TPW Commission

Public Hearing, March 28, 2013


TPW Commission Meetings


MARCH 28, 2013




COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Good morning, everyone. Welcome. Good to see everybody this morning. This meeting is called to order March 28th, 2013, at 9:07 a.m.

Before proceeding with any business, I think Carter Smith has a statement to make.

MR. SMITH: I do. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Public notice of this meeting containing all items on the proposed agenda has been filed in the Office of the Secretary of State as required by Chapter 551 Government Code referred to as the Open Meetings Act. I would like for this fact to be noted in the official record of the meeting.

Mr. Chairman and Commissioners, I just want to join all of you in welcoming everybody today. It looks like we've got a full and boisterous crowd here to help us celebrate a few retirements and a bunch of service awards and so nice to see all of our colleagues that have come in for this part of the meeting. We'll take the first part of the meeting to celebrate that and after we're done with that, the Chairman will call a brief intermission and those of you who want to leave after that can do so and then we'll proceed with the rest of the meeting.

Just a couple of little minor reminders if I could. One housekeeping matter, we want to try to keep it as quiet as we can in here and so those of you that have a cell phone or a PDA, I just ask if you can silence it or put it on vibrate for us. Also, during the Commission meeting, we will have a few action items that the Commission will be voting on. For those of you who are here to speak to those topics, we'd ask that you'd sign up outside, at the appropriate time the Chairman will call your name and ask you to come forward to the microphone. You'll have three minutes to address the Commission. Just let them know who you are and who you represent and what your position is on that subject matter.

We will time you. Green means go, yellow means start to wind it down, and red means eject; so keep it to three minutes if you don't mind in the spirit of the meeting. So delighted y'all can be with us today. So thank you, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners.


Next is approval of the minutes from the previous Commission meeting minute -- meetings held January 23rd and February 26th, 2013, which have already been distributed. Do we have a motion for approval?


COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Moved by Commissioner Jones. Second by Commissioner Morian. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any opposed? Hearing none, motion carries.

And now, acknowledgment of the list of donations, which has already -- also been distributed. Do we have a motion for approval?





COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Second Commissioner Jones. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any opposed? Hearing none, motion carries.

And now for retirement and service awards, Carter Smith.

MR. SMITH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Members of the Commission. For the record, my name is Carter Smith. Nice to be with y'all this morning. I hate to disappoint you. You know, Craig Hunter is fond of reminding us that our State Game Wardens have been around since 1895. I think this is the first time since 1895 we haven't had a Game Warden to recognize to kick off this program, and so you're fired. Poor David Sinclair knew that the place was going to hell in a hand basket after he left, Craig. You need to pick up the pace here.

But we will kick off the meeting with recognizing one of our recent retirees who in his most recent position with the Department was a Game Warden. Y'all know him well, Jeff Parrish. And, you know, Jeff really had a very illustrious career with Parks and Wildlife going back 29 years. He started out as the first Park Superintendent there at Choke Canyon when that facility was being built; so he was a liaison, Brent, with City of Corpus and the Bureau of the Reclamation as those facilities were getting developed.

After a few years, the oil field came calling and so he went to work for an oil company for four or five years and, you know, what Jeff said, he recognized though that his true love and his true calling was back in the Department; so he came back to work for Parks and Wildlife, which is where I first met him. Actually, he was a biologist working down at the Daughtrey Wildlife Management Area in South Texas and he worked with a little merry band of South Texas biologists and technicians that did their jobs very well and had fun doing it and I'll leave it at that.

In '92, Jeff went to the Game Warden Academy and was commissioned an officer, was stationed down in South Texas in Falfurrias for a number of years, developed some great relationships with landowners and the community that still exists today. 2009, Jeff was promoted to the Boating Law Administrator and really just did an extraordinary job as all of you know.

Two of his biggest highlights were passing really an overarching boater education bill that's really helped change the face in wake of boater education in this state; and then secondly, the passing of a bill that designates Parks and Wildlife as the lead agency for boating and water safety in the state. Just made enumerable contributions to this organization. A great guy. He and his wife are now retiring down to Costa Rica where she's from and so in the spirit of that, pura vida, Jeff, pura vida. So Jeff Parrish.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Our next colleague who retired after 28 years is one of our longstanding State Park employee leaders, Carl Orbison. And started in Tyler as our Regional Maintenance Specialist there in that region and really played a lead role in developing a bunch of parks over there in East Texas -- Lake Bob Sandlin, Lake Tawakoni, Martin Creek, Cedar Hill, Cooper Lake, Purtis Creek. Got his Class B wastewater and water licenses. Was part of our first safety program in the Agency, helped developed the first safety guidelines; so really set the stage in so many ways for helping to bring safety to the forefront of the Agency, which as you know we've spent a lot of time thinking about and working on over the last couple of years.

One of the other interesting things that Carl was very involved in and I think it's fitting that we mention this, in the 80th year of the Civilian Conservation Corps, which by the way we're celebrating at -- up at Palo Duro Canyon next weekend. He was involved in renovating CCC structures at Caddo Lake and Daingerfield and Tyler. But one of the neat things that he and Janelle Taylor worked on a few years ago during the 75th anniversary of the Civilian Conservation Corps was pulling together a database of the roughly 250 CCC veterans that were still alive 75 years after the program had been established and he -- they collected oral histories from about 50 of them for them to tell their stories about where they grew up and how they joined that program and really launched -- they had a reunion at Bastrop State Park that was just incredibly poignant.

He received one of our State Employee's of the Year Team Award for his work on that project. Awfully proud of his services to State Parks and this Department. Carl Orbison, 28 years of service. Carl.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Our next colleague, Richard Roberts, one of the most talented, creative people we've had at this Agency and retired after 23 years of service to our Communications team. Just an extraordinary individual. He grew up in the little town of Houston, Mississippi, and after spending a little time at the University of Mississippi, ended up transferring to the University of Georgia, where he got his degree in journalism and then he worked in broadcasting and TV in a variety of places from South Carolina to California and Ohio, where he and his wife actually created a TV showed called Ohio Outdoors and that really spawned him to get interested and thinking about this career in promoting conservation/outdoor recreation through TV in a variety of different media over the years.

Came to work for us in 1989, really heading up our team of storytellers and you know what an extraordinary talented bunch they are -- the videographers, the producers that put together the TV show, the radio show, all of the social media programs, those extraordinary videos that you see every year at the Lone Star Land Steward Award events that celebrate the work of those private land stewards, that was Richard's handiwork, among many things.

Just a great leader, steady hand. We absolutely miss him. Richard Roberts, 23 years of service. Richard.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: We're now going to recognize some of our colleagues for their years of service and we are going to start off with one of our Coastal Fisheries biologists, Tom Wagner, who's been with us for 25 years and really one of the foremost experts on Blue crabs throughout the country.

Started over in the Port O'Connor field station and then moved over to Rockport, worked with the Corpus Christi Bay ecosystem team and has been in that mid Coast area really throughout all of his career. Served for 22 years as our representative to the Gulf State Marine Fisheries Commission, their crabs sub committee. He served on our internal Blue crab fishery advisory committees, as well as our Coastal Fishery Division's habitat related committee. One of our natural leaders. Went through that program in 2006, and so we really appreciate Tom's commitment to that.

Very involved in helping to author a report on how we could develop really a watershed based emphasis to our private lands emphasis. I know he's proud of that contribution. During his career, he's authored almost 30 scientific papers on a variety of Coastal Fisheries related topics. Again, just highlighting that longstanding commitment that our Fisheries and Wildlife biologists have to producing the best possible applicable science to help get out there to manage the resources and help author Blue crab management plans for the state of Texas and the Gulf of Mexico.

So made some very, very substantive contributions to the resources that we steward on the Gulf coast. Awfully proud of his service, 25 years service, Tom Wagner. Tom.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Patsy Berry with our Inland Fisheries team who's a Staff Services Officer there out of Waco is again one of those colleagues that really makes this place tick and I now Gary and his team will absolutely attest to that. Started out as an Administrative Tech back when, you know, we were doing everything on Big Chief tablets and recognized that at some point, we were going to embrace the 20th Century and start using computers and so she went and took classes to learn how to use computers for electronic filing and recordkeeping and administration and budget tracking and so forth.

Helped us develop our new business systems Oracle and then later Biz. Got her state certification as a state authorized purchaser so that she could help Inland Fisheries team make all of their necessary and requisite purchasing and comply with the State rules. She's been just an indispensable administrative leader on that team and helping our colleagues implement that mission out in the field on a day-to-day basis.

