Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
Annual Public Hearing

August 28, 2002

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

	BE IT REMEMBERED, that heretofore on the 28th day of August 2002, there 
came to be heard matters under the regulatory authority of the Parks and 
Wildlife Commission of Texas, in the Commission Hearing Room of the Texas Parks 
and Wildlife Headquarters Complex, Austin, Texas, beginning at 2:20 p.m. to wit:


CHAIRMAN:	Katharine Armstrong, Austin, Texas
		Ernest Angelo, Jr., Vice Chairman, Midland, Texas
		Joseph B. C. Fitzsimons, San Antonio, Texas
		Alvin L. Henry, Houston, Texas
		Philip Montgomery, Dallas, Texas
		Donato D. Ramos, Laredo, Texas
		Kelly W. Rising, M.D., Beaumont, Texas
		Mark E. Watson, Jr., San Antonio, Texas

Robert L. Cook, Executive Director, and other personnel of the Texas Parks and 
Wildlife Department.


1.	Ellis Gilleland, "Texas-Animals", P.O. Box 9001, Austin, Texas  78766
Matter of Interest:  TPWD activities and responsibilities

2.	Bob Nunley, Box 308, Sabinal, Texas  78881
Matter of Interest:  Trans-Pecos MLD

3.	Dan Allen Hughes, Jr., 307 Grandview, San Antonio, Texas  78209,
Matter of Interest:  MLD Program for mule deer in West Texas

4.	Mark Porter, Gator Farms, P.O. Box 1265. Anahuac, Texas  77514 
Matter of Interest:  Hatchings

5.	Larry Tatom, Houston Safari Club, 4615 S.W. Freeway, Suite 805, Houston, 
Texas  77027
Matter of Interest:  Hunting in general

6.	Derry Gardner, Texas Wildlife Association, 401 Isom Rd., Suite 237, San 
Antonio, Texas  78216
	Matter of Interest:  Wildlife

7.	Kirby Brown, Texas Wildlife Association, 401 Isom Rd., Suite 237, San 
Antonio, Texas  78216
	Matter of Interest:  Wildlife

8.	Gene Heinemann, Native Prairies Association of Texas. 4507 Sidereal, 
Austin, Texas  78727
Matter of Interest:   Native prairies for wildlife habitat

9.	Pat Murray, Coastal Conservation Association, 6919 Port West Dr., Ste. 
100. Houston, Texas  77024
Matter of Interest:  TPWD involvement in water (illegible) reduction & crab 

10.	Dana Larson, 182 Lilac Ridge, Conroe, Texas  77304
Matter of Interest:  Conversion of I-45 causeway rubble into artificial reefs

11.	William Brad Woods. 214 South 21st St.. Temple, Texas  76504, 
Matter of Interest:  Shrimping (Sports)

12.	Walter Zimmerman, Texas Shrimp Association. P.O. Drawer AF. Port Isabel, 
Texas  78578
Matter of Interest:  (did not indicate)

13. 	John Valentino, Eagle Point Fishing Camp, Inc., 16426 Clearcrest, Houston, 
Texas  77059
Matter of Interest:  License Sales-Speckled Trout

14.	Leonard W. Ranne, Freshwater Anglers, 7880 Carr St., Dallas, Texas  75227
Matter of Interest:  Outreach

15. 	Will Kirkpatrick, The Fishing Schools, Rt. 1, Box 138dc, Broaddus, Texas  
Matter of Interest:  Freshwater fishing

16.	 Gary Van Gelder, 10919 Brit Oak, Houston, Texas  77079
Matter of Interest:  Freshwater fishing

17. 	R.C. Blundell,Central TX Association of Bass Clubs, 6204 Dove CT, Austin, 
Texas  78744
Matter of Inerest:  Grass Carp  (Against)

18. 	Ed Parten, TBBU, 110 Lisa Lane, Kingwood, Texas  77339
Matter of Interest:  Inland Fisheries

19. 	Jim Murray, Falcon Lake & Zapata County Chamber of Commerce, P.O. Box 284, 
Margarita Road & Hwy. 83, Falcon Heights, Texas  78545
Matter of Interest:  Falcon Lake quality of fishing, assess, and enforce of 
existing regulations

20. 	Elroy Krueger, The Average Fisherman, HCR 71, Box 49, Three Rivers, Texas  
Matter of Interest:  Stat of freshwater fishing

21. 	Larry Bridgeman, Falcon Lake (illegible), 2195 S. Hwy. 83, Box F-10, 
Zapata, Texas  78076
Matter of Interest:  Economics of deterioration of Falcon Fishery

22.	Frank Goll, Texas Association of Bass Clubs, 3846 Briarhaven, San Antonio, 
Texas  78247
Matter of Interest:  TPWD stocking of Texas lakes

23. 	Ron Werner, April Plaza Marina, Inc., P.O. Box 9071/17742 Hwy. 105 W., 
Montgomery, Texas  77356
Matter of Interest:  Against -- Loss of revenue

24. 	David Stewart, SMART, 3415 Shenandoah Dr., Cedar Park, Texas  78613
Matter of Interest:  Inland Fisheries

25. 	Karen Hadden, SEED Coalition, 611 S. Congress, #200, Austin, Texas  78704
Matter of Interest:  Mercury contamination of fish, notification of fish 
consumption advisories/bans posting of signs-Web-site link to Dept. of Health-
please improve

26. 	Pam Lawrie, Hunters for the Hungry, 2512 IH 35 South, Austin, Texas  78704
Matter of Interest:  For -- Hunters for the Hungry

27.	 Scott Thrash, Hunters for the Hungry, 2512 IH 35 South, Ste. 100, Austin, 
Texas  78704
Matter of Interest:  Hunters for the Hungry

28.	Jaye Lycan, Hunters for the Hungry, 2512 IH 35 South, Ste.100, Austin, TX 
	Matter of Interest:  Hunters for the Hungry

29. 	Sylvan Rossi, Korima Foundation, 9350 Adagio Lane, Houston, Texas  77040
Matter of Interest:  Inner City youth participation state parks

30. 	Jim Carr, Korima Foundation, 1019 Valley Acres Rd., Houston, Texas  77062
	Matter of Interest:  (did not indicate)

31. 	Art Pasley, Cast for Kids, 1529 Sunview Dr., Dallas, Texas  75253
	Matter of Interest:  Outreach funds

32. 	Helen Holdworth, Texas Brigades, 401 Isom Rd., Suite 237, San Antonio, 
Texas  78216
	Matter of Interest:  Brigades and cooperative education

33. 	Whitney Marion, Texas Brigades, 401 Isom Rd., Suite 237, San Antonio, 
Texas  78216
	Buckskin Brigades & Youth conversation education

34.  	Anson Howard, Texas Brigades-A Cooperative Education Program, 401 Isom 
Rd., Ste. 237, San Antonio, Texas  78216
Matter of Interest:  Bobwhite Brigade & Youth Education Initiatives

35. 	Dr. Robert Brown, Texas A&M University, 2258 TAMU, College Station, Texas  
	Matter of Interest:  TPWD support of research and education

36.  	Neal Wilkins, Texas A&M University, Texas Cooperative Extension, 2258 
TAMU, College Station, Texas  77843-2258
Matter of Interest:  Outreach

37. Susie Marek, Friends of Inks Lake State Park, 1316 E. Logan St., Round Rock, 
Texas  78664	
Matter of Interest:  Against -- Friends future

38.  	Jeannie Dullnig ,Stewards of the Nueces, 4 Dorchester Place, San Antonio, 
Texas  78209	Matter of Interest:  Protection of state owned rivers

39.  	John O. Robinson, 6712 N.E. Dr., Austin, Texas  78723
	Matter of Interest:  Against -- Motorized vehicles using river beds

40. 	 Hugh "Preston" Perron, Llano River, 11800 E. St. Hwy. 29, Llano, Texas
	Matter of Interest:  Against -- Motor vehicles on river

41. Trey Berndt ('Burnt), 8859 Mt. Ridge Circle, Austin, Texas  78759	
Matter of Interest:  Off road vehicles in streambeds

42.  	Sky Lewey, Nueces River Authority, Box 349, Uvalde, Texas  78801
	Matter of Interest:  Against -- in state streams

43. Charles Draper, Steward of Nueces, 4609 Trail Crest Circle, Austin, Texas  
Matter of Interest:  4X4 in river basin

44.  	Susanna Freduig, Stewards, P.O. Box 1, Uvalde, Texas  78802
	Matter of Interest:  Keep out of river!
45. 	 David K. Langford, Texas Wildlife Association
	Matter of Interest:  Riverbed & thanking Commission

46.  	Bobby Beamer, TMTC & NOHVCC, 3310 Long Shadows, Spring, Texas  77380
	Matter of Interest:  OHV Parks-RTF-Item #7

47. 	Allen L. Mize, 112 Larkspur, Uvalde, Texas  78801
	Matter of Interest:  For regulating -- Nueces River off road vehicle abuse

48.  	Carol L. Smith, AMA Community Council-TX Hill Country, 1440 CR 270, Mico, 
Texas  78056
Matter of Interest:  Against -- ORV's in Riverbeds

49.  	Nick Smith, AMA, 1440 CR 270, Mico, Texas  78056
	Matter of Interest:  Against --

50. George Garner, Public Lands, 123 W. Hutchins, San Antonio, Texas  78221
Matter of Interest:  Public Lands

51.  	Raynice Shudde, Stewards of the Nueces, 111 Bent Oak Trail, Uvalde, Texas  
	Matter of Interest:  Protecting the Nueces-restrictions-vehicles in rivers

52. 	Heinz Aeschbach, Frequent park user, citizen interested in environment and 
quality of life, 2102 A Hemedale Dr., Austin, Texas  78704	Testify:
	Matter of Interest:  Problems with TX Parks & Wildlife Department Land & 
Water Resources Conservation Recreation Plan

53. Margaret Aeschbach, Concerned Citizen, 2102 A Homedale Dr., Austin, Texas  
Matter of Interest:  
1. Land and Water Conservation & Recreation Plan
2. McKinney Falls State Park

54. Kyle McCain, City of Mejia, 101 S. McKinney/P.O. Box 207, Mejia, Texas  
Matter of Interest:  # 15 For keeping it a State Park; Land and Water Resources 
Conservation Recreation Plan. Confederate Reunion Ground

55.  	Janice Bezanson, Texas Committee on Natural Resources, 601 Westlake Dr., 
Austin, Texas  78746	
Matter of Interest:  Plan, general

56.  	Terry Colley,-Deputy Executive Director, Texas Historical Commission, P.O. 
Box 12276, Austin, Texas  78711	
Matter of Interest:  Nuetral -- Historic Sites

57. 	Jay Kane, Native Prairie Association of Texas, 8565 Red Willow Dr., 
Austin, Texas  78736	
Matter of Interest:  Conservation easements

58. 	 Mary Tallent, 406 N. Cummings, Alvarado, Texas  76009	
Matter of Interest:  Mejia State Park

59.  	Jack Love, P.O. Box 6301, Mico, Texas  78056
	Matter of Interest:  Fences-Public access-Diverse Lake-Medina County

60.  	Wright Friday, Stewards of Nueces, P.O. Box 1, Uvalde, Texas  78801	
Matter of Interest:  Against -- ORV traffic rivers-keep  out!

61.	 Dianne Wassenich, San Marcos River Foundation
Matter of Interest:  Water, Rivers, 4X4's in rivers

2:20 p.m.

     1                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  This meeting is 

     2   called to order.  Before proceeding with any business, I 

     3   believe Mr. Cook has a statement to make.

     4                  MR. COOK:  Madamee Chairman.  Thank you 

     5   very much.  A public notice of this meeting containing 

     6   all items on the proposed agenda has been filed in the 

     7   office of the Secretary of State, as required by Chapter 

     8   551, Government Code referred to as the Open Meetings 

     9   Law.  I would like for this action to be noted in the 

    10   official record of this meeting.  Throughout this 

    11   meeting, a few rules and guidelines that we'll go by, 

    12   folks.  An individual wishing to speak before  the 

    13   Commission should fill out a  -- one of the little forms 

    14   that we have here and submit them to us so that we can 

    15   call your name and get you up here to speak.  We welcome 

    16   you here.  Each person will be allowed to speak, one at 

    17   a time, from the podium when recognized by the chairman.  

    18   Speaking time may be limited either due to the unusual 

    19   large number of persons wishing to speak, the long 

    20   agenda, or any other reason being necessary by the 

    21   chairman.  What we are going to do is  -- we're going to 

    22   allow you about three minutes  -- this old clock 

    23   here  -- timing is important.  So if you will -- in 

    24   order that we get time for everyone to speak and be 

    25   heard.  If you will please kind of follow this little 

     1   clock here.  Any written documents that you may have or 

     2   the Commission should be given to department staff  -- 

     3   take them immediately to my right here.  If a 

     4   commissioner asks a question or wants to discuss among 

     5   themselves about the topic, that time will not be 

     6   counted against you.  The chairman is in charge of the 

     7   meeting and will direct the order of the meeting and 

     8   recognize the people to be heard.  When your name is 

     9   called, please come to the podium, state your name, who 

    10   you represent, if anyone other than yourself.  Please 

    11   limit your remarks to the item that you signed up for.  

    12   In case of the annual public hearing, you may speak on 

    13   any item that you are here today for  -- you may speak 

    14   on any item within the jurisdiction of this commission.  

    15   Profanity, heckling, threatening, or abusive language, 

    16   shouting or any other disruptive or defensive behavior 

    17   will be grounds for immediate ejection from the meeting.  

    18   Madamee Chairman.

    19                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Thank you, Mr. Cook.  

    20   I will mention two names at a time so that the person 

    21   following the person speaking has time to prepare to 

    22   come forward.  The first speaker will be Ellis 

    23   Gilleland, followed by Bob Numley. 

    24                  MR. GILLELAND:  My name is Ellis 

    25   Gilleland, a private citizen.  I'm speaking for 

     1   "Texas-Animals" myself.  "Texas-Animals" is an animal 

     2   rights organization on the internet.  I've given you a 

     3   handout.  The handout is a copy of a letter that I sent 

     4   to each one of you already on the 9th of August by 

     5   certified mail.  This is a letter which has two 

     6   attachments.  The first attachment is a letter that I 

     7   wrote to Colonel Stinebaugh requesting that I be allowed 

     8   to present evidence of poaching at Choke Canyon State 

     9   Park to him.  That was the 19th of June.  He denied that 

    10   request.  He will not accept evidence and testimony of 

    11   poaching.  I then wrote a letter, certified letter, 

    12   which you have in your hand, dated the 29th of July, to 

    13   Director Cook.  And I again asked for an appointment to 

    14   submit evidence to him in regard to poaching by 

    15   Texas Parks and Wildlife officials at Choke Canyon 

    16   State Park.  I asked to make a sworn statement.  I asked 

    17   to present physical evidence of the poaching.  And I 

    18   asked to show the videotape, which backs up my sworn 

    19   statement.  He denied that.  He would not give me access 

    20   to him to present the information to him.  I then turned 

    21   to the Parks and Wildlife Commission, yourselves, on the 

    22   9th of August with a letter certified mail.  The title 

    23   is, request for appointment to present various evidence 

    24   of poaching at Choke Canyon State Park by Texas Parks and 

    25   Wildlife officials.  I, again, asked for permission to 

     1   make a sworn statement to you to present physical 

     2   evidence and make a sworn statement.  And all I have 

     3   received from you is silence.  I have received no answer 

     4   back from any of you. 

     5                  And I'd -- like I'd like to point out one 

     6   thing.  That you people are deaf on some yahoo in East 

     7   Texas that's poaching a whatever.  But when it comes to 

     8   your own people, it's just like Enron, Worldcom, 

     9   whoever.  All these people that are following all sorts 

    10   of unethical practices as a corporate business is being 

    11   done right here, too.  You're very stringent on people 

    12   that are not a member of your organization, but you're 

    13   not cleaning up your own house.  You're allowing your 

    14   own officials less than 200 yards, between 100 and 200 

    15   yards, from the park director's house is where all this 

    16   poaching is going; on white-tailed deer, dove, quail, 

    17   you name it.  I, again, ask you for permission to 

    18   present this information to you.  And hang me by my 

    19   thumbs if you find that I'm lying to you.  Thank you. 

    20                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Bob Nunley, 

    21   Dan Allen Hughes, Jr. 

    22                  MR. NUNLEY:  My name is Bob Nunley.  I'm 

    23   a rancher from south Texas.  We also operate in the west 

    24   Texas panhandle.  I'm here to request the MLD permits 

    25   and extended seasons be made available to the 

     1   Trans-Pecos region.  It's -- the MLD is a tool we've 

     2   used in south Texas with great success.  We just would 

     3   like to have it available out west.  We know it's been 

     4   tried -- or various other approaches have been tried 

     5   before.  But we feel like the MLD with its limits to the 

     6   harvest and the extended season addresses a lot of the  

     7   complaints out there.  The extended season allows us to 

     8   do a better job of harvesting the property, rather than 

     9   trying to do everything in a two-week, three-weekend 

    10   season.  I'd like to see an extended season possibly as 

    11   much as the white -- running concurrently with the 

    12   white tail season that is already in west Texas.  That's 

    13   basically my request. 

    14                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Thank you.  

    15   Mr. Hughes.  Then Mark Porter. 

    16                  MR. HUGHES:  I'm Dan Allen Hughes.  I'm 

    17   from San Antonio.  And as Mr. Nunley just proposed, I'd 

    18   like to make the same proposal, that the commission 

    19   consider extending the MLD Program, Managed Land Deer 

    20   Program, to west Texas for mule deer.  In 1996 when the 

    21   MLD program was originally proposed, mule deer were 

    22   include in the original proposal.  But there was quite a 

    23   bit of opposition to that in west Texas at that time.  

    24   The hearing didn't go over very well.  I think through 

    25   education process and through just learning more about 

     1   what the program is about, the ranchers in west Texas 

     2   landowners are now in favor of the -- of MLD.  Two of 

     3   the things I don't think they understood in the 

     4   originally  -- was, first of all, this is a voluntary 

     5   program.  If you don't want your ranch to be in this 

     6   program, you don't have to.  The second thing I heard 

     7   from several landowners is, well, we're going to give 

     8   you a longer season and you're going to wipe out all 

     9   your deer.  Well, there's nothing further from the 

    10   truth.  MLD is going to require a biologist to survey 

    11   your property.  You're going to have permits given as 

    12   per the biologist's recommendation.  So there's really 

    13   very little chance of over harvesting the deer.  

    14   Actually, today, under the 16-day season, any -- any 

    15   hunter -- every hunter can kill one mule deer.  But 

    16   there's no limit to how many hunters can come on any 

    17   ranch.  So I could take a hundred hunters to my ranch to 

    18   shoot a hundred deer if I wanted to.  That's not -- 

    19   under the MLD, you're going to have permits.  You're 

    20   going to be restricted to the number of deer you could 

    21   harvest.  I, like Mr. Nunley, also think a good season 

    22   would be to run concurrent with the white-tail season in 

    23   west Texas, which this year is November the 2nd to 

    24   January the 5th.  Thank you, very much. 

    25                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  I would encourage 

     1   you all to be in touch with the Trans-Pecos advisory 

     2   group which I formed about a year ago to address such 

     3   issues and air these sort of things.  You -- these are 

     4   folks you know and I think Mr. McCarty could help you 

     5   get the telephone numbers to -- to get in touch with 

     6   those folks. 

     7                  COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS:  Madame Chair.

     8                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Commissioner 

     9   Fitzsimons.

    10                  COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS:  If I may -- and 

    11   this may be a question for Jerry Cooke, if he's there.  

    12   But I understand that MLDs would require a wildlife 

    13   management plan, and our goal to is to increase the 

    14   number of wildlife management plans in the Trans-Pecos 

    15   area. 

    16                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  That's correct.

    17                  COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS:  Is that right, 

    18   Gary, it would require that?

    19                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  I think it would be 

    20   very difficult to increase our wildlife management plan 

    21   from 14 million to 28 million over the next ten years 

    22   without the cooperation of the Trans-Pecos. 

    23                  Mark Porter and Larry Tatom.

    24                  MR. PORTER:  I'm here on behalf of 

    25   alligator hatchlings.  I want to be able to sell them 

     1   out of state.  I'm kind of nervous.

