Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
Commission Meeting

Jan. 27, 2011

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

BE IT REMEMBERED, that heretofore on the 27th day of January 2011, there came to be heard matters under the regulatory authority of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission in the Commission Hearing Room of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Headquarters Complex, to wit:



  • Peter M. Holt, San Antonio, Texas, Chairman
  • Mark E. Bivins, Amarillo, Texas
  • Ralph H. Duggins, Fort Worth, Texas
  • Antonio Falcon, MD, Rio Grande City, Texas
  • T. Dan Friedkin, Houston, Texas (absent)
  • Karen J. Hixon, San Antonio, Texas
  • Dan Allen Hughes, Jr., Beeville, Texas
  • Margaret Martin, Boerne, Texas
  • S. Reed Morian, Houston, Texas


  • Carter P. Smith, Executive Director, and other personnel of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Donations of $500 or more for the January 27, 2011 Commission Meeting
Not Previously Acknowledged by the Commission
  Donor Description Detail & Purpose of Donation *Amount
1 Gryphon Exploration Company Cash Artificial Reef Program Rigs-to-Reefs $122,646.00
2 LLOG Exploration and Production Company Cash Artificial Reef Program Rigs-to-Reefs $130,000.00
3 San Antonio Quail Coalition Other Goods Twelve (12) complete bed rolls $2,820.00
4 San Antonio Quail Coalition Other Goods Twelve (12) Streamlight TLR-2 Strobes $2,686.32
5 Anonymous Capital Property One (1) New Vulcan 60" electric range w/6 hotplates, 24" griddle and 2-20" ovens $5,000.00
6 Faith Ford Biggs Cash For improvements at Fairfield Lake State Park $500.00
7 Ashley Mathews Cash To assist Becoming and Outdoor Woman activities $1,241.00
8 Wells Fargo Bank Cash To provide funding for a statewide water communications initiative $4,182.00
9 Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation (Encana) Cash To provide funding for Invasive Species Campaign $22,400.00
10 Halliburton (Halliburton Giving Choices) Cash General donation $1,875.02
11 The Nature Conservancy Cash To provide funding for a statewide water communications initiative $9,052.00
12 Energy XXI Gulf Coast Inc. Cash Artificial Reef Program Rigs-to-Reefs $779,800.00
13 Chevron Environmental Management Company Cash Artificial Reef Program Rigs-to-Reefs $330,000.00
14 Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation (Green Ribbon School Account) Cash To cover costs of an attorney to handle paperwork for a U.S. trademark for the Green Ribbon Schools campaign for 2010-11 $5,000.00
15 Texas Wildlife Association Foundation Cash To provide funding for a statewide water communications initiative $2,700.00
16 Friends of the Harte Research Institute Cash To provide funding for a statewide water communications initiative $25,000.00
17 Golden Pass LNG Controlled Item One (1) AmpliVox Portable Lectern with microphone and speaker to improve presentation audio at J D Murphree WMA $980.00
18 Woodside Energy USA Cash Artificial Reef Program Rigs-to-Reefs $50,000.00
19 Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation (Toyota) Cash To provide funding for a statewide Invasive Species Campaign $171,600.00
20 Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation Cash Sheldon Lake Visitor Learning Center $20,000.00
21 Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Cash To provide funding for a statewide water communications initiative $4,182.00
22 San Antonio River Authority Cash To provide funding for a statewide water communications initiative $4,182.00
Total $1,695,846.34

Retirement Certificates and Service Awards
January 27, 2011

Retirement Certificates
Division Name Title Location Years
SP Cullen Reeves Manager I Rockport 37 Years
SP Cathy Flores Admin Asst IV Port Aransas 28 Years
COM Steve Hall Manager V Austin 26 Years
Service Awards
Division Name Title Location Years
IF Allen Forshage Manager V Athens 40 Years
SP Craig Van Baarle Park Spec III La Porte 35 Years
IF David Cauley Fish & Wildlife Tech III Jasper 30 Years
LE Garry Collins Captain Garland 30 Years
LE Richard Herzog Major Mount Pleasant 30 Years
LE Gustavo Sorola Jr. Captain Uvalde 30 Years
LE Daniel Villalobos Captain Helotes 30 Years
IF Dave Terre Manager V Austin 25 Years
AR Olivia Adair-Walters Accts Exam I Austin 20 Years
CF David Abrego Manager IV Lake Jackson 20 Years
IF Mark Howell Natrl Res Spec V Wichita Falls 20 Years
IF Jarret Marquart Fish & Wildlife Tech III San Marcos 20 Years
LE Michael Alexander Game Warden Comanche 20 Years
LE Lee Allen Game Warden Anson 20 Years
LE Fernando Cervantes Captain Zapata 20 Years
LE Edward Hines Game Warden Bonham 20 Years
LE Henry Lutz Game Warden Sabinal 20 Years
LE David Martinez Game Warden Brownsville 20 Years
LE Dale Moses Game Warden Denison 20 Years
LE Mark Nobles Game Warden Comfort 20 Years
LE James Ranft Captain China Springs 20 Years
LE Douglas Seamands Lieutenant San Angelo 20 Years
LE William Skeen Major Houston 20 Years
LE Leroy Thompson, Jr. Game Warden Plano 20 Years
LE Scott Vaca Asst. Commander Austin 20 Years
LE Susan Webb Game Warden Crosby 20 Years
SP Esther Rivas Park Ranger II Bastrop 20 Years
WL Charles Kowaleski Prog Spec V Salado 20 Years
Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
Commission Meeting
January 27, 2011
Name/Organization, Address Item Number Matter of Interest
Richard Zavala, City of Fort Worth, 1000 Throckmorton, Fort Worth, TX 76102 5 — Action — Urban Indoor Recreation Grant Funding For
Sandy Jenkins, City of San Antonio, P.O. Box 839966, San Antonio, TX 78283 5 — Action — Urban Indoor Recreation Grant Funding For
Cameron Fredkin, Cross Texas Transmission, 408 W. Kingsmill Road, Pampa, TX 79065 11 — Action — Request for Easement — Briscoe County — Transmission Line Crossing Caprock Canyons Trailway For
Preston C. Kronkosky, 8101 Hillrise Drive, Austin, TX 78759-8604 12 — Action — Acceptance of Land Donation — Kendall and Bandera Counties — 3700 Acres (3K Ranch) For
Katherine H. Long, P.O. Box 655, Boerne, TX 78006 12 — Action — Acceptance of Land Donation — Kendall and Bandera Counties — 3700 Acres (3K Ranch) For
John Coyle, Alamo Area Council, 2226 NW Military Highway, San Antonio, TX 78213 12 — Action — Acceptance of Land Donation — Kendall and Bandera Counties — 3700 Acres (3K Ranch) Neutral


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Hello, everybody.  Good morning, good morning.  This meeting is called to order, January 27th, 2011, at 9:05 a.m.  Before proceeding with any business, I believe Mr. Smith has a statement to make.

MR. SMITH:  I do, Mr. Chairman.  Thank you.  A 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’d like for this fact to be noted in the official record of this meeting.

I also just want to welcome everybody.  We’ve got a great turnout today.  We’re going to kick off the meeting for some special recognitions and awards for colleagues that have been with this agency for a long time.  We have a bunch of folks who probably have not had a chance to attend a Commission meeting before, and so ‑‑

Just a couple of little housekeeping items ‑‑ for those of you who’ve got cell phones or BlackBerrys, if you don’t mind just taking a moment and silencing those or put them on vibrate.  Also, if you’ve got a conversation that you need to have, just because of the acoustics in the room, I just ask that you respectfully step outside.  Also, once we get through the service awards, we’ll take a very, very short break and let those colleagues and their families who want to leave go ahead and get up and leave before we resume with the rest of the Commission meeting.

For those of you all who are going to be staying throughout the duration, we do have a few action items that the Commission is going to be voting on.  If you wish to speak on those items, we want to make sure that you’ve signed up outside and, at the appropriate time, the Chairman will ask you to come forward.  I will ask you to state your name.  You will have three minutes to address the Commission.  We’ve got a very simple green light-red light system, and so green means "go" and red means "stop."  So just take note of that and, again, nice to see everybody this morning.

Mr. Chairman, I think that’s it for me.  Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Great.  Thank you, Carter.  Before we get started this morning, I would like to mention that Action Item Number 9, in case any of you are here for that and missed it, Revisions to Exotic Aquatic Species Rules and Fees, Recommended Adoption of Proposed Changes, has been withdrawn from the agenda at this time.  This was that white list/black list situation.  In fact, I think there was even an article in this morning’s paper about it.  But that has been withdrawn for this meeting over the next few hours.

Next is the approval of the minutes from the previous meetings held November 4th, and then the special meeting held December 20th.  Again, I want to thank Dan Hughes and others for their help on acquiring Devils River Ranch.  That was a special meeting on December 20th, and it’s a real coup for the Department, for the Parks System, but most importantly for the citizens of the state of Texas.  It’s a beautiful, beautiful, wild location over on Devils River and I’m proud to say that that deal closed quickly, right after that meeting ‑‑ Scott Boruff and others, of course, heavily involved.  And it’s a really ‑‑ I’ve been on the Commission now almost eight years, and it may be one of the neatest, single things that we’ve accomplished, and the way it came down was just beautiful.  It worked out great.  And so, Dan, I want to thank you and your family, and Scott, and all the staff on that.

So that was that special meeting on December 20th and we do need an approval ‑‑ a motion on the approval of the minutes for both those meetings, November 4th and December 20th.


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Commissioner Bivins.  Second?


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Commissioner Falcon.  All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Hearing none, that carries.  Okay, thank you.  Next, is the acknowledgment of the donations list.  Again, I just like to always say, our donations list, every month, always surprises me.  Sometimes it’s up over a million dollars.  We have people supporting us from industry, individuals, like-kind organizations, conservation groups, law enforcement, everything.  And it’s just really amazing, every month, to look at that list, so we always want to acknowledge that and, of course, approve it also.  So do I have a motion for approval on the donations list?


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay.  Commissioner Hixon.  Second?


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Commissioner Morian.  All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay.  Hearing none, motion carries.

Next is service awards.  Okay.  We have a lot of them.

MR. SMITH:  Good morning, Mr. Chairman and members of the Commission.  For the record, my name is Carter Smith.  We are going to start out this morning ‑‑ we’ve got three colleagues that are leaving the agency and so we are going to celebrate their tenure appropriately.  We are going to start out with one of our long-standing state park leaders.

Stormy Reeves started out as an intern with the state park program there at Washington on the Brazos, very shortly thereafter was promoted to Superintendent over at Palmetto State Park between Luling and Gonzales.  But really, where everybody knows Stormy is the face of Goose Island State Park, right there on Copano Bay ‑‑ been our Superintendent there for a long time ‑‑ very popular fishing destination.  Stormy has led a lot of efforts to acquire land to add to the park and help restore marsh there.  He has also stewarded the "Big Tree" ‑‑ you know that giant live oak tree said to be over a thousand years old.  His state parks colleagues say, contrary to popular opinion, Stormy did not plant the acorn to have that tree.  So 37 years of service, Stormy Reeves.  Stormy ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Thirty-seven years.

(Taking photos.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Thank you.  Thank you for all your years of service, my friend.

MR. REEVES:  Would you mind if I got one with my wife?  Ann, could you come on up, please?

