Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission

Public Hearing Meeting

August 25, 2011

Commission Hearing Room
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department Headquarters Complex
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744
BE IT REMEMBERED, that heretofore on the 25th day of August 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:



Donations of $500 or more for the August 25, 2011 Commission Meeting not Previously Acknowledged by the Commission
  Donor Description Detail & Purpose of Donation *Amount
1 Dallas Athletes Other Goods One (1) approved special duty uniform and surveillance equipment $1,500.00
2 Woodbury's Taxidermy In-Kind Taxidermy services for Texas Grand Slam $3,350.00
3 Val Verde County Capital Property Item One (1) 2011 Jeep Wrangler Sport 4x4 $22,045.00
4 Daniel Y. Butler / H. Yturria Land and Cattle Co. Cash For the Lone Star Land Steward Awards for purchase of items to support the event $2,500.00
5 Jim and Lucy McGowan Cash For Youth Shooting Event at Matador WMA $500.00
6 Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation Other Goods Groceries for dedication ceremony of the Wes Littrell Small Acreage Demonstration Area $1,534.23
7 Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation In-Kind Rental of 40x60 tent, tables, chairs and Porta-johns for dedication ceremony for the Wes Littrell Small Acreage Demonstration Area $1,797.25
8 Partners of Palo Duro Canyon Controlled Item Three (3) Hustler Riding Mowers for mowing and maintaining Palo Duro landscape $30,384.00
9 Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation In-Kind Services Catering services to provide funding for a statewide water communications initiative $5,800.00
10 Friends of Purtis Creek Cash & Other Goods Golf cart, batteries and accessories, portable building, improvements to it and a washer and dryer for park host use, Automatic External Defibrillators, archery equipment, money for planetary solar walk $16,985.02
11 Lighthouse Ranch LP Cash Purchase of firefighting equipment $1,000.00
12 Battleship TEXAS Foundation Cash Donation for restoration of Marines Space $3,558.00
13 National Wild Turkey Federation Capital Property Item Donahue Implement Carrier Drop Trailer to provide assistance in upland wildlife habitat restoration $6,583.00
14 Dallas Safari Club Cash To purchase a trailer for the North Texas Education Center $6,000.00
15 DM Turner and CB Turner Cash State Park Operations $500.00
16 Apache Corp. Cash Donation for Artificial Reef Program, Rigs-to-Reefs. Decommissioned 8-pile petroleum structure in HI-A-323-A. Partially removed at TPWD reef HI-A-323 $600,000.00
17 Ridgelake Energy, Inc. Cash Donation for Artificial Reef Program, Rigs-to-Reefs. Decommissioned 8-pile petroleum structure in HI-A-567D. Towed to TPWD reef HI-A-567 $125,005.00
18 Sabine River Authority of Texas Cash To assist in the implementation of a public awareness campaign to slow the spread of zebra mussels $10,000.00
19 McMoRan Oil and Gas LLC Cash Donation for Artificial Reef Program, Rigs-to-Reefs. Decommissioned 8-pile petroleum structure in HI-A-471A Towed to TPWD reef HI-A-492 $297,750.00
20 Canadian River Municipal Water Authority Cash To assist in the implementation of a public awareness campaign to slow the spread of zebra mussels $5,000.00
21 Ducks Unlimited Cash Upgrade hurricane repairs to compartment 11, water control structure at JD Murphree WMA $25,891.24
Total $1,167,682.74

*Estimated value used for goods and services

Retirement Certificates and Service Awards
August 25, 2011

Retirement Certificates
Division Name Title Location Years
SP Laird Fowler Manager V Lubbock 35 Years
SP Jeff Towers Program Supervisor II Whitney 27 Years
Service Awards
Division Name Title Location Years
INFR Bill McDonald Jr. Architect II Austin 30 Years
SP Thomas M. Fisher Program Supervisor II Mexia 30 Years
IF Charles R. Munger Natural Resources Spec. V Canyon 25 Years
SP Sharon D. Hanzik Park Ranger IV Needville 25 Years
CF Paul S. Silva Natural Resources Spec IV Corpus Christi 25 Years
CF Lance Robinson Manager V Dickinson 20 Years
SP Elizabeth J. Dodd-Ellis Park Specialist I Goliad 20 Years
SP Lonnie L. Fry Maintenance Technician V LaPorte 20 Years
Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
Commission Meeting
August 25, 2011
Name/Organization, Address Item Number Matter of Interest
Edward Gonzales, Willacy County Judges Office, 576 W. Main Street, Raymondville, TX 78580 6 Outdoor Recreation Grant Funding For
Senator Eddie Lucio, Jr., Texas Senator, P.O. Box 12068 Capitol Station, Austin, TX 78711 6 Outdoor Recreation Grant Funding For
Representative J. M. Lozano, Texas House of Representatives, P.O. Box 2910, Austin, TX 78768-2910 6 Outdoor Recreation Grant Funding For
Shane Cameron, Port Director, Willacy County Navigation District 6 Outdoor Recreation Grant Funding For
Tommy Raines, Board Chairman, Willacy County Navigation District, Port Mansfield, TX 6 Outdoor Recreation Grant Funding For
Marty Stump, City of Austin, 919 W. 28 ½ Street, Austin, TX 78705 6 Outdoor Recreation Grant Funding For
Richard Zavala, City of Fort Worth, 1000 Throckmorton, Fort Worth, TX 76102 7 Urban Outdoor Recreation Grant Funding For
Bryan Tucker, City of Childress, 315 Commerce, Childress, TX 79201 9 Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) Program Decal Fee Rules  
Carol L. Smith, 4-H ATV Safety OHV Education w/Texas A&M University, 1440 CR 270, Mico, TX 78056 9 Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) Program Decal Fee Rules  
Bobby Sanders, City of Childress 9 Off Highway Vehicle (OHV) Program Decal Fee Rules  
Will Kirkpatrick, 21815 FM 705, Broaddus, TX 75929 13 Implementation of Legislation during the 82nd Texas Legislative Session House Bill 555 relating to Boating Accidents  
Nicole Paquette, The Humane Society of the United States, P.O. Box 10885, Austin, TX 78766 16 Implementation of Legislation during the 82nd Texas Legislative Session House Bill 716 Permits for Aerial Management of Wildlife and Exotic Species Against
Buddy Treybig, Commercial Fisheries (oysters), Arnolds Seafood, 121 Ingram Street, P.O. Box 543, Matagorda, TX 77457 18 Amendments to Oyster Proclamation regarding Daily Sack Limits, Time Closures and Shell Recovery and Implementation of Senate Bill 932 For
Tracy Woody, Jeris Seafood Inc., HC 2, Box 786, Anahuac, TX 77514 18 Amendments to Oyster Proclamation regarding Daily Sack Limits, Time Closures and Shell Recovery and Implementation of Senate Bill 932 For
James McNally, Texans for State Parks, 300 W. 6th Street, suite 1500, Austin, TX 78701 21 New Park Acquisition Palo Pinto and Stephens Counties For


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Good morning.  There we go.  Wake everybody up.  This meeting is called to order on August 25th, 2011, at ten minutes late.  I am always late.  At 9:10 a.m.  Before proceeding with any business, I believe Mr. Smith has a statement to make.  Mr. Smith.

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 would like for this fact to be noted in the official record of the meeting.

I also just want to welcome everybody this morning.  We have got a great big crowd.  As you are probably aware, we are going to kick off the meeting this morning with some special recognitions and awards for colleagues that have had a long tenure inside this Agency.

Also, we have got some great partners here that we are going to recognize for their extraordinary service to the State of Texas.  And so we are going to do that first. And then the Commission will take a short little break and allow those to leave after that.  And then we will start with the main agenda for the meeting.

For those of you that are here to speak on any of the action items that we have, I would just respectfully ask that you sign up outside.  And at the appropriate time, the Chairman will call you forward by name.  You will come to the podium, and tell the Commission who you are and what you are here to speak about.

We are going to ask that everybody keep their remarks to three minutes.  And it is a real simple system.  Green means go on the light there; yellow means wind it down; and red means stop.  So if we can all adhere to that this morning, that will help.  We have got a busy agenda.

Also just for some of you all that are new to the Commission meeting, if you don’t mind.  The acoustics aren’t great, and so if you have got a conversation that you need to have, if you don’t mind stepping out.

And if you could just silence your cell phones and PDAs, that would be great.  Otherwise, welcome.  We look forward to having you with us all morning today.

So Mr. Chairman, with that, I will turn it over back to you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay.  Thank you.  Thank you, Mr. Smith.  And I would like to recognize, it looks like we have some people here.  Representative J.M. Lozano, is Representative Lozano here?

How are you, sir?  Appreciate your coming.  Would you like to speak or say anything at this moment?


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay.  Great.  I think we have something a little bit later; we are going to talk about Willacy County, right?

MR. LOZANO:  Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Great.  And Representative Tan Parker.  Is Representative Parker?

MR. PARKER:  Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  How are you?  Would you like to say anything at this moment?

MR. PARKER:  I am fine, sir.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Great.  Appreciate both of you coming.  And Senator Lucio, I think was going to join us maybe later.  Great.  Okay.  Wonderful.  Well, thank you all for coming.

With that, next is approval of the minutes of the previous meeting, which was held May 26, 2011, which have already been distributed.  Do I have a motion for approval?



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

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Hearing none, the motion carries.  Next, acknowledgment of the donations list.  And again, the public doesn’t see the donations list.  But we get help from people all over the state; corporations, individuals.  And we always like to recognize them.

And this last month for example, it was over a million dollars’ worth of things.  It could be anything from boats, lighting for our game wardens.  It can be offshore platforms that we use for reefs.  I mean, it can be A to Z; it runs the gamut.

And it is a tremendous help for us.  So we always like to recognize the donations list, which of course we do have to approve.  So do I have a motion for approval?


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay.  Commissioner Scott.


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

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Hearing none, the motion carries.  Thank you.  Now we will do service awards and special recognitions.



COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  As a part of the housekeeping matters, may I also move approval of our minutes from the June meeting, the special meeting that we had?  I think we need to approve those as well.  It probably wasn’t in the packet, but we need to approve those.  They have been distributed, too.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Right.  Okay.  Do we have a motion?


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Sorry.  Motion by Commissioner Duggins.  Second by Commissioner Morian.  All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Hearing none, the motion carries.

MR. SMITH:  Are we up?

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Yes.  We are going to do some service awards and other recognitions.

MR. SMITH:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the Commission.  For the record, my name is Carter Smith.  And we are going to just change the order a little bit today.

We got some partners that have come from near and far to be with us.  And so we are going to upset the little apple cart a little bit for Michelle and Carole.  But they have given me permission.  So they know the drill.

I think all of you know, that one of the most critical functions that our law enforcement agency and Division plays has to do with recreational boating safety, and making sure that our boaters and anglers stay safe on the state’s public waterways.  And it is a big part of their charge.  And they take that responsibility very seriously.

Thanks to the leadership of Representative Tan Parker who Chairman Holt recognized from up at Flower Mound, who had become increasingly concerned about accidents up in the Lake Lewisville area, and other North Texas lakes, two sessions ago, authored and introduced legislation to create a special advisory panel on recreational boating safety.  And the design of that panel in Representative Parker’s mind was really to bring together experts and stakeholders from the boating, the water sports, the angling, the lake management communities, and really help us look at how we improve our law enforcement.

How we improve boater education in the state.  And just do anything we can to make our lakes and waterways safer.  And so nine members appointed to the panel; three by the Governor, three by the Lieutenant Governor, and three by the Speaker.

And really for a year, this panel met very regularly, and worked diligently on looking at ways that they could come back to the Legislature to recommend ways to strengthen boater safety in the state.  And thanks to their leadership and extraordinary hard work and our team here, April, and Jeff Parish and Cody Jones worked very closely with that panel.

But thanks to the leadership of Representative Parker, Senator Watson from here in Austin, and Chairman Ryan Guillen, there were six important pieces of legislation that got passed this session to help strengthen water and boater safety.  And not the least of which, a new mandatory boater education law for the state.  Really, really important milestone in the state.

And then secondly, the rewriting of an existing law called the Britney Lindt Act.  And Britney was a young lady who tragically lost her life in a boating accident that never should have happened.

And her father, Tim, has just been an extraordinary ambassador across the state for the importance of boating safety and making sure that we make improvements.  And because of the hard work of that panel, we wanted to have the Commission recognize them formally today again, for their extraordinary service.

I am going to mention the panel members, and then ask if they come forward and get a group picture with the Chairman and our team.  The Chairman, Lance Bruun, Douglas Malone, Will Kirkpatrick, Judge Al Campos, a name that is familiar to this group.  We got to proceed it by that honorific now, wherever the good Judge is.

David Foulkrod, Janet Caylor, Scott Gordon, Tim Lindt, Del Waters, and of course, Representative Tan Parker is here with us.  And I think one of his staff, Richard Dennis who has also worked so hard on this.  And so let’s give these folks a big round of applause.


(Pause for photos.)

MR. SMITH:  Commissioner Falcon, I think this next presentation is going to be of particular interest to you, given that it is down in your neck of the woods.  And a number of our colleagues from the Infrastructure Division were heavily involved in the rebuilding and reshaping of that very historic plaza down there at Roma; just an extraordinary piece of Texas history and heritage.

     And a lot of folks don’t recognize the role that our architects and planners and forest group played with the help of the renovation of that important piece of Texas history.  And so there is a special award that is being presented today from our partners at the Federal Highways Administration.

And Jan Brown who is the Texas state administrator for federal highways here, just to present an award to our team.  And so I want to turn it over to Jan.  So let’s welcome her.


MS. BROWN:  Thank you, Commissioner Holt, members of the Commission, and Executive Director Smith.  I very much appreciate the opportunity to be here today, really in person to present this award.  It is really a special opportunity.  And I appreciate your time.

Let me tell you a little bit about the award, and a little bit about the project that is so deserving of this award.  The Exemplary Human Environment Awards were instituted by the Federal Highway Administration to recognize outstanding examples of innovation in our transportation system.

The Roma Visitor Center and Plaza Project originated in 1993, when one of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s force account crews was tasked with the stabilization of key features in the rapidly deteriorating Roma National Historic Landmark District.  The Department’s unprecedented six-year commitment to this extensive rescue, which also grew into an interpretive effort served as the foundation for the current Visitor Center and Plaza project.

This carefully planned partnership endeavor qualified under multiple categories for this national award.  And these include, one, the incorporation of historic preservation as a strategy for community revitalization.  Two, the application of context-sensitive design solutions that balance contemporary transportation requirements with the need to maintain the historic appearance of a nationally recognized landmark.

Three, the collaboration among multiple partners to reach a consensus design solution with widespread community support.  Four, the education and outreach to better inform residents and visitors about the heritage of Roma, and the Texas-Mexico border region.  And finally five, transferability to other communities that seek to emulate a project that melds economic development, preservation and civic engagement.  As a positive and imaginative community development endeavor, the Roma Visitor Center and Plaza Project was selected by the Federal Highway Administration for this special award presented today to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for their long-term commitment to preservation, and to improve the quality of life in one of the most distinctive historic communities of our Texas-Mexico borderland.  Congratulations on a really great project, a stunning project.

It is wonderful to see the collaboration between the Texas Department of Transportation, Texas Parks and Wildlife and the Federal Highway Administration.  We very much appreciate this.  Well deserved.  Thank you.


MS. BROWN:  I understand that we have three individuals who were involved in this project.  Scott Smith, Pablo Rivera and Dennis Gerow.  And hopefully, I am not killing your names.

MR. SMITH:  Well, they’ll all come forward to get an award.  So it is ‑‑

MS. BROWN:  I don’t know how you’re going to split it up.

(Simultaneous discussion.)

(Pause for photos.)