But she's also gotten involved in a lot of other things. Helping with the State Employee Charitable Campaign, helping to sponsor -- she's very involved in Expo when we hosted Texas Chapter of American Fisheries Society events. She was involved in that and so she's just given her all every chance she could. Twenty-five years of service, Patsy Berry. Patsy.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Another colleague we're going to recognize from Inland Fisheries, Mark Webb. Mark's been on the cutting edge of a lot of our Fisheries management work around the state. Fitting for a Fisheries biologist that he lives in Snook, and so some of you Aggies on one end of the dais certainly know where that community is.

Mark started out in 1988 as the Assistant District Management Supervisor over in Marshall up around Caddo Lake. '91 he was promoted to the District Supervisor there with our Bryan Inland Fisheries team and throughout his career, Mark's really been on the cutting edge of a lot of habitat management related work, a lot of exotic aquatic species controls. Some of y'all have met him with all of his efforts on Giant Salvinia, Native Plant Nursery Project, just he and his team are doing extraordinary things to ensure the health and vitality of our fisheries and our fishing opportunities in our inland waters.

Awfully proud of his 25 years of service, Mark Webb. Mark.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Our next colleague, Steve Schwelling, who is with our Information Technology team, part of our GIS Lab that just does extraordinary cartography and geospatial planning work. Really, really a very talented group of folks.

He started 20 years ago. Was hired he thought as a biologist graduating out of UT. He said on his first day he went to see Dr. McKinney, Division Director, and walked in and Larry said "Who are you?" And, you know, Steve said well he's here to work on conservation and biology issues and Larry marched him down the hall to a long table that was about 10 feet long with a stack of backlogged permits about this high and said "See if you can do something with this" and poor Steve got the task for the next six years of really leading and creating our Permits team and getting that shop in good shape, which he absolutely did.

He left in the mid 90s to go back and get a master's degree there in Texas State in advanced GIS work and cartography. Came back to the Agency, thankfully, to apply his talents in the GIS Lab working with Kim Ludeke. Steve received the Employee Recognition Award for innovation back in 2002 for his work on helping to map and depict the State's coastal paddling trails, as well as a multiagency project called the Texas Environmental Resources Stewards. It was really set up by the Governor's office to help the State plan for environmental impacts and offsets to transportation development in the state.

Awfully proud to have Steve on our team. Steve Schwelling, 20 years of service. Steve.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Another one of our colleagues from Inland Fisheries that's been with us 20 years and who really makes our Hatchery system go round and Hugh Glenewinkel started with us in '93 as a Hatchery Technician just down the road at the A.E. Wood Hatchery at San Marcos, which is really an extraordinary place. Sometime I hope all of you have a chance to see that, particularly during production season. It's really impressive what those scientists and technicians are able to do.

He was promoted to a Biologist in '99. Spent some time at the old Jasper Fish Hatchery before coming back to the A.E. Wood Hatchery. Hugh was responsible for writing the propagation guidelines for how to spawn and produce Black bass, the Culture of Black Bass that we still use. He set records for production of Florida Largemouth bass. You know how that -- how important that is to our stocking Palmetto bass. Again, just been one of those great, great innovators.

2010, the Texas Chapter of the American Fisheries Society recognized him as the outstanding fisheries worker in the state and a very, very fitting recognition for Hugh. We're proud to celebrate his 20 years of service as a Fisheries Biologist for this Agency, Hugh Glenewinkel. Hugh.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Our next colleague, Dennis Gissell from our Wildlife team has been with us 20 years. Dennis came to us from the State Fire Marshal's Office and lucky to have him as our Program Administrator in the Private Lands and Public Hunting Program.

He was involved in the early National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Grant, administering that, which we had cost share programs to provide technical assistance to landowners to help improve habitat on private lands. Authored our Making Tracks for Wildlife newsletter, which was a newsletter that we got out for private landowners to help give technical assistance to them on habitat management options on private landowners with -- on private lands. Worked very extensively supporting our technical guidance biologists around the state.

In the late 90s, Dennis was promoted to our Facilities Coordinator for our Wildlife Management Areas around the state. As all of you know, you know, we have almost 50 -- I think 49 Wildlife Management Areas around the state that total almost 800,000 acres and these are really places where our biologists, they practice the best science, innovation, research and demonstration, provide public hunting and other outdoor recreational opportunities and so they're really an important cornerstone of your public lands that this Agency stewards.

And Dennis in that Facility's Coordinator role is responsible for all of the infrastructure, essentially all of the things that go on on those WMAs from pipeline and utility easements, archaeological clearances, endangered species related issues, grazing leases, any kind of legal or management agreement that happens on those, Dennis is out working to support our biologists and area managers helping to steward those WMAs and he just takes that responsibility as a steward very, very, very seriously.

He's also a Safety Officer for this Agency and works to represent this Division very proudly each and every day. He's a great friend. Dennis Gissell, 20 years of service. Dennis.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Our next colleague -- God, one of my favorites in the Agency -- Fernando Gutierrez. Hell, I've known him for 20 years and called him Pablo. I'm not about to call him Fernando now; so you're out of luck, Pablo. Pablo started there at the Kerr back in 1993. And again, the Kerr Wildlife Management Area, one of the most famous WMAs really across the country and Pablo had a chance to really study and work under the tutelage of Donnie Harmel and Bill Armstrong, Mark Edinburgh.

And over that 20-year career, he really has been a go-to guy if you want to get something done in the Hill Country and whether it's trapping deer, studying bats, studying endangered species, doing prescribed fire, managing the deer pens at the Kerr, building something, fixing something. As Dale Prochaska our Regional Director said, you know, when we've got a new rookie wet behind the ears biologist or technician, we pair them up with Fernando to teach them how to do it and do it right.

He's just got a great sense of humor. He's a wonderful member of our Wildlife Division and couldn't be more proud of his 20 years of service. Pablo Gutierrez, come on forward.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Well, our next colleague is Pablo's boss, Dale Prochaska; and so maybe Pablo wants to come up and say a few words. Dale started 20 years ago and, Dale, you had the best job in the Agency at that time. Dale was working with David Lobpries and there was just all of these waterfowl studies going on over on the Lissie and Garwood and Katy and Eagle Lake Prairies. There had been an avian cholera and die-off in that area and so very concerned about water quality and waterfowl congregating on small areas of wetlands and being exposed to disease. Plus, there was an international study of White-fronted geese and so a bunch of geese had been put -- put neck bands with certain alphanumeric codes on them.

And so Dale would get to roam the Coastal prairies with his spotting scope on his window identifying, trying to read those neck bands and so he spent a lot of happy days in the field. Now as a Regional Director, I assure you he misses those days. Dale went on to work on the Central Coast Project. Worked at the Richland Creek Wildlife Management Area. Moved on to the Gus Engling Wildlife Management Area over there in Anderson. Again, another one of our flagship Wildlife Management Areas in East Texas, just on the cutting edge of a lot of great stewardship work.

After he spent almost a dozen years in East Texas, moved over to the Hill Country. Found his way to the Kerr Wildlife Management Area where, again, Pablo trained him like he trained all of us. But I love what Dale said about why he's at Parks and Wildlife. He said when he went to study wildlife and fishery science at Texas A&M, he went to see his adviser and he said the one thing I want to do when I get out of college is work for Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

God bless him. Dale Prochaska, 20 years of service, our Regional Director in the Hill Country.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Our next colleague, Calvin Richardson, also started 20 years ago and Calvin is now our District Leader up in the Panhandle. He started up in Lubbock as a Wildlife Biologist there working on Mule deer and antelope and Sandhill cranes and waterfowl. Moved over to Midland as a Technical Guidance Biologist working with private landowners throughout really the vastness of the Trans-Pecos on Mule deer and got very involved in the Bighorn sheep program for a while.

Launched one of the first Trans-Pecos wildlife conferences, bringing together landowners and biologists and land managers out there. Helped pioneer kind of our methodology for browse surveys out in West Texas for assessing the quality of habitat in the Trans-Pecos. And then in 2009, he moved back to the Panhandle in the canyon to become our District Leader and he leads a very dedicated group of biologists that are doing work up there on Lesser Prairie Chicken, which you heard a lot about yesterday. Calvin has been at forefront of that. Turkeys, quail, deer, waterfowl, you name it.

Awfully proud of his leadership, 20 years of service, Calvin Richardson. Calvin.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: We had a whole gaggle of Wildlife biologists that started 20 years, and so we're going to keep going. Jay Roberson, and we poached Jay from Utah where he was a Regional Wildlife Biologist there. Jay come over to work for Parks and Wildlife heading up our Small Game and Migratory Game Bird Program; so he's very involved in all of our hunting regs on Sandhill cranes, Woodcock, Mourning dove, White-winged dove.