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  How are you?  Good to see you.  Do you want us in it or not in it?

MR. REEVES:  Oh, yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Oh, Okay.  Well, you tell me.

MR. REEVES:  Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Thank both of you.  Congratulations.  Thank you.

(Simultaneous discussion.)

MR. SMITH:  Our next colleague, who’s retiring after 28 years of service with the agency, also with our state park team, Cathy Flores.  She started her career there, at Goose Island, working as a clerk ‑‑ took a little temporary reprieve from the agency and worked for an oilfield business for a while ‑‑ fortunately, came back to us working for the state parks office there in Rockport.  But then was hired as the Office Manager there at Mustang Island State Park back in January of 1988, in which she’s served proudly ever since.  She’s been nominated for a number of awards with the agency.  She’s been a very valuable member of our team on the coast and state parks, and so 28 years of service, Cathy Flores.

Cathy, please come forward.

MS. FLORES:  Thank you, thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Thank you.  Congratulations.

MS. FLORES:  Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Yes. Do you have anything to do after you retire?


MR. SMITH:  I think we’re going to move on.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Thank you.  Congratulations.

MR. SMITH:  Congratulations.  Well, the next individual you all know well.  He’s been the face and the leader of just some extraordinary efforts on the hunter education front, angler education, boating education front ‑‑ Steve Hall.  And Steve was hired back in 1985, is our Assistant Hunter Ed. Coordinator, promoted to Education Coordinator back in 1988.

There’s a whole litany of programs that have been developed under Steve’s leadership ‑‑ Becoming an Outdoors Woman, the Parrie Haynes Youth Ranch program, the Mobile Shooting Sporting Clays program that goes around the state, partnerships with FFA and 4-H.  He launched the Archery in Schools program.  Y’all know how successful that is, one of the fastest growing programs ‑‑ Texas Youth Hunting program ‑‑ I could go on and on and on.

But Steve has just done a remarkable job.  He’s really, truly one of the national, if not international, experts in his field, was inducted into the Hall of Fame, from the International Hunter Education Association, for his work, and not bad for a guy who shot himself with a BB gun when he was six.  Steve Hall, 26 years with us ‑‑ Steve.

MR. HALL:  Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  We’re going to miss you, buddy.  Yes, absolutely.

(Taking photos.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Steve, congratulations.

MR. SMITH:  I should have mentioned that Steve is now the Executive Director of the Texas State Rifle Association, so he’s going to put all that work to good use and be a great partner with a great organization there.  So we look forward to working with him in that capacity.

We’re going to now move on to service awards and we’re going to start out with another familiar face, an individual and colleague who has been with us for 40 years, Allen Forshage.  Allen started out as a biologist there in the Inland Fisheries team in Fort Worth, quickly promoted to a District Leader, and then Regional Director before Phil tapped Allen to quarterback and head up the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens.  And for those of you who have been there, it is an extraordinary place ‑‑ wonderful outreach, education, world class hatchery.  Allen is just an artesian well of ideas about how to grow and expand and innovate that place.  His mind is just constantly working.  He’s a great ambassador for us and has been throughout his four-decade career with Parks and Wildlife.  Forty years of service, Allen Forshage, Allen ‑‑

(Simultaneous discussion.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Glad you’re staying around.  (Pause.) Congratulations.

MR. FORSHAGE:  Thank you.

(Taking photos.)

(Simultaneous discussion.)

MR. SMITH:  Our next colleague that we’re going to recognize is part of our state parks team, Craig Van Baarle.  And one of our parks specialists started off at the San Jacinto Battleground, moved over to Lake Somerville during his career.  He’s worked at Bastrop and Sea Rim and Garner, but ultimately came back to be a Park specialist for us at San Jacinto Battleground, got great exposure to the state park system ‑‑ very, very proud of his work.  He said one of his great highlights is ‑‑ was being at Garner, and one of the traditions you may not know about at Garner ‑‑ certainly you’re aware that you’ve got many generations of families that oftentimes will come back to that park for family reunions ‑‑ and he loved the fact that families that are coming back will, oftentimes, would camp out on the front porch of the Visitor and Sign In Center there, to make sure that they got a campground.  So a very special memory for him, and a great colleague that had been with us for a long time, and so let’s recognize Craig today for 35 years of service, Craig ‑‑

MR. VAN BAARLE:  Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Congratulations.

MR. VAN BAARLE:  Thank you.


(Taking photos.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Congratulations.

MR. VAN BAARLE:  Thank you.

MR. SMITH:  Our next colleague is from Inland Fisheries, David Cauley ‑‑ worked for us over in Jasper at the Fish Hatchery there.  You all know we’re in the throes of getting ready to open up a new fish hatchery right there near Sam Rayburn, and we’re all excited about that.  David’s been with us for 30 years.  He was in the Army initially and then came over to work for us at the hatchery there as a biology field worker, moved up through our fish and wildlife technician ranks, very, very well-known as a fish culturist, got a great work ethic and, like so many of our technicians, has had the unenviable job, after 30 years, of having to break in a bunch of spring chickens as his supervisors, and so David has done a great job.  Very proud to have him on our team, 30 years of service, David Cauley.  David ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Glad to know you.

MR. CAULEY:  Thank you.

MR. SMITH:  Our next colleague has also been with us 30 years.  He’s one of our captains in our Law Enforcement team, Garry Collins.  His wife told me last night they went out and celebrated and he had a cucumber margarita, and so made it through two sips apparently, before he moved on to the next batch.  Garry, when he got out of the Academy, was stationed over in Harris County, was recognized as Officer of the Year by CCA and also the local Chamber of Commerce, rapidly promoted up to Patrol Sergeant and then to Communications Supervisor in that office, and then, ultimately, promoted to Captain Game Warden.  Been very involved in representing us during Katrina, and in Ike, done a great job.  Currently is our District Supervisor up in Garland which, by the way, is one of our busiest boat registration offices up there.  They do a lot of work, and Garry’s been with us for 30 years.  Captain Garry Collins, Garry ‑‑

MR. COLLINS:  How are you, sir.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  How are you doing?

MR. COLLINS:  Pretty good.


MR. COLLINS:  My hair looks okay?

MR. SMITH:  It’s good, looks good.  Yes, I think you’re fine, yes.

(Simultaneous discussion.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Wait, wait.  I think they have some more pictures to do.  Got it?  Congratulations.

MR. COLLINS:  Thank you, sir.


MR. SMITH:  Well, I see the next one back there with his grandson sitting on his lap, so this’ll be fun, Dick Herzog.  Dick, of course, as y’all know, is our Major over in Mount Pleasant, also been with us for 30 years.  When he got out of the Academy, stationed over in El Campo in Wharton County where he proudly served for 16 years, and then promoted to Captain Game Warden there in Harris County.  Dick has gone through our Natural Leaders program, one of the original ones there, been very involved in that important program.  And then in 2003, he was appropriately promoted to Major where he now stands, and serves this agency very proudly in Mount Pleasant ‑‑

great colleague, Major Dick Herzog, 30 years of service, Dick ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Dick, congratulations.

(Simultaneous discussion.)

(Taking photos.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  There you go. Congratulations.

(Simultaneous discussion.)

MR. SMITH:  Our next colleague is one of our Captains, also has been with us 30 years, Gus Sorola, and part of that Academy that Dick and Garry were in.  After he graduated from the Academy, was stationed over in La Marque in Galveston County, was there for about four years before transferring over to Eagle Pass, and served Maverick County, very proudly wearing the uniform for the Department. Then he was ultimately promoted to a Captain’s position in Alpine, and then most recently, back in 2007, he moved over to Uvalde, and so where he’s the Captain of that district.  He serves us very proudly there and leads a great team, Gus Sorola, 30 years of service.  Gus ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Congratulations, sir.

MR. SOROLA:  Thank you, thank you.  Stand at the corner?

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  You bet, you bet.  There you go, sir.

MR. SOROLA:  Oops, excuse me.

(Simultaneous discussion.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay.  Did you get it?

MR. SMITH:  Congratulations, Gus.  We’ve got another colleague from that class in Danny Villalobos, and a number of you had a chance to work recently with Danny on the successful OGT shoot that we held in San Antonio recently.  When Danny graduated from the Academy ‑‑ was stationed over at Port Lavaca in Calhoun County there on the coast for about 8 years before transferring over to San Antonio, served as a game warden there at Bexar County for 16 years; then he went to work for the Special Ops Unit as one of our Sergeant Marine Theft Investigators, did a great job, October of 2008, promoted to Captain Game Warden.

Danny’s received a lot of honors, one from the San Antonio Police Department for a life-saving incident he was involved in, in which he saved the life of a little girl that was involved in a car accident.  Also, I want to note, that San Antonio Harlandale Independent School District has inducted him into the Hall of Fame for his work to get kids out into the out-of-doors and participate in hunting and conservation programs, and so very proud of him for that.  Danny also has a son who’s a game warden and a daughter who works for this Department, so he’s kept it in the family.  Danny Villalobos, 30 years of service, Danny ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Congratulations, Danny.

MR. VILLALOBOS:  Go Spurs, go.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Go Spurs, go.  Yes, we won last night.  Congratulations to you, my friend ‑‑

MR. VILLALOBOS:  Thank you, sir.

(Simultaneous discussion.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  ‑‑ for all you’ve done.

MR. VILLALOBOS:  Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  You’ve got a few other pictures.  Okay.  Congratulations.

MR. SMITH:  Next colleague has been with us for 25 years and nobody does more in this state to promote the future and value of fishing, and trying to get kids to have opportunities to get out on a pond.  Dave Terre’s been with us for 25 years, started as a seasonal Fish and Wildlife Technician in West Texas, quickly moved out as a biologist, and ultimately a regional director there in Tyler.  He now serves as the Chief of our Inland Fisheries Management and Research Branch, and David and his team of biologists and technicians are responsible for stewarding all of the lakes in Texas and making sure that there are high quality fisheries there, and Dave has just done an extraordinary job, big promoter of the Neighborhood Fishing program.  Dave has also been our liaison with Toyota on the Toyota Bass Classic and has had some very, very successful events there ‑‑ done an extraordinary job, recently received the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Southern Division of the American Fishery Society.  He’s published a lot of scientific articles, and well-recognized for that, and recently he was awarded the Outstanding Fisheries Worker of the Year.  Twenty-five years of service, Dave Terre.

Dave, congratulations.

MR. TERRE:  Mr. Chairman.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Absolutely.  Thank you.


MR. SMITH:  Our next colleague has been with us 20 years, Olivia Adair-Walters, and she’s an accounts examiner, works here in Austin out of our Administrative Resources Division, but she started in state parks as a seasonal maintenance worker there at Bastrop State Park, moved up to Park Ranger, worked in everything in the front office, maintaining the park; she coordinated all of our volunteers.  She was particularly known for all her work managing the swimming pool, which is an extremely popular destination there at Bastrop State Park, taught all of her colleagues there in CPR and first aid and rescue techniques, received an Employee Recognition Award for her work at the pool and programs that she developed there.  She’s come to Austin where she currently works in the boat section of our revenue branch in AR, and we’re very proud for all of her work with the agency.  Twenty years of service, Olivia Adair-Walters.  Olivia, please come forward.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Congratulations.

MS. ADAIR-WALTERS:  Thank you.