MR. SMITH:  We have got another award.  I think all of you know just how important the cultural resources protection part of our mission is.  We have some extraordinary historic places and sites that are found within our state park system, on our Wildlife Management Areas.  Just wonderful representations of the great history of our state.

And our parks literally and figuratively tell those stories.  But sometimes, our park managers struggle with looting that goes on, and folks that want to come in and loot those very sensitive sites.  And today, the Texas Historical Commission is here.  And they are going to honor one of our colleagues who you are also going to get to hear from again a little later in the service awards, Jeff Towers, for a merit in archaeology award.

And so I want to ask our partner from the Historical Commission, Mark Denton, to come forward and make a presentation.  Let’s welcome Mark.


MR. DENTON:  Good morning, Chairman Holt and Commissioners.  And thank you for giving me time this morning to make this presentation.  Also I have with me the state archaeologist and new director of the Archaeology Division of the Texas Historical Commission, Pat Mercado-Allinger and Tiffany Osburn, our regional archaeologist for the Central and West Texas regions of the state.

And I would like to apologize that we didn’t get here sooner to give this award, Superintendent Towers has already retired.  But better late than never, I guess.

And for the 27 years that Superintendent Towers served with Parks and Wildlife Department, and the 15 years that he was a superintendent at Lake Whitney, and as a law enforcement officer prior to those years, he was instrumental and sort of a driving force behind efforts to preserve and protect archaeological sites throughout the state.  But particularly in Lake Whitney.

And his interest in preserving those sites led him to, I believe four or five arrests and convictions of looters who were working the archaeological sites at Lake Whitney.  And so that was truly an amazing effort.

And as many times as we have talked to folks and law enforcement officials around the state about the importance of protecting cultural resources on the public lands in the State of Texas, It’s difficult to find people who actually take the effort to do just that.  So the Texas Historical Commission is proud to give an award of Merit in Archaeology to Jeffrey Towers for 27 years with the Parks and Wildlife Department, promoting archaeological preservation and preventing looting in the state parks of Texas.


(Pause for photos.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Congratulations.

MR. SMITH:  Okay.  Thanks for letting us do that, and recognize our partners, and having them in.  We are going to now go into the service awards.  And we have got a couple of colleagues that have retired, and or are retiring.  And we want to acknowledge their extraordinary service to the state.

And the first one, no stranger to this Commission, Laird Fowler, our Regional Director up in Lubbock.  Been with us for 35 years.  He started as an intern out of Texas A&M, there at Lake Brownwood State Park.

Then came on board, working at Sea Rim State Park, where of all things he got to lead canoe trips in the marsh.  That doesn’t sound like a bad gig.  And then he moved about a mile higher, where he went up to Palo Duro Canyon.  And he served proudly there.

Then was at Fort Richardson, and Monahans Sandhills State Park.  He became a certified park peace officer there.  And then Laird really had the privilege of being the first superintendent at Brazos Bend State Park near Houston.

One of the great jewels of the Brazos there, in Fort Bend County.  Really extraordinary that I hope you all have a chance to see that, and the beautiful oak trees and alligators and the night skies.  He was very involved with the George Observatory, in getting folks out to come to the park to enjoy astronomy.

He worked in Austin for a number of years, overseeing a bunch of regions.  And then in 2003, he moved to Lubbock to become our Regional Director up in the Panhandle and the High Plains, overseeing the state bison herd and the state longhorn herd, and Caprock Canyon, and Palo Duro Canyon and San Angelo.  Just a bunch of wonderful parks there.

And Laird has been with us for 35 years.  And retiring from the Agency.  And we have got a nice resolution and letter in his honor from Senator Duncan, who he had a strong relationship with.  And so we are very proud to recognize our colleague, Laird Fowler.  Laird?


(Pause for photos.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Here, do you want me to help you to hold those?  Let me take these two.  There we go.  We’ll do it that way.  What do you think?  There you go.

(Simultaneous discussion.)

MR. SMITH:  Thank you, Laird.  I would have been disappointed if you didn’t show up in that bolo tie.  So we wouldn’t have recognized you.  So that is a thank you for that.

You all had a chance to just hear and recognize our colleague, Jeff Towers, who has already retired, after 27 years of service, proudly as our Superintendent at Lake Whitney.  Mark covered his achievements so well.  It is going to be hard to repeat those.

But just a little bit about his history.  Because he began his career with us at the Confederate Reunion Ground State Historical Park back in 1983.  Then moved over to Fort Parker as a park ranger commissioned as a park peace officer.  He did a very interesting piece on the old historic town of Springfield, which was published in a Parks and Wildlife magazine, Lydia.

Worked at the San Jacinto Battleground, then at Garner State Park, and finished his career there at Lake Whitney.  Whereas you heard he just really was an important leader inside the Division and Agency, in terms of cultural resources protection and preservation, and making sure that we are doing all we need to do to protect these sensitive and special sites from those who want to exploit them.

And so we are celebrating Jeff today, 27 years of service to the State of Texas.  Jeff Towers.  Jeff.


(Pause for photos.)

MR. SMITH:  We are going to now acknowledge some of our colleagues who have had long-standing tenure with the Agency, but who are not retiring.  And we are going to start off with Bill McDonald in our Infrastructure Division.

He is a landscape architect by training.  He has been with us since June of 1981.  He actually started with what was known then as the Repair and Technical Support Division, now known as the Infrastructure Division.  Next time Rich McMonagle misbehaves, Boruff, I think you ought to threaten to rename it to the Repair and Technical Support Division.  So that will help keep him in line, I think.

Bill has been great.  And he has been involved in so many important projects.  Restoration of the Lodge, and the Indian Lodge, at Davis Mountain State Park.  The old CCC design there involved with the development of the World Birding Center at Bentsen State Park.  CCC facilities at Palo Duro and Caddo Lake.

Very involved in the initial development at Sheldon Lake State Park.  The new gun ranges that we are building at James Daughtrey WMA at Choke Canyon, and helped with that.  The Wildlife Viewing Platform at Brazos Bend.  And really, the list goes on and on.  You can see Bill’s fingerprints everywhere.

One of the places we get to see it every morning is, if you drive into the offices down McKinney Falls Parkway, the Texas Parks and Wildlife entrance right there was designed by Bill.  And so we have a chance to think about him every morning.  Thirty years of service, Bill McDonald.  Bill, please come forward.


(Pause for photos.)

MR. SMITH:  Our next colleague has also been with us for 30 years, Thomas Fisher, who is our superintendent there at Fort Parker.  He actually started his career as an intern there in 1980, ’81.  He started working at the state historic site; very involved in education and interpretive materials.

In ’86, he transferred over to Mission Tejas State Historic Site, and was involved in some land acquisition projects and outdoor, interpretive displays.  He has been our superintendent there at Fort Parker since 1990.  We brought you all a number of land acquisition projects to help try to clean up some inholdings there that Tom has been a real proponent of.  Help develop a nature center and improve the park facilities.

Thirty years of service, Tom has also gotten his kids involved.  I saw his daughter there at the Barrington Living History Farm one afternoon, on a visit there.  And she was dressed in period costume.  And so I don’t think it was a forced internship.  I think she was there by her own volition.  I think Tom will tell us that.  Thirty years of service; Thomas Fisher.

So Thomas, please come forward.


(Pause for photos.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Congratulations.

MR. SMITH:  Charlie Munger is one of our district fisheries biologists and leaders up in the Panhandle and Canyon.  Charlie has been with us for 25 years.  Had a very distinguished career.  His first eleven years, he has worked out all over the state, from Canyon to San Angelo, to San Marcos and Abilene.

But the last 14 years, he has overseen our team in Canyon.  And responsible for all of the fisheries management on the lakes and reservoirs up in the Panhandle.  Just like so many of our biologists in the Inland Fisheries Division, he has been very active in terms of publishing research papers.  I think he has got eleven peer-reviewed papers to his credit.

He is a graduate of the Natural Leaders Program, inside the Agency.  He has been certified by the American Fisheries Society.  And he has just been a great leader in Inland Fisheries.  Twenty-five years of service, Charlie Munger.  Charlie, please come forward.


(Pause for photos.)

MR. SMITH:  You got to hear a little bit about Brazos Bend State Park earlier, when we talked about Laird being the first superintendent there.  One of the things Brazos Bend is known ‑‑ many things it is known for is the great Friends group.  And a big reason for that is our colleague Sharon Hanzik.

She started her career there as a part-time hourly worker, and park maintenance.  Worked her way up to various park ranger positions.  And then very involved in interpretation and education.  Promoted to Park Ranger II.    She was very involved in the Nature Center there, in trying to get kids out to learn about nature, and the out of doors.  Its proximity, to obviously, Fort Bend County, one of the fastest growing counties in the state.  Just a really important function of that park.

She is now, as I said, the volunteer coordinator of our Brazos Bend State Park volunteer organization.  And I want to tell you, that is a dedicated group of volunteers that are out there every day, restoring native prairie, pulling up invasive species, and helping to maintain the trails, greeting visitors, making them feel at home.  And Sharon is a big part of that.

She has been with us for 25 years.  Let’s recognize her.  Sharon, please come forward.


(Pause for photos.)

MR. SMITH:  We are going to now recognize one of our Coastal Fisheries biologists for 25 years of service, Paul Silva.  Paul was hired back in 1986 to start off as a technician at the John Wilson Redfish Hatchery.  He was hired 25 years ago in Coastal Fisheries by who else, Gene McCarty.

Paul very actively involved in all of the hatchery-related issues.  And really just did extraordinary things.  Was helping to propagate redfish and tarpon and snook and spotted sea trout.  While he was there, he got his master’s in mariculture, and worked on a thesis; operational methods and procedures for the production of red drum fingerlings.  And helped advance our knowledge and understanding of hatchery procedures.

Was moved up the ranks as a biologist.  Very involved locally in getting teachers and school groups out to the hatchery to learn about that important role with respect to stock enhancement and our bays and estuaries.

He is a graduate and participant in our Natural Leaders Program.  And the team that he worked on, Chairman Holt, and I think that this will be particularly of interest to you, how to make Parks and Wildlife more relevant to the urban public.  And so Paul helped us think about that a lot, early on.  And very proud of that.

2008, he moved over to the Ecosystem Resources Program, where he is involved in reviewing Army Corps of Engineers permits and wetland protection issues along the coast.  He has just been a great ambassador for Coastal Fisheries.  Twenty-five years of service, Paul Silva.  Paul.


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Thank you, sir.  Appreciate everything.  Yes.

(Pause for photos.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Got it.  Congratulations.

MR. SMITH:  If you want to talk about oysters in the state, you would talk to Lance Robinson.  And Lance presented to you all yesterday, and you will hear from him today.  I saw he and his wife out in the hall before the meeting.  Gene and I were talking to her.  And we said, well this will be great, we will celebrate Lance’s 20 years of service.

She says, 20?  I said, yes, 20 years of service.  She says no, it has been 32.  I said 32?  She said 32 years of service to me, marriage.  So today is their anniversary.  Bravo.


MR. SMITH:  Lance has had a great career, working on the upper coast.  He started as a harvest biologist, and then was the ecosystem team leader there in Galveston Bay.  Very involved in those long-term scientific monitoring projects that you all are so familiar with, that Coastal Fisheries does.  So incredibly well.

Very involved in shrimp and oyster issues, and bycatch reduction devices, and working with the shrimping community.  2002, he became our upper coast team leader.  And so he essentially oversees all of our work from Sabine Lake all the way down to San Antonio Bay.  Just some extraordinary bay and estuary systems.

And he literally is our go to guy on anything about oysters.  He is nationally, if not internationally recognized for his knowledge there.  And he has just been a great colleague.  Thirty-two years of service, Lance Robinson.


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Congratulations.

(Pause for photos.)

MR. SMITH:  Oh, she is going to get a picture.  Don’t kid yourself.

(Simultaneous discussion.)

(Pause for photos.)


MR. SMITH:  Bravo.  Yes.  Congratulations.


MR. SMITH:  Our next colleague, Elizabeth Dodd-Ellis works at Goliad State Park.  I don’t need to tell you all how important that is, in terms of the annals of Texas history.  Elizabeth began her career there as an exhibit technician back in 1991, providing tours, coordinating outreach and helping visitors learn about this special and unique site.

She worked in the Rockport regional office for a few years as a resource specialist.  Then she was at the Old Fulton Mansion there in Rockport, an interesting piece of architecture there on the coast that the Historical Commission now stewards.

Then in January 2000, she moved back to Goliad State Park, where she oversees our park interpretive program there.  She has got a big event every fall that will get 1,000 kids out at one time, God help her.  She clearly has a lot of patience.  And she just does an extraordinary job reaching out to that community and all that visit the state park.  And so we are going to recognize her today.  Twenty years of service, Elizabeth Ellis.  Elizabeth.


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Congratulations.  Thank you.

(Pause for photos.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Great.  Thank you.

MR. SMITH:  Our colleagues who work on the Battleship Texas really are incredibly dedicated.  And each and every one of them, they have just an extraordinary passion about that ship, and some very deep ties.

And today, we are going to recognize Lonnie Fry who has been with us for 20 years there on the Battleship as a maintenance technician.  He started off doing painting, and sandblasting and welding, and repair.  And all of the kind of things you need to do for a World War I era dreadnought to try to help keep it in shipshape.

He has been a carpenter.  Worked on building displays.  Replacing and maintaining the wood deck.  He has been the go to guy for essentially any kind of work you want done on the ship.  He does a lot of things besides working with wood; painting and fire alarm systems.

And just about anything you want done on it, Lonnie does it.  He has been a great, dedicated committed colleague in our State Parks Division in helping to steward that very special ship.  Twenty years of service, Lonnie Fry.  Lonnie.


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Congratulations.  It is still floating, isn’t it?

(Simultaneous discussion.)

(Pause for photos.)



MR. SMITH:  The Midwest Association of Fish and Game Law Enforcement Officers is the oldest law enforcement association in the nation.  It has been around for almost 70 years.  Texas is one of 29 member agencies from all of the Great Plains states and provinces in Canada.  And each year, an officer is selected to be the Midwest Officer of the Year.  And we could not be more proud, that Wharton County Game Warden Chris Bird is our recipient this year.

I first met Chris on a goose hunt.  No, he was not there to remind me about federal baiting laws.  Chris actually was in the blind with us as we were hunting with Grahame and Gene.  And I think Craig Hunter was with us, and Jeff Gillenwaters.  And I remember Chris laying there.  I think he said it was his first goose hunt.

And a big old fat speckled belly comes over.  And Chris drops him in one shot.  And on the way down, you know, about nine other shots are pumped into it by Grahame and Hunter and Gene.  And like how dead do you want this goose?  I mean, give this boy a little credit.  Let him shoot his own.

Chris has been a very distinguished warden there in Wharton County.  He has great relationships with private landowners.  He made some very good cases.  He takes his responsibility from an outreach perspective very seriously.

Involved in a myriad of outdoor programs, annual events, the Hunt for the Heroes, and Wounded Warriors, to help recognize our veterans and military personnel.  Involved in the Wharton County Youth hunt, the Wharton Boys and Girls Kid Fish.  The Victoria Boulevard Lion’s Club Kid Fish and on and on.  He just takes that role as an ambassador for the Agency very seriously.

And I think all of you know that Chris inherited some big shoes to fill.  Justin Hurst who was our Game Warden there in Wharton County, who passed away so tragically, and left behind his lovely wife, Amanda, and their son Kyle.  Chris knew he was stepping into big shoes.

And he has come in with bigger, created his own set of relationships.  But what we are so proud of him too, is that close relationship that he has maintained with the Hurst family.  During his service, he has been there any time he needs him.

He is just a great professional, but he is also a great person.  Chris Bird, Midwest Officer of the Year.  Let’s recognize him.


(Pause for photos.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Yes.  Well done, Chris.