He and a team of biologists around the country really pioneered one of the very first kind of harvest -- population of harvest model for doves that is still used today to help estimate abundance and I know he's very proud of that. And he's also commented, you know, in his 20 years here, he's seen White-wings go from, you know, a species that we thought, you know, may even be just consigned a few little parts of South Texas to literally explode all over Texas and then now, you know, even outside the state going up the Great Plains. So he's seen a lot of changes there.

Jay was involved, heavily involved with assessing hunter attitudes on the study that we've done on lead and non-lead shot. Very involved in developing that experimental design and methodology. 2008, he was promoted to a program supervisor to oversee all of our Wildlife research contracts that we have with universities around the system and put in place a methodology for evaluating and scoring proposals and helping us identify the right and the best research projects for this Agency to pursue to help answer our questions.

His family has been very supportive of him throughout his two decades of service with this Agency. Twenty years of service, Jay Roberson. Jay.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Our last colleague is also in Wildlife and she's one of those that just -- you think about the Parks and Wildlife family and the spirit, you can't help but think of Janie Whitaker. She started in 1988. She's worked for State Parks. She's worked for our Legal team, Resource Protection, and now Wildlife and she's our HR contact over in Wildlife supporting the 350 or so employees around -- how many? 300, okay. I was trying to give you an extra 50. I'd bet you'd take them. Yeah, yeah, I saw you writing them down, yeah.

Yeah, so the 300 más o menos employees in Wildlife and everybody just says that Janie just tackles every project that she can just with great commitment and dedication. She's got a great work ethic and she brings a wonderful attitude to her job every day. She's deeply admired. People around this Agency care about her a great, great deal.

Twenty years of service, Janie Whitaker. Janie.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, that concludes my presentation. Thank y'all.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: We'll just take a couple of brief minutes.

(Recess taken)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Okay, we're going to get started here. Before -- before we get started with our first action item, I just want to recognize former Commissioner Bivins, who's here with us. Mark, thanks for being here today.

So first order of business, Action Item No. 1, Approval of the Revised Agenda; Action Item No. 8, Land Acquisition, Yoakum County, approximately 4,500 acres as an addition to the Yoakum Dunes Preserve has been withdrawn from the agenda at this time. Do we have a motion for approval?

Moved by Commissioner Hixon. Second by Commissioner Martin. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any opposed? Hearing none, motion carries.

Item 2 is a rule review, recommended adoption of proposed changes and complete -- completed rule review, Ms. Ann Bright. Good morning, Ann.

MS. BRIGHT: Good morning. Good morning, Commissioners. I'm Ann Bright, General Counsel. And we are wrapping this up. You've seen this a number of times. We have to review rules every four years. We are -- we do it in a three-meeting process. We're at the third meeting of the last batch of these.

As you can see, we've kind of gotten to the end. We're today looking at fisheries, oysters and shrimp and wildlife. We're -- let's see. The -- as you know, we go through these rules. We identify changes. The majority of these are cleanup. One of the things that happens sometimes when we do a rule review is we realize that a chapter may need a lot more work and we just set that up as a separate project and that's going to -- you're going to see some of that out of some of this.

Under the Subchapter A, we're cleaning up some provisions about Grass harp plant -- Grass carp, excuse me, plants; exotic species. We're clarifying some definitions in Subchapter C. Again, clarifying in Subchapter D. We're cleaning up some of the species in Subchapter E. We're replacing the appeal process in Subchapter F with the review panel, which is something we've been using fairly successfully in some of the deer permits. We're adding some references in H. The Nine-Mile Hole State Scientific Area, that provision has expired; so we're deleting that.

We're modifying some notice requirements and then there are some other changes because of the timing of this, some of these changes are also in some chapters that are being impacted or some sections that are being impacted by the statewide and we're going to handle those in connection with the statewide. Changing the title there. Wildlife, we're replacing the term "Conibear." That was a -- actually, a trademarked name. And then throughout -- and this is really one of the benefits of -- the big benefits of rule review is we just get the opportunity to do some cleanup. I'm not going to read this motion because it's very long, but staff is requesting adoption of the motion on your screen.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Questions for Ann? Okay, and nobody is signed up to speak on this one. So motion for approval?



COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: -- I do have one question. Ann, on -- on 57, you're on 57.112. Can you pull that out? Page 102 in our notebook, if anybody cares to read it. Do you have that?

MS. BRIGHT: Yes, sir. 102?



COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Where the change would be to take or possess -- excuse me, to release into the water, import, sell -- do you see that paragraph?


COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: And it ends harmful or potentially harmful exotic fish, shellfish, or aquatic plant.


COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: But if you go to 57.111, we use the term exotic species and I'm just wondering if we should use the defined term as opposed to that. I know this is picayunish, but we don't define that I see exotic --

MS. BRIGHT: I'm trying to find -- are you looking at the definition of exotic species?

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: It was the intent to cover -- for that to cover exotic species, which would be a nonindigenous aquatic plant, fish, or shellfish not normally found in public water in the state.

MS. BRIGHT: I think there's a difference between exotic and then harmful or potentially harmful. I might ask Ken -- I'm going to ask Ken Kurzawski to help on this.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: How about if I come down there, and we have the same piece of paper. We've got that definition, but we don't use that over here. I'm just asking was that the intent to cover this, or to use it as it's written?

MR. KURZAWSKI: Yes, I believe the definition is more all encompassing. We were just trying to define exotic species and in our rules, we define the harmful and potentially harmful exotic fishes, those are the ones we named that you can't -- that are on the prohibited list.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: But should you use -- should we use exotic species here instead of exotic fish, shellfish, or --

MS. BRIGHT: Okay, I see what you're seeing. Those -- those are actually...

MR. KURZAWSKI: Those are the ones that are --

MS. BRIGHT: Are listed.

MR. KURZAWSKI: -- that are particularly covered by the rules, so.

MS. BRIGHT: And that's probably because that wasn't a section that we're changing.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: It's in another section? Okay, fine.

MS. BRIGHT: I presume, yeah.

MR. KURZAWSKI: Well, that's the first -- first part of 57.


MS. BRIGHT: Did you find it?

MR. KURZAWSKI: It's on the exotic species list.

MS. BRIGHT: Okay, thanks to Ken. If you look on page 95 of your handout of your book and I think we do this for the other listed items, too. We define harmful or potentially harmful exotic fish by listing those species.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: But we don't define shellfish or aquatic plant potentially --

MS. BRIGHT: We do, I believe; but not in this section.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: That's -- okay, that's all I was trying to get at. Thank you. Sorry to delay it.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Appreciate it. Okay, motion for approval? Commissioner Martin. Second Commissioner Scott. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any opposed? Hearing none, motion carries. Thank you, Ann.

Next is Item 3, 2013-14 Statewide Hunting Proclamation, recommended adoption of proposed changes, Mr. Shawn Gray. Good morning, Shawn.

MR. GRAY: Good morning. Good morning, Mr. Chairman and Members of the Commission. For the record, I'm Shawn Gray. I'm the Mule deer and Pronghorn Program Leader and today I'm seeking adoption of changes to Mule deer and Pronghorn regulations.

Based upon data from our opinion survey, which I have previously presented to this Commission in past meetings and yesterday, the majority of respondents supported an extension to the existing Mule deer MLDP season and preferred a January closing with the current opening date. In addition, this Commission preferred extending the MLDP season to the last Sunday in January. Staff have no biological concern extending the MLDP season to the last Sunday in January.

Therefore, staff recommend lengthening the Mule deer MLDP season by changing the closing date from the first Sunday in January to the last Sunday in January. The opening date would remain the same.

As I shared with you yesterday, Pronghorn populations in the northern Panhandle have increased steadily and continue to expand their range. As a result, permit demand has increased which has resulted in increased staff time spent on population survey intensity, permit issuance, and complaint resolution. To address these issues, staff have proposed a 3-year experiment that would allow a landowner controlled buck harvest in three herd units in the northern Panhandle.

This map illustrates current Pronghorn herd units in the northern Panhandle. The herd units in red are the herd units proposed for the experimental season. In order to effectively monitor and assess hunter behavior and harvest impacts during the pilot project, as well as to facilitate compliance with proof of sex and tagging requirements, the proposed rules will require hunters to obtain a Department issued experimental permit. During the experiment, making the permits available at local stores in the Amarillo, Dalhart, and Pampa areas and/or at TPWD offices in the Panhandle is a preferred option.

Since the annual person bag limit is one Pronghorn, only one experimental permit would be given to each licensed hunter. These permits will be available to hunters from August 15th to season close. Staff will use mandatory check stations in the area of the experimental season to collect harvest data on the total harvest and age structure of harvested bucks. Hunters would be required to present Pronghorn at a check station within 24 hours of harvest.

