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Work Session

Wednesday, August 19, 2015
9:00 a.m.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Commission Hearing Room
4200 Smith School Road, Austin, TX  78744

T. Dan Friedkin, Commission Chair
Carter Smith, Executive Director

Approval of the Previous Minutes from the Work Session held May 20, 2015

    Land and Water Plan

  1. Update on TPWD Progress in Implementing the TPWD Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan — Carter Smith
    • Internal Affairs Update
    • Land and Water Plan Measures
    • Staff Recognition
    • Bass License Plate
    • Multi-Division Award
    • Texas Game Warden Citizen’s Academy
    • Aerial Wildlife Management
  2. Financial

  3. Financial Overview – Mike Jensen
  4. Internal Audit Update – Cindy Hancock
  5. Natural Resources Regulations

  6. Managed Lands Deer Program – Recommended Adoption of Proposed Changes – Alan Cain (Action Item No. 4)
  7. 2015-2016 Migratory Game Bird Proclamation – Recommended Adoption of Proposed Late Season Changes – Dave Morrison (Action Item No. 5)
  8. Oyster Fishery Update – Lance Robinson
  9. Chronic Wasting Disease Discovery and Response – Clayton Wolf (Public Session and Executive Session)
  10. Land Conservation

  11. Land Acquisition – Matagorda County – Approximately 6554 Acres on the Matagorda Peninsula - Request Permission to begin the Public Notice and Input Process – Ted Hollingsworth
  12. Personnel

  13. Personnel Matters—Dawn Heikkila
    • Performance Evaluation of TPWD Executive Director (Executive Session Only) WITHDRAWN
    • Discuss Executive Director Compensation Authorized by H.B. 1, as enacted by the 84th Texas Legislature (2015) (Executive Session and Action Item No. 3)

Work Session Item No. 1
Presenter: Carter Smith

Work Session
TPWD Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan
August 19, 2015

I.       Executive Summary: Executive Director Carter Smith will briefly update the Commission on the status of the agency’s efforts to implement the Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan (the “Plan”).

II.     Discussion: In 2001, the 77th Texas Legislature directed that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) develop a Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan (Tex. Park & Wildlife Code §11.104). In 2002, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission (the Commission) adopted the first Plan. A revised Plan was adopted by the Commission in January 2005. In November 2009, the Commission approved a new Plan, effective January 1, 2010, that included broad input from stakeholders and the general public.  Minor revisions continue to be made to the plan. The 2015 version of the Plan is available on the TPWD web site. Executive Director Carter Smith will update the Commission on TPWD’s recent progress in achieving the Plan’s goals, objectives and deliverables.

The Plan consists of the following four goals:

  1. Practice, Encourage and Enable Science-based Stewardship of Natural and Cultural Resources
  2. Increase Access To and Participation In the Outdoors
  3. Educate, Inform and Engage Texas Citizens in Support of Conservation and Recreation
  4. Employ Efficient, Sustainable and Sound Business Practices

Work Session Item No. 3
Presenter: Cindy Hancock

Work Session
Internal Audit Update
August 19, 2015

I.       Executive Summary:  Staff will provide a status report on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) Fiscal Year (FY) 14 and FY15 Internal Audit Plan and ongoing or completed external audits.

II.     Discussion:  Staff will present a status report on the TPWD FY14 and FY15 Internal Audit Plan as well as external audits that have been completed and/or are ongoing.


Work Session Item No. 6a
Presenter: Lance Robinson

Briefing
Commercial Oyster Fishery
August 19, 2015

I.     Executive Summary: Staff will brief the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission on the status of oyster resources in Texas and the commercial fishery.

II.    Discussion:  The Texas commercial oyster fishery is the second most valuable commercial fishery in Texas and has historically contributed up to 20 percent of the nation’s harvest of eastern oysters, second only to Louisiana. Total landings in 2014 were just over 4 million pounds (meat-weight) with an ex-vessel value of $18.9 million.

The fishery consists of two harvest components: the public reef fishery and the private lease fishery.  The public reef fishery operates from November 1 of one year through April 30 of the next year. Only oysters occurring on public oyster beds are available for harvest. The private lease fishery is limited to Galveston Bay only and relies on the movement of oysters from areas classified as “Restricted” by the Department of State Health Services to areas under certificates of location issued by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Oysters may be harvested year-round from private leases with an appropriate permit issued by the department.

