Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
Conservation Committee

November 17, 1999

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



        8                BE IT REMEMBERED that heretofore on 

        9     the 17th day of November 1999, there came on 

       10     to be heard matters under the regulatory 

       11     authority of the Parks and Wildlife Commission 

       12     of Texas, in the commission hearing room of 

       13     the Texas Parks and Wildlife Headquarters 

       14     complex, Austin, Travis County, Texas, 

       15     beginning at 9:40 a.m. to wit:

       18          CONSERVATION COMMITTEE:
                   CHAIR:     Carol E. Dinkins
       19                     Lee M. Bass
                              Ernest Angelo, Jr.
       20                     John Avila, Jr.
                              Dick Heath (absent) 
       21                     Alvin L. Henry (absent)
                              Katharine Armstrong Idsal
       22                     Nolan Ryan
                              Mark E. Watson, Jr.
       25     Andrew H. Sansom, Executive Director



        1                    NOVEMBER 17, 1999

        2               MORNING SESSION:  9:40 a.m.

        3                        * * * * *

        4                 CONSERVATION COMMITTEE

        5                        * * * * *

        6                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  I call the 

        7     meeting to order.  And before proceeding with 

        8     business, I believe Mr. Sansom has some 

        9     statements to make. 

       10                MR. SANSOM:  Ms. Chairman, public 

       11     notice of this meeting containing all items on 

       12     the proposed agenda has been filed in the 

       13     Office of Secretary of State as required by 

       14     Chapter 551 of the Government Code.  This is 

       15     referred to as the Open Meetings Law, and I 

       16     would like for this action to be noted in the 

       17     official record of the meeting.

       18          If I might, Commissioner Dinkins, I would 

       19     also like to point out that Dr. Lacher has 

       20     brought the introductory conservation 

       21     management class from Texas A&M today, and 

       22     they are here with us in the audience and very 

       23     welcome.

       24                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  Yes.  We do 

       25     welcome you.  I'm glad you're here.  And I 



        1     want to apologize for our late start, but you 

        2     could probably tell when you were coming in 

        3     through the fog yourself that it was going to 

        4     be hard for anybody to get here.  And we 

        5     appreciate your patience. 

        6          With that, we'll turn to the minutes of 

        7     the June meeting.  We did not have a committee 

        8     meeting in August, and that is why you see the 

        9     June minutes which remain to be approved.  And 

       10     I would ask for a motion for approval.

       11                COMMISSIONER WATSON:  I so move.

       12                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  And a 

       13     second, please.

       14                COMMISSIONER RYAN:  Second.

       15                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  Thank you.  

       16     Any discussion?  Hearing none, then all in 

       17     favor say aye.  Those opposed?  Thank you.

       18          (Motion passed unanimously.) 


       20     CHARGES.

       21                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  Our next 

       22     item is a briefing, and that is on the 

       23     Chairman's Charges, if you would please, 

       24     Mr. Sansom.

       25                MR. SANSOM:  Well, we're going to, 



        1     if it's all right with you, Chairman Dinkins, 

        2     is that Mr. Bass has asked that when he does 

        3     arrive, he's just going to go back and proceed 

        4     to hear all of his charges at one time.

        5                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  All right.  

        6     We'll wait for that, then.



        9                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  The next 

       10     item is the fiber optic easement, Travis 

       11     County, and that is in the briefing.

       12                MR. HERRING:  Good morning.  My 

       13     name is Mike Herring.  I'm director of the 

       14     department's land conservation program.  And I 

       15     have with me Kathy Boydston, a member of the 

       16     wildlife division staff.

       17          A private communications company has 

       18     purchased a building adjacent to the 

       19     department's Austin headquarters and has 

       20     requested a permanent easement along Smith 

       21     School Road to install a fiber optic cable.  

       22     The easement would be approximately 2,000 feet 

       23     in length, five feet wide, totaling 10,000 

       24     square feet.  In order to allow installation 

       25     to proceed, the company was issued a 



        1     construction permit and certificate of 

        2     occupancy for a period of ten years, with a 

        3     provision for conversion to a permanent 

        4     easement contingent on Parks and Wildlife 

        5     Commission and the Parks and Wildlife Board 

        6     for Lease Approval. 

        7          Compensation for the easement is $45,000, 

        8     or $4.50 per square foot.  Department staff 

        9     has examined the application and concluded 

       10     that there is no feasible or prudent 

       11     alternative to the use of the easement and the 

       12     project includes all reasonable planning to 

       13     minimize harm to the land.  The action 

       14     requested at this meeting is to move this to 

       15     the Board for Lease for a conversion from 

       16     temporary to permanent easement.

       17                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  Thank you.  

       18     Are there any questions?  All right.  Hearing 

       19     none, the Chair would entertain a motion to 

       20     move this to the Commission agenda.

       21                COMMISSIONER WATSON:  So moved.

       22                COMMISSIONER RYAN:  I'll second.

       23                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  Any 

       24     discussion?  All in favor say aye.  Those 

       25     opposed, no.  The motion carries.  Thank you.



        1          (Motion passed unanimously.)




        5     COUNTY.

        6                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  Our next 

        7     item is the nomination for oil and gas leases. 

        8                MR. HERRING:  The department has 

        9     been requested to nominate portions of two 

       10     state parks for oil and gas leases.  At 

       11     Sheldon Lake State Park, approximately 662 of 

       12     the 2,265 mineral acres owned by the 

       13     department have been requested.  Conditions 

       14     for this nomination are shown in your Exhibit 

       15     A.  In this case, the requested tract is small 

       16     enough that we have prohibited surface entry 

       17     and require offsite drilling or pooling. 

       18          At Brazos Bend State Park, two tracts 

       19     totalling 3,170 acres have been requested.  

       20     Conditions associated with this nomination are 

       21     shown at your Exhibit B.  These are our 

       22     standard restrictions designed to minimize 

       23     environmental impact.  And in this case, there 

       24     are existing well sites, so we're limiting 

       25     drilling to those well sites.