Of course, annual population surveys will also continue in these herd units to acquire population trend, reproduction, and sex ration data, which will be compared to data from other similar herd units to determine effects of the experiment, experimental season. If after three years, data suggests minimal or no decline in Pronghorn numbers, sex ratios, average buck age structure, and hunter success, then staff believe no negative biological impacts would occur with the landowner controlled system for bucks.

Staff would then recommend retaining the landowner controlled buck harvest structure on a permanent basis in the three herd units and would investigate the suitability of additional herd units in the northern Panhandle. However, if data at any time indicate that the experimental season is causing negative biological impacts, staff recommend termination of the experimental season.

Public comments that were germane to the proposed Mule deer and Pronghorn regulation changes from public hearings and our website indicate that over 90 percent of the respondents supported both proposed regulation changes. Staff recommend that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts the repeal of 65.30, amendments to 65.3, 65.34, and 65.40 and new 65.30 concerning the statewide hunting proclamation, with changes as necessary to the proposed text as published in the February 22nd, 2013, issue of the Texas Register.

And with that, I would like to take any questions that you might have.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Questions for Shawn? Commissioner Jones.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Might I just make a quick comment, Mr. Chairman. If there is -- if the goals are not being met in the interim period, that is before you finish your -- what is a 3-year study, I assume you would come back to the Board and let us know --

MR. GRAY: Absolutely.

COMMISSIONER JONES: -- what the issues are and that you might need to make a change before you make that change.

MR. GRAY: Yes, sir, that's our plan.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: That's a good point. Any other questions for Shawn? All right, nobody is -- we don't have anybody signed up to speak on this one. Motion for approval, please? Commissioner Scott. Second Commissioner Duggins. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any opposed? Hearing none, motion carries. Thanks, Shawn.

MR. GRAY: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


Next is Item 4, 2013-14 Statewide Recreational and Commercial Fishing Proclamation, recommended adoption of proposed changes. Good morning, Ken.

MR. KURZAWSKI: Good morning, Commissioners. My name is Ken Kurzawski, Inland Fisheries, and I'm leading off today with the fishing proposed regulations and I'll be covering the freshwater. I'll summarize the changes that we are proposing and also public comment.

Starting off, the first one is on Lake Jacksonville. We currently have an 18-inch minimum length limit on Largemouth bass there and we're proposing a change there to a five-fish -- retaining the five-fish bag, but allowing the anglers to harvest two bass less than 18 inches. Our goals there are to allow some additional harvest and also anglers have to -- to weigh some fish within tournaments.

Next on Lake Kurth, we currently have the statewide limits for Largemouth bass, 14-inch minimum, five-fish bag. We're proposing a change there to a 16-inch maximum for bass. This means no harvest over 16 inches and we would allow the retention of a bass 24 inches or longer for weighing with -- or submission to the ShareLunker Program. Our goal there is to protect that quality bass population and increase some of the potential for the harvest trophy bass.

Next on handfishing. That was made legal during the last Legislative session. We're moving that definition into our proclamation and we're also making some clarifications on the restrictions and the definition of a trap to aid angler understanding and also in the enforceability.

Next, Canyon Lake Project No. 6. It's an 82-acre lake near Lubbock. There's a series of other lakes there that are community fishing lakes. Community fishing lakes are those lakes 75 acres or less. There's some confusion there as far as the regulations on the larger Canyon Lake Project No. 6. We do have special regulations on CFLs, which is a no minimum length limit and five-fish bag for Channels and Blues and some pole and line restrictions. So we're proposing to change those regulations for No. 6 to mirror the other CFLs that are close by.

Last is, as Ann mentioned, we have some changes associated with the rule review. We're just going to modify some of the language on pole and line only angling and device restrictions and to -- we're maintaining the original intent and just hopefully make the rules a little bit easier to understand in that section.

And finally our comment summary, didn't receive a lot of comments. Almost all of them were in favor of these proposals. The only -- the only comments that we received that weren't over the -- our online comments were at -- we did receive three comments at the lake -- on Lake Jacksonville at the Jacksonville public hearing and those three were in favor of the proposal.

That's -- based on this, staff is not recommending changes to the freshwater portion of the fishing proposals. If you have any questions, I'd be happy to answer those at this time.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Questions for Ken? Thank you, Ken.

MR. KURZAWSKI: Thank you, Commission.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Robin, good morning.

MR. RIECHERS: Good morning, Commissioners. For the record, my name is Robin Riechers of Coastal Fisheries Division and I'm here to present the 2013-2014 Coastal Fisheries Statewide Proposals.

As indicated yesterday, basically the rules are the same as were presented to you in January with the amendment of the definition of residence included within this context. When we -- the rules that we have before you today, the first one is basically a clarification or a movement of a restructuring of this definition. We just inadvertently didn't move it over to Chapter 57. It's still been in place and been applicable, but this puts it in a place where people will know that it applies to the fishing rules easier.

The second one is in regards to a fish harassment definition. As we've indicated before, this was brought to us by the Coastal User Working Group and we worked on this with them. It basically changes the definition. It removes the words "harass fish" and replaces that with harry, herd, or drive by any means and then it goes on to give a specific instance of a behavior that may indicate that fish harassment is going on.

The third one is possession of Red Drum and bonus Red Drum tags. Currently, you cannot possess those tags at the same time and we basically want to remove that prohibition. We believe there will be no negative impact to the population and certainly make it easier on anglers as they purchase those Red Drum tags. As we've indicated all along, this is one we're going to watch closely. Obviously, our Red Drum populations are doing very well and we wouldn't want to do anything to jeopardize that and we're going to watch this closely.

Lastly on the definition of residence, as was amended or as it talked about in our previous meeting in January, we basically have restructured this definition or redone this definition. It's going to apply only to the fishing regulations and basically it keeps the current intent of the current definition, which prevents the use of temporary residences that would allow us to avoid compliance with possession limits; but it focuses on the permanency of the residence and recognizes the fact that people may have multiple residence.

Like Ken, we have some of the rule review changes that Ann and Ken have discussed. Basically, these are all non-substantive items. They amend some of the scientific names as they've changed through time. We add a definition of crabs, which had been left out of this section in a restructuring. We -- in the clarification, it's basically clarifying some tables there to make it clear that some species don't have bag possession and length limits and then we're basically relocating some sections for clarity as well.

Overall our comment summary, as you can see, is pretty light. We've had a letter from Texas Wade, Paddle, and Pole that supports the fish harassment definition and all of these items were unanimously approved or recommended for approval to this body by the Coastal Resources Advisory Committee last week.

With that, that concludes my presentation and I'd be happy to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thanks, Robin. Questions? Appreciate it, thank you.

Brandi Reeder, good morning.

MS. REEDER: Good morning. Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, Mr. Smith. I am here to speak with you today about the Law Enforcement Statewide Proposal. I'm the Law Enforcement -- I'm the Fisheries Law Administrator, excuse me.

As was mentioned in the August meeting by the public, individuals commonly travel to Federal waters where they will harvest aquatic resources in violation of Federal regulations and return to our State waters in possession of those same illegally taken resources. While patrolling in State waters, State Game Wardens frequently have encountered evidence of these violations of Federal regulations, which they currently refer to Federal courts for prosecution. Typically, these violations include possession of undersized fish, exceeding the bag limit or possession limit, failure to obtain or possess required Federal permit, and others.

During the previous meetings, we have mentioned that the public had requested a State venue for prosecution and Law Enforcement has sought to provide this by providing a -- creating a violation for possession in State waters of aquatic products taken in violation of Federal regulations in the Exclusive Economic Zone.

There was a last-minute change to the next slide, which has the language in it and also major corrections. So if it's okay by y'all, I'll just go ahead and read the corrections that were made. We will amend Parks and Wildlife Code -- or I mean Parks and Wildlife Proclamation 57.976, possession of wildlife resource importation to say for no person in the State may possess an aquatic wildlife resource taken in the Exclusive Economic Zone in violation of any applicable Federal law including, but not limited to, aquatic resources taken, A, during a closed season provided by Federal law; B, within a protected length limit or in excess of a daily bag limit established by Federal law with any gear or device prohibited by a Federal law or without a license or permit required by federal law.

Comment summary, we had 21 people in support; 18 -- 19 in opposition and 11 comments disagreed with this, but appeared to be disagreeing with State Game Wardens enforcing Federal regulations at all. With that said, the staff recommendation is that we -- that the Commission moves forward with adopting amendments and the proposals with your amendments from yesterday to Parks and Wildlife Proclamation 57.971 through 57.973, 57.976, 57.981, 57.982, 57.992, and 57.996 concerning the Statewide Recreational and Commercial Fishing Proclamations, with the changes as necessary to proposed text as published in the February 22nd, 2013, issue of the Texas Register.

Do you have any questions at this time?

