TPW Commission

Public Hearing, January 22, 2015


TPW Commission Meetings

January 22, 2015



COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Good morning, everyone. Good morning. For some reason they've taken my gavel away. I think they know I liked to beat on it, so we'll just -- we're going to get started. The meeting is called to order January 22nd, 2015, at 9:02 a.m.

Before proceeding with any business, I believe Mr. Carter has -- Mr. Carter Smith has a statement to make.

MR. SMITH: I do. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners. 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, if I could, I just want to join all of you in welcoming everybody today. Nice to see that everybody has found a place to get out of the rain and so welcome, thank you for bringing the rain. You're all invited back. For those of you who have not had a chance to come to the Commission Meetings before, just a couple of little housekeeping items if we could. If you don't mind just in the interest of helping to respect the meeting, if you've got a cell phone, if you don't mind putting that on vibrate or silent. If you've got a conversation that you need to have, if you don't mind stepping out of the meeting for a few minutes, that would be most appreciated.

The Chairman is really going to have the first order of business as a recognition for colleagues across the state for their tenure and service and exemplary accomplishments and I know that we've got a lot of folks that have come in, family members in particular to help celebrate and honor their loved one's achievements and we're proud to recognize that and we appreciate y'all joining us for that this morning.

After that part of the meeting is over, the Chairman will take a quick break and allow those that want to leave to leave and then we'll call the meeting back to order. There will be a couple of items on the agenda later in the morning for which the Commission will be taking action. Those who want to speak to those items, we respectfully ask that you sign up in advance out front. At the right time, the Chairman will call you forward and ask you to state your name and your position on the matter. You'll have three minutes to address the Commission and we've got a little red light/green light system. Green means go, yellow means start to wind it down, and red means we're about to eject you. So if you can keep it succinct, that would be great. Welcome.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.


Next item is approval of minutes from the previous Commission Meeting held November 6th, 2014, which have been distributed. Do I have a motion?



COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Morian and Commissioner Lee. All in favor, say aye.

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Opposed? Hearing none, motion carries.

The next is the acknowledgment of donation lists, which have been distributed. And I don't have my list in front of me, but we had some really nice donations this past two-month's period and we really always appreciate that. Do I have a motion?




COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Second by De Hoyos. All in favor, say aye.

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Any opposed? Hearing none, motion carries. Thank you. Okay, I do have a list in front of me right now and we -- Parks and Wildlife Foundation did a great job, CCA, and we had some other very, very nice gifts and, again, we appreciate that. Yeah, Fieldwood Energy gave a very nice artificial reef to our program. So we always appreciate donations.

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


COMMISSIONER HUGHES: So moved by Commissioner Duggins. Second?


COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Commissioner Morian. All in favor, say aye.

(Chorus of ayes)

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

Now we have the special recognitions, retirement, and service awards. Mr. Smith.

MR. SMITH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners. For the record, my name is Carter Smith. Thank you for the opportunity to present to you today. Let me grab these. The good Lord has got a great sense of humor. Last year he gave me a baby and reading glasses and so I'll tell you, these came in handy last night when I read "Sheep in a Jeep" 150 times to Ryland help him go to sleep. Highly recommended. It's a short read and let me tell you, after 150 times the outcome doesn't change.

We're going to kick it off this morning and honor one of our colleagues, John Thorne. And we had a chance to recognize John at a recent meeting as a regional winner for the National Association of Boating Law Administrators Awards. But today, I'll tell you we're celebrating John getting this award on the national stage and this is a big, big deal. Y'all all know Cody Jones, who's our Boating Law Administrator for the state, just does a phenomenal job working with our officers to help keep the State's waters safe. And this year there were 43 officers from around the country that were nominated for this prestigious award, only one officer selected.

They met up in October in Bar Harbor, Maine. Colonel Hunter has been coaching me all week. He says it's Bar Harbor, I think. Is that how they pronounce it, Craig?

And so they met up there, and John was the winner. Just unanimous. He has just done a phenomenal job. He's our go-to guy inside the Agency on drug recognition. He's our expert on BWI/BUI. In his 12-year career as a State Game Warden, he's made over 80 cases out on the water. He's worked with prosecutors to put in place search warrants to get folks to cooperate and submit blood when they were refusing to do so. He's provided how-to guidance to our Game Wardens in the field. He's been a great mentor to Wardens out there in the field.

Back home, he's got the lead responsibility for water patrols on Cedar Creek, which covers, you know, over 30,000 acres and 14 large municipalities. John has just been an exemplary Warden. We're proud of him. He's also a member of our K-9 Team and so has done a masterful job on that and his brother happens to be a Game Warden, so he's kept it in the family and we're very proud of John for getting the NASBLA Officer of the Year Award across the country and I want to invite John and also Cody Jones to come forward with the Chairman as we celebrate this award for John. So John, Cody.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Our next awardee is Derek Spitzer and Derek, an old friend, was awarded the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Officer of the Year and a great, great honor for Derek.

Derek started with the Department back in '99. Graduated from the Game Warden county -- Game Warden Academy. Was stationed over in Harris County. Worked extensively in that Katy Prairie area. Derek is a waterfowl expert extraordinaire and just developed great relationships out there with all of the rice farmers and the hunters and the hunting guides and really did a masterful job representing the Department there. Moved up to Wood County, where he has just become a leader in that part of Northeast Texas. Integrated himself very well inside the community. Host the large -- one of the largest kid fish events in the state with literally hundreds of kids that he sponsors an outing for in that area. Personally takes kids waterfowl hunting all of the time.

He's our expert in Law Enforcement on waterfowl ID and waterfowl laws and so we asked Derek to go to the Academy each year to help teach the new cadets about waterfowl identification and waterfowl laws. Derek has made some great cases in his career. There was an incident in which some guys were targeting neck-banded geese and this was part of a research that biologists were involved on in which they were putting neck bands that had unique numbers and letters on them and tracking their movements really from the Arctic all the way across the Central Flyway and these guys were looking for those geese with neck bands, were shooting them off public roads with high powered rifles. Killed over a hundred geese that they were just letting lie in the field and then clipping the collars off just to have as trophies. Just a wanton waste of game and Derek investigated that and threw the book at them.

He was also very involved in a case that I think we may have mentioned to the Commission once before that's called the "30 Deer Case." And it started off with a report of a deer that they found attached to a pump jack over in East Texas in Alba and some guys had a poaching ring over there in Woods and Rains County and over a couple of month period, illegally shot 30 deer. They had just strapped the deer, taking the backstraps, and left the rest just to waste. And Derek was a huge, huge reason why that case got brought to justice and the guys that were responsible had 22 charges filed against them. They had 12 years of jail or probation time, they were 3,000 hours of community service, and lost their hunting and fishing license privileges for five years. And so good for Derek for that. We're awfully proud of him and his work and proud to celebrate him today as our Southeastern Association of Officer of the Year and so Derek is here today. Derrick.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: In addition to have the Southeastern Association Officer of the Year, we also this year are celebrating the fact that we have the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies Biologist of the Year and so a great, great, great time for Texas and Texas Parks and Wildlife. No surprise that Chuck Kowaleski was given this recognition.

Chuck has been with us a long time. Started out in Coastal Fisheries there in Galveston Bay as technician. Was promoted to one of the first Urban Wildlife Biologists in Houston working for Inland Fisheries and Wildlife there at Sheldon Lake. Helped create that environmental learning center there at the state park. Then he was promoted to help be our Project Wild Coordinator and about a dozen years ago, Chuck was asked to lead the Agency as our Farm Bill Coordinator. And I want to tell you, there is no more important piece of federal legislation to what we do in Texas than the Farm Bill because of the huge impacts it has on farmers and ranchers and how they manage the land for wildlife and water and Chuck is an expert across the country on the Farm Bill. Has a huge amount of influence in Congress. Congressional staffers call him all the time for his counsel, as do nonprofit groups.

