Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
Public Hearing

August 27, 2009

Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
Commission Meeting
Cactus Room
Amon G. Carter Jr. Exhibits Hall
Will Rogers Memorial Center
Fort Worth, Tarrant County, Texas

BE IT REMEMBERED, that heretofore on the 27th day of August, 2009, there came to be heard matters under the regulatory authority of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission in the Cactus Room of the Will Rogers Memorial Center, to wit:




Donations of $500 or more for August 27, 2009
Not Previously Acknowledged by the Commission
  Donor Description Detail & Purpose of Donation *Amount
1 Safari Club International — Alamo Chapter Other Goods Thirteen (13) G2 Surefire Flashlights and Safariland Belt Loops for use in Law Enforcement $990.00
2 LakeRat Other Goods One thousand (1,000) Koozies with Nobody's Waterproof and LakeRat logos for Nobody's Waterproof campaign $1,030.00
3 Jackson Safety Other Goods One hundred fourteen (114) pairs of shooting ear muffs, one hundred twenty (120) pairs of shooting glasses and forty (40) boxes of ear plugs for incentive awards and Texas Parks & Wildlife Expo $4,227.26
4 Dell, Inc. Controlled Items One (1) Dell 5330dn high volume laser printing system for prototype testing in fulfillment environment $2,293.97
5 Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation (Phillip Morris Endowment) Cash To assist Project WILD program in purchasing Project WILD manuals $27,000.00
6 Sheltered Wings, Inc. DBA Eagle Optics Other Goods Forty-five (45) Binoculars to increase interpretive opportunities in State Parks. $2,250.00
7 Grapevine Convention and Visitors Bureau Cash Support of boater education program activities and loaner materials $500.00
8 Fanthorp Innkeeper's Controlled Items One (1) Remington model 1887 10 gauge shotgun to supplement the historic interpretation of Fanthorp Inn $577.50
9 Deer Park Police Department Controlled Items Five (5) L3 Mobile vision VHS In-Car video cameras for use for our game warden's patrol vehicles $11,500.00
10 Texas Bighorn Society Controlled Items One new Nikon D60 SLR digital camera with one 18-55mm lens and one 70-300 mm lens to provide quality camera equipment to TPWD for the TPWD sheep restoration program $1,299.99
11 Texas Bighorn Society Other Goods Provided food and drinks for two desert bighorn sheep hunts $1,481.54
12 Charles M. Lusk Other Goods Provided twenty-five (25) live oak trees approximately ten (10) feet tall for Galveston Island State Park $1,250.00
13 Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation Cash Cash to be used to pay the Southern Environmental Enforcement Network dues. $5,000.00
14 Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation Cash Cash for the purchase of forensic evidence imaging device(s) $5,000.00
15 Camp Longhorn Capital Property One (1) electric fiberglass Duffy boat, type Bay launch for interpretive tours at Inks Lake $13,210.00
16 Washington-On-The-Brazos State Park Assn. Capital Property One (1)1795 Springfield Musket with Bayonet $1,125.00
17 Estate of Roma Anna Voss Hafermann Cash Cash to be used at the discretion of the agency $31,963.90
18 East Texas Woods & Waters Foundation Other Goods One (1) fish cleaning deck 8' x 12' with three sides and a recycled plastic deck floor $994.99
19 East Texas Woods & Waters Foundation Other Goods Eight (8) Levelor mini blinds for installation at the Tyler Nature Center Visitor Center conference room $780.00
20 East Texas Woods & Waters Foundation Capital Property One (1) covered pavilion with bench seating and brick paver floor adjacent to fishing pier at the Tyler Nature Center pond $13,980.05
21 Global Impact (Halliburton Employees & Halliburton) Cash General Donation $1,371.98
22 SPX Marketing Other Goods Fourteen (14) sets special duty Law Enforcement uniforms and twenty-four (24) T-Rex style rat traps $1,357.18
23 Karen Loke Cash Winnings from Outdoor Writer's of America Association for the purpose of assisting the video news program $674.00
24 Ridgelake Energy, Inc. Cash Artificial Reef Program Rigs-to-Reefs $135,942.50
25 Rowan International, Inc. Cash Artificial Reef Program Rigs-to-Reefs $50,000.00
26 Texas Wildlife Association Cash For the Matador WMA Youth Shooting Sports Event $500.00
27 Allied Fence Co. Other Goods Eight hundred (800) feet chain link fencing to protect Ft. Worth Hatchery pond levee from animal damage. $3,500.00
28 Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation (Toyota) Cash To assist various agency programs: Texas SP Guide, SP maps, SP interpretive brochures, Texas Outdoor Family and local/county park partner programs, Life's Better Outside Advertising Campaign, conservation license plates, Spanish translation, Archery in Schools, in-school youth shooting sports, wallet license holders and bag limit cards. $250,000.00
TOTAL $569,799.86
*Estimated value used for goods and services
Retirement Awards
Division Name Title Location Service
Wildlife Danny Swepston NRS VI Canyon 37 Years
Infrastructure Barry Bennett Eng. Spec. VI Austin 36 Years
State Parks Anthony Cruz Park Ranger V Pilot Point 18 Years
Service Awards
Division Name Title Location Service
Inland Fisheries Bruce Hysmith NRS VI Pottsboro 35 Years
State Parks Tim Hogsett Manager V Austin 30 Years
State Parks Frank Roberts Park Specialist I Concan 20 Years
Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
Commission Meeting
August 27, 2009
Name/Organization, Address Item, Number Matter of, Interest
Hollis Rutledge, Jr., City of Mission, 410 N. Mayberry Street, Mission, TX 78572 #7 — Outdoor Park Grant Funding For — City of Mission Northwest Park
Julio Cerda, City of Mission, 1201 E. 8th Street, Mission, TX 78572 #7 — Outdoor Park Grant Funding City of Mission Northwest Park
Dan Meacham, Timberlane U.D., 9019 Newcroft, Tomball, TX #7 — Outdoor Park Grant Funding  
Julian J. Gonzalez, City of Mission, 1801 Bryon #7 — Outdoor Park Grant Funding  
Kenny Hamilton, City of Linden, Box 115, Linden, TX 75563 #7 — Outdoor Park Grant Funding  
David Withers, City of Brownwood, P.O. Box 1389, Brownwood, TX   Outdoor grant
Steve Lowe, Kendall County Parks, 201 E. San Antonio Street #4, Boerne, TX 78006 #7 — Outdoor Park Grant Funding For
Robert Armistead, Travis County Parks, 1010 Lavaca, Austin, TX 78701 #8 — Urban Outdoor Park Grant Funding  
Willis Winters, Dallas Park & Recreation Dept., City Hall 6 FN, Dallas, TX 75201 #8 — Urban Outdoor Park Grant Funding  
Mayor Joe Cordina, City of Parker, 5700 E. Parker Road, Parker, TX 75002 #9 — Recreation Trails Grant Funding  
Shawn Napier, City of Paris, 150 1st Street SE, Paris, TX #9 — Recreation Trails Grant Funding For
Earl Erickson, City of Paris/Reno, 106 Hideaway Lane, Powderly, TX #9 — Recreation Trails Grant Funding  
Don Berglund, Timber Lane Utility District, 22803 Whispering Willow Drive, Spring, TX #9 — Recreation Trails Grant Funding Cypress Creek Hike and Bike Trail
Tony Eeds, Texas Motorized Trails Coalition, 1407 San Saba Drive, Dallas, TX #9 — Recreation Trails Grant Funding For - RTP funding
Bobby Sanders, 315 Commerce Street, Childress, TX #9 — Recreation Trails Grant Funding For ATV grants
De’Onna Garner, City of Arlington, 717 W. Main Street, Arlington, TX 76012 #9 — Recreation Trails Grant Funding Grant Application — crystal Canyon
Kurt Beilharz, City of Arlington, 717 W. Main Street, Arlington, TX 75013 #9 — Recreation Trails Grant Funding  
Juan F. Zuniga, Rio Grande City, 101 S. Washington, Rio Grande City, TX #10 — Special Appropriations Riders For — City of Rio Grande
Kelley Snodgrass, Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, 2155 CR 2008, Glen Rose, TX #10 — Special Appropriations Riders  
Ron McClements, Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, 2155 CR 2008, Glen Rose, TX 76043 #10 — Special Appropriations Riders Zoo grants
Don Doering, City of Teague, 105 S. 4th Avenue, Teague, TX 75860 #11 — Small Community Park Grant Funding  
Audry Shipley, City of Krugerville, 5097 Highway 377, Krugerville, TX 76227 #11 — Small Community Park Grant Funding Small grants
Terry Modeland, City of Meadows Place, 1 Troyan Drive, Meadows Place, TX 77477 #11 — Small Community Park Grant Funding  
Herbert R. Haynes, 15250 Wortham Bend Road, China Spring, TX 76633 #13 — Target Range Grant Funding  
William Woods, Central Texas Rifle and Pistol Club, P.O. Box 20367, Waco, TX #13 — Target Range Grant Funding For
Stan Jarosz, Central Texas Rifle and Pistol Club, 7614 Cedar Rock Parkway, Crawford, TX 76638 #13 — Target Range Grant Funding For
Jerry Smith, Central Texas Rifle and Pistol Club, Waco, TX #13 — Target Range Grant Funding For
Dan Roeber, Falconry and Raptor Council, 9115 Bentwater Parkway, Cedar Hill, TX 75104 #18 — Raptor Proclamation — Federal Certification of TPWD Falconry Rules  
Gene Richardson, Texas Farm Bureau, 5613 Rosalie Drive, Waco, TX 76702 #19 — Crop Depredation  
Kenneth Schwartz, 7118 S. Fairview School Road, San Angelo, TX 76904 #19 — Crop Depredation  
Larry Holubec, 11002 CR 1640, Paint Rock, TX 76866 #19 — Crop Depredation  
Brandon Craig Biedermann, 18646 PR 1673, Paint Rock, TX 76866 #19 — Crop Depredation Crop loss
Sarean Sok, 7110 Summer Lane — CR 574, Rosharon, TX 77583, #20 — Harmful or Potentially Harmful Fish, Shellfish and Aquatic Plans — Special Provision — Water Spinach Regulations For
Sameth Nget, 7954 CO 121, Rosharon, TX 77583 #20 — Harmful or Potentially Harmful Fish, Shellfish and Aquatic Plans — Special Provision — Water Spinach Regulations For
Chith Lonn, 7954 County Road 121, #20 — Harmful or Potentially Harmful Fish, Shellfish and Aquatic Plans — Special Provision — Water Spinach Regulations For
Vibol Thong, 2214 CR 758, Rosharon, TX #20 — Harmful or Potentially Harmful Fish, Shellfish and Aquatic Plans — Special Provision — Water Spinach Regulations For
Toby Lee Tao, 7203 Summer Lane, Rosharon, TX #20 — Harmful or Potentially Harmful Fish, Shellfish and Aquatic Plans — Special Provision — Water Spinach Regulations For
Jaycee Doak, 7956 CR 121, Rosharon, TX #20 — Harmful or Potentially Harmful Fish, Shellfish and Aquatic Plans — Special Provision — Water Spinach Regulations For
Saloeurn C. Yin, 8203 S. Summer Lane, Rosharon, TX #20 — Harmful or Potentially Harmful Fish, Shellfish and Aquatic Plans — Special Provision — Water Spinach Regulations For
Ruby Vongsaly, B & K Lucky Farm, 6714 Amy, Rosharon, TX 77583 #20 — Harmful or Potentially Harmful Fish, Shellfish and Aquatic Plans — Special Provision — Water Spinach Regulations For
Johnny Bopho, B & K Lucky Farm, 6714 Amy Lane, Rosharon, TX 77583 #20 — Harmful or Potentially Harmful Fish, Shellfish and Aquatic Plans — Special Provision — Water Spinach Regulations For
Katherine Tauch, 6740 Road 511, Rosharon, TX 77583 #20 — Harmful or Potentially Harmful Fish, Shellfish and Aquatic Plans — Special Provision — Water Spinach Regulations For
Michael Lee, New Truong Nguyen, 3555 W. Walnut #221, Garland, TX 75042 #20 — Harmful or Potentially Harmful Fish, Shellfish and Aquatic Plans — Special Provision — Water Spinach Regulations  
Patrick Ong, Carrollton Plaza Supermarket, 2541 Kings Gate Drive, Carrollton, TX 75006    
Ross Vnu, Hiep Thai Food Store, 3347 W. Walnut Street #101, Garland, TX 75042 #20 — Harmful or Potentially Harmful Fish, Shellfish and Aquatic Plans — Special Provision — Water Spinach Regulations  
Nall Sok, 7110 Summer Lane, Rosharon, TX 77583 #20 — Harmful or Potentially Harmful Fish, Shellfish and Aquatic Plans — Special Provision — Water Spinach Regulations For
Paul Boeur, 6702 Amy Lane, Rosharon, TX 77583, #20 — Harmful or Potentially Harmful Fish, Shellfish and Aquatic Plans — Special Provision — Water Spinach Regulations Asking permission to grow water spinach
Chelsea Tang, 8710 CR 121, Rosharon, TX 77583 #20 — Harmful or Potentially Harmful Fish, Shellfish and Aquatic Plans — Special Provision — Water Spinach Regulations Asking for issue the permit to sell water spinach


COMMISSIONER HOLT: Good morning, everybody. Welcome. We've got a full house. It's wonderful. Glad to be in Fort Worth. It's — the city's been good to us. And the mayor was here yesterday welcoming us and we've had a great reception in Fort Worth. So we're very, very pleased to be here. Let's get started.

This meeting's called to order August 27th, 2009, at 9:00 a.m. or a little after. Before proceeding with any business I believe Mr. Smith has a statement to make.


MR. SMITH: I do. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Public notice of this meeting containing all items on the proposed agenda has been filed in the Office of the Secretary of State, as required by Chapter 551 Government Code, referred to as the Open Meetings Act. I would like for this fact to be noted in the official record of this meeting. Also, I just want to welcome everybody to the commission meeting today. I know we've got a number of items that the commission is going to be taking action on. And many of you have come from far away to speak on those items. And so for some of you it may be your first meeting.

And so I just want to talk a little bit about the protocol in terms of how we'll handle it. Outside you can sign up to speak on a specific item. When that item comes up, the chairman, Chairman Holt, will call you by name. He will ask you to come forward. And you'll have three minutes to address the commission in a constructive and civil fashion. I'll be keeping time here. Green means go, yellow means start to wind up and red means stop. And so those are the rules that we'll adhere to today. Also, I ask for those of you that have BlackBerries or cell phones, if you all would be so kind as to turn those off or silence them for the duration of the commission meeting. Again, appreciate all of you joining us today.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you, sir.

Next is the approval of the minutes from the previous meeting held May 28th and July 22nd — we had a budget meeting on July 22nd — which have already been distributed. Do I have a motion for approval?


COMMISSIONER HOLT: Commissioner Martin. Second by?


COMMISSIONER HOLT: Second by Commissioner Friedkin. All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Hearing none, motion carries.

Chairman, next is the acknowledgment of the donations list, which has also been distributed. Do I have a motion for approval?


COMMISSIONER HOLT: Commission Hixon. Somebody give me a second.


COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Commissioner Bivins. All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Hearing none, motion carries.

Now, we do the fun things; we do service awards. Okay.

MR. SMITH: Mr. Chairman and members of the commission, today we've got a number of colleagues with us that we're going to be honoring who have retired after long-standing service to this agency and then also colleagues that are still with us that have had many, many years of service. We're going to start out with one of our biologists from up in the panhandle, Commissioner Bivins, who you know well, Danny Swepston. Started as a seasonal there on the coast, there at the Murphree area. If you count that time in which he was with the department he's been with us close to 40 years. And was ultimately hired by Dan Lay, who, just as an aside, was I think the first degreed wildlife biologist in the state. Wrote a wonderful book called — Land of Bears and Honey— . And he imparted that to Danny, who carried that on to his career. Moved to Austin. One of the first ones really to work on threatened and endangered species-related issues for the state in the '70s. Spent time out in West Texas and ultimately served as our district leader in the Panhandle for 20 years and has many legacies to be proud of, not the least of which was the old Goodnight buffalo herd and bringing that into captivity there and management of Caprock Canyon State Parks. And Danny Swepston's been a great member of our team. Proud to recognize him. Danny's here today.



COMMISSIONER HOLT: Congratulations. Thank you.

MR. SMITH: Another one of our colleagues who's been with us almost as long who has just retired and a native son, I think, of this community, Barry Bennett. Barry's with — been with our infrastructure team as an engineering specialist involved with the design and engineering of many of our state parks across the system, there at McKinney Falls, Headquarters, LBJ, any number of places. The joke in infrastructure is if you've got a question about why something was done just go ask Barry and he'll have the answer. Back when the state was celebrating the sesquicentennial there at San Jacinto he was responsible for all of the engineering, as we have been stewarding the battleship. He's been responsible for all of the electrical facilities, making sure that we had warning systems in case there were floods, putting in appropriate pumps. He's just been a great asset to our team and we're sorry to see him go, although I know he spent this summer, I think, with a fly rod in his hand in some Colorado trout streams. So Barry, I know, is enjoying his retirement. We're very, very proud to recognize him today for 36 years of service. Barry Bennett.



COMMISSIONER HOLT: Congratulations, Barry. Thank you.

MR. SMITH: Tony Cruz was with us in our state park system for almost 20 years. Started as a park ranger there at what was then Lake Lewisville State Park before moving over to Lake Ray Roberts, became an expert on water and wastewater-related systems. Moved his way steadily up to the ranks to become our lead park ranger at the Bois D'Arc unit there at Lake Ray Roberts, where they are saying grace over a lot of outdoor recreation on the lake. Taken a great deal of pride in working for this agency and particularly the people that he's worked with. And we're going to miss him and wish him all the best. So after 18 years, Tony Cruz.

Tony, please come forward.


COMMISSIONER HOLT: Congratulations. Thank you.

MR. SMITH: We're going to now honor some colleagues for their service that are still with the agency. They haven't ridden off to some trout stream in Colorado. But someone who knows quite a bit about fish is Bruce Hysmith. And Bruce started back in the '70s at Palacios at the Perry Bass research facility and hatchery, did some of the pioneering work on propagation techniques for red drum and spotted sea trout. Helped develop the tools and techniques then to stock red drum in some inland waters. Late '70s he moved over to Lake Texoma to head up our fisheries station there in North Texas overseeing public waters in eight counties. And if you know Lake Texoma it is a world-class striper fishery. And Bruce is very, very responsible for the development of that. Works very cooperatively with our colleagues in Oklahoma on the management of water and fisheries on that Lake. I — he's been involved in too many research projects to count. I think he must have cooked up something and it was probably McCarty that gave him permission to do a two-year study on striped bass hooking mortality, which meant he got to fish for two years. So not all bad for a fisheries biologist. Bruce has done too many good things to enumerate. You have been hearing a lot about the zebra mussel issue, and Bruce and his team have been front and center working on that. And we're very, very proud to recognize Bruce Hysmith for 35 years of service.

Bruce, please come forward.


MR. HYSMITH: Good to see you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Good to see you.

MR. SMITH: The next colleague that we're going to recognize needs no introduction. You're going to hear from him quite a bit. And we're going to celebrate his 30 years with the department today. Tim Hogsett. Tim has been with our Recreational Grant Program which you all know well. He has led that for close to 25 years. Oversees a program in which we have nine grant programs and 15 colleagues. We hear all about the agency needing to do more to invest in local communities and urban communities and communities throughout the state. Tim and his team do that every day. And over the course of a year will give away sometimes as much as tens of millions of dollars to help enable local recreation and conservation priorities. During the course of his career he's overseen a program that has helped give away over 2,000 grants and about half-a-billion dollars to local communities in Texas. So Tim's advanced our mission well. Tim Hogsett, 30 years.



MR. HOGSETT: Pleasure to serve you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you, sir.

MR. SMITH: Garner State Park is one of the great flagship parks of the state. I know many of us grew up going there. And Frank Roberts, who's celebrating 20 years today with us started his career as a seasonal intern there at Garner. Ultimately went on to the Hill Country State Natural Area or Lost Maples and worked with our force account team on infrastructure, which is a specialized team that goes around the state and works on various and sundry construction and repair projects. Was ultimately hired back at Garner as a park ranger and recognized on his own volition that we didn't have very good interpretive and education programs there at Garner and that they needed to be developed. And so he ultimately was hired to help lead that effort. He's been a wonderful ambassador for this agency, recognized by many, many groups and people. The Frio Canyon Chamber of Commerce just gave him the award, I think, for the Outstanding Citizen of the Year. Back in 2007 Reserve America honored him with America's Park Ranger of the Year. And so we're very, very proud to have him on our team. Frank Roberts, 20 years of service.



COMMISSIONER HOLT: Congratulations, sir.

MR. SMITH: We now have an opportunity for our last but certainly not least recognition to recognize a colleague in law enforcement. And I think as all of you know, we are very active in a number of law enforcement associations throughout the country, one of which is the Midwestern Association of Fish and Game Officers. And we're very proud that this year a Texas officer has been named Officer of the Year.

Clint Hunt, another Panhandle boy, comes from very good genes. His father, Gary, just retired after — I think, 30, 35, 37 years, Gary, but who's counting? — as a game warden up there in Clarendon. Had the chance to meet his wife and Clint's wife and their son. Really has epitomized the whole spirit of kind of community policing up there. Very active in his church group, elected to the school board, very involved in working with the school board. They help kids graduate. He's been recognized by a lot of our partners. You know how closely we work with landowners up there. Cattle raisers honored him for his work to help stop cattle rusting and being involved in that. And he was recognized with our law enforcement director's citation for helping to save a drowning child. And so this award is well earned. And very, very pleased to present it today to our colleague, Clint Hunt.

Clint, please come forward.


COMMISSIONER HOLT: Wonderful. Congratulations, sir.

MR. HUNT: Thank you.


MR. SMITH: Mr. Chairman, I think that concludes my remarks. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Wonderful. Thank you.

Okay. Thank you very much. It's always wonderful to give out those awards and recognitions. With that, anybody who would — we're going to head into our regular part of our program. So if anybody wants to leave after service awards, please feel free to head out. You're welcome to stay if you want to.

Action Item Number 2, Election of a New Vice-Chairman. And do we have any nominations? Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: I'd like to nominate Dan Friedkin to serve as vice-chair. And I think Dan has served us very well, is an incredible steward of our mission. And so I enthusiastically nominate him if he will accept it.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Do we have a second by —


COMMISSIONER HOLT: I think Commissioner Falcon wanted to second that. And it says, We'll now hear from those who signed up to speak on this. Is there anybody that would like to speak on that? Do we — that's what's written on my — okay. Well, I'll go back to Item Number 1. Don't panic. Ann's getting nervous already. I'm trying to skip over items. Right? Yes, yes. All in favor of that for our friend, Dan Friedkin?

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Hearing none, motion carries.

You're vice-chair again, buddy. Thank you very much.


COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you very much.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: In my usual way I've already messed up. The first order of business is Item Number 1, Action, Approval of the Agenda, which we're going to go through today. Is there a motion for approval?



COMMISSIONER HOLT: So moved. Commissioner Hixon. Second by Commissioner Friedkin. All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you. Motion carries. Okay. We'll now head into the Item Number 3, A Briefing, Texas Land Trends Study.

Mr. Carter Smith, will you please introduce some people? Thank you. Some good friends.