        1          Our compensation is our standard 

        2     recommendation, $150 per acre bonus bid, a 25 

        3     percent royalty, $10 per acre delay rental for 

        4     a three-year lease; and for Brazos Bend, 

        5     surface damages for drill site, $2500 each. 

        6                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  I did have 

        7     one question, and that was whether in the 

        8     Brazos Bend State Park, the existing pads have 

        9     been mapped.  Because one of the conditions is 

       10     that the drilling would be from existing pads 

       11     located within the park.  Is there a map of 

       12     those?

       13                MS. BOYDSTON:  We have them located 

       14     on aerial photography for that site, and we 

       15     did fax that to the people that nominated, and 

       16     they felt like that that was adequate, that 

       17     they could reach their locations from those 

       18     pads.  And if it turns out that they cannot, 

       19     they are not able to do that, there are other 

       20     disturbed locations that we would let them 

       21     use, but we would prefer to limit them to 

       22     existing sites.

       23                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  But you 

       24     don't refer to the other (inaudible) do you?

       25                MS. BOYDSTON:  No.  We would like 



        1     to limit them to existing well pads.  There's 

        2     two, one in the northern half of the tract, 

        3     and then one that's more centrally located in 

        4     tract one where they would be able to reach 

        5     down into tract two, the other portion that 

        6     they've nominated, which is where most of the 

        7     park is.  That's where most of the campsites 

        8     and the facilities are.  And we'd like to keep 

        9     them out of that section if we could.

       10                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  Okay.  Thank 

       11     you.  Are there any other questions?

       12                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Move 

       13     approval.

       14                COMMISSIONER WATSON:  Second.

       15                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  Thank you.  

       16     Any discussion?  Hearing none, all in favor 

       17     say aye.  Those opposed, no.  Motion carries.  

       18     Thank you.

       19          (Motion passed unanimously.)

       20                MR. HERRING:  Ms. Dinkins, I think 

       21     both of these would qualify for consent agenda 

       22     if there's no one signing up tomorrow.

       23                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  All right.

       24                COMMISSIONER AVILA:  Add that to 

       25     the motion.



        1                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  All right.  

        2     The motion has been amended.  Thank you. 

        3     AGENDA ITEM NO. 4:  BRIEFING - TPWD 

        4     IMPLEMENTATION OF SB 1.

        5                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  Our next 

        6     item is a briefing on Senate Bill 1.  And the 

        7     materials are on Page 30 that provide the 

        8     background.

        9                MR. MCKINNEY:  Thank you, Madam 

       10     Chairman and Members.  For the record I'm 

       11     Larry McKinney, senior director for aquatic 

       12     resources.  With me today and who will be tag 

       13     teaming with me is Cindy Loeffler who is head 

       14     of our water team and basically really the one 

       15     in charge of trying to implement all the 

       16     things we're doing with Senate Bill 1.  So she 

       17     does all the work.  So I'm going to ask her to 

       18     help us out on this. 

       19          It never hurts to take a look at our 

       20     primary goal for what we're trying achieve in 

       21     working with water, and certainly it's key to 

       22     all the issues and activities that we do in 

       23     the department, to review that very quickly.  

       24     As far as implementation of Senate Bill 1, we 

       25     do and are continuing to work in all areas in 



        1     partnership with the TNRCC and the Water 

        2     Development Board to achieve those ends.  So 

        3     what we want to do for you today is kind of 

        4     present you with a summary of where we are in 

        5     that process. 

        6          This is a particularly important time in 

        7     regards to the planning efforts through the 

        8     state.  As you may recall, the state has been 

        9     divided into 16 planning regions for the 

       10     purposes of developing water management 

       11     strategies to meet other future water needs 

       12     over the next 50 years.  The regional water 

       13     plans, that is each region, regional planning 

       14     group is charged in Senate Bill 1 with 

       15     producing a plan for their region that will be 

       16     submitted to the Water Development Board in 

       17     January of 2001.  So there's a critical period 

       18     of time that we're about to enter now in 

       19     developing those plans.  The overall state 

       20     water plan will be due then the following 

       21     year. 

       22          So the planning groups are at various 

       23     stages of meeting that objective, but it's 

       24     going to kick into high gear in producing 

       25     their documents over the winter and 



        1     particularly spring.  There will be a series, 

        2     obviously, of public hearings in each of these 

        3     regions on those water plans through the 

        4     summer.  So that will be a high activity time 

        5     for all of us.  And we're trying to get ready 

        6     for that and have been. 

        7          I want to particularly recognize, of 

        8     course, all of the work that's being done by 

        9     Parks and Wildlife staff in just every 

       10     division.  In fact, a number of them are here 

       11     from the coastal division today, which we 

       12     appreciate all of their support in trying to 

       13     make our resources available to those planning 

       14     groups to make sure that fish and wildlife are 

       15     adequately addressed. 

       16          One of the things I asked them to do with 

       17     Cindy's direction is to basically prepare a 

       18     report card on the planning groups as to where 

       19     we are in progress of addressing fish and 

       20     wildlife and environmental issues from the 

       21     groups.  And that's what's reflected on the 

       22     monitors there of kind of where we are as far 

       23     as A's, B's and C's.  Unfortunately we don't 

       24     have any A's right now, but we have some 

       25     groups that are more advanced in dealing with 



        1     those issues.  And really what this is, and 

        2     we're going to cover a couple of the issues on 

        3     how we got to that score, this is not 

        4     necessarily a rating of how well these groups 

        5     are including fish and wildlife, but mostly, 

        6     are they at least considering fish and 

        7     wildlife impact, environmental issues as part 

        8     of their development plan, at least as part of 

        9     that process?  

       10          And there's some interesting issues, for 

       11     example, one that we've worked very closely  

       12     with the Board on is regions -- taking a look 

       13     at our population projections and water-use 

       14     scenarios that we have worked on for sometime 

       15     to make sure that they agree with those.  And 

       16     a number of the regions have not agreed with 

       17     those projections of population and water use 

       18     and they're challenging them.  But we worked 

       19     through I think most regions now except for --

       20                MS. LOEFFLER:  Fourteen.

       21                MR. MCKINNEY:  We worked through 14 

       22     regions.

