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TPW Commission

Public Hearing, May 22, 2014

Transcript

TPW Commission Meetings

TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION

MAY 22, 2014

TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT
COMMISSION HEARING ROOM
4200 SMITH SCHOOL ROAD
AUSTIN, TEXAS 78744

COMMISSION MEETING

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Good morning, everyone. This meeting is called to order on May 22nd, 2014, at 9:05 a.m. Before proceeding with any business, I believe Mr. Smith has a statement to make.

MR. SMITH: I do. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners. I want to welcome everybody to the meeting today, and I do have a statement to read. 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 want to join the Chairman and the Commission in welcoming everybody to our meeting this morning. Looks like we've got a standing room only crowd, which is great. We're going to kick the meeting off which is normal and customary with some awards and recognitions of colleagues across the Agency that are really doing extraordinary things on behalf of your fish and wildlife and parks and we appreciate colleagues and families that have come in to help celebrate that.

After that part of the meeting is over, the Chairman is going to adjourn the meeting and those who want to leave can do so at that time and then he'll call the meeting back into session for the specific business that the Commission is going to take up. For those of you who have not been to a Commission meeting before and are here for a specific action item that you want to speak to, at the appropriate time the Chairman will call you up to the podium by name. We'll ask you to state your name and who you represent, your position on the item, and then you'll have three minutes to address the Commission and so we'll ask that you keep it to that.

We've got a little red light, yellow light, green light system. And green means go and yellow means start to wind it down and red means stop. So if everybody can honor that for the Commission, they would appreciate that so we can accommodate the time. But we're appreciative that you're here, and thanks for joining us today.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Thank you, Carter. Before we really get going, we have a little few items to take care of before Carter does the awards. But last night, we had the Texas Land Stewards Award here in Austin and I want to, first off, thank all the Parks and Wildlife staff who helped with that. It was outstanding. Texas and Parks Wildlife Foundation did a great job. You know, these land stewards are our partners. The steward our most precious resource, land, and it's just an honor to get to see them and to get to see what they've done and hear their stories. So anybody that didn't go last night, you missed a great evening and thanks everybody for helping out and getting that put together.

Next is approval of the minutes from the previous Commission Meeting held March 27th, 2014, which have already been distributed. Do I have a motion?

COMMISSIONER JONES: So moved.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Martin, Jones second. All in favor say aye?

(Chorus of ayes)

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

Next is the acknowledgment of list of donations, which have been distributed. Is there a motion for approval?

COMMISSIONER JONES: So moved.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Scott and Morian second. All in favor say aye.

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Any opposed? Motion carries.

Next is the acknowledge of list of contracts, which have been distributed. Is there a motion for approval?

COMMISSIONER JONES: So moved.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Morian, Lee second.

COMMISSIONER LEE: I'll take it.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: All right, Lee. Okay.

COMMISSIONER LEE: I'm in Jones' seat.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Okay.

COMMISSIONER MARTIN: Huh-oh.

COMMISSIONER LEE: I'll make this one.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Okay, you're mixing me up right now. Let me -- let get my train of thought going again. All right, all in favor please say aye.

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Any opposed? Hearing that, motion carries.

Now special recognition, retirement, and service awards, Carter.

MR. SMITH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners. For the record, my name is Carter Smith and thanks for the opportunity to be with y'all this morning. We want to kickoff this meeting with a couple of special presentations and some of the Commissioners that have been with us for a while may recall that each April, Whole Earth Provision and Company, one of the leading purveyors of outdoor camping, hiking, backpacking, outdoor equipment, honors your state parks by designating that Texas State Parks Month in all of their nine stores around the state. They celebrate it, they promote it, they encourage their customers to get out and visit state parks. They give them every ample opportunity to do so. They invite our colleagues from Parks to come in and answer questions from the public.

And then they make a special contribution to support your state parks and it's just be been a wonderful part of their employee culture and their employees love their state parks. They use them actively and they do everything they can to help promote them and conserve them. The other thing that they do is they bring in the Banff Film Festal each year and this is this amazing collection of shorts on these extraordinary outdoor activities. The movies are absolutely amazing and they host that down at the Paramount here in Austin on a Saturday and Sunday night and each year they give an opportunity for our State Parks colleagues. This year, Brent and Russell were there to help talk to the audience about their state parks and so Whole Earth has just been a phenomenal partner.

Walter Wakefield, one of the owners, is with us today, as is Holland Jones who's a second generation family member. His dad and uncle helped found the company. They all have connections to state parks. The Jones family, in particular, their cousin's ranch, the Kickapoo Cavern State Park and Natural Area that was ultimately transferred over to the Department. So they've got a long history and so I want to ask Walter and Holland to come up and make a special presentation and let's thank them for their support of your state parks. A great partnership.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Very nice.

I don't know if many of you have had a chance to meet Maria Araujo, who is our Director of International Affairs and she works closely with government officials in Mexico and Canada. Really is just our liaison for international work and does a great job. We all know that fish and wildlife ignore geopolitical boundaries.

Commissioner De Hoyos I know knows that Maria has been very involved with Board of Governor's Table and the Wildlife Table and representing the Department in that regard and she's just been an amazing ambassador and emissary for the Department and all of our issues. Again, crossing country borders.

Today, she's getting honored by the Coast Guard for her work with helping them reach out to Spanish speaking audiences. The Coast Guard maintains a database of boating accidents and obviously we all use that to help us with promoting safety and getting a better handle on how we do that better. And as the Spanish speaking demographic has grown in our country and along with the requirement to fill out boating accident forms, the Coast Guard recognized they needed some help to, again, to reach out to those groups, develop an appropriate reporting form for Spanish only speakers and so they came to Cody Jones, our Assistant Chief in Law Enforcement.

Cody knew exactly who to go to and that Maria and so she has worked with the Coast Guard over the last year to help develop this form and the Coast Guard is here today to honor her with their Partners Pride Award and I want to ask Maria to come forward as we acknowledge her for her important work. So congratulations, Maria. And Cody, too.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Maria, I don't want you take it personally that we took three pictures of you and six of the check; but it's -- okay, all right.

So we've got one colleague that has retired on us and he's left footprints all over the state in terms of influence in Outdoor recreation and that's Andy Goldbloom. Andy has been with us almost 30 years, 28 years. He started out in State Parks as a planner. Andy produced the first economic impact study in Texas on the benefits of state parks to local communities. You've seen subsequent reports that have come out on that from the Comptroller who issued one a few years ago.

We're currently in the throes of another one in partnership Dr. John Crompton at Texas A&M and that study will come out and available to the Commission here later on in the fall. Andy again working with a variety of things inside State Parks. Created the Greenways Program helping to promote access to public waters. Two of the big Rails to Trails Projects up at Lake Mineral Wells and Caprock Canyon State Parks where came about as a function Andy's leadership.

Most recently you will know him from his work in the Recreational Grants and Trails Programs and over the last few years, Andy has capably administered, you know, over 50 million -- or nearly $50 million in grants to communities and partners to help get people outside and so Andy has lived that mission of life better outside and we're honoring him to today with his retirement and thanking him for his 28 years of proud service to the Department. Andy Goldbloom, Andy.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: So that's it with retirements, which that's good. I'm proud to announce that; so now we're going to acknowledge folks for their tenure, continuing tenure I might add. We're going to start off with Chris Hunt, who's a graphic designer and -- she's got a little fan club obviously, and so that's good.

Chris has been with us 20 years. I love this story. She said that she was over here hiking the trails at McKinney Falls and she came out of the woods and she noticed this, in her words, rather odd looking building and she wandered in and anyway, what is it of course, our headquarters. And they offered her a job in something called ISS. I have no idea what that stands for, but her job was to create slides. Do you remember that? Remember slides you put in a carousel? You know, you have to turn them over backwards and upside down. You'd always screw it up. Half your slides were the wrong way.

So, anyway, Chris was put in place to fix the rest of us who couldn't handle the carousels and creation of slides and she quickly worked her way up as a really, really accomplished and creative graphic designer and you'll find that inside the Agency. There are all these wonderful creative geniuses that are on our Communications team that produce these amazing products and she works in our creative and interactive services and you see her handywork in marketing and ads and the magazine and the Outdoor Annual and publications and just does a masterful, masterful job of doing that and we're proud of her 20 years of service, Chris Hunt. Chris.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Now, Chris, I'm going to have to give you a hint. You don't want to make your Division Director chase you down the aisle to congratulate you, so it's -- at least not while the Commission is in session. All right, Chris? So 20 years from now, let's get that one right. All right?

