Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
Annual Public Hearing

August 29, 2001

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

           5            BE IT REMEMBERED, that heretofore on the 29th day

           6   of August, 2001, there came to be heard matters under the

           7   regulatory authority of the Parks and Wildlife Commission of

           8   Texas, in the Commission Hearing Room of the Texas Parks and

           9   Wildlife Headquarters Complex, Austin, Texas, beginning at

          10   2:05 p.m., to wit:


          12   APPEARANCES:
          14   CHAIRMAN:  Katharine Armstrong Idsal, San Antonio, Texas
                          Donato D. Ramos, Laredo, Texas
          15              Carol E. Dinkins, Houston, Texas
                          Philip Montgomery, Dallas, Texas
          16              Ernest Angelo, Jr., Midland, Texas
                          John Avila, Jr., Fort Worth, Texas
          17              Alvin L. Henry, Houston, Texas
                          Mark E. Watson, Jr., San Antonio, Texas
          18              Joseph Fitzsimons, San Antonio, Texas



               Andrew H. Sansom, Executive Director, and other personnel of
          22   the Parks and Wildlife Department




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           1   LIST OF SPEAKERS:

           2   MATTER OF INTEREST:  Riverbeds

           3   Trey Powers, Texas Department of Agriculture, Former

           4   Rep. Susan Combs Office


           6   MATTER OF INTEREST:  Appreciation

           7   John Jefferson, 10433 Firethorn Lane, Austin, TX  78758

           8   Dr. Scott Henke, Texas Chapter of the Wildlife Society

           9   David K. Langford, Texas Wildlife Association


          11   MATTER OF INTEREST:  Education & Outreach Programs and
               Pre-Expo Rally
               Monica Lamb (retired Houston Comet), ML Wellness Foundation,
               6309 MLK, Houston, TX  77021

          15   MATTER OF INTEREST:  River degradation-Nueces River and
               ATV Use
               Jeannie Dullnig, Stewards of the Nueces, 4 Dorchester, San
               Antonio, TX  78209
               Allen L. Mize, 112 Larkspur St., Uvalde, TX  78801
               Carl D. Seyffert, HC 33 Box 628A, Uvalde, TX  78801
               Robert M. Dullnig, Stewards of the Nueces, 4 Dorchester
               Pl., San Antonio, TX  78209 (pass)
               Con Mims, Nueces River Authority, 200 E. Nopal, POB 349,
               Uvalde, TX  78802-0349
               Charles Draper, Steward of the Nueces River, 4609 Trail Crest

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           1   Circle, Austin, TX 78735

           2   John Earl Teague, Conserving the Nueces River, Box 396, Camp

           3   Wood, TX  78833

           4   Fred J. Wallace, Park Chalk Bluff, HC 33 Box 566, Uvalde, TX

           5   78801

           6   James A. Middleton, San Antonio Adv. Society, 358 Sandalwood

           7   Ln, San Antonio, TX 78216

           8   Wright Friday, Stewards of the Nueces, Box 1, Uvalde, TX

           9   78802

          10   Ray McKnight, Stewards of the Nueces, Box 48, Cap Wood, TX

          11   78833

          12   Raynice Shudde, 111 Beat Oak Trail, Uvalde, TX  78801 (pass)

          13   John Shudde, 111 Bent Oak Trail, Uvalde, TX  78801

          14   Seth Davidson, Fermata Inc., POB 5485, Austin, TX 78763-5485

          15   Tom Taylor, Dry Creek Road, Barksdale, TX  78828

          16   Don Friend, Stewards of the Nueces, #1 Friends Trail, Uvalde,

          17   TX  78801 (pass)

          18   Janice Trevino, Stewards of the Nueces, 1410 Hunter Green,

          19   Fresno, TX  77545

          20   H.W. Kilpatrick, HCR 33 Box 611, Uvalde, TX  78801

          21   Allan P. Bloxsom, III, 221 N. Getty 2nd Floor, Uvalde, TX

          22   78801

          23   Sheri Rutledge, Texas Hill Country River Region, 311 N. Getty

          24   St., Uvalde, TX  78801


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           1   MATTER OF INTEREST:  Texas Recreation and Park
               Account-commend State Park System

           3   Douglas Evans, City of Grapevine, TRAPS, DFW Director, POB

           4   95104, Grapevine, TX  76099


           6   MATTER OF INTEREST:  Llano River

           7   Leo Perron, 3707 N. St. Marys, San Antonio, TX  78212


           9   MATTER OF INTEREST:  Water Issues

          10   Bill West, Guadalupe Blanco River Authority, 933 E. Court

          11   St., Seguin, TX 78155


          13   MATTER OF INTEREST: River Conservation

          14   John Gosdin, Texas Rivers Conservation Advisory Board


          16   MATTER OF INTEREST:  Inland Fisheries & Fee Increases

          17   Will Kirkpatrick, The Fishing School, Rt 1 Box 138 PC,

          18   Broaddus, TX 75929

          19   David Stewart, SMART, 3415 Shenandoah Dr., Cedar Park, TX

          20   78613


          22   MATTER OF INTEREST:  Seashells

          23   Colleys Fins to Feathers, Live Shells of Texas, POB 2611,

          24   South Padre Island, TX 78597


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           1   MATTER OF INTEREST:  TPWD Practices--Nonsupportive

           2   Ellis Gilleland, Texas Animals, POB 9001, Austin, TX 78766


           4   MATTER OF INTEREST:  Alcohol Advertising

           5   Jim Haire, 5801 Regents Row, Tyler, TX  75703

           6   Janet Taylor, Texans Standing Tall, Chamber Coalition for a

           7   Better Community, 1615 S. Chestnut, Lufkin, TX 75901


           9   MATTER OF INTEREST:  Historic Sites and Parks

          10   Terry Colley, Texas Historical Commission, POB 12276, Austin,

          11   TX  78711

          12   Myron Hess, Texans for State Parks, 1705 Margaret, Austin, TX

          13   78701


          15   MATTER OF INTEREST:  Coastal Fishery; Shrimping Regs; Seabobs

          16   Richard E. Moore, PISCES, Rt 3 Box 784, Dickinson, TX  77539

          17   Muriel Tipps, Matagorda County Seafood Rep, POB 260, Cedar

          18   Lane, TX 77415

          19   Dwayne Harrison, PISCES, 2617 Heritage Colony, Webster, TX

          20   77598

          21   Wesley Blevins, Calhoun County Shrimpers, POB 752, Seadrift,

          22   TX 77983

          23   Brian Sybert, Sierra Club, POB 1931, Austin, TX 78767

          24   Pam Baker, Evironmental Defense, 521 Peerman Pl, Corpus

          25   Christi, TX 78411

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           1   MATTER OF INTEREST:  Mountain Lions

           2   DeDe Armentrout, Mountain Lion Foundation of Texas, 1715

           3   Horton Press Road, Blanco, TX 78606


           5   MATTER OF INTEREST:  Inflows of Guadalupe River

           6   Dianne Wassenich, San Marcos River Foundation, POB 1393, San

           7   Marcos, TX 78667-1393


           9   MATTER OF INTEREST:  Timber Rattlesnakes

          10   William Montgomery, Neighbors for Neighbors, POB 656, Elgin,

          11   TX 78621


          13   MATTER OF INTEREST:  Wildlife Expo Transportation

          14   John B. Miller, III, Christian Outdoor Coalition, 2801 Conti

          15   St., Houston, TX 77020 (left)

          16   Michelle Cook, Lost Pines State Parks, POB 177, Bastrop, TX

          17   78602

          18   Linda Lesso, Friends of the Lost Pines State Parks, POB 1714,

          19   Bastrop, TX 78602


          21   MATTER OF INTEREST:  Equestrian

          22   Peggie Kimberlin, The Trailriders Journal , 3400 Mesa Ct.,

          23   Flower Mound, TX 75022



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           1   MATTER OF INTEREST: Deer/Youth Hunting

           2   Steve Simmons, Bastrop County Wildlife Management Assn., POB

           3   183, RedRock, TX 78662

           4   Jack Holman, T.O.W.M.A., 1027 CR 207, Weimer, X  78962-5252

           5   Larry Vasbinder, Western and Central DeWitt County Wildlife

           6   Assn., 448 Vasbinder Road, Yorktown, TX 78164


           8   MATTER OF INTEREST:  Riverbeds-Nueces & ATVs

           9   Tom Goynes, Texas River Protection Assn., POB 219,

          10   Martindale, TX 78655


          12   MATTER OF INTEREST:  Water Issues

          13   Sparky Anderson, Clean Water Action/Texas Community Project,

          14   2520 Longview St., #315, Austin, TX 78705

          15   David Moldal, National Wildlife Federation, 44 East Ave.,

          16   Suite 200, Austin, TX 78704


          18   MATTER OF INTEREST:  Outreach/Outdoor Programs

          19   Gilbert Chavez, East Austin Male Project, 2001 Chicon,

          20   Austin, TX 78704



          23   Katherine Ray, 7305 San Antonio, Austin, TX 78701



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           1   MATTER OF INTEREST:  Private Lands and Land Acquisition

           2   Janice Bezanson, Texas Committee on Natural Resources, 601

           3   Westlake Dr., Austin, TX 78746


           5   MATTER OF INTEREST:  Parks

           6   Kirk Cowan, LCRA, 8700 Lake Austin Blvd, Austin, TX 78734


           8   MATTER OF INTEREST:  Youth Outreach

           9   L.W. Ranne, Freshwater Angler Assn., 7880 Carr St., Dallas,

          10   TX 75227
















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           1                      ANNUAL PUBLIC HEARING
                                        2:05 p.m.

           3                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  I'm going to announce the

           4  executive session is closed.  We are reconvening our open

           5  meeting for the purposes of the annual public meeting.

           6                 EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SANSOM:  Madame Chairman and

           7  Members and ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the annual public

           8  meeting of Texas Parks and Wildlife.  This an opportunity for

           9  all of the citizens whom we serve in Texas to come before our

          10  Commission and express your views on any subject that is

          11  relevant to the business of this Commission.

          12                 As all of you know, the chairman is in charge

          13  of the meeting and I will be assisting her as the sergeant as

          14  arms, as always.  I want to call your attention and remind you

          15  of the fact that out in the front we have sign-up cards for

          16  everyone who wishes to speak.  Chairman Idsal will call names

          17  from those cards one at a time.  Each person will be allowed

          18  to speak from the podium here before me and when your name is

          19  called, please come forward, state your name and who you

          20  represent if it's someone or institution other than yourself.

          21                 If you -- the chairman will also tend to call

          22  the next person in line and so when your name is called, come

          23  to the back of the room and just stand before the screen, then

          24  that will allow things to move along a little bit quicker.

          25  Each of you will have three minutes to address the Commission

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           1  and I'll keep track of the time using this traffic clock here

           2  and notify you when your three minutes are up.  Please

           3  conclude your remarks when your time is up so that others may

           4  speak.

           5                 If a commissioner asks you a question or makes

           6  some comments, then that will not be counted against you or if

           7  the Commissioners talk among themselves, that won't count

           8  against you.  So the thing that I think is most important is

           9  that we ask you not to be argumentative or critical of others.

          10  In fact, I will not tolerate that kind of behavior here.  I

          11  want you to show proper respect for the Commissioners and our

          12  staff, and I know that you will.  If you have anything that

          13  you would like to present to the Commission, then you can give

          14  it to Ms. Estrada here on my right and she will distribute it.

          15                 Madame Chairman, I would like to call

          16  everyone's attention to fact and welcome Commissioner Donato

          17  Ramos to our meeting for the first time today.

          18                 (Applause.)

          19                 EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SANSOM:  I would like to

          20  welcome the newest member of our senior management team

          21  Mr. Jim Steinbaugh, who is the chief of law enforcement after

          22  a long and distinguished career in the federal service Jim is

          23  here.

          24                 (Applause.)

          25                 EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SANSOM:  And I want to

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           1  announce that it is Lydia Saldana's birthday.  Happy birthday

           2  Lydia.

           3                 (Applause.)

           4                 EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SANSOM:  And tell you that

           5  it is our great pleasure to have among a number of

           6  distinguished guests today my colleague Ms. Nancy Kaufman who

           7  is the regional director the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

           8  from Albuquerque.

           9                 Thank you, Madame Chairman.

          10                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Our first speaker is Trey

          11  Powers with the Texas Department of Agriculture and I'm

          12  already having trouble with the -- Jefferson, is that it?

          13                 MR. JEFFERSON:  Yes, ma'am.

          14                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Thank you.  Mr. Jefferson,

          15  could you get ready.

          16                 MR. POWERS:  Good afternoon.  My name is Trey

          17  Powers, I'm the director of legislative affairs for the Texas

          18  Department of Agriculture and I want to thank you, Madame

          19  Chairman and members of the Commission for allowing me to

          20  speak today on behalf of Texas Department of Agriculture.

          21                 What I do have for you is a -- a letter from

          22  Commissioner Combs to the Commission that I would like to read

          23  on behalf of her, if that's okay.  And that will -- those will

          24  be my comments and I would be happy to answer any questions

          25  afterwards if you should have them.

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           1                 "Dear Madame Chairman, I would like to thank

           2  the commission for taking the time to address the problem of

           3  vehicle traffic within the beds and banks of Texas rivers.

           4  Along with landowners and agriculture associations, I worked

           5  with lawmakers this past session to grant river authorities

           6  the specific authority to adopt and enforce rules to protect

           7  the natural condition of state-owned water courses against

           8  disturbance by limiting or prohibiting vehicular access and

           9  use.  Unfortunately legislation was not passed and the

          10  degradation of our rivers continues.  While landowners and

          11  agriculturists need continued access to cross rivers in their

          12  normal agricultural activities, recreational four-wheeling

          13  within the river bed should be regulated or banded where

          14  appropriate.  As you're all aware our pristine rivers are much

          15  too valuable to allow their destruction in the name of

          16  recreation.  I encourage the Commission to examine any and all

          17  possibilities to address this issue.  Please know that I'm

          18  willing to assist in any way that I can."  It's signed

          19  Commissioner Susan Combs.

          20                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Thank you.  Do we have any

          21  comments?  Please send the Commissioner our regards and thank

          22  you very much.

          23                 MR. POWERS:  I surely will.  Thank you again

          24  for having me.

          25                 MR. JEFFERSON:  Good afternoon, Madame

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           1  Chairman, members of the Commission.  I apologize for my

           2  handwriting.  I guess I should have been a doctor.  I'm John

           3  Jefferson and I'm executive director of the Texas Chapter of

           4  the Wildlife Society.  And we're here this afternoon to

           5  maintain our tradition of presenting a copy of Sam County

           6  Almanac to the three incoming commissioners.

           7                 Former Chairman Lee Bass referred to this as

           8  the proverbial one book he would want to take with him if he

           9  was shipwrecked on a desert island.  We certainly wish you no

          10  shipwrecks and hope you enjoy the book.  With me to make the

          11  presentation is Dr. Scott Henke distinguished professor of

          12  wildlife at the Caesar-Kleberg Wildlife Institute in

          13  Kingsville.  Dr. Henke has been involved in predator/prey

          14  research and in animal diseases.  He's done research in Africa

          15  and in a number of states and Mr. Sansom he holds a doctorate

          16  and a Master's from Texas Tech University.  Dr. Henke.

          17                 DR. HENKE:  Madame Commissioner and

          18  Commissioners, I thank you very much for letting me come to

          19  you today to speak and allowing me to be here today.  On

          20  behalf of the Texas chapter it is a professional organization

          21  of wildlife professionals.  Our main vision is to try to

          22  maintain the diversity and to sustain the diversity of

          23  wildlife in Texas.  And in doing so our main mission is to try

          24  to become the acknowledged source of information of wildlife

          25  biology in the State of Texas.

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           1                 As Mr. Jefferson has said we have the book, the

           2  Sam County Almanac for you.  It's written by Aldo Leopold who

           3  is considered the father of wildlife management.  And it's a

           4  philosophy even though the book is approximately 50 years old,

           5  I think a lot of the land ethics that you'll see in that book

           6  are still pertinent today and I hope you enjoy the book.

           7                 Also please on behalf of the Texas chapter at

           8  any time you have any questions or such about wildlife biology

           9  or such, please feel free to call upon the Texas chapter as

          10  your source of information.  We welcome any type of comments

          11  or such or questions that you would have at any time

          12  throughout your term as Commissioners.

          13                 Thank you very much.

          14                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Thank you.  I have David

          15  Langford and then I have Monica Lamb.

          16                 MR. LANGFORD:  Thank you, Madame Chairman,

          17  members of the Commission.  I'm David Langford, Texas wildlife

          18  Association.  I would like to once again, as I do every year,

          19  number one congratulate Mr. Sansom and wish him a happy

          20  anniversary, 11 years.

          21                 EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SANSOM:  Thank you, sir.

          22                 MR. LANGFORD:  And also to talk about the

          23  programs that were not in existence 11 years ago in 1990 with

          24  which we have worked very closely with this department to put

          25  together, along with many others.

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           1                 The Texas Big Game awards program didn't exist

           2  in 1990.  This is our tenth anniversary year and is finally

           3  where everybody wanted it to be a long time ago.  The growth

           4  is unbelievable and the excitement is -- is really something

           5  that we've all been wanting for --

           6                 The Texas Youth Hunting Program.  We have -- we

           7  are -- have been so successful in the Texas Youth Hunting

           8  Program that we are moving into Phase 2.  We have perfected

           9  the model about taking kids hunting ourselves and we're

          10  beginning the -- the outreach program to show other

          11  conservation groups, we have some partnerships with the

          12  National Wild Turkey Federation, Dallas Safari Club.  Austin

          13  Woods and Waters, the Sportsman Club of Fort Worth and others

          14  where we're beginning to show them how to do mentor

          15  educational conservation-oriented youth hunts.