(Taking photos.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Congratulations.

(Simultaneous discussion.)

MR. SMITH:  Next colleague that we are going to recognize, Mark Howell, up in Wichita Falls, our District Biologist up there.  Actually, just one of those wonderful things that you like to see ‑‑ I happened to pick up the Wichita Falls paper and there was a letter to the editor that was praising Mark and his team’s work up there on managing the lakes up there and working to get kids out.  He and his team oversee everything from Lake Arrowhead, Lake Graham, lakes ‑‑ Possum Kingdom ‑‑ lakes all up in that area, been very active on trying to get kids into the out-of-doors.  I hear a lot of compliments about his work in that regard on the community fishing lakes, also involved on the Wichita Falls City Park board, River Bend Nature Center, and the Northwest Texas Field and Stream Association.  And so Mark’s been a great leader up there.  Twenty years of service, Mark Howell.  Mark ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Mark, appreciate that, absolutely.

I think you missed David Abrego.

MR. SMITH:  Did I miss David?

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Yes, I think you missed David.

MR. SMITH:  Oh, I did.  I did.  Another one of our colleagues that is in one of our Fisheries Division, Coastal Fisheries, and y’all know Sea Center there in Lake Jackson is, again, one of our flagship outreach and education programs, just an extraordinary facility.  And one of the things that makes it so is our leadership there, David Abrego.  David’s been with us for 20 years, started out as a Technician over in Corpus at the CCA and CPL, Marine Development Center, worked as a

resource specialist, assistant manager, and hatchery manager, and then moved over to lead the facility at Sea Center in 2000 and been very, very involved in all the production on redfish and trout and, of course, most recently there on southern flounder, where they’ve pioneered those propagation techniques.  He’s a natural leader, been recognized by CCA and CCC, local chamber for his work.  He’s just a great ambassador, a ton of energy, leads a great team over there, David Abrego, 20 years of service.  David ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Congratulations, David.

MR. ABREGO:  Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Absolutely.  Congratulations.  Thank you. Yes, yes.

(Simultaneous discussion.)

MR. SMITH:  Our next colleague is also ‑‑ I say "also" ‑‑ Inland Fisheries, Jarret Marquart.  He’s a fish and wildlife Technician, started out his career there at Heart of the Hills before he moved over back to San Marcos to the A. E. Wood Fish Hatchery.  And he’s done work over the course of his career on Guadalupe bass and freshwater mussels, and probably involved in stocking every lake in the state of Texas at some point or another.  His colleagues say he just has a wonderful attitude, a great work ethic, and just a delightful member of that team, incredibly productive.  And so we’re going to recognize him today for 20 years of service, Jarret Marquart.  Jarret, please come forward.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Jarret, congratulations.

MR. MARQUART:  Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Yes, absolutely.

(Taking photos.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Congratulations.

MR. SMITH:  Thanks, Jarret.  Congratulations too, Jarret.

MR. SMITH:  Our next colleague is a Game Warden whom you might not know, but I can assure you, you know his story.  Mike Alexander, been with us for 20 years.  When he got out of the Academy, he was sent to the deep Piney Woods over in Sabine County, and at the time the state had just ‑‑ was fresh off outlawing hunting deer with dogs.  And Mike was the one that came into a deer camp with 11 hunters, suspected that they were hunting deer with dogs, found an untagged deer, and one of the hunters that evaded arrest.  He was able to apprehend that hunter, and while he was processing that hunter there at the courthouse, some other hunters from back at that camp were trying to steal the evidence and take the deer out of his truck.  It got worse, however, when, a few hours later, some of those same individuals in the camp burned down his house.  And Mike, to his great credit, showed an incredible amount of fortitude and stayed right there in Sabine County for 10 years, not about to let those outlaws run him out of that county, and served us very well.  He is now over in Comanche County.  He served this agency very proudly for 20 years as a Texas Game Warden, Mike Alexander.  Mike ‑‑.

Congratulations, Mike.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  How are you doing, sir?     (Simultaneous discussion.)

MR. SMITH:  You don’t have to listen to the colonel.

(Simultaneous discussion.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Congratulations.

MR. SMITH:  Our next colleague that we’re going to recognize is Fernando Cervantes.  Fernando is our Captain there along the border, very involved in all the Falcon Lake stuff.  He’s just had a great career.  When he got out of the Academy, went over to Terrell County in West Texas, then transferred over to Duval County.  I first met him when he was in Hidalgo County for a couple of years before November 1st of 2008, when Freddy was promoted to Captain there in Zapata County, a new duty station.  And he has really been on the front lines on the border as Commissioners Falcon and Martin know there with all of the incidents at Falcon Lake and the drug running and so forth.  He’s also been a great ambassador for this agency, and the Falcon Lake issues, you literally could not turn on a T.V. with a state or national T.V. station and not see Freddy there with somebody wanting to stick a microphone in his face and we’ve got to hurry this up because he’s got Oprah here in 15 minutes.  So Freddy Cervantes, has been with us for 20 years.  Freddy, come on forward.  Congratulations.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Congratulations, my friend.

(Simultaneous discussion.)

MR. SMITH:  Congratulations, good job. I won’t make you stand alone up here.

MR. ALEXANDER:  No, okay.  Great.

(Simultaneous discussion.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Congratulations.

MR. SMITH:  Our next colleague ‑‑ y’all had a chance to see him get recognized when he was recognized by the National Wild Turkey Federation for his exemplary service, just done a great job ‑‑ Eddie Hines.  Eddie was ‑‑ spent a lot of time over in Fannin County.  When he got out of the Academy, he was stationed in Conroe, and then moved over to Bonham there in Fannin County and played a huge role there.  He got the county’s Outstanding Officer of the Year award back in 2004, received a bunch of recognition from our Operation Game Thief and, of course, two years ago, received the Officer of the Year award for the National Wild Turkey Federation, so been very, very involved in the conservation of those birds.  Most recently, he’s moved over to Washington County where he’s serving this agency very proudly.  Eddie Hines, 20 years of service.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Congratulations.

MR. HINES:  Thank you, sir.

(Taking photos.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  (Pause.)  You’ve still have one more.  Great.  Thank you.

MR. SMITH:  Eddie, congratulations.  Our next colleague that we’re going to recognize is Henry Lutz over in Sabinal.  And Henry, out of that same class, 20 years of service, started out ‑‑ he was stationed on the coast, and I first met Henry, it was over in Brackettville.  And Henry served Kinney County there for 14 years before recently moving over to Uvalde County.  The thing that my parents always loved was, every week in the Brackett News there was an article that Henry wrote, and when Henry moved to Uvalde County, they terminated their subscription to the Brackett News out of ire over that, and so loved his column in the newspaper.  Henry’s been a great, great warden ‑‑ very involved in a lot of training as a TCLEOSE instructor and firearms instructor, proud member of our law enforcement team, Henry Lutz, 20 years of service.  Henry ‑‑

MR. LUTZ:  Good to see you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Henry, congratulations.

MR. LUTZ:  Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Yes, absolutely.  Thank you.

(Taking photos.)

(Simultaneous discussion.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Congratulations to you.

MR. SMITH:  Good to see you, brother.  Our next colleague, David Martinez, has also been with us for 20 years.  When he graduated from the Academy, he headed south to work on the Laguna Madre over there at Port Mansfield there in Willacy County, then transferred over to Hidalgo County, worked very, very closely with our team there to protect the fisheries in the Laguna Madre, work on water safety and boater safety and just take care of that extraordinary, special resource in South Texas.  Been with us for 20 years, David Martinez.  David ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  David, congratulations.

MR. MARTINEZ:  Thank you, sir.

(Taking photos.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  He says you have to get one more.

MR. MARTINEZ:  Not so easy.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  There you go.  Congratulations.

MR. SMITH:  Congratulations.

MR. MARTINEZ:  Thank you.

MR. SMITH:  Our next colleague is state Game Warden, Dale Moses ‑‑ serves us proudly up there in Grayson County.  He’s a great outdoorsman.  When he got out of the Academy, he stationed over in Seabrook, but back in 1994, moved up to that Grayson County station where he’s served us proudly, right there at Lake Texoma, very involved in the fishing and hunting communities over there, a very accomplished bow hunter in his own right.  Interesting thing I’d point out ‑‑ we recognized Allen Forshage for his 40 years of service and talked about the Freshwater Fishery Center, and one of the big draws for years was this giant blue catfish that came out of Texoma called "Splash," that, I mean, just, folks just came from everywhere to see that giant blue catfish, and it was Dale that talked the angler who caught that fish into not throwing it back, and donating it to the Freshwater Fishery Center.  So Dale, you done good.  Dale, been with us for 20 years, serves us very well up there.  Dale Moses, 20 years of service.  Dale ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Dale, congratulations.

MR. MOSES:  Thank you, sir.

(Simultaneous discussion.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  They want one more.  Great.  Congratulations.

MR. SMITH:  Dale, congratulations.

(Simultaneous discussion.)

MR. SMITH:  Our next colleague is one of our Captains, Jimmy Ranft, been a great leader with this agency, started out in deep East Texas over in San Augustine County, then promoted there to Captain, District Supervisor in that area.  One of the things I want you to know about Jimmy is, he served our country very, very proudly.  After 9-1-1, he was called to duty there with the Texas Army National Guard and was in Iraq for three years of deployment and just did an extraordinary job in representing this agency, and this state, and this country with great professionalism.  He’s been a real leader in our law enforcement ranks.  He’s now our Captain over in Waco, and a recent graduate, I might add, of the FBI National Academy.  We’re very proud to have him, 20 years of service, Jim Ranft.  Jim ‑‑

(Simultaneous discussion.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Thank you for all you’ve done, yes, absolutely.  You have one more.  Great.  Congratulations.

(Simultaneous discussion.)

MR. SMITH:  Our next colleague, Doug Seamands ‑‑ I don’t know what kind of Game Warden Doug is, but I tell you, that boy can drive.  If you need to get someplace in a hurry, Doug Seamands is your man.  They don’t get too worked up about speed limits over there in San Angelo and when you have to get some place, you want that man behind the wheel.  Doug Seamands’ a great colleague, been with us for 20 years, started out there on the coast in San Patricio County before he moved over to Tom Green County.  He’s our Lieutenant there.  In all seriousness, he’s a very, very well-respected game warden.  He’s a great leader, just as steady as they come; really proud to have him here, Doug Seamands, 20 years of service.  Doug ‑‑


(Taking photos.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Congratulations.

(Simultaneous discussion.)

MR. SMITH:  Well, our next colleague is one of our newest majors, William Skeen.  You all know William ‑‑ been with us for 20 years also started out his career over there in the Piney Woods in Sabine County, working there in deep East Texas, Toledo Bend Reservoir, transferred back to Limestone County before he was promoted to Lieutenant out of our Harris County, in Houston, office.  Then, assumed a position in Fisheries, in working our joint federal-state Fisheries program, did a great job working with NOAA, helping to grow that program, brought in some very substantial federal grants, making sure that we were doing a good job taking care of the commercial fisheries out in the Gulf ‑‑ was a real leader there.  Most recently, in February of 2010, William was promoted to our Major over there when Ted Tolle retired, and so ‑‑ real proud to have him on the team.  William Skeen, 20 years of service.  William ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Congratulations.

MR. SKEEN:  Thank you.


(Simultaneous discussion.)