Okay, our next one, Leo Kunkel and, you know, what a great jack of all trades. He's down at Goliad State Park and if you need a plumber or a carpenter, someone to build something, to fix it, to operate a backhoe, to fix the park after flood events, put in campsites, I mean Leopold is your guy and he's a Maintenance Specialist with us.

He's a very, very proud steward of that very, very special place. You know the significance obviously of Goliad and the missions and General Zaragoza's birth place and the Fannin battleground and candidly we just couldn't take care of that place with him and we're very, very proud to celebrate Leopold's 20 years of service. Leopold Kunkel, 20 years.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Our next colleague, J. Hess, who many of you know as our Superintendent at Lockhart State Park. He's one of those Parks and Wildlife lifers. Started out in high school and worked for the Agency in a variety of fashions -- collecting entrance fees, working at the swimming pool as a life guard, came into the Austin office and worked for a while.

In '96, he was hired as a full-time Park Ranger there at Lockhart State Park. Went on to work at Bastrop and Buescher State Parks as a Park Specialist. Was an interim Manager at Guadalupe River State Park and then in 2004, he was promoted to the Park Superintendent just down the road in Lockhart, the position that he holds now. And it's a very special and unique park. One of -- I think probably the only park in which we've got an active golf course and a swimming pool that the community holds near and dear, some wonderful CCC buildings, great hiking trails. The community just loves their state park and J. has done a masterful job of developing those relationships with everybody and helping to promote it. We're proud of his leadership and honored that he's been with us for 20 years. J. Hess, 20 years of service. J.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Our next colleague, Susan Wagner, who's with our HR team, just epitomizes the spirit of this Agency. She's been with us for 20 years. She started out as an Accounting Clerk in Boat Registration and really promoted rapidly there. Made customer service to counties and boat owners just really a hallmark of her service to this Agency.

She transferred over in 2000 to the HR Division working in training. Susan is part and parcel of every new employee orientation. One of the first people that anybody coming to the Agency when they come to the headquarters have a chance to meet. She's been part of our Natural Leaders Program, our Employee Recognition Awards, our Survey on Employee Engagement. Susan is the one behind the scenes always and out front, too, helping to represent us and make sure that all of our employees feel comfortable and supported here at the Department.

Also, I'm proud to say that she was recently appointed to serve a two-year term for the Governor's Commission for Women State Agency Council and we're proud to have her representing the Agency in that capacity and today we're celebrating 20 years of service, Susan Wagner with our HR team. Susan.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Our next colleague, Cindy Schiffgens, has been with us for three decades. She works in our IT team. She's a -- started off her career as a Programmer Analyst and, of course, at that time we still had IBM punch cards. You know, the computers were about the size of this room. And Cindy was responsible for, you know, keeping the railroad going and so when things broke down with computers in the middle of the night, it was Cindy who got the call to come over here at 2:00 a.m. and make sure things were fixed by the next day and thankfully those day are in the past, I hope, for Cindy.

She's been involved with everything from mainframe applications to web development, the develop of all of our financial software and business software. Cindy, again, the expert programmer behind the scenes helping to make that work and all of you as business people know the critically of having those back functions work very, very well to support all of the work in the field. She's moved upwards through the Division very, very steadily. She's now a Systems Analyst V with the IT team, a proud member of the Agency's Green team that worked very hard on recycling and other important environmental initiatives here at the headquarters and locally and today we're honoring Cindy for 30 years service to your Texas Parks and Wildlife. Cindy.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: The last item of business that we have is it's my privilege to introduce a great friend and a great friend to the outdoors and a great friend of youth and Texas and that's Leon McNeil. Leon is from San Antonio. He's the founder and president of the City Kids Adventures, and Leon is one of the most wonderful people that you'll ever meet.

He went to Abilene Christian on a football scholarship out there. Met friends that introduced him to into the out of doors and just turned him on to a love of fishing and hunting and camping and wildlife. But what Leon did was take it another step further. As an accomplished teacher, he recognized the most important thing that he could do was help give kids who, like him, had grown up in challenging environments and help broaden their horizons, expose them to an area outside their communities, teach them incredibly important lessons on accountability and discipline and leadership and self-esteem and moral. And with those lessons, then came rewards and the rewards were opportunities for service to give back and then also to experience things that Leon loves in the outdoors and hunting and fishing.

And he and his wife, Leticia, have just done an extraordinary job with this leadership program, City Kids Adventures, and we've invited Leon as one of our core partners to come share a few words about the very, very important work about what he's doing because what Leon McNeil is doing, he's changing lives. Leon McNeil.

MR. MCNEIL: Thank you for allowing us to be here and speak with you guys. Mr. Smith did a wonderful job of kind of explaining a little bit about our program. Our whole mission is to develop youth, and we use the outdoors to try and do that. We run a mentoring program. Kids start in our program from the 6th grade and they stay with us hopefully until they get to these gentlemen's age, which they're at A&M now in college and they go on to aspire to do good things with their lives.

The outdoors for me is just a blessing to be out there. Growing up in the inner city and seeing all the things that you have to deal with in inner city, the outdoors gave me an opportunity to have a release and I saw how it impacted my life and I felt, you know, kids also need to have an opportunity to be able to do that and experience that. Through partnership with the Texas Parks and Wildlife, you guys gave us our first grant to get started and I saw the impact that it had in terms of the things we're able to do and expose the kids to the different opportunities of hunting and fishing and hiking and traveling.

We kept tweaking the program over the years and we realize that the kids need so much more than just outdoor lessons and with the outdoors, we were able to use that to hook the kids and to get -- basically get them to buy in to changing their lives and letting them understand that this world we live in is a wonderful place and if you want things in life, you can work for it. And our motto is hard work has many rewards.

As stewards of the environment, like we refer ourselves to, we have partnerships with a lot of landowners and one of the things that we make sure we do is give back. It's not what we refer to as a government program where the kids get something for nothing. They understand the importance of when you have the opportunity to visit someone's property and fish and hunt, that's a privilege and with that privilege comes a lot of responsibility and so we make our kids engage in service projects.

If the landowner needs some trash picked up, if he needs a fence painted or something to that effect, then we make sure our kids understand that this is part of your hard work, this is part of your reward, and this is our way of saying thank you for giving us opportunity. Because oftentimes kids in inner city, if you simply give them an opportunity, they'll respond. And so we've found that over the years with the young men and women that we deal with, our program services boys and girls and we try and teach they that they can involve and enjoy being outdoors with each other without having to think about each other in varying negative ways.

And so with that said, I'm going to show a video. We're going to show a video to kind of give you an overview of our program, the different activities that we are involved in -- hunting, fishing, hiking traveling, all things involved. We kind of rotate through our program. Every five years we go to a different location in the United States. Last year, we went to Alaska for five weeks with nine kids and then this year we're going to Niagara Falls. And so we give the kids an opportunity to experience the United States and outdoors all over. We drive everywhere we go. We visit universities along the way. We have different job sites and tours.

Last year during the summer trip, probably one of the more interesting tours we had, we toured a dairy farm. Our kids need to have an understanding of where milk comes from and it was quite interesting how they figured you just go to HEB and you buy your milk and that's the end of it. And so with that though, again, we're blessed enough to stop in and the landowner was gracious enough to host our group and then show us around and show the kids how milk was made and so, again, it gives the kids an opportunity to show them that there's more to the world than what they've seen thus far.

If your environment never changes, what do you learn from that environment? It's real simple. Whatever it has to offer. And our kids, they understand the very negative side of life and so what we're trying to do is use the outdoors and show them all the positive things that life has to offer. So I'm going to let that show and then open up to any questions you guys may have for us or anything and thank you very much. It's about ten minutes long, and I may interject during the course of it because there's some silence.

(Video is played)

MR. MCNEIL: Yeah, on this particular -- another part of our program is we take kids offshore fishing. You'll be amazed at what they can learn about themselves when they're out there in the middle of nowhere and they don't feel very good, so it's a part of adversity. And that's kind of a little looking at their environment. And a part of the program again is something for nothing, the responsibility of taking care of the boat, taking care of the equipment, cleaning that, all that's a part of their responsibilities and so again, it's a great way to teach the kids that the something-for-nothing mentality has got to kind of go away.

That was actually the State record last year, thank you guys for that, the youth angler record. And most of our fishing takes place out of South Padre Island, but we do travel to different locations and do that. Hunting is another part of our program. We go with the seasons. Obviously right now we're in camping; but during the hunting season, we're able to partner with a lot of different sponsors. We teach our kids hunter safety course thanks to the Texas Parks and Wildlife. My wife and I are hunter safety instructors and so we teach our kids the proper way to use firearms and so it kind of removes some of the negative thoughts about guns and how they're used and then we're able to hunt on amazing ranches all over and help the landowners manage their herd.