     2                  Anyway, first of all, I am Mark Porter.  

     3   I'm one of four farmers probably left in the state of 

     4   Texas.  I'm the alligator nuisance control, basically, 

     5   for the state of Texas.  I'm the only processing plant 

     6   left in the state of Texas.  One of two buyers left in 

     7   the state of Texas.  And one of three egg gatherers left 

     8   in the state of Texas.  The alligator business isn't 

     9   thriving.  And I would like to -- the law was passed 

    10   years ago that we couldn't sell hatchlings out of state 

    11   without the board's permission or something like that.  

    12   And, by being able to sell hatchlings out of state, I 

    13   can get more for them.  And we're able to take 

    14   hatchlings from out of state into Texas from Louisiana, 

    15   and we need to keep that open, too.  And if I can't go 

    16   with my hatchlings into Louisiana and keep some of these 

    17   guys happy, they may shut there's down coming into us.  

    18   And the few farmers we do have left in the State of 

    19   Texas are able to -- well, they need more than what the 

    20   egg gatherers can supply.  The three egg 

    21   gatherer's this year, we may get 10,000 eggs.  And one 

    22   of the farms is wanting 20,000.  So if he couldn't get 

    23   his from out of state, he would be kind of dead in the 

    24   water on his farm growing.  But I need to be able to 

    25   move them out of state because I can get a little more 

     1   for them.  And you've got to work with Louisiana because 

     2   they're the big dog and we're the little tip of the 

     3   tail.  And they've got it to where I can't hardly move 

     4   my farm gators because they'll grade them down.  But if 

     5   I could sell them hatchlings, they may be able to let me 

     6   move my farm gators a little bit. 

     7                  Anyway, I just want -- would like for it 

     8   it come up that I could move hatchlings out of state, if 

     9   we could get that on the document or something.  Thank 

    10   you, very much.

    11                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Thank you, 

    12   Mr. Porter.

    13                  Larry Tatom and then Derry Gardner. 

    14                  MR. TATOM:  Madame Chairman, members of 

    15   the commission.  My name is Larry Tatom.  I'm the 

    16   executive director of the Houston Safari Club.  I'm here 

    17   today to acknowledge and appreciate the efforts of the 

    18   department for improving youth hunting opportunities 

    19   across the state.  Houston Safari Club has been involved 

    20   with Texas Parks and Wildlife and also especially with 

    21   the Operation Game Thief program, since it began.  And, 

    22   in fact, our treasurer, Ray Petty, was the coordinator 

    23   for the most recent Operation Game Thief fund raiser in 

    24   Houston. 

    25                  On a personal note, I was a Texas Parks 

     1   and Wildlife employee, although it was a number of 

     2   decades ago.  And I'd like to say, personally, that I 

     3   appreciate the work of the employees across the state.  

     4   We thank you for the work you're doing for sportsmen and 

     5   for improving hunting opportunities for all Texans.  

     6   Thank you.

     7                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  And we thank you.

     8                  Derry Gardner, please and then 

     9   Kirby Brown. 

    10                  MR. GARDNER:  Madame chairman, 

    11   commissioners, I thank you for the opportunity to be 

    12   here.  I'm also here to thank y'all all for a wonderful 

    13   job you've been doing.  I appreciate everything that 

    14   you've done with us and partnerships at TWA.  We have 

    15   over 5,000 members, and they all appreciate it.  We 

    16   appreciate partnerships with the Texas Big Game Awards 

    17   and the Youth Hunting Program.

    18                  Madame Chairman, on a personal note, I 

    19   appreciate you spending time with us at our convention, 

    20   and my family and I appreciate that.  One other thing 

    21   that I want to thank y'all very much for is not getting 

    22   too mad at us for stealing Kirby away.  We appreciate 

    23   having him and thank y'all, very much. 

    24                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Speaking of Kirby, 

    25   and then Gene Heinemann. 

     1                  MR. BROWN:  Thank you, very much.  My 

     2   name is Kirby Brown.  I'm the executive vice-president.  

     3   Derry is our current president.  He didn't mention that, 

     4   but does a great job for us.  Madame Chairman, 

     5   commissioners, on behalf of the Texas Wildlife 

     6   Association, I too just want to echo what Derry said.  

     7   Thanks so much for your continued cooperation and help 

     8   in all the wildlife issues that we have in Texas.  Y'all 

     9   have done an incredible job in dealing with some very 

    10   difficult issues.  And especially with CWD as the most 

    11   recent example of how to work cooperatively with people 

    12   and move forward in a really, I guess, partner fashion 

    13   in how we did that.  And we really do appreciate that. 

    14                  And speaking of partnerships, the 

    15   partnerships that we have with the Texas Big Game Awards 

    16   and seeing these incredible heads out here in the 

    17   hallway.  It's just great to see that, because of the 

    18   quality of land management and habitat management that 

    19   went into that on those lands.  And many of those deer 

    20   and antelope do not have any high fences.  Okay?  So 

    21   there's no reason to worry about that.  It's the habitat 

    22   management that's going on that creates those types of 

    23   animals, good wildlife and population management.  And I 

    24   want to recognize Gary Graham and Mike Berger and also 

    25   TPWD employee, Jerry Warden, who heads up our Texas Youth 

     1   Hunting program, another great partnership that we have 

     2   together.  And we really appreciate that partnership and 

     3   the amount of work that's gone into taking kids into 

     4   hunts in the field and appreciate several of you on the 

     5   commission that have asked the kids to come out on your 

     6   ranches and be a part of that Youth Hunting Program.  

     7   It's a great opportunity. 

     8                  And then we're looking forward to a 

     9   partnership in education, in the education arena.  And I 

    10   appreciate Steve Hall and Nancy Herron who are hiring a 

    11   new employee here in the next -- well, I don't know when 

    12   it will be announced but sometime soon.  That 

    13   employee -- we've offered a place in our office for the 

    14   employee to create a closer partnership on that 

    15   education initiative and in working with you and other 

    16   education initiatives that are coming out.  We're 

    17   looking forward to that.  And we just appreciate all 

    18   that you've done and thank you, very much. 

    19                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Gene Heinemann and 

    20   then Pat Murray. 

    21                  MR. HEINEMANN:  Madame Chairman, 

    22   commission members, I'm Gene Heinemann with president of 

    23   The Native Prairie Association.  And I'd like to, as 

    24   some of the others have done, commend you for all the 

    25   good programs you have and all the hard work you and 

     1   your staff have done.  It makes a lot of difference.  

     2   And particularly I've notice that in the last few years, 

     3   particularly the wildlife tax exemption has really made 

     4   a big difference.  And that's something that we, as the 

     5   Prairie Association, are really working hard at.  And we 

     6   kind of formed the basis for wildlife habitat in that 

     7   we're going out and securing the plant material 

     8   for -- to restore wildlife habitats.  And, in particular, 

     9   we have started these tall grass prairie remnant 

    10   surveys, which we already mapped a few counties.  But it's going 

    11   to take us a long time to map 30 more counties in the 

    12   state.  And we'd like to encourage y'all to help or 

    13   takeover this process of doing the rest of the surveys.  

    14   You know, it takes about $3,000 to do a county.  And -- 

    15   but this is a basis for having enough plant material to 

    16   restore  Wildlife habitats.  And to follow up with that 

    17   conservation easements are what we're trying to do, to 

    18   get -- to secure some of these remnant prairie -- 

    19   prairies that we're surveying.  And this is something 

    20   that's going to take a lot of time, a lot of funds to 

    21   buy.  Normally, we take -- we offer a landowner 50 

    22   percent of the market value of that land for a 

    23   conservation easement.  But Jay Kane will touch more 

    24   deeply on the surveys and the conservation easements 

    25   later on. 

     1                  One thing I'd like to mention is that 

     2   we'd like to encourage Parks and Wildlife to do more 

     3   prairie restoration in the -- in the parks.  In 

     4   particular, to educate the public about the many 

     5   benefit -- many benefits of the prairies and particularly 

     6   teaching them how to restore wildlife habitat.  That's 

     7   all I have to say.  Thanks.

     8                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Thank you.

     9                  Pat Murray, Dana Larson. 

    10                  MR. MURRAY:  Madame Chairman, 

    11   commissioners, I appreciate the opportunity to speak to 

    12   you today.  My name is Pat Murray.  I'm the executive 

    13   director of the Coastal Conservation Association of 

    14   Texas.  I want to speak to you about a couple things 

    15   briefly today.  First, is to compliment you on your work 

    16   in managing Texas bay shrimping.  This is not only doing 

    17   great benefit for Texas waters, for recreational 

    18   anglers, for the resources as a whole, but it's setting 

    19   a precedent for other states.  As I travel the Gulf 

    20   States, I've heard it from Mississippi, Louisiana, the 

    21   eyes of the Gulf are looking at what's being done here.  

    22   The same thing is held true crab trap management.  

    23   Parks and Wildlife's help through this last spring in 

    24   helping CCA Texas to facilitate an abandoned crab trap 

    25   pick up.  It was monumental, not only what it did for 

     1   the resource, but in setting a precedent through other 

     2   Gulf waters. 

     3                  My last is almost a request.  I request 

     4   y'all continue to work with us as we try to guarantee 

     5   fresh water inflow and quality and quantity for our 

     6   Texas bays.  It truly is the alpha and omega of our bay 

     7   eco and critical to the future of it.  Thank you, again, 

     8   for setting up this forum and giving all these user 

     9   groups an opportunity to speak to you.

    10                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Dana Larson and 

    11   William Brad Woods. 

    12                  MR. LARSON:  Commissioners, Mr. Cook, 

    13   good afternoon.  I, too -- my name is Dana Larson.  And 

    14   I, too, would like to commend the department on one of 

    15   the most successful programs that you do have, and this 

    16   is the Artificial Reef Program.  I'm here today to 

    17   encourage you to really see if we can make sure that we 

    18   have one more opportunity come to fruition.  And this is 

    19   the conversion of the Galveston -- the Galveston 

    20   Causeway rubble into an artificial reef.  There -- it's 

    21   got something like 8,000 feet on each of the two 

    22   causeways.  And that would make one tremendous 

    23   artificial reef offshore.  I did send some comments on 

    24   this to y'all, so I do hope you can read them and study 

    25   those.  Thank you. 

     1                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  William Brad Woods 

     2   and Walter Zimmerman. 

     3                  MR. WOODS:  Madame chairman, 

     4   Commissioners.  I'm William B. Woods.  I live in Temple, 

     5   Texas.  And I represent myself.  I am a sports shrimper, 

     6   strictly, sportsman trawl or personal bait shrimp trawl.  

     7   Not commercial.  And I've been doing it since about 

     8   1990.  It's very difficult out there.  I pulled a trawl 

     9   that is eight and three quarter inch stretched mesh, and 

    10   I just bought a new one.  And when that thing gets 

    11   wet -- it measures eight and three quarter now, and when 

    12   it gets wet, it's nine.  That's a big shrimp to go 

    13   through that thing.  I don't catch any shrimp.  This 

    14   year, the season opened, I went down there.  I pulled 

    15   for about six hours, caught a quart.  The next day, I 

    16   went out.  We pulled again, we didn't catch a pint.  

    17   Loaded and went home.  I thought maybe it was the moon.  

    18   We didn't -- waited until the moon changed.  I went 

    19   back.  We didn't have any better luck.  The commercial 

    20   boats are catching, but I'm not.  My thoughts on that 

    21   subject is, I would like an opportunity, a little better 

    22   opportunity, to catch some shrimp.  If -- at the -- in 

    23   October -- after October 15, I believe it is, they 

    24   change the commercial man can change to a smaller mesh.  

    25   I'd like to see the possibility of a sportsman, which is 

     1   only allowed 15 pounds per person, per day, to have that 

     2   smaller mesh year-round when he can shrimp to give him 

     3   an opportunity to at least catch some shrimp.  There's 

     4   times -- there's occasions, if you catch everything 

     5   perfect, you can catch shrimp.  But, as a general rule, 

     6   you go out there today, you might catch five pounds.  

     7   Tomorrow, the pressure has hit them from every which 

     8   way, they leave, and you're not going to catch any 

     9   shrimp.  I'd just like a little better opportunity.  

    10   Thank you. 

    11                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Mr. Zimmerman and 

    12   then John Valentino. 

    13                  MR. ZIMMERMAN:  Madame Chairman and 

    14   commissioners, I appreciate the opportunity to come 

    15   before you this morning -- or this afternoon.  This is, 

    16   for a change, it's not going to be complaining too much.  

    17   We want to express our appreciation.  And that's not 

    18   normal for the shrimp industry, I don't think.  I do 

    19   want to inform you though that the shrimp industry is in 

    20   pretty sad shape right now.  We're having a lot of 

    21   foreign import pond-raised shrimp.  A friend of mine 

    22   visited -- came back from Vietnam last week and said 

    23   that they've all converted their rice paddies to shrimp 

    24   ponds and wish now that they were raising rice because 

    25   rice is high and shrimp are cheap.  We do have a 

     1   problem.  And we're having trouble getting Food and Drug 

     2   to examine the shrimp, because they are coming in 

     3   contaminated with the drugs that they use to keep from 

     4   having diseases.  And there's a residue left.  And one 

     5   of them right now is chlora -- chlora ama -- what you 

     6   call them?   Antibiotic.

     7                  MR. ZIMMERMAN:  It's caused by 

     8   antibiotics.  And it's more than just one antibiotic.  

     9   We're having a lot of trouble.  Anyway, prices are 

    10   depressed.  You could see a collapse in our industry.  I 

    11   know you've probably heard this before, but it is pretty 

    12   serious.  Average price right now is 2.75 to $3.00 a 

    13   pound, which normally is -- the shrimp is maybe 4.50.  

    14   So we're only making two-thirds of what we should really 

    15   be making.  If fuel goes up, you'll see a lot of boats 

    16   tied up.  Hal Osburn -- at our last meeting on the 25th, 

    17   the shrimp advisory brought in the governor's aide, 

    18   brought the health department, Texas Department of 

    19   Agriculture to see what they could do to help us.  We do 

    20   need some type of marking, and TDA does have a program.  

    21   For every dollar we contribute, they'll contribute the 

    22   same amount.  The oyster industry does have that 

    23   right now.  We don't -- Hal does not want to try to 

    24   collect money through unloading -- afraid it would 

    25   destroy his unloading figures -- so that he would have 

     1   better records as far as protecting what to do.  It was 

     2   mentioned maybe using a percentage of license or maybe a 

     3   legislator proposal. 

     4                  Next, one thing we have been asking for a 

     5   long time to seed the bays with shrimp.  We seed them 

     6   with red fish.  We seed them with trout.  We'd like to 

     7   feed them with a little bit more.  China, right now, I 

     8   understand, is doing that.  And they have increased 

     9   their production.  I don't know for sure.  There -- 

    10   Gary Graham is -- is our marine agent.  He made a trip 

    11   all the way from Florida to Texas, coming all the way 

    12   through all the states, and everybody that he talked to 

    13   said it may be time for limited entry.  And I'm talking 

    14   about state and federal.  A lot of people in my industry 

    15   don't like to hear this because it means more 

    16   regulations.  And we have a lot of them.  It's not just 

    17   Parks and Wildlife.  It's coast guard.  It's just 

    18   everything.  But times are going to have to change.  I 

    19   think there's too many boats.  And, somehow, they'll 

    20   have a buy back program.  The state -- this will not be a 

    21   state, it will have to be a federal to really get rid of 

    22   them. 

    23                  And the last thing, I want to thank you 

    24   so much for your contribution for -- towards the Ridley 

    25   Program in Mexico.  Y'all are going to get the Ridley 

     1   Award tomorrow.  They are doing a lot of good things 

     2   down there.  I think they could do that on the 

     3   leatherback, too, if they could just go back to where 

     4   those eggs are laid and get the -- get more small 

     5   turtles out.  That's all I have.  And I do thank you 

     6   very much for your time.  Appreciate it.

     7                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Thank you.  

     8   John Valentino and L. W. -- is it Ranne or Ranne.

     9                  MR. VALENTINO:  My name is 

    10   John Valentino, and I represent Eagle Point Fishing Camp 

    11   in Galveston Bay.  And I want to thank Mr. Cook and 

    12   Ms. Armstrong for inviting us here today to have a 

    13   little public input.  And I think a whole lot of us have 

    14   been doing that for the last year.  I presently operate 

    15   Eagle Point Fishing Camp in San Leon, which is in 

    16   Galveston Bay.  And I have a background in commercial 

    17   shrimp fishing, as well.  As well as serving the sport 

    18   fishing public.  My first concern today is to discuss 

    19   the problems that we have created with the saltwater 

    20   fishing stamp.  The first problem obviously is that salt 

    21   water fishing is more expensive.  And the original 

    22   purpose for the saltwater stamp has been lost.  We were 

    23   originally, I think, were going to get more game wardens 

    24   on the coast.  And I believe that's pretty much been put 

    25   in the background.  Second, the saltwater stamp causes 

     1   a lot of confusion.  And this is the case where simple 

     2   is really better. 

     3                  Third, the price of the temporary 

     4   stamps -- this pushes the price of our temporary stamps 

     5   to a level which we, as license retailers, are observing 

     6   price resistance every day.  And it is, in my opinion, 

     7   costing the state money.  And I want to bring out some 

     8   points to you that you probably already realize.  The 

     9   three-day resident license is ten dollars, but with a 

    10   saltwater stamp it's 20.  A five-day nonresident 

    11   license is 20.  The stamp, it's 30.  14-day, it's 12.  

    12   And now it's 22.  So we have a little confusion when 

    13   we're selling our license and not -- last but not least, 

    14   the senior exempt license, which is a little bit of a 

    15   misnomer, is $6.  Now it's 16.  These are some items 

    16   that we are having problems with as licensed retailers.  

    17   And I ask the commission to consider that, if it is wise 

    18   to ask citizens to pay $20 to fish or to crab in their 

    19   own public waters for one day?  The results are that 

    20   many people do not use their own state resource.  Or 

    21   that they use the resource and don't buy a license.  Or 

    22   they do buy a license, pay a little more than they can 

    23   afford and then determine that maybe it's not the family 

    24   outing that they would like to be participating in.  All 

    25   of those are bad choices.  And I submit to the 

     1   commission that we look at something different.  

     2   Remember that we do have a customer base in the lower 

     3   income strata.  They're being overlooked and 

     4   overcharged, and I'd like for the commission to look 

     5   into this inequity. 

     6                  The second issue -- and I better speed 

     7   up -- is probably the biggest one that we have been 

     8   dealing with on the coast.  And that is the issue of the 

     9   saltwater spotted sea trout issue that's before us 

    10   today.  Potential changes in the fishing regulations 

    11   were initially discussed between coastal managers and 

    12   selected parties somewhere in 2001.  And as word of 

    13   these discussions spread, intense debates developed.   

    14   The end result was a series of town hall meetings,  

    15   formation of a speckled trout work group all, and a lot 

    16   of disharmony.  This disharmony was not helpful, and it 

    17   certainly was not necessary.  The coastal management 

    18   team appears to want public input but only that which 

    19   agrees with their positions.  I was fortunate enough to 

    20   attend many of these meetings and public opinion solidly for no 

    21   And I hope the Commission was able to to receive that 

    22   message.

    23                  COMMISSIONER COOK:  Got to wrap up.

    24                  MR. VALENTINO:  The approach has damaged 

    25   the reputation of TPWD Coastal staff and exposed 

     1   willingness to listen to some interest over others.  And 

     2   I hope that we take note of this problem.  Thank you, 

     3   for your time. 

     4                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Thank you.  I just 

     5   want to reemphasize that each person has three minutes.  

     6   We have a large list of -- a long list of people signed 

     7   up to speak.  And so that everybody gets their chance, 

     8   please try to keep it to three minutes.