MR. SMITH:  Chairman, you told us not to make a fuss over you at this last meeting.  And so I am delighted though that Senator Lucio is going to be here though to help hear this, and some of the other legislators.  Your replacement said, oh you can just ignore him.  So make all of the fuss you want.  I want you to know last night, at dinner, and thank you, Commissioner Scott.  Commissioner Falcon and Commissioner Morian and I were having this very interesting conversation regaling Commissioner Hixon and Commissioner Martin about our athletic exploits from our days in high school.  And they were very entertained with our stories about the Rio Grande Rattlers and the St. Stephens Spartans, and so forth.  All the while, with polite smiles on their faces, thinking that if you have met one man, you have met them all.

(Simultaneous discussion.)

MR. SMITH:  So as I was driving home last night, and I was sort of chuckling about that, I was thinking about my wife who gives me unmitigated grief over this.  After I came back to the Department.  And I told her, this is going to be great.

When people ask, I will say, I work for Peter Holt.  And they will say great; you play for the San Antonio Spurs.  So I am still waiting for that to happen, Chairman.  I want you to know.

But in all seriousness, after I started, actually was invited to give a talk at one of the Chamber events in San Antonio.  And one of your players was part of the program that day.  And the individual that was emceeing it made the connection between us both working for you.  He was a little taller, a little more athletic obviously.

But here is what he said.  Because he asked us both to reflect on working for Peter Holt.  And he said, if you want to play for a winner, you play for Peter Holt.  And I think that is what all of us at Texas Parks and Wildlife have felt during your eight-year tenure at Parks and Wildlife.



(Simultaneous discussion.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  I knew if I just let Carter talk, this whole thing would get done.  I don’t know what to say.  Yesterday was a very emotional day for me.  It was interesting coming up.  Realizing, coming from San Antonio, it had been eight years.

And when you walk in the door, whether as a Commissioner or working for the Department, you kind of don’t know how the ride is going to go.  And then when I walked into the front door yesterday morning, it kind of all hit me.  And Texas Parks and Wildlife is a department, an agency.  But more importantly, it is a group of people.      And it is a group of people that are working in the greatest state, in my opinion, in the nation, for people on a daily basis that want them to be there.  Okay.  And what I mean by that, and it is not ‑‑ I won’t get political.

Is that Texas Parks and Wildlife is a group of people, when I was a kid, you know, when I would see the game warden and meet people, wildlife biologists, and those kind of things, whether it was fishing, hunting or whatever, instant respect.  And I have had it ever since.

And so then, when I was asked to be part of it by Governor Perry eight years ago, which is hard to believe, I was quite not only intrigued with the whole thing, but quite excited about it.  And it has been even more exciting than I thought.  I worked with great commissioners, okay.  And got a great Commission right now.

And I know Dan is going to do a great job as chairman because of his love.  And it is just hard to believe it has been eight years.  And I don’t have any great words of wisdom like Carter always has.  But I just want to tell everybody that Texas Parks and Wildlife and their families, everybody, the dedication that I have seen over the eight years is ‑‑ I just love all of you.

And I love this Department.  And I wish that I had been able to meet all 3,000 employees scattered across this great state of ours.  And that is the one thing you just can’t do.

And whether it is parks, whether it is wildlife, whether it is law enforcement, there is a broad range of things that Texas Parks and Wildlife and all the people that work here do on a daily basis for the great citizens of the State of Texas.  It is something that I am extremely proud to be part of.  And I will go to my grave feeling that way.

So I am just extremely proud to be here, and glad to do this one last meeting.  And I will always be here to help support all of you, and everybody involved with Texas Parks and Wildlife, in any way I possibly can.  So again, I want to leave with love.  Thank you all.


MR. SMITH:  Chairman, we have got a couple of gifts that we have for you.  Because you did such a good job, we are giving you two.  We thought you would like this one.  First, in the rendition of the railroad.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Yes.  I left Dan with that one.

MR. SMITH:  In this one, he has got a collage of all of the game and wildlife in Texas.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  The railroad is an inside joke.  That is great.  Wonderful.

(Simultaneous discussion.)

MR. SMITH:  One that reflects your heritage. 

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Can I get the Commissioners to come down, and we can take a picture together please, and with you, Carter?  I like you to be involved also.

(Pause for photos.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Thank you all.  I don’t know how to thank you, but thank you very much.  I appreciate it.     (Simultaneous discussion.)

(Pause for photos.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Thank you all.



MR. SMITH:  We are done, Mr. Chairman.  Yes.  It is all yours.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay.  A bit of change of the agenda, because I want to honor Senator Lucio is here.  And allow him, he is obviously very busy, to speak for a moment.  So at this time, I would like to inform the audience that everyone is welcome to stay for the remainder of the meeting.

However, if anyone wishes to leave, now would be an appropriate time to do so.  So whoever would like to leave, we will give you a minute.  Thank you all for being here.  Thank you all for coming down.  I appreciate you coming down.

(Simultaneous discussion.)

(Off the record.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay.  Why don’t we get started?  I think we are kind of clear.  The first order of business is Action Item 1, approval of a revised agenda.  Do I have a motion for approval?



COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay.  Commissioner Hixon, second Commissioner Falcon.  All in favor, please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay.  Hearing none, the motion carries.  And we are now going to go over to Item 6 specifically.  So let me flip over to that.  Here we go.  Item 6, Outdoor Recreation Grant funding.  Tim Hogsett, you are up.

MR. HOGSETT:  Good morning, Mr. Chairman, members of the Commission.  I am Tim Hogsett, Director of Recreation Grants program in the State Parks Division.  Item Number 6 is our semi-annual review of Outdoor Recreation non-urban projects.  And non-urban meaning, projects from communities of less than 500,000 in population.  We received 26 applications for the March 1st deadline, requesting approximately $10.7 million.  We have scored those and rank ordered them in Attachment Number A.  And are recommending for you today from federal Land and Water Conservation Funds, the funding of two projects in the amount of a million dollars.  And so our recommendation for you this morning is funding for two projects listed in Exhibit A in the amount of $1 million is approved.  I would be glad to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay.  Any questions from the Commissioners?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay.  We do have some people who would like to come up, who have signed up to speak.  Edward Gonzales, going to start off.  Edward?

MR. GONZALES:  Good morning, Mr. Chairman and Commissioners.  My name is Edward Gonzales, and I represent the Willacy County Judge, John F. Gonzales.  Judge Gonzales couldn’t be here today as the county is trying to pass their budget.  And Judge Gonzales is one of the few judges in Texas that actually sits on the bench.  So he has got court as well.

This project, the Laguna Point park project is a partnership between Willacy County and the Willacy County Navigation District.  And it is appropriate I think, to have this project because Willacy County has turned 100 years this year.  And so this beautiful project I think will set the tone for the next 100 years.  And so we ask the Commission to look extremely favorably upon this project.

It is ‑‑ Port Mansfield, Texas, is a fisherman’s paradise.  It is the jewel of Willacy County.  Everybody knows that if you want to catch a good number of fish, you come down to Port Mansfield.


MR. GONZALES:  And so we ask you to look favorably on this project.  But there are a few people we want to thank.  And number one is your staff; they have been great.  Roxanne Eley, Dana Lagarde who we showed the project to.  Tim Hogsett, we have worked on a few projects before.  Peter Revella and Roy Mann who are consultants, Joe Garcia who helped bring this all together, and keep this issue before the Commission.

And our legislators.  I want to thank Tommy Rains, our chairman of the Willacy County Navigation District, and Shane Cameron, who is the Executive Director of the Willacy County Navigation District.  Our Commissioners Court.

And I would like to especially point out our champions, and there is two of them here today.  Two folks that really care about our county, and our community, and have always been there to help as we have asked them to; Senator Eddie Lucio and J.M. Lozano, our State Representative.

And at this point, I would like to introduce Senator Lucio.  You know, I think that champion is the only way I can think of.  This guy is just phenomenal.  He is everywhere.  And he has always been there for Willacy County when we have asked him to.  And so it is my honor and privilege here to introduce Senator Eddie Lucio.


SEN. LUCIO:  Thank you, Edward.  Mr. Chairman and members of the Commission.  I am so happy I came to this meeting, I really am.  Not necessarily just to support an effort for Willacy County, but especially to witness what I just witnessed by those men and women who serve our great state.

Mr. Chairman, I remember when you first got appointed.  And I was so proud to cast my vote in confirmation because I knew you.  And I knew the type of leadership that you had provided in this state.  And I knew that you would be a great Board member, just like others that have been appointed to this great Board.

And this is one agency that we are all very proud of.  But I can’t help but thinking, I wish the retirees were here.  Because I wanted to especially acknowledge their hard work.

You know, I think they are a prime example of people who give more than receive.  And what you said a while ago really stayed with me, and just took grip of me when you said that you can’t believe eight years have gone by.  And that you love your work, and you love being here.  It is part of you.

Well I think that is why we have people that are so long tenured.  People who spend a lifetime.  All of these retirees looked like they were fresh out of college when they started, or high school.  And I can’t help but think that they still have another lifetime ahead of them, in doing something else.

But during the period of time that they did serve the State of Texas and that you, my friend, have served, you have shown great leadership.  Leadership to me, is a very important word.  It is not the ability to tell people what to do.  It is the ability to make people want to do the right thing through example.

And you, Mr. Chairman, and the members of this Commission, and especially the men and women of this Agency and those that have retired, have shown great leadership.  And they raise the bar year after year for those that follow.  And I think that we are just going to get better and better in this Agency and other agencies in our state, because of the attitude that is shown by the leaders.

Texas is run by boards and commissions.  We know that.  We are lawmakers.  We come up here every other year.  We do get involved in many studies, interim studies that allow us to come up with ideas to better prepare ourselves to pass good public policy for the people of our great state.

I was hoping that the retirees though, in retiring, if they are going to retire, will move to my district.  That they go down to South Padre and they enjoy the things that they have worked for and established and done.  I know.  And I wonder when Captain Baker is going to retire.  I don’t think he is ever going to retire.

And Peter Flores, you know, I think those guys are forever.  But my son, by the way, has asked me when I am going to retire.  My son by the way, for those of you that don’t know, he is a state representative.


SEN. LUCIO:  He wants to know when I am retiring.  But no, I just took it in.  I was very moved by those that were honored.

It brought back great memories of my own father who I lost five years ago, who worked 30 years.  I always called it, he worked 30 years for the Cameron County Sheriff’s Office and ten kids.  And he was one of those employees that just was totally committed to public service.

And that is an important thing for us to acknowledge those men and women like we did today.  Carter did a good job.  At one point, I thought he was a professional roaster.  But I know he values his job, so he didn’t say too much about it.

But I want to thank you for having me here today.  I want to thank the Commission Chairman Peter Holt and Executive Director again, Carter Smith, and all of the members of this wonderful Commission.  My Commission.  And I say that because he is from the Rio Grande Valley.

Commissioner Falcon and I have known each other for many years.  Many pounds ago.  And we hunted together, and we fished together.  And we saw our kids grow up together, and we are very proud of our families.  But I think we are proud of our state.

We are proud of our people, no matter where they live.  And by the way, I want everyone here to really understand one thing.  I work with 30 great men and women that come from different areas of the state.  And I think all of us realize what our responsibilities are.

And one that we take very seriously is that we are state senators.  And by definition, we want everyone to know that we respect, and we take up and consider and support and back projects from throughout the state.  Not just our own individual districts.  We want a better quality of life for all Texans.

And we just want you all to know that you impact, and your decisions impact millions of Texans.  Not only regionally, but statewide.  And people that come here from all over the nation, and people that come in from Mexico that enjoy our public parks and fishing and hunting.  So this is a most important agency.  And I know that both of you and the whole Commission and the entire staff work tirelessly for our state.  And I want to thank once again the Parks and Wildlife Commission staff for their diligent work.

Now, 2011 marks the 100th year that Willacy County has been in existence.  This is the first time it has been recommended for this kind of grant.  I hope it doesn’t take another hundred years.

But if this passes, and this outdoor recreation area will serve the people of Willacy County and the Coastal Bend area well, and others as I have mentioned, that travel there, Laguna Point Park is already a popular fishing area, right on the Laguna Madre Bay in South Texas.  But it needs work, lots of work.

A $500,000 grant matched by local money will provide for redevelopment for fishing piers, boardwalks, picnic areas and boat ramps.  It will make Laguna Point Park a first class recreational area, enhancing both the quality of life in Willacy County and tourism opportunities.  And we continue to work on tourism, obviously, in this state.

As you know, Willacy County is putting forward funds toward this project.  For a small rural county in hard economic times, that is no small achievement.  It shows how committed and focused Willacy County is, and its people to a successful Laguna Point Park project.

In closing, I want to again thank the Parks and Wildlife staff, that’s the backbone, you all agree with me, of this agency.  And I want to thank them for the recommendation.  And I sincerely hope that you will vote for it in the affirmative.  In doing so, I just want to say that you will be joint authors of a local dream.

And I think we continue, all of us to have hope, no matter what issues are at hand.  Because when hope is gone, we are dead.  So let’s hope together that we can continue to find ways to accomplish our goals.

I will continue to listen to all of you, and be thankful that we have great men and women like you are, that are willing to spend some time away from their work, away from your families, away from the other things that are important in your life as well.  But I appreciate the Chairman’s words a while ago.  It does grow into you.  This is my 24th year.

And I certainly appreciate the opportunity that I have been given by the good Lord to be a part of this wonderful state, and a country that we can all be proud of.  And we can work together in making sure that we continue to live in the greatest country in the world.  Thank you so much for this time.  I appreciate it.



MR. GONZALES:  Commissioners, Mr. Chairman, I also want to introduce our State Representative J.M. Lozano.  A young man who is ready to roll up his sleeves to help the people of Willacy County.  My friend, J.M. Lozano.


MR. LOZANO:  Thank you, Edward, Chairman Holt, members of the Commission.  I do want to thank you all for everything you all do.  Texas Parks and Wildlife is an essential part of South Texas where I grew up.

And like Edward, I also grew up in a very small town in South Texas, in Jim Wells County.  And I interacted a lot with Brooks County and Kleberg County, whether it was through sports or through friendships or family.  It is a unique part of South Texas that is identical to Willacy County.

And I remember fishing in Port Mansfield when I was about seven years old, in the mid-’80s.  And realizing that this was an untapped resource; that it has so much potential.  That if Texans knew about it, that they would flock to this area, because of its immense beauty.  This grant would allow them to have that opportunity to have something more for them, when they go visit.

I do want to say that I am in awe of the work that your agents do in South Texas.  Times have changed as when they first began.  Today, they are not only enforcing how big is your redfish, how many doe do you have, they are finding people smuggling drugs and humans up the Intercoastal Channel, part of my district and the Senator’s district.  And in the future sessions, I want to make sure that we provide them with adequate resources to combat that new dimension in their job.

I do believe Willacy County is extremely deserving of this grant.  It is a tremendous part of my district which is growing.  It was one of the only rural counties to grow in Texas in the last ten years.  As you know, the growth in the Valley can only grow where it can.

And it is pretty much all connected now from Harlingen to Rio Grande City to Mission.  And now there can only grow towards Willacy County.  That is the future of the Valley.  And I would like you all to favorably consider this application.

And I will continue to be a champion for Parks and Wildlife.  Any agency where you have someone that will work for 30, 35 years is a great agency.  And I want you to know that I am going to do my best to ensure that that is there, in their future.  Thank you so much.



MR. GONZALES:  Thank you very much, Senator Lucio, Representative Lozano for coming up here and helping Willacy County out.  We really appreciate it so very much.  And the Representative is correct.  Port Mansfield is family fun.  Port Mansfield is family bonding.  Your buddies come out to go fishing out there.

