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TPW Commission

Public Hearing, August 20, 2015

Transcript

TPW Commission Meetings

TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION

August 20, 2015

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

COMMISSION MEETING

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Good morning, everyone. This meeting is called to order August 20, 2015, at 9:12 a.m.

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

MR. SMITH: I do, Mr. Chairman and Commissioners. Thank you. 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.

Mr. Chairman, I would like for this fact to be noted in the official record of the meeting.

Mr. Chairman and Commissioners, I just want to join all of you in welcoming everybody today. It's standing room only I see, which is nice. I know many, if not most of you, have come out to help celebrate our colleagues who are going to be honored with service awards today and so thank you and especially to the families and friends that have come from near and far to be with us on this special day.

The way the morning is going to unfold is we'll go through those awards and special recognitions. At the end of that, the Chairman will call a brief recess in which folks that are not planning on staying for the rest of the meeting will have a chance to scoot, so to speak. And then after a few minutes, he'll call us back into order and the regular meeting will ensue.

For those of you who've come to speak on any of the action items that we're going to be taking up with the Commission this morning, I'd respectfully remind you just to sign up outside ahead of time and at the appropriate time, the Chairman will call you by name. All of you will have three minutes to speak on the individual topic. Please let us know your name and who you represent and what your position is on that matter as succinctly as possible. Thanks for joining us today.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Commissioners.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you, Carter.

Next on the agenda is approval of the minutes from the previous Commission Meeting held May 21st, 2015, which have all -- already been distributed. Do we have a motion for approval?

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Motion.

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

(Chorus of ayes)

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

And now approval of the minutes from the previous Special Commission Meeting held July 16, 2015, which have already been distributed. Do we have a motion for approval?

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Move approval.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Commissioner Duggins. Second, Commissioner Scott. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

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

And now acknowledgment of the list of donations. Do we have a motion of approval for that list? Commissioner Hughes. Second, Commissioner Jones. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any opposed? Motion carries.

Next is a consideration of contracts, which has also been distributed. Do we have a motion? Commissioner Scott. Commissioner Martin second. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any opposed? We're doing pretty well so far.

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

MR. SMITH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Commissioners. For the record, my name is Carter Smith. We're going to start off this morning honoring Kurt Kelley. Kurt's one of our game wardens. Been with us since 1999 and this year on the 71st anniversary of the Midwestern Association of Fish and Game Agencies, was proudly named the Officer of the Year and big deal for Kurt.

He got to fly all the way from Quitman, Texas, to Duluth, Minnesota. I told him if he'd just waited a year, he might have had a chance to go to Des Moines; but made it all the way to Duluth. We've invited him back to have a little bit better scenery here in front of the Commission be honored again.

Kurt is just a game warden's game warden. If you're ever worried about him staying busy, take that off your worry list. In his 14-year career, he's averaged about 300 fish-and-wildlife cases a year.

Pretty good job security for a game warden, I'd say, Craig.

He spends 400-plus hours a year out on the water making sure that folks are staying safe. Of course, Lake Fork extends down into Wood County and that's a big part of Kurt's jurisdiction. Kurt was also part of a team of game wardens who made one of the largest deer cases really in the State's history. They brought over 500 charges against four individuals that had killed over 30 deer and the penalty ended up being 3,000 hours of community service and 12 hours of prison time and so very proud of Kurt and the team for his important role in that case.

Kurt really exemplifies just the community outreach that's so important of this Agency and our staff that work out in the field. Constantly giving education and outreach programs. Leads one of the biggest youth fishing programs really in all of the state. He's overseen the water safety program on the Toyota Texas Bass Classic there when it's been at Lake Fork and just represented us very proudly. Takes his continuing education as an officer very, very serious. As a -- he's a licensed certified TCOLE instructor, firearm's instructor, alert training officer, and also a master peace officer.

We're very proud of Kurt Kelley and we're honoring him today for the Midwestern Officer of the Year. So, Kurt, please come forward.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: We've now got a special presentation by our partners at the Devils River Conservancy and I don't have to remind this group yesterday of the extensive conversation that we had about the San Marcos River and conflicts between, in that case, tubers and others and landowners. And it wasn't all that long ago that we were talking to the Commission about landowner and kayaker and paddler conflicts out on the Devils River. Long simmering decades long issues with trespassing and vandalism and concerns about property rights and access to the river and how we were going to protect the integrity of the river.

That issue really came to the forefront when the Agency took a very bold step of acquiring the 17,000-acre-plus then Devils Ranch, now the Dan A. Hughes Unit of the Devils River State Natural Area. And some really important things that came out of that. One, we created a river-wide task force to engage private landowners and kayakers and paddlers to help facilitate constructive dialogue about what we could do together to help protect the integrity of the river and its value really for everybody -- the users and the land owners.

And over a yearlong process, some really important things emerged: Some very substantive dialogue between those groups; a recommendation that we implement a new permitting system along the river to help manage use; promote safety; also, help educate paddlers about just the importance of private property rights along the river; provide designated camping spots; and, again, help to attenuate those conflicts that had been long simmering along the river.

Another outcome of that was the creation of the Devils River Conservancy, a landowner-driven organization that was formed, locally based effort to help really speak to the value of that river and do everything they could to protect the watershed and the integrity of the springs and seeps and aquifers and the health of the river as a whole. And Devils River Conservancy has been a great partner to our superintendent and staff out there on the Devils River, Joe Joplin.

And we're very pleased today to have really four of the founding landowners and members of the Devils River Conservancy that are with us today -- David Honeycutt and Andy Iverson, Randy Nunns and Jim Norman. And I want to ask Andy and David if they'll come forward and make a special presentation and a gift that they want to provide to the Commission and the Department. And so, David and Andy.

MR. HONEYCUTT: Well, y'all know Carter is a tough act to follow. You know, he's probably the best contemporaneous speaker I know; but I will say this. We've been thrilled with the collaboration and cooperation that we've realized with our partnership with Texas Parks and Wildlife.

You know, the kayaks today, the one we have here as an example and two that we're actually donating to the park, were a product of Andy's effort and he's going to go into more detail about that and Joe and Roy. We think it's a need. You know, we're a small resourceful group and I think the thing we like about Texas Parks and Wildlife is y'all are particularly resourceful. With the assets y'all have, y'all get a real bang for the buck.

I think the most important thing I want to say before I turn it other to Andy is that when we started this task force some four years ago after the acquisition of the Dan Hays -- the Dan Hughes Unit, the "South Unit" as we call it locally, you know, this was a new effort and there was a lot of trust that was required. And I can tell you that Texas Parks and Wildlife has done everything they said they would do and more and this permit system is a real success and a testament to collaboration of both landowners and the Texas Parks and Wildlife staff. And so I thank you-all Andy.

MR. IVERSON: I'm just going to reiterate what David said and also Carter. Being part of the task force, on the second task force, and being in the conversation when the South Unit was being proposed to be bought, it's been a long and winding road with the relationship with the landowners and the Parks and Wildlife; but we're at a great stage of a relationship, and I got to watch it develop. And I can't say enough about the people you have in charge that are driving that relationship with landowners and paddlers and everybody that touches that great river.

The goal was to try to find a balance between conservation and recreation and you achieved that and I think the small donation of two kayaks is kind of symbolic of that and that's what we're so proud of today and we thank you for putting the people you've put in charge. Especially -- and I'll just give him a plug -- Joe Joplin and his staff. They are neighbors now. They're not just, you know, a third party out there. They are true neighbors for us at the river, and we appreciate that. Thank you.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: I'll tell you, it's all downhill after a kayak donation, isn't it? We all know where we want to be today.

Speaking of somebody who's spending a whole lot more time on a kayak than in the office, Allen Forshage retired after 44 years with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. My goodness. Started off as a biologist in Fort Worth in 1970 working in that district there in North Texas. He was promoted in 1976 to the Regional Director in East Texas and did a 20-year stint overseeing our research and habitat-based teams in the eastern part of the state. Really helped to cultivate and develop that world class fishery that's really the envy of the country over at Lake Fork, among many other lakes and reservoirs there in the eastern part of the state.

Where Allen's career had already taken off, but soared to even new heights, in 1997 when the Department decided to open the new Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens and this was a new venture for us to help create a new hatchery, but also an education and outreach related facilities where Texans of all ages could come to learn about fishing and fisheries and wetlands in the outdoors. And through his leadership and hard work and resourcefulness, he put together just some extraordinary public/private partnerships that attracted the attention of Johnny Morris from Bass Pro Shop and and Richard Hart from Dallas who got behind a major fundraising campaign to help build that center and facility. And today, again, it's just a world class model that many other states are looking to emulate in thinking about how they connect people to the outdoors and through fishing and outdoor experiences and Allen's just been a great visionary.

He and his wife have really been ambassadors for the Parks and Wildlife Department in that East Texas area around Athens and beyond and we're proud today to honor Allen Forshage for 44 years of service to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Allen.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: We're now in the service awards and our first colleague that we're going to honor is Jerry Mambretti, a biologist with our Coastal Fisheries Division. Started 35 years ago working as a technician there in the Rockport area doing all of the harvest and creel related surveys and sampling that our technicians do so well.