       23                MS. LOEFFLER:  The 14th will be 

       24     considered by the Water Development Board 

       25     today. 



        1                MR. MCKINNEY:  Okay.  And we're 

        2     getting those worked out.  Pretty much they're 

        3     agreeing with us.  I think the one area that 

        4     will be interesting to look at, that's -- I 

        5     think it's Region C, which includes Dallas.  

        6     There are some times we think the city of 

        7     Dallas is planning on drowning their citizens 

        8     with water by their high consumptive rates.  

        9     But we will get through that issue, too.  

       10     Those will be important to come to agreement 

       11     on because they will set the stage for what 

       12     strategies that we'll be developing, how much 

       13     water we will be needing to meet those 

       14     demands. 

       15          One area in which we're working very 

       16     closely with the regions is in the process or 

       17     the potential for designation of rivers and 

       18     streams for their unique ecological value.  

       19     There's a series of criteria that's been set 

       20     forth in the rules that these regions can 

       21     consider in doing so.  A provision in the 

       22     Senate Bill 1 says that -- and this is a local 

       23     planning type option.  Only the local planning 

       24     groups can propose these, and then the 

       25     legislature must adopt them.  It really is a 



        1     direct control, a grassroots control of issues 

        2     of protecting stream segments and protecting 

        3     potential reservoir sites.  They can do 

        4     either.  It's certainly an important issue for 

        5     us.  We're trying to provide as much 

        6     information as we can to those planning 

        7     groups. 

        8          I think there's been some concerns being 

        9     raised in some areas about impacts on private 

       10     property and what all this means.  And we're 

       11     going to be seeking the help of our Private 

       12     Lands Advisory Committee to get that kind of 

       13     information out so people understand what 

       14     these things are and the fact that it's a 

       15     locally driven option and something that can 

       16     be of value to them.  And so that's another 

       17     area.  Just to give you an example of what 

       18     we're talking about, all of this information 

       19     is available on our Web site.  We have gone 

       20     over the entire state based on the criteria 

       21     that the Bill envisions and identified some 

       22     potential areas so people -- that the planning 

       23     groups can use. 

       24          For example, in that central region if 

       25     you looked at the Guadalupe River, that's one.  



        1     And so in our mapping, you can look and see 

        2     that that segment of the Guadalupe River down 

        3     to its confluence in San Antonio Bay -- the 

        4     Guadalupe Wildlife Management area is there -- 

        5     would meet all of those criteria.  That's just 

        6     one example.  So if you want to see in detail, 

        7     we can either do a paper match for you, but 

        8     it's available on our Web site in greater 

        9     detail.  That's just an example of what we're 

       10     doing there.

       11          A major concern that we have, and we're 

       12     going to be putting a lot of emphasis on it 

       13     from now through the spring, is that the 

       14     planning groups are so -- there's a lot work 

       15     they have to do.  They are very overwhelmed.  

       16     But we want to make sure that as they are 

       17     evaluating their management options, strategy 

       18     options of how they will meet the water 

       19     demands, that they include in that evaluation 

       20     environmental impact, impacts on fish and 

       21     wildlife, that it's part of that 

       22     consideration.  We, Cindy and I and others, 

       23     have been in this business for many years, and 

       24     it has been -- we have commonly observed a 

       25     trait, whether intentionally or just probably 



        1     because of the way it is, that many times 

        2     environmental considerations get put off until 

        3     the last, and then all of the sudden everyone 

        4     raises their hand, "Well, you're holding up 

        5     our entire project," where they had spent 

        6     three or four years looking at hydrology and 

        7     other things and then suddenly they're going 

        8     to spend three weeks on other considerations.  

        9     And that's unfortunate because they are 

       10     important issues. 

       11          And we're really concerned that because 

       12     of the press of business that the planning 

       13     groups may be pushed that direction.  So we're 

       14     taking some actions to try to make sure that 

       15     we can assist them.  Obviously, as I said, we 

       16     have staff in every one of the planning groups 

       17     that are available there.  We have just 

       18     completed an evaluation matrix.  We would be 

       19     glad to share that with you that we're going 

       20     out to the planning regions to say, "Here is a 

       21     way to evaluate your projects, all types of 

       22     projects, things you must look at," with the 

       23     leadership of the Water Development Board.  

       24     And they instituted this and we're supporting 

       25     them.



        1          We've arranged over the spring to work 

        2     with all of the state agencies as well as all 

        3     the federal resource agencies to bring a 

        4     series of meetings together with each planning 

        5     region, to sit down with them and go over 

        6     every one of their strategies that they're 

        7     going to come up with to give them the heads 

        8     up of, "Here are issues that you need to 

        9     address, here are the fatal flaws, if you 

       10     will, or the red flags," to try to help them 

       11     get through that process.

       12                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  Could you 

       13     give us a couple of examples?

       14                MR. MCKINNEY:  Of?

       15                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  Example of 

       16     some of the things you have on the evaluation 

       17     matrix?

       18                MR. MCKINNEY:   Right.  We have 

       19     ordered all the strategies from a reservoir 

       20     construction, which typically is the most 

       21     environmentally impacted and one that you have 

       22     to deal with instream flows, inundation of 

       23     wetlands, downstream impacts, all the way down 

       24     to water conservation, which basically is the 

       25     least impact.  And so for example, under 



        1     reservoir construction, we identified that as 

        2     one strategy that's going to be considered.  

        3     When you construct a reservoir, we basically 

        4     in the next part of the matrix, identified all 

        5     those environmental issues which must be 

        6     evaluated.  What are the impacts on bottomland 

        7     hardwoods typically, to what extent?  How do 

        8     you categorize those bottomland hardwoods?  

        9          There are some hardwoods that are more 

       10     valuable than others.  If your site is in one 

       11     of these high-value areas, you're going to 

       12     have to deal with a greater amount of 

       13     mitigation, instream flows, what is the amount 

       14     of water that might be available?  It's just 

       15     those kind of check marks that they go around 

       16     and look at.