MR. SMITH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. It's my privilege today to introduce Dr. Neal Wilkins, head of the Institute for Renewable Natural Resources at Texas A&M, a long-standing partner of this agency, one of the most prominent wildlife biologists in the state working on applied wildlife management issues. And Blair Fitzsimmons, no stranger to this group. Blair, a rancher, very involved with American Farmland Trust, is one of their project directors, lead project directors, in Texas and also, the Executive Director of the Texas Agricultural Land Trust.

And I think all of you are acutely aware of this issue of habitat fragmentation and the major implications it has to the fish and wildlife resources of this state. And Neal and Blair have been very involved with research on this issue, have just done another study to give us some of the trends that are going on throughout the state. And they're going to share with us some of the results of that research and then some of their policy ideas for how we'll move forward. And I believe Neal's going to start.

So, Neal, all yours.

DR. WILKINS: Mr. Chairman, members of the commission, I appreciate the opportunity to talk with you today. I want to briefly go over some of the results that we've put together in a ten-year glimpse at the fate of agricultural lands in the State of Texas. And when I say agricultural lands I mean farms, ranches and forest lands, those lands that provide the underpinning for our natural resources and also provide the sustenance for the entire state.

State of Texas — just to overview — and I have to overview it for myself quite often — 171 million acres that we have responsibility for here. Here's in general how the state is broken up. About 6 percent of it is developed. That's about 7 or 8 percent at this point. These numbers are a little bit old. And you can see native rangeland making up a large preponderance of the state. The other land uses that are indicated there shift over time. And they are also influenced by ownership size and the changes in the ownership demographics across the state. And that's really what our particular study was about, was to try to see what some of the trends were as we move forward and kind of get a vision for 2020, if you will, down the road.

Between 1997 and 2007 our population increased by 22 percent. So we had an increase of 4.3 million people. By 2020 we will have another increase of 6.5 million people which will put us squarely at about 30 million people in the State of Texas. Our agricultural lands, our — and loss of those agricultural lands are well related to that population increase, as you would think they would be. 2.1 million acres were converted across the state. You see those areas that are highlighted in red are those areas in which we lost farms, ranches and forest lands primarily to development. So lands that were converted from private farms, ranches and forest lands into some form of land use that really is no longer providing us with all of the natural resource benefits, water, wildlife that we could get.

Forty percent of that conversion happened in just 25 counties. So these 25 high-growth counties across the state account for 85 percent of our population growth in the state and about 40 percent of that change or that loss of agricultural lands in the state. And in those 25 counties we lost a little over 861,000 acres, which is an area about the size of Bexar County and Travis County put together, Mr. Chairman.

So here is what it would be in kind of a land consumption rate statistic. For every 1,000 new immigrants into these — or population increase into these 25 high-growth counties we lost about 270 acres due to that population increase. And we can use those numbers — and they vary across the state. And there's some nuances there. But we can use those to make some projections. With current rates of land consumption, these high-growth areas — just these high-growth areas — will consume another 1.4 million acres by 2020. That's quite a loss. That's quite a loss.

Some of the other impacts that we've had across the state — and I'm going to try to go through them briefly — I know you have some materials there and you can refer back to those and I'm going to give you some areas where you can go to get more information and hopefully be able to include this information in some of your planning efforts. If we look at some of the patterns of ownership size — so this represents ownership size — far upper left, those ownerships that are less than 100 acres in size — when it's green that means there's a bunch of them, when there's red that's not very many — and if you look at the other end of the spectrum, those that are greater than 2,000 acres in size, basically large farms, ranches and forestland ownerships, where they're concentrated. They're concentrated, as you would expect, in the western part of the state.

One of the driving factors leading to changes in this ownership size distribution is the decreasing profitability of private land management. Using traditional measures of agricultural revenues we can take a look at what the net positive proceeds are by ownership size. So if you look at ownership size down the — along the bottom part of that graph versus the proportion and you can see that at about 500 acres is the breaking point. When a property in Texas on the average across the state falls below 500 acres it's less likely to be profitable than those ownerships that are above 2,000 acres in size. Prosperous landowners and profitable landowners have the revenues to invest in conservation. Those that don't, won't.

Now, there's exceptions. And, in fact, there's a new class of landowners that own those smaller ownerships where there are considerable investments made there. Here's the statewide change in these various ownership size distributions. The only class statewide of ownership size that actually increased are those ownerships that are less than 100 acres in size. We've gained about 470,000 acres of those small ownerships. We lost a large amount from mid-size ownerships and we lost a moderate amount in those ownerships that are 2,000 acres and larger, large farms and ranches.

But there's a pattern of loss across the state that we need to look at. Those areas that are green actually gained large ownerships over that ten-year period. So there was some consolidation. And you can see that there's a pattern. On the flip side those areas that are brown or maroon, I guess that is, lost ownerships that are greater than 2,000 acres in size. So that was a fragmentation trend across that area. And you can see that that fragmentation trend actually patterns after the major ecological regions of the state.

So there are some real ecological regions, thus pointing out some real economic reasons that have to do with land productivity leading to ownership fragmentation. Those ownerships in the Trans Pecos, Edwards Plateau and South Texas are traditional large family ranching areas of the state, all following a fragmentation trend. In fact, you can see that those areas that consolidated in the northern part of the state gained about 2.5 million acres of those large ownerships over time. But that was fully offset and then more by those areas that received a fragmentation effect. So we lost about 3 million acres of large farms, ranches and forest lands in the southern part of the state. And those were busted up into smaller ownerships.

And you can see that the Trans Pecos, Edwards Plateau and South Texas brush country led the way and that. Statewide status of our land use, how things have changed over the last ten years, we have lost native rangeland, we've lost almost 2 percent of our native rangeland. And that loss of native rangeland is very much related to that fragmentation of large ownerships in the Trans Pecos and Edwards Plateau and South Texas. We've also lost dry crop lands. And as you can see at the bottom almost a ridiculous statistic, the percentage amount for the increase in wildlife management use. Now, these numbers come from the State Comptroller of Public Accounts.

And as you'll recall, in 1996 we had our constitutional amendment that allowed for wildlife management use to be a productive agricultural use. Let's take a look at what has happened there. From 1997, where we had about 100,000 acres of wildlife management use across the state, we see an exponential increase in those ownerships that claim wildlife management as their principal and primary use. This is a success story, I think. And you can see across the state where that pattern is, where those ownerships that have converted their land use to wildlife management use, largely due to many of the biologists that work for Texas Parks and Wildlife working with those — this program in those areas converting 2.5 million acres into very productive wildlife management use now.

A few take-home points. You can read these take-home points. I'd rather give you three take-home numbers, to tell you the truth. These are kind of our 20/20 vision numbers, if you will. 142 — 142 is how many million acres of private farms, ranches and forest lands we have in the State of Texas. Almost the size of the entire national forest system. But we're losing 210,000 acres per year. 210,000 acres per year. So over a 10-year period we'll lose about 2.1 million acres. 1,900, that's the other number. That's how many new farms and ranches we have every year due to fragmentation and break-up of large ownerships, 1,900.

Blair Fitzsimmons with American Farmland Trust has worked hand-in-hand with our team at Texas A&M, and they've developed some policy recommendations. I think she wants to review some of those now. I appreciate your attention.


MS. FITZSIMMONS: Good morning, Mr. Chairman and Commissioners.


MS. FITZSIMMONS: Thank you all for letting us be here this morning.


MS. FITZSIMMONS: I'm here to start the discussion on what to do with this information. It's one thing to have the data, it's another to actually do something with it. And the concern we have is how to make this information translate into a conservation priority, a public policy if you will, for the state, how to focus attention on the fact that we're losing valuable rural lands. Let's see if I got this right. Yes. I've got several policy recommendations that American Farmland Trust issued on the basis of this information. I'm going to hit the high points and really focus on two of them here because I know that we're short on time.

But our first policy recommendation is funding for the Texas Farm and Ranchlands Conservation Program. In 1999, I believe it was, Parks and Wildlife — Texas Parks and Wildlife Department hired American Farmland Trust to conduct a study of Purchase of Development Rights programs or PDR programs. And the Texas Farm and Ranchlands Conservation Program is the culmination of that effort. It was passed by the Legislature in 2005. And it creates a statewide Purchase of Development Rights Program through which the state can provide funding to nonprofit organizations to purchase conservation easements from private landowners. This was designed essentially for the landowner for whom the donated conservation easement is not feasible. They want to stay on the land but they may not have the income to put that donated easement against. They want to continue farming and conservation but they need financial incentives to be able to continue to do that.

The Texas Farm and Ranchlands Conservation Program is housed at the General Land Office and as of today it does not have funding. Its purpose was to address critical natural resources used in Texas like water, source protection, watershed protection, as well as to provide buffers for critical state assets like parks and military bases and other type assets. So it's got kind of a multi-functional design behind it. It just has no funding today. Funding for the program would help us help Texas utilize some USDA programs that are also designed for the same purpose. The Grassland Reserve Program, which provides for perpetual easements, as well as lease contracts and the Farm and Ranchlands Protection Program, both of which require a 50 percent match. And in the information I provided for your books I laid out funding that other states receive primarily because they have sources of state funding to put against those programs and enable them to draw down those federal funds. To date in Texas we have not really utilized these programs. Compared to other states percentage-wise, we're pretty far behind.

I'm going to skip on — these are all listed in the materials that you have, as well as on our web site with descriptions. I'm going to skip to the last recommendation here, which are new policy innovations that provide market incentives for landowners to conserve their lands. Again, in Texas compared to other states we have very few programs that fill this purpose or address this issue. In looking at other states most of their conservation programs are tied to tax credits of some sort, an income tax credit or property tax credit. And those types of approaches obviously don't work in Texas. We don't have an income tax and we've already got ag valuation and wildlife valuation as an incentive for conservation.

But we need a variety of tools that don't necessarily involve conservation easements, perpetual solutions. Those oftentimes don't work for every situation. We need more market-based incentives much like the San Antonio Aquifer Protection Initiative, which is a program that purchases conservation easements from landowners out in Uvalde to protect the aquifer for the City of San Antonio. Another is the Recovery Credit Program at Fort Hood, which is to mitigate the loss of habitat for the golden cheeked warbler. Both of those kinds of examples are tied to resource conservation issues. And those are the types of programs that we need to explore more of in Texas.

So that is just a quick and dirty overview of our four or five policy recommendations. And as I said, you know, we hope to start the discussion. This is not the end all here. But we would like to see, you know, this data taken and used in the formation of some good public policies that help address the loss of rural lands in Texas. So thank you for allowing us to be here. It's a very quick overview. There's a lot more to this. And we are more than happy to come back and talk to you at future dates or work with staff to help integrate this.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Wonderful. Thank you, Blair. Can I ask you a — because it says here, at least in this particular policy recommendation, Keep working lands in agricultural production.


COMMISSIONER HOLT: Now, are you talking about also wildlife conservation or both or just help me?

MS. FITZSIMMONS: We used the broad definition of agriculture. Really taken from our property code that includes wildlife management —


MS. FITZSIMMONS: — activities.


Any questions for Blair?

COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Can we get a copy of the PowerPoint —


COMMISSIONER BIVINS: — a printed copy of that?



COMMISSIONER HOLT: And do we have a copy of the previous speaker's points, too? Can we get a copy of —

(Simultaneous discussion.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Oh, it's all in here.

MS. FITZSIMMONS: We can get —

COMMISSIONER HOLT: I'm looking at my book. That's something, isn't it?

MS. FITZSIMMONS: I urge you to go to the web site that Dr. Wilkins has set up. It's texaslandtrends.org. It's a very dynamic tool.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Can you say that again? Sorry.

MS. FITZSIMMONS: It's www.texaslandtrends.org. And it's a very dynamic tool. You can go in and look at a lot of this data by county, by river basis, by eco-region. You can slice and dice it in many different ways. In the upper left-hand corner there's a little button that you push, land trans-visualizer. It gives you all sorts of ways to look at this data. It's very —


MS. FITZSIMMONS: — powerful.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Wonderful. Thank you.


COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you. I appreciate it.

Okay. Good briefing. We're now into Action Items. Item Number 4, Operating and Capital Budget. Mr. Mike Jensen, please.

MR. JENSEN: Good morning, Commission. For the record, my name is Mike Jensen. This will be the same presentation that we had at the finance committee yesterday. So I'm going to try to go through it quickly. If I'm going too quickly just slow me down.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: You don't think we'll remember it from yesterday?

MR. JENSEN: Oh, you probably will.

I'm going to go over the park receipts for 2009. They're up slightly, 1.9 percent, $663,000. The biggest gains that we had are entrance fees, state park pass and donations. Concessions are down this year. But overall, we're up.


MR. JENSEN: On the boat revenue, overall it's down. This slide is actually incorrect. I told you yesterday it's down by 3.8 percent, $738,000. We're narrowing the gap. The first quarter was very far behind fiscal year '08. It was in double digits. Now we're about 3.8 behind '08 in closing. Sale of license revenues through July were down .6 percent, $592,000. But as of August 19th we're actually up by a million dollars, which is about 1.13 percent positive. A lot of that is attributed to the other category. The lifetime license combo sales is astronomical right now. This is the number of licenses sold. Overall, we're up by nearly 1 percent. However, in some of the other categories, residential hunting, non-residential were down slightly. And one category that we're up is non-resident fishing. And that's the primary category that we're up. And then the other is — includes the lifetime licenses, lifetime combo licenses where we're significantly up.

Yesterday we talked about this slide, how game fish and water safety's Fund 9, state park fund is Fund 64. This local park fund is focusing on Fund 467. The reason it's down is how we've been told to deposit some federal funds. The Comptroller told us to put them into Texas Parks and Wildlife Fund 223. That particular issue has been resolved by the Sunset Bill. We'll have authority in 2010 to deposit these federal funds in 467, also in Fund 64.

We had a number of budget adjustments during this — between May and this current meeting. The largest one is House Bill 4586, Supplemental Appropriations Bill. And we talked about that yesterday. $16 million increase federal grants. Five million of that is the NOAA grant. We have donations increases $120,000, interagency contracts and net of $11,000. Other appropriated receipts $119,000, some rider provisions $990,000, unexpended balances of $2.7 million and unemployment fringe benefits. The sub-total of the adjustments is $28.5 million for an adjusted budget of $498 million.

This slide shows a summary of object of expense, and we're doing fairly well overall. This slide shows through June 30th, which means we're 17 percent of the year remaining. And the total says 39 percent as a balance available. But you have to account for the grants line. Most of those grants funds will be allocated in the month of August, this month.

Going to move onto the fiscal year 2010 operating budget, which starts on September 1st. That's the first day of fiscal year 2010. We started with the Base Appropriations Bill and then we looked at the exceptional items that were approved by the Legislature and allocated those to the strategies and divisions as appropriate. And the divisions that support the direct service delivery divisions are spit-funded through Fund 9 and 64. So we allocated that appropriately. We made sure that the budgets that were requested by divisions were matched by cash in the appropriations bill and we budgeted capital items at 100 percent.

This slide kind of walks through what I just summarized. We start with the General Appropriations Act. We're in Section 6 of that Act. We had some supplemental appropriations in Articles 9. The big pieces of that was the law enforcement salary increases for Schedule C employees. And there was a small piece for a license plate. And Article 12 is the stimulus funding piece of the appropriations bill. We were slotted to receive potentially $1.7 million. It's more probable that the department will receive $500,000, which we will use for law enforcement for boats along the Border. And we have a new cap on full-time equivalent positions at $3,178.3, which is an increase over the current fiscal year.

This will give you a crosswalk of how we've built the operating budget. We start with Article 6, $380 million. Then we added the Article 9 and Article 12. Then we had some adjustments for appropriated receipts, federal funds, interagency contracts. And the supplemental bill that was $16 million, $14.6 million of that is going to be moved into 2010. We also accounted for the battleship bonds of $25 million, which will actually be added as a budget adjustment to 2009 and it will be moved forward by UB process for 2010. And we have fringe benefits and benefits re placement pay of $40.5 million. That's our base budget.

The exceptional items that were also included was in the base budget, accounts for the salary equity, which was the first exceptional item through Rider 27. We have additional funding for statewide capital repairs and construction. We have additional funding — and I think the large portion of the crowd today is interested in the vegetation control funds that we have. And some funding for off-road vehicle recreation sites in the Panhandle. And state park fiscal controls, $820,000 in additional funding for the statewide data consolidation services contract through DIR, the Department of Information Resources and IBM of $1.5 million. A land acquisition of $9.3 million, which ties to the Eagle Mountain Lake funding. Governor's Board of Security Initiative, $825,000. We have additional funding for state park seasonal, $386,000, off-highway vehicle decal receipts of $368,000, weather-related damages — this is due to flooding, not necessarily the hurricanes — of $10 million. Technical adjustment for plates, $137,000. I mentioned before Schedule C salary increases that were in Article 9, $1.4 million. And the Bexar County Parks special needs park of $5.5 million. And there's a small $25,000 amount that I mentioned before in Article 9 for marine conservation plates for total adjustments for exceptional items at $64.8 million.

This pie chart summarizes the method of finance for the department. You can see that there is a piece of the pie for general revenue of $136.3 million. A big chunk of that is the sporting goods sales tax, $74.8 million, which during the year will be transferred into Account 64 that starts the year at $41.7 million. Account 9 has $129.9 million.

The next couple of slides will talk about the budget with a breakdown by object of expense and by department. The biggest chunks of our budget in 2010 beginning of the year are going to be for salaries and personnel costs and the capital budget. The divisional breakdown: administrative resources, $9.3 million; coastal fisheries, $19.2; communications, $9.6; and we can just scroll down to law enforcement, $60.4; state parks, $92.1; and as I mentioned before, the largest piece is capital construction, $123.8 for a bottom-line total of $468.8 million.

We do have some of the funds segregated outside of the regular departments in a department-wide budget where we allocate in budget funds for debt service on the bonds that were issued. For construction and capital items, payments to license agents and license systems, those are tied to the hunting and fishing license sales. State Office of Risk Management is an allocation for workers' compensation and every state agency has to pay that at the beginning of each fiscal year. Airport Commerce Park, $681,000 is rent on the new facility in Austin. We have the Oracle Project, which is the BIZ project for our financial system, $395,000. And the bottom-line total is $25.4 million in the DUI department-wide budget.

The capital budget, as you could see from your presentation and on the screen, the biggest portion of this is basically construction and major repairs. A lot of that is attributed to new bonds that were issued and also, the construction life cycle. It can take up to five years to complete some projects. And we do have unexpended balance transfer ability between fiscal years. So we have a significant amount that's being UB'd forward. But there are plans to encumber and obligate a good portion of that, I believe, by November or December of this calendar year.

The Legislature also imposes on every state agency a limit on the number of employees we can have. Parks and Wildlife, this current fiscal year the cap is 3,100.1 2010 that cap is — actual cap is going to increase to 3,178. As you can see from this presentation, we budget higher than the cap. We're accounting for a vacancy or an attrition rate that will bring us down to — by year's end to hit that cap number and to not exceed it. The next two slides show the number of employees per division. I'll just scroll on to the next one. And you can see that the largest portion of FTEs are in state parks, 41 percent. We have two policy items for the commission to consider and act upon today. We have a slight revision to the budget policy. We've changed one word in the budget policy from "and" to "or." And it's related to donations. Each commission meeting donations greater than $500 have to be approved by the commission. You all did that this morning. What the policy is going to allow is for us to notify Chairman Holt and get approval from him in advance of the meeting or Chairman — Finance Chairman Falcon. And we also have an additional sentence to clarify that any funding that is received by the department can be used for any lawful purpose. The only exception would be if the law specifically puts a constraint on that fund. And the investment policy — every agency is required, if they do investment, to have a policy that's reviewed by their board or commission. We don't have significant changes to our policy. We did remove from the policy Varner-Hogg State Park trust account because that moved to the Texas Historical Commission. And the other change was immaterial. It referred to a rider that's not relevant for an escrow account. It referred to goods and services but goods and services don't have a cash value for an escrow account. So we removed that reference out of the policy.

That's the extent of the presentation for the budget overview. And staff recommends that you consider and adopt the following motion, that the Executive Director's authorized to expend funds to operate the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in accordance with the proposed fiscal year 2010 operating and capital budget and the commission also approves the budget policy and the investment policy as modified and described today.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you, sir.

Any questions from the commission?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: We don't have anybody to speak. I do have a motion?


COMMISSIONER HOLT: So moved by Commissioner Hixon.

COMMISSIONER MARTIN: Second. COMMISSIONER HOLT: Second by Commissioner Martin. All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Motion carries.

Thank you, sir.

Item Number 5, Action, Fiscal Year 2010-2011 General Obligation Bond Program, New Bond Proceeds, Facility Repairs. Rich McMonagle.

Rich, you're up, buddy.

MR. McMONAGLE: Morning, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners. My name is Rich McMonagle. I'm the Director of the Infrastructure Division. This action item is a resolution directing the department to request funding for $28 million in general obligation bonds for facilities repairs. The staff recommends the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt the following motion, The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts by resolution the resolution authorizing a request for financing and the execution and delivery of documents required to effect such financing. Are there any questions of me?


(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Do I have a motion?



COMMISSIONER HOLT: So moved Commissioner Duggins and — Morian. Sorry. I was looking — yes. Anyway, second by Morian. And all in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Thank you. And, Rich, you're up again.

This is Item Number 6, Action, Fiscal Year 2010-2011 General Obligation Bond Program New Bond Proceeds, Weather-Related Damage Repairs.


MR. McMONAGLE: Morning again, Mr. Chairman and Commissioners. My name is Rich McMonagle, the Director of the Infrastructure Division. This action item is to direct the department to request $10 million in general obligation funds for weather-related damages at three state parks. The staff recommends the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt the following motion, Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts by resolution the resolution authorizing the request for financing and the execution and delivery of documents required to effect such financing. Are there any questions of me?


(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Do I have a motion?


COMMISSIONER HOLT: By Commissioner Friedkin.


COMMISSIONER HOLT: And second by Commissioner Morian.

And I'm sorry, Commissioner Hughes. Somehow I got the wrong hand up there on the last one.

All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Great. Hearing none, motion carries.

Thank you, Rich.

Chairman — excuse me — Item Number 7, Action, Outdoor Park Grant Funding. Mr. Tim Hogsett's up.


MR. HOGSETT: Good morning, members of the commission. I'm Tim Hogsett from the Recreation Grants branch in the State Parks Division. I'd like to take advantage of something for just a second and tell you how much of a privilege and a pleasure it's been to serve this agency for 30 years and also tell you that that would have not have been possible, nor all the good things that we're able to do without the wonderful staff that I'm privileged to serve with, as well. Several of them made the trip up here with me this morning. Jill Parrish runs our Park Grant — manages our Park Grant programs. Andy Goldblum managers our Recreation Trails and both access programs. Darlene Lewis manages the Community Outdoor Outreach program. And then finally, my — it's escaping me — Renee Serrano — I'm sorry — is here, also, who runs our administrative group. Anyway, it is a privilege to serve you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Congratulations, Tim.

