimp, we think, should 

            25   be alleviated by the fact that when that season opens 

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             1   down there, in mid July, there will be shrimping 

             2   allowed; there will be two nets inside of three miles; 

             3   there will be shrimping with no gear restrictions 

             4   outside of three miles, and that that market for the 

             5   medium-sized shrimp that apparently exists down there 

             6   can be filled with these current regulations.  

             7                  The total closure of that south zone was 

             8   the biggest concern we heard from those marketing 

             9   needs, and we think that the regulations committee's 

            10   revised proposal addresses that.  

            11                  Actually, I did have one other item.  We 

            12   did hear in regards to turtle strandings that the 

            13   recreational fishery might actually account for twice 

            14   the amount of strandings associated with shrimp 

            15   trawlings.  There was not a specific reference 

            16   scientifically given for that, but we did look back at 

            17   our National Research Council publication, which is the 

            18   most definitive study on that issue, from 1990, called 

            19   "Declines of the Sea Turtle: Causes and Prevention."  

            20   It states that the recreational fishing was considered 

            21   of low importance as a mortality factor on juveniles 

            22   and adults, and that, in combination with all other 

            23   commericial fisheries, other than shrimping and marine 

            24   debris, that the mortality effects of all of those 

            25   combined amounted to one tenth of the mortality 

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             1   documented from shrimp trawling.  

             2                  So that would be our response to the 

             3   current comments that we heard, and we look forward to 

             4   hearing some additional ones, and I will offer, for the 

             5   record, the recommendation for the modified rule 

             6   changes.  

             7                  COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Mr. Osburn, 

             8   yesterday there was a commissioner from Matagorda 

             9   County, I believe, Mr. Delshotelt, that had some 

            10   comments about the seabob net, and I made a note, but I 

            11   wasn't specific about it.  It sounded like a fairly 

            12   logical point at the time.  Do you recall that 

            13   specifically? 

            14                  MR. OSBURN:  Yes, sir, we did have that, 

            15   and I was prepared to provide you our recommendation on 

            16   a possibility of amendments to the committee 

            17   regulations.  I was thinking we would wait until after 

            18   all the additional public, but I would certainly, at 

            19   your pleasure, discuss that now.  Or we could --

            20                  COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Whatever you 

            21   prefer. 

            22                  MR. OSBURN:  -- wait until the end of 

            23   the -- 

            24                  COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  I just want to 

            25   make sure -- 

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             1                  MR. OSBURN:  -- other public comments. 

             2                  COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  At the time, it 

             3   sounded like something that we ought to look into.

             4                  MR. OSBURN:  We have looked into that, 

             5   and we're ready to provide you some findings of fact on 

             6   that.

             7                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Mr. Osburn, I might 

             8   suggest we go ahead and do that now so that the public 

             9   comment could address that if they so choose. 

            10                  MR. OSBURN:  The recommendation -- and 

            11   we did have a lot of debate about this, and this is 

            12   with the seabob fishery, on changing the size of the 

            13   net.  Currently, it's 25 feet.  The proposal was 34 

            14   feet.  It has been recommended to go as high as 50 feet 

            15   for that one net, and I would point out that the 

            16   fishery does have quite a bit of restrictions on it in 

            17   terms of they are only allowed to use one net at a 

            18   time, and they also have -- and one of the concerns in 

            19   the seabob fishery has historically been the take of 

            20   white shrimp that escaped from the bay in the fall and 

            21   are overwintering in the Gulf, to not have an excess 

            22   take there.  

            23                  There is currently in law a 10 percent 

            24   allowance of white shrimp.  So with the enforcement of 

            25   that rule, we can accept and recommend to you as an 

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             1   amendment an increase of that net size to 42 feet, 

             2   which provides additional opportunity.  It would be a 

             3   liberalization, so it is within your authority to do 

             4   that, so it would be a change from the 25-foot net to a 

             5   42-foot net.  

             6                  We also had a suggestion about the 

             7   nursery area provided in Matagorda Bay system.  That 

             8   area is developing because of the diversion in the last 

             9   few years of the Colorado River into that area, and 

            10   certainly is in flux, and I think we would -- will be 

            11   one of those areas that we are going to see new oyster 

            12   reefs building in that area.  We anticipate some new 

            13   oyster reefs building in that area, but there is 

            14   currently a line established by the Department of 

            15   Health, a shellfish marker line, dividing open waters 

            16   and closed waters, and for law enforcement purposes and 

            17   for lack of confusion with the fishing public, we can 

            18   accept moving our proposed nursery area line back to 

            19   that existing shellfish marker line, which would be a 

            20   reduction of some nursery area, but for our total 

            21   nursery area proposal throughout the coast, it would be 

            22   less than three percent change.  So we can accept those 

            23   recommendations.  And you would have to add that to 

            24   your regulations committee motion at the proper time.

            25                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you.  

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             1                  Any questions or comments from the 

             2   Commission of Mr. Osburn prior to taking public 

             3   testimony?  

             4                  Being the case, we'll move to public 

             5   testimony, and there about 40 of you that have signed 

             6   up, so in order to be considerate of -- 41 of you that 

             7   have signed up.  In order to be considerate to one 

             8   another, I will ask to you please keep tabs of the time 

             9   limits on your comments, and I'll also call the 

            10   successive names to prepare yourself so that you can be 

            11   prepared to take the podium in an expeditious manner.  

            12                  I'd also like, for the sake of the 

            13   record, to note that there is -- to be entered in the 

            14   record that it's been presented to Ms. Estrada a number 

            15   of letters, one from the Texas Academy of Science, one 

            16   from Representative Tom Uher, one from the Port Isabel 

            17   Independent School District, and I believe that's all I 

            18   have in that regard, but they will be made part of the 

            19   record and I believe have been distributed to the 

            20   Commission. 

            21                  First, I'd like to call Phillip Golden, 

            22   who I understand is in Senator Lucio's office, and if 

            23   you'd come forward, please, and give us your comments.  

            24   And I'd like Charles Caillouet from Galveston to be 

            25   prepared to speak next.  

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             1                  Mr. Golden, the floor is yours. 

             2                  MR. GOLDEN:  Thank you, Chairman Bass, 

             3   members of the Committee.  

             4                  My name is Phillip Golden.  I am here on 

             5   behalf of Senator Eddie Lucio, Brownsville, Texas, who 

             6   could not be here today but asked me to share these 

             7   thoughts with you this morning. 

             8                  "Dear Chairman Bass and members of the 

             9   Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission:  It is with a 

            10   heavy heart and a feeling of great sadness that I 

            11   learned that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission 

            12   has decided to adopt regulations further encroaching on 

            13   the shrimping industry.  I am therefore writing this 

            14   letter to Chairman Bass and the other members of the 

            15   executive committee of the Texas Parks and Wildlife 

            16   Department out of a deep sense of respect and 

            17   appreciation for all that do you for the people of 

            18   Texas and in the hopes that you will take a moment to 

            19   consider whether the course which you are about to 

            20   pursue is in the best interest of the citizens of this 

            21   state. 

            22                  "At the June meeting of the Sunset 

            23   Advisory Commission, a motion requiring the Texas Parks 

            24   and Wildlife Department to do further study before 

            25   implementing any additional regulation of the shrimping 

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             1   industry passed unanimously.  In an effort to 

             2   facilitate compromise, avoid a confrontation, and out 

             3   of respect for the members of this committee and this 

             4   agency's director, I agreed to table that motion until 

             5   the Sunset Advisory Commission meets again in 

             6   September.  Although there have been public meetings to 

             7   try and resolve this issue, these meetings have failed 

             8   to reach any compromise or advance solution to this 

             9   problem.  

            10                  "The Texas Parks and Wildlife 

            11   Department's recommendations are based on the premise 

            12   that there is possible overharvesting of shrimp along 

            13   the Texas coast; however, a study by James Nance of the 

            14   National Marine Fisheries Service in Galveston 

            15   concluded in 1998 that for all three species of shrimp 

            16   which live along the Texas coast, the parent number for 

            17   each of the three major peneaid shrimp species was 

            18   above the overfishing index in 1998.

            19                  "While I understand that Texas Parks and 

            20   Wildlife has data to the contrary, these conflicting 

            21   reports are irrefutable evidence of the need for an 

            22   independent, comprehensive, scientific study of the 

            23   health of Texas shrimping industry prior to the 

            24   implementation of any further regulation.  

            25                  "If the conflicting scientific evidence 

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             1   is not convincing, one need only consider the 

             2   first-hand accounts of those individuals who are on the 

             3   front lines: The shrimpers.  Anecdotal evidence 

             4   suggests that the harvest this year is of more and 

             5   larger shrimp, hardly a sign of an industry on the 

             6   verge of collapse.  

             7                  "I understand that the members of this 

             8   committee are trying to do what they believe is right 

             9   for the State of Texas and I respect that.  I would ask 

            10   that you show that same respect to the six state 

            11   senators and a dozen more members of the house of 

            12   representatives whose constituents live along the coast 

            13   and depend on the shrimping industry for their 

            14   livelihood.  Forestalling the implementation of further 

            15   regulation of the shrimping industry would be 

            16   respectful of the wishes of the members of the Sunset 

            17   Advisory Commission, who supported my motion.  It would 

            18   also show some deference to the other members of the 

            19   legislature by allowing them to consider this issue and 

            20   act in the interest of all Texans by taking this matter 

            21   up during the 77th legislative session.  

            22                  "In conclusion, it has never been my 

            23   intent to be, in any manner, disrespectful or desultory 

            24   of the work of this committee or any of its members.  

            25   Quite the contrary.  I laud you for your efforts and 

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             1   want to commend you for all that you do for the people 

             2   of Texas.  I trust that your heart is in the right 

             3   place, and that your motives are praise-worthy, but I 

             4   am asking you to honor the wishes of the elected 

             5   officials of this state and undertake a comprehensive, 

             6   independent, scientific study of the shrimping 

             7   industry.  I have had the opportunity to work with you, 

             8   and I have enjoyed that opportunity, and I look forward 

             9   to working together again in the future.  However, I 

            10   would ask that you respect those people who confirmed 

            11   you in your present positions and forestall any further 

            12   regulation.  Trying to regulate the shrimping industry 

            13   without a comprehensive, scientific study is like 

            14   trying to fix the foundation of a house without first 

            15   looking at the slab.  You have to know first what the 

            16   problem is before you can solve it.  

            17                  "Sincerely, Eddie Lucio, Jr., State 

            18   Senatory, District 27."  

            19                  Finally, Chairman Bass, Senator Lucio 

            20   asked me to give you his card, including his cellphone 

            21   number, and to let you know that he is ready and 

            22   available to talk to you about this issue at any time.  

            23                  Thank you ladies and gentlemen.  

            24                  MR. SANSOM:  You may give it to 

            25   Ms. Estrada here on the right, please.

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             1                  MR. GOLDEN:  I received an instructions 

             2   to give it only to Mr. Bass.

             3                  MR. SANSOM:  You may give it to 

             4   Ms. Estrada here on the right, please, sir. 

             5                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  He can give me the card.  

             6   That's fine. 

             7                  MR. GOLDEN:  Thank you, sir. 

             8                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  All right.  Charles 

             9   Caillouet.  And Edwin Price, if you'd be prepared to 

            10   speak next. 

            11                  MR. CAILLOUET:  My name is Charles 

            12   Caillouet.  I am a private citizen of Galveston, Texas.  

            13   I do not represent any agency, organization, or 

            14   industry.  My comments are my own opinions.  

            15                  I'm a retired fishery scientist.  I 

            16   spent 34 years in universities and the Federal 

            17   Government working in fishery science the last 26 years 

            18   of that with the National Marine Fisheries Service in 

            19   Galveston, Texas.  

            20                  I have submitted written comments and 

            21   ask that they be placed in the record of this meeting.  

            22   They contain quite a few and important details not 

            23   covered by my oral comments.  

            24                  I'm concerned about recovery of the 

            25   shrimp stocks, other important fishery stocks, and sea 

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             1   turtle populations in coastal Texas.  These are 

             2   important parts of the state's natural wildlife 

             3   heritage.  These are common property resources and 

             4   should be managed to enhance and perpetuate all the 

             5   economic and social benefits they provide for the 

             6   common good.  

             7                  Evidence of growth overfishing of the 

             8   Gulf of Mexico brown shrimp and white shrimp stocks 

             9   have been developing for four decades.  Growth 

            10   overfishing occurs when fishing effort exceeds the 

            11   amount needed to produce maximum sustainable yield or 

            12   maximum yield per recruit.  Growth overfishing has 

            13   negative economic and social impacts, and it's not a 

            14   very efficient use of the resource.  

            15                  Recruitment overfishing occurs when 

            16   fishing effort continues to increase beyond levels that 

            17   produce growth overfishing until the stocks collapse.  

            18   The stock collapses when spawners are too few to 

            19   produce enough offspring to restore the stock.  

            20   Recruitment overfishing has negative ecological as well 

            21   as economic and social impacts.  The negative impacts 

            22   of recruitment overfishing are much more severe, and 

            23   they're either prolonged or permanent.  The exact 

            24   timing of recruitment overfishing is difficult, if not 

            25   impossible, to predict in advance, so management should 

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             1   be very conservative to prevent it.  

             2                  The status of brown shrimp and white 

             3   shrimp stocks could actually be worse than shown by the 

             4   available stock assessments.  These assessments contain 

             5   potentially serious flaws that are explained -- some of 

             6   which are explained in my written comments.  

             7                  I believe there is a need for a thorough 

             8   statistical examination of the shrimp data, the 

             9   estimation methods, and the stock assessment methods.  

            10   Nevertheless, I support new shrimping regulations aimed 

            11   at reducing the risk of recruitment overfishing.  

            12                  I also would recommend a no-shrimping 

            13   zone be established along the entire Texas coast as a 

            14   coastal safe haven in near-shore waters of the Gulf of 

            15   Mexico.  I suggest that a near-shore no-shrimping zone 

            16   be established only on an experimental basis for at 

            17   least three years, and it should extend the entire 

            18   length of the Texas coast and be year-around in 

            19   duration.  

            20                  If new shrimping regulations are 

            21   adopted, their impact should be assessed annually for, 

            22   at least, three years; the assessment should be 

            23   conducted cooperatively between Texas Parks and 

            24   Wildlife Department and National Marine Fisheries 

            25   Service, and cover the Texas coastal waters and 

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             1   adjacent federal waters.  Only after the impacts of 

             2   experimental closures are assessed should any permanent 

             3   closures be considered.  

             4                  Again, I thank the Commission for this 

             5   opportunity to comment.

             6                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you, sir.  Excuse 

             7   me, sir.  Commissioner Dinkins has a question for you 

             8   before you relinquish the podium.

             9                  VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Dr. Caillouet, 

            10   thank you for the very thoughtful and lengthy comments 

            11   that you have filed. 

            12                  It appears to me, from looking at the CV 

            13   that you attached to it, that you were 26 years with 

            14   NMFS; is that correct?

            15                  MR. CAILLOUET:  With the National Marine 

            16   Fisheries Service, yes.  

            17                  VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  And you studied 

            18   shrimp at least part of that time, did you? 

            19                  MR. CAILLOUET:  About the first half of 

            20   that, I worked on shrimp, and about the last half 

            21   worked on sea turtles. 

            22                  VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Thank you.  And do 

            23   you think that growth overfishing creates a biological 

            24   problem for the shrimp?  

            25                  MR. CAILLOUET:  It creates a biological 

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             1   problem in the sense that you're harvesting -- you're 

             2   using more fishing effort than is required to maximize 

             3   the benefit to the users, both in terms of total 

             4   production of shrimp, the weight of production, as well 

             5   as the value of that weight of production.  So by 

             6   fishing less, you can actually increase the amount of 

             7   shrimp produced and increase the average size, which 

             8   would bring a much greater monetary benefit to the 

             9   users as well as the -- 

            10                  VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  So you see that 

            11   primarily as an economic issue, not a biological issue?  

            12                  MR. CAILLOUET:  It's an economic issue 

            13   in large measure, but it's also a biological phenomenon 

            14   which creates these economic and social problems.

            15                  VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Yesterday we heard 

            16   from Dr.  Zimmerman and Dr. Nance at NMFS, and they 

            17   talked in terms of conservative estimates, and I 

            18   believe they were talking in the area of recruitment 

            19   overfishing. 

            20                  MR. CAILLOUET:  That's correct.  

            21   Unfortunately, both, the National Marine Fisheries 

            22   Service and the Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management 

            23   Council have totally ignored the growth overfishing 

            24   issue in terms of the written documentation about the 

            25   fisheries.  If you read most of the publications or 

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             1   look at the published record, you will see that they 

             2   define overfishing only in terms of recruitment 

             3   overfishing and don't really deal with issue of growth 

             4   overfishing.  

             5                  Now, I know their testimony yesterday 

             6   admitted that there is growth overfishing, but the 

             7   point at which growth overfishing moves to recruitment 

             8   overfishing can't be predicted, and so most managers 

             9   would recommend a very conservative approach to prevent 

            10   recruitment overfishing at all costs.  

            11                  VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Well, I appreciate 

            12   your clarifying that. 

            13                  I had asked them yesterday also about 

            14   their regulatory efforts in federal waters, and with 

            15   your experience in NMFS, I would appreciate hearing 

            16   whether it's your view that the state need that action 

            17   or not, given the fact that the National Marine 

            18   Fisheries Service works on shrimp issues in federal 

            19   waters. 

            20                  MR. CAILLOUET:  Well, it's an excellent 

            21   question.  I'm glad to have an opportunity to deal with 

            22   that.  

            23                  The shrimp don't recognize any of these 

            24   boundaries between the state and the federal 

            25   government, and fishery scientists usually look at the 

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             1   fishery as a whole stock, wherever it occurs.  And so 

             2   this partitioning between federal waters and state 

             3   waters complicates the problem and basically requires 

             4   that both the state and federal government work 

             5   together in managing the stock for the benefit of 

             6   everyone.

             7                  VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Thank you. 

             8                  Mr. Chairman, I had one other question.  

             9                  And that is, the proposals that we're 

            10   considering today -- and I'm talking now about the ones 

            11   that were referred from committee yesterday, the 

            12   modified proposals -- do you believe that those 

            13   proposals will help in reversing the trends that you 

            14   described in your prepared remarks? 

            15                  MR. CAILLOUET:  My primary concern has 

            16   to do with the white shrimp and particularly the 

            17   spawning white shrimp and, for the most part, closing a 

            18   zone in the southern part of the state is not going to 

            19   improve the situation with the white shrimp spawners 

            20   which occur, for the most part, in the northern part of 

            21   the state.  However, any reduction in the amount of 

            22   fishing effort, by whatever means, should help the 

            23   situation.  We can only wait and tell.  We can't 

            24   predict it in advance. 

            25                  VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Thank you. 

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             1                  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

             2                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Any questions?  

             3                  Edwin Price.  And Donna Shaver, I 

             4   believe it is, from Corpus Christi, if you'd be 

             5   prepared to speak next. 

             6                  Mr. Price.

             7                  MR. PRICE:  My name is Edwin Price.  I'm 

             8   from Lake Arthur, Louisiana.  I'm a commercial 

             9   shrimper; been a shrimper all my life.  I have fished 

            10   the Texas state waters since 1952.  I have an 80-foot 

            11   vessel, dragging 200 foot of webbing, so, therefore, I 

            12   catch out the white shrimp in the state of Texas.  

            13                  Back in the early nineties, we couldn't 

            14   even make a living in the Louisiana or Texas state 

            15   waters dragging 200 foot of web, and Louisiana came out 

            16   with a new law eliminating the webbing.  They 

            17   eliminated the webbing to 130 foot of top webbing.  

            18                  In the year 1999, the white shrimp made 

            19   a big comeback.  In 1999 and the year 2000, I done real 

            20   well in the Louisiana waters; couldn't make a living in 

            21   the state waters with 200 foot of webbing.  

            22                  I crossed over for the July opening.  

            23   July the 6th, I was off High Island, Texas, dragging 

            24   130 foot of webbing.  My first drag, an hour-and-a-half 

            25   drag, I had two boxes of 9/12s.  The second drag, I 

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             1   drug it much longer, had 80 pounds.  The third drag, I 

             2   did not catch a shrimp in my try net.  I drug it much 

             3   longer and I had 20 pounds and had to leave.  There was 

             4   well over 100 boats bigger than mine dragging double 

             5   the webbing I was dragging.  So, therefore, I had to go 

             6   back to Louisiana to finish out my trip.  And I do 

             7   believe if there could be a limited webbing in Texas, 

             8   as Louisiana got, I do believe it would bring the white 

             9   shrimp back.  We get more and more boats in.  Bayou 

            10   Labokrae is not selling out no more contracts due to so 

            11   many boats that's being built.  In the next three 

            12   years -- we think the fall of the fish stock now?  Wait 

            13   for the next two to three years and see the boats we're 

            14   going to have in there.  Something has got to be done 

            15   to bring the white shrimp back.  Thank you.

            16                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Donna Shaver.  And Les 

            17   Hodgson, if you'd be prepared to speak next.  

            18                  MS. SHAVER:  Thank you.  My name is 

            19   Dr. Donna Shaver.  I am the station leader of the U.S. 

            20   Geological Survey, Biological Resources Division, 

            21   Columbia Environmental Research Center, Padre Island 

            22   Field Station. I'm also the Texas coordinator of the 

            23   Sea Turtle Stranding and Salvage Network.  

            24                  I have worked with sea turtles in south 

            25   Texas for over 20 years, and I oversee a variety of sea 

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             1   turtle research and conservation efforts conducted 

             2   there.  I've delivered 60 scientific presentations and 

             3   authored or coauthored 74 reports and publications 

             4   dealing with sea turtles.  Dateline, Discovery News, 

             5   New York Times, Washington Post, Southern Living, and 

             6   numerous other media outlets have featured my work.  

             7                  I am a sea turtle research biologist and 

             8   hence will restrict my comments on the proposed 

             9   regulations to sea turtles and my research.  

            10                  Kemp's Ridley is the most critically 

            11   endangered sea turtle species in the world.  For over 

            12   two decades, an international multiagency attempt has 

            13   been underway to establish a secondary nesting colony 

            14   of Kemp's Ridley turtles in south Texas as a safeguard 

            15   for this species.  Eighty-eight percent of the Kemp's 

            16   Ridley nests that have been documented in the United 

            17   States have been found in Texas, but, unfortunately, 77 

            18   percent of the dead adults found washed ashore in the 

            19   U.S. since 1995 have been found on Texas shores.  All 

            20   documented Kemp's Ridley nesting in Texas has been in 

            21   south Texas, but, again, unfortunately, more dead adult 

            22   Kemp's Ridleys have been located in south Texas than at 

            23   any other location in the United States.  

            24                  Of the 102 dead adult Kemp's Ridleys 

            25   found washed ashore on south Texas Gulf beaches since 

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             1   1995, 99, or 97.1 percent, were located during times 

             2   when Gulf waters off the Texas coast were open to 

             3   shrimp trawling.  

             4                  Five sea turtle species have been 

             5   documented nesting on the Texas coast, but numbers 

             6   currently nesting there are low and hence vulnerable to 

             7   collapse.  

             8                  To ensure that nesting of these native 

             9   Texans continues to occur here in the future, it is 

            10   necessary that the adults survive once they come here 

            11   to mate and to nest.  Also, survival of juveniles and 

            12   subadults in the marine environment is important to 

            13   help sustain populations of all of these threatened and 

            14   endangered species.  

            15                  As a U.S. Geological Survey employee, I 

            16   am not allowed to advocate or to urge you to adopt 

            17   these regulations.  What I can say is that it is my 

            18   scientific opinion that the proposed regulations would 

            19   have some side benefits to sea turtles.  However, a 

            20   year-round closure of the southern zone, out to five 

            21   miles, would be more beneficial than would be a 

            22   seasonal closure towards helping to ensure the survival 

            23   of sea turtles in our waters and the future of sea 

            24   turtle nesting on the Texas coast.  Thank you very much 

            25   for this opportunity to speak to you.  

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             1                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you, Ms. Shaver. 

             2                  MS. SHAVER:  Thank you. 

             3                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Questions? 

             4                  COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Mr. Chairman, I 

             5   have a question.  

             6                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Yes, sir. 

             7                  COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  We've gotten a lot 

             8   of different information about the numbers of Kemp's 

             9   Ridley turtles that are nesting in the Mexico area 

            10   where, I guess, is, by and large, the most common area 

            11   for those turtles.  Could you tell me what your 

            12   understanding is of the number of turtles that have 

            13   nested there that past year? 

            14                  MS. SHAVER:  This past year, they've had 

            15   an excellent nesting season, where there have been a 

            16   little over 6,000 nests that have been found.  The low 

            17   point for the Kemp's Ridley population, as far as the 

            18   number of nests found, is thought to be around 1985.  

            19   Of these encouraging results this year, though, there's 

            20   still a long way to go.  There was a film that was shot 

            21   in 1947 that showed an estimated 40,000 Kemp's Ridley 

            22   females nesting at that primary nesting beach at Rancho 

            23   Nuevo on one day in 1947.  So although there's 

            24   encouraging news with this species, there's certainly a 

            25   long way to go. 

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             1                  COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  The number is now 

             2   up over 6,000 you believe? 

             3                  MS. SHAVER:  For the number of nests 

             4   this year.  That does not equate to the number of 

             5   nesting females. 

             6                  COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Right. 

             7                  MS. SHAVER:  That's the number of nests.  

             8                  COMMISSIONER HEATH:  What was the '85 

             9   number?

            10                  MS. SHAVER:  The number was down, I 

            11   believe about 725, somewhere in that range, for the 

            12   number of nests found.  

            13                  COMMISSIONER HEATH:  Seven-hundred and 

            14   twenty-five nests in '85? 

            15                  MS. SHAVER:  I believe somewhere between 

            16   700 and 800, I think, was the low point of the number 

            17   of nests found. 

            18                  COMMISSIONER HEATH:  So from '85 through 

            19   today, the growth from that was 6,000? 

            20                  MS. SHAVER:  Yes.  Now, this year was a 

            21   definite spike over the line of -- that shows the 

            22   number of nests found by year.  This year was a good 

            23   year there.  On the Texas coast, though, we were down.  

            24   We went from 16 down to 12.  We were decreased.  

            25                  COMMISSIONER RYAN:  Could you tell me 

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             1   how many nests you had on Padre Island this spring, and 

             2   then, also, could you tell me the time frame in which 

             3   they nest?

             4                  MS. SHAVER:  The number of nests found 

             5   on the Texas coast this year was 12, down from 16 we 

             6   found last year.  These nests were found during April, 

             7   May, and June of this year.  

             8                  COMMISSIONER RYAN:  And could you tell 

             9   me what time frames that the majority of the sea 

            10   turtles that you lost in the strandings, what time of 

            11   year that happened?

            12                  MS. SHAVER:  For adult strandings of 

            13   Kemp's Ridleys on the Texas coast, for this specific 

            14   closed season that is being evaluated now, the 7.5 

            15   months, that would encompass about 65 percent of the 

            16   times when stranded adult Ridleys have been found on 

            17   the Texas coast in the last 5 years.  But as I said in 

            18   my statement, though, for the traditional Texas 

            19   closure, there have only been 3 out of 102 adult Kemp's 

            20   Ridleys that have been found during that traditional 

            21   Texas closure.  Ninety-seven percent were found when 

            22   the Gulf waters were open.  

            23                  COMMISSIONER IDSAL:  Mr. Chairman, I've 

            24   got a question.  

            25                  Just to repeat, there were 102 stranded 

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             1   turtles since -- 

             2                  MS. SHAVER:  A hundred and two adult 

             3   Kemp's Ridleys found on south Texas Gulf beaches since 

             4   1995.  

             5                  COMMISSIONER IDSAL:  Is there a level -- 

             6   at the risk of sounding callous here.  I certainly 

             7   don't feel callous.  Is there a biologically acceptable 

             8   level of strandings where the Ridleys could come back 

             9   and suffer some strandings and mortality? 

            10                  MS. SHAVER:  There was an expert working 

            11   group that was amassed to try to answer that specific 

            12   question, and they weren't able to arrive at a figure 

            13   that could be -- they just couldn't arrive at one, to 

            14   answer that specific question.  But what I can say is 

            15   for -- in Texas, with our mortality of dead adults, 

            16   what we're finding, in the relation to the number of 

            17   nests, each year, we find more dead adults than we do 

            18   nests, and the population of nesting turtles in that 

            19   area cannot be sustained if you continue to kill more 

            20   adults than you do have nests.  There can't be 

            21   recruitment in the future.  So we -- the number of 

            22   adults that die in south Texas has to be reduced to 

            23   help ensure nesting in the future there.  

            24                  COMMISSIONER IDSAL:  Are those adults 

            25   that are being found hatching on Texas beaches or in 

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             1   Mexico?  

             2                  MS. SHAVER:  We do not know.  We've had 

             3   some that have had tags from Mexico.  Many times when 

             4   we find these turtles, they are missing their flippers, 

             5   missing scutes, so there's no way to link them to any 

             6   particular area.  They don't have the tags that would 

             7   have been placed on them. 

             8                  COMMISSIONER IDSAL:  So the answer is 

             9   we're not sure whether those are turtles that were 

            10   hatched on South Padre Island or in Mexico; we just 

            11   don't know?  

            12                  MS. SHAVER:  We don't know exactly where 

            13   they were hatched, for the most part, yes.  Only a few 

            14   do continue to have their tags on them.  

            15                  COMMISSIONER WATSON:  You know, I think 

            16   it might be helpful if you'd give us just a very brief 

            17   overview of the life cycle.  I mean, we've heard that, 

            18   what, 300,000 juveniles have been released this year?  

            19                  MS. SHAVER:  The life cycle of a sea 

            20   turtle? 