          16                 The youth only hunting weekends didn't exist.

          17  Landowner incentive plan.  The landowner incentive plan came

          18  from a -- a weekend at Commissioner Fitzsimons' ranch four or

          19  five, six, seven, eight years ago with then Lieutenant

          20  Governor Bob Bullock.  Commissioner Fitzsimons and a few

          21  others in the room on the telephone with Andy Sansom on a

          22  Saturday at his house while we tried to figure out what to do

          23  with endangered species money.  Lone Star Land Stewards

          24  Program.  Proposition 11 didn't exist in 1990.  Expo didn't

          25  exist.  Private Lands Advisory Committee.  Hunting Advisory

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           1  Committee.  Kid Fish.  We talked today about the Texas Land

           2  Trust Council.  Last night's Lone Star Legends, Birding

           3  Classic, World Birding Center.  Liability cap on landowners

           4  providing recreational access.  Increased penalties for

           5  poaching and the implementation of civil restitution that

           6  actually hurts.

           7                 And you want the personification of somebody

           8  you do not want on your trail, it's Jim Steinbaugh.  Technical

           9  guidance has grown tenfold since 1990, had about a million

          10  acres enrolled in technical guidance, got over 12 and a half

          11  last year probably 15 this year.  Confidentiality statute.

          12  Well, a lot more field days and education events at Parks and

          13  Wildlife.  They've increased tenfold.  Public hunts, managed

          14  lands and deer permits, all this has been put together with

          15  the cooperative spirit that you-all have led and your

          16  predecessors have led between the stewards of private land and

          17  this agency.

          18                 We still got other issues to work on.  Trey

          19  Powers and Commissioner Combs mentioned one.  There will be

          20  other people come up here and talk about that.  We'll need to

          21  work on those issues and look forward to doing that.

          22                 Thank you very much.

          23                 EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SANSOM:  Thank you, David.

          24                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  May I say something here?  You

          25  can come on up.  Come on up.  Monica Lamb who is speaking now

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           1  is a retired Houston Comet and working through her foundation,

           2  the Monica Lamb Wellness Foundation, is hosting a rally in

           3  Houston that will raise awareness about expo and we appreciate

           4  your help.

           5                 MS. LAMB:  Thank you.  Good afternoon,

           6  Commissioners.  Shoot, you messed up my introduction now.  I

           7  thank you -- first of all, thank you so very much for the

           8  opportunity come and visit with you today and share some of

           9  our -- some of our mission as a wellness foundation.  Indeed

          10  I'm from the City of Houston and my father is from East Texas

          11  and he -- he always was an incredible outdoorsman and hunted

          12  even though he killed bambi.  But -- I will never forget that.

          13  So I've grown up in Houston and been a Texan and I'm ashamed

          14  to say that I really got familiar with outdoors and wildlife

          15  while in Europe.

          16                 I played a number of years in Italy before

          17  coming back to be a part of the Houston Comets team and it

          18  was -- it was amazing that every year we would do our

          19  preseason training away and we would go off to camp either in

          20  Belgium or Northern Italy or someplace and we'd go and we'd

          21  have training camp in these places and I was thinking this is

          22  just absolutely wonderful and we would do outdoors, you know,

          23  we would play some basketball to get in shape.  But for the

          24  most part we would do fishing and hiking and those kinds of

          25  things.  And I thought, man, I am from Texas and we have the

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           1  most beautiful state, you know, there and, you know, I'm

           2  just -- I'm ashamed to say that I just have grown up unaware

           3  and uneducated of the Texas Parks and Wildlife community.

           4                 Well, my wellness foundation promotes health

           5  and wellness for women and children.  And coming from Houston

           6  where we have the highest rates of obesity in children that

           7  are in the least well states of all the States in America,

           8  it's just -- and other major cities across the country, it's

           9  just amazing and I think -- I think that what's missing from

          10  that equation is that we just don't get outdoors and we don't

          11  encourage our children to be active and fit and well enough

          12  and so through our collaboration with the Texas Parks and

          13  Wildlife we are working to bring that situation to an end, to

          14  assist children in -- all children especially inner city

          15  children to afford them the opportunity and the -- and the

          16  education and the awareness to get out and be active and be

          17  fit and have a good time in the great outdoors of Texas.

          18                 On September 15th we will host a pre-Expo rally

          19  in the MacGregor Park area.  I certainly would like to invite

          20  all of you if you are the Houston area to come out and join

          21  us.  We will be there along with the mayor and the City of

          22  Houston parks and recreation is partnering with us to put the

          23  event on.  We are expecting about 2,500 to 3,000 children to

          24  come out and be a part of that.  We will have some wonderful

          25  events, kayaking, which is where Texas Parks and Wildlife come

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           1  actually come out and build a lake and that in itself will be

           2  a big huge event for -- for -- for some children that may not

           3  have ever had the opportunity to do those kinds of outdoor

           4  things.

           5                 We will bait casting and net casting, and so we

           6  will have a great day in MacGregor Park in Houston on

           7  September 15th.  We will be there all day from 10:00 until

           8  5:00 and that is just a rally for the October event the expo

           9  here in Austin.  We will bring bus loads of children as many

          10  as will register, we will bring them here to be a part of the

          11  day in October.  So thank you for welcoming us.  We look

          12  forward to our collaboration with you.  And thank you.

          13                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Thank you so much for helping

          14  us in an area that we need to work harder on.  And helping

          15  touch children, our future customers, and teaching them what

          16  they have here in this wonderful State.  Thank you.

          17                 COMMISSIONER HENRY:  Madame Chairman, I'd just

          18  like to thank Ms. Lamb from, not only for being here but for

          19  volunteering to work with local and regional parks and

          20  wildlife people in Houston to assist not only in expo but in

          21  getting the kids from the Houston area involved in parks and

          22  wildlife programs.  I dare say, Ms. Lamb, that you are not

          23  alone.  Most young people in Houston particularly in inner

          24  city Houston are totally unfamiliar with the parks and

          25  wildlife and its programs.  And to the extent that you can

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           1  assist us there, know that your efforts are appreciated and

           2  I'm looking forward to getting with you in the future to

           3  discuss this in much greater detail even and nothing pleases

           4  me more than to hear that bus loads of kids are coming from

           5  Houston.  And I'm very hopeful that they'll come from Dallas

           6  and as chairman of expo of other urban areas from around the

           7  State.  We're working to try to assure that that will happen.

           8  So thank you very much.

           9                 MS. LAMB:  Thank you.

          10                 EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SANSOM:  Thank you,

          11  Ms. Lamb.

          12                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Jeannie Dullnig and Allen

          13  Mize.

          14                 MS. DULLNIG:  Thank you for having us today.

          15  I'm Jeannie Dullnig and this is Johnny Dooley and we're here

          16  on behalf of the Stewards of the Nueces and we are extremely

          17  concerned about the health of the Nueces River system.  Thank

          18  you.  Okay.  In its natural state the Nueces River is a

          19  beautiful pristine clear water resource for the people of

          20  Texas to enjoy for swimming, fishing, canoeing, birding and

          21  other nondestructive uses.  But there's an incompatible form

          22  of recreation that's going on in this river that's threatening

          23  to destroy it.  And this is vehicular traffic.  We're talking

          24  about four by four off road vehicles as well as all-terrain

          25  vehicles.  This photograph was taken this past July and there

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           1  were 40 vehicles in this group.  But some four by four events

           2  have hosted over 100 vehicles in one group in this same river.

           3                 You'll notice along the edge here, these

           4  vehicles traveling along the water's edge, this is where the

           5  native fish spawn.  This destroys the fish beds and could

           6  eventually kill out the fishery.  Other vehicles choose to

           7  drive further into the water as this vehicle has.  It's

           8  submerged up to its headlights.  You can barely see.  This is

           9  not a rare occurrence.  We have many photographs of pictures

          10  emersed in the water and pollution occurs as you know when

          11  engine fluids antifreeze, oil, and gasoline flow into the

          12  river from these vehicles that have emersed themselves.

          13                 Along the edges of the photograph you'll notice

          14  some native pecan trees.  This is where turkeys have roosted

          15  for generations but the vehicles travel after dark, some all

          16  night long.  This disrupts the roosting habits of the turkey,

          17  not to mention the other wildlife's natural use of the river.

          18                 A major concern of ours is that now we're

          19  seeing 100 vehicles in this river system.  If this is allowed

          20  to continue in five or ten years from now we could see 500

          21  maybe even 1,000.  This river and its fragile ecosystem can't

          22  defend itself against this type of activity.  We are already

          23  seeing a negative impact from this usage in the declining fish

          24  population and loss of vegetation.

          25                 This is strictly a resource issue.  It's not

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           1  about keeping the public from using the river, but is it about

           2  what is the best use of this resource for the most people with

           3  the least amount of damage.  So we're asking Texas Parks and

           4  Wildlife to preserve and protect this precious resource for

           5  future generations by banning vehicles in the rivers before

           6  it's too late.  We appreciate you letting us be here.  Thank

           7  you very much.

           8                 MR. MIZE:  Commission, thank you also for

           9  allowing us to speak to you today.  I'm Allen Mize, also a

          10  member of the Stewards of the Nueces and over the years like

          11  Jeannie described we've seen a continued abuse of the river.

          12                 We've been property owners on the Nueces River

          13  since 1968 and I grew up -- I grew up going down to the river,

          14  I learned how to swim there.  My father taught me how to fish

          15  there.  And I remember going down as a young boy and in the

          16  early '70s and seeing schools of catfish and schools of bass

          17  common.  And over the years I think as the ATV craze has kind

          18  of taken off, people have lost sense of purpose of a

          19  four-wheel drive vehicle and they see it as a form of

          20  recreation to time themselves and run from one crossing to the

          21  next.  My wife overheard a conversation in Uvalde of a group

          22  of four-wheel drive people that were talking about actually

          23  having contests timing -- traveling from one crossing to the

          24  next in the upper Nueces basin and, you know, how long it

          25  would take them to get to the other end.  And, you know, it's

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           1  just -- that's something I've seen a real -- a real lack of

           2  respect for in the river bottom.

           3                 We bought our property as a piece -- as a --

           4  because we enjoy the Nueces it's five acres.  We consider

           5  ourselves recreationalists, not necessarily ranchers and

           6  farmers in that area and, you know, as a former recreation we

           7  came there but we -- we respect the river enough not to run up

           8  and down it in a four-wheel drive vehicle and destroy it.

           9  We're not sure what to do about the situation.  Mr. Mims, Con

          10  Mims had a forum in our area and it became very clear at that

          11  forum that there's a lack of understanding of the -- some of

          12  the people that are four-wheeling in the river that they

          13  really don't understand that they're destroying a habitat and

          14  an ecosystem and that's there's an ecology in that -- in that

          15  river basin.

          16                 So I think our challenge is great and I'm

          17  not -- I'm not really sure what the answer is but we're here

          18  to bring it to your attention and offer any kind of help we

          19  can in some sort of regulation in the river.

          20                 Thank you.

          21                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Thank you.

          22                 EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SANSOM:  Madame Chairman, I

          23  would just like to note for the record, just remind the

          24  audience that there will be a full briefing on this issue in

          25  tomorrow's Commission meeting.

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           1                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Thank you.  Carl Seyffert and

           2  Robert Dullnig.

           3                 MR. SEYFFERT:  Thank you, Madame Chairman.  My

           4  name is Carl Seyffert and I live about 25 miles north of

           5  Uvalde on the Nueces River and have lived there for about

           6  seven years now.  When I first moved in there, as Mr. Mize has

           7  said, I'm also a member of the Stewards of the Nueces River.

           8  We could see schools of fish from the bank, catfish, bass,

           9  whatever.  Now we're lucky to just to see a small sunfish.

          10  I -- I have seen four-wheel drive vehicles driving through the

          11  river and passing right over and through the fish beds.  Just

          12  this past July 4th, two days before it, a vehicle went by so

          13  fast I couldn't get down there in time to see it, but I found

          14  its tracks and it went right through several fish beds.

          15                 A lot of what I'm saying is probably already

          16  been covered and be covered in later conversations.  But at

          17  the forum in September that was done in Uvalde, I understand

          18  that I -- I heard something about the Texas Parks and Wildlife

          19  buying property for these four-wheel drive vehicles.  I would

          20  like to know more about it if this is true and being done by

          21  use of our tax money.  And who will have control over it.

          22  Thank you, Madame.

          23                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Thank you.  Con Mims, could

          24  you get ready.  Robert Dullnig.

          25                 MR. DULLNIG:  I'll pass.

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           1                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Okay.  Then Con Mims and

           2  Charles Draper.

           3                 MR. MIMS:  Madame Chair, Members, Mr. Sansom.

           4  My name is Con Mims and I'm the executive director of the

           5  Nueces River Authority.  Our service area includes all or

           6  parts of 22 counties covering nearly 17,000 square miles of

           7  South Texas and substantially all of the drainage area of the

           8  Nueces River.

           9                 The Upper Nueces Basin has long been noted for

          10  the pristine beauty of its rivers.  Today the beauty and

          11  integrity of those rivers is either being destroyed or are at

          12  immediate risk of being destroyed by extensive recreational

          13  off-road vehicle activities occurring within the river beds.

          14  Such activities are not only environmentally destructive as

          15  has been documented by Parks and Wildlife experts, but also

          16  are incompatible with traditional public uses.  Such

          17  activities would not be allowed in a State park.  To protect

          18  these riverbeds, the Nueces River Authority is seeking rule

          19  making and enforcement authority from the Texas Legislature.

          20  But it is obvious that the rivers will suffer considerable

          21  additional damage in the time it will take to acquire this

          22  authority if it is acquired at all.

          23                 And, therefore, it is important for our

          24  governmental agency with existing rule making authority and

          25  responsibility for the resource, such as Parks and Wildlife,

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           1  to stop the public abuse of these state-owned rivers.  I

           2  respectfully urge the Commission, if it can, to impose an

           3  immediate moratorium on recreational use of off-road vehicle

           4  within the state-owned riverbeds of the Upper Nueces Basin for

           5  a period of at least five years to avert further damage to the

           6  resource.

           7                 I propose that during this moratorium Parks and

           8  Wildlife, Nueces River Authority and other commit to working

           9  together to seek a long-term solution to this problem.  As

          10  part of this effort I respectfully urge the Commission to

          11  consider funding a comprehensive study of the Nueces River to

          12  one, establish background environmental data; two, to identify

          13  segments damaged by off-road vehicle use and other abusive

          14  public activities and to identify segments at risk of damage

          15  and, three, to offer a plan for recovery of damaged segments

          16  and protection of at risk segments.

          17                 One way to accomplish all of this could be by

          18  Parks and Wildlife designating the Upper Nueces River from

          19  approximately Highway 57 upstream to the river's headwaters as

          20  a scientific area.  The regulatory actions and studies could

          21  possibly be accomplished under this designation.  The Nueces

          22  River Authority appreciates your consideration of these

          23  comments and is ready to assist you in any way we can.

          24                 Thank you.

          25                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Thank you.  Mr. Draper.

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           1                 MR. DRAPER:  Yes.

           2                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  And Mr. Teague, could you get

           3  ready.

           4                 MR. DRAPER:  Good afternoon, Commissioner and

           5  members of the Commission.  I'm really here as a show of

           6  support for the Stewards of the Nueces River Authority of the

           7  Nueces River and concerned citizens about the ecological

           8  damage that's going on in the existing river basin.

           9                 I am a property owner on the river basin and

          10  have witnessed the destruction that these four-wheel drive

          11  vehicles are doing as weekend traffic in the rivers.  I -- we

          12  have photographic evidence.  We have, you know, environmental

          13  studies which I'm sure that you-all have time to review

          14  tomorrow.  So for the sake of not being redundant I'm really

          15  here to show an expression of the landowners and the support

          16  of the impact that is really happening out there.

          17                 One of our concerns is there is ample

          18  disinformation that's being disseminated by a lot of the

          19  general public in the area that represents that these are

          20  private landowners that are trying to preclude people having

          21  access to the rivers.  That is not the intent of the

          22  landowners at all.  We are interested in kayakers or canoers

          23  or rafters or people fishing.  The only thing we are really

          24  trying to restrict is the access of, you know, ATV vehicles

          25  and four-wheel drive vehicles that are really doing ecological

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           1  damage to the -- to the river.  So I would just like to say

           2  I'm here in support of the landowners and I appreciate

           3  you-all's consideration on this important issue.

           4                 Thank you.

           5                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Mr. Teague and then

           6  Mr. Wallace.

           7                 MR. TEAGUE:  Ladies and gentlemen of the board,

           8  I am John Earl Teague third generation resident of Real and

           9  Uvalde County, and a conservationist for future generations.

          10  While living on the Nueces River I have enjoyed swimming and

          11  boating and fishing in its waters.  Over the recent years I

          12  have witnessed drastic increase in litter and damages caused

          13  by motor vehicles.

          14                 Late spring and early summer when the bass and

          15  the panfish are spawning our river is becoming a thoroughfare

          16  for four by fours.  They drive in the shallow water, destroy

          17  the fish nests, stir up the water which in turn the mud causes

          18  asphyxiation of the eggs and at different points they cross do

          19  rapids.  As you'll see here, you can see the mud all the way

          20  through here (indicating), and as they cross the rapids where

          21  this trail is they also disturb the infamous river darter.

          22                 This information is also being said about the

          23  that the landowners are suggesting to inhibit access to the

          24  river.  And I'm here to tell you that between Camp Wood and

          25  Nineteen Mile there are eight different public accesses coming

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           1  from Highway 55.

           2                 It is my plea that the Nueces River should be

           3  closed to motorized vehicular traffic.  I would ask this board

           4  to put a moratorium on the river until an environmental impact

           5  study can be made.