Had the privilege a couple of weeks ago of being on a flight with a lobbyist for the Texas and National Sorghum Producers Association and they just could not have been more effusive about Chuck and the role that he plays representing wildlife in all of the Farm Bill discussions across the country. The other thing about Chuck is with respect to that Farm Bill, he makes sure that our interests -- whether it's Bobwhite quail or Pronghorn antelope or Bighorn sheep or Red-cockaded woodpeckers or whatever -- are represented in that Farm Bill and that dollars are directed to help go on the ground to help make improvements on farms and ranches across the state. He's had a huge impact and we're proud of the fact that Chuck is our Southeastern Association Wildlife Biologist of the Year. Let's celebrate that. Chuck.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Yesterday, I had a chance to mention to all of you this extraordinary work that Tim Birdsong has led on the Blanco River in bringing back our State fish, the Guadalupe bass, to a nice reach of the Blanco that had been really -- the Guadalupe bass had been either extirpated or subsumed with hybridization because of the crossbreeding with Smallmouth bass and Tim and his colleagues have just done a phenomenal job across the Hill Country. But his role in that has been really across the entirety of the southeastern U.S. and today, we wanted to recognize Tim for receiving a very prestigious award nationally, the National Fish Habitat Award that is coming from National Fish Habitat Partnership, a coalition of industry and angling and conservation groups, as well as the American Fisheries Society.

And Tim has really been the national architect of a comprehensive strategy on Black bass across the southeast. He put together a multistate partnership that focused on restoring Black bass in 11 major rivers across the southeast. Put together a proposal for $30 million that he and his colleagues have gone out and raised money for through the private sector to help invest in waters and watersheds to help restore native Black bass populations across the southeast. And, of course, Texas has benefited immensely from that as we talked about yesterday with the great work that he and his colleagues have done there on the Blanco, in the Pedernales, in Llano Rivers to help bring back our State fish and we're very proud of Tim receiving this award and proud to recognize him and want to ask Tim to come forward and Tim may even want to say a word or two. And so, Tim, we welcome you. So please come up and let's take a picture and then --

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. BIRDSONG: Well, thanks, Carter. And good morning, everybody. I just I really appreciate this recognition by the American Fisheries Society and the National Fish Habitat Partnership. But I'm especially honored by the fact that I was nominated by colleagues here at the Department and by biologists I work with around the southern United States and this is a really talented and passionate, forward-thinking group of conservation professionals and they've really led the way in developing this new approach to fish and wildlife conservation where we look at multispecies, watershed scale conservation.

And what we've put on the ground here in Texas on the Blanco watershed and the Pedernales watershed and the Llano, is now being replicated in Georgia and Florida and Alabama and Oklahoma. So kudos to the Department for leading the charge in that regard and I just want to share this award with all the professionals around the state that have contributed to this. It's a very, very long list of partners from private landowners to nonprofits to other state and federal agencies. Lots of folks from every branch of Inland Fisheries and believe it or not, every single division of this Agency played a role in this initiative. So very exciting and I appreciate the opportunity to share this with my colleagues and for it to be highlighted here in front of the Commission, so thank you.

(Round of applause)

MR. SMITH: Very nice, Tim. Well said, well said.

You know, this Commission has been incredibly supportive over the years of our Lone Star Land Steward awards and that's really a chance where every spring, we have a chance to highlight really the best of the best of stewardship going on across the state. But one I want to highlight today is the fact that that stewardship doesn't stop at our borders and we're here today to celebrate some partners in Nuevo León that have done just an extraordinary job with establishing a private landowner based association to help manage collaboratively for deer and turkey and quail and other game and nongame species and habitat.

And Maria Araujo who y'all know who is our International Liaison working on projects in partnership with our colleagues in Canada and Mexico, has just done a masterful job of building relationships across boundaries. Commissioner De Hoyos has worked very closely with her on Border Governors' related initiatives over the years as they have affect wildlife and private lands. But today we have some guests here that have come all the way from Nuevo León, Mexico, and we're going to honor them for their work.

Back in 1993, Mr. Jorge Villarreal Gonzalez had the vision with colleagues to establish the Consejo Estatal de Flora y Fauna Silvestre de Nuevo León and it was a nonprofit that was put in place really to encourage private landowners to work together like we have done here in Texas to help manage their ranches and their farm and their habitat to benefit game and nongame species and so they've provided technical guidance assistance, scientific expertise. They've helped provide training on everything from law enforcement to Hunter Ed. instruction and our biologists here in Texas have had the privilege of helping to play a small role in hosting private landowners from Mexico to come up for workshops and training.

And let me tell you, our colleagues in Mexico have grown this beyond anyone's estimation. Today, the Palo Blanco Basin Wildlife Management Co-op, again, covers over 300,000 acres. They've got 47 ranchers that are involved. Six ejidatarios, which as some of you know the ejido is the communal ranches in Mexico. And so they brought all these together in this great partnership and so we're very pleased to have with us Mr. Gonzalez, Villarreal Gonzalez with us; but also Mr. Oscar Garcia Urgarte is one of the ranchers that has come up and he and his family have the El Meson Ranch there in Salinas Victoria, Nuevo León. And so I ask the Commission to join me in giving a big Texas welcome to our partners in Nuevo León for their stewardship, so.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. VILLARREAL GONZALEZ: Okay. I'm sorry, my English is very, very bad. But I just want to say thank you very much Texas Parks and Wildlife. Thank you very much for all of you. Because we -- we receive -- we're very glad the support of every years you give with the workshops, conference, seminars and other works that we are doing together. Thank you very much and have a good day. Thank you.

(Round of applause)

MR. SMITH: Very nice. Congratulations, thank you.

Okay, I think we're going to now launch into some recognitions. We've got a couple of colleagues that had very long and distinguished careers withs us that have retired from the Agency and it's only appropriate that we celebrate their careers with us and we're going to kick it off with Terry Rogers. Terry was with us for, gosh, 31 years. Superintendent there at Inks Lake. Had a fascinating career in parks, in general. Started off as a kid working at Bob Hall Pier there in Corpus Christi renting out rafts and showers to beachgoers.

Went on to college and as he said, he bombarded the Parks and Wildlife with about 13, 14 applications. Finally got a job over here at McKinney Falls and I'll tell you, welcome to state parks. His very first day at McKinney Falls, as he said, we had 84 campsites and 85 reservations that day; the electricity went out, and the sewer backed up in the visitor center. And so God bless him, he didn't tuck his tail and run and stuck with us, again, for 31 years in State Parks. Had a great career. Went on to be Superintendent there at Martin Creek Lake State Park. Became a commissioned police officer. He was over at Blanco State Park and then for the final part of his career, he was our leader over at Inks Lake. Just one of the prized jewels of the state park system and so we're awfully proud of Terry and, as he said, for the first time in about 30 years he's now living in a neighborhood. So get used to it, Terry. But, Terry, thank you. Thirty-one years of service.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Next colleague, again, no stranger to this Commission, Linda Campbell with the Wildlife Division. Linda was with us for, gosh, 21 years and Linda just had a phenomenal career. Got her degree in wildlife from the University of the Florida. Went on to get her master's at Texas A&M. Surely -- I knew it, God. Thank you. God Almighty, we can't have a meeting without about a half dozen whoops, can we?

So Linda, great, great career. She was with the NRCS doing technical guidance for a dozen years for them before we were able to get her to come to Parks and Wildlife. She started out in Education and Outreach in our Wildlife Diversity Program. Was a Diversity Biologist. She worked on establishing the Great Texas Coastal Birding Trail. Worked with communities to help promote that in terms of compatible nature tourism and then helped launch wildlife viewing trails in all of the other ecoregions of the state and oversaw that effort in our Statewide Nature Tourism Project.

In 2003, she became the Program Director for our Private Lands and Public Hunting Programs. You know, two of our most important programs in the state and, you know, I could herald many accomplishments; but I'll pick a couple of them that I think are particularly representative of the work that Linda and her colleagues do. You know, she's the one that helped lead with her team the move to the automated online public hunting system and so that was a great innovation and use of technology and applaud Linda for her vision on that front. Also, she was very instrumental in helping us continue to elevate the Lone Star Land Steward awards. Involve the Foundation, move that to really a different setting just to help raise the profile of that event and then also with the work of the Wildlife Biologists in the Division, the number of acres under wildlife management plan during her tenure went from 10 million acres under wildlife management plans to almost 30 million acres. And so very proud of Linda for that.

She still stays very involved with a variety of wildlife things. She's on the board of the Hill Country Land Trust, Texas Chapter of the Wildlife Society as past president, and the Texas Wildlife Association. She and her husband love spending time at their ranch hunting and managing their habitat there and so proud to celebrate Linda's many accomplishments. Twenty-one years of service to this Department; so bravo, Linda.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Now going to recognize some colleagues that are still staying with us and Jimmie Rogers -- Jimmie Rodriguez, I'm sorry, Regional Maintenance Specialist in the Hill Country, been with us for 35 years. Another proud A&M grad. Thank you. On cue, imagine that. And don't we have a Longhorn as Governor now? Is that -- is anybody noticing that? I know.