MR. SMITH:  Is Leroy here?  Leroy Thompson?  Yes.  Leroy’s here.  All right, there you are, Leroy.  All right, good.  I know Leroy was going to get here as soon as he could.  It’s a  ‑‑ I’ll tell a quick story on you Leroy, I do everybody else, what the hell ‑‑ .  I got a letter, last week somebody ranting and raving about something as they typically do, sort of nonsensical, got down through the whole thing, read through it and thought, What are they complaining about?  Then at the very end, there was this throwaway line that said, By the way, you got a great game warden in Leroy Thompson.  So you’re going to finish the letter out; we’ll take it.

So thank you, Leroy; that finished that on a good note.  Been with us for 20 years up in Plano and the North Texas area.  He’s a Master Peace Officer, been a great representative for us.  One thing that Leroy has really taken seriously is just the whole stewardship and conservation side of his work as a law enforcement officer, very involved in the Collin County, Blackland Prairie, Master Naturalist program, also helped create a raptor rehabilitation clinic for injured raptors that had no place to be taken, very instrumental in helping to get that started and working on education in introducing youth and others to the importance of our hawks and raptors and birds of prey, getting school kids out.  And so he’s received a number of awards from the Corp of Engineers’ Office for his work up there in North Texas, and 20 years of service, Leroy Thompson.  Leroy ‑‑

MR. THOMPSON:  God bless (indiscernible).

MR. SMITH:  All right.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Congratulations there, Leroy.  You pulled his fat out of the fire.  Congratulations.

MR. SMITH:  Leroy, congratulations.  Our next colleague, you all know well, is our Assistant Chief in Wildlife, Scott Vaca, by the way, the son of a game warden, and so family career there and family tradition.  Twenty years ago he was graduated from the Academy and told he was going to be stationed there in Trinity County, asked him if he knew where it was he said, Oh, yes, sir.  The supervisor turned around and the next thing you know, they see Vaca looking at the map going, where is ‑‑ .  Scott makes his way back from East Texas, came over here to Travis County, and then was up in Williamson County where he was one of our Field Wardens, and then, actually on his daughter’s birthday, July 8, 2008, he received a promotion to become our Assistant Chief of Wildlife Enforcement.  He worked very closely with David Sinclair on wildlife regulations, just does an extraordinary job.  Scott Vaca, 20 years of service.  Scott ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Congratulations, sir.

MR. VACA:  Thank you.

(Taking photos.)

(Simultaneous discussion.)

MR. SMITH:  Susan, you’re going to have to put your camera down on this one.  So our next colleague, you’ve seen her if you don’t know her.  She’s the shutterbug there in the audience, Susan Webb, one of our proud law enforcement officers there in Harris County, also part of that class that graduated from the Academy 20 years ago.  When she got out of the Academy, immediately stationed there in Harris County, where she and her husband, Kevin, both serve us very proudly.  She’s been recognized with the Law Enforcement Division’s Humanitarian award for her outstanding efforts.

Susan takes very, very seriously the responsibility to support officers and their families in times of duress and need ‑‑ very, very close to the families of two fallen officers, Michael Pauling and Wes Wagstaff.  She’s also one of our representatives helping nationally with the group COPS, Concerns of Police Supervisors; she’s just on our critical incident response team and really reaches out to support officers and their families in the times of need.  Susan Webb, 20 years of service, Susan  ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Congratulations.

MS. WEBB:  Thank you, sir.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  No, thank you.

(Taking photos.)

MR. SMITH:  Make Kevin take the pictures now.

(Simultaneous discussion.)

MR. SMITH:  Our next colleague is in state parks, Bastrop State Park, just down the road, Esther Rivas, one of our proud park rangers.  She started her career there as a part-time ranger and, you know, we’ve got all those wonderful CCC cabins.  They are just spectacular, right there in the woods.  Every once in a while they are known to harbor a mouse or two, and, God help them if Esther is coming after them.  And she’s promoted up through the ranks; she’s been a great ambassador for us with visitors to come at that very special park.  I know Todd McClanahan and our team there are very proud of her, and so 20 years of service, Esther Rivas.  Esther ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Esther, congratulations,  Yes, thank you.

(Taking photos.)

(Simultaneous discussion.)

MR. SMITH:  Our next colleague, one of our biologists, Chuck Kowaleski.  Chuck’s had a 20-year career with this agency, started out ‑‑ actually, I didn’t know this ‑‑ as a Coastal Fisheries Technician in Galveston Bay, and then was hired by our Inland Fisheries team as one of our first urban biologists, an outreach specialist there in Houston, and was stationed there at Sheldon Lake.  That’s where I had the chance to get to know Chuck first, developing a lot of our urban outreach programs.  From there, Chuck came to Austin.  He coordinated our Project Wild effort, again, another important education and outreach effort there, and then was hired by the Wildlife Division, and he’d been our Farm Bill Coordinator, and you know how important that bill is and all the conservation, title, and programs there.

Chuck has influenced, you know, literally tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars, getting them invested in the right place for conservation, whether it’s to benefit mottled ducks or bobwhite quail or antelope or bighorn sheep.  Chuck has been, really, the advocate and ambassador for wildlife on many farm bill programs, and just done a great job ‑‑ well-recognized at the national level.  Let’s recognize Chuck for 20 years of service, Chuck ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Congratulations, Chuck.

MR. KOWALESKI:  Thank you very much.


(Taking photos.)

(Simultaneous discussion.)

MR. SMITH:  Chairman, we’ve got one more award that I want to recognize, and this is for one of our partners.  Y’all know how critically important our partners are to getting our work done, and some of you have been involved with our efforts over the years, with the Teaming with Wildlife program, to help secure funding for our non-game and wildlife diversity programs ‑‑ a critically important part of our work here.  This is the 10th year of our state wildlife grants and had a big celebration of that, and a lot of publicity on work on everything from conservation efforts in East Texas for black bears to ocelots in deep South Texas.   But we couldn’t do it without it.

We’ve got David Braun who chairs our Texas Teaming with Wildlife Coalition, which is a group of individuals and nonprofits that are out there advocating to ensure than we can get sufficient resources to help invest in our non-game conservation.  Kind of the heart and soul of it has been Marya Fowler.  Marya is with the National Wildlife Federation.  She has been the kind of glue that’s brought all that group together, played a major role in leading us through this 10-year anniversary, the state wildlife grant program.  She’s consistently gone to Washington to advocate for that and just been a great conservation partner over the years, and so on behalf of all of us at Parks and Wildlife, we simply wanted to say a word of thanks to our partner, Marya Fowler.  Marya ‑‑

(Simultaneous discussion.)

     COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Thank you.  Congratulations.  Oh, absolutely.  Here you go.

MS. FOWLER:  Thank you.


(Taking photos.)

MS. FOWLER:  Could I get one with David too, please?

MR. SMITH:  Yes.

MS. FOWLER:  Thanks very much.

MR. BRAUN:  Don’t deserve it.

MS. FOWLER:  Oh, boy.

(Simultaneous discussion.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Good to see you.

MS. FOWLER:  Thanks for everything, David.

MR. SMITH:  Thanks, David.  Thank y’all.

(Simultaneous discussion.)

MR. SMITH:  Mr. Chairman and members of the Commission, I think that concludes our service awards and recognition.  Thank you.

(Simultaneous discussion.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  I guess, do we have a quorum?  I think we do.  We can get started.  Thank you everybody.  That was fun.  I think there were 14 or 15 game wardens all in that 20-year class.  Yes, yes, that’s great.  Okay, our first order of business is an action item, just approval of the revised agenda, because, remember, we’ve taken that one motion off the agenda.  Do I have a motion for approval?


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay.  Commissioner Hughes.  Second?  Commissioner Martin.  Thank you.  All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Hearing none, motion carries.  Thank you all.  Item Number 2, action — Personnel Matters — Selection of the new Internal Auditor.  Mr. Carter Smith ‑‑

MR. SMITH:  Mr. Chairman and members of the Commission, for the record, my name is Carter Smith and I think, as all of you know, back in September, Carlos Contreras left the agency to go back to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality where he had spent a goodly part of his career.  Since that time, Gene McCarty has led a search process for us to find a replacement to lead our Director of Internal Audit program.  I think, as all of you are aware, that’s a critically important leadership position for this agency with respect to helping us manage risk.  It’s also a position that reports directly to the Commission and requires your approval before going forward.  We had a lot of very talented and capable and qualified applicants, who submitted their names for consideration for this position and after a very thorough search process, interviews that we did at the staff level, we recommended several finalists to Chairman Holt, who interviewed two finalists, and the recommendation that he has for the Commission to consider, with respect to the new leadership of this program is Ms. Vandita Zachariah.  And Vandita has a very distinguished background, very well-educated with a Master’s in economics and an MBA from the University of Texas at Arlington.  She’s very well-versed in the audit field and the business world, also in state government.  She’d be coming to us from the Department of Health and Human Services, where she was part of their leadership team in internal audits, and prior to that, she was at the State Auditor’s Office, where she held a number of positions of responsibility and leadership.

I think you’ll find Vandita very professional, very bright, a great fit for this organization, very focused on problem solving and looking out ahead of us to identify issues that we want to get in front of.  And so, with that, Mr. Chairman, what I might propose is ask Vandita to come forward and introduce her to the Commission and ask her to say a few words and see if anybody has any questions for her, if that would work for you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Sure.  No, that’d be fine.

MR. SMITH:  Vandita, if you’ll come forward ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Vandita, this is going to be your 10 minutes of questioning, hard questioning.  Are you prepared?  Welcome.

MS.  ZACHARIAH:  I anticipate many of those in those in the future.  Good morning, Chairman Holt and members of the esteemed Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.  I am humbled and honored to be selected to lead the Internal Audit team.  Thank you for the tremendous privilege to work with Mr. Carter Smith, agency management, and staff.  Thank you, sir.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Thank you, and I appreciate you being interested in the job, applying for the job, and then taking the job.  You’re going to be working with a great team of other internal auditors that have been here for years, who’ve done a tremendous job.  And so we are looking forward to your leadership and a new set of eyes and energy, and I think it will be exciting, going forward, as we kind of restructure the team and you’ll be a key part of that, so I’m glad you’re here.  Do any of the Commissioners have any questions or comments?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  See, we’re actually pretty nice people.  Welcome aboard.

MS.  ZACHARIAH:  Thank you, sir.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Thank you, Vandita.  Thank you.

MR. SMITH:  Mr. Chairman, we need to formalize it, and so I’m going to make a motion and ask to make a motion recommending that Ms. Vandita Zachariah is selected as the new Director of Internal Audit for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay.  Do we have a motion for approval?


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay, Commissioner Hixon.  Second, Commissioner Morian.  All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Hearing none, motion carries.  Vandita, welcome aboard.  Thank you.

MR. SMITH:  Welcome aboard.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  And when does Vandita start?

MR. SMITH:  Vandita’s going to start February 1st.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  February 1st?  That’s next Tuesday.

MR. SMITH:  So she’s going to be on board imminently.  Her office is going to be right upstairs and so I’m looking forward to her getting going, so ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Great.  Good, you going to let her office in the offices.

MR. SMITH:  Oh, yes.  She’s going to be close.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  You’re going to give her an office?

MR. SMITH:  Yes, yes.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay, great.  Okay.  Welcome aboard.  Thank you.