MR. HOGSETT: Outdoor Recreation Grant funding. This is our semi-annual allocation of Parks and Recreation funds to local governments. As of the July 31st, 2009, deadline we received requests for $10,988,393 in matching funds. We evaluated all those projects using the scoring system which you've adopted. And those projects are found ranked in Exhibit A by score. And the recommendation that we're bringing you this morning is that we are recommending eight projects listed in Exhibit A in the amount of $3,614,027. Be glad to answer any questions you might have.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Any questions or comments from the commission?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: I do have some people that would like to speak to Tim. And what I'll do is call out a name and ask you to come up and I'll call out a second name so you can be prepared to come up. First, Hollis Rutledge, Jr. to come up and Julio Cerda on call.

MR. RUTLEDGE: Yes, members of the Commission, Mr. Chairman, members of the Parks and Wildlife staff, we appreciate the opportunity to address the commission at this time. I'd like to speak very briefly and then I would allow then to have our city manager speak more in detail of our proposal that we have before the commission. This is in reference to Northwest Park, City of Mission, Texas.

Very briefly, three points I would like to talk about. Number one, we have had a very successful partnership with Parks and Wildlife for a long time in our community. We would like to continue to have that relationship. Number two, as we approached the second submittal that we have before you we did our due diligence by addressing the various points and various criteria that are established by this commission with your staff. And believe me, we feel we did not leave not one stone unturned. We addressed every criteria that you have established in rating these applications and we addressed them to be able to maximize the points for this application. Number three, we would like very much to continue that successful relationship that we've had with this commission and Parks and Wildlife. We've had a tremendous amount of activity in our area, as has been related earlier in your presentation with a tremendous influx of population that really require additional parks and recreation facilities, especially in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas.

Inevitably what happens sometimes, if nothing else, because I've been city manager before and have dealt with Parks and Recreation applications before, sometimes over the course of a period of time there are applicants that were successful, were awarded and for one reason or another fall off the crack because they don't — they weren't able to meet certain local obligations as prescribed by this commission and the staff. If and when that does occur, because inevitably in a lot of cases it does, we asked sincerely and plead to you that you sincerely consider our application for funding. With that, I would like to refer now to our city manager, Julio Cerda.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you, sir.


And next up after Julio will be Dan Meacham.

MR. CERDA: Good morning, Commissioners.


MR. CERDA: My name is Julio Cerda. I'm the city manager for the City of Mission, the great City of Mission. I want to thank you for the invitation, the letter sent by your recreation grants director, Mr. Tim Hogsett, for us to come before you and appreciate the time. We come to find out that we are not short-listed to the outdoor park and recreation funding. The City of Mission, of course, is the fourth largest city in the Rio Grande Valley and has done very well over this past recession that we had this year. We grew to a total of about $300 million in property values this last year. We're in a great section in the state that really is growing by leaps and bounds even though the recession is hurting us. But we're helping out the state to try to push this along. With the great leadership, of course, of our Governor Rick Perry in providing all the infrastructure to Mission and the rest of the Rio Grande Valley, this — within reason since our area's the fastest growing in the state.

I'd like to — for you to please reconsider the application since we are also providing extensive renovations to our parks throughout the City of Mission. Lately, for the past two years we've provided about a total of $8.5 million in total parks improvements to the City of Mission. And this one included — we're hoping for this second application that we have with Parks and Wildlife to include this park in there so we can finish off this park. Also, Senator Chuy Hinojosa has sent us a — has sent a letter for me to read on record, if you don't mind me going ahead with it.


MR. CERDA: "Mr. Tim Hogsett, I received a copy of your local Parks and Recreation Grant Program's proposal summary for the City of Mission. As you know, the City of Mission submitted their grant application for the Northwest Park. According to the summary, staff did not recommend funding for this project. It's the second rejection this year. After the City of Mission's first application city officials asked me to facilitate a meeting with Parks and Wildlife Department staff to improve their application and thus, attain a higher score.

This second recommendation to not fund Northwest Park comes as a surprise. The Rio Grande Valley population continues to grow at a higher rate than the rest of the state. Other state agencies have seen fit to increase investment and infrastructure in South Texas, responding to trends and increased commerce. I am curious to know the details of the scoring system as per the — as your team applied it to your particular application. Moreover, I am interested in becoming better acquainted with the elimination process in the entirety.

Specifically, I want to know what criteria are used in the scores and the application. In the other scoring systems, criterias are derived from range of categories. I would like to know what categories Parks and Wildlife uses to establish a scoring range and how certain criteria are rated. The City of Mission relies on its legislative delegation to communicate the city's needs to the state agencies. However, as was the case when the first application was not recommended for funding, I did not receive any notice or indication from Parks and Wildlife about any issues, deficiencies, questions or problems of — with the application.

This is relevant to this discussion because cities like Mission dedicate a significant amount of resources preparing applications. Rarely do cities enter into the application process without first making an investment in time, money and other resources to position the city to maximize the use of grant awards. When a city receives a proposal summary that does not recommend funding a project without a detailed explanation as to why the city is receiving a rejection without a cause. I will have someone in my office contact you directly to set up a meeting to speak on this issue at length. I would appreciate your insight as to how we may work together to help prepare this city for funding."

As you know, like I told you earlier, it's exciting for us to know that we're growing down in Mission, Texas, and —


MR. CERDA: — the Rio Grande Valley. And, of course, the great leadership of our governor that has provided all the infrastructure, water, sewer and expressways that has made the Valley a growing part of the state. And you can tell by the maps that were shown earlier that the Valley is really the fourth or fifth largest in the State of Texas as far as the MSA, especially in Hidalgo County. So I appreciate anything that you can do for us.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Well, thank you. Of course, we have a process and I know you're now aware of it.


On this particular one, this is the second application, it sounded like.

MR. HOGSETT: Yes, sir. This is the second time that this particular application has been reviewed. After the January meeting, in which this project scored 42 points — COMMISSIONER HOLT: Right.

MR. HOGSETT: — we met with Mr. Cerda, also made a trip to the Valley. We did a dedication of a project that was just being completed for a half-million dollars. We met downtown at the Capitol with Senator Hinojosa's staff. We —


MR. HOGSETT: — went through the scoring system, through the criteria at length and made some suggestions for some changes on the part of the city to come back and resubmit, which they listened to diligently, made some changes. And that's the reason the project has advanced to 54. This is really not so much a factor of how valuable or needed this project is. Every project on this —


MR. HOGSETT: — list is always very important and needed in the communities. It's a factor of the amount of money that we have to spend. And the scoring system that you've established helps us to make some decisions based on limited funds. We'd be glad to continue to work with the City of Mission with this project or another project if they have something else in mind. That's what I'm here to do, is to try to make applicants ultimately successful.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Good, thank you, Tim.

To let you know, Mr. Cerda, please take it back to Mission then we'll get with the senator's office, also. But, no, we like giving money away. I mean, this is — the Legislature's asked us to do it. But we do have a process and the scores are legitimate. And we believe, as a commission, in that process. So please work with Tim and don't hesitate to resubmit again. And as you know, we get lots of submittals. So it's got to be strong to qualify because of the limited resources. So thank you for taking the time.

MR. CERDA: Thank you.


MR. CERDA: Thank you for your time.



COMMISSIONER MARTIN: — say something?


COMMISSIONER MARTIN: I wanted to reiterate that, you know, to please go ahead and again, get together with staff and resubmit that proposal or if possible, another one. But thank you for taking the time to come up here and visit with us.

MR. CERDA: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Any other comments?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: All right. Dan Meacham up.

And, Julian Gonzalez, stand by, please.

MR. MEACHAM: Good morning, Mr. Chairman, board members. I'm Dan Meacham —


MR. MEACHAM: — Timberlane Utility District. And —

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Can you speak into the mike a little better? Yes. Thank you. Yes.

MR. MEACHAM: I'm with Timberlane Utility District. We've worked with you several times. This project is for our third park and hike-and-bike trail with — we're adding in a dog park, children play area, a picnic area, beach and a canoe launch from fishing piers. But we'll have a significant park which will be a — the hike-and-bike trail and wildlife overlook and a wetlands preserve. We appreciate the help that y'all have given us over the past and look forward to working with you more in the future. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Thank you. Thank you, Dan.

Julian Gonzalez up and Kenny Hamilton on standby.

MR. GONZALEZ: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and members of the board. My name is Julian Gonzalez, for the record, Parks Director for the City of Mission. And very briefly I will just reiterate and talk on some of the points that we had discussed. And also, understanding that there is a process and we've been working and have experienced a wonderful partnership with Texas Parks and Wildlife, this agency, for over 20 years. Of course, being the home of the World Birding Center, based there in Mission, the Lloyd Bentsen Park, we've experienced a very diligent and very close working relationship with the staff and with members of this commission in the past and in the present.

Just some of the points that we wanted to make. We diligently seek outside resources for participation in this project, one of them being the — our county commissioner, which dedicated $135,000 from his budget to go into —


MR. GONZALEZ: — this project, knowing and understanding that it's a very important area and has no park within our system at this time. But — and I invite — and we invite any members of the commission to visit our community. And it is very good to see that almost every park within our system you can see that plaque which says, The City of Mission in partnership with Texas Parks and Wildlife, and this agency. So we feel that it's a plus for us. We feel that is a very positive attribute to have in the community and in sharing thoughts, sharing resources with the state agency and we feel that that should be a positive point that should be looked at from all angles.

We will be more than glad to resubmit. We are hoping that this application can be reconsidered. We feel it's a very strong application. We're working with our school district. We're working with our historical commission. We're working with NABA, which is the National Butterfly Association, which is part of our system, as well. So it is, as you can see, a consolidation, a lot of entities — of course, the base being the City of Mission. We are the head runner in the project and in the proposal.

So we would hope that at this time we would take every thought, every — I would say every direction and that — guidance that we could get from the agency and as well, if you could provide us with any kind of issues that we have to address at this time. We would be more than glad to work on it. We have demonstrated that we're willing and ready to drop whatever we're doing to work and address the issues that could come up at any time.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you, sir.

Any questions or comments?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you for taking the time coming up. And again, you know, you've obviously worked with Tim and the — and TPW before. Let's just get back on it and see if we can help you on the third round.

MR. GONZALEZ: We hope to continue that partnership.


MR. GONZALEZ: Thank you, sir.




COMMISSIONER FALCON: Yes. I'd like to thank Julian Hernandez from Rio Grande City. It's rare to see another person from Rio Grande City at one of these —


COMMISSIONER FALCON: — commission meetings. Julian, thank you. This is also an opportunity for you all to go back to our elected officials. And it's like Chairman Holt said, we like to give out money.


COMMISSIONER FALCON: We wish we had more money to give out. And if you would have been yesterday you would have heard some people testify to the fact that we're desperate to get more land and more parks for recreation for our citizens. So it is an opportunity to go back and say, We'd like to have more money so that we can help some of the communities develop their parks. So thank you so much for your interest and your time in coming up here.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes. Thank you for all of you from Mission. We appreciate your interest.

Kenny Hamilton up and David Werrs — or no, Withers — I'm sorry. I'm not reading very we. Thank you.


MR. HAMILTON: Thank you, sir. I appreciate the chance to be here. I would like to just simply take this opportunity, along with my entourage of council members and —


MR. HAMILTON: — parks board members and private citizens to simply thank you for the opportunity to be here and commend you on what you do for all cities, particularly small ones like the City of Linden to help enhance the quality of life for our citizens. And simply want to thank you for the chance to be here. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Wonderful. Thank you. Congratulations. Yes.

David Withers up and standby Steven Lowe — Steve Lowe.

MR. WITHERS: Thank you very much for having us. I'm David Withers with the Brownwood Parks and Recreation. And we appreciate the Chairman and the board. We just want to say how much — it was very nice working with Tim and his staff, as far as on our second submittal for Brownwood and that we were successful in getting the grant again and certainly — it's certainly an asset to our community and our area. We do appreciate it.


Steve Lowe.

MR. LOWE: Good morning. Chairman Holt and the commission, I'd like to thank you for this opportunity to address the kind grant that was granted us for our park system. Kendall County has got a new fledgling park system. This is the first park that we're trying to open up. It's fairly significant in that that area is experiencing a great deal of —


MR. LOWE: — development —


MR. LOWE: — coming out of San Antonio. This park is a 400-acre parcel that's right off of I-10. It's strategically located and actually has live water on it which makes it really unique in that area. Outside of about a foot of rain which we would like to get down there, this is probably the best thing that's come along for us in a long time.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: About two feet.

MR. LOWE: I was startled this morning when I got out of the motel and heard this dripping noise. I thought we had a plumbing problem. Anyway, we certainly appreciate the opportunity that this grant affords us. I think we're going to have a very aggressive approach to developing these parks. And being new, this has been like a birthing process for us. So your support is dearly appreciated. And hopefully, we'll be able to entertain you all, you come down some time.


MR. LOWE: Thank you very much.


Commissioner Martin, you want to speak to that? Congratulations.


COMMISSIONER HOLT: That's a lot of growth down that part of the world.



So let me see. Okay. Do we have a motion — we do have a motion — or excuse me. Do we have a motion? This is an action item to okay these eight.


COMMISSIONER HOLT: So moved by Commissioner Bivins.


COMMISSIONER HOLT: Second Commissioner Hughes. All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Good. Hearing none, motion carries. Item Number 8, Action, Urban Outdoor Park Grant funding.

Tim, you're up.

MR. HOGSETT: Members of the commission, I'm Tim Hogsett from Recreation Grants branch in the State Parks Division. This is our presentation to you of grants from the Outdoor Urban Parks Grant Program. As you probably will recall, the previous session of the Legislature set up a new program for urban communities, took 40 percent of the funds that are available through the sporting goods sales tax and allocated it specifically for a competition only among the 13 largest cities and counties in the state, those being in populations of 500,000 and more. We actually took applications for a February 28th deadline and only received $1,150,000, which was not enough to fulfill all of the money that we had available. So we made a second call for grants from that group and received an additional four applications.

We have rank-ordered the applications that we've received. From those six that we've received from that review in Exhibit A we had a total request of $3,800,000; And we are proposing funding for all of those projects, including Travis County, Dallas, El Paso, Bexar County and the City of Austin in the amount of $3,800,000. So therefore, the recommendation of the staff is funding for six projects listed in Exhibit A in the amount of $3,800,000 is approved. Be happy to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Commissioner Duggins?

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Tim, did the City of Fort Worth make an application in this time frame?

MR. HOGSETT: They did not. Currently, until they have completed the work that is being done on Gateway Park along the Trinity River we've deemed them ineligible to apply.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: And is that — aren't they — if I'm not mistaken, isn't the city's hands tied in some respect by the Corps on that? I mean, is it fair — if that's right is that fair to continue to restrict the city where they're — some of this is from — or a material part of it may be outside its —



MR. HOGSETT: We paid them out on that grant. I don't remember the exact amount. I think it was in the neighborhood of $2 million. Because they were unable to accomplish the work in which they competed and scored against other projects they were not able to complete that for the exact reason that you're talking about. We found some other park elements within that park to go ahead and pay for. But with the understanding that they still needed to fulfill the obligation to build those facilities which they competed on the basis of. So it's our — been our recommendation to staff that until that obligation is totally complete that they not be made eligible to come back.


MR. HOGSETT: That's at least the staff's recommendation at this point. And we've visited with the city manager and parks director. They seem to be very understanding and respectful of that. Been my understanding, at least.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you. So they're aware —

MR. HOGSETT: Absolutely.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: — they've been informed. And —

MR. HOGSETT: Absolutely.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: — you'll keep in touch?

MR. HOGSETT: I spoke to Richard Zavala just yesterday, the parks director —


MR. HOGSETT: — and asked him what the progress was on the Trinity. And he said there has been some progress but they so still have quite a ways to go. We possibly need to revisit that issue.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Well, I would urge that we revisit it if, in fact, some of it's being — some of it is outside the city's control, which is what I understood the case to be. And I do commend you for communicating this to them. They in no way have been critical of you or your department — of your staff, rather. But it just seems to me that it's — they're kind of stuck and we might want to rethink the freeze that's been put in place.

MR. HOGSETT: All right, sir.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Any other questions? I have some speakers, also.


COMMISSIONER HOLT: Any other questions from the commissioners?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. We do have some speakers on this that would like to speak to this. Robert Armistead up, please, and then Willis Winters on standby.

MR. ARMISTEAD: Good morning, Chairman Holt and Commissioners. My name is Robert Armistead and I work with Travis County Parks. And I want to thank you for your consideration of our grant application for the Onion Creek greenway. It's an area in Austin — or outside of Austin that's been underserved in southeast Travis County. It's connecting some parks that we currently have. We had some bond money that is helping promote purchasing of land out there, working closely with the City of Austin, Parks and Recreation, the Austin airport, Parks and Wildlife and FEMA and the Corps of Engineers on this project. We've got big plans for it and are really excited about it. I want to thank Tim and his staff for their assistance in the process and appreciate the opportunity to have had that second call for applications.

I also serve as president of the Texas Recreation and Parks Society which serves over 2,000 members and a lot of agencies throughout the State of Texas. And just really appreciate the collaboration with Parks and Wildlife, with the staff, with Carter, Scott, Walt, Tim and all the other staff. It's a great relationship. And appreciate you all's support of promoting parks and recreation and outdoor activities in the state for citizens and visitors.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Robert, thank you for your support, too.

MR. ARMISTEAD: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Been a big help, particularly the last two sessions. So —


COMMISSIONER HOLT: — thank you. Thanks, Robert.

Willis Winters, please.

MR. WINTERS: Good morning, Mr. Chair, Commissioners. My name is Willis Winters. I'm the Assistant Director for planning, design and construction for the Dallas Park Department. The Dallas Park Department comprises 365 parks, over 21,000 acres, including Fair Park, the Dallas Zoo, the Dallas Arboretum, the Trinity River corridor. We have similar issues as Fort Worth is having with the Corps of Engineers. Believe me, I empathize with them completely.

In 2002 we completed a long-range strategic plan that was approved by Parks and Wildlife staff which put us into position to compete for and apply for outdoor grant funding. Our department currently has a needs inventory of $2.2 billion for capital and we are facing an 18 percent budget cut in the City of Dallas next budget year — next fiscal year. Despite the success that we have had with our two recent bond programs and with the partnership funding in each it's very difficult to address needs inventory in the magnitude of $2.2 billion. That's why the Urban Outdoor Grant program is so important to Dallas and our five sister cities and other counties.

This is our second grant in as many years. It consists of improvements for College Park — major site improvements for College Park and a major segment of the Five Mile Creek Trail, which stretches across the southern sector of Dallas. This will have major impact on a low-income neighborhood in our southern sector. We're very grateful for the Urban Outdoor Grant program. We're extremely grateful to the commission and to Tim and his staff for the support they've given us and in particular, for this grant for College Park, Five Mile Creek Trail. It will make a major difference in this south Dallas neighborhood and will greatly assist us in our desire to provide Dallas citizens with the best parks and recreational opportunities possible. Thank you.


Any other questions or comments from the commission?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. This is an action item. Do I have a motion?


COMMISSIONER HOLT: So moved by Commissioner Hixon.


COMMISSIONER HOLT: Second Commissioner Friedkin. All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Great. Hearing none, motion carries. Thank you. Item Number 9, Action, Recreation Trails Grant funding. Tim up again.


MR. HOGSETT: The National Recreation Trails program are federal funds from the U.S. Department of Transportation. These are matching grants at a 75/25 — I'm sorry — an 80/20 level. We take applications once a year for this program. We received a record number of applications for this particular review, 76 applicants applying for —


MR. HOGSETT: — $12.5 million. And we also are going to set aside approximately $500,000 over and above this competition for use in our state park system for improvement of trail opportunities. The applications — the 76 applications were reviewed by a federally mandated trail advisory board. The trail advisory board is made up of various kinds of trail users. They're — the federal requirement is is that they make the recommendations, in terms of ranking of these projects. And the major criteria for the ranking are quality, cost-effectiveness and the recreation opportunity impact.

Having said that, we're recommending for this review funding for 25 projects recommended in Exhibit A in the amount of $2,995,890 and the state park trail improvements in the amount of $490,000 are approved. I'd be glad to answer any questions. And I think there's some speakers on this side of the aisle.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Any questions from the commission?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. We do have some speakers.



COMMISSIONER FALCON: — some questions.


COMMISSIONER FALCON: Tim, on the — on page 95 of the second one, Rio Bravo MX, what does that project's sponsor? Who is that?

MR. HOGSETT: I'm sorry. I couldn't quite understand what you said, Commissioner.


MR. HOGSETT: Uh-huh.

COMMISSIONER FALCON: On page 95, the second one from the top down —

MR. HOGSETT: The Rio Bravo?


MR. HOGSETT: That's an off-road vehicle project and motorcross — motorcycle, motorcross. And basically, the infrastructure for that facility. I've got my trail park grant manager, Andy Goldblum, if you've got any —


MR. HOGSETT: — need more detail than that.

COMMISSIONER FALCON: I just needed to have it clear in my mind who that was. Okay. Thank you.



MR. HOGSETT: Motorcross.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Motorcross. That's what — you were thinking that, too. I'll show you. I don't know what I'm doing when it comes to that.

Anyway, Mayor Joe Cordina from the City of Parker is up. And Shawn Napier on standby, please.

MAYOR CORDINA: Thank you very much, Chairman Holt, Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, as well as the staff. I want to thank you for this opportunity to come before you. There's an old saying that the third time's the charm.


MAYOR CORDINA: This is our third time. We're going to finally get this grant. We are thrilled to beat the band.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Congratulations.

MAYOR CORDINA: Well, thank you, sir, very, very much. Of course, all of you realize that for small towns it's really a critical path for us because we don't have all the resources, we're very limited on resources. And depending upon agencies such as yours is so important to us. We're glad you are in the same vogue of thinking that we are. This particular project is along Maxwell Creek in eastern Collin County. It is going to be a fantastic project when it's once — once it's completed. The impact of these trails — it's an interconnection between five different cities all coming together to expand the trail system throughout Collin County. And that cooperation is vitally important, I think for the welfare, if you will, of the people who live there.

In times when urbanization requires — or reconfigures, I should say, the rural country atmosphere the development of park land is quite important to us, needless to say because it provides us with trails for both horseback and hikers and allows for the preservation of natural settings for all to enjoy. Your forward thinking demonstrates your commitment to the natural habitats essential to the high quality of life fundamental to all Texans. And because of that, in speaking for all the citizens of Parker, I laud you very much for all the hard work you're putting in and for your vision. Thank you very much for this help.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Mayor, thank you very much. Appreciate you taking the time.

Shawn Napier up, Earl Erickson on standby, please.

MR. NAPIER: Good morning, Commissioner Holt and then, Commissioners. My name is Shawn Napier. I'm the Director of Public Works for the City of Paris. I'd like to — here today representing the City of Paris and the City of Reno, our neighbor just to the east of us. And I'd like to thank you for the two current recreational trail grants we've been awarded. We've been able to take that, extend our trail and with the one we hope you award today we'll have a total trail length of seven miles along an abandoned railroad corridor that travels all the way through from Farmersville to New Boston/Texarkana area. And I know Earl is going to speak about that later in — next. The first two grants allowed us to expand our regional trail two-and-a-half miles to the east and to the west and we've had some challenges there with some bridges and crossing of major highways and creeks. And — but your grant has allowed us to do that extension and pass that trail along through there.