It means, you know, it is just a great place to do that.  And maybe someone could talk a little bit more about it is Shane Cameron, our Executive Director of the Willacy County Navigation District.  And I invite him to say a few words.

MR. CAMERON:  Hello.  Good morning, Commission, Mr. Chairman.  My name is Shane Cameron.  I am the Port Director with the Willacy County Navigation District.

And on behalf of the Navigation District, we would like to thank you all for having us here today.  Also, Commissioner, I would like to thank you for your service and your leadership.


MR. CAMERON:  We greatly appreciate it.  I can promise you one thing.  If you all affirm this action we have here today, that your generosity will be respected, and will be held in well regard with the County.

We invite you all to please come out and visit Port Mansfield.  And you are always more than welcome to call upon the Willacy County Navigation District at any time.  Thank you all very much.  And we look forward to visiting with you all.  Thank you all.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Wonderful.  Thank you.


MR. GONZALES:  Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, Shane spoke for on behalf of the Navigation District.  But I just want to at least have Commissioner Tommy Rains stand up and be recognized.  He is chairman of the Willacy County Navigation District and a great friend of Willacy County.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Right.  Thank you for coming.


MR. GONZALES:  Again, we just humbly and respectfully ask an affirmative consideration on this grant.  It would just mean the world to a lot of folks.  Thank you very much, and have a great morning.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  All right.  Thank you.  I want to thank everybody from Willacy County coming up.  And I want to particularly thank our Senator and our Representative.  Senator Lucio and I have known each other for a very long time.  And I appreciate you taking this time and effort.

And we are excited to be a part of this, and be able to vote on it.  And you are right, probably the best fishing in Texas.  Others might argue that.  But I love it down there.  And so I appreciate everybody coming and taking the time and effort.

And I also want to thank the Senator.  I don’t know the Representative that well.  But Senator Lucio has been a great supporter of Texas Parks and Wildlife for the eight years that I have been here, and for the many years before that.  And so I would like to give him a big round of applause for Texas Parks and Wildlife.


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  The Senator has always been somebody you can go to and talk to and if he can’t help you directly, he can always guide you to where you can get the help.  So Thank you very much.  We appreciate that.

We have one other speaker, because I remember there were two on this.  This is the Austin ‑‑ Tim, were you going to talk about that, or are we just going to ‑‑ we just have ‑‑ sorry.  I have somebody from Austin, Marty Stumpf from the City of Austin.  Is Marty here?

VOICE:  It probably is on another item.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Oh, on another, item 6.

MR. SMITH:  Yes.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  It is under 6.  It says Item 6 here, anyway.  Okay.  So we are going to vote on this one, right?  Okay.  Any other discussion from the Commission?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Anybody else who wants to speak?  Just in case somehow I have missed somebody.

(No response.)

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


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay.  Commissioner Falcon.


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Second by Commission Martin.  All in favor.

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay.  Any opposed?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Hearing none, the motion carries.  Okay.  Thank you all from Willacy County.  Thank you for taking the time.


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Now we are going to go back to the normal agenda.  So we are back on 2, I think.  Right?  Is that right?  Okay.  Before we start, I want to mention that Action Item Number 14 regarding implementation of House Bill 3722 relating to boater education fees has been withdrawn at this time.

And we are now moving on to Action Number 2.  Okay.  I think we are finally getting into the normal agenda.  Operating and capital budget.  Mr. Mike Jensen.  Mike.

MR. JENSEN:  Good morning, Chairman, Commissioners.  We went over most of this information yesterday in the subcommittee so I am going to go relatively fast.  So if I am going too fast just ask me to slow down, and I will be happy to slow down.

Yesterday, we gave you a summary where we cross-walked the General Appropriations Act.  We gave you a budget summary.  We had a slide on the capital budget.  We will have that this morning as well, as well as a full time equivalent count that we have for 2012.  We will talk about the license plate projects, and ask for approval of those projects.  We will review real quickly the budget and investment policies, and the revisions to the investment policy.  And we will present a list of state parks for your approval for the LBB, Legislative Budget Board performance measure definition.

First we will cross-walk to the Appropriations Bill that was passed by the Legislature.  The base bill provides $241.8 million.  And Article 6 of which we fall a part of Natural Resources, we have an additional supplemental from our riders, Rider 27 of $5.5 million.  And Rider 27 relates to receipts from state parks and receipts from hunting and fishing licenses above the Comptroller’s estimate.

And we also have $1.6 million in Rider 25, related to donations for registration of motor vehicles.  A third line item that you see up there relates to Article 9.  It is $31.46 million.  Most of that relates to general obligation bonds that were appropriated by the Legislature.

The fourth line, special session appropriation had two elements to it.  We had some border security funding for the Department as well as some additional appropriation authority for license plates.  The first item, the border security, we have approximately $500,000 for two safe boats.  We have some additional $77,000 to equip those safe boats with weapons and ammunition, and $165,000 for operating costs for 2012 for those boats.

And with respect to the license plates, we have an additional authority of $288,000 for internal license plates.  We will get to a different slide later for the projects related to that revenue.  And for $78,500 and pass-through, some of the plates that we manage the funds for, Coastal Conservation, Marine Mammal Recovery, the Texas Alliance Camp and Big Bend National Park.

If you come down to the supplemental adjustments, you will see that we have federal funds of about $9.36 million from about 17 different sources.  We have appropriated receipts for $830,000 from about ten different sources.  And interagency contracts, we have a small contract with the Water Development Board where they draw water samples along the coastline for about $70,000.  And we have fringe benefits of $40.4 million.

The base act does not appropriate fringe for any state agencies.  So it is important that at this meeting that you all consider that line as part of our budget.  That is why I thought it was included there.  The total budget for 2012 will start off at $332.17 million pending your approval today.

The method of finance for this budget includes some of the fringe benefits.  It is general obligation bonds of $43.6 million.  Other GR dedicated, $2.3 million.  General Revenue of $81 million.  Other funds, of the $10.87 million federal funds of nearly $49 million.  Game Fish and Water Safety Account 9 is about 104, nearly $105 million.  The State Park account, Fund 64 is $40-1/2 million.

And you can see the relative percentages there in your books and on the slides.  High level summary which relates to your Exhibit A, that’s part of your Commission book, this breaks down the budget by object of expense.  The largest portion of our budget of course, is going to be our human resources.  It is going to be our salaries and other personnel costs; $141.3 million; about 42.6 percent of the budget.

Operating is $69.53 million; 20.9 percent of the budget.  Grants is $15.07 million; 4-1/2 percent of the budget.  Benefits is $40.4 million; 12.2 percent of the budget.  And the capital budget is at $58.48 million; 17.6 percent.  Debt service is $7.3 million; 2.2 percent.

One quick note we mentioned yesterday in the subcommittee on the grants.  That amount is primarily comprised of pass-through funds to General Land Office for coastal erosion projects.  And we have some federal funds in there as well; $2.8 million for trail grants.

We have one slide for the capital budget.  If you look at the top line, in Article 9 in the General Appropriations Act, they appropriated $32.35 million in general obligation bonds.  UB represents an unexpended balance forward that we can move forward into ’12.  That $19.24 million is comprised of existing bonds from prior issuances of $11.3 million.

Appropriated receipts of $5.7 million.  Federal funds of $1.4 million.  And Game Fish and Water Safety funds, Fund 9 of nearly $750,000.  The second line you have on there relates to State Park funding for minor repairs; $2.7 million.

The fourth line, information technology relates primarily to the IBM contract that we have with Data Center consolidation of $4 million.  And we have a master lease purchase program payment that is a recurring payment for about $70,000.  The total capital budget for 2012 will start at $58.48 million, pending your approval today.

Exhibit A also includes a summary of the number of FTEs that we are permitted to have from the Legislature.  The base bill, you will note, it states 2,917.7 on the line in the Appropriations Bill.  But if you go to Rider 27, that allows us to include 60.3 state park employees.  And Article 9 allows us to include an additional 28.2 employees related to law enforcement.

So our actual cap from the Appropriations Bill with those two riders is 3,006.2 in ’12.  And compared to ’11, that is a variance of almost 169 positions reduction.

Typically, we budget 4 percent higher than the cap, because we are planning for attrition.  So that we can meet the target through the end of the year.  So we are pre-budgeting about 104 FTEs in ’12, compared to what we did in ’11.  We pre-budgeted 120.7.

We have the next couple of slides relate to the funding for license plates.  Historically, this account is comprised of sporting goods sales tax allocation as well as revenue from license plates.  This session, we did not get any sporting goods sales tax specific to Conservation Capital Account.

But we are going to have revenues from license plate sales.  As of September 1, 2011, we will have cash balances of $313,000.  We have appropriation authority from this bill for another $288,000, for a total account 5,004 of $601,000.

It is important to note that the authority that we have that is referred to the $288,000 right there, we can’t pass that off to projects until it is collected.  Right now, we have authority for that.

Exhibit C has a more detailed listing of what the projects are.  Most of these are going to be related to Wildlife and to Inland Fisheries.  Wildlife uses some funding, if you all approve for their Wildlife Action Plan of limitation.

Some of the funds are used to support their information technology systems, the TWIMS application.  They conduct various research projects related to whitetail deer, bighorned sheep, mule deer, and pronghorn sheep.  And they use this for the Managed Land Deer Permits program as well, some percentage of it.  And for some harvest surveys.

Communications gets a small fraction, if it is approved, for marketing purposes to continue to encourage the public to purchase these plates.  Inland Fisheries uses some of the funding from these license plates for fish-stocking plans, habitat improvement plans, and to some limited extent, state parks uses some of these funds for some operating costs related to utilities, or travel and training needs for staff.

The Commission budget policy requires that you all review the budget policy on an annual basis.  There are no changes from the current year to the next year.  This slide merely summarizes what the budget policy establishes.

That you all authorize Carter Smith, Executive Director to execute the budget.  In the event that we have budget change of $250,000 or more that do not involve federal funds or bonds, we require chairman approval and Chairman Falcon as the Finance Chair approval as well.  Donations and gifts, you already did that this morning.  Every Commission meeting you acknowledge those.  And on a monthly basis, the chairman or Chairman Falcon approve those donations.

And this last bullet here just reminds us that this Commission has agreed previously to exercise the flexibility to the extent that we can to maximize the value of the Department’s budget.  The next slide provides you the basis for the investment policy.  Every state agency that has the opportunity to deposit funds outside the Treasury is subject to the Public Funds Investment Act.

Currently, the Department, all of our funds are deposited with the Treasury, and they are managed by the fund managers within the Comptroller’s Office.  So the Public Funds Investment Act does not really apply to us right now.  Nevertheless, we still have an investment policy that mentions that.

We do have two funds that are outside of the Treasury that we have discretion over.  You have discretion over.  One is a sinking fund; it is the Texas Park Development Fund.  There is not much money there.  It is to pay the debt service on some old bonds.

We have another fund, the Lifetime License Endowment Account that many of you are familiar with from lifetime license sales.  And that is currently with the Treasury that is being invested by the fund managers at the Comptrollers Office.  Operation Game Thief, those funds are invested according to policies and rules set by the Operation Game Thief Committee.

     COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Do you have the Lifetime License Endowment Account?  How much is that?

MR. JENSEN:  It is approximately $22.7 million right now.  We had a good spike when that fee increased.  A lot of people bought those licenses before the fee increased.  But we did change the investment policy, if you compare it to the prior year.

The main reason is, I wanted you to have a background from that section of the Government Code of the Public Funds Investment Act.  The policy makes it clear that currently all of our funds are on deposit with the Treasury, being invested by the Comptroller’s fund managers.

In the event that the Commission directs otherwise, Carter Smith or his designee would then appoint a Chief Investment Officer.  And we would follow and we would comply with the Public Funds Investment Act.  There is some training requirements, and some reporting requirements that we would have to adhere to.

As many of you are aware of, we have a number of performance measures that the Legislature looks at.  The Legislative Budget Board has a system that tracks those measures.  And what we are asking on this slide is for you to approve a parks list.  They are changing the measure definition for the number of state parks in operation.

In order to provide clarity for the Legislature, we want to have a list as a starting point, so that we can perform the calculation.  If you approve that today, the plan is to bring this list back to you on a biannual basis.  And we would have discretion at Commission meetings to tweak that within a biennium with your approval.

But we want to, before ‑‑ at the start of each biennium to get your approval on what that is, so that we are consistent with our performance reporting and with the Legislative Budget Board.  And I will read this into the record for you, because it is long.  And we are asking you to consider the budget as been presented and consider this and adopt this motion.

The Executive Director is authorized to expend funds to operate the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in accordance with the proposed fiscal year 2012 operating capital budget, Exhibits A and B.  And approve the expenditures of fiscal year 2012 Texas Parks and Wildlife Conservation and Capital Accounts Funds, including the additional funds realized in fiscal year 2012, for the individual projects listed on Exhibit C.

The Commission also approves the budget policy, Exhibit D, and the investment policy, Exhibit E.  The Commission authorizes the Department to use the listing of state parks, Exhibit F as the basis for calculating the performance measure, the number of state parks in operation.  The Department is authorized to adjust the listing as necessary to assure the accuracy of the measure reporting during the 2012, 2013 biennium in accordance with the procedures set forth in Exhibit F.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Everybody memorized that.  Is that correct?  Commissioner Duggins.  Do you have a question?

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  If you will allow one?

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Well, of course.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  Mike, were there any material changes in the budget policy from the one proposed ‑‑

MR. JENSEN:  The budget policy, there were no changes whatsoever.  This slide is just to summarize what was taking place in that policy.


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Any other questions or comments?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay.  I don’t have any from others.  Mike, thanks.  Do I have a motion for approval?  Sorry, my brain is still not in gear.  Okay.


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay.  Commissioner Scott.


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

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Hearing none, motion carries.

Mike, I want to thank you, and I want to thank everybody who worked so hard throughout the Legislature.  Obviously, this last one was tough on everybody concerned, lawmakers and all agencies.

And I think Texas Parks and Wildlife did a great job.  I think our credibility down at the capital was excellent in all our departments.  And it showed as we went through this difficult times.  I am talking about from a budgetary point of view.  And all in all, I think the Department came out in pretty good shape.

So I want to thank Carter of course, and everybody.  Gene and everybody that spent the time, literally day and night down there.  The Colonel, everybody.  From all of the departments and divisions.  And it was a team effort, and it paid off.  So thank you all.

Okay.  With that, we will move on to Item 3.  Transfer of State Historic Site Guadalupe County, Sebastopol House State Historic Site to the City of Seguin.  Ted Hollingsworth.  Ted.

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH:  Chairman, Commissioners, good morning.  My name is Ted Hollingsworth.  I am with the Land Conservation Program.

This is an action item.  As you well know, during the recent legislative session, the Agency was directed to evaluate the potential for transfer of ownership and operation of several state park-operated sites to local entities for management and operation.  As a result of that exercise, the City of Seguin indicated the ability and the willingness to take on Sebastopol House State Historic Site, operate it and manage it.

It is just a little west of San Antonio, inside the City of Seguin.  As you can see, it is surrounded by a urban/suburban development.  The centerpiece of the 2.2-acre site is of course, the Sebastopol House itself, built in 1856 of limecrete, a fairly unique local product that resembles concrete.

The City has been working with staff to craft an agreement that would ensure that the site remained open to the public, and that the appropriate stewardship be provided to the cultural resources, the cultural fabric of the house.  The artifacts associated with the house.

And as a result of this process and this agreement, staff does recommend that the Commission adopt the resolution attached as Exhibit A.  And I would be happy to answer any questions you have.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Any questions?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  I don’t have any public comment.  Okay.  Do I have a motion for approval?


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay.  Commissioner Scott.


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

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Hearing none, motion carries.  Thank you.  Action Item 4, fiscal year 2012-13 general obligation bond program.  Rick McMonagle is up.  Rick.