            21                  COMMISSIONER WATSON:  Yeah.  In other 

            22   words, of the 300,000 juveniles you released, how many 

            23   of them are going to live?  

            24                  MS. SHAVER:  It's thought that only 

            25   between 1 in 100 and 1 in 1,000 eggs will yield an 

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             1   individual that survives to adulthood.

             2                  COMMISSIONER WATSON:  And how long is 

             3   that?  

             4                  MS. SHAVER:  Only -- From a clutch of 

             5   eggs, only one, from a whole batch of eggs, 100 eggs, 

             6   may -- 

             7                  COMMISSIONER WATSON:  Well, what's an 

             8   adult? 

             9                  MS. SHAVER:  Adult is the -- An adult is 

            10   a breeding individual, after 10 to 15 years. 

            11                  COMMISSIONER WATSON:  How old? 

            12                  MS. SHAVER:  Oh.  For a Kemp's Ridley, 

            13   10 to 15 years for adulthood.  Other species it takes 

            14   longer.  Green turtles, it may take up to 50 years to 

            15   become an adult ready to reproduce.  So even though 

            16   many were released, the survivorship in the wild is 

            17   low.  There's a lot of mortality that occurs on those 

            18   smaller turtles, so it will not yield 300,000 adults.  

            19   Many of those 300,000 will never -- most of them.  Most 

            20   of those will never make it to adulthood.  Thank you.

            21                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you, Ms. Shaver. 

            22                  Les Hodgson.  And, Larry Hodgson, if 

            23   you'd be prepared to speak next.  

            24                  MR. HODGSON:  Mr. Chairman, 

            25   Commissioners, staff of Parks and Wildlife, my name is 

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             1   Les Hodgson.  I am in the commercial shrimp industry 

             2   out of Brownsville, Texas.  I'm also a volunteer on the 

             3   Kemp's Ridley Recovery Stranding Team -- or Recovery 

             4   Team, and I work on that project a number of months out 

             5   of the year.  Most of the work is done in Mexico.  

             6                  In 1999, I was given the highest award 

             7   by the United States Government Department of Commerce 

             8   for my work with Kemp's Ridley sea turtles. 

             9                  In 2000, I was given one of the Gulf 

            10   Guardian awards from the Gulf of Mexico Foundation for 

            11   my work with sea turtles, and I think I have some 

            12   knowledge on it, and I would like to share some of that 

            13   with you today, partly because of the concerns over 

            14   some of the statements that were made by Mr. Hal Osburn 

            15   here a few minutes ago.  And he's talking about the 

            16   strandings and the relationship of strandings with 

            17   shrimp boats.  

            18                  There was a 1990 National Academy of 

            19   Science study done that indicated that shrimp trawling 

            20   was the biggest human effect on the stranding of sea 

            21   turtles, and that is quoted quite often.  If you go on 

            22   and read the end of that report, it also said that if 

            23   turtle excluder devices were used on shrimp trawlers, 

            24   it could exclude up to 97 percent of those.  

            25                  The following year after that came out, 

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             1   turtle excluder devices were required on shrimp boats.  

             2   The U.S. Coast Guard certifies that we have a very high 

             3   compliance rate with using the turtle excluder devices.  

             4   So I'm afraid that pointing the finger at the shrimp 

             5   fleet as regularly as it's done is possibly a very big 

             6   mistake.  

             7                  The Stranding Network in the United 

             8   States indicates that last year, in 1999 -- and I'm 

             9   going to read from the U.S. Government Stranding 

            10   Network report -- that there were -- from January 31st 

            11   through 31 December 1999, 50 of the 385 turtles found 

            12   stranded offshore were linked to likely stranding 

            13   causes: Three hypothermic stunned; twenty-two 

            14   hatchlings and posthatchlings that drifted onshore with 

            15   currents; two wedged in jettie rocks; one with a rope 

            16   tied around its flippers and/or neck; four entangled in 

            17   non-fishing gear medium; two with tar on the body; five 

            18   in an emaciated condition; three entangled in fishing 

            19   line; three entangled in fishing net; one with a hook 

            20   in the flipper or other soft part; one with 

            21   monofilament or steel line protruding from the cloaca; 

            22   and three with monofilament line found in the digestive 

            23   tract.  

            24                  Of these 50 with likely stranding 

            25   causes, there's a good chance that none of these were 

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             1   related to shrimping --

             2                  MR. SANSOM:  Thank you, Mr. Hodgson.  If 

             3   you could conclude your statement.  Thank you very 

             4   much.  

             5                  MR. HODGSON:  Thank you.

             6                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you, sir.  

             7                  Larry Hodgson.  And, Mina Williams, if 

             8   you'd be prepared to speak next. 

             9                  MR. HODGSON:  Commissioners, Larry 

            10   Hodgson, Marco Sales.  I'm going to very briefly 

            11   conclude what my brother needed to tell you, and that 

            12   is that the strandings this year offshore had a total 

            13   of 40 turtles stranded during the closed Texas shrimp 

            14   season, and after the season opened and the world of 

            15   boats descended on our coast.  In the next 7 weeks, we 

            16   had only 33 strandings.  So the correlations do not 

            17   exist, and we'll give that information later.  I'm 

            18   going to rush very quickly because three minutes is a 

            19   horrible amount of time to try to defend your industry.  

            20   I'm going to tell you that we've been told by the 

            21   scientist yesterday that there is no recruitment over 

            22   fishing.  We all agree on that.  We were told by 

            23   Mr. Osburn that Parks and Wildlife sees no imminent 

            24   collapse of the shrimp industry, and based on those 

            25   facts, I'm going to tell you that you have an awesome 

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             1   responsibility today.  You have an awesome 

             2   responsibility to decide, in this rush to judgment, 

             3   what happens to the lives of a lot of people.  I'm 

             4   telling you that this is not necessary, that with no 

             5   imminent collapse and with no recruitment problem, we 

             6   can take our time to do this right.  

             7                  You're hearing a lot of conflicting 

             8   evidence, much of it by scientists who disagree with 

             9   each other, not on the statistics, but the degree on 

            10   the interpretation of those.  And I'm telling you that 

            11   we believe -- we're not opposed to some regulation.  

            12   I'm telling you that regulation is necessary, but it's 

            13   got to be done responsibly.  

            14                  I'm going to tell you that unless you're 

            15   ready to accept as the gospel truth 100 percent of 

            16   Parks and Wildlife's staff's interpretation today, that 

            17   you have a responsibility to delay this, allow us to 

            18   sit at the table with Parks and Wildlife staff, which 

            19   we have not been allowed.  

            20                  I talked about process yesterday.  Give 

            21   us the two years that our scientists are telling us it 

            22   would take to properly analyze the situation.  

            23                  The turtles are coming back, both on 

            24   Texas beaches and Mexican beaches.  The shrimp 

            25   situation is improving.  They're telling you that our 

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             1   stocks are improving.  They're telling you that we 

             2   don't have an impending collapse.  They're telling you 

             3   that our catch-per-unit effort is actually increasing.  

             4   And I'm telling you that I can't even believe that, 

             5   because in the last 10 years, we've been forced to 

             6   accept a turtle excluder device and a fish bycatch 

             7   reduction device that is said to eliminate somewhere 

             8   between 25 and 30 percent of our catch.  If our 

             9   catch-per-unit effort is going up, in spite of having 

            10   two holes put in our nets, I would tell you the 

            11   situation looks pretty good, and that the rush to 

            12   judgment, should not, cannot, must not take place.

            13                  MR. SANSOM:  Thank you, Mr. Hodgson. 

            14                  MR. HODGSON:  Thank you.  

            15                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Mina Williams.  And, 

            16   Carole Allen, if you'd be prepared to speak next.  

            17                  MS. WILLIAMS:  Thank you, Commissioner 

            18   Bass and other commissioners.  

            19                  What I am struck by this morning -- You 

            20   see I am here without paper, because I do better when I 

            21   just speak from the heart.  

            22                  I'm not going to overspeak, Andy, but 

            23   what I am going to say is that I certainly do not envy 

            24   you, the responsibility that you have.  I respect you, 

            25   though.  And what I have learned in the last two days 

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             1   and working with several of you as one the members of 

             2   the shrimp working group, is that this is a very 

             3   complex, very vexatious problem.  

             4                  I stand here before you as an ardent 

             5   advocate of sea turtle/endangered species preservation.  

             6   I can't backtrack on that because I am concerned with 

             7   posterities having an opportunity to do what I have had 

             8   an opportunity to do as a volunteer at the Seashore 

             9   since I retired after teaching English for 40 years.  

            10   And if that won't make you crazy, nothing will.  But I 

            11   will tell you that I have a very great bias towards 

            12   seeing that these creatures are preserved on Texas 

            13   waters.  All at the same time, I celebrate with the 

            14   Mexican people for their exponential recovery, and I 

            15   pray to God that it continues.  

            16                  But what I ask you to do is to account 

            17   for, pay attention to -- I know -- I see what you're up 

            18   against.  But what I would ask you to do is to weigh, 

            19   to the best of your ability, the arguments, and then, 

            20   of course, with the grace of God, make the best 

            21   judgment you can, realizing that there isn't going to 

            22   be a perfect answer, but that only 1.5 percent of the 

            23   dollar catch comes from the southern zone.  And having 

            24   said that, I realize that works against some people 

            25   economically; it can also work for them, as Dr. 

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             1   Caillouet has said and Dr. Shaver has said, and so I 

             2   leave this conundrum in your hands with full assurance 

             3   that you will make a wise decision.  Thank you.

             4                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you, Ms. Williams. 

             5                  Carole Allen.  And, Jose Antonio 

             6   Ramirez, if you'd be prepared to speak after Ms. Allen.  

             7                  MS. ALLEN:  Good morning.  I'm Carole 

             8   Allen of Houston.  Eighteen years ago, I formed an 

             9   organization called HEART, with kids and parents and 

            10   teachers: Help Endangered Animals Ridley Turtles, and 

            11   it's all about the Kemp's Ridley.  And I'm not going to 

            12   be offended when you look at your little book because 

            13   when I'm doing my three minutes here, I'm going to 

            14   talk, and please look at this little book that have I 

            15   brought you.  

            16                  I support the mission statement that you 

            17   have.  The reason that I have always been involved in 

            18   this is our children, what is -- the ones that are 

            19   going to take over when we're done.  Your mission 

            20   statement -- And I know you take it very seriously 

            21   because I heard what Chairman Bass said this morning -- 

            22   to manage and conserve the natural and cultural 

            23   resources of Texas for the use and enjoyment of present 

            24   and future generations.  That's the children of the 

            25   shrimpers, too.  What are they going to have out there?  

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             1   This is for the preservation of endangered species, and 

             2   if you'll look at the cover, you'll see all this 

             3   started in 1983, and it was with the Post, so you know 

             4   the Post has been gone for a long time.  And if you 

             5   look through it, those kids have grown up, and now we 

             6   have more children concerned with the Kemp's Ridley sea 

             7   turtles.  

             8                  I have been waiting for 18 years for the 

             9   state of Texas to do what they said they were going to 

            10   do in April.  I was here in April and heard the 

            11   proposal, and I was thrilled because I've been waiting 

            12   all this time for this to happen, and it's a good 

            13   thing.  I'm very excited about it.  As the summer went 

            14   on, I was disappointed that I was hearing things.  I 

            15   wasn't invited to the two meetings, but I was hearing 

            16   that things were changing and that the data was being 

            17   questioned.  I trust the data, okay?  I know it can be 

            18   interpreted different ways.  But I think we have some 

            19   outstanding people here.  I trust it.  And I'm not 

            20   going to touch on the numbers; we have so many experts 

            21   here and others who are not but are tossing out 

            22   numbers, but I do want to say I am very concerned about 

            23   closing the southern zone for a while, for 7 1/2 

            24   months, then when all the shrimpers come over from the 

            25   other states, then opening it in July, when everybody 

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             1   comes over here, and then we open the southern zone.  

             2                  I'd like to see the five-mile closure.  

             3   Dr. Caillouet talked about the benefit of the shrimp 

             4   and the turtles.  But I know you are above political 

             5   pressure.  There's got to be some around, and you're 

             6   above it.  You can make decisions based on that mission 

             7   that you have, and I hope you'll do that today, and 

             8   thank you very much.  

             9                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you, Ms. Allen. 

            10                  Mr. Ramirez.  And, Pat Suter, if you'd 

            11   be prepared to speak next. 

            12                  MR. RAMIREZ:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  

            13   Everybody, good morning.  I would just like to add to 

            14   my statement yesterday.  

            15                  First of all, being very glad that 

            16   Dr. Gracia is present, because if we had listened to 

            17   Dr. Gracia's recommendations 20 years ago, Mexico 

            18   wouldn't be in the trouble it is today.  But it is very 

            19   important to note that the zero to five fathom closure 

            20   was a desperate measure that we as industry advocated 

            21   the government to impose back in 1993 to try to return 

            22   the shrimp stocks in the Campeche Bay area to a healthy 

            23   state.  But you have to take into consideration also 

            24   that the late 1970s, and specifically in 1975, oil 

            25   drilling operations started in the area of the Bay of 

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             1   Campeche, which, as you are all very well aware, it's a 

             2   very big drilling operation right now, where more than 

             3   150 rigs work in there, with plans for expansion to 100 

             4   more.  So pollution in that area is very much important 

             5   in what's happening to the pink and white shrimp 

             6   stocks.  

             7                  The juvenile overfishing continues, of 

             8   course, because of the poor law enforcement and the use 

             9   of different types of gears in the bays which are not 

            10   used in Texas.  What I'm trying to say is that the 

            11   Texas situation has no relation to what has happened in 

            12   Mexico in the last 20 years.  It is impossible to know 

            13   whether the zero to five fathom closure works because 

            14   there are too many other things happening, with 

            15   pollution from the oil rigs, the poaching from the 

            16   illegal fishermen.  We know it's a logical step to 

            17   take, but it's impossible to measure whether that's 

            18   helping or not.  

            19                  And just in closing, what I've seen 

            20   happening in Texas with the shrimp production in the 

            21   last three to fours years, actually, it's amazing.  I 

            22   wish my boats had been able to fish on the American 

            23   side of the Gulf of Mexico for the last few years.  And 

            24   I say this with a certain degree of cynicism, because I 

            25   remember back 10, 15 years ago when it was the Texas 

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             1   shrimpers who were trying to cross down to Mexico to 

             2   catch our shrimp.  Thank you.

             3                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you, Mr. Ramirez. 

             4                  Pat Suter.  And, Wesley Blevens, if 

             5   you'd be prepared to speak after Ms. Suter. 

             6                  MS. SUTER:  Thank you for the 

             7   opportunity to speak.  I'm Pat Suter.  I'm president of 

             8   the Coastal Bend Environmental Coalition, headquartered 

             9   in Corpus Christi, and chairman of the Coastal Bend 

            10   Sierra Club in the same city.  

            11                  I would like to say that we are in 

            12   support of the proposition that is put before you today 

            13   on behalf of the staff.  We believe that the process of 

            14   public hearings and public comment has been excellent 

            15   and that you have heard all sides.  As someone said a 

            16   few minutes ago, we don't envy you to try and find the 

            17   balance between the needs of the industry, which is 

            18   upset about rules and regulations as all of us are, and 

            19   the needs to preserve our endangered species for future 

            20   generations.  

            21                  We are in support of year-round closure, 

            22   particularly in the southern zone where the Ridley 

            23   turtles are, but we're also in support of the 

            24   shrimpers.  And I would like to tell you that we have 

            25   worked with the shrimping industry, from the 

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             1   environmental community, on several projects.  We 

             2   worked in the seventies on chemical pollution in the 

             3   nursery areas in Nueces Bay.  We worked on dredging in 

             4   the eighties.  In the nineties, we worked on water 

             5   releases.  And in all cases, we were in collaboration 

             6   with the shrimping industries, with their organized 

             7   groups, with independent shrimpers.  And I believe and 

             8   our organizations believe that we can work together 

             9   with them in the 21st century beginning right now.  

            10                  There's no reason why we have to have 

            11   this total confrontation.  Reasonable people can come 

            12   to a compromise, and if nobody is 100 percent 

            13   satisfied, then you probably have a pretty good 

            14   compromise.  Thank you very much.  

            15                  I have a petition here signed in the 

            16   last three weeks by a few people.  I will leave it with 

            17   the secretary over there.  Thank you.

            18                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you.  If you'd 

            19   give it to Ms. Estrada, we would appreciate it, and it 

            20   will be entered in the record.  

            21                  Wesley Blevens.  And, John Shinault, if 

            22   you'd be prepared to speak next.  

            23                  MR. BLEVENS:  My name is Wesley Blevens 

            24   and I'd like to thank y'all for letting me speak here 

            25   today.  

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             1                  As y'all know, we are against all of the 

             2   regulations as they are right now.  We would like to 

             3   work with Parks and Wildlife and make some changes.  

             4   There are changes that do need to be made, but in San 

             5   Antonio Bay, we do not need no bay closures, and I 

             6   explained to Robin and them earlier this morning that 

             7   there is a big -- lot of obstructions in where this 

             8   line is, and it's going to cause a problem.  Besides, 

             9   it's devastating to the small boat; it's going to make 

            10   them go down to the lake and compete with the bigger 

            11   boats and cause more pressure down the bay, and there's 

            12   no reason for this line that we're talking about.  I've 

            13   already explained it to them and they know it.  And 

            14   even their own biologist claimed that there's no reason 

            15   for this line.  

            16                  Norman Boyd at Port O'Connor, he says 

            17   the same thing.  And as you know, Bill West said 

            18   yesterday that they were looking at getting the water 

            19   flow back into the Bays like it belongs.  We talked to 

            20   him and the Corps of Engineers.  They're looking into 

            21   it right now.  So that will help us a whole lot.  

            22                  As far as the fish excluded devices, 

            23   we've already got -- in our area down there, we've 

            24   already got some of the best fish excluder devices that 

            25   there are.  As y'all know, we shoot cabbage heads 

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             1   through ours, Kemp turtle shooters as well.  So we 

             2   narrow the grids down, like, to three inches, two and a 

             3   half inches, and as long as anybody moves the grid 

             4   down, from four inches to three inches, even Parks -- 

             5   anybody that does any studies on it will tell you 

             6   that's the best fish excluder device going, whenever 

             7   the grid comes down.  So if you got a grid in your net 

             8   that's three inches or smaller, you should not have to 

             9   have a fish excluder behind that because you already 

            10   got the best fish excluder going.  And we feel that if 

            11   anybody has to pull a fish excluder, everybody should 

            12   have to pull a fish excluder, in our area down there 

            13   especially.  

            14                  I can't speak for all of the Gulf people 

            15   because I don't know what the conditions are out there, 

            16   but in the bay, all boats should have to have a fish 

            17   excluder, because one side of the industry should not 

            18   have to save one part for everybody else to go out and 

            19   target.  Whenever they go target, the species that 

            20   we're trying to save, they are going for that species 

            21   particularly.  And when we're shrimping, we are not 

            22   targeted in that species; we do not catch that much of 

            23   it.  What they are after is the croakers, and we don't 

            24   look for croakers.  And whenever they go specifically 

            25   to catch croakers, they catch more flounder, they catch 

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             1   more everything else because they drag closer to the 

             2   beach, on the edge of the flats, where, most of the 

             3   time, the shrimping is not going on in that area.  

             4                  And -- I see I'm about to run out of 

             5   time here, and I appreciate y'all letting me speak.  

             6   I'm not a really good speaker, but I was trying -- and 

             7   they already moved the line a little bit in Galveston, 

             8   in East Bay, and we've got 30 areas, major areas, of 

             9   closed waters where we work in our area right now.  So 

            10   we don't need no more closed waters.  Thank you.  

            11                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you, Mr. Blevens.  

            12   We appreciate your comments and efforts.  

            13                  John Shinault.  And, Teri Shore, if 

            14   you'd be prepared to speak next. 

            15                  MR. SHINAULT:  Mr. Chairman, members of 

            16   the Board, I'm John Shinault, commercial fisherman.  

            17   Statistics say fear of dying is second to speaking in 

            18   public, and I believe this to be true.  But after 

            19   hearing all of the false accusations yesterday, I have 

            20   to speak up.  

            21                  Our fishing grounds have been called 

            22   killing fields for turtles.  Not true.  All commercial 

            23   fishermen pull turtle excluder devices.  

            24                  One person said yesterday, "We're all 

            25   getting fat off of our $11 a pound.  Not true, as you 

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             1   can see standing before you.  I make an average $1.25 

             2   per pound before expenses.  

             3                  Texas Parks and Wildlife has a licensed 

             4   buy-back program that has met its quota and then some.  

             5   I ask that you give this program a chance to work, and 

             6   I oppose any new proposals.  Thank you. 

             7                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you, Mr. Shinault. 

             8                  Teri Shore.  And if Terry Ricks would be 

             9   prepared to speak next. 

            10                  MS. SHORE:  Good morning.  I'm Teri 

            11   Shore.  I'm with the Sea Turtle Restoration Project.  

            12   We're an international conservation and advocacy group 

            13   based in northern California.  Hello to the 

            14   commissioners, Chairman Bass, Director Sansom.  Thank 

            15   you once again for your attention to the shrimp 

            16   regulations and the impacts on the shrimp fishery and 

            17   the sea turtles.  I appreciate your time and also the 

            18   bold vision of Texas Parks and Wildlife in being 

            19   willing to take some important steps toward the 

            20   protection of our coastal ecosystems.  

            21                  What I would like to do today is talk 

            22   about the support that you have for these measures and 

            23   to urge you to adopt the original measures which 

            24   include a five-mile nautical mile closure along the 

            25   south Texas coast, a permanent year-round closure, and 

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             1   I hope you will weigh heavily the science that was 

             2   presented to you yesterday and to the testimony that is 

             3   being given to you today by sea turtle biologists and 

             4   also by fisheries biologists.  

             5                  In particular today, we have a very 

             6   special guest, a sea turtle expert formerly from Texas 

             7   A & M University, David Owens, who will also be talking 

             8   today.  

             9                  The support for these measures is strong 

            10   and building.  Everyone across the country is watching 

            11   what the state of Texas is going to do, and I 

            12   appreciate the process because it's really brought up 

            13   the awareness of the sea turtles and shrimp issue 

            14   around the United States.  

            15                  In particular, we have a scientist's 

            16   letter that has been circulated, which I will leave a 

            17   copy of, which has an endorsement of more than 250 

            18   scientists around the world who support a closure to 

            19   protect the Kemp's Ridley sea turtle.  Among those are 

            20   Sylvia Earl from National Geographic, David Owens, and 

            21   also Rene Marquez, who is the head sea turtle expert at 

            22   Rancho Nuevo, Mexico.  

            23                  We also had support from the top 

            24   newspapers around Texas.  You've probably seen the 

            25   editorials in the Houston Chronicle, the Austin 

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             1   American Statesman, the Galveston Daily News, and other 

             2   papers, in the favor of the proposed southern closure 

             3   and the other measures.  So the support is there.  

             4   People are really there with you.  

             5                  And the Endangered Species Coalition, 

             6   based out of D.C., has just sent us a letter 

             7   encouraging you to adopt these measures, and this is an 

             8   organization made up of 425 groups around the United 

             9   States.  And all these groups are going to continue 

            10   their efforts.  

            11                  Whatever happens today, we want to work 

            12   with you in the future to improve the protection of the 

            13   sea turtles and the coastal ecosystem.  So I am sure we 

            14   will all be hearing from each other in the future.  

            15                  And I wanted to end on a positive note.  

            16   Everyone wanted me to be extremely positive today, and 

            17   I wanted to bring each of you a piece of artwork from 

            18   some of the children around the United States who have 

            19   submitted art to our art contest in favor of protecting 

            20   the Kemp's Ridley sea turtle in a marine reserve, and I 

            21   have one for each of you.  Thank you very much.  

            22                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you, Ms. Shore. 

            23                  Terry Ricks -- 

            24                  COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Mr. Chairman? 

            25                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  I'm sorry.  Yes, sir? 

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             1                  COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  I'd like to make a 

             2   comment to Ms. Shore while she's still in front of the 

             3   Commission.

             4                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Please.  

             5                  COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  I was -- Ms. 

             6   Shore, I wanted to tell you that I was very 

             7   disappointed yesterday to read the press release that 

             8   you handed out and to see the advertisement, the 

             9   full-page advertisement, that was run in the New York 

            10   Times.  The language of the press release, especially, 

            11   was inflammatory and highly political, and I just feel 

            12   that it's way out of the line and certainly not in the 

            13   mood and sense that we all ought to be trying to 

            14   approach goals here that we all want to see 

            15   accomplished, and this is certainly not the way to do 

            16   it.  And I feel compelled to comment on the tone and 

            17   content of those two items. 

            18                  MS. SHORE:  Well, I'm sorry that you 

            19   feel that way, Commissioner.  Unfortunately, as we all 

            20   know, the process has become quite politicized, and we 

            21   took steps that we felt would be appropriate at the 

            22   time, and I'm sorry you feel that way.

            23                  VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Mr. Chairman?  

            24                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Yes, ma'am. 

            25                  VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  I'd just like to 

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             1   say that I have not sensed, from the standpoint of 

             2   being a member of the Commission, that it is a 

             3   politicized issue.  It certainly appeared that way in 

             4   the documents that Commissioner Angelo relates to, but 

             5   I have not had any approaches that I would have 

             6   characterized as political approaches.  I have gotten 

             7   an enormous number of emails; I have gotten an enormous 

             8   number of letters, and I have looked at all of those, 

             9   but I have not regarded those as political.  And I have 

            10   not gotten contacts from people in a political context, 

            11   and so I have to take issue with your response to 

            12   Commissioner Angelo.  

            13                  MS. SHORE:  Well, we certainly have 

            14   gotten emails and letters from people all over the 

            15   county, and part of our approach has been, over the 

            16   last two years, is to send letters to Governor Bush and 

            17   ask him to intervene on behalf of the endangered sea 

            18   turtles.  So that's basically what the ad said, was we 

            19   asked Governor Bush to please support a closure on 

            20   marine reserve.  So he is the governor of this state, 

            21   so that seemed an appropriate step to take. 

            22                  COMMISSIONER HENRY:  Mr. Chairman, I 

            23   think it's important for all of us to come to grips 

            24   with the depths of our responsibilities.  On several 

            25   occasions, several speakers have mentioned, not only 

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             1   our direction, our interference from the governor, our 

             2   other political matters and all, and I would hope that 

             3   those that appear before us would take into 

             4   consideration the oath that we took with regard to 

             5   serving the people of this state, and it says nothing 

             6   about, nor has there been an indication of, any 

             7   political concerns or direction from the governor, the 

             8   senators, the representatives, or any other unit.  

             9                  We are asked to act, you know, in the 

            10   interest of the people of this state, in line with the 

            11   mission of the department, and I think my colleagues 

            12   and I are totally dedicated to that end.  So when we 

            13   see these kinds of things, naturally it concerns us 

            14   because it suggests to the general public that we are 

            15   amiss in our duties if we are considering these things 

            16   other than comments from the general public, and I'd 

            17   like to assure you and other members that such is the 

            18   case, that although we are happy to receive comments, 

            19   emails, letters, et cetera, from the general public, 

            20   that we are bound to consider all of the interests of 

            21   the citizens of this state and act with regard to what 

            22   we believe is in the best interest of the citizenry and 

            23   the state, without regard to political or other 

            24   considerations.  

            25                  So I would hope that you would carry 

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             1   that back to those organizations and entities that 

             2   would believe or suggest otherwise.  And I thank you 

             3   for appearing. 

             4                  MS. SHORE:  Thank you very much.  

             5                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Further comments at this 

             6   time?  Thank you.  

             7                  Terry Ricks, I believe, is up next.  

             8   And, James Davenport, if you'd be prepared to speak 

             9   after Mr. Ricks. 

            10                  MR. RICKS:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman, 

            11   commissioners.  My name is Terry Ricks.  I represent 

            12   Texas Seafood Producers Association out of Rockport and 

            13   Arkansas Pass.  Mainly an inshore fishery and bay 

            14   fishermen is what we represent, and at this present 

            15   time, we would like y'all to consider holding back on 

            16   these proposals and stuff until a further study can be 

            17   done with a little more, I guess we'd call it, 

            18   information or -- because we got so much controversial 

            19   talk going on between one side and the other side as to 

            20   whether we do have a biological problem or whether it's 

            21   a political problem or what it is.  And everything I've 

            22   seen yesterday shows that we're really -- you know, 

            23   there may be a red flag that's been sent up, through 

            24   Parks and Wildlife, may have tagged it or red flagged 

            25   there.  It could happen, but it hasn't happened yet, 

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             1   and so the proposals that are out right now, you're 

             2   going to affect the livelihood of a lot of people, and 

             3   you're going to redirect a lot of effort into other 

             4   portions of the bay that doesn't need to be.  And until 

             5   we see that we actually need this type of rules and 

             6   regulations, through a lot lengthier process, I 

             7   believe, with a lot more input from a lot of different 

             8   individuals than what we have had.  

             9                  That's all we'd like you to do is just 

            10   basically put a hold onto it until we can all get it 

            11   together and all come to a -- you know, it's like the 

            12   lady said:  We're not going to get 100 percent 

            13   agreement or consensus, but we should have a lot better 

            14   than what we have right now.  And I thank y'all for 

            15   listening to our opinion.  

            16                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you, Mr. Ricks. 

            17                  James Davenport. 

            18                  MR. DAVENPORT:  Mr. Chairman, ladies and 

            19   gentlemen of the Commission, I had it all wrote down 

            20   here, but I think this man that was just up here a 

            21   while ago must have been in my hotel room last night 

            22   because he covered what I wrote down so -- besides 

            23   that, I think he presented it better than I do.  I'm 

            24   like other people; I'm not a very good speaker.  