Moving on to Item Number 3, an action item — Indoor Recreation Local Park Grant Funding ‑‑ Tim Hogsett.  Tim?

MR. HOGSETT:  Good morning, Mr. Chairman and members of the Commission.  I’m Tim Hogsett, Director of Recreation Grants in the State Parks Division.  We’re here to present to you this morning our annual recommendations for funding for the Indoor Recreation Non-Urban Grant Program, non-urban meaning communities of less than 500,000 in population.  We received four applications requesting a little ‑‑ almost $3 million for our August 1st deadline.  The applications were scored and are rank ordered using the priority system which you previously adopted, and we’re here to recommend to you funding for the top-ranked application in the amount of $750,000.

So we put before you the recommendation ‑‑ funding for one project, listed in Exhibit A, in the amount of $750,000, is approved.  Be glad to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  Tim, what is the project, the Randolph Recreation Center, just very generally.

MR. HOGSETT:  It’s the City of La Grange, and it is the expansion of an existing recreation center, expansion and partial renovation.


MR. HOGSETT:  It’s a 1200 ‑‑ 1200 and almost 1300 foot building, arts and crafts, kitchen, exercise, reading, games, media center, meeting rooms.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Any other questions or comments for Tim?  Okay.  I don’t have any public ‑‑ do I have a motion for approval?


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Commissioner Hughes.


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

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  All right.  Any opposed?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Hearing none, the motion carries.  Thank you, Tim.

Item Number 4, an action item — Outdoor Recreation Grant Funding.  Tim, you’re up again, buddy.

MR. HOGSETT:  Again, for the record, I’m Tim Hogsett from Recreation Grants branch, State Parks Division.  This is our semi-annual proposal for funding for the Outdoor Recreation Non-Urban Program.  We received, as of the August 1st, 2010, deadline, 29 eligible applications requesting almost $13 million in matching funds.  We have rank ordered and scored these projects, and the rank ordered scores can be found in Exhibit A.  Based on available funding, and you’ll note that this is considerably less than we’ve given in the past; the reason for that is that there were several mandated appropriation riders which had to come out of this account this year.  For that reason, we’re only able to recommend funding for four projects and you’ll note that the fourth project, the City of Vinton, is recommended for partial funding.  We’re trying to enable to go down as far down the list as we can.  We’ve contacted them and they are totally fine with the idea of receiving partial funding.

So the recommendation that we place before you this morning is that funding for four projects, listed in Exhibit A, in the amount of $1,848,209 is approved.  Be glad to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Any questions?  Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  Tim, are there any funds left in the current budget for this program?  Does this exhaust it?

MR. HOGSETT:  This will exhaust all funds from this current biennium for this program.  This will be the last review.


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Any other questions or comments from the Commission?  Okay.  Do I have a motion for approval?


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Commissioner Morian.  Second?


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Commissioner Martin.  All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Motion carries.  Thank you, Tim.  Item Number 5, action — Urban Indoor Recreation Grant Funding.  Tim, once more ‑‑

MR. HOGSETT:  This is our annual presentation of indoor recreation grants for our urban partners.  Urban grants are made available to communities of 500,000 in population or more.  It includes these 13 eligible applicants.  They compete among themselves for these funds and not with the balance of the state.  We received two eligible applications for the August 1st deadline requesting $1,212,500, and we’re recommending this morning the funding of both of those projects.

So the recommendation we bring before you is funding for two projects, listed in Exhibit A, in the amount of $1,212,500 is approved.  Glad to answer any questions you might have.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Any questions, comments from Commissioners?  Okay.  I do have some public comments or individuals, and I’ll call out your names.  Richard Zavala from the City of Fort Worth, you’re up, and then Sandy Jenkins from San Antonio next.

MR. ZAVALA:  Good morning.  Mr. Chairman and members of the Commission, I’m Richard Zavala from the City of Fort Worth, Parks and Community Services Department, and I’m here today to seek your approval of the staff recommendation for the Urban Indoor Grant.  I want to let you know that this $1 million will be leveraged over four times as we use local bond funds, gas well revenues ‑‑


MR. ZAVALA:  ‑‑ from a lease bonus that we signed for that particular park, developer’s dollars, and City developing area dollars.  So you’re getting a pretty good bank for the buck on this one.  This will be a new community center in the southwest portion of the city.  It’s a very fast-growing portion of the city, and we’re under-served in that area.  I do want to take a personal privilege to send my appreciate to Commissioner Duggins from Fort Worth.  I think if we don’t get this grant, we’re going to have to flip a coin to decide who doesn’t go back to Fort Worth because we’re going to be in trouble.  And again, I heard it in San Antonio at your last meeting, Tim Hogsett and his staff are just outstanding, and we just swapped stories. We knew each other 30 years ago, when I was in White Settlement, Texas, but they do outstanding work, and they do it in a very professional manner.

So with that, on behalf of Mayor Mike Moncrief and our City Council, our Parks and Community Services Advisory Board, and the citizens of Fort Worth, I ask for your approval on this item.  Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Commissioner Duggins, do you have any questions for your buddy there?

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  No, sir. Forget the past.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay, we’ll see if we can get it done.  Sandy Jenkins ‑‑

MS. JENKINS:  Good morning, Commissioners.


MS. JENKINS:  Commissioner Hixon, Commissioner Holt, on behalf of the City of San Antonio and the San Antonio Parks Foundation, I would like to thank you for the opportunity for being recommended for this funding of this grant, and especially Tim Hogsett and his staff.  They are outstanding.  The restoration of the Jingu House, which is recommended for funding, will create an indoor recreation grant opportunity that San Antonio has not seen for 30 years.  The San Antonio Parks Foundation has actually raised over $1 million of private funds to restore the Jingu House at the Japanese Tea Gardens.  This grant opportunity will actually allow us to finish out the restoration and open it up to the public.  And actually, it’s shovel-ready, and the project ‑‑


MS. JENKINS:  ‑‑ will be finished by this summer.  We actually had to stop construction for a period of time, so we’re really excited about being able to begin construction again upon the funding of this grant.  Without the partnership of Texas Parks and Wildlife, this project would not have been able to be completed at all, and the project would be sitting vacant until funds could be raised, in order to open it up.  So we look forward to a grand opening this summer, and you all will definitely be invited, and thank you very much.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  All right.  Thank you then.  Any questions, comments?  All right.  Thank you.  Oh, sorry, I was thinking if I had a question, but I don’t.  My brain isn’t working today.  Is there a motion for approval?


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Commissioner Martin.


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

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  All right.  Any opposed?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Hearing none, motion carries.  Thank you, Tim.  Are you ‑‑ you’re up again.  Okay.  Item Number 6, action — Local Park Grant Funding for Missouri City Project — 2010 General Appropriations Act — Rider 35.  Tim ‑‑

MR. HOGSETT:  During the current biennium, the 81st Legislature placed in our appropriations bill an instruction that we fund a project for the City of Missouri City in the amount of $1 million.  We’ve received the application from the City.  We’ve reviewed it; it’s within total eligibility of what we do.  It’s going to be the redevelopment of a previously privately owned tennis center into a recreation center building and, based on the 5 percent reduction that was made in our budget during the current fiscal year, we’ve reduced this project to $950,000 in match.

Having said that, the recommendation we bring before you this morning is that funding for the specific project specified in Rider 35, as listed in Exhibit A, is approved.  Be glad to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Good.  Missouri City understands the 5 percent cut ‑‑

MR. HOGSETT:  Yes.  Yes.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Any questions or comments?  Yes, sir ‑‑

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  As I understand this Rider 35, the Commission, as per the Department, has been directed to approve this grant.

MR. HOGSETT:  That is correct.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  And it says in the paper, Shall allocate up to $1 million.  Are we sure that we’re not required to allocate the full $1 million?

MR. HOGSETT:  We’ve discussed this with the Legislative Budget Board, based on the cuts that we proposed, and they recommended that we make this 5 percent reduction to be in concert with what we’ve done elsewhere within the current fiscal year’s budget.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  That’s all I want to know.  Thank you.

MR. SMITH:  Commissioner, if I could just add to it, we had extensive discussions about this with certain legislative members about it, as well as the City Manager for Missouri City, and explained the situation to them and what was required of us in terms of the cut, and so kept the cut just proportional to the 5 percent.  And so that way they were not disproportionally impacted in any way.  They’ve got a great project here and so, ultimately, I think this is going to do a lot of good for Missouri City.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  I’m not questioning the project at all.  I just want to make sure that we weren’t, in some way, disregarding a mandate from the legislature.

MR. SMITH:  Yes.  We had a lot of discussions on that.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  Thank you very much.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay.  Any other questions or comments from Commissioners?  Okay.  Do I have a motion?


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Commissioner Duggins.


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

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Aye.  Any opposed?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Hearing none, motion carries.  Thank you, Tim.  Action Item Number 7, Boat Ramp Grant Funding.  Tim, you’re up.

MR. HOGSETT:  This is our annual presentation to you of recommendations for use of the Federal Fish and Wildlife Service Sport Fish Restoration money, of which 15 percent must be allocated for use for boating access.  Program provides 75 percent matching grants to local governments that we can also uses these funds within our state park system as we are recommending for two projects in state parks be funded today.  Received nine applications, requesting $2.7 million and to have two proposals for boat ramps at state park sites.  We’re recommending funding for seven local government applications and the two state parks in the amount of $1,811,858.

Sport Fish Restoration money is divided into two accounts.  One’s earmarked for freshwater and the other for saltwater access.  Those allocations are based on the numbers of licenses that are sold for the various kinds of fishing.  We’ve gotten more applications for freshwater than we have the ability to allocate at this current time, so what we’re recommending to you today is that we fund all the saltwater requests, and we have two worthy freshwater requests that we would like to bring to you next year.  So we would propose not to take freshwater requests in the upcoming fiscal year and, instead, ask you to conditionally approve these two projects.

Our recommendation for you this morning is that funding for boating access, construction, and renovation projects listed in Exhibit A, in the amount of $1,811,858 is approved, also, conditionally approve funding for $894,700 for the cities of Luling and Gonzales projects, pending the ability of Federal freshwater boating access funding.  Be glad to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Help me on the Federal freshwater funding.  I mean, is it coming?  Is it ‑‑ I mean, what’s your sense of it?



MR. HOGSETT:  This is based on an annual allocation ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay, that’s the way it rolls?

MR. HOGSETT:  ‑‑ an annual appropriation to us.  It’s just that this year, we’ve got more freshwater requests than we have the ability to have the resources to be able to fund.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay, I don’t know if I’d quite say ‑‑ because we’re going to conditionally, I mean, if we vote for this conditionally approve funding for the $894,000 pending the availability of federal freshwater ‑‑

MR. HOGSETT:  ‑‑ pending next year’s apportionment from U.S. Fish and Wildlife ‑‑


MR. HOGSETT:  That way, we would not need to bring these back to you, is the idea.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay.  I’ve got you.  Okay, okay.  And your sense of it is, that those funds will be coming?  That’s what I’ve heard.


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  I mean, I know you can’t guarantee that but what you  ‑‑

MR. HOGSETT:  You’re right about that.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Especially in this day and age, right?