       17          After we have identified those, we then 

       18     put in some recommendations that if you have 

       19     instream flow considerations, you may have to 

       20     have releases from your reservoir on a 

       21     schedule to meet flooding and those types of 

       22     things.  So that's -- it's a very generalized 

       23     nature.  We know that their consultants 

       24     understand these issues, but this is written 

       25     to try to get at those planning group members 



        1     so they can get a grasp on just what's 

        2     involved and so that they will do it, if that 

        3     helps. 

        4          I would be glad to provide you a copy, or 

        5     anyone who's interested, a copy of that 

        6     matrix -- we just completed it this week -- to 

        7     take a look at.  And we'd like your input on 

        8     that as to whether it's helpful.

        9                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Planning 

       10     groups are receptive to all this help, are 

       11     they?

       12                MS. LOEFFLER:  Some more than 

       13     others.

       14                MR. MCKINNEY:   Some, yes, some, 

       15     no.  Some groups prefer, they want basically 

       16     to deal with it on their own from all aspects.  

       17     They really don't want much interference, and 

       18     that's our concern.  You know, this is -- 

       19     Senate Bill 1 is very clear that this is a 

       20     grassroots type of effort, that it needs to 

       21     come from the bottom up.  And all we can do is 

       22     basically say, "We're here, we have these 

       23     resources, please take advantage of them," you 

       24     know, basically trying to make sure that 

       25     there's no excuse not to, but in fact, they 



        1     have to do it.  And that's about as far as we 

        2     can go.

        3                MR. SANSOM:  And that presents us 

        4     with a real dilemma that we're wrestling with 

        5     right now.  Because if you -- this process, 

        6     which frankly we began back in the early 

        7     '90's, and Senator Brown has put in place for 

        8     us, envisions that at some point in time we 

        9     would reach consensus on what -- where the new 

       10     projects will be and what things will be 

       11     protected and how much water will be left in 

       12     the rivers and streams.  And if we're 

       13     presented with a situation at the end of this 

       14     process where we can't do that, then we're 

       15     going to have a train wreck.  And so we've got 

       16     to find a way to make sure that somehow those 

       17     considerations be imbued in this process, 

       18     otherwise we -- the idea of a mutually agreed 

       19     upon consensus water plan will not work. 

       20                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Our role is 

       21     strictly advisory at this time?

       22                MR. SANSOM:  At this stage, but at 

       23     the point in time at which we agree on the 

       24     statewide plan, we're a party.

       25                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  But this is 



        1     a good process, because the kind of things 

        2     that you're ticking off that would be in that 

        3     matrix are things that they're going to run 

        4     into in a permit when they have to get one for 

        5     the project.  And if it involves those areas, 

        6     they will have to have a permit.

        7                MR. SANSOM:  And that's, I think -- 

        8     what Larry will tell you is that's part of our 

        9     concern right now is that there may not be a 

       10     universal acceptance of that at this level.

       11                MR. MCKINNEY:  Or even to a certain 

       12     degree, a navet about that that they're 

       13     just -- many of these have not participated.  

       14     They don't recognize that and don't understand 

       15     it that there's not only a state water permit 

       16     process, there's a federal process which is 

       17     entirely outside the scope of any great state 

       18     influence which deals with 404's and 

       19     endangered species that they must deal with, 

       20     and they're just going to have to.

       21                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  That's what 

       22     I was thinking about, and that's why I was 

       23     thinking that it's good that the people on the 

       24     planning committees recognize that at an early 

       25     stage so that they don't get really frustrated 



        1     when they start trying to get projects 

        2     approved and they run into those kinds of 

        3     issues.

        4                MR. SANSOM:  And I think one of the 

        5     concerns that we have from an institutional 

        6     standpoint is we need to make sure that it is 

        7     not perceived at that point in time that we 

        8     suddenly just popped up as an obstacle, 

        9     because I think our guys have been telling 

       10     these planning groups this all the way along. 

       11          Thankfully, Senator Brown and the 

       12     leadership of the other two principal agencies 

       13     also recognize this dilemma.  I mean, it's not 

       14     something that we're not all sharing as a 

       15     potential issue that we need to wrestle with.

       16                MR. MCKINNEY:  I can emphasize that 

       17     more.  We're working very closely with the 

       18     other two agencies.  It's a concern from all 

       19     perspectives, water quality, all other issues, 

       20     a great concern how we can do that.  And 

       21     there's -- the matrix we prepared, another one 

       22     is being prepared by TNRCC and the Board on 

       23     issues that they deal with, so it will be a 

       24     pretty impressive package going forward and 

       25     that type of thing.



        1          What I will do now is -- that's really of 

        2     course our concerns on the planning groups.  

        3     I'm going to ask Cindy to review with you very 

        4     quickly what our status is on other aspects of 

        5     Senate Bill 1 implementation that we are also 

        6     involved in.

        7                MS. LOEFFLER:  Thank you.  Senate 

        8     Bill 1 did other things as well as setting up 

        9     the regional water planning process, and one 

       10     of those things that I'm frankly pretty 

       11     excited about is this concept of creating new 

       12     water availability models for the state.  This 

       13     is something that is long overdue in needing 

       14     to happen.  And what this will allow us to do, 

       15     working with the Texas Natural Resource 

       16     Conservation Commission, to use the best, most 

       17     current information to analyze how much water 

       18     is actually available in these basins.  You 

       19     have probably heard by now that many of our 

       20     river basins in Texas are fully or 

       21     over-appropriated as far as surface water 

       22     rights are concerned.  So this is a critical 

       23     issue for us to be able to look at, to have 

       24     the tool in hand to look at how much water is 

       25     actually available.



        1          So we have been working from the very 

        2     beginning with TNRCC on updating these models 

        3     or creating new models, in some cases, for all 

        4     22 river basins in the state except for the 

        5     Rio Grande.  And these models will be 

        6     completed by December 31st, 2001.  And one 

        7     feature that is important from our perspective 

        8     is that these models are able to represent 

        9     environmental flow needs, instream flow needs 

       10     and freshwater inflow needs to the basin 

       11     estuaries.  So we will be able to use these 

       12     models as tools to look at the impacts of new 

       13     water development, to look at the impacts of 

       14     changes in how current water rights are used 

       15     and to look at reuse, for example.  If water 

       16     is reused, what impact will that have on our 

       17     aquatic ecosystems. 