I would like to introduce members of our team, our trail team that — kind of how we've gotten to where we are today. Buddy Heuberger's the current mayor of Reno; Bubba Costin, the former mayor of Reno. Both these guys are kind of instrumental in getting this process through them. Bill Loranger's my parks department manager who's overseeing the trail itself and extending the trail personally in some of these areas. Then the heart and soul of our team is Earl Erickson, who is kind of the push behind a lot of this trail and ultimately trying to develop the 130-mile trail section along this abandoned railroad corridor. Again, I would like to thank you for the recreational trail grants you guys have awarded to us. And thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you, sir. Thank you for taking the time.

Earl Erickson up and Don Berglund on standby.

MR. ERICKSON: Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. The young lady here is passing out a brochure on our 130-mile —


MR. ERICKSON: — project and —

COMMISSIONER HOLT: I like that young lady.

MR. ERICKSON: And in the center of it is a map of the trail. But I want to start off by saying that all of the Texas Parks and Wildlife grants were used to convert an abandoned rail bank corridor into a useful pedestrian/bicycle trail. These trails —


MR. ERICKSON: — particular rail bank agency is the Greater Paris Development Foundation that extends from Paris east through five rural towns 30 miles to Clarksville. We have leveraged these Texas Parks and Wildlife grants with unbelievable support from local community private funding, local foundations and donated in-kind equipment, materials and labor, which has amounted to date of about 80 percent of the project cost. And this shows you the need that the communities showed for this type of — these type of trails in rural northeast Texas. Also, your grants have been the stimulus for extending this trail system several miles a year. And this trail agency is one of six contiguous rail banked agencies of 130 miles from Farmersville — east Dallas — through scenic, rolling countryside connecting 19 rural towns in seven counties to New Boston/Texarkana area. We have — when we finish with the Reno extension trail we will have asphalted seven linear miles of trail. Farmersville has paved three miles and cleared another six. Fifteen miles of the corridor have been cleared from Pecan Gap to Wolfe City and five railroad bridges have been repaired. Twenty-five miles from New Boston to Avery have been cleared and graded.

We have formed the Northeast Texas Recreation Trail Alliance Organization consisting of these rural towns, counties and, of course, the six rail banked agencies. And I — like I said, I have passed out that brochure for you all's reading. Don't read it before you go to bed at night. You'll fall asleep, probably.

But anyway, Northeast Texas Recreation Trail Alliance submitted a letter of request from TxDot to support our trail application to the TIGER Discretionary Grant Stimulus program for the construction of the entire 130-mile trail on August 24th. Our trail is a shovel-ready, fast track project with no land acquisition required. The TIGER Discretionary grant required no match and all projects are to be completed by February 20th — February 2012. And that excites me because maybe I'll see this become a reality in my lifetime. The estimated cost is $18,975,000.

We view the recreational trail as a linear park. And when we get funded and when the trail is complete — is finished we would entertain donating it to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department as a state park for northeast Texas.




MR. ERICKSON: — of course —

COMMISSIONER HOLT: — your three minutes are about up. So I got — we got lots of people.

MR. ERICKSON: Okay. I just wanted to finish with one comment.


MR. ERICKSON: Thank you. As representative of the Northeast Texas Recreational Trail Alliance we respectfully ask for your endorsement of this 130-mile recreational trail project TIGER grant application that is due September 15th. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you, Earl. You've all done a tremendous job up there tying all those people together and getting everybody to work together. It's been terrific. Congratulations.


COMMISSIONER HOLT: It's a good model for the whole state.

MR. ERICKSON: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Absolutely. Thank you.

Don Berglund up and Tony Eeds by standby, please — on standby.

MR. BERGLUND: Good morning, Commissioner, and — Commissioners. Don Berglund from Timberlane Utility District. We're in Spring, Texas, about 27 miles north of downtown Houston, just a few miles north of Intercontinental Airport. We have a history of building parks and recreational facilities and some — just a few years ago entertained the thought of building trail — hike-and-bike trails. We are under the construction of five miles of those trails, as Dan was here earlier on the grant for 146 acres of the Union Pacific property.

We're blessed that we are on Cypress Creek and have the location to do this kind of work. Because we are we've decided to develop it and reiterating back to our other parks, there was a movie some years ago — "build it and they will come." And, of course, that was a different kind of park; that was a ballpark. The parks within our district we've built are widely used. The trail system that is developed already is widely used and appreciated by the people in our district and our community. And we see more and more use of that. This particular grant that I'm speaking to is an additional grant that would allow us to pave a little over a half-mile area through the Union Pacific over the Hardy Toll Road to connect us to a neighboring — subdivision within our district.

We are very, very pleased to be here, very appreciative of the opportunity to get this grant. And we hope to be back many, many more times to continue this kind of work. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Wonderful. Thank you. Thank you for taking the time to come over.

Tony Eeds up and it looks like Bobby Sanders on standby, please. Tony?

MR. EEDS: Good morning. Thank you. I'm —

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Good to see you again.

MR. EEDS: Good to see you all again. Glad to be here. We're proud to stand here today and to say thank you for you all's support. This is a very important program, we believe. And if it wasn't for Tim, Andy and Steve Thompson there at — in the grants program that administers the funds we would not be able to have the facilities that TMTC is so proud of. And we consider ourselves a partner with Texas Parks and Wildlife in creating OHV opportunity. It's very important to the State of Texas that we manage that activity, as we all know.


MR. EEDS: And one way to do it is to — is for us to have the facilities. You all saw earlier a set of slides about how the land is re-aggregating itself and changing descriptions and the way it's being put together in sizes. And frankly, that's part of the problem with 95 to 98 percent of Texas, that is, in private hands. It's virtually impossible to do what they do in the western states for recreation. So this is a great opportunity for us. And I just want to say thank you for the opportunity.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Good. Thank you. Thank you, Tony. Thank the department — yes, it's been a good working relationship. Appreciate it.

Bobby Sanders up. And — excuse me — it looks like, if I'm reading this right, Deanna Garner on standby, please.

MR. SANDERS: Chairman, Members of the commission, I'm Bobby Sanders with the City of Childress, Texas.


MR. SANDERS: I'm passing out a few color pictures there of the park that we got under construction. I would like for you to turn to the last picture of the page first. I want to get the shock out of your way.


MR. SANDERS: Yes. Just to let you know that we work with our wildlife that's in the park facility there and we take — try to take care of it along with building our park, that deer was caught in a fence at our park. And we got him cut out. He's good.


MR. SANDERS: He's okay.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Good. Good. Appreciate that.

MR. SANDERS: I'd like to also thank Tim Hogsett, Andy Goldblum, Steve Thompson, Walt Dabney. We are another recipient of a second grant this year. We're one year into our park system. We are probably a third done. We've got it open now for the community.


MR. SANDERS: It's up and running. And with Texas Parks and Wildlife's help, the commission's help, we hope to make this a wonderful place. Hopefully, within three years we're going to be self-sufficient. Therefore, our money can help another park. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you. And thank you for taking the time to come over.

Did I pronounce that right? Okay. So I did say Deanna? Okay. Good. Because I looked over there and I thought —

MR. BEILHARZ: My name is Kurt Beilharz. I'm a Project Manager for the City of Arlington Parks and Recreation Department. Thanks for the opportunity to be here. We've given you some handouts here. We just — we wanted to thank you guys for that grant that funded our nature trail at the Martin Luther King Sports Center. Just wanted you all to — I took a few photos. Wanted you all to see it's worked — turned out to be a very successful project. It's been complete for about six months now and the public's really enjoying it. It gives them a chance to get out and see nature. There's a lot of birds out there. They get some exercise. Got a few — got a flight plan there that shows you how it runs around our facility. Included a few photos of it where we put the signage in and that sort of thing. It's been very successful and we really do appreciate the grant from you guys that helped us build this.

We want to thank you also for including us or short-listing us on this current grant program. The one that we're up for is our Crystal Canyon Nature Preserve.


MR. BEILHARZ: We got some photos of there and also, a —

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes, that's nice.

MR. BEILHARZ: — site plan of it.


MR. BEILHARZ: We're going to — we want it to be as successful as the Martin Luther King project has been.


MR. BEILHARZ: So I want to thank you very much.


MR. BEILHARZ: Appreciate it very much.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Congratulations. That's great. Thank you.

Sorry I didn't call the last person. Kurt Beilharz — oh, that was you. I'm sorry.

Okay. Any other questions from the commission? Questions or comments?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Do I have a motion?


COMMISSIONER HOLT: Commissioner Martin? Second?

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Commissioner Morian. All in favor, please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Hearing none, motion carries.

Tim, you're just going to spend your day up here. Right?

MR. HOGSETT: I guess I'm —

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Item Number 10, Action, Special Appropriations Riders. Tim Hogsett.

MR. HOGSETT: Mr. Chairman, members of the commission, I'm Tim Hogsett, Director of Recreation Grants in the State Parks Division. The special appropriations projects, you will recall that in the 80th session of the Legislature there was a list of projects that were given to us by the Legislature with instructions to fund specific things. Specifically, the appropriation rider language says, Out of the funds appropriated in local park grants, Parks and Wildlife shall allocate up to $16,685,000 in matching funds to the following grants. That list included 18 projects which included the three that we're bringing forth before you today, one of them being $1.4 million in matching funds for Texas zoos; a $1,125,000 matching grant for Frank Madla Memorial Park; and then $800,000 in matching funds for the City of Rio Grande City.

This will be the final presentation and bring to a close those 18 items. We've been bringing those to you periodically.


MR. HOGSETT: So this will be the final three. I'm pleased to report to you that virtually all of that money that was mandated by the Legislature will have been spent. The small amount left on the table on the Frank Madla Park project, simply because that small community was not able to match the entire $1,125,000. Having said that, the — we're passing out a revised item to you today. And that has to do specifically with the zoo projects. We had received applications, developed a small scoring system for the $1.4 million for zoos. Received applications in a very short time frame. Had a very, very quick window of opportunity to be able to utilize those monies before they potentially were going to be returned to the Legislature. We received applications from 10 zoos.

Apparently, at least one application didn't arrive to us and we were made aware of it just recently. In fairness we're going to, therefore, revise slightly the recommendation on zoos and include that project. The zoos included are the City of Abilene, Amarillo, the Austin Zoo, the Brownsville Gladys Porter Zoo, El Paso Zoo, Fort Worth Zoo, Fossil Rim Natural Area, the Houston Zoo, San Antonio Zoo and the Waco Cameron Park Zoo.

We received requests — and here's where the revision comes in — from 10 Texas zoos in the amount of almost $1.8 million, as opposed to $1.5 million, including the one application that we received just recently. We're recommending instead of trying to use the scoring system that we developed it seems to us as a staff to make sense to just go ahead and make an allocation to all the applicants. It's pretty close to the amount that we have available, about $400,000 in excess of that. So what we're recommending to you today in terms of these zoo projects as is identified in Exhibit A, are relatively small reductions in all of the original requests but still proposing funding for all of those projects.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Can I stop you right there, Tim, before you —

MR. HOGSETT: Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: But it is focused on the third — or fourth bullet there?

MR. HOGSETT: Yes. The —


MR. HOGSETT: All the applications — given the fact that we put a scoring system together —


MR. HOGSETT: — that we could have used — and all of the applicants' projects specifically stressed things such as Texas native and endangered species, the diversity of recreation opportunities, providing outdoor conservation experiences, the number of participants being served and then using green building methods.


MR. HOGSETT: I think that —

COMMISSIONER HOLT: I don't want to walk away from that.

MR. HOGSETT: I think that the projects that we're going to fund are really in line with the mission of the agency —


MR. HOGSETT: — and going to further what we should be doing with these funds. The other two projects, the one for the City of Grey Forest, a small community close to San Antonio, it's the acquisition of several hundred acres of area that is close to Government Canyon State Park and also, Rancho Diana. Both of those are large conservation areas. This would extend that conservation —


MR. HOGSETT: — and hopefully, be able to keep the land that we're going to acquire from being developed. And then a pretty straightforward recreation project in the City of Rio Grande City.

Having said that, our recommendation for you today is funding for the special appropriation rider projects is listed in Exhibit A are approved. And I'll be glad to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Any questions for Tim?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. I do have some speakers.

Oh, I'm sorry. Okay. I've got a few people who'd like to speak to this. Just a moment. Juan Zuniga up, please, with looks like Kelly Snodgrass on standby.


MR. ZUNIGA: Good morning, members of the commission, Chairman Holt and then Dr. Falcon, how are you? I'm just here representing our community and to thank you for the partnership that we have developed in the very short period that our city has been incorporated. I especially want to thank the staff, especially Tim Hogsett here for their guidance in the application. And again, I'm here to represent the community of Rio Grande. And Mayor Villarreal could not be here. He sends his regards. And again, thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Wonderful. Thank you. Your state representative sent us a nice letter, also. So —

MR. ZUNIGA: Absolutely.



COMMISSIONER HOLT: Got — you have good support down there.

MR. ZUNIGA: He had a lot to do with this.


MR. ZUNIGA: So thank him, too.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Good. Good. Good. Thank you for coming, taking the time to come all the way up.

Kelly Snodgrass up and Ron McClements on standby, please.

MR. SNODGRASS: Good morning, Commission. And thank you for allowing us to speak and thank you very much for the opportunity to quickly apply and receive this grant for Texas Zoological facilities. I'm from Fossil Rim Wildlife Center down in Glen Rose, Texas. And we very much look forward to working with you guys and your agency and pushing this project forward and working — obviously, we work with a number of rare and endangered species —


MR. SNODGRASS: — from not only regionally Texas and North America but all over the world. And we look forward to strengthening our alliance with you going forward. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Thank you. Thank you for taking time to come up.

Ron McClements, please.

MR. McCLEMENTS: Hi. Actually, I wasn't actually planning on speaking. But I am actually from Fossil Rim, as well. I wrote the grant, wrote our application in a month, which was quite good. I'd just like to say that I understand that this is a one-year opportunity for Texas grants. And I understand that that's a — it was a part of a larger appropriation. But hopefully, this can be forwarded again. Because we, as zoos, we actually are a huge outlet for applications for Texas — just Texas people to come and see and interact with the wildlife. So if there's an opportunity, certainly think of us again. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: All right. Thank you.

Any other questions or comments from the commission?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. This is an action item.


COMMISSIONER HOLT: Commission Duggins' motion. Second by?


COMMISSIONER HOLT: Second by Commissioner Hixon. All in favor, please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Hearing none, motion carries. Item Number 11, Action, Small Community Park Grant Funding.

Tim, up again, buddy.

MR. HOGSETT: Mr. Chairman, members of the commission, I'm Tim Hogsett, Recreation Grants branch in the State Parks Division. This is our annual review of small community grant applications. Small community is defined as communities of 50,000 population or less. They compete among themselves for approximately $750,000 annually. As you can see, it's a very popular program. We received 31 applications for the January 31, 2009, deadline, requesting a little over $2 million. We used the scoring system that you've adopted for that program and have rank ordered and scored the projects, which can be found in Exhibit A. And our recommendation for you this morning is funding for the projects listed in Exhibit A in the amount of $753,300 is approved. Be happy to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Any questions for Tim? We do have some speakers.

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Don Doering up first, please. Standby, Audrey Shipley.

MR. DOERING: Good morning, Chairman and Commissioners. My name's Don Doering. I'm the City Administrator from Teague. Teague's a fine community of around 5,000 folks in Freestone County. Of course, I didn't always live in Teague. Years ago I had the privilege of being a Virginia state park ranger. The motto of Virginia state parks is Parks Are For People.


MR. DOERING: I strongly believe that. That's why I'm here. The original grant we applied for was $150,000, which was a series — which was — biggest thing is we do not have a pavilion at this park. When I first came to Teague I went out and I saw this park and I said, My goodness, it's overgrown, it's not maintained but it's beautiful. It — the lake was created in 1950 for a water source for the city. Land was acquired from many of the local property owners; a dam was made. And it served as a water source. Now we're fortunate to have well water. And so there's a group of people that utilize the lake but it's very — it's underutilized. It's a beautiful lake, a lot of good fishing. We have a boat dock and some boat ramps. So that's why we have applied for this grant.

Staff is not recommending funding. I understand that. This year in the city we had what looked to be a workable budget and then city council said, Well, it's work — it's a pretty good budget but now take 7 percent off every department. So now we're — we have a budget proposed but one thing they did not cut was our $75,000 matching grant — matching funds. We have formed a committee of local folks. We have gotten donations from the Economic Development Corporation, from a local bank and from Rotary.

I had a little fun with city council and economic development recently. We invited them out for a barbecue. Beautiful surrounding, the slight breeze, the water, everything's just lovely. And they all said, Sure would be nice to have a pavilion to eat our barbecue under. So basically, what I'm doing, I'm here, I'm asking you for your consideration. Any help or any consideration now or in the future would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.


Tim, do you want to address this situation? And certainly so we can help Dan —

Is it Don or Dan? I'm sorry.


MR. HOGSETT: Don, we'd be glad to work with the city on a resubmission.


MR. HOGSETT: They are not recommended for funding this —


MR. HOGSETT: — morning.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: — noticed that. Yes.

MR. HOGSETT: So — but we will be happy, as always, to work with you to —

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes. Our goal is to get you the dollars. So please let us help you and see if we can get you recommended for the next round. Thank you for taking the time to come.

Audrey Shipley up and Terry Modeland on standby, please.

MS. SHIPLEY: Hi. My name's Audrey Shipley.


MS. SHIPLEY: And I'm from the big city of Krugerville, Texas, which is around Pilot Point/Denton area. And also with me today is our city administrator, Susan Bradley. And we'd like to say thank you very much. We scored number four and number five on your list.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Congratulations.

MS. SHIPLEY: So, yes, that was wonderful. This is our first city park. And it's my first adventure into this. I got a phone call about a year ago said, You've been appointed to be on the Board B Corporation. And I said, Oh, I didn't know anything about it. But in the meantime it's been a journey and experience.

And thank you, Mr. Hogsett and thank you to Tim Welch who came out and did our on-site visit.

But this has been a tremendous opportunity for our community. And like one of our councilman said the other day it's like Christmas in August. So thank you very, very much. And we hope to work with you in the future. And we just can't tell you what this means because our city is always kind of treated like the stepchild from the other cities. And one last thing I'd like to say is my brother lives in my community down the street from me but he has his medical practice in a neighboring town. And he's on the parks board for his town. And they've applied several times and have been rejected. And so it was so sweet to be the one that won. So anyway, yes.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: A little competition there.

MS. SHIPLEY: Yes, there was some competition.


MS. SHIPLEY: So anyway, thank you very much —


MS. SHIPLEY: — and we appreciate the funding and we hope to make you proud. And it will be a beautiful park that our citizens will be happy with. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: We know that will happen. Thank you for taking the time. Thank you.

Terry Modeland, please.

MS. MODELAND: Good morning. Thank you for the opportunity today to express my gratitude for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Grant Program. My name is Terry Modeland, City of Meadows Place Parks and Recreation co-director. Our city is being considered today for funding from the Small Community Grant Program. I am so proud on behalf of the City of Meadows Place to be a part of this awesome program. Seven years ago when this program was adopted I reluctantly decided to get our city involved in the competition. With the outpouring of help from the staff at TPW my feeling of hesitancy was proven unnecessary. With that being said, we have now been the proud recipient of more than one small community grant. Our city houses 1,500 homes with very few business partners. Our city is less than one square mile of real estate sitting in the heart of large surrounding cities with large surrounding problems to go along with their bigger city budgets and staff. Our parks department staffs only three employees throughout the year, excluding our lifeguard staff.

Grant competition was virtually impossible for towns like ours until Texas Parks and Wildlife initiated this small community grant. This program has motivated small cities such as ours to seek out partnerships and projects never thought possible. This program has opened the door to joint ventures which has enabled everyone to benefit in so many ways. We have taken bond money and through matching parks grant more than doubled our efforts to build bigger and better. As a result we have built lifetime relationships with school districts, county services and after school programs.

Meadows Place parks and recreational amenities are some of the finest in our area. The very limited park land available has been developed and offers the greatest facilities with a very limited budget, all made possible through the assistance of TPW. We appreciate you and the continued assistance from the Texas Parks and Wildlife staff for their help in the program for the financial support. Part of our new city logo says, Meadows Place is Your Place For Life. All of you have helped us make sure that is true for lifetimes to come. Again, thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: All right. Thank you for taking the time to come in. Congratulations.

Any other questions or comments?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: This is an action item. I need a motion. Do I have a motion?


COMMISSIONER HOLT: Commissioner Friedkin.


COMMISSIONER HOLT: Second by Commissioner Martin. All in favor, please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Hearing none, motion carries. Number 12, Action, Urban Indoor Grant funding.


MR. HOGSETT: This again is the grant money that is set aside for the urban communities, 40 percent of the sporting goods sales tax that were allocated for communities of population of 500,000 or more. We received one application for this annual deadline for indoor recreation grant funding in the amount of $1 million, which is — as luck would have it — the amount that we have available. That was — application is the one that we're recommending funding for, the City of San Antonio. It's the second phase at Voelker Park. And the recommendation before you today is funding for one project listed in Exhibit A in the amount of $1 million is approved. And I'd be happy to answer questions.


COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Tim, did the freeze that we talked about earlier for Fort Worth, does it apply to the indoor —


COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: — grant? Second question. Why didn't the other 11 cities apply? Or 10, whatever it is.

MR. HOGSETT: Not quite sure. And I think we probably need to reconvene that group to talk about that issue. I have a feeling a lot of it has to do with their ability to match. You heard Dallas talk about an 18 percent reduction in their parks budget. I think, the — really what I've been reading is the large metropolitan park systems really are struggling right now with sales tax revenues being down and other pressures in other areas. I think that may have as much to do with it as anything.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: But the match doesn't have to be in cash, does it?

MR. HOGSETT: That's correct. It does not have to be cash. It can be in-kind contributions, it can be donations of labor, equipment, materials, it can be donations of land.


MR. HOGSETT: But I think it's an issue that if we're not receiving enough applications for that 40 percent that the Legislature set aside, which was indeed the case with the outdoor projects, as you saw, and only one was received for this one, think we probably need to bring that group back together and do some strategizing on how we can make sure we're meeting their needs.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Well, I'm pleased for San Antonio and commend it for doing — for getting an application in. But I think we should perhaps look at doing something to encourage more applications from the others.

MR. HOGSETT: We wholeheartedly agree with you.


MR. HOGSETT: Thank you.


Any other comments, questions?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. This is also an action item. Motion?


COMMISSIONER HOLT: Commissioner Duggins.


COMMISSIONER HOLT: Second by Commissioner Bivins. All in favor, please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you. Hearing none, motion carries. Action Item Number 13, Target Range Grant funding and Mr. Steve Hall.

Tim, thank you.

MR. HALL: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, members of the commission. This morning we have three Target Range Grant amendments proposed for fiscal year '10. As a reminder, these target range grant applicants do provide 25 percent of the total cost and the federal funds from the Hunter Safety apportionment do comprise the 75 percent for the total cost. These funds may be used for ranges, roads, classrooms and storage and restrooms. So those are the five eligible areas of projects that we deal with.

If you'll look at this photo also we'll be talking later in this item about berms and baffles and eyebrows and things like that. But I'd point to the yellow, which are baffles. And the dirt mounds on the sides or in the back are the berms. And we'll talk about those here in just a second. Of course, these proposed projects are also to the benefit of the youth shooting sports and the hunter education programs, hence hunter education is the primary focus, albeit all the different youth programs listed are also beneficiaries, especially of the projects since we revised the criteria in 2007.