           6                 Thank you.

           7                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Mr. Wallace and then

           8  Mr. Middleton.

           9                 MR. WALLACE:  Yes.  On a place called Park

          10  Chalk Bluff on the Nueces River was established by my

          11  grandmother in 1920.  And I'm just here to tell you that

          12  about, oh, maybe 30 years ago, sometime ago I was a young guy

          13  and we had some kind of a similar problem where I'm from down

          14  the Rio Grande Valley and we used to take our dune buggies and

          15  go down to the beach and we used to love to run up and down

          16  those dunes, fly over the top of them, watch people run, throw

          17  trash out the side, drink beer, have a good time.  Eventually

          18  some governmental agency stopped us and I'm glad they did

          19  because I like the beach the way it looks today.  I'm asking

          20  you to think about the Nueces River.  It's the same situation.

          21  It's not family fun.  It's not going to picnics and having a

          22  good time on the river, it's nothing but the testosterone

          23  gasoline.  That's all it is.  I'm asking you to step

          24  forward --

          25                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  I wouldn't know about that.

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           1                 MR. WALLACE:  There's a little estrogen out

           2  there as well.  I'm asking you to step up to the plate and

           3  protect the river for us.  Thank you.

           4                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Mr. Middleton and then

           5  Mr. Friday.

           6                 MR. MIDDLETON:  Madame Chairman, members of the

           7  Commission.  I've been a Texan since '46 and a member of the

           8  San Antonio Audubon Society since 1960.  I'm president this

           9  year.  We are all interested in wildlife and we recognize that

          10  the rivers especially in the drier parts of the State are very

          11  valuable to wildlife and motorized traffic is going to be

          12  damaging to the river.  And it also damages our water supply

          13  'cause somebody is going to drink that water sooner or later.

          14                 Thank you.

          15                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Mr. Ray McKnight.  No.  No.

          16  Yeah, you're Mr. Friday and then Mr. McKnight afterwards.

          17                 MR. FRIDAY:  While they're passing out those

          18  papers, my name is Wright Friday.  I appreciate you-all taking

          19  time to listen to me.  I ranch on the Nueces River up there.

          20  We've got about a couple of miles that we have there now and I

          21  lease other land along the river and we live there on the

          22  ranch.  We still raise Angora goats if that will tell you how

          23  far back we are, you know, but any case the picture there I

          24  wanted you-all to look at is along part of the stretch of the

          25  river that is in front of the ranch.  And one thing that

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           1  happened that really would -- really disturbed me greatly was

           2  that the four-wheel drive vehicles began to come along our

           3  side of the river and started a road along there.  And then we

           4  began to have some of the big floods and I, you know, didn't

           5  really think about the road.  We had tried through the

           6  years -- we've been there since -- for 100 years, the family

           7  has on the river and I've been there -- I'm 59 now and was

           8  raised on the ranch.  So we've been there a long time.

           9                 And -- but it started a road and we always let

          10  folks come along and enjoy the river.  But when these

          11  four-wheel drive vehicles began to come along they started a

          12  road on our side of the river and then these floods came along

          13  and they cut -- and the floods went right down the bank where

          14  that road was and went right down the roads and they cut off

          15  way back into the country there and they must have moved --

          16  I'm talking just tons and tons of gravel and sand changed the

          17  whole direction of the river because it cut right down that

          18  old the roadbed they had formed along the bank.  And now that

          19  bank is just -- it's just a sand and gravel bank.  And I was

          20  down there looking at it again, you know, absolutely if you

          21  want -- with me trying to put it in the words that you-all

          22  would -- very distressed with the fact that they had cut that,

          23  you know, that much bank along there and the destruction they

          24  had caused.

          25                 Over against the other bank where the

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           1  historical flow for the river was, there used to be real deep

           2  holes with water, you know, and people swam there along what

           3  was called Old Camp Mishamokwa.  But now the river is against

           4  my bank and about there's about a -- there's a bank as high as

           5  this ceiling there and it's -- it's going to go ahead now

           6  since they formed that road and we tried to keep them out, but

           7  they would come up out like they're saying at night and

           8  different times of day and we're not on the river all the time

           9  although we live there on the ranch.  But it's going to cut

          10  around now and go down and change the whole course of the

          11  river just because they were coming up that river in these

          12  four-wheel drive vehicles.

          13                 I know people have talked about the destruction

          14  of the riverbed.  There was one other incident that I thought

          15  was, you know, really distressing to me.  They -- off of the

          16  top there you could see a big wide area in the river there

          17  where there were just solid perch beds.  And, you know, even

          18  as a --

          19                 EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SANSOM:  Thank you, sir.

          20                 MR. FRIDAY:  -- as on older guy --

          21                 EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SANSOM:  Thank you, sir,

          22  your time is up.

          23                 MR. FRIDAY:  Thank you.

          24                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Thank you.  Mr. McKnight and

          25  Mr. Raynice, is that right?  Shudde, you be ready.

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           1                 MS. SHUDDE:  I'll pass.

           2                 MR. McKNIGHT:  Thank you, Madame Chairman.

           3  Members of the Commission, my name is Roy McKnight I live on

           4  the river up above the Uvalde County Lake.  A place they call

           5  the Crossing because I can see all game animals and birds and

           6  everything that frequent that area.  The first thing I think

           7  that -- that is the important thing is that the fracturing

           8  that's going on in this State is inevitable, it's going to

           9  happen.  Like somebody said the other day, somebody has

          10  discovered the canyons.

          11                 We're the last one of these river systems the

          12  Guadalupe went, the Comal, the Llano, now we're hearing -- and

          13  the Frio and now we're here to live and hopefully enjoy it.

          14  We have birding.  We have fishing.  We have wildlife.  We have

          15  exotics.  We hate to see these things go downhill.  The

          16  demographics of the State is rapidly becoming where we're

          17  moving out and the cities are becoming larger.  And as a

          18  result there are ways of recreation is becoming more and more

          19  like they want to get out on a weekend and I don't blame them.

          20  I used to live in Beaumont.  Did I say that right or wrong?

          21                 But truthfully, the river is going to have to

          22  be addressed by some -- like somebody said this Texas Supreme

          23  Court has said and is on record as saying the water in the

          24  river systems are a mess in Texas.  Now, I hope and

          25  respectfully suggest that if you have the authority to do

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           1  something about this that we will have it happen.  Thank you

           2  very much.

           3                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Thank you.  Raynice, is it

           4  Shudde?

           5                 MS. SHUDDE:  Yes.  Shudde.  I pass.

           6                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Okay.  John Shudde.  And Seth

           7  Davidson.

           8                 MR. SHUDDE:  Thank you for the opportunity to

           9  speak before you.  I want to commend each of you for your

          10  interest in our parks and wildlife.  I have never been to a

          11  meeting like this today and I'm a really impressed.  I see

          12  some concerned people and we appreciate that.  I didn't write

          13  anything today because I am a physician you couldn't read it

          14  anyway.

          15                 We've been involved in the Nueces River, lived

          16  on the ranch land, operated a sheep operation.  My wife thinks

          17  it runs me.  But we've seen a decline in the environment and I

          18  had the opportunity to watch my grandchildren and watch them

          19  fish, I watched them swim.  And I can remember back when we

          20  were honeymooning in 1955 on the Nueces River and we would go

          21  fly fishing and catch some bass.  My grandchildren don't catch

          22  any fish right now.  Thank you for your time.  We appreciate

          23  the opportunity to speak to you and we're very confident that

          24  you-all have our interest at best in the state.  Appreciate

          25  your time.

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           1                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Seth Davidson and then Tom

           2  Taylor.

           3                 MR. DAVIDSON:  Thank you all very much for the

           4  opportunity to come here and address this group about the

           5  Nueces River.  I would like to say first of all that we're

           6  very privileged here in Texas to have what I consider to be

           7  the finest state wildlife agency in the United States.  I work

           8  for a nature tourism consulting firm here in Austin --

           9  Fermata, Incorporated and we travel all over the United States

          10  and the world and I can say that the programs and that the

          11  aggressive conservation and that the positive balance of

          12  multiple use that this agency promotes has become a model

          13  nationwide on a number of very important projects.  That

          14  things that have we been begun here in Texas by you are now

          15  being imitated not only in other states in this country but

          16  also around the world.

          17                 And as a leader in -- in wildlife conservation

          18  and as a leader in economic development, I believe that the

          19  issue in the Nueces River is a critical one for all of us.

          20  And I ask you to consider that market surveys shows that ATVs

          21  will increase 23 percent per year.  It's not an issue that's

          22  going to go away.  The problem that we have right now in the

          23  Nueces River is guaranteed to expand to virtually every other

          24  waterway in the State of Texas.  It's guaranteed to ex -- it's

          25  guaranteed to expand with amphibious vehicles which are now

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           1  being designed and are now being test marketed, vehicles that

           2  can go completely underwater and that will be able to do their

           3  thing in any body of water in the State regardless of its

           4  sensitivity.

           5                 I believe that the Nueces River to date has

           6  been a victim of a paralysis on all of our parks, an inability

           7  for us to stand up and say we're not against ATVs and we're

           8  not against four-wheel drive use, those are all legitimate

           9  uses and those people are all members of the public who have a

          10  right to access our public lands.  It's not an us against them

          11  issue, it's an issue of what is the best way to make sure that

          12  these lands that the wildlife that depend on them benefit.

          13                 Finally, I would like to say that Texas Parks

          14  and Wildlife has done an exemplary job of using its resources

          15  as a way to stimulate economic development in this State.

          16  That local communities and the State itself and Texas Parks

          17  and Wildlife has spent millions of dollars trying to develop

          18  economic basis for nature based tourism for communities that

          19  don't have access to traditional large scale industrial

          20  development.  If we are to give these communities a chance to

          21  develop economically then we must also protect the resources

          22  that this type of nature tourism is based upon.

          23                 I commend the commission, I commend Texas Parks

          24  and Wildlife for the work that they have done and I hope that

          25  we will be able to move forward to resolve this crucial issue

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           1  for the future of our Texas waterways.

           2                 Thank you very much.

           3                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Tom Taylor and Don Friend to

           4  be ready.

           5                 MR. TAYLOR:  Good afternoon.  My name is Tom

           6  Taylor and my wife and I have a retreat center that's in

           7  Barksdale.  We're not on the river, we're about four miles

           8  from the river.  But I'm a great believer in public access to

           9  rivers.  I have floated that river.  I have hiked that river.

          10  I have fished on that river.  I've looked for breeding birds

          11  on that river.  I love going on that river, but over the last

          12  ten years I have watched, as a lot of people have, the

          13  degradation of that river mainly because of the big floods

          14  we've had down there but there's no way for that river to

          15  recover if the ATVs and four-wheel drives are allowed to go

          16  unfettered up and down that river.

          17                 And it seems to me that if the point of your

          18  being on that river is to enjoy the natural surroundings that

          19  it provides, there's nothing that you can do in a four-wheel

          20  drive vehicle that you can't do on foot.  And so the main

          21  thing is you can preserve the access and at the same time

          22  preserve the river.  And I would just urge you to consider

          23  removing the four-wheel drive vehicles and ATVs from the

          24  riverbed where they really don't belong in my opinion.  Thank

          25  you.

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           1                 MR. FRIEND:  I pass.

           2                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Janice Trevino and Kilpatrick.

           3                 MS. TREVINO:  I thank you.  My name is Janice

           4  Trevino.  I'm also here hopefully the preservation of the

           5  Nueces River.  My parents own a land a piece of land close to

           6  Park Chalk Bluff and I've been visiting that land for 24 years

           7  now.  And I have -- in all the years that we've been there

           8  it's always been a little piece of paradise for me.  There was

           9  no phone, no TV, no nothing but just the river.  And I don't

          10  understand why people have to think that have to drive along

          11  the river to enjoy it.  That's my first point.

          12                 Second, all the visitors that we've had up to

          13  our cabin have always come back with two words of consensus,

          14  beautiful and peaceful.  ATVs have taken those and changed

          15  them.  Now people are scared to go up there.  For one thing my

          16  dog was almost run over by an ATV.  I just -- the people are

          17  drunk.  They manage to somehow climb up these walls with one

          18  hand and not spill their beer, but they can't see the two-year

          19  old in front of them.  I don't have any scientific data, I

          20  only have a heart-felt plea that we can do something to stop

          21  is this ATV traffic.

          22                 Thank you.

          23                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  H.W. Kilpatrick.  And Allan

          24  Bloxsom, could you be ready.

          25                 DR. KILPATRICK:  I'm sorry, I thought you asked

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           1  for me.

           2                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  It's your turn.

           3                 DR. KILPATRICK:  Ladies and gentlemen, I'm

           4  Dr. Kilpatrick, landowner.  And the people who speak as

           5  naturalists concerning wildlife, I hardly see how they have

           6  time because I pick up dozens and dozens of dirty diapers.  I

           7  pick up cases and cases of empty beer and dozens and dozens of

           8  used condoms.  I hardly see how they have time between these

           9  exercises to look at the wildlife.  Thank you.

          10                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Sheri Rutledge, could you get

          11  read.

          12                 MR. BLOXSOM:  Chairman and Commissioners thank

          13  you and I'm sure you-all have heard a ear of this already, but

          14  I'm just going to kind of summarize some of what the other

          15  speakers have been so kindly to say.

          16                 I'm a oil and gas operator in the State of

          17  Texas, of all things, living in Uvalde.  It's funny that I am

          18  hand and in hand with every environmentalist in the state

          19  regarding this subject of the destruction of the Nueces River

          20  ecosystem.  We really are faced with the destruction of very,

          21  very unique ecosystem.  The continued use of ATVs and

          22  four-wheel drive vehicles up and down it are destroying it.

          23  It's clear.  I have some pictures here that I would like to be

          24  passed around to each of the Commissioners.  When she gets a

          25  minute.

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           1                 The habitat and wildlife and aquatic life of

           2  the Nueces and distributaries as you have heard is being

           3  destroyed is strictly due almost entirely to the motorized

           4  vehicle use.  Some is also being -- which has not been brought

           5  out is the County of Uvalde's consistent change of the course

           6  of the river due to their county crossings.  They are

           7  literally altering the course of the natural flow of the river

           8  which I hope that one of your studies will take a strong look

           9  at.  It has been the County of Uvalde's policy to use gravel,

          10  alter the course of the river in which to put their crossings

          11  in and their flumes.

          12                 I also believe one of the other biggest

          13  problems is an enforcement gap that these vehicles are not

          14  being ticketed.  There is only one law on the books for the

          15  Texas Parks and Wildlife to use or any other state agency to

          16  use which is the destruction or removal of sand, gravel, and

          17  marl.  It's a Class C misdemeanor.  It is a very gray area and

          18  whether these ruts are disturbance has never been verified by

          19  the state attorney general's office.

          20                 I request and respectfully so ask for a

          21  temporary ban on these vehicles until further studies, which

          22  I'm sure will show these vehicles lead to the destruction of

          23  wildlife habitat and aquatic life.  The destruction of this

          24  area and wetlands which is under federal jurisdiction also is

          25  a question I hope you will address and will intercede before

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           1  the federal level can come down and burden us with other

           2  regulatory problems.

           3                 Thank you very much.

           4                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Sheri Rutledge and then

           5  Douglas Evans.

           6                 MS. RUTLEDGE:  Good afternoon.  My name is

           7  Sheri Rutledge and I am the executive director for Texas Hill

           8  Country River Region in Uvalde County.  We are basically the

           9  tourist bureau for Uvalde County.  We were formed three years

          10  ago and we are made up of 44 accommodations along all five

          11  rivers in Uvalde County and throughout the county itself.

          12  They -- how we are funded and to promote tourism is through

          13  the hotel occupancy tax dollars.  And right now we're about at

          14  a $200,000 budget each year to do so.  The main area that we

          15  have focused on to promote Uvalde County and promote positive

          16  economic development is in the area of nature tourism.  We are

          17  thrilled to have 17 private properties represented on the new

          18  Texas Parks and Wildlife nature trail that will be opened up

          19  in this area starting in January of 2002.

          20                 At first I thought we might be lucky to have

          21  five or six people interested, but I was amazed at the support

          22  and interest from landowners in the county who believe what

          23  Texas Parks and Wildlife is doing to promote conservation of

          24  our natural resources and to find alternate streams for

          25  revenue for their family-owned land.  So this has been very

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           1  positive for economic development in Uvalde County.  We target

           2  so much of our promotional material and our advertising to

           3  nature tourists to visit our area.  They are very familiar

           4  with the black-capped vireo and the golden-cheeked warbler.

           5  They're familiar with that during the springtime.  We're

           6  trying to highlight all the other things that there are to do

           7  with nature tourism in Uvalde County during other times of the

           8  year.

           9                 With those five clean rivers in Uvalde County,

          10  we feel like this just fits exactly with protecting our river

          11  from vehicular traffic and promoting conservation and to

          12  highlight our natural beauty for generations of Uvaldians to

          13  enjoy and also visitors to our area.

          14                 On a personal note as a mother of a very active

          15  three-year-old little boy who is extremely curious and a

          16  six-year-old daughter, we're very fortunate to have some land

          17  on the Nueces River south of the La Pryor bridge on 83.

          18  Watching them, making sure that they're safe from harm is a

          19  hard enough job until I have to throw in watching for traffic

          20  in the middle of the river and negotiating people to go around

          21  or please turn back and stop making damage into our river.  My

          22  six-year-old daughter wanted to know why there were river

          23  tracks or vehicle tracts in the gravel bar there in our river

          24  in our swimming hole.  I said, well, baby, people drive down

          25  there with their vehicles to come and see the river.  She said

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           1  but, mommy, they can't.  There's no stop sign and there are no

           2  policemen.  Exactly.

           3                 Thank you for your time.

           4                 MR. EVANS:  Madame Chair, Commission members,

           5  thanks for the opportunity to speak to you today.  My name is

           6  Doug Evans.  I am the director of parks and recreation for the

           7  City of Grapevine, Texas.  And I'm here on behalf of our city.

           8  I'm here on behalf of the Texas Recreation Parks Society,

           9  which represents 1,300 members that are in parks and

          10  recreation field statewide.  I'm also here representing the

          11  DFW directors of parks and recreation which represents about

          12  50 cities in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

          13                 First I would like to commend Andy Sansom and

          14  the parks and wildlife employees for this state.  They do a

          15  wonderful job for our state park systems.  I'm here to commend

          16  them on that.  I'm also here today to inform you that parks

          17  and recreation professionals around the State are not pleased

          18  with something that happened during the 77th Legislative

          19  session.