Jimmie graduated from A&M in 1978. Was hired to work at Lost Maples and Jimmie worked in a number of parks in the Hill Country -- Guadalupe River, the old Kerrville Schreiner State Park, which now of course is a city park. He was out at Enchanted Rock State Natural Area and after 25 years helping to lead a variety of those Hill Country parks, Jimmie was promoted to Regional Maintenance Specialist where his responsibilities now is to really to support all of the 17 parks inside the Texas Hill Country and make sure that they're planning their capital repairs, working for infrastructure on minor repairs, supporting them wherever they need help really on the maintenance front and just making sure that those parks operate at the highest efficiency and the best possible facilities and just does a great, great job of that and we're awfully proud of Jimmie. Thirty-five years of service, Jimmy Rodriguez. Jimmie.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Next colleague also in State Parks, 35 years of service, Roger Shelton. And Roger, just again, a long and distinguished career with the Department. Started out with the Department in high school as an hourly worker at San Jacinto. What did we pay you, Roger? Don't answer. Don't answer.

He went to college while he was the lead ranger there at Varner-Hogg State Historic Site, which is now, of course, under the purview of the Texas Historical Commission. But he went and got his criminal justice degree and so Roger began working in Law Enforcement with the State Parks Division after being our Complex Superintendent there at Bastrop State Park and overseeing Bastrop and Buescher. He became our Regional Lieutenant. Was responsible for helping to draft and put in place the general orders for our state park police officers and so played a major role in working with Wes on that front.

And then last year right after he retired, Brent induced him to come back and be the Division Safety Officer and so really working throughout the Division to help promote safe and responsible practices throughout really our largest division in the state and so really proud of Roger's leadership and 35 years of service that we celebrate today. Roger.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: God, I wish I'd have been prepared for this one, Joe. Joe Carter, 30 years of service. God, first off, how do I -- I'm not even sure where to start. So a couple of days before Christmas, I get this text from my wife with this picture of a 10-foot tall inflatable yellow duck and I thought "What in the hell is that?" And I said, "Where is that?"

And she goes -- she writes back in bold "In our front yard." And our little friend over here has a great, great history of putting all of these little unwanted and uninvited objects in places, inside our yards and office. Some of you have seen the primates that have shown up in the office from time to time unannounced. It usually takes me about a month to find them perched somewhere on the book shelf and after, you know, seven years, I finally figured out who was responsible for it. So it's a little hard for me to take Major Carter very seriously these days as our Director of Internal Affairs, but I'm going to try.

And, Joe, you are really getting off easily here today, let me assure you. Your retirement, not so lucky.

Joe has had a great career with this Agency, as y'all know. Thirty -- thirty proud years with this Department. Nobody works harder. Nobody is more loyal. Nobody is more faithful. Nobody in this Agency will drop whatever they're doing just at the quick call from any colleague around the state in distress. He's led our Executive Protection Team for the Commissioners. He takes your safety very, very responsibility -- very seriously. As our Director of Internal Affairs, he brings just incredible integrity and objectivity and fairness to that critically important job for the Commission, for the Agency.

He's been a cop's cop and a very, very proud, proud career. Starting out as a, you know, Field Game Warden there in Harris County. Worked in East Texas in Smith County and Van Zandt County, where he quickly made a name for himself as someone you did not want to cross and run afoul with because Joe Carter always gets his man. Joe served as a special investigator with our Investigative Unit. He was a boat theft investigator. Promoted to be Captain in Internal Affairs. Did a short stent as an investigator with Dallas P.D. And in 2012, we proudly promoted him to the Major and Director of our Internal Affairs Program, where he's followed a long line of extraordinary leaders and Law Enforcement officers and we couldn't have a better man at the helm. Very, very proud to work with Joe Carter, 30 years of service. Major.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Next colleague is Ramiro Medrano and Ramiro is a Fish and Wildlife Technician with our Inland Fisheries Division down in South Texas in Mathis. Been with us for 25 years. Started his career in State Parks as a Park Ranger at Lake Corpus Christi and then he was over at Casa Blanca State Park there in Laredo and then transferred over to our Inland Fisheries District Crew there in Mathis, which he's played a hugely important role in helping us manage our waters and our fisheries on all of our inland waters in South Texas.

As a Technician, he's been very involved in all of the Alligator Gar work that this Commission has been so interested in there at Falcon Lake; but also at Choke Canyon. Also, obviously we spend a lot of time working on invasive species related issues and Ramiro has helped with developing work plans for address Hydrilla and Hyacinth and Water Lettuce and all those other insidious plants that we are so concerned with really invading and spreading throughout our inland reservoirs. But he's also never forgotten the important role that we play in terms of thinking about the next generation of hunters and anglers and conservationists and each year, he works with our team at Lake Corpus Christi State Park on promoting a youth fishing event that, you know, annually brings out about 500 kids to come out and enjoy the great sport of fishing. And so we're proud to celebrate his 25 years of service, Ramiro Medrano. Ramiro.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Last but not least, it's my privilege to recognize Margaret Howard Melton and Margaret is really with our Cultural Resources Team in State Parks and so she and her team of archaeologists really play a hugely important role in helping us steward these extraordinary archeological and historical resources that we have on our 95 state parks and 49 wildlife management areas and she and her team of four archaeologists are the ones that are going out and doing all these field surveys, helping us catalog all of the historical findings that are there, and really help us tell the story of the places that we steward and, you know, taking it back literally thousands and thousands of years to different points of human occupation.

And, you know, for example, the new Devils River property which this Commission knows is so archeologically significant. Margaret and her team have led the effort to help catalog all of that archeological resources and going back to the Native Indian tribes that settled there along the river and the ranching history and culture there and so, again, giving us the best possible information that then our managers can have to help steward those important sites, whether it's an old ranching headquarters or old pictographs that are thousands and thousands of years old.

They also steward an amazing treasure trove and archeological, really artifacts for us and Margaret and her team do a great job making sure that Texas history is well preserved for all Texans now and to come. Today we're celebrating 20 years of service. Margaret.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Mr. Chairman and Commission, that concludes my presentation. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: All right, at this time -- at this time, I would like to inform the audience that everybody is welcome to stay for the remainder of the meeting. However, if you wish to leave, this would be a good time to do it. We're going to take a very, very short break and then we'll reconvene.

(Recess taken)

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Thank you. They felt sorry for me, and gave me my gavel back. We can conduct the meeting now. I feel more empowered.

The first order of business is approval of the agenda. Is there a motion? Commissioner Scott and Commissioner Duggins. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

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

The second item of the day is Promotional Drawing, Recommended Adoption and Proposed Changes. Darcy, would you please make your presentation.

MS. BONTEMPO: Good morning, Mr. Chairman and Commissioners. For the record, my name is Darcy Bontempo. I'm the Marketing Director for Texas Parks and Wildlife. I'm personally hurt that everyone has left before my presentation. But this item seeks adoption of a new rule allowing the Department to conduct and create promotional event packages that individuals could win by providing a valid e-mail address and taking one or more actions that is prescribed in the rule.

The intent of this new rule is to enhance communications with our customers and with our constituents, as well as to generate greater revenue for the Department. The rule has a number of sideboards and requirements listed here. First off, all drawings must be approved by the Executive Director. The benefit has to be greater than the cost, the benefit to the Department. In one fiscal year, the incentives that are offered cannot exceed $5,000 from the Department provided incentives. All terms and conditions need to be posted on the Department website of any drawing. E-mails would be protected. Winners would be notified by e-mail only and then one's winnings could not transferred, sold, or exchanged.

The rule prescribes that package incentives can include two or more of the following: Donated goods or services; a magazine subscription; a state park pass; entry or lodging at any Department facility; hunting or fishing privileges on Department lands; and a hunting, fishing, or combo recreational license. Those could all be included in an event package.

To enter, individuals must provide a valid e-mail address, as mentioned earlier, and they have to do one or more of the following: Purchase an item as specified in the rules, so those items would include any kind of Department product, a hunting or fishing license, a park pass, pay an entrance fee to get into a park site or facility or a lodging fee or subscribe to the magazine, any of those would be considered an item that could be purchased to qualify for entry; or they could sign up for one or more of our e-mail topics; and finally another option would be that they could pay a fee not to exceed $25. So all of these are possible requirements, in addition to the valid e-mail address.

There are a number of current Parks and Wildlife Codes that, you know, grant or provide authority for this new rule and they're enumerated here on this slide. In the Work Session on November 5th in 2014, the Commission approved staff publishing the proposed rule. It was published in the Texas Register on December 12th. We received 12 comments related to the rule. Four were in favor. There was one in opposition, and that comment was simply that the rule was too complicated.