He moved over to the Flower Bluff Station and was involved in our bay shrimping project. And then in 1985, Jerry was promoted to be a biologist up at Sabine Lake there on the border with Louisiana and became our Ecosystem Team Leader. He was charged with setting up the new research lab and facility and really launching that from ground zero. Quickly became recognized as really the go-to guy for all fisheries related issues in the southeastern part of the state and the coast, which is so important to that area's economy and all of the local communities.

Some of you may remember the big Menhaden issue that we had to deal with seven or eight years ago and Jerry was our point person on that, working with the commercial interests and private sector interests in thinking about how we managed that resource in the bays and the Gulf. Represented us very well. After Hurricane Ike, he had the difficult job of helping to help rebuild the lab and deal with all of the cleanup efforts on the upper coast, as so many of our colleagues did and he just did it with great vigor and purpose.

May of 2015, Jerry was promoted to be our Upper Coast Regional Manager for Coastal Fisheries and took the job that Lance Robinson formally had before he moved to Austin and so we're proud of Jerry's 35 years of service to Coastal Fisheries. And so, Jerry, please come forward.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Our next colleague in Coastal Fisheries, Robert Martinez has almost been with us almost as long as Jerry has been with us for 35 years and is one of our fisheries worker. He also has the distinction of literally working the coast from top to bottom.

He started out there in Brownsville working the Lower Laguna Madre and South Bay and then was promoted to work on the Sabine Lake Ecosystem Team working with Jerry and became a full-time technician with us and so moved from Brownsville up to the Port Arthur related area. Robert quickly was designated really as our captain of the research vessel that we have up at the Sabine Lake. This is the big boat that he oversees for all of the sampling related efforts that our biologists and technicians do to manage and monitor the health of the fishery stocks in that area.

He's a master mechanic. He's an excellent inboard engine vessel operator. He can fix anything. Takes care of all of the sampling equipment. Ensures the safety of all of his colleagues when they're out on the water and so we rely very heavily for Robert for his skills and acumen out on the bays and the Gulf and we're proud to honor Robert Martinez today for 30 years of service to your Texas Parks and Wildlife. Robert, bravo.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Our next colleague needs no introduction to this crowd, Dave Terre. Dave's been with us for 30 years and when you think about that Inland Fisheries motto of making Texas fishing better, you know, really the first person that leaps to mind is Dave Terre. Dave just cares passionately about angling and our anglers and making sure that he wakes up every day trying to do things to help benefit that sport and the people that care about it.

He brings just an amazing attitude to work and has worked on so many things throughout his career. Started out as a technician out in the San Angelo office, was promoted to a biologist in San Angelo. Became our Regional Director out in East Texas and created some wonderful partnerships with the community there around Tyler that resulted, at least in part, in a very collaborative nature center effort there with the sportsmen's group out there.

And Dave was promoted to head up our Inland Fisheries Management and Research branch here in Austin and where he oversees all of our management teams throughout the state that are taking care of our inland waterways. And Dave's always been at the forefront of innovation. Very proud of the research that his team carries on at Heart of the Hills doing things like the research that the Commission asked us to look into with Alligator Gar or Largemouth bass or you name the issue, Dave and his team is on top of it.

Dave has also been our point person for the very successful and wonderful conservation relationship with Toyota and the Toyota Texas Bass Classic that has generated well over $2 million to invest back in conservation, neighborhood fishing program, introducing youngsters into the outdoors that otherwise might never have had a chance. He and his team have established community fishing lake projects to provide opportunities for anglers with these urban neighborhood lakes and some of the statistics are just remarkable.

As a result of their effort, they're now reaching 50,000 new anglers every year in 11 metropolitan areas around the state. And so he's really, again, taking fishing to where people are and very, very proud of that. Dave has received a litany of awards, both from the Department for his outstanding partnerships; but also the Southern Association of the American Fisheries Society for the Outstanding Fisheries Worker. Also, the Texas Chapter of the American Fisheries Society. He's been honored by them as their Outstanding Fisheries Biologist for three years. We're very proud of Dave Terre, 30 years of service. Dave, bravo.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: We're having a chance to recognize a lot of our biologists and technicians in Coastal and Inland Fisheries for their long tenure. It gives you some sense of just the wonderful commitment of our colleagues around the state that they made to this fine Agency and this mission. And Juan Lozano is no exception.

He's been with us for a quarter of a century. He started out in Brownsville there as a technician. Married, two young kids, a third on the way when he was hired to be a technician there at the Brownsville Field Station working in that Lower Laguna Madre and South Bay, the Rio Grande Delta area and the Gulf of Mexico. Again, just playing such a critically important role working with our biologists and technicians down there.

I love what he said about his work down there. He said that he's had the pleasure of working alongside six different biologists and I have a gained a wealth of knowledge from each of them.

Now, I'm going to translate that for you. That is technician speech for "I outlived the bastards." And Juan has just done a fabulous job. He's a great ambassador for us in South Texas. He fixes all of the biologist's mistakes and makes them look good, gets them in the bright lights. He loves being our ambassador to fishermen out there and creel surveys, talking with them each and every day about the angling and fisheries and the state of the fisheries out there. We're very proud of Juan. Juan Lozano, 25 years of service. Juan, please come forward.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Very nice, Juan.

Our next colleague in Coastal Fisheries, also just equally indispensable. Moises Hinojosa, been with us for 25 years. Started out there at the Rockport Field Station and he was on our maintenance staff, which, you know, taking care of Coastal Fisheries boats and trailers and vehicles is a full-time job on the coast, as you might imagine.

Moises got really inspired by all of the fieldwork and bay work that his colleagues were doing and so he ended up moving over and joining the Aransas Bay Ecosystem Team and so working on their sampling and monitoring and very active management and stewardship of the bays. He's out in call kinds of weather, again, helping to support just a world class sampling program that our Coastal Fisheries team does so, so well.

He's been involved and responsible for responding to, you know, sea turtle stranding events and dolphin stranding events over the years. He does a lot of outreach programs. He's also our Additional Duties Safety Officer. Again, making sure that our biologists and technicians are thinking about safety at all times out on the water out on the boats using their sampling equipment. He's our regional editor for the resource newsletter there for the lower coast and, again, just does an exemplary job representing this Agency and our Coastal Fisheries team. Very proud of his 25 years of service, Moises Hinojosa. Moises, please come forward.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Our next colleague, John Dennis, a biologist that's been with us for 25 years. Started out there in San Angelo in 1990. Then moved over to San Antonio to 2003, leads our district on our South Texas and some of our West Texas lakes. And I think, you know, John just absolutely exemplifies that science-based, very practical pragmatic approach that our Inland Fisheries team carries out each and every day looking out for our inland waters.

He's just been involved in a litany of research for the barotrauma research on bass, the fizzing study you may have heard about; all of the Alligator Gar stuff down at Falcon Lake; looking at length regulations on everything from catfish to bass to Red drum. He's very involved in the program -- again, our Neighborhood Fishing Lakes -- trying to create opportunities to help families in urban areas have more of a connection to fishing and the outdoors and serves on a committee proudly to help that with Inland Fisheries. Helped develop our random point vegetation sampling protocols that we use to try to assess habitat and inland waterway as well.

And John just does a great job as a biologist carrying out the mission of this Agency each and every day. We're proud of his 25 years of service, John Dennis. John.

(Round of applauses and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Our next colleague, Marina Cortes is -- she works in our Law Enforcement dispatch and that's a critically important program that we probably don't have much of an opportunity to talk to this Commission about, but certainly Craig and his team will attest to the criticality of that seasoned group of dispatchers that work out of the La Porte office and the Austin office, really helping to quarterback and field all the calls for our game wardens and Law Enforcement personnel around the state.

Marina came to work for us 25 years ago. Knew nothing about being a Law Enforcement Communication Operator, but she was a quick-study. Thrown in to sink or swim and she has swam very, very well. Quickly introduced to shift work and like so many of our colleagues, has sacrificed innumerable holidays and birthdays through the years to make sure that she was there to oversee that station and provide, again, that critically important support role in responding to community calls that require the presence of our game wardens who absolutely depend upon her each and every day to make sure that they know where they're going and know how to get there quickly.

She's just done a fabulous job in that La Porte office and that communication center with the team there. Very proud of her and all the professional development that she's gone through throughout her 25 years of service to this Agency. Marina Cortes, let's honor her. So 25 years.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: We're going to honor another one of our Coastal Fisheries colleagues, Jose Garcia; and Jose has been with us for 20 years. He started off in May of '95 down at the Marine Development Center, the hatchery there in Corpus and Flower Bluff. Worked there for a couple of years and then, you know, got interested again in all the fieldwork that our Coastal Fisheries biologists and technicians were involved in and so he left the hatchery. Went to work for our Upper Laguna Madre Ecosystem Team there and he's been involved, again, in all of that nationally acclaimed surveying and monitoring and sampling that our biologists and technicians do and just that, again, extraordinary system that we know as the Laguna Madre.

He's taken on a number of other responsibilities. He's our -- again, our Additional Duties Safety Officer. A critically important role that our technicians really play and lead so proudly and prominently along the coast, again, just to ensure the safety of our employees. Serves as our regional editor of all our harvest reports that are put together there for sampling on the Upper Laguna Madre. Interacts with the public all of the time with anglers and boaters and just represents us with great professionalism and courtesy. We're awfully proud of Jose, twenty years of service. Jose, bravo.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Our next colleague, Tim Spice in our Communication's Division, been with us for 20 years. And Tim literally wacks up every single morning thinking about how to keep swimmers and boaters and anglers safe and safer on Texas waterways. We had a chance to honor him in front of the Commission when he was nominated and recognized from the Southern States Association of Boating Law Administrators with their educational award.