          20                 Legislators approved $2.4 million in grants to

          21  four local park projects utilizing funds from the Texas

          22  Recreation and Parks account and that is the local parks

          23  grants program.  These grants were approved or approved

          24  without going through the grant process that we all are

          25  supposed to go through for grants and we are unhappy about

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           1  that.  One of the projects that was approved was for operating

           2  funds and this is against the guidelines for the grants

           3  program and we are unhappy about that.  I'm not saying that

           4  these folks didn't deserve grants, I'm saying they should have

           5  went through the same process that we all go through for the

           6  grant 'cause it is a competitive and a fair process.  I'm not

           7  here to blame the Parks and Wildlife Department or the

           8  Commission, I'm just here to tell you that the legislators in

           9  my mind are undermining your authority to develop and manage a

          10  grants program that's fair in this state.

          11                 Staff of the Parks and Wildlife Department did

          12  an excellent job back in 1999 in restructuring our grants

          13  program.  Public hearings were held throughout the State, much

          14  input was given to staff of the Parks and Wildlife Department

          15  in developing a fair program.  To have legislators tap funds

          16  from this account without going through the process that we

          17  feel is fair undermines and -- and sets a dangerous precedent

          18  for the grants program and it will destroy the integrity of

          19  the program as it is today.  I can assure that during the next

          20  legislative session we will address our issues with the Senate

          21  Finance Committee and the House Appropriations Committee

          22  letting them know that any funds that are used from that

          23  account need to be done in a fair manner.  And I appreciate

          24  your time for letting me speak today.

          25                 Thank you.

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           1                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Thank you.  Leo Perron and

           2  Bill West.

           3                 MR. PERRON:  I'm Leo Perron and my family and I

           4  own land on the Llano River about halfway between the City of

           5  Llano and Lake Buchanan.  And you've heard a lot today about

           6  the use of four wheel and recreational vehicles on the

           7  riverbeds on the Nueces.  We are experiencing the same thing

           8  on the Llano River.  In fact, I think that the word has gotten

           9  out that the people on the Nueces River are going to take some

          10  action, so I think with some of what has been happening on the

          11  Nueces has now shifted to the Llano.  I won't add to any of

          12  the information you have and I apologize for giving you some

          13  more handouts.  I'm afraid you're going to need a wheelbarrow

          14  to go home this evening.

          15                 But I would like to talk to you philosophically

          16  about how I view this.  In my business, my career is

          17  commercial real estate.  And we own and operate warehouse and

          18  retail and industrial properties.  And each of our property

          19  managers has one goal foremost in their mind and that's the

          20  preservation and protection of the assets under their control.

          21  And I view the Commission and you-all's job as being the

          22  property managers for the citizens of the State of Texas in

          23  their public lands and especially the rivers.  And it's your

          24  job to hopefully promulgate and issue and follow-up with the

          25  rules and regulations that will bring this to a halt.

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           1                 The people that we're seeing on the Llano are

           2  not people who are out there to enjoy the scenery, enjoy the

           3  wildlife or even to enjoy the river.  They're out there to

           4  enjoy their machinery.  And what in effect has happened is we

           5  have had an assault on the Llano River.  The environmental

           6  movement that we have witnessed that's come about in the last

           7  two or three decades in the United States from coast to coast

           8  has predicated on one premise and that is that nature today

           9  can't withstand the urban assault we're that putting on it.

          10  We have to give it some help otherwise it won't recover.  I

          11  hope you-all will take some action and pass something fairly

          12  quickly.  We are seeing now on the Llano on weekdays sometimes

          13  15 and 20 vehicles and they are in the riverbeds.  There is an

          14  information I passed out, a photograph two wide angle shots of

          15  the Llano riverbed and you can see where the granite

          16  outcroppings have punched up through the sand.  Unfortunately

          17  those are a major attraction to four wheel vehicle people.

          18  And what they do is put it in low gear and see how fast they

          19  can crawl over it.  And to go out there and had this land for

          20  probably 60 or 65 years in our family.  And to go out there

          21  and look at those granite outcroppings and see tire marks

          22  across the top of them where people are taking four-wheel

          23  drive vehicles and spun their tires trying to crawl over them

          24  is heartbreaking.

          25                 So together with the people from the Nueces we

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           1  hope that you can address their problem effectively and we

           2  thank you for your help and your attention.

           3                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Mr. West and John Gosdin.

           4                 MR. WEST:  Madame Chairman, members of the

           5  Commission, Executive Director, I am Bill West of the

           6  Guadalupe Blanco River Authority and thank you for the

           7  opportunity to address you here today.

           8                 I would like to share a few points briefly with

           9  you.  One of the -- and shift gears a little bit from the

          10  topic at hand.  One of the GBRA's major initiatives recently

          11  is the development of eco or nature tourism on the Guadalupe.

          12  Most people are familiar with Canyon and the recreational area

          13  below Canyon, the tube shoots and Schlitterbahn.  But there's

          14  miles of river that are unique and desire recognition and

          15  protection.

          16                 Parks and Wildlife have been very helpful

          17  working with my staff and planning that process and we too

          18  will be here asking for some financial assistance for

          19  development of that program.  Just a couple of projects

          20  included in that are some interpretative centers.  There's two

          21  that are unique on the Guadalupe.  One is known as Green Lake.

          22  It's one of the few natural lakes in the State of Texas at the

          23  end of the river system there at the bay delta.  There's a

          24  high point there at the lake that you can look out over the

          25  lake to the north and see the lake.  Off to the west look

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           1  across the river delta system and then back to the south see

           2  the bay and estuary system all at one point.  We make a

           3  tremendous interpretative center site.  Another site, that of

           4  Honey Creek in Comal County above Canyon Lake, again, would

           5  make a great demonstration project for watershed management.

           6  Texas Parks and wildlife own that tract of land.  Currently

           7  are in corporation with NRCS and GBRA and source protection

           8  and again from a public information standpoint, a great

           9  interpretive center potential.  And again we hope we can work

          10  on those jointly for that purpose.

          11                 Parallel to that is an endowment that GBRA has

          12  recently implemented on the Guadalupe.  And, again, we hope

          13  that endowment will allow the combination of land resources to

          14  work in conjunction with Parks and Wildlife.  While aquatic

          15  vegetation management is not a hot topic today I'm sure it

          16  will be a matter of time before it comes up again.  Parks and

          17  Wildlife has been very supportive and very helpful and GBRA

          18  certainly appreciates that assistance.

          19                 Another point associated with Canyon Lake

          20  permit amendment.  The Canyon Lake permit amendment was the

          21  first permit amendment coming out of the Senate Bill 1 project

          22  to reach the TNRCC for permitting purposes.  We truly

          23  appreciate the support that Parks and Wildlife provided us in

          24  that process.  Negotiations between Parks and Wildlife, TNRCC,

          25  and GBRA develop instream flow releases for Canyon Reservoir

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           1  that are truly a spirit of cooperation and we appreciate that.

           2  A letter from the executive director to TNRCC also was greatly

           3  appropriated.

           4                 From the policy standpoint we do have a river

           5  destruction problems on the Guadalupe primarily in the Cibilo

           6  Creek area, but we have that same problem.  We along with the

           7  Nueces River Authority tried to sponsor some legislation last

           8  session but were not successful.  We would very much like to

           9  help and participate in that process.

          10                 The last point I would make relative to water

          11  issues is that of instream flow and bay and estuary issues.

          12  This is an issue that desires all our focus and attention and

          13  we should give it proper focus.

          14                 Thank you.

          15                 EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SANSOM:  Thanks, Mr. West.

          16                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Joe Kirkpatrick could you get

          17  ready.

          18                 MR. GOSDIN:  Good afternoon, Chair Idsal,

          19  members of the Commission.  My name is John Gosdin.  I am

          20  manager of conservation services and parks at the Lower

          21  Colorado River Authority but today I'm here to convey a

          22  message on behalf of myself and the Texas Parks and Wildlife

          23  Department's own Texas Rivers Conservation Advisory Board.

          24  This is a broad board representing river users, river

          25  conservationists that meet on a quarterly basis, look at

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           1  variety of issues and provide recommendations back to the

           2  staff and to the board.  My message today is simple.  We are

           3  all -- we all share a common natural heritage and that being

           4  our Texas rivers and streams.  But as we're already hearing

           5  today, we also share common problems.  Many of our rivers and

           6  streams are showing visible strains of combined use and our

           7  sometimes inadequate stewardship.

           8                 We in Austin have been reading about this issue

           9  with off road vehicle use, but clearly this is a problem in

          10  the Nueces, Llano and Brazos Rivers as well as those here in

          11  the Central Texas area.  The stories that we're reading of

          12  course and hearing about deal with four-wheel drive vehicles

          13  using rivers and stream beds as recreational roadways.  From

          14  pollution from the vehicles to concerns from adjacent private

          15  property owners and the impact on fishing and the natural

          16  environment, there are many concerns and we have a challenge

          17  of balancing the rights and interests of all the parties

          18  involved.  But there are more stresses to our rivers and

          19  streams.

          20                 Even today in the Austin American Statesman

          21  there were reports on the effects of nonpoint source pollution

          22  on Town Lake and the Colorado River within the City of Austin.

          23  The story details how trash and concerns about water quality

          24  will keep the public from using the river recreationally for

          25  several days or even weeks.  In the course of this year you

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           1  could have read dozens of similar stories from newspapers

           2  across Texas.  The problems with Texas rivers are statewide.

           3  Many citizens may not know it and many special interest groups

           4  may not want your involvement, but the citizens of the State

           5  of Texas need your help and guidance.

           6                 Texas rivers and streams are at a cross roads

           7  for many reasons.  From double digit population growth with

           8  its accompanying demands on the consumption of our water

           9  resources to ever increasing recreational access by more and

          10  ever diverse user groups we won't be able to manage our rivers

          11  and streams by merely waiting or just looking the other way.

          12  The citizens of Texas together with the Parks and Wildlife

          13  Department, river authorities, local governments, and private

          14  individuals and groups can make a difference in the future of

          15  Texas rivers.

          16                 With TPWD stewardship we can provide that same

          17  quality of life that many of us have in this room have enjoyed

          18  and come to expect for future generations of Texans.

          19                 Thank you.

          20                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Will Kirkpatrick and David

          21  Stewart.

          22                 MR. KIRKPATRICK:  Good afternoon.  My name is

          23  Will Kirkpatrick and people have problem with the

          24  four-wheelers we may have a solution.  Deer season is opening

          25  and they'll be coming to East Texas shortly.  Our last general

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           1  fishing license increase was six years ago and I understand

           2  that you-all are looking at additional increases in the

           3  future.  On September of 1995 I wrote Director Sansom a letter

           4  concerning license fees in Texas.  Let's not raise license

           5  fees for recreational anglers like mom and dad and the teenage

           6  children, rather impose fees and increase fees on those of us

           7  who use Texas water for monetary gain.

           8                 This spring ESPN the world's largest sports

           9  network bought the Bass Angler Sportman's Society known as

          10  BASS for unknown millions of dollars.  The water from the

          11  Jamison family which had bought it from Ray Scott back in '85

          12  for approximately $14 million.  BASS plans on coming to Texas

          13  twice this year -- next year.  Wal-Mart, the world's largest

          14  retailer has four different fishing trails.  We have the FLW,

          15  Ever Start, Bass Fishing League known as the BFL and then

          16  they've got one called the Texas Tournament Trail that's just

          17  in the Texas alone.  They have five tournaments, there's four

          18  regular tournaments and then one that is a classic type.

          19                 While there are many small tournaments held

          20  annually only a few of these qualify as for-profit status a

          21  lot of them just people out fishing with their companies.

          22  Some supposedly are charity events to help needy causes.  I

          23  would suggest that these pay a minimum of 20 percent to

          24  qualify as nonprofit.  A common statement from several -- now,

          25  Andy has heard this of the profit tournaments is their

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           1  participants buy fishing license, therefore they're entitled

           2  to fish in Texas without anything else.  I would have you

           3  think about the Dot in the fact that the truck drivers in the

           4  State of Texas all have driver's license but they pay fees to

           5  use the highways because they're using them for commercial

           6  endeavors.  I don't think Dot would go for not getting that.

           7                 While there's considerable opposition to the

           8  fees, it boils down to two questions.  Number one, are many

           9  bass tournaments money making endeavors, and number two,

          10  should they pay a fee for using public waters when conducting

          11  a for-profit function.  Lastly, there has been a lot of debate

          12  about the management and quality of freshwater fisheries and I

          13  have fished in 11 states for bass and there's nothing like

          14  we've got in Texas.  The last 30 years it's just continued to

          15  get better.  And I would like to thank Parks and Wildlife,

          16  Mr. Durocher and his people for that.

          17                 Thank you.

          18                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Colleys will follow, is it

          19  Scarlet Colley?

          20                 MR. STEWART:  Madame Chairman, Commissioners,

          21  Andy, my name is David Stewart.  I'm president of Central

          22  Texas Association of Bass Clubs.  I'm also president of a

          23  statewide organization called SMART.  And with SMART basically

          24  is a member of sportsman, conservation, health and the

          25  environmental people but all of the major bass fishing

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           1  organizations in the state of Texas are members of my

           2  organization.  And I really came up here to talk about

           3  something else, but after the speaker before me talked, I

           4  think I need to address tournament fishing just a little bit

           5  because I do it today.  We don't need fees on tournaments

           6  because they bring in thousands and thousands of dollars to

           7  local communities.  I know, I pay them.  I pay motel rooms,

           8  gasoline, food, just lots and lots of money tournaments come

           9  into Texas.  Whether it's the national circuit or regional

          10  circuit, or little local bass club that's goes from Austin,

          11  Texas to Sam Rayburn for example.  We spend a lot of money

          12  fishing.  Another thing that came up I would like to talk

          13  about Mr. Ray Scott just for a second.  If you don't bass fish

          14  you may not know who he is.  But people that bass fish know

          15  who Mr. Scott is.  He happens to be a personal friend of mine.

          16                 There's a lot of money that comes into Texas

          17  each year from a federal fund called Wallop-Breaux.  And

          18  Mr. Scott got that bill passed personally spent months and

          19  months in Washington, D.C. getting this tax put on stuff that

          20  we buy and we were all for it 'cause the money goes to a good

          21  cause.  The first President Bush got behind it and got it

          22  passed.  So I don't know how many millions of dollars Texas

          23  gets each year, but it's a bunch.  And every state in the

          24  Union gets that and Mr. Scott is the reason for that.  So

          25  tournament fisherman do a lot of good.  We pay our own way.

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           1  We believe in paying taxes on ourselves.  We are the few

           2  people that do that.  I got a little bit more news.  Fishing

           3  is down in Texas.  It ain't good like Mr. Kirkpatrick talked

           4  about it.  The last couple of years have been down.  Andy and

           5  I have been talking about it.  We continue to talk about it.

           6  I have all the admiration for this man and his staff and we're

           7  working to solve some problems.  So I appreciate your time.

           8                 Thank you.

           9                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Thank you.  Mr. Gilleland

          10  could you get ready.  Two Colleys.

          11                 MR. COLLEY:  Good afternoon.  We're George and

          12  Scarlet Colley of Fins to Feathers in South Padre Island.  I

          13  want to thank all of you and very envious of all of you.  We

          14  get rain every 200 days or so you guys don't seem to ever let

          15  it quit here.  But to kind of change the pace right here from

          16  river vehicles, we're going to think about -- talk about

          17  something just a little slower, the snails and slugs that we

          18  have growing in shells in South Padre Island.  They're being

          19  taken at alarming numbers.  And just to the give you a little

          20  brief history of my family, I know a lot of people here in the

          21  river bottoms have been here for 60 and 70 years.  My parents

          22  started a ferry business down on South Padre Island where they

          23  would take people from Port Isabel to Padre.  And then we

          24  started fishing in the '50s and then in the '90s Scarlet and I

          25  started Fins to Feathers, where we take people out on

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           1  excursions, out on the Laguna Madre Bay where we take people

           2  out to see birds as well as dolphin and dolphin encounters.

           3  And what we would like to come up here to talk to you and the

           4  panel about is the overcollecting of live shells.

           5                 Now, this is something that we've been trying

           6  to maybe get at handle on locally and we have people from up

           7  north our winter Texans come down kind of like locusts with

           8  five-gallon buckets.  And I'm going to go ahead and get off my

           9  soapbox here right quick and let my rider, my wife and

          10  photographer kind of do a conclusion here 'cause she won't be

          11  quite as biassed as I am.  My wife Scarlet Colley.

          12                 MS. COLLEY:  Well, George and I not only are

          13  eyes on the bay every day, we are out sometimes 10, 12 hours

          14  on our Laguna Madre Bay.  We also work with thousands of

          15  school children that come to the island on field trips and

          16  they want to know about the nature of South Padre Island.  So

          17  we show them our shells and I say guess what this is, this is

          18  the Texas Lightening Welk.  It's our Texas state shell and

          19  they're amazed we have a state shell.  They know about the

          20  pecan tree, they know about the bluebonnet, the mockingbird

          21  but we have a State shell.  And I say now we have some

          22  grandmas and grandpas that are coming down and taking these by

          23  the thousands because we have no laws to protect them.  But

          24  why don't we have laws to protect them?  And I say, well, we

          25  will.  We have a wonderful family called Texas Parks and

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           1  Wildlife that's going to help us so they'll always be lighting

           2  welks for you when you grow up and your kids so you can come

           3  to the island and you can show them the Texas State shell, the

           4  lightning welk.  So this is our plea.  It's heartfelt for

           5  everybody I think in the Valley except maybe the few winter

           6  Texans that are the culprits that are taking them by the

           7  thousands.  And literally thumbing their noses at us and

           8  saying you don't have a law.  We can do this.