       18          So currently we're at the point where the 

       19     Sulfur basin is complete.  The Neches and 

       20     Nueces, San Antonio, Guadalupe basins are in 

       21     draft form, and we have had a chance to review 

       22     those.  And then the San Jacinto and Trinity 

       23     basin are currently underway. 

       24                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  Cindy, are 

       25     those being modeled by people in-house at 



        1     TNRCC?

        2                MS. LOEFFLER:  No.  That was a 

        3     fairly lengthy start-up process that we went 

        4     through, but it was for the better, to look at 

        5     all the models that are available worldwide.  

        6     We didn't limit ourselves to just the U.S. or 

        7     Texas even to select the best model available.  

        8     And as it turns out, there was no model out 

        9     there that, you know, off the shelf could do 

       10     what we needed it to do.  And interestingly 

       11     enough, the model that we ended up selecting 

       12     was one developed at Texas A&M.  That then 

       13     needed to be kind of tailored, if you will, 

       14     have some things added to it, modified to work 

       15     for Texas.  And then that model then is 

       16     applied to the different basins by private 

       17     consulting firms.  So we've also gone through 

       18     an RFQ process to award those contracts.  

       19     TNRCC is the contract manager.

       20                MR. SANSOM:  Members, there's no 

       21     more serious ecological issues with these 

       22     basin estuaries than this one, not dredging, 

       23     not development -- nothing comes close to this 

       24     issue as a potential impact on the basin 

       25     estuaries out into the future, as a continued 



        1     assured-flow of freshwater.

        2                MS. LOEFFLER:  That's a good segue 

        3     into the next slide talking about the status 

        4     of the coastal studies program basin estuaries 

        5     studies that have been underway in concert 

        6     with the Texas Water Development Board staff.  

        7     I'm glad to report that the studies are on 

        8     schedule, progressing smoothly, and results 

        9     are now available for the San Antonio Bay 

       10     System, for the Galveston Bay System.  

       11     Matagorda Bay was actually modeled by the 

       12     Lower Colorado River Authority with input from 

       13     the state agencies.  We also have numbers now 

       14     for Nueces Bay System, Copano Aransas was 

       15     completed this summer, and we're now turning 

       16     our efforts to Sabine Lake and the Lower 

       17     Laguna Madre.

       18          And so the water availability models will 

       19     be able to incorporate these freshwater inflow 

       20     needs for these estuaries and help us to look 

       21     at different management scenarios, different 

       22     water use scenarios.  The Regional Water 

       23     Planning Groups under Senate Bill 1 will have 

       24     these models available to look at impacts of 

       25     different management strategies on freshwater 



        1     inflows. 

        2          On the groundwater side of the picture, 

        3     Parks and Wildlife historically has not been 

        4     heavily involved in groundwater issues, but 

        5     thanks to Senate Bill 1, there is now a 

        6     requirement for the department to complete 

        7     studies that look at natural resources in 

        8     areas that are described as priority 

        9     groundwater management areas, PGMAs.  And what 

       10     that means is an area that is expected to or 

       11     is currently experiencing groundwater problems 

       12     due to water quality problems, decline in 

       13     groundwater levels, future increasing demand, 

       14     things of that nature, can be designated by 

       15     the TNRCC as a priority groundwater management 

       16     area. 

       17          And so our input into this process is to 

       18     provide the technical information and data as 

       19     to the natural resource issues there and 

       20     potential natural resource problems with 

       21     respect to groundwater use.  So what you see 

       22     on this slide are the map -- the regions that 

       23     we completed, the water resources team, this 

       24     past year.  And one little addition that's not 

       25     on there is for northern Bexar County -- it 



        1     was another one that we looked at recently.  

        2     So at this time --

        3                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  Cindy, 

        4     before you move on, on the groundwater, I 

        5     remember decades of work on instream flows and 

        6     on flows into the bays and estuaries, but I 

        7     don't remember seeing a lot in the groundwater 

        8     area in the last two decades.

        9                MS. LOEFFLER:  We haven't really 

       10     had the opportunity, I'll say, to get very 

       11     involved in groundwater issues.  And I think 

       12     that's primarily due to how groundwater is 

       13     managed or not managed in Texas.

       14                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  Not managed.

       15                MS. LOEFFLER:  And not really an 

       16     opportunity.  But I'm excited to say yesterday 

       17     I was at a meeting all day, a kickoff looking 

       18     at groundwater availability modeling that the 

       19     Texas Water Development Board is currently 

       20     undertaking.  And one of the key primary 

       21     issues that we talked about is looking at the 

       22     impact on springflows, looking at how surface 

       23     water and groundwater interact and how 

       24     groundwater activities can affect instream 

       25     flows, freshwater inflows, springs, all of 



        1     that.

        2                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  It's good to 

        3     see this kind of work started.

        4                MS. LOEFFLER:  It's just starting.  

        5     It's good.  Long overdue.

        6          Another tool that Senate Bill 1 gave us 

        7     to use is the Texas Water Trust.  The Water  

        8     Trust is something that will allow a water 

        9     right holder to dedicate that water right to 

       10     environmental flow protection.  The incentive 

       11     there is, if a water right has not been used 

       12     for a period of time, ten years, it 

       13     technically, legally can be cancelled for 

       14     non-use.  TNRCC can in effect take that water 

       15     right back.  It's not something that TNRCC has 

       16     exercised in the past, but there is increased 

       17     emphasis under Senate Bill 1 -- the Regional 

       18     Planning Groups are directed to look at 

       19     cancellation, the water availability models 

       20     will explicitly state water available if 

       21     cancellation were carried out.

       22          So we're looking at this as a mechanism 

       23     for actually taking water rights that have 

       24     been granted and dedicating them for a term of 

       25     time for several years or in perpetuity, 



        1     forever, for protecting environmental flows.  