     9                  Hello.

    10                  MR. RANNE:  Hello.  Madame Chairman and 

    11   Commissioners, Texas Parks and Wildlife.  My name is 

    12   Leonard Ranne, Freshwater Anglers Association.  And it's 

    13   a real pleasure to be here with you on this day.  One of 

    14   the -- a couple of things I'd like to talk about here is 

    15   something dear to my heart, and that is our Youth 

    16   Outreach Programs. I understand that Sea World is doing 

    17   a fantastic job bringing the youth in and getting them 

    18   involved and educating them about fishing.  And the surf 

    19   and so forth.  I know at Athens last year, we had 28 

    20   hundred and 52 kids.  This year they cut the program 

    21   three weeks short and we had 3 thousand and 80, 82 or 83 

    22   kids.  The beautiful part about this, if we could open 

    23   this program up around Christmas, we might could pick up 

    24   two or 300 kids that would get to come here.  Most of 

    25   these kids have never been outside the city -- wouldn't 

     1   be out of the outside the city limits of Dallas if they 

     2   haven't been to this program.  We've done some research 

     3   and checking, and our program is working.  The kids are 

     4   learning something.  And it's not the same kids coming 

     5   back every year.  So it's -- it's a good, good, good 

     6   healthy program.  I'd like to see Austin and San Antonio 

     7   have one of the same centers, say, the Texas River 

     8   center in San Marcos.  Studying our rivers aquifers, 

     9   that center there, if they planted some grass in that 

    10   open bay for those glass bottom boats, it would be a 

    11   beautiful -- you can have a beautiful program.  And the 

    12   beautiful part about it, you'd probably get a million 

    13   people up and down that highway within less than a 

    14   six-mile area that you could bring into it.  It could be 

    15   one of our best programs yet.  I hope that this program 

    16   goes forward.  And we have this program. 

    17                  I would like to commend our inland 

    18   fishery staff for the fantastic job they've done with 

    19   our bass program.  Our trophy bass.  It's been 

    20   outstanding.  We've had some problems with bass viruses.  

    21   We've had algae problems that come in and affect our 

    22   fisheries.  And this creates a financial problem for in 

    23   and out around the area there where the lake is.  So 

    24   it's crucial for us to maintain a program that generates 

    25   like $6.2 billion a year to the state of Texas, is a 

     1   strong hatchery.  I know that without a hatchery 

     2   program, it will pay for it later down the road.  We've 

     3   got a good vegetation management program going here now 

     4   where we can control, but not just vegetation.  We even 

     5   got a count now that would protect the -- the 

     6   applicators that is hired by the River authorities or 

     7   whoever.  And all that can be is a harassment suit for   

     8   like two million bucks.  So we've made some progress.  

     9   We're coming forward.  In the next ten years, I hope to 

    10   see Texas Parks and Wildlife bigger and better and more 

    11   wonderful than it is right now.  Thank you, gentlemen.

    12                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Will Kirkpatrick and  

    13   Gary Van Gelder. 

    14                  MR. KIRKPATRICK:  Good afternoon.  Thank 

    15   you for taking time to talk to us.  My name is 

    16   Will Kirkpatrick.  I've lived on Sam Rayburn Reservoir 

    17   since 1986 where I run a series of fishing schools and 

    18   guide.  I'm here to talk about the peaks and valleys of 

    19   bass fishing in reservoirs and lakes that occur not only 

    20   here in Texas but over much of the United States, 

    21   Canada, and Mexico.  I've fished for and caught bass in 15 

    22   states and Canada while traveling much of the country in 

    23   a 30-career with Bell System.  In the packets that I 

    24   gave Mr. Estrada are copies of articles from national 

    25   outdoor magazines such as Sports Field, Field and 

     1   Stream, relating to the resurgence of bass fishing on  

     2   Sam Rayburn Reservoir after several years of poor 

     3   angling.  You'll note these articles are from the 

     4   mid-80s.  Also in this packet is a study I've done using 

     5   nine years of data from an annual three-day bass 

     6   tournament conducted on Sam Rayburn during the month of 

     7   April.  There are several thousand anglers participate 

     8   in this every year. 

     9                  As shown Rayburn's most recent peak for 

    10   big bass was 1995 when the largest ten bass for that 

    11   event averaged over 11 pounds each.  The following year 

    12   we saw Rayburn drop to all time low water levels, 

    13   reduced its size by 25 percent, which is a lot of water.  

    14   One result of the reduced size was the lack of 

    15   protecting cover, partially resulting in the annual 

    16   three-day tournament having the top 240 bass weighing in 

    17   at an amazing seven and two-thirds pounds each.  '96 was 

    18   followed by a steady decline in overall bass fishing and 

    19   it bottomed out last year when 240 bass weighed only 

    20   four and three quarters pounds each.  As fishing results 

    21   decline on a reservoir or lake, so does the use by 

    22   recreational and tournament anglers, which results in 

    23   less pressure on the resource.  Hence, the bass get 

    24   bigger and there are more of them, which is what we're 

    25   seeing right now on Sam Rayburn.  This year, that same 

     1   tournament saw two 240 anglers weighing in bass 

     2   averaging almost six pounds a piece, which is a gain of 

     3   over one pound in this last year.  That's similar to the 

     4   results we saw in 1998 when we had 239 anglers.  We lost 

     5   one someplace.  Normally, it's 240, but we lost one 

     6   there.  During the same period of 1999 through 2001, 

     7   Bass Anglers Sportsman Society, who is the world's 

     8   largest tournament organization, commissioned 

     9   Dr. Schramm, who is professor of fisheries at 

    10   Mississippi State University; and Gene Gilliland, who is a 

    11   senior biologist with the State of Oklahoma's Department 

    12   of Wildlife, to do an in-depth study on bass mortality.  

    13   Both of these men, by the way, are ex Texans.  And they  

    14   both are average -- avid bass fishermen.  I worked with 

    15   them on their original protocol, which has been 

    16   condensed to a 43-page booklet, titled Keeping Bass 

    17   Alive.  It's now being published.  It's also in the 

    18   packet you've got. 

    19                  The reason bass spent the time and money 

    20   on this study as we anglers kill a lot of fish.  Many 

    21   are taken to be eaten.  That's probably what they were 

    22   put here in the first place for.  Others are used in 

    23   tournaments, produce incomes totaling millions of 

    24   dollars, but don't survive containment.  And others die 

    25   through angler mishandling.  You, as our commissioners, 

     1   and the Texas Parks and Wildlife can implement rules and 

     2   regulation dictating size and/or possession 

     3   requirements.  And this will help.  But until we anglers 

     4   and tournament organizations learn and apply proper 

     5   handling procedures, we will continue to see problems in 

     6   our fisheries. 

     7                  Lastly, Madame Chairman, you and I were at 

     8   a meeting here some time ago when then chairman Lee Bass 

     9   brought up the subject of the conservation license 

    10   plates of bass.  And he mentioned that there's an 

    11   organization that has 330,000 members.  And if half of 

    12   these would buy these bass license plates, Mr. Cook would 

    13   have an additional 300 -- three million, 600,000 dollars 

    14   to work with.  Thank you.  Thank you.

    15                  COMMISSIONER RAMOS:  See what you 

    16   can do about that.

    17                  MR.KIRKPATRICK:  I've got two of them, 

    18   Commissioner.  I've a pickup and a suburban.

    19                  COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Mr. Van Gelder, 

    20   followed by R.C. Blundell. 

    21                  MR. VAN GELDER:  Madame Chairman, members 

    22   of the commission, Mr. Cook, my name is Dr. Gary Van 

    23   Gelder.  I live in Houston, Texas.  I like to think I 

    24   represent the views of the 500,000 independent anglers 

    25   who enjoy Walden-like mornings uninterrupted by 

     1   70-mile-an-hour bass boats.  My comments concern our 

     2   large mouth bass fisheries.  I want to make three 

     3   points.

     4                  Number one, Texas enjoys the best bass 

     5   fishing in the country.  But we have an opportunity to 

     6   further improve the quality through better recycling.  

     7   Too many bass die unnecessarily from angler-induced 

     8   stress associated with catch, live well transport, weigh 

     9   and release fishing.  Two, best practices have been 

    10   described to produce this mortality loss by 60 percent.  

    11   And, three, I propose a proactive implementation plan.  

    12   Bass caught and given rides in live wells under 

    13   conditions of warm water and low oxygen suffer 

    14   substantial mortalities within six days of being 

    15   released.  To illustrate, the average mortality is 25 

    16   percent, based on over 100 studies.  This predicts that 

    17   for every 20,000 legal bass given the live well 

    18   experience, 4,000 of the largest most catchable fish in 

    19   the lake die.  When fishery managers are quoted as 

    20   saying, catch, transport, and weigh fishing has little 

    21   impact on overall fishery, I believe this is not the same 

    22   as saying, no impact.  If 4,000, 10,000 or 40,000 of the 

    23   biggest catchable fish die unnecessarily as a result of 

    24   poor handling, they no longer contribute to the 

    25   quality of the fishing experience.  What can be done?  

     1   The killer is temperature and poor live wells.  Use -- 

     2   best practices have been described for aeration, water 

     3   exchange, water temperature control.  Use common sense, 

     4   and don't schedule trans -- catch, transport and weigh 

     5   release events in the hotter months.  How do we 

     6   implement this?  Stage one is a voluntary program.  The 

     7   stake holders and fishery biologists develop goals and a 

     8   timetable to reduce to delayed mortality.  Best 

     9   practices have already been defined.  The weakest link 

    10   is the commitment to implementation.  The catch and 

    11   weigh industry should be responsible for implementation 

    12   and for reporting progress.

    13                  Step two.  If the voluntary program 

    14   doesn't make sufficient progress in a reasonable period 

    15   of time, then implement stage two.  Stage two allows 

    16   proactive organizations with low mortality records to 

    17   continue.  But the non-complying community would be faced 

    18   with permitting and mandatory monitoring with full cost 

    19   recovery, a price to participate for those unwilling to 

    20   reduce avoidable mortality voluntarily.  In summary, I 

    21   believe there is a substantial hidden loss of large 

    22   catchable that degrades the quality and quanity of our 

    23   fisheries.  Two, best practices to avoid 60 percent of 

    24   this loss have been defined.  And I proposed a stepwise  

    25   implementation program.  The fish belong to everyone.  

     1   Those who fish for fun and those who fish for profit.  

     2   This should be a no-brainer.  Win/win for all anglers.  

     3   Thank you. 

     4                  COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Thank you.

     5                  Mr. Blundell followed by Mr. Parten, 

     6   Ed Parten.

     7                  MR. BLUNDELL:  Thank you, board members.  

     8   I'm R.C. Blundell, Secretary of Central Texas 

     9   Association of Bass Clubs.  I've been fishing -- bass 

    10   fishing for about 74 years.  When -- I started when I 

    11   was six, so you see I'm right at 80 years old.  This 

    12   grass carp business -- I have not seen, by your 

    13   biologists, what size they will put in there, how fast 

    14   they will grow, and how much they will consume each six 

    15   months.  If you put that amount of fish that they're 

    16   talking about in Lake Austin, it's a matter of a year or 

    17   so, there will be nothing left but mud on the bottom.  

    18   Nothing to filter the water, nothing for algae to grow 

    19   on to survive.  All species of fish, turtles and whatnot 

    20   to live on.  And if they do hatch, they'll be gobbled up 

    21   by the big ones.  And the water rushing through that 

    22   lake will turn it into nothing but a mud hole.  From 

    23   experience and my years of fishing, I remember when 

    24   there was only -- fishing was closed three months out of 

    25   the year.  No limits.  No nothing.  I talked to y'all -- 

     1   when you start putting length limits on, I told you 

     2   it would not work on Guadalupe bass.  Well, sure enough, 

     3   it has not worked on Guadalupe bass.  I'm too old.  I've 

     4   been around too long.  I've seen too many changes you 

     5   guys made.  And I'm asking you, get your biologists out 

     6   and get it out to the public.  The number of fish 

     7   they're talking about and putting in that lake and every six 

     8   months what their weight will be.  Because they'll eat 

     9   their weight every day.  And multiply that by 365 days 

    10   out of the year.  They'll eat out every stinking thing 

    11   in that lake.  And we will have a dead fishery.  And I 

    12   know y'all don't want to see that.  I maintain a 

    13   computer file, on my personal computer, of thousands and 

    14   thousands of bass fishermen or people that fish.  Our 

    15   association puts on a tournament every year, which will 

    16   come up here in September, for the leukemia society, 

    17   nonprofit.  We've raised close to $80 thousand in about 

    18   ten years.  We're on the honor roll.  So please have 

    19   your biologists put out to the public every six months 

    20   what these fish will consume and how long it would take 

    21   to get clear of the vegetation that's the study you're 

    22   making on that lake.  Thank you, on behalf of the bass 

    23   fishermen.  And I'll see you. 

    24                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Ed Parten and 

    25   Jim Murray. 

     1                  MR. PARTEN:  Thank you, Lady Chairman, 

     2   distinguished panel.  It's a pleasure to be here.  My 

     3   name is Ed Parten.  I'm president of Texas Black Bass 

     4   Unlimited.  I would like to say that I've had the 

     5   pleasure of working with Texas Parks and Wildlife since 

     6   early '70s.  I feel that the things that have been 

     7   accomplished by this department are great and wonderful.  

     8   And that I look forward to many years of working with 

     9   Texas Parks and Wildlife. 

    10                  I am here today to, one, to tell you that 

    11   some of the things that we've done.  We helped build the 

    12   Athens fishing center.  We raised a half million 

    13   dollars.  We marked 22 miles of River channel on 

    14   Lake Livingston.  We donated a check in this very 

    15   building to start the -- to start the habitat 

    16   enhancement program that is now underway with inland 

    17   fisheries.  We gave a check for $10,000 to help build a 

    18   tram that transports the youth, the elderly, and the 

    19   physically challenged around Athens.  We have built a 

    20   pier program, a fishing pier on Lake Nacogdoches covered 

    21   for physically challenged.  The cost of that was about 

    22   $187,000.  We recently planted over 5,000 trees in Lake 

    23   Houston for habitat enhancement.  We are currently 

    24   working with school districts in the greater Houston 

    25   area hoping to go build a fish hatchery system similar 

     1   to what there is in Athens with monies that we are 

     2   raising to actually teach and educate the youth about 

     3   fisheries.  We will set aside one of the ponds for 

     4   actually using to help the youth and induct them into 

     5   fishing and the sport of fishing.  I told you this to 

     6   tell that you we're interested in what happens here.  

     7   But of late, we have -- we've talked to people with 

     8   inland fisheries and Parks and Wildlife Department and 

     9   feel that all we've had to say has been -- has fell on 

    10   deaf ears.  I hope that's not the case today.  One of 

    11   the previous speakers talked about our association and 

    12   the number of members we have.  We exceed over 300,000 

    13   people in the State of Texas.  That's part of our 

    14   organization.  And we feel that there are major problems 

    15   in our fisheries.  With the new book that was put out in 

    16   June the 20th, you indicate that fishing generates $4.7 

    17   billion from an all time high just three years ago of 

    18   6.37 billion.  We've seen over a billion and a half 

    19   dollar decrease in inland -- in fisheries that's 

    20   generated to the Texas economy.  Fishing license sales 

    21   are down by 18 -- by 16.8 percent.  I think that the 

    22   industry is suffering just about everywhere we go.  And 

    23   I think that things needed to be -- need to be done.  I 

    24   was told by the executive director that our inland 

    25   fisheries chief had made the statement that fishing is 

     1   better in Texas than it's ever been.  I challenge that.  

     2   I think that other people behind me will confirm the 

     3   problems that we have.  We have several speakers today 

     4   that will tell you some of the problems that are 

     5   occurring all over the state of Texas.  Thank you so 

     6   very much for your time. 

     7                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Jim Murray and 

     8   Elroy Krueger.

     9                  MR. MURRAY:  Hello.  My name is 

    10   Jim Murray.  I'm a fishing guide on Falcon Lake.  Or I 

    11   used to be, basically.  I've worked about a dozen days 

    12   this year.  Ten years ago when I moved to Falcon, out of 

    13   the first four months of the year, I would work 100 days 

    14   a year guiding.  A lot of this has to do with our lake 

    15   level down there.  But our -- quality of our fishing has 

    16   really went down.  I'm also a tournament director and 

    17   I'm a board member of the Zapata County Chamber of 

    18   Commerce.  A good guide trip on Falcon, when I first

    19   moved down there, was 15 to 30 fish a day, per customer.  

    20   The tournaments -- the average bass tournament on a 

    21   five-fish stringer always exceeded 30 pounds.  Several 

    22   times exceeded 40 pounds.  I mean, we had the greatest 

    23   fishing in the United States at Falcon. 

    24                  We had a thriving local economy of winter 

    25   Texans and bass tournaments that were coming down there 

     1   on a regular basis.  Now -- and also when I first moved 

     2   there, we had 25 or 30 fishing guides on the lake.  Now, 

     3   we have maybe two legitimate fishing guides that live on 

     4   the lake.  Fishing is okay sometimes.  Like I mentioned 

     5   earlier, this year I worked approximately 15 days.  Some 

     6   of those trips have went to Mexico.  They weren't even 

     7   here in the United States.  We -- on a good day, we'll 

     8   catch ten to 15 fish per boat.  Our average big bass 

     9   might be four pounds.  I don't remember the last 

    10   ten-pound bass that was landed in my boat on Falcon 

    11   Lake.  The first couple of years I lived down there, we 

    12   had -- I had -- over 20 every year was landed in my 

    13   boat.  We were the number one lake in the State of Texas 

    14   to catch a ten-pound bass for the amount of hours 

    15   fished.  Now I don't even think we're in the ranking.  

    16   In Zapata and Falcon Heights, we have many RV parks and 

    17   fish camps that are closed, operating at minimum 

    18   existence.  We're supported, our local economy, by the 

    19   oil field period.  I mean, we've lost the winter Texans.  

    20   We're losing the tournaments. 

    21                  The biggest crying shame of the whole 

    22   thing is our lake is down 50 feet.  It has been for the 

    23   last five or six years.  Y'all know that.  Right this 

    24   minute we do not have a paved launching ramp on the 

    25   lake.  If that was anywhere else in the state of Texas, 

     1   other than a low populated area like we are, the people 

     2   would riot.  I'm asking you to bring us some facilities 

     3   down there and give us some help.  I mean, we need it.  

     4   We need it big time.  Y'all -- I gave them pictures for 

     5   y'all to look at where we're launching down there.  We 

     6   need management for our fishery down there.  You've got 

     7   an aquatic vegetation team.  We need some help in that 

     8   area.  Our level is below where our fish are protected.  

     9   As I'm talking to you right now, we got 15 to 50 illegal 

    10   Mexican gill nets on our side of the lake.  And we 

    11   complain and complain, we cannot get any enforcement.  I 

    12   need your help.  We need your help from Zapata.  Thank 

    13   you.

    14                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Elroy Krueger and 

    15   Larry Bridgeman. 

    16                  MR. KRUEGER:  Thank you.  I'm 

    17   Elroy Krueger from Three Rivers around Choke Canyon.  

    18   I've been an aggressive fisherman for over 40 years.  And my 

    19   concern is not for the good fisherman, the tournament 

    20   fisherman, or the pros.  I'm a pro guide, pro fisherman,  

    21   and all that.  My concern is the lack of license sales 

    22   in the State of Texas in freshwater fishing.  The 

    23   number of people that have quit over the last ten years.  

    24   Thinking the other day -- I can't think of anybody in 

    25   our area that's under 25 that bass fish anymore.  I 

     1   can't think of a youth that fishes bass -- for bass.  

     2   And bass clubs that use to come over there used to 

     3   average -- at first with the lake counter, they used to 

     4   average fifty entries per tournament.  Now it's ten, and 

     5   only a few come occasionally.  And it has everything to 

     6   do with the catch ratio.  Trophy bass and Florida bass 

     7   is good, good for the state.  I'm not fighting to 

     8   eliminate Florida bass.  I am against hundred percent 

     9   Florida bass program and putting Florida bass 

    10   everywhere.  Because Florida bass are too hard to catch 

    11   for the average fisherman.  That's why they have quit.  