MR. MCMONAGLE:  Good morning, Chairman Holt, Commissioners.  My name is Rich McMonagle.  I am the Director of the Infrastructure Division.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  It is Rich, isn’t it.  Not Rick.

MR. MCMONAGLE:  Close enough.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Yes.  It is Rich.  We have Rick here.  We have got to get it right.

MR. MCMONAGLE:  The 82nd Legislature authorized Texas Parks and Wildlife $32,350,000 in general obligation bonds for replacement and repair of statewide facilities.  The next step in the process is for you to direct us to go to the Texas Public Finance Authority to request that financing.

So staff recommends the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts by resolution in Exhibit A a resolution authorizing a Request for Financing for repair or replacement of statewide facilities and the execution and the delivery of the documents required to effect such financing for the projects listed in Exhibit B.  Any questions?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  What number is this.  Any questions?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay.  Let me see.  Where are we?  Sorry, I am still eight years ago, I think.  Action Item Number 4, do I have a motion for approval?


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay.  Commissioner Duggins.


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

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Hearing none, the motion carries.  Thank you.  Action Item 5, approval of fiscal year 2012 audit plan.  Ms. Vandita Zachariah, please.  Hi, Vandita.

MS. ZACHARIAH:  Good morning, sir.  Chairman Holt, members of the esteemed Commission, for the record, my name is Vandita Zachariah, Director of Internal Audit.

The purpose of my presentation today is to submit to you the Internal Audit plan for fiscal year 2012 for approval.  The first three slides really provide some background for requirements for internal audit.  Internal audits purpose, and our accountability.  The Internal Auditing Act that is Government Code Section 2102.008 requires internal auditors to prepare an internal audit plan.  And then also to obtain approval from the governing board.

There are also what are called international standards of professional practice for internal audit promulgated by the Institute of Internal Auditing that require us to prepare a plan as well.  So in that effort, we have what is called, what is in front of you, the Internal Audit Plan for fiscal year 2012.

Internal Audit’s purpose, just a very brief description of our mission, sir, is on this next slide.  Internal Audit’s mission is to provide assurance and advisory services that help the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission and Agency management to meet Agency goals and objectives.  We provide independent and objective information, analyses and recommendations designed to add value and improve Agency operations.

The first slide really talks about Internal Audit’s accountability.  We hold regular meetings with the Commission each year, during which some of the following topics are discussed; significant audit results, progress towards the completion of the annual audit plan itself, proposed changes to the annual audit plan, and of course the status of management’s actions to address audit recommendation.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission increases the accountability of both the internal audit function, and Agency management which is responsible for timely resolution of operational issues that are identified through our work.  As you know, sir, we are required to do what is called an annual risk assessment to prepare the audit plan.  And that is the exercise Internal Audit went through this year.

The risk assessment truly conducted by Internal Audit started in about July.  And what we did was, we solicited input from about 40 Commissioners, executives and managers within Texas Parks and Wildlife, representing key operational areas and support functions.  Important to the validation of the most important functions and processes within each division of operation area, or operational area, pardon me.

Innovation, identification of risks that have the highest potential to prevent the achievement of objectives, and also an evaluation of fraud, waste and abuse.  An awareness of related referral requirements and processes, a critical component that internal audit as you all know is required to look at.

Based on the input gathered, we used what are called risk factors.  And that is what is on the next slide.  This slide really just provides you with this very brief list.  There is a longer list in your document that you have in front of you.

Some of those critical risk factors that we looked at include the nature of operations, the nature of transactions, management.  That is, is senior management aware of the issues and concerns.  Customer service, information systems.

With regard to information systems, the ability of the information system to be able to meet business objectives.  Expenditures, both programmatic and operational.  Audit and oversight.  We look at audit findings, action plan implementation and time since last review.  Things like that.  And then of course finally, fraud, waste and abuse.

As a result of our risk assessment, what we have in front of you is the audit plan for fiscal year 2012.  This particular plan looked at projects that were on the previous plan, which is fiscal year ’11 plan.  And we carry several of these forward.

These particular projects are on this next slide.  They are listed really or grouped together in the order of these reports coming to you in terms of release potentially.  The first three projects are in the reporting phase.  And the next four are really in field work.  Some, a little further along in field work than others, as you can tell.

The middle two that deal with hunter and boater education programs are in quality assurance phase at this point, which is the tail end of field work.  The bottom two, an audit of the sand and gravel permit program and the audit of fleet management are in the mid to early stages of field work.

We also carried over some other projects.  And these include a review of contracting processes, information technology governance, and a security audit of Texas Parks and Wildlife web-based applications.  These projects have not yet started, but we plan to shortly.

And then finally, a list of new projects.  These projects include an audit of financial and budget and controls in business information system.  This is the Agency’s financial system.

An audit of Section 6 federal grants, review of federal and state grant management, review of prior internal and external audits, what are traditionally called follow-up audits.  Review of Historically Underutilized Business requirements.  And then finally, review of upland and migratory game bird stamp review.

There are also committees and work groups that Internal Audit has been asked to participate in, in an advisory capacity, which is really a non-voting capacity.  And then we also offered to provide assistance in certain areas.  And that list is compiled here.

Business information system, the new license sales system, TxParks reservation system, information technology steering committee, and then finally, Texas Parks and Wildlife emergency management.

The plan accommodates for contingencies in the form of special requests from the Commission and Executive management.  Before I present the plan to you formally for approval, sir, I would really like to thank sincerely Carter Smith for supporting the plan wholeheartedly that went to him.  Also, the executive management team.  Gene McCarty, Ross Melinchuk and Scott Boruff.

Tremendous support from the Executive management team for this particular plan in front of you.  And with that, sir, I put this plan to you for a motion to approve.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay.  Any questions?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  No one.  Any questions?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Good presentation and congratulations.  I know, how long have you been in the job?

MS. ZACHARIAH:  About six months, sir.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Well, you have done an excellent job.  So I appreciate it, and I am glad you are aboard.

MS. ZACHARIAH:  Thank you, sir.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  With that, do I have a motion for approval?


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay.  Commissioner Hixon.


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

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay.  Any opposed?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Hearing none, the motion carries.  Vandita, thank you very much.

Okay.  Great.  Action Item Number 6, we have done.  Is that right, Tim?  So we are going to Action Item Number 7, urban outdoor recreation grant funding.  Tim is up.

MR. HOGSETT:  Good morning, members of the Commission, Mr. Chairman.  I am Tim Hogsett, Director of Recreation Grants in the State Parks Division.  Presenting to you this morning our annual review of urban outdoor recreation grant proposals.  Urban being communities in Texas that exceed 500,000 in population, and also counties that exceed that population where they have park programs.  We received as of our March 1, 2011, deadline five eligible applications requesting $4,250,000.  We have rank ordered and scored those.  You can find that in Exhibit A.  We have sufficient funds.

And this will be the last review using sporting goods sales tax funds for the next two years.  We have sufficient funds remaining in that account to enable us to recommend funding for all five projects.


MR. HOGSETT:  Therefore, our recommendation to you this morning is funding for five projects listed in Exhibit A, in the amount of $4,250,000 as approved.  I would be glad to answer any questions.  I think there is also some testimony.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  I do have some testimony.  Any questions from the Commissioners?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay.  We do have one individual.  Richard Zavala from the City of Fort Worth.  Richard.

MR. ZAVALA:  Good morning, Mr. Chairman and members of the Commission.  Special greetings to the Commissioner from Fort Worth, Texas, Mr. Duggins.  Glad to see you again.  I am here on behalf of the City of Fort Worth.

Our Parks and Community Services Department, our Mayor and City Council, and our City Manager seeking your approval of the staff’s recommendation for a grant for Northwest Community Park.  It is our newest park in the City of Fort Worth.  A 245-acre site, that the City expended $7 million in acquiring that property just this past summer.

We will be able to leverage this grant for the first phase development in this very rapidly growing area in the City of Fort Worth.  So you are on the ground floor of this very special project with the City of Fort Worth.  I would say that we are not able to do this without Parks and Wildlife.

This is the third grant that we have received in the last 12 months for the City of Fort Worth, as was reported by Mr. Hogsett a minute ago.  This funding is not continuing as far as the sporting goods sales tax.

And if someone were to ask you why would we want to reinstate that, you just tell them that the City of Fort Worth got $3 million from us, and they were able to leverage $12 million at the local level.  That is three times their money.

So I am an Aggie.  And I will tell you this.  We would look at that and say, you know even for those guys down in Austin, that is a no-brainer.  Put that program back.

(Simultaneous discussion.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  I am not going to get in the middle of that one.

MR. ZAVALA:  So with that, so I get home to Fort Worth, I would seek your approval.  Otherwise, I have got to go south.  I can’t go north.


MR. ZAVALA:  Thank you very much.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Very good.  Thank you, sir.  Any other questions or comments?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Do I have a motion for approval?


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay.  Commissioner Duggins.


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

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Hearing none, the motion carries.  Okay.  Number 8, small community recreation grant funding.  Tim, you are up again, buddy.

MR. HOGSETT:  Mr. Chairman, members of the Commission, Tim Hogsett, Recreation Grants program of the State Parks Division.  This is our annual review of small community grant applications.  Small communities being defined as communities of 20,000 population or less, with maximum grants up to $75,000 in match.

We received 21 eligible applications for the March 1, 2011, deadline, requesting almost $1.4 million.  We’ve scored all of those projects, using the scoring system that you have adopted.  And ranked those.  And that ranking can be found in Exhibit A.

Again, this will be ‑‑ these are funded this time through federal funds as no state funds are available.  Therefore, we are recommending approval for the top five applications on the list, in the amount of $375,000.

And the motion we bring before you this morning, funding for five projects listed in Exhibit A, in the amount of $375,000 is approved.  I would be glad to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Any questions for Tim?  Yes, sir.

MR. HOGSETT:  Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  Tim, are there ‑‑ I guess the first question is, what is ‑‑ you said there were federal, these come from federal funds.  What is the actual source of the funds, number one?

MR. HOGSETT:  This is what is called the Land and Water Conservation Fund program.  This was the traditional program that we have been receiving funds since 1965.  And it is the model that the Legislature used to build our state grant funding.  It has been a somewhat unreliable program over the years, and the Congress has not chosen to fully fund the program many times, including this current year.

Texas apportionment is approximately $2 million for this coming fiscal year.  And we are taking a good portion of that and putting it into these local park grants, to try to fill in, backfill the hole that is going to be left as the result of the loss of our state grant program.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  Excuse me.  Do you anticipate that there will be or are there any remaining funds that could be used for any of these other projects, or any new applications that might come in?

MR. HOGSETT:  The answer to both of those questions is no.  We are not anticipating anything other than any federal money of this sort that might be appropriated to the state in the next two fiscal years.  But in terms of state monies, there will be none.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  So if the Commission approves the $375,000 that you are recommending, that exhausts the current available funds?

MR. HOGSETT:  Yes, sir.  It would.


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Yes.  These were all good programs that could be leveraged.  So that is too bad.  Any other questions from our Commission?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay.  We don’t have anybody.  Do I have a motion for approval?


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay.  Commissioner Martin.


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

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay.  Any opposed?

(No response.)

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

MR. HOGSETT:  Thank you.  And we will miss working for you, sir.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  I appreciate it.  Appreciate everything you have done over the years.  Lots of large and small cities and towns have really benefitted from Tim’s work.  Action Item Number 9, off-highway vehicle program decal fee rules, Andy Goldbloom, you are up.

MR. GOLDBLOOM:  Chairman, Commissioners.  My name is Andy Goldbloom.  I work, manage the Recreational Trails Program under the State Parks Division.  Today’s item is to propose an increase in the fee for the off-highway vehicle decal that is required to ride on public lands, from $8 to $16.

At first, I would like to take a few minutes to give you a little historical context for this program.  Back in 2003, the Legislature, the Texas Legislature passed the Senate Bill 155 which essentially closed most of the stream beds to off-highway vehicle motorized use.  Prior to that, it was really an ambiguous law, whether people were allowed to drive in the streambeds.

And there was a lot of instances where we saw resource damages going on.  And through that session, most of the streambeds were closed to that type of use.  But during the testimony for that bill, what became apparent was that there were a lot of people that owned machines, ATVs, motorcycles, jeeps, and that there weren’t many public places to ride in.

The next session, 2005, the Legislature passed Senate Bill 1311, which created the off-highway vehicle trail and recreational area program under Texas Parks and Wildlife as a response to the need for places to ride.  There were three main components to that bill.

First was to establish and maintain off-highway vehicle trail and recreational areas, either in properties we already owned, or through grants to private sponsors, to local sponsors and partnerships throughout the state.  It also, directed us to foster responsible use of highway, off-highway vehicle riding through safety programs.  And it also created the off-highway vehicle decal, which was required for a rider to have to be able to legally ride on lands that were legitimately open for that opportunity.

And I kind of want to stress that this legislation wasn’t born from the Department.  It was really born from the user group.  So it is a real great example of the user group saying we have got a need.  And we are willing to ante up a little bit of money to help you guys help address this need.

It has got a six-year history now.  We sold 21,000 decals this current fiscal year, generating about $170,000 in revenue.  This past session, the initial budget that came out from the Legislative Budget Board did not appropriate any funds for the program.

Again, the riders stepped up to the plate and helped legislation to be introduced, and really an appropriation rider to our Agency’s appropriation that allowed us to increase that fee from $8 to $16.  Where we would basically receive the second $8.  You know, half of the funds.  We would tread water.  It would keep us stable to where we are.

Without the increase, basically, there wouldn’t be any funding for the program.  It would be suspended for the biennium.

So our recommendation for you today is that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt amendments to 31 Texas Administrative Code Section 53.17 concerning miscellaneous fees, increasing the fee for the annual off-highway vehicle program decal from $8 to $16 with changes as necessary as proposed Texas published in the July 22, 2011, issue of the Texas Register.  With that, I welcome any questions.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Any questions?  Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN:  What is the matching federal ‑‑ how much is the matching federal funds.  And what program does that ‑‑

MR. GOLDBLOOM:  Well, the program, that is the recreational trails program.  We brought grants to you back in last, in the May Commission meeting.  That is the matching program that is generated from the gas tax that those vehicles generate when they buy gasoline for their machines.

We received about $3 million this last fiscal year for that.  It has a requirement that 30 percent of the funds have to go towards motorized opportunities.  And there have been times in the past where we don’t have the demand for that fund.

So a lot of our effort these last few years is outreach to communities, counties, non-profits, to talk about the benefits and where it might be appropriate to locate these opportunities to provide people a legal place to ride.  We have been utilizing some of the state funds generated by this decal frankly, to help provide seed money for the projects that we grant federal funds for the development.

So we might cover 10 percent of half of their required federal match though the state funds, and give them a little seed money to get the project off the ground.  Because a lot of the projects are for non-profit rider groups that want to open up areas in their particular part of the state.


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay.  Commissioner Duggins.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  Is the $16 fee that is proposed, is that set by statute, or is that something that staff is recommending?

MR. GOLDBLOOM:  That was in the appropriations rider, allowing us to increase it from $8 to $16 based on the action of the Commission.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  So it can’t go above $16?

MR. GOLDBLOOM:  Not right now.  It looks like ‑‑


MR. SMITH:  And Commissioner, just so you know, I think Andy covered this.  The user groups were the ones behind that increase.  They were very strongly in favor of doubling it in order to help generate the fees to do this.  So I just want you to know we had their support.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  Well, that is really what I had in mind, is that maybe they could consider a little more, and we could do more.  Because we are obviously constrained financially.  And that is really what I was trying to get at.  Thank you very much.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Well, we do have a few people that would like to speak.  Bryan Tucker from the City of Childress.  And Carol Smith would be up after that.