            25                  I was a stakeholder in the meetings at 

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             1   Lake Jackson.  I do appreciate being invited.  Look 

             2   forward to working with Parks and Wildlife again, and I 

             3   do believe that we can work together.  

             4                  So now that I got all this out, I would 

             5   like to tell you it's like when I got cut off here 

             6   yesterday.  I would like -- It's easy to point the 

             7   finger at somebody; that's where I got cut off.  

             8                  Everybody does wrong, but when -- we're 

             9   tired of every time something goes wrong in our bays, 

            10   that it seems like it always comes back we're doing 

            11   this.  "You're killing this, you're doing this, you're 

            12   killing -- 

            13                  It's not all us, ladies and gentlemen, 

            14   Mr. Chairman.  There's several other things.  We got 

            15   pollution; we got fresh -- water is a big issue.  Water 

            16   is a big issue, and we respect the water.  It's going 

            17   to be -- It's going to get worse, because people are 

            18   going to need water; we understand that, but so do our 

            19   sanctuaries.  But we're working on this.  We're a 

            20   working industry.  Y'all are making us work better.  I 

            21   thank y'all for that.  We're striving.  We're striving 

            22   to do better.  We really are.  You can come down and 

            23   look at us.  I mean, we're getting up to date.  Used 

            24   to, we used to be laid back; we're not laid back 

            25   anymore.  We take things serious, because it is our 

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             1   industry.  We love it, we're proud of it.  

             2                  There's -- You got to admit we're 

             3   restricted bay shrimper.  We got six months out of the 

             4   year to fish.  In the spring season, we get to fish two 

             5   months, restricted with one 32-foot net.  We got to 

             6   make a living for our families.  We got children.  We 

             7   like -- I'm sending my children to college.  I got one 

             8   more at home, senior this year; she's going to college 

             9   at Mary Baylor.  It's not cheap.  I know y'all know 

            10   that.  But you know that in the fall season, we're 

            11   restricted with one big net, you know, for four months, 

            12   but we still -- we still manage to do it, with all 

            13   these restrictions.  

            14                  We got turtle excluders.  Now you want 

            15   to get us a bycatch excluder, you know?  I mean, we'll 

            16   buy it.  We got the turtle excluder.  They cost us 

            17   money.  

            18                  All this stuff on graphs, it looks like 

            19   it works good.  That's good.  You want to get out in 

            20   real reality, get it in real life, get out in the bays 

            21   where we drag?  We got all kinds of trouble.  We got  

            22   oyster grass, got turtle grass, we got cannonballs, we 

            23   got crab traps, we got logs.  All this plugs up, we 

            24   lose.  We lose our whole catch.  And you lose one -- in 

            25   the spring season, you got eight hours to work; you're 

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             1   lucky if you get five or six by the time you get your 

             2   grass out, your crab traps, or anything else.  So, you 

             3   see, we are restricted.  We don't need any more 

             4   restriction.  

             5                  And I would like to touch once more on 

             6   increasing our license for 600,000 --

             7                  MR. SANSOM:  Thank you, Mr. Davenport.  

             8   If you could go ahead and make a concluding statement.

             9                  MR. DAVENPORT:  Six-hundred thousand 

            10   dollars annually?  As I told you yesterday, the 

            11   government has already spent over $360 million for the 

            12   buy-back program.  To me, ladies and gentlemen of the 

            13   Commission, that is a lot of money.  That beats 

            14   $600,000 annually.  Thank you.

            15                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Excuse me, sir.  Did you 

            16   say 360 million?

            17                  MR. DAVENPORT:  Pardon? 

            18                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Did you say that we had 

            19   spent 360 million in the buy-back program? 

            20                  MR. DAVENPORT:  No, sir, I -- No, sir, 

            21   the federal government.

            22                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Federal government, 

            23   okay. 

            24                  MR. DAVENPORT:  Yes, sir. 

            25                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you.  

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             1                  MR. DAVENPORT:  I read that to y'all 

             2   yesterday.

             3                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Okay.  I thought I was 

             4   missing some expenditures or half the department.  

             5   Going to talk to our finance Chairman.  

             6                  Thank you, sir.  

             7                  Pam Baker, if you could come next.  And, 

             8   Jeff Noel, if you'd be prepared to speak after Ms. 

             9   Baker. 

            10                  MS. BAKER:  Thank you, Chairman and 

            11   members of the Commission.  My name is Pam Baker.  I 

            12   work with Group Environmental Defense.  We have about 

            13   12,000 members in Texas.  We work to find economic 

            14   solutions to environmental problems.  

            15                  I gave my prepared statement yesterday, 

            16   so I'll just give a few brief comments today, and I'll 

            17   give my prepared statement after I finish.  

            18                  The signs that Parks and Wildlife 

            19   scientists have documented in the shrimp fishery: 

            20   Growth overfishing, declining catch-per-unit effort, 

            21   severe overcapitalization, these are classic signs 

            22   leading to the most severe type of overfishing, and 

            23   that's recruitment overfishing.  This has happened in 

            24   all types of fisheries all over the world again and 

            25   again.  Shrimp is one example; cod, orange roughy, 

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             1   snapper.  The list goes on and on.  

             2                  Parks and Wildlife is doing the right 

             3   thing for this industry and for the environment upon 

             4   which it and all of us depend upon by taking action 

             5   before we get to that point.  

             6                  Another point I want to make: Bycatch is 

             7   important.  Crabs that are part of the shrimp bycatch 

             8   support another important fishery in this state.  

             9   Flounder are very popular for sport fishermen and for 

            10   commercial fishermen, and turtles are helping to build 

            11   a fledgling nature tourism industry in Corpus Christi 

            12   and south Texas.  

            13                  We are due today to take steps to 

            14   preserve the shrimp stocks and our marine environment.  

            15   We also urge the Department and the Commission to begin 

            16   thinking about ways to alter the incentive that drives 

            17   shrimpers to fish as intensively as possible before 

            18   someone else catches all the available shrimp.  And as 

            19   I've said before, we recommend management under an 

            20   individual transferrable quota type of program.  Our 

            21   organization is ready and willing to work with the 

            22   Department and the Commission and the shrimp industry 

            23   to find solutions to these problems.  Thank you.  

            24                  I also have comments received from Gulf 

            25   Restoration Network, speaking in support of the 

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             1   regulations, and I will turn those comments in as well.  

             2   Thank you.

             3                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you, Ms. Baker.  

             4                  Jeff Noel.  And, Robert McFarlane, if 

             5   you'd be prepared to speak next.  

             6                  MR. NOEL:  Mr. Chairman and other 

             7   members of the Commission, I'm just here to say I'm in 

             8   support of the two-net law.  I believe that it is a 

             9   fair indiscriminatory way of bringing about a 

            10   management for our shrimp fishery.  I believe it is a 

            11   key ingredient to bringing about management, because I 

            12   think there is -- as Mr. Price pointed out and others 

            13   have, there is just too much effort going on in the 

            14   near-shore Gulf beaches in our Texas waters.  And I 

            15   also believe that it's fair because it just coincides 

            16   with what we already have in our Texas bays, which is 

            17   net limitation, and I think it just levels the playing 

            18   field and will provide the types of conservation that 

            19   we need in our industry, and that if you don't do this, 

            20   we're going to be looking at each other a couple of 

            21   years from now or whatever, and wondering, well, what 

            22   are we going to do then?  

            23                  So -- And I also would like to say that 

            24   the Parks and Wildlife certainly have been very 

            25   helpful.  I would like to commend them very highly, and 

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             1   in particular, Art Morris from the Corpus Christi 

             2   division.  He was extremely helpful.  And also to all 

             3   the Commissioners here.  It's a very important decision 

             4   that you're about to make, and believe me, that two-net 

             5   law, I think, will help.  I mean, whether it's the 

             6   complete answer or not, I'm not sure, but I really am 

             7   in favor of it.  Thank you very much.  

             8                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you for your 

             9   comments, Mr. Noel. 

            10                  Robert McFarlane.  And, Pete Aparicio, 

            11   if you'd be prepared to speak after Mr. McFarlane. 

            12                  MR. McFARLANE:  Good morning, ladies and 

            13   gentlemen.  I am Robert McFarlane, and you are now well 

            14   aware that for every expert, there is an equal and 

            15   opposite expert.  

            16                  I would note that there has been no 

            17   testimony presented to you that has demonstrated an 

            18   immediate need for action.  This is not an urgent 

            19   issue.  You have had lots of evidence that it has been 

            20   too rushed.  We need to slow down and get this thought 

            21   out and settle some of the conflict between it.  

            22                  There is, as you have seen, no 

            23   scientific consensus.  You have multiple definitions of 

            24   the same term being used, and you have enumerable 

            25   interpretations.  Part of the reason there is no 

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             1   scientific consensus is that your department staff have 

             2   rebuffed all efforts at scientific interchange, and I 

             3   would urge you to issue a direct order to your 

             4   department staff to develop scientific consensus.  

             5                  Let us -- There is an opportunity to 

             6   come together and agree upon what we can agree on, and 

             7   identify those items that we cannot agree on.  That has 

             8   not been done yet.  

             9                  I would also note that growth 

            10   overfishing is basically an economic issue.  What you 

            11   will be doing if you adopt these proposed regulatory 

            12   changes is transferring income from the bay shrimp 

            13   fishermen to the Gulf shrimp fishermen.  When we're 

            14   talking about increasing the money, you're taking it 

            15   out of one pocket and putting it into another pocket.  

            16   That's not necessarily an increase, and some of the bay 

            17   shrimpers will probably fail.  

            18                  The real threat of recruitment 

            19   overfishing is from the unlimited entry of shrimpers 

            20   into the Gulf of Mexico Shrimp Fishery.  Nothing that 

            21   you are going to do or can do is going to change that, 

            22   so that all -- you must ask the questions, "Are these 

            23   regulations that you're going to pass really going to 

            24   have an impact?"

            25                  What we need to do is redirect our 

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             1   efforts to say, "How can we take our limited entry 

             2   program in Texas bays and extend it into the Gulf of 

             3   Mexico?"  That's the fishery stock that's being 

             4   threatened.  So thank you very much.  

             5                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Pete Aparicio.  And, C. 

             6   L. Standley, if you'd be prepared to speak after Mr. 

             7   Aparicio.  

             8                  MR. APARICIO:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman 

             9   and members of the Commission.  I'm Pete Aparicio, live 

            10   in Victoria, Texas.  I'm in the commercial shrimp 

            11   fishery.  I'm also the chairman of the Gulf of Mexico 

            12   Fishery Management Council, Shrimp Management 

            13   Committee, and in that respect, I'd like to say 

            14   something about the threat of, or the danger of, 

            15   reaching recruitment overfishing.  

            16                  There's an insurance policy in place in 

            17   the shrimp management plan which says that the level of 

            18   the parent stocks must go below the minimum level for 

            19   two consecutive years before there is recruitment 

            20   overfishing.  So that gives us a lead time, and I 

            21   assure you that action will be taken after -- if it 

            22   occurs the first year.  It never has since we've been 

            23   keeping records.  

            24                  Having said that, I think that I'd like 

            25   to speak to the fact that I think we're all here to 

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             1   come up with something that's to the benefit of all the 

             2   taxpayers and citizens of Texas, and I would remind the 

             3   Commission that in the last -- since we started pulling 

             4   TEDs, it has cost the industry, like, I think, $350 

             5   million, in the 10-year period, in lost revenues.  And 

             6   that is money very well spent.  In addition to that, 

             7   the contributions to the Rancho Nuevo project is also 

             8   money very well spent.  But I want to point out that it 

             9   does take a lot of money.  And it was well spent 

            10   because, in the beginning, we had less than 1,000 

            11   nests; now we have over 6,000.  So, like I said, that 

            12   was cheap insurance to buy.  

            13                  And I would like to also add that the 

            14   shrimp industry, the 600-million-dollar-a-year 

            15   industry, provides a lot of jobs; it's part of the big 

            16   tax revenue of the coastal counties in particular.  So 

            17   I would ask that the proponents of the closure, 

            18   especially in south Texas, would also chip in, with 

            19   something other than good intentions, for the recovery 

            20   of the Kemp's Ridley, because the aims and the goals 

            21   are very, very good.  They're high, high goals, and I 

            22   applaud them for it.  But it's not fair for one 

            23   agency -- or one industry to bear the brunt.  

            24                  It's also noteworthy that the Texas 

            25   shrimp industry, the true equal opportunity industry, 

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             1   is one in which at least 85 percent of the offshore 

             2   Gulf boat owners and/or crew members are 

             3   Hispanic-American or Asian-American, and that's the one 

             4   that, whether by design or coincidence, will be the 

             5   hardest hit by these changes.  

             6                  And in closing, I would just urge the 

             7   commissioners to, when you decide to vote, when you 

             8   vote, to ask yourself if this is a fair situation or 

             9   not, and I thank you.

            10                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you, Mr. Aparicio.  

            11                  C. L. Standley.  And, Ronald Hornbeck, 

            12   if you'd be prepared to speak after Mr. Standley. 

            13                  MR. STANDLEY:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman 

            14   and members of the Commission.  Thank you for this 

            15   opportunity to speak, and I reiterate what's been said 

            16   earlier, that you have a tremendous task, and I know 

            17   you've been overwhelmed by the sheer volume of 

            18   information.  

            19                  I have -- had intended to talk about the 

            20   lack of involvement of the Shrimp Advisory Committee 

            21   and the seafood industry in the early formation of 

            22   these regulations, but, unfortunately, my comments 

            23   yesterday regarding the stranding levels were a result 

            24   of, I guess, exasperation over the constant slamming of 

            25   the shrimp industry as being the primary cause of 

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             1   strandings, and it's been battered around within 

             2   National Marine Fisheries and other agencies for the 

             3   last 10 to 12, to 15, years, probably, about the 

             4   strandings created by other fisheries.  And that's been 

             5   well-known.  

             6                  There appears to be two separate 

             7   stranding databases, so I'm told.  One is kept in St. 

             8   Petersburg, Florida, which is the conventional 

             9   stranding level database; the other is in a Galveston 

            10   laboratory, which apparently keeps the recreational 

            11   fishery stranding data, and I'm -- although I don't 

            12   have it in hand, it can be obtained by -- through the 

            13   Galveston lab, from Dr. Roger Zimmerman.  

            14                  But a report which I have seen and I 

            15   don't have at hand, and it's been confirmed by others 

            16   here that there were, in probably 1996-1997, a report 

            17   off Texas of some 192 strandings attributable to the 

            18   recreational fishery, and these are readily available.  

            19   So what I'm pointing out is that there are many causes 

            20   of strandings and so forth.  

            21                  You have a tremendous responsibility, 

            22   and I want to thank you for the opportunity to speak.  

            23   I want to thank you for your patience in this matter.  

            24   I know it's been a very trying time for you as well as 

            25   for the rest of us.  Thank you very much.  

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             1                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you, Mr. Standley. 

             2                  Ronald Hornbeck.  And, Richard Moore, if 

             3   you'd be prepared to speak after Mr. Hornbeck. 

             4                  MR. HORNBECK:  Thank you very much.  My 

             5   name is Ronnie Hornbeck.  I'm from Port Bolivar, Texas.  

             6   I would like this Commission, if you would, please, 

             7   take in consideration a time frame to reconsider before 

             8   acting on these matters that's been brought forth to 

             9   you.  We have not talked about weather conditions or 

            10   such things like red tide.  We have a red tide that is 

            11   killing more seafood and ruining our system than you 

            12   can imagine.  We have jellyfish.  We're talking about a 

            13   new jellyfish that is coming in that's supposed to eat 

            14   everything.  We have storms that we have not 

            15   experienced in a few years.  All of these take away 

            16   from the effort of catching shrimp.  When you don't use 

            17   it, you're going to lose it.  

            18                  Texas has a natural resource.  If we 

            19   bind down the people of the state of Texas of 

            20   harvesting, and the people of enjoying the fresh 

            21   seafood, and allowing this to go into the Gulf and go 

            22   to Mexico, which, that's where it ends up, mainly in 

            23   Mexico, and then be shipped back to us, I think this is 

            24   very unfair to the people of the state of Texas.  And I 

            25   thank y'all for you-all's time, and I wish y'all would 

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             1   consider this as something that needs to be further 

             2   studied and further considered.  Thank you. 

             3                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you, sir. 

             4                  Richard Moore.  Phillip Lara, if you'd 

             5   be prepared to speak after Mr. Moore. 

             6                  MR. MOORE:  For the record, my name is 

             7   Richard Moore, and I represent PISCES.  

             8                  Ms. Dinkins, to answer your question of 

             9   yesterday, 15 days of our season would amount to about 

            10   12 percent of our time to work.  If we took that and 

            11   measured it with Parks and Wildlife's 12 percent of 

            12   their budget, it would be about $30 million.  Our pay 

            13   is not quite that good.  At that time of year, it 

            14   fluctuates.  If we've had northerns, and the shrimp 

            15   have already left the bays, then, argumentatively, 

            16   that's not an important time of year.  But the last few 

            17   years we've had, we've had no northerns, so we've had 

            18   quite a few shrimp left at that time, even though they 

            19   were smaller and not at the allowable count.  But in 

            20   our infinite wisdom, years ago, Parks and Wildlife said 

            21   we will allow you to pull smaller webbing, remove the 

            22   count of shrimp at that time of year, because, in 

            23   reality, natural mortality, we're going to lose those 

            24   shrimp anyway.  So we're going to allow you to catch 

            25   those shrimp so that someone will get use from it. 

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             1                  Now, you understand, this year and every 

             2   year up until then, November the 1st, we went to an 

             3   inch and a half webbing; no count limit, because that 

             4   resource was going to be lost anyway.  Remember, these 

             5   shrimp only live 15 months.  Whether we catch them, 

             6   somebody else catches them, they're gone.  It's an 

             7   annual renewable resource, whether we take advantage of 

             8   it, exploit it, whatever you want to call it.  That's 

             9   all I want to say about that.  

            10                  I want to talk about bycatch.  General 

            11   bycatch is dominated by several species: Atlantic 

            12   croaker, Gulf manhayden, sand sea trout, spot, bay 

            13   anchovy, hard-head catfish, account for the majority of 

            14   the bycatch in terms of numbers and biomass.  

            15                  Special interest fish, such as Southern 

            16   flounder, red drum, spotted sea trout, were taken 

            17   infrequently in trawls.  That means we don't catch that 

            18   many.  These are studies done by the National Marine 

            19   Fisheries, two different studies; there's been three 

            20   studies done all together.  

            21                  The effects of reducing or eliminating 

            22   trawl bycatch of shrimp predator/prey relationship is 

            23   not completely quantified.  Utilizing a model technique 

            24   to estimate that reducing discards in the shrimp 

            25   fishery by 50 percent would decrease shrimp stocks by 

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             1   25 percent.  The model showed (inaudible) is through 

             2   re-assimilation of bycatch and/or nutrients into the 

             3   shrimp population.  In Galveston Bay, predation by 

             4   estuary-dependent finfish is a primary cause of 

             5   mortality in juvenile shrimp in nursery areas.  

             6   Predators of juvenile shrimp in nursery areas include 

             7   Southern flounder -- 

             8                  MR. SANSOM:  Thank you, Mr. Moore. 

             9                  MR. MOORE:  -- spotted sea trout, red 

            10   drum -- Thank you, Andy. 

            11                  MR. SANSOM:  Thank you. 

            12                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you, Mr. Moore. 

            13                  Phillip Lara.  And, Brian Sybert, if 

            14   you'd be prepared to speak after Mr. Lara.  

            15                  MR. LARA:  Thank you, Mr. Bass.  

            16                  Limited entry is working -- Pardon me.  

            17                  Contrary to what Texas Parks and 

            18   Wildlife would like the public to believe, limited 

            19   entry is alive and working.  Limited entry was 

            20   established to limit the license and overcapitalization 

            21   of in-shore shrimp fisheries.  Limited entry was a 

            22   vehicle to help the in-shore shrimp fisheries prevent 

            23   any further regulations through populations of means, 

            24   methods, time restrictions, area restrictions, and bag 

            25   and size limits.  

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             1                  In 1994, the Texas Parks and Wildlife 

             2   proposed regulations for the problem of overfishing 

             3   with bycatch issues attached.  The new proposals and 

             4   regulations contain radical changes in net size for 

             5   trawls, more time restrictions, more area closures.  

             6   Texas Parks and Wildlife thought that the best fix for 

             7   the settlement of problems was to eliminate -- were a 

             8   limited entry program with a viaduct provision for the 

             9   current license.  

            10                  Texas Parks and Wildlife bargained that 

            11   the radical change would disappear if the industry 

            12   coauthored the limited entry program.  The industry 

            13   worked hard for seven months to create a working viable 

            14   plan.  

            15                  The senate Bill 750 was presented to the 

            16   1995 Legislature, passed the House and Senate, and was 

            17   signed by Governor George Bush in June of 1995.  We 

            18   have limited entry.  

            19                  In 1999, the legislature reviewed and 

            20   signed for their program to continue with no 

            21   resistance.  

            22                  Limited entry does its job better than 

            23   the Texas Parks and Wildlife is willing to admit.  

            24   Limited entry kept residential bay shrimp and bait 

            25   shrimp road licenses in 1995.  In 1995, the licenses 

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             1   that were sold were 1,841 for the bay, and the bait was 

             2   1,786.  In 1999, 1,417 were sold for the bay, and for 

             3   the bait, 1,336.  This means that 424 less bay shrimp 

             4   and 423 less bait shrimp licenses were sold.  This is, 

             5   what, 847 less licenses since the limted entry program 

             6   began?  

             7                  Texas Parks and Wildlife have bought 477  

             8   licenses back through mandated buyback programs, not 

             9   including 370 that were lost and not accounted for. 

            10                  The license reduction represents reduced 

            11   effort and reduced catch and reduced bycatch.  The 

            12   Texas Parks and Wildlife is asking, and got, a 

            13   three-dollar increase in the salt water fishing stamps 

            14   for the buyback program, plus an increase in our 

            15   license fees to help out on the buyback program.  This 

            16   is not necessary because limited entry program has a 

            17   funding provision for the buyback program.  

            18                  Bottom line, Texas Parks and Wildlife 

            19   need to table and restricted for proposal shrimp 

            20   regulation changes.  

            21                  The proposed changes submitted in April 

            22   of 2000 are contradictory to the limited entry program.  

            23   This program --

            24                  MR. SANSOM:  Mr. Lara, if you could 

            25   conclude your remarks.  

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             1                  MR. LARA:  -- was working and valuable  

             2   limited entry works.  

             3                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you, Mr. Lara.

             4                  Brian Sybert.  And, Ken Kramer, if you'd 

             5   be prepared to speak after Mr. Sybert, please.

             6                  MR. SYBERT:  Mr. Chairman, members of 

             7   the Committee, thank you for the opportunity to speak, 

             8   and I'd also like to thank you for the work that you do 

             9   and for how closely you all have had to follow this 

            10   issue. 

            11                  It's unfortunate that there are those, 

            12   on both sides of this issue, that have used 

            13   inflammatory -- basically inflammatory political 

            14   threats to try to get their way when there is an 

            15   adequate process provided by the staff at Texas Parks 

            16   and Wildlife.  That process included 30 meetings along 

            17   the coast for the shrimp industry.  Those who could 

            18   participate did; those who didn't want to and wanted to 

            19   continue to oppose regulations chose not to 

            20   participate.  Parks and Wildlife was very open.  Parks 

            21   and Wildlife met with the environmental community, the 

            22   recreational sports fishing community.  We had three 

            23   days of shrimp working group meetings in Lake Jackson, 

            24   and then a series of eight public hearings along the 

            25   coast.  The process was adequate, and Parks and 

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             1   Wildlife staff did the right thing.  

             2                  In the last two days now, we have heard 

             3   from the real experts.  We've heard from Dr. Nance, 

             4   Dr. Zimmerman; today, Dr. Caillouet, and then, also, 

             5   yesterday, Dr. Gracia and Dr. Shaver.  These are the 

             6   true experts in the field of shrimp fishery and sea 

             7   turtles.  I would ask that you please focus on their 

             8   comments, their statements, and also recognize that the 

             9   Parks and Wildlife staff did the right thing in terms 

            10   of proposing these regulations, and that the 

            11   regulations that were proposed, that we devised as the 

            12   shrimp working group as of our last meeting, are the 

            13   regulations that should be voted in today.  Those are 

            14   the regulations that include the year-round five 

            15   nautical mile closure on the southern portion of the 

            16   Texas coast.  

            17                  I would definitely urge you to move 

            18   forward and do that.  There's no need to delay this 

            19   process.  There's been ample opportunity for public 

            20   support, and, as I said yesterday, Parks and Wildlife 

            21   has the two critical elements that it needs to 

            22   implement these regulations.  Those critical elements 

            23   being, one, the science.  The science of the experts 

            24   from the National Marine Fisheries Service and the 

            25   science of the Parks and Wildlife biologists, and the 

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             1   public support of the citizens of our state, which, out 

             2   of all the comments received, 96 percent were in favor 

             3   of the proposed regulations.  And not the regulations 

             4   we have now, but the stronger version of the 

             5   regulations.  

             6                  The science is there, the citizens' 

             7   support is there.  Let's do it.  Let's implement these, 

             8   do it right the first time around.  Thank you for the 

             9   opportunity to speak.  

            10                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you.  

            11                  Ken Kramer.  Julius Collins, if you'd be 

            12   prepared to speak after Mr. Kramer.  

            13                  MR. KRAMER:  Mr. Chairman and members of 

            14   the Commission, for the record, my name is Ken Kramer.  

            15   I'm the state director for the Sierra Club, and I'm not 

            16   going to reiterate the points that Brian has made, but 

            17   I want to make a couple of very emphatic statements 

            18   today.  

            19                  There have been some allegations made by 

            20   people within the environmental movement that this 

            21   process might be dictated by politics from the 

            22   governor's office and politics that were the result of 

            23   presidential campaigning.  I think all of you know that 

            24   I have not been reticent to criticize the governor's 

            25   environmental policies because, in many ways, I do 

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             1   disagree with them.  But I want to state emphatically, 

             2   for the record, that it's not the Sierra Club's 

             3   viewpoint that this process is being dictated or 

             4   pressured, in any way, by the governor's office, and, 

             5   in fact, we have resisted any effort, both, outside our 

             6   organization and even inside our organization, at the 

             7   national level, to interject politics into this 

             8   process.  

             9                  We have tried to work within the process 

            10   because we feel that your staff has cooperated in a 

            11   professional manner with all the people involved on 

            12   this issue, that they have based their recommendations 

            13   on sound science, that they have attempted to include 

            14   the viewpoints of everyone, and while they may be 

            15   getting a lot of flack from people on all sides, that 

            16   they are trying to do the right thing.  

            17                  We also believe that you, as individual 

            18   commissioners, and as a Commission as a whole, are 

            19   attempting to do the right thing.  And that's why we've 

            20   been willing to try to keep politics out of this 

            21   process.  

            22                  In that regard, I want to urge you also 

            23   to resist any pressure coming from members of the 

            24   legislature to try to impose their viewpoints into a 

            25   process that I think has been working pretty well.  We 

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             1   stand ready to support you, as indeed the public does, 

             2   in your efforts to take strong stands to protect the 

             3   shrimp industry and to protect sea turtles.  Let's face 

             4   it.  We're never going to have a consensus with the 

             5   shrimp industry in this state about what the shrimp 

             6   management program of Texas Parks and Wildlife ought to 

             7   be.  There are too many conflicting interests within 

             8   the shrimping community.  And that's why we would urge 

             9   you to take the steps necessary to protect the public 

            10   resources: The shrimp, the sea turtles, the other forms 

            11   of marine species off our coastal waters, without 

            12   trying to essentially reach something that's the lowest 

            13   common denominator, that might buy you the most support 

            14   from the shrimp industry.  I think that are you on a 

            15   path to do that.  I would urge you to go back and 

            16   reconsider and adopt the year-around five nautical mile 

            17   closure off the Texas southern coast.  That already is 

            18   a compromise.  We wanted more, but we recognize the 

            19   need to compromise in this process, and we think that's 

            20   a legitimate step forward.  

            21                  So please consider that, and please 

            22   consider that this is a historic opportunity for you to 

            23   move forward to protect our resources.  Thank you very 

            24   much.

            25                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you, Mr. Kramer. 

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             1                  Julius Collins.  And if Richard Morrison 

             2   would be prepared to speak after Mr. Collins. 

             3                  MR. COLLINS:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman 

             4   and members of the Commission.  My name is Julius 

             5   Collins, and I am the president of Texas Shrimp 

             6   Association.  

             7                  I stand on what I said yesterday.  TSA 

             8   wants status quo, no changes.  

             9                  You heard a lot of people, special -- 

            10   was named by name yesterday by someone that said that 

            11   you cannot change Julius Collins.  He will not change.  

            12   We did offer Texas Parks and Wildlife some changes.  We 

            13   offered them another 15 days to close the whole Gulf of 

            14   Mexico, which is 60,000 square miles, for 15 days.  

            15   That was refused for this -- what we have now.  

            16                  The lower Texas coast is -- looks like 

            17   that's the big issue here, and it looks like it's not 

            18   quite a shrimp issue; it looks like it's more a turtle 

            19   issue that we have down there.  We have people in the 

            20   turtle that wants to conserve and preserve the turtle.  

            21   I, for one, don't want to see the turtle -- the demise 

            22   of the turtle.  But to what extent?  

            23                  They are claiming that there's a lot of 

            24   stranding on the Texas coast, but they're not saying 

            25   anything about more strandings on Florida coast than 

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             1   there is in Texas, more strandings in Georgia than is 

             2   in Texas, or in North Carolina than there is in Texas.  