Rafting and kayaking, great source of exercise for inner city kids. Rafting and particularly kayaking, we do that quite often. Again, it's just another outdoor activity which removes them from the inner city and gives them an opportunity to experience different things. Traveling, traveling is a heavy part of our program because it removes the kids from their environment and they have an opportunity to visit parks all over in different states and so on and so forth. And we visit cities from time to time. Washington is not one of our favorites.

Camping, this particular camping trip was last year and we're actually going to go on this camping trip again. This will be our 18th year hosting this camp trip. It's called Camp Hawkeye. And last year if you can remember during this time, we had a flood. And I was already down there and they had to make a decision whether or not to leave with what they saw here and true to our form, we don't give up. We just improvise and persevere, and so we decided to go in the flooding. As it turns out, it was beautiful down there and that worked out well and we're from Port -- I mean our camp is down in South Padre. She's from Port Isabel. I believe the Mayor from Port Isabel is here.

MR. SMITH: Yeah.

MR. MCNEIL: And we'll be down there this weekend, so we may visit with you. Camping on the beach also teaches them a lot about themselves. They have to set up camp. It's a very, very primitive camp. No facilities, sleeping on the beach in tents. Fire time is huge for us because it gives us an opportunity to talk about life and a lot of devotional time for us. And this year we'll have approximately 48 to 50 kids on this year's Camp Hawkeye.

Archery, archery is huge and the audio for this one is kind of out of control. She was really excited. She hit a bullseye and that's a -- I was kind of shocked, but it worked out well. We travel university tours. The biggest part of university tours, the kids have to understand what's out there for them in order to aspire. If they don't have very much inspiration, it's very difficult for them to aspire and so we take a lot of university tours and they eat on campus, talk about the different universities, and through our different sponsors that are over different states, we're able to service projects. Again, like I was saying earlier, this is huge for our program.

This something-for-nothing mentality is something that's kind of been ingrained thanks to a lot of friends in our Government. Excuse me, I apologize. But what we want to start with is we want to start with the youth and make them understand that, you know, anything worth having in life is worth working for and no one is going to sit around and give you much of anything; so you've got to go and work and you've got to have a plan and you've got to put it together and back that plan up with hard work.

And again, one of our ways of making sure that landowners appreciate us, we appreciate them letting us come out there is to do service projects and it could be anything from painting to fishing to cutting down trees. This past weekend we had a service project so the kids can qualify to go to Camp Hawkeye and found some pretty interesting rattlesnakes. But this particular project, we were basically painting some pipes, painting a fence, and then get to go swimming or fishing or kayaking. And again, it's just our way of saying thank you for giving us an opportunity. This actually turned -- started out as a swimming trip. Turned into a weed pulling project.

Summer tours, again, we travel all over. This particular trip was to North Carolina and Washington, D.C., and we select a group of kids at the beginning of the school year and they have to meet the qualifications in order to travel with us in the summer. They have to basically work and earn their own money. We'll find them little side jobs. They can't take a certain amount of money from their parents. In years past, some of the parents used to give the kids money and we found out that that didn't work very well and so we could all work together. Particularly with the Alaska trip because you're gone for five weeks with each other and you've got to learn how to get along and so they basically earn that right and then once they've earned that right, then they have an opportunity to reap the benefits of their work.

And basically the -- a lot of families can't afford to send their kids on the trips as well and so the work aspect of it is something that they want to do, then they're willing to sacrifice for that. Alaska Highway has changed over 20 years. This is actually the fourth year we've gone to Alaska. We go every five years. We rotate through the different states and trips. And an ATV trail ride is just kind of a blast. The kids really enjoy that. Again, it gives them opportunity, teaches them responsibility, safety, taking care of the younger ones. And I would just like to say thank you because you guys are responsible for that.

Fishing, we do a lot of freshwater fishing during the springtime. We visit one of your parks -- that's a great facility right there, the hatchery. And gave our kids to learn a lot about sea life and some of the things that, you know, the bays in Texas have to offer and so, again, for our kids, everything they do in the outdoors is an educational experience because they're used to asphalt and concrete and that's what they see, that's what they understand. So to sit on the back of a four-wheeler and ride in the country in South Texas is just life changing for our kids.

This is the last. It's getting ready to wind down here. But I do want to take this opportunity to thank Darlene Lewis. She works with your Department and she has been really, really in the forefront of making sure that -- particularly with the grant and the things that we were doing with the grant and keeping us -- making sure everything is great and motivating us and telling other people about our program and how they could possibly do something like we're doing. So at this time, if you guys have any questions for us, I'll be more than happy to entertain any questions at all.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Any questions from the Commission? Leon, I've got a couple questions and then I think that Vice-Chairman Duggins has questions. How many children have gone through your program? Do you have an idea?

MR. MCNEIL: We've serviced probably about over the last 18 years, probably 2,000, 3,000 kids maybe.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Oh, wow.

MR. MCNEIL: Either one trip, two trips. Very few kids make it to their level to where they stay with it and the kids that do though, we're hoping that those kids go on and can impact others.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Do you have any type of -- your kids are going through your program, then they're going to college; is that correct?

MR. MCNEIL: Correct, correct.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Do y'all have any type of scholarship funding or any help with these kids if they can get to that level?

MR. MCNEIL: We typically -- the kids that leave state, the deal is that if they go to college, they have to leave state and then we'll give them basically a $1,000 scholarship or leave the city, their home town. But if they stay inside of San Antonio, then we try and give them a $500 scholarship. But as far as designated funding for that? No, they just understand that that's what's going to happen.

And so, again, our goal is not necessarily to get the kids to college. Our goal is to make them productive members of our society. However, that may be. We've got police officers. We've got teachers. We've got coaches. I mean so it's -- it's just an opportunity for them to be productive and that's the thing I think a lot of kids get locked into in the inner city is they think they have to go to college and that's the only option and so you lock them into that box, then they realize that academically they don't want to do that; so they're left with what we see now.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Well, what you're doing is exactly what this Commission and this Department want to see, getting kids outdoors, introducing them to wildlife and changing lives. You really are changing lives. We appreciate what you do, and I'll let Vice-Chairman Duggins visit with you.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Will you run for office? I'm dead serious. You should consider running for office.

MR. MCNEIL: No, I...

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: I join the Chairman in thanking you and your wife for your leadership in this state and in the San Antonio area and what you're doing is exceptional. We -- it is exactly what we, as a group, all talk about frequently is how do we fund more opportunities for urban families and children to get them out and experience the outdoors and what that adds to life.

And I just say that as we -- as we are approaching the next Legislative session, we plan to call on you. We may drag you to go over here to the red building to help us secure additional funding for the types of activities that you're doing and thank you, thank you, thank you.

MR. MCNEIL: Well, thank you. Thank you guys. Thank you Commissioner very much.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Leon, hang on. Margaret, Commissioner Martin.

COMMISSIONER MARTIN: I wanted to reiterate what has been said here. Because of what you're doing and the commitment that you put forth and the commitment of the young kids that are participating in your group, the State of Texas will remain in the great shape it is and will be -- you are the next stewards of our land and the stewards of our water and it's just really important. I offer you, if there's anything -- I don't live too far away from you. If there's ever anything I can do, count on me to help and participate in any way because it's individuals like yourselves and participants like you kids that are now young men, that will continue the legacy of what everybody is doing here.

So commend you and I commend the young men here that have taken the commitment because you have other choices and your friends or people that you are associated with may be doing other things with their lives, but not nearly as productive and not nearly as productive for the future that you have and it just shows immense leadership skills. And I'm going to agree with Commissioner Duggins, you know, just consider all of the above and also consider coming and joining us to that pink building up on the hill when it's time to, you know, get more moneys to help.

So anyway, thank you. Because you are the reason that we are here and it makes what we do even easier because we know that there are individuals like yourselves right along to continue the work that everybody is doing. So again, thank you so very much.

MR. MCNEIL: Thank you, thank you.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Commissioner Lee.

COMMISSIONER LEE: Just briefly. We had a nice opportunity to visit upstairs. This is as fine a presentation as I've seen since I've been on the Commission. I just want to tell you how much we appreciate you being here. Thank you.

MR. MCNEIL: Thank you. Thank you guys very much.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Let me discourage you from running for office. All it will do is just mess you up. I'm just telling you.

COMMISSIONER MARTIN: Okay, I may agree with you on that one.

COMMISSIONER JONES: You keep doing exactly what you're doing because that's what we need. I am curious. How many other adults do you have assisting you or helping you in your endeavor?