MR. TUCKER:  Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners.  My name is Bryan Tucker.  I am the City Manager of Childress, Texas.  I appreciate the opportunity to come and speak on behalf of our ATV park.  I have been in my position now for about three years.  And prior to ‑‑ I was born and raised in Childress.  Prior to coming back to Childress to assume my current position as City Manager, I had no idea of ATV parks.  Never been involved with it.  Knew nothing about it.  So when I took over as City Manager, the first thing that we were doing we were working on these projects with these trails.  And I knew nothing about it.  But I was fortunate enough to have a supervisor who was running the trails system for us, who knew a lot about it, who had been around it for 30 or 40 years, since it began.  So one of the things that I can tell you from a small town, and from the perspective of looking at the economic impact, which is an important issue.  Not probably not the most important issue.  But it is an important issue.  I have seen a lot of great things in our small community.  We have had a couple of events.  Well, number one, in the area of the Panhandle, where Childress is located, in the southeast corner of the Panhandle, in that area, there is nowhere else to ride.  You have to go to Oklahoma.  There is a small track in Lubbock.  But no trail system per se to ride in, motorized trails.  So it really met a niche in that whole entire area.  We have had a couple of events since this park opened with the trail system.  Family-type events where we have seen upwards of 400 people come to our park.  And to give you an idea, Childress has about 6,000 people.  So we are talking about 5 percent, over 5 percent of the population there.  So the monies that are used, it is utilized really well in small communities.  And it does have an economic impact.  But the most important impact in my opinion is it provides families time to come together.  I have seen it with my own eyes.  I have seen grandparents, parents and children actually participating, riding trails together.  And I just don’t know very many things you can do outdoors that have that much fun and include children and parents and that sort of thing.  And so I appreciate everything you guys have done for our small community.  And it is better because of you guys.  And we just hope that we will be able to ‑‑ you will be affirmative toward this and be able to help other small communities like Childress.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  All right.  Thank you for taking the time to come down and talk about it.

MR. TUCKER:  Absolutely.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay.  Carol Smith, and Bobby, I can’t read it.  But there is somebody else coming up from Childress after that, from the City.

MS. SMITH:  Good morning, Chairman.


MS. SMITH:  Good morning, Commission.  Thank you very much for allowing me to speak with you this morning.  I would like to introduce myself, Carol Smith.  I am the 4-H ATV safety program coordinator and OHV education program coordinator for Texas A&M University.

I am a state-licensed ATV safety instructor.  I am also your state representative on the national off-highway vehicle conservation council.  I am the American Motorcyclists Association community council director for the Texas Hill Country.  And I am also a Tread Lightly trainer.  As you can tell, I wear a number of hats within the OHV community.

I would like to begin by saying thank you so much if you can please continue to maintain this OHV decal program.  It is so vitally important for all of the OHV enthusiasts in our state.

It is of particular importance to me, because my program has been partially funded by the OHV decal grant dollars.  I appreciate as well as Texas A&M University and the 4-H Foundation and you all partnering with me to allow me to promote the safety and OHV education element to the children of our state.  It is very important.

I teach not only safety awareness presentations, I also give actual hands-on rider courses to children.  I have seen over 6,000 school children in the course of this year alone, promoting safety education for ATVs mainly.  Texas has more ATVs than any other state; 400,000 ATVs in this state.  And due to our dearth of public lands, most are used on private ranches and farms.

Other states have OHV education programs to teach children and adults about ATV and OHV safety, because there is laws governing those ‑‑ their use on public lands.  And we have those same laws here.  But so little public lands for their use, that most people have no idea of the most rudimentary of safety gear.

When I talk to these kids, I ask them these questions.  How many of you have an ATV at home, or on your farm and ranch.  The normal reply is 75 to 90 percent of them.  How many of you have access to an ATV; cousin, grandpa, cousin has one?  Eighty-five to 90 percent.

When I ask them what is the first thing you do when you get in your car or truck?  The answer is loud and clear.  We put on our seatbelt.  What do you do when you get in a boat?  You put on your life jacket.

But they have no idea that they should wear a helmet when they ride an ATV.  So I explain to them, they are not using it like the adult, they are finding every hump and bump and mud hole they can find.  And they are smashing the gas.  And they need that helmet.

The OHV program in our state is important due to the lack of safe, legal and responsible riding areas.  And I appreciate the fact that this program is going towards places like Childress and Bridgeport and Trophy Club.  We need this program.  It is important.  And as an OHV enthusiast, I willingly pay $8 for the decal, and will continue to buy it at $16.  But you are our recreational professionals.

And your Agency is in dire need of the money that can and will be generated by this recognized recreational use.  We will help you.  We will fund you.  And we will support you.  But you need to show us some support as well.  Thank you.


And Bobby, I am sorry.  I can’t read your last name.  From Childress.

MR. SANDERS:  Mr. Chairman, members of the Commission.  I am the supervisor he was talking about.


MR. SANDERS:  We have had over 25,000 people come through our park since we have started.


MR. SANDERS:  We have talked to a lot of them.  And the decal fund is just part of it.  It is having a place for them to go ride.

I have talked to a lot of them, and told them, what if the decal fund doubles.  They say, it is no problem.  You know, I came here in a $40,000 pickup.  I am pulling a $20,000 trailer, with $25,000 worth of toys in it.  So you know, $16 to go ride, that is not much.

But and something else we would like to say.  Since we have been open, which is about four years, we have only had one incidence where we have had to have an ambulance.  So we thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Good.  Thank you.  Appreciate you all coming down from Childress, too.  Taking the time.  Any other questions or comments?

(No response.)

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


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay.  Commissioner Hixon.


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

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Hearing none, the motion carries.

Action Item Number 10.  Amendments to the Commercial Non-Game Proclamation; sale of protected non-game animals.  Recommended adoption of proposed changes.  Mr. John Davis.

MR. DAVIS:  Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners.


MR. DAVIS:  My name is John Davis.  I work for the Wildlife Diversity Program in the Wildlife Division.  I would like to talk to you this morning about Commercial Non-Game Permit rules.

There are three substantive amendments that we would like to propose, and two non-substantive.  The first, we would simply like to allow Commercial Non-Game permit holders to possess and sell dead armadillos.

The second, the second two really involve bats and kind of the confusion that can arise.  Bats are currently listed on the blacklist.  And bats are also protected in statute against possession and sale.  If they are listed on the blacklist, they are protected against commercial sale, but not possession.  So there can be some confusion there.

We would like to clarify that.  So what we would like to do is remove all species of bats from that list.  And in fact, we would like to add to this clarification by adding bats to the list of exceptions in the Texas Administrative Code.

Two non-substantive amendments we would like to propose.  We would like to provide clarification that blacklist species can be possessed and sold provided they are lawfully acquired from an out of state source.

And finally, we would like to update some internal references and examples there on the slide in front of you.  We have received no public comment on this.  At this point, I would like to pause and ask if you have any questions before I proceed to staff recommendation.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Any questions or comments?

(No response.)


MR. DAVIS:  Staff recommendation therefore, is as follows.  The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts amendments to Title 31 of the Texas Administrative Code, subsection 65.325, 65.327, and 65.331 concerning Commercial Non-Game permits with changes as necessary to the proposed text as published in the June 22, 2011, issue of the Texas Register.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay.  Any other questions or comments?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Do we have a motion for approval?


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Commissioner Morian.


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

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Hearing none, the motion carries.  Thank you.  Action Number item 11, 2011-2012 Late Season Migratory regulations.  Recommended adoption of the proposed changes.  Kevin.

MR. KRAAI:  Good morning.  Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and the rest of the Commission.  We would like to start off by looking at our final proposals for the 2011-2012 migratory game bird seasons.  We will begin with the High Plains Mallard Management Unit.

And just to step back a little bit, something that I missed yesterday during committee is that considering the conditions that the birds are currently have utilized this summer, with respect to their breeding grounds, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has adopted a liberal framework for duck species.  And so all of these proposals that we are bringing before you are based upon that liberal recommendation from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

So to continue with the High Plains Mallard Management Unit, our proposals are for a youth season to begin the weekend of October 22nd and 23rd, with the opening of the second or the regular season to begin on October 29th and 30th.  Close for four days, and reopen on November 4th and run to January 29th.  With our dusky duck season, our proposal, our five-day closure would begin on November 7th.

Moving on to the north and south zones, our proposals for a youth season again the weekend prior to the regular season.  That being October 29th and October 30th.  With the regular season to begin November 5th, run through November 27th.  Which is the weekend after Thanksgiving.  Close for a two-week split and begin again on December 10th and run to January 29th. 

Again, with these two zones, we are required to have a five-day closure on dusky ducks, with concerns for mottled ducks.  And that season would open on November 10th.

As far as bag limit goes for ducks, mergansers and coots, for all ducks, for ducks the bag limit would be six per day, with the following sex and species restrictions.  All other species, it will be six.  As far as for mergansers, we’ve allowed five per day, of which no more than two can be hooded mergansers.  And coots, the bag limit will be 15 per day.

Moving on to geese, we will begin with the eastern zone.  Our proposed seasons and bag limits for light geese, our proposed seasons for light geese will be November 5th through January 29th.  As far as Canada geese, we have an early season that has already been approved in conjunction with early teal season.

Our proposal for the regular season is November 5th through January 29th.  With white-fronted geese due to their management plan, they have less days available to us.  And we are proposing to open that season, along with the other species of geese, that being November 5th, and run to January 15th.

As far as bag limits for geese in the Eastern zone, we are proposing a three-bird Canada goose bag along with a two white-fronted goose and 20 light geese.  As far as western zone geese, a proposal for light and dark geese is November 5th through February 5th with a bag limit of five dark geese, of which no more than one can be a white-fronted goose, and 20 light geese.

As for the Light Goose Conservation Order, starting with the west zone our proposal is to open the conservation order the day after the regular season close, which is February 6th and run that season to March 25th.  Same for the east zone.  We are proposing to open that season the day after the regular season closed, which is January 30th, and run to March 25th.

Moving on to sandhill cranes, begin with Zone A.  Our proposal for this upcoming season is to open November 5th and run to February 5th with a bag limit of three.  Zone B, our proposal is to open, as a delayed opening, with respect to whooping crane migration.  And our proposal is to open November 25th and run to February 5th as well, with a bag limit of three.

As for Zone C, we are proposing a full utilization of the days allowed to us.  And our proposal is to open December 25th and run to January 29th with a bag limit of two.

As far as extended falconry season for ducks, specifically to the North and South zones, our proposal is to open January 30th and run to February 13th, using up our full allotment of days.  In regards to public comment, again as you heard me say yesterday, the majority of our comments were those that we considered to be outside what is allowed underneath federal frameworks.  So I will try to go through these pretty quickly.

In the High Plains Mallard Management Unit all 18 were outside of federal frameworks.  As the comments go for the north zone, four opposed concurrent split with the south zone.  Three want to continue splits with no split.

Moving on to the south zone and comments in opposition to our proposal.  Ten wanted a later opener.  Eight opposed a concurrent split with the north zone, and three opposed an opening day that is the same as deer season.  Two wanted a closure of mottled ducks altogether.  One wanted the split to be eliminated.  And one wanted an earlier opener.

Moving on to geese.  For those who commented in opposition to our eastern zone proposals, 14 wanted the season for white-fronted geese to run later rather than earlier.  For those who commented in opposition to the proposal for the western zone geese, four wanted a later season, and all other comments were outside the frameworks.

For those who commented in opposition to the proposal for the Light Goose Conservation Order, three opposed the conservation order outright.  Three wanted the same opener in both zones, and one wanted the conservation order opened only after all other days for water fowl had been utilized.  One wanted the Light Goose Conservation Order to be held during the split for duck seasons, and one wanted the conservation order to open earlier.

Moving on to public comments on sandhill cranes, with respect to sandhill cranes specifically, eleven wanted an earlier opener in Zone C specifically.  For those who commented in opposition, to the extent of falconry season, and stated a reason; two stated the proposal interferes with breeding and nesting.

With respect to youth water fowl season, the comments that were not outside federal frameworks, five stated that the season was too early.  Three stated that more time should be devoted to youth seasons in general.  Two stated that the proposed season interferes with youth deer season.  And one stated that there should be no youth season at all.

Before I move on to our staff recommendation, are there any questions?

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Any questions?  Commission Duggins?

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  Why is it, I have never really noticed or focused on this, why is it that Zone C has on sandhill crane has a limit of two, and the other two have a limit of three?  Is that U.S. F and W?

MR. KRAAI:  Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  Do you know why that is?  It is not a criticism.  It is just curious.

MR. KRAAI:  No.  Obviously, there is differences with that zone, specifically because of the whooping crane.  But I believe with that respective bag limit, it has to do with a less populated group of sandhill cranes, compared to the ones that use the High Plains.  So we are kind of restricted both in season length and in bag limit, because of the differences of the birds that utilize that area.


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Any other questions?

(No response.)


MR. KRAAI:  So our staff recommendation, the Texas Parks and Wildlife, we recommend the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt an amendment to 31 TAC Section 65.318, 65.320 and 65.321, concerning the Migratory Game Bird Proclamation with changes as necessary to the proposed text, as published in the May 27, 2011, issue of the Texas Register.


MR. KRAAI:  Thank you very much.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Thank you, Kevin.  Do I have a motion?


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay.  Commissioner Scott.  Second?


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Commission Hixon.  All in favor, please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)

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

Action Item Number 12, implementation of legislation during the 82nd Texas Legislative Session.  House Bill 1080 relating to an exemption for active duty personnel and certain veterans in their requirement to complete the live firing portion of a hunter education program.

Ms. Nancy Herron and Mr. Terry Erwin, please.

MS. HERRON:  Good morning, Chairman Holt and Commissioners.  I am Nancy Herron in the Outreach and Education coordinator for the Department.  And here with me today is Terry Erwin, our hunter education coordinator.  And we are here about a proposed amendment to the Texas Administrative Code affecting hunter education.

MR. ERWIN:  Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners.  My name is Terry Erwin.  I am the hunter education coordinator.  The 82nd Legislature passed legislation, passed House Bill 1080 which would exempt a person from live fire requirements of the subsection of hunter education which would be an honorably discharged veteran of the United States Armed Forces or an on active duty member of the United States Armed Forces, the Texas Army National Guard, the Texas Air National Guard or the Texas State Guard.

There were three, four public comments.  Three against public comments.  None of them were significant.  We have no problem with this recommendation, as it is passed.  And if you have any questions, I will address those at this time.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Any questions, Commissioners?

(No response.)

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


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Commissioner Scott.  Second?


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Commissioner Hixon.  All in favor?  Oh, I am sorry.  Commissioner, you have got a question?

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  No.  I would like to suggest that we slightly adjust the language that is in 135 of your book.  Because two different terms are used; United States Armed Forces, and the United States military forces.  And that would suggest they are different, when I don’t think that was the intention.

And I think we ought to make it one or the other.  And I would suggest to you that United States Armed Forces is a common term, and to use that in both subpart (I) and subpart (ii).

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Ann, any issues?  Which one would you like it to be, Commissioner.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  I just said pick one, I would suggest United States Armed Forces.


MS. BRIGHT:  Absolutely.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay.  Any other questions or comments?

(No response.)

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

VOICE:  You already do.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay.  Well, I don’t know if I have or not.  Commissioner Scott, and seconded by Commissioner Martin.  All in favor say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)

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

MR. ERWIN:  Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Action Item Number 13, implementation of legislation during the 82nd Texas Legislative Session, House Bill 555, relating to reportable boating accidents.  Mr. Jeff Parrish.

MR. PARRISH:  Good morning.  Thank you, Chairman and Commission members.  I am here to talk ‑‑ my name is Jeff Parrish, Assistant Chief of Marine Enforcement and also the Boating Law Administrator for this Agency.  I am here to talk about House Bill 555 which came out of the 82nd Legislature recording reportable boating accidents.