MR. HOGSETT:  Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Any other questions or comments?  Yes, Commissioner Duggins.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  So, if I understand you, you’re saying, you’re proposing that we approve grants in advance of receiving the money to be ‑‑ assuming, excuse me, assuming the money is received, to fund nine months from now.  Would we not want to just wait and see if there are other projects that might come in, in the time period, that might merit jumping ahead of some of these?

MR. HOGSETT:  Yes, we could ‑‑

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  I’m asking you for what ‑‑

MR. HOGSETT:  I, I think that these are both projects that have been previously reviewed, and we didn’t have the finances to be able to fund them, and they’re both very valuable river access projects, and I think that both of them merit funding.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  Okay.  Good.  The next question I have is, the second project in the papers is one for Lake Granbury, and I’m all for Lake Granbury, but I wanted to ask you, when we review these do we consider, as a part of the process, just how good a partner the applicant is?  In this case, the applicant, the project sponsor is the BRA, and in light of the presentation last night about freshwater inflows, there are some inconsistencies with what BRA does.  I mean, it sells, it’s in the business of selling water, and we’re talking about an agency that at times we’ve disagreed with.  So I guess my question is, even though I’m in favor of this particular project, do we consider and discuss with the applicants the partnership that we try to promote with our  ‑‑ with people like this.

MR. HOGSETT:  Well, we certainly look at their track record in terms of participation in this program, which has been an excellent partnership.  We’ve done a good number of boat access ramp projects with BRA in various locations.  I’m not aware of the situation that you’re referring to, I’m sorry.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  Well, I think the BRA has stated that it is in the business of selling water, and whatever its charter provides, it provides, but it seems to me at times, that if you’re going to sell water and reduce inflows, that they ought to consider discussing that with our department experts and make sure that the impacts of their actions are discussed with us, and that’s all I’m trying to encourage ‑‑ is when we get an application from somebody that can impact the natural resources as BRA can, if whether it proceeds to try to support Cedar Ridge Reservoir out near Abilene, or otherwise limits the freshwater inflows to the Gulf or any of the lakes, including Granbury.

MR. HOGSETT:  We can certainly consider it  ‑‑

MR. SMITH:  Commissioner, maybe I could elaborate there because I ‑‑ you know, I ‑‑ we’ve got a number of relationships with various partners and organizations in which, you know, there’s certain things we agree on and some areas in which we disagree.  One thing that I may not have had a chance to brief you all on, but we spent, really, the last several years working with BRA on a system-wide water permit that they were pursuing with TCEQ, and had very long discussions and negotiations about that permit and making sure that at least in the context of that, that there were sufficient protections for freshwater inflows as well as gauging stations around the course of the river.  We also work closely with them with respect to their park rangers, working with our law enforcement team, places like Possum Kingdom and Granbury where we have a lot of overlap.  They’ve been supportive of the fish hatchery.  We’ve had a lot of discussions with them.  Obviously we’ve got a state park there at Possum Kingdom, so it’s a very multifaceted relationship and so, while we don’t always agree on everything when it comes to the water and the inflows, I do want to make sure that you and the Commission know that there is a lot of dialogue between us in places.  And as we look at these park projects, we typically try to look at those through the lens of, you know, has that agency been a good partner in terms of promoting outdoor recreation and providing recreational access.  And that is an area where we have had a lot of common ground.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  But we have had other issues with BRA.  I mean, aren’t we still in a tug-o-war over the easement that ‑‑ for freshwater access for the park?

MR. SMITH:  We do have ‑‑ yes, we do have some issues there that we’re still sorting through.  It’s actually a private water supplier there that that issue is more directly involved in.  But again, overall, at least particularly in this realm, I think we’ve had a very positive and constructive relationship with BRA and obviously, believe me, we’re going to be working very closely on the issues on inflows going forward on matters.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  Well, I’m just suggesting that we’re ‑‑ they’re asking us for $82,000 to build this boat ramp, and I think it’s a great project and I support it, but at the same time, it’d be nice if they might work with us on some of our needs and some of the issues over freshwater inflows.  And I just would encourage us to do that.

MR. SMITH:  Yes.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  I think that’s fair.

MR. SMITH:  No, and I hear you, Commissioner, I just ‑‑ again, this systemwide water permit, what they just worked on with TCEQ, we had very elaborate involvement with them, and I’d like a chance, maybe, to brief you about that at another time.


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Any other questions or comments from Commissioners?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay.  Do I have a motion for approval?


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Commissioner Bivins.  Second?


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Commissioner Falcon.  All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  All right.  Any opposed?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Hearing none, motion carries.  Great.  Thank you.

MR. HOGSETT:  Thank you.


Item Number 8 is a Briefing, Guadalupe Bass Restoration Initiative, Tim Birdsong.  Tim?

MR. BIRDSONG:  Morning, Chairman, Commissioners.


MR. BIRDSONG:  My names is Tim Birdsong.  I’m Chief of the Inland Fisheries Division’s Habitat Conservation branch.  And in this presentation, I’ll highlight a highly collaborative watershed scale conservation initiative that’s underway on the Edwards Plateau, and although focused on the conservation needs of our state fish, the Guadalupe bass, the specific actions that we plan to implement are expected to provide broad scale benefits to aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems throughout the region.  Now streams of the Edwards Plateau and throughout the state have seen increased recreational use in recent years, and this is due in part to the significant increase in the number of Texans involved in canoeing and kayaking.

And we’ve also seen some recent national surveys that have shown that roughly 25 percent of freshwater anglers throughout the U.S. fish from canoes and kayaks.  And that increase in recreational use is also evident in the number of fishing guide services that specifically target river systems in the state, and you can do a quick Google search and you’ll find over 40 river fishing web sites, and roughly 20 of those are for guide services and most of those are located in the Hill Country, and many specifically target Guadalupe bass.  And these fishing opportunities have been highlighted in several regional and national publications such as Southwest Fly Fishing, and they recently ran cover stories on bass fishing opportunities on the San Marcos River and the Devils River, and they have an upcoming issue dedicated to the Llano River.

Articles have also been in mainstream bass fishing publications, like Bassmaster magazine.  They’ve run several recent articles on Guadalupe bass fishing and several more articles that focus on small waters, river streams, ponds, as high quality but low cost alternative to fishing reservoirs and lakes, which typically involve the cost associated with owning and operating a motor boat.  Bassmaster also recently developed a new initiative called the Bass Slam, and this is being termed the angler’s ultimate challenge, and what they’ve done is challenge bass anglers to catch keep-able size of all eight black bass species.  And seven of the eight are found in these really picturesque rivers and streams of the southeastern U.S., and this map shows the native ranges of those species.  Seven of the eight are endemic to the southeastern U.S. and, of course, Guadalupe bass is only found in Texas, and it’s highlighted there in blue.

The diversity of the streams throughout this region is unparalleled by any other region of the United States, over 1,800 species of freshwater fishes, mussels, and crayfish are found in the roughly 70 major rivers in this region.  Despite the high ecological value, public support for conservation of streams in the Southeast has lagged behind other areas of the country, such as the Pacific Northwest and that’s due in part to the lack of an iconic species like salmon.  But with the support growing around these black bass species, and the increased recreational use of streams in Texas and throughout the southeast, we saw a great opportunity to partner and develop a new initiative where we would focus, hopefully, resources, dollars around conservation of these species and, with that, conservation of streams throughout the region.

So we partnered with over 20 conservation organizations across the Southeast, developed this business plan that’s focused on the specific conservation needs of all eight of these black basses, and identified specific strategies, actions, and funding needed to support their conservation over a 10-year period.  The plan totals roughly $30 million that would be needed to support sustainable populations of these species.  And about $13 million of that is dedicated to Guadalupe bass.

So the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation adopted this business plan as a new keystone initiative by their Foundation, and recently made available the first grant to support a pilot project under the entire region-wide initiative, and that grant was made available to Parks and Wildlife to support work surrounding Guadalupe bass.  We’ve taken that funding and we’ve leveraged that against several other sources and now have nearly $1.4 million to support our initial three-year pilot project, and all of that funding is dedicated to on-the-ground projects.  And that doesn’t include salary figures related to TAR time and our involvement, which is being covered by other sources.

But this initial three-year pilot project is focused on the upper Llano River, and that river on this map is highlighted in green.  You can see several colored areas and those represent watersheds for the various tributaries that feed the Llano River, and those include the North Llano River, the South Llano River, and the James River.  We’re taking a phased approach here in the first ‑‑ the initial focus of this project is on the South Llano River, which is pictured here.  This is a typical, clear, peripheral run type system, typical of most Hill Country streams, and it’s fed by numerous springs like the one pictured here, which is found on the 700 Springs Ranch, near the headwaters.  Most of the system has these functional, intact, riparian zones which are real important for the health of Guadalupe bass.  There’s also some high quality, instream, structural habitat like this log where we collected this lunkered Guadalupe bass during our breed stock collection last fall.  There are also other forms of instream structural habitat, like this submerged tree, root wads, and boulder complexes.  All of these are real important to Guadalupe bass and other native fishes in that system.

Still, in other areas in that system, we have highly degraded habitats and you see this erosional bank, and not only is the landowner losing land here, but the sediment that is being deposited in the river is covering up gravel substrates which are real important to Guadalupe bass for spawning.  And some of this is natural; it occurs in areas of the river.  But in other sections, it can be caused by factors such as overgrazing.  Of course, this increases run-off; it can lead to bank erosion, sedimentation, degraded water quality and just overall poor habitat quality within the river.  In other areas it can be caused by things such as poorly designed road crossings, and this is a temporary road crossing that was constructed by a landowner on the river, and you can see across the river on the other side where, at higher water levels, that water’s been diverted and there’s some bank erosion that’s occurring there and some significant alteration of the river.

So to address those issues and lots of other degradation issues in that system, we’re working with partners to develop a watershed conservation plan that specifically focuses on the needs of Guadalupe bass, other native fishes, and other native species throughout the watershed.  We’re also working to expand the existing landowner cooperative in the watershed, known as the South Llano Watershed Alliance.  This is a group of interested landowners and other stakeholders that are focused on preserving and restoring the health of the river and the watershed.  We’ll be working with those same landowners and with our Landowner Incentive Program to move some of that grant funding that I showed you earlier to these partners to conduct riparian and upland habitat protection and restoration projects.  We’ll also be working in partnership with them to conduct instream habitat restoration projects, mimicking some of those natural features that I had described earlier.

To give you an idea of the type of project that we’re focused on ‑‑ we received grant funding to do a restoration project at the South Llano River State Park, and if you’ve been to the park, I’m sure you’re familiar with these erosional banks.  Not only is this a problem for access but creates a lot of issues for Guadalupe bass habitat.  So that figure up in the upper left portion of that slide shows a before and after, and you can see the degraded erosional bank, and then a standard stream restoration technique that’s been applied where you can regrade the bank to a more gentle slope, reestablish native riparian vegetation, and this is a project that we’ll be moving forward with in the next year or so.  Alongside that, we hope to implement some instream structural habitat improvements in the river.  Our hope is to develop this park as a demonstration site, where we can engage landowners throughout the region, show them what can be done to address some of these issue they may have on their properties.