MR. MCNEIL: We've got -- we've got several parents. I would say probably four or five parents. These are our mentors (gesturing to young men). We've got high school kids and we've got college kids and they come back because they've been in our program for an extended period of time. These guys have been in since they've been in 6th grade. We probably have 15 or 20 older kids that come back and they help. A lot of our groups range in size from anywhere from 10 kids on a trip up to 50 kids on a trip and depending on how many students we have will determine the number of chaperones.

What we've found out in years and the reason why we don't necessarily use parents in terms of chaperoning and guiding for our different trips is because the parents often are the block for the kids to really engage in what they're trying to do outdoors because the parents may have some apprehension about some of the things that they're going to experience in the outdoors. For instance, this past weekend we were at a service project and we were clearing some brush and I was cutting down brush and a piece of brush -- and this young man right here and my son were standing side by side and they were watching me and a rattlesnake runs right between the two of them from here to there. And we're taking pictures and we took pictures to show the parents and send a lot of parents out, parents are very, very apprehensive about that stuff because --

COMMISSIONER JONES: And a few Board members.

MR. MCNEIL: And so we just -- and we do have a trip to where we'll invite all the parents to come so they can kind of get a birds eye view of what the program is about, yeah.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Well, once again, you're to be commended.

MR. MCNEIL: Thank you, thank you.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: All right, Leon, thank you very much.

MR. MCNEIL: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Thank you.

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 leave, now is an appropriate time to do so. We're going to take a couple of minute break and we'll reconvene and carry on our business.

(Recess taken)

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: All right. Our first order of business is Action Item No. 1, Approval of the Agenda. Is there a motion for approval? Duggins.

COMMISSIONER LEE: Second.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Commissioner Lee. All in favor say aye.

(Chorus of ayes)

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

We've already done Action Item No. 2. We actually moved Leon McNeil up to force everybody to hear an outstanding talk and really great to hear from you, Leon, and again thank you for coming you and your wife and the kids.

Action Item No. 3, Recreational Trail Grant Funding, Recommended Approval of Trail Construction, Renovation, and Acquisition Project. Hello, Tim.

MR. HOGSETT: Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Members of the Commission. I'm Tim Hogsett from the Recreation Grants Branch of the State Parks Division. Today we're bringing forth forward to you recommendations for funding from the Recreation Trails Program.

These are federal pass-through grants, 80 percent matching grants from the Federal Highway Administration. Our funding availability is 3.9 million of apportionment from 2014. An additional 1.3 million of adjustments that were made due to a mistaken -- a mistake made by the feds and then an additional 500,000 that is available from project savings and cancellations of projects from previous years.

We're required by the Federal Act to use 30 percent of these funds for off-highway vehicle projects, and the other 70 percent can be used for either off-highway vehicle or nonmotorized projects. We had a record number of 82 applications submitted for our February 1st deadline requesting $13.4 million. All of these projects were reviewed by our State Park Trail Advisory Board, which is appointed by the Commission Chairman.

Based on quality, cost effectiveness, recreation opportunity impact, and geographic distribution of funds, the Committee scored and rank ordered the projects and that rank order can be found in Exhibit A. We typically also reserve funds for use in our state parks and this year, we're recommending $500,000 of that federal apportionment be reserved for use in state park trail development.

With that, our recommendation for you this morning is the funding for 38 projects recommended in Exhibit A in the amount of $5,253,655 and state park trail improvements in the amount of $500,000 is approved. And I'd be happy to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Any questions by the Commission for Tim? Commissioner Duggins.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Tim, the $500,000 -- proposed $500,000 allocation for state park trail improvements, are those nonmotorized trail improvements.

MR. HOGSETT: Yes, they are. With the exception we have in the past done some most motorized trail work at Eisenhower State Park, but that's an ongoing project. That's not part of the recommendation for these funds.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Okay. And a question I asked yesterday, I just think I want to reiterate -- maybe it's more of a comment -- that we do on the motorized trail programs where we do a match under this Trail Grant Program, we do require and monitor noise abatement controls?

MR. HOGSETT: Yes, yes, through a couple of means, one through the design of the facilities and the other through rules and regulations that are implemented on site for noise limits.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Okay, thank you.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Any more questions for Tim? All right, Tim, thank you. We do have five people who have signed up to speak today. As Mr. Carter -- or Mr. Smith said earlier, please limit it to three minutes and I'll call the -- we have Joe Vega first up, and right behind him is Robert Glass. So, Robert, if you'll be ready, you'll come up after Joe.

MR. VEGA: Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Members of the Commission. My name is Joe Vega and I'm your friendly Mayor from the great city of Port Isabel. Before I start, I want to just introduce the delegation from Port Isabel that is here today. Today we have our City Commissioner MJ Garza; our City Manager Edward Mesa; our EDC Administrator Robert Salinas; our grants writer Margie Jacobs; and our Marketing Director Valerie Bates.

I just came here to simply say thank you to y'all for your partnership. We have a grant -- we submitted a grant, and it's recommended for funding. This is a grant -- this trail project is going to connect a city park to a county park. Whereas we want to hopefully, in the future, connect all our parks with this trail, which is going to improve health awareness and recreational opportunities; thus, improving the quality of the life. And I just want to commend Tim Hogsett and his department.

You-all have a Department that is second to none. Tim, thank you for all your hard work. I know every time we knock on your doors and reach out to them, the communication has been great and we appreciate all your hard work, Tim. And also want to just congratulate Mr. Andy Goldbloom on his retirement. It looks like while he was traveling the state of Texas, he found the fountain of youth because he looks pretty young. But congratulations, Andy, and we work closely with Andy as well and, again, thank you very much for everything and we appreciate your partnership. Not only on this project, but on many projects that we work together. God bless y'all.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Thank you, Mayor Vega, and all the constituents that came -- your partners that came with you. Thank y'all. Robert Glass and behind Robert will be Larry Winkler.

MR. GLASS: Good morning. Thank you for this opportunity. I am -- let's see if you can see this map. I and my family own the property north of White River Lake. It's approximately 33 sections. We surround the lake on its west, north, and eastbound boundaries. And I'm here to ask you not to fund this.

No. 1, I don't want the fire hazard that extra traffic brings. We're a long way from the real fire department. I'm my own fire department basically. But interestingly, we also own another piece of property approximately 10 miles to the west of the lake. It's 20 sections. Eighteen sections of that is leased to the Lubbock Trail Riders, which is out of Lubbock, Texas. They are a dirt bike trail club. They have approximately 100 members, but it's a family member; so there's 100 families membership there. And they have leased this property from us for the past ten years and they tell me that it is the largest piece of private property that a dirt bike trail club leases in the United States.

It's been my observation in working with them, that a family will sign up, it's a new excitement, they'll come down and ride; but when the new wears off, they don't hardly come back. They're -- and I'm here to contrast the business models that have been proposed to you in the White River Lake Trail System versus what I have seen in riding habits for the last ten years.

I don't know if anybody -- any of you have been to Lubbock, Texas, over the last six months; but there's neither man nor beast that wants to get out in a howling blizzard or a dust storm. And what I noticed is that after the new has worn off and because this is a family event, the other activities of their school children distract them from coming and riding. And so really the only time these people come down to ride from the nearest urban center is in the fall when the weather is pleasant and the spring when the wind quits blowing.

My lease is set up to where I get paid whether they come down or not, as opposed to the ticket sales that are supposedly going to be generated on an as-come basis at White River. And so I can tell you, gentlemen and ladies, if -- this is not going to generate the type of money that has been proposed at the Lake Board meetings. And this is based on personal experience, and I can go into greater detail if you would like.

But I would urge you that it's not going to be the return that you think it's -- that has been proposed that we have heard it's going to be. And this particular club is going to open up ATV membership as well; so there's going to be some, you know, competition I would say. But overall, if I were standing before you as a bank, would you consider loaning me the money for the ATV trail at White River versus the model that I have set up? Thank you for your time, and I'd be glad to answer any other questions you might have.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: All right. Any questions for Mr. Glass? Commissioner Duggins.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Exactly which project are you opposing? Is it No. 29, the White River Municipal Water District?

MR. GLASS: Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: But that's not recommended to get any grant. According to my sheet, No. 29 shows zero funds recommended by staff.

MR. HOGSETT: That is the case, Mr. Vice-Chairman. However, there was a previous grant awarded a couple of years ago that's in the planning phase. This would have been a Phase 2 of that project.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: But my question is there's nothing today that we --

MR. HOGSETT: Nothing is recommended today for funding for White River. That's correct.