             3                  And there is even the Kemp's Ridley.  

             4   Over 200 strandings of Kemp's Ridley, from Virginia to 

             5   Maine, more than there is in Texas.  But they're 

             6   strandings all over.  So why pick on the Southern coast 

             7   of Texas?  They had six turtles that nested there last 

             8   year.  They want another nesting area.  Why do it 

             9   there?  If you want to do it, do it other places where 

            10   there has more turtle stranding and nesting?  After the 

            11   season opened, it was said there was less stranding 

            12   than when the season was closed.  

            13                  We, in TSA -- you have, we'd like to 

            14   have all groups meet together and come up with a 

            15   solution, but it looks like it's an environmental issue 

            16   and not a shrimp issue The shrimp, from what I can 

            17   understand, with all the evidence that was put on, is 

            18   healthy now, and I hope it continues the health.  

            19                  You have quite a task in front of you, 

            20   gentlemen and ladies.  I know your feeling.  You have 

            21   either to pick one side or the other.  I'm saying one 

            22   side with -- the environmental side, the shrimp side, 

            23   and that's what it boils down to.  

            24                  Good luck to you, and I hope you make 

            25   the right decision.  Thank you.

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             1                  VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Thank you, 

             2   Mr. Collins. 

             3                  Richard Morrison, and next up will be 

             4   Thomas Lambright. 

             5                  MR. MORRISON:  Thank you, 

             6   Ms. Vice-Chairman, Commissioners.  My name is Richard 

             7   Morrison, and I'm speaking here on behalf of the 

             8   Calhoun County Shrimpers.  

             9                  My comments today are regarding a legal 

            10   issue, and that issue is a regulatory impacts analysis, 

            11   that the Calhoun County Shrimpers was not included 

            12   within the draft proposed regulations.  

            13                  It says, in the Administrative 

            14   Procedures Act that, "The draft impact analysis, at a 

            15   minimum, must identify the costs that the agency 

            16   anticipates state agencies, local governments, the 

            17   public, and the regulated community will experience 

            18   after implementation of the rule." 

            19                  We believe that was not done.  We heard 

            20   testimony yesterday about potential devastating effects 

            21   on the local economies and the local tax basis if these 

            22   proposed rules are enacted because of the potential for 

            23   the bay shrimpers, mini bay shrimpers, to lose their 

            24   businesses.  

            25                  Additionally, "Regulatory impacts 

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             1   analysis must describe the benefits and costs 

             2   anticipated from implementation of the rule."  

             3                  These type costs are similar -- or these 

             4   type analyses are similar to the analyses that were 

             5   done by Dr. Nance on the allocation issue in the study 

             6   that I told you about yesterday.  

             7                  Third is -- Well, Number 4 is, "Describe 

             8   reasonable alternative methods for achieving the 

             9   purpose of the rule," which could be any alternatives.  

            10   One alternative is what the Calhoun County Shrimpers 

            11   are proposing, which is keep the current regulations as 

            12   they are on the newly-funded buy-back program in place 

            13   because they appear, according to Dr. Nance, to be 

            14   working.  

            15                  The last one is, "Provide an explanation 

            16   of whether the rule specifies a single method of 

            17   compliance or other methods of compliance," and that 

            18   includes voluntary compliance.  

            19                  We already know that Governor Bush has 

            20   asked the industries that are refineries to voluntarily 

            21   comply and voluntarily get new permits.  We heard 

            22   yesterday, from Mr. Lambright, that he has a BRD on his 

            23   boat, and that when the bycatch gets too heavy -- he 

            24   only wants to catch shrimp -- he'll voluntarily put 

            25   that on.  This was not looked at.  

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             1                  We would ask that the regulations, 

             2   before you-all adopt them, that they be postponed until 

             3   a regulatory impacts analysis can be completed and the 

             4   public have an opportunity to comment on such an 

             5   analysis.  Thank you.  

             6                  VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Thank you, 

             7   Mr. Morrison.  

             8                  Thomas Lambright and then Deyaun 

             9   Boudreaux.  

            10                  MR. LAMBRIGHT:  Thank you, Madam 

            11   Chairman.  My name is Thomas Lambright.  I'm a 

            12   commercial bay and gulf shrimper from Port O'Connor.  

            13   I'm here representing the Calhoun County Shrimpers.  

            14                  Yesterday I was touching on the bycatch 

            15   reduction device, if y'all remember.  

            16                  The one other thing I would like to say 

            17   is I concur with just about everything that everybody 

            18   has said.  This comes down to a turtle issue or 

            19   environmental issue or shrimp issue or whatever, you 

            20   know, and I'm trying to figure out just exactly which 

            21   is the most important.  Is it the livelihoods of the 

            22   people of the state of Texas and the economy of the 

            23   state of Texas, or is it turtles?  I have nothing 

            24   against turtles.  I have nothing against spotted owls.  

            25   I'm for saving every one of them.  But I think we're 

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             1   doing -- the industry is doing its part.  I really 

             2   believe this.  We've done our part.  We've -- You know, 

             3   we've worked with staff and tried to come up with these 

             4   regulations and everything, and I encourage the 

             5   Commission -- You got a tough job.  I encourage the 

             6   Commission to postpone these regulations and everything 

             7   and let's go back and let's sit down and let's all cool 

             8   off, calm down, and try to come up with some solution 

             9   to the problem.  

            10                  And you asked the question, Ms. Dinkins, 

            11   of somebody yesterday, about how much economic loss the 

            12   15 days would be on the fall season; I think that was 

            13   your question.

            14                  VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  It was a general 

            15   question about economic loss.  

            16                  MR. LAMBRIGHT:  Okay.  With climatic 

            17   changes and everything and -- We've had warm winters 

            18   and everything, and the shrimp don't leave the bay 

            19   sometime until late.  Just a rough estimate, if you 

            20   have small shrimp at the end of the year, and they grow 

            21   up late, and at the end of the -- I mean, you have 

            22   small shrimp at the first of the year, and they grow up 

            23   late; they stay in the bay; the fresh water is right; 

            24   everything is right for them.  Just figure out if 

            25   you -- for 15 days, if the catch per unit was 20 pounds 

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             1   an hour, at $2 and a half a pound, per boat, per hour, 

             2   and you work 10 hours a day, it's an approximate loss 

             3   of about $7500 in 15 days to one boat.  I mean, that's 

             4   just a -- throwing some figures up in the air.  But 

             5   there is a loss here.  And with the climatic changes 

             6   that we got and everything, there's a lot of times when 

             7   we work right up to the last day.  

             8                  I know the year of the flood, we needed 

             9   rain early.  All our shrimp were small in the bay, you 

            10   know, and we didn't have any shrimp to work on.  And in 

            11   November, here they come.  And we worked up until the 

            12   last day of the season.  As a matter of fact, I had 

            13   over a thousand dollars worth of shrimp the last day, 

            14   August the 15th.  So, you know, we -- there's potential 

            15   loss to the industry there.  

            16                  And one thing that hadn't been touched 

            17   on -- I probably just run out of time; I see the little 

            18   yellow light.  

            19                  One thing that hadn't been touched on is 

            20   that we, from the time -- on our spring season, from 2 

            21   o'clock in the evening until 30 minutes before sunrise 

            22   the next morning, these shrimp have got a chance to 

            23   escape.  These shrimp have got a chance to go to the 

            24   Gulf.  These shrimp have got a chance to do anything 

            25   they want to.  

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             1                  Same way in the fall season.  We put 

             2   over at 30 minutes before sunrise -- 

             3                  MR. SANSOM:  Please complete your 

             4   remarks, Mr. Lambright.  Thank you, Mr. Lambright -- 

             5                  MR. LAMBRIGHT:  -- and we can drag until 

             6   30 minutes after sunset.  And these shrimp, from that 

             7   time until that time the next morning, has got a chance 

             8   to escape so...

             9                  VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Thank you, 

            10   Mr. Lambright. 

            11                  MR. LAMBRIGHT:  Thank you. 

            12                  VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Mr. Boudreaux, and 

            13   next up will be Terri Curtis.  

            14                  I'm sorry.  It's Ms. Boudreaux? 

            15                  MS. BOUDREAUX:  That happens -- 

            16                  VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  What is the first 

            17   name? 

            18                  MS. BOUDREAUX:  -- all the time.  

            19                  My name is Deyaun Boudreaux and -- 

            20                  VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  I apologize.  

            21                  MS. BOUDREAUX:  That's okay.  

            22                  I work for Texas Shrimp Association.  I 

            23   am environmental director, and I have been so employed 

            24   since 1991.  I live in Cameron County, Port Isabel, 

            25   Texas.  

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             1                  Before I went to work for Texas Shrimp 

             2   Association, I served 12 years on a school board.  Most 

             3   of our property value was maritime related.  Before 

             4   that, I was a teacher and a school administrator.  So I 

             5   understand about where you're sitting; I understand 

             6   about what Dr. Sansom is doing; and I also understand 

             7   where the environmentalists and the fishermen are 

             8   sitting and standing, because you have to frame the 

             9   snapshot that you're looking at before you go into 

            10   rule-making.  

            11                  I've had a little time, in the last two 

            12   days, to look at this, and I feel that we have reached 

            13   some type of a critical mass because maybe we should 

            14   have taken a couple of precautions to make sure that 

            15   our rule-making process would be successful.  

            16                  First of all, in fisheries, people are 

            17   regulated.  Fisheries are a special population with 

            18   special knowledge.  They are the resource.  

            19                  The seafood is the resource asset of the 

            20   ocean.  It's not necessarily yours or mine; it belongs 

            21   to the ocean, but there is a special population of 

            22   people who historically have been food producers.  

            23                  When you look at the way the ocean is 

            24   managed, you will find that it's work before play.  You 

            25   will find that this was codified by President Ronald 

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             1   Reagan, in 1983, when he made the statement which put 

             2   into place our exclusive economic zone, and it said the 

             3   highest and best use of the American ocean is food for 

             4   man; the second highest and best use of the ocean is 

             5   transportation; and third highest and best use for the 

             6   ocean is for minerals.  All of these things benefit all 

             7   of us.  

             8                  Now, we are a fisheries populations 

             9   that's been regulated for hundreds of years, so we 

            10   respect regulation, but we also know that, apparently, 

            11   when we're looking at this, we are looking at issues 

            12   involving habitat and environment.  And Dr. Sansom and 

            13   the people at TNRCC, all of these people know as well, 

            14   because any time there's going to be something that 

            15   hurts the habitat of the shrimp, we are there on our 

            16   own dollar.  

            17                  The next thing is we are looking at 

            18   shrimp conservation.  

            19                  MR. SANSOM:  If you could make a 

            20   concluding statement.  

            21                  MS. BOUDREAUX:  We're already there. 

            22                  And the last thing is endangered 

            23   species.  I would love to have seen all groups who 

            24   impact the endangered in our coastal water included.  

            25   Let's go back to the table.  Thank you. 

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             1                  VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Thank you, 

             2   Ms. Boudreaux. 

             3                  Terri Curtis.  

             4                  MS. CURTIS:  Commissioners and staff, 

             5   thank you for this time today.  My name is Terri 

             6   Curtis.  I work for Campeche Seafood in Brownsville, 

             7   Texas.  My entire family's income is directly related 

             8   to the shrimp industry.  

             9                  Yesterday, standing before you, I heard 

            10   many people commending Texas Parks and Wildlife for a 

            11   job well done.  I stand here today looking into the 

            12   future.  I want to be able to say, "A job well done, 

            13   and thank you for not adopting these proposed 

            14   regulations.  Thank you for being open-minded and 

            15   letting common sense prevail."  

            16                  I want to say, "Thank you for taking the 

            17   time out to analyze the data that is in the controversy 

            18   and seeing the facts as they truly are.  

            19                  "I want to thank you for understanding 

            20   that the shrimp industry is helping with the recovery 

            21   of the sea turtle, using their natural nesting grounds 

            22   in Mexico" -- I'm not used to speaking.  I'm just a 

            23   little nervous, or cold.  

            24                  Now, I wish I could thank the Texas 

            25   Parks and Wildlife staff for working with us during the 

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             1   18-month study.  I wish we were truly invited to the 30 

             2   meetings that were held along the coast prior to April 

             3   2000.  I also wish I could thank the staff for using 

             4   the shrimp advisory committee properly and allowing the 

             5   industry to take part in the process.  I wish I could 

             6   thank you for giving us more than three minutes to plea 

             7   our case.  I wish we had the opportunity to use visual 

             8   aids to plea our case as your invitees did.  I wish I 

             9   could stand here today and thank staff for working with 

            10   us.  For example, on June 9th of this year, I 

            11   telephoned a staff member, asking to reschedule the 

            12   day, or even time, of the June 29th comment period held 

            13   in Brownsville since it fell on our same day and same 

            14   hour of our annual religious event: The Blessing of the 

            15   Fleet.  We were denied, and, unfortunately, many 

            16   industry members could not attend the public comment 

            17   meeting.  

            18                  All of the negatives that I have 

            19   mentioned can clearly be dismissed, and the first steps 

            20   to regaining trust will be made when you vote against 

            21   these proposed rules.  

            22                  Again, in closing, I stand here in the 

            23   future.  I thank you for not adopting these shrimp 

            24   regulations and for seeing the truth and acting upon 

            25   only the truth, as this country should be recognized 

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             1   for its truth and nothing but the truth.  Thank you.  

             2                  VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Thank you, 

             3   Ms. Curtis. 

             4                  Next is Ray Allen, and then Ivo Goga.  

             5                  MR. ALLEN:  Thank you, Commissioner.  

             6   I'm Ray Allen, a director of Coastal Bend Bays and 

             7   Estuaries program in Corpus Christi.  

             8                  We've heard a lot of discussion today 

             9   about delaying action.  Let me tell you that in the 

            10   history of fisheries' collapse around the world, that 

            11   is a common argument, right up until the very death of 

            12   the industry itself, and I would encourage this group, 

            13   this Board, not to establish the imminent collapse of 

            14   the shrimp industry as the standard before we act.  

            15                  It's -- Well, it's not surprising, but 

            16   it's disappointing that folks in that industry would 

            17   get up here and argue that we wait until we're faced 

            18   with imminent collapse.  

            19                  Specifically, on the rules, I want to 

            20   encourage the Commission to go ahead and adopt those 

            21   rules.  

            22                  Now, I would say, in the published 

            23   rules, there was a proposal to increase the mesh size 

            24   for bay shrimping, in various seasons, two or three 

            25   components there.  I would ask this body to revisit 

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             1   that issue, and, if possible, adopt the original 

             2   recommendation to increase the mesh size as a way to 

             3   address the growth overfishing pressures we're seeing 

             4   in the industry.  Thank you.  

             5                  VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Thank you, 

             6   Mr. Allen.  

             7                  Ivo Goga, and next up is Wilma Anderson.  

             8                  MR. GOGA:  Thank you.  Good afternoon, 

             9   Mr. Chairman, distinguished members of the Commission.  

            10   Thank you for letting me speak before this Commission 

            11   once again.  

            12                  What I have below is just a chart to 

            13   kind of show you the life size -- the actual size of 

            14   the shrimp that we harvest.  We have an extra large, 

            15   large, medium, small, there, to get kind of a visual 

            16   comparison while I speak on these issues.  

            17                  My name is Ivo Goga.  I spoke to you 

            18   yesterday.  I'm based -- president of Campeche Seafood 

            19   Products in Brownsville.  

            20                  I would like to address the statement 

            21   that an overall net gain should be realized by the 

            22   deferred harvest theory for the shrimp industry.  I see 

            23   nothing but problems that would achieve a net gain for 

            24   an industry already working on a slim margin, as we 

            25   heard in testimony from Dr. Russ Mache yesterday.  

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             1                  Any conservative new measures will cause 

             2   serious harm to the economic well-being of many in a 

             3   struggling shrimp industry, particularly in the 

             4   southern zone, as many in the northern zone as well. 

             5                  I would like to itemize the problems 

             6   that I see with the southern zone proposals.  

             7                  Number 1:  The loss of catch due to 

             8   predation inside the zone, since there would be 

             9   unofficially a ban in place, not a fishery, weekly 

            10   mortality of shrimp is approximately 20 percent per 

            11   week.  

            12                  Number 2:  Higher costs due to less 

            13   efficiency in harvesting shrimp as it moves into deeper 

            14   water because it's less concentrated, less efficient to 

            15   harvest. 

            16                  Number 3:  Loss of resource due to 

            17   migration into Mexico.  My good friend, Mr. Ramirez, 

            18   from Mexico would appreciate this one. 

            19                  Number 4:  Less affordable shrimp for 

            20   Texas consumers.  

            21                  Number 5:  Create major supply problems 

            22   for grocery chains and distributors due to the 

            23   tremendous dependence on medium and small shrimp 

            24   availability to achieve price points.  And that's just 

            25   not in south Texas.  That's all over the county.  

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             1                  Number 6:  Cause the shrimp market to 

             2   experience sooner market corrections, thus netting 

             3   lower prices ex-vessel. 

             4                  Number 7:  Liquidity problems due to 

             5   substantial inventory build of larger sizes in the 

             6   national inventory system that does not currently have 

             7   adequate market support.  

             8                  When you factor all of these problems 

             9   into the equation, the overall impact of these measures 

            10   will not guarantee any net gain to the larger more 

            11   valuable shrimp theory.  

            12                  We already have an effective 200-mile, 

            13   60-day closure in place.  It sufficiently protects 

            14   juvenile shrimp in the southern zone, allowing it to 

            15   reach the proper mix of economic value for, both, 

            16   producer and the marketplace. 

            17                  In closing, I would like to say many of 

            18   us count our blessings for the prosperous times we live 

            19   in, but the shrimp industry continues to struggle with 

            20   government overregulation, unwarranted negative 

            21   publicity, and high fuel prices that have drained our 

            22   industry of funding needed to adequately defend 

            23   ourselves.  

            24                  Our industry is comprised of mostly 

            25   hard-working Anglo, Latino, and Vietnamese Americans.  

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             1   We are the backbone of a responsible industry that 

             2   provides a good wholesome food service that many enjoy.  

             3   However, we are very worried.  We are very worried 

             4   about our future -- 

             5                  MR. SANSOM:  Thank you for your remarks.  

             6   Thank you. 

             7                  MR. GOGA:  Okay.  I have a conclusion?  

             8   Okay.  

             9                  We're very worried about our future.  We 

            10   feel like we've been treated like second-class citizens 

            11   by Texas Parks and Wildlife in the process.  We need to 

            12   look at reforms that will bring common sense, peer 

            13   review, science, and greater respect for all 

            14   stakeholders in the regulatory process.  Thank you.

            15                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you, sir.  

            16                  Wilma Anderson.  And, Jeff Vu, if you'd 

            17   be prepared to speak after Ms. Anderson. 

            18                  MS. ANDERSON:  Mr. Chairman, members of 

            19   the Commission, I'm Wilma Anderson, executive director 

            20   of the Texas Shrimp.  I want to approach something a 

            21   little different that hasn't been touched on here 

            22   today.  

            23                  I want to bring your attention to the 

            24   numbers presented yesterday by the department misleads 

            25   the number of people opposed to the shrimp regulations 

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             1   submitted in writing.  I'm referring to the resolutions 

             2   submitted in writing that represents areas of large 

             3   populations and their concerns of the economic impact 

             4   they know will occur again from another stringent 

             5   regulation placed on the fishery.  

             6                  The following resolutions I have in hand 

             7   today are referred to: City of Palacious; 

             8   Commissioner's Court Matagorda County; Rio Grande 

             9   Valley Partnership; Brownsville Navigation and Channel 

            10   Commission; Cameron County Commissioner Court; Board of 

            11   Directors Texas Pac Port Isabel/Laguna Madre. 

            12                  In the department's record, there are 

            13   more resolutions and letters in opposition, from 

            14   cities, chambers, navigation, and school districts, and 

            15   those I referred to in -- that's on the file today in 

            16   your records.  

            17                  I again stress the removal of emails, 

            18   internets, and faxes that has not been verified to 

            19   support or oppose these regulations.  

            20                  I also would like to bring back, 

            21   Mr. Chairmam, members of the Commission, Governor Bush 

            22   states, "No child will be left behind."  When family 

            23   income becomes suppressed and standards of living 

            24   decline, you will have a child left behind.  

            25                  We recommend the status quo.  

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             1                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Ms. Anderson. 

             2                  Jeff Vu.  And, Thuy Vu -- 

             3                  MR. VU:  Oberve only

             4                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Oh, I'm sorry.  I didn't 

             5   note that.  

             6                  Jeff Vu.  And Thuy Vu.  And, 

             7   Mr. Gilleland, if you'd be prepared to speak after Ms. 

             8   Vu. 

             9                  MS. VU:  Thank you again, Mr. Chairman 

            10   and Commissioners for the opportunity to express our 

            11   concern about this proposed rule changes.  I am Thuy 

            12   Vu, representing Vietnamese American Shrimpers 

            13   Association.  

            14                  Although well iterate all good-faith 

            15   effort proposal at the regulation committee hearing 

            16   yesterday, we still disagree with the Texas Parks and 

            17   Wildlife assessment of the biological concern for the 

            18   shrimp and sea turtle resources.  

            19                  We feel that the proposed regulation are 

            20   more of an allocation issue, not a biological or 

            21   economic issues, since the bay and the Gulf have not 

            22   been shown to need additional conservation.  We feel 

            23   that this entire set of rules was developed based on 

            24   false premises of recruitment overfishing and was 

            25   subsequently justified utilizing inadequate landing 

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             1   data and hypothetical economic scenario which did not 

             2   consider even basic biological facts like natural 

             3   mortality, salinity levels, natural predators, 

             4   industrial pollution, et cetera.  

             5                  Finally, ecological benefits, such a 

             6   reduction in bycatch, eliminating the detrimental 

             7   effects of trawling and increase survival of post-larva 

             8   and juvenile shrimp as a result of increasing the 

             9   closed nursery area, appears to be a foregone 

            10   conclusion rather than hypothesis to be proven.  

            11                  We must also ask how the department will 

            12   determine and document any of the benefits that will 

            13   result from these proposed rule changes concerning the 

            14   tremendous variation in an annual production which we 

            15   have observed over the past 40 years?  Perhaps, both, 

            16   the bay and the Gulf production in this critical year 

            17   should become the baseline for an evaluation by which 

            18   to measure the proposed economic benefits created by 

            19   this proposed rule changes.  

            20                  In conclusion, we ask the Commission not 

            21   to adopt these proposed rule changes.  This matter 

            22   needs more accurate data, additional expanded studies, 

            23   and an in-depth of the economic impact of the shrimp 

            24   fleet, shrimp processor, public consumer, and related 

            25   businesses.  This economic impact will be far-reaching 

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             1   into the fishing industry, their family, and the 

             2   coastal community that depend on the fishing economy as 

             3   their main livelihood.  We feel that pressures from 

             4   special interest groups have been the driving force of 

             5   this proposed regulation; however, we ask that before 

             6   adopting any proposed rules changes, the commissioners 

             7   conduct an in-depth review of the accuracy of the data 

             8   collected, the method used in the data collection, the 

             9   interpretation of the data, and the economic impact 

            10   which will result from the implementation of these 

            11   changes. 

            12                  We thank you, in advance, for your time, 

            13   and to this attention would affect the livelihood of so 

            14   many families.  Thank you.

            15                  MR. SANSOM:  Thank you, Ms. Vu.

            16                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you, Ms. Vu.  

            17                  Mr. Gilleland.  And, Benny Gallaway, if 

            18   you'd be prepared to speak after Mr. Gilleland. 

            19                  MR. GILLELAND:  My name is Ellis 

            20   Gilleland.  I'm speaking for Texas Animals, which is an 

            21   internet organization, animal rights organization.  

            22                  I've given you a handout.  First I want 

            23   to give you my bottom.  My bottom line is I'm asking to 

            24   extend the nine-mile -- the -- limit the nine-mile, the 

            25   limit that you have now with five, now down to three.  

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             1   I'm asking you to make it nine, to make it equal with 

             2   what the state has under its jurisdiction, and, 

             3   consequently, what you have under your jurisdiction.  

             4   You can extend, whatever you do, out to nine miles. 

             5                  The second thing is I'm asking you to 

             6   include all the federal TED and BRD specifications.  

             7   You've taken the federal TED specs and the BRD specs 

             8   and reduced and modified them to where they're not 

             9   equal or -- the thing there, the game warden people are 

            10   going to have a terrible time trying to resolve this 

            11   out on the water. 

            12                  The third thing, third bottom line, is 

            13   to issue a turtle proclamation.  You've issued a 

            14   proclamation for everything else; let's issue a 

            15   proclamation for the turtles.  

            16                  I'd like to read you one paragraph out 

            17   of the Houston Chronicle, dated 4 June 2000, which 

            18   says, "Shrimp Battle is Starting to Heat Up."  Quote, 

            19   "When the agency, in April, announced a package of 

            20   regulation proposals based on an 18-month study of 

            21   shrimping data and several meetings with members and 

            22   the shrimping industry, it immediately was attacked by 

            23   the shrimping industry.  Over the past two months, the 

            24   agency rewrote the package, deleting the liberalization 

            25   about half the original rules," and it goes on to say, 

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             1   "But faced with the onslaught of protest from the 

             2   shrimping industry, TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION 

             3   officials backed away from biological arguments," et 

             4   cetera, et cetera.  

             5                  So what you're working on now is the 

             6   third version, ladies and gentlemen.  The first version 

             7   of these rules were written before April.  They were 

             8   reduced to five miles in July -- they were published in 

             9   the Texas Register in July; that's the second version.  

            10   And now the third version is now you're down to your 

            11   three-mile limit.  So that's the reality.  

            12                  The handout I've given you addresses the 

            13   Leatherback turtles.  The Leatherback turtles are just 

            14   as important as the Kemp's Ridley, and you'll notice 

            15   that, on the second page, nine of the Leatherbacks were 

            16   stranded, found dead, on the -- on Padre Island in just 

            17   two months, April and May of this year.  

            18                  The Leatherback provisions, if you 

            19   follow the federal specs rather than reworking and 

            20   reducing the federal specs for TED and BRD, you don't 

            21   put the game wardens in a bind.  A game warden cannot 

            22   go out five miles, oh, something applies.  Go out four 

            23   more miles, something else applies.  Nine miles, and 

            24   they're deputized to enforce federal TED and BRD.  

            25   You're putting the game wardens -- 

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             1                  MR. SANSOM:  Thank you, Mr. Gilleland. 

             2                  MR. GILLELAND:  -- in a three-way vise.  

             3                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you, sir.  

             4                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Benny Gallaway.  And, 

             5   Muriel Tipps, if you'd be prepared to speak after 

             6   Mr. Gallaway, please.

             7                  MS. TIPPS:  I'll pass.

             8                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you, ma'am.

             9                  MR. GALLAWAY:  Mr. Chairman, 

            10   Commissioners, thank you again.  We met yesterday, and 

            11   I'll continue from there.  

            12                  We talked about where we are relative to 

            13   recruitment overfishing threshold yesterday, assuming 

            14   consensus on the data.  

            15                  Today I'd like to talk about a study 

            16   that we did during the period 1994 to 1995 in which we 

            17   reached consensus of, both, the inshore and the 

            18   offshore components of the Texas Shrimp Fishery in 

            19   reducing head rope size in a near-shore zone that was 

            20   extended across the entire Texas coast, for 6 miles in 

            21   the south and up to 18 miles offshore near Sabine.  

            22                  The head rope restriction was to be 100 

            23   feet.  We reached consensus and have letters 

            24   documenting that all the parties agreed to that 

            25   management strategy.  That component of that plan was 

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             1   rejected by an economic analysis from National Marine 

             2   Fisheries Service and Texas A & M University.  Dr. John 

             3   Ward and Dr. Wade Griffin were the scientists who 

             4   conducted the economic analysis.  They said, yes, that 

             5   will be a very effective plan in the short-term, in 

             6   terms of reducing effort.  Their analysis indicated, 

             7   however, that that success would lead to conditions in 

             8   which a new fishery would develop and you had an effort 

             9   with a different character that would fill that void 

            10   and utilize that resource.  Their analysis was that, 

            11   over the long-term, there would not be a reduction in 

            12   effort.  In fact, it might even increase effort.  

            13                  Perhaps I haven't seen the economic data 

            14   for this analysis, or perhaps that analysis was 

            15   incorrect.  I haven't seen it.  I would suggest, if you 

            16   haven't seen it, you might ask for that analysis as 

            17   well.  

            18                  There has been a very real reduction in 

            19   catch-per-unit effort attributable to TEDs and bycatch 

            20   reduction devices.  TEDs, for the one that is used in 

            21   the Western Gulf of Mexico or in Texas, has been about 

            22   16 percent reduction in CPUE.  BRDs are about 9 

            23   percent, and shrimp CPUE.  Collectively, that adds up 

            24   to about a 24 percent reduction, so there has been a 

            25   very real increase.  So if you look at how high you can 

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             1   go, you have to consider that limitation on CPUE.  

             2                  In addition to that, not only has 50 

             3   percent of the Wetland habitat been lost in the Western 

             4   Gulf of Mexico as reported by Texas Parks and Wildlife, 

             5   but for red snapper alone, there's been a 15 percent 

             6   reduction in carrying capacity of the offshore habitat.  

             7   For shrimp, due to hypoxic water conditions, there's a 

             8   so-called dead zone that you hear about in Louisiana, 

             9   about the size of the state of New Jersey.  That 

            10   extends all the way over, in some yields, to Galveston 

            11   Bay, leading to a decline in carrying capacity. 

            12                  So I see my time is about up.  I will 

            13   mention that two members of the Turtle Expert Working 

            14   Group are here: Myself and Dr. Charles Caillouet.  We 

            15   did look at strandings levels that would be necessary 

            16   before federal action was required, so, collectively, 

            17   we could answer those questions.  Thank you.