We have a variety of information that we’re using to guide these efforts and help prioritize our funding for projects throughout the watershed.  We have detailed land use maps that have been developed by our GIS Lab through their statewide ecological systems mapping project, and we also have partnered with Texas State University and Texas Tech University to conduct detailed instream habitat mapping.  This color-coded map here you can ‑‑ what that shows is mesohabitats, pool riffle run-type habitats that have been characterized, and we add in information on flows, and depth, and substrate type, and what we know about the needs of Guadalupe bass and we have a good idea, within the river, of where there’s quality habitat and where improvements may be needed.

Another program that we’re using to engage landowners throughout the region is a partnership that’s been developed with the Nueces River Authority.  Now we’re expanding beyond the Nueces Basin, but over the last year we’ve conducted 10 riparian conservation workshops for landowners, and at those 10 workshops we engaged about 220 landowners that own over 400,000 acres of the Nueces and Llano River watersheds.  And we engaged them, helped them understand the benefits of healthy, functional riparian zones and then discussed potential projects that could be done on their properties, and technical guidance, assistance, funding assistance, things like that that we would be able to provide.  So we recently partnered with the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and we’re going to expand this riparian workshop program beyond the Nueces to areas throughout the Edwards Plateau, and hopefully, eventually, throughout the state.

Another program that we’ll be using to engage additional stakeholders is our Texas Paddling Trails program.  We’ve had two stakeholder meetings in Junction that involve many of the landowners and paddlers in that area, and we have broad support for developing a new paddling trail from the South Llano River State Park down to the City of Junction.  And again, as we implement these restoration projects, it’ll provide a great opportunity to build that whole stretch of river as demonstration area for what we can do for these streams.

Lots and lots of partners to acknowledge, and that list just continues to grow, but what we’re trying to build here is a model that can be applied statewide for how we work across divisions and with partners to implement these watershed scale fish and wildlife conservation projects.  And our updated land and water plan identifies 20 specific objectives and strategies that guide our agency toward implementing our conservation activities at watershed scales, and ecosystem scales, and so this is an attempt to begin flushing out how exactly we can do that, and then we’ll be taking this approach that’s being applied on the Llano and moving to other streams in the Edwards Plateau, and hopefully throughout the state.  So with that, I’ll take any questions.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Questions or comments?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Good work, good work.

MR. BIRDSONG:  Thanks.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Sounds like it’s building some momentum.

MR. BIRDSONG:  Yes, it’s great.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Yes.  You said you had two meetings and how many landowners, and representing how much acreage?

MR. BIRDSONG:  Yes, the riparian workshops ‑‑ we’ve had 10 of those and roughly 400,000 acres represented there.


MR. BIRDSONG:  As far as work on the South Llano, we have the property of the 700 Springs Ranch, the Llano Springs Ranch, several other ranchers that are involved with the South Llano watershed lines that own over 30,000 acres of that watershed.  And that’s about a half-million-acre watershed, and so we’re making some significant progress.  We have more projects I think than we’ll be able ‑‑ that have been identified than we have funding to be able to support.  So that’s a good position to be in.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Right, right.  Okay, Tim.  Any other questions or comments?  Yes, ma’am.

COMMISSIONER MARTIN:  When are you expecting to open your ‑‑ the new paddling trail going into Junction.

MR. BIRDSONG:  We’re, you know, we’re still just in the initial planning phases, and we had talked about different segments of the river where we might want to develop that trail, and so at the last meeting, most of the support surrounded taking that trail from the South Llano River State Park to the City of Junction.  But we’re a ways off, and there’s some other grants that we’ve applied for that would support development of that trail, so we’ll see if we get those.  We should know more probably this summer.  COMMISSIONER MARTIN:  Okay.  Keep me posted when you do.

MR. BIRDSONG:  Definitely.


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Tim, thank you.  Any other questions, comments?

(No response.)


`    MR. BIRDSONG:  Thanks.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Appreciate it.  Okay, moving on to Item Number 9, action item, Revisions to Exotic Aquatic Species Rules and Fees ‑‑ oh, no, this is the one that has been withdrawn.  I’m sorry.  Number 10, action, Request for  Easement — Brazoria County — Power Line Easement at the Justin Hurst Wildlife Management Area — Resolution, Ted Hollingsworth.  Ted ‑‑

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH:  Chairman, Commissioners, I’m very pleased to be able to say, good morning.

(Simultaneous discussion.)

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH:  I’m Ted Hollingsworth with the Land Conservation program.  This item is an action item.  If you pass it, it will result in the granting of an easement to Dow Pipeline Company.  They have requested an easement at the Justin Hurst Wildlife Management Area.  The easement would allow them to provide cathodic protection to three existing pipelines that cross the Wildlife Management Area.  Dow Pipeline has worked closely with staff to find the route that would result in the least amount of impact to the Wildlife Management Area.  Since the first reading, they’ve actually brought us another proposal that would put the cathodic protection unit at the existing power supply and then would bury the lines providing direct current to the pipelines, further reducing impacts to the Wildlife Management Area.  Again, they work closely with staff.

None of the details have changed except that there would not be an aerial line across the WMA, and staff does believe that cathodic protection is in the best interest.  It will increase the pipeline life span, as well as, reduce the possibility of failures in the pipeline, and as a result, staff does recommend that you adopt the resolution that you have attached as Exhibit A.  Be happy to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Any questions?  Commissioner Duggins ‑‑

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:   Ted, where would the rectifier be?  I understand that’s an appurtenance that’d be above ground to convert, direct the alternating current?

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH:  Yes, sir.  It’s in that 50 by 50- foot-wide ‑‑ that 50 by 50-foot box.  There would be on the road, adjacent to the right of way, and the original plan was to actually take overhead lines to it and locate it at the pipelines by moving it to the existing power supply service.


MR. HOLLINGSWORTH:  You keep all of those visual impacts in one location, and then the direct current feed would be buried to the pipelines, again, further reducing the visual impacts at the Wildlife Management Area from those that you saw in the first reading back in November.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  Okay.  Would this proposed easement be tied to the validity of the underlying pipeline easements?

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH:  Those pipeline easements, we inherited those.  They were in place when we acquired the Wildlife Management Area.  We really have no jurisdiction there, so this is a new easement that’s a separate easement from the pipeline easement.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  I understand it, but would the new proposed easement be tied to the validity of the underlying easements?  So if the underlying easements expired or were terminated, would this easement also terminate?


COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  And then is it assignable?  Would it be assignable?


COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  Is our consent required?


COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  And is there an indemnity provision in the ‑‑



COMMISSIONER HOLT:  That’s pretty good.

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH:  We’ve been through this drill a few times.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Yes.  I thought that that might have been the case.

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH:  I didn’t mean with Commissioner Duggins.  I meant how we get there.  Although we’ve been through that drill a couple of times as well.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Yes, right, right, right.  Any other questions or comments?  Okay.  This is an action item.  Do I have a motion?


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Commissioner Morian.  Second?


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Commissioner Martin.  All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Hearing none, the motion carries.  Okay.  Item Number 11, action — Request for Easement — Briscoe County — Transmission Line Crossing Caprock Canyons Trailway — Resolution, Ted.

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH:  Chairman, Commissioners ‑‑


MR. HOLLINGSWORTH:  Good morning.  My name is Ted Hollingsworth.  I’m with the Land Conservation program.  This results from a request from Cross Texas Transmission for an easement to cross the Caprock Canyons Trailway with a line that is a component of the CREZ Transmission complex, intended to bring power generated by wind turbines in the Panhandle down to population centers in Central Texas and in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  This map shows the Trailway and two different routes that were looked at closely.  The first settlement route we had significant issues with because it was close to the Clarity Railroad Tunnel that houses a large population of bats, and was also  in a scenic area of the trail.  The second settlement route was agreed to by the PUC after having worked with staff at Texas Parks and Wildlife to reduce aesthetic and biological impacts to the Trailway.

Upon further discussions, primarily with Cross Texas Transmission, a suite of mitigation measures has been arrived at that would not only minimize the aesthetic impacts to the park, but would result in Cross Texas Transmission providing some assistance to Texas Parks and Wildlife with the Trailway.  Here’s a summary of that assistance:  They would provide $150,000 for repairs, primarily erosion control, at the Clarity Tunnel, and $800,000 to help us resurface 17 miles of Trailway.  This is one of the least used areas of the Trailway currently, and part of the reason for that is the fact that the trail surface has not been upgraded and maintained since we acquired the Trailway.  This would not only improve that trail surface, but we’re confident it would also increase visitation and use of that park.  And that would be on top of our standard easement fees, which have been assessed at $20,000, initial damages, and then $8,000 a year in occupancy.

Staff would like to comment that Cross Texas Transmission has worked very closely with Texas Parks and Wildlife to arrive in good faith and a suite of measures to minimize those impacts to the park, and arrive at some compensatory measures that we believe will be very beneficial to the park if you choose to grant the easement.  Would also like to add that the Resolution in Exhibit A was edited overnight, as a result of comments in session yesterday, to more fully reflect the provisions in Chapter 26 of the Parks and Wildlife Code.  Be happy to answer any questions you might have.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Any questions?  We went through this very thoroughly yesterday, but any questions or comments?  Okay, I do have one public comment.  Cameron Fredkin ‑‑

MR. FREDKIN:  Good morning, Chairman and Commissioners.  My name is Cameron Fredkin, Director of Project Development with Cross Texas Transmission.  I just wanted to let you know we’ve been working on this project for over the last two years, and worked with Parks and Wildlife during that time, and very closely over the last several months, in trying to come up with mitigation means for our project.  We think we’ve been very successful with that.  We’ve got a solution that meets the needs of both parties.  Staff should be commended for their hard work and efforts, and today we just request ‑‑ appreciate your consideration for the easement request today, and I’m here to answer any questions you may have about the project.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Any questions or comments for Mr. Fredkin?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  No.  I appreciate it and I  appreciate ‑‑ the staff went through it yesterday in executive session, how cooperative you all have been.  We understand this is an extremely important project, not only for you, but for the state of Texas, and people that want the power.  And, of course, there’s going to be a lot more of this going on as the future unfolds.  And so we very much appreciate your cooperation on this.

MR. FREDKIN:  Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Any other questions, comments?  Okay.  This is an action item.  Do I have a motion on this item?  Oh, excuse me, Commissioner Duggins ‑‑

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  No, I want to make the motion, but I want to make some comments first.  As I understand it, this request is premised on an order issued by the PUC on January 19th, in which the question was raised about whether the granting of a CCN, or a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity, by the PUC for a power line where the line does not touch the ground yet invades air space, triggers Chapter 26 of the Parks and Wildlife Code.  The order from the PUC concluded that Chapter 26 was not triggered.  I respectfully disagree with that conclusion.  In my judgment, there’s no question that any crossing of air space of lands under control of Parks and Wildlife, which are defined in Section 13.001 of the Code, does trigger Chapter 26.  So with that statement and because it’s my understanding that the PUC and Cross Texas did, nevertheless, comply with Chapter 26 and, based upon my conclusion that both 26 and 13.009 are applicable, I move approval.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Do I have a second?


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Commissioner Falcon.  All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Hearing none, the motion carries.  Thank you very much.  Item Number 12, an action, Acceptance of Land Donation — Kendall and Bandera Counties — 3700 Acres (3K Ranch).  Corky Kuhlmann will make the presentation for us.