        2     And so we've been working with the sister 

        3     agencies, with the Water Development Board and 

        4     TNRCC, to establish the procedure that the 

        5     agencies and the water right holders would 

        6     follow to actually carry this out. 

        7          And we're pleased to report that we're at 

        8     the point in time where we're ready to 

        9     actually deposit a right.  And the right that 

       10     we've been discussing is a Parks and Wildlife 

       11     Department water right at Sheldon State Park 

       12     that has not been used for the original 

       13     intended purpose and can be dedicated to 

       14     environmental flow protection.  So we're 

       15     hoping --

       16                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  That could 

       17     be a very significant tool for the department.

       18                MR. SANSOM:  Big, big tool.  We are 

       19     also -- Larry is also working on the San 

       20     Marcos River for the potential dedication of 

       21     some water there.  I will tell you that, 

       22     Members and Chairman Dinkins, it's my opinion 

       23     that in the years out we're going to have to 

       24     also look for some funding to make 

       25     acquisitions of water in the way that we make 



        1     acquisitions of land today.  We will get in a 

        2     situation where we'll be using everything from 

        3     duck stamp funds to who knows what else -- 

        4     saltwater fishing funds -- to actually 

        5     purchase water on the market to put into this 

        6     trust in order to make sure it's there.

        7                MS. LOEFFLER:  Excellent.  And then 

        8     finally, as Larry already alluded to, the 

        9     Texas water web page that my team, the water 

       10     resources team, created is our -- one of our 

       11     primary vehicles for getting the data out, 

       12     getting the information out.  All of these 

       13     reports that you've heard us talk about, the 

       14     priority groundwater management area reports, 

       15     the ecologically significant river and stream 

       16     segments, the freshwater inflow summary 

       17     reports, all of these things are being posted 

       18     to this Web site and made available to -- 

       19     especially to the SB 1 Regional Planning Group 

       20     members, but to anyone who's interested in our 

       21     issues.  And so that is available from our Web 

       22     site. 

       23          And I just want to, in closing, reiterate 

       24     what Larry said about the dedication of the 

       25     staff from all the agencies and the department 



        1     supporting the Senate Bill 1 process.  We 

        2     couldn't have done it just within my program 

        3     in resource protection.

        4                MR. MCKINNEY:  With that, Madam 

        5     Chair, we conclude our report unless there's 

        6     other questions.

        7                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  Are there 

        8     any other questions?  Well, thank you.  That 

        9     was an excellent briefing.  And Cindy, 

       10     welcome.  I don't think we've had you before 

       11     the committee.

       12                MS. LOEFFLER:  Thank you. 

       13                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  We'll look 

       14     forward to more briefings.

       15                MS. LOEFFLER:  Great.


       17     TRANSFERS.

       18                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  Our next 

       19     item is also a briefing, and that is on 

       20     implementation -- I'm sorry -- the status of 

       21     the park transfers.  And Bob Cook is going to 

       22     give us that briefing.

       23                MR. COOK:  Actually, Mr. Dabney is 

       24     going to make the presentation, Madam 

       25     Chairman.  Thank you-all for being here.  And 



        1     with me, as I say, is Walt Dabney, our state 

        2     parks division director. 

        3          House Bill 2108 provided some funding for 

        4     the transfer of state park properties to other 

        5     local governmental entities.  And that was an 

        6     issue that was, of course, very sensitive to 

        7     us and very sensitive to the people in the 

        8     communities and our employees in the parks.  

        9     And so this process we have approached very 

       10     cautiously, but quite frankly, fairly 

       11     aggressively to get that word out and make 

       12     sure that people understand at all ends of the 

       13     spectrum what the issues are and what the 

       14     opportunities are.  It is not a fire sale. 

       15          And I think -- I think as Walt will point 

       16     out to you here, we've had some inquiries, 

       17     we've had some interest, and we've tried to 

       18     address each one of them individually.  With 

       19     that, I'm going let Mr. Dabney proceed.

       20                MR. DABNEY:  Good morning to 

       21     everyone.  House Bill 2108 did provide the 

       22     opportunity to have up to $2 million a year to 

       23     facilitate the possible transfer for continued 

       24     public use of units of the park system.  That 

       25     would be the transfer of the ownership, 



        1     operation and maintenance of those sites.  Per 

        2     the Commission's instructions, there was no 

        3     list.  In essence, the 122 sites are all on 

        4     the table, so to speak, for discussion. 

        5          As Bob said, we have been very methodical 

        6     in our approach to this.  Letters have gone 

        7     out, but prior to any of those letters going 

        8     out, I think -- you saw those letters.  We 

        9     went over to the legislature and briefed the 

       10     key members of the legislature and let them 

       11     look at the draft for this.  Subsequently we 

       12     sent a letter out to all of our employees.  

       13     And I will tell you that there's probably 

       14     still some consternation out among some of our 

       15     employees, the thought of losing their park, 

       16     where they work. 

       17          Letters subsequently went out to members 

       18     of the Texas Legislature, Texas Historical 

       19     Commission, Texas Recreation and Parks 

       20     Society, the Friends Groups, et cetera, also 

       21     to other -- to the river authorities, 

       22     commissioners, et cetera.  Letters went to 

       23     local officials, mayors, county judges, so the 

       24     county commissions all got them, city managers 

       25     and that sort of thing. 



        1          The criteria that we were using in this 

        2     approach was that we would be looking at sites 

        3     in the discussion where the locals clearly 

        4     understood the needs for that site, whether 

        5     it's to manage the natural resources, the 

        6     cultural resources, what all that entailed, 

        7     their ability to provide that same kind of 

        8     protection and control and operation, whether 

        9     it was related to endangered species or the 

       10     requirements to manage a cultural site under 

       11     state laws -- federal law, the financial 

       12     investment and potential long-term financial 

       13     impacts of these sites, both to Texas Parks 

       14     and Wildlife; what do these sites do for us 

       15     financially?  And secondly, of interest to the 

       16     local groups, is if it were not a state park 

       17     anymore, what would be the impact to us of 

       18     that not being a state park, and that's come 

       19     up in a number of these.  Local financial 

       20     ability to operate and maintain the site. 