Based on public input, the staff is now recommending that Commission adopt the proposed motion: The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts the new 51.750 concerning promotional drawings, with changes as necessary to the proposed text, as published in the December 12, 2014, issue of the Texas Register.

And that concludes my brief presentation. I'm happy to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Thank you, Darcy. Any questions?

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Get my -- there we go. Darcy, why do we have the $5,000 parameter? Why shouldn't it be a little higher?

MS. BONTEMPO: Well, again, this is in the interest of fiscal responsibility for the Agency, the $5,000 is what we provide. A donated good and services, there is no limit. So if a third party or for-profit sponsor wants to donate items above and beyond 5,000, there is no issue with that. But we feel it's important, particularly since we can't specifically quantify the value of those e-mail addresses collected, that we put a cap on the amount of money the Department is going to, if you will, waive or give up in the process of collecting e-mail addresses. So it's just a fiscal responsibility that the Agency felt was advisable.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Okay, second question. On the license part of it, does that include being able to donate a lifetime license?

MS. BONTEMPO: Not a lifetime license. That would be --

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Do you not want that discretion?

MS. BONTEMPO: Well, we already have a separate rule for the lifetime license. So we are keeping that as a separate -- we have a drawing for lifetime licenses, as you know. So rather than, you know, confuse those, we decided that that would not be necessary to offer a lifetime license.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: It seems like we should have the discretion to do so, but thank you.

MS. BONTEMPO: Thank you very much.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Any more questions for Darcy? We have nobody signed up to speak on this issue. Is there a motion? Commissioner Scott. Second?


COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Commissioner Morian. All in favor, say aye.

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Opposed? Hearing none, motion carries. Thank you, Darcy.

MS. BONTEMPO: Thank you very much.


Action Item No. 3, Threatened and Endangered Species Rules Amendment, Recommended Adoption of Proposed Changes. Michael.

MR. WARRINER: Good morning, Mr. Chairman and Commissioners. For the record, my name is Michael Warriner and I'm the Supervisor of the Nongame and Rare Species Program in the Wildlife Division. At the Work Session meeting on August 20th, 2014, staff was authorized to publish proposed rules regarding amendments to the Department's list of state threatened and endangered nongame wildlife and endangered, threatened, and protected plants.

The proposed rules appeared in the September 26, 2014, issue of the Texas Register for public comment. I'm before you today to request adoption of those proposed amendments. This slide is a brief overview of those proposed amendments. These amendments consist of a mix of taxonomic clarifications and additions and removals to these lists. I'm now going to run those items briefly.

For the threatened animal list, we're proposing several taxonomic clarifications. From time to time, the scientific community reclassifies species based on new information. Changes in taxonomy do not affect the listed status of a species, but the Department believes that the common and scientific names of listed species should reflect the current scientific consensus. And so the changes that we're requesting are all underlined. Most of those changes are to the Latin scientific names of these organisms.

For the threatened animal list, we're proposing removal of the Margay. It's currently state listed as threatened. This species last known occurrence in the state was documented in the mid 19th Century in the 1800s. Otherwise, it's only known from fossilized remains. The species current range basically runs from the southern Mexico southward into Brazil.

For the endangered animal list, we're proposing a taxonomic clarification for the Interior Least Tern and that change is underlined. For the endangered animal list, we're proposing some additions to the state endangered list. Under Chapter 68, the Department is not required to list federally endangered species by rule. However, whenever the federal government modifies the list of endangered species, the Executive Director is required to file an order with the Secretary of State accepting the modification. And so in September 2013, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service federally listed endangered the Austin Blind Salamander and then July 9th, 2013, Fish and Wildlife federally listed endangered six aquatic invertebrates. These are all restricted to isolated freshwater springs in West Texas.

For the protected plants, we're requesting a few taxonomic clarifications for three plant species -- Davis' Green Pitaya, White Bladderpod, and Zapata Bladderpod. Those changes are underlined and those, again, are changes to the scientific names. We're requesting from the protected plant list removal of the Pima Pineapple Cactus. Based on old research, this plant was at one point in time thought to occur in Texas. Based on more recent work, it's now been determined that this species does not occur in the state. U.S. Fish and Wildlife only recognizes the species currently as occurring in southern Arizona and northern Sonora, Mexico, and not in Texas.

We're requesting an addition to the protected plant list of the Texas Golden Gladecress. This plant was listed federally endangered on October 11th, 2013. Public comments for these amendments were received regarding the threatened and endangered animal list. We received a total of 16 public comments; 14 in favor, two opposed. One of the opposed was against the use of scientific names, thought they were confusing. The other simply agreed with the addition of any animal to a state list.

Regarding public comment for the endangered, threatened, and protected native plants, we received a total of 14 public comments regarding those amendments and all were in favor. Staff recommends that the Commission adopt the following proposed motion: The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts amendments to 65.175 and 65.176 concerning threatened and endangered nongame species and 69.8 concerning endangered and threatened plants, with changes as necessary to the proposed text, as published in the September 26, 2014, issue of the Texas Register.

That concludes my presentation, and I'll answer any questions you might have.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Anybody? Commissioner Jones.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Chairman, I have a procedural question. So if the -- if there is a federal listing of an endangered species, plant or animal, am I to understand that we do not have to list that animal or species as a state endangered species?

MR. WARRINER: My understanding is that -- and maybe Ann could address it a little bit better. Well, yeah, I'll let Ann.

MS. BRIGHT: The statute is a little interesting in this regard because the definition of an endangered species in the Parks and Wildlife Code is if it's indigenous to Texas and it's listed on the U.S. list of endangered species, basically endangered native fish and wildlife. And so the definition -- in other words, if -- the statute says if it's federally endangered, it's endangered in Texas; but then they have this other process where the Executive Director is supposed to file this notice with the Secretary of State.

So, I mean it's going to be endangered regardless of whether Texas does anything. It's just going to change the offense so that it could be a state offense as well as a federal offense. I'm not sure if that completely answers your question. I guess what I'm saying is there's a little bit of a conflict in the statute.

COMMISSIONER JONES: So -- so I guess I want to make sure I understand. I'm not sure I ever really quite understand this. Do -- what do we get by listing it as a state endangered species?

MS. BRIGHT: It's my understanding -- and I might have to refer to Law Enforcement on this -- that the main thing is that it would also be a -- if somebody, for example, kills a Whooping Crane, it would also be an offense under state law as well as federal law.


COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Any more questions? Do you get it now, Bill? Don't shoot Whooping Cranes. I mean, seriously.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Really? Are they on the list?

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: They've been on the list for a long time. Any more questions? Yeah. Any more questions for Michael? All right, have nobody signed up to speak. Do I have a motion? Commissioner Martin.


COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Commissioner Morian. All in favor, say aye.

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: All opposed? Hearing none, motion carries. Thank you, Michael.

Texas -- Action Item No. 4, Texas Resident Active Military Hunting and Fishing License, Recommended Adoption of Proposed Changes.

MS. BRIGHT: Good morning, Commissioners. I'm Ann Bright, General Counsel, and this is essentially a clean-up item. And if I push the right button, we'll do this. The Parks and Wildlife Code through legislation enacted several years ago, provides for a no-cost hunting license and a no-cost fishing license for a resident on active duty as a member of the U.S. military forces, the Texas Army National Guard, the Texas Air National Guard, or the Texas State Guard.

When this legislation was initially enacted, the Department rather than have a separate fishing license and hunting license, created a super combo license which includes everything and what all it includes is there and that was available for $0. And this is kind of a unique situation; but we had a situation recently where somebody had a lifetime hunting license, but could not go actually and buy a super combo, active military super combo, even though this person qualified because we just -- there's a requirement that a person not have two licenses, two hunting licenses -- or two hunting licenses.

So this is just going to correct that. To make sure we comply with the statute, we're going to create -- the proposal is to create a $0 active military hunting license and a $0 active military fishing license. So these are the sections that will be amended. It's going to not impact the current super combo. We've received 19 comments in favor, four opposed and only two provided a reason. One was opposed to any giveaway and, of course, this is a statutory requirement. The other one just said that it should include active duty and veterans in addition to just active duty and the statute that we're working on here just applies to active duty.

So this is the recommendation: The Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts amendments to Sections 53.5 and 53.6 as published in the December 19th issue of the Texas Register, with changes as necessary to the proposed text.

And I'm happy to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Commissioner Scott.

COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Ann, how does this relate like to the deal -- actually, I've got them coming out next weekend and the weekend after. The vets that come in from all over the country that come in to hunt and fish, you know, when they're in the hospitals and the deal, how does this overlap with that?

MS. BRIGHT: You know, this really -- I mean, if -- I guess if somebody is -- this is -- this doesn't really overlap because this is only -- this only applies to active military. So disabled -- veterans or disabled veterans are actually covered by a separate provision. There is a disabled veteran no-cost license that as you may recall last -- I guess a little over a year ago, was expanded to include out-of-state disabled veterans and that -- the definition of "disabled veteran" is actually in the Parks and Wildlife Code.

COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Okay, thank you.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Any more questions for Ann? Thank you, Ann. Is there a motion for approval? Commissioner Scott. Seconded by Commissioner De Hoyos. All in favor, say aye.

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Opposed? Hearing none, motion carries.

Action Item No. 5, Local Park Grant Funding, Urban Outdoor Recreation Grants.

MS. LAGARDE: Good morning. My name is Dana Lagarde. I'm the Local Park Grants Manager in the State Parks Division, and I'll be discussing the Urban Outdoor Recreation Grants today. The Urban Outdoor Recreation Grant Program provides funding assistance to cities and counties with populations over 500,000 for the acquisition and development of public parkland.

Funding comes from a portion of the sales tax on sporting goods through the Texas Large County and Municipality Recreation and Parks Account or the Urban Parks Account and from offshore gas royalties through the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Four eligible applications were received for the August 31st, 2014, deadline, requesting $3,555,000 in matching funds. All applications have been scored and ordered by rank in Exhibit A, with the priority scoring system previously adopted by the Commission. Our recommendation is funding for four projects listed in Exhibit A in the amount of $3,555,000 is approved and I'd also like to mention that this is the first time we've used our new online application system. It's called the Recreation Grants Online. Applicants can both apply and manage their active grants through our new cloud based system. I'd be happy to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Any questions for Dana? Does the online system seem to streamline the operations?

MS. LAGARDE: It has. We're very pleased with how it's working for us. Of course, there's always a few glitches and room for improvement when we first roll out; but it's going quite well.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Great. That's a great program. We have three people signed up to speak today. The first is Bob Brackman, San Antonio Biological Gardens -- Botanical Garden, excuse me. Good morning, Bob.

MR. BRACKMAN: Good morning. I am Bob Brackman, the Executive Director of the San Antonio Botanical Garden and be on behalf of the City of San Antonio and the San Antonio Botanical Society, I want to thank you for your consideration of our application and belief in our collective mission and vision for creating this fund and engaging family adventure garden.

San Antonio, being a large urban area, can and will continue to have major impact on our collective and mutually beneficial missions. We have all appreciated your past support of projects in the San Antonio area and we're very excited to get started on our family adventure garden. Lastly, I would like to thank you each of your for your time and also great thanks to the staff of the Texas Parks and Wildlife for their efforts day in and day out and also for the administration of this grant. Thank you.


Next up to speak is Richard Zavala from the City of Fort Worth.

MR. ZAVALA: Good morning, Mr. Chair, Members of the Commission. I'm Richard Zavala with the City of Fort Worth. I bring you greetings from our Mayor Betsy Price, our City Council, as well as our City Manager. A couple of things I wanted to point out to you, first of all, I want to express a public appreciation to your Executive Director who participated in our 50 year anniversary of our Nature Center this past spring. Did an outstanding job in talking about the importance of parks in our lives, and I was just proud as peach to be part of the relationship with Carter.

I also want to recognize the distinguished Commissioner from Fort Worth, Mr. Duggins. We have been keeping him busy. Last spring he helped break ground for a Land and Water Conservation Fund project that we did jointly with Rotary, as well as Streams and Valleys. We used $110,000 of Land and Water Conservation Fund funding. Matched it with local private dollars and were able to build a great trailhead near the Phyllis Tilley Memorial Bridge. We've also used him in our opening of our Chisholm Trail Community Center last spring, which this Commission and Parks and Wildlife contributed $1 million to that $4.6 million project. And most recently, he participated when the Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell kicked off the reauthorization effort for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which was established, as you know, in 1965 by Lyndon Baines Johnson and she kicked it off in no place else but Fort Worth, Texas, and Mr. Duggins does an outstanding job with the Secretary as well as some of the local dignitaries.

I like to tell people that Eisenhower decided on we should have the Land and Water Conservation Fund and Kennedy kind of mixed it up a little bit; but it took a Texan to get it approved, LBJ. So we're proud of that fact. I also want to recognize Tim Hogsett and Dana Lagarde. I can tell you these folks in your Grants Management Program are of the utmost of ethical and integrity in their job and the passion they have for parks is unparalleled in this state.

So if I can get to the order at hand, it is the grant in which you are considering as part of your agenda today. This is a $1 million grant that will enable us to further develop our newest community park, the Northwest Community Park in far north Fort Worth. It's an interesting story. $7 million, 245 acres, the park angels were looking down upon me when they were able to plop this piece of property in such a developed area of the city. It's got a 25-acre lake on it. I've had mayors ask me for the key because no one's fished it in probably about 30 years. But with that $7 million investment, which came from developing area dollars, we used a match $1 million grant and matched the land.

The citizens of Fort Worth appropriated another $2.5 million in our recent bond program and we're leveraging that with the Little League Association, that we've challenged them with an additional $200,000. So that's probably going to turn into about a $400,000 investment. So overall, 245 acres, $12 million. This State Grant Program has invested about 19 percent, the City about 21 percent, the rest of it has come at no cost to the taxpayers of this state and the citizens of Fort Worth.

So I will close with this. I was just thinking 40 years ago, I spent a summer at Daingerfield State Park. Worked there right as I was a senior at A&M, whoop. And if you don't approve this grant, I'm going to have to call Carter and say, "Do you have an opening out at Daingerfield?" Maybe I've still got an old application out there. So we appreciate all that you do and thank you very much and you have an outstanding staff. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Thank you, Richard.

And we have one more signed up to speak: Jim Greenwood, Valero, San Antonio Botanical Gardens. Good morning, Jim.

MR. GREENWOOD: Good morning. Good morning. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, Commissioners. Thank you, staff. I'm Jim Greenwood. I'm chairing the San Antonio Botanical Gardens Capital Campaign and I am here wanting to thank y'all for your consideration. Thank you, staff, for all your work in helping us move this grant forward.

I just wanted to share with you my commitment to making sure that this park offers what we know the Texas Parks and Wildlife mission is, which is to get kids and families outdoors. We have accumulated 7 acres near downtown San Antonio that we're going to transform into an area that kids are going to know the difference between Bluestem and Side-oats and they're going to know what it looks like after a rain, the different paths of animals that they make along the trails. Give an opportunity for a kid to play, to enjoy nature, to be able to spend time with their family, be able to put a stick in a creek and watch it go down.

Too often people in San Antonio, in particular, they don't have a front yard or a back yard. They need a place to play. And with the growth in San Antonio, with what's happening at the Children's Museum, with our Witte Museum, with the Pearl, I think this just helps our community so much and I can't thank y'all enough for what y'all are doing on inner city parks. So thank y'all very much for your consideration.


MR. GREENWOOD: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Okay. Is there a motion for approve --

COMMISSIONER SCOTT: I'll make a comment.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Oh, I'm sorry. Yes, Commissioner.

COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Well, since the distinguished Mr. Duggins, you know, I know is going to want to make the motion, I think I'd rather make it since I was born in Fort Worth, you know, and so I'd like cut him off a little bit at the knees. So, anyway.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Okay, we have a motion from Commissioner Scott. Do we have a second from Mr. Duggins, Commissioner Duggins?

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: He's older than I am.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: All in favor, say aye.

(Chorus of ayes)

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

Dana, you're back up.


COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Action Item No. 6, Local Park Grant Funding, Non-urban Outdoor Recreation Grant.

MS. LAGARDE: Thank you. For the record, my name is Dana Lagarde. I'm the Local Park Grants Manager in the State Parks Division. The Non-urban Outdoor Recreation Grant Program provides funding assistance for communities under 500,000 in population for the acquisition and development of public parkland. Funding comes from a portion of the sales tax on sporting goods through the Texas Recreation and Parks Account and from offshore gas royalties through the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Twenty-three eligible applications were received for the August 31st, 2014, deadline, requesting $8,999,748 in matching funds. All applications have been scored and ordered by rank in Exhibit A, according to the priority scoring system previously approved by the Commission. Our recommendation is funding for ten projects listed in Exhibit A in the amount of $3,800,000 is approved. I'd be happy to take any questions.