The three fiscal year '10 projects proposed, these are all amendments to existing range projects. The first will be our final phase for the Hill Country Shooting Sports Center in Kerrville. That's a USA shooting facility. And that will kind of complete up the odds and ends of the air hall, as well as continue to help us focus youth shooting sports competitions such as the 4-H shooting sports. They do hold the world Olympic — or I should say the world U.S. shooting games and different other things at that facility, as well. The third project listed there is the Bexar Community Shooting Range in Guadalupe County. That's an amended project. Their berms and baffles, the things that I mentioned before, are deteriorating and so we would go in and try to rebuild those berms and baffles to make sure that those stand pat.

And then the final project is the Central Texas Rifle and Pistol Club referenced yesterday at the annual public meeting by Mr. Haynes. The original goal was to build a hunter education range and classroom on this project. And — but given the issues that you heard about yesterday and our plans this year are really to just look at essentially those berms and baffles and other needs that will certainly contain any of the bullets that might — represented in the new range, but also the existing ranges.

We had no plans to go and look at the existing ranges on one end of the range closest to Mr. and Mrs. Haynes' house. But now obviously we'd like to go in and look at those berms and baffles and try to figure out if there are solutions to be made at that end of the facility. And meanwhile, also look at that — the new hunter education range that was built with the first two phases of this project, look at that new range and also evaluate that in terms of the grade of the berm and the existence of baffles and just to make sure that there is — we call it a no-blue-sky rule so that you can't even errantly shoot a bullet out of the range. Certainly, we'll take auditory equipment, as well and try to look at those decibel levels that were referred to yesterday at the back end of that range, but also work with those residences at the back end of that range.

I will emphasize that all these ranges are — were existing ranges. This membership has been in existence since 19 — I think they formed in '48 but been in existence since 1958. So it's an old-time range. And, of course, there are — this is typical. The target range grants and any other facilities across the country is that encroachment of housing and different things are really troubling the smaller ranges that, you know, were once out in the rural areas and now, of course, have houses or buildings moving in. And so berms and baffles are the — are one of the key ingredients to developing or at least enhancing existing ranges. And that's this project here.

I met with Mr. and Mrs. Haynes in June and will continue to work with them and the club members. Again, it's an active club members. Most of them obviously are volunteers in this capacity. And we'll work with them and the nearby residences to make sure that we enhance not only the ranges but enhance the situation that you heard about yesterday. I'll be happy to answer any specific questions. And I'm sure there's also testimony for that.

COMMISSIONER MARTIN: I had — I just wanted to thank you for making note of the question from yesterday. So thanks, Steve, for bringing up the Central Texas rifle situation.

MR. HALL: But our goal is actually to try to provide those solutions that you heard about, in terms of the issues yesterday.

COMMISSIONER MARTIN: Okay. Great. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: And Mr. Haynes does want to speak. We do have some speakers. And I'd ask you to stay close.

Mr. Haynes up first, please. Then William Woods on standby.

MR. HAYNES: Good morning, again.


MR. HAYNES: I'm Herb Haynes from McLennan County.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Could you raise your mike just a little bit, sir?

MR. HAYNES: Here we go.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you. Watch it. It kind of pops out there. Thank you.

MR. HAYNES: Okay. I'm Herb Haynes. I spoke yesterday and back again today. I gave a handout to all of you yesterday. I don't know whether you brought it back with you or not. If you didn't, I have three left over I can distribute it.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: I looked at it last night. Yes. It's close. That's correct. It's a quarter-mile. So —

MR. HAYNES: You can share those if you can. First of all, I'd like to thank Chairman Holt and the Commission and also, the Parks and Wildlife staff, especially Steve Hall for working with us on this problem that's come up. It's — we're pretty sure that we have the ear of the staff. Steve's visited our house. And he brought a game warden with him to examine the bullet strike that hit our house. And by the way, the game warden said it was his opinion that the bullet did come from the range facility. We have no objection to the proposed funding at all, provided that it's actually used for safety improvements rather than other things. And especially the older ranges that have never been worked on at all over there and are where the bullet strike that hit our house came from. I'll explain some of that by referring to the handout. First of all, just to kind of answer the question about the legality of the range, this first page here shows this is the McLennan County Appraisal District map of the area, which I've annotated with these H's to show where houses are around there. And I've also drawn in the quarter-mile radius from the approximate center of the shooting area of that range. And I think it's pretty clear myself from the Texas Health and Safety Code referenced to the NRA Range manual and NRA Range manual saying you can't do anything within a quarter-of-a-mile of a residence if you're making loud sounds, which these guns certainly would. It's illegal to even build this range, much less to talk about finishing it up or anything like that.

The second page there is just really the same thing over again but on a larger scale to show you where their property fits in with everything. This is a very small property, 42 acres. It's really too small for a modern range. You know, guns can actually shoot for three miles. And we're talking about a property that's just less than a quarter-mile wide at its widest point. The third — in the photograph here, this is a photograph taken by the McLennan County Sheriff's Department after our house was struck. They flew over and took photographs of the range and the neighboring properties. The big blob back here is the new range.

And the last page is the Google Earth current material view of the area. And Google Earth doesn't take new pictures every day so this is actually an aerial photograph before the range was built. But the point I wanted to make here is that's our house down here in the lower right-hand corner. The ranges are over here. This area right here that's kind of tan here, those — that's a new area that they bulldozed several acres since we bought our property. And they pushed up ranges there of all type, have never used any of them. They don't know what they're doing over there. And they — they're now proposing a shotgun range down there in that corner, which would, of course, be illegal and also, not even far enough away so that the shot wouldn't land somewhere on our property.

I thank you very much for your attention.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: No, no. And certainly, we're going to take that into — all of it in consideration. I guess we got to restudy this.

And my understanding, the original range was built in 1958? Did I — Steve, help me on that. Somebody? Or maybe I mis-heard. I —

MR. HAYNES: Fifty-eight.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: 1958. The original range?


COMMISSIONER HOLT: Is your issue the new range or what's going on there overall?

MR. HAYNES: Well, of course, this is a range complex.


MR. HAYNES: A range is one area where you shoot. Now, there are probably 10 ranges out there in —

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Yes. You know more. I'm talking about is it the overall complex that bothers you or certain elements of the complex?

MR. HAYNES: The overall — the new range that's just — was built inside the property they already own.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes. I guess I'm trying to understand your unhappiness. Is it about where the new range is going to be positioned? Is it about because this bullet that hit your house, which obviously got our attention, came from the old range —

MR. HAYNES: That's right.


MR. HAYNES: That's right.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: I'll use that term.

MR. HAYNES: That's right. The fact that our — that the bullet hit our house. The bullet did come from the old range area, which they're not working to improve but needs to be improved.


MR. HAYNES: They're using our property basically as part of their back stop for some of their ranges there. We're up on a —

COMMISSIONER HOLT: I don't believe they're doing that purposely. Now, it sounds like that's what happened.

MR. HAYNES: Yes. Well —


MR. HAYNES: And in reference to the idea that they were there in 1958, true, we didn't buy our property until 2000. But the fact that they were there in 1958 actually gives them no special authority, rights, whatever, at all. There is one state law — I forget the — Section 250 of the local Government Code that says a local government or somebody can't sue a range owner if the range existed in 1991 for excessive noise provided that range was owned by a business establishment. Well, this — but that's a — we can't sue them for noise for the ranges that are close to us. But that doesn't give them any rights beyond that. And I doubt that they even satisfy the requirements of that law because they're not a business establishment. The —


MR. HAYNES: Beyond that —

COMMISSIONER HOLT: No. And I understand. And I — you know, I'm not going to try to get into the technicalities of the law because I'm not a lawyer by any means. But I want to make sure — and Steve, I think, understands your issue — that somehow we can create a way that they — you and this range can co-exist. That's what I think — we're going to try to help if we can with our dollars relative to improving noise abatement and building — rebuilding whatever, the berms and trying to do the right thing. That's the key. And so we're certainly cognizant of your issues. They're legitimate issues. And we want to make sure we're talking to you but also working with the range. I mean, we think that's also an important part of the overall.

MR. HAYNES: Right.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Fair enough.


COMMISSIONER HOLT: Well, thank you for taking the time to come in.

MR. HAYNES: Appreciate it.


And then next up Stan Jarosz. I think I'm pronouncing it right.

MR. WOODS: First, I'm William Woods. I'm a board member with the Central Texas Rifle and Pistol Club. I first of all would like to thank you all for y'all's service and time here today. I'll try to be brief and answer any questions that — we wanted to be here to support the — our application and wanted to thank you for the program itself. It's gone to a great need and allowed us to do some things that we wouldn't normally be able to do with the small membership and the small club that we are. But we are using those funds to the best that we can.

Steve Hall has been great and we wanted to say that we appreciate his efforts, too, and to resolve this — whatever has come up here. And we're willing to work with him. The instant — providing the NRA site evaluation, that's scheduled. We're waiting for NRA to do that. And we'll work with everyone that we can to work with. We've — safety is our number one priority and I can speak to anything like that. We've had — over the last three months I've had 36 of our 38 members range safety officers certified with the National Rifle Association and we'll continue to do that. So we do all that we can. And safety is number one.

A clarification of points. And then I'll let Mr. Jarosz answer any other questions. But clarification, there's no shotgun range, there's never been one planned. That existed pre to this arrangement that we have now. There's a Waco Skeet and Trap Club that's near the Waco Airport. And that is — that's when the two areas of interest split back in the '50s —


MR. WOODS: — and established that. So that's just in case anyone wanted information on that. Can I answer any questions at this time?

COMMISSIONER HOLT: No. I think we're getting in pretty good shape. Steve's right on top of it. So I know —

MR. WOODS: Yes, sir. He is.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: — he'll work with you and with — a few minutes. We've got Herbert Haynes, Mr. Haynes.


COMMISSIONER HOLT: But we just — yes, we want to stay involved and help out —

MR. WOODS: Exactly.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: — all we can.

MR. WOODS: And again, we're willing to work with everyone. And it's —


MR. WOODS: — just — it's — we've had a good increase in membership. And providing a recreational opportunity.


MR. WOODS: And we do great things. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Wonderful. Thank you for taking the time to come over.

MR. WOODS: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Mr. Jarosz up and Jerry Smith on standby, please.

MR. JAROSZ: My name, of course, is Stan Jarosz; I sit on the board of directors with Centex. It's just coincidental that the photo that was displayed is the new range that you all made possible. I have a distinct privilege of working with the Junior Shooting Program. Centex junior shooting for service rifle forms the heart of the Texas State Service Rifle Junior Team. We just got back from nationals about two weeks ago and I'm very proud to say that the 16 juniors that we sent brought home nine different individual —


MR. JAROSZ: — and team medals from the nationals. That type of thing, that new range — we began training and using that new range in February of this year. We are deeply appreciative of the commission and the work you do and the funds that made that range possible. Thank you very much.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you. Thank you for taking the time.

Jerry Smith? Okay. Thank you, Jerry.

Any questions or comments on this item?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Steve, anything? Any other comment?

MR. HALL: No, other than, you know, the — we'll certainly work with both entities. And the question of legality comes up a lot of times when you have all old range. And there was an old range where we put the new range. So —


MR. HALL: — I mean, it's an old, historic range. And whether that had any bearing on their decisions or not, in terms of placement — but those are the kinds of issues that we'll have to —


MR. HALL: — make sure we wade through the — this NRA range technical team advisor that's contracted with the range — we'll be doing that within the next few months. And so this action today essentially obligates funds for FY10. But it is a target range agreement amendment that would have to go forth for us to spend those funds. So we've got the delay factor, the time in between to make sure we work with all parties.


MR. HALL: This doesn't obligate the actual contract for the funds.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Excellent. Okay. Well, thank you, Steve.

Do I have a motion?


COMMISSIONER HOLT: So moved, Commissioner Hixon. Second?


COMMISSIONER HOLT: Commissioner Martin. All in favor, please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Hearing none, motion carries. Item Number 14, Oyster Restoration Rules, recommended adoption.

MR. RIECHERS: Chairman and Commissioners, my name is Robin Riechers and I'm here to present you an adoption item regarding an enclosed area in East Bay for an oyster rehabilitation area and also, some clarification of definitions that occurred in Senate Bill 2379. And we're basically carrying those definitions over into our proclamation, also.

Again, the oyster fishery does represent significant business here in Texas. About $18 million dockside value occurs each year through those landings of about 5 million pounds per year. When we talk about who lands most of that product in Texas along our bay systems, 55 percent of both value and landings are roughly that comes from the Galveston Bay area. So Galveston Bay is certainly the central point or central focus of that whole effort.

When we talk about impacts to the northwestern gulf and impacts on oyster habitat, certainly we've had some recent storms that have greatly influenced the amount of oyster harvest and oyster fishery reef habitat out there. When you — Hurricane Katrina, of course, hit in 2005. And by Louisiana's estimations 304,000 acres of oyster habitats were silted over or had this sedimentation put on top of those oyster reefs. Now, in their case 270,000 of that was what they call their oyster lease program. And then there were about 34,000 acres in their public reefing areas. For us, of course, Hurricane Ike came through almost a year ago. As we've indicated to you, 50 to 60 percent of the oyster reefs in Galveston Bay were silted over or sedimentation occurred on those reefs, and that equals to about 7,900 acres.

And the area that we're talking about today is the East Bay of which there's about 1,700 acres, 1,200 of those or so — or I'm sorry — 1,400 of those were silted over. And that's about 80 percent of that East Bay habitat. The particular area that we're talking to — or talking about working on or restoring right now actually was silted over in a shell-dredging project in the 1970s in East Bay. We've permitted a site of 350 acres. Our actual work is on 20 acres right now. And the dollars for this restoration actually came from a hurricane disaster grant with Hurricane Katrina. We also have disaster grant from Hurricane Ike that in the next couple of years we'll be spending about $2.7 million in restoring throughout Galveston Bay oyster reef habitat and then also, another $2.5 million of other habitat issues from Galveston over to Sabine. So, you know, we're seeing some relief. But our particular effort is still dealing with the disaster relief from Hurricane Katrina right here.

As indicated, our proposed rule change is to close East Bay for a duration of two seasons, which means that we would close until September 1st of 2011. Then the season starts in November. And then we're clarifying those definitions, as I indicated, that were brought to us from Senate Bill 2379. And those are definitions of barrels of — barrel of oysters, natural oyster bed. We did create a definition of open season because we didn't have one. And we also, where we had referenced Texas Department of Health, we're cleaning that up by referencing now the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Just again, to review the closed area that we're discussing here, it's the dotted and then dashed line or dots and dashes create the line there. That is a well-marked or well-known line because that's a conditionally used closure and open line that the State Department of Health Services use when we need to close areas due to pollution or high runoff events. The restoration site is there in pink. Other public reef areas there are in blue. And then our oyster leases are in yellow there within that context. And so obviously, from the line eastward into East Bay is what's going to be closed to public oyster harvest.

When we look at our public comments — we did hold two public hearings, one in Galveston and one in Dickinson. We didn't get a whole lot of participation at those. Overall, we had 13 total comments. I've received one comment since the time this slide was made. Of those 13 they all supported the proposal. They had concerns over opening of the area. And when I say concerns over opening of the area they were concerned that if we closed it we would never reopen it. And, of course, that's why we have the opening date on there, to alleviate those concerns.

The other aspect was a complete area closure. Some indicated they might prefer a complete area closure and not have any harvest on those leases during this time period. After — our regional director, Lance Robinson, was at the hearing, and he said he did explain to those folks after the hearing that if they are convicted of a violation of harvesting in a — in an area not associated with that lease during that period of time we do have a provision in our proclamation where all applications for transfers to leases or harvests from leases would be suspended for an entire year if that — if we saw that going on.

The additional aspect of that, we issue those harvest permits and so we can also determine the number of days those are issued for and we could narrow that window and certainly work with law enforcement to make sure that we know when they're going out there so that we minimize this thought that they would be poaching or going into that restored site while it's being restored and while we're trying to build those oyster reef habitats back up.

The last comment that did come in since this slide was made is against the proposal. And basically, what it is proposing or offering is a different type of restoration. There's a prop-wash deflector that has been used in Florida to clean these reefs off. It specifically really doesn't — we've looked at that particular device. It doesn't seem to work on low, flat reefs, which is, of course, what we have here in Texas. So — but we will continue to look at that if it will do it at a cheaper cost. We're certainly going to be looking towards that.

With that, staff recommendation would be to adopt proposed amendments to 58.11 concerning definitions and 58.21 concerning taking or attempting to take oysters from public oyster beds with changes as necessary to the proposed text as published in the July 24th, 2009, Texas Register. Be happy to answer any questions at this time.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Any questions or comments?

Yes, sir, Mr. Duggins.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Robin, would the resource recover more quickly if the closure included the 800-and-something acres of leased land, particularly since you say almost half the take was — came from those properties?

MR. RIECHERS: Well, certainly that leased land could — and the oysters on that leased land could provide spat set for those other areas. But right now it's not necessarily spat. I mean, those leased lands and those lease holders have already went into their leases and started trying to pull that sediment off almost immediately after the storm. And so the spat set could be benefitted by them being there. We're still going to get that spat set from them. Just through the natural — I mean, they've uncovered their oysters. It's already going to be providing that spat. The issue in those other oyster reef areas is getting that sediment off so that there's a place for that spat to actually settle and to create that material so that spat can attach itself and then have a chance to mature.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: But, I mean, if you had the choice would you prefer to close the leased areas, as well?

MR. RIECHERS: Well, I think these are — you know, the lease areas are, of course, different areas, and we've already issued transplant permits for people to take that product there. And so that's their product in the context of that lease. You know, certainly if we could do our work quick enough probably in some respects it would be better to close everything for a period of two years. But part of the whole issue here is getting the work done to uncover those reefs, and it's not a quick process. We are — we're about a quarter of the way through hauling material out to this 20-acre site. And it looks like our real effort on that other disaster relief will start next spring.

So, you know, it's kind of difficult to say we would recover a lot quicker because we aren't going to get a lot of those reef — that cultured material out in to those other reef areas or even have a chance to use that other, as we talked about last time, the idea of taking the bag off and having them kind of plow those reef areas to bring that culture material back out if they are — if they don't have a large layer of sediment on the top of them. That work's not going to be done until next spring. So, you know, some of those folks would be losing opportunity to really no gain for the resource at this point in time.


COMMISSIONER HOLT: Any other questions or comments for Robin?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you, Robin.

Do I have a motion?


COMMISSIONER HOLT: Commissioner Hughes.


COMMISSIONER HOLT: Second by Commissioner Falcon. All in favor, please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Hearing none, motion carries.

Thank you, Robin.

Item 15, Action, Advisory committees, recommended adoption of proposed changes. Scott Boruff.

MR. BORUFF: For the record, my name's Scott Boruff, Deputy Executive Director of Operations. My pleasure to come before the commission today with a pretty simple and hopefully, non-controversial action item. As you can see here from the slide, the Parks and Wildlife Commission and — sorry — the code and the commission authorized the appointment of advisory committees for the agency back in September of 2005. The chairman appointed those commission — I mean, those advisory committee members. As you'll notice there, the code requirements — I'm not going to run through them a — but essentially these are four-year committees, there have to be annual evaluation, membership is limited to 24 folks. Those were set to expire next month —


MR. BORUFF: — at the end of that four-year term because we had a little bit of delay in getting those committees appointed back in 2005. Staff is recommending that we extend those committees and the membership of the committee members for one more year to expire October 1st of next year. You can see here — I'm not going to take your time to run through these — but most divisions have one or more advisory committees that have been appointed by the chairman of the commission. These committees offer advice to the commission regarding activities that they have interest in.

And the recommendation is that the commission adopts the amendment to 51.601 concerning these advisory committees with the changes that I just articulated, which would extend these committees for another year. Be glad to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Any questions or comments from our commission?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: You are making it easy on us, Scott. I appreciate that.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Do I have a motion?


COMMISSIONER HOLT: Commissioner Hixon.


COMMISSIONER HOLT: Second, Commissioner Hughes. All in favor, please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Hearing none, motion carries.

Thank you, Scott.

Number 16, an action item, Resolution, Recommended Adoption of Nonprofit Partners, please.

MS. BRIGHT: Good morning, Commissioner. I am — for the record, I'm Ann Bright, General Counsel. This is — also should be a pretty quick item. The Texas Parks and Wildlife Code authorizes the commission to appoint nonprofit partners that work with the agency and it also requires commission approval for the addition or removal of any nonprofit partner from the list.

We've got two — actually, three types of nonprofit partners. The official nonprofit partner is the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation. Then there's general nonprofit partners, which are really just nonprofit partners that are not the official nonprofit or not closely related. Closely related nonprofit partners. These are basically our friends groups. They're primarily associated with a particular property or facility.

We're here to request the addition of several new nonprofit partners. These are the general nonprofit partners. The Alamo Area Chapter of Quail Unlimited, Austin Woods and Waters Club, Freshwater Anglers Association, Panhandle Heritage Foundation, South Texas Chapter of Quail Unlimited and the Texas Watershed Management Foundation. We're also requesting the removal of some nonprofit partners. And as I discussed yesterday, all three of these are really just on technicalities. We will continue to work with these groups. They're just not incorporated in accordance with 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code. And that's the Central Texas Cattlemen's Association, Edwards Aquifer Authority and the First Texas Volunteers. We're also recommending the addition of a couple of new closely related nonprofit partners, the Friends of Doctors Creek and Friends of Inks Lake. And then the removal of a couple of closely relateds, the Friends of Lake Brownwood State Park and the San Jacinto Battleground Association.

This is the resolution that is in your materials and will be presented to you. And this is the recommended motion, that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt the resolution and the additions and deletions to the list of closely related nonprofit partners and general nonprofit partners. I'd be happy to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Any questions for Ann?

(No response.)


Do I have a motion?


COMMISSIONER HOLT: Commission Duggins.


COMMISSIONER HOLT: Second, Commissioner Bivins. All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: A right. Hearing none, the motion carries. Item Number 17, Action Item, Migratory Game Bird Proclamation, Late Season Migratory Regulations, recommended adoption of proposed changes.

Vernon Bevill?

MR. BEVILL: Thank you. Mr. Chairman and members of the commission, my name is Vernon Bevill. I'm Program Director for Small Game and Habitat Assessment. We're here today to recommend to you the seasons and bag limits and related regulations for the late season migratory game birds. Just to highlight a couple of the changes that we're looking at this year or non-changes, as a matter of fact, we're in our 14th year of the liberal package for migratory game birds.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Congratulations, Vernon.

MR. BEVILL: There's a 74-day season and a normal six-bird bag. We're going back to that conventional six-bird bag this year after being in the Hunter's Choice experiment for the last three. The only difference, this year there will be a slight reduction in the length of the season for mottled ducks due to the request of the service to reduce that harvest by 20 percent in Texas and Louisiana. The early closure of — the earlier closure of our ducks and then the modified youth season will not conflict again with the youth deer hunt. And we made a change in the sandhill crane season in Zone C.

For the north and south zones — duck zones — the season runs the same. In the liberal package there are slight adjustments from last year, basically calendar adjustments with one exception. We're not proposing to run to the end of the framework in January. We are, in fact, recommending closure a week earlier than that framework ends because there's significant evidence, scientific evidence, that the birds that have paired in January are our early nesters back in the Dakotas and Canada and they're the most productive of the nesters we have. So we think we need to do a better job of protecting those birds. And this staff was never in favor of those extended frameworks, anyway for those kind of reasons.