MR. GLASS: Well, I beg your pardon. For the talk that we hear from the Lake manager, it's a done deal and so that's why I'm here, so.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Well, I just -- just for -- I'm not being critical.

MR. GLASS: Sure.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: We appreciate your -- you're always -- anybody is welcome. We love hearing from people pro or con. But I'm just pointing out --

MR. GLASS: Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: -- that this is -- there was an application by the White River Municipal Water District in Crosby County and the application requested $381,000 and staff is recommending zero. So there's nothing for us today to deny because there's no recommendation for any funding. Now at some later date, staff may propose that and you should come back, you and anybody else who wants to speak in opposition, and you should also feel free to communicate your concerns to Tim because he's outstanding. He and his people listen.

MR. GLASS: Okay, great. Well, I beg your pardon. I --

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: No, you're -- we're happy to have you. I just wanted to -- I was confused by what you were against.

MR. GLASS: Yes, sir. Yes, sir. Okay.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: All right, Robert. Well, thank you for coming.

MR. GLASS: Yes, sir, thank you.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Next up is Larry Winkler. Following Larry, we have David Tate.

MR. WINKLER: I'm another landowner from White River and I acquired several names from the same deal and it all pertains to the same thing. But it -- we're just here to say that there's nobody there in that area would like to have this there. The town -- the City of Spur, all the landowners, all the adjacent landowners, all of the landowners around outside the inner area, and there's been a lot of misinformation coming out of the White River Board.

They have indicated to us that we're just supposed to shut up and sit down. That it's a done deal. They done have $1.1 million in their pocket, and we're just supposed to be quiet. But I would like to leave these names with y'all and there's phone numbers that you can verify them.

MR. SMITH: Sir.

MR. WINKLER: But I just would like to reiterate, we did not know that this was not pertaining to our deal and I appreciate you listening to me.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Well, we appreciate you coming, Mr. Winkler, and I'm sure that if there is another proposal, that y'all's comments will be taken into consideration, yours and Mr. Glass' comment.

David Tate.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Mr. Chairman, can I --

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Oh, I'm sorry, I'm sorry. Go ahead.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Well, I would just like to get clarification. Is there some previous grant that was granted in the White River Municipal Water District?

MR. HOGSETT: We do have a grant that was granted I think about a year ago.

COMMISSIONER JONES: For?

MR. HOGSETT: Initial development of an off-highway vehicle trail project.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Okay, so --

MR. HOGSETT: And it was duly submitted and reviewed and the -- we recommended funding and the Commission approved funding for that and that project is currently in planning phase.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Okay.

MR. HOGSETT: There will be additional public hearings held. There have been several public hearings held on the site, and additional public hearings will be held as the development plan moves forward. We're going to make -- try to make sure that landowners' concerns are taken into consideration in that development. No funds have been expended yet though.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Okay, that's where I'm -- I just want to make sure I'm clear. Previous grant as been allowed, it's in the planning phase; so the previous grant, the funds have not yet been expended. Is that what you're saying?

MR. HOGSETT: That is the case. Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER JONES: But they've been approved to be expended?

MR. HOGSETT: Yes?

COMMISSIONER JONES: And this grant that we're -- that is before us today, which has not been approved or recommended for approval, was additional funds in addition to what has been previously granted.

MR. HOGSETT: That is correct. They were proposing a second phase of their project.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Okay, all right. I just wanted to make sure because I didn't want the landowners who've come to testify today to think that they've been misrepresented. There has been a previous grant, and I wanted to make sure.

MR. WINKLER: Let us know when the next meeting is going to be in this. We will be here.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Okay, all right.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: All right, thank you. Next up is David Tate. And, David, you might let us know, I'm sure you will, what project that you're speaking for.

MR. TATE: The White River Municipal Water District off-road ATV project. One, I want to thank y'all for allowing me the opportunity to speak. My name is David Tate. I've been a White River homeowner for 17 years. And I guess part of the problem is we -- there was like $176,000 grant that was approved by y'all. I think it was 2012, if I'm not mistaken. Either none or very little of that, of those funds, have been utilized and then they had another grant that they had applied for that was about 500,000, I could be a little off on that, that I think had -- was tied up because of the fed money.

They redid their -- the way you do paperwork to get the funding. And then the last grant they applied for, which was 477,000, that has not been approved at all, you know, and that's still outstanding. I've got a -- we had a -- in three hours' time, we got two and a half pages of homeowners that are all homeowners at the lake that signed a petition against the ATV trail there because the ATV trail is going to be right where the houses are on the east side where everyone resides. And I could give this to whoever.

But it's got -- it has everyone's name and their lot number at the lake for verification. The -- if the Commission decides to go through with the ATV trail grant, it's currently on the east side, which would have to go through -- you'd have to widen one and a half miles of road to get to where the park is going to be that people would camp out. On the west side, you'd have to widen no roads. You would have to move seven telephone poles on the east side to none on the west and if it goes in on the east side, it will literally go by every homeowner on the east side before it gets to their staging area and on the west side you wouldn't go by anyone's homes.

The Chairman of the White River Municipal Water District Board announced at the public meeting and post that the White River Board has -- does not care whatsoever what the homeowners and the adjoining ranchers concerns are on this. That is the mindset of Tom Fulton, who is the District Manager as well. Tom informed the White River Board that Steve Thompson would retire more than likely shortly and there wouldn't be anyone to do any inspections for the next 20 years as far as maintaining and keeping it open, the ATV trail.

He announced to the -- Tom Fulton, the Manager, announced to the White River Board when he first came out with this that it needed to be kept under wraps where there wouldn't be any opposition from the adjoining ranchers and homeowners and -- okay, the time is up. Anyway, I appreciate the opportunity to speak. I know Steve Thompson has been very helpful in coming to Lubbock or coming to White River and going over a lot of this with us. I appreciate the Commission's time.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Thank you, Mr. Tate.

Tim, I'm going to suggest that these gentlemen have traveled a long ways to be here. While the three of them are here -- and we have one more speaker. I'm not sure what they're going to talk about, but maybe you would have a few minutes to visit with them and just, again, get a little more detail of their concerns.

MR. HOGSETT: Absolutely, Steve and I will do that.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Okay, thank you. And if you gentlemen have time, I know you've traveled a log ways, Mr. Hogsett will spend a few minutes just to get a better understanding of what all your concerns are.

Last one to speak is Tom Moreland. Oh, I'm sorry. We have a question or we have a comment from Commissioner Scott.

COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Yeah, Mr. Chairman, I would just like to make something clear to all these nice folks that have come this distance. As recently as the last meeting or meeting before, we do definitely pay attention to the current and all the local landowners. So don't think that we don't hear what you're saying. We do definitely take into account very, very much to heart what the locals say. So I just wanted y'all to be aware that we do pay attention. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Thank you, Dick. Tom Moreland.

MR. MORELAND: I'm Tom Moreland. I reside out at -- we have our -- my wife and I have our second home out at White River Lake. That was a dream come true for us. It's a big deal to be able to have a place to go and have fun and ride around. However, we have a little different situation out in West Texas.

We have -- we've got newspaper articles that have been published in all kinds of papers talking about water, we're out of water, Texas drought. That's also been -- CNN has done a piece on that; so has Fox News, 60 Minutes and Dateline. The drought in West Texas is historic. It's 100 years historic and of all people, y'all -- we're singing out of the same hymn book. I know you know that that's true.

To have an ATV trail out there at White River Lake on the east side, you pass 85 houses before you get to the gate. My house is less than a thousand yards from the southern boundary of the park and from the outer road to Campground 2, I'm 165 yards away and so is 30 other people. So we're talking about dust pollution, we're talking about noise pollution, and we're talking about an extreme fire hazard.

And so I would just like to tell you that those are some things that we have talked about in our Board meetings and tried to get across to the Board members who we definitely respect. They are in control of the White River Water Municipal District and that's where we get our water from. So we're very, very sensitive to those people as well? But we don't feel like we've even been listened to or heard.

And I tell you, I just don't want an ATV trail in my backyard. I spent 35 years trying to get a cabin out there. I just thank the good Lord for that opportunity, but I don't want the pollution out there. And I thank you for listening to me. Thank you very much.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Thank you, Mr. Moreland. We are listening to you and I suggest you meet with Mr. Hogsett also just at -- wherever you want to get it set up, Tim.

All right. Let me see. That -- excuse me, excuse me. That's all of our -- that's all that have signed up to talk on this issue. So any more comments from the Commission? Is there a motion for approval?

COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Yes, so moved.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Commissioner Morian and Commissioner Scott second. All in favor say aye.