    12   That's why there's not anybody under 25.  That's why 

    13   even bass clubbers are quitting.  We've got to have the 

    14   action.  You put the action to catch back into the 

    15   freshwater fishing, license sales will go up.  And that 

    16   will do nothing but benefit y'all, benefit every 

    17   business, benefit my business.  I wouldn't be here today 

    18   if that was the case.  So I'm asking, don't forget the 

    19   average fisherman, the youth that want to come into 

    20   fishing.  Give them something to catch.  They can't 

    21   catch these hard to catch Florida and trophy bass.  We 

    22   can -- it can be managed where you can have -- in any 

    23   lake, you can have trophy bass, you can have the native 

    24   bass that has been considered the dumb bass that hits 

    25   everything.  That's what the average guy needs the kids 

     1   need to get them fishing.  I have guys that are bass 

     2   fisherman wanting me to take out -- get my kid hooked on 

     3   bass fishing.  I can't do it.  I have problems.  The 

     4   pros have problems.  We have tournaments where there's 

     5   five fish per team, and a team -- two good fishermen, 

     6   you have 40 teams you -- get one or two limit.  Choke Canyon 

     7   last Sunday, we had 14 people in a tournament.  Heavy 

     8   stringer was one pound, 11 ounce.  Second place was a 

     9   tie, one pound, eight ounce.  One pound, eight ounce, 

    10   and that's it. 

    11                  How can I get the average guy to catch 

    12   fish?  How can I get them to come back?  How can I get 

    13   the youth to fish when the ratio is like that?  And it's 

    14   all due to strictly, 100 percent Florida bass program.  

    15   Again, I'm -- Florida bass is great.  Put Florida bass 

    16   in every lake, my lake, but don't forget the average 

    17   fisherman.  Their catch ratio is on the native bass.  

    18   Native bass are easier to raise and put in these lakes.  

    19   And it can be done.  That's what I'm asking.  Put the 

    20   catch back into fresh water fishing.  And another thing 

    21   I'm having very distressed about is that four or five 

    22   weeks ago, 50 to 100 thousand pounds of fish were left 

    23   to die below Choke Canyon dam.  Parks and Wildlife 

    24   officials did nothing about it.  I asked them  about 

    25   it, they said we don't know what to do.  This problem 

     1   will occur again.  I hope next time they will know what 

     2   to do.  Thank you. 

     3                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Larry Bridgeman and 

     4   Frank Goll.

     5                  MR. BRIDGEMAN:  Ma'am Chairman, 

     6   commissioners.  My name is Larry Bridgeman.  Thank you 

     7   for allowing us to speak before you today.  I am the 

     8   owner and operator of Falcon Lake Tackle in Zapata, 

     9   Texas.  We also maintain a web site.  And on this web 

    10   site we publish all of the relevant information about 

    11   Falcon, the tournament successes, fishing reports, lake 

    12   levels, hazards launching.  And I've had occasion to 

    13   attend a number of tournament weigh-ins as a result of 

    14   the -- the maintaining the web site.  And I can tell 

    15   that you the ten pound-plus bass that Jim Murray alluded 

    16   to -- the last one that was weighed in at any tournament 

    17   I've attended or have knowledge of was in May of 2001.  

    18   And that was a 10.36 pound fish that had net marks and 

    19   infection all over.  And the illegal netting is rampant, 

    20   and that has contributed to the demise of multiple 

    21   species.  We have had at least four species of fish at 

    22   Falcon that, during the '90s, have dropped to over a 50 

    23   CPUE, as measured by the Texas Parks and Wildlife 

    24   surveys, have dropped down to below 1.0.  Some of them 

    25   are zero. 

     1                  We had a tournament where we gave a 

     2   hundred dollars for every white bass, the biggest white 

     3   bass each day.  Not one white bass was weighed in.  

     4   White bass used to bring tens of thousands of winter 

     5   Texans to our lake.  Multiple million dollars in revenue 

     6   are being lost by the people who built the 15 or 20 RV 

     7   parks and motels around the lake perimeter.  None of 

     8   their docks are working.  None of their ramps are 

     9   working.  And the Parks and Wildlife and the Parks 

    10   Department down at the State park do not maintain the 

    11   facilities that they have.  For example, the road which 

    12   is a washboard and -- you have a picture of a broken 

    13   trailor parts.  The launching area itself is rocks and 

    14   sharp drop offs and people are damaging trailors.  And 

    15   I've had -- at the tournaments this winter, I think 

    16   frequently the heavy stringer and the big bass were the 

    17   same single fish.  And about 20 percent of the people 

    18   caught fish.  I had one guy tell me, I've been here four 

    19   times and haven't caught a legal keeper, and I'm not 

    20   coming back.  And it is a desperate situation.  We've 

    21   had meetings with the commissioners, with the Parks and 

    22   Wildlife Fisheries, people in enforcement.  We have not 

    23   seen any change.  There's an old saying, insanity is 

    24   when you do the same thing year after year and expect 

    25   the outcome to be different.  And that's basically what 

     1   we've had at Falcon Lake.  We urgently request your 

     2   intervention in a serious program to bring us the 

     3   facilities and stop putting fish in the lake that are 

     4   destroying the native species, like the stripers.  Over 

     5   two million stripers have been put in during the same 

     6   period that 600,000 black bass have been stocked.  And 

     7   the stripers do not do well, and all they do is feed the 

     8   Mexican nets and kill the crappie and the white bass.  

     9   So we appreciate your help.  Thank you.

    10                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Thank you.  I want 

    11   to remind you all once again that there is a three 

    12   minute limit.

    13                  MR. GOLL:  Good afternoon, Madame 

    14   Chairman, Commissioners, and Dr. Cooke.  Glad to see 

    15   y'all get Mr. Cook.

    16                  I'm Frank Goll, Texas Association of Bass 

    17   Clubs.  Region one director with the south Texas area.  

    18   I live in San Antonio.  I cover the region from San 

    19   Antonio south through Del Rio through Corpus Christi.  

    20   The two gentlemen before me -- the clubs I represent 

    21   fish those lakes, plus Lake Amistad, being the three 

    22   major lakes in our area.  Today I'm here to speak in 

    23   support of -- and in opposition to the Texas Parks and 

    24   Wildlife Inland Fisheries stocking of Texas lakes.  The 

    25   Florida large mouth bass program -- or large mouth bass 

     1   program --basically south Texas has a problem getting a 

     2   fair share of the resources, has had this in the past, 

     3   and probably will have it in the future.  Right now, I 

     4   understand the Parks and Wildlife is considering a 

     5   five-dollar freshwater fishing stamp to build a new $16 

     6   million hatchery at Toledo Bend.  We would be in favor 

     7   of a new hatchery.  I'd love to have the fish.  We do 

     8   not want the Florida large mouth.  At least, most people 

     9   in south Texas don't.  What we have seen in the 

    10   past --well, since 1977 to 2002, the three big East 

    11   Texas lakes, being Fork, Toledo Bend, Rayburn -- 

    12   well-known lakes -- in comparison to the three big south 

    13   Texas lakes -- or similar south Texas lakes, being 

    14   Amistad, Choke Canyon, and Falcon.  The east Texas lakes 

    15   have received over 20 million -- right at 21 million 

    16   fish.  South Texas lakes have received a little under 

    17   six million fish, which gives you about a 78 percent to 

    18   a 22 percent ratio.  We don't feel this is quite fair. 

    19                  Since 1977 there was articles in 

    20   newspapers, being Corpus Christi, and the New Braunfels 

    21   Herald.  Keith Warren, Texas angler did them.  

    22   Complaining about the stocking ratios.  We complained to 

    23   Texas Parks and Wildlife.  And things sure did -- they 

    24   changed.  They got a lot worse.  Since that time -- 

    25   since 1977, the same lakes -- the east Texas lakes have 

     1   received 88 percent of the resources, while the Texas -- 

     2   South Texas lakes have dropped down to 12 percent of the 

     3   resources.  Comparison of the two -- two of the lakes in 

     4   the area, Choke Canyon and Fork compared to -- compared to 

     5   sizes, impounding.  1980 compared to 1982 for Choke

     6   Canyon will show that Lake Fork has received 84 percent 

     7   of fish stocked, compared to 16 percent for Choke Canyon, 

     8   Of the total fish that was stocked in those two lakes.

     9   I don't know how much the stock seems to help as for 

    10   genetics, et cetera.  But you take a look at Lake Fork has 

    11   produced the state record.  Has produced of the top 50 

    12   bass caught in Texas.  Choke Canyon has not produced a 

    13   bass in the top 50.  And the lake record is 1466, caught 

    14   in 1991.  In the era of 1994 to '96 -- 1994 to '96, Honey Hole

    15   magazine was issued permits to remove small fish from 

    16   Fork, take them to other lakes, while they continued to 

    17   stock Lake Fork.  And we cannot get any fish in south 

    18   Texas.  Thank you.

    19                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Ron Werner and David 

    20   Stewart. 

    21                  MR. WERNER:  Madame Chairman, 

    22   Commissioners, Bob Cook, I appreciate y'all being here 

    23   and letting me be here today to be in front of y'all.  

    24   I'm Ron Werner, CEO of April Plaza Marina on Lake Conroe.  

    25   Three things here.  One is economics, one is complaints, 

     1   and one is a request. 

     2                  Let's go through the revenue first, 

     3   please.  On March the 4th, 1997, Mr. Bill Boyet caught a 

     4   lake record black bass on Lake Conroe weighing 14.91 

     5   pounds.  Prior years show that it was not uncommon for a 

     6   lake record black bass to be caught on this lake.  Since 

     7   that time, and up to this present time, there's not been 

     8   a record lake bass caught in the population.  And size 

     9   of black bass has been on a steady decline.  Plus, 85 

    10   percent are covered with sores. 

    11                  Revenue from my business, such as, but 

    12   not limited to the following:  Decline in bass 

    13   tournaments coming to Lake Conroe and to my motel, loss 

    14   in sales from motel rental, slip rental, boat launch, 

    15   gasoline, fishing rods, fishing reels, fishing lures, 

    16   hooks, swivels, fishing line, chips, cold drinks, 

    17   sandwiches, ice, shirts, caps, and et cetera. 

    18                  So '98, my business started suffering 

    19   approximately ten percent loss of revenue because in 

    20   declines of the population and size of the black bass.  

    21   In '99 my business suffered 28 percent.  In 2000, it has 

    22   suffered 40 percent.  2001, we're looking at 45 percent.  

    23   And so far this year, it's right at 50 percent. 

    24                  All right.  Sadly, this is not an 

    25   isolated lake or business.  A tremendous amount of our 

     1   Texas lakes has caused business to either suffer in loss 

     2   of revenue, or they had to go out of business due to the 

     3   population and size of black bass.  Yet officials from 

     4   Texas Parks and Wildlife are feeding false propaganda 

     5   as to how great our Texas lakes are.  This is not true.  

     6   I am here today requesting your immediate attention and 

     7   help in getting the management of Texas Parks and 

     8   Wildlife to listen and to, at least, try what the 

     9   anglers are telling them concerning vegetation and water 

    10   quality.  And support us and not the special interest 

    11   groups.  I request a follow-up as to what is going to be 

    12   done to help us.  And I want to make one last comment.  

    13   I have met with Bob Cook.  I've got a lot of respect for 

    14   Bob Cook.  He is new in here, and a lot of these issues 

    15   being throwed at him, and he's not even aware of what's 

    16   coming at him.  So I'm asking all of you commissioners, 

    17   along with Bob Cook, to give the Inland Fishery 

    18   Department an immediate consideration and a complete 

    19   overhaul because things are happening out here that 

    20   y'all are not aware of.  And it's costing us money and 

    21   in the future right now is very grim.  Thank you. 

    22                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  David Stewart, Karen 

    23   Hadden.

    24                  MR. STEWART:  Madame Chairman, 

    25   Commissioners, Mr. Cook, my name is David Stewart.  And 

     1   I'm president of an organization called SMART.  And 

     2   y'all are getting a little copy of an article in the 

     3   newspaper, I think it was Monday of this week, 

     4   concerning grass carp.  I'm going to get -- I would like 

     5   this Commission to really think about instructing 

     6   Mr. Cook that they need to really evaluate stocking 

     7   grass carp in public waters in Texas anywhere.  Lake 

     8   Austin is just one issue.  But we do too much of it. 

     9   We're seeing more and more articles like that.  The next 

    10   thing I want to -- I was at a meeting about a week and a 

    11   half ago with the commissioners of TNRCC.  And the last 

    12   commissioner that we met with was Commissioner White.  

    13   And I brought up a question.  And the question was, I 

    14   would like to see more cooperation between Texas Parks 

    15   and Wildlife and TNRCC.  And lo and behold, our great 

    16   chairman of Texas Parks and Wildlife was already ahead 

    17   of me.  She had already had a meeting with 

    18   Commissioner White.  And I want to personally thank her 

    19   for that effort because that's exactly along the lines 

    20   that we as fishermen are thinking.  So I want to thank 

    21   you for that.  And I want to take it forward from there 

    22   even more. 

    23                  The second thing is, I want to talk about 

    24   the conservation plan briefly.  I want to thank you 

    25   again for making improvements to it.  We, as fishermen, 

     1   were real unhappy with the first draft, but that's a 

     2   draft.  That's why they call it a draft.  Y'all made a 

     3   lot of changes.  Not as much as we would like, but, 

     4   however, we took some big steps forward in -- if we do 

     5   everything we talk about, we're all going to be a lot 

     6   happier, as far as bass fishermen are concerned.  And I  

     7   guess the one thing that I would like for this 

     8   commission to really consider and I'm not going to get 

     9   up here and beat anybody down, right now.  But I think 

    10   that we do need to consider the fisheries in Texas.  We 

    11   spend a lot of money.  It's down.  Income is down.  The 

    12   conservation plan says we need to keep license sales 

    13   where it needs to be.  I agree. We need to increase 

    14   them.  But we can't do that unless we get better fishing 

    15   and fish easier to catch by young people.  I would like 

    16   this commission to really consider appointing a 

    17   committee to address this problem and talk about this 

    18   problem, in conjunction with Mr. Cook who I've had 

    19   several meetings, to see if we can address some issues 

    20   and come up with some things that this commission and 

    21   Parks and Wildlife can try to do.  We can't improve 

    22   fishing, increase revenue, because y'all do a great job.  

    23   Y'all donate a lot of time.  And I personally thank you 

    24   for it.  But I feel like we can certainly go forward and 

    25   do whole lot more.  So, thank you, very much. 

     1                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Pam Lawrie, 

     2   Karen Hadden. 

     3                  MS. HADDEN:  Good afternoon, Madame 

     4   Chairman and Commissioners.  My name is Karen Hadden.  

     5   I'm here on behalf the SEED Coalition, which is 

     6   sustainable economic and environmental development.  And 

     7   what I would like to talk about today -- and I want to 

     8   thank Mr. Cook for having listened to this concern 

     9   raised in a meeting recently.  But I do feel that the 

    10   agency is currently not doing an adequate job of letting 

    11   the public know about fish advisories.  And I am asking 

    12   your help today.  Most states, when a fishing license is 

    13   purchased, they actually provide information about fish 

    14   advisories and bans.  And that is not happening in 

    15   Texas.  Someone who is lucky might get a copy of the 

    16   outdoor annual.  Out of 104 pages, on page 62 there is 

    17   one paragraph that refers to the fact that in some 

    18   locations there are bans on the possession of fish.  

    19   Never once is the word pollution used.  That is not 

    20   adequate notification to the public.  This could be 

    21   because of breeding purposes or trying to restock 

    22   species that are present.  So it does give a web site.  

    23   Many people who fish do not have internet access.  And a 

    24   phone number -- this is one of those things where it 

    25   could take you days to get the information on the phone.  

     1   What I'm saying is that printed information needs to be 

     2   handed to everyone who gets a license. 

     3                  My son is now 17.  He likes to camp and  

     4   fish.  And when he and his friends get licenses, they 

     5   need to have this information provided to them, 

     6   especially as they get older and travel throughout the 

     7   state.  They're going to be fishing in new places.  And 

     8   they want to know where it's safe to eat the fish and 

     9   where it's not. 

    10                  The reason this is of concern, there are 

    11   many pollutants that are impacting fish.  In the case of  

    12   Mercury, it's serious because young children exposed to 

    13   this Mercury can end up with learning disabilities, 

    14   attention deficit disorder.  There's links to autism and 

    15   mental retardation.  As a former teacher, I can you we 

    16   afford this.  And those that subsistence fish are most 

    17   likely to get those impacts.  So this is families most 

    18   likely with lower income, those who can least afford to 

    19   have children with Special Ed needs.  So I thank you for 

    20   taking this seriously.  I'd like to point out that, out 

    21   of 100 publications in the lobby, there is not one thing 

    22   available about fish advisories.  Two of the staff 

    23   people at the front desk today were unable to answer the 

    24   question about whether advisories exist in this state.  

    25   This is the main location for buying a license. 

     1                  Furthermore, I went personally to the 

     2   Athens fishing center which I want to say a beautiful.  

     3   And, again, as a teacher it's a beautiful facility.  

     4   Five employees there could tell me nothing about any 

     5   fishing advisories in the state and didn't know quite 

     6   who to ask about that.  I find that appalling because, 

     7   if we're teaching young children to fish, they need to 

     8   know what fish are safe to eat and whether they're not.  I 

     9   think it's important to address the problem, to clear it 

    10   up.  Mercury contamination is coming from power plants.  

    11   We can address that. 

    12                  We are working with many organizations, 

    13   including the fishermen, many of the organizations 

    14   present in this room.  We have been meeting with the 

    15   TNRCC to correct the problem.  What we'd like you to do 

    16   is help get the word out.  We want to you push for 

    17   legislation that allows you to post signs where 

    18   advisories exist because, in many cases, they are not 

    19   up.  I'd like you to do a better job of getting the word 

    20   out when people buy licenses.  And, lastly, there was an 

    21   agreement -- if I may wrap up -- there was an agreement 

    22   to post these advisories to link to them on the web 

    23   site.  And that's been done, it's so buried no one can 

    24   find it.  So please help put that on the home page.  

    25   Thank you. 

     1                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Scott Thrash 

     2   following Pam Lawrie.

     3                  MS. LAWRIE:  Good afternoon.  My name is 

     4   Pam Lawrie.  I'm a program manager with the Texas 

     5   Association of Community Action Agencies.  We administer 

     6   a program called the Hunters for the Hungry.  And you 

     7   should have a one-page handout that describes and gives 

     8   you some background on the program.  Texas Hunters for 

     9   the Hungry is a program that is a statewide antihunger 

    10   initiative.  What we do is coordinate the hunters, the 

    11   meat processors, and the food assistance providers.  

    12   Last year, working together, Texas hunters and meat 

    13   processors provided 92,000 pounds of wild game that was 

    14   used then to provide to the food assistance providers 

    15   and ultimately helped feed needy Texans.  I want to 

    16   thank the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.  You've 

    17   been part of the success of this program.

    18                  Just recently this year, you've assisted 

    19   us by putting information about the Hunters for the 

    20   Hungry in the cold storage record book.  And adding a 

    21   column so that meat processors can check a donation when 

    22   it's for the Hunters for the Hungry.  You've helped us 

    23   with publication information in your -- for example, 

    24   your public hunting land booklet.  And staff has helped 

    25   us with having brochures available.  The reason I'm here 

     1   today is to, once again, ask for your help.  In Texas, 

     2   in addition to donating the game, the Texas hunters, on 

     3   average, give about an additional $20 to help defray the 

     4   cost of meat processing and that's discouraging to the 

     5   hunters. 

     6                  The meat processers also donate their 

     7   time and their resources.  And over the recent years, we 

     8   continue to lose meat processors that are willing to 

     9   participate in the program.  Compared to other states, 

    10   the wild game donations in Texas are relatively low.  

    11   Compared to Virginia, about 230,000 pounds were donated 

    12   last year.  Wisconsin, 175,000 pounds were donated.  

    13   Texas, even though it was our best year ever, was the 

    14   92,000 pounds.  One reason that these other states are 

    15   more successful is the existence of funds to help 

    16   support the program.  The wild game that's being donated 

    17   by Texas hunters, that's being processed by meat 

    18   processors is a wonderful source of protein for hungry 

    19   children and needy families.  To maintain the program, 

    20   though, and ultimately to help it achieve it's 

    21   potential, the program needs a consist source of 

    22   donations. 

    23                  We're asking that the Texas Parks and 

    24   Wildlife Department continue to work with us to help us 

    25   enhance this program, to help us learn about donation 

     1   possibilities and what we can do together with you.  And 

     2   I do want to conclude by saying we appreciate the 

     3   assistance that you have provided to date for this 

     4   program.  And look forward to working with you in the 

     5   future. 