And as I said earlier, we are having a difference of opinion with Fish and Wildlife Service over mottled ducks, the mottled duck populations. But they are — they hold a bigger stick than we do when it comes to the decision. And we are recommending a five-day closure at the beginning of our duck season on mottled ducks with that season opening on the sixth day, which is November 5th in the north and south zone and it will be a one-bird bag for the season. But actually, that will be a dusky duck bag that I'll mention in a minute. This is what it looks like on the calendar for the north and south zones.

And for the State of West Texas, the High Plains Mallard Management Unit gets 23 extra days. Their season structure looks as you see there in the — in your slide. And the mottled duck season in the High Plains Mallard Management Unit would open on November 2nd. There was a little glitch in the services of proposal there. And actually, every state in the central flyway had to have a mottled duck season exception in their rules —

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Separate. I'll be darned.

MR. BEVILL: — even though Texas is the only one that hunts mottled ducks. And this is what the High Plains Mallard Management Unit looks like on the calendars.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: You guys will be hunting forever up there.

MR. BEVILL: So we're going back to the conventional bag, with the — which is a six-bird bag, five mallards, no more than two of which can be hens. As I mentioned to you yesterday, we're going to get the benefit of a third wood duck in the bag and that will be a great benefit to about half of Texas, the eastern half primarily. We will have a pintail and a canvasback full season. And we've put the mottled duck in that aggregate bag of mottled duck, black duck and Mexican duck. So there's a one dusky duck bag in that bag limit. And that affords a little protection for mottled ducks but not like the Hunter's Choice bag did. Because we really reduced our harvest on mottled ducks under Hunter's Choice.

For the western goose zone the light goose season would run November 7th to February 7th, 20 birds in the aggregate. The dark goose would be four counted as one white-front. And the light goose Conservation Order would open on February 8th, the day after the regular goose season closes. There is no daily limit and no aggregate limit when the light goose season is open.

For the eastern goose zone the light and Canada goose season run concurrently with the waterfowl season — with the duck season. And that's October 31st to January 24th. We opt for a two-bag limit on white-fronted geese. So that reduces the number of days we can hunt white-fronts. And so that season closes on January 10th. The daily bag limit again, is 20 for the light geese, three Canadas and two white-fronts. And then we open a Conservation Order on the 25th of January through the 28th of March. And basically, in Texas the Conservation Order actually gives our hunters about three weeks at the beginning — from the beginning of the opening day for the next three weeks to really have a pretty reasonable opportunity to participate in that Conservation Order. Because light geese are beginning to shuffle back north in mid-February and beyond.

The sandhill crane season — in Zone A the sandhill crane season is November 7th to February 7th. Runs concurrent with the goose season. Zone B is the fly-through area for whoopers. So we delay that opening in Zone B and it will open on November 27th and run to February 7th. Both these zones have a three-bird bag. Then we get to Zone C and that's the wrap-around zone of our Aransas protected area for the whooping crane. And Zone C — the season is 37 days maximum. We have opted to open it on December 19th and it extends to January 24th. And that gives us our 37 days with a two-bird bag in that zone.

For the falconry — the extended falconry season in the north and south duck zones it's January 25th through February 8th. However, in the High Plains Mallard Management Unit we use our full compliment of 107 days during gun season and there is no extended falconry season there. Our public comment during this period was fairly active. I put this set of proposals in front of the Migratory Game Bird Committee on August 11th. They fully endorsed all of these proposals.


MR. BEVILL: We had about 180 total commenters commenting on the various aspects of the proposed changes. As you can see from these comment slides that we had a strong concurrence on every one of the proposals. And the recommendation of staff is that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts amendments to 231 TAC 65.318, 65.320 and .321 concerning the Migratory Game Bird Proclamation with changes as necessary to the proposed text as published in the July 17th Texas Register. I'll be glad to answer any questions at this time.


Any questions?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Do you have a question —

VOICE: No, sir. I made a little funny comment.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: If we have no questions or comments, I need a motion, please.


COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes. Commissioner Morian.


COMMISSIONER HOLT: And seconded by Commissioner Friedkin. All in favor, please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Hearing none, motion carries. Action Number 18, Raptor Proclamation, Federal Certification of TPWD Falconry Rules, recommended adoption of proposed changes.

Matt? Welcome, Matt.

MR. REIDY: Good day, Chairman and Commissioners. My name is Matt Reidy. I'm a Regulatory Biologist with the South Texas District. And today I'll talk to you about the raptor population and specifically, the falconry regulations. To simplify falcon regulations, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has written new regulations and they are actually getting out of the falconry permitting process. So in order to do that they're allowing the states to permit falconers themselves without a federal permit, where before it was a federal permit and a state permit.

In order to be part of these new federal regulations states have to certify under them. And in some instances the state is — we are at variance with the new federal regulations. With federal regulations we can be more restrictive but we cannot be more lenient. And there are a few instances where the state is more lenient. And in order to certify we must get our package to the Feds by September 1st, 2009, to certify this as soon as possible under the new federal regulations to remove the federal permit and be permitted by the state only.

The proposed amendment would provisionally eliminate conflicts with the federal regulations and would allow for certification while state falconry regulations are being revised. We are currently in the process of revising the federal regulations but we're trying to get things moved as quickly as possible. And we are currently working on it with the Falconry Raptor Council, with our constituents, with falconers. And we should be completed actually maybe within the year, possibly before this six-month date. As of yesterday, the public comment was 50, 49 in favor, one opposed. The one opposed was concerned with local conditions and they were slightly misinformed with the way the regulations would occur.

So recommendations, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt an amendment to 65.261 concerning the raptor proclamation with changes to the proposed text as published in the July 24th 2009, issue of the Texas Register. Any questions?

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Any questions from Matt?

Yes, sir?

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Why do we — why do you propose that it be provisional elimination of the conflicts?

MR. REIDY: We are revising — fully revising the regulations within the state currently. And so we should have that done, I think, by November-December if we're — if we can get it done. So we will come forward with the new regulations by then. So this is just a provisional act for now before we get the new regulations in line.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Until you complete your rewriting the state regs?

MR. REIDY: Yes, sir.


COMMISSIONER HOLT: Any other questions?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: We do have one speaker, Don — I think it's Roeber from — is Don here?



MR. ROEBER: Hi. Thank you for the opportunity to speak.


MR. ROEBER: I'm the Chairman of the Falconry and Raptor Council. And just to follow up on a few of Matt's comments to you. Another reason why it's so important that we go ahead and certify the federal regulations now versus later, after we've revised all of our federal regulations is couple of things. Number one, it's going to really change our reporting process. Right now when we report — when we acquire a bird or transfer a bird or release a bird we have to file paperwork to the Feds and also, to the state. Right now it's all paper based. And so we have to send it through the U.S. mail. It's problematic at best. I mean, stuff gets lost, it's never received. And, you know, the permittee doesn't realize that there's a problem until maybe down the road either the federal side or the state side takes a look at records and tries to reconcile information. So with this new one — we certify through this new system — we'll actually go electronic. We'll be submitting all of our paperwork electronically. So it will be a good audit trail and everybody will be on the same page. And the state will be able to query the database of this information daily or hourly if they want, to know exactly what has actually been filed by what falconers. So that's one of the added benefits of getting to this new process —


MR. ROEBER: — as soon as possible.


MR. ROEBER: A couple other things. And Matt covered the rewrite of the regulation. You probably have already talked about this in previous commission meetings. But I just want to say, you know, we're in a really pivotal year when it comes to take of migrant peregrines in this country. You know, 39 years we have not had access to the wild resource when it comes to migrant peregrines. This year it's happening. We drew ten permits from the flyaway council and the Parks and Wildlife had a drawing several weeks ago, and we have four out-of-state permittees that are coming to our Texas beaches to take these birds and six resident falconers taking birds. So it will be a monumental deal.

We — I have to say, too, Matt Wagner and Matt Reidy just worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make this as smooth a process as possible, including even to the point of getting GPS coordinates for the areas along the beach where we can and cannot trap, just to make sure that we're not in the wrong place at the wrong time, you know, when we're trying to trap these birds. So it's really a — I just can't commend the Parks and Wildlife any more for the work that you all have done in making this event really possible this year.

And I guess that's a good segue, too, and I just wanted to say I think the relationship between the Texas Parks and Wildlife and the falconry community just could not be better. We have one of the best programs in the country. You all just really work tireless for us — tirelessly for us. And I think, too, you all realize that just the — you know, the kind of folks we are, we're all kind of amateur naturalists. We have to be to do what we do. And really appreciate the resource and put those raptors on a pedestal and care about them more than any — probably anybody else, any other user group. So really appreciate your partnering with us in all these important changes that we're going through now and will be going through in the next year. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Wonderful. Thank you, Don.

Any questions for Don?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: I appreciate the affirmation. Thank you for both Matts, please.

Any other questions or comments?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Do I have a motion?


COMMISSIONER HOLT: So moved, Commissioner Hixon.


COMMISSIONER HOLT: Second, Commissioner Duggins. All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Hearing none, motion carries. What time is it? I think we'll go ahead and do 19. Here's what I propose to do — I think we have a lot of people that want to speak on Number 20 on the water spinach issue — is we'll go through 19, which is the one coming up in whatever amount of time. We do have a few speakers to that, four or five. And then take a 30-minute break for lunch.

For those of you who want to speak on Number 20, the water spinach issue — and I know a lot of you are here — if you want to go ahead and try to grab a bite to eat or whatever, we'll be back here about 12:30. Okay? So it might give you a little time if you wanted to do something. I want to kind of forewarn you. So we're going to do Number 19, which is the one coming up, and then we'll take a break until 12:30 and grab a bite to eat. Okay? So I'll let people wander off if they want for a minute or two. And then we'll start with Number 19.

And, Mitch, you want to go ahead? Let people come out — go out a little bit and then we'll do it.



MR. LOCKWOOD: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, members of the Commission. My name's Mitch Lockwood. And I'm the White-tailed Deer Program Leader. House Bill 1965 amended the Parks and Wildlife Code concerning the permits to control protected wildlife, commonly referred to as the Depredation Permit. These amendments are intended to provide a more streamlined, efficient and timely process for controlling wildlife that are causing serious damage to commercial, agricultural, aquacultural or horticultural interests or that is a threat to public safety.

As I discussed yesterday, the department formed a Crop Depredation Working Group, which was comprised of producers, Texas Farm Bureau representatives, as well as state and private wildlife biologists. And this group met prior to the legislative session to discuss numerous issues associated with depredation permits. And they provided numerous recommendations which ultimately were taken into account by our legislators who drafted House Bill 1965. After House Bill 1965 was enacted the White-tailed Deer Advisory Committee met to discuss this issue and make recommendations on the proposed rule. Since this rule is lengthy I plan to address only those issues that have been identified as most controversial by our stakeholders, as well as the issues that were discussed by this commission yesterday.

As you know, most of it boils down to concerns for permit abuse and enforcement. House Bill 1965 authorizes the commission to adopt rules as necessary, to implement provisions — the provisions of Parks and Wildlife Code Chapter 43, sub-chapter H, which again, is the section that — concerning the permit to control protected wildlife. Those who qualify for this permit include those who experience serious damage to commercial, agricultural, aquacultural or horticultural interests and those who recognize a threat to public safety.

Yesterday it was suggested that the applicants should swear under oath to the truth and accuracy of all information contained in this application. We visited with our legal staff on this and they indicated that the proposed rule may actually have more teeth in it as is, since falsification of information in a government document is a felony. Since the intent of the legislation was to provide a more streamlined process and interested parties specifically wanted to eliminate the notarization process, staff believed that this added requirement would be counter to the intent of the legislation. This notarization process was actually part of the depredation permitting process prior to House Bill 1965. And that was one of those hurdles, if you will, that was suggested that we remove from the process.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: But it is a felony if you lie on the application?

MR. LOCKWOOD: But it is a felony if you falsify a government document.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. That's really strong.

MR. LOCKWOOD: Commission Duggins yesterday did also suggest that the proposed rule should clarify that the home address of the permittee be included on the application and staff concur and request permission to make this change to the proposed rules. We propose to require documentation demonstrating that protected wildlife is causing serious damage. And this would include an added station of the applicant stating that they are indeed experiencing serious damage. And it could include a requirement from us that the applicant provide recent or current photographs showing this serious damage or we could require an affidavit supplied by an agent of the Texas AgriLife to verify that serious damage has occurred. We propose to amend this rule proposal to state that the department may require current photographs showing that serious damage has occurred because recent photographs could be construed as meaning photographs perhaps two or three years old.

I do think it's important to mention at this time that our intent with this is for applicants for properties that we're quite familiar with and we know that there's a history of depredation problems on those sites, it's our intent to issue this permit prior to depredation actually occurring in that current year. Again, these are sites that we're familiar with and know the history of depredation.

In defining commercial interest there was some discussion yesterday regarding a minimum acreage requirement. The Crop Depredation Working Group discussed this and decided that any such requirement may eliminate some producers of commercial crops. Nonetheless, the proposed rules give the department the latitude to conduct site inspections if there's any question regarding legitimacy of the commercial operation. And we certainly do not intend to issue this permit to someone that's attempting to protect a wildlife food plot. So we do have that latitude to conduct these site inspections in advance.

There was also some discussion regarding the type of documentation that we could require of an applicant to verify his commercial interests. The proposed rule gives the department the latitude to require tax returns or other documentation to verify this commercial interest. However, we do believe it would be a rare situation where we would require this type of documentation.

Now, the period of validity generated quite a bit of discussion among the White-tailed Deer Advisory Committee, the Crop Depredation Working Group and the Regulation Committee yesterday, as well. The main question is whether or not this permit should be used during an open season. Staff believe that we have the safeguards in place to minimize permit abuse and we recommend to allow the permit to be valid during an open season so that this permit can address the depredation problems of cool season crops. The proposal states that the permit should not be valid during any time before the crop has been planted or after the crop has been harvested. And I have a letter from Representative Drew Darby that he's asked that I read on the record. And I think now's the appropriate time to read most of that letter. This letter's addressed to Chairman Holt. We received this yesterday afternoon after the Regulation Committee meeting.

"Dear Chairman Holt, First, let me applaud the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission and its staff for its efforts in drafting the proposed rules for House Bill 1965. For I believe great progress has been made in developing the regulatory framework for implementation of the bill. I apologize for not being able to personally attend the commission's meeting in Fort Worth today but would offer the following comments for the written record. Under 65.224(b) and (c) the period of validity, the legislative intent was that depredation permits issued by Texas Parks and Wildlife be valid for 12 months based on an applicant's commercial crop production for the applicable tract. This would allow a permit to hold a normal cycle of crop rotation on the permitted tract for the permitted year." And that is a majority of the letter. I'd like to save that final paragraph regarding a permit fee when we get to that section.

And with that in mind, staff agrees that a farmer should not have to receive multiple permits in a year to protect different crops on that same tract. As there's no need for additional staff time in that we've already verified that there is a depredation issue on that site — and therefore, staff requests the permission to amend this proposal to state that the permit should apply for a 12-month period. But again, it would not be valid at any time when there's not a crop actively growing. Staff — stakeholders and staff also agree that a permit issued for public safety should not be confined to a specific season. Again, we're really talking about public airports in this situation. Staff believe that public airports should have the ability to remove a nuisance animal immediately.

Staff believe that the biggest deterrent to permit abuse is the recommendation of the White-tailed Deer Advisory Committee, which is to mutilate the antlers of every buck harvested. This should remove any incentive or temptation to target quality bucks at nighttime and then attach a hunting license tag to that deer. Actually, it should remove any temptation to harvest or target a trophy buck during any time of the year.

Since House Bill 1965 states that neither the permittee nor anyone else named on that permit may keep any part of a deer that's harvested under the authority of the permit it may seem that that alone removes some temptation for permit abuse. However, the bill also states that a carcass may be given to any appropriate recipient. Staff propose to define appropriate recipient as a person or public or private organization that utilizes the donated wildlife for the public good and not for pecuniary gain. It was suggested yesterday that the reports required of the permittees include the physical address of the carcass recipients. Staff concur that this could remove incentive for the permittee to keep parts of the deer. And we also believe that this would not be any additional burden on the permittee. And therefore, we request permission to modify the proposed rule to include this requirement.

We propose that those who operate under the authority of this permit notify the department not more than 24 hours nor less than four hours prior to any authorized activity. But as we discussed yesterday, we do recognize that there are times when notifying the department four hours prior to any harvest activity could be a hindrance. In other words, there are times when one sees quite a few deer in the field one night when they had not planned a harvest event. And in those cases we have allowed the permittees to notify the department after the harvest, but not more than two hours following any unscheduled killing. However, staff does agree with the commission that notification after the fact, after the harvest defeats the purpose of monitoring the activity authorized under this permit. And we propose to amend this proposed rule to require any permittee to notify the department prior to any harvest activity. Now, this could mean immediately prior to going out in the field.


MR. LOCKWOOD: Again, it is out intention or our desire that most of these harvest events are planned or scheduled events and we get that notification at least four hours prior to that event. And that would give law enforcement good time to make some planning and be able to monitor these activities quite well. But knowing that there are times when that can be a hindrance, we would like to have this rule allow for some later notifications, but still prior to the harvest. And we can monitor this activity over the next year or so and see just how high an incidence this is in notifying just immediately before one goes out and determine if that is somewhat of a burden on law enforcement staff.

Yesterday there was some discussion as to whether the permittee should contact their neighboring landowners to inform them of their intentions to kill depredating wildlife as an authorized — as authorized under this permit. Such a requirement was not supported by almost all of the White-tailed Deer Advisory Committee since the main intent of the bill was to streamline the permitting process. And specifically, to eliminate the public notification through the County Judge.

Some predict that this requirement could be more burdensome than posting a notice in the county courthouse, which again, that was part of the process prior to House Bill 1965 and one of the — one of those hurdles, if you will that they tried to remove from the process. So unless the commission directs us to do otherwise, staff recommends to not add this notification requirement to this proposal. However, we do intend to strongly encourage all applicants and permittees to notify their neighbors of their intentions. In fact, we plan to do so with a letter that will accompany the permits that we mail out.

House Bill 1965 requires the department to charge a fee of at least $50. And considering the philosophy that this commission has endorsed with some other deer permits — and that is to recover all costs associated with enforcing and administering the program — staff propose a fee of $500. And although the deliberations of the White-tailed Deer Advisory Committee and the Crop Depredation Working Group went quite well, this proposed $500 fee was not established until late in the process. And we have become aware of some opposition to this proposed fee from members of the Crop Depredation Working Group, from Texas Farm Bureau representatives, from producers and even from the sponsors of House Bill 1965 — COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes.

MR. LOCKWOOD: — Representatives Darby and Heflin. And at this time I'd like to read that final paragraph of Representative Darby's letter. And that says, "Under 65.231 Fees, the recommended fee for the depredation permit rises from the current of 50 to $500. I'm concerned that such a dramatic increase in the fee would discourage participation in the program, thereby thwarting the legislative intent to encourage active and widespread involvement by commercial crop producers. Therefore, I recommend that the commission during this inaugural implementation of House Bill 1965 adopt an initial fee of $250 for a permit year. Any increase in the fee should be based on data collected relevant to actual department costs to monitor and enforce the program. And I look forward to continue working with the commission and your staff on implementation of House Bill 1965. Thank you for your consideration." Signed Drew Darby.

And it is true that these projected expenses are based on staff's estimates on how much time we believe each one of us will spend on each permit as opposed to having the luxury that we have with other deer permits with actual figures in hand and how much time we are indeed spending since this bill was just signed by the Governor in late May.

I'll mention just a couple of the prohibited acts that are in this proposal. And these are further attempts to minimize abuse of this permit. We initially proposed that it is an offense to offer or accept money or anything of value in exchange for participation in activities under a depredation permit except for employees. However, Commission Duggins provided some edits yesterday clarifying our intent. And so we recommend permission to modify this proposed rule to state that it is an offense for any person to offer or accept money or anything of value in exchange for participation in activities under a depredation permit, including any fee paid in exchange for hunting, meat or antlers associated with or resulting from permitted activities except for salaries or wages paid by the permittee to persons who are employed by a person to whom a depredation permit is issued. And again, this really clarifies our intent with —

COMMISSIONER HOLT: I guess you could say that clarifies.

MR. LOCKWOOD: About halfway through it.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes, right. Oh, well.

Duggins, did you get what you wanted, buddy?

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: I think that's a vast improvement.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Oh, have to give it to our lawyers that read it. And I think that's part of your point, isn't it? I'm picking on you.

MR. LOCKWOOD: Then again, we propose to require that antlers be destroyed immediately by cutting the beams in half as described in this proposal.

We've received another comment or two since I was up here yesterday. We're at 31 comments now; 48 percent that support this proposal and 52 percent or 16 individuals who do not agree with the proposal, most of which are related to the fee. We did receive some opposition — other — different reasons for opposition, such as that the public should be given the opportunity to harvest this depredating wildlife. And as I mentioned yesterday, I — staff thinks that we should be very careful not to confuse this activity with hunting activity.


MR. LOCKWOOD: We also heard that the rules were too complicated. And we heard that the department should ensure that wildlife populations are not adversely impacted. And we certainly don't disagree with that statement. We believe that we do have the safeguards in place to prevent any adverse impacts to the resource.

As I mentioned yesterday, Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association wrote a letter in support of this proposal but does urge the department to monitor and enforce this program closely. And they specifically referenced some concerns to some of our desert big game species such as pronghorn antelope and mule deer. And I think it's important for me to clarify — I don't think I made real clear yesterday — is that this permit is species-specific. We'll issue a permit for depredating white-tailed deer. If that's what you receive you're not allowed to kill mule deer under that permit or — so it is specific to a species causing that problem.

We also received a comment that's asking us to consider some other means or legal means of take under this permit. Right now the rule says that if it's white-tailed deer or mule deer or some other big game species that legal means is restricted to center fire rifle. We received a request to consider shotguns with slugs for some situations. And staff requests permission to amend this proposal to give us the authority to authorize shotguns as legal means in special circumstances.

And then finally, we received a letter from the Southern Rolling Plains Cotton Growers Association, and they're concerned with the fees, similar to some that I've already mentioned. They thought it was a little bit high. They said that since this is — it's only been three months or less than three months since the bill went into effect that the department should allow adequate time to evaluate the current rules before making significant changes. I think I should probably state that the $50 fee was the minimum amount that we were allowed to charge. And staff didn't think that we should charge a fee higher than that until we had commission action.

The final comment that I should report that we received on this was some opposition to what it takes to verify that serious damage has occurred. This same group, Southern Rolling Plains Cotton Growers Association, think that it's too burdensome on both the applicant and on Texas AgriLife if we require an affidavit from Texas AgriLife to verify that serious damage has occurred. And again, I'll state that I think this would be a rare situation where we would require this. In fact, it would really be in a case to give the permittee or the applicant the benefit of the doubt if we're having a hard time otherwise determining that serious damage has occurred.

And with that, staff recommends that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts new 65.220 through 65.223 concerning permits to control protected wildlife with changes as necessary to the proposed text as published in the July 24th, 2009, issue of the Texas Register. And that concludes my presentation. I'll be glad to take any questions you might have.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Any questions, Commissioners?

Go ahead — and we do have some comments — Commissioner Morian.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: I'm not sure I followed you on 224(a), (b) and (c). The way it's written here it's crop-specific. And if you say that now you're changing that to a 12-month permit?