       21          We certainly would not want to turn over 

       22     a site, and as was brought up by the 

       23     Commission last time, have that site operated 

       24     for five years and then come back to us.  And 

       25     so we are very open; anything we have as it 



        1     relates to financial papers and that kind of 

        2     thing is available to anybody that wants to 

        3     talk about this. 

        4          Two other things:  The level of 

        5     significance.  Is this a site that is 

        6     primarily of local interest or is it a site 

        7     that truly has a large regional or statewide 

        8     significance or area of interest?  And lastly, 

        9     it has to be mutually agreed to.  I mean, it 

       10     needs to be good -- a reasonable thing from 

       11     the state's standpoint and a reasonable thing 

       12     from the local entity. 

       13          We have had some inquiries.  And this is 

       14     a list of most -- I think all of the ones that 

       15     we have had at least an initial contact about, 

       16     and in a number of these we actually have had 

       17     face-to-face visits with most often mayors or 

       18     city managers or a combination of city and 

       19     county officials.  The proposed process that 

       20     we are using is that we would get a call -- 

       21     and I've had calls -- a couple of calls that 

       22     just wanted clarification.  "What does this 

       23     mean?  Are you trying to get rid of the state 

       24     park system?"  And we assured them that that 

       25     is certainly not the case here.  And, "Are you 



        1     trying to get rid of my area?"  No, that is 

        2     not the case either.  And then we explained 

        3     the process. 

        4          I had actually the Dallas Arboretum 

        5     called the other day and asked if they were 

        6     eligible for this.  We said -- I said, "I 

        7     don't think we own you, but do you want to be 

        8     transferred somewhere?"  Anyway, they said, 

        9     "Well, thanks we were just a little worried.  

       10     Also saw some possibility of money."  I said, 

       11     "Well, it will have to be somewhere else." 

       12          The proposed process then would be if 

       13     they had additional interest, we can either 

       14     send them some additional financial 

       15     information or specifics and then have a 

       16     face-to-face meeting if they wanted to do 

       17     that.  We have had face-to-face meetings with 

       18     some, others just said we'll call you back.  

       19     And then the process would move on down the 

       20     line as you see. 

       21          Information exchange:  Again, we will 

       22     give folks anything that they would like to 

       23     make their decision.  And we're very 

       24     forthcoming because we want them to understand 

       25     fully what it is that they are talking about 



        1     doing. 

        2          The next step would be some formal 

        3     proposal.  And I would assume that that could 

        4     be a resolution from a city council or a 

        5     county commission that, yes, this is something 

        6     we want to do and we propose to do this, and 

        7     then the steps as you see up there would 

        8     follow.  And we have not gotten past 

        9     "information exchange" on any of these 

       10     inquiries at this point in time. 

       11          So that's kind of where we are.  And if 

       12     you have any questions, I'd certainly be --

       13                MR. COOK:  I think it's at least 

       14     worthwhile to note -- of the parks that you 

       15     saw on the list that we've had the inquiry 

       16     from, like Walt said, some of them are just 

       17     like, "What is this?  What's going on?  We got 

       18     your letter and what does this mean?" 

       19          A couple of them have been pretty 

       20     serious, you know.  And Walt and his staff, 

       21     regional directors and park managers have 

       22     carried on a significant discussion with a 

       23     couple of these groups.  The process --

       24                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  A few of 

       25     these look like they would be quite 



        1     appropriate candidates for that (inaudible).

        2                COMMISSIONER AVILA:  A few of them 

        3     look -- some of those, just from your list, 

        4     would not be appropriate.  And so what's the 

        5     criteria where we're saying, "No, you're going 

        6     to stay in our system"?

        7                MR. DABNEY:  That's a good 

        8     question, Commissioner.  And it kind of 

        9     evolves in the discussion.

       10                COMMISSIONER AVILA:  Sort of like 

       11     seceding from the Union in some of those 

       12     cases.

       13                MR. DABNEY:  Well, it is.  It is, 

       14     and we talk about the significance.  And when 

       15     I say significance, it's really an area of 

       16     interest, too.  Do you want to turn -- and I 

       17     don't know which ones you have in mind and 

       18     I'll not try to play that game at all, but 

       19     some of them, you know, obviously come to 

       20     light that that is an area of major interest 

       21     and has been for a long time to a lot of 

       22     people. 

       23          If you turn it into -- if you were to 

       24     turn it into a city park, would it have the 

       25     same attraction and that kind of thing?  And 



        1     the second piece is, is it a critical piece of 

        2     the -- of that system of parks that we have.  

        3     There is no set piece that we have to say that 

        4     this is -- is not one we can further discuss, 

        5     but it's interesting to watch the evolution 

        6     and the dialogue, because in most cases folks 

        7     will say, "You know, we feel pretty good about 

        8     what it is," or "We want to continue this on 

        9     with some further discussions."  But yes, sir, 

       10     some of these are more straightforward than 

       11     others.

       12                MR. COOK:  The two that were on the 

       13     list that we're still carrying on some fairly 

       14     significant discussions with is Lockhart State 

       15     Park and Lubbock Lake Landmark State Park.  

       16     And we have real good opportunities there with 

       17     the local community in one case, with the 

       18     university and museum group in another case -- 

       19     they are very capable of doing this.  And 

       20     we're just at that point of looking at the 

       21     economics, you know, of what does it mean to 

       22     them, what does it mean to us, what are the 

       23     potentials. 

       24          One of the things that we want to be 

       25     careful of here and in working with all these 



        1     different groups and different kinds of 

        2     groups, is to keep the process itself fairly 

        3     straightforward and fairly simple and 

        4     something that they're comfortable in working 

        5     with. 

        6          And so we wanted to give you that update.  

        7     And as you saw, if we get to that point where 

        8     it looks like something is really going to 

        9     happen with any one of these sites, we will 

       10     certainly bring that information back to you 

       11     and advise you of that, keep you posted on 

       12     that.