Tim started really working in the Hunter Education Program and a couple of years after he began work with the Agency, the Legislature passed a law requiring boating safety of folks born after a certain date and he launched an award-winning program, Aqua Smart, to help introduce teenagers as to how to operate boats proficiently and safely and be in the water. Teachers took that on and carried that forward.

Over the years, Tim has been the brain trust behind many things. Created our basically outdoor kayaking opportunities that we started at Expo and now carry out at other outreach events around the state. He was also part of this wonderful expedition, the Huff Wagon Train, that was put on by the Agency and Historical Commission, local counties, a bunch of private landowners and teachers that gave kids from California and Texas an opportunity to take part of the wagon train that William Huff, who was one of Stephen F. Austin's original 300, did. Follow the old, not very well known, the Southern Gold Trail from outside of Houston all the way to California. And so Tim was on that crew that led that. He's a master chuck wagon driver. He owns two of those. I'll tell you though, for that trip he drew the black bean. They assigned him to haul the potty wagon with all those kids, which meant he was awfully busy, to say the least.

One of the things that Tim also does is -- I'll tell you, you want him around a campfire. He is a master with the dutch oven.

Josh, we've got a You Tube video on his outdoor cooking that has -- you know, I think there's been like three or 400,000 views on how to use a dutch oven for outdoor cooking and Tim, again, is just a wonderful guy. He served 31 years in the military. Very proud of his service there, as well as with this Agency. And so today, we're recognizing Tim for 20 years of service, Tim spice. Tim, please come forward.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Last but not least, Rickey Spivey with our State Parks Division, 20 years. And Rickey started out there at San Jacinto as one of our park rangers. Worked very extensively on the big marsh restoration project there at San Jacinto. He managed our park operation store. Helped set up the new ticket booth for the Battleship Texas. Was there a couple of years before he moved over to Sheldon Lake and was responsible for implementing many of our interpretive and education and conservation projects related there and so helped really advance some significant native prairie and marsh restoration projects. Started our education and outreach and interpretive related things and also helped to expand recreational opportunities for kids from Houston, many of whom -- if not most of them -- didn't know that Sheldon Lake existed. And so Rickey's just done a masterful job.

As our lead ranger, he's utility plant operator. He's also an Additional Duty Safety Officer and so, again, he wears many, many, many hats. He's got a great passion for fishing.

Commissioner Jones, he is a worm man extraordinaire, I want you to know. And he's got a trick and just in typical Parks and wildlife resourcefulness, if they're not hitting the worms, he's rolling up macaroni and dirt and I hear that works pretty well for the kids.

So Rickey has been with us for 20 years. Awfully proud of his work. Rickey Spivey, 20 years. Bravo.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Commissioners.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you.

At this time I would like to inform the audience that anyone is -- everyone is welcome to stay, of course, for the remainder of the meeting. However, if anyone wishes to leave, now would be a good time to do so before we get into our agenda.

(Recess taken)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you. Okay. The first order of business is Action Item No. 1, which is an approval of the agenda. Do we have a motion for approval?

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: So moved.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Moved by Commissioner Duggins. Second by Commissioner Lee. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

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

Briefing Item No. 2 -- No. 2 is a briefing item: Financial Overview, Fiscal Year 2016 Operating and Capital Budget Approval, the Budget and Investment Policy Resolutions, and Approval of State Park List for Performance measures. Mr. Mike Jensen, good morning.

MR. JENSEN: Good morning, Commissioners and Mr. Chair. I'm Mike Jensen with Administrative Resources. Before I get started, I'd like to acknowledge in the back row our LBB analyst Michael Wales. He's been with the LBB a little over a year, and I think he did a pretty good job. This was his first Legislative session where we were an assigned agency for him. So we're happy to continue working with him. Just wanted to let y'all know who he is back there on the back row in the light blue shirt. So he's done a good job for the LBB this -- so far.

The presentation I have for you this morning is identical to the one that we went through yesterday. So I'm probably going to go through it a little bit more quickly today than I did yesterday. This first slide is just a summary of the slides that are going to follow. I'm going to crosswalk the General Appropriations Act, along with the adjustments related to Article IX. We'll go over quickly the operating budget summaries that are represented as Exhibit A and B in your books, which includes a summary of the full-time equivalent recap. Your Exhibit B includes it as budgeted FTEs, but it also outlines the GAA cap as well. Then we'll go over the capital budget; the two policies, budget and investment policies; and get your approval for the state park listing for our performance measure.

On this slide, we're cross-walking the general appropriations bill. Basically, it's our base budget plus the portion of the exceptional items that were approved and that is 402.81 million. The adjustment below there is Article IX. We have a number of provisions. We have 271,000 for Schedule C employees. We have an additional 1.89 million, which is the transfer of the Farm and Ranch Lands Program from GLO to Parks and Wildlife Department. Then we have a two and a half across the board salary increase for Schedule A and B, 3.88 million.

The next adjustment you see relates is 863,000. It relates to appropriated receipts of 701,000 and federal funds of 162,000. We have an adjustment for fringe benefits and benefit replacement pay. Fringe benefits is 49.16 million. BRP, benefit replacement pay, is 469,000. And as I mentioned yesterday, that adjustment of $22.62 million relates to an Article IX provision where we are reducing our budget by that amount because of House Bill 158, it passed. What that means is we already had 22.6 million of sporting goods sales tax in our baseline budget. That provision in Article IX now allows us to use that sporting goods sales tax for capital construction for state parks. And we're repealing Rider 24. There will no longer be an interagency transfer agreement of sporting goods sales tax between us and the General Land Office. They now have general revenue in their baseline budget. That was something that Commissioner Hughes and Carter and Harold worked very hard over the session. So we're happy to see that's in place. So our budget is $436.72 million with these adjustments.

This slide here represents the method of finance in your Exhibit A down at the bottom of that exhibit. It includes basically the general appropriations bill, plus the adjustments, plus the fringe. So you'll see we have 175 million of general revenue; other GR dedicated of approximately 180,000; general obligation bonds of 16 million; State Park Account, 50 million; Fund 9, which is Game, Fish, and Water Safety, of 145 million; federal funds of 43.8 million; and the general revenue, as I mentioned yesterday, is inclusive of sporting goods sales tax and this biennium we have a maximum allocation for the Department and it also includes unclaimed refund of motor fuel tax.

Your Exhibit B breaks this slide down by division, and I'll have two following slides that does that as well. But for the Department as a whole, our salaries budget is 163.96 million; operating is 69 million; grants is 40.7 million -- that includes the local park pass-through grants, as well as the 9 million for the aquarium that was approved as an exceptional item -- capital budget of 110 million; debt service, 3.13 million; and the benefits of 49.63 million. As I mentioned on the previous slide, that's 436.72 million for 2016.

Breaking this down by division, since we went through this line by line yesterday, I'm just going to go through it rather quickly. Administrative Resources down through Law Enforcement on this slide reflects an additional two FTEs for Coastal Fisheries for coastwide habitat monitoring. Executive Administration reflects two additional FTEs for the transfer of the Farm and Ranch Land Conservation Program. Inland Fisheries has an additional five FTEs in funding for aquatic invasive species control. And Law Enforcement, per Rider 15, has an additional 19 game warden FTEs.

On the next slide, Legal down through the Capital Information Technology, I want to point out that State Parks has an additional six FTEs that was approved as Exceptional Item No. 1 during the session. So we have a total budget of 436.72 million. Our budgeted FTEs are 3,220.1 and our FTE cap in the appropriations bill and our pattern is 3,143.2 and that's summarized on this page here. And as I kind of rattled through fairly quickly, Exceptional Item No. 1, we had six FTEs for state park staffing. Exceptional Item No. 3 gave an additional two to Coastal for coastwide habitat monitoring. Inland had five for aquatic invasives. Rider 15 gave us 19 FTEs for game wardens. And the Farm and Ranch Land transfer gave us an additional two. So the variance of 34 on our cap is tied to our exceptional request items and the transfer of that program to Parks and Wildlife Department.

Some of the divisions budget above the cap, knowing that we'll have retirements, we'll have attrition; and some of them also have federal funds that they're trying to leverage. Departmentwide, I went through this yesterday, we have a Rider 12 provision that gives us flexibility for license payments to our agents, as well as to the vendor who supports the license system. Those are the first two line items, 3.6 million and 3.29 million. Debt service for the old bonds is 3.13 million. A strategic reserve is basically some Fund 9 and 64 that's available for strategic issues that need to be addressed as they're prioritized by executive management. The SORM amount is 798,000; airport commerce rent, 681,000; headquarter's utilities, 333,000; pass-through plates for four plates is 113,000.

We have in here uncertified authority. It's tied to Rider 20. We're pretty certain that we will realize donations of 500,000; but until we realize the 111,000 above the 500,000, we're holding it here. If it's realized, we'll push that into the State Parks budget. Master lease payments of 72,000. So Departmentwide budget is 14.81 million.

The capital budget tracks -- it's identical to what you'd see if you open up the bill for Rider No. 2 and for Rider No. 4. The first line of construction/major repairs is 90.1 million; parks minor repairs, 4.28 million is Part B of Rider 2; information technology and the data center is Part C and G, it's 7.26 million combined; transportation items is Part D of Rider 2, 6.28 million; capital equipment is 2 million; and the master lease is 73,000. So we have a capital budget -- all these categories together, combined total is 110.14 million.