MR. LOCKWOOD: That's what we propose, Commissioner. It is crop-specific but not necessarily to a single crop. The application will list and does currently list the crops that are damaged. There are times right now, even without this change for a 12-month period where there's a single tract that is cut up into, say, thirds or quarters and you have different crops planted within that single tract. And so they're different crops but one permit today is valid for use for that whole tract, as long as it's contiguous. And so this, I think, is similar in that except that you could actually have a third of that tract planted in one crop, then after it's harvested and something else is planted, under this proposal you could continue to operate under this same permit for that new crop. But again, it would be listed ahead of time on that application before approved.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: So if I'm a single crop grower even though the permit would be 12 months it would only apply during the growing season?

COMMISSIONER HOLT: That's correct.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Is that the way —

MR. LOCKWOOD: Yes, sir. And it's —


MR. LOCKWOOD: — very clear, I think, in that this permit would not be valid during any time before the crop has been planted or after the crop has been harvested.


MR. LOCKWOOD: The crop must be actively growing.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Thanks for the clarification.

MR. LOCKWOOD: Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Commission Duggins?

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: As a follow-up to that, how does the applicant attest to crop damage, serious crop damage to a crop that hasn't even been planted?

MR. LOCKWOOD: Well, that's something that I mentioned — I think mentioned earlier in this presentation. There are — so far what — we've experienced a number of cases where we are quite familiar with a situation and know that there is a long history of depredation problems. And we think it's the intent of the bill and our intent, as well, to issue that permit in those cases prior to that damage actually occurring since we know that it is likely, as there's a history of it. If we're not familiar with that situation, that location and what the deer damage might be then we would not issue that permit at that time.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: The intent of this bill is to help people that have depredation. That's the intent of the bill.

MR. LOCKWOOD: Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: And that's our goal. In my opinion, we should work with the individuals and the people that have these problems. Your game warden's going to know and, you know, your wildlife biologists in those regions will know the situation. So, I mean, I — you know, I'm certain — I'm glad we vetted this dramatically. But at the end of the day we have a legislative act that says that we are supposed to try to help people that have depredation problems. And that's what this is all about. So I know you've thought it out and the deer advisory group has spent a lot of time on this. And so I think you've put together a pretty good plan.

And one thing I'd like to speak to is I think we ought to consider Representative Darby's request of $250 versus $500. The executive director and I discussed it and we thought at least for the first year that's probably what we should put in place, see — then record our costs, then decide if we need to up them or not — or even lower them, if possible. That's kind of one thing I wanted to throw out.

Any other comments? And we do have some speakers. And then we can comment about all this again, too, or ask more questions? Any more?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: We do have some speakers. Gene Richardson's up if he's here. And then Kenneth Schwartz on standby, please.

MR. RICHARDSON: Thank you, Commissioner. This is Gene Richardson, Texas Farm Bureau. And I'd just like to say that I thank the court and I appreciate what we're trying to do here. We've had a situation that hasn't been very workable in the past. And we hope that this will be the cure for it. Of course, we know that rain would be the true cure.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes. That's an understatement.

MR. RICHARDSON: So if we can get some rain, well, it would cure a lot of this. At Texas Farm Bureau we have people on both sides of that fence or the lack of that fence. And the first thing I'd like to say that in 65.22(c) I ask that fencing should be removed. If it's included in — as a prerequisite to getting a permit then it's going to go back to the same old law.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Well, say that again. Which one? I'm sorry.

MR. RICHARDSON: On 65.22(c).


MR. RICHARDSON: It's things requested to do before a permit.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: The department determines that measures — okay. But I think that's to make recommendations.



MR. SMITH: Mr. Chairman, I —

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes. Let's speak to that just real quickly. Sorry. Mitch?

MR. SMITH: Mitch way want to talk a bit.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Mitch, do you have anything on that specific item? Might as well go ahead and discuss this since we are going to try to vote on this today.

MR. LOCKWOOD: Yes, sir. This rule that he referenced would give the department latitude to make some requirements of that nature, such as a fence. For example, there may be a property and often is the case where the high fence, such as around an orchard, something like that where really, some slight modification to that fence, some fence mending could solve the problem. And so we, I guess you could say, reserve the right or ask for the latitude to make recommendation in those cases. Also, this would likely be a requirement for our desert big game species —


MR. LOCKWOOD: — that are more sensitive to this type — or are more vulnerable to this type of activity. And we do intend to continue making requirements. In fact, the bill requires us to make recommendations to the applicant prior to issuing the permit. And as I discussed yesterday, in the case of those desert big game species it's likely we will require a high fence or a net wire fence in the case of pronghorn antelope.


MR. RICHARDSON: The only other thing that we had was — concerned the fees. And Drew Darby's letter addressed that. Because at that working group — Commission Duggins was there — and we had kind of negotiated that $250 —


MR. RICHARDSON: — until we saw and experienced to warrant raising that. Anyway, I appreciate any of the changes. And thank you for your time.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Thank you. Thank you for working with us, too. Appreciate it.

Any questions for Gene?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Great. Thank you, Gene.

Kenneth Schwartz up and Larry Holubec after that.

MR. SCHWARTZ: Hi. My name is Kenneth Schwartz; I'm from Wall, Texas. I started this grassroots movement with our State Representative Drew Darby. And when we got started he asked us not to ask for one penny from the State of Texas and not to take a donation, to keep it pure grassroots. We have adhered to that. About two weeks before the bill was ready to pass I went and met with Senator Duncan's aide, Senator Seliger's aide and State Representative Drew Darby's aide. We sat down and we hammered out what the bill was going to look like.

First of all, we agreed that it would not discriminate, it would not violate anybody's civil rights, it would be fair play and we would keep it as simple as we could, keep the problematic problems out of it. So what we agreed on in that meeting, that all agriculture crops will be protected — commercial agriculture crops. We talked about also including like, people who have homes and gardens. But we discovered in the hunting codes if a municipality wants people to trap deer they can do it by just passing an ordinance, we think, So dropped that. We also wanted to keep it very pragmatic free. All hunting codes in the hunting laws would match — all of them. We didn't want to get out of that so we don't have discrepancies, discrimination. So the only variances I believe we talked about would be night hunting and year-round hunting, taking of all sexes. Everything else would match the hunting codes. The fees would match the land management permits. Those fees. And I have looked at those fees.

Okay. The — we're looking at the horn deal. And I don't know what the deal is with the horns. Farmers have hundreds of horns in their barns. We find them in our tractor tires. $1,000 to $6,000. Every last one of them. We hate them. You want to see a farmer cuss, you just see a guy that's just got one in his $6,000 tire.


MR. SCHWARTZ: Now, I don't know what the deal is with the horns. I see in this bill — we had talked about New Mexico's bill, which is a bill similar to this. And I talked to Senator Tim Jennings and we tried to replicate his bill. And his bill is simply this, if there's an imminent threat to your property from wildlife you can use necessary force. And a lot of our people who signed on signed on to that statement. But that's New Mexico's bill. Okay.

Okay. Also, when we proposed this, this had some language in there that said, If there's an imminent threat. I take an imminent threat as being like historical damage, pretty much is what an imminent threat would be or — since we started building these fences what's happened now, the deer slide down these fences. In Tom Green County we have — in one year, 14 months — right at 30 miles of fences come up. Sixty-five percent of Tom Green County is fixed. It means the deer cannot get at these domestic crops. That's how successful it is. In three more years Tom Green County will be 85 percent fixed. It will be only a handful of permits needed. They will be isolated permits.

What has happened now, all the county roads on back of these fences on the back side — there's over 100 miles of them — but rarely ever see a deer, have not heard of anybody having a collision with a deer. Highway 87 is 30 miles there, rarely ever see a deer. And after this year the benefit from that is going to be 150 miles of roads — county roads and state roads are going to have almost absolute protection from deer. Already — I estimate more deer was saved already this year — hunters probably going to take maybe 50, 60. But I honestly believe we're going to have more deer survive because cars are not going to hit them. It has worked that successful. And you're going to hear some other testimony to that effect. So already we are reaping more dividends than we're putting into this thing. I have invited Clayton Smith to come view this thing. Mr. Wolf. I want them to come see it.


MR. SCHWARTZ: I was at a legislative conference here two weeks ago. Invited a whole bunch of state representatives, several state representatives and even invited a congressman and state-senator-to-be maybe.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Mr. Schwartz, you know, we kind of need to move on, please.

MR. SCHWARTZ: I've got so much here.


MR. SCHWARTZ: Let me —

COMMISSIONER HOLT: — three minutes, sir.

MR. SCHWARTZ: All right.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: I can only go so long.

MR. SCHWARTZ: Let me make my statement.


MR. SCHWARTZ: This bill is totally — is discriminating. It's — because it does not match. I'll be happy to sit down with the commission and point it out point by point where the discrimination is at, violation of the farmers' rights. We feel like we're peasants. We've taken this damage for years and years. You're going to hear more testimony. 80,000, 100,000 a year. We're asking for a little fair play and nothing but. I would like for you to listen in a little conference. We could spend 15 minutes so I can go point by point what was said up here and show you where there's total discrimination.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Well, I'm sorry you feel that way.

Up next, Larry Holubec, please, and on standby, Brandon Craig Biedermann.

MR. HOLUBEC: Thank you. A lot of my issues are kind of done addressed. Like, one of them was about the one crop and when you had like three crops in a tract. And it's going to be a 12-month deal now. Do we understand that?


MR. HOLUBEC: Okay. Because we have crops that are growing and the other one needs to be protected right before it comes up. And the other issue's just the cost of it. I didn't realize — are you all hiring new people to do this? Are the people that are taking care of this done on the payroll?

COMMISSIONER HOLT: No, it takes them more time, of course.

MR. HOLUBEC: Well, they'll still get the same salary. Right?

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes. I don't — there's still cost. There's everything from filing to all of those things.

MR. HOLUBEC: 1,000 —

COMMISSIONER HOLT: We'll discuss that —

MR. HOLUBEC: — percent increase is what you all was proposing, though, at first. I mean, that's quite an increase. I mean, we're out of — we got to get like, a vault and we got to keep the deer cold, we got to process them or field dress them and everything. We're out of a lot of time and stuff, too.


MR. HOLUBEC: And putting a $250 even is a burden that some people aren't going to do it.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Right. We understand that.

MR. HOLUBEC: Yes. I don't know. Other than that, that's the main thing I got to say.


Brandon Craig Biedermann, please.

MR. BIEDERMANN: Mr. Chairman —


MR. BIEDERMANN: — Commissioners. The period of validity was my main concern. But I think that's been addressed. Because when cotton's young if you have to wait till it's up and growing it's too late. If you have 100 deer, you know, waiting to eat your crop.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Right. I understand.

MR. BIEDERMANN: They kill cotton when it's young. They — it doesn't grow back like grass or wheat. And another thing, you know, you work during the day and then you hunt two or three hours at night, then you field dress the deer. And now we got to count points and destroy antlers? I don't know if that's really necessary. Could we destroy maybe eight point or bigger or something, you know? I mean, why do we have to add that additional time?

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Count points. I —


COMMISSIONER HOLT: — don't — did that —

MR. BIEDERMANN: — in there, too. You got to count the points on the bucks and record that.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: I didn't see that.

MR. BIEDERMANN: I don't know what the —

COMMISSIONER HOLT: I didn't see that.

MR. BIEDERMANN: I don't know what the reasoning is for that.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: I don't know what that is. We — could they — cutting the horns. Do — we just don't want this to be a hunting process in any way, shape or form. We understand depredation. We understand harvesting — not harvesting — excuse me.

MR. BIEDERMANN: Well, I mean —

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Killing those animals so they don't depredate.

MR. BIEDERMANN: — has this —

COMMISSIONER HOLT: But we do not want it to be a hunting process in any other way.

MR. BIEDERMANN: Has somebody ever sold a six-point rack? I don't know.




MR. BIEDERMANN: — that's mostly what we have running around there. There are so many of them, they're just a —


MR. BIEDERMANN: — bunch of little doggie-sized deer.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Do remember now, this is a state law —


COMMISSIONER HOLT: — that covers all counties.

MR. BIEDERMANN: Well, I'm saying maybe we can just have to destroy, you know, maybe eight-point or bigger. Then we wouldn't even have to worry about it. Because we don't have much of that. And another thing. On the cost, part of the reasoning was for these phone calls we have to make during the night, like an average of 12 phone calls per permittee, 30 minutes each is what it said in there. And I've called, I think, 15 times and usually about three minutes I'm done. So I don't know where that additional cost is coming from. So I guess that's my only concerns. COMMISSIONER HOLT: Fair enough.

MR. BIEDERMANN: Thank you.


Any other questions or comments?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. This is an action item. Do I have a motion?

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Before you move the motion I do —


COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: — have something.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Sorry. I thought you meant asking the audience.


COMMISSIONER HOLT: Which one now? Sorry.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: 65.227(b)(5), Mitch, you talked about adding the information of the physical resident's address of the person who received the wildlife. I think I proposed and would continue to suggest we get the phone numbers so that you might wish to — if you wish to make a phone call you could do so. Did you — did that just slip through the cracks or do you disagree with that?

MR. LOCKWOOD: I do not disagree with that statement, Commissioner. Yes, it is an oversight. I would argue that in agreement that that would help law enforcement in monitoring.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Okay. I'd make that suggestion then, that we just add phone number — a phone number in 65.227(b)(5).

The question for Ann, is the failure to destroy horns going to be a felony?

MS. BRIGHT: It's going to be a violation. And I'm not sure what the penalties are for violation of this permit.

Does David?

MR. LOCKWOOD: House Bill 1965 states that any violation is a Class B misdemeanor except for a reporting violation, which would be a Class C misdemeanor.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. That's in the state law?

MR. LOCKWOOD: That's — yes, sir.


COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: But I thought earlier someone — thought you said that there —


MS. BRIGHT: The felony — there's another offense. We've gotten away from, in a lot of our permit applications, actually requiring people to go to a notary and have a notarized signature on an application. In other words, having it administered before someone who can — or having it signed before someone who can administer an oath. Mainly because falsification of a government record already carries criminal penalties.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: So you were speaking that — when we're talking about a felony, that would be making a false statement in the application.

MS. BRIGHT: In the application.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Administered just to that and not, for example —

MS. BRIGHT: Not to the actual —

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: — permit conditions.

MS. BRIGHT: That's a separate offense under a separate — under its own section in the Penal Code.


Let's see. Question for Mitch. Was Representative Darby aware or made aware of your computations in arriving at the $500 fee?

MR. LOCKWOOD: Yes, sir. We did not speak specifically to the figures. But he did know that it's based on our intention to follow the past direction, you know, by this commission to try and recover all costs.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Okay. My last question is, you said that you'd like to notify each permittee that it — that the department strongly encourages the applicant or the permittee to communicate that he or she or it is seeking a permit and may, in fact, be using the permit. If you later determine — which I'm fine with — but if you later determine that a permittee has just completely blown off that recommendation is it my understanding that when that permittee comes back for renewal that that would be a basis on which the department could deny an application?

MR. LOCKWOOD: Well, our plan at this time is, as is proposed here, our plan of action would not be that following — failing to follow that recommendation by us would result in any penalty. It's — that's not the plan at this time. It is my preference that if we were to come back at some point, we recognize a problem and maybe we even hear some comments from the other side of the fence, that there needs to — they need some notification. For whatever reason, before we proposed it, I would like to request that we have the opportunity to visit again with our stakeholders and the —


MR. LOCKWOOD: — White-tailed Deer Advisory Committee and this Crop Depredation Working Group to make sure that the part of this processing come up with the best way to do so.



COMMISSIONER HOLT: Well, go ahead, Ralph.

I want to — do recommend — or make sure we understand. This is going to be an evolving process. So what we say here today can be amended, can be changed. We are going to listen to all constituencies as we go forward with this process. So this is a start, not an end. I just want to make sure everybody understands that on the commission.

Go ahead.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: I — that's — I was just getting ready to basically say what you just said.


COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: But I think this is a concept that is going to lead to issues that — some of which I think we've isolated and some of which we may not have seen. And I do think we'll be back here particularly, for example, I believe we'll be back here on the issue of use of this during hunting season. But in any event, I agree with the chair on that observation, that this is a process that we're going to have to probably make some mistakes on and learn from it and be back again.



COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: — real quickly mention — and you may have mentioned it and I didn't hear it. But the — can you address the issue of counting antler points and the thought behind bogging —

MR. LOCKWOOD: Our reporting requirement currently has — it's a harvest log.


MR. LOCKWOOD: They are required — and in this proposal required to submit to the — excuse me — the department, upon request, and no more than ten days following the expiration of the permit. And this harvest log doesn't contain much information but does contain all the deer that are killed and what we're — and who they're donated to. And we'll modify that to include more information about the recipients. And then what the White-tailed Deer Advisory Committee suggested was that we also add two columns in there for the number of points on the left and right antler. And this is from a law enforcement standpoint, that they're able to match, find those antlers. If they go there and they see some antlers from deer and it's not on the harvest log that may raise some red flags, so to speak. So it's really from a law enforcement standpoint.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Identification and tracking for law enforcement.

MR. LOCKWOOD: Yes, sir.




COMMISSIONER HOLT: I need some help relative to the motions on the — I would like to amend it for the $250, from $500 to $250. How do we do that, Ann, or what do I do? Or how do we put that into motion?

MS. BRIGHT: I would suggest that the motion be something to the effect that the commission recommends the adoption with the changes as recommended by staff that we've gone through today and that the fee be changed to $250.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: So you've just said it.

MS. BRIGHT: Okay. That would be —


MS. BRIGHT: Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Stay up there in case anybody has questions.

Anybody have questions on — well, I want to make sure everybody understands on the commission what we're voting on. Is everybody clear? If not, please either ask me or ask Ann. Is everybody clear?

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Do I have a motion?


COMMISSIONER HOLT: So moved, Commissioner Friedkin. A second?


COMMISSIONER HOLT: Commissioner Hughes. All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Motion carries.

Thank you, all. And thank you for everybody who came in and spoke.

And since we're already at 12:30 if everybody can survive we'll just move on. Will that be all right on the commission?

VOICE: Sure.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes, it looks like everybody's come back. Okay. We will move on to Item Number 20, Action, Harmful or Potentially Harmful Fish, Shellfish and Aquatic Plants. Special Provision, Water Spinach Regulations. Recommended adoption of proposed changes. Dr. Earl Chilton.

DR. CHILTON: Mr. Chairman, other members of the commission, for the record my name is Earl Chilton. I'm Aquatic Habitat Enhancement Program Director for Inland Fisheries. Here today to speak about water spinach and the proposed regulations for its growth and sale. Just as a little bit of background information. Although I know I went over some of this yesterday, for those that weren't — maybe weren't here, it's native to India and southeast Asia. It's part of the morning glory family, the same family that contains potatoes. Cultivated at least since 300 AD in China. It's high in protein content. Can be used as animal feed.

Additionally, I wanted to just clarify where we are with the regulations. Currently water spinach in Texas is legal for personal consumption. It is also legal to possess it and grow it if you have an exotic species permit. The reason for these proposed regulations is to fill in a gap between growers and people that want to consume it. So, in other words, to allow sale to a middleman.

Water spinach is an important food in the Asian community. It's been here for about 30 years. Ever since at least in the group that's growing it in — near Houston it's — some of those people that are growing it in Houston actually escaped the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia and found in what's known as the village in Rosharon. And one of the vegetables they began to grow was water spinach. Since that time it's been grown and sold in restaurants, retail outlets and Asian markets, even HEB and Whole Foods, and various places around the state.

Additionally, water spinach is not only important in the Asian community, it's becoming increasingly important in the Anglo community, as well. According to the USDA most of the sales that they have been able to intercept over the last few years have actually been in Anglo-Americans. One of the reasons for that is that the word has gone out that water spinach actually lowers cholesterol and it's high in iron content and vitamins.

Well, as a result of actually finding water spinach growing illegally for sale in 2003 we determined to do a risk assessment. The findings of the risk assessment were that water spinach has been cultivated and grown and sold in Texas for approximately 30 years. There doesn't seem to be any evidence at this time that it can establish in the wild or that it has established in the wild. The Texas climate seems to be a poor match compared to the climate in areas where water spinach is native. And that's because obviously we haven't seen it growing outside of greenhouses in Texas.

Temperature data indicate that it would be difficult for water spinach to survive winter temperatures in Texas outside of greenhouses. It requires average daily temperatures of 77 degrees, which you can't find in any of Texas' largest cities, including Brownsville, one of the southern-most cities in the state. Water spinach has not exhibited a propensity for rapid spread in either Florida or California. In Florida it is grown — the regulations in Florida state that it can only be sold outside the state. In California it is quarantined. So it is grown and sold in California. You can move it around within the state but it is quarantined to a particular part of the state, generally the southern part of the state. The information I have is that probably 90 percent of the water spinach in the United States comes from California.

Although earlier information suggested that water spinach was difficult to control with herbicides — and, in fact, years ago I had talked to some people in Florida that suggested the same thing, that it was difficult to control with herbicides. It was about ten years ago when I talked to them. They told me that the herbicides they had at that point simply browned it up and then it grew right back. But more recently I've talked to some folks, the people in charge of the water — invasive species program in Florida and they told me that now it is controllable with herbicides.

Well, the proposed regulations would allow water spinach to remain on the prohibited list in Texas, but due to its relatively low risk, cultivation by permitted growers and it would allow unrestricted possession for personal consumption. Commercial cultivation would take place only in TPWD-permitted facilities. Wholesale and retail outlets would be allowed to possess water spinach and sell it for personal consumption only if they retain invoices from permitted growers within the state or from persons selling water spinach legally from outside Texas.

Comments have changed since this slide was created. In addition to this, we now have a letter from the Texas Conservation Alliance that is in — not in favor of allowing water spinach to be sold. We also have a letter from the National Wildlife Federation. Their letter suggests that we should wait and include water spinach in the development of a white list that was mandated by the Sunset legislation. Additionally, we also have a list of 183 persons on a petition that are in favor of the current proposed regulations. And I'm assuming you'll probably get a copy of that —


DR. CHILTON: — shortly, if you haven't received one already. Therefore, the requested action is that staff recommends the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt the following motion, Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts new rules relating to the sale of water spinach, Ipomoea aquatica, as presented in Exhibit A and published in the Texas Register July 24th, 2009. Are there any questions?

COMMISSIONER HOLT: I imagine we'll have a lot of questions. But do we want to go ahead and let people speak and then we can get to questions? Or do any commissioners have questions right now?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Earl, I think you better stay available because I assume we'll have some afterwards.

With that, we have quite a few speakers. If I do not pronounce your name right, please let me know. So I may spell it out at times. So I have Serene [phonetic], I think it's S-O-K or S-O-L coming up first. Did I say that right? It looks like it's S-O-K. And then — I'm looking at — I think it's M-A-K then second name, S-O-K is on standby.

MR. SOK: Okay. My name is Sarean Sok. I'm a farmer. I grow water spinach like he say. Mostly we grow in container area like greenhouses. We contain the plant. And also, we have fertilizer that we buy from other market that we plant it and we grow it and we fertilize it so it grow better. And we also take care like, bugs, all that stuff. So we know that when to sell it. And we have — some people have license to spray chemical on it and go to school for it so they can plant it by the law. And we have one thing that we know when to cut it and to sell to market so it won't harm other people in health. That's all I could tell you right now. You have any question for me?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: I think we'll have questions at the end.