We have two people that signed up. One does not want to speak, but said he is in support for the City of Leander request. And the second one is from South Padre Island, William -- I can't exactly read your last name here, William; but please --

MR. DILIBERO: Good morning, Mr. Chairman and Commission Members. My name is William Dilibero, and I'm the City Manager for South Padre Island. I'm here to thank you for your support for our local Outdoor Parks grant application that the City submitted. The City grant will provide funding to aid the City in the development of our first community park on a 2-acre parcel that the City has purchased. The City will also be contributing $280,000 in money to build the park.

The park is sorely needed on South Padre Island because we're a small city made up of primarily small lots and multifamily residences. The park will provide a playground, basketball court, amphitheater, soccer field, walking trail, exercise stations. It will provide access to the beach and public restrooms and showers. From a regional perspective, the City shares many amenities and plans our outdoor programs together with its local and regional neighbors. Working together regionally benefits our residents and helps us provide resources for tourism in the Lower Rio Grande Valley because the Valley hosts two of the poorest counties in the country.

The park will provide many recreational options -- provide residents and visitors to the island. Most importantly, it will provide another point of access to the Gulf coast from the main -- from our main thoroughfare of Padre Boulevard. On behalf of the City of South Padre Island, I thank you for your consider and support.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Thank you, William. Any more discussion? Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER JONES: I just have a quick question for Ms. Lagarde, and I think I may have asked this or somebody else may have asked this before. I just can't remember the answer. Do we have a minimum score in order to receive an award or do we take the top whatever number and then when we run out of money, that's it, and we just take the top ten?

MS. LAGARDE: Exactly. We do not have a minimum score at this time. We go down the list and at this -- at this point, we've always had way more applications than money.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Okay, thank you.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: And, Dana, I would encourage staff and I know you do, there's some very -- on all these different grants we're giving out today, there's -- the number of the guys that didn't quite get it are right there and they're very close and, you know, work with them and when we have this thing -- grants next time around, maybe we can move them up into getting the grants because there's a lot of worthy causes that are not getting funded.

MS. LAGARDE: We will definitely work with them.


MS. LAGARDE: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Is there a motion for approval?


COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Commission Martin and second by Commissioner Jones. All in favor, say aye.

(Chorus of ayes)

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

Your busy this morning, Dana. Action Item No. 7, Local Park Grant Funding, Small Community Recreational Grants.

MS. LAGARDE: Thank you. Again, for the record, my name is Dana Lagarde. I'm the Local Park Grant Manager in the State Parks Division. The Small Community Recreation Grant provides funding assistance to communities under 20,000 in population for the acquisition and development of public parkland. Funding comes from a portion of the sales tax on sporting goods through the Texas Recreation and Parks Account.

Twenty-eight eligible applications were received for the August 31st, 2014, deadline, requesting $1,869,609 in matching funds. All applications have been scored and ordered by rank in Exhibit A, using the priority scoring system previously adopted by the Commission. Our recommendation is funding for 11 projects listed in Exhibit A in the amount of $691,163 -- oops -- $691,163 is approved. I'd be happy to take any questions.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Any questions for Dana? Okay, thank you.

MS. LAGARDE: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: We have no one signed up to speak on this. Is there a motion for approval?


COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Commissioner Jones. Second by Commissioner Lee. All in favor, say aye.

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Opposed? Hearing none, motion carries.

Okay. Action Item No. 8, Conveyance of Abandoned Road Right-of-Way, Brazoria County, Approximately .69 Acres at the Sea Center Texas Fish Hatchery. Corky Kuhlmann, please make your presentation.

MR. KUHLMANN: Good morning. For the record, Corky Kuhlmann with the Land Conservation Program. This is a small item at Sea Center Texas, Lake Jackson, Texas, Brazoria County. Sea Center Texas was created largely with the help of Dow and it is a marine center, an aquatic center, and education center. It -- Dow donated the land up front for the entire complex and Dow also remains an intricate part of the day-to-day operation of Sea Center Texas.

Dow had -- is in the process of building a new plant. If you see the red polygon on the map, that is a part of Medical Drive that historically has never been used. It dead-ends into Dow property. Just to the north -- northwest of that -- excuse me, the northeast of that is a canal. Dow owns that canal, and we're to the southeast of that. If you see the southeast portion of that, there are some wetlands there. Dow has that portion of that road, Medical Drive. Had the City of Lake Jackson abandoned that portion of the street and having done that, a portion of that, half of that right-of-way came to Texas Parks and Wildlife. The southwestern half and the northeastern half went to Dow. Split it down the middle, and Dow -- what Dow's intent was, for Parks and Wildlife to donate that property back to them.

They're going to use that driveway. They're building a new factory plant just south of that driveway and they'll use that as a construction entrance for the future. And they have requested that we donate that, half that right-of-way which is around half an acre back to them, which is pretty much stated here. The only thing I really haven't covered is that in doing that, Dow intends to put a pipeline and an easement across that right-of-way, once they own it if y'all approve them owning our half. And they will also provide us with water, water rights to replenish and nourish that wetlands area that we have south of the hatchery and the main center.

And having said that, staff recommends that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt the following motion: The Commission adopts the resolution attached as Exhibit A.

And I'll be glad to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Is there any question for Corky? All right. Thank you, Corky.


COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Commissioner Morian makes a motion for approval. Is there a second? Commissioner Scott. All in favor, say aye.

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Opposed? Hearing none, motion carries.

MR. KUHLMANN: Thank you.


Action Item No. 9, Acceptance of Land Donation, Bexar County, Approximately 22 Acres at Government Canyon State Natural Area. And who's going to make this presentation today?

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Chairman, Commissioners, good morning. My name is Ted Hollingsworth. I'm with the Land Conservation Program. This first item takes us to Government Canyon State Natural Area.

Several meetings ago, we talked to you about an inholding inside the MaBe Canyon Ranch, which we added a little over a year ago, 461 acres that we added to the park. There's a 51-acre inholding, doughnut hole inside that -- inside that acquisition. And you authorized us to do a couple of things. You authorized us to work with that landowner to consolidate several access easements that would clarify his access, but also limit his access so that that property could not be turned into a subdivision. The other thing you authorized us to do is to accept a conservation easement on the larger of those two tracts, the 32-acre tract.

In the meantime, it has been determined that the lender who has the lien on that property would not subjugate it to a conservation easement; but they were willing to restructure that loan in such a way that the borrower would keep the house and 10 acres and the company would release 22 acres to his ownership and so he's proceeded to do that and he would like to donate that 22 acres to the state park to be added to -- or to Texas Parks and Wildlife to be added to the state natural area.

That's the area shown in green on this map. It's the larger part of that inholding, and we think that that's a good deal for the park. It, of course, helps us manage the park and further limits what a future owner might do on that remainder, that remainder 10 acres of property. We have received one comment in favor of accepting that donation of property and with that, the staff recommends that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission authorize the Executive Director to accept the transfer of 22 acres in Bexar County from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation for addition to the Government Canyon State Natural Area.

I failed to mention that the property has been conveyed. The landowner, for tax reasons, wanted to get that property donated by the end of 2014 and so that transfer was made to the Foundation and the recommendation is that the Commission accept the transfer of that property from the Foundation to the Department. I'd be happy to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Any questions for Ted? Thank you, Ted. Is there a motion for approval? Commissioner Martin. Second?


COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Commissioner Jones. All in favor, say aye.

(Chorus of ayes)

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

Action Item No. 10, Acquisition of Land, Goliad County, 88 Acres for Addition to Goliad State Park and Historic Site. Ted, you're back up.

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Chairman, Commissioners, good morning. My name is Ted Hollingsworth. I'm with the Land Conservation Program. This is a second item of this -- reading of this item. You saw this in December. We have a very rare opportunity to acquire one of the Goliad massacre sites, right across the river from the state park and state historic site.

In 1836, the Mission there was used to house prisoners of war, Texan prisoners of war, and a march -- about 300 of those prisoners were marched out into nearby fields and massacred. All of those sites are privately owned. It's long been a desire of staff to add one of those to the state historic site that people might be able to visit one of the massacre locations.

Due to a combination of circumstances, we have the opportunity to acquire that. An 88-acre tract, again, right across the river from the state historic site. Funding would come from the Texas Natural Resource Damage Assessment Program as to help offset an oil spill that occurred in the San Antonio River drainage upstream. The trustees have approved this program. The Attorney General's Office has approved it. We're in the process of completing all the necessary paperwork.