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you, Brandi. Any questions? Comfortable with the language changes?


COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you. So motion for approval -- thank you.

MS. REEDER: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Motion for approval on the 2013-14 Statewide Recreational and Commercial Fishing Proclamation? Moved by Commissioner Duggins.


COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Second by Commissioner Jones. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any opposed? Hearing none, motion carries.

Item 5 is Interstate Transportation of Deer through Texas, recommended adoption of proposed changes, Mitch Lockwood. Mitch, how are you?

MR. LOCKWOOD: Doing well, thank you. Good morning, Mr. Chairman and Commissioners. For the record, my name is Mitch Lockwood. I'm the Big Game Program Director and this morning I'm seeking adoption of our proposal pertaining to the interstate transport of deer, White-tailed deer Mule deer, through the state of Texas.

This proposal is in response to a new Federal CWD program that has established some requirements for cervid farmers who wish to transport deer between states. Of course, the Texas borders have been closed to White-tailed deer and Mule deer since 2005 and that was an attempt to address some threats that various wildlife diseases posed to the Texas deer populations and to our cervid industry, our captive cervid community.

The -- the staff -- our staff do not intend to remove that ban on -- that prohibits the importation of White-tailed deer and Mule deer in the state. However, this new Federal rule does preempt the Department's authority to prohibit the transportation of White-tailed or Mule deer through the state of Texas and since those wildlife disease threats do exist, our staff do believe that it would be prudent to promulgate these rules that would set forth some requirements for an individual who wishes to transport deer through the state.

Those proposed requirements include that the deer remain confined in the trailer at all times, that the deer are not commingled with any other susceptible species, and that the trailer be secured with a tamper-resistant mechanical security seal, that the person that's wishing to transport deer through the state notifies our Department 24 to 36 hours prior to entering the state can provide the following information: The name, the driver's license number, and the cell phone numbers of any person accompanying the deer while the deer are in the state of Texas; a description of the make, model, and color of all the vehicles and trailers to be employed in the transport, including the license plate numbers; the unique identifier of the security seal that is used on the trailers; the dates and the times that the person expects to enter and depart the state of Texas; the specific points of origin and the destination of each deer being transported; the species and the quantity of the deer being transported; and finally, the specific route that the transport will follow.

The Department would then issue an authorization number, which must be possessed by the person transporting the deer through the state of Texas and this person would also be required to be in full compliance with the Federal CWD rule, including having that certificate of veterinary inspection while -- in possession while transporting deer through the state. And then the person that's transporting the deer through the state would need to notify the Department in the event that a deer escapes, in the event that the security seal on the trailer must be removed for any reason, and in the event any condition or event occurs that causes the person in possession of the deer to alter their route while traveling through the state.

We've received nine comments on this proposal. All nine were in support. We heard no opposition. And with that, staff recommend that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts new 65.905 concerning the interstate transport of deer through Texas, with changes as necessary to the proposed text as published in the February 22nd, 2013, issue of the Texas Register.

I'll be glad to answer any questions that y'all might have.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thanks, Mitch. Any questions for Mitch? Commissioner Scott.

COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Yeah, Mitch, one quick question. On No. 2 on the tampering with the seal, my only question and concern is how quick can we respond because if you've got deer or any animal in a trailer, you know, obviously that's a very traumatic deal for them. How quick and how will we address the issue in a timely manner to protect the animal in the trailer?

MR. LOCKWOOD: I don't believe that this -- that the seal being tampered is going to stop the movement of those animals. But in the event that that seal is tampered, they should notify the Department and then once that deer reaches perhaps the exit part in the state, let's say it's Laredo, then we could have our Game Warden, if necessary, schedule to meet with him at that location to inspect the new seal that's been placed on the trailer.

COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Okay, thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any other questions for Mitch? Commissioner Duggins.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: I would like to suggest on item -- on the text of 69.905(3) where we -- you say that you have this provision that says a person transporting the deer shall immediately notify the Department in the event of these three occurrences and we say alter the route. I think you ought to say alter materially. I mean if somebody goes 10 miles out of the altered route for some reason, I don't think they ought to have to notify. There ought to be a material change to the route. Not an immaterial change. I would like to suggest we add that. Do you have an issue with that?

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any thoughts on that from staff? Any concerns with that or -- I guess it does leave it to interpretation because material is, you know; but...

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: It does. But I mean if somebody goes 5 miles or a road that's under construction and they have to take a slightly different route, I mean just how technical do we want to be on this, is my point.

MR. LOCKWOOD: I think it's a very good suggestion. I had the same thought that the Chairman had is, is it kind of -- where do you draw the line? Is it a detour around a city, or is it a much larger detour? And so I'm not sure how we would define that.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any other thoughts from...

MR. SMITH: Do you want to think about some kind of mileage? You know, if they detour by 20 miles, 10 miles?

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: I don't -- whatever you think. I'm just suggesting that we not have it where it's any alteration because that could be 100 yards and somebody could --

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Technically, that's -- I think that's a good point, but maybe we can come up with some -- we can quantify it in some way, so I'm certainly open to suggestions on how we could do that.

MR. SMITH: I think Ann is recommending that we just use the material language that you proposed Mr. Vice-Chairman. Our Game Wardens will have discretion on that, and let's trust them to make the right decision on that. Somebody that has to make a detour because of traffic or some other issue, it's not the intent for those individuals to --

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: And I'm not suggesting it would have been.

MR. SMITH: Yeah.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: But I just think it's better to say that you have an accident and you decide --

MR. SMITH: You bet.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: -- to go off route for a little bit, we're not trying to --

MR. SMITH: Absolutely not.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: And we just ought to be clear about that.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: That's a good point. Okay, so we'll go with that language change. Any other input? Everyone good with that? Thanks, Mitch.

MR. LOCKWOOD: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Appreciate it. All right, so all in favor? Motion for approval? Moved by Commissioner Martin. Second by Commissioner Scott. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any opposed? Hearing none, motion carries.

Next is Item 6, El Paso County, 600 acres at Franklin Mountains State Park, Corky Kuhlmann. Good morning, Corky.

MR. KUHLMANN: Good morning.


MR. KUHLMANN: For the record, Corky Kuhlmann. This is a land acquisition to Franklin Mountains State Park, El Paso, Texas. This is a -- it's -- you can see it's off to the west of the park. It's in a highly desirable developing area of El Paso. This is from the Public Utility Board there.

They had a large chunk of land around 1,200 acres they wanted to develop. Some of the conservation minded people in the area didn't want to develop at all. So as a compromise, they are going to sell us at a good bargain sale half of it. If you look at this slide, the red is without the development is what we'll end up with adding to the park. The other picture shows in the white what they will develop and we will own somewhat around that development, the buffer to the existing park.

It's going to be 658.3 acres. Like I said, a buffer. And another thing it'll do, it will additional hiking opportunities in the foothills for the people that -- from the communities that don't venture up to the higher elevations. We received no public comment on this item, and staff recommendation is that Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission authorize the Executive Director to take all necessary steps to acquire a 658.3-acre tract of land as addition to Franklin Mountains State Park. I'll take any questions.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any questions for Corky? Thanks, Corky. Appreciate it. All right, so motion for approval?


COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Moved by Commissioner Hixon.


COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Second by Commissioner Jones. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any opposed? Hearing none, motion carries.

Corky, you're still up. Item 7, Land Acquisition, Nacogdoches County, approximately 50 acres as an addition to Alazan Bayou Wildlife Management Area.

MR. KUHLMANN: And again, for the record, Corky Kuhlmann. This is a small tract, East Texas Alazan Bayou, Nacogdoches County. You can look at the tract. It's the red shown there. One of the important features of the tract and one of the reasons that it's important to us, it gives us the opportunity within the tract itself to build in some levees and dikes to add additional duck habitats.

We will flood part of what we already own, but it will also back up into this 50-acre tract. 50-acres, it's approximately 50 percent swamp; the other half hardwood. An excellent duck habitat, and a lot of common boundary with the park. Again, no comments were received from the public regarding this item. Staff recommends that Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt the following motion: The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission authorize the Executive Director to take all necessary steps to acquire a 50-acre tract in Nacogdoches County for an addition to Alazan Bayou Wildlife Management Area.


MR. KUHLMANN: I'll take any questions.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Questions? Commissioner Scott.

COMMISSIONER SCOTT: This is kind of a broad question, but this brings a point up. Out of curiosity, you know, we control like gravel mining, you know, in rivers and we have to issue permits -- pardon me. I assume -- and maybe that's not a good thing to do, we all get in trouble doing that sometimes. But if we have property anywhere, Parks and Wildlife, if anybody -- we don't issue the rights to harvest the hardwood in this instance -- in other words, in perpetuity -- this hardwood will stay in our deal and people can't retain it like a mineral right, like an oil deal or something, they can't keep that mineral right, which to me timber is the same thing. I'm assuming that's the way it is. I'm just asking you.