     6                  MS. ARMSTRONG: Scott Thrash, Jane Luchan (sic)

     7                  MR. THRASH:  Hi, my name is Scott Thrash.  I am 

     8   president of Deer Texas.com.  Also an advisory council 

     9   member on Hunters for the Hungry.  And I wanted to take 

    10   a minute to acknowledge David Sinclair and Jerry Cooke 

    11   for their recent help of our ongoing project.  The state of 

    12   Virginia -- Pam had mentioned, we had 230,000 pounds of venison 

    13   the last year by their hunters as we had 92,000 here in 

    14   Texas.  And in that state, they have an option for 

    15   hunters to donate a dollar to the program when they buy 

    16   their hunting license.  It's come to my attention 

    17   recently that that would take legislative action here in 

    18   Texas for that to happen.  It's also come to my 

    19   attention that that probably wouldn't be in the best 

    20   interest of Parks and Wildlife if we went that route.  

    21   So I just want to reiterate what Pam said, that we look 

    22   forward to your continued support and help.  Thank you, 

    23   very much. 

    24                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Thank you.  Jane or 

    25   Jay -- I'm sorry.  Jaye Lycan.  I'm so sorry. 

     1                  MS. LYCAN:  That's okay. 

     2                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  And then Sylvan 

     3   Rossi.

     4                  MS. LYCAN:  Good afternoon.  My name is 

     5   Jaye Lycan.  I'm the executive director of eastside 

     6   ministries of Fort Worth, a food assistance provider.  

     7   We are a small food and clothing ministry in East Fort 

     8   Worth that takes care of needy.  Last year we were one 

     9   of hundreds of food banks in the state, and my ministry 

    10   gave out over $150,000 in food items to our clients.  

    11   Protein is a scarce commodity.  Has shown that protein 

    12   is a very important component of early childhood brain 

    13   cell development.  Texas is second as the highest number 

    14   of households experiencing food insecurity.  This is a 

    15   polite way of saying that 32 percent under 12 in Texas suffer 

    16   malnutrition or out right hunger.  Visualize with me 

    17   that three of you on the board represent that profile.  

    18   Hunters for the Hungry offers community service action with many 
positive factors.  Hunters are allowed to 

    19   share their bounty with our state's most precious 

    20   resource, our youth.  A program enthusiastically promoted as 
Hunters for 

    21   the Hungry can enrich our food bank with this excellent with 
source of protein 

    22   exposing young Texans to venison is a great way to introduce 

    23   new hunters to our outdoors.  I would encourage Texas Parks and 

    24   Department to continue supporting Hunters for the Hungry 

    25   and helping development strategies to develop the 

     1   program.  Thank you very much for your time.

     2                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Thank you.  And 

     3   thanks to Hunters for the Hungry.  Great job.  Sylvan Rossi and 

     4   Jim Carr. 

     5                  MR. ROSSI:  Madame Chairman, Commission, I 

     6   appreciate the opportunity to have a chance to speak 

     7   with you today.  Four years ago -- I represent the 

     8   Korima Foundation.  I'm the president.  And our next 

     9   speaker, Jim Carr, is the founder of our organization. 

    10                  Four years ago, we started out as a 

    11   Friends Group associated with the Big Bend Ranch State Park.  
And our 

    12   concept was to use the vast resources of the Big Bend Ranch as 
an educational 

    13   outdoor classroom for at risk inner-city youth.  And 

    14   thanks to the executive office, parks department, and Lydia's 
staff, we were all able to get off it a 

    15   very good start, and have since incorporated as a 5083C 

    16   and formed long-term relationships with

    18   long-term agreement with Sul Russ University, the University of 
Texas , University of Houston, and have also obtained funding from the Brown


    20   Foundation Houston Endowment, Hershey Foundation, among others.  

    21   We're simply are here to appreciate the support that we 

    22   received from you. To start and ask for your continuing 

    23   support as we seek to grow our program.  Thank you very 

    24   much.

    25                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Thank you.  Jim Carr 

     1   and Art Pasley.

     2                  MR. CARR:  Thank you.  I'm with the 

     3   Korima Foundation, also.  And when we first started out, 

     4   we had to go to the Houston Independent School District 

     5   and get them to approve our plan.  Now, the Houston 

     6   Independent school district has over 200,000 students.  And we 
went and 

     7   talked to Dr. Page, who is now the secretary of education.  

     8   And he was all enthused about our program.  And he said, 

     9   well, now, how many people are you going to be able to 

    10   take out there each year?  We said, well, probably 50.  

    11   And he'd been having a hard day 200,000.  So we've done 

    12   a lot with inner-city school kids and they are without a 

    13   doubt the best kids we've ever dealt with.  The best 

    14   thing that's really happened to us is when Bob Cook told 

    15   us that he couldn't have poor relatives like us.  We was 

    16   going to have to finance our own money.  So we got out 

    17   and actually did that and thank you Mr. Cook at the time 

    18   I thought you was a rear end of a horse, but I've 

    19   changed my mind now.  So anyhow, we've to the still 

    20   going to work with kids.  And we thank you for the 

    21   support that you've given us and thanks for the Houston 

    22   and San Antonio School District, also. 

    23                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Thank you.

    24                  MR. PASLEY:  Madame Chairman, 

    25   commissioners of the board, Mr. Cook, attendees.  I'm 

     1   Art Pasley, Southern  director for the Cast for Kids Foundation.  
I have 

     2   some brochures for y'all that I left with the second 

     3   earlier.  We are a nonprofit organization based in 

     4   Renton, Washington with a Dallas office and Jamestown, Ohio 

     5   office that promote and organize outdoor fishing trips for 

     6   disabled kids in Texas.

     7                  You've heard today about the hunting 

     8   trips for kids you've heard about senior city programs 

     9   for kids.  But you haven't heard a single program that's 

    10   primary focus is to the disabled and disadvantaged.  Our 

    11   projects range from 35 to 40 kids at a time.  Pairing 

    12   them with volunteer boaters civic groups and individual 

    13   volunteers to help take the kids out fishing on the 

    14   water, take them out of their wheel chairs out of their 

    15   crutches provide them with rod and reels, tackle boxes, 

    16   T-shirts, hats, and plaques with a picnic lunch on shore 

    17   and the plaques are presented to the child with a 

    18   picture of them and their boater at the conclusion of 

    19   the day.  The cost for this is not that great, although 

    20   it is a barrier for us in Texas and other states to 

    21   obtain funding for this.  I have presented, too, Parks 

    22   and Wildlife a request for the outdoor outreach program 

    23   grant money and I would asked that y'all encourage the 

    24   outreach board - review board, to take a good look at our 
request and 

    25   see if we can't partner Texas Parks and Wildlife with 

     1   the Cast for Kids program in the same manner that we 

     2   have in states such as Washington, Oklahoma, Florida, 

     3   Nebraska, North Carolina, with a Bureau of Reclamation Corp of 

     4   Engineers. and the Washington State Game and Fish Department.  

     5   you. 

     6                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Helen Holdworth.  

     7   Whitney Marion.

     8                  MS. HOLDWORTH:  Madame chairman and 

     9   Commissioners and Mr. Cook, my name is Helen Holdworth.  

    10   And I'm here for the Texas Brigades Program.  Texas 

    11   youth need all of us to help build the knowledge and skill they 
need to shape their future.  Their 

    12   future is the future of Texas and Texas wildlife.  I 

    13   would like to thank you, Texas Parks and Wildlife, for 

    14   your - for your involvement with the Texas Brigades family by 
investing in 

    15   the future of wildlife and tomorrow's conservation 

    16   leaders.  Your investment will pay dividends for Texas 

    17   youth and Texas wildlife.  We would like to give special 

    18   thanks to the following Texas Parks and Wildlife 

    19   Department employees for their involvement this past summer 

    20   with the Texas Brigades, they were Robert Perez 

    21   Jim Gallagher, Kevin O'Neal, Michelle Haggerty, Charlie 
Newberry, Bruce Biermann, David Synatzke, Misty Summner, Jimmy Rutledge, John 
Burke, Chip Ruthman, Jean Foxx, Moyce Moore, Kathy McGinny, , Dana Wright, Jimmy 
John Edwards, Jim Lineburger, Scotty Parsons, Dale Burr, Dwayne Lucia, we thank 
you you 

    25   for your support. 

     1                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Whitney Marion.  

     2   Anson Howard.

     3                  MS. MARION:  I'm Whitney Marion.  And thanks to  

     4   to Texas Wildlife Association and Texas Parks and Wildlife 
Department.  I 

     5   had the amazing opportunity to attend the Buckskin 

     6   Brigades camp this summer held at the Chapparal Ranch in Zavala 
County.  Before 

     7   I went, I was kind of a little city girl whose family 

     8   had land.  And I had an interest in wildlife, but I 

     9   never really knew how I could ever make a contribution and 
attending the Buckskin 

    10   Brigade added a new dimension to my life.  And I am now 

    11   more educated and know how to better manage our land and 

    12   wildlife.  I've also become a resource for anyone who 

    13   has questions about deer habitat management.  And have 

    14   been able to offer numerous consultations on their land.  

    15   I'm sure my story has been repeated in the lives of 

    16   everyone who has gotten the opportunity to attend -- to the 
either the Bob White 

    17   Brigade or the Buckskin Brigade.  The Buckskin Brigade 

    18   gives young people, the chance to meet the experts in the field.  
And they 

    19   become role models and resources for their environment 

    20   in deer and land management.  Every dollar invested in 

    21   the Texas Brigades is returned multi-fold in the form of public 

    22   and increased emphasis on the conservation of Texas's 

    23   ideal eco systems.  Through the enthusiastic efforts of these 
cadets, the 

    24   citizens of Texas even enjoy increased appreciation for 

    25   conservation policies.  Thank you so much for your time 

     1   and effort.  And here is Anson to talk about the Bob 

     2   White Brigade. 

     3                  MR. HOWARD:  Good afternoon.  My name is 

     4   Anson Howard.  And this summer I attended both camps -- 

     5   Texas Brigades.  It was a life changing experience.  After 

     6   the completion of the camp, we cadets have the knowledge 

     7   and capability to make the difference in the world of 

     8   wildlife management.  Texas Parks and Wildlife 

     9   Department Cooperative Extension TWA,  NRCS and many 

    10   other private and public organizations have made Texas 

    11   Brigades possible.  We thank you for the contribution of 

    12   funds and the time of your employees that helped us 

    13   throughout the week.  Texas Wildlife Association has 

    14   played a major role in the founding and continuation of 

    15   the Brigades.  They are not a public organization, but a 

    16   group of landowners, hunters, and conservationists who 

    17   are dedicated to preservation of habitat and rights to 

    18   hunt and fish.  TWA has limits though and cannot 

    19   privately fund the organizations and research projects that are 
necessary to 

    20   accomplish all that it wants to.  Look at what TWA and 

    21   Texas Parks and Wildlife Department have already 

    22   accomplished.  All right.  Now think what they can 

    23   accomplish when they work hand in hand to preserve the 

    24   lone star state for future generations.  Deer hunting in 

    25   Texas has seen the same boom that the oil industry did 

     1   decades ago.  Quail though continue to be overlooked 

     2   while millions of dollars each year are spent on the research 

     3   preservation of deer habitat.  In some areas of state, 

     4   quail play a major role in the county's economy.  There 

     5   are other benefits to an increased quail population.  

     6   These birds require habitat with good grasses and brush.  This 
eliminates some of the problems  Texas 

     7   is faced with today.  Having good ground cover means 

     8   that when it does rain water will not run off into the rivers 
carrying topsoil 

     9   along with it.  Instead the much needed rain will soak 

    10   into the ground providing cities with water to meet their 

    11   vast requirements.  We ask the Texas Parks and Wildlife 

    12   Department step up the research on quail and dedicate more 

    13   funds to educating landowners on the benefits of increased quail 

    14   When the land is suitable for quail it is a win win 

    15   situation.  Everyone benefits.  Texas Parks and Wildlife 

    16   Department should feel proud to be part of such an esteemed 
organization as the Brigades.  

    17   The cadets thank you for the support that you have given 

    18   and hope that you will continue supporting Bob White and 
Buckskin Brigade. 

    19   Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has taken the 

    20   initiative to invest in the future of hunting and we 

    21   applaud you for that.  As Derrick Bark of Harvard University 
stated, if you 

    22   think education is expensive, try ignorance. 

    23                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Robert Brown and 

    24   Neal Wilkins. 

    25                  MR. BROWN:  I'm Bob Brown, I'm head the 
Department of 

     1   Wildlife and Fishery Sciences at Texas A&M.  And I'm 

     2   here today just to thank you on behalf of our students 

     3   and our faculty for your continued support of our 

     4   research programs, extension programs, and our academic 

     5   programs.  Unofficially, I can probably thank you on 

     6   behalf of the other eight universities in Texas that have 
similar programs funded by 

     7   Texas Parks and Wildlife.  At Texas A&M right now, our 

     8   as has 14 active research projects funded by Texas Parks 

     9   and Wildlife totaling over a million dollars in funding.  These 
range from population 

    10   studies on alligators to studies on Rio Grande turkeys 

    11   mourning doves, white-wing doves, a study on economic 

    12   impacts of anglers at the Sam Rayburn fishery, studies on 
prairie chicken habitat, 

    13     the Texas shrimp fishery,  

    14   distribution of black-capped vireos, and analysis of use of 

    15   facilities in Texas.  These projects fund over 20 graduates

    16   studying for degrees and Ph.D.s.  In addition, we have about 

    17   $200,000 this year alone from Parks and Wildlife funding our 
extension programs.  These 

    18   include very collaborative efforts on the Texas masters 
naturalist program, our 

    19   conservation education program which includes both aquatic and 

    20   hunter education and collaborative efforts to address the quail 
decline in 

    21   Texas.  And importantly this year Texas Parks and 

    22   Wildlife , Texas A&M, and the Texas Wildlife Association are 

    23   leadership in an important effort called the Future of Hunting 

    24   Texas.  But the most important thing I think you do for us, that 
costs you the 

    25   least money is your support of our academic programs.   At Texas 
A&M, we

     1   have about 400 undergraduates and 200 graduate students in 
wildlife and 

     2   fisheries.  Dr. Slack is with me today.  He brings over 

     3   our freshman class every semester to sit in on your Commission 

     4   meetings.  Those have been very enlightening to our students and  
I think they've probably been  enlightening to Dr. Slack as well.

     5    In addition, we take literally  hundreds of students on dozens 

     6   field trips to your management areas and your fish hatcheries.  

     7   you also support summer internships for our students and I know 
that funding 

     8   is tight but I encourage you to maintain it as well as 

     9   possible.  Also, you we house both Michelle Haggerty who 

    10   is our master naturalist coordinator in our department -- is 
housed in our department 

    11   as is Matt Wagner our local technical biologist who 

    12   works with our students and our clubs on deer check 

    13   station and burns and things of that nature.  Matt is also 
pursuing a  Ph.D. in our department.

    14   And finally I would like to thank you 

    15   and particularly for all your staff from your director on 

    16   down for their constant willingness to come over to 

    17   college station and give talks to our students, both in their 
classes and in their club 

    18   meetings.  This hands on experience in dealing with 

    19   wildlife management and policy issues in Texas is 

    20   absolutely essential for the training of our future 

    21   biologists in this state.  Thank you. 

    22                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Neal Wilkins and 

    23   Susie Marek.

    24                  MR. WILKINS:  Madame Chairman, members of 

    25   the Commission, my name is Neal Wilkins.  I'm the 

     1   extension program leader for Wildlife and Fisheries at 

     2   Texas A&M.  One of the things I want to do is actually 

     3   point out a couple of the partnerships that Texas Parks and 

     4   Wildlife has with Texas A&M and our Texas Cooperative

     5   extension.  You've already heard about one of those 

     6   partnerships, the Texas Brigades.  You've heard 

     7   about the cooperative and collaborative efforts that Parks and 
Wildlife employees 

     8   have with our academic programs.  With our extension programs 

     9   we have two very important partnerships and these play 

    10   well into the sunset provisions that you were asked to 

    11   emphasize this last year.  One of those is our 

    12   conservation education program.  Through the efforts of 

    13   Steve Hall, your education division director, we have 

    14   hunter education programs which leverage our 4H leaders 

    15   and adult volunteers to meet our joint mission of youth 

    16   education, through this program, the end product are 

    17   adult volunteers which work with youth in hunter 

    18   education work with youth in everything from the Texas 

    19   youth hunting program to efforts in minority and under 

    20   privileged inner-city youth in making sure that we have 

    21   proper recruitment of those individuals into our hunting 

    22   population.  We have an angler education program which 

    23   reaches thousands of kids per year.  And we also have a 

    24   cooperative program Prairie View A&M that you are a partnership 

    25   That partnership with Prairie View A&M helps conduct natural 
resources camps every 

     1   year.  With Prairie View A&M that reach hundreds of 

     2   minority children coming out of the major metropolitan 

     3   areas and actually gives them their first experiences at 

     4   fishes and also encourages them to participate in other 

     5   outdoor education activities.  We have dozens of examples of 

     6   effective partnerships -- one of them is Texas master naturalist 

     7   program.  Texas master naturalist program has resulted in 1700 

     8   volunteers -- over 100,000 hours of volunteer effort.  It's 

     9   been dedicate to do natural resources in the State of 

    10   Texas.  I want to thank you for the support of these 

    11   programs, encourage you to expand these when you 

    12   can and keep these partnerships alive with Texas cooperative 
extension.  Thank you very much.


    14                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Thank you.  Jeannie 

    15   Dullnig after Susie Marek. 

    16                  MS. MAREK:  Madame chairwoman, Commission, 

    17   Mr. Cook, friends of the staff here at Texas Parks and 

    18   Wildlife, my name is Susie Marek and I am the executive director 
of the Friends of Inks Lake State Park

    19   Our Memorandum of Agreement between state parks 

    20   Texas Parks and Wildlife rather and the Friends of Inks 

    21   Lake State Park expires on August 31st.  And I'm here to 

    22   let you know that the consensus of the board of directors is to 
not pursue a new 

    23   memorandum of agreement.  Our group at Inks also will shortly 

    24   dissolve after August 31st, as soon as the last donation check

    25   has cleared the bank.  Per our contract a list of physical 
property purchased with 

     1   Friends money has been provided to Bill Granbury, Region 7

     2   director for review anything that TPWD wishes to have 

     3   off of that list of course would become yours Per our contract 

     4   Also the monies in the Friends bank account will be 

     5   forwarded to a 501C3.  And we've decided to forward that 

     6   money to the Foundation of Parks and Wildlife to the 

     7   Lone Star Legacy Endowment Fund, dedicated to Inks Lake 

     8   State Park.  Our reason for terminating our relationship 

     9   is the removal and the transfer of superintendent Paul Kisel.  

    10   has been the superintendent at Inks for the last six years.  He 

    11   was the assistant superintendent for seven years prior to that.  

    12   was a dramatic force in bringing tremendous changes to 

    13   the park, a lot of improvements and expanded electrical sights 

    14   increased facilities to accommodate the handicapped 

    15   above and beyond basic requirements.  And a total 

    16   revamping of the park screen shelters to mini cabins.  We felt 

    17   distinct loyalty and we still do to Paul Kisel and to Inks Lake 

    18   Park mainly because of Paul's commitment to our park to 

    19   our visitors and to our community.  There's been no 

    20   reasonable explanation given for the action taken 

    21   against Mr. Kisel and with our heart and sole being 

    22   transferred to the Texas Oklahoma border, I believe at 

    23   Eisenhower -- the climate the way it is right now we no 

    24   longer wish to be partners.  On a personal note, I've 

    25   been a volunteer since 1994 at Inks and a camper at Inks since 

     1   1967.  I have met many dedicated Texas Parks and 

     2   Wildlife during this time.  And I've actually worked 

     3   with a number of you from time to time in my role as 

     4   board member on Texans for state parks.  I have truly 

     5   enjoyed my volunteering experience with the possible exception 
of the long days down 

     6   at the legislature.  Unfortunately, the management 

     7   decision to remove Paul Kisel saddens me greatly and 

     8   but to move on.  I thank you very much for your time 

     9   today. 

    10                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Dullnig and John Robinson. 