Management would be for the natural resources, but also for cultural resources. This particular site has an extremely unique combination of natural and cultural resources, over half a mile of frontage on the San Antonio River. Meets the needs of the trustees to compensate for those impacts to bottomland forest that occurred as a result of the spill upstream and, again, adds that massacre site and a very -- just a very profound opportunity to interpret some more of Texas history for the people of Texas. About 20 acres of that site would be earmarked for specifically for preservation and interpretation of those cultural resources. The other 68 acres would be specifically restored and maintained for those natural resource values.

And with that, staff recommends that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission authorize the Executive Director to take all necessary steps to acquire approximately 88 acres in Goliad County for addition to Goliad State Park and Historic Site.

I'd be happy to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: How do -- how is it proposed that we're going to access this since it's on the river, bounded on the north by the river and not contiguous to the park?

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: It's bounded on south by a county road and it would be -- it would be, in fact, necessary for staff to drive south, get on the county road, and then go east to that property. Staff is well aware of that. But, again, because of how significant those resources are, recommend very strongly and this includes the Regional Director and Brent Leisure, just feel like that resource is too, too significant not to take this opportunity to acquire it. It would be a remote -- it would be a remote interpretive site.

We haven't begun the planning process yet. But what we envision is a parking area that could be opened on some basis for the public to be able to get onto that site and see those resources.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: When you say there's a county road, are you referring to Hensley Road on this plat?

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Yes, sir. Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Okay. It doesn't look like they touch is why I was...

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: They don't quite touch. That's correct, yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: So how are you going to get across the area that's between the road and the property?

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Oh, the road and the property do touch.


MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: I'm sorry. Yes, sir.


COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Any more questions for Ted? It looks like a tract of piece of property between the existing state park and the addition, Ted. I'm sure you already noticed that.

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Oddly enough, I've already noticed that, yes, sir. And actually the family, the Kelly family does own about half of that and part of which is opposite the river from the state park and once the dust has settled from this transaction, we'll probably be watching for opportunities to expand that a little bit. Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Great. Thank you, Ted. Is there a motion for approval.


COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Commissioner Duggins. Second?


COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Commissioner Morian. All in favor, say aye.

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Opposed? Hearing none, motion carries.

Action Item No. 11, Land Acquisition Harris County, Approximately 3.4 Acres at Caddo Lake State Park.

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Chairman, Commissioners, good morning. My name Ted Hollingsworth. I'm with the Land Conservation Program. Caddo Lake State Park is not one of our larger parks at 484 acres; but it is a very, very special park. It is one of our CCC parks. There are still CCC cabanas, structures, other features in the park. The park has about a mile of frontage on Caddo Lake itself.

Because of the shape of the park, we've always had difficulty managing the visitor experience to the entrance of the park. The entrance is on sort of a stovepipe portion of the park and adjacent land uses are apparent to people who visit the park, so we've always watched for opportunities to acquire tracts that are adjacent to that entryway.

Just a few weeks ago literally, a neighbor who has actually a large amount of boundary in common with the park, contacted the park staff and said that she was in the mood to sell her 3.4-acre tract and if we could buy it before the end of the year, she was going to sell it to us. Otherwise, she was going to put it on the market for $15,000. And I'm confident that somebody would have scarfed that up. It would have been a beautiful site to put a mobile home or build a house or something.

We did not have the resources to do that on such short notice, but the Caddo Lake Institute did and they actually contacted us and said, "We're aware of this opportunity. We can't stand the thought of all of us missing that opportunity." So the Caddo Lake Institute snatched that piece of property up and is holding it on our behalf. This is the tract. You can see a gravel pit, sand and gravel pit which is visible to visitors in the park and we didn't want that gravel pit expanding north and becoming more of an eyesore, quite frankly. Again, one of the reasons we were anxious to make sure this piece of -- this tract was acquired.

And the Caddo Lake Institute, again, scarfed that property up for us and is holding it on our behalf and would be delighted to sell it to us at their cost. And staff does recommend that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission authorize the Executive Director to take all necessary steps to acquire approximately 3.4 acres in Harrison County for addition to the Caddo Lake State Park.

I'd be happy to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Any questions for Ted? Is there a motion for approval?


COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Commissioner Martin.


COMMISSIONER HUGHES: And Commissioner Jones second. All in favor, aye.

(Chorus of ayes)

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

Action Item No. 12, Acceptance of Land Donation, Bexar County, Approximately .4 acres at Government Canyon State Natural Area. Ted.

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Chairman, Commissioners, good morning. My name is Ted Hollingsworth. I'm with the Land Conservation Program. I mentioned in an earlier presentation that you had authorized us last year to work with the owner of an inholding at Government Canyon State Park on consolidating the access easement for their property. The easement is also used by Texas Parks and Wildlife staff to get into that north end of the state natural area.

In the course of surveying that easement, it was discovered that road -- the driveway, the road, the existing access road -- actually leaves that piece of property that we bought and meanders onto the adjacent municipal utility district property and because we use the road and because that neighbor uses the road, we approached the MUD about an easement over that portion of the property that the existing road crosses. The response of the MUD was that they really would prefer to just donate the property to Texas Parks and Wildlife rather than try to keep up with an easement across that property.

It's two tracts, two separate tracts. Each one is about two-tenths of an acre. Total of about .4 acres. And, again, the MUD is willing to just donate those, the fee interest of those properties to Texas Parks and Wildlife so that we can maintain that road where it is. We have received one comment in support of accepting that donation and with that, the staff recommends that the Commission authorize the Executive Director to take all necessary steps to accept the donation of approximately 0.4 acres in Bexar County for addition to Government Canyon State Natural Area.

And I'd be happy to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Any questions for Ted?

COMMISSIONER JONES: Move to approve.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Commissioner Jones. Second? Commissioner Scott. All in favor, say aye.

(Chorus of ayes)

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


COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Final item today is No. 13. It's Flounder Propagation Initiative. Shane, good morning.

MR. BONNOT: Good afternoon, Chairman and Commissioners. My name is Shane Bonnot. I'm the Hatchery Manager at Sea Center Texas and I'm with the Coastal Fisheries Division and I have the privilege this morning of talking to you about Southern flounder stock enhancement and I'm really passionate about this and if I get to rambling on, feel free to use the yellow light/red light system here.

So Southern flounder work really began in Texas in the late 70s and early 80s with Dr. Connie Arnold at UT in Port Aransas and also Parks and Wildlife's own Bob Coiura was working with this species out at the Perry R. Bass Marine Fisheries Research Station and they were working on getting this fish to spawn and conducting research trials with this fish.

Well, currently today in the U.S., flounder is conducted -- flounder research is conducted primarily on the East coast all the way from New Hampshire down to the Carolinas. They're working with Winter flounder and Summer flounder and, to some extent, Southern flounder. Well, Parks and Wildlife is -- since 2006, again, resumed the work with Southern flounder under the leadership Dr. Robert Vega and we've began in '06 with a really big push to collect some broodstock and obtain some fertilized eggs.

So early on while we're collecting these broodstock and bringing these fish into our tanks and getting them to spawn, it became clearly evident that we needed to modify our tank systems. We had to do some fiberglassing. We actually had to paint the tanks a different color to suit the needs of the flounder. We ordered smaller pumps. We did all sorts of things to change our systems because our systems were built geared around Redfish and Spotted seatrout production. Currently, we have over 500 broodstock between the Marine Development Center in Corpus Christi and Sea Center Texas in Lake Jackson, which seems like a lot of fish and it is. It's a lot of fish to take care of. But it takes a lot of flounder, a lot of female broodstock, to give you the eggs that you need to work with. So just for comparison, one Red drum female will give you around 2 million eggs in a single night spawn. One flounder, you're looking at anywhere from around 60,000 to 150,000 eggs from just that one female. So it takes a lot of females to get what we need to work with. So we've had to sort of adapt our expectations when it comes to the spawning biomass of this fish.

We've also had to adapt the way we raise these larvae. We've modified some equipment in our incubation rooms. We've -- take some -- made some significant strides in improving our ability to culture the live foods to feed to these fish and we've also improved our larvae culture processes and right now, we're working with our internal partners within Parks and Wildlife at Perry R. Bass and some external partners at University of Texas in Port Aransas, Texas A&M, and North Carolina State University and we're trying to advance the science with regards to stocking success and habitat effects on sex determination and survival and we're also looking at the physiology of this fish.

And I think it's important to note that any strides that we've made to this point, would not have been possible without the support of the Coastal Conservation Association, without the support of the Sea Group down in Corpus Christi, Harvey Weil Foundation, volunteers there at Sea Center, and the support of our managers within the Department. So we certainly appreciate all the support we've gotten on the flounder project to this point.