This slide is just to remind the Commission that we have a Capital and Conservation Account. The sole source of funding for this account going into next fiscal year and for the biennium is from sporting goods sales tax. It is very visible in a Rider 2 provision. It's highlighted there. It's also highlighted in our informational rider, Rider 10, for sporting goods sales tax. We will have $3,013,104 of sporting goods sales tax that's put into this Capital Conservation Account. It's going to be intended for capital construction for the Department, primarily in state parks.

The budget investment policy resolutions, the Commission has a budget policy and there are no changes to that policy. The policy itself requires approval on an annual basis and so we usually get this approval at the annual meeting each year. The first line item here just kind of summarizes some of the high points of the policy. Any budget adjustment with the exception of bonds and federal funds that's 250,000 or more, requires approval of the Chair, Vice-Chair, or designee. And any donations or gift exceeding $500 must be accepted by the Chair, Vice-Chair, or designee. And Commissioner Hughes -- Chairman Hughes has already recognized these donations in this meeting as the Chair does in each one of the meetings that we have.

The investment policy, there have been no changes to this. This just reflects the intent of the Public Funds Investment Act. Right now, all of the Department's funds are in the Treasury. The only fund that we really have that has some flexibility if it was pulled out would be the Lifetime License Endowment; but right now, it's in the Treasury. It's being managed by folks who are trained and have experience in the management of large portfolios. In the event that we ever -- the Commission or the Legislature told us to move this out of the Treasury, Carter would then appoint someone to be a fund manager for this to ensure that we'd be in compliance with the Public Funds Investment Act.

Exhibit E to your books is a listing of 95 parks, and the main purpose of this is we do have performance measures with the Legislative Budget Board. In the course of a two-year period, sometimes we acquire additional assets. What we're asking you to do is approve this list as a starting point and to allow us to make adjustments as necessary so that our reporting to the Legislative Budget Board is as accurate as it can be.

With that, I'll read this recommendation from staff to the Commission. The staff recommends that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt the following proposed motion: The Executive Director is authorized to expend funds to operate the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in accordance with the proposed fiscal year '16 operating and capital budget, Exhibits A and B, the budget policy, Exhibit C, and the investment policy, Exhibit D. The Commission approves the state parks listing in Exhibit E and authorize the Department to adjust the listing as necessary for accurate reporting.

That's all I have for the Commission. If you have questions, I'd be happy to try and answer them.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any questions for Mike? Discussion? Commissioner Duggins.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Who prepared Exhibit E?

MR. JENSEN: It would be the State Parks Division.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Okay.

MR. JENSEN: If Kevin Good's here, he's probably in the --

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: I just wanted to make sure that somebody in Brent's group has reviewed it to make sure the list is accurate. Okay, thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any other questions or discussion for Mike? Okay. Nobody has signed up to speak on this item. So do we have a motion for approval?

COMMISSIONER LEE: So moved.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Commissioner Lee. Second, Commissioner Jones. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

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

Item No. 3 is Personnel Matters, Executive Director Compensation, Dawn Heikkila. Good morning, Dawn.

MS. HEIKKILA: Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, good morning. For the record, my name is Dawn Heikkila. I'm the Deputy Executive Director for Policy and Administration. The item before you today deals with executive compensation, specifically action taken by the 84th Legislature to increase compensation for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Executive Director.

The 84th Legislature increased the cap for executive compensation from 180,000 to $195,749. The Commission authorizes the compensation level for the Agency's Executive Director up to this cap maximum. To increase the amount of pay for our Executive Director, the Commission will need to determine an appropriate amount up to the new salary level. The last opportunity to address executive compensation came in August of 2013 when the Commission voted to raise the Executive Director's salary from 143,000 to 180,000.

Under the provisions of the Texas Government Code Section 551.074, personnel matters, Texas Open Meetings Act, any action to increase executive compensation must be taken in an open meeting. Therefore, I'm recommending or requesting that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt the following motion: The Commission approves by resolution, as shown in Exhibit A in your books, the increase in salary for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Executive Director.

And I'm happy to answer any questions you might have.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any questions for Dawn?

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: I've got one.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Okay. Commissioner Duggins.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Did you take into account how much Mr. Smith has been slacking off this summer?

MS. HEIKKILA: I do remember yesterday that they deferred his performance review.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Obviously, for the record -- obviously, for the record, that was made in jest. I move approval.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Second.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Motion for approval is Commissioner Duggins. Second, Commissioner Hughes. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any opposed?

And, Carter, I think I speak on behalf of this -- and I know I speak on behalf of this entire Commission in saying that we're really proud of everything you do and appreciate everything you do. I think we're all lucky and certainly the state of Texas is very, very fortunate to have Carter as our leader and it's really an honor for me personally to have this opportunity to work with you again. So thank you for everything you do, Carter.

(Round of applause)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Dawn, thank you.

Item No. 4 is Managed Lands Deer Program, Recommended Adoption of Proposed Changes, Mr. Alan Cain. Good morning, Alan.

MR. CAIN: Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners. For the record, my name's Alan Cain, White-tailed Deer Program Leader and I'll present proposed changes this morning to the Managed Lands Deer Program. I know y'all have heard this the last several days and the last Commission Meeting. So I'm going to kind of try to speed through this; but if you have any questions, please stop me or we can answer those at the end.

Just as a reminder, we've gone through an extensive and exhaustive process gathering input to develop the proposed changes that we bring forward today. Again, starting back in 2009 with our strategic planning process to identifying MLD -- the MLD program as needing to be streamlined and updated. Since that period, we've had up to 20 different meetings with various stakeholder groups from internally and externally and in our advisory committees and appreciate all the support they've provided to us.

Staff are proposing to consolidate the current Managed Lands Deer Program -- Mule deer, MLD, and LAMPS -- into a more simplified version of the program, including the harvest option and the conservation option. The harvest option is really intended to be an automated system to deliver tag issuance, harvest recommendations, and general correspondence to the program participants with minimal oversight from our staff. It is avail -- only applicable to White-tailed deer, the harvest option. And the recommendations will be generated through an automated process and a formula that will take into account the Parks and Wildlife deer population data that our biologists collect, as well as information about the property such as habitat types and the amount of acres and things of that nature.

Just an example of how a landowner might opt to see if they would be interested in the harvest option, this is a mockup. A landowner essentially draws his boundary on the -- in TWIMS on our electronic system. TWIMS would generate a tag issuance recommendation. At that point, the landowner may choose to opt into the program and receive tags and if they did, they could continue on with the application process.

Tag issuance under the harvest option could be for buck only, it could be for antlerless only, or it could be for both buck and antlerless deer. If a buck harvest recommendation is chosen by the program participant, there would be two issuances of tags. One set of tags and harvest recommendations to be used on any buck, and then one set of tags and harvest recommendations to be used only on bucks with one unbranched antler. And then for any deer that MLD tags are not issued, the county regulations and tagging requirements would apply. It does require an annual application that's completed in TWIMS by the applicant. September 1 is the application deadline that staff are proposing and we would also propose a provision that allows multiple contiguous tracts of land to aggregated together to meet program enrollments and potentially receive tags, depending on the harvest rate issuance and the particular resource management unit for that property.

Season dates, the proposed season dates for the harvest option would be as follows: For antlerless and bucks with at least one unbranched antler, the season would run from the Saturday closest to September 30th through the last day in February. Harvest would be by any legal means, including firearms. For any buck, the proposed season would be from the Saturday closest to September 30th for 35 consecutive days and harvest would be limited to legal archery equipment only and then from the first Saturday in November through the last day in February, harvest would be by any legal means, including firearms.

Moving on to the conservation option. Again, this is intended to be a program that's probably attractive to those individuals seeking a site-specific harvest and habitat management recommendations for their property and they will work one on one with our biologists to develop those recommendations and harvest recommendations and management recommendations to receive tags. It does require a written wildlife management plan that's approved by Department staff. That plan must include deer population data for the immediate two preceding years, the number of bucks and does harvested in the immediate two preceding years, and two Department approved habitat management practices must be conducted in each of the two preceding years in which the year -- year in which the application is sought.

Application deadline is June 15th. That's what staff are proposing. Obviously, necessary to help us meet the requests of those landowners to ensure we can get tags and harvest recommendations out before deer season would start under the MLD program. Requirements for continued participation in the conservation option would -- proposed would be to require a current year's deer population data, deer harvest data which is just the number of bucks and does harvested, and the program participant must implement three habitat management practices in each year -- each year that are specified in the wildlife management plan.

Staff also propose a provision that would allow wildlife management associations to participate under the conservation option, provided they have a wildlife management plan addressing all tracts or members within that association. The association would also be required to conduct three habitat management practices each year as directed in the wildlife management plan. For the wildlife management association, tags may be issued for antlerless only or both buck and antlerless -- they have a choice -- and the tags are valid only on the tracts of land for which they are issued for each individual member of that co-op.