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Opposed? Hearing none, motion carries.

Moving on, Action Item No. 4, Public -- you're welcome. Thank you for coming.

All right. Action Item No. 4, Public Hunting Program, Establishment of an Open Season on Public Hunting Lands and Approval of Public Hunting Activities on State Parks, Linda Campbell, make your presentation.

MS. CAMPBELL: Good morning, Mr. Chairman and Commissioners. For the record, I'm Linda Campbell and I'm Program Director for Private Lands and Public Hunting. Parks and Wildlife Code Chapter 12 Subchapter A provides that a tract of land purchased primarily for purpose authorized by the Code may be used for any authorized function of the Parks and Wildlife Department if the Commission determines that multiple use is the best utilization of the land's resources.

Additionally, Chapter 81 Subchapter E provides the Commission with the authority to establish open seasons and authorizes the Executive Director to determine bag limits, means and methods, and conditions for taking wildlife resources on public hunting lands, which includes units of the State Park System designated as public hunting lands. I'm requesting your action on establishing an open season on public hunting lands, which allows the Department to hold public hunts during the upcoming hunting season beginning September 1st, 2014.

Also, statute requires the Commission to approve public hunting activities on units of the State Park System. In your Commission booklets, you were provided with the proposed state park hunts on 45 unit of state park lands for the 2014-15 hunting season. There are a total of 1,563 hunt positions proposed on parks of which 312 are youth positions. This year, the Albert and Bessie Kronkosky State Natural Area will hold public hunts for the first time.

Preliminary hunt proposals were developed last fall through a joint effort of field staff of the State Parks and Wildlife Divisions and Public Hunting Program staff maintain a close communication with the park staff to confirm the hunt recommendations and make needed adjustments. Most of the recommended state park hunts addressed management needs to control deer numbers and remove exotic animals and feral hogs. However, some of the hunts -- for example, those for dove, waterfowl, squirrel, rabbit, turkey, and havalina -- are proposed to provide additional recreational opportunity.

Staff is requesting approval of the following motions: No. 1, Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission authorizes an open season on public hunting lands to run from September 1st, 2014, to August 31st, 2015; and second, Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission authorizes the public hunting activities contained in the Exhibit A to take place on units of the State Park System.

With that, I'll answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Thank you, Linda. Any questions for Linda? Linda, I'll say as I said yesterday, what you're doing is right in the direction this Commission wants to go. Let's find all the hunting opportunities we can on our state properties along with not closing down too much for camping and the other activities that go on, but we -- that -- what did we say, a thousand hunting opportunities? Over a thousand?

MS. CAMPBELL: Yes, 15 -- well, these are special permits on state parks. Yeah, over 1500.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Well, that's great. That's very good. Thank you.

MS. CAMPBELL: All right.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: We have nobody signed up to speak on this. Is there a motion for approval? Commissioner De Hoyos.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Second.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Commissioner Duggins second. All in favor say aye.

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Any opposed? Hearing none, this motion carries. Thank you, Linda.

MS. CAMPBELL: Thank you, sir.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Action Item No. 5, Exotic Species Rule Amendments Regarding Draining Water from Vessels and Portable Containers, Recommended Adoption of Proposed Changes, Ken.

MR. KURZAWSKI: Good morning, Chairman Commissioners. My name is Ken Kurzawski in Inland Fisheries Division, and today I'm here to ask for your approval to changes to the rules on draining water in vessels.

As you know, we've had rules in place since December that require water to be drained from vessels leaving and approaching public water and this includes any water that would be taken up into live wells, bilges, or any other receptacles while those vessels are out on public waters. Currently, we -- that applies to public water bodies in 47 counties. We started in those 10 counties up in -- the 17 counties up in the Dallas Metro Area and then once Zebra mussels unfortunately were found in Belton, we sought to expand that to additional counties. We do have some exceptions written into that to allow various activities to take place while still maintaining and protecting that -- our goal of not having water transferred off those -- off or to those water bodies within those areas.

Based on the -- what we've seen with the Zebra mussels moving within Dallas Metro and then into Lake Belton, a prudent step would be to expand those restrictions all the public freshwater in all counties in the state and we'll maintain all the current restrictions and exemptions as we have in the current rules. As I discussed with you yesterday, public comment, we have received 48 comments on that and the support and opposed have been similar to previous actions that we've taken on these rules and also the comments are -- that we've received are similar to what persons had expressed in the previous actions.

So if there are any addition -- any comments or questions at this time?

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Any questions for Ken from the Commission? Thank you, Ken.

We do have one person that signed up to speak on this. Will Kirkpatrick, will you please come up.

MR. KIRKPATRICK: Good morning. My name is Will Kirkpatrick and I would like to address the issue of Zebra mussels and their spread into Texas waters. It's our understanding, Zebra mussels are a result of the flushed ballasts water from vessels in the Saint Lawrence Seaway. Then they went to the Great Lakes and then continued to move south and now we've got them in Texas.

There has been nothing that's really kept them from spreading so far. With the number of freshwater fishing events we are experiencing all over the country, I fail to see any curtailment here in Texas without stringent controls being put in place. Effective control must be related to actual enforcement of regulations yet to be put in place and without that, I don't see much success. With past observance of the lack of Giant Salvinia law enforcement, positive results aren't that encouraging.

On my home waters of Sam Rayburn, there were several hundred events each year. Some of them consisting only of a few angers, while others are several hundred boats coming in throughout the nation. One annual big bass event which consists of several thousand anglers resulted in Rayburn having Giant Salvinia spread to every one of its boat ramps and I don't think there was a citation issued. That same event this year had over 5,000 anglers from 39 states. With three-day entry fee, they took in a million three hundred thousand dollars and there was not a thing said about invasive species or the handling of fish.

The majority of today's anglers fishing for money events on our State's waters don't even use the rudimentary catch-and-release procedures set up by not only us, but the others, and I fail to see that they're going to do anything about draining and sterilizing of their boats. You've got a copy of the protocol that Parks and Wildlife has set up. The problem with this is in boat management training that I went to, they said just because you know, doesn't mean they know.

So I'm assuming you don't know anything about it, and I'm not being smart. I'm just assuming you don't. The boat drain plugs are set up about an inch to an inch and a half above the sump. So you've got water in there. Taking the plug out does not get all the water out. You can't get underneath there. There is a platform on bass boats and this is the major we're talking about, there's a platform. Sitting on that platform can be up to four batteries, your oil reservoir which is normally 2 gallons, and onboard charger. In order to get to the sump, you've got to take that -- all those out, move the board, then you can get to the sump.

Outboard motors when you put your boat on a trailer, the outboard motor is tilted up. Very seldom do you see that outboard motor go back down vertical. Two to three weeks later, you can dump that -- now, I have a boat. I live on Sam Rayburn. I've had a boat ever since 1958, so what I'm telling you is pretty accurate. Even if you have the sumps drained, the -- if you show where they show the bunks, where Ken shows the bunks on there, that carpeting will hold moisture for two to three days in the summertime. It will hold eight to ten days in the wintertime.

When the -- all the channels that go between the sidebars on your trailers are channel type, which means they're hollow. They've got a quarter to a three-eighths inch drain hole. All it takes is mud dauber, leaves, Giant Salvinia, Hydrilla to get in there and they no longer drain. Then you go to the next lake, and you put those in the water. Now, I've talked to some of the people at the tournaments about this. We've been talking about Zebra mussels for seven or eight years. This is not new.

And their opinion is if we want them out of the water, we need to provide -- we being the State of Texas -- need to provide the method of getting it out. Now, I tried to call Scott Hall this morning. Scott is the Director of LNVA and I'm on the Board of Basin Bay Panel. Couldn't get him. He's not in yet. You're not going to put a sudsy boat wash on boat ramps on Sam Rayburn reservoirs. Between the Corps of Engineers, the LNVA, and the EPA, it's not going to happen.

With a tournament with 5,000 anglers in it, can you imagine what kind of a rat race you're going to have trying to get these things off? It's not going to happen, Commissioners. And who's going to pay for it? They think that either Texas Parks and Wildlife ought to pay for it or the Corps of Engineers and you know you're not going to get any money out of the Corps of Engineers. So, it's a --

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Will, if you could wrap it up, please.

MR. KIRKPATRICK: -- serious problem.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: If you could wrap it up pretty quickly, but we appreciate your comments and, you know, Will, I think -- I own boats, too, and you're right. There's -- you're probably never going to get it perfect, but we're doing -- we're taking the reasonable measures we can that can be handled reasonably and I don't know if our staff has any comment they want to add to that.