The bill allows for consistency with United States Coast Guard for determining when a boating accident is considered reportable, and allows for operators of vessels involved in an accident to only contact Parks and Wildlife Department rather than complete an accident report.  And the requirement for reportable accident is that property damage in an amount set by the Commission of not less than $2,000, injury to a person requiring treatment beyond first aid, or a fatality.

And there was only one public comment.  And that was in opposition.  It was the same one we talked about yesterday.  And that was basically the person wanted the operators to continue to do the accident reports.  And the recommendation to the Commission is that the Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts the new 31 Texas Administrative Code 555.850 concerning mandatory boating incident report with changes as necessary to the proposed text, as published in the July 22, 2011, issue of the Texas Register.  If you have any questions, I would be glad to answer them.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Any questions from our Commissioners?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay.  I have one individual.  Will Kirkpatrick.  Will?

MR. KIRKPATRICK:  My name is Will Kirkpatrick, and I am on the board.  When Governor Perry’s office called and asked me to be on this board, my first question was how much is the pay.  And you know the answer to that one.

The second one was, what are we supposed to do?  And what it was, we were supposed to set up some plans so that we can cut down.  We can shoot, kill, and hurt a lot of people in the water.  And the second is, don’t put anybody out of business.  In other words, boat manufacturers, boat sales, anything.  Don’t put them out of business.

So we started having our meetings here.  They were all in Austin, which is 291 miles from my house.  And the boating industry itself was seriously concerned by what this would do to the industry, as far as downturn, if they had the education requirements, people wouldn’t buy a boat.  And that rocked along for a couple of meetings.

And then we found out that there is 21 states ‑‑ and I don’t remember what it was.  Jeff Parrish or Joan Cook, Cody Jones, who it was.  But there is 21 states that already have mandatory boating education.

So I thought it might be a good idea to get a hold of them and see what they had done.  So I asked Ms. Frances Stiles, who is the head, the manager of Boat Registration and Title, if she would compose a letter and send it to all 21 of these states to see the results.

And what I asked her for was the year before, the boat registration the year before the law was mandated to have boater education and the year of the effect, the first year aftereffect and the third year aftereffect.  And I don’t know what kind of letter she sent, but there was 16 of them responded.  So you might want to get her to write your other requests.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Yes.  That is pretty good.

MR. KIRKPATRICK:  When we went through these, and you have all got a copy of both of these, the first one was just to put it simply, we had in Class A boats, they had eight states, they showed a downturn, two states that showed an uplift.

But the thing to remember, Class A is boats under 16 foot, these are little boats.  And it does not include kayaks, because unless they have got a motor on them, they are not registered.  I don’t believe ‑‑ I think that is correct.  I know Frances was here a minute ago.

But Class 1 boats are the boats from 16 foot up to 26 foot.  And everybody that is on the water knows that that is the majority of the boats we have got in the State of Texas, and the majority of the boats all over the country.  Those actually had a downturn of one state and nine states reported they sold more Class 1 boats.

There was, ten of the groups answered this, because they are the same as Texas, Class 1, Class A.  There was six states that have everything inclusive.  And three of those went up, and two of them went down.  One of them didn’t have the figures.

But if you look back in the bottom on some of the notes, and you look at New Jersey.  And it tells you that they don’t think this was because ‑‑ nobody thought the downturn was because of mandatory boating education.

And then you look at your second sheet.  Now we don’t have this law in Texas.  We have, but it is really not addressing the big crowd, the big people that have the problems are the 35 to 50.  And if you look at Texas, and Frances provided this also, it is the last ten years.  We show the same thing basically.  It is a downturn in Class A boats, and an upsurge in Class 1 boats.

And 2010, which was supposed to be a bad economic year here in Texas, you look at how many boats that we registered.  Now one of the gentlemen brought up that most of the boats that are registered are re-registered.

And Ms. Stiles asked her if she had the figure on that.  And she didn’t hesitate.  She said between 20 and 25 percent of all boats registered in Texas are new registers.  And if you look at Class 1 registered for 2010, that is 75,000 new boats approximately were registered in Texas.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  I’ll be darned.

MR. KIRKPATRICK:  So there was a lot of concern about safety.  But I think the next legislative session, the information that Ms. Stiles had should be presented to the Legislature by you all’s contacts.  Because it is not ‑‑ and people are not going to fight it.  I have talked to everybody I know about boating safety.  And Carter and I talked the other day.  And the National Marine Manufacturers Association does not have these figures.  They will, because I have told them I will send them a copy of them.

They recommend that everybody, every state, every person have boater education that is going to operate.  But have what they call a test out feature.  And what that is, that you make a list of, say, 20 or 25 questions.  And if you and I go and we can pass those questions, and that is a test-out.  And you don’t have to take the mandatory day long boater education course.  That is what they recommend.

And the industry itself really would like to see everybody get, quote, the bigwigs really would like to see education.  Because they say it hurts us by not having education.


MR. KIRKPATRICK:  But there is pretty good information.  Nobody has ever had it before.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  I was going to say, good gathering.  Thank you, Will.

MR. KIRKPATRICK:  Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay.  Thank you for serving on that advisory group too.

Yes, this is an action item.  Do I got a motion for approval?


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay.  Commissioner Hixon.


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

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Hearing none, the motion carries.  Thank you.  If you remember, we deleted Action Item Number 14.  We will go on to 15.  Action Item Number 15, implementation of legislation during the 82nd Texas Legislative Session.  House Bill 787 relating to abandoned, wrecked, dismantled, discarded and inoperable aircraft and vessels.  Ms. Frances Stiles.  Frances.

MS. STILES:  Good morning; my name is Frances Stiles.  I am the manager of the Boat Titling and Registration section for Texas Parks and Wildlife.  House Bill 787 made two changes.

One was to the Transportation Code, which allowed for cleanup and disposal of abandoned vehicles, boats, outboard motors and it added the category of aircraft into that.  Additionally, it changed the Parks and Wildlife Code to allow the ability to title abandoned boats.  Prior to the bill, the only option regarding the disposal of abandoned boats on private property was to contact local law enforcement.  And that is what the Code set out.

So we have had an issue where it is a Catch-22.  People call in and say they have an abandoned boat.  We refer them to local law enforcement.  Most local law enforcement do not have the resources and staff to remove these boats on a regular basis from private property.  So it is an issue that had not been addressed.

This is an issue that states ‑‑ that faces just about every state.  Particularly those with higher populations of boats.  In adopting this change into the statute, the Texas Administrative Code for bonded titles needed to be amended because the current Code stated that no bonded title would be issued if there was no documentation of ownership.  So with an abandoned boat, there would be no documentation which necessitated this proposed change.

To summarize the change that is proposed for the Administrative Code, is that the definition of an abandoned boat be met which is boat or outboard motor abandoned on private property for more than seven consecutive days or more without consent of the property owner.  The use of the state, as well as the national database to determine ownership, and the requirement to notify local law enforcement. 

Also to define jurisdiction for disputed claims, and to require publication on the Agency website for a period of six months.  Yesterday in committee, Commissioner Duggins, you asked for more specific definition of the law enforcement agencies to be notified.

In taking a look, the Transportation Code defines the law enforcement agencies with authority for abandoned assets as being a police department of a municipality, a county sheriff or constable.  The Department of Public Safety, or the Police Department of an institution of higher education.  So those are the agencies that are defined.

And I would recommend that the sentence that you wanted better clarification which is Item D, Section 1.  The applicant shall send notice via certified mail to the law enforcement agency, insert, as defined by Section 683.001 of the Transportation Code, in whose jurisdiction the property on which the abandoned vessel or outboard motor is located.  That we amend that to cover more specific of who they contact.

There are some benefits to this implementation for the program, in that it adds a solution that was previously not available.  It encourages folks to recycle and reuse as well as cleaning up the environment.

This does attach itself to an existing process, which required no programming resources.  And it does bring in a small amount of additional revenue to the Agency through titling and subsequent registrations.

Public comment, we received one comment which was in favor of adoption of this proposed amendment of the Administrative Code.  And staff does recommend adoption of the Code 53.100 as published in the June Texas Register issue.  Any questions?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay.  Any questions?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Thank you, Frances.

Do I have a motion for approval?


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay.  Commissioner Falcon.


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

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Hearing none, the motion carries.

Action Item Number 16.  Implementation of legislation during the 82nd Texas Legislative Session, House Bill 716, permits for aerial management of wildlife and exotic species.  Mr. Scott Vaca, please.

MR. VACA:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners.  For the record, I am Scott Vaca, Assistant Chief of Wildlife Enforcement.  Today, I am presenting a proposed new rule to implement the provisions of House Bill 716 which was passed by the Texas Legislature earlier this year.

Title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations authorizes states to issue permits to manage wildlife and exotics from an aircraft.  And the Department does currently issue these permits, pursuant to Texas Parks and Wildlife Code Chapter 43, Subchapter G.

Currently, no person may pay, barter or exchange anything of value for the privilege to be a gunner or observer.  House Bill 716 allows a qualified landowner or a landowner’s agent to contract or pay the permittee to be a gunner or observer and take in feral hogs or coyotes from a helicopter.  House Bill 716 also required the Commission by rule to define qualified landowner or landowner’s agent.

The current rule prohibits the person from participating as a gunner or observer or pilot if that person has been convicted of a Class A Parks and Wildlife Code misdemeanor related to an aerial management permit within one year.  The proposed rule defines qualified landowner or landowner’s agent as a person who contracts to be a gunner or observer and who has not been convicted of, pleaded nolo contendere to, or received deferred adjudication for a Class A Parks and Wildlife Code misdemeanor or felony, not including water safety violations, or a violation of the Lacey Act.

The proposed rule removes the one-year limitation on considering Class A or higher Parks and Wildlife Code convictions as disqualifiers for paying gunners, and observers.  However, non-paying gunners, non-paying observers and pilots are not held to the same standard.

Based on input from the Commission, staff is proposing to hold everyone involved with an aerial management permit to the same standard.  Staff would like to modify the proposal before you to include this change.

The proposed rule clarifies that a person holding an aerial management permit may only receive compensation from a qualified landowner or a landowner’s agent.  The proposed rule also clearly states that the permittee must possess the properly executed landowner’s authorization form prior to taking depredating feral hogs or coyotes from a helicopter.  There has been five public comments received.  The one person opposed to the proposed rule gave a specific reason that the state shouldn’t try ‑‑ not being the business of managing people who are trying to take depredating feral hogs.  And with that, I would answer any questions you might have.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Any questions or comments from the Commissioners?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay.  We have one individual who would like to speak.

Nicole Paquette, do I have that right?  Or am I saying that right?  Nicole?

MS. PAQUETTE:  Hi.  Good morning.  My name is Nicole Paquette.  And I am with the Humane Society of the United States.  And I do want to first apologize.  I did not submit any written comments on this.

So I just want to raise one issue of concern for the Humane Society of the United States.  And it is just essentially that we have got some ‑‑ we would like this regulation to consider some animal welfare issues posed by the aerial gunning of feral hogs and coyotes.  So we would like to be considered, when defining a qualified shooter, some basic animal welfare issues.

So pursuit with low flying aircraft, no matter when and where conducted invariably involves misplaced shots, wounded animals and animals left to suffer and die under conditions that are unacceptable.  Giving how difficult it is to aim at a moving animal from the air, wounding and crippling rates are likely to be significant.

Feral hogs tend to occupy low lying riparian areas and depressions where bush is dense and are difficult to target by aerial shooting.  Gunners and observers should have a duty to ensure that they have not inadvertently killed other species, and that the targeted species are not suffering a prolonged death.  And we would like these regulations to address this.

Moreover, close to ground flights should be seasonally restricted so that aircraft does not fly during the months that most native wildlife nest and lactate, as these flights can disrupt the native wildlife.  So we would like ‑‑ and again, I apologize for not putting this in writing.  But we urge that additional animal protection measures be put in place.  Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay.  Thank you, Nicole.  Any questions or comments?

(No response.)

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


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Commissioner Scott.


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

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)

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

Number 17, excuse me, 17, implementation of legislation during the 82nd Texas Legislative Session, Senate Bill 1480, Regulation of Exotic Aquatic Species.  Ken.

MR. KURZAWSKI:  Good morning, Commissioners, Chairman.  I come before you this morning to discuss another bill from the recently passed legislative session and I would note with some regret, Chairman, that is the last time I will appear before you.  And I would like to say it has always been an honor and a pleasure to come before you over your eight years here.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Ken, I have enjoyed working with you also.  I thank you.

MR. KURZAWSKI:  Appreciate it.  Appreciate your eight years of service to our Agency.  Fortunately I have a short presentation today.  If you will recall, in the 2009 legislative session, the Texas Legislature enacted HB 1391, which directed our Department to publish a list of exotic aquatic plants that were approved for importation or possession in Texas without a permit.

After a year-long effort to reach a consensus with persons involved in the possession and sale of these exotic aquatic plants on regulations governing their activities, that decision was made to suspend those efforts to promulgate the approved list.  However, language in HB 1391 could create some uncertainty to our Agency’s ability to regulate exotic aquatic plants.

Therefore, in the recently concluded session, SB 1480 was passed, which clarified and restated our Agency’s continuing authority to regulate the possession of exotic aquatic plants by use of a prohibited list.  What the SB 1480 did, was it amended Chapters 66 of our Code to place provisions concerning exotic aquatic plants in a new section.

Therefore, our Administrative Code Chapter 57 needs to be updated with these current statutory references.  There were no functional changes to our rules as they were promulgated.  We did have one comment on this in favor of it.  And if you have any questions, I would be happy to answer those.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Any questions?

(No response.)

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


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Commissioner Hixon.


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

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)

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

Where are we now?  Action Item Number 18, amendments to Oyster Proclamation regarding daily sack limits, time closures and shell recovery program and implementation of Senate Bill 932.  Recommended adoption of proposed changes.  Lance Robinson.

MR. ROBINSON:  Good morning, Mr. Chairman and Commissioners.  For the record, my name is Lance Robinson.  I am here to present this morning items for action under the proposed statewide Oyster Proclamation.  There are four items for you under consideration today.  Two directly the result of Senate Bill 932 that passed in the last session.

The first one deals with the Oyster Shell Recovery and Replacement Program.  The Department has had authority to create such a program but lacked funding to implement.  Senate Bill 932 does establish that funding source for the purchase of shell and other cultch materials.  This material would place back into the coastal waters of the State of Texas, it provides a substrate upon which juvenile oysters can settle on and grow.  Several other states, Florida and Louisiana in particular have done extensive research and work, looking at the cost benefits of such programs in their coastal waters and have seen returns as high as one to 20 high in the cost benefit.

The proposal would establish a shell recovery tag which would replace the current Department of State Health Services required harvesters tag.  This tag would have to be affixed to the sack at the time of harvest, and would remain with that sack until it reached the dealer.  The tags would have to be purchased through a Parks and Wildlife law enforcement office at a cost of 20 cents per tag.  Those funds generated from the tag would be dedicated to the shell recovery program.  And we expect to generate approximately $170,000 a year, based on historical landings.

The other item covered under Senate Bill 932 dealt with emergency closures of areas.  The oyster industry has been expressing concerns over the last several years about harvest of undersized oysters in particular bay system and the areas.  What this proposal would do would delegate from the Commission the authority to the Executive Director to implement emergency closures when biological need show that it existed.

Two other items, the reduction in the daily sack limit and fishing times.  Again, industry has expressed concerns and a desire on their part to stabilize prices and try to distribute the harvest and landings over a longer part of the season.  This delayed harvest would also provide some benefit to the resource by allowing those oysters to capitalize on the tail end of the fall spawning season.

The proposal would also expect to lengthen the productive part of the season, which would translate into more sacks per vessel.  So the proposal would be to reduce the current harvest, daily harvest from 90 sacks to 50 sacks, and to reduce the legal fishing time from sunrise to 3:30 in the afternoon.