            18                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Any questions?  

            19                  COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Well, I wonder, 

            20   since that question was asked earlier, if we shouldn't 

            21   ask the gentleman to go ahead and answer it.

            22                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Yes, please.  Mr. 

            23   Gallaway? 

            24                  MR. GALLAWAY:  Let me bring 

            25   Dr. Caillouet because we're going to have to recall, 

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             1   and our collective memories might be better than one, 

             2   if that's acceptable to the Commission.  

             3                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  The earlier question by 

             4   Commissioner Idsal -- who unfortunately is away from 

             5   the podium at the moment -- was have there been any 

             6   estimates of what an acceptable or survivable amount of 

             7   incidental take would be that would still allow the 

             8   recovery to -- of the sea turtle?

             9                  MR. CAILLOUET:  Actually, the Turtle 

            10   Expert Working Group was charged with determining an 

            11   allowable take of the various species, primarily 

            12   Loggerheads and Kemp's Ridleys at that time, and made 

            13   some recommendations, but I don't think they were ever 

            14   adopted.

            15                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Can you tell us what 

            16   those were even though they're not --

            17                  MR. CAILLOUET:  Not without having the 

            18   report before me.  

            19                  In the final analysis, the group split 

            20   into two factions and could not agree on those levels 

            21   for certain species.  

            22                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Imagine that.  

            23                  MR. GALLAWAY:  The numbers in the report 

            24   for Kemp's Ridley was stock-wide; that is, across the 

            25   United States, on the order of about 350.

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             1                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you. 

             2                  David Owens, would you please come 

             3   forward and speak.  And I'd like Tim Jones to be 

             4   prepared to speak after Mr. Owens. 

             5                  MR. OWENS:  Hi, I'm David Owens.  I'm 

             6   currently a professor of biology and director of the 

             7   graduate program in marine biology at the University of 

             8   Charleston, but the whole story is I spent 21 years at 

             9   Texas A & M, and just last year, my wife's family moved 

            10   to Charleston, and she wanted to live near her family, 

            11   so that's why I left Texas A & M.  But I really love 

            12   Texas.  I feel I owe a great deal to the state for the 

            13   employment that I had, for the students, your kids, 

            14   some of you, maybe, that I got a chance to work with, 

            15   and so I felt this was an obligation I had to come back 

            16   and throw in my two cents worth.  For the record, I 

            17   paid for it myself.  I'm not representing anybody, 

            18   except myself.  

            19                  I have spoken with the people from the 

            20   state of South Carolina, and they are very excited 

            21   about the ideas you've come up with here, that your 

            22   staff has come up with here, because these -- this is 

            23   new territory.  This is a chance to really try to solve 

            24   a nagging problem in how we use our coastal resources.  

            25                  We hear about dead zones, red tides, 

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             1   Pfiesteria, all kinds of things.  And I think part of 

             2   the reason is we're working our coast way too hard.  I 

             3   think we can catch our shrimp, which I incidentally 

             4   love to eat, and I've worked very closely with the 

             5   folks in the shrimping industry.  I feel very proud of 

             6   their effort, very proud of how hard they have worked 

             7   to use TEDs, which, of course, they fought very hard, 

             8   in the eighties, when we were trying to get them 

             9   implemented.  They now tell me, for the most part, it's 

            10   a great idea that's working, that's helping to solve 

            11   the problem.  

            12                  Unfortunately, when you have the 

            13   mortality rates that we have off the south Texas coast, 

            14   we have, really, a new problem, and the new problem is 

            15   it's working, but it's not working.  It's working from 

            16   the standpoint of we are beginning to recover the 

            17   species.  That's the good news.  The bad news is 

            18   they're coming to Texas to die.  They nest in Rancho 

            19   Nuevo; that's for sure, but almost half of them migrate 

            20   through the Texas coastal -- shallow water coastal 

            21   areas to live off Texas and Louisiana, and even as far 

            22   east as Florida, and then, of course, make this annual 

            23   migration. 

            24                  So the problem is we've kind of begun to 

            25   solve the problem, but I really very much feel that my 

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             1   two sons, who are both Texans, deserve the opportunity 

             2   to see nesting in the state of Texas.  So, for that 

             3   reason, I strongly support the initial -- or not the 

             4   initial, but sort of the second iteration, which would 

             5   protect an area -- as an experiment, protect an area 

             6   off Padre Island National Seashore year-round, because 

             7   I think, as my mom used to say, you know, there's no 

             8   sense doing it if you're not going to do it right, and 

             9   I think, to do it right, scientifically, we need to 

            10   protect the thing year-round.  

            11                  Final comment is a biological comment, 

            12   and I apologize.  As an old biology professor, I can't 

            13   help but bring this up, and you've probably heard this 

            14   story, but turtles and reptiles, in general, are quite 

            15   different from other animals.  They do not have XY 

            16   chromosomes.  XY chromosome, of course, produces a 

            17   female in a mammal, and an XX -- I mean, a male, and 

            18   the XX chromosome would produce a female.  The problem 

            19   is turtles use the temperature -- 

            20                  MR. SANSOM:  If you could make a 

            21   concluding statement, Dr. Owens.  Thank you. 

            22                  MR. OWENS:  Temperature-dependant sex 

            23   determination, it could very well be that the small 

            24   nesting population in Texas may be producing the males 

            25   for this population over the next century.  I think 

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             1   it's a very important biological point that's been -- 

             2   that's not been brought up.  Thank you.

             3                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Tim Jones.  And, George 

             4   Deshotelt, if you'd be prepared to speak after Mr. 

             5   Jones.  

             6                  MR. JONES:  Chairman Bass, members of 

             7   the Commission, my name is Tim Jones.  I'm -- 

             8                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Pardon me a minute.  

             9                  If we could please give Mr. Jones the 

            10   courtesy of being quiet.  Thank you. 

            11                  MR. JONES:  I'm with the Environmental 

            12   Board for the City of Austin.  

            13                  I appreciate your position here.  I've 

            14   often been in a position to have to review conflicting 

            15   statements.  

            16                  I'm not an expert on shrimp or turtles, 

            17   but the one thing that strikes me most is that I would 

            18   like to go down to Padre Island, and I would like to 

            19   see a Kemp's Ridley turtle in my life.  And what I see 

            20   here, from everything that I've examined, is we have an 

            21   endangered species in decline, and we have proposals 

            22   for a no-fishing zone.  I was hoping it would be a 

            23   marine preserve out to five miles, and that it would be 

            24   all year long, and I was encouraged by that proposal.  

            25   And I see now that it has been cut back, so that it 

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             1   will be about half a year, from July 15, I guess, until 

             2   the 1st of December.  

             3                  I didn't want to see that.  I wanted to 

             4   see a closure, and I wanted to see a marine preserve 

             5   for the children of Texas to be able to enjoy part of 

             6   our history and our heritage, and I encourage you to 

             7   vote for that closure and for the actual establishment 

             8   of a marine preserve.  

             9                  You have a chance to look far into the 

            10   future, and I think it is your commission to take care 

            11   of the interest of all the people of Texas and future 

            12   generations, and future generations of sea turtles, 

            13   too.  Thank you.  

            14                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you, sir.  

            15                  Mr. Deshotelt, I note here you've marked 

            16   "observing only," but I've already called you so...

            17                  MR. DESHOTELT:  Well, Mr. Chairman, I 

            18   just want to thank you-all for implementing the changes 

            19   that we suggested yesterday.  I tell you, I appreciate 

            20   it.  I want to appreciate the staff working with our 

            21   industry leaders on these regulations.  You-all got a 

            22   tough job, and I can appreciate that.  And that was all 

            23   I was going to say, but I did want to make an 

            24   observation.  

            25                  I've been a county commissioner long 

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             1   enough to know -- or long enough that Dicky Travis was 

             2   sitting over there, and there was some Democrats 

             3   sitting up there.  That's how I've been in here. 

             4                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  It's at least 10 years 

             5   ago. 

             6                  MR. DESHOTELT:  Yeah.  So -- But I've 

             7   never felt that politics played a role in the 

             8   Commission's decisions.  I always thought they weighed 

             9   the options and did what they thought was best for the 

            10   state, and I just thought I'd throw that out and tell 

            11   you, you know, you-all got a tough job, and I do 

            12   appreciate that.  Thank you.  

            13                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you, sir.  We 

            14   certainly strive to do as you've observed we do.  

            15                  Dennis Wittenbert?  Is Mr. Wittenbert 

            16   here?

            17                  AUDIENCE MEMBER:  He stepped away.  He's 

            18   coming.

            19                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  All right.  While we're 

            20   waiting on him, let's see if Raymond Mathews is 

            21   available to speak.  

            22                  Mr. Wittenbert, if you can hold up just 

            23   a minute, we'll let Mr. Mathews speak since he's closer 

            24   to the podium than you are at this time. 

            25                  MR. MATHEWS:  Good afternoon, 

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             1   Commissioners, and Andy.  I'm Ray Mathews.  I'm 

             2   representing the Texas Academy of Science.  

             3                  The Texas Academy of Science's 

             4   Threatened or Endangered Species Section, also known as 

             5   TOESS, is concerned that thousands of sea turtles have 

             6   died in Texas waters over the years, and particularly 

             7   the endangered sea turtles that have lived in south 

             8   Texas coastal waters.  Many of those stranding 

             9   mortalities are adult Kemp's Ridleys that have returned 

            10   to nest on Padre Island National Seashore, and the 

            11   juveniles that are using the warm coastal shallow 

            12   waters as nursery grounds. 

            13                  According to numerous reports and law 

            14   enforcement records, many shrimpers are misusing their 

            15   turtle excluder devices, TEDs.  Perhaps as much as 40 

            16   percent of all shrimp vessels are tying TEDs shut, 

            17   resulting in considerable mortality to endangered sea 

            18   turtles.  While most shrimpers are properly using the 

            19   TEDs apparatus to allow for the safe release of sea 

            20   turtles, we know that some are not, and that is enough 

            21   to kill a lot of sea turtles.  

            22                  The lack of sufficient control over this 

            23   technology and the lack of volunteer compliance by a 

            24   significant minority of the shrimping industry have 

            25   resulted in sea turtles dying in such great numbers 

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             1   that their existence is in jeopardy.  None of us want 

             2   to see them disappear from existence after such a 

             3   valiant effort to return them to our Texas seashores.  

             4   Therefore, the Academy supports the Texas Parks and 

             5   Wildlife Department's proposed changes to the Texas 

             6   Shrimp Fishery rules that could help protect these 

             7   endangered sea turtles. 

             8                  We believe that the Texas Parks and 

             9   Wildlife Commission should approve the plan and extend 

            10   the no-shrimp zone out to nine nautical miles along the 

            11   Padre Island National Seashore, to allow the federal 

            12   government to follow the department's example and 

            13   extend the closure into federal waters for protection 

            14   of the sea turtles, shrimp, and fin fishery.  

            15                  Long-term scientific monitoring of the 

            16   Texas Shrimp Fishery by the department clearly 

            17   indicates that this important and economically valuable 

            18   natural resource is being harvested into oblivion and 

            19   could collapse unless prudent management practices and 

            20   protective zones are implemented. 

            21                  The impacts caused by modern shrimping 

            22   practices result not only in the demise of the sea 

            23   turtles, but also the unintended bycatch of blue crabs, 

            24   flounder, and red drum.  

            25                  The disturbances of bottom-dwelling 

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             1   communities and their habitat that provide food and 

             2   protection for many species also are impacted by 

             3   drawing nets.  The loss of these species and their 

             4   habitats is analogous to the canary in the mine that 

             5   signals danger to all living creatures.  

             6                  We support and applaud the department's 

             7   proposed shrimp management plan as a critically needed 

             8   conservation action to protect our coastal resources.  

             9   Thank you.

            10                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you, Mr. Mathews. 

            11                  Mr. Wittnebert. 

            12                  MR. WITTNEBERT:  Mr. Chairman, members 

            13   of the Commission, I appreciate this time to -- What 

            14   have I got, five minutes?  

            15                  MR. SANSOM:  Three. 

            16                  MR. WITTNEBERT:  Three minutes? 

            17                  I would like to talk about turtles, and 

            18   I'd like to talk about the sea grass and all this, but 

            19   three minutes is not going to allow me to do that. 

            20                  I've got over 50 years on the Texas 

            21   Coast, in the waters, fishing and shrimping and 

            22   oystering crabbing and you name it, and I've come to 

            23   represent a good part of the people from middle Texas 

            24   coast, in the Calhoun County area, in particularly.  

            25   And I know that you men have an awesome job as to be 

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             1   the steward over the resources in the state of Texas, 

             2   and I know that you have a hard time.  This one gets up 

             3   and wants this, and that one is -- like a bunch of kids 

             4   arguing over things.  I didn't come to argue, but I 

             5   come to say some things that I've noticed, and I hope 

             6   time will permit just a few minutes.  

             7                  You're stewards over this, and you're 

             8   accountable to the state of Texas, but more than that, 

             9   you're accountable under Almighty God.  Now, I didn't 

            10   come to preach to you, but I want to remind you of 

            11   that.  And we, too, as men that work in these waters 

            12   for a lifetime, are stewards of our own industry, and 

            13   we do the best we can to take care of that.  So no 

            14   matter how much mud gets thrown at us today, we do the 

            15   very best we can, and I'll remind you that shrimping 

            16   has been going on about a hundred years on the Texas 

            17   coast, and I don't know of anything that's been 

            18   depleted since we've been shrimping there.  The grass 

            19   is still there; the croakers are still there; the 

            20   shrimp are still there.  The turtles are getting 

            21   thicker all the time.  And so there's a bunch of 

            22   cotton-picking wind-blowing in here today that's not 

            23   the gospel truth.  I want to tell you that.  

            24                  And I don't envy you, your position, 

            25   when you come to vote on this thing, but you know 

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             1   that -- you may know and you may not.  I was one of the 

             2   men that worked about a year to implement the Limited 

             3   Entry Program, and I think we come up with a good 

             4   program.  It's a program that will keep us from 

             5   overfishing.  I'm so sick of hearing that the shrimping 

             6   is going to collapse.  You what to know make would make 

             7   the shrimping collapse?  I could take you in a boat and 

             8   take you up where the plants drain into those bays and 

             9   estuarine areas, and I could show you what's going to 

            10   cause it to collapse if it ever does.  

            11                  To make the shrimping industry collapse 

            12   is about as foolish as saying we're going to spray 

            13   mosquitos for a while and they're going to all be gone.  

            14   That's just about as sensible as the shrimping 

            15   collapsing.  It will never collapse in Texas under the 

            16   present laws we now work under.  We've got laws that 

            17   regulate us where we can't drag 24 hours a day; we 

            18   can't drag but little nets a great majority of the 

            19   time, and we have to keep so many pounds, and that's 

            20   all -- we are regulated enough, men and ladies.  And I 

            21   hope you'll understand that.  And I hope that this 

            22   Commission today, when this is all said and done, that 

            23   you'll give us some time.  I know we've had a couple of 

            24   months, and it's on record -- 

            25                  MR. SANSOM:  Thank you, Mr. Wittnebert, 

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             1   if you could conclude your remarks. 

             2                  MR. WITTNEBERT:  Is that it already? 

             3                  MR. SANSOM:  Yes, sir. 

             4                  MR. WITTNEBERT:  I'm sorry.  I thought 

             5   I -- 

             6                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Go ahead and complete 

             7   your remark, please. 

             8                  MR. WITTNEBERT:  -- was just getting 

             9   started. 

            10                  Sir? 

            11                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Go ahead and conclude 

            12   your remark. 

            13                  MR. WITTNEBERT:  Well, you got me 

            14   confused now.  

            15                  I'll tell you this:  We come up here to 

            16   object to all of these regulations.  There's some 

            17   things in there we can probably work with and work out, 

            18   but I would ask you to give us -- give us a year until 

            19   you meet again.  Let some of our men, like we've been 

            20   doing the past few months, meet with the staff and come 

            21   up with some sensible things that won't kill the 

            22   shrimpers and put us out.  

            23                  Now, this is serious.  If it was your 

            24   business you was talking about, you would be fighting 

            25   it; I will guarantee you.  You know that.  You're all 

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             1   businessmen.  

             2                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you, sir. 

             3                  MR. WITTNEBERT:  Or you wouldn't be up 

             4   behind this desk. 

             5                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you, sir. 

             6                  MR. WITTNEBERT:  Think about it real 

             7   seriously.  

             8                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you. 

             9                  That concludes our public testimony at 

            10   this time.  And for those of you who are hear to speak 

            11   on other agenda items than shrimp today that are in the 

            12   audience, I commend you for your patience and 

            13   dedication to your agenda item and cause.  

            14                  Mr. Osburn, do you have any particular 

            15   things that you would like to say or comment on, in 

            16   response to the public testimony, prior to the 

            17   opportunity for the Commission to ask you specific 

            18   questions they might have? 

            19                  MR. OSBURN:  Yes, sir, let me -- a 

            20   couple of questions that we heard and may be some 

            21   confusion, I want to it clarify it.  

            22                  The specific rules that are in the Texas 

            23   Register item for the turtle excluder devices are those 

            24   that are basically identical to those in the federal 

            25   rules.  We did that so that there would not be 

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             1   confusion between the state rule and the federal rule, 

             2   and so those that are using the turtle excluder device 

             3   will not have to modify their devices for that 

             4   consistency.  

             5                  For the bycatch reduction devices, the 

             6   bycatch reduction devices are also required in federal 

             7   waters, based on rules promulgated by the Gulf Council.  

             8   We designed the rules in our draft proclamation to 

             9   allow any of the bycatch reduction devices that are 

            10   allowed in federal waters to also be allowed in state 

            11   waters.  In addition, our rules will actually allow 

            12   more liberal interpretations, placements.  The Sea 

            13   Eagle, which is one of the newest favorite BRDs out 

            14   there will be allowed; it would not have been allowed 

            15   under strict federal rules.  So our BRD rules are going 

            16   to be actually more liberal than the federal rules, and 

            17   our TED rules will be identical.  

            18                  The couple of questions about the 15-day 

            19   closure on the end of the fall season that is proposed 

            20   to be adopted, ecologically, I would point out that 

            21   the -- that time of year is when the small shrimp -- I 

            22   think you heard testimony from the bays -- particularly 

            23   white shrimp, move into the Gulf.  The fronts, cold 

            24   weather, lower tides, move the shrimp out.  

            25                  The current rules allow -- and this has 

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             1   been in place for a long time -- allow the shrimpers to 

             2   change their net size on November 1st, from an inch and 

             3   three-quarter net, to an inch and three-eighths net, 

             4   specifically to target the smaller sized shrimp.  So it 

             5   is a well-known phenomena that November has smaller 

             6   shrimp.  

             7                  What we hope to do with that 15-day 

             8   closure ecologically is to retain some of those small 

             9   shrimp when they escape to the Gulf and allow them to, 

            10   over winter, be available for the fleet in the spring 

            11   when they have reached a larger size.  Even though 

            12   there will be some natural mortality, the overall 

            13   growth rate should allow us to actually increase our 

            14   biomass.  

            15                  Looking at the economics of that 

            16   particular 15 days, we used National Marine Fisheries 

            17   Services data, over as long a period of time as we 

            18   could, and came up with about 1.7 percent of the bay 

            19   landings occur in that 2-week time period.  Normally, 

            20   on a normal year, there's about 18 million pounds of 

            21   shrimp harvested out of the bays.  That 15 days would 

            22   be about 300,000 pounds out of the 18 million.  

            23   Generally, the shrimp, because of the smaller size, 

            24   value is about a dollar a pound, so that's about 

            25   $300,000.  We do project, because of the growth and 

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             1   survival of those shrimp, that that economic loss at 

             2   that time will be deferred to the springtime. 

             3                  COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Excuse me.  Will 

             4   those shrimp come back into the bay because of the bay 

             5   or because of the Gulf? 

             6                  MR. OSBURN:  Both.  In the spring, they 

             7   will generally be on the beach, and some of them will 

             8   come back into the bay if it's a milder winter, and 

             9   they will be available to the bay fleet as well as to 

            10   the Gulf fleet, but, primarily, we would see them in 

            11   the beach area.  Those will form part of the spawning 

            12   stock that, when May rolls around, they will be part of 

            13   that spawning stock.

            14                  COMMISSIONER RYAN:  Hal, could you 

            15   comment on that, the statement we heard about these 

            16   shrimp migrating to Mexico?  

            17                  MR. OSBURN:  Yes, sir.  There was a lot 

            18   of effort done, in the 1970s, some in the eighties, on 

            19   actually tagging shrimp.  We participated with the 

            20   National Marine Fisheries Service and with the Mexican 

            21   government, on releasing tagged shrimp at different 

            22   places along the coast.  We did an experiment down in 

            23   the Valley where we released them off South Padre 

            24   Island.  They were also released down in Mexico.  There 

            25   was a reward for the tag, and we -- based on where the 

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             1   shrimpers said that they caught that tag, we calculated 

             2   movements.  

             3                  There was movement south, from Texas, 

             4   into Mexico, but there was also movement north, from 

             5   Mexico, into Texas.  

             6                  Overall, it's difficult to say if it 

             7   balanced out, but in -- I've seen several studies of 

             8   analyzing those data, and in some cases, it would 

             9   indicate that it's pretty much a -- pretty much an even 

            10   split, that depending on the currents that year, that 

            11   particular year, we will see shrimp moving up from 

            12   Mexico; other years, we may see slightly more moving 

            13   down to Mexico.  But that zone does produce 

            14   cross-border  movement both directions.  

            15                  COMMISSIONER AVILA:  Hal, when do these 

            16   regulations go into effect?  Tell me again what year. 

            17                  MR. OSBURN:  We're suggesting different 

            18   dates.  Those rules that impact their equipment, their 

            19   gear, like the BRDs, we would -- and the fees, we 

            20   propose that that would not occur until September of 

            21   2001, to give us time for the BRDs, for the TEDs, to 

            22   basically be installed -- be purchased and installed.  

            23                  The two-net rule in the three-mile zone 

            24   is proposed to not begin until the -- July 15th or the 

            25   summer -- the date of the summer Gulf opening, which 

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             1   would obviously be next year, so that there is an 

             2   opportunity again for those that need to switch to two 

             3   nets of 130 foot of head rope have an opportunity to 

             4   get their gear ready for that season.  

             5                  The closure in the south zone for the 

             6   spring, where we're basically adding the months of 

             7   February 15th to May 15th, we would propose that that 

             8   start for the beginning of this next spring season, so 

             9   that that closure would be in effect, since there's no 

            10   gear changes needed there.

            11                  COMMISSIONER RYAN:  Is there any way -- 

            12                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Excuse me. 

            13                  COMMISSIONER RYAN:  -- of predicting 

            14   how -- 

            15                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Excuse me.  

            16                  And to continue that, go ahead and speak 

            17   to the expansion of nurseries, et cetera.  

            18                  MR. OSBURN:  Expansion of the nursery 

            19   areas are proposed to not begin before December 1, to 

            20   begin on December 1, so that this fall season, they 

            21   would -- the nursery areas and bait bays and major bays 

            22   would remain identical, so that would give us a number 

            23   of months to make sure that information has gotten out.

            24                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you.  I'm sorry, 

            25   Mr. Ryan. 

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             1                  COMMISSIONER RYAN:  Is there any way of 

             2   determining how much shrimping goes on in the Gulf 

             3   within the five nautical miles?

             4                  MR. OSBURN:  We depend on reports from 

             5   National Marine Fisheries Service with the port agents, 

             6   that they report back the depth that they catch their 

             7   shrimp.  That is self-reported data.  We started this 

             8   year, or may have several other years worth of arial 

             9   flights over where we looked at the amount of shrimping 

            10   going on, and part of what we documented this year was 

            11   a very small number of boats in that five-mile zone 

            12   during the open season, and we think we can continue 

            13   with those ariel flights as a way to monitor exactly 

            14   when they're in there.  

            15                  So when the season is open next July, 

            16   and there is that three-mile zone with the two-net 

            17   rule, we will monitor that and be able to provide you, 

            18   actually, the impacts of that rule. 

            19                  COMMISSIONER IDSAL:  I've got a 

            20   question.  How many months following full 

            21   implementation of the regs might we be seeing some 

            22   preliminary studies on benefits or lack of benefits 

            23   from the regs?  I know somebody said five years before 

            24   we had full understanding.  Would we be able to find 

            25   out something sooner than that?

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             1                  MR. OSBURN:  We have a year-round 

             2   coastal water monitoring program.  We can provide those 

             3   data at any time.  We would be caveating it -- If the 

             4   landings went up and it looked like the regs from, you 

             5   know, a gift from Poseidon, we would still be caveating 

             6   it that this is only one year and it may be an 

             7   aberration, and so we would be still wanting to have 

             8   several more years.  But we can, each year, give you a 

             9   data point or where we are on a whole host of 

            10   parameters, and, of course, as complex as the -- three 

            11   different species, several different areas that they're 

            12   fished, and we will attempt to do that if you so 

            13   desire.  

            14                  And I think there was another question 

            15   that I wanted to ask Bob Sweeney's staff attorney to 

            16   address regarding the regulatory impact statement.  

            17                  MR. SWEENEY:  Commissioners, if you'd 

            18   like to hear about the question about the applicability 

            19   of the regulatory impact analysis statute that was 

            20   raised by the lawyer for the Calhoun County Shrimpers, 

            21   I'm prepared to address that.

            22                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  If you would, please.  

            23                  MR. SWEENEY:  The statute that's 

            24   referred to is completely inapplicable in this case, 

            25   and we've provided more than adequate notice.  This 

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             1   would be a notice provision that he's referring to.  

             2                  The regulatory impact analysis statute 

             3   that he's referring to applies to what the statute 

             4   calls -- This is going to go into a little bit of 

             5   detail -- what they call major environmental rules, and 

             6   those are defined in the statute. 

             7                  The classic case -- What they're meant 

             8   to get at is a situation where let's say there's a 

             9   federal law covering exposure to arsenic, and the 

            10   standard is 10, and the state wants to come in and say, 

            11   "Well, but in Texas, we're going to have a tougher 

            12   standard; we're going to have a standard that's 1," all 

            13   right?  That's the classic situation that that 

            14   regulatory impact analysis statute that's referred to 

            15   was meant to apply to.  But that doesn't apply in this 

            16   case, for two reasons:  First of all, there is no 

            17   explicit federal or state statute that applies in this 

            18   case that's exceeded.  So that's number one.  That's 

            19   clear that that's not applicable for that reason.  

            20                  Second of all, the statute -- a word was 

            21   omitted in his presentation.  But it refers to a 

            22   situation of "exposure" to human health or the 

            23   environment.  "Exposure risk," and that's the situation 

            24   where it's intended to apply, and that's why the 

            25   classic case of a chemical or something like that, that 

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             1   sort of rule.  And that, unfortunately, was omitted in 

             2   that presentation, but that is another key reason why 

             3   that is not applicable to the notice provisions in this 

             4   case.  

             5                  And then he makes a final point that if, 

             6   for some reason, a court decides, as I believe 

             7   emphatically it wouldn't, that this is an applicable 

             8   notice provision, and the rules had gone into effect 

             9   without complying with it, the law says, generally 

            10   speaking, that the court will leave the rule in place 

            11   until that notice provision is satisfied.  That's the 

            12   way the law currently reads.  I believe that there is 

            13   no chance that a court would find that there's 

            14   inadequate notice, but even if that were found, then 

            15   that's what the court, in all likely, would do.  So I 

            16   hope that's an adequate answer. 

            17                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you.  

            18                  Mr. Osburn, could you please return.  

            19                  Mr. Angelo, would you care to direct a 

            20   question?

            21                  COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Mr. Osburn, I had 

            22   a question regarding the 30-day closure in the Gulf, 

            23   the additional 30 days.  If you could give the 

            24   biological explanation for that as you did for the 15 

            25   days. 

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             1                  MR. OSBURN:  Yes, sir, and it is 

             2   similar.  Currently, the bay season ends on December 

             3   15th, and that's also when the Gulf winter season 

             4   closure begins.  So moving the bay season closure back 

             5   to December 1 where those small shrimp are escaping 

             6   into the Gulf, to allow those small shrimp to continue 

             7   their growth, we needed to move that December 15th 

             8   closure back to December 1st to coincide with that so 

             9   that we actually provide protection for those shrimp 

            10   from the bay and in the Gulf as they reside in the 

            11   Gulf, and we did receive public testimony that that was 

            12   a critical time period for those white shrimp to be 

            13   protected from the industry in several instances.  

            14                  We also, on the February 1st to February 

            15   15th, found that less than one percent of the landings 

            16   occurred in that time period.  It's not always the 

            17   greatest time to be out in that Gulf, and that that 

            18   two-week time period would also provide some ecological 

            19   benefits from a smaller extension of the protection of 

            20   those white shrimp that have basically made it through 

            21   the winter in preparing for the spring harvest season 

            22   and spawning season. 

            23                  COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  And I had one 

            24   other question regarding the coastal regulations, the 

            25   three miles, and the other regulations regarding the 

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             1   coastal areas.  What would you say about the biological 

             2   benefits to the shrimp population with respect to those 

             3   recommendations?  

             4                  MR. OSBURN:  I will tell when we looked 

             5   very closely at our data and the National Marine 

             6   Fisheries Service landings data, but also our data 

             7   where we had the great fortune of having a fleet of 

             8   vessels that can go out into the Gulf, have been 

             9   sampling out there since the eighties, and randomly -- 

            10   and looked at the sizes and numbers of shrimp that we 

            11   saw by depth zone and miles.  