But you're correct, and we need to maybe look into it a little deeper. But I think what we're doing today is the first step and then we'll have to examine if there's other things we should be thinking about.

MR. KIRKPATRICK: Well, some of the states, California, if you put a boat in the water there -- and I don't know how much Ken told you yesterday, I wasn't here -- you don't take that boat out of the water and put it in another reservoir. Now, we don't have enough money to buy boats to put in all the reservoirs; so, you know, it's not going to stop.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Any questions for Will? Thank you. Thank you, Will.

Yes, Ken. Do you have any comment on --

MR. KURZAWSKI: Well, as you said, we're -- the actions we're taking are the ones that we can reasonably take. We know there's a certain amount of water in certain types of vessels that you just can't get at by draining the plugs so you would have to apply pumps, other things. We're hoping by reducing that volume to smaller -- the smallest possible volume, that it will certainly lessen the chance and, you know, this is the steps we can reasonably take at this time, as you said, so.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Quick question, Ken, and actually Craig may be better suited to answer. But what are our current plans for enforcing this rule, assuming it passes, at tournaments which are going to, of course, predominate in East Texas? If somebody could just summarize what our plans are there.

COLONEL HUNTER: I'll let Brandi get to

the details. But like anything else, Commissioner, we're going to start out with information and education first and obviously we can't check every boat, you know, with the resources we have. But it is important to us and hopefully like any regulation, we're looking for voluntary compliance; but...

MS. REEDER: For the record, my name is Brandi Reeder with the Law Enforcement Division. Currently we are working with Inland and with our Communications Division to continue outreach efforts. We actually had an operation, I guess it was two weekends ago, in which I believe it somewhere around 433 vessels were contacted. Most of which seemed to actually know and these contacts were done by Law Enforcement and these -- and most of the public that were contacted did actually already know about and understood the upcoming Zebra mussel regulations and the ones that were currently enacted in their areas.

So again, we continue to work with the Communications Division and Inland Division to notify and inform the public. As far as tournaments themselves, it will be the same as what we've always done. We will try to make the best presence that we can. Obviously our efforts are diversified; but we will put our best effort forward to try and make sure that we do have presence at some of these larger scale events, which we normally do.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Well, it seems to me that this is a great opportunity to get out front with the tournament sponsors and directors and impress upon them how important this is to the State and give them -- see if they wouldn't commit to advise each of the participants of this rule and then have some extra people out there for the first -- for the next year or two to kind of get this message across where people get it quickly. Hit them -- if you hit a -- saturate a tournament, if you will, then since these anglers go from tournament to tournament, it seems like the message is more likely to be received if we could do something like that. I would encourage us to think about that.

COLONEL HUNTER: With can do that.

MS. REEDER: Appreciate it.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: I agree with Commissioner Duggins and these tournaments, they put out rules. It'd be nice in the rules maybe they have at the bottom red -- you know, kind of out -- state the law. And secondly, are we putting up any type of educational signs at boat ramps at lakes around the state or do we plan to let the public know what the law is and what the concerns we have are?

MR. HAVENS: Yeah, real quick. Josh Havens, Communications Director. The -- we do have 56 new boat ramp stencils going on to add on top of the 82 that we already had. We also have an entire marketing campaign that kicks off. Well, we -- our press conference kicks off tomorrow. The radio is already on? Right, right. We've got advertising, radio, digital. I mean you name it, we are out there.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: You mean that catchy little song we heard yesterday?

MR. HAVENS: The catchy little song is on radio and on Pandora, yeah.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Can we hear it again?

MR. HAVENS: You will not -- you will not escape.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: I've been singing it in the back of my head all night.

MR. HAVENS: Hey, clean, drain, dry your boat.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: That's good. Okay, thank you. All right, good discussion. Ken?

MR. KURZAWSKI: Well, as we heard mentioned, you know, our public awareness, we touched on that a little bit in the past that were in the Dallas Metro Area where we focused those efforts over the last few years when we've gone out and surveyed anglers, the -- their knowledge of Zebra mussels and to clean, drain, dry is up in the 90 percent and we -- you know, when we move to other parts of the state where it hasn't been as much of an issue, it's less. So we certainly have been having an impact.

You know, we've been focusing on the Dallas/Fort Worth area where the original problem is that campaign that Josh talked about will be spreading to more parts of the state. So we're hoping to increase that awareness.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: All right, Ken. Thank you. Any more questions? Thank you.

MR. KURZAWSKI: Thank you. So if there are no further questions, staff will recommend that the Commission adopt the amendments to 57.1001 concerning the statewide recreation commercial fishing proclamation as the text was published in the April 18th edition of the Texas Register.

COMMISSIONER JONES: So moved.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Second.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Jones and Commissioner Duggins second. All in favor say aye.

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Opposed? Hearing none, motion passed.

MR. KURZAWSKI: Thank you, Commissioner.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Thank you.

Action Item No. 6, Proposed Amendment to Rules Governing Permit to Sell Nongame Fish taken from Public Freshwaters, Recommended Adoption of Proposed Changes. Brandi, thank you.

MS. REEDER: Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, my name is Brandi Reeder again, for the record, with the Law Enforcement Division. Law Enforcement has become aware of an issue regarding the interpretation of 57.379 regarding nongame fish permits. The current wording of the rule has been interpreted to mean that commercial fishermen and fish dealers alike must possess the nongame fish permit to sell nongame fish taken from public water -- public freshwater of the state.

This is an inaccurate interpretation, as the purpose of the permit is to ensure minimal to no impact on sensitive or critical fish species. Commercial fishermen during harvest -- or during the harvest of allowable nongame species. Fish dealers are not a concern in this situation. Staff seeks to clarify the language in 57.379 to clearly state only commercial fishermen as designed -- or as defined in Parks and Wildlife Code Chapter 47 are required to obtain the nongame fish permit to allow the lawful sale of captured nongame fish. Fish dealers will be clearly exempted from this requirement and enabling easier interpretation and application of the law.

Sorry, skipped a slide. Public comments from online revealed 13 in support, two in opposition. Only one in opposition actually left a comment which was not really applicable to this change. With that said, staff recommends -- or wait a minute, let me back up. Would the staff have any questions -- I mean would the Commission have any questions? Apologize.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Commissioner Duggins.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Why -- what -- well, first, what is meant by aquatic products as it's in this proposed language?

MS. REEDER: Aquatic products is a very broad definition. It's any live, dead, unfroze or frozen, uncooked aquatic resource.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: So does it include nongame fish?

MS. REEDER: Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Well, if the -- so if the rule -- or do you interpret the rule to mean that if a person were at Toledo Bend, for example, and seining Shad and they took Shad, which of course belong to the State, and then took them down 15 miles and sold them to Joe Blow private landowner to put in a private lake, does that person have to have a commercial license and a permit?

MS. REEDER: Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Well, I just don't understand why we have proposed B in here. I -- maybe I'm just thick, but I don't understand it. I'm confused, let me put it that way.

MS. REEDER: What it is, is it's just to clearly define the difference between a harvester and an individual that only sells aquatic products. So again, it's just to clarify that if you are harvesting aquatic products -- the purpose of the nongame fish permit was to track any impact on critical nongame fish species. So the allowable -- allowable species that they allow to harvest, they track means and methods used, number of fish harvested, location the fish are harvested. And so again, really the concern is with the harvesters.

The dealers, where they're -- you know, they're buying from the harvesters. So that's why B is in there is to clearly define that dealers are exempt.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: But if...

MS. REEDER: Because dealers cannot catch. They can only --

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: So a dealer is a reseller in your mind?

MS. REEDER: Correct.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Okay. Well, I -- as I told you yesterday, I think there are a number of people who are harvesting bait fish from State waters and selling them in private lakes and that's okay if we want to do it; but I just want to encourage us to look hard at what we're charging for that because they're making a lot of money on State goods, if you will, or State fish. At least that's what I'm hearing anecdotally in East Texas, so I think we ought to look hard at that.

MS. REEDER: Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Commissioner Duggins, are you comfortable with voting on what we're -- proposal now or would you like it looked at? This is not something that's pressing, I don't think, Carter. What's your feeling? Are you comfortable with the language?

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Well, Ann, I would ask you. I'm just -- I'm not sure we couldn't make it clear about who's wearing which hat here; but again, it may just be me. I've read it too many times. I don't know.

MS. BRIGHT: It's not just you. The -- part of the issue is that there are a number -- at least in my view, part of the issue is that there are a number of permits that are set up statutorily and it's trying to make sure that all of those mesh. I mean there are some activities that may require one or more or one or just two and we've kind of got that issue here. I mean this is -- there's been some confusion here and this is really an intent to, I think, clean up some of the language.