MR. KUHLMANN: The -- I don't know that in my time here that has ever come up. Now to say we would never do that as a part of a negotiation to get a tract, if we were interested in a tract of land for it's wetland potential and the guy wanted to keep some timber rights, I'm not saying we wouldn't do it. I'm don't know that we have ever done that in my experience here. In this tract, the owner is keeping the mineral rights and as with most of the properties that we have a say anymore, he's keeping the mineral rights to this tract; but with no right for surface occupancy either for recovery or exploration for those minerals.

But as far as hardwoods, once we purchase this piece of property, any hardwoods that are taken out will be at the recommendation of our biologist. The landowner will have no say.

COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Carter, do you understand my question? This is a broad question on all the dirt that we -- I mean all the timber rights, all the land that we buy that has a lot of timber because I'm familiar with all the harvesting that went on in East Texas for the hardwood, which was kind of erroneous and then they chopped a lot of it down. I'm just curious, I mean if we're doing this, it makes a whole lot of sense; but I wouldn't like it where without our approval, without the Commission's approval, it could be done under a mineral rights agreement. Does that make sense to you?

MR. SMITH: Sure it does. And I think what Corky is saying and absolutely any real estate deal that we would do, we would bring to y'all with all of the requisite terms and so if there was some departure from our longstanding history of making sure that we got as many of the bundle of sticks associated with those property rights -- you know, the air, the minerals, the surface, the timber, anything, water, anything that had value -- you know, we would certainly talk to the Commission about that and disclose it as to, you know, why we felt that was in the best interest of the Agency to give it up.

But generally I think what Corky is saying, there may be some instance down the road in which we'd be willing to allow somebody to reserve some partial timber rights; but it'd have -- that would be a tough threshold to meet. So, yeah. Good question.

COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Thank you, that's fine.

MR. SMITH: Thanks, Commissioner.


COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you. Any other questions for Corky? All right, motion for approval?


COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Moved by Commissioner Falcon. Second by Commissioner Scott. All in favor?

MR. KUHLMANN: Thank you.

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Hearing none -- any opposed? Hearing none, motion carries. Thanks, Corky.

Ted Hollingsworth, Item 9, Request for Pipeline Easement, El Paso County.

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Chairman, commissioners, good morning. My name is Ted Hollingsworth. I'm with the Land Conservation Program. This is an action item and it's in response to a request for a short easement across the extreme northwest -- northeast corner of Franklin Mountains State Park. It's for a 10-inch fuel transmission line that will run from the City of El Paso to a train fueling station just across the border in New Mexico.

We have examined that route, that proposed route, and agree with the applicants that it is the best route for the pipeline. It is adjacent to an existing pipeline easement route through the park. It's only about a thousand feet. They've reduced that permit easement down to a 20-foot width and our natural resource experts have looked at that and looked at that their proposed work plan and have concurred that it's going to minimize the impacts to the park.

You can see it just like in clips that extreme northeast corner of the park and they're taking advantage of a long existing pipeline right-of-way in doing so. It will be -- it will be a standard pipeline installation operation and they'll reimburse the Agency consistent with our easement and damage rate schedule for a 10-year term, which is the standard that y'all have asked us to use.

We received no public comment on this matter and staff does recommend that the Commission adopt the resolution that you have attached as Exhibit A. I'd be happy to answer any questions?

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any questions for Ted? Commissioner Duggins.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Ted, remind me. Do I -- does our easement agreement give us the option to require them to leave the pipeline in the ground or remove it?

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Yes, it sure does. Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: That's all I wanted. Thank you.


COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Ted, did I understand that this is for fueling or is this a transloading site?

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: It is -- it is finished fuels. It will start out with diesel in it, and it's for fueling railroad engines. If those engines move to a different type of fuel, they'll want to change what's carried in that pipeline; but it is finished fuel products.

COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Is this the BN or UP Railroads?

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Yes, sir. Actually, the provider is Magellan and I don't believe -- they did not specify in their work plan to us whose trains were going to be serviced. I think they would like to reserve the right to provide fuel to any operator.


MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: If it's a sole receiver of that fuel, my recollection is that they did not identify that in the request.


COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thanks, Ted. Any other questions? All right, do we have a motion for approval? Moved by Commissioner Hughes. Second by Commissioner Scott. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any opposed? Hearing none, motion carries. Thanks, Ted.

Item 10 is a briefing item, Great Texas Birding Classic. Good morning.

MS. PLANTE: Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners. I -- for the record, my name is Shelly Plante. I am the Nature Tourism Manager in the Communications Division. I'm here to brief y'all about a really exciting relaunch of the Great Texas Birding Classic this year by Texas Parks and Wildlife.

First, I thought I would give you a little bit of background on the event. For those who aren't familiar with it, back in 1997 at the completion of the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trails, Parks and Wildlife launched the Birding Classic and that was the first time we had ever done the event, had very great success; so here we are 17 years later. And over those years, teams have been competing to see who can see and hear the most species of birds on the Texas coast each spring.

This event was used to raise awareness on birds and avian habitat, as well as raise conservation funding for projects right there on the Texas coast in the migratory flyways. So this year we're doing something a little different, and we're looking to launch this event statewide; so we're going to make it bigger and hopefully involve more people and make it more accessible to a larger amount of Texans.

This is what the event looks like. If you've never seen a bird-watching team, this is what we do out in the field and they're typically teams of three to five people. It's pretty gender balanced. We have men and women, boys and girls. This is an adult team of college students and their mentor, who's their college professor. And we have teams all the way up to retirees and seniors in the adult category.

Additionally, we've added a human power tournament, which has been interesting for people. They go out and actually mountain bike many, many miles in very strong winds on the Texas coast. You see them biking with their binoculars around their neck, but they have a lot of fun. They came to the awards brunch with their biking helmets. They really embrace this way to do this in a nonmotorized fashion. And we have kids' tournaments. This is a scout troop that went out with their parents who are scout leaders, but we've had home-schooled groups. We've had teachers who use this as an award at the end of the year for their kids who've done really well in science class, studied their birds, learned the most, they compete for places on the team that gets to go out and do this as a field trip and then they get to age up and be our teenage team. When they're 13 years and younger, they can only compete for about eight hours. Once they age up to teenagers, they get very excited because they can actually go out and bird for a full 24 hours and it's something that they actually do look forward to.

We added a few years back with a request of some groups in the Valley a blind and visually impaired tournament. Most of the birding that you ever do is by ear. When you're out in the field, you hear it before you see it; so it's a great way to involve a new group in getting outdoors and it's been pretty successful in the Valley. They're actually at the Edinburg World Birding Center, they have their interpretation in braille for groups like this to come through and learn bird songs.

And then last, but not least, these are for the people who do not want to drive anywhere. This is what we call the "Big Sit." They actually bird from a 17-foot diameter circle. They can come and go as they please all day and it's wonderful for beginners and newbies because only one person really needs to ID the bird on this team; so it's a great way to teach birding to others, let them know what they're seeing, teach them how to use a spotting scope. So it's a great entry level tournament as part of the Birding Classic.

So for the first 15 years, as I said, it was a coastal focus. We had launched the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail. It's three trails -- upper, central, and lower Texas coast. And that's where we are focusing our attention because they were the only trails we had. And we've raised money through registration fees, sponsorship dollars and over the years we've now given over three-quarters of a million dollars to on-the-ground habitat conservation projects right there on the Texas coast in the flyway on behalf of the Birding Classic.

And winning teams, they're not really competing for prizes. What they are competing for is to help us select which projects get funded and it's been a great win-win. So I've been fielding a lot of calls from media lately wondering why we're changing it. If it's been so successful all these years, what has caused us to decide to re-envision what it should look like and a couple of key events happened in the past two years.

One was with the success of the coastal birding trails, we took that program statewide. We now have nine maps that cover the entire state of Texas and we completed those maps in 2011 with the launch of the Far West Texas Wildlife Trail. Around the same time later that year, our nonprofit partner on the Birding Classic who we'd had from 2005 to 2011, decided that they didn't want to return in 2012 and so Parks and Wildlife could either take it back or we could end the tournament.

Well, with the completion of all the trails and the ability of it being back with us and not with a coastal partner, this was a great opportunity to really take this event statewide, involve more people, and make it so people could do it in their own backyard, their local state park, wherever they want to do it, they could even do a "Big Sit" in their backyard. So there wasn't enough time to really truly plan a great event for 2012; so we decided to take that year to reorganize, do some planning, and figure out what we wanted the Birding Classic to look like when we took it statewide.