So working with flounder is challenging, and we've experienced some growing pains in this process. As I mentioned for starters, you don't get that many eggs out of a single female. So it takes a lot of fish to get the eggs you need for spawning. And unlike other fish that we've worked with in the Coastal hatcheries, these flounder are very slow to grow. A Red drum or a Spotted seatrout, we can get them to two inches in a matter of 20 to 30 days. Their grow-out period is quite rapid. With flounder, it's going to take you 60 to 90 days to get to that inch-and-a-half to 2-inch fingerling. And during that time, you're raising these fish primarily indoors and you have very strict tolerances that you have to operate within with regards to the water quality. So that is a bit of a challenge.

And right now we're also working with this fish during our -- what we call our off season, which is in the winter months when we're not producing Red drum and Spotted seatrout. So just to talk a little bit about the culture, I have some images up here. The first one I'd like to talk about is in the top left of your picture there. That -- there's two fish in that image.

The fish on the bottom is around a two-week old larvae. As you can see, it looks like what a normal fish larvae would look like. It's got one eye on each side of its head. Swims around the water column like a normal fish larvae would do. Again, that fish is just two weeks old. The fish above it is around three weeks old and it's actually going through the process of metamorphosis and with flounder when they go through metamorphosis, their right eye -- the Southern flounder, their right eye will migrate over to the left side of their body and the fish begins to flatten out. That process is very stressful for the fish, and you have to certainly be on your A game when you're culturing these fish through this process.

Now the image on the top right you see there, that fish is starting to take more of the look of a flounder. It's flat. The two eyes on one side of its body. Again, that's a -- almost a one-month-old fish, 25 days old fish and it's not even half an inch yet; so very slow growing fish here. The bottom left are fish that have gone through metamorphosis. They're laying out in the bottom of a tank. You see the orange there, that's the food that's in their guts that they're eating. And in the bottom right, you have some images of some fingerlings that, as you can see, look like a flounder. They're fully pigmented. These fish are anywhere from 1 inch to 2 inches in length and this is -- the one on the left there is about the size that we would look at stocking, that 2-inch fingerling.

So how do we get to the fingerlings? Well, we start off in the broodstock tanks like we do with all of our other fish. Inside of the hatchery, these fish are exposed to a light and a temperature cycle that simulates seasons of the year. So we trick the flounder into thinking it's wintertime, which is their natural time to spawn. We aim to get eggs spawned naturally and go ahead and net them out of the tanks. If we're not able to do that, then we have the ability to pull the fish out of the tanks, inject them with hormones and go ahead and spawn them by actually stripping the eggs and sperm out of them. We'll conduct fertilization in a beaker. Either way, the goal is to get the fertilized eggs into the incubation tanks.

So it takes -- once the eggs are fertilized, it takes about eight days for an egg to complete hatch out and for a larvae to consume all of its yolk sac reserves and after that eight-day period, it's ready to actually feed. Again, that's a lengthy process. You have to maintain strict environmental conditions during this time. Once the fish are ready to feed, we'll provide the live feeds for them. We'll provide marine rotifers and brine shrimp for them to eat and they'll grow in that tank and develop for the next 25 to 30 days. And then once they've gone through their metamorphosis, it's at that point in time where we can decide to either go ahead and stock them if they're large enough or we'll use our ponds if the ponds are, at that time, seasonally are conducive for flounder growth.

And this slide here, you see some images of the ponds. We manage our ponds with flounder in a very similar fashion as we do with our other species. We'll conduct daily water quality. We'll feed and fertilize the ponds. We'll sample the ponds and monitor the fingerlings growth. Once they've reached the appropriate size, we'll go ahead and draw the water down, get in there with rubber boots on, net the fish out, load them up into a stocking trailer and take them out to the bays for release.

We've had really good success when we stock our ponds with the post-metamorphic larvae or those first fingerlings. We've had not so good success with stocking the pre-metamorphic larvae. Which, again, speaks to the point that you have to maintain those pre-metamorphic larvae within some pretty strict environmental parameters and winters in Texas are just all over the place and so it's impossible to do that in some outdoor ponds.

So moving forward, we're approaching the culture of this fish as if we're actually raising two different species. Pre-metamorphic larvae, you have to maintain those strict environmental parameters. You -- it's a very intensive process. It's very laborious. It's hands on, time consuming. With the post-metamorphic, you have a little bit more freedom to throw caution to the wind. You can expose these flounder to varying environmental conditions and it's much more of an extensive sort of culture.

Now every aspect of our rearing has had to have been adapted from what we normal do. Including the daily care and developing the nutritional needs for these flounder larvae. So we're going to be working with Dr. Gatlin out of Texas A&M to help develop the diets for these larvae and these fingerlings and we're continuing to train our staff to -- on the proper techniques of raising flounder. And throughout that process, questions arise. So we'll continue to work with our researchers in-house at the Perry R. Bass Marine Fisheries Research Station and at universities to answer those questions.

So we feel that progress towards expanding our spawning season outside the winter months is a necessary step for us to take in order for us to increase our production and to raise some high quality flounder fingerlings. So what we hope to have happen is actually the construction of a building at Sea Center Texas. This building you see here is in the planning and design phase and its projected completion date is April of 2017, but this building will provide us with around 3,000 square feet of floor space to work with Southern flounder larvae while we're also doing our Red drum and our Spotted seatrout work.

So at this point, we're not planning on letting go of any of the work that we're doing and we still plan to meet our quotas on our other fishes that we release; but we want to work with Southern flounder at the same time, so this building is necessary to do that. So to date, from 2006 to 2014, we've released just over 184,000 juvenile Southern flounder into Texas waters. Actually, our goal this year is 25,000 fingerlings and we're well on our way to meeting that number. In fact, our colleagues down in Corpus Christi at the MDC just last week released 5,000 fish into Aransas Bay.

And before I close, I'll let this video loop and play. I just wanted to show you this video of some of our broodstock in our hatchery at Sea Center where you see them feeding on some shrimp and mackerel there. These fish become very domesticated after you bring them in from the wild. They get acclimated to the tanks and you approach the tank and they're all swimming right up to the window or right up to the opening of the tank ready to be fed. They'll actually eat out of your fingers. Although, as you can see here, I wouldn't recommend doing that.

So with that, I appreciate the opportunity to be here and present our work. I'd be happy to answer any questions that you might have.


COMMISSIONER DE HOYOS: I have a question.


COMMISSIONER DE HOYOS: What is the survival rate once you release those fingerlings into the water?

MR. BONNOT: We have not determined the survival rate of the Southern flounder in Texas once we release the fingerlings, but there is some research that has been published in other countries that actually do the stock enhancement of flounder. So in Japan, they've been doing stock enhancement with flounder just as long as we have been doing Red drum stock enhancement and they support food fish. It's for a commercial industry. The enhancement program supports the commercial industry. So they release around 90-millimeter fingerlings, three and a half inches or so. And what they've determined is that 28 percent of the catch of the commercial harvest are from hatchery origin fish. So their survival is, in Japan with the Japanese flounder, is very high and that industry supports almost 30 percent of the commercial landings.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Shane, I just wanted to thank you. I think this is a fascinating presentation.

MR. BONNOT: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: I agree, it was fascinating.

Shane, to put the 28 percent in Japan in perspective, Red fish and Speckled trout, do we know what percentage of anglers who -- that we're catching in the Texas waters that have been stocked versus non-stocked?

MR. BONNOT: We know -- we know based upon our surveys from our gillnets which percentage are hatchery origin and it varies from year to year, from bay system to bay system, depending on essentially how much room there are for the hatchery fish in that bay system at that time. If natural recruitment is very high, the hatchery recruitment potentially could be very low. But in West Matagorda, I think it was in 2009/2010, Rebecca -- I mean Leslie and Lance could correct me if I'm wrong. But we -- in the spring gillnets, I think they determined that 14 percent were hatchery origin and then the fall gillnets, it was something around 17 percent were hatchery origin fish.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: So it's a pretty high percentage.

MR. BONNOT: Fairly high, yes.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Thank you. Great presentation.

MR. BONNOT: Thank you. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: 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 ______________, 2015.

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



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 11th day of February, 2015.

Paige S. Watts, CSR, RPR
CSR No.: 8311
Expiration: December 31, 2016
DepoTexas - Firm Reg. No.: 17
Sunbelt Reporting - Firm Reg. No.: 87
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Austin, Texas 78752
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