MR. KUHLMANN:  Good morning.  For the record, Corky Kuhlmann with Land Conservation program, and we have saved the best for last today.  This item represents a land donation in Kendall and Bandera counties, just outside of Boerne, Texas, between Boerne and Pipe Creek.  It is 3757 acres.  Located on the property, the infrastructure consists of two residences, garages, barns, one large residence that hasn’t been used in quite a few years.  There is a ranch manager’s residence and there is a caretaker on the property now.  The whole property has been deer-proof fenced around 12 years ago.  All the fence is in good condition with the exception of a few water gaps that need to be mended.  The water on the property ‑‑ there’s about a mile and a half of Pipe Creek, both sides of it, a couple of stock tanks, and then various other streams that are unnamed, that are spring-fed.  The views there are magnificent.  Although there’s a lot of development around this piece of property, there’s still quite a bit that hasn’t been.

The summary of the property is, it contains about two and a half miles of Highway 46 frontage.  The infrastructure seems to be in good condition, not excellent, needs some work, but in good condition, the creek as mentioned, the high fence.  It has good a road network.  It would be good for trails.  It would need some improvement if you were to take vehicles around it, across it.  Preliminary habitat assessment by our biologists ‑‑ have identified 200 different plant species and most of those native, and I have been told that in the Spring, that that count would probably double.  And a conservative estimate is that at least half the site is potential golden-cheeked warbler habitat.  I’d like to add that I’ve had in excess of 170 emails from, mostly around that area, landowners, relatives, that support taking this property.  I’ve had two emails opposed, and then one gentleman emailed wanting to know if his VA loan would qualify to buy part of this after we got it, but hope that we won’t sell.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Say that again.

MR. KUHLMANN:  I had one email from a gentleman in San Antonio wanting to know, if we got the property, if his VA loan would qualify him to buy part of this property from us.  In addition to that, we’ve gotten letters in support from the Edwards Aquifer Authority, also the Cibolo Nature Center, the Native Plant Society of Boerne, the Alamo Area and Hill Country Chapter of Master Naturalists.  The last three, the Cibolo, the Native Plant Society, and both Master Naturalist chapters, in their letters conveyed to us that any support we needed as far as volunteerism to help run the place, to help manage the place, anything they could do to help, they’d be more than happy to do.  And with that, staff recommends the Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt the following motion:

Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission authorizes the Executive Director to take all necessary steps to accept the donation, the 3K Ranch, comprising of approximately 3,757.54 acres located in Kendall and Bandera counties.  I’d be glad to take any questions.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Any questions or comments; then we do have some public.

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Questions or comments at this time?

[indiscernible]?  Okay.  I have some people that would like to speak.  I’ll read off their names.  First one, Preston Kronkosky, if you’ll come up, and then on stand-by, Katherine Long.  Preston ‑‑

MR. KRONKOSKY:  Is this the line of departure?

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  It sure is, right there.

MR. KRONKOSKY:  Start the clock.


MR. KRONKOSKY:  Good morning, members of the Commission.  My name is Preston Kronkosky.  I appreciate the  opportunity to address you concerning Agenda Item Number 12, Acceptance of the Land Donation in Kendall and Bandera Counties of approximately 3,757 acres, known as 3K Ranch.  To me, and to the relatives, we simply refer to it as cousin Albie and Bessie’s ranch at Pipe Creek.  I strongly urge the Commission of the Texas Parks and Wildlife to approve the acceptance of this gift of the 3K Ranch, also known as the Kronkosky Ranch.  My cousins, Albert, or Albie and Bessie Kronkosky, expressly stated in their will that they wanted their 3,757-acre ranch near Pipe Creek to be given to the state of Texas to be held in perpetuity to be used as a state park or state wildlife refuge or natural wilderness area for the benefit of all Texans.

As the population of the Hill Country in Central Texas increases, there is less and less open or public land available to be enjoyed by the non-rural residents.  The opportunity to acquire as a gift, a large section of undeveloped, prime Hill Country land for the benefit of all Texans, is a once-in-a-lifetime possibility that must not be lost.  If you have traveled recently in the northwestern San Antonio, New Braunfels, Boerne, Bulverde, Bergheim, Comfort, Bandera, Blanco, or Fredericksburg areas, you realize the burgeoning population of the ever-expanding number of housing developments is dramatically decreasing the opportunity for the state of Texas to acquire a large magnificent piece of undeveloped property for the enjoyment and recreation of the every-increasing, non-rural population of the Texas Hill Country ‑‑ a piece of property that represents the undeveloped Hill Country that drew the original German colonists to that part of the state in the early 1840s and 1850s.

Thus, as a fifth-generation Texan of New Braunfels, and a relative of Albert and Bessie Kronkosky, I strongly urge the Commissioners of the Texas Department of Parks and Wildlife to approve the motion to accept the gift of the 3K Ranch.  That action would be entirely consistent with the mission statement of the Commission.  Thank you for allowing me, a taxpayer of this great state, to address you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Thank you, sir.  I appreciate your comments.  Katherine Long?  And next up, John Coyle.

MS. LONG:  Good morning.  I’m Katherine H. Long.  We own the land immediately across from the Kronkosky estate.  We’ve been there since ‑‑ ranched and lived there since 1964.  About 20 years ago, Mr. Kronkosky approached my husband with saying that he wanted his 3K Ranch to go to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, at that point wanted a refusal on our land.  Well, we didn’t plan to sell, and don’t plan to sell, but I just wanted the Commission to know that this has been his hope, was his hope.  And at this point, along 46, there’s not a lot of development but the land is still mostly in bigger chunks, and the neighbors I know all hope to keep their land that way.

And so we couldn’t think of anything we’d like better than to have the state accept the property, and may I say, as a 60-year Texas rancher, how much the game wardens have done for us, and the support and the friendship have just been remarkable.  Thank you so much.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  All right, thank you for your comments, and thank you for the comments on our great game wardens.  Thank you.  And John Coyle ‑‑

MR. COYLE:  Good morning, ladies and gentlemen of the Commission.  I am John Coyle and the Scout Executive of the Alamo Area Council Boy Scouts of America.  I personally had the opportunity to tour the 3Ks Ranch and thank Texas Parks and Wildlife for accommodating the Boy Scouts so we could better know what the ranch has to offer.  The ranch is beautiful, and the Scouts would love to have it, use it, and conserve it.  The ranch would be a huge program asset to the Scouts, giving us a local high-adventure base to help fulfill scouting’s mission of instilling values in young people so they may develop into adults of character.  The ranch’s undeveloped nature, size, and terrain are ideal for overnight backpacking experiences.

If any of you were Scouts and had the opportunity to go to Philmont, either as a youth or an adult, we liken it to that although on a smaller scale.  At Philmont, which has more than 100,000 acres, Scouts are on the trail for 12 days and hike from 50 to as much as 100 miles, depending on the itinerary they select.  At 3Ks we believe that three- to seven-day programs would be ideal.  Scouts teach low-impact camping and leave no trace.  That means if you pack it in, you pack it out.  And Scouts are taught to always leave a campsite better than we found it.

I believe the Commission is already aware of what a great environmental partner Scouting is and will continue to be as stewards of not only our state’s parks but privately owned lands that are so generously shared with our Scout groups.  The BSA celebrated our 100th anniversary last year.  There’s no organization that does more in the outdoors with youth than the BSA.  Scouts learn about the environment and learn to respect and care for nature.  They also learn self-reliance and become self-confident as they overcome the physical and mental challenges faced in the out of doors.  Leaders are born here.

We’ve heard rumors and read the Express-News article that Scouts would sell the 3Ks Ranch.  I want to dispel those rumors.  First, by the terms of the will and the trust, Scouts are prohibited from selling the Ranch.  Second, as I’ve already stated, the Ranch would be a valuable resource to the Boy Scouts for training future leaders of the San Antonio area.  Everyone should know the Boy Scouts would not, and could not, sell the property as has been alleged by some.  If the Commission decides not to accept the property, it would come to the Scouts, along with assets in the trust.  We believe these other assets are substantial enough to form an endowment which would allow us to manage, preserve, and protect the property, while delivering Scouting’s outdoor program to thousands of kids annually.  Scouts would propose to work with the state to develop a conservation plan to guide us as we develop our program.  To the state and to the Scouts, this land is priceless ‑‑ priceless because you cannot put a true value on it, priceless because it cannot be sold.  I’d be pleased to answer any questions from the Commission.  Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Mr. Coyle, thank you for coming today and, of course, we certainly have tremendous respect for the Scouts and all of Scouting, and the focus on conservation that the Scouts encourage strongly.  And if we move forward and vote to accept this, of course, we want to continue working with the Scouts in any way we can and as we make decisions, if we vote to accept this, and work with you all in a cooperative, very cooperative manner.  So we appreciate your comments today.

MR. COYLE:  Oh, absolutely.  We’d be willing to be a partner as we are ‑‑


MR. COYLE:  ‑‑ in all other endeavors.  So thank you so much.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Thank you.  Any other comments or questions?  Yes, ma’am.

COMMISSIONER MARTIN:  I’ve had the privilege of going onto the property and touring and taking a look at this magnificent piece of property and, Chairman, I think that this particular piece of property fits right into the mission statement of Parks and Wildlife, and all of the efforts that we do in proceeding forward and protecting our natural resources, and offering great opportunities for all the citizens of the state of Texas, as well as all of our visitors.  And so, just a comment that it’s a magnificent piece of property and I would like to make the motion that we go forward and accept this piece of property that has been gifted to us.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay.  Do I have a second?.


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Commissioner Hixon.  All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  All right.  Any opposed?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Hearing none, the motion carries, and I want to thank the Kronkoskys for so much that they’ve done in so many ways.  Of course, this property is just another magnificent gift and a wonderful thing for Texas Parks and Wildlife but, again, more importantly for the citizens of the state of Texas.  And as I think Mr. Kronkosky, our first speaker, spoke about that area, it’s certainly becoming suburbia, or is suburbia, I guess, and growing rapidly, becoming urbanized, and so this is going to be a great piece of property ‑‑ to be able to conserve that beautiful, beautiful area.  So as Corky said, this is a nice way to end this session, so thank you.

We actually do have another item.  It’s going to be in Executive Session, Personnel Matters — Performance Evaluation of TPWD Executive Director.  It will be heard in Executive Session.  Therefore, I would like to announce, that pursuant to the requirements of Chapter 551 Government Code, referred to as the Open Meetings Act, an Executive Session will be held at this time for the purpose of deliberation regarding personnel, 551.074 of the Open Meetings Act.  We will now recess for Executive Session.  Thank you.  Thank you, everybody.

(Recess to Executive Session at 11:10 a.m.)

(Back on the record at 12:20 p.m.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  At this time, we will reconvene the regular session of the Commission meeting, regarding Committee Number 13 ‑‑ Commission Item Number 13, Personnel Matters — Performance Evaluation of the TPWD Executive Director.  No further action is required.

Mr. Smith, this Commission has completed its business.  I declare us adjourned.  Thank you all very much.  Thank you.  Appreciate you all staying.  (Whereupon, at 12:21 p.m., the meeting was concluded.)


MEETING OF:    Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
LOCATION:      Austin, Texas
DATE:          January 27, 2011

I do hereby certify that the foregoing pages, numbers 1 through 91, inclusive, are the true, accurate, and complete transcript prepared from the verbal recording made by electronic recording by Penny Bynum before the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.

(Transcriber)         (Date)

On the Record Reporting, Inc.
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