As with the harvest option, we do propose to allow multiple contiguous tracts of land to be combined together in aggregate acreage in order to meet -- to satisfy program enrollment standards to have enough acreage, obviously, to manage the deer population. Proposed season length on the conservation option for the White-tailed deer for both sex, bucks and does, would be from the Saturday closest to September 30th through the last day in February. Harvest would be by any legal means. For Mule deer, both sexes, Saturday -- the season would run from the Saturday closest to September 30th for 35 consecutive days with harvest by archery equipment only and then from the first Saturday in November through the last Sunday in January, proposed harvest would be by any legal means.

Some general reporting requirements. For both the participants of the conservation and harvest option, they would be required to report the number of bucks and does harvested each season. For folks under the -- participating under the conservation option, they would be required to report the habitat management practices they implement each year. The deadline for reporting for those requirements would be April 1 of each year and all -- staff propose that all reporting requirements be completed in TWIMS by the program participant.

For both participants in the harvest option or the conservation option, we propose that a daily harvest log be maintained on a property enrolled in the MLD program through the end of the season. This helps the daily harvest log, facilitates our ability to be able to allow program participants to print their own tags, and then also have a record for Law Enforcement to ensure some sort of tagging compliance if it's a print-your-own-tag system. The harvest log may also satisfy requirements of the cold storage and processing facility record book, provided the hunter's address and hunting license number, along with other information of the harvest log are included.

The Department may also refuse program participation similar to other deer permitting programs -- such as deer breeder, Triple T, DMP, those sorts of permits -- for violations such as delinquent reporting or other violations of the Parks and Wildlife Code, which we discussed yesterday.

And, Commissioner Duggins, just to -- we heard your comment about the Class C type things, the hunting violations. And so we're going to work to investigate that with the Law Enforcement to make sure we can include that. We may have to come back at a later date to include that in there.

Staff are proposing an effective date of September 1 of 2017. Obviously, there's a very extensive contracting and QAT process that we must go through. It can take five to six months and then you add development -- redevelopment of TWIMS and the programming and you're talking 14 to 16 months on that minimum. So that's why we propose that 2017 effective date that far out. Today -- this is a little outdated. I just looked this morning. As far as public comments, we've had 441 comments come in. 272 folks agreed with the MLD proposal, and there was 168 disagreed. Of those that disagreed, there was about 135 or 40 that disagreed specifically with early buck harvest under the harvest option. They wanted to be able to use a firearm in that harvest option season. They also disagreed with the early deadline for the conservation option of June 15th. Those folks would like to see that to August 15th.

There -- there was some people concerned they wouldn't be able to work with our staff under the harvest option; but as I explained yesterday, we will still provide technical assistance in our technical guidance program. Overharvest of bucks was a concern under the harvest option. Again, that's set by -- our harvest rate is likely to be conservative, and we don't envision any issues with overharvest of the bucks. There was one individual that disagreed, but really he was supportive of the program. He just thought that we should charge a fee for the MLDP program in order to secure additional staff.

And I would just like to acknowledge this proposal has been supported by the Managed Lands Deer Working Group, which is a subset of our White-tailed Deer and Private Lands Advisory Committee. Both those advisory committees supported the MLD changes that we're bringing forward today. The Texas Wildlife Association has supported the Department's effort to modify and revise the program to help address some of our challenges and the Texas Deer Association has expressed support with the exception of wanting to allow early buck harvest with a rifle or firearm under the harvest option and then also the deadline, early deadline for the conservation option were concerns of theirs.

That concludes my presentation, and I'll read the recommendation side. Staff recommend the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts amendment to 31 -- Chapter 31 of the Texas Administrative Code Section 65.29 concerning Managed Lands Deer Program, with changes as necessary to the proposal -- proposed text as published in the July 17th, 2015, issue of the Texas Register.

That concludes my presentation. If you have any questions, I'll be glad to answer those.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thanks, Alan. Any question before we hear from those signed up to speak? Okay. So thank you. I appreciate it.

Mr. Joey Park, good morning.

MR. PARK: Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners. My name is Joey Park. I'm here today on behalf of the Texas Wildlife Association. I appreciate the opportunity to speak before you today regarding the proposed changes to the MLD program, MLDP. As we all know, this program has been one of the most successful programs ever created at this Department and it is my opinion that these changes, as proposed, will continue that success.

On behalf of TWA, I commend the Department for all the time and effort and hard work that's been put into these proposed changes, the MLDP Working Group and the others who were all consulted in these changes. These changes have been presented to the TWA White-tailed Deer Management Committee, as well as our Executive Committee and received favorably by both.

I would like to highlight one particular component of these proposed changes, and that is under the harvest option. Only antlerless and spiked bucks may be taken during that gun -- during the early season in October. As you know, your MLDP Working Group program formulated these proposed changes and that working group met several times, thoroughly considered, debated and where necessary, made adjustments to those proposed changes. It was a unanimous decision by that working group that the harvest option -- that the early season gun buck harvest be limited to spikes and antlerless deer and that the harvest of non-spikes and bucks during the early season be reserved for that conservation option. My understanding, as Mr. Cain mentioned, that proposed changes have been endorsed by the White-tailed Deer Advisory Committee here at this Commission, as well the Private Lands Advisory Committee. It's my hope the hard work and opinion of these groups will be supported and that this Commission will adopt these proposed changes as recommended. Thank you very much.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you. Do any -- Commissioner Duggins, you had something?

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Alan, could you -- would you mind coming back up and pulling up this slide that says "conservation option"? It start -- I think there are two of them that have the -- have conservation option, but it -- first bullet point is requirements for continuing -- that one.

With the proposed deadline of -- I think it's -- is it June 15th for their -- for applications to participate in the conservation option?

MR. CAIN: To make the request.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: To make the request. It seems like that's going to be very difficult to have current year deer population data because you wouldn't have the current year recruitment, and I would just say I understand you -- staff's suggesting and proposing that we set that deadline so that -- because of the paperwork and review that has to take place. But I just would like to encourage us to take a hard look at that as we move forward and see if that couldn't be or needs to be adjusted some. It's just an observation. It's not a complaint.

MR. CAIN: No. Good point, Commissioner. I think just to clarify, that's how we operate today when we say current year's deer population data. For somebody that's already in the program -- for example, you're in the conservation program and it rolls around to next year, you're going to continue on as long as you've met your reporting requirements and will have something there that says, "Yes, I want to continue." Then by current population data, we mean for that fall. So when you conduct your helicopter or spotlight counts in the fall, it's for that season, you know, or that June 15th on, so. And it would be -- we recognize that those surveys occur in that fall, and we would accept the data at that point. How it -- that's how it currently works today, so.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Okay, thank you.

MR. CAIN: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any other discussion by the Commission? Motion for approval? Commissioner Morian. Second, Commissioner Martin. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

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

Item No. 5 is 2015-2016 Migratory Game Bird Proclamation, Recommended Adoption of Late Season Proposed Changes. Dave Morrison, good morning.

MR. MORRISON: Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Commission members. My name is Dave Morrison, and I'm the Small Game Program Director for the Wildlife Division. This morning, I'm here to ask for your review and adoption of 2015-16 late season migratory bird regulations; but before I get into that, I would just like to give you a quick update on the 2015-16 early migratory bird seasons.

Back in March, this Commission approved and adopted the early season migratory game bird proposals. And at that time, those were forwarded on to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; and since that time, they have been approved by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in their entirety. And because dove is such a big issue here in Texas, I just thought I would bring it up real quick that the North and Central Zones were adopted as recommended and that season is just a mere two weeks away. The South and Special White-winged dove were also approved. So we're looking forward to a really good season this coming year.

Since we met back in March, we have had many meetings with the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Mississippi Flyway Council, and the Central Flyway Council to discuss some proposed changes with respect to dove season in coming years. As a result of those discussions, we have been able to get the Service to grant to the Central Management Unit, which Texas is part of, a season extension starting with the 2016-17 season. So starting a year from now, Texas will be offered the opportunity to have a 90-day dove season. Same season structure that we have now with three zones, two splits; but we're going to be providing an additional 20 days of hunting opportunity to dove hunters here in Texas. So that's something that's really promising for us, and we'll be coming to you guys with those recommendations here in the future.

Now I'd like to move on to the staff proposals for the 2015-16 late season migratory bird species, which includes ducks, mergansers, coots, geese, and Sandhill cranes. Based on the 2015 breeding duck surveys that are conducted by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Canadian Wildlife Service, Texas will again be offered a liberal package. That includes 74 days and six ducks, and this is the 21st year that we've been in this liberal package. This graph depicts the 2015 results of breeding duck populations. As you can see, this is the fourth year of record numbers of birds. This survey has been conducted since 1950, making it the longest running wildlife survey in the world.

As you can see, been lots of ups and downs; but, again, we're at record numbers. This survey usually -- like I said, it's done in the spring and they cover about a million acres when they're doing the survey. So it's pretty exhaustive. The next slide in there, this information also provides the information on the ten major species of ducks that they count. As you can see in this graph, there were some winners, there were some losers, and there were some basically the same. But if you look at the far right-hand column, you can see that overall, ducks are still above the long-term average. Habitat conditions this year in the breeding grounds were not quite as good. They were down a little bit. But, again, if you look at the long-term average, we're still 21 percent above the long-term average. So things are still looking good on the breeding grounds for waterfowl headed south.

The 2015-16 late season migratory game proposals were developed working with the Migratory Game Bird Technical Committee. They were endorsed and approved -- or endorsed and suggested moving forward by the Migratory Game Bird Technical Advisory Committee about two weeks ago. And from what we presented back in March, there are essentially no changes with one exception, that being the Canvasback bag limit. Canvasback numbers this year are at levels such that the Service is allowing us to add one. So the Canvasback bag limit will go from one to two.