And as a result of that, 2012 became a very informal year. We have teams that do this every year. This is what they do with their friends, their family. It's their tradition, so we didn't want to take it away altogether in 2012 when we were thinking; so we had an informal event. While behind the scenes, I created a planning team that included both staff here at Parks and Wildlife, our staff ornithologist Cliff Shackelford, Darcy Bontempo, and then we had many external partners. So some of our corporate sponsors from the past, community partners, as well as team members and mentors.

So through e-mails, conference calls, and meetings last fall and summer, we really had some time to think what this should look like, how it would most effective, how we could streamline it and still be very successful with outreach and this is what we've come up with. We have a re-envisioned event that's statewide. We're going to -- these nine regions, these colorful regions, those are actually the nine Great Texas Wildlife Trail map regions and you can see the three blue ones on the coast. That's where we all started.

And we have expanded this event. It used to be a week-long event. We chose what day people could go birding. We were very restrictive about that. If someone had a conflict, we didn't have an alternate. So by expanding this event to a month-long tournament, letting people pick the day on the fly, they can watch weather patterns, they can watch bird migration, they can just see when they have a work conflict or a free day and they can pick their day on the fly when they want to participate.

There are new categories. We've added a State Park tournament where people can go bird within one of our state parks for an entire 24-hour period and State Parks will be eligible for one of the grants. We have a sunrise-to-noon tournament for people who don't want to bird for 24 hours and then we have new regional big days for all nine regions. It's no longer just on the coast.

So through this expanded format, we really are expanding geographically. We're getting bigger. It's broader. We're allowing more people to participate, but we're streamlining everything behind the scenes to decrease the amount of work on Parks and Wildlife's end. We're doing that through some partnerships, some sponsorships, and we are putting everything online. Everything that used to be a publication that we mailed out is now streamlined and online -- registration materials, payments, checklist submission. All of these things that used to have to be managed with quite a lot of work hours are now going to be done online and decrease our workload.

We launched the new website in mid January to explain to people what was going on, what the Birding Classic was going to look like. And with that launch, we were able to start marketing and promoting this event. We did it through traditional media with a new video news release. It was actually a redo of an old video news release with a new beginning, new anchor lead. And then we did press releases that was sent out to local media and that got picked up in all the urban areas. They loved the video. They loved the press release. They love the new direction and the fact that it was going statewide.

Additionally, we have a Facebook page for the Birding Classic. We're promoting it through that and the Parks and Wildlife page, doing e-mail marketing and traditional -- just e-newsletters and Parks and Wildlife magazine story. And as I eluded to before, we have these new partnerships that are hopefully streamlining a lot of things and taking a lot of work off of our plate; but also allowing people who are really good at certain tasks to do what they do best and let us do what we do best.

So we've teamed up with the Parks and Wildlife Foundation and they have a registration portal for registration fee payment. We have an online registration form on our own website and then Texas eBird is a portal of the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's eBird checklist submission and we are now partnering with them. That is a screenshot of their home page. The Birding Classic logo is right there at top, and this is how all teams are going to submit checklists. It will go into a big international database of bird sighting, so we're contributing to science that's international now. And then we've brought Audubon Texas on board as an awards ceremony sponsor and they're going to host regional award ceremonies throughout the state.

So to conclude, we have some key dates coming up. Right around the corner, literally on Monday, April 1st, is team registration deadline. So all the teams are kind of coming in right now. We're hearing from a lot of teams all over the state. A lot of State Park teams I'm happy to say, as well as "Big Sits" and other teams that are coming. There are a lot of new names on the list. It's great to see new teams come into the fold. And then we are -- the conservation grants that we award, people have a proposal deadline of May 1st for that and then we have the actual event April 15th through May 15th.

On April 25th, Communications Division is doing our first "Big Sit." We're actually putting a team together. Lydia and I would like to invite any of you who would like to join our "Big Sit," we're doing it right here in the Austin area and it will be April 25th. We're going to have a morning shift and an afternoon shift. If you come in the morning, we'll have breakfast tacos for you. It will be right down the street at Hornsby Bend and we would love to have you and in that vein, if any other Divisions would like to put together a team, we would love to challenge you and see who wins -- Inland Fisheries, Coastal Fisheries, Infrastructure, Wildlife.

I know that a lot of state parks are already doing their own teams within their state park boundaries. They're very excited to be able to have their name on their team. They're also doing "Big Sits," so it would be great to get a lot of Parks and Wildlife participation.

And then to conclude at the end of the event, a couple weeks after the last day on June 1st, we're going to have those regional award ceremonies. We know one will be in San Antonio. We know one will be in Dallas, and the other one is still up to see where we have the team concentration to decide if it should be in West Texas or Houston. And we would like to invite any of you to one of those ceremonies as well. So that wraps up what we're doing this year. It's a big year. I'm happy to answer any questions you have.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you. That's terrific. How many -- so how many people are involved? How many -- how many teams previously, and how many do you envision this time around?

MS. PLANTE: That's always a great question. They all wait until the last minute to register, every year. I mean this our 17th year, and this has always been the case. Right now, we have over a dozen teams registered and I'm in talks with literally a couple of dozen more and I don't know who else is in the wings. So there are people e-mailing me all last night, all today, all this week asking me last-minute questions about how to get their team in, what the fees are, making sure they understand the new guidelines, the dates, how they pick a tournament day. But we've typically had anywhere from 35 to 60 teams when it was on the coast, depending on the year.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: So spreading across the state, that could be pretty big, yeah.

MS. PLANTE: Right. It remains to be seen if this year is going to be this wonderful boom year or if this is going to be a groundwork year where 2014 is where we'll see the real boost in numbers, so.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: How many are new through the social -- recruited through the social media efforts, and how many are retained from previous would you guess?

MS. PLANTE: I would say once we get a team in, they love it and I would say easily 80 to 90 percent of them always return year after year. This year of the dozen I already have, I do not recognize about a third of those teams already and that's what makes me wonder who's going to come in by Monday because there have been some surprises, some people I have never seen before.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Terrific, that's great. Any other questions? Thank you very much.

MS. PLANTE: Thanks.


Another briefing item, No. 11 on our agenda is research on feral hog control, Mr. Justin Foster.

MR. FOSTER: Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners. My name is Justin Foster and I serve as the Research Coordinator for Wildlife Division Region II. I'm here to present to you today the results, status, and direction of Texas Parks and Wildlife's feral pig research program.

Shortly after its inception, the Region II Research Committee and Kerr Wildlife Management Area staff acknowledged the need for greater return on investment from feral pig control techniques. Immediately thereafter, a comprehensive literature review indicated that toxicants and safe delivery systems were promising technologies to increase efficacy of control efforts and reduce costs.

In 2008 -- in 2008, Australian researchers Cowled, et al, labeled sodium nitrite as the Achilles' heel of the feral pig. Sodium nitrite shows promise because it is lethal to feral pigs, and it is commercially available. It remains at the application site and has manageable operator hazards. It produces a rapid lethal effect, causes minimal pain and suffering, and is considered a humane toxicant by clinical standards.

Previous development by Animal Control Technologies in Australia resulted in significant data sets regarding sodium nitrite and HOG-GONE feral pig baits, such that the U.S Environmental Protection Agency indicated to the manufacturer that data sets were significant and likely sufficient for application for an experimental use permit from the Environmental Protection Agency.

It seemed prudent to us to direct our effort towards the investigation of HOG-GONE, a sodium nitrite based bait. Secondary consumers may be at low risk for intoxication because nitrite residuals in affected pig tissues are lower than those found in common table bacon, as seen in this graph here. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is also investigating the possibility of secondary consumers consuming potentially lethal levels of sodium nitrite from stomach tissues, as you see in the lines above 1,000 milligrams per kilogram there.

We do believe that these are very likely to be unpalatable because of the high nitrite levels and the salt aversion of most animals. This would be incredibly salty, so we are investigating that now. Disadvantages of sodium nitrite are that it is unpalatable by itself. It is very unstable, potentially reacting with any bait ingredient that you include with it. Reactions with bait ingredients are likely to reduce potency and acceptability. Stabilization requires the consultation with professional chemists with whom we are currently working with.

Dis -- excuse me. Sodium nitrite is a methemoglobin former. It oxidizes oxygen friendly hemoglobin molecules, converting them to methemoglobin, which is oxygen deficient. This produces oxygen starvation and ultimately death when levels exceed about 80 percent MetHB.

Kerr WMA staff began forming partnerships in 2008 with essential partners. Today these partnerships are international, employing the creativity and resources of both Federal and State governments, academia, and private business. Initially, the partners agreed that TPWD should investigate the potential for effects on nontarget species, which we did.