    11                  MS. DULLNIG:  Madame Chairman and members 

    12   of the Commission, thank you for having me today.  I'm 

    13   Jeannie Dullnig, and I represent the Stewards of the 

    14   Nueces, which is a group of landowners and 

    15   conservationists that came together out of our mutual 

    16   concern for the health of the Nueces River.  We are also 

    17   river users in that we swim and canoe, kayak,  fish, many of us 

    18   hike and bird watch in the beautiful and scenic Nueces 

    19   River.  So we believe in the public's rights to use the 

    20   river, but we don't feel that the public has the right to abuse 

    21   resource.  We are not a special interest group and we're 

    22   not asking for anything for ourselves.  We simply want 

    23   to see a wonderful state-owned resource preserved and 

    24   protected.  We were here in a large group this time last 

    25   year.  We testified about the negative impact of off 

     1   road motorized vehicles in the river and we documented our 

     2   testimony with photographs.  We decided not to come in 

     3   mass this year.  We know your time is valuable and we 

     4   know you heard us, but we are still concerned.  We're 

     5   more concerned than ever.  And the abuse of public 

     6   streambeds continues and is escalating as an alarming 

     7   rate.  The river cannot defend itself against this type 

     8   of activity.  Since I was standing here one year ago, 

     9   you have received reports from two of your own biologists 
telling of the indisputable damage to the 

    10   aquatic habitat in the riparian

    11   community of the river system.  Also in the past year a 

    12   task force was formed and four meetings were held.  

    13   After much discussion testimony research and scientific

    14   findings Texas Parks and Wildlife staff took the 

    15   position that motorized vehicle activity is a harmful 

    16   activity.  Page 16 of the final report to the commission 

    17   states, quote, it is the opinion of Texas Parks and 

    18   Wildlife staff that in those streambeds where motorized 

    19   vehicle activities are conducted water quality fish and wildlife 
and their 

    20   habitats are negatively affected by those activities.  

    21   Motorized vehicle used in a streambed is not a benign activity 
rather than 

    22   research conducted in other states has demonstrated the 

    23   negative effects of MV use in streambeds on fish and 

    24   wildlife resources.  Preliminary results of 

    25   investigations in Texas support these findings.  It is 

     1   an ecologically harmful activity, end quote.  As a 

     2   result of the task force, TP&W staff came up with two 

     3   options to present to the legislature as a member of 

     4   that task force I'd like to say that I support option 

     5   one and the Stewards of the Nueces also support it.  

     6   However, we also strongly believe that a state agency 

     7   should have the legal statutory authority over 

     8   activities in navigable streambeds and we feel 

     9   that Texas Parks and Wildlife is the logical one to 

    10   assume this responsibility.  It is our opinion that the 

    11   ecologically-sensitive river systems in this state should 

    12   be afforded the same protection and preservation as our 

    13   state parks and in closing, I urge you honorable commissioners 

    14   managers and conservators of the resources of this great 

    15   state to please accept the responsibility for these 

    16   water ways.  And protect them before it's too late.  

    17   Thank you. 

    18                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Hugh Preston Perron.

    19                  MR. ROBINSON:  Chairman Idsal, Commissioners.  My 
name is John 

    20   Robinson.  I'm a landowner on the Llano River therefore I have a 

    21   front row seat to the destruction of the Llano riverbed

    22   I've provided you with pictures showing you the before and 

    23   after effects of the traffic.  During the past two years 

    24   I've witnessed the disappearance of the bald eagle, water 

    25   turkeys, Texas white pelicans, herons,turkeys and 

     1   most of my other bird life.  The increase in population 

     2   has had a big impact on the Llano River.  John Graves 

     3   has written a book about six of the Texas Rivers.  One 

     4   of those is the Llano.  I'm going to quote from that.  

     5   Most of the 18 or 19 miles of the lower river miles from 

     6   the town of Llano to above Kingsland is not only tough 

     7   boating but tough to reach.  There are few access 

     8   points.  This is a bit hard on the recreationist, but 

     9   probably good for the river itself since these sections 

    10   get human use and pay a considerable part in maintaining 

    11   the streams overall health including fish populations.  The 

    12   pictures I provided you are of that section of the  

    13   river.  So you can see the change from the time that he wrote 
his book and today.  

    14   My concern today is the lack of law enforcement.  Drug 

    15   use is commonly noted.  Alcohol consumption is a 

    16   concern most drivers leaving the river have been drinking 

    17   and should be checked before driving out on the highway.  

    18   Ranch Road 3404 upstream the two game wardens issued 

    19   123 citations between January 2001 and June of 2002.  

    20   And I was involved in about 40 of those.  Many 

    21   violations are not cited and no law enforcement officer is 

    22   available.  A web site refers to the sheriff of Llano 

    23   County as a joke.  The two game wardens are assigned to patrol 
Lakes Buchanan 

    24   and LBJ on the weekends.  I called the game warden last 

    25   weekend and was informed that they had to turn in the 

     1   four-wheelers and he had no way to respond to my call.  

     2   We need help.  If the legislature does not curtail the vehicle 
traffic in the river law 

     3   enforcement capabilities must be improved and expanded.  

     4   I hope that we do not have to return to the old days 

     5   when we had to apprehend the trespassers.  Thank you for 

     6   selecting me to serve on the statewide task force.  It 

     7   was a great experience for me.  Thank you. 

     8                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Trey Berndt.

     9                  MR. PERRON:  Madame Chairman and committee 

    10   thank you for this opportunity to talk.  I'm Hugh 

    11   Preston Perron, I ranch Llano County and have ranchland 
bordering the Llano River.  

    12   My brother Leroy Perron, Junior served on the task 

    13   force and is unable to make it today.  He asked me if I can 

    14   convey his comments on option one and two and also know 

    15   had written Larry McKinney, senior director of aquatic 
resources.  I want to 

    16   respond to Texas Parks and Wildlife proposed option one 

    17   and two that's a preference I would like to offer 

    18   observation on our several task force meetings and 

    19   general exceptions for components one have accepted the 

    20   expert testimony the people brought before the task 

    21   force to provide it with the necessary information and 

    22   the results of a study relating to our mission.  Of the 

    23   many expert presentations made by law enforcement 

    24   officers, biologists, geologists, hydrologists, 
environmentalists, and fishery experts,

    25   all components have constantly, vocally, and aggressively 

     1   every expert that disagreed with their particular 

     2   points of view.  This occurred repeatedly regardless of the 
level of  qualifications or 

     3   standings of the experts in his particular field or 

     4   their experiences or their years of specialized 

     5   educations or the evidence they brought to support their 

     6   findings or opinions.  Regarding proposed options of the 

     7   task force to consider, I am in favor of option one.  

     8   The resource under study is a statewide resource and 

     9   should be regulated by statewide authorities.  The 

    10   development and the enforcement of the River bed use 

    11   regulations should be uniform throughout the state to 

    12   ensure fairness to all those concerned.  The regulations 

    13   should address a single subject.  The use of wheel 

    14   vehicles in or about the riverbeds.  Other recreational 

    15   forms of river And River bed uses are not now and have 

    16   not been historically a problem.  Fishing, boating, 

    17   hiking, and birding and riparian areas have never created the 

    18   uproar and public concerns currently associated with 

    19   wheel vehicle use as in evidence now by several 

    20   newspaper articles and letters to editors.  The state can 

    21   use funds from the motorized trail program to provide 

    22   suitable sites for wheeled vehicle use that will not 

    23   have the serious and adverse environmental impact on 

    24   being experienced in our state owned riverbeds.  My 

    25   reason for opposing option two are several.  Management 

     1   by local options will without doubt result in a 

     2   mixture of conflict regulations and different 

     3   jurisdiction and some overly and unnecessary protective 

     4   and other and permissives as to be useless to the goals 

     5   to which they are aspire.  The lower level of experts 

     6   and experience going into the regulations making it the 

     7   local level will result in a less objective, less 

     8   informed and less manageable result.  A far better and 

     9   more comprehensive result is likely to emerge from the 

    10   effort of the state agencies with years of cumulative 

    11   experience in the field.  A large and trained staff 

    12   educated in the subject at hand and adequate funding and 

    13   resource to devote to the task.  

    14   Additionally, if control is regulated in individual 

    15   communities the likelihood of political contest at the 

    16   local level of control over this new authority is likely 

    17   to be heated and diversities and various local interests 
actively vie 

    18   for control. 

    19                  MR. COOK:  Mr. Perron -- got a 

    20   red light here.

    21                  MR. PERRON:  Okay.  Thank you.  
   	                COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  We have your letter sir.
    22                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Trey Berndt and Sky 

    23   Lewey.

    24                  MR. BERNDT:  Good afternoon.  I'm Trey 

    25   Berndt.  I'm representing myself.  My wife really doesn't 
believe I can say anything in three 

     1   minutes.  So if I do that, I'd like somebody to send her 

     2   a note or something.  I've been fishing and swimming and 

     3   paddling in Texas rivers for about 30 years.  I 

     4   represent really - I've come to you as a perspective

     5    of fly fisherman, but I think you'll find my perspective as 

     6   common among paddlers and landowners, as well. 

     7                  First off, I'd like to really  thank the 

     8   Commission  for the hard work on this subject and the excellent 

     9   report and I'd like to commend the staff that wrote the report.  
It's tough to come out and 

    10   give your opinion when you work for a state agency sometime and 

    11   be clear about it.  And this report does.  And this 

    12   report documents that wheeled use of vehicles is an 

    13   ecologically destructive.  And that's a very clear 

    14   statement.  And I think the whole issue needs to start 

    15   from there. 

    16                  Pictures are worth a thousand words --  I can

    17   show you pictures and maybe get under my three minutes I 

    18   pulled these off the web site from one of the off road 

    19   organizations this documents the problem far better 

    20   than I could tell you.  It shows multiple vehicles in 

    21   the river.  One photo -- and I'm going to leave these 

    22   with you.  One photo shows up to ten or 11 vehicles in 

    23   the river or entering the river at the same time.  I can 

    24   tell you, as a fly fisherman -- and I should back up.  I 

    25   floated this section of river that are in these pictures 

     1   about a number of months ago.  And it was very 

     2   discouraging as a fly fisherman.  Got to have two things 

     3   for bass, I'm not a wildlife biologist, but I don't think ou'll 
disagree with me.  You've got to have bugs.  

     4   You've got to have aquatic life.  You've got to have 

     5   minnows.  That's what they eat.  That's your bass 

     6   fishery right there.  There's no way that either of 

     7   those things are going to be in this area.  The bugs 

     8   won't reproduce, the aquatic insect life won't be there, the 
minnows will head for 

     9   the hills.  The bass will be gone.  So I would ask you 

    10   to take a look at these -- they're discouraging.  And when 

    11   I floated through there several months ago, I saw multiple wheel 

    12   no sign of fish life.  And maybe more importantly and 

    13   this goes to the issue of is being in the river the 

    14   issue.  Well, being in the river isn't the issue.  The issue is 
is being in the 

    15   streambed.  Because in the areas where there had been 

    16   multiple wheeled  vehicle activity and these are generally large 
groups ten or 11 that go down the 

    17   river and the pictures will show you that, the bank  

    18   was eroded, as well.  And there were terribity (sic) in the 

    19   stream.  Fundamentally I'm going to go under my three minutes nd 
I'm going to leave you these pictures.

    20   This is fish habitat issue.  That's the first thing we 

    21   need to protect.  And I would ask for the Commission's 

    22   help as we work on the legislation on this issue.  

    23   That you guys can support and help us protect this 

    24   resource.  And thanks again for your time. 

    25                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Charles Draper next. 

     1                  MS. LEWEY:  Madame Chairman, Commissioners.  My 
name is Sky Lewey.  

     2   I work for the Nueces River Authority.  Con Mims couldn't be 

     3   us today.  He asked me to bring his remarks.  Chairman 

     4   Idsal and Commissioners, as a member of your 

     5   recreational vehicles in state owned stream beds task force, I 

     6   want to thank you for authorizing the group and 

     7   especially to commend Dr. McKinney and the other TPWD 

     8   staff who helped him guide this task force.  For their 

     9   highly professional and courteous conduct.  Your staff 

    10   was outstanding and it was a pleasure and honor to 

    11   serve.  Your staff has presented to you a report.  

    12   Resulting from the work of this task force titled 

    13   the findings on use of motorized vehicles in navigable 

    14   streambed task force.  Please note from that report that 

    15   it is the opinion of TPWD staff that in those stream beds 

    16   where motorized activity is conducted water quality, fish 

    17   and wildlife and their habitats are 

    18   negatively affected and that this is an ecologically 

    19   harmful activity.  They further note that Texas rivers 

    20   and associated plant communities are some of the last 

    21   relatively in tact, unaffected wildlife and fishery 

    22   habitats left in Texas.  They warn that it appears 

    23   unlikely that the water quality habitat and fish and 

    24   wildlife resources in those streams experiencing a water 

    25   activity can are sustained over the long term.  

     1   Especially if the ORV activity continues and grows as it 

     2   is expected to do.  Please note that this activity is 

     3   continuing and growing and has spread to the reaches of 

     4   the upper Nueces River that a year ago were virtually 

     5   untouched, as shown in the attached photographs.  I want 

     6   to reiterate the urgency of this resource protection 

     7   matter.  Recreational vehicles are not allowed to 

     8   operate in riverbeds in any state park or wildlife 

     9   management area in Texas.  Recognizing how damaging ORVs 

    10   can be to the natural resources and how incompatible 

    11   they are with other river users, other states in the 

    12   country have laws authorizing the banning of vehicles 

    13   from the rivers or otherwise controlling their use.  

    14   Overall, 33 states have river protection laws designed 

    15   to protect the recreational aesthetic and natural 

    16   resource values of their rivers.  ORVs should not be 

    17   allowed to spoil the opportunities of other 

    18   recreationists to fish and swim and paddle and otherwise 

    19   enjoy a natural environment.  They should not be allowed 

    20   to destroy the beauty of our public rivers for the sake 

    21   of recreation.  Your support of any action to prohibit 

    22   the use of off-road vehicles in state-owned streambeds 

    23   would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you for your 

    24   considerations of these comments.  Con Mims executive 

    25   director. 

     1                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Thanks to the Nueces 

     2   River Authority.  Charles Draper.  Susanna Freduig.

     3   Freduig? 

     4                  MR. DRAPER:  Good afternoon, Madame 

     5   Commissioner and Commissioners.  My name is Charles 

     6   Draper, I'm the steward of the Nueces River.  Unfortunately, 

     7   I'm not going to have the full-time with my three minute 
allocation to get 

     8   to the report that you are getting right now.  It's a 

     9   presentation I made to the Natural Resource Committee 

    10   back in February 27th.  It really deals with public 

    11   lands and the gradient boundary theory, which seems to be a real 
problematical issue between 

    12   private property rights and what actually belongs to the 

    13   public lands. 

    14                  Under the Texas Administrative Code on 

    15   chapter-- subchapter eight, chapter 65 the subchapter 

    16   applies to all activities subject to the Department of 

    17   Regulation on lands designated by the department as 

    18   public hunting lands regardless of the presence or absence of 
boundary markers.  

    19   The important point is public hunting lands are acquired 

    20   by lease or licensed or management agreements trades 

    21   gift purchased.  These records are of acquisition are on file 
with department of Central 

    22   depository.  In summary, they're recorded 

    23   conveyances.  So the problem is that according to Ben 

    24   Thompson, who is the General Land Office head surveyor 

    25   is that the Nueces River none of the Texas rivers have 

     1   ever been surveyed, so there is no survey that 

     2   ascertain where that boundary line is.  With regard to 

     3   the public domain verses gradient boundaries in chapter 21 of 
the public survey of 

     4   lands it says each survey of public land shall be made 

     5   under the authority of law and by a surveyor duly 

     6   appointed, elected, licensed, and qualified according to the 

     7   Vernon Texas Civil Statutes. 

     8                  Now we consider where the state or the 

     9   landowners survey established the matter of law -- the boundary 
between the Canadian riverbed and the riparian land.

    10   The legislative resolution gave landowner 

    11   permission to sue the State of Texas as to locate the 

    12   boundary in Senate House bill 165.  But more importantly I would 
like to go and try 

    13   to delineate where the gradient boundary is.  And we had 

    14   a landmark case that came out of the Texas Supreme Court 

    15   which on page two is Brainard, Rogers, Briscoe, Pickens, 
Pickens, Morrison Cattle Company, Whittenburg, Klein, Turner, Bowes, 
Whittenburg, et.al petitioners against the State of Texas 

    17   and the General Land Office.  And they really 

    18   looked to Oklahoma versus Texas act which said is in 

    19   bold this bank is typically the (inaudible) bank and is

    20   seldom at -- it the erosion or the cut bank.  The point 

    21   is that a lot of the problem with the 4X4s  

    22   that are in the rivers they don't delineate between where the 
gradient boundaries are and what  

    23   the public lands are and so if they can't delineate it. 

    24   It's very difficult to ascertain what they are 

    25   trespassing on and what is actually public lands.  So I guess we 
would like to ask you and 

     1   the commission to educate law enforcement so that they 

     2   would understand what the gradient boundary is and what is 

     3   part of the public domains in this next legislative 

     4   session.

     5                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Thank you.  Susanna Freduig. 

     6                  MS. FREDUIG:  Hi there.  I'm Susanna Freduig.  

     7   For me to be up here, you know it has to be really 

     8   important.  I support the mission of the Stewards of the 

     9   Nueces.  And I was born and raised in Uvalde County.  

    10   I've grown up forever up and down the river with my 

    11   brother.  We'd go fishing and love the river.  But we're 

    12   seeing it destroyed.  And if we don't act now, we're 

    13   going to lose it.  I've got grand kids.  I don't want to 

    14   lose it.  So I'm asking y'all to please help us with 

    15   this situation and save it for -- for my grand kids and for 

    16   your grand kids.  Thank you. 

    17                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Thank you.  

    18       (inaudible)

    20                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  David Langford.  

    21   Bobby Beamer. 

    22                  MR. LANGFORD:  Thank you, Madame Chairman, 
members of the Commission.  I'm   

    23   David Langford and I am representing the Texas Wildlife 

    24   Association.  You've heard today from our president, 

    25   Derry Gardner, and our new CEO, Kirby Brown, and also a 

     1   couple of our brigade cadets.  I am fortunate enough to 

     2   have a new CEO at TWA that will allow me to go back to being a 

     3   photographer that sometimes helps out around at the TWA 

     4   office.  Consequently, this may be my last time with any 

     5   official TWA status at this annual public hearing.  Next 

     6   year in August, I might be a private citizen.  I'll 

     7   still be here, but I'll probably be a private citizen.  

     8   I'd like to take this opportunity to thank those that I 

     9   have had the privilege to work with since starting in my 

    10   official capacity here.  I have worked with all of the 

    11   Commission chairmen since Ed Cox to present.  I have 

    12   worked with all of those commissioners since then to 

    13   present.  I was here when Lee bass and Chuck Nash were 

    14   just commissioners.  I've also had the privilege to work 

    15   with all of the executive directors from then to 

    16   present.  Of course I worked longest officially with 

    17   Andy Sansom but since Bob Cook and I have known each 

    18   other since this was a warm shallow sea.  I feel like that I 

    19   have worked with him for a long time.  And I 

    20   especially appreciate working with all of the staff 

    21   from then to present.  Listening to all of these people we 

    22   have all worked together on many many issues.  Some have 

    23   been very difficult and complicated.  Some have been 

    24   very derisive.  Some have been very devisive.  Some have 

    25   been pretty easy to take either side on the debate team.  

     1   And very few have been pretty easy.  One of those is I 

     2   say easy I mean philosophically, not necessarily 

     3   procedurely or getting it done.  I close by saying 

     4   that this - listen -- is an easy one.  There's nothing to this.  

     5   It's simple.  It's not an access issue.  This is a 

     6   damage issue.  You cannot go over to the grounds of 

     7   that pink building over here in downtown Austin - you can 
sunbathe, you can picnic, 

     8   you can do whatever you want to out there.  It's not an access 

     9   but you cannot have a tractor pull down there.  You can 

    10   go over here to the Bob Bullock Museum and have all the 

    11   access you want in there, but you can't get out your ropes and 
put tons and 

    12   drive holes in the wall and climb up to the top of the 

    13   building.  Why do you allow the activities outside the 

    14   borders of Garner State Park that you would not allow 

    15   inside.  I close finish by saying we will go to the '03 

    16   legislature and work hard to pass legislation not to ban 

    17   access, but to ban destructive behavior and destructive 

    18   practices.  This is an easy one.  Also in favor of the West 
Texas management is  

    19   deer permits.  And let me tell you the declaration in 

    20   that hallway out there looks great.  Thank you very 

    21   much. 