These are the proposals for the season dates. What you have before you is the High Plains Mallard Management Unit. Essentially, these season dates are calendar adjustments from last year, with the youth season October 24th through the 25th. The regular season being proposed is October 31 through November 1 and a four-day closure, reopening on November 6th and running through January the 31st. Again, Texas is going to be required to have a five-day closure on Dusky ducks. Dusky ducks being a mottled duck, black duck Mexican-like duck, or their hybrids. We're required to close it for five days. That season in the High Plains will be from November 9th through January the 31st. This is what it would look like on a calendar, with the yellow being early September Teal season, which you guys approved back in March. The blue coloration being the youth season, and the green being the regular duck season.

Moving into the North Zone, what we have before you are proposals to open the youth season on October 31 and November 1. The regular season has been shifted to one week later in comparison to last year. So that season would open on November the 7th and run through November the 29th, which is the Thanksgiving after -- the Sunday after Thanksgiving. It would reopen two weeks later on December the 12th and run through January 31st, which is the end of the framework. Again, with that five-day closure, impacts only the first split in the North Zone and it would have a delayed opening November the 12th. This is what it would look like on a calendar. Again, the yellow being the September Teal, blue the youth, and the green the regular season for the North Zone.

What has changed, we got away from that staggered split; but this change is really going to add opportunity and I explained that as part of the South Zone season dates. The youth season being proposed is October 24th and 25th. The regular season on October 31 through November the 29th. Again, the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Reopen two weeks later on December 12th and run through January 24th. This season structure, basically a calendar adjustment from last year. The Dusky duck will be closed for five days, and it will reopen on November the 5th. This is what it looks like on a calendar and as I mentioned, we're providing more hunting opportunity.

This year, we do not have the staggered split that we had in the last couple of years. What we did was we staggered the opening day. So in essence, we've added two weeks of hunting opportunity simply because people that hunt in the North Zone, if they have such a desire, they can move into the South Zone that first week. People in the South Zone that are closing on the 24th, if they have a desire, they can go into the North Zone and hunt until the 31st. So we are actually providing more hunting opportunity with this season that we're proposing this morning.

With respect to bag limit, essentially no change other than the addition of one Canvasback. Still six per day with five Mallards, no more than two hens; three duck; three Scaup; two Pintails; two Redheads; and one Dusky duck. The -- all other ducks are six. So anything else that you shoot other than these specifically mentioned, the bag limit is six. Mergansers is still five per day, with no more than two hooded and Coots are 15. Possession limit stays at three times the daily bag limit.

Moving into geese in the West Zone, very simple season in the West Zone, both dark and light. Open October 31st and run through January the 31st. For light geese conservation order, that season will open the day after the regular season closes and run from February 1 until February the 20th. The bag limit, slight change here. We're going to five dark geese with no more than two White-fronted geese. That is an increase of one. These changes are in response to a revised management plan for the White-fronted geese and that's the reason why you see that slight increase in bag limit for white geese from one to two. The possession -- there's no possession limit on light geese, bag limit of 20 per day. This is what it looks like on a calendar, with the green being the regular season structure for the West Zone and the blue being the conservation order.

Moving to the East Zone. Again, this is some good news compared to last year. We've had this hodgepodge of season because of the White-front season being shorter and what have you. Well, again, because the White-fronted goose management plan has been modified, we've been offered the opportunity to have 86 days, which really cleans this season up for Texas hunters. Now we can open the season for all White-front, white geese, and Canada geese the same time running from November the 7th until January the 31st, with the conservation order for light geese being February 1st to March the 20th. Bag limit also has changed. In the past, it has been three Canadas and two White-fronts.

This year we've gone to an aggregate bag of five dark geese to include no more than to White-fronts. All that means is if you get into Canada geese in this East Zone, you can shoot five; but you could not take any White-fronts. So it's an aggregate bag now versus a specific bag for each species. This is what it looks like on a calendar. That orange color being that early September Canada goose season that runs concurrent with our September Teal season, the green being the regular season, and the blue being the conservation order.

In years past, that's been a hodgepodge of colors and very complicated. So we have really simplified that season with the changes in the management plan. For Sandhill cranes, no change. Basically calendar adjustments from last year, with Zone A opening from October the 31st running to January the 31st. Zone B, we do delay that opening until November the 20th simply to allow any Whooping cranes to get through that area and down to their wintering areas along the coast. So that season is November 20th through January the 31st, with a bag limit of three. And in Zone C, we take advantage of the maximum days allowed to us, that being 37, with that season running from December -- I can't -- 19th through January the 24th. I'm getting old and can't see.

With respect to falconry seasons, remember that in the High Plains Mallard Management Unit, we are only allowed 107 days. So we use all of those for gun hunting. So there is no extended falconry season. But in the North and South, there are 14 days allowable to us and that would run from February 1st through the 14th for people that want to pursue this with their birds.

We have received public comment. This slide depicts the comments we've got with respect to ducks. There's been 82 in support, 22 in opposition. And as with anything, the North wants what the South has and the South wants the North has. They just want it to flip. There was one that suggested we maintain the staggered opening. But with what we're doing now, we think we're providing additional hunting opportunity. For geese, 66 in support; 36 in opposition. The biggest comment there would be run the goose season concurrent with the South Zone. But by doing that, we would throw our nice, clean season kind of out of whack.

I would point out that on this slide there looks like there is a lot of opposition. But frankly, many of those comments were related to somebody thinking that we're trying to eliminate the light goose conservation order and so most of those comments in opposition were telling us don't close the light goose conservation season, when we really never had an intent to do so.

For Sandhill cranes, 72 in support; 12 in opposition. Three of them wanted us to modify the Zone C dates. They wanted a longer season Zone B. And there were two comments to actually eliminate the season altogether. Youth hunts, 77 in support; seven in opposition. There were those that wanted to completely eliminate the youth hunting for whatever reason, and there were a couple that said we should have a later and/or longer youth season.

Light goose conservation order, 35 people in support; three in opposition, with those speaking comments germane to the subject said they wanted to eliminate the season simply because of lack of geese or open concurrent with the duck season. For falconry, 15 in support; no opposition.

We do have a recommendation slide for your consideration; but before I do that, I want to remind you that this is the last time that we will be presenting seasons in this fashion. Starting with the 2016-17 process, both the early and late will be collapsed into a single timeline. So you'll no longer be adopting dove/ducks at different times. They'll all come at the same time and another added value to that is we will now be, as an Agency, be able to move forward both resident and migratory in the same timeline. That means that we won't have to have a waterfowl digest anymore. Everybody will know at the same time, and that process actually will begin next month. So we'll be starting all over and you'll be able to see my bright, smiling face again in November to start this process all again.

So for you consideration, we do have a recommendation that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts amendments to Texas Administrative Code 31 Subparagraph 65.318, 320, 321 concerning the migratory game bird proclamation, with changes as necessary to the proposed text as published in the May 22nd, 2015, issue of the Texas Register. I will conclude my presentation and take any questions that you may have.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any questions for Dave? Thank you, Dave. Appreciate it.

MR. MORRISON: Thanks.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Motion for approval?

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: So moved.

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

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Yes.

MS. HALLIBURTON: Mr. Chairman, we have a couple of speakers.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: My bad. I guess if I looked over here and checked my notes, I'd know that.

MS. HALLIBURTON: Just one. I'm sorry.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Excuse me. Thank you.

Oh, Kirby, nothing personal. Kirby Brown. Sorry, Kirby.

MR. BROWN: Sure, you call me in. I want to say something today, and you don't want me to say something today. I see that.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: There you go.

MR. BROWN: Mr. Chairman, welcome back. And my name is Kirby Brown. I'm with Ducks Unlimited and I'm here basically to echo what DU State Chairman Rusty Legg said yesterday on this. As avid waterfowl hunters, we're -- we want to thank you for considering that additional Canvasback and the additional White-front in the bag and the modifications to the duck and goose seasons that allow that increased hunter opportunity with the way that split's staggered and how people can move and go.

I also serve on the Migratory Game Bird Advisory Committee and we had significant discussions about these things and season open dates, times on all of the stuff that was in this. And with the input from our regional representatives on that committee and then, of course, the public surveys that we have of hunter surveys, this is kind of one of those deals that just made a lot of sense to simplify things and make it work.

And so from our standpoint, we just want to thank you guys for what you do and doing that and glad I could have that input almost ahead of the vote. So I appreciate it very much. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you, Kirby. Always nice to see you. Appreciate all you do. Thank you.

All right. So we have that on record as approved.

No. 6 is Local Park Grant Funding, Urban Outdoor Recreation Grants, Non-Urban Outdoor Recreation Grants, and Small Community Recreation Grants. Ms. Lagarde, good morning.

MS. LAGARDE: Good morning. My name's Dana Lagarde. I'm the Local Park Grants Manager in the State Parks Division. My first item will be the urban outdoor recreation grants. For the urban outdoor recreation grants, funding comes from a portion of the sales tax on sporting goods through the Texas Large County and Municipality Recreation and Parks Account and from offshore gas royalties through the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Five eligible applications were received for the March 31st, 2015, deadline, requesting $4,225,000 in matching funds. All applications have been scored and ordered by rank in Exhibit A, based on the scoring criteria previously approved by the Commission. Our recommendation is funding for four projects listed in Exhibit A in the amount of $3,074,518 be approved. And I'd be happy to answer any questions on this grant right now.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any questions for Dan on No. 6? Okay, thank you.