           9                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Do you know what -- why are

          10  they interested in collecting them?  Is there's a use for them

          11  or --

          12                 MS. COLLEY:  I call it arts and crap.  Thank

          13  you.

          14                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Thank you.  Mr. Gilleland.

          15  And Jim Haire if you could be ready.

          16                 MR. GILLELAND:  My name is Ellis Gilleland and

          17  I'm speaking for Texas Animals, which is an animal rights

          18  organization on the Internet.  I have a petition that I've

          19  given you and it has to do with voting by the Commissioners.

          20                 "Whereas it is unethical if not fraudulent to

          21  place your own profit and self-interest over and above the

          22  welfare and needs of the public in regard to governing parks

          23  and wildlife in Texas.  And whereas Parks and Wildlife

          24  Commissioners Armstrong, Watson, and Fitzsimons and possibly

          25  others are deeply engaged in commercial profit making hunting

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           1  operations on their own private ranches in Texas.  And whereas

           2  we have noted in the past that the aforementioned three

           3  Commissioners joined by similarly situated Commissioners Bass,

           4  Ryan and Heath consistently voted to enhance their own

           5  profit-making hunting operations.

           6                 "We hereby petition that the Parks and Wildlife

           7  Commissioners Armstrong, Watson, and Fitzsimons and possibly

           8  others henceforth recuse themselves from all votes by the

           9  Commission on all matters rules and funding related to

          10  hunting, the management of whitetail deer, and the killing of

          11  exotic animals held captive on high fenced can't hunt ranches

          12  in Texas."  Signed Ellis Gilleland for Texas Animals.

          13                 Thank you.

          14                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Janet Taylor, could you be

          15  ready, please.

          16                 MR. HAIRE:  I'm Jim Haire.  I appreciate this

          17  chance to comment on your conflict of interest that the

          18  results your taking money from the alcohol industry whose

          19  product you regulate on our waterways.  Five years ago your

          20  agency lost a safe boating campaign that addressed drinking

          21  and boating.  This upset your beer sponsor who became involved

          22  and changed your safety program to include a Budweiser beer

          23  key chain for boaters.  Afterwards Mr. Sansom Commissioner

          24  Heath and the Houston Chronicle said that a written policy was

          25  need to avoid such problems in the future.  But today five

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           1  years later there's still no policy and Budweiser beer key

           2  chains like this one are still being handed out to boaters at

           3  your fishing events.  A beer ad in your fishing regulations

           4  now illustrates the fun of drinking and boating incentives to

           5  just designated driver.  The Coast Guard says about half the

           6  boating deaths are alcohol rated so it's not surprising that

           7  Texas was recently named number one in the nation in boating

           8  deaths.

           9                 Anheuser-Busch's unusual level of influence

          10  over your agency has led to other problems besides the

          11  conflict of interest.  Here's a photo of kids at your expo

          12  being told by a beer ad that after they catch a great fish

          13  they can catch a great feeling.  Teenager Timmy McDaniels was

          14  killed while drinking on a fishing trip to Lake Fork when he

          15  and friends docked their boat one night so Timmy could dive

          16  from a highway bridge.  Timmy may have been looking for that

          17  same great feeling advertised in your fishing regulations each

          18  of the three years prior to his death.

          19                 With no policies to control your alcohol

          20  relationship you ban kids from a potentially perfect

          21  father-son event, your Gulf Coast Roundup because of the

          22  alcohol sponsorship while at the same time alcohol is promoted

          23  among those same kids in your expo, web pages, press releases,

          24  fishing regulations, et cetera.  And you choose radio beer

          25  commercials to help promote such fishing events to the

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           1  Hispanic market, among others.

           2                 The Sunset Commission sponsored a bill to end

           3  your alcohol marketing efforts.  The mother of a four-year-old

           4  girl that was killed by a drunk fisherman in a boat crash on

           5  Lake Athens was one of the many to support that bill.  But

           6  here's a letter from your files that documents the

           7  collaboration between your agency Anheuser-Busch and the

           8  lobbyists to protect your alcohol advertising.

           9                 Of course your agency and Anheuser-Busch

          10  prevailed over that mother and the other bill supporters.

          11  You're promoting a product that's a factor in the three

          12  leading causes of death among your number one outreach target,

          13  youth.  Would you promote a product that was a factor in the

          14  three leading causes of death among the fish in our lakes and

          15  rivers?  I hope that each of you will take a minute to glance

          16  over the exhibits attached to my written comments.

          17                 Thanks very much for your time.

          18                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Terry Colley.

          19                 MS. TAYLOR:  Good afternoon.  I'm Janet Taylor,

          20  a member of the governing board of Texans Standing Tall, TST.

          21  We represent organizations and individuals in the statewide

          22  coalition to prevent underaged drinking through changing norms

          23  availability and regulations that currently condone or even

          24  encourage underage use of alcohol.  Alcohol issues by over

          25  50 percent of Texas secondary students resulting in the

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           1  highest youth alcohol related fatality crash rate in nation

           2  and a cost to Texas of $4.1 billion dollars annually.

           3                 TST applauds your interest in children enjoying

           4  the outdoors and is greatly concerned that alcohol is being

           5  marketed to youth through publications and events of our Texas

           6  State Parks and Wildlife Department.  SB 305 no longer allows

           7  TP&W to advertise tobacco products but alcohol marketing is

           8  equally influential on young developing minds.  When children

           9  develop a positive association with a product at a very early

          10  age, they are less likely to perceive the potential harm of

          11  that product when they reach the age of experimentation.

          12                 The current TP&W regulations booklet on hunting

          13  and fishing contain five alcohol advertisements.  Fortunately

          14  the current issue does not include cartoon animals which

          15  especially attract younger children.  It's not sufficient to

          16  publish separate booklets for adult versus youth viewing

          17  because youth easily and frequently pick up the regulations at

          18  hunting and fishing supply stores such as Wal-Mart.

          19                 In past years the TP&W expo which draws huge

          20  numbers of families has allowed alcohol marketing with

          21  exhibits and animals featuring specific and appealing

          22  alcoholic beverage logos.  SB 305 directs you the TP&W

          23  Commissioners to set rules regarding department advertising

          24  that is appropriate for viewing by youth.  The TST coalition

          25  encourages you to consider the follow in determining the

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           1  rules:  A thorough literature review of research on the impact

           2  of alcohol marketing on children, guidelines established by

           3  youth serving organizations and agencies such as TEA, Texas

           4  PTA, Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, American

           5  Medical Association, DARE and other substance abuse prevention

           6  programs as well as the new demand reduction committee

           7  established by the 77th Legislature include recognized

           8  prevention specialists in the developmental process and

           9  publish a draft of the rules for public review before

          10  implementation.  Our beautiful Texas parks in the great

          11  diversity of wildlife are our second greatest resources in our

          12  state.  The first are our children.

          13                 The State Department of Parks and Wildlife has

          14  an obligation to make sure our natural resources do not become

          15  an environment to lead our youth into harmful behaviors.  The

          16  statewide coalition looks forward to hearing your plan to

          17  comply with SB 305 on advertising appropriate for youth.

          18                 Thank you.

          19                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Myron Hess, could you get

          20  ready.

          21                 MR. COLLEY:  Good afternoon.  I bring you

          22  greetings from the Texas Historical Commission, the State

          23  agency for historic preservation.  My name is Terry Colley,

          24  I'm the deputy executive director of the agency.  And on

          25  behalf of John Nau, our chairman, I want to express our

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           1  appreciation for the spirit of cooperation that has developed

           2  between our two agencies, specifically in two areas.  The

           3  first one is the area of the historic sites here in Texas.  As

           4  you may know Andy and Walt Dabney and I and some of our staff

           5  have been meeting regularly to discuss the historic sites and

           6  the progress improvements that need to be made there.

           7                 Bill Dolman and Cynthia Brandimarte, part of

           8  your staff and I meet on a monthly basis to go over what's

           9  happening on each of the sites and talk about the good things

          10  that are happening there.  We are hopeful that the bond issue

          11  in November will pass and that we'll see further improvements

          12  there.  I want to thank you for your commitment to the

          13  preservation and improvement to these sites for both the

          14  citizens of Texas and those who visit our state, and that

          15  leads me to our second point that I want to make.

          16                 We thank you for the tourism efforts that are

          17  conducted through Texas Parks and Wildlife.  As you may know,

          18  we are one of the five tourism agencies in an MOU where we're

          19  one of the new kids on the block, I guess you could say, and

          20  we appreciate your including us in this tourism MOU and

          21  specifically for the work that Lydia Saldana does.  The

          22  resources that she helps us with and is always there to answer

          23  questions about the tourism issues in our state, so we are

          24  very appreciative of that and we look forward to working with

          25  you even more.

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           1                 Thank you very much.

           2                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Thank you.  Okay.  Richard

           3  Moore, get ready.

           4                 MR. HESS:  Good afternoon, Chairperson Idsal,

           5  Commissioners.  My name is Myron Hess.  I'm here today on

           6  behalf of an organization called Texans for State Parks.  I do

           7  welcome the new Commission and I want to thank each of you

           8  personally for the service that you provide to the State of

           9  Texas and as these meetings always illustrate, you face a wide

          10  variety of challenges and opportunities and we appreciate your

          11  efforts.

          12                 Basically our organization is dedicated to

          13  support the state park system.  Educating the public about the

          14  important of state parks, working with individual friends

          15  groups that are increasing around the State and providing very

          16  valuable services to state parks.  Our organization was active

          17  during the legislative session.  It was successful.  Do

          18  recognize that you didn't get enough funding, a perpetual

          19  problem.  We do intend to be active this fall in informing the

          20  public about the importance of the bond election.  One

          21  specific point that I would ask is that as you look at

          22  opportunities for increasing funding if you look at park users

          23  fees that you place a high priority on making sure that parks

          24  remain affordable especially for families.

          25                 One of the key issues that came out of the

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           1  Sunset process was the development of an inventory and a plan

           2  for meeting conservation and recreational needs in the State.

           3  We do urge a particular high priority for that inventory and

           4  plan.  Again, we do recognize that funding is limited but it

           5  is critical to have a complete and accurate assessment of

           6  conservation and recreational needs and a plan for meeting

           7  those needs.  One of the things that's clear in looking at

           8  population projections for the State of Texas and that is that

           9  we are facing an incredible population growth and that

          10  population is increasingly urban.  And it's -- we have got to

          11  find means for those people to get outdoors and to understand

          12  the importance of the outdoors.  And I think maybe that the

          13  problems that we're seeing in the Nueces River sort of serve

          14  as an illustration of the importance of reaching people early

          15  on and helping them to understand the implications of their

          16  actions.

          17                 We do acknowledge that that state plan needs to

          18  look at a combination of solutions at the state park system,

          19  at the local park system, and the contributions of private

          20  landowners who choose to participate.  We're going to need

          21  everybody working together but we are also are confident

          22  because of that huge population growth that there's going to

          23  be a need for expansion of the state park system.  And we need

          24  to move on that now because as we all know it's going to be

          25  more and more difficult to acquire that property as the

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           1  population continues to increase.  But it's a tremendous need

           2  that has to be met.  We look forward to working with you in

           3  the upcoming year on the inventory and all the other efforts

           4  that you make on behalf of state parks.

           5                 Thank you.

           6                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Muriel Tipps, could you be

           7  ready.

           8                 MR. MOORE:  Thank you, Madame Chairman,

           9  Commissioners.  My name is Richard Moore I represent PISCES

          10  and you know what, we didn't catch the last shrimp.  We still

          11  have a few.  But we do have a problem with some of the

          12  regulations that we have to work under now.  These regulations

          13  came at a difficult time and they're not completely clear to

          14  the fishermen or the people that have to enforce these

          15  regulations.  And I I'm asking to be -- have a cleanup or have

          16  more time awarded so everybody can understand these new

          17  regulations better because we're having a few problems with it

          18  and these things going to go into effect September 1.  And we

          19  don't need any more problems.  We've talked with Parks and

          20  Wildlife, the director of fisheries and there's no clear-cut

          21  agreement yet on how these things are going to work.  They

          22  keep changing the pamphlet in the book.  There's been some

          23  changes in it.  There's been some changes today.  We came up

          24  here to discuss our problems and we've had some changes

          25  already made.  We still need to be cleaned up in some of these

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           1  regulations and I'm asking the Commission to direct Parks and

           2  Wildlife and the Coastal fisheries to go slow, make sure we do

           3  this right where the people that have to make a living under

           4  these regulations doesn't suffer any more problems.

           5                 We've developed another fishery, people are

           6  going into it because of the loss of the 15 days that we had

           7  in December and the 15 days that we lost in February.  There's

           8  another fishery that these boats are going into.  It's called

           9  a seabob fishery.  And there's a lot of discrepancy in this

          10  and people need to be aware of the problems there's going to

          11  be in that fishery.  All we're asking for is time to work with

          12  the director of Parks and Wildlife Coastal fisheries and the

          13  fishermen so everybody has a clear idea of what we're talking

          14  about and how it's going to work.

          15                 Thank you.

          16                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Dwayne Harrison, would you get

          17  ready.

          18                 MS. TIPPS:  Goods afternoon.  Hello,

          19  Commissioners, Andy.  My name is Muriel Tipps, I'm one of the

          20  Matagorda County seafood representatives and I'm here to

          21  comment on issues that are important to the shrimping

          22  industry.  As we all know, this last set of regulations was a

          23  bit chaotic and I too agree that some further work needs to be

          24  done on clarification, terminology, and regulatory enforcement

          25  on some of the regulations that I'll mention and I'll be

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           1  brief.  One of them would be to seabob fishery try net where

           2  there's a gray area.  The by catch reduction device which

           3  should be ongoing with demonstrations, testing, and funding.

           4  License renewal procedures which were a bit chaotic for the

           5  commercial fishermen this year.  This will be my third trip

           6  back to finish my licensing.  The Shrimp Advisory Committee

           7  which should be undergoing some restructure.  And the by catch

           8  reduction device enforcement in it's infancy.  There's still a

           9  lot of testing to be done.

          10                 We also have concerns on the enforcement of the

          11  gulf closure of the two 50-foot nets to the three-mile line.

          12  We would ask for your support in letting the coastal fisheries

          13  staff implement some workshops up through December and work at

          14  the local levels on up.  And I would also like to submit a

          15  letter from Mr. Uher that Andy has received to try to in an

          16  expedient manner work out the terminology for the seabob try

          17  net because that season does start in November.  I would ask

          18  for your support on that.  And, Andy, if you'll submit your

          19  letter, I would appreciate it.

          20                 Thank you very much.

          21                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Dwayne Harrison and Wesley

          22  Blevins.

          23                 MR. HARRISON:  Hello.  My name is Dwayne

          24  Harrison and I am a commercial fisherman as well as shrimper.

          25  And I would like to say just one thing to the gentleman that

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           1  was talking about using the waters for commercial use.  I paid

           2  about $1,300 this year so I could shrimp.  So I'm paying my

           3  share of, you know, what is necessary.  I don't know if

           4  you-all are aware of it, but one of the things that has

           5  brought me great disturbed is the toxic waste dump that is

           6  currently on the works of being put in over in Chambers

           7  County.  I think that the State being concerned of our

           8  resource has -- last year they closed off an area of the bay

           9  claiming it to be an estuary.  Well, it's right on the

          10  boundaries of where they're putting in this toxic waste dump

          11  which is going to be the runoff is going to be going into the

          12  estuary area that we no longer can shrimp because it's

          13  supposed to be a sacred area.  But at the same time they got a

          14  toxic waste dump going in.  What the heck is going on?  I

          15  would like for you-all to help out in that area, if you can.

          16  You know, you won't let us work there, but others are.

          17                 And then as far as that try net, it's already

          18  been addressed by a few others.  I'm only allowed to work 108

          19  days out of the year without any restrictions.  I gave up one

          20  of them days to come up here today so I'm only allowed 107

          21  days to make a living.  And then now you're going to tell me I

          22  have to also do it blindfolded without a dad gum try net.  So

          23  I don't understand if you-all are just trying to put us out of

          24  business or what's going on, but some of these regulations are

          25  ridiculous.  And I'm only trying to make a living, so help me

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           1  out guys, ladies, you know, something's got to change.

           2  You-all keep squeezing us and squeezing us and squeezing us.

           3  Where is it going to stop?  That's all.  I just -- just a

           4  working guy trying to make a living.  I worked in the chemical

           5  plants for 15 years and not one time did they tell me I could

           6  only work six hours a day like you-all tell me that I can only

           7  work five months out of the year.  Six hours a day.  Is there

           8  anybody in this room that can only work six hour a day?  Not

           9  nobody.  Thank you.

          10                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Bryan Sybert get ready.

          11                 MR. BLEVINS:  Madame Chairman, members of the

          12  Commission, the lady is bringing you-all some pictures around

          13  to look at.  My name is Welsey Blevins and I represent the

          14  Calhoun County shrimpers.  And I'm here asking Texas Parks and

          15  Wildlife to work with us on the fine tune of the placement of

          16  the BRDs in the net which hasn't been done.  And I got one

          17  other issue, I don't want to hit on it too much, but Texas

          18  Parks and Wildlife, we need some help on the Guadalupe River

          19  to get the water flow back like it needs to be and we would

          20  like to work with the Parks and Wildlife on that.

          21                 We support the group from San Marcos that's

          22  asking for water permits.  I don't -- I ain't got much time,

          23  but I would like for you-all to ask questions if need be.