    22                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Thank you, David.  

    23   Bobby Beamer and then Allen Mize. 

    24                  MR. BEAMER:  My name is Bobby Beamer.  

    25   I'm from Spring, Texas.  I'm one of the founding board 

     1   members of the Texas Motorized Trails Coalition.  I'm 

     2   one of the two representatives for Texas for the National Off-

     3   Highway Vehicle Conservation Council.  And I'm not here to talk 

     4   about river access.  I'm here to talk about OHV parks.  

     5   The work that you've done with Andy and the RTF grant 

     6   program to help TMTC make an impact and give people a 

     7   place to go is tremendous.  It's historical.  And that's 

     8   where your focus should be.  As all these issues that 

     9   I've been monitoring which I haven't been involved in 

    10   the task force personally, but I've been monitoring all of

    11   the documentation and everything that's been going on.  

    12   And the focus once or twice came across OHV parks and 

    13   how that was an outlet to give the 200,000 ATVs in this state a 
place to 

    14   go.  There's kids sitting in their driveways on ATVs 

    15   pretending to ride because they have nowhere to go and 

    16   play.  That's where we come in.  That's where we've 

    17   gathered the management team that can help make it 

    18   possible.  I'd like you to look at California's system 

    19   with 130 privately owned and municipal and nonprofit 

    20   organization funded managed properties where people can 

    21   go ride off road, which alleviates the issues that we're 

    22   having now.  I'd like for you look at the PALS Program 

    23   in California, especially where they give urban kids a 

    24   chance to go out and play, teach them how to properly 

    25   use the equipment and have some fun.  And as far as 

     1   teenage boys are concerned, an ATV is dangerous and  exciting.  

     2   And that's exactly what they want to do, rather than 

     3   hang out with their buddies and get in trouble.  And if 

     4   you give them a chance, they'll do it.  I talked to Paul 

     5   Slobak (sic) and Harold Sloams (sic) in California at all of the 

     6   NOHBC meetings that we've had about their PALS and program and 
trying to 

     7   implement something like that in Texas.  It's a 

     8   difficult job and it's going to be -- it's going to take 

     9   money and time.  But if we can do It, we can take the 

    10   next generation of kids and get them out of illegal 

    11   trail riding, which is what my dad and I had to face all 

    12   the way back when I started riding, and still do.  And 

    13   focus them in these little pocket parks that we can 

    14   build close to urban areas where the kids and their dads can 
load them in the 

    15   truck  -- 20 minutes later there are some place where they can 
have some fun and they're not going 

    16   to be tempted to go riding illegally on the creeks and the 
springs and the bayous close 

    17   to their homes.  Got my speech.  I'd like you to -- I'd 

    18   like you to help the recreational  trails fund make two 

    19   changes, if at all possible.  Probably not possible, but 

    20   if at all possible that the first it GLO properties 

    21   and Texas Parks and Wildlife properties that are 

    22   unsuitable for hike and bike are exactly what the off 

    23   road community want - nobody else wants them -- give us the 
opportunity to use the 

    24   recreational trails found to buy those properties.  And 

    25   that's all I have to say.  That's plenty.  That's going 

     1   to keep us busy for the next decade.  Thank you. 

     2                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Allan Mize and then Carol 

     3   Smith. 

     4                  MR. MIZE:  Commissioners, thank you for 

     5   your time.  With this there's little I can say.  I'm -- 

     6   first of all, I'm Allen Mize.  I'm from Uvalde and I'm 

     7   also a member of the Friends of the Nueces, the Stewards 

     8   of the Nueces River.  I've been a property owner on the 

     9   Nueces River since I was born.  My father bought five 

    10   acres of land because he loved to enjoy the Nueces 

    11   River.  And I've been there all my life.  And there's 

    12   little I can say about the situation more than any other 

    13   has said other than an experience that I had here 

    14   recently in July, just to shed a little light on the 

    15   magnitude of the situation.  The gradient boundary 

    16   situation was brought up earlier.  And when a four-wheel 

    17   drive vehicle enters the basin within a few hundred yards down 
the river, 

    18   they have to make a decision whether they're going to 

    19   trespass or whether they're going to drive in the river.  

    20   That's just the way that the riverbottom is.  The state 

    21   owned property is defined by the gradient boundary.  And 

    22   a four-wheel drive person, as they go down the river, 

    23   has just got that decision to make - are you going to drive in 
the river or are you going to 

    24   trespass. 

    25                  I was -- I took my six-year-old girl 

     1   fishing about the middle of July.  And in the amount of 

     2   time of the six-year-old's attention span, 53 vehicles 

     3   went down the river right there around the Montell area.  

     4   Some in the water some trespassing, but all down the 

     5   river bottom.  One group of 14 and those 14 crossed the 

     6   river just down stream from where we were.  And folks, 

     7   that's that's pretty hard on the ecology of the river.  

     8   It's been documented also that these groups have been 

     9   counted in excessive of 108 vehicles in a row driving down the 

    10   river.  Something has got to be done about this.  I think the 
challenges at that 

    11   you face and all of us face is that these folks don't 

    12   realize that they're doing anything wrong.  As a 

    13   recently elected school board member in Uvalde, I find 

    14   it shameful that in my own district we don't teach 

    15   ecology.  We've got to get in the classroom at the 

    16   elementary school level.  And I think Texas Parks and 

    17   Wildlife can maybe get with TDA or TEA, Texas Education 

    18   Agency, Texas Association of School Boards.  And we've 

    19   got to get in the classroom at the elementary school 

    20   level and stay there through the through the level and 

    21   up to graduation.  Again, education in the areas of solutions, 

    22   -- the gentlemen before me spoke about parks.  Let's 

    23   give them a place to go.  It's a growing sport.  Let's 

    24   just get them out of the Nueces River bottom.  And 

    25   regulation, I think that's the only way to go at 

     1   this situation right now short-term.  Long term, it's 

     2   education.  And the last thing I'd say is read your 

     3   own mission statement.  I was going to read it to you, 

     4   but all of you know it.  And it's right there in your 

     5   mission statement.  I read it in the lobby.  Thank you. 

     6                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Next I believe we 

     7   have Carol Smith and followed by Nick Smith.

     8                  MS. SMITH:  Good afternoon, 

     9   Commissioners, Commissioner Armstrong.  My name is Carol 

    10   Smith.  I represent the American Motorcyclists 

    11   Association Community Council for the Texas Hill 

    12   Country.  I have had handouts please - no dear -- the 

    13   ones that are in front.  I'm sorry.  I brought quite a 

    14   bit of paper with me today.  I am also a member of the 

    15   Riverbed Task Force.  I'm also a member of the TMTC 

    16   Board of Directors, which Bobby Beamer spoke about 

    17   earlier.  At the House of Representatives, I presented a 

    18   letter from the AMA, which Chairman Idsal should have a 

    19   copy of.  I didn't have enough to give everybody.  But 

    20   I'd like to read the beginning opening statement of 

    21   that.  The American Motorcyclist Association is a not 

    22   for profit organization founded in 1924 and incorporated 

    23   in Ohio with nearly 270,000 enthusiast members 

    24   nationwide.  About 10,500 of them live in Texas.  Too 

    25   often, motorized recreation has been managed by 

     1   extremes, either by being ignored or prohibited.  The 

     2   ongoing debate reaffirms the need for the state to manage off-

     3   vehicle use by providing appropriate recreation 

     4   opportunities.  In 2001 alone, more than 45,000 new ATVs 

     5   were told in the state of Texas.  Texas ranks number one 

     6   in ATV sales in the nation.  Yet the state provides only 

     7   minimal managed recreation opportunities.  With this, 

     8   I'd like for you to look at the booklets that you have 

     9   there.  In the very back of that booklet, there is a 

    10   map.  If you'd open that map and look at it, you'll note 

    11   that California has 133 OHV parks.  A number of those 

    12   are managed by Forestry Service.  A number of those are 

    13   managed by their Parks and Recreation.  A number of 

    14   those are managed by municipalities.  When you mention 

    15   scientific evidence, I have a -- I'm sorry.  I keep 

    16   losing my thing here.  I'd like you to notice this stack 

    17   of paperwork that I've brought here.  That is six states 

    18   that have done months and years of study on OHV 

    19   recreation usage.  This is what Parks and Wildlife has 

    20   presented.  Okay?  Rick Taylor, when I interviewed him 

    21   on November 19th of the year 2001, said that this was an 

    22   informal survey, that he was not an expert on river 

    23   ecology.  I would ask please that we do more scientific 

    24   evidence before we have a chance to close these river 

    25   beds.  There are many of these like the Mendacino (sic) 

     1   National Forest upper lake ranger district in upper lake  
California, which states that given that 98 

     2   percent of the erosion occurs during rain storms, the 

     3   natural ability of the stream to clean sediment out had a big 

     4   effect on the sample result.  This is the downstream 

     5   control samples were at times cleaner than the upstream 

     6   control.  This is the difference often much greater than 

     7   the impact from trail runoff.

     8                  COMMISSIONER COOK:  Ma'am?

     9                  MS. SMITH:  Many of with these studies will prove 
that with managed 

    10   recreation opportunities there is no trails damage.  

    11   There's no stream damage. 

    12                  COMMISSIONER COOK:  Okay.  Ms. Smith, 

    13   time is up.

                       MS. SMITH:  Yes.

                      MR. COOK: Time is up.

    14                  MS. SMITH:  Okay.  I have some other 

    15   information that I'd like to give to you afterwards.  I 

    16   don't have enough time today.  But I'd like to work with 

    17   you in creating managed off-road vehicle opportunities 

    18   for the state.  Thank you. 

    19                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Thank you.  Nick Smith and 

    20   Raynice Shudde. 

    21                  MR. SMITH:  Hi, my name is Nick Smith.  And I am 

    22   of directors with the AMA Community Hill Country 

    23   Council.  And a little bit of the testimony y'all have 

    24   heard here this afternoon concerning tubing and kayaking 

    25   you need a couple of things for that on the Nueces 

     1   River, which is plenty of water.  On the average, from 

     2   what I've seen, I've been recreating, hunting, trying 

     3   to fish for about 40 years there.  On the average, I see 

     4   three to six inches of water -- very difficult to kayak 

     5   in or inner tube.  I've spent a lot of time there up and down 
the lower part of the Nueces -- the 

     6   upper side of it.  I have seen a lot of things that none 

     7   pp see coming from particularly the landowners and stuff 

     8   are very valid about people being drunk, drug use.  You 

     9   can find that anywhere.  You don't have to go to the 

    10   River to find this.  It's everywhere.  So it's not just 

    11   strictly something that's happening at the river.  And 

    12   that's kind of a management problem.  And I think if we 

    13   were going to try to close the rivers and deny people 

    14   vehicular access, then you've basically privatized these 

    15   areas for all the parents and grandparents and their 

    16   grandkids, because I will not be able to get there at 

    17   that point.  You have to make places accessible for the 

    18   handicapped.  Most of the good swimming holes that I 

    19   have found are four or five miles off the beaten path and you're 
not going 

    20   to hike to -- I'm certainly not going to hike to them and if you 
close it to vehicle 

    21   access, you privatize it at that point because your 

    22   public is basically not going to be there.  You're not 

    23   going to canoe there.  You're not going to inner tube there.  
There just simply isn't enough 

    24   water to get in there at any given time.  So I ask 

    25   that we look at some of the options that are being created and 
brought forward to 

     1   you, especially in the -- in terms of the studies that 

     2   have been brought to you'll through Parks and Wildlife.  We need 
to find out if 

     3   this river is functioning properly, regardless of what 

     4   it looks like.  Our wildlife and stuff is a different 

     5   issue from the looks of maybe some running areas and 

     6   stuff.  So we're providing our own studies to find out 

     7   if the river is functioning properly and what areas of 

     8   it are doing that.  And that's what we hope to 

     9   accomplish and bring forward to a panel at a later date.  

    10   We're not going to work out of simple speculation of 

    11   photographs and people's opinions.  I've been to every 

    12   one of these task force meetings and listened to quite a 

    13   bit of it.  So with some more studies if we find a 

    14   problem, then hopefully we can find a solution and help 

    15   solve it.  And it's going to be done through studies and 

    16   not through speculation.  Thank y'all. 

    17                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  George Garner:  Get 

    18   ready.  I think.

    19                  MR. GARNER:  Madame Chairman and 

    20   commissioners, my name is George Garner.  And I'm not a 

    21   representative of any organization or anything.  I'm 

    22   just a citizen of Texas.  And I my subject today is 

    23   public use of public land.  And I do think there's an 

    24   issue here about access, because if I wasn't driving a 

    25   vehicle but just walking down the river, I would find 

     1   landowners -- some of those in this room would object to 

     2   me being there.  Just my presence on this state-owned 

     3   land is an offense to them.  And I feel like that 97 

     4   percent of the state is privately owned as it is.  

     5   There's three percent left needs to be kept open to the 

     6   public for the public's use.  And I agree with the 

     7   gentlemen prior to me that talked about -- about 

     8   providing places.  If you don't want the four-wheel 

     9   drives to run up and down on the rivers, then provide 

    10   another place for them, because there's a lot of ATVs.  

    11   I don't know how many thousands somebody said was sold 

    12   every year.  And there's a lot of people that own 

    13   four-wheel drives.  Now, I don't own a four-wheel drive 

    14   Now, I don't own a four-wheel drive and I don't run up and down 
the river.  But I think 

    15   there should be a place for those people.  And Parks and 

    16   Wildlife are acquiring lands regularly acquisitions of 

    17   lands.  There was about three of them in the agenda this 

    18   morning.  So that there's bound to be someplace for 

    19   these folks to go with their four-wheel-drive vehicles.  

    20   And most citizens don't know that public land has a 

    21   legal -- public citizens have a legal right to use these 

    22   river bed lands for recreation such as picnicking and 

    23   hiking and biking and whatever.  It belongs to the state 

    24   and ought to be made available to the public and access 

    25   should be left open.  I would like to ask the Parks and 

     1   Wildlife to stop trying to get the legislature to pass 

     2   more laws restricting the public from using the rivers, 

     3   beaches, or other public lands for recreation.  Hunting 

     4   has already been outlawed in 18 counties in Texas.  And 

     5   the list grows longer each year.  It started with three 

     6   counties, and now it's 18.  So anyway, bottom line is we 

     7   need to keep public land open to the public, period. 

     8                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Raynice Shudde. 

     9                  MS. SHUDDE:  Madame Chairman, members of the 
board.  My name is Raynice Shudde.  

    10   I'm from Uvalde.  I'm a third generation Nueces River 

    11   lover.  My grandparents lived on the upper Nueces.  My 

    12   dad and mother lived in Uvalde.  There's been nothing 

    13   like the destruction for this length of time.  The 

    14   stories I've heard were always walking the river, 

    15   fishing the river, enjoying the river.  But we were 

    16   always taught great responsibility for the river.  The 

    17   last few years, it's been extremely apparent that 

    18   someone must take a stand and protect this wonderful 

    19   resource we have. 

    20                  I was noting the Texas river sign out in 

    21   the hall.  I think each one of you would be embarrassed  

    22   - I sure would - to put up a Nueces River out there with the 

    23   and the destruction that is going on at this point.  I 

    24   do agree.  I think it would be wonderful to have some 

    25   places for these off-road vehicles, but certainly not in 

     1   the riverbeds.  And I can't add any more than what or 

     2   David had said.  It has nothing to do with access.  It 

     3   has all to do with destruction.  And as a third 

     4   generation river lover, I just -- I hope you-all will 

     5   look down the line at the next three generations of 

     6   Texans, the future Texans, that you represent will be 

     7   privileged and allowed to enjoy the natural beauty of 

     8   the river without the vehicles in it.  Thank you very 

     9   much. 

    10                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Thank you.  Heinz 

    11   Aeschbach and Margaret Aeschbach.  Did I get that right?

    12                  MR. AESCHBACH:  I want to mention two 

    13   things here shortly.  Number one, about McKinney Falls 

    14   State Park.  I would like to make another strong 

    15   statement I wrote to you-all.  We talked here about it, 

    16   that the park should not be transferred.  There are so 

    17   many reasons I'm not going to enumerate them now.  It 

    18   just seems incredible that it is still in the final 

    19   draft. 

    20                  But number two, looking at the document I 

    21   see looking at this I find it to be quite flawed.  And 

    22   the draft, the final one, is not that much changed.  

    23   First we need to look at priorities.  I think the 

    24   priorities are that there are state parks that are 

    25   accessible where people can experience nature, where they 

     1   can learn about nature.  They can learn about history that 

     2   improve quality of life and improve mental health and improve 
physical health. 

     3                  The document shows 98 percent of Texans 

     4   feel it is important to have an opportunity to go to 

     5   state parks.  You have the statistic 33 percent that go 

     6   to state parks.  We have a discrepancy of 65 percent. 

     7   Two-thirds of the Texas population obviously wants more 

     8   access.  Now, how do you get more access if you close 

     9   several good state parks that are right where the people 

    10   are?  Then about assumptions.  There are notions about 

    11   size.  We want big state parks.  Why?  Nature is nature.  

    12   You don't need a lot of back (inaudible) we have to distinquish 

    13   between parks for quality of life and we have to 

    14   look at management and natural eco systems.  That's not 

    15   the same.  Then we look at the distinctions, also.  

    16   There is a big distinction between a national park or 

    17   state park alongside the nature is important.  And your 

    18   county parks, you can't switch these two.  (inaudible)


    20   The city park and the state park is not the same.  You cannot 
switch McKinney Falls State Park or Kerrville

    21   state park or Lockhart State Park to a city that is not that 
function.  These 

    22   are not baseball fields.  These are not places for 

    23   people to go drinking and running their dogs, et cetera.  I 

    24   wanted to just shortly talk about.  In this document, 

    25   you have the distinction of 90 mile radius.  I talked 

     1   about that before.  It just doesn't make sense to look 

     2   at something arbitrarily and make a big document out of it. 

     3                  MS. AESCHBACH:  I'm Margaret Aeschbach.  

     4   And I've lived in Texas most of my life.  State parks in 

     5   my estimation are special and unique.  It's a shame that other 

     6   special and unique places like for example, Barton Creek 
greenbelt were not 

     7   dedicated as state parks for conservation and 

     8   protection.  I really appreciate the way the McKinney Falls 

     9   State Park has been maintained over the 20 -- last 26 years of 

    10   existence.  And I appreciate the balance between 

    11   recreation and habitat. 

    12                  The staff and volunteers do an excellent 

    13   job of interpreting the special features, and mostly 

    14   maintaining an overall atmosphere of order and respect.  

    15   The specialists of McKinney Falls State Park 

    16   is well documented.  And I have here the little 

    17   document.  It's about the Texas Historical Society 

    18   of one of the unsung heroes of the Texas Revolution, Thomas 

    19   and this recent publication about the 

    20   geology of McKinney Falls State Park.  It's good to be 

    21   mindful of the gift of the land donated by the Smith 

    22   family from McKinney Falls State Park and the Texas 

    23   Parks and Wildlife Headquarters where we are right now.  This 
bronze plaque in the lobby will have to be replaced if the 

    24     McKinney Falls State Park goes over to the city or 

    25   the LCRA.  The plan to develop 5,000-acre parks within a 

     1   90-mile radius may look good on paper, but for a real 

     2   life park users those numbers are purely arbitrary.  Why 5,000 

     3   acres?  Do the planners black bear to the Texas hill 

     4   country?  I recently visited the Davis Mountains.  And 

     5   I couldn't --  one of the parks that's been expanded over 

     6   the 4th of July weekend.  There was no one using the 

     7   primitive camping area.  And the hike and bike -- the 

     8   mountain bike trail, no one there, as well.  And 

     9   furthermore, it was so badly rutted from disuse and 

    10   erosion that it was only really possible for the most 

    11   experienced and best equipped bikers.  I'm all in favor 

    12   of 5,000-acre nature preserves  but let's not be diluted in 
thinking that Texans 

    13   all want a back country experience.  Texans need the 

    14   opportunity to reconnect with nature and their families.  