MS. LAGARDE: Do you want me to --

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Just carry on. Thank you.

MS. LAGARDE: My next one is the non-urban outdoor recreation grants. 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-two eligible applications were received for the March 31st, 2015, deadline, requesting $8,015,851 in matching funds. All applications have been scored and ordered by rank in Exhibit A, based on the scoring criteria previously approved by the Commission. Recommendation is to fund ten projects listed in Exhibit A in the amount of $3,894,150.

Any questions on this one?

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any questions on nonurban? Okay, thanks.

MS. LAGARDE: And finally, the small community recreation grants. Funding comes from a portion of the sales tax on sporting goods through the Texas Recreation and Parks Account. Twenty-five eligible applications were received for the March 31st, 2015, deadline, requesting $1,641,529 in matching funds. All applications have been scored and ordered by rank in Exhibit A, based on the scoring criteria previously approved by the Commission. Our recommendation is to fund 11 projects listed in Exhibit A in the amount of $709,104. And that concludes my presentation today.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you, Dana. Commissioner Duggins has a question.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: This is in the out-of-curiosity category. In the first set of -- first Exhibit A for the nonurban outdoor that begins with the highest ranking application for the City of Los Fresnos.

MS. LAGARDE: Uh-huh.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: I see the scores start at 96 and go down and then if you look at the next Exhibit A, the approved proposed projects to be approved, the top score is only 42. Is there -- are there different standards?

MS. LAGARDE: Yes.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: That's why the numbering seem so different?

MS. LAGARDE: Yes, sir. Each program has a different scoring criteria, and they're not all based on the same number. So the small community program has less criteria and, therefore, the highest score is -- they don't have as many points to earn, basically.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: So what's the top score on the one that's led by the city of Gunter with a 42? Is that a 50?

MS. LAGARDE: Are you in the small community? Oops, sorry.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: I'm in the small community recreation Exhibit A.

MS. LAGARDE: So the city of Gunter was the top score at 42.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: And what's a perfect score?

MS. LAGARDE: Well, that's a hard question to answer because some criteria, if you get this, you don't get this. They kind of cross out each other. So if you have acquisition or you don't, there's different ways to score that. So you can't get all the points in every project. It's to balance it out for some projects that might have more nature versus more athletic, things in that -- I'd be happy to share that scoring criteria with you.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: No, I'm just puzzled. It would seem that 100 would be the top score in the first group because you've got a 96. I don't know whether that's right or not; but I was just curious if there was any correlation in the scoring, but apparently there's not.

MS. LAGARDE: There is not at this time.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: All right, thank you.

MS. LAGARDE: Uh-huh.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Okay. Any other questions for Dana? Do we have a motion for approval? Commissioner Morian. Second, Commissioner Lee.

Here we go, let's start over. Mark Milum and then Peter Lamont, please.

MR. MILUM: Yes. I just wanted to thank you for consideration and Los Fresnos is located north of Brownsville about 10 miles and just west of South Padre Island and small community and this would be a great asset to our community. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you.

Peter Lamont.

MR. LAMONT: Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, Mr. Smith, my name is Peter Lamont. I'm Community Services Director for the city of Brady and on behalf of the mayor, the council, the staff, and the citizens of Brady, first, I want to congratulate you on a successful Legislative session. We do appreciate all the hard work y'all do for us up there and we wanted to thank you for your thoughtful consideration of our grants and we look forward to working with the staff on them for a better park system. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you very much. Appreciate that.

Okay, we got that covered. Motion for approval was Commissioner Morian. Second, Commissioner Lee. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

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

We're going to quickly go clean up procedurally Item No. 5. Just to be clear, any more discussion about the migratory game bird proclamation? Motion for approval? Commissioner Hughes. Second, Commissioner Jones. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

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

No. 7 is Recommended Adoption of Administrative Fee Associated with the Federal Duck Stamp, Mr. Justin Halvorsen.

MR. HALVORSEN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners. Good morning. I'm Justin Halvorsen, the Revenue Director, to present the action item on the fees for the federal duck stamp. Members, I'm going to begin by giving you just a little bit of background just to make sure we're on the same page.

The federal duck stamp is a Roosevelt era New Deal program. It was established in 1934 and the proceeds from that stamp are used to protect the wetland habitat for the National Wildlife Refuge System. This required federal stamp is in addition to the Parks and Wildlife migratory game bird stamp and the appropriate hunting license. Now through 2007, you actually got the physical stamp at the time of purchase, sold primarily through our Parks and Wildlife offices, the Post Office, and then a few private retailers.

Now beginning in 2008, we began a pilot program with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service known as the electronic duck stamp or the E-duck stamp, to sell through our point-of-sale license system. It was first online and then it was expanded to our retail partners in 2010. Now particularly without expansion, in 2010, this was designed as a convenience for our customers to make it a one-stop shop so that they could go just to one place and get all of their licenses.

We charged a $1 administration fee designed to cover two costs. The transaction cost for using our point-of-sale system, and then the commission fees to our retail partners. Now these commission fees are on a percentage basis. So as the cost of the stamp goes up, then our costs go up. Now with the E-duck stamp program, you don't actually get the stamp at the time of purchase. Your printed receipt acts as a temporary stamp for 45 days, and then the stamp itself is mailed to you by the federal contractor. That contractor, until just recently, charged a $1 fulfillment fee.

So just to kind of wrap up this slide on the history. Up until this year through last year, the stamp cost $17. $15 went to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, $1 federal fulfillment, and then $1 to Parks and Wildlife.

In December of 2014, federal legislation was passed for a fee increase for the stamp to go from $15 to $25 and then the fulfillment fee also went up from a dollar to a dollar fifty. Now that $10 increase in the stamp itself was dedicated just to conservation easements where the ownership remains in the private hands. The last increase to the duck stamp was 24 years ago in 1991 and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been pushing Congress for about the past five years for a rate increase. Finally in December of 2014, Congress also made the E-duck stamp a permanent program.

Parks and Wildlife administration fee of $1 is not sufficient to cover our transaction and license agent commission fees. At that new rate, on average, it will cost us approximately $2 in transaction and commission fees. So we'll be losing $1 per transaction and our total volume last year was 160,000 stamps. So, therefore, staff recommends increasing the Parks and Wildlife administration fee from $1 to $2.

And, members, before I go any further, I do want to point out that what's printed in your booklets and what was sent to the Register is showing a proposed rate increase to 2.50. The reason for that is that the $1 that we've historically charged was not sufficient to cover our previous costs. Originally, we were going to recommend 2.50, with the idea that that 50 cents would help offset eight years of losses. Since then, we've decided to back off on trying to recapture any of our historical losses and instead just focus on what we need from this point forward and that would be at $2.

So with that proposal, the total price increase is from $17 to 28.50. And with that, Fish and Wildlife receives $25, federal fulfillment of a dollar fifty, and Parks and Wildlife at $2. And again, since this is just a recommendation, at this point if you purchase your stamp today for this license season, then -- either online or through our retail agents -- as of right now it would cost 27.50.

The proposed rule was published in the Texas Register, pending approval of the Commission. There were six comments. Four respondents were in favor, two opposed. The two respondents who opposed, cited the high cost of the stamp already and the concern of pricing individuals out of this particular aspect of hunting.

Now before I read this motion into record, I'll stop and see if you guys have any questions.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Questions? Commissioner Scott.

COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Just one comment. With the significant increase, most of it being federal, I would suggest that we make sure that all of our hunters and everybody understand that we're not raising it the amount that we are. You know, that we're -- our incremental piece is very small.

MR. HALVORSEN: Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER SCOTT: We just need to make sure all of our hunters in Texas understand it's not us.

MR. HALVORSEN: Yes, sir, I understand.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Good point. Commissioner Duggins.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: I want to echo Commissioner Scott's observation because I think it's important that our sales agents, the Walmarts of the world -- and I'm not picking on Walmart; but whoever they are, that we get that word out so that they communicate it. We don't want them misstating that the Parks and Wildlife raised the cost of this license because we're only raising our fee to our actual cost from 1.50 to $2, as I understand it, if this passes.

MR. HALVORSEN: From $1 to $2.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: One to two, $1. But I just think it's critical, to his point, that we make sure our sales outlets and online, that we're very clear about that.

MR. HALVORSEN: Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Great.

COMMISSIONER JONES: I have a quick question.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Commissioner Jones.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Did I understand you to say that the number of licenses -- or stamps that were issued last year from Texas was 160,000?

MR. HALVORSEN: Yeah, approximately 160,000 duck stamps were sold through our Parks and Wildlife point-of-sale system.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Is there another way for a duck hunter to get --

MR. HALVORSEN: Yes, there are. There are other alternatives. If somebody is interested in avoiding any of these administrative fees, you can still go to participating Post Offices and if they have that physical consigned stock there at the Post Office, then you could buy it there. It would be totally outside our point-of-sale system and it would only cost $25.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Got it. Do you have any -- I was -- now I'm just asking: Do you have any idea roughly how many duck hunters do that?

MR. HALVORSEN: No, sir, I sure don't.

COMMISSIONER JONES: I just -- 160,000 seemed low to me, but that may not be.