          24  You-all excuse me, I ain't a very good speaker but anyhow

          25  these pictures here on the first Page 1 and 2 they're kind of

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           1  out of order, they're backwards but it shows me pulling the

           2  bag in with a lazy line, that's what we call it and it's a

           3  choker strap.  It goes around and it goes through rings in the

           4  net on the bag there.  And as you can see the BRDs at

           5  nine-foot.  The rings there are on about ten and half foot is

           6  what they're on where the choker strap goes around.  And that

           7  won't work according to the law that we got to live with right

           8  now.  All right.  And you can see on Picture 2 is where I'm

           9  putting the whip line around the bag right below the BRD.  If

          10  I move the BRD down it's going to even put more strain on it.

          11  And what happens that you can see that's nine-inch bird right

          12  there, that's bigger than we're required to pull.  And you can

          13  see that it's bent a little bit, that's because of the trips

          14  it's made up and down with this whip line or the sling around

          15  the bag.  And as you can see in the other Pictures 4 and 3

          16  over here on the same page, the strain whenever the bag coming

          17  out of the water on the BRD, you can see the front end of it

          18  how it's tearing loose from the bag.  On both pictures there

          19  it shows it clearly and this is a terrible load of cannon

          20  balls, cabbage heads, and it's full completely to the bird

          21  when it's dragging in the water you can see that it compresses

          22  down and goes down.  This is about a 15, 1,800 pound lift

          23  right here.  And on the other page on the second page you can

          24  see what I'm my turtle excluder has bars in there.  They're

          25  only a inch and a half apart and Parks and Wildlife and

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           1  everyone knows that this is the best by catch reduction device

           2  there is.  Of course, we wouldn't want to pull this

           3  year-round, there's no way, because you can see how much of a

           4  loss you would have on shrimp.  But inch and a half bars

           5  you're catching 13, 15, 16, 18, they're as wide as the bars

           6  are.  But we have to live with this device sometimes and what

           7  we're asking for as long as we're pulling a device that's like

           8  this, we shouldn't even have to have a BRD in the bag.  All

           9  we're asking for on the BRD and Parks and Wildlife, you-all

          10  have the authority to do this immediately.

          11                 EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SANSOM:  Thank you,

          12  Mr. Blevins.

          13                 MR. BLEVINS:  Would you like to ask me a

          14  question?

          15                 COMMISSIONER DINKINS:  I would like for you to

          16  finish your sentence.

          17                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  I was going to say.  The

          18  question I have is could you finish your sentence.

          19                 MR. BLEVINS:  All we're asking for right now

          20  today is the Feds, they're ruling up what we was understanding

          21  that we was going to have to live by.  They go 12-foot and you

          22  can see it's five-eights lazy line will not choke -- will not

          23  cut nothing off on that BRD.  An elephant ear is a different

          24  situation, but this choker strap wouldn't -- an elephant ear

          25  wouldn't either if it was pulled under the bottom.  Bill

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           1  Balboa was at the meeting the other night and Palacios was

           2  where we were at and even the national marine fisheries gear

           3  technician they said that it would work what I was talking

           4  about.  And all we're asking for is just one more foot up on

           5  the BRD and we can go above the lazy line because that is

           6  where we have the main shrimp loss is at that ten to eight

           7  foot because the lazy line is in front of the BRD.  And you

           8  can't -- at 10-foot you can't put it where the BRD is is all

           9  we're asking for is just one more foot.  Just give us 11-foot

          10  and you-all have got the power to do that.

          11                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  That's the longest sentence

          12  I've ever heard.

          13                 MR. BLEVINS:  I wanted to make sure I got my

          14  point and really we need it serious.

          15                 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY:  Madame Chairman,

          16  could I ask Hal a quick question?

          17                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Yes.

          18                 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY:  Hal, can you briefly

          19  summarize the trade-off on this, tell me about just briefly

          20  about the toxic plant the other gentleman mentioned and what

          21  is the try net issue, just short answers is fine.

          22                 MR. OSBURN:  Yes, sir.  Hal Osburn, Coastal

          23  Fisheries Division Director.  There is a permit in the process

          24  at TNRCC for a fairly heavy duty toxic waste plant.  I suspect

          25  Dr. McKinney would have a little better detail on that.  The

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           1  department does not have authority on denying that or issuing

           2  that.  I know that we will be commenting as we're allowed to

           3  to the TNRCC in developing that.  We certainly do have those

           4  same concerns the commercial fishermen or our good

           5  environmentalists when it comes to recognizing the health of

           6  the estuary and that area is in a nursery area and we

           7  certainly do concur that that area would not be something you

           8  would want to expose to toxic waste even in an accident.

           9                 The try net in the seabob fishery historically

          10  the -- the -- the rules actually established by the

          11  Legislature in 1959 did not have allowance for a try net in

          12  the seabob fishery.  We did not change those rules last

          13  summer.  The Commission did not -- we did not propose any

          14  changes to that.  We actually liberalized the seabob fishery

          15  by expanding the net from 25 to 42 feet.  We didn't receive

          16  any comments that there needed to be a try net and I think

          17  that the fishery has now sort of recognized that maybe that

          18  was an oversight and certainly we would like to work with

          19  them.  I don't think there is a big problem with having a try

          20  net in the seabob fishery.  I couldn't exactly say why that

          21  was exempted in 1959, but right now it probably would be a

          22  useful tool for the expanding seabob fishery.  The by catch

          23  reduction devices, I think as you heard a lot of that

          24  terminology is fairly complicated.  The federal rules, the

          25  State rules we tested a number of devices.  We tried to

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           1  establish the most liberal set of BRDs that the fishery could

           2  use.  There's a number of them that they can -- can use.  I

           3  think that because of the complexity a lot of different

           4  fishermen use different gear out there and as they are now

           5  implementing that BRD into their net, they're finding out some

           6  technical glitches and I would certainly support working with

           7  them in a timely manner to perhaps do a cleanup on -- to be

           8  sure we allow legitimate gear, gear that is not going to

           9  compromise the use of BRDs and TEDs but maintain the spirit of

          10  what with the Commission passed last year.  I have no problem

          11  with working with them on doing that.

          12                 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY:  Thank you.

          13                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Pam Baker, could you be ready.

          14                 MR. SYBERT:  Madame Chair, members of the

          15  Commission.  My name is Bryan Sybert and I'm representing the

          16  Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra Club.  I would like to begin

          17  by basically thanking the Parks and Wildlife Commission and

          18  the staff for all of the work that went into the shrimp

          19  regulations that were passed one year ago to this date.

          20  Those -- it was a very difficult and arduous process and

          21  decision to go forward with those regulations but it was a

          22  very important decision.  That was an extremely important step

          23  in the right direction towards improving the health of our

          24  coastal fisheries and reducing the impacts of by catch and

          25  things of that nature.

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           1                 So far the initial results of the regulations

           2  are very promising sea turtle strandings have been down by

           3  20 percent from December through mid-July of this year.  And

           4  also shrimp harvest seem to be strong.  So it looks at this

           5  point the regulations are working and I think it's important

           6  that at this time that we continue to monitor the regulations,

           7  how they're affecting the fishery, continue to monitor sea

           8  turtle strandings and by catch.

           9                 In addition, I think it's extremely important

          10  that we focus on enforcement and make sure that the

          11  regulations are being adequately enforced so that we can

          12  achieve the desired results particularly at nighttime.

          13  Earlier in the summer and in the spring I would -- most likely

          14  in the spring and early summer there were reports of

          15  violations particularly off of the South Padre or the Padre

          16  Island area during the closure of the five nautical mile

          17  closure.  So I think we need to pay attention to that so that

          18  we can definitely achieve the desired result of the

          19  regulations.

          20                 And in addition, I think it would be very

          21  interesting -- I look forward to seeing the results of the

          22  comprehensive economic and biological survey of the shrimp

          23  fishery the Commission mandated one year ago with the passage

          24  of the regulations.  And I think again that will show that the

          25  regulations are moving in the right direction.  So with that I

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           1  would just like to say thank you and thanks for the

           2  opportunity to speak.

           3                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  DeDe Armentrout, you get

           4  ready, please.

           5                 MS. BAKER:  Hello, my name is Pam Baker I'm a

           6  fisheries biologist with environmental defense.  I would also

           7  like to talk about shrimp for just a moment.  Shrimp is our

           8  state's and our country's favorite seafood and it's a

           9  multimillion dollar contributor to the coastal economy.  Last

          10  summer the TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION passed a series

          11  of new regulations to help ensure healthy stocks of this value

          12  crop for now and the future.  I want to thank the

          13  Commissioners and the Parks and Wildlife staff for taking this

          14  important step last year.  I would also like to provide just a

          15  very brief summary of the first year effects of just one of

          16  the management strategies that was implemented, and that was

          17  the December through mid-July shrimp trawling ban off Padre

          18  Island.  This regulation is intended to protect spawning

          19  shrimp and mating and nesting sea turtles by moving shrimpers

          20  five miles offshore to deeper waters away from sensitive near

          21  shore habitats that turtles and shrimp share.

          22                 The seasonal ban ended last month and initial

          23  results are encouraging.  Research collected by Padre Island

          24  National seashore scientists has been analyzed by Texas Parks

          25  and Wildlife biologists.  This year sea turtle strandings from

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           1  January through mid-July off Padre Island were down nearly

           2  20 percent compared to the average of the previous five years.

           3  It's very encouraging that strandings are also down statewide

           4  signifying that the shrimping ban may reduce strandings

           5  overall and not simply shift the damage to beaches where

           6  shrimpers are working.  While turtle strandings have dropped

           7  gulf shrimp landings have been remained strong.  And some

           8  newspapers have quoted gulf shrimpers reporting the best

           9  catches in a decade.

          10                 The National Marine Fisheries Service confirmed

          11  this.  They're analysts showed that statewide gulf shrimp

          12  landings would from January through June were about

          13  12.8 million pounds and that's about 2 percent below the

          14  four-year average.  Clearly it's too early for a final

          15  conclusion or to claim victory for the new shrimp regulations.

          16  In fact a two net limit in near shore waters was just

          17  implemented last month and a requirement for bay shrimpers to

          18  use by-catch reduction devices will kick in next month.  We

          19  respectfully encourage the TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION

          20  to keep two important issues in mind.  First, continue to

          21  vigorously monitor shrimp spawning spots stocks and landings,

          22  and sea turtle strandings and other measures of effectiveness

          23  to determine if we're on the right track.  And second boosting

          24  enforcement levels to make sure the regulations can work as

          25  well as designed.  Thank you.

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           1                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Dianne Wassenich, could you be

           2  ready, please?

           3                 MS. ARMENTROUT:  Chairperson Idsal,

           4  Commissioners, Mr. Sansom, and ladies and gentlemen, my name

           5  is DeDe Armentrout.  I'm the executive director of the

           6  Mountain Lion Foundation of Texas.  The Mountain Lion

           7  Foundation was formed in July of 1991 -- I mean 1999 and is a

           8  charitable nonprofit organization dedicated to the

           9  conservation of mountain lions and their habitats in Texas.

          10  I'm here today to list some of our initiatives that I think

          11  might be of interest to you and also to share some of our

          12  concerns.  One of my heros is Ashley Brilliant who believes

          13  anything that's work saying can be said in 16 words.  He wrote

          14  a book called, I May Not Be perfect, But Parts of Me Are

          15  Excellent.  I wish I could say in 16 words what I feel I need

          16  to say about mountain lions.  I'm not sure I can make it in

          17  three minutes, and even though I've spent ten years in Austin

          18  and know how to run red lights, I'm not sure Andy will let me

          19  get away for that for long.  So I'm going to cut to the

          20  summary at the back of my statement first to the make sure I

          21  get that in.  And I'll use the remaining time, if there is

          22  any, to go over some of our programs.  We don't know how many

          23  lions we have in Texas.  We don't know how many lions we're

          24  killing in Texas and we don't know the impact that the take

          25  has on the stability or sustainability of mountain lion

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           1  populations and in Texas.  That's a terrible situation to be

           2  in when one is determining seasons and bag limits on a

           3  regulated game species.  It's even worse when one is facing

           4  unlimited take on a wildlife species that is unregulated.

           5                 Consequently, we're very concerned that lions

           6  are still taken in unlimited numbers throughout the State

           7  without any clue about what's going on in lion populations.

           8  Texas once had six of the seven wildcats found in North

           9  America.  We had the jaguar and margay both went extinct in

          10  Texas in my lifetime and I'm not that old.  We have the ocelot

          11  and jaguarundi, both now endangered but protected in Texas.

          12  And we have the bobcat and mountain lion neither of which is

          13  monitored, and both of which are subject to unlimited harvest.

          14                 We encourage the department to cooperate in

          15  learning more about these great icons of the West.  To develop

          16  safety and depredation advise and to monitor the take of

          17  mountain lions.  It would be a dreadful shame if Texas were to

          18  lose a wildcat species on your watch.  I'm determined that

          19  such a tragedy will not happen and I hope you are too.

          20                 This past December we cosponsored a three-day

          21  international workshop on mountain lions sharing our hosting

          22  duties with the help and support of Texas Parks and Wildlife

          23  Department and Sul Ross University.  We brought in lion

          24  scientists from all over the United States, Canada, and Mexico

          25  and had participants from as far away as Wales and Norway.

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           1  The proceedings are due to be published soon and networking

           2  among lion scientists is ongoing.  And we are pleased to have

           3  been the catalyst in getting that international symposium for

           4  the first time in Texas.

           5                 We've put up a web site with information on

           6  human safety, mountain lion natural history, habitat, and prey

           7  information and we've met with landowners and are pleased to

           8  find the number of ranchers interested in working with us both

           9  to develop advice on avoiding livestock depredation and to

          10  develop ecotourism opportunities on ranches.

          11                 EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SANSOM:  You're almost out,

          12  if you can conclude your remarks.

          13                 MS. ARMENTROUT:  Okay.  I thought so.  Well,

          14  I've given you my summary, so let me just thank you your

          15  attention an encourage you to continue.  You have a phenomenal

          16  job here in a state with wonderful wildlife resources and it's

          17  extremely important.  I'll be happy to answer any questions

          18  and look forward to working with you and with the staff of

          19  Parks and Wildlife Department.

          20                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  William Montgomery, could you

          21  be ready.

          22                 MS. WASSENICH:  My name is Diane Wassenich.

          23  I'm the president of the San Marcos River Foundation and I

          24  want to express my deep appreciation Chair Idsal and all of

          25  you Commissioners for your rapt attention through all of this

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           1  and all of our talks.  And I want to let you know that I would

           2  not be offended in the least if you would like to stand up and

           3  stretch at any point while I'm talking.

           4                 The San Marcos River is 90 miles long.  It

           5  joins the Guadalupe River near Gonzales.  Our river flows to

           6  the bays and estuaries at the Gulf of Mexico along with the

           7  Guadalupe.  Ninety percent of the freshwater that reaches the

           8  bays and estuaries at the mouth of the Guadalupe during dry

           9  periods comes from the San Marcos River and the Comal River.

          10  These two rivers, as you know, probably flow from a large

          11  spring system in the Edwards aquifer and they're vital to the

          12  survival of the bays and estuaries.  I want to thank

          13  Mr. Blevins for his reference to what we are trying to do, our

          14  organization is very concerned.  Since the early '90s we've

          15  realized that there are problems down in the bays and

          16  estuaries and our basin.  There is very high salinity or too

          17  salty water regarding -- which is effecting the system down

          18  there because of the lack of freshwater making it down to the

          19  bay and estuary during dry periods.  You're probably very

          20  familiar with these problems in the Rio Grande River system.

          21                 We have addressed the regional water planning

          22  groups and we do -- we have observed what's going on there

          23  with regional water planning.  We really are realizing that

          24  there's a crisis that Texas rivers bays and estuaries are

          25  facing and it may be too late for some rivers and we're hoping

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           1  it's not too late for the Guadalupe.  We're glad to see years

           2  ago TNRCC is working on a new water availability model but

           3  very sad that it's still not done.  Meanwhile, water rights

           4  continue to be granted in our basin and unused old irrigation

           5  water rights and hydro rights are being converted to municipal

           6  rights.  These are now being used fully rather than just

           7  seasonally or partially as they were in the past hundred years

           8  leaving even less water available for the bay.

           9                 Governor Bush's task force on conservation, we

          10  were very happy to see.  They did make recommendations to

          11  purchase and accept donations of water rights to maintain the

          12  health of the bays and estuaries.  And other good news in '98

          13  we were thrilled to see the Texas Parks and Wildlife study

          14  completed of the Guadalupe estuary listing how much -- exactly

          15  exact how much freshwater is needed for minimal flows to keep

          16  the bays healthy.  That really helped us to have that number,

          17  but still no action was being taken and water rights were

          18  being granted and so we realize it was really an emergency

          19  situation during this last year really dry conditions when

          20  there were very grave effects at the bay and estuary.

          21                 So our organization decided to work within the

          22  water rights system.  We filed for a water right application

          23  last year.

          24                 EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SANSOM:  Could you conclude

          25  your remarks, ma'am, thank you.

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           1                 MS. WASSENICH:  Okay.  I would like to tell you

           2  much more about this.  I've had to cut my talk considerably,

           3  but I do want you to know that our web site is

           4  www.sanmarcosriver.org.  Any questions you would ever have

           5  about this application, we would love to answer.

           6                 Thank you.

           7                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  John B. Miller, could you be

           8  ready, please.

           9                 MR. MONTGOMERY:  Thank you, Madame Chairman and

          10  members of the Commission.  I'm William Montgomery and I'll

          11  speak briefly on behalf of Neighbors for Neighbors and also on

          12  behalf of timber rattlesnakes about the issue of relocation of

          13  timber rattlesnakes especially in regard to Alcoa's proposed

          14  Three Oaks Mine.  Alcoa has proposed Three Oaks Mine, part of

          15  their proposal includes the relocation of timber rattlesnakes.

          16  Their mine includes suitable habitat within the range of the

          17  timber rattlesnake which is a species listed as threatened by


          19                 Their proposal of relocating rattlesnakes will

          20  not work for several reasons.  First of all their plan states

          21  that a once per year search and removal relocation survey will

          22  be conducted.  This species is secretive and difficult to find

          23  according to researcher John Sealy who has done extensive work

          24  with this species.  The combination of coloration and cryptic

          25  behavior is so effective that even telemetered snakes are

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           1  often difficult to see when coiled on the surface of the

           2  forest floor.  Even under ideal circumstances it would be

           3  impossible to collect more than just a small percentage of the

           4  population.  Those that are not collected will presumably be

           5  killed by the mining operations.