    15   State parks are not theme parks.  Reading a book, 

    16   breaking a pinata, taking a flap are all immeasurably valuable 
activities, .  

    17   but most importantly, let's not forget respecting, learning 

    18   nature as interpreted through guided walks, interpretive

    19    trails, and displays like you can find at 

    20   McKinney Falls State Park.  This plan sites Texas as 

    21   being the first in the state with the largest number of 

    22   bird species.  And I'd wager to say that all of the ones 

    23   listed on page 36 of the plan can probably priority 

    24   bird species, which are declining, are probably 

    25   observable at McKinney Falls State Park.  Thank you. 

     1                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Thank you.  Kyle 

     2   McCain and Janice Bezanson.  Please try to limit your 

     3   comments.  I have to repeat this again to three minutes. 

     4                  MR. MCCAIN:  My name is Kyle McCain, I'm the city 

     5   manager with the City of Mejia.  Confederate Reunion 

     6   Grounds were put on the low priority list.  There was a 

     7   lot of worry that was raised in Mejia.  The state park 

     8   there sits between the old to Fort Parker Restoration site and 

     9   Tort Parker.  These are very near the Booker T.  

    10   Washington-Comanche crossing park.  These parks all sit 

    11   within the 90-mile radius of the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex and 
the park, Confederate   Union Grounds specifically 

    12    represent a unique -- two unique parts or 

    13   distinct parts of Texas history.  One is the post 

    14   reconstruction post civil war period where the 

    15   confederate reunions were held in that area.  And one 

    16   of the things they built there was a little pavilion 

    17   which is a beautiful structure and used to this day for 

    18   weddings and other reunions.  The other part of it is the oil 

    19    in the 1920s, Mejia boomed 50 to 70,000 

    20   population.  And that park was the source of water for 

    21   the oil boom.  So there's two parks that are very 

    22   closely tied into history.  The communities in our 

    23   area -- the city of Groesbeck, Limestone County, city of Mejia 
put a lot of money into the 

    24   Old Fort Parker restoration .  And we, in fact, the City 

    25   of Mejia puts a lot of money out of our hotel motel occupancy 
tax to promote all three of these parks.  In 

     1   fact, all four of the parks the Confederate Reunion Grounds, 
Fort Parker, 

     2   -- the Old Fort Parker restoration site in trying to 

     3   develop historical tourism in our area.  And we would 

     4   like not only to see that the Confederate Reunion Grounds 

     5   are protected as a state park, but my mayor has also 

     6   asked me to go one step beyond that and ask that y'all 

     7   consider hiking trails and campground facilities at the 

     8   Confederate Reunion Grounds.  And that park sitting 

     9   between the other two parks actually would be part of 

    10   the link between hiking trails connecting all of three of these 

    11   areas. 

    12                  Anyway, we would like primarily to make 

    13   sure that the Confederate Reunion Grounds does receive 

    14   consideration to stay on the list and would appreciate 

    15   your consideration in that area.  Thank you. 

    16                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Thank you.  Janice 

    17   Bezanson.  Is that correct?  Oh, hi.  Good to see you.  

    18   And Terry Colley. 

    19                  MS. BEZANSON:  Thank you, Madame 

    20   Chairman, members of the Commission.  I'm Janice 

    21   Bezanson and I'm with the Texas Committee on Natural 

    22   Resources.  We call it TCNR for the acronym.  We're a 

    23   34-year old statewide conservation group and also the 

    24   affiliate -- state affiliate of the National Wildlife 

    25   Federation.  My members follow Parks and Wildlife issues 

     1   very closely and sometimes they get a little exercised about it.  
And we're up here 

     2   really hammering on you a little bit, but I always appreciate 
the August comment 

     3   session because it gives me a chance to say thank you for all 
the things that you're 

     4   doing right.  And there are so very, very many of those.  

     5   Particularly of interest to my members are the resource 

     6   protection functions of Texas Parks and Wildlife.  Water 

     7   quality regulations that protect fish and wildlife 

     8   resources and particularly any activity that avoids 

     9   destruction of wildlife habitat are of critical 

    10   importance to us. 

    11                  One of the things we do every other year 

    12   to try to show our appreciation to the commission and the 
department is we testify before the 

    13   legislature when it comes time for the Parks and 

    14   Wildlife budget to show up.  And I think this year is 

    15   going to be one of the most critical years ever, because 

    16   we're in a situation where if we do not begin in 

    17   the state of Texas and really aggressively the land acquisition 

    18   program, we're going to end up without the wildlife 

    19   resources that we need in the future. 

    20                  If you look at the water - at the Parks and 

    21   Wildlife Conservation Plan that is about to be adopted 

    22   has recently gone through the public hearing and you 

    23   calculate, you know, the projected growth in population 

    24   for the state of Texas and then you look at the 

    25   recommendations for land acquisition, you find that if we do 

     1   grow at that rate and if we buy everything that's 

     2   recommended in the plan, ten years from now, we are 

     3   going to have fewer acres of Parks and Wildlife land per 

     4   capita than we have today.  That's going to be a 

     5   recreational problem, as well as a wildlife problem. 

     6                  But almost more serious even than that is that 

     7   so many of the large pieces of land in the state of  

     8   Texas are being chopped up into smaller pieces when land goes on 
the market many, 

     9   many times what it's being bought for is either 

    10   urbanization or being chopped up into smaller pieces.  

    11   And we need large pieces of land in order to provide breeding 
and habitat for the 

    12   wildlife of Texas.  So we're going to be at the 

    13   legislature supporting you and we hope you'll will be there 
asking for some money for a lot 

    14   more land acquisition.  Thank you. 

    15                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Thank you.  Terry 

    16   Colley.  And then Jay Kane. 

    17                  MR. COLLEY:  Chairman Armstrong.  Members 

    18   of the Commission.  I'm Terry Colley and the deputy executive 
director of the Texas  

    19   Historical Commission.  And I, like the lady that 

    20   preceded me, appreciate the time -- you went straight to 

    21   red, didn't you, Bob? 

    22                  MR. COOK:  I knew it was you, Terry.  I 

    23   do that every once in a while.  I'm watching you.

    24                  MR. COLLEY:  Well, we, 

    25   too, appreciate the work that you do.  And you've got a 

     1   lot of issues to deal with.  You know the one that we're 

     2   most involved with is historic sites obviously and we know that 
if there was an easy solution to this 

     3    it would have been done already.  So we 

     4   appreciate you appointing the historic sites  advisory 
committee.  We appreciate the 

     5   work of the staff, Bob and Walt and Bill and Cynthia and 

     6   Lydia.  And we want to continue to work with you on it.  

     7   And I promised Bob that I'd quit shooting him in the 

     8   foot and try not to do my own foot, too, at the same, 

     9   too.  So thank you very much.

    10                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Thank you very much, 

    11   Terry.  And I do want to compliment the Historical 

    12   Commission, your great leader, John Nau, and the staff 

    13   for all the cooperation you have shown.  And we look 

    14   forward to working together.  We've had a lot of 

    15   examples in this morning's meetings of interagency cooperation.  
I don't want the 

    16   Historical Commission and Parks and Wildlife to be any 

    17   Thank you very much.

    18                  Jay Kane and Mary Tallent. 

    19                  MS. KANE:  Good afternoon, Madame 

    20   Chairman.  Commissioners.  I'm -- my name is Jay Kane.  

    21   I'm a biologist.  My forte is native plants.  And I'm a 

    22   board Native Prairie Association of Texas.  I'm not here 

    23   to ask for money to put in my own pocket.  Biologists 

    24   don't make any money anyway.  Y'all know that.  I'm not 

    25   here to ask for money for recreating in any shape or 

     1   form, motorized or otherwise.  But what I'm here to ask 

     2   for is that you-all look very closely at helping save, 

     3   through conservation easements, the last little remnants 

     4   of prairie that this state has.  Gene asked me to talk 

     5   about the surveys that we did.  Two years ago, we 

     6   started surveying to try to find out how much of native 

     7   prairies -- I'm talking about real prairie.  I'm not 

     8   talking about recreated or reconstructed which I try to do, but 
nobody does a 

     9   really good job of it.  I mean - the Lord did it right the first 
time and that's the way it is.  And 

    10   we looked at the sites that David Riskind and David 

    11   Diamond surveyed 30 years ago when they were working 

    12   with Dr. Fred Smeins to figure out what the plant 

    13   community association in Texas was on these prairies.  And we 

    14   that we've lost a third of the remnants in the last 

    15   thirty years.  And what we did find some new ones, but 

    16   they're all small.  So I know y'all are focused on big 

    17   acreage.  And that is important.  But what the germ 

    18   (inaudible) and genotypes and eco types that are left to use 

    19   to reconstruct these prairies in other areas are only left 

    20   in these little areas.  And they're going to be gone 

    21   real soon.  So we need more conservation easements to finish 
surveying these areas so 

    22   that's what I'm asking money for.  Thank you. 

    23                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Thank you very much. 

    24   A subject near and dear to my heart, as well, being the 

    25   co-chairman of the South Texas Native Plant Restoration.  

     1   I applaud your effort. 

     2                  Mary Tallent and Jack Love. 

   MR. COOK:  Mary's gone.

     3             CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Jack Love and Diane Wassenich.

     4                  MR. LOVE:  I'm Jack Love.  I'm from Mico, 

     5   Texas.  Everybody knows where Mico is.  That's where the 

     6   dam was getting ready to break July 4th, two months 

     7   ago.  I'm the fire chief.  Let's just do this like a  

     8   wreck.  I'll get through it real quick.  I found out not 

     9   too long ago an open records is a very powerful tool.  

    10   Here is 175 pages I got from Medina County on the low 

    11   water bridge below Medina Lake dam that's fenced off 

    12   right now.  The public is being denied access. 

    13                  I have a packet I want to leave with 

    14   y'all.  Hopefully, someone will look at it.  Here -- if 

    15   I can go through my packet a little bit.  Here's the 

    16   Texas Supreme Court Law, Diversion Lake versus Heath.  

    17   Okay?  And it says, anywhere there's a navigable stream 

    18   and a public road crosses, the public has the right to 

    19   get in it.  Okay?  That is the bridge right below Medina 

    20   dam.  Right now, it's fenced off.  Okay.  Of course, 

    21   those fences got torn down during the flood.  Okay.  

    22   Everybody got equalized.  And I have some pictures of 

    23   that.  And, like this guy said right here, pictures are 

    24   worth a thousand words.  And here's a picture here in 

    25   the Medina River.  And it says, private property, 

     1   warning, unlawful entry could subject you to fine or 

     2   imprisonment, blah, blah, blah.  It's sitting in state 

     3   water.  That's what the Supreme Court of Texas said.  

     4   And the property owners have signs in there saying you 

     5   can't get here. 

     6                  Now, here's the new bridge.  They just 

     7   tore down the old bridge.  They built a new bridge, but 

     8   the -- both the -- the approaches just got washed out.  

     9   There's no way for the public to launch a canoe anymore 

    10   in there, to get in it.  But what I'm concerned with 

    11   is -- and it overlaps -- is fire protection.  I no 

    12   longer can get water for my fire trucks.  Neither can 

    13   any other fire department. 

    14                  12 --  I've been fire chief for a long 

    15   time out there.  I've drug in many a body, stopped 

    16   runaway boats, and done everything.  And now I'm asking 

    17   y'all for help.  12 years ago, we had -- I'm sorry if 

    18   I'm using up the time.  12 years ago, we had ten fire 

    19   departments and 33 fire trucks out there looking for 

    20   water.  Okay.  We can no longer get to it.  Okay. 

    21                  And here's pictures of the fences.  We 

    22   paid $956, people of state of Texas.  Here's in 1915 

    23   where they petitioned Medina Commissioner's Court, 

    24   turned it into a 50-foot first class road.  Okay?  And 

    25   now the people have fenced it out.  The people that 

     1   fenced it -- we paid -- taxpayers paid for this sod, and 

     2   it's now seven foot behind their fence.  I don't know 

     3   what else to do here. 

     4                  I've got -- also there's the yellow 

     5   light -- okay.  I've got four diskettes I got from Texas 

     6   Department of Transportation.  I'm not going to leave 

     7   them with you.  But if you want them, it's got pictures 

     8   of the bridge prior to construction, after construction.  

     9   And TxDOT did not get involved in any fences.  And now 

    10   the fences are there.  The public can't get in there. 

    11                  And the Supreme Court said they were 

    12   granted a permanent injunction from ever erecting 

    13   fences.  Okay.  And they have done it.  So there's the 

    14   law, and nobody is doing anything about it.  Okay?  

    15   Thank y'all.

    16                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Thank you.

    17                  COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Madame Chairman. Parks and 

    18   doesn't have any authority, does it?

    19                  MR. LOVE:  What do you mean, they don't 

    20   have any authority?  They're telling people they can't 

    21   fish there.

    22                  COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  What authority does 

    23   Parks and Wildlife have?

    24                  MR. COOK:  Tim.

    25                  COMMISSIONER RAMOS:  Have you gone to 

     1   TxDot?

     2                  MR. LOVE:  Yes, I've been to TxDOT.  I've 

     3   been -- TxDot is not involved in the fences.  Like I 

     4   told you just a minute ago, they didn't get involved.  

     5   That was a handshake deal between Medina County and the 

     6   fence builder, $5,000.  That's not in my open records 

     7   request of 175 pages here.

     8                  COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Mr. Love -- the point is -- 

     9   I believe Mr. Cook can say it -- can respond to that.  

    10   The Parks and Wildlife has no authority whatsoever to 

    11   enforce the no fencing laws.

    12                  MR. LOVE:  Okay.  Then why were they 

    13   telling -- why are they telling people they can't fish 

    14   in there?

    15                  COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Well, now, that's a 

    16   different -- you're talking about a different subject.

    17                  MR. LOVE:  Well, it kind of overlaps  

    18   when you say you can't go in there.

    19                  COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Who is telling 

    20   people they can't fish there?

    21                  MR. LOVE:  You've got Medina County 

    22   deputies and others.  It's interesting that the 

    23   Medina County deputies are on the payroll of the people 

    24   with the fences.

    25                  COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  But not Parks and 

     1   Wildlife.

     2                  THE LOVE:  Boy, I -- you can get in real 

     3   trouble talking here.  You know what I mean? 

     4                  COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  I don't -- I guess 

     5   I don't understand what your point is.

     6                  MR. LOVE:  No.  You ain't out there.  But 

     7   I mean, it's just -- you've got fences there.  They're 

     8   erected in the wrong spot.

     9                  COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Sir, I recognize 

    10   you're frustrated and you've really got some serious 

    11   problems.  But my point is that we -- there's nothing 

    12   this body can do about it.

    13                  MR. LOVE:  Okay.  But, I mean -- then we 

    14   can conclude there that someone can go in there and go 

    15   fishing?

    16                  COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  I -- is that 

    17   correct?  I would presume so.

    18                  MR. LOVE:  Since there is a Supreme Court 

    19   decision on that -- on that very bridge granting it.  

    20   I'm sorry if I bring -- you know, sometimes the truth 

    21   will not make you popular.

    22                  COMMISSIONER RAMOS:  Do you know -- is 

    23   that stream defined as a navigable stream?

    24                  MR. LOVE:  Of course, it is.  It's the 

    25   Medina River.

     1                  COMMISSIONER RAMOS:  It is.  Okay.

     2                  MR. LOVE:  It's the virgin lake.

     3                  COMMISSIONER RAMOS:  The only other 

     4   issue -- who has placed those fences?  Did the county 

     5   place the fence or the abutting landowners?  Or do you 

     6   know?

     7                  MR. LOVE:  Well, the county and the 

     8   abutting land owners -- a handshake deal, like the 

     9   Medina County Judge says, that's not going to be in the 

    10   request.  That was a handshake deal between us and the 

    11   fence builder.  And it just sits there.  And people 

    12   drive by and it says, you know, private property.  And 

    13   it's not private property. 

    14                  COMMISSIONER RAMOS:  Well, I think I 

    15   agree with Mr. Angelo, vice chairman, we don't have 

    16   jurisdiction over that.  You ought to --

    17                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Have you been to the 

    18   commissioners court?

    19                  MR. LOVE:  Oh, yes, I've been to 

    20   commissioners court.  And they just -- I am frustrated.  

    21   And it's not that -- I can't get water for my fire 

    22   trucks anymore because of the new fences.  That's my 

    23   only source of water, basically.  Okay?  And now we're 

    24   fenced out.

    25                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Why don't we review 

     1   the information you brought to us, and perhaps we can 

     2   get to you and -- with some information as to who the 

     3   jurisdiction -- who does hold jurisdiction.

     4                  MR. LOVE:  Perfect.

     5                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Okay.

     6                  MR. LOVE:  I understand the incident 

     7   command system.  You're IC.  I'm IC.  Let's do 

     8   something.

     9                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Thank you.  

    10                  MS. WASSENICH:  My name is Diane 

    11   Wassenich.  I'm the executive director of the San Marcos 

    12   River Foundation.  And I served on the Texas Parks and 

    13   Wildlife Rivers Conservation Advisory Board and the 

    14   four-by-four task force most recently.  And I want to 

    15   thank you for the opportunity because it really widened 

    16   my experience and my understanding of the issues that 

    17   you face.  I had no idea 17 years ago, when I started 

    18   working on water quality and water quantity issues, that 

    19   I would be spending so much time talking about the 

    20   four-by-four issue.  But I did learn a lot and I do 

    21   encourage you to find ways for the four-by-four 

    22   community to have places using the gas tax funds. 

    23                  I won't cover all that because so many 

    24   other people have covered it today.  But I do have 

    25   brochures about the San Marcos River Foundation water 

     1   right application that I want to leave with you today.

     2                  And I would appreciate the opportunity to 

     3   answer any questions individually and meet with any of 

     4   you individually who would like to know more about it.  

     5   Basically, we applied for a water right because it 

     6   became very clear to us that your -- your study of 1998, 

     7   published in 1998, the huge study about the Guadalupe 

     8   Estuary, was shelved and was not being used by the 

     9   agency that does do water right granting. 

    10                  In public meetings, we have been told 

    11   that, yes, they knew that study showed that a certain 

    12   amount of water was required to keep that bay alive.  

    13   But TNRCC could not figure out how to use that study.  

    14   And we came to the conclusion that if we didn't step up 

    15   and lay some money on the table and apply for the water 

    16   right, that there was going to be no water left to 

    17   discuss about how much to leave for the bays and 

    18   estuaries.  And so that's why we applied. 

    19                  This has been going on for about two and 

    20   a half years.  We hope to have a draft permit very soon.  

    21   And it's going to come down to whether or not your 

    22   study, Texas Parks and Wildlife's study, is a respected 

    23   and true representation of how much water is needed by 

    24   the Guadalupe Estuary. 

    25                  There is a lot of people who are going to 

     1   be opposed to using that study.  But I encourage you to 

     2   encourage your staff to defend that study.  It's an 

     3   important precedent-setting one.  And it is key to 

     4   whether the Guadalupe Estuary will survive or not.  

     5   Thank you for all y'all are doing on the land and water 

     6   plan.  We've read.  We've commented on it.  There's some 

     7   great stuff about water in there.  It's going to be up 

     8   to you, as the agency that does protect the resources of 

     9   the state, to make sure that our rivers and our bays and 

    10   estuaries survive.  I'm afraid no one else is going to 

    11   do it. 

    12                  So I thank you for the energy you've put 

    13   into it, the time and the money.  And thank you for what 

    14   you're going to be doing in the coming year.  Thank you.

    15                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  Thank you.  That 

    16   concludes the public comment.  I do need to acknowledge, 

    17   for the record, the letter from Dana Larson regarding 

    18   the causeway rubble creating the world's biggest and 

    19   best artificial reef. 

    20                  Mr. Cook, is there any other business to 

    21   come before this commission today?

    22                  MR. COOK:  No, ma'am.

    23                  CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG:  I declare ourselves 

    24   adjourned.  Thank you, very much. 



Katharine Armstrong, Chairman

Ernest Angelo, Jr., Vice Chairman

John Avila, Jr., Member

Joseph B. C. Fitzsimons, Member

Alvin L. Henry, Member

Philip Montgomery, III, Member


Donato D. Ramos, Member

Kelly W. Rising, M.D., Member

Mark E. Watson, Jr., Member