            12                  The three-mile line actually is a very 

            13   good breaking point.  Inside of three miles, we saw the 

            14   greatest abundance of the large white shrimp.  Outside 

            15   of the three miles, that abundance did drop off, which 

            16   helped justify the compromise back to the three-mile 

            17   line.  Three miles provides significant benefits in 

            18   terms of protection of the white shrimp.  It also is an 

            19   area that's critical to the small brown shrimp as they 

            20   stage up, moving out of the bays, before they move to 

            21   deeper water.  They distribute themselves, scatter, 

            22   outside of there, in general, but the three miles is a 

            23   biological zone that we can justify.  

            24                  It also, from that biodiversity 

            25   standpoint, I know we want to look at that harder in 

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             1   the future, but the closer you get to shore, the 

             2   greater the diversity you generally see.  As the fresh 

             3   water mixes with the salt water in that near-shore 

             4   zone, the turbidity creates habitats that are conducive 

             5   to a number of species' life cycles, and we see a great 

             6   diversity, whether it's puppying grounds for sharks or 

             7   other large schools of bait fish.  Very important zone 

             8   biologically.

             9                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Hal, there are a couple 

            10   of points that Mr. Blevens brought up, one having to do 

            11   with the closure line of the nursery area in San 

            12   Antonio Bay, and spoke to some obstructions that where 

            13   involved with that line.  Do you have comments on that 

            14   particular point that he raised?  

            15                  MR. OSBURN:  Well, yes, sir, we did look 

            16   at those maps.  There is oyster reefs that run the 

            17   entire north/south access of San Antonio Bay.  It has 

            18   some great oyster reefs.  The shrimpers historically 

            19   have had to fish around oysters reefs.  Obviously, it's 

            20   not good for your trawl dragging across those.  And 

            21   those experienced folks like Dennis Wittnebert and 

            22   Wesley Blevens have the knowledge to do that and are 

            23   successful.  

            24                  That new nursery area would cut across 

            25   part of some of those reefs, I believe, where, rather 

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             1   than making a complete circle around the reef as they 

             2   approach the nursery area, they would have to pull 

             3   their trawls up, and they would have to go around that 

             4   oyster reefs, come back in, outside of the nursery 

             5   area, and trawl, but it would be -- there's still the 

             6   significant area that remains for the trawling, and 

             7   those shrimp that are protected in that nursery area 

             8   will move out and be available to harvest.  So we see 

             9   that there may be some inconvenience there, but that's 

            10   generally the case throughout our bay systems that have 

            11   oyster reefs, though.  You have to accommodate around 

            12   oyster reefs.

            13                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  He also mentioned that a 

            14   TED that was equipped with a three-inch grid, I believe 

            15   he referred to, served as an extremely effective 

            16   bycatch reduction device.  Could you speak to that? 

            17                  MR. OSBURN:  Yes, sir, it works on the 

            18   large fish, primarily.  The TEDs in the Gulf that have 

            19   been worked with, in the federal waters, have excluded 

            20   the large fish.  You know, a big red drum used to be 

            21   caught, and they're excluded now.  The smaller fish, 

            22   the juveniles, are smaller than three inches, and they 

            23   pass through that.  

            24                  We did test some TEDs with the smaller 

            25   grids, the grids closer together, and we found it to be 

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             1   one of our poorer performing bycatch reduction devices.  

             2   Any TED that the federal government approves as a BRD, 

             3   and there are several apparatuses that can be used as 

             4   both, will fall under our rules and be allowed in the 

             5   bay.  So if that is --

             6                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  So it is possible to rig 

             7   a TED, under the proposed rules, that would serve as a 

             8   bycatch reduction device? 

             9                  MR. OSBURN:  Yes. 

            10                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you.  

            11                  Any questions?  

            12                  Well, as we have seen today, there are a 

            13   lot of divergent points of view on this issue and a lot 

            14   of passionate points of view of this issue.  As a 

            15   number of people said to this Commission, I don't envy 

            16   your job today.  

            17                  Is there a discussion from the 

            18   Commission?  Yes, sir?

            19                  COMMISSIONER HEATH:  Mr. Chairman, as we 

            20   consider this matter, I have sat here probably 

            21   unusually quiet today, and I've done so, frankly, 

            22   because this is a complex issue and one that I know all 

            23   of my fellow commissioners have worked hard to get 

            24   their arms around, as have I.  

            25                  I would say that in the five and a half 

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             1   years, Mr. Chairman, that I have been here, this is the 

             2   most difficult decision that I've been faced with, 

             3   because of the parties -- the breadth of the parties 

             4   and individuals, as well as the resource that is 

             5   impacted.  

             6                  If I may, Mr. Chairman, I would like to 

             7   say that I've been disappointed that, in my opinion, an 

             8   in-depth economic study has not been adequately 

             9   presented to the Commission.  I'm concerned with the 

            10   potential economic impact to the industry and to women, 

            11   the men, and the children who will be impacted by a 

            12   decision that we might make.  

            13                  Further, I'd like to say, Mr. Chairman, 

            14   that for five and a half years here, I've been a very, 

            15   very strong supporter of what I truly believe is an 

            16   extraordinary staff of individuals, and I certainly 

            17   remain clearly in that position today.  

            18                  I am, however, disappointed in one 

            19   particular thing and a flurry that I think that it 

            20   caused, and that was a statement that was made in 

            21   regards to the -- and I quote -- collapse, or potential 

            22   collapse, of the industry.  I see it as inflammatory 

            23   and created substantial concern by the Commission that 

            24   made this challenging -- more challenging for us to 

            25   work through, and possibly just a slip or an error, and 

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             1   I accept it as such, but I think we have to be very 

             2   careful when we're talking about issues that so 

             3   directly impact, not only the resource, but impact 

             4   lives, in exactly what we say and the words we might 

             5   use.  

             6                  That said, Mr. Chairman, I'm prepared to 

             7   make a motion, on your timing, sir, to pass the 

             8   proposed amendment suggested by staff, in light of our 

             9   responsibility to protect and to conserve the resource.  

            10   And I'd like to suggest, at the same time, 

            11   Mr. Chairman, that the Chair direct staff to institute 

            12   a coast-wide study immediately, a study of the resource 

            13   of the industry and the economic impact of individuals 

            14   within the community.  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.  

            15                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you, sir.  

            16                  Any other comments?  Yes, ma'am.

            17                  VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Thank you, 

            18   Mr. Chairman.  

            19                  We had a number of speakers who 

            20   commented on the fact that they would prefer not to be 

            21   public speakers, but I wanted to say that I personally 

            22   appreciate all of you taking the time and going through 

            23   the agony of having to make a speech, and then the time 

            24   of traveling long distances and missing time away from 

            25   your work.  But I think that the speakers we have heard 

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             1   from have been not only effective, but they've been 

             2   substantive in the remarks that they've made.  

             3                  I also believe that it's been quite 

             4   beneficial to hear from scientists outside of the 

             5   department staff, and I appreciate their bringing their 

             6   expertise to bear on the issues that we're considering.  

             7                  This has not been easy, as Commissioner 

             8   Heath said, but if it were easy to make these 

             9   decisions, we wouldn't all be here for this amount of 

            10   time. 

            11                  I believe that we have heard sufficient 

            12   information, I think, the information that we need on 

            13   which to make a decision, and I look forward to the 

            14   results of the studies that we have been assured would 

            15   be done, and I think there are some very intriguing 

            16   points on statistical analysis of the existing data 

            17   that were presented by Dr. Caillouet that we do need to 

            18   hear back from staff on as they conduct these studies.  

            19                  The conclusions that we have heard from 

            20   the scientists about growth overfishing being a reality 

            21   now, and about the possibility of recruitment 

            22   overfishing, and the concern that that should be 

            23   avoided at all costs, is really forming the views to 

            24   which I've come to this issue.  

            25                  Finally, I would say, about the turtles, 

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             1   the objectives here clearly are important to all of us, 

             2   and in the testimony, we heard a lot about individuals 

             3   and about stranding of individuals, but we didn't here 

             4   much focus on the fact that the trend lines show 

             5   improvement for the Kemp's Ridley sea turtle, and that 

             6   is what I would like to focus on.  

             7                  I think, if we were to adopt, as a 

             8   Commission, the proposed rule change from staff, that 

             9   we would be doing more in the future than we're doing 

            10   today.  And so I believe that the proposals that have 

            11   been made are appropriate ones.  Thank you, 

            12   Mr. Chairman.

            13                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you. 

            14                  Mr. Watson?

            15                  COMMISSIONER WATSON:  Mr. Chairman, I'd 

            16   just like to make a brief statement of the fact that I 

            17   really appreciate the comments that everybody has made, 

            18   not only here today, but in the public comment hearings 

            19   that we've have around the state.  I think everything 

            20   has come as men and women of goodwill.  

            21                  I think that, you know, undoubtedly, 

            22   these are very, very emotionally based issues, and I 

            23   don't think there's any way to -- you know, to avoid 

            24   those situations, but I do think that the staff has 

            25   presented us with sufficient data.  I've only been here 

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             1   for a year and a half, but I've been going to the coast 

             2   for over 50 years, and I want to see the bays estuary 

             3   systems of Texas returned to the way they were 50 years 

             4   ago, and I feel like that these are steps that will 

             5   point us in the right direction.  And, again, I'd like 

             6   to thank everybody, including the staff, for all the 

             7   work they've done, but I would like to see us move to 

             8   adopt the regulations as we presently have on the 

             9   table. 

            10                  COMMISSIONER AVILA:  Mr. Chairman?

            11                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Yes, sir.  

            12                  COMMISSIONER AVILA:  I just wanted to 

            13   comment, as well, many of the people in the shrimping 

            14   industry have seen the varying commissioners here at 

            15   the hearings and on shrimp boats, and I just wanted 

            16   those in the public audience that did not know this, 

            17   that this has been an issue which has been the most 

            18   difficult things that we've all had to deal with, 

            19   perhaps, in the time that we've served on the 

            20   Commission.  And so, not at the staff's urging, but in 

            21   our own initiatives, we got up and went down the coast 

            22   and got on shrimping boats and talked with you people 

            23   that are in that industry and what it means to the 

            24   Texas coast, went to the public hearings, and so on, 

            25   and what you see from your efforts is the modifications 

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             1   to the original regulations as they were initially 

             2   proposed to us by staff, and that has come from the 

             3   collaboration and the meetings and your suggestions.  

             4                  And so I was just handed an article here 

             5   from the Houston Post that tells us that we're selling 

             6   out by weakening and modifying the original 

             7   regulations, but I say that I think we've done what we 

             8   needed to do to compromise, and for the Commission to 

             9   do not nothing or to take no action based on the 

            10   statistics about growth overfishing would be wrong, so 

            11   I support the regulations as they now have been 

            12   modified.  

            13                  And I also want to say to you that the 

            14   Commission has often taken exception to staff or told 

            15   staff to table issues or to restudy issues, in the 

            16   past, on other issues, whether it be wildlife or 

            17   economic impact things to parks or acquiring land or so 

            18   forth, so for you in the shrimping industry, this isn't 

            19   a rubber stamp post up here, whatsoever.  And that we 

            20   have been presented modifications to regulations on a 

            21   recurring basis as we look at regulations, that either 

            22   tighten them or loosen up on them and so forth, so I 

            23   think this is a starting point that we need to be at 

            24   and to take action rather than to delay and be 

            25   continually talking about this for the rest of our 

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             1   careers.  So I support the regulations as they're 

             2   modified.  

             3                  COMMISSIONER HENRY:  Mr. Chairman? 

             4                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Yes, sir.

             5                  COMMISSIONER HENRY:  I'm obliged to 

             6   thank, both, our staff and representatives from the 

             7   industry that's appeared before us in the last couple 

             8   of days and a couple of months ago to discuss this 

             9   issue.  

            10                  As John was alluding to, I think it's 

            11   also important to note that we have received more 

            12   information on this issue than, probably, all others 

            13   combined since I've been on this Commission.  My wife 

            14   has kept a tab, a running tab, on the numbers of pieces 

            15   of correspondence that we get per week concerning this 

            16   issue, letters as well as faxes, and it's enormous.  

            17   It's not unusual for me to -- I ended up getting a 

            18   larger post office box, because it's not unusual to get 

            19   from as many as 20 to 30 letters in a day, along with 

            20   other packages of information that the various 

            21   organizations and individuals have submitted on this 

            22   issues.  

            23                  So I hope that no one thinks that it's 

            24   just that we began to study the issue in the last two 

            25   days or to hear points of view, both, pro and con, in 

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             1   the last couple of days.  For the past four months, 

             2   I've read more about shrimping issues and turtle issues 

             3   than I ever thought possible.  So I thought it was 

             4   important to say that, and to recognize that we make 

             5   the best decision that we can given the information 

             6   that we have, and that's our obligation, and that's 

             7   what, hopefully, we will do.  I certainly will attempt 

             8   to do that.

             9                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Other comments?  

            10                  COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Mr. Chairman, I 

            11   have been real concerned about the economic impact on 

            12   those in the shrimping industry, and the fact that 

            13   we've not been able to, in any way, pin that down has 

            14   bothered me in reaching a decision regarding this 

            15   issue.  And I know that anyone familiar with 

            16   governmental regulations would have a hard time 

            17   believing that any governmental body would take a 

            18   regulation and look at it and say, well, we've made an 

            19   overregulation, and we're now going to move back from 

            20   that regulation and reduce its impact on the affected 

            21   parties, but I personally have had plenty of reason to 

            22   doubt the governmental body's willingness to do that, 

            23   but I'm committed, myself, to that, and I believe that 

            24   this Commission is committed to studying the results of 

            25   these regulations as they're implemented, the impact, 

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             1   not only on the resource, but also on those of you that 

             2   make your living in the industry that's being affected, 

             3   and if we can be shown that the regulations are too 

             4   stringent, if changes could be made that will not harm 

             5   the resource but will benefit those involved in the 

             6   industry, then I believe that we will do that, and 

             7   because I believe that, I'm willing to, today, move 

             8   forward with the regulations as they're presented.  

             9                  COMMISSIONER IDSAL:  I have to agree 

            10   with Commissioner Heath and Commissioner Angelo when 

            11   they express their concerns about the economic impact 

            12   on the industry.  I think our responsibilities to the 

            13   resource are clear, but I think we also have 

            14   responsibilities to our fellow citizens.  

            15                  I will support this on the same basis 

            16   that Commissioner Angelo has just expressed, that we 

            17   follow very carefully the impact that it has, not only 

            18   on the shrimpers, but, hopefully, the beneficial impact 

            19   it will have on the resource and on our endangered 

            20   species.  

            21                  I think everybody on this Commission -- 

            22   I know everybody on this Commission is very concerned 

            23   about the impact on turtles, but I would like the staff 

            24   to keep us apprised of developments as we learn about 

            25   them.  I would like room and time to come to decisions, 

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             1   and I'd like to work, in the future, on improving the 

             2   process that we use.  I think that's important for 

             3   everyone, and it makes our job, never easy, but a 

             4   little less difficult.  Thank you.  

             5                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Pitchers always bat 

             6   last.

             7                  COMMISSIONER RYAN:  I sit here with very 

             8   mixed emotions on this issue because of the complexity 

             9   of it, and I think, because of, before this issue came 

            10   up, my lack of knowledge on the issue, and I think, as 

            11   we got into it, with the complexity of it, that it even 

            12   made it a tougher situation for me than before.  But I 

            13   would like to say that I truly appreciate everyone's 

            14   interest.  And to the shrimpers, who have come here 

            15   during a time that has taken away from their work, 

            16   which, their time on the water is limited, as we all 

            17   know, and this issue has already had an economic impact 

            18   on you by being here and going to meetings, I 

            19   appreciate you being here, and I appreciate your input.  

            20                  And as we have talked, as a Commission, 

            21   throughout this process, we all have agonized over it 

            22   at times and had very mixed feelings on which way to go 

            23   and what was the right thing to do, but as I sit here 

            24   today, I can honestly say that my comfort level hasn't 

            25   improved that much, but I think that, with my 

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             1   appointment to this Commission, I have to do what I 

             2   think is in the best interest, but I do appreciate 

             3   you-all's interest.  Thank you.

             4                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Commissioner Heath, 

             5   would you please restate your motion, for clarity, 

             6   since -- 

             7                  COMMISSIONER HEATH:  I'd like to make a 

             8   motion, Mr. Chairman, to pass the proposed amendments 

             9   suggested by staff, and would just ask, also, 

            10   Mr. Chairman, that I do so in the context of your 

            11   requesting staff to institute a coast-wide study of the 

            12   resource, the industry, and the economic impact to 

            13   individuals in the community.  

            14                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Chair has a motion.  

            15                  VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Second.  

            16                  MR. OSBURN:  Mr. Chairman, does that 

            17   include the amendments that were made today?  

            18                  COMMISSIONER HEATH:  That does.

            19                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Yes, it does.  Thank you 

            20   for clarifying that, Mr. Osburn. 

            21                  Chair has a motion and a second.  Is 

            22   there any further comment or discussion?  

            23                  All in favor say aye.  Any opposed?  

            24                  Hearing no opposed, the motion carries.  

            25                (Motion carries unanimously.)

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             1   "The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts 

             2   amendments to 31 TAC SS58.160-58.151, and 58.163-58.165 

             3   concerning the Statewide Shrimp Fishery Proclamation, 

             4   and to 31 TAC SS53.3, 53.6, and 53.7 with changes to 

             5   the proposed text as published in the July 14, 2000 

             6   issue of the Texas Register (25TexReg)."

             7                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Mr. Sansom, I think we 

             8   have done something that I -- Before y'all leave, just 

             9   one other comment I'd like to make.  

            10                  I think what we've done here today is 

            11   something that, basically, has left nobody completely 

            12   happy.  It's been said that maybe that's an indication 

            13   that sometimes you've done the right thing because 

            14   nobody likes it. 

            15                  I will direct you, Mr. Sansom, to 

            16   present, in less than 30 days, to the Commission, a 

            17   proposal for a study that would be a coast-wide study 

            18   of the shrimp industry, the resources, and the 

            19   collateral resources that are impacted, be they 

            20   bycatch, turtles, et cetera.  That that study proposal 

            21   also include a study of the industry itself, the human 

            22   impacts, and the economic impacts, and to present us 

            23   with a proposal for such a study in no more than 30 

            24   days for us to review and comment on and attempt to 

            25   initiate at the earliest possible time, to track the 

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             1   impacts of these actions as well as other things so 

             2   that -- so that future commissions can hopefully have 

             3   an easier time of making hard decisions.  

             4                  I'd also like to ask that the Shrimp 

             5   Advisory Committee, that you bring forth some 

             6   suggestions to me, as Chairman, for the Shrimp Advisory 

             7   Committee to perhaps examine its makeup, to include, on 

             8   a permanent basis, some broader stakeholder groups that 

             9   are impacted by the industry, realizing that the shrimp 

            10   are a public resource, and, therefore, there are those 

            11   other than those directly involved in the industry who 

            12   have some legitimate concern and interest in that.  If 

            13   you'd bring such a proposal to my attention, also.  

            14                  I think that the Shrimp Advisory 

            15   Committee needs to be an integral part of any study 

            16   that we do -- the study we will do, going forward from 

            17   here, and I look forward to your proposal at that time. 

            18                  MR. SANSOM:  You will have it.

            19                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Given the hour, we're 

            20   going to, I believe, adjourn from our public schedule 

            21   so that the Commission and those in the audience can 

            22   get a little sustenance to get us through the rest of 

            23   the agenda in the afternoon.  

            24                  And, also, at that time, while we're in 

            25   adjournment from public session, I'd like to announce 

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             1   that, pursuant to the Open Meetings Law, an executive 

             2   session will be held for consideration of the executive 

             3   director's performance review, which is an annual 

             4   event, which always takes place in August.  

             5                  Given the conclusion of that, we'll 

             6   convene back in this room and pursue with our agenda 

             7   after this recess.  

             8                  I think I've previously stated 

             9   "adjourn."  We'll temporarily recess.  Thank you very 

            10   much.  

            11                  (Recess, whereupon an Executive Session 

            12                  was held.)


            14                     SPECIES REGULATIONS

            15                  VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Please come to 

            16   order.  

            17                  Having completed the recess in the 

            18   executive session, we will reconvene and consider item 

            19   Number 7 on the agenda, and this is the threatened and 

            20   endangered species regulations.  

            21                  And I believe that John Herron will 

            22   present that item.   

            23                  MR. HERRON:  Thank you very much.  My 

            24   name is John Herron.  I'm the program director for the 

            25   Wildlife Diversity Program.  I'm just standing here 

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             1   smiling because we're not going to talk about shrimps.  

             2                  Anyway, this is an action item, request 

             3   the adoption of regulations that we briefed the 

             4   Commission on at the last meeting.  

             5                  Two areas were posed to be changed in 

             6   the regulation.  First, we're going to update the 

             7   threatened and endangered species list.  Secondly, 

             8   we're updating the rules concerning possession of 

             9   threatened and endangered species.  

            10                  Regarding the proposed changes to our 

            11   threatened species list, we're proposing to remove 

            12   three species from the state's threatened list:  The 

            13   McKittrick pennyroyal, which is found only in Texas and 

            14   New Mexico, and which was federally delisted in '93.  

            15                  The Concho water snake, which was listed 

            16   in 1986, and it has recently been proposed for federal 

            17   delisting.  Data that has been collected since listing 

            18   indicates the populations of the Concho water snake are 

            19   stable.  Experts we've consulted agree that the species 

            20   should now be delisted.  

            21                  And then, thirdly, the jaguar.  The 

            22   jaguar was listed as federally endangered in 1997, and 

            23   through executive order, it was placed on our 

            24   endangered species list in 1998, but we neglected to 

            25   remove it from the threatened species list.  So this is 

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             1   just a housekeeping measure.  It still will be 

             2   maintained on our state endangered species list.  

             3                  We're proposing to add three other 

             4   species to the threatened species list:  The Pecos 

             5   sunflower, which is found only in Texas and New Mexico, 

             6   which was federally listed last year.  

             7                  The Arkansas River shiner, found in 

             8   Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Kansas, which was 

             9   federally listed last November.  

            10                  And, finally, the Cagle's map turtle, 

            11   which is found only in Texas, with a restricted range 

            12   in the Guadalupe River drainage.  This species has been 

            13   considered for federal listing; however, there's been 

            14   documented cases of commercial collection of the 

            15   species that could threaten remaining populations.  

            16   We're hoping that state listing will bring this 

            17   commercial collection to a close, thereby protecting 

            18   the species.  

            19                  In addition, we have changes to the 

            20   endangered species list.  The endangered species list 

            21   is not done by regulation; it's done by executive 

            22   order.  We did put these changes out for public 

            23   comment, and we wanted to make sure that the Commission 

            24   and the public were aware of them at this meeting.  

            25                  We're proposing to remove the Lloyd's 

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             1   hedgehog cactus from the state endangered species list.  

             2   This was removed from the federal list, by the Fish and 

             3   Wildlife Service, last year, and so we're following 

             4   suite.  

             5                  We're proposing to list the Zapata 

             6   bladderpod.  This species is found in Zapata and Starr 

             7   County and was federally listed last year.  

             8                  As I said, the second item we're 

             9   addressing concerns the possession of 

            10   threatened/endangered species.  

            11                  Our current regulations leave some 

            12   inconsistencies in regards to possession.  For example, 

            13   concerning black bears, a Texas resident who has a back 

            14   bear must renew a permit with us annually; however, a 

            15   nonresident who would come to Texas with a legally 

            16   acquired black bear would need no permit.  So, 

            17   basically, we're proposing to simplify our regulations 

            18   and adopt similar requirements for, both, Texas 

            19   residents and people coming to the state.  

            20                  Briefly, we're proposing to eliminate 

            21   the permit requirement, which currently includes a 

            22   veterinary inspection and some reporting requirements.  

            23   Instead, we're going to replace this with the 

            24   requirement that anybody who legally -- who is in 

            25   possession of a listed species that was obtained 

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             1   legally simply must have, in possession, a 

             2   documentation proving legal acquisition of that animal, 

             3   and that documentation would be a bill of sale, an 

             4   out-of-state permit, or even a notarized statement 

             5   attesting to the fact that they got the species 

             6   legally.  

             7                  Three other changes that are in the 

             8   regulation is a requirement that all specimens of 

             9   listed mammals and turtles be permanently marked.  This 

            10   is a change from what we published, and I'll go into 

            11   that in a little more detail shortly.  

            12                  We're also prohibiting the release of 

            13   captive threatened/endangered species.  

            14                  And, finally, we're amending the 

            15   regulation to clarify the fact that the endangered 

            16   species list is by executive order as is stated in 

            17   statute.  

            18                  We have had a little public comment.  We 

            19   held a public hearing the evening of July 26th, here in 

            20   Austin.  The meeting was attended by four members of 

            21   the public.  One testified.  In addition, I've received 

            22   one written comment concerning the regulations.  Quite 

            23   a bit different than what we went through this morning.  

            24   And, basically, those comments were asking that Parks 

            25   and Wildlife allow the propagation and sale threatened 

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             1   species, primarily turtles. 

             2                  At this time, staff is not supportive of 

             3   making that change and continues to recommend that we 

             4   maintain the regulations proposed which would prohibit, 

             5   both, sale and propagation.  

             6                  In our review, we did come upon two 

             7   changes that we are recommending that the Commission 

             8   make to the regulation.  

             9                  First, we're proposing that the language 

            10   be -- language be added to clarify that this regulation 

            11   applies to, both, threatened/endangered species and the 

            12   parts thereof, such as skins, hides, and such.  

            13                  And, secondly, based on staff review and 

            14   public comment, we're proposing to change the permanent 

            15   marking that we originally proposed.  Originally, what 

            16   we published proposed that we permanently mark all 

            17   species that are in possession, but both staff and the 

            18   public pointed out there are a number of reptiles and 

            19   amphibians who are simply too small to be permanently 

            20   marked, even with the embedable PIT tags.  

            21                  In discussing it, we just decided to 

            22   limit this marking to both mammals and turtles since 

            23   they're large enough to take the mark, and, actually, 

            24   are probably the two species groups that are of most 

            25   interest to us, in terms of making sure they're not 

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             1   released to the wild. 

             2                  Also, we're specifying be more specific 

             3   about what that marking needs to be, that it needs to 

             4   be, indeed, a four-digit alphanumeric identifier.  

             5                  So with that, we request that the 

             6   Commission approve this regulation with the changes we 

             7   proposed, and I'd be happy to answer any questions you 

             8   might have. 

             9                  VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Thank you, 

            10   Mr. Herron.  Is it your wish that we generate as much 

            11   comment as we heard this morning?

            12                  MR. HERRON:  Hey, I'm in for it.  I had 

            13   a Diet Coke.  I can go.  

            14                  VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Are there any 

            15   questions by any of the Commissioners?  

            16                  Hearing none then, thank you.  We will 

            17   move to public comment, and first is Ellis Gilleland, 

            18   Mr. Gilleland, and next up will be John Grant, and 

            19   following Mr. Grant will be Rick Van Dyke.  And those 

            20   are the persons who signed up on this issue.  

            21                  MR. GILLELAND:  My name is Ellis 

            22   Gilleland.  I'm representing Texas Animals, which is an 

            23   animal rights internet organization.  

            24                  The slides and so forth you just saw is 

            25   fantasy, except for the last slide.  That has not been 

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             1   published; it's in this gentleman's mind; he dreamed it 

             2   up.  What I'm showing you is reality.  This is what has 

             3   been published in the Texas Register.  You've got it in 

             4   your warm little hand right now.  

             5                  Now, maybe he's going to do that next 

             6   time, but what is before us is, Number 1, the Park and 

             7   Wildlife code requires -- in bold I put it -- it 

             8   requires that you have a regulation and a publication 

             9   and distribution of lists of species and subspecies of 

            10   endangered fish or wildlife.  I'm reading the law.  You 

            11   cannot repeal what is prescribed by statutory law.  

            12   68.180 is what you have now, Page 382 of your rules.  

            13   There's a copy of it.  There's your endangered species 

            14   list.  You cannot repeal that, by statutory provision, 

            15   which I've given you in your hand.  

            16                  The third document I've given you is a 

            17   proposed rule of Texas Register, 21 July of 2000, Page 

            18   6939.  And you notice I've underlined, or shown you in 

            19   yellow, you are going to repeal 65.180, which is the 

            20   endangered species list.  It's prohibited by law.  

            21                  What you are going to do is what you see 

            22   on the next page, starting with 65.171.  That's Page 

            23   6940.  That's what -- That's what you're going to wind 

            24   up, the vestige of what you have after you do this.  

            25   You'll do it because -- You're going to do it because I 

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             1   tell you can't do it; it's against the law; you'll do 

             2   it.  Go ahead.  Go ahead.  Repeal it.  But you're 

             3   violating Texas state law.  Well, I don't think it 

             4   makes any difference.  Repeal it, because I don't think 

             5   you have a concern.  There might be one or two of you 

             6   that have a concern about endangered species, but 

             7   there's no consensus of that, and you don't care 

             8   whether you eliminate the law or not.  You've never, 

             9   never provided to the Secretary of Texas the endangered 

            10   species, which is, again, a statutory requirement by 

            11   law, the Parks and Wildlife Code, to provide a list to 

            12   the Secretary of State.  I've brought that to your 

            13   attention numerous times, and it's never been provided, 

            14   and I can't afford to go -- to hire a staff of lawyers 

            15   to bring it out.  Thank you.  

            16                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  John Grant, please.  

            17                  MR. GRANT:  Mr. Chairman, member of the 

            18   Commission, my name is John Grant.  I'm the general 

            19   manager of the Colorado River Municipal Water District.  

            20                  I'm here today to support the removal of 

            21   the Concho water snake from the state's list of 

            22   threatened species, in accordance with the staff 

            23   recommendations, and also the recommendations of other 

            24   consultants that have knowledge of this species.  