           6                 Second the research on this and other

           7  rattlesnake species have shown that relocation does not work.

           8  To quote noted expert Harry Green, timber rattlesnakes have

           9  regular idiosyncratic seasonal movements to and from winter

          10  and summer sites.  If timber rattlesnakes are translocated a

          11  short distance, they just orient back to where they want to

          12  be.  If adults are translocated longer distances they try to

          13  find their way home, generally fail at that and fail to

          14  establish themselves in a new home range.  They then slowly

          15  starve, fail to survive the winter due to use of inadequate

          16  shelter or perish because in traveling so much they make

          17  themselves more vulnerable to predators, auto traffic, human

          18  persecution, et cetera.

          19                 At a recent member of the timber rattlesnake

          20  conservation action plan committee it with actually stated

          21  that we should consider translocation of the snakes to be a

          22  threat to the species.  In a recent study by Howard Rheinart

          23  and Robert Rupert translocated snakes exhibited atypical

          24  movement patterns consistent of extensive and long distance

          25  traveling in spite of the fact that the snakes were moved to

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           1  an area which contained healthy resident population and ideal

           2  habitat.

           3                 EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SANSOM:  Thank you,

           4  Mr. Montgomery if you conclude your remarks.

           5                 MR. MONTGOMERY:  Okay.  In conclusion I would

           6  like to urge the committee to reconsider relocation as an

           7  effective means of dealing with threatened populations of the

           8  timber rattlesnakes.

           9                 Thank you.

          10                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Mr. Montgomery, I hope I don't

          11  have to recuse myself from future discussions on this subject,

          12  but I just realized that I own one of your prints of a

          13  rattlesnake.

          14                 MR. MONTGOMERY:  Great.  Which species, the

          15  timber rattlesnake?

          16                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  No, it think it is a western

          17  diamondback.

          18                 MR. MONTGOMERY:  It's a black tail.  I haven't

          19  done the western diamondback yet.

          20                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Okay.

          21                 MR. MONTGOMERY:  Thank you.

          22                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Thank you.  John Miller.

          23  Michelle Cook.

          24                 MS. LESSO:  Madame Chairman, Ms. Cook had to

          25  leave --

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           1                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Then Linda Lesso.

           2                 MS. LESSO:  Well, we were going to give you

           3  one-two punch, but my partner had to leave.  So good afternoon

           4  ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Sansom.  I'm Linda Lesso and I'm

           5  with Friends with the Lost Pines State Park that's Bastrop and

           6  Buescher State Parks and let me first give you the good stuff.

           7                 Here's a photograph of a children's playground

           8  that we built at Buescher State Park.  So I'll condense two

           9  people into one here real quickly.  We're a relatively new

          10  group.  We're about three years old.  We're extremely pleased

          11  at contributions we've been able to make to the parks, Bastrop

          12  and Buescher.  We've built a children's playground at both of

          13  the parks.  One at the cost of on $30,000, one at a cost of

          14  $20,000.  We are very happy with how we've been able to

          15  partner with the staffs.  We've furnished a lot of supplies

          16  needed equipment, and so forth.  So we're looking forward to

          17  again participating in the legacy activities and this year we

          18  are going to be contributing $4,000 to the endowment efforts.

          19  So that's the good stuff.

          20                 And now our president John Pollard was not able

          21  to attend.  I am a board member and on his behalf I have a

          22  letter to read to you.

          23                 "Dear Mr. Sansom, Two years ago we came to you

          24  and the Commissioners asking that you look into and consider

          25  taking action on a matter that could -- that could destroy the

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           1  Lost Pines State Parks Bastrop and Buescher as we know them.

           2  Our concern is primarily a draw down in the water table as a

           3  result of Alcoa's intended strip mine in northern Bastrop

           4  County.  We are very pleased and take this opportunity to

           5  publicly thank you for looking into the matter.  Texas Parks

           6  and Wildlife conducted a study, evaluation of natural

           7  resources in Bastrop, Burleson, Lee and Milam Counties.  A

           8  brief excerpt from the conclusion states, quote, 'the Lost

           9  Pines are a unique and disjunct loblolly pine forest found in

          10  sandy soils of Bastrop County.  A thorough analysis of the

          11  relationship between ground water levels is needed to

          12  determine whether and to what extent they will be affected by

          13  lowering of the ground water table.  Before ground water is

          14  exported out of the study area, the potential effects of

          15  dewatering needs to be evaluated and documented."  I see I

          16  already have the orange light there.  So I'm just going to

          17  give you our final paragraph on this letter and I have copies

          18  which will be distributed.

          19                 "We ask that you do two things.  Please

          20  formally request the Texas Natural Resource Conversation

          21  Commission to hold a public hearing on Alcoa's request for a

          22  water permit as relates to the proposed strip mine.  Secondly,

          23  you are probably aware that the U.S. Corps. of Engineers is

          24  conducting an environmental impact statement.  Please submit a

          25  list of concerns to the U.S. Army Corps. of Engineers as part

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           1  of the scoping process.  We understand the deadline for both

           2  of these actions is September 20th, 2001."  So boy that was a

           3  fast one.

           4                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Thank you.

           5                 EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SANSOM:  Thank you, ma'am,

           6  and thank you for your support of the park.

           7                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Okay.  Peggie Kimberlin and

           8  Steve Simmons.

           9                 MS. KIMBERLIN:  Madame Chair, Commission, it's

          10  always good to see you and I welcome the invitation to speak

          11  today.  First off I'd like -- I'm here on behalf of the Trail

          12  Riders Journal and equestrians throughout Texas and the

          13  southwest.  We want to commend the Texas Parks and Wildlife

          14  for all of the positive equestrian trails and facilities that

          15  have been included in the last couple of years in the State

          16  parks.  They've opened up a whole new world for a lot of the

          17  youth.  One problem with that good news is recently a Denton

          18  woman had no choice but to euthanize her horse after being

          19  exposed to Coggins at the Lakeway Roberts State Park, the Al

          20  Dubois equestrian campsite.

          21                 The reason I mention this is the fact that

          22  Coggins, for those that don't know, is a virus very similar to

          23  AIDS.  It's in horses and Texas Animal Health Commission

          24  requires you have to euthanize your animal or have it

          25  quarantined on property that's not adjacent to any other

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           1  equestrian.  So you obviously have one option.  And it is a

           2  law as of September '95 for the Texas Animal Health Commission

           3  that Coggins' papers have to be checked.  Owners of horses

           4  have to have those within one year where the blood has been

           5  drawn and the test shows that animal is negative.  And the

           6  State parks, we really would hope that there be a uniform

           7  procedure for checking these papers where you have an

           8  equestrian facility within the State park.  It is a law and

           9  some parks do check these papers but in this particular case

          10  they were not checked up there and I know personally that I've

          11  been checked in some parks and other occasions you go back and

          12  you won't be checked.  So it's very vital that -- that these

          13  papers be checked.

          14                 I'd also like to commend the Commission for the

          15  work that you-all do with the national recreation trail

          16  grants.  And I know the Texas Trails Advisory Board will be

          17  reviewing that probably tomorrow.  And I would like to

          18  strongly recommend hopefully support for Item 10 which is a

          19  cross timbers equestrian trail riders association.  They've

          20  been very instrumental with the Corps. of Engineers and Texas

          21  Parks and Wildlife in getting multiuse trails and this

          22  particular project will open 26 miles of trails connecting

          23  Flower Mound, Lewisville, Westlake, South Lake, Trophy Club,

          24  Grapevine, the Colony, Colleyville, Argyle, and Roanoke.  And

          25  this is a lot of people that will connect the north and south

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           1  sides of Lake Grapevine.  So it's a win-win situation for the

           2  residents and for the park people too.  Thank you.

           3                 EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SANSOM:  Thank you,

           4  Ms. Kimberlin.

           5                 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY:  Can I ask a quick

           6  question?  A horse was exposed to Coggins, is that what

           7  happened in one of our parks?

           8                 MS. KIMBERLIN:  Yes, sir.  The horse came up

           9  position and they had to euthanize the horse.

          10                 COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY:  From another horse

          11  that was there, is that what happened?

          12                 MS. KIMBERLIN:  Yes, sir.  On the neck of

          13  horses that have been confirmed by the State of Texas they

          14  have to have a 74A brand on their shoulder and this horse had

          15  that.  That he was in the park.

          16                 COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS:  One other question on

          17  that.  My understanding was that the Texas Animal Health

          18  Commission requires a Coggins paper to travel with the animal

          19  to any event or gathering I think; is that right?

          20                 MS. KIMBERLIN:  Yes, sir.

          21                 COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS:  My daughter does

          22  rodeo and we have to carry all those papers was us.

          23                 MS. KIMBERLIN:  Absolutely.

          24                 COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS:  Just coming in out of

          25  a park could not be defined by the Animal Health Commission as

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           1  an event or gathering?

           2                 MS. KIMBERLIN:  If you're bringing your horse

           3  it is.

           4                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  The person was in violation of

           5  that rule?

           6                 MS. KIMBERLIN:  Pardon me?

           7                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Was the person that had the --

           8                 MS. KIMBERLIN:  Yes.  The horse that was there

           9  was there illegally.  In fact there's speculation that horse

          10  had already been sold to someone in Oklahoma.

          11                 COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS:  The point of my

          12  question is the Animal Health Commission provides inspectors

          13  to these events and that seems to be a problem because we're

          14  open; is that right?

          15                 MS. KIMBERLIN:  Yes.  Where you have like say

          16  the Fort Worth stock show.  Yes, they usually have several of

          17  their officers there.  I personally conduct a wagon train

          18  trail ride to Big Bend every year.  I personally check those.

          19  Whoever the organizer, whether it's an entity or an

          20  organization is required to check those papers.  And like

          21  right now for the expo I wanted to also commend you-all on the

          22  expo that's coming up.  There's going to be several wagoners

          23  and trial riders and even Dr. Kloninger in his paperwork we

          24  have to carry our Coggins papers on us, on our horse because

          25  Texas Animal Health Commission can stop you riding by a

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           1  highway and you better have your papers.  It a serious issue

           2  that really needs to be -- and very easy to do the paperwork.

           3  A lot of parks people have been quoted as saying oh, well,

           4  we'd have to hire more manpower for that.  Well, it's

           5  equestrians that are -- responsible equestrians carry their

           6  papers with them.  All you need is a form and they can fill it

           7  out and then all you have to look to see if this is a brown

           8  horse in that trailer.  And another thing I would like to add

           9  in the paperwork and the brochures the media, the web page

          10  that shows equestrian facilities in the State parks, if they

          11  could put three little words it will help deter those who are

          12  not going by the rules.  Negative Coggins required.  That's

          13  just very simple and lot of people do honor that.  Thank you

          14  for your time.

          15                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Steve Simmons and then Jack

          16  Holman.

          17                 MR. SIMMONS:  Good afternoon ladies and

          18  gentlemen.  My name is Steve Simmons.  I represent three

          19  wildlife management associations in Bastrop County, 301

          20  landowners totalling 66,000 acres.

          21                 The Bastrop County Wildlife Management

          22  Association is very much opposed to the hunting regulation

          23  passed this year allowing the youth to doe hunt two days on

          24  January 19th and 20th of 2002.  First of all, we are a county

          25  with low deer numbers.  The three WMAs have worked very hard

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           1  to increase deer numbers by planting food plots, prescribed

           2  burning and predator control, and last but not least trapping

           3  and transplanting within the WMAs.  Allowing this hunt to

           4  occur in Bastrop County goes against what the WMAs are trying

           5  to accomplish at this -- at this point.  In the future the

           6  Texas Parks and Wildlife biologist harvest recommendation for

           7  that specific county should be greatly taken into

           8  consideration prior to imposing such regulations.  Like Texas

           9  Parks and Wildlife, we too have a common goal to preserve and

          10  protect wildlife for future generations of Texans.

          11                 Thank you.

          12                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Jack Holman and then Larry

          13  Vasbinder.

          14                 MR. HOLMAN:  Good afternoon.  I'm Jack Holman

          15  and I'm representing the Texas Organization of Wildlife

          16  Management Associations or TOWMA.  It's a group of wildlife

          17  management associations in the entire State of Texas that

          18  totals approximately 3,000 landowners and approximately

          19  1,500,000 acres of land.  And I would like to add our support

          20  to what Mr. Simmons had just said but expand it a little bit.

          21  The area east of Austin he was speaking about Bastrop County

          22  but it also includes Lee, Fayette, Washington, and Austin

          23  Counties have very low deer densities.  A lot of these

          24  wildlife management associations have worked real hard on the

          25  habitat.  They work with trapping and transporting deer into

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           1  the area trying to build up the low deer densities.  Some of

           2  the areas have deer numbers as low as one deer per 500 acres.

           3  And TOWMA is -- I would like to go on record as being against

           4  doe hunts in regions like that where there's a very low deer

           5  density unless it's by some of kind of a permit.  I want to

           6  also stress that TOWMA supports youth hunting and as a matter

           7  of fact at our last meeting we've had representatives from the

           8  Texas Wildlife Association, Mr. Jerry Warden speak and we're

           9  going to pattern youth hunts after their structured means of

          10  having these hunts and we very much support youth hunting.

          11  And we're going to have that and -- but it will be where

          12  there's higher deer densities.  And I would like to close by

          13  saying that we appreciate the support we've got in the past

          14  from the Parks and Wildlife Department especially the field

          15  biologists.  We really appreciate the technical guidance

          16  they've provided and that we -- and I ask that you-all pay

          17  close what the field biologists have to say in their specific

          18  regions.

          19                 Thank you very much.

          20                 COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Madame Chairman.  Would

          21  not the individual landowners be able to determine whether or

          22  not those youth hunts took place on their properties?

          23                 MR. HOLMAN:  Yes, they can.  But what I'm

          24  concerned about is a co-op having -- say one deer for 400

          25  acres and they've worked real hard to try to protect that

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           1  resource and they have a youth hunt that's open to the general

           2  public, no permit required and the landowners are on the

           3  perimeter of this and with just a few deer being killed will

           4  hurt that resource in those specific areas.  But it's up to --

           5  it's up to each individual landowner.  If you're not going to

           6  have a problem within the co-ops, all co-ops that I'm aware of

           7  are more conservative with their deer harvests than the

           8  general public.

           9                 COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  You're concerned about

          10  adjoining landowners?

          11                 MR. HOLMAN:  Yes.  I'm concerned about people

          12  who are not members of the co-op.

          13                 MR. VASBINDER:  Good afternoon, commissioners.

          14  I'm Larry Vasbinder, a farmer and rancher from De Witt County

          15  in the lower Oak Prairie District.  I'm here today

          16  representing more than 135 landowners of the western and

          17  central De Witt County Wildlife Management Associations which

          18  now comprise approximately 110,000 acres in De Witt County.

          19                 I'm going a cofounder and current chairman of

          20  the western De Witt association that was established in 1990,

          21  one the original coops.  And these coops are one of the finest

          22  tools that Texas Parks and Wildlife has come up and helped

          23  landowners support what we're trying to do with wildlife

          24  management.  I'll kind of cut my letter short since I've got

          25  people that have expressed the same ideas that we have here in

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           1  De Witt County.  Our numbers were very low in 1990 about

           2  20 percent or less than what we had had five years before.

           3  And we started this association we've imported deer, we work

           4  with Parks and Wildlife and now we're probably back to about

           5  80 percent of the level that we had in 1985 and our program is

           6  a model, a model program for what we've done down there.  And

           7  a lot of people have tried to copy what we're doing and the

           8  biologists from Texas Parks and Wildlife have been very

           9  instrumental.  When this law passed recently and came out in

          10  the handbook, we were very unaware that this youth season was

          11  going to be implemented.  The biologists were not aware of it

          12  and did not recommend it and we are opposed it to for the fact

          13  that not because of the youth, we are entirely favor of youth

          14  hunting, but you can't have a program where you have a one

          15  buck county and does by MLD permit issued like in our county

          16  it's one permit for about 500 acres where we do have enough

          17  does.  And then pass a law like this where youth can come in

          18  all around you and kill two antlerless deer without a permit.

          19  This totally destroys everything that we have done.  And we

          20  ask that you consider this and remove this from the

          21  regulations next year.

          22                 Thank you.

          23                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Tom Goynes and Sparky

          24  Anderson.

          25                 MR. GOYNES:  Hello.  My name is Tom Goynes and

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           1  I'm the president of the Texas Rivers Protection Association.

           2  And we're a statewide group of canoeists and kayakers.  And I

           3  guess as such we have all the testosterone but none of the

           4  gasoline.  And also I want to say I own an alcohol free

           5  campground, so I don't have the alcohol either.  I do want to

           6  stress that canoeists and kayakers statewide support any

           7  effort you can come up with to keep these recreational

           8  vehicles, these ATVs off of our riverbeds.  It's not only

           9  harmful as far as the peace and serenity but as you've heard,

          10  it destroys the ecosystem as well.  And hopefully you can do

          11  something under I think it's Chapter 31 of the Water Code that

          12  allows you some provision for safety, to provide safety.  And

          13  also I would like to say that we do support the San Marcos

          14  River Foundation's effort to keep the rivers flowing 'cause we

          15  got to have someplace to paddle as well.

          16                 Thanks a whole lot.

          17                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  David Moldal.

          18                 MR. ANDERSON:  Thank you Madame Chair and

          19  Commissioners.  My name is Sparky Anderson.  I'm the State

          20  program director of Clean Water Action.  I'm also the senior

          21  policy analyst for the Texas Community Project and a member of

          22  Smart.  First I want to address several issues real quick I'll

          23  breeze over them and provide written comment to you in the

          24  future.