       13                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Do you 

       14     envision recommending a more aggressive 

       15     approach from our standpoint in identifying 

       16     some who have not volunteered --

       17                MR. COOK:  We may have to go knock 

       18     on a door or two, yes, sir.

       19                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  If I could 

       20     interrupt, I'd like the record to show that 

       21     Commissioner Idsal was able to join us.  

       22     Welcome, Katharine.

       23                MR. SANSOM:  I think that one of 

       24     the things that we discussed this week in 

       25     preparing for this meeting was the fact that 



        1     we need to think about making sure that our 

        2     process is not inhibiting.  What you will see 

        3     formally is that you'll see if -- and 

        4     obviously we'll be discussing with you as we 

        5     go -- but the formal action that you will 

        6     ultimately take is that you would see an 

        7     additional item on your park grant list, but 

        8     it would be classified in this category.  And 

        9     so you would formally approve it in the form 

       10     of a grant for the purpose of transfer. 

       11          The interesting thing to me, and as Bob 

       12     and Walt have told you, is that we've got two 

       13     sites that we are in fairly active discussion 

       14     on, and they're very different.  They're very 

       15     different in terms of what they are, the 

       16     resources that are there, and in fact, the 

       17     significance of them.  So they don't fit 

       18     that -- they don't fit any easy model. 

       19          I struggled with this early, you know, to 

       20     try to see if we could crisply define what we 

       21     would talk about and what we would not.  And I 

       22     think we all concluded that that's kind of a 

       23     mistake because there probably may be other 

       24     types of partnering opportunities out there 

       25     which would only be disclosed through this 



        1     kind of process.  For example, although it did 

        2     not work, in one of the parks that was being 

        3     discussed, we looked at the possibility of 

        4     hooking up with a municipal wastewater system 

        5     as a potential huge savings to us.  And that 

        6     discussion only took place as a result of this 

        7     inquiry. 

        8          I have to tell you that it's my opinion 

        9     that this is very, very important.  It is 

       10     very -- as Walt has eloquently said, it's hard 

       11     for us to envision many times de-accessing a 

       12     site, but I believe that we will not be able 

       13     to do the things that are really important in 

       14     Texas in the years ahead unless we rigorously 

       15     look at the things that potentially could be 

       16     better done by others, and that's what this 

       17     program seeks to do.

       18                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  Bob, those 

       19     two parks, the Lubbock and the Lockhart parks, 

       20     were ones that I noted on the list that I 

       21     thought were particularly good candidates, but 

       22     as you say, for very different reasons.  And 

       23     you couldn't put together a list that would 

       24     capture both of those very easily.

       25                MR. COOK:  Like Andy says, I think 



        1     one of the most interesting results of this 

        2     may be that for instance in the discussions 

        3     that Walt and some of our staff had with the 

        4     Huntsville folks, this thing of the water 

        5     hookup.  I mean, you're talking hundreds of 

        6     thousands of dollars.  Well, if we could end 

        7     up in a partnership with a community or with a 

        8     park in something as a result of this process, 

        9     maybe a transfer does not take place, but a 

       10     partnership occurs in which a resulting 

       11     savings and a better understanding of what is 

       12     happening out there and what is required to 

       13     operate that park.

       14          Huntsville is really an interesting one 

       15     because the community has through the years 

       16     made a lot of demands upon us, has made many, 

       17     many requests to do this, do that for their 

       18     park.  As that discussion took place and we 

       19     sat down and started looking at the numbers, 

       20     looking at revenues, looking at costs, looking 

       21     at infrastructure repairs, they all kind of 

       22     begin to go, "Yeah, well, maybe you-all are 

       23     doing a pretty good job here."  And that's a 

       24     very positive thing and one that I appreciate 

       25     Walt's efforts on, and that I think we'll have 



        1     that opportunity a number of times in the next 

        2     several years.

        3                MR. DABNEY:  One other impression 

        4     on this, to be honest with you, is the 

        5     significance thing that Andy explained very 

        6     well.  We do have Lubbock Lake as very 

        7     significant, maybe even internationally, and 

        8     Lockhart maybe in a different way, more of a 

        9     local interest but still a state park.  I 

       10     think the other piece of this is, as you 

       11     really look at all the numbers, not just the 

       12     gate receipts versus what your operation is, 

       13     but having to take care of infrastructure -- 

       14     unless you're a fairly significant-sized 

       15     entity, that's going to be hard to do, because 

       16     you could sell somebody something that they'd 

       17     look back on in a few years and say, "What did 

       18     we take on?"  Because if you're a small county 

       19     or a small town, the infrastructure alone, 

       20     especially with some of these -- like swimming 

       21     pools and golf courses -- you're buying 

       22     yourself a pretty good liability.  We know. 

       23                COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  Any other 

       24     questions?  Well, thank you for that briefing.  

       25     We'll look forward to your progress on this.



        1          Is there any other business to come 

        2     before this committee?  If not, then we will 

        3     not adjourn but continue until the executive 

        4     session, which we will announce at the 

        5     appropriate time.  So with that, we will turn 

        6     to the finance committee. 



        9                        * * * * *


       11                        * * * * *

















        1                 REPORTER'S CERTIFICATE


        3     COUNTY OF TRAVIS     X

        4     THE STATE OF TEXAS   X

        5          I, Rachelle Latino, certified shorthand 

        6     reporter for the State of Texas, do hereby 

        7     certify that the above and foregoing 46 pages 

        8     constitutes a full, true and correct 

        9     transcript of the minutes of the Texas Parks 

       10     and Wildlife Commission on November 17, 1999, 

       11     in the commission hearing room of the Texas 

       12     Parks and Wildlife Headquarters Complex, 

       13     Travis County, Texas.

       14          I further certify that a stenographic 

       15     record was made by me at the time of the 

       16     public meeting and said stenographic notes 

       17     were thereafter reduced to computerized 

       18     transcription under my direction and control.

       19          Witness my hand this, the 8th day of 

       20     January 2000.


       23                     Rachelle Latino
                              Certified Shorthand Reporter
       24                     State of Texas
                              Certificate No. 6771
       25                     Expires: 12-31-01