There were five public hearings held along the coast.  Industry expressed strong support over all of the proposals,  The higher opposition under the reduction in the harvest hours, for those that provided comment was generated primarily by concerns of lost ability to harvest through because of mechanical breakdowns or for weather delays that would limit their amount of time in getting out on the water to fish.

Additionally, all proposals were endorsed unanimously by the Coastal Resources Advisory Committee on the 13th of July.  So staff recommendation would be to adopt amendments to Chapters 58.11, 58.21, 58.22, and Chapter 53.12, with changes as necessary to the proposed text as published in the July 22nd issue of the Texas Register.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay.  Any questions from Commissioners?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay.  We have a couple of people that would like to speak.  Buddy Treybig and then Buddy come on up.  And Tracy Woods, next.

MR. TREYBIG:  My name is Buddy Treybig.  I am a commercial fisherman from Matagorda County.  I am also a dealer in the oyster business.  And I have a statement I would like to read to you all.

The bays and estuaries of Texas are and have been for some time being deprived of freshwater from local river authorities, state agencies and other water-selling entities.  This in itself is enough to take notice and take care of all of the state’s resources, commercial or recreational.

The oyster industry has put together a work group of the industry leaders and are asking you the Commission to take notice and understand that we as a voice for all the commercial oyster industry would like to give back to the state resource in oyster restoration and install a new additional law to be able to stop illegal harvesting of small oysters by closing portions of a bay system as needed.

As times for state agencies are getting tougher, budget cuts and overworked divisions, we feel the current laws cannot be properly enforced, and have proposed two new laws that will help enforcement and help keep the resource from being depleted at an alarming rate.  Mother Nature will be pressed to keep up with less freshwater inflow and less conservation from the industry in the future.

Smaller limits and less time on the bays will make the resource more valuable and more plentiful in the long run.  This is an industry asking for your help.  Not an industry you need to force to do something.

As in any fishery, you are going to have participants who neglect and harm the resource.  In our industry, this is overwhelming.  We realize this, and ask you to back us and approve these proposals for the future of the Texas oyster industry.


MR. TREYBIG:  Any questions?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Any questions?  Yes, sir.  Commissioner Duggins.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  Did you just say that abuse of the resource in your view is overwhelming by commercial fishermen?  Is that what ‑‑

MR. TREYBIG:  Yes, sir.  We have a lot of illegal oysters taken every season.  And they are being shipped out of state.  There is a market for them.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  Well, I would like to suggest that you, whatever information you have in that respect, if you have not conveyed that to Colonel Flores or somebody in his department or to Robin Riechers somebody in our department, I think ought to have the benefit of whatever your information is in that respect.

MR. TREYBIG:  Sure.  Yes, sir.


MR. TREYBIG:  Thank you very much.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Are our game wardens and everybody is aware of this situation?


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  I think it was presented to us yesterday.  Okay.

MR. TREYBIG:  Yes, sir.  I am on the Coastal Resources Advisory Committee.


MR. TREYBIG:  And I am also on this Oyster Workgroup.  And we all are very aware of this.


MR. TREYBIG:  We are just trying to, with these proposals trying to prolong the industry and keep it healthy.  We are not sitting here trying to you know, complain about certain individuals or anything.  We just want the industry to be better off.


MR. RIECHERS:  Thank you, Buddy.  I will try to help clarify.

Robin Riechers, Director of Coastal Fisheries.

What Buddy is specifically referring to is, in the past, our ability to close oyster leases or areas has been limited because we have to follow the normal 30-day notice and all of those provisions in order to take that action.  And through the legislation that passed and with your support of the motion to grant that authority to the Executive Director, we now will be able to close and basically identify where those undersized oysters are in high numbers.

And we will be able to close those reefs.  And that will stop some of the abuse of harvesting of undersized oysters.  So he is in support of that part of this notion.  And that is what he was trying to talk about there.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  Well, I understand that.  But if they also suggest that there are a lot of illegal sales going out of state.  And that is something that I think ought to be investigated, for whatever information he may have.

MR. RIECHERS:  Well, it is dealers purchasing undersized oysters.  And Pete can speak to how many cases.  They certainly have been increasing the number of cases on those.

MR. FLORES:  Peter Flores, Director of Law Enforcement.  We have been working very closely with the industry.  And in fact, I know these gentlemen, and they know me for a long time.  And what happens is, there is a market for small, real small oysters in certain parts of the country.  And when you go to harvest these oysters, and cumulatively put them in a load, well, that is what they are after.

So we are working together very closely with the industry and stakeholders to try to get a hold on that particular market and sustain this important resource for us.  So we are working together with them, Commissioner.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Yes.  Right.  Thanks, Pete.

 Tracy Woody?

MR. WOODY:  My name is Tracy Woody.  I am the general manager of Jerry’s Seafood Incorporated.  And we are for all of the proposals that is before you today.

To give you a little overview of our company, and to tell you kind of that we cover the whole gamut of the oyster industry, we are a 40-plus-year multi-generational family business.  We are one of the largest producer processors.  We have our own boats that harvest oysters.  And we also buy oysters from other fishermen.  And we also buy it from almost every dealer up and down the coast.

As a growing company, we did not particularly like more restrictions and limitations.  But we also realize that if nothing is done about the current trends in the fishery, there will be nothing ‑‑ there will not be enough resources to sustain our business.

If these proposals are adopted and the resource is abundant once again, I would hope that these restrictions can be relaxed.  The reduction of oyster sack limit and harvest time will have the following benefits, protection of natural resource.

With a declining resource and more than double the number of harvesters, after the same limited resource, it is imperative to reduce the sack limit from 90 to 50 sacks and to reduce harvest time from sunrise to sunset to sunrise to 3:30.  This will protect the reefs from relentless pressure and substrate from being ground down to powder.

It will provide a market stability, a better grade of oysters over a longer period of time without flooding the market,  By reducing the sack limit, the harvest time will need to be reduced to keep harvesters from making two trips per day early in the season.  By reducing the time, illegal harvesters will be less likely to hide under the cover of darkness so that they can harvest small oysters and harvest in closed waters which can make people very sick with effects lasting the rest of their lives.

Reduced time will help the fishery comply with time, temperature and metrics as required by the Texas Department of Health.  And the state will save money on law enforcement and reduce hours of patrol.  Again, we are for all of the proposals.

But as Buddy was telling you about the illegal harvest of oysters, what this is is we are in a different era, where the consumer will accept a smaller oyster.  Therefore, the demand is there.  So people try to supply that.  And that is hurting our business.  And as far as telling the wardens, there is not enough of them to do the job.  They are overworked.

You know, you get 100, 150 boats heading to a dock, and there is one or two boats with wardens in it, what are they going to do.  If they catch one or two, it takes two hours to check that boat.  The rest of them got in and sold the oysters, and they are going out of state.  So yes, I think there needs to be some special investigations that could probably lead to charges with the Lacey Act.  Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay.  Any questions.  Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER SCOTT:  Just one question.  To get some knowledge a little bit on this subject.  If Mother Nature cooperates and gives us some rain and stuff, and helps, what would your estimate, since you are very experienced in this obviously, how long will it take for these reefs and stuff to get back in a healthy status?

MR. WOODY:  Oysters are very resilient.  With enough freshwater, not just one rain.  But a long period.  We need a flood actually.  We need a flood to come in and ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  The whole state of Texas does.

MR. WOODY:  Really wipe out pretty much the oysters.  That would get rid of diseases.  We would have all of the substrate.  You would have empty shells there.  You would have a spat set stick on that.

You would have in two years an overabundance of oysters, I would suggest.  It doesn’t take long.  And we need to be able to work with the Commission, the Department, and take care of our resource.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Yes.  Thank you.  Thank you very much.  Any other questions or comments?

(No response.)

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


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay.  Commissioner Scott.


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

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Hearing none, the motion carries.

Action Item Number 19, land acquisition, Yoakum County, 320 acres at the Yoakum Dunes Conservation Area.  Corky.

MR. KUHLMANN:  Good afternoon, Commission.  For the record, Corky Kuhlmann with the Land Conservation Program.  This is an acquisition in Yoakum County.  Yoakum County is at the southern end of the Panhandle, just west of Lubbock.

It is for the Yoakum Dunes Preserve, which is a preserve dedicated to lesser prairie chicken.  It is a joint operation between Texas Parks and Wildlife and the Nature Conservancy.  The Nature Conservancy has some 7,200 acres.  We only have about 250.  But it will be run as a joint venture.

We have negotiated for a 320-acre tract.  The landowner is going to reserve the mineral rights.  Talked over those rights.  We are going to have executive rights.  And we will allow them two pad sites that we will get to hand pick as to not affect the habitat any more than necessary.

This is the location of the tract.  The Nature Conservancy will be getting more money in the future to buy more land there.  Found out this morning, they got a Section 6 Grant that they are going to use in addition to some mitigation dollars they will be getting in September.  So we hope to increase this site in the future.

Staff recommends that the Commission adopt the following motion.  The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission authorizes the Executive Director to take all necessary steps to acquire a 320-acre tract of land adjacent to the Yoakum Dunes Preserve.  I would be glad to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Any questions for Corky?

(No response.)

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


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Commissioner Falcon.


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

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)

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

Action Item Number 20, land acquisition, Presidio County, approximately 520 acres at Big Bend Ranch State Park.  Ted Hollingsworth.  Ted.

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH:  Chairman, Commissioners.  Good afternoon.  My name is Ted Hollingsworth.  I am with the Land Conservation Program.  This item regards the purchase of a section of land, a waterfront section of land in Big Bend Ranch State Park, down in the Big Bend region of the Trans-Pecos.

You have heard about the tract already, but it is one of those historic sections.  It is half a mile of river front and approximately two miles deep.  And in this case, Tapado Canyon runs right up the middle of that section.

A pretty spectacular topographic and geological feature.  Also, already a recreational destination for visitors to the park.  We have been allowing visitation to the Canyon under a recreation agreement with the owner.

The owner is quite elderly at this point and he is trying to settle his estate.  And he has approached us with an offer to acquire that property at a bargain, as a bargain acquisition.  And this is a view looking down the Canyon towards the Rio Grande River and across the river to the Mexican side.  It is really a very pretty tract even for that neck of the woods.

And because of its attributes, and the fact that we have been trying to acquire this tract for quite a number of years, staff would like to recommend that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission authorize the Executive Director to take all necessary steps to acquire approximately 250 acres in Presidio County for addition to Big Bend Ranch State Park.  I would be happy to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Any questions for Ted?

(No response.)

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


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay.  Commissioner Morian.


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

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Good.  Any opposed?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Hearing none, the motion carries.

Action Item Number 21, new park acquisition.  Palo Pinto in Stephens County.  Ted, you are up again.

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH:  Chairman, Commissioners, good afternoon.  My name is Ted Hollingsworth.  I am with the Land Conservation Program.  This is another acquisition.  It has been a long time coming.

As you are well aware, we sold Eagle Mountain Lake State Park about 400 acres in the City of Fort Worth back in 2007.  And with the expectation and the promise to the people there that we would take those funds and invest them in a park site that was a better match for our mission, which is to provide large spaces for low-impact, preferably wilderness-related low-impact recreational experiences.  And it has taken four years.

But we have identified a site that meets and exceeds all of our criteria.  Just in a nutshell, we were looking for a site that is a day use distance from downtown Fort Worth.  At least 2,500 acres, and with recreational amenities.  And by that, I mean pretty places, places that people are going to want to go and take their family and take their pets and visit.

This site includes about 2-1/2 miles of frontage on North Palo Pinto Creek.  It straddles what is known locally as the Palo Pinto Mountains.  It is a particularly graphic example of the Palo Pinto Mountains.  They rise about 400 feet from the banks of the creek, up to the crest of this ridge that the park would straddle.  And the park surrounds 81-acre Tucker Lake, which is owned by the City of Strawn.  The City enthusiastically endorses this project.

You can see Tucker Lake in the center of the tract we propose to acquire.  There are views, literally 360-degree views, from many locations in the site that would be the State Park.  This is what the creek looks like.  And this is a view of Tucker Lake.  The last time we were there, we were treated to a bald eagle foraging over the lake.  It is a very pretty place.

The Nature Conservancy has been absolutely instrumental in this.  In fact, I would like to go ahead and ask David Bezanson to stand up, with the Nature Conservancy.  And I would also like to recognize Julie Shackelford who is with the Conservation Fund.

You heard an item yesterday what would result in the donation of 218 acres to the Agency.  Over the last three or four years, you have probably noted that we have brought you a number of transactions that would simply not have been possible without our private sector partners.  We rely on them.  They provide an invaluable service to us.                       

In this case, without the bush beating of the Nature Conservancy, and I suspect David probably has spent a couple of hundred hours in the field now, searching out properties, we would not be looking at this transaction at this time.  Because of the way the funds are available to us, we would have to complete this acquisition in September.  And for that reason, we are coming to you this morning, or this afternoon and asking that you adopt the following motion.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission authorizes the Executive Director to take all necessary steps to acquire approximately 3,300 acres in Palo Pinto and Stephens counties for future development and operation as a new state park.  And I would be delighted to answer any questions you might have.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Any questions or comments?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  We do have one speaker that would like to come up.  James McNally.

MR. MCNALLY:  Thank you, and good afternoon.


MR. MCNALLY:  Mr. Chairman, Commissioners.  I am a Board member of Texans for State Parks.  And I would just like to say very simply that we wholeheartedly endorse the staff recommendation on this matter.  We think the property would be a great addition to the park system.  And I thank you very much.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Great.  Thank you for coming.

MR. MCNALLY:  Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Thank you for taking the time.

Any questions or comments?  Yes.  Commissioner Duggins?

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  I would just like to comment and say how proud I am of Scott, Ted and all of the Department for the great work that has been done over the years to try to find a replacement park.  And I think you have come up with a spectacular piece of property from everything I am hearing in North Texas, everyone is ecstatic about it.  And I know everybody up here knows how hard you have worked to identify and find the tract.

And David Bezanson, I want to echo Ted’s comments, thanking you for the countless hours that you and your colleagues have put in, in finding this piece of property.  So I am excited about it.  And I just wanted to thank you and tell you how proud I am of this opportunity.  And I hope we will overwhelmingly support your recommendation.  I so move it.

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Okay.  So Commission Duggins.


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  And second by Commissioner Hixon.  Excuse me.  I am sitting here.  I am kind of overwhelmed myself, actually.  All in favor, please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)


(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Hearing none, the motion carries.  Yes.


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Yes.  I want to second or third whatever Commissioner Duggins said, too.  Nobody gave up.  Nobody gave up; it is great.  And for me, the last eight years, and being able to end on this note, it is a neat way to end.

And I am very proud of what everybody accomplished in working hard to honor, I felt, the commitment we made to the various groups in Fort Worth that we had been working with over the last four or five years.  So it is terrific.

So congratulations, everybody.  And with that, our meeting is adjourned.


COMMISSIONER HOLT:  Thank you all.

(Whereupon, at 12:15 p.m., the meeting was concluded.)

In official recognition of the adoption of this resolution in a lawfully called public meeting of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, we hereby affix our signatures this 25th day of August 2011.

Peter M. Holt, Chairman

T. Dan Friedkin, Vice-Chairman

Ralph H. Duggins, Member

Antonio Falcon, M.D., Member

Karen J. Hixon, Member

Dan Allen Hughes, Jr., Member

Margaret Martin, Member

S. Reed Morian, Member

Dick Scott, Member


Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission

LOCATION:Austin, Texas

DATE: August 25, 2011

I do hereby certify that the foregoing pages, numbers 1 through 141, 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.
3307 Northland, Suite 315
Austin, Texas 78731