MR. HALVORSEN: Yeah, we're actually -- we're the highest selling E-duck stamp state in the nation.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Okay.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any other questions?

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Are we advertising the E-duck stamp? Because, to be quite honest, I didn't even know about it. Is that something that we -- it's easy for a hunter to know that they can order a duck stamp at the same time they're getting a hunting license?

MR. HALVORSEN: I don't think we've really particularly advertised it; but if you go online or if you go to our retail partners, then that item is available for you.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: You know, as a lifetime license holder, it might be nice to let the license -- when we send out the form for lifetime license holders to renew their license, to let them know they can go and pay for a duck stamp at that time. Maybe that's why I missed it.

MR. SMITH: Okay. Maybe we can put something in the renewal and we can work with our licensing team on that. Okay.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Yeah, I think that's a very good point. I agree.

MR. SMITH: Okay, good suggestion.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Simplify it and make it -- okay. Questions? Additional questions? Motion for approval?

COMMISSIONER JONES: So moved.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Commissioner Jones. Second, Commissioner Hughes. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

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

MR. HALVORSEN: Okay.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: No. 8 is Implementation of Legislation During the 84th Texas Legislative Session, House Bill 801, Recommended Adoption of General Plan for Prescribed Burning on Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Lands.

MR. DREIBELBIS: Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners. For the record, I'm Justin Dreibelbis, Private Lands Public Hunting Program Director. I'm here this morning to brief you on House Bill 801 and to request rule adoption related to the legislation.

House Bill 801 was enacted by the 84th Texas Legislature and amends Parks and Wildlife Code Chapter 11 by adding a new Subchapter M. This new subchapter requires that the Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt by rule and implement a general plan for the use of beneficial prescribed burns in the management of Department lands and obtaining liability insurance for these prescribed burns. Although there is no action required by the Commission on the insurance piece today, I would like to take a second to provide a quick update for you.

We've met with the State Office of Risk Management and identified a local insurance broker that is currently shopping that insurance to a number of different underwriters experienced with prescribed fire insurance. We've provided all the requested burn information from the Wildlife Division and State Parks to those underwriters and are currently waiting on quotes right now. And once this insurance is acquired, we will continue to work with the State Office of Risk Management to keep an eye on any expiration of those policies and SORM will notify us in advance of those -- at that expiration.

So the other main requirement of this legislation is the creation of this general plan for prescribed burning on TPWD lands, and this is where we're requesting Commission action this morning. The general plan must meet the following requirements: Must meet or exceed the prescribed -- the standards for prescribed burning established in the Natural Resource Code; needs to have variations for different parts of the state; provide site specific planning and notification requirements; and then also be reviewed by the Prescribed Burning Board, which we are on their agenda for September 17th and each member of that board has a copy of our general plan right now.

As you know, prescribed fire is an extremely important management tool for the Wildlife Division and State Parks and we've had fire policy on the books here at Parks and Wildlife since 2002. Our staff has amended the policy to comply with the requirements of House Bill 801 and the resulting document is now designated as the Department's general plan for prescribed burning on TPWD lands and a copy of this general plan was included in your packet.

Our general plan is an overarching document for the Agency and includes detailed information on all the following items here from the purpose of these prescribed fires, training and fitness requirements, all the way through planning, implementation of the burn, and even an emergency response. This plan will serve as our Agency prescribed burning policy going forward. So the proposed rule from staff this morning would adopt this general plan, the general plan for prescribed burning on TPWD lands by reference.

We have gone out for public comment. Received seven in favor and zero opposed. And at this time we have a recommendation for the Commission: Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts new Section 51.170 concerning general plan for prescribe burning on TPWD lands, with changes as necessary to the proposed text as published in the July 17th, 2015, issue of the Texas Register.

That concludes my presentation. I'd be glad to answer any questions you might have.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you, Justin. Okay. Any questions? Commissioner Duggins.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: On page 148 of the notebook under "outreach and notifications," it states that the site manager will be responsible for providing adequate notice of the intent to conduct a prescribe burn to neighboring landowners.

Have we defined what a "neighboring landowner" is? How far out that goes?

MR. DREIBELBIS: We're working on that right now and we have actually have our Wildland Fire Coordinators from Wildlife Division and State Parks here if you'd like to -- if you'd like them to talk about those, kind of how we're delineating those areas.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: I'm just suggesting we define that.

MR. DREIBELBIS: Absolutely.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: So that somebody ten miles away doesn't claim to be a neighboring landowner, just to use an example.

MR. DREIBELBIS: Sure. That is something we will have delineated very clearly.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: And then on page 151 under "wildfire management," we -- I'm a little confused. When we say -- use the word "wildfire," that to me means a fire we didn't -- there's no intentional action by the Department to start it, but yet it looks like we're defining "wildfire" as something that was an outgrowth of a planned fire. Am I right about that? Because it --

MR. DREIBELBIS: Seth, would you like to come up and address that?

In our general -- in our general plan, our wildfire definition is an unplanned wildland fire, including unauthorized human caused fires, escaped prescribed burns, and all other wildland fires where the objective is to extinguish the fire.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Yes. But see, you're tying it to wildland fire and I just think it's confusing because you're using wildfire as a subset of a wildland fire and I'm suggesting we not do that because I think a wildfire has a known common meaning. Am I making sense here?

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: So what you're suggesting is that we delineate a prescribed burn that's become uncontrolled --

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Gone out of control.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Gone uncontrolled. So the wildfire, a prescribed burn that's no longer controlled and prescribed burn.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: As opposed to calling that -- to the Chairman's point, calling it a wildfire, which is not -- it's not the same thing.

MR. DREIBELBIS: Okay.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: If we can just make a note to look at that or, Ann, do you want to --

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Just I think it's confusing.

MR. DREIBELBIS: Okay.

MS. BRIGHT: Yes, we hear what you're saying. One of the things that might be helpful though is to have our fire folks respond to that because I think there may be -- there may be a distinction. I'm not sure.

MR. SMITH: Seth, do you have anything you want to add to this or -- okay.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: You're dragging him up here.

MR. PEARSON: Yeah, well -- and I'm not sure because I don't have it right in front of me. Seth Pearson, the Fire Coordinator for the Wildlife Division. And under wildland fire use, wildland fire would be a technical terminology that's utilized within the NWCG system, the federally recognized system. And so when we say "wildland fire," that's vegetation. It's not a structure, and it's not a vehicle. And so, I guess, could you restate your question again so I could --

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: You define what wildland fire is which, as I understand it, is a prescribed fire that's gone out of control essentially. Is that right? Sorry. You define on 150 wildland fire use.

MR. PEARSON: Got you, okay.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: And what I'm saying is when you define wildfire management, wildfire is a subset -- defined to be a subset of a wildland fire.

MR. PEARSON: Right. So under the --

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: And I just think, to me, wildfire is a completely different animal.

MR. PEARSON: Right. So in a wildland fire use -- say in a WMA compartment or pasture and a fire started and that fire is contained to pre-existing boundaries and so what is used, wildland fire use is basically the utilization of a start to control it into a particular area for resource benefit. Now the wildfire was sole out is to direct suppression to suppress the fire. So wildland fire use would be a fire that starts and it's managed to a certain extent, where maybe direct suppression is not utilized.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: No. We're talking different things.

MR. PEARSON: Okay.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: We'll just talk about it after the meeting, but I think we're talking apples and oranges here.

MR. PEARSON: Okay.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Okay. Sidebar. Okay, so any other questions? Nobody is signed up to speak on this. Motion for approval? Commissioner Jones. Commissioner Hughes second. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

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

Action Item No. 9 is Implementation of Legislation During the 84th Legislative Session, Senate Bill 1204, Exotic Species Permit Fee Waivers for School Aquaculture Programs. Monica McGarrity, good morning.

MS. MCGARRITY: Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, Mr. Smith. For the record, my name is Monica McGarrity. I'm with the Inland Fisheries Division, and I coordinate issuance of exotic species permits for aquaculture. This action item before you addresses implementation of Senate Bill 1204, an exotic species permit fee waiver for school aquaculture programs and specifically for educational programs that are using aquaponics.

Exotic species aquaculture facility permits are required for possession or sale of species that have been designated as harmful or potentially harmful exotic species. These rules stipulate which species can be cultured, facility design requirements, what reporting is required, and the conditions under which the exotic species can be transported and sold. These aquaculturists also must have a TCEQ wastewater discharge permit and a TDA aquaculture license.

As a little background about aquaponics, this is a sustainable system that combines aquaculture and hydroponics so that the fish waste provides nutrients for hydroponically grown plants and the fish -- the plants, in turn, purify the water for the fish. Tilapia are very popular in aquaponics, although some native species or non-prohibited species work well in these systems. For example, Striped bass or even goldfish if production of fish as food is not an objective.

These photos here show two permitted commercial aquaponic facilities in Texas, with typical floating raft plant beds through which wastewater from a fish tank is circulated. So these are entirely closed, recirculating systems with no escapement risk under normal operation. They operate under a no-cost Level 1 TCEQ wastewater discharge permit as closed ponds because they do not discharge except for occasional application of wastewater to raise plant beds during a partial water change.

There's been increasing interest in recent years in the use of aquaponics, including for public school agricultural education programs. Currently, no public schools do hold exotic species permits. Although one school was permitted last year and has since decided to stop using tilapia for 2015 due to high