          25                 First your role in water quality standards.

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           1  This year the Texas Natural Resource Conversation Commission

           2  submitted proposal to EPA to take up water -- excuse me, the

           3  aquatic habitats and protections under the water quality

           4  standards.  This is all under the Clean Water Act.  We feel

           5  that there is an important role for this agency to play

           6  because of your experience and your biologists in the field to

           7  help TNRCC in making decisions on permits and other

           8  enforcement issues regarding water quality and habitat

           9  protection.  We hope that you will take up this matter both as

          10  policy as well as budget issue.

          11                 Next we want to commend Commissioner Fitzsimons

          12  on his work with the Governor's Task Force in conservation.

          13  We hope that his report that he was a part of doesn't become

          14  shelved, particularly the components about water quality

          15  protections.  And his comments recently to a panel on this is

          16  instrumental.  I'll also provide you information about that.

          17                 I'll move on back to habitat protection.  As

          18  you know we've come to you before to talk about aquatic

          19  vegetation management.  We encourage the department to

          20  continue its role in leadership role.  I do have some concerns

          21  however about the efforts of this agency to reach out for the

          22  federal funds that are being proposed.  Those funds may or may

          23  not become available.  Where this leads us back into perhaps a

          24  chemical management and a chemical addiction to treat aquatic

          25  vegetation in the state.  We hope you don't fall unto that.

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           1  There's also I think you need to pay close attention to the

           2  liability cap, the limit that has been lifted to -- due to

           3  legislation on SB 1335.  This legislation allows -- will allow

           4  lake managers to go out and spray chemicals into our Texas

           5  lakes and rivers, into our state waters and have a limited

           6  liability put on them for any damages.  Staff was

           7  sufficient -- did a sufficient job protecting our investment.

           8  If there is a damage more than $2 million the State can recoup

           9  that money.  This does nothing to protect humans.  There is

          10  still that liability cap applies to humans and I think that's

          11  a shame.

          12                 On State parks I just want to mention for Texas

          13  Community Project we'll be working on the bond project.  To

          14  help see that bond pass we encourage to work with you.  Also,

          15  we encourage you to look into urban access for State parks.

          16  We think more needs to be done there particularly where we can

          17  team up with public transportation and getting people from

          18  urban areas into our State parks.

          19                 Thank you.

          20                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Gilbert Chavez, could you be

          21  ready.

          22                 MR. MOLDAL:  Chairwoman Idsal, Commissioners,

          23  Mr. Sansom.  My name is Dave Moldal.  I represent the Gulf

          24  States Office of the Natural Wildlife Federation.  We're the

          25  nation's largest member supported conservation organization

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           1  with more than 4 million members, some 46,000 of them in

           2  Texas.  I'm here today to thank you for your efforts thus far

           3  and issue that may pose the single greatest threat to fish and

           4  wildlife in Texas over the next 50 years, that's the

           5  availability of water.  As leaders of the State's primary

           6  resource management agency, you know better than anyone how

           7  much the health and survival of our fish and wildlife depend

           8  on healthy rivers and streams, bays and estuaries and springs

           9  and aquifers.  As our state population grows, the pressure of

          10  our water resources has intensified sometimes to the point

          11  where species, habitat, and water resources -- excuse me and

          12  entire ecosystems are at risk.

          13                 At the direction of the State legislature Texas

          14  is now planning for how to meet its long-term water needs.  In

          15  a few months the Texas Water Development Board will present to

          16  the legislature a state water plan laying out their

          17  recommendations for ensuring our water future.  Unfortunately

          18  the planning process thus far has concentrated on how to

          19  ensure water supplies for human needs but has largely ignored

          20  the water requirements of fish and wildlife and the

          21  environment generally.  On behalf of the National Wildlife

          22  Federation and conservationists everywhere I want to thank you

          23  for your part you have played in bringing this issue of water

          24  for wildlife to the public's attention.  Thanks to the

          25  diligent efforts of your staff, Dr. Larry McKinney, Cindy

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           1  Loeffler and others, Executive Director Sansom has sent a

           2  clear message to Texas Water Development Board last November

           3  that the regional water planning process has largely failed to

           4  consider or plan for environmental water needs and that this

           5  represents a serious deficiency in most regional plans.  This

           6  was not the message that the people involved in the planning

           7  process wanted to hear.  But it is an issue that cannot be

           8  ignored.  Unfortunately because of the way that the Texas

           9  Water Development Board interprets its legislative mandate,

          10  the upcoming state water plan will reflect the shortcomings of

          11  the regional water plans on the issue of environmental water

          12  needs.

          13                 Our hope is that despite the release of the

          14  water plan, the State will not commit itself to any

          15  significant investment in new water infrastructure until this

          16  problem of water environmental water needs can be revisited

          17  and corrected in the next round of planning.  We urge you to

          18  continue your strong advocacy for water, for wildlife, and

          19  devote the resources necessary to improving a water management

          20  in Texas to satisfy those needs.

          21                 Texas Parks and Wildlife Sunset Bill directed

          22  the agency to conduct a comprehensive inventory and develop a

          23  plan for land and water conservation.  We urge you to make

          24  this task a high priority since it can lay the groundwork to

          25  more environmentally sensitive management of our state's

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           1  limited water resources.

           2                 Thank you for this opportunity to speak with

           3  you and your continued efforts to protect our natural heritage

           4  and preserve it for generations to come.

           5                 Thank you.

           6                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Katherine Ray, could you be

           7  ready.

           8                 MR. CHAVEZ:  Good afternoon, Madame Chair and

           9  Commissioners.  I want to -- my name is Gilbert Chavez I'm

          10  from Life Works a nonprofit community-based organization here

          11  in Austin.  I wanted to just start off with thanking the Texas

          12  Parks and Wildlife Commission for the opportunity to speak

          13  here today on the collaborating efforts of the community

          14  outdoor outreach program and local nonprofit community-based

          15  organizations here in Austin.

          16                 Like I said, my name is Gilbert Chavez and I'm

          17  the program coordinator for the East Austin Male Involvement

          18  Project here in East Austin.  The East Austin Male Involvement

          19  Project is a collaborating project as you have on your

          20  handouts with Big Brothers Big Sisters, Communities and

          21  Schools, Life Works, People's Community Clinic, providing

          22  services to prevent schoolage pregnancies here in Johnston

          23  High School.

          24                 Basically the collaborating effort with Texas

          25  Parks and Wildlife has given us the opportunity to take our

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           1  participants who traditionally have not had the opportunity to

           2  get into the Texas parks, opportunity to go camping, fishing

           3  and things like that.  Basically traditionally pregnancy

           4  prevention has been targeted to females and we were given the

           5  task of finding new ways of getting males involved in the

           6  prevention of pregnancies.  So we do that through different

           7  activities, different physical activities, sporting events,

           8  ropes courses, volunteer projects, community-based type

           9  volunteerism and service learning projects.  And through the

          10  grant provided through the community outreach programs we're

          11  able to provide camping trips, which is our most popular

          12  activity.  We incorporate our objectives with the Texas Parks

          13  and Wildlife's objectives by having different benchmarks for

          14  our participants to achieve to be able to go on these camping

          15  trips.  We try to alternate our participants in making sure

          16  that each one of our guys gets a chance of getting out into

          17  the State parks.  So I'm here today to just give support to

          18  the community outreach programs and to thank you.

          19                 Thanks.

          20                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Janice Bizan -- something.

          21  Bezanson, I think.

          22                 MS. RAY:  Madame Chair, members of the

          23  Commission, Andy, thank you so much for the invitation to

          24  address you this afternoon.  My name is Katherine Ray and I'm

          25  here strictly as a citizen representing no one other than

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           1  myself.

           2                 I had the opportunity to work with your staff

           3  and with a number of organizations interested in your work in

           4  preparation for this past legislative session and during the

           5  session and I simply wanted to come and thank you for all the

           6  hard work that it took to get through what was a very

           7  difficult legislative session and to do so very successfully.

           8                 I personally believe that the work that was

           9  done by many of you as members of this Commission and your

          10  staff and your partner organizations has resulted in

          11  positioning this department and the State in a very positive

          12  place for planning the future of Texas.  And really commend

          13  you for that.  As someone who cares about parks and about

          14  recreation and about open space and wildlife and conservation

          15  and the environment, I just appreciate all the work that it

          16  took to pass that Sunset Bill and the other pieces of

          17  legislation that effect this agency.  So thank you very much

          18  for all your work.

          19                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  I'm so sorry.  Could you

          20  pronounce your name.

          21                 MS. BEZANSON:  You did really well.  Madame

          22  Chairman, members of the Commission, Mr. Sansom, I'm Janice

          23  Bezanson just like the chairman said.  I'm the executive

          24  director of Texas Committee on Natural Resources which is a

          25  30-year-old statewide conservation organization that has

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           1  worked with Parks and Wildlife for many many years on many

           2  many issues and have -- have benefitted greatly from doing so.

           3                 I'm also on the board of directors of the

           4  natural area preservation association which is the largest

           5  Texas based land trust in Texas.  And in that role I'm very

           6  aware of the private lands initiatives that Parks and Wildlife

           7  has going.  And I just have to take a moment to thank you for

           8  the marvelous work that your land trust council, the land

           9  trust coordinator and other private lands people are doing.

          10  It really has made a difference to private landowners to know

          11  about the possibilities, ways of protecting their land and

          12  also the economic benefits of conservation easements and other

          13  land protection strategies.

          14                 The land -- the private lands initiative,

          15  though, is just one piece of an overall puzzle and -- if we're

          16  going to protect the wildlife habitat of Texas.  The other, of

          17  course, is the ownership of public land and having that land

          18  having extensive public lands.  You've probably gotten tired

          19  of hearing the statistic that Texas is 48th among states in

          20  the amount of per capita money we spend on public lands and

          21  the amount of lands we have.  Our bottom land hardwood forest

          22  90 percent of them have been converted to other uses.  We have

          23  a only a few percent of our original native prairie that's

          24  still a native prairie.  All the native ecosystem systems of

          25  Texas have been degraded and converted to other uses and we

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           1  need to be purchasing those examples of those few samples that

           2  are left of these native habitats.  We're excited about the

           3  bond project, about the bonds that are on the November ballot.

           4  We've budgeted some money to work to support them because we

           5  think that getting that backlog of -- of repairs and all that

           6  needs doing on the State parks is going to be a tremendous

           7  asset to the department and to the state and we hope then that

           8  when that's kind of gotten taken care of that the next round

           9  of money can go to some additional acquisition of public lands

          10  particularly for wildlife areas also for parks for our growing

          11  urban areas, but also -- but primarily to protect samples of

          12  those few remaining ecosystems that we have left to protect.

          13                 Thank you very much.

          14                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Kirk Cowan or Cohen.

          15                 MR. COWAN:  Good afternoon, Madame Chair,

          16  members of the commission.  My name is Kirk Cowan and I am the

          17  manager of resource planning and development for the Lower

          18  Colorado River Authority.  LCRA as you may know is a

          19  conservation and reclamation district that was created by the

          20  state.  And what a lot of folks don't know is that one of our

          21  charges is to manage and develop parks and recreation

          22  facilities along with a number of other activities like the

          23  generation of electric power, flood prevention, and also the

          24  management of water and wastewater services.

          25                 My primary purpose in coming here today is to

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           1  simply say thank you to the Commission for the wonderful

           2  partnership that LCRA and the 58 counties that we serve and

           3  represent have enjoyed with Parks and Wildlife and your staff

           4  since 1935.

           5                 One of the earliest examples of that

           6  partnership goes back to 1940 when LCRA donated land for the

           7  development of Inks Lake State Park.  However what I would

           8  like to focus on for the balance of my time is the remarkable

           9  achievements that this partnership has produced in the last

          10  ten years.  Since 1991 LCRA working in partnership with Parks

          11  and Wildlife staff have developed a variety of public parks

          12  and outdoor recreation opportunities to meet the growing

          13  demand of Central Texas.  Guided by a study that Parks and

          14  Wildlife did on recreation in the State of Texas, LCRA in

          15  partnership with Parks and Wildlife in numerous small river

          16  communities along the Colorado developed a series of 26 public

          17  access parks that provide the public with numerous

          18  opportunities to enjoy the beauty and solitude of the Colorado

          19  River.

          20                 Additionally Parks and Wildlife and LCRA have

          21  jointly funded the development of 33 community parks in 21

          22  counties in Central Texas.  Most of these projects are located

          23  in small rural communities and in some cases represent the

          24  first park -- the first public park in those communities.

          25  LCRA has utilized Parks and Wildlife's technical expertise to

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           1  help plan and develop some of our flagship facilities

           2  including the Canyon of the Eagles Nature Park on Lake

           3  Buchanan and the Lake Bastrop North and South Shore Parks.

           4  Most recently we partnered with the Parks and Wildlife to list

           5  LCRA parks on the statewide reservation system.

           6                 In closing, LCRA is simply seeking your

           7  continued support specifically through your grant and

           8  technical assistance programs to help us meet the expanding

           9  and dynamic outdoor recreation needs of today's Texans and

          10  those of the future.  We certainly look forward to that

          11  continuing partnership and certainly do appreciate the

          12  opportunity to speak to you today.

          13                 Thank you.

          14                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  I believe that concludes all

          15  the speakers.  I have some public comment that was received

          16  prior to the meeting for the record.  Oh, I'm sorry.  Did we

          17  miss you?

          18                 MR. RANNE:  Yes, ma'am.

          19                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Well, come on up here.  I

          20  must -- did I -- did you -- did you submit one of these?  Oh,

          21  sorry, my mistake.

          22                 MR. RANNE:  Madame Chairman, Commissioners,

          23  Andy, Larry and Phil, I want to thank you-all for the

          24  opportunity to be here.  By the way, I'm the executive

          25  director of freshwater angler association.  I'm talking here

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           1  tonight I want to thank you-all for you-all's grant.  Because

           2  of you-all's grant we were able to bring 2,852 kids at risk

           3  kids out of the recreation centers in the City of Dallas and

           4  bring them to Lake Athens at the freshwater fishing center.

           5  Now, that was not just a picnic where you carry a bunch of

           6  kids out and let them catch some fish and eat hot dogs.  These

           7  kids went to school.  Most of them had never been fishing.

           8  The sad part about it most of these kids have never had the

           9  opportunity to go fishing with their families because in a lot

          10  of cases it's not in their -- it's not financially where the

          11  family can afford it and a lot of these kids are from single

          12  parents.  These kids if you look through the pictures I'm

          13  passing out here, look at how attendant these kids are.  How

          14  excited they are, how much attention they pay.  These kids are

          15  going to be the future of Texas.  If we don't get reach out

          16  and get more and more of these kids involved, you're looking

          17  at an explosion of some double air population by the year

          18  2030, you're looking at, what, 40 million people here in the

          19  State of Texas?  Most of these kids, the minority groups will

          20  be more and more and more.  The challenge is going to be

          21  greater.  You got to have good science.  We have to have

          22  dedicated people to put on programs to reach out to these kids

          23  and give them an opportunity to learn and to go fishing.  More

          24  than that, they need to know where these places are at where

          25  they can go fishing.  So with your help we were able to touch

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           1  these kids.  This is about 19 years of 18 or 19 years we've

           2  been putting those on these youth outreach programs.  This one

           3  is best and most effective one.  I'd like to commend the

           4  people at the freshwater fishing center in Athens, Mona

           5  Foreman, Alan Forsage, and all the volunteers.  Those people

           6  have done an excellent job.  When you start talking about

           7  putting a program together with 200 kids looking you in the

           8  face and it's 95, 98 degrees and you're out in the shade where

           9  there's no air conditioning.  They earned their -- they earned

          10  all of our respect and our appreciation.  So I imagine my

          11  light's about ready to come on here.  But once again, I want

          12  to say thank you-all.  I was proud to be a part of that.

          13                 EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SANSOM:  Thank you, Leonard.

          14                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  Thank you.  We have -- is

          15  that -- do we have any more comments?  Have I got everybody

          16  now?

          17                 MS. ESTRADA:  No, Madame Chair.

          18                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  We have the following letters

          19  for the record from Representative Tom Uher regarding shrimp

          20  regulations and seabob season.  We have a letter from Pete

          21  Moore and Charles Patterson of the Valley Sportsman Club

          22  regarding possession limit of red fish and speckled trout.

          23  More funding for game wardens in Lower Laguna Madre.  Game

          24  fish designation for flounders and license fishing guides.

          25  Let's see, license fishing guide should be allowed to take a

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           1  limit of fish when fishing with a customer.  And I believe

           2  that's everything.  Mr. Sansom, do we any other?

           3                 EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR SANSOM:  No, Madame

           4  Chairman, not at this time.

           5                 CHAIRMAN IDSAL:  If that is -- if we have no

           6  more business that concludes the annual public meeting.

           7                 Thank you.



















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           1   THE STATE OF TEXAS )

           2   COUNTY OF TRAVIS  )

           3        I, KIM SEIBERT, a Certified Court Reporter in and for

           4   the State of Texas, do hereby certify that the above and

           5   foregoing pages constitute a full, true, and correct

           6   transcript of the minutes of the Texas Parks and Wildlife

           7   Commission on August 29, 2001, in the Commission hearing room

           8   of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Headquarters Complex, Austin,

           9   Travis County, Texas.

          10        I FURTHER CERTIFY that a stenographic record was made by

          11   me at the time of the public meeting and said stenographic

          12   notes were thereafter reduced to computerized transcription

          13   under my supervision and control.

          14        WITNESS MY HAND this ____ day of ____________________,

          15   2001.



          18                      ___________________________
                                  KIM SEIBERT, Texas CSR 4589
          19                      Expiration Date:  12/2002
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          20                      Suite 220, Centre II
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          21                      (512) 328-5557





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           4   ___________________________

           6   ___________________________

           8   ___________________________
               CAROL E. DINKINS

          10   ___________________________
               PHILIP MONTGOMERY

          12   ___________________________
               DONATO RAMOS

          14   ___________________________
               JOHN AVILA, JR.

          16   ___________________________
               ALVIN L. HENRY

          18   ___________________________
               JOSEPH FITZSIMONS

          20   ___________________________
               MARK E. WATSON, JR.





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