MR. SOK: Okay.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: So I — if you don't mind.

MR. SOK: And also, I used to work at environmental protection, so I went to step by step using all those stuff and check out what do I need, permit, everything so I could grow them. Thank you. And we answer your question later. Thank.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Right. Thank you very much.

Next individual up, I think it's — the last name, S-O-K, last name. First name — can you — is it N-A-K or W-A-K?

VOICE: She's on standby.


VOICE: She's a standby.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Oh, she's standby? Yes.

But come on up.

In other words, it's her turn — hers or his. There may be some language barrier here. Okay. And this person's last name is spelled N — I again apologize that I do not know how to pronounce names. I will learn that after this. Last name N-G-E-T. Samath? Yes.

Maybe you can help me. How do you pronounce your last name, sir?

MR. NGET: Net.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Say that again?

MR. NGET: Net.


MR. NGET: Good morning, Commissioner. My name's Sameth. We have about 130-plus family in our community who depend on water spinach income. We've been growing water spinach 20-year plus and they do not harm to animal and they still under our control, which is not going to the park or a bayou. And the last one. Please issue us the permit to sell to consumer. Thank you.


Okay. Chith, C-H-I-T-H, second name — is that —

MR. LONN: Lonn.


MR. LONN: Good afternoon, boards.


MR. LONN: Good. How are you? I would like to mention that the water spinach in our community is fairly easy to maintain. For example, they don't propagate to other counties around Brazoria because, for example, if you look at Hurricane Ike it basically destroyed 90 percent of all the greenhouses and we were still able to contain the plant within our own land. And if you were to come down to our village, community, walk around, look around, look at the bayou, the streets you will never see any wild water spinach. And basically — and another thing is if you don't approve us to sell to the consumers it also has a impact on, for example, the people who sell us the pesticides, the minerals to enhance the water spinach itself, pretty much fertilizers. We buy wood from Home Depot, from Alvin. They would also be affected from us not buying the wood from them. So it will pretty much impact everybody within that community.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Do you — maybe I can ask a question. Because — do you sell to a middleman or do you sell directly to a store or an HEB or Whole Foods?

MR. LONN: We sell to a middleman.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: You sell to a middleman?

MR. LONN: Yes. And the middleman sells it to —


MR. LONN: — whoever wants to buy it.


MR. LONN: — consumer.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: You're selling to a person who's distributing then, selling to others?

MR. LONN: Yes. Well, pretty much we ask you to approve this motion so that we can sell it to middleman and thus, sell it to the consumer.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Right. Well, it would have to be multiple changes. Because another issue is — and that — we'll talk about it as we go along — is that the way the regs are written right now it's very confusing. So I think that's some of the things we're going to have to sort out.

MR. LONN: Okay.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: But I do appreciate everybody coming. Good.

MR. LONN: All right.


MR. LONN: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Anything else? Thank you.

Vibol, V-I-B-O-L Thong. I think I'm saying that right.


COMMISSIONER HOLT: I got close, anyway. Thank you.

MR. THONG: Good afternoon —

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Good afternoon.

MR. THONG: — Mr. Chairman and Commissioners. I'm really happy to stand here. Anyway, thanks so much for allowing us time to have this chance. This a great opportunity for me to express for what our communities needs. Like Mr. Earl Chilton already addressed, a lot of thing as a potential vegetable. But I would like to add more than that because we grow with that. Our food, the crop is corn, bean, but the main one is rice. Our vegetable, very many of them, a lot of them. But the water spinach, it is unique and very special for us. We consider it like a heritage. So 1979 I think told by Mister — former President Carter was passed not a law but a special law for refugee, the status for that case, which is A25 that using alien number A25, using I-94 for the first years, being passed are the article saying that we can keep our language; we can keep our traditions, our cultures, our believing, our religion. But they didn't say you can keep our food.

This is our food — more than food, Mr. Chairman and Commissioners. Right now water spinach get us a job that we can live with that. We can pay all the bills. Look like me. I've been working so hard for the working class —

My wife and me been laid off. And I get caught and broke my femur. I cannot do anything else. But I can depend on that. I can pay all the bill with that. I can send my kid for college or university with that. So since everything already passed 1979 that we can keep everything, why not we can keep our food? If the food's not harm to anything. That's one of the point.

The other point, since this morning up until now here in this room I heard most they just ask for the fund. But we are not ask for the fund. We are here to bring the fund. It's good for the government by paying tax. Whatever the federal and state regulation and rules are, we comply with that. Thanks so much.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you, sir.

MR. THONG: Your prominence onto this matter is we greatly appreciate. And looking to hear from you soon. Thank you, sir.


VOICE: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Very well spoken. Thank you.


COMMISSIONER HOLT: I think it's — if I'm reading right — Toby Lee Tao? Am I saying that right? T-A-O last name? Is that — I may not be close. Please come up.

MR. TAO: Good afternoon. It's Toby. And I came here as first, just an observer. But I guess I checked the — to testify.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes, your name's on here.

MR. TAO: Well, everything that they said, I'll go with them. And but for me, myself, I personally — I got discharged with a sleeping disorder. And this helps with a good schedule because I can work any time of the day and pay off for any activities that I'm willing to go for, like going out and whatever it is I do. And this adds to my own funding without having to deplete from my parents' funding themselves that they use around the house and anything else that they're trying to do to save money. And this makes it really easy as a nocturnal sleeper. So I think that's about it.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you, sir.

MR. TAO: Thank you.


Jaycee Doak?

MS. DOAK: Good afternoon, I'm Jaycee. Here I have the petitions from all the people in our village that have signed. There's over 180.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: You want to hand it over to that table, please? Or somebody — thank you.

MS. DOAK: So we're all just here to ask for the Chairman and all the Commission to support us, to approve the proposed recommendations. Everybody here has been doing it for a while. I've just done it for five years. And I have not seen any water spinach out in the wild. And everybody has been controlling it. And if this proposed recommendation does not go through it would be a hardship for a lot of families in our community. And a lot of people — we're just going to say a lot of people depend on the water spinach as a means of income.


MS. DOAK: And for my family, personally, I get to stay home and watch my kids and make time on the side to do the water spinach where I don't need to get a baby-sitter. And so that's why I came in the countryside, to do the water spinach. So it's good for the economy, it's good for everybody around us. And it will hurt a lot of the families. And with the economy going right now, with the recession it's going to be really hard for a lot of the older folks who don't have education and they can't get, you know, company jobs and stuff like that. So we just ask that you consider this and help us. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Jaycee, thank you very much.

Saloeurn C. Yin. Am I saying that —

MS. YIN: Hi. I'm pretty much going to sum it up. And thank you for giving me the opportunity to speak. My name is Saloeurn. I am a wife, a mother of four and a grower of water spinach in the Rosharon farming community. I am here today to express to all how strongly I am for the recommended proposed new rules of water spinach. I am here to let you know in person that the people and their families in our community depend on water spinach, a main income to survive, to take care of our — their family on a daily basis.

It is hard work. And farming is not an easy job. It's very tough. Not many people farm — want to farm, you know. But we're doing it because it's always been a part of our heritage. It's survival and being self-sufficient. We have bills, children to care for and expenses, just like other citizens. And by not approving the proposed new bill will deeply hurt everyone almost in a bankrupt way in the Rosharon community beyond in such a negative way that you just cannot imagine. Not just our community, but also the majority of the American Asian of all ethnics consumers and businesses that depend on water spinach. It is a traditional dinner dish, a tradition that belongs to the Asian community. Everyone is affected in a chain reaction.

I'm aware of your concern on water spinach thought of being a threat to wildlife. We've been keeping it under control and we can and will keep it under control. I also understand of what is being asked under the proposed new regulations. And we will do our part to comply. Not everyone in the community can be here today due to financial hardship and responsibilities for the little ones at home. But those that can are here. And we are very, very concerned. Please consider my thoughts and concern and approve the sale. Because that is our income, that is our livelihood. And we support our community. We — that's it.


MS. YIN: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you. Thank you for taking the time.


COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Ruby — I'd better pronounce it. It says B&K Lucky Farm. V-O-N-G-S-A-L-Y, I think? Think so.

MS. VONGSALY: B&K Lucky Farm would like to thank Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for allowing us to speak at this meeting. Water spinach is more than a vegetable to farming community in Rosharon, Texas. Water spinach is our livelihood; it is how we feed our children, pays our bill and makes the end meet. It is definitely not the easiest vegetable to plant, grow and pick. But the demanding is steady, year-round and has not changed for almost two decades. B&K Lucky Farm will comply with all rules and regulation issues by Texas Parks and Wildlife. We will also pass on our knowledge to a future farmer that will be our supplier in the future. Our plan in the near future consists of creating a new invoice with our water spinach permit honored. We are also looking to create a label for our boxes that we supply to our customer. They will make it easier for tracking the water spinach that belong to B&K Lucky Farm. Thank you for allowing us to give us a chance.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you. Thank you for coming.

Okay. Looks like B&K Lucky Farm. Johnny B-O-P-H-O.

MR. BOPHO: Good afternoon. My name's Johnny; I'm president of B&K Lucky Farm. I don't have much to say because they say all of it already. I got about 15 or 18 family that sell vegetable to me.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Can you say that again? I'm sorry.

MR. BOPHO: I have 15 or 20 family that I buy water spinach from in that village.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: That you buy water spinach from?

MR. BOPHO: From them.


MR. BOPHO: Okay. And it costs about at least 20 to 25 a month. So you stop us from growing — for them growing that $25,000 a month, what are they going to do, the 20 families there?


MR. BOPHO: They don't — there's no way to make money.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: So are you buying it and then packaging it and selling it to —

MR. BOPHO: I also a farmer.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: You're a farmer, too. Okay.

MR. BOPHO: Right. I farm —


MR. BOPHO: — and I buy some and I sell some.


MR. BOPHO: That's what I do. Thank you. That's all I got to say, sir.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you. Thank you for taking the time.

Katherine Tauch, T-A-U-C-H. I think I'm reading that right.

MS. TAUCH: My name Katherine Tauch. Thank you, sir, for Chairman and community. I'm sorry I'm shaking. Thank you for you brought us to this country and give us opportunity. We live with the communists for five year. We lose everything. And lose all the family. I have only myself. I believe in God and they tried to kill me. But God kept my life to move on. And thank you for American people that brought me here. All my brother, sister and help me out. Not only that and now, too, for in future. I have — when I came here I got married. I have two children.

I stand on my feet. I never have any welfare or food stamp or [indiscernible] to help me. I only have myself. I'm working hard. And then I have my illness all my life. Because I live with [indiscernible]. Not enough to eat. And work 20 hours a day. So I have one and that they call anemia. Anemia, I have red cell, red cell to my spine. And I have a recommendation from the doctor — gave me disability for long time. But myself, I don't want it. I want to stand up for work and I work for Walmart six years and a half and I work for the company they call Apanapple [phonetic] in California. I just move here almost nine years ago. I like it here. And I know I very sick and they give me disability. But I don't want it.

I want my kids go to college. They both go to University of Austin. For myself pay my husband working, machinist, very good company. And I'm so sick I work part-time job three day, four days a week for the water spinach. I know. I've been that for two year for Rosharon community. This water spinach is not any harm or effective to illness at all. And I eat that every day to help me for my red cell. When I don't eat that I'm so tired I look like died person. I cannot move my feet. I cannot move my arm. I sit all the time. And I fry that with the oil and I eat it every single day, sir. I don't eat much rice or another food.

So my children finish school. We ask already one and he continue next term right now. I pay school a lot. And my daughter's still in Austin. I pay a lot for that. And we don't save any money much. Thank God for that. I not feel bad about that because I came from the country, very bad country I ever met in my life. And thank you. I want you to help us. And we are poor. To continue to this business for you can — we can live, especially me. I don't want — I cannot blot something out. Show depression in my mind from the company that kill a lot of people [indiscernible] on my face. And everything. I so depressed. So, sir, please help me. Help all of us. So we need you. And that — another say this — I work [indiscernible] we clean, don't have any effect at all. So I want to you continue to sell to the wholesale and retail only for value of the farm we can live. So if some people get out to sell and drop all the price and pay us so cheap we cannot live. That is too hard to work with this one. So I want you to help. And I want to say thank you to Jody — Dr. Jody Gray and Dr. Earl Chilton try to help us so hard, explain us. And thank you so much. And may God bless you. Thank you so much, sir.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you. Thank you for coming down.


COMMISSIONER HOLT: Michael Lee? I think — am I — yes, Michael Lee?

MR. LEE: Well, hello. The Chairman of the boards and the commissioner. I'm not on the growers's side but I'm on the retail side. I own a supermarket here in the — in Dallas. And in regards to this matter I feel that, you know, many — like many vegetables that we didn't have in our grocery stores before was grown, you know, within the families in their back yards and in their gardens.

And that part, if you guys restrict on the growth of water spinach what's going to happen is, you know, people are going to grow it within their back yards or their gardens, which is going to be then a bigger epidemic because you guys cannot regulate that. Because who would you go to to see who has it in their back yards? For instance, you know, if you guys regulate the growers and the seller then you guys know exactly where all the products are coming from at this point in time. And then also, this is a very important staple of our diet, you know. We eat a lot of water spinach every day because it's healthy for you. It's just like the greens to the American people, you know. A lot of you guys eat, you know, lettuce and whatnot. We eat a lot of water spinach. So, you know, I feel that if you guys regulate the growers and the sellers it would help out a lot easier — and make it a lot easier. First is, you know, restricting it, then having people growing it in their back yards and things like that. That's pretty much all I have to say. Thanks.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Thank you. And thank you for coming over.


COMMISSIONER HOLT: Patrick Ong, O-N-G? Patrick, you're all right? Okay.

Ross V-N-U? I think I'm —

MR. VNU: Hi. My name is Ross. And I'm in the same business as Michael in. I have a retail, as well as a store in Dallas. We're selling a lot of vegetable, including water spinach. And I guess it's — the question is like, if we — you regulate everybody the right way of how to handle it and how to sell it so it would be easy on us. Because we — some time we have customer comes in and asks for the spinach and we don't have it because we don't know if we can sell it or not. So it just make it really hard for us to, you know, to sell something. Like, you come in and you want to sell — you want to buy something but you can't sell it, you know. So, you know, we — I'm just here to say if you can allow us — or show us how to — you know, how to, you know, way to sell it, you know, so we can, you know — able to sell it to consumer because they need it for every day diets. That's all. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you very much. Thank you.

Is there anybody else who would like to speak? That's all the signed cards I had. But certainly, anybody who would like to speak, feel free to come up and speak. Because I know a lot of people have traveled a long way. And we are here to hear everybody on this subject.


MR. ONG: Good afternoon. I would like to thank for my opportunity to speak to you. I would like to address our concern about regulation about water spinach. If the Commissioner and Texas PW not allow us to grow water spinach in that community all Cambodian community will affect so much hardship with this time of the economy like that. We Cambodian community over there depend on water spinach to sell as side money, whatever. And I would like to ask you, Commissioners and Chair, to reconsider the rule and regulation about this plan. What we shall do, we will do whatever you require to do. Thank you very much.


Would anybody else like to speak?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Anybody else? Because again, I know a lot of people have traveled a long way. So certainly, we're open to hear anybody on this subject.

Yes, ma'am.

MS. TANG: Hi. My name is Chelsea Tang And I'm very — thank you very much for give us the opportunity to —


MS. TANG: — express our feeling and to continue on what we want to do with this. We here today to ask for the permission to be able to sell the water spinach to the wholesaler and to the market. It — we doing this for a living. And as you know, like everybody was saying, we will have a lot of impact. And we all have for small children and also the one attending the college. They're all depending on us. So — and we are depending on the water spinach. So as you know that, if we don't get the permission or permit to do it then we all going to be in trouble. So we all here asking for your consideration and your thoughtful — and hopefully helping us to be able to continue on with this. Thank you very much. Appreciate that.


VOICE: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: One more time I'll offer anybody else who would like to speak.

VOICE: Just add a little bit. I don't even have a speech. But add one —

COMMISSIONER HOLT: No, you need to come up, please.

VOICE: Again, afternoon, Mr. Chairman and Commissioners. It is tough for me to say that. But it will be a big concern if we cannot pass it. With just — we don't have a permit to do that. So far I know over 100 families in Rosharon that got no skill, no education. They depend on water spinach. If the permit won't be passed, won't be allowed them to do that, this is a big responsibility for our governor. How are we going to [indiscernible] for those family? Because they came to the state running away from the communist with free hand. They fleeing to Thailand with free hand. So they landed here. They pays, like I said earlier, a shortcut, we say that RCA, R, Refugee, C, Cash, A, Assistance. Does this, a special law 1979 Mr. Carter, Mr. President — former President Carters pass it. So [indiscernible] over 100 Cambodian family plus Vietnamese family plus Laotian family maybe come up to close around 300 family that we need to settle. This is a big concern. Thank you —


VOICE: God bless you.


I want to thank everybody for coming and speaking. And this is obviously a very important subject to all of you or you wouldn't be here. And it's important to us to have a greater understanding of this. So with the permission of this Commission I would prefer to table this vote at this time. And what that would mean is at this point everything would stay status quo, in other words, as it is, until we do further determination within this department so I can and our — my fellow commissioners can understand all aspects of this situation.

And I do appreciate everybody coming because I think that's one of the things that's allowed me to kind of realize that this is a much more complex issue than I originally thought it was and we can step back one and take some more time, consider this, try to understand all aspects of it.

My goal is within the department that we will be able to try to — I'm not going to guarantee it right now because there's a lot to this — hopefully be able to vote on this in the November meeting, which would be in Austin, Texas. Does that make sense for everybody? Does everybody understand that, what I've said? If you don't, please ask us afterwards.

Is the Commission okay with that?


VOICE: Uh-huh.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Do we need to vote on that, Ann? Or, I mean, I don't know how to do that exactly. What's the official way to do that? I'd just like to table this or I guess that's the term.

MS. BRIGHT: I guess you could — you know, just for the record, maybe someone could make a motion to table and consider it in —


MS. BRIGHT: — November. So we'll leave the rule at the Texas Register and it will still be eligible for adoption in November.


Do I have a motion on tabling this?


COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Commissioner Bivins. Second?


COMMISSIONER HOLT: Commissioner Martin. All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Great. Thank you all. Appreciate.

And thank you, everybody, for coming and speaking. Thank you very much.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you very much.

VOICE: We have one question.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Sure. Come on up.

VOICE: In the meantime between November can we still continue selling?

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Status quo. Stay the same.

VOICE: Okay. That's all I want to understand. Thank you.


Okay. Thank you.


COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Let's move on.

Thank you, everybody, for coming.

We're on Item Number 21, an action item, Land Donation Bastrop County, 37.36 Acres Adjacent to Buescher State Park.

Ted Hollingsworth? Okay, Ted, go ahead.

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Chairman, Commissioners, good afternoon. My name is Ted Hollingsworth. I'm with the Land Conservation Program. The item before you is a recommendation from staff to accept the donation of a 36-acre tract of land at Bastrop State Park at Buescher State Park which is part of the Bastrop/Buescher State Park complex in Bastrop County. A very astute commissioner noted yesterday that the shape of the park in this particular slide is not the same as that in this slide. I would only point out that that large block of undeveloped land to the east of Buescher State Park is actually owned by the state park but is under very long-term lease to MD Anderson. That's the MD Anderson Research Center.


MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: And so we don't normally include it in maps because it's — the public has no access to it. The 37-acre tract in question is high land, high ground overlooking the park. It's available from a willing seller. The foundation has funds dedicated to acquire that for the purpose of donating it. And for that reason, staff does recommend that the commission adopt this motion authorizing the executive director to take all necessary steps to accept the donation of a 37.36-acre tract of land as an addition to Buescher State Park. Be happy to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Any questions for Ted?

Pretty straightforward. Thank you, Ted, on that on.

Do I have a motion?


COMMISSIONER HOLT: Commissioner Friedkin.

COMMISSIONER HIXON: Seconded by Commissioner Hixon. All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Hearing none, motion carries. Item Number 22, Action, Acceptance of Conservation Easement, Harris County, 13 Acres in San Jacinto Battleground Monument State Historic Site.

Ted Hollingsworth.

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Chairman, Commissioners, good afternoon. My name is Ted Hollingsworth; I'm with the Land Conservation Program. This final item of the day is a recommendation to — for the agency to accept responsibility for a conservation easement on some property not quite contiguous but very close to the battleground at San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site. Here you can see San Jacinto is basically on the outskirts of downtown Houston. It is the site, as you know, where in 1836 Texas won its independence from Mexico. As you can see from this map, the park is essentially surrounded by very intensive industrial development.

Staff and the Battleground Association have kept a close eye on all of the undeveloped tracts. And they brought to our attention last summer that the City of Houston was talking to some of our industrial neighbors about selling that vacant tract in red, that 25-acre tract. So we immediately began working not only with our neighbors, but with the City of Houston on a compromise that would protect as much of that property as possible.

The appraised value of that tract — it's in the process of being appraised again — but is estimated at 2- to $4 million, which is — you know, puts it outside of our range to acquire outright. But the city has worked with us very cooperatively and is now proposing to sell a three-acre tract, which is not particularly visible from the road or from the park and to leave the balance of the tract in a very strict conservation easement and give us responsibility for managing the cultural and natural resources. And we think that this is a — we think this is a compromise that the city has entered into and in good faith. And because it is so critical to the operation of the battleground we do recommend that the commission allow us to accept responsibility for that conservation easement.

Again, a little over three acres would be sold. But the balance of that tract would be placed under conservation easement and then leased to Texas Parks and Wildlife so that we would be responsible for operation of the surface.

We think in this case that Parks and Wildlife is the logical party to hold that easement because we do have so much at stake. I would also add that on the ground — we've looked at that very carefully — we think that that area that would be under easement probably contains the vast bulk of the archeological resources associated with that site and also would do the most to protect the aesthetic integrity of that site. It is the high ground. It is the portion of the site visible from the road and from the park.

With that, staff does recommend that the executive director be authorized to take all necessary steps to accept the donation of a conservation easement of approximately 13 acres in Harris County. And I'd be happy to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: We have any questions for Ted?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. With that, do I have a motion?


COMMISSIONER HOLT: Commissioner Martin.


COMMISSIONER HOLT: Second by Commissioner Friedkin. All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Hearing none, motion carries.

Ted, thank you for hanging in there, buddy.

Chairman — excuse me — this commission has completed its business. I declare us adjourned. Thank you all very much.

(Whereupon, this meeting was adjourned.)

In official recognition of the adoption of this resolution in a lawfully called public meeting of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, we hereby affix our signatures this 27th day of August 2009.

Peter M. Holt, Chairman

T. Dan Friedkin, Vice-Chairman

Mark E. Bivins, Member

Ralph H. Duggins, Member

Antonio Falcon, M.D., Member

Karen J. Hixon, Member

Dan Allen Hughes, Jr., Member

Margaret Martin, Member

S. Reed Morian, Member


MEETING OF: Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
LOCATION: Fort Worth, Texas
DATE: August 27, 2009

I do hereby certify that the foregoing pages, numbers 1 through 209, inclusive, are the true, accurate, and complete transcript prepared from the verbal recording made by electronic recording by Barbara Wall before the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.

(Transcriber) (Date)
On the Record Reporting, Inc.
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