            25                  The snake, this species, was listed in 

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             1   the late 1970s.  Subsequent to that, the district 

             2   applied for and eventually received permits to 

             3   construct the Stacy Reservoir, now the Ivie Reservoir.  

             4   In part of those permits, to get the Federal 404 

             5   permit, we had to go through a 10-year monitoring 

             6   program to gather data and also analyze that data and 

             7   do several things in terms of mitigation for the snake.  

             8   The results of that data clearly indicate that there's 

             9   sufficient information to show that the snake is a very 

            10   good candidate and should be delisted, and I'm here to 

            11   ask your positive consideration for that delisting.  

            12                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you, Mr. Grant. 

            13                  Rick Van Dyke, please. 

            14                  MR. VAN DYKE:  I found out why everybody 

            15   wears long pants.  It's freezing in here.  

            16                  I'm here to talk about the Cagle's Map 

            17   turtle, and to put a face with it -- 

            18                  MR. SANSOM:  Sorry, sir.  Could you 

            19   bring that over here, please.  Thank you.  

            20                  MR. VAN DYKE:  I'd like to pass it 

            21   around to you.  

            22                  MR. SANSOM:  Thank you very much.  

            23                  MR. VAN DYKE:  My name is Rick Van Dyke.  

            24   I'm president of the Central Texas Herp Society here in 

            25   Austin.  I'm on the non-game advisory board.  I've been 

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             1   working with John Herron on that board for the last 

             2   couple of years.  I'm also an elementary school teacher 

             3   here in town, in the Eanes ISD.  I wanted to speak to 

             4   you about the proposal for listing of the Cagle's Map 

             5   turtle.  

             6                  I started looking for this turtle about 

             7   18 years ago.  I spent a lot of weekends on the 

             8   Guadalupe River.  It took me about four and a half 

             9   years to even see my first one.  What I found is that 

            10   it's almost gone in the river.  And we've talked with 

            11   different researchers.  Nobody's really sure why.  

            12   There's a lot of ideas.  

            13                  I have all along recommended some kind 

            14   of protection, and my recommendations were to put bag 

            15   limits on, like fishing and hunting, even size limits.  

            16   Researchers say that over 90 percent of baby turtles 

            17   get eaten by raccoons.  

            18                  I was told that the state wouldn't 

            19   protect it because there were plans to build dams in 

            20   where the turtle still exists.  It wasn't until one 

            21   individual got in there and started collecting these 

            22   turtles by the hundreds or more that the state decided 

            23   to act.  Their solution is to just shut it down.  I 

            24   believe, from what I understand, by the insistance of 

            25   law enforcement, this is the easiest solution.  They're 

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             1   asking you to make it illegal to collect, possess, 

             2   move, and then to propagate this animal.  

             3                  I started years ago collecting some each 

             4   year, mostly babies, raising them up.  They've been 

             5   maturing, and they started reproducing.  As far as I 

             6   know, I may have the only breeding colony of these 

             7   turtles in the state.  I am working with a Fort Worth 

             8   zoo to set up a captive breeding group.  I believe they 

             9   may be the only zoo to do that so far, or to show 

            10   interest in it.  I believe captive breeding needs to be 

            11   part of any species preservation program.  This is 

            12   where we can find out what they need, their 

            13   requirements, and it also provides a backup in the case 

            14   of a chemical spill in the river, or disease, infection 

            15   wiping out what's left in the mild.  But this proposal, 

            16   the way it is, it will make it illegal for me to have 

            17   babies next year.  

            18                  My colony, I've been told, will be 

            19   grandfathered, but it will be illegal for them to 

            20   breed.  I'm not quite sure how I'm going to handle that 

            21   yes, if I'm going to -- I don't think having a little 

            22   chat with them will do quite the trick, so I'll 

            23   probably have to put them in different ponds.  

            24                  I think this is the easiest solution for 

            25   Texas Parks and Wildlife, but I don't think it's the 

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             1   right solution.  Please don't let this proposal pass 

             2   the way it is, without making the right decisions for 

             3   this species.  Thank you.

             4                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you, Mr. Van Dyke.  

             5   Are those adults or babies?  

             6                  MR. VAN DYKE:  These are babies.

             7                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  How big is an adult? 

             8                  MR. VAN DYKE:  Males get about four 

             9   inches, and females get about six or seven inches -- at 

            10   the most eight.

            11                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Mr. Herron, would you 

            12   please first address Mr. Gilleland's comments. 

            13                  MR. HERRON:  Yes, sir.  If I understand 

            14   Mr. Gilleland's comments, he's concerned that we're 

            15   proposing to rescind the regulation that contains the 

            16   endangered species list, and the way -- I haven't seen 

            17   exactly what you've been given there, but as I recall 

            18   the language of statute, it specifically states that we 

            19   do have to have a list of endangered species, but that 

            20   that list is established by executive order, not by 

            21   regulation.  And so we have done that.  I'm not too 

            22   sure where the confusion is about whether we have file 

            23   anything with the Secretary of State or not.  I believe 

            24   we have and do have a list of endangered species on 

            25   file with the Secretary of State's office.  And, 

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             1   basically, we're proposing, as part of this listing, to 

             2   make those changes and file a new list with them.  

             3                  So there still will be a list of 

             4   endangered species, but the way statute reads, it's not 

             5   a regulatory item; it's something that's done by 

             6   executive order; therefore, it's redundant having it in 

             7   regulation.  

             8                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  And would you address 

             9   Mr. Van Dyke's comments. 

            10                  MR. HERRON:  Yeah.  Rick, certainly -- 

            11   as he said, we've discussed this long and hard, and 

            12   there's been quite a bit of discussion about the 

            13   propagation and sale issue.  And I think that a lot of 

            14   what he's talking about -- I think the issue at hand 

            15   is -- is -- really involves hobbyists.  There's 

            16   certainly a place for hobbyists in the recovery and the 

            17   management of these species, but what we're really 

            18   trying to prevent here is the propagation and sale of 

            19   these species as pets.  I mean, this is a threatened or 

            20   endangered species, and it's the -- these represent the 

            21   rarest and most protected species we have in the state.  

            22   The question is how appropriate is it to allow them to 

            23   be bred and sold as pets?  We're restricting land 

            24   owners and others from harming them.  

            25                  This regulation, as Rick stated, would 

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             1   allow him to continue to possess these animals by 

             2   providing the proof required, but he would not be able 

             3   to breed or sell them.  However, that type of activity 

             4   can be allowed under a scientific permit or, 

             5   specifically in the case of Mr. Van Dyke, I think it 

             6   would be allowable under a educational permit as well 

             7   since he is a school teacher.  So we think there are 

             8   other methods that we have and other means we have in 

             9   place that would allow the breeding of these species 

            10   for recovery and conservation purposes, but, as I said, 

            11   our recommendation is that we not allow them to be in 

            12   the pet trade.

            13                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  You seem to link the 

            14   terms breed and sell, and they're actually -- I mean, 

            15   they're obviously separate actions, and is there a 

            16   problem to allow breeding if sale is still prohibited, 

            17   for a person like Mr. Van Dyke, other than having to go 

            18   through -- 

            19                  MR. HERRON:  The way the regulation 

            20   reads now, even if we did change it to allow 

            21   propagation, we're still prohibiting sale, we're still 

            22   prohibiting release into the wild, I think our concern 

            23   has been if we're allowing people to breed these 

            24   animals, well, what are they going to do with them?  

            25   They're -- You just don't keep them until you have a 

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             1   million Cagle's map turtles in your backyard, or 

             2   whatever the example is.  

             3                  Plus, the enforcement concern, that if 

             4   we're prohibiting people from taking them in the wild, 

             5   how do we assure that's not happening?  We were 

             6   allowing someone to say, "Well, I bred these.  I didn't 

             7   take them from the wild."  

             8                  But, certainly, if the Commission 

             9   desired, there might some other things we can do.  We 

            10   did discuss the option of allowing propagation but 

            11   stepping up the paperwork requirement, that they have 

            12   to have their paperwork on file with the department.  

            13                  What we want to do is assure that the 

            14   propagation does not allow a loophole that would allow 

            15   animals to be taken out of the wild.  

            16                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Can I ask Mr. Van Dyke a 

            17   question, please, in terms of Mr. Herron stated that, 

            18   either under an educational permit, which, as a 

            19   teacher, you could most likely, qualify for, or a 

            20   scientific permit, that you would be allowed to let 

            21   your turtles cohabitate in the future?  Is that 

            22   something that's a solution to your concerns? 

            23                  MR. VAN DYKE:  Well, that was a solution 

            24   that I just brought up just recently, and I've talked 

            25   with them today about.  I was told before that I 

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             1   probably would not qualify for a scientific permit, so 

             2   this is, I think, just a new answer.  Actually, a new 

             3   answer either today or a recent answer.  I don't know.  

             4                  MR. HERRON:  Mr. Chairman, I'm sorry 

             5   because I also missed the question.  Is there anything 

             6   I can answer?  And, basically, as I said, yeah, we -- 

             7   as Mr. Van Dyke is saying, if he were going to do this 

             8   under a scientific permit -- basically it would be in 

             9   cooperation with a scientist, as he said, the Dallas 

            10   Zoo, the Fort Worth Zoo, what have you.  He would be 

            11   able to do that in cooperation.  

            12                  I think the key of the scientific and 

            13   educational provisions we have is that there's records 

            14   that are required to be kept there, and, currently, 

            15   we're trying to liberalize this as much as we can to 

            16   allow possession, and the recordkeeping is really the 

            17   key.  

            18                  As I said, I think we have provisions 

            19   that would allow selected individuals to do this, not 

            20   as a hobby, but as a conservation measure, they could 

            21   do it under one of our other permits.

            22                  MR. VAN DYKE:  I think the concern about 

            23   the loophole, closing the loophole, it really doesn't 

            24   close the loophole.  People still can come from out of 

            25   state and collect this turtle and take it can back.  

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             1   Only the residents of Texas will not be able to have 

             2   this turtle, or allowed to propagate.  Everybody 

             3   everywhere else will be allowed to breed it.  

             4                  So as far as closing the loophole, it 

             5   doesn't keep people from illegally coming from out of 

             6   state and collecting them.  So I don't understand the 

             7   concern that, you know, they're trying to close the 

             8   loophole.  Nobody has been able to explain that to me.

             9                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Mr. Herron, is that 

            10   accurate, that people from out of state can legally 

            11   collect them and take them out of state? 

            12                  MR. VAN DYKE:  Illegally.  

            13                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Oh, illegally.  I'm 

            14   sorry.  I misunderstood you.  

            15                  MR. HERRON:  They would not be able to 

            16   come into the state to collect it.  If they came here 

            17   and were found to be collecting it from the wild, they 

            18   would be in violation of this regulation.

            19                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Right.  Okay. 

            20                  MR. HERRON:  I think what Mr. Van Dyke 

            21   is talking about is that somebody in Oklahoma already 

            22   has one.  Yes.  But then as soon as they came to the 

            23   state, they'd have to prove legal acquisition. 

            24                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Right, but that's 

            25   Oklahoma.  

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             1                  MR. VAN DYKE:  My point was once they 

             2   get back home to Oklahoma, then there's no restrictions 

             3   on them.

             4                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Are there any other 


             6                  I guess my only comment is I think -- 

             7   Mr. Herron, I'd urge to you consider -- to continue -- 

             8   excuse me -- working on ways to allow seemingly 

             9   concerned, legitimate citizen that are involved in 

            10   endangered species, to continue working with them and 

            11   make it as easy as possible for them to -- when their 

            12   intentions are good, and they're not abusive of the 

            13   resources, and, you know, try to walk the fine line 

            14   between keeping the commercial exploitation at bay, 

            15   while allowing legitimate people that are enthusiasts 

            16   from doing things that might well be helpful in the 

            17   long run, from a conservation point of view.  

            18                  MR. HERRON:  Yes, sir.  

            19                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Keep trying to refine 

            20   that.  

            21                  MR. HERRON:  We'll do that.  And, 

            22   clearly, we're in contact with Mr. Van Dyke and we're 

            23   working with him.  He been in contact with our 

            24   permitting folks, and we'll see what we can work out 

            25   with him, with the other means we have available.  I 

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             1   think we can.  As you're hearing, you know, clearly, we 

             2   have one or two individuals that are involved in this, 

             3   and I think that makes it all the much easier for us to 

             4   work with them one on one.  

             5                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Great.  Thank you.  

             6                  Any other comments?  

             7                  COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  I move approval of 

             8   the recommendation.   

             9                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Motion.  

            10                  COMMISSIONER AVILA:  Second.  

            11                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  All in favor?  Any 

            12   opposed?  

            13                  Motion carries.  Thank you.  

            14   "The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts the 

            15   repeal of 31 TAC SS65.171-65.174; new SS65.171-65.176; 

            16   the repeal of S65.180 and S65.181, and the amendment to 

            17   S69.8, concerning Threatened and Endangered Nongame 

            18   Species, and Endangered, Threatened, and Protected 

            19   Native Plants, with changes to the proposed text as 

            20   published in the July 21, 2000 issue of the Texas 

            21   Register (25 TexReg 6939)."

            22       AGENDA ITEMS NO. 8:  ACTION - TRAP, TRANSPORT, AND 

            23                          TRANSPLANT

            24                  Dr. Cooke:  Trap, Transport, and 

            25   Transplant.  

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             1                  DR. COOKE:  Because we discussed this -- 

             2   I'm sorry.  I'm Jerry Cooke, program director for 

             3   Upland Wildlife Ecology, presenting the proposed 

             4   changes to the Trap, Transport, and Transplant 

             5   proposal.  

             6                  We went over this in pretty good detail 

             7   yesterday, but, briefly, the proposal -- proposed 

             8   changes would involve some housekeeping, some 

             9   sunsetting of the regulations, removing redundancy, 

            10   simplifying, editing; defining permitee as anyone who 

            11   is conducting permanent activities under a permit, and 

            12   identifying the supervisory permittee as that 

            13   individual to whom the permit was originally issued.  

            14                  Also, correcting the language that was 

            15   posted in the Texas Register as to the dates in which a 

            16   45-day approval or disapproval or review would be 

            17   guaranteed.  The correct date should have been 

            18   September 1 through November 15th.  

            19                  Clarifying that all release sites will 

            20   have to have an approved wildlife management plan, 

            21   identifying as a minimum impact release for deer as 

            22   being one in which less than a deer to 200 acres are 

            23   released on a particular sites, and under those 

            24   circumstances, an inspection of the property would not 

            25   be required by our regulation.  

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             1                  Also, between October 1 and February 1, 

             2   any buck deer moved under this permit would have to 

             3   have its antlers removed unless it was moved between 

             4   tracts owned by a same individual, and these tracts 

             5   should be contiguous, separated by a road, separated by 

             6   a river, stream, fence, those kinds of things, in which 

             7   case, the antlers would not have to be removed.  

             8                  Correcting the -- or changing the 

             9   notification requirement:  For each instance of any 

            10   permanent activities, department would have to be 

            11   notified between 24 and 48 hours of each instance, and 

            12   this should apply to game animals and game birds, not 

            13   just deer.  

            14                  Also, changes in recordkeeping would 

            15   require a daily log to be maintained for inspection.  

            16   Part of this daily log would include a financial 

            17   disclosure, signed by, both, the trap site, the release 

            18   site, and the trapper.  This could be done by receipt; 

            19   wouldn't have to necessarily be a formal part of the 

            20   report, just attached to the report, for simplification 

            21   of those who would be involved.  

            22                  Also, similar to the Scientific Breeders 

            23   Program, we would propose a change that would require 

            24   trailers, trucks, boxes, et cetera, in which deer are 

            25   possessed to be marked clearly on the rear, with "TTT" 

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             1   in six-inch letters -- I remember this time -- 

             2   readable, different color from the background.  

             3                  Also, animals that are inadvertently 

             4   killed during any of these permit activities must be 

             5   maintained in an edible condition, donated to the needy 

             6   or a charitable institution, receipts included as part 

             7   of the annual report, and, also, any animals that might 

             8   be inadvertently killed would be counted against the 

             9   number that the permit would allow to be taken from the 

            10   wild.  

            11                  The proposed amendment is as it reads.  

            12   The regulation -- It should be the Commission -- adopts 

            13   amendments to 31 TAC, 65.101, 103, 105, 111, 115, and 

            14   117, new 116 concerning permits to trap, transport, 

            15   transplant game animals and game birds, with changes to 

            16   proposed text as it appeared in the Texas Register.  

            17                  If you have any questions, I'll be happy 

            18   to answer them at this time.  

            19                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Some public comment if 

            20   people had the tenacity to hang on and wait this late 

            21   in the day?  Jerry Johnston was signed up.  I don't 

            22   know see him in the audience.  

            23                  AUDIENCE MEMBER:  He had to go back to 

            24   San Antonio.

            25                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  I understand.  

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             1   Marty Berry?

             2                  AUDIENCE MEMBER:  Same.

             3                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  All right.  

             4   Joe McCullough, if you'd like to -- Since you seem to 

             5   know where everyone is, you get to come -- you get to 

             6   be the first to speak.  

             7                  David Langford, you can speak after 

             8   Mr. McCullough. 

             9                  MR. McCULLOUGH:  Commisioner, ladies and 

            10   gentlemen of the Commission, I'm Joe McCullough.  I'm 

            11   executive director for the Texas Deer Association.  I 

            12   have been asked by our membership to comment on the 

            13   proposed changes and to TTT regulations.  

            14                  We are in general agreement with these 

            15   changes, derived, in part, through our representation 

            16   on the Chairman's blue ribbon committee.  We feel that 

            17   these changes are an excellent beginning.  Yet, we also 

            18   feel that the next year will provide a true test of 

            19   their effectiveness.  

            20                  We look forward to working with you next 

            21   year and reevaluating and fine-tuning the regulations 

            22   to produce a system we all can work with.  And we want 

            23   to thank you as an association for the hard work that 

            24   you've done.  Thank you.

            25                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you, sir. 

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             1                  Mr. Langford.  And, Mr. Gilleland, if 

             2   you'd be prepared to speak after Mr. Langford.

             3                  MR. LANGFORD:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman, 

             4   members of the Commission, staff.  I'm David Langford, 

             5   Texas Wildlife Association, and we also support the 

             6   staff recommendation.  

             7                  I also thank Mr. Sansom for picking that 

             8   committee, and also for keeping it together.  A lot of 

             9   times, there are unattended consequences, and want to 

            10   be able to address them if they come.  

            11                  Also, I don't think there's any of the 

            12   shrimp industry, but this permit is a perfect example 

            13   of some of the things that Mr. Avila and Mr. Angelo and 

            14   Mr. Chairman, that you talked about, because these were 

            15   some regulations that were not working exactly right, 

            16   and the group came together, along with the Commission 

            17   and the staff, and fixed it so that they would work 

            18   better.  And part of the discussion about revisiting 

            19   those issues with the shrimp industry, here's proof 

            20   that this department does respond and is willing to go 

            21   back, on regulations, and change them so that they work 

            22   properly.  

            23                  And I'd like to close with a -- by 

            24   asking you-all to remember I was interested in the give 

            25   and take there about the propagation of the Cagle's map 

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             1   turtle and the -- and how that would work, and I want 

             2   to make sure that everybody remembers in that -- as you 

             3   proceed in that arena, that revenue -- four words: 

             4   Revenue makes conservation sustainable.  So keep in 

             5   mind profit motive is not always bad.  Thank you.

             6                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Mr. Gilleland. 

             7                  Thank you, Mr. Langford.  

             8                  MR. GILLELAND:  My name is Ellis 

             9   Gilleland.  I'm representing Texas Animals, an animal 

            10   rights organization on the internet.  

            11                  I'm speaking in regard to the 

            12   publication in the Texas Register.  It was published on 

            13   the 28th of July of this year.  The first item I'd like 

            14   to mention in the proposed changes is that I do not 

            15   agree that where you eliminate the need to notify the 

            16   local game warden 24 hours prior to the transport.  I 

            17   think the local game warden should know.  

            18                  The second thing I object to and I think 

            19   should be changed is, is on the squirrel trapping, 

            20   Nuisance Squirrel.  I think that these traps should be 

            21   specified in here as walk-in traps, because down in 

            22   Subparagraph 5, you say the trapped squirrels must be 

            23   released in 24 hours.  If you allow people to use their 

            24   discretion, they'll be using steel jaw traps on them, 

            25   and they're going to be releasing squirrels with 

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             1   mangled legs.  So I'd like to see you put in that the 

             2   traps should be walk-in traps if they are, in fact, to 

             3   allow the animals to be released later.  

             4                  And the most damning in this release is 

             5   the fact that you make no provision anywhere in your 

             6   new rule for precluding the death of deer, such as 

             7   died, and that transferred to East Texas and Wildlife 

             8   where about a dozen died in the trailer, waiting for a 

             9   man to show up, for some ungodly reason that he had to 

            10   show up before they could let the deer out of the 

            11   trailer, so the deer suffocated in the heat.  That is 

            12   inane and stupid.  Please write something in here to 

            13   preclude this recurrence of deer sitting in a trailer, 

            14   and are crammed in like -- as you know, like sardines.  

            15                  The other thing I've provided with you 

            16   is a -- the Lakeway situation, where the deer permits 

            17   are not being issued.  LCRA is not being given permits.  

            18   So what good is all this TTT business you-all are doing 

            19   if you're not going to give anybody permits?  

            20                  "Parks and Wildlife will not give us 

            21   permits -- quote, "will not give us permits for 

            22   relocating the deer."  Last year alone, they relocated 

            23   650.  Then for some reason or other, you cut it off.  

            24                  The other thing I'd like to mention here 

            25   is that the Lakeway thing -- I'd like to ask you to 

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             1   start a program, experimental, however you want to call 

             2   it, to test this program of immunocontraception, and I 

             3   think Lakeway would be a good place to start it and 

             4   test it.  

             5                  So I'm basically asking you to make 

             6   those changes to the rule.  I'm not opposed -- As you 

             7   see, I'm not opposed to transporting deer; just some 

             8   changes we can make to it to make it better.  Thank 

             9   you.

            10                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Mr. Cooke, it's my 

            11   understanding the regulation does still call for the 

            12   notification of the local game warden? 

            13                  DR. COOKE:  Yes, sir, 24 to 48 hours 

            14   before each instance of any permitted activity.

            15                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you.  

            16                  Are there any other questions, comments?  

            17                  Chair would entertain a motion.  

            18                  COMMISSIONER WATSON:  So moved. 

            19                  VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Second. 

            20                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Motion and a second. 

            21                  All in favor?  Any opposed?  

            22                  Motion carries.  Thank you.  

            23   "The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts 

            24   amendments to 31 TAC SS65.101, 65.103, 65.105, 65.111, 

            25   65.117, and new S65.116 concerning Permits to Trap, 

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             1   Transport, and Transplant Game Animals and Game Birds, 

             2   with changes to the proposed text (Located at Exhibit 

             3   A) as published in the April 28, 2000, issue of the 

             4   Texas Register (25 TexReg 3700)."

             5       AGENDA ITEM NO. 9:  BRIEFING - 2000-2001 STATEWIDE 

             6                       HUNTING FORECAST

             7                  Dr. Graham, would you give us a brief 

             8   briefing on what we can expect starting tomorrow in our 

             9   state's hunting season? 

            10                  (WHEREUPON, a briefing item was

            11                   presented to the Commission, after

            12                   which the following proceedings were

            13                   had:)

            14      AGENDA ITEM NO. 10:  ACTION - MIGRATORY GAME BIRD 

            15                  PROCLAMATION - LATE SEASON

            16                  All right.  Vernon Bevill: Late 

            17   Migratory Game Birds. 

            18                  MR. BEVILL:  Mr. Chairman, my name is 

            19   Vernon Bevill.  I'm program director for Migratory 

            20   Wildlife, and I promise to give you a brief briefing.  

            21                  There are very few changes this year in 

            22   waterfowl regulations from last year, and I'll just 

            23   highlight the changes.  

            24                  We've had three significant changes, I 

            25   think.  Two relate to the light goose conservation 

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             1   order and how we would have to implement it in Texas 

             2   with regard to season lengths.  And light geese and 

             3   dark geese and early closure of Sandhill Crane.  

             4                  The Fish and Wildlife Service offered a 

             5   second youth day, which allows us to have a full 

             6   weekend of youth hunting during the duck season.  

             7                  In the western goose zone, the season is 

             8   basically the same as last year.  We considered a 

             9   possibility of establishing a central goose zone to 

            10   accommodate some current concerns revolving around the 

            11   light goose conservation order.  After evaluating our 

            12   options, we felt that it's more appropriate to run the 

            13   goose season in the western zone completely through and 

            14   implements the light goose order the following day. 

            15                  In the eastern goose zone, however, we 

            16   are able to this year, again, to have that light goose 

            17   conservation order in place this time, for the first 

            18   time, as a result of action of this Commission in 

            19   August.  

            20                  So all three goose seasons will open on 

            21   the 28th of October and close on the 21st of January.  

            22   Bag limits are the same as last year.  

            23                  Light goose conservation order, by it 

            24   being established in federal law now, allows us the 

            25   opportunity to set it at this time rather than during 

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             1   the fall, through emergency rule-making.  

             2                  The light goose conservation order will 

             3   be implemented on February the 12th and January the 

             4   22nd in the western and eastern goose zones 

             5   respectively, and will close on April the 1st.  The 

             6   other provisions are the same as they have been.  

             7                  The light goose conservation order does 

             8   require us to close the Sandhill Crane season early, in 

             9   the Zone B and C, as we discussed yesterday at the 

            10   meeting.  We do lose a significant part of the Zone C 

            11   season, which is only 37 days.  The Zone B season is 72 

            12   days, so we don't lose nearly as much of it in the 

            13   course of things, but we hope that that situation can 

            14   be corrected when the environmental impact statement is 

            15   finalized by the Fish and Wildlife Service.  

            16                  Duck seasons and bag limits are 

            17   basically the same as last year.  The six-bird bag with 

            18   the same species limitations are in place.  There are 

            19   separate bag limits for mergansers and coots.  

            20                  For the duck season, the proposal in the 

            21   High Plains Mallard Management Unit is to have our 

            22   Youth Day on October the 14th and 15th of each weekend, 

            23   then follow that with the opener of that short segment 

            24   the following weekend, on the 21st October, and then 

            25   open the main segment on October the 28th and run it 

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             1   through January the 21st.  

             2                  And in the north zone, we're proposing, 

             3   both, in the north and south zone, to have our Youth 

             4   Weekend the same weekend just prior to the opening the 

             5   regular duck season on October the 28th, with the south 

             6   zone having that one weekend split -- I mean, the north 

             7   zone have the one weekend, and then follow that by 

             8   reopening on November the 11th and running all the way 

             9   through. 

            10                  In the south zone, the season is the 

            11   same as last year with the calendar split.  

            12                  We get to the extended Falconry 

            13   opportunity, and, unfortunately, there is no 

            14   opportunity available to us in the High Plains Mallard 

            15   Management Unit because we are consuming all the 

            16   available hunting days with gun seasons; however, we're 

            17   only taking 76 gun days -- excuse me.  Get my counting 

            18   right -- 91 gun days, I think, in the north and south 

            19   zone, so we do have some extended Falconry opportunity 

            20   and recommend that for the period from January the 22nd 

            21   through February the 6th, with a thee-bird daily bag.  

            22                  Very little public comment this year.  

            23   Most of it revolved around the setting of the Youth 

            24   Hunt.  

            25                  And, Mr. Chairman, the recommendation of 

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             1   staff is that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission 

             2   adopts amendments to 31 TAC 65.317, 65.318, 65.320, and 

             3   65.321, concerning Migratory Game Bird Proclamation, 

             4   with changes to the proposed text located in Exhibit A, 

             5   as published in the April 28, 2000, issue of the Texas 

             6   Register.  

             7                  Be glad to answer any questions.

             8                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Questions? 

             9                  Mr. Gilleland, would you like to come 

            10   forward and speak on this item.  

            11                  And, Mr. Langford, you're welcome to 

            12   speak following Mr. Gilleland.  

            13                  MR. GILLELAND:  My name is Ellis 

            14   Gilleland.  I would like to just make a couple of 

            15   comments about the snow geese.  I do not believe that 

            16   killing something is conserving it.  And just because 

            17   the federal government authorizes you to kill animals 

            18   under the name of conservation, because that's their 

            19   twisted logic, I don't see that you have to pick it up 

            20   also.  If I suggested that you shoot yourself to 

            21   conserve yourself, you'd probably think I was crazy.  

            22   Well, shooting snow geese to the maximum possible, to 

            23   conserve them, it doesn't make sense.  I would like to 

            24   suggest to you to refer to the testimony yesterday, in 

            25   a way you can do something positive and something 

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             1   that's coherent and makes sense.  

             2                  We heard people talk yesterday about 

             3   hundreds of thousands of dollars being spent on 

             4   hyacinth that they -- as being completely snowed with 

             5   it.  Well, that's what these birds need up in Canada.  

             6   Why not ship some of these that know how to raise 

             7   hyacinth in the Guadalupe River or wherever they're 

             8   doing it, ship them up to Canada and show them how to 

             9   raise hyacinth to feed them -- feed the animals.  

            10   Instead of conserving them by killing them, why not 

            11   just feed them?  

            12                  And, secondly, better yet, instead of 

            13   shipping the people, just ship the hyacinth; that way, 

            14   you get rid of the hyacinth also and help the snow 

            15   geese in Canada.  Thank you. 