In 2010, the Texas Department of Agriculture funded effects of sodium nitrite on feral pigs and nontargets. Results of this work indicated that raccoons, the most likely consumer of a bait intended for feral swine, were also very sensitive. Much more so than pigs and deer. White-tailed deer are similar in sensitivity to pigs. However, the HOG-HOPPER is effective at preventing consumption by raccoons and other nontarget species.

In 2010, Kerr WMA staff partnered with the USDA National Wildlife Research Center in a multistate collaboration to investigate the effectiveness and target specificities of the HOG-HOPPER to deliver HOG-GONE to feral pigs in the United States. Results of this work indicated that HOG-HOPPERS are effective at excluding nontargets. Also, that the original version of HOG-GONE, to our surprise, was not readily accepted by pigs in the United States. A recommendation was made to Animal Control Technologies Australia to produce a corn based version. Animal Control Technologies responded by producing four new prototype baits.

In 2011, the Texas Department of Agriculture funded evaluation of HOG-GONE formulations. The results indicated that the four new versions of HOG-GONE were all readily accepted by pigs. The most acceptable version was recommended to Animal Control Technologies and they accepted and that's the bait that they're working on at this time. Funding for this work provided for the construction of phase one of the research facility at the Kerr Wildlife Management Area.

Originally, the facility consisted of one half-acre high-fenced pen, one 5-acre high-fenced pen, and a working facility put together by our staff there to manage, mark, and sort pigs for research projects.

We're looking for a video here. In this video here, you can see a few raccoons doing their best to get into an activated HOG-HOPPER. The Hopper you see there, the door is closed and the only way that it can be opened is for an animal to lift on the bar and push it up. So it was effective in excluding those species. And we have another video here where you will see feral pigs consuming baits at a HOG-HOPPER, and this is in our HOG-GONE formulations trial. You can see that pigs readily accept these baits, very interested in it, and you can see the action of the door and them using their natural rooting behavior to access those baits. Okay.

In 2011, the National Wildlife Research Center funded and led understanding the carpal gland in feral pigs. This work was based on the idea that scent communication could be used in multiple forms of pig control techniques. I'm on the wrong slide here. There it is, excuse me. That's a carpal gland coming from the front legs of a feral pig.

The partnership for this work facilitated the construction of new 30-by-30 pens at the Kerr Research Facility. Those pens facilitate the testing of prototype baits. In 2012, Texas Department of Agriculture funded efficacy and risk assessments of HOG-GONE. Unfortunately due to instability in HOG-GONE, which prevented further testing, we had to come up with a contingency plan. What we did is we compared the lethality of pure sodium nitrite suspended in a concentrate to that of a chemically altered version of sodium nitrite suspended in the same concentrate. Results of that work suggested that sodium nitrite cannot be stabilized and made acceptable to pigs without the skill of professional chemists.

We've tried it in several configurations with highly variable results. Although the modified concentrate was more lethal than the concentrate with pure nitrite, pigs appeared to detect it anyway and consumed the concentrate in reduced amounts. Funding for this work facilitated the ongoing construction of phase two of the pig research facility at Kerr WMA. This will include a new pen of about 5 acres and three half-acre pens. We are also installing a $75,000 feed intake recording system, which will allow us to study every individual and explain the effects of the treatments upon them while in a group or a whole sounder setting.

Program direction in the future, we will evaluate nontarget risks. We will continue to evaluate HOG-GONE versions. We will also explore new technologies and formulations. Our studies of pig behavior and group dynamics are ongoing and they will continue to be until we answer the important questions for control. We will continue to develop this facility as needed.

Here's a timeline of events of best case scenario for the development of HOG-GONE. In December of 2013, we might see an emergency registration for the use of HOG-GONE by the Texas Department of Agriculture. In 2014, it is possible that we could see the issuance of an experimental use permit from the EPA to the manufacturer. This permit allows for the necessary trials to finish the data set to meet the requirements of the EPA in terms of efficacy and safety. And best case scenario for full registry of HOG-GONE could occur as early as fall of 2015.

In closing, I would like to just say that target specific toxicants and safe delivery systems are possible for pig control in Texas. They pose a great benefit to Texans and the global community who are experiencing feral pig management problems. Sodium nitrite remains as a promising active ingredient, but additional work is needed to ensure safety and efficacy. HOG-GONE is a viable active ingredient -- excuse me, a viable candidate for registry with the U.S. EPA.

The Kerr Wildlife Management Area of pig research facility has been identified as critical by our partners to the development and registry of feral pig toxicants in the United States. I would like to thank every member of the Kerr WMA and Region II staff for their ongoing efforts. This work was identified as a priority and it was taken on without relaxing daily operating responsibilities or an increase in personnel until recently. Region II administration has helped us to tackle numerous obstacles where the projected outcome was that it can't be done and that has helped us greatly. Lastly, I would like to thank Wildlife Division and Agency staff for supporting this work. I thank you for your time and with that, I'd take any questions.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you. Any questions? Commissioner Scott.

COMMISSIONER SCOTT: A comment and a question. One, I've got to spend this weekend trying to eradicate coons because they're making my protein bill go up; so I don't know if it's relevant to not let a coon get into that. That's just a comment.

Carter, you told me one time you were headed over to near Hunt. That's the Kerr WMA, right?

MR. SMITH: Yes, sir, uh-huh.

COMMISSIONER SCOTT: You were headed over there on this particular issue, right?

MR. SMITH: To meet with Justin and his team and take a look at the research underway there. It's very impressive. I encourage you to go out and look at it sometime.

COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Yeah, I've been to it before; but not for this issue and I would like to do that.

MR. SMITH: Wonderful. Let's set that up with you, Commissioner Scott, yeah. This research is very pioneering as you can see, very innovative, and has got a lot of application not only across the state, but across the globe. Again, putting the Kerr right where it's always been, at just the leading edge of wildlife research. I would love to get you out there.

COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Obviously, it's a huge issue in Texas, as it is in all the southeast. The feral hog deal is just crazy as we all know; but anyway, so, yeah, I would like to do that.

MR. SMITH: Okay. Yes, sir, we'll follow up with you. Thanks, commissioner.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you. Commissioner Duggins.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: In the studies that you've done so far, have you been able to determine if it would have any effect on say a buzzard that would come in after one of these pigs died out in the field?

MR. FOSTER: That's a very good question. We have not focused specifically on that question. We are actually doing so right now and because of that graph that I indicated to you, the Turkey vulture is critically important to all of us and it is one of the eviscerating species that could be impacted and so we are designing studies as we speak to evaluate that. I do not expect them to consume a tissue that is that concentrated with sodium nitrite; but I could be absolutely wrong and --

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: But that's yet to come.

MR. FOSTER: That is coming, yes.



COMMISSIONER JONES: Do we know whether cattle will eat the product?

MR. FOSTER: That's a great question. In the original testing of HOG-GONE in the early field trials some five to six years ago, I believe -- well, we're always in a drought and when laid on the open range, there were a few instances where cattle did consume a placebo HOG-GONE bait. However, with the HOG-HOPPER or another exclusion device in place and also reformulations and things of that nature, not to mention herd management, I would believe that we can deploy these baits safely without impacting our livestock.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Okay. And I want to make sure I understood what you said earlier -- what you said earlier about human consumption. Once the -- is the meat consumable by humans or not?

MR. FOSTER: This question comes up often. I do not believe I would go around recommending to people that they eat it; but if you look at the graph, it is below the level that we consume this morning in our cured meats and table meats all the time. The manufacturer indicates that it would be safe and I believe with citations and a well documented set of data, I would say, yeah, if it's 12 milligrams per kilogram or whatever it is, there's no problem, we eat that level regularly.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Justin, thank you. Appreciate that. It was great --

MR. FOSTER: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: -- update. Any other questions? Are we good?

All right, I think we've completed our business and I declare us adjourned.

(Commission Meeting Adjourns)

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 _____ day of ______________, 2013.

T. Dan Friedkin, Chairman

Ralph H. Duggins, Vice-Chairman

Antonio Falcon, M.D., Member

Karen J. Hixon, Member

Dan Allen Hughes, Jr., Member

Bill Jones, Member

Margaret Martin, Member

S. Reed Morian, Member

Dick Scott, Member



I, Paige S. Watts, Certified Shorthand Reporter in and for the State of Texas, do hereby certify that the above-mentioned matter occurred as hereinbefore set out.

I FURTHER CERTIFY THAT the proceedings of such were reported by me or under my supervision, later reduced to typewritten form under my supervision and control and that the foregoing pages are a full, true, and correct transcription of the original notes.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and seal this Turn in date _____ day of ________________, 2013.

Paige S. Watts, CSR, RPR
CSR No.: 8311
Expiration: December 31, 2014
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