Current certificates of location (private oyster leases) are scheduled to expire in March 2017. Based on considerable discussions during the Regular Session of the 84th Texas Legislature, staff is exploring options for modification and renewal of this sector of the fishery.


Work Session Item No. 6b
Presenter: Lance Robinson

Update
Oyster Litigation
(Executive Session Only)
August 19, 2015

Attorneys for TPWD will discuss and provide legal advice to the Commission regarding legal issues associated with private oyster leases (certificates of location), claims regarding submerged lands in the Gulf of Mexico, and the status of a lawsuit recently filed on behalf of TPWD (State of Texas v. Chambers-Liberty Counties Navigation District, et. al) in executive (closed) session as authorized by the Open Meetings Act (Tex. Gov’t Code §551.071).


Work Session Item No. 7
Presenter: Clayton Wolf

Work Session
Chronic Wasting Disease Discovery and Response
August 19, 2015

I.          Executive Summary:   Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) staff will update the Commission regarding activities associated with the discovery of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in a deer breeding facility in Medina County.

II.        Discussion: TPWD and Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC) officials took immediate action upon confirmation of the disease on June 30, 2015, quarantining the CWD-positive (index) facility and suspending all captive deer movement statewide.  TPWD staff identified facilities that had transported deer to or received deer from the index facility in the previous 5 years, and TAHC placed Hold Orders on all of these facilities identified as “CWD-exposed.”  Both agencies have been working cooperatively to develop testing and monitoring plans for the index facility as well as the CWD-exposed facilities. Staff is also working with TAHC to develop measures intended to better understand the distribution and prevalence of the disease, and maximize the chances of containing the disease.

Staff will present background information and report progress on numerous fronts to the Commission including possible measures to further minimize the risk of CWD spreading into Texas’ free-ranging white-tailed deer herd, and to protect the captive deer breeding industry.   TPWD staff will update the Commission on this matter in public session.  In addition, the Commission will hold an executive (closed) session as authorized by the Open Meetings Act, Texas Government Code, Chapter 551 (Tex. Gov’t Code §551.071) to consult with attorneys from TPWD.


Work Session Item No. 8
Presenter: Ted Hollingsworth

Work Session
Land Acquisition – Matagorda County
Approximately 6,554 Acres on Matagorda Peninsula
August 19, 2015

I.          Executive Summary: The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has an opportunity to acquire approximately 6,554 acres with high fish and wildlife value on Matagorda Peninsula.

II.        Discussion: East Matagorda Bay is separated from the rest of the Matagorda Bay system by the Colorado River delta. The bay is separated from the Gulf of Mexico by Matagorda peninsula, a narrow barrier peninsula that is remote and accessible only by water or by driving on the beach at low tide. It is also one of the least disturbed bays on the Texas Coast. There is a small community near the mouth of the river, but from there to the end of the peninsula at Brown Cedar Cut, 21 miles of beaches, dunes, lagoons, sloughs, flats and marshes provide important habitat for resident and migratory shorebirds, waterfowl, sea turtles, fin and shellfish and many other species.

The eastern two-thirds of the peninsula is primarily owned by the Texas General Land Office (GLO). The GLO holds 100 percent fee simple ownership of approximately 6.7 miles of the peninsula (3,525 acres), 98 percent or more of another 2.5 miles (1,576 acres) and at least 65 percent of another 2.5 miles (1,278 acres). Acquisition of this property for conservation has long been identified as a goal of TPWD and the coastal conservation community. The GLO has agreed to relinquish wind and groundwater rights, but oil and gas rights must be retained by the Permanent School Fund in accordance with Texas law.

The peninsula is part of a suite of coastal land conservation projects submitted to the Natural Resource Damage Assessment Trustees and the RESTORE Act Gulf Council for potential acquisition with oil spill settlement funds. Due to the remoteness of the property and the challenges of constructing infrastructure there, the property cannot be developed in the manner of a state park. As proposed, the Coastal Fisheries Division would assume responsibility for monitoring and managing the property.

Attachments – 3

  1. Exhibit A – Location Map
  2. Exhibit B – Vicinity Map
  3. Exhibit C – Site Map

Work Session Item No. 8
Exhibit A

Location Map for Subject Tracts in Matagorda County

Location Map for Subject Tracts in Matagorda County


Work Session Item No. 8
Exhibit B

Vicinity Map for Matagorda Peninsula

Vicinity Map for Matagorda Peninsula


Work Session Item No. 8
Exhibit C

Site Map for Acquisition Project Area

Site Map for Acquisition Project Area