            16                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you, 

            17   Mr. Gilleland.  Mr. Langford, please.

            18                  MR. LANGFORD:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman 

            19   and members of the Commission.  I'm David Langford, 

            20   Texas Wildlife Association.  We support the staff 

            21   recommendations completely, and particularly the part 

            22   that deals with the recruitment of youth, and also 

            23   especially with the light conservation goose order.  I 

            24   guess there is something wrong with me because it makes 

            25   perfect sense to me.  Thank you very much.  

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             1                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you, Mr. Langford.  

             2                  Any questions or comments?

             3                  COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Move approval of 

             4   the recommendation.  

             5                  COMMISSIONER WATSON:  Second. 

             6                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  I have a motion and a 

             7   second.  

             8                  All in favor?  Any opposed?  

             9                  Thank you, Vernon.  

            10   "The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts 

            11   amendments to 31 TAC65.317, 65.318, 65.320, and 65.321, 

            12   concerning the Migratory Game Bird Proclamation, with 

            13   changes to the proposed text (located at Exhibit A) as 

            14   published in the April 28, 2000, issue of the Texas 

            15   Register (25 TexReg 3700)."

            16             AGENDA ITEM NO. 11:  BRIEFING - EXPO IX

            17                  Mr. Gammage, a briefing on Expo, please. 

            18                  MR. SANSOM:  Mr. Chairman, as 

            19   Mr. Gammage is coming up, I'd like to take this 

            20   opportunity to do something that I neglected to do this 

            21   morning and that is introduce you all to Scott Boruff, 

            22   who is the new director of Infrastructure, and I don't 

            23   think each of you have met.  

            24                  If you could stand, Scott. 

            25                  MR. BORUFF:  Well, I met most of you.  

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             1                  (WHEREUPON, a briefing item was

             2                  presented to the Commission, after

             3                  which the following proceedings were 

             4                  had:)

             5                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you, Ernie.

             6      AGENDA ITEM NO. 12:  ACTION - FY01 OPERATING AND 


             8                            POLICY

             9                  Next item is Operating and Capital 

            10   Budgets.  How are we going to pay for all this stuff?

            11                  MS. WHITTENTON:  I don't know.  

            12                  I'll try to be -- I'll try to talk even 

            13   faster than I did yesterday.  

            14                  For the record, my name is Suzy 

            15   Whittenton.  I'm the agency's chief financial officer.  

            16                  Today's presentation will briefly touch 

            17   on the following topics:  I'll be asking for your 

            18   approval on the Fiscal Year 01 Budget, which will 

            19   include approval for the issuance of revenue bonds, the 

            20   budget policy, and, finally, the investment policy.  

            21                  Our four major accounts represent 94 

            22   percent of the proposed budgets before you today.  

            23                  We currently have authority to spend 26 

            24   million in General Revenue from a portion of the 

            25   unclaimed motorboat fuels tax refunds and from boat and 

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             1   motorboat sales and use taxes, in addition to other 

             2   undedicated general revenue.  

             3                  Account 9: Game, Fish, and Water Safety, 

             4   holds fees from licenses, stamps, federal funds, boat 

             5   registration and titling, and it's estimated to be 

             6   approximately 121 million next fiscal year.  

             7                  License sales have increased 

             8   significantly over the last 10 years but are also 

             9   leveling out within the last 4 years.  

            10                  As of August 20th, license revenue is up 

            11   1.3 million for the year.  Super combo sales and 

            12   revenue are both up 11 1/2 percent, with combo sales 

            13   and revenue down 9 percent.  Overall, combination 

            14   license sales are up 1.2 percent, but the revenue is up 

            15   3.3 percent.  

            16                  And, both, resident hunting and resident 

            17   fishing sales are down approximately 3 percent.  

            18                  The new license sales began on August 

            19   the 7th this year, and as of August 23rd, the license 

            20   revenue is up 11 percent over revenue earned as of the 

            21   same date last year; however, we started selling 

            22   licenses 4 days earlier this year than we did last 

            23   year.  

            24                  In Account 64: State Parks, this holds 

            25   revenue such as park entrance fees, sporting goods 

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             1   sales tax, conservation passport fees, and it's 

             2   estimated to total nearly 48 million next year.  

             3                  Looking at the trend in park revenues, 

             4   these also have increased over the last 10 years but 

             5   look like they've begun to level out as well.  

             6                  In comparing the period from September 

             7   through July, revenue in Account 64 is up $2 million, 

             8   or about 11 percent, from this same period last year.  

             9                  Total estimated funds available, this 

            10   pie shows all sources of funds estimated to be 

            11   approximately $254 million for next year.  Over half of 

            12   that revenue will flow through the Game, Fish, and 

            13   Water Safety account.  

            14                  I mentioned to you yesterday that the 

            15   Fiscal Year O1 projections show that we'll have less 

            16   appropriation authority than we'll have cash available, 

            17   particularly in the State Parks account.  So we have 

            18   budgeted to the appropriations level rather than to the 

            19   cash available level.  

            20                  The total recommended budget is 

            21   comprised of the Operating Budget, the Capital Budget, 

            22   and the Grant Budget.  We'll look at the Operating 

            23   Budget here first.  

            24                  The recommended Operating Budget amount 

            25   total $187 million.  This slide breaks down the amount 

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             1   requested by the type and compares it to the 

             2   recommended Operating Budget.  

             3                  The Operating Budget from Account 64 in 

             4   Fund 1 total 66 million.  These funds support the State 

             5   Parks operations as well as portions of the 

             6   administrative division, and its also includes the cost 

             7   of position reclassifications. 

             8                  Fund 9: Game, Fish, and Water Safety, 

             9   will provide 119 million for the Operating Budget, and 

            10   this supports areas such as wildlife, law enforcement, 

            11   resource protection, inland coastal fisheries, as well 

            12   as a portion of the administration costs.  

            13                  The Capital Budget includes the final 12 

            14   million from the revenue bonds, which will be the final 

            15   issue from the original 60-million-dollar bond package.  

            16   The total recommended Capital Budget totals 27 1/2 

            17   million. 

            18                  The Grant Budget totals just over 30 

            19   million and includes funding for outreach programs for 

            20   underserved populations and for regional parks and park 

            21   partnerships.  

            22                  In summary, the recommended total budget 

            23   for Fiscal Year 2001 is 245 million, and includes the 

            24   following: Highlights, which were discussed in pretty 

            25   much detail yesterday, so there's no need to go through 

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             1   those again.  

             2                  The recommended budget will maintain the 

             3   ratios between salaries, operating, and equipment, even 

             4   with the reclassification costs factored in.  

             5                  The number of positions included in this 

             6   budget totals 3,020, which is an increase of 23 

             7   positions.  We've added positions for access to 

             8   wildlife management areas, regional biologists, habitat 

             9   review biologists, interpretive staff, and some for 

            10   outreach as well.  

            11                  This slide shows the efficiency ratio 

            12   between the number of sites and the number of full-time 

            13   equivalents.  You can see the ratio.  We're doing more 

            14   with less.  

            15                  This budget will continue to offer a 

            16   substantial benefit to our customers compared to the 

            17   fees that they pay to participate in these various 

            18   areas.  

            19                  This final chart shows the type of 

            20   expenditures included in the 245-million-dollar budget, 

            21   with salaries taking up the bulk of that.  

            22                  That's all I had for the Operating 

            23   Budget, but I will need to also get your approval on 

            24   investment policy.  

            25                  Although the investment policy has not 

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             1   changed, it's required that you review and approve it 

             2   each year.  It's required by the Public Funds 

             3   Investment Act.  The policy applies to all Parks and 

             4   Wildlife funds, but not to foundation or operation game 

             5   thief funds.  

             6                  The investment policy requires all funds 

             7   to be deposited into the State Treasury and invested by 

             8   the Comptroller unless they're approved by a delegated 

             9   investment officer.  

            10                  Bank accounts must be insured up to 

            11   $100,000 under FDIC, and that for accounts in excess of 

            12   100,000, collateral must be obtained for the excess 

            13   amount.  

            14                  Existing stock portfolio received in 

            15   1956 will be retained pursuant to the original donation 

            16   agreement.  We'll do regular quarterly reports to you 

            17   on investments throughout the year.  

            18                  And that's all I have.  

            19                  Any questions?

            20                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you. 

            21                  And questions or comments?  This is -- 

            22   The budget has been poured over and worked up, worked 

            23   on by various subsets of the Commission, on occasion, 

            24   prior to this, and I think it's certainly not the first 

            25   time any of us have seen it.  

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             1                  Comments or questions at this time?  

             2                  COMMISSIONER HENRY:  I've got a 

             3   question, Mr. Chairman.  Do we need to approve the 

             4   minutes where we hear a budget meeting?  I know we got 

             5   a copy of them today.

             6                  COMMISSIONER HEATH:  Yes, we do.  Those 

             7   minutes were distributed.  

             8                  And, Mr. Chairman, I think, as a matter 

             9   of business, we do need to, so I'd ask for approval of 

            10   the minutes, and then I'd ask for a motion. 

            11                  COMMISSIONER HENRY:  Move for approval.  

            12                  COMMISSIONER RYAN:  Second.

            13                  COMMISSIONER HEATH:  All in favor?  

            14                  Thank you.   

            15                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Other comments?  

            16                  Chair would entertain a motion on the 

            17   budget.  

            18                  COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Move approval. 

            19                  COMMISSIONER AVILA:  Second. 

            20                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Motion and a second.  

            21                  All in favor?  Any opposed?  

            22                  We have a budget.  

            23                  Thank you, Suzy. 

            24                  COMMISSIONER HEATH:  Suzy, thank you 

            25   very much, and thank you all the commissioners for your 

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             1   work and energy on the budget.  

             2                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you for your 

             3   leadership.  

             4                (Motion carries unanimously.)

             5   "The Executive Director is authorized to expend funds 

             6   to operate the Parks and Wildlife Department in 

             7   accordance with the Proposed FY 2001 Operating Budget 

             8   (Exhibit A), the Proposed FY 2001 Capital Program 

             9   (Exhibit B), and the Proposed FY 2001 Grant Budget 

            10   (Exhibit C)."


            12   "The Commission approves the issuance of up to 

            13   $12,685,000 in Revenue Bonds pursuant to the provisions 

            14   of Chapter 13 of the Parks and Wildlife Code.  The 

            15   Executive Director is authorized and directed to 

            16   proceed with the necessary steps required to issue said 

            17   bonds including working with the Texas Public Finance 

            18   Authority and the Bond Review Board, and the Commission 

            19   approves the resolution (Exhibit E) authorizing this 

            20   issue and providing for the proper notice to bond 

            21   bidders."


            23   "The Commission approves the investment and policy as 

            24   shown in Exhibit F."


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             2                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Facility Transfers.  

             3                  Walt, tell us about them.  

             4                  MR. DABNEY:  Good evening, 

             5   Commissioners.  Walt Dabney, State Parks Director.  I 

             6   wanted to bring you up to speed on House Bill 2108 and 

             7   our efforts this first year, of a two-year opportunity, 

             8   with $4 million in grant money available to us to 

             9   effect possible transfers in locations where it makes 

            10   mutual sense to, both, the Parks and Wildlife and the 

            11   local entity to take over the management of a given 

            12   area.  

            13                  We have three of those today to share 

            14   with you for approval.  And all three of those, and 

            15   then one that does not fit exactly in 2108.  We have 

            16   signed agreements with the local entities to effect 

            17   this transfer.  

            18                  The first -- The first of these facility 

            19   transfers is Lubbock Lake Landmark, located in the 

            20   Lubbock area.  It's a 336-acre tract.  Many of you -- 

            21   or some of you have seen this place.  Great historical 

            22   and prehistoric significance, paleo significance as 

            23   well.  

            24                  This facility would be transferred to 

            25   Texas Tech University.  We're already in a partnership 

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             1   with Texas Tech who operates the museum, does many of 

             2   the functions there now.  We are down to one employee 

             3   at Lubbock Lake Landmark.  

             4                  The agreement would be that over the 

             5   next two years, we would transfer -- immediately we 

             6   would transfer to Tech $682,608; 132,000 of that is to 

             7   fix up the facilities, and then the $550,000, over two 

             8   years, is transitional operation costs to move the 

             9   operation of the facility from us to them.  So the 

            10   grant, again, grant money, for them, would be a total 

            11   of $682,000.  

            12                  We would move our existing employee -- 

            13   None of our employees would lose their jobs.  We have a 

            14   place for that employee at Lubbock now, and we would 

            15   simply transfer him into another function.  

            16                  The second location is Jim Hogg site, 

            17   over in Rusk.  It's 178-acre site in town.  It's a 

            18   replica.  In fact, it's a three-quarter size replica of 

            19   Governor Hogg's birthplace.  

            20                  The City of Rusk would receive the deed 

            21   to this.  The agreement would be a grant of $160,400, 

            22   and that is all for repairs and improvements to the 

            23   site.  

            24                  The third site is Old Fort Parker State 

            25   Historical Park.  It is currently being operated now by 

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             1   the City of Groesbeck.  

             2                  This agreement would transfer 

             3   officially -- We contribute on an annual basis to that 

             4   operation now.  This would, in fact, transfer to the 

             5   cities of Groesbeck, Mexia in Limestone County, the 

             6   permanent operation, maintenance, and ownership of this 

             7   facility.  

             8                  The grant of $550,000 for Old Fort 

             9   Parker is for repairs and recreational facilities to go 

            10   in there so that it is up full online and in good 

            11   condition, one that they can operate and maintain and 

            12   generate revenue from.  

            13                  The fourth place that we want to talk 

            14   about is Grand Saline.  This is not a 2108 transfer, 

            15   and we do not own this site, but for many years, due to 

            16   instruction from the legislature, we have, in fact, 

            17   contributed about $12,500 a year to this site, to the 

            18   City of Grand Saline, to operate the Salt Palace.  

            19                  What this will do, for $38,000, is 

            20   terminate that agreement and let them fix up this site, 

            21   and that money is not coming out of the grant money; 

            22   it's actually coming out of Park Fund 64 money.  That 

            23   would terminate and finalize the agreement.  They've 

            24   agreed to do that and have signed the agreement.  

            25                  So your approval for the recommendation 

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             1   as shown here, which would transfer these three sites, 

             2   let us finish the agreements, which would be real 

             3   estate transactions and that kind of thing, transfer 

             4   these sites in total, permanently, to these cities as 

             5   described, cities and counties.  And the second part of 

             6   that would be to transfer $38,000 to the City of Grand 

             7   Saline to terminate our financial obligation there from 

             8   now on.  

             9                  So we have three sites to transfer, 

            10   which would bring State Park numbers from 122 to 119, 

            11   and get us out of the Grand Saline support. 

            12                  I think we have somebody that wants to 

            13   speak. 

            14                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Yes, Sarah McReynolds 

            15   from Old Fort Parker.

            16                  Have you been here all day?

            17                  MS. McREYNOLDS:  Yes, I have, and we 

            18   only have two turtles at Old Fort Parker, and we try 

            19   constantly to keep the Boy Scouts from drowning them.  

            20                  I am the sole --

            21                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  I appreciate your 

            22   patience.  

            23                  MS. McREYNOLDS:  Thank you.  This is 

            24   very important to me.  I am the only full-time employee 

            25   at Fort Parker.  They have me listed as the manager; 

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             1   I'm everything.  And if this proposal is accepted, this 

             2   is very important to our community because this is 

             3   going -- it's taken quite a lot of work on my part to 

             4   get two cities and a county to agree to take on this 

             5   proposal.  It's at lot of officials, a lot of egos, and 

             6   it's been a lot of work, but they're all very excited.  

             7   And I want you to know if this proposal is granted 

             8   today, this is just the beginning of what I have 

             9   planned for our area.  

            10                  The seed money, if awarded, will 

            11   begin -- will be the beginning of a better way of life 

            12   for the fourth poorest county in the state of Texas: 

            13   Limestone County.  

            14                  Plans are, within the next three years, 

            15   to develop an outdoor drama to depict this important 

            16   historical event that happened in Texas history.  

            17                  Feasibility studies have been done.  

            18   Land has been purchased adjacent to the Fort, and 

            19   construction has begun on a visitors center and museum 

            20   that will stress Comanche artifacts thanks to an EDA 

            21   grant and local entity loans.  

            22                  This whole project has been cited by the 

            23   president of the United States as the fifth most unique 

            24   and worthwhile project for an economically deprived 

            25   area.  And I would like very much for Texas Parks and 

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             1   Wildlife to remain on this project in an advisatory 

             2   position, and be part of this exciting worthwhile 

             3   endeavor.  Thank you. 

             4                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you.  And kudos 

             5   for your hard work in getting things to this point.  

             6                  Comments or questions?  

             7                  COMMISSIONER HENRY:  Mr. Chairman? 

             8                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Yes, sir. 

             9                  COMMISSIONER HENRY:  Walt, on the Grand 

            10   Saline project, it's stated here that operating funds 

            11   have been applied at the direction of the Texas 

            12   legislature.  Will there be any disconnect required 

            13   with the legislature, and how do you plan to handle 

            14   that, if it's a problem?  

            15                  MR. DABNEY:  It isn't, sir.  We have 

            16   been in contact with the local representatives and 

            17   senator there.  They were not initially supportive of 

            18   this until the city itself passed a resolution and 

            19   requested us to take this step.  This is what we wanted 

            20   to do, and so I think we're good all the way around 

            21   now, sir. 

            22                  COMMISSIONER HENRY:  Okay.  Thank you.  

            23                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Chair would entertain a 

            24   motion.  

            25                  COMMISSIONER WATSON:  So moved.  

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             1                  VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Second.  

             2                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Motion and a second.  

             3                  All in favor?  Any opposed?  

             4                  None.  Thank you very much.  

             5               (Motion carries unanimously.)   

             6   "The Executive Director is authorized to execute the 

             7   necessary agreements to effect the transfer of the 

             8   three Department facilities for ownership and 

             9   operations as shown in Exhibit A.  The Executive 

            10   Director is authorized to execute grant agreements 

            11   using funds from the Texas Recreation and Park Account 

            12   as shown in Exhibit A to effect the orderly transfer of 

            13   these sites.  The Executive Director is authorized to 

            14   make payment in the amount of $38,000 to the City of 

            15   Grand Saline to end the Department's financial 

            16   obligation to the Grand Saline Salt Palace."

            17      AGENDA ITEM NO. 15:  ACTION - LAND ACQUISITION - 

            18                       BREWESTER COUNTY

            19                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  15, 16, and 17 is Jack 

            20   Bauer.  I believe, on 17, there is public comment.  

            21                  MR. BAUER:  Yes. 

            22                  My name is Jack Bauer with the Land 

            23   Conservation Program.  

            24                  In summary, from the executive session 

            25   yesterday, staff is recommending the addition of 1890 

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             1   acres at the Black Gap.  This is for Bighorn Sheep 

             2   habitat and holding improvement at the facility.  

             3                  Staff would be recommending the motion 

             4   in front of you for approval.  Any questions?

             5                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Questions?  

             6                  COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Move approval of 

             7   the recommendation.  

             8                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Motion. 

             9                  COMMISSIONER WATSON:  Second.  

            10                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  And a second.  

            11                  All in favor?  Any opposed?  

            12                  Thank you. 

            13                (Motion carries unanimously.)

            14   "The Executive Director is authorized to take all 

            15   necessary steps to consummate the acquisition of 

            16   approximately 1890 acres in Brewster County as an 

            17   addition to Black Gap Wildlife Management Area."

            18        AGENDA ITEM NO. 16:  ACTION - LAND ACQUISITION - 

            19                       ANDERSON COUNTY

            20                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Sixteen, Anderson 

            21   County.

            22                  MR. BAUER:  Also for your conversation 

            23   is a habitat improvement of 147 acres at Big Lake 

            24   Bottom in Anderson County.  Funding for this project 

            25   would be non-TPWD funds from Fort Worth Corps of 

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             1   Engineer Mitigation.  It would also have a habitat 

             2   improvement component, and staff is again recommending 

             3   the motion before you.  

             4                  I'll be happen to entertain any 

             5   questions.  

             6                  COMMISSIONER RYAN:  Motion for approval. 

             7                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  We have a motion with 

             8   Mr. Ryan. 

             9                  COMMISSIONER HEATH:  Second.  

            10                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Second from Mr. Heath. 

            11                  All in favor?  

            12                (Motion carries unanimously.)

            13   "The Executive Director is authorized to take all steps 

            14   necessary to acquire approximately 147 acres in 

            15   Anderson County as an addition to the Big Lake Bottom 

            16   Wildlife Management Area."

            17     AGENDA ITEM NO. 17:  ACTION - PROPERTY PARTITION - 

            18            ANDERSON COUNTY (BIG LAKE BOTTOM WMA)

            19                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Number 17, the Anderson 

            20   County (Big Lake Bottom WMA).  

            21                  MR. BAUER:  Big Lake Bottom consists of 

            22   approximately 5,000 acres of bottomland hardwood 

            23   habitat on the Trinity River in Anderson County.  

            24                  TPWD ownership on portions of the 

            25   facility are shared with 35 other co-owners.  Effective 

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             1   management of the entire facility, for the benefit of 

             2   natural resources, remains difficult because of this 

             3   ownership relationship.  

             4                  The Commission approved the purchase of 

             5   undivided interest from willing co-owners in June of 

             6   1999 to help alleviate the problem.  Offers were made 

             7   to co-owners, with no party accepting our offer.  

             8                  As part of our strategy to resolve 

             9   management conflicts, a landowner meeting was held in 

            10   June of this year, in Palestine.  Alternatives for 

            11   ownership and management arrangements were discussed 

            12   and voted upon by the attending co-owners.  The 

            13   majority of the co-owners recommended partitioning of 

            14   the real estate interests of the owners.  

            15                  It's the opinion of staff that the only 

            16   practical solution that will ensure a reasonable level 

            17   of control and the management of the facility, for the 

            18   benefit of the occurring resources and the public, is 

            19   to attain full ownership of our share of our interests; 

            20   therefore, staff recommends the Commission consider the 

            21   motion requesting the Office of the Attorney General to 

            22   initiate the procedural steps for partitioning of 

            23   property ownership.  

            24                  Staff recommends the Parks and Wildlife 

            25   Commission accept the following -- adopt the following 

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             1   motion:  The executive director is authorized to 

             2   request the Office of the Attorney General to initiate 

             3   partition of the remaining undivided interest ownership 

             4   in three tracts of real property at Big Lake Bottom 

             5   Wildlife Management Area as governed by Chapter 23 of 

             6   the Texas Property Code.  

             7                  Any questions?

             8                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  James and Patricia 

             9   Manuel?  

            10                  You get the trooper award for -- 

            11                  MR. MANUEL:  I'm James Manuel.  I live 

            12   in Big Lake Bottom.  I'd like to address you-all on the 

            13   partition of the Big Lake Bottom.  

            14                  Ladies and gentlemen of the Commission, 

            15   we are here today to let our position be known in the 

            16   matter of the Big Lake Bottom partition.  

            17                  We own a little over 153 acres in the 

            18   Bottom, 150 acres being in the upper Jefferson Adams' 

            19   survey, and the other acreage in the other two surveys 

            20   in question.  

            21                  We would like for this property to be 

            22   partitioned, and here are some reasons.  

            23                  The property is being exploited by the 

            24   owners of small acreages.  These landowners are leasing 

            25   the bottomland for hunting.  This has resulted in an 

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             1   overcrowded and overhunted dangerous situation.  

             2   Myself, my family, and friends are unable to enjoy our 

             3   property because of this large amount of people hunting 

             4   the different seasons in the Bottom.  

             5                  The quality and quantity of the game in 

             6   the Bottom appears to be in a decline due to 

             7   overhunting.  The game wardens are unable to control 

             8   the area due to the large amount of people and the 

             9   absence of boundary lines.  

            10                  Damage to the habitat due to numerous 

            11   ATVs constantly running through the Bottom is 

            12   detrimental to the natural state.  

            13                  The past month, the landowner of less 

            14   than 10 acres total has taken a bulldozer through 

            15   several tracts in order to move two fairly large junk 

            16   trailers deep into the bottomland.  

            17                  Numerous large trees were uprooted, 

            18   habitats destroyed, and a bulldozer path of destruction 

            19   could be followed for several miles.  

            20                  If this type of abuse to the River 

            21   Bottom is allowed to continue, we are afraid that more 

            22   and more destruction will follow, and, eventually, the 

            23   delicate ecosystem of the natural river bottom will be 

            24   completely destroyed.  

            25                  If this property is partitioned as soon 

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             1   as possible, the damage that has already occurred may 

             2   still be repaired through nature's own course.  

             3                  The Department of Parks and Wildlife and 

             4   the private landowners will able to be control what 

             5   takes place in the bottomland and take proper measures 

             6   to protect it.  

             7                  Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for 

             8   your attention and time, and I'd like to enter this 

             9   letter into your records.  

            10                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you very much.  We 

            11   appreciate you coming, appreciate your comments, and I 

            12   think everyone on this Commission shares your concern 

            13   and, frankly, disgust at some of the destruction that a 

            14   small landowner -- small interest owner undertook -- 

            15                  MR. MANUEL:  A partition you will help 

            16   this.  I believe it's the only course to take.  That 

            17   way, it can be protected.  

            18                  As you saw from those pictures, the 

            19   Bottom is a beautiful area, and I live there.  I live 

            20   there year-around.  And I would like to see it 

            21   protected.

            22                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  I think we're in 

            23   agreement with you, and I appreciate the two of you 

            24   effort to come here and the patience of waiting until 

            25   the end of the day to have your turn at the podium.  

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             1                  Any questions or comments on this item?

             2                  COMMISSIONER AVILA:  Motion for 

             3   approval. 

             4                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  I have a motion. 

             5                  COMMISSIONER WATSON:  Second.  

             6                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  And a second.  

             7                  All in favor?  

             8                  Thank you, Mr. Bauer. 

             9                (Motion carries unanimously.)

            10   "The Executive Director is authorized to request the 

            11   Office of the Attorney General to initiate partition of 

            12   remaining undivided interest ownership in three tracts 

            13   of real property at Big Lake Bottom Wildlife Management 

            14   Area as governed by Chapter 23 of the Texas Property 

            15   Code."

            16      AGENDA ITEM NO. 18:  ACTION - LAND DONATION - WORLD 

            17               BIRDING CENTER - CAMERON COUNTY

            18                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  The last order of 

            19   business is Item 18.  Gary Graham.  Land Donation-World 

            20   Birding-Center-Cameron County, please. 

            21                  DR. GRAHAM:  As part of the proposal to 

            22   become a site and world birding center complex of 

            23   sites, the community of Mission and its private 

            24   partner, the Bentsen Palm Development, Incorporated, 

            25   agreed to donate four parcels of land totaling 176 

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             1   acres and the associated water rights.  And the graphic 

             2   on the screen illustrates those four parcels of land.  

             3                  And the staff recommends that the Parks 

             4   and Wildlife Commission adopt the following motion.

             5                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Questions or comments? 

             6                  COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Move to enter a 

             7   motion.  

             8                  COMMISSIONER HENRY:  Second. 

             9                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Motion and quite a few 

            10   seconds. 

            11                  All in favor?  Any opposed?  

            12                  Motion carries.

            13                  DR. GRAHAM:  For the record, I'm Gary 

            14   Graham, director of the Wildlife --

            15                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  Thank you.  

            16                (Motion carries unanimously.)

            17   "The Executive Director is authorized to take all 

            18   necessary steps to consummate the donation and 

            19   acceptance of approximately 176 acres and associated 

            20   water rights in Hidalgo County as an addition to 

            21   Bentsen-Rio Grande State Park and the proposed World 

            22   Birding Center main visitor center and headquarters."

            23                  CHAIRMAN BASS:  I don't believe that 

            24   there is any further business to come before this 

            25   Commission today.  I appreciate all of my fellow 

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             1   commissioners' efforts and sweat equity today, and you 

             2   can collect your paychecks at the front door. 

             3                  We stand adjourned.  

             4                     (HEARING ADJOURNED)

             5                            ******





















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             1                    REPORTER'S CERTIFICATE

             2   STATE OF TEXAS         )

             3   COUNTY OF TRAVIS       )

             4       I, MARY SAUCEDO, a Certified Court Reporter in and 

             5   for the State of Texas, do hereby certify that the 

             6   above and foregoing 251 pages constitute a full, true 

             7   and correct transcript of the minutes of the Texas 

             8   Parks and Wildlife Commission on AUGUST 31, 2000, in 

             9   the Commission hearing room of the Texas Parks and 

            10   Wildlife Headquater Complex, Austin, Travis County, 

            11   Texas.

            12       I FURTHER CERTIFY that a stenographic record was 

            13   made by me at the time of the public meeting, and said 

            14   stenographic notes were thereafter reduced to 

            15   computerized transcription under my supervision and 

            16   control.

            17       WITNESS MY HAND this the       day of 

            18                   , 2000.




                                        MARY SAUCEDO, CSR NO. 5943
            23                          ESQUIRE DEPOSITION SERVICES
                                        7800 IH 10 West, Suite 100
            24                          San Antonio, Texas 78230

                               ESQUIRE DEPOSITION SERVICES
                   7800 IH-10 WEST, SUITE 100, SAN ANTONIO, TX  78230
                 (210) 377-3027    (800) 969-3027    FAX (210) 344-6016

             3                          Lee M. Bass, Chairman
             5                          Carol Dinkins, Vice-Chairman
             7                          Ernest Angelo, Jr., Member
             9                          John Avila, Jr., Member
            11                          Richard W. (Dick) Heath, Member
            13                          Alvin L. Henry, Member
            15                          Katharine Armstrong Idsal Member
            17                          Nolan Ryan, Member
                                        Mark E. Watson, Jr., Member





                               ESQUIRE DEPOSITION SERVICES
                   7800 IH-10 WEST, SUITE 100, SAN ANTONIO, TX  78230
                 (210) 377-3027    (800) 969-3027    FAX (210) 344-6016