One of the things that we may want to look at doing down the road is going back and looking at the whole set of rules here and just FYI, there is a big effort on exotic species to clean up some of those rules. I'm not sure that's very helpful.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Well, are you comfortable with the language?

MS. BRIGHT: I'm comfortable with the language.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Well, maybe that's the way to go then is to -- as a part of a major review, that we look at the -- look at it again at that time.

MS. BRIGHT: I agree.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: So with that clarification, I'm okay with it. Thank you for asking.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Okay. Thank you, Brandi. Thank you, Ann. We don't have anybody signed up to speak on this. Any more questions for Brandi? Thank you, Brandi.

MS. REEDER: Okay. Well, with that, staff recommends the Commission to adopt the amendment as published in the April 18th edition of the Texas Register.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Thank you.

MS. REEDER: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Is there a motion?

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Moved.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Second.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Morian and who is the second?

COMMISSIONER LEE: Jones.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Jones, okay. I don't want to get this wrong again. I already got it wrong once today. All in favor say aye.

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Any opposed? Hearing none, motion passed.

Action Item No. 7, Deer Management Permits and Trapping, Transporting, and Transplanting Permit Regulations, Recommended Adoption of Proposed Changes.

MR. CAIN: Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners. For the record, I'm Alan Cain, White-tailed Deer Program. This morning I'll be presenting several proposed changes to the deer management permit and trap, transport, and transplant permit regulations to be considered for adoption this morning.

First change is in regards to release of deer from a DMP pen and also permit expiration. Current regulation requires that all deer within a DMP pen must be released on or before the date specified on the permit and the regulations also state the DMP permit is valid through the release date specified on that permit. It's not uncommon for permittees to release deer sooner than that date specified on the permit in preparation for trapping deer for the upcoming season.

However, when that happens, it creates some operational complications for Department staff and then it's also potential permit violations for those permittees in the upcoming DMP permit season. In order to clarify the confusion, staff recommend regulation change require the permittee to report the release date of deer from a DMP pen within 48 hours of release.

And I would like to note this is different than what's published in the Texas Register, which we had 24 hours previously and with public comment and some last minute recommendations from the Texas Deer Association leadership and y'all's input yesterday, we changed that to 48 hours is what staff would recommend for the reporting requirement. The regulation, staff would also -- the change would also clarify regulations to state that a permit is valid from the date of issuance through the release date specified on that permit or the date of release, whichever is sooner.

The next change is in regard to replacement of a buck deer in a DMP pen. Current regulations prohibit the trapping of deer under a DMP permit between December 15th and August 31st. This also prohibits the trapping and movement of deer into a DMP pen after the trapping deadline for a particular ecoregion. This is problematic when a buck dies in a DMP pen after the trapping deadline has occurred, but before breeding has occurred in that pen.

Therefore, the permittee has -- may not be able to take advantage of the intent of the permit or the significant investment they had in the permit fee as well as the trapping of those deer. Staff therefore recommend to amend the regulation to allow the replacement of only a buck deer that has died in the DMP pen through January 31 of the current permit year. In addition, the permittee would be required to report the mortality in TPWD's online system, our TWIMS system, before replacing that buck and also indicate their intent to replace that deer in the online system.

The next change is in regards to the conditions under which a Triple T permit may be issued. Current rule prohibits the Department from issuing a Triple T permit to move deer when deer held under a deer management permit have been released in the same permit year. Staff propose to remove this prohibition. Staff see no biological concerns as the source of deer for a Triple T permit and DMP permit is from the same property, unless they introduce via another Triple T permit or a deer breeder permit and this would provide flexibility for landowners to meet their deer management objectives on their properties.

The last change is a minor housekeeping change with regards to the DMP permit application process. Staff recommend removing language indicating incomplete application will be returned to the applicant. We've gone to an online system with TWIMS and so the system no longer allows an application to be returned and it must be completed or corrected before they can continue on with the application process. So we're just removing some of that language.

We've had a little bit of public comment on both proposals. The Triple T changes, we had 11 total comments; eight agree, three disagree. Those that disagreed, some just didn't like the permit. Others indicated that they thought the change would create a lack of oversight from Parks and Wildlife and create the conditions in which somebody may sell deer or move deer illegally.

On DMP changes, we had 18 total comments; ten agree, eight disagree. Some simply didn't -- disagree with the DMP concept, which is not relevant to these changes. Others, again, with the need for the Department to continue to notify people of incomplete applications. Not relevant since the online system takes care of that, and we did have some change -- one recommendation to extend the release date, which we did to 48 hours. So that concludes my part of the presentation. If y'all have some questions, I'll be happy to answer those.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Commission have any questions for Alan? Continue, Alan.

MR. CAIN: All right. If not, staff recommends the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt amendments to Chapter 31 of the Texas Administrative Code Section 65.103 concerning trap, transport, and transplant permits and 65.132 and 65.135 and 65.136 concerning deer management permits with changes as necessary to the proposed text published in the April 18th, 2014, Texas Register.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Thank you, Alan. Is there a motion for approval?

COMMISSIONER JONES: So moved.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Jones and Duggins second. All in favor say aye.

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Opposed? Hearing none, motion carries.

Final item, Action Item No. 8, Acceptance of Donation, Palo Pinto County, Approximately 120 Acres at Palo Pinto Mountains State Park. And who's going to make this presentation this morning?

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: The floor is open for volunteers. Chairman, Commissioners, good morning. My name is Ted Hollingsworth. I'm with the Land Conservation Program. This first slide is a picture of Tucker Lake, which is just a gem. A beautiful 90-acre lake situated in the heart of the new Palo Pinto Mountains State Park.

State Park staff has been working -- the park, by the way, is about 70 miles west of downtown Fort Worth and currently in the planning stages. State Park staff has been working with very closely the City of Strawn which owns a buffer around that lake and the lake proper, to affect some sort of management agreement that would allow us to include that land in the planning and development of the state park.

Because of that wonderful working relationship that State Park staff has developed, it's been concluded by the City that what really works best for them and for us is to donate all those uplands, all that land adjacent to the lake to Texas Parks and Wildlife to facilitate our management, to facilitate our planning, to facilitate the construction of any infrastructure that might be built there to increase public access to that lake for fishing, swimming, paddling, whatever recreation.

And as a result, staff does come to you this morning with a recommendation that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission authorize the Executive Director to take all necessary steps to accept the donation of approximately 120 acres in Palo Pinto County for addition to Palo Pinto Mountains State Park. I'd be happy to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Questions for Ted? Ted, I've got a couple questions. Do we -- what are our plans? Now that we're going to accept this donation and have this lake frontage, do we have a plan to develop it and secondly, is there boating taking place on the lake? Is there boat ramps? What...

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Sure.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Is this -- is this a premature question? Have we got that far?

MR. SMITH: May I? Ted, do you mind if I jump in and throw you a life rope here? So, you know, we're currently in the throes of a public use plan and so, you know, right now members of the community are using the lake for kayaking and that's really what it's more appropriate for is canoeing and kayaking, maybe small boats with small motors on it and so there's certainly some access that the City has provided for that.

But we're basically going to fold this property into the whole public use plan and look at that in the aggregate in terms of the recreational amenities that we ultimately want to provide there and then ultimately develop. So, certainly that will be considered.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Are there fishing opportunities on the lake?

MR. SMITH: Yeah, you bet. Yep.

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: And I agree with Carter.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Thank you, Ted.

COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Smart.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Any more questions for Ted? All right, Ted, thank you. Is there a motion for approval? Duggins, second Martin. All in favor say aye.

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Any opposed, nay? With that, motion carries.

And, Mr. Smith, this Commission has completed its business and I declare us adjourned.

MR. SMITH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

(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 ______________, 2014.

_________________________________________
Dan Allen Hughes, Jr., Chairman

_________________________________________
Ralph H. Duggins, Vice-Chairman

_________________________________________
T. Dan Friedkin, Member, Chairman-Emeritus

_________________________________________
Roberto De Hoyos, Member

_________________________________________
Bill Jones, Member

_________________________________________
James H. Lee, Member

_________________________________________
Margaret Martin, Member

_________________________________________
S. Reed Morian, Member

_________________________________________
Dick Scott, Member


C E R T I F I C A T E

STATE OF TEXAS )
COUNTY OF TRAVIS )

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 ________________, 2014.

___________________________________
Paige S. Watts, CSR, RPR
CSR No.: 8311
Expiration: December 31, 2014
DepoTexas - Firm Reg. No.: 17
Sunbelt Reporting - Firm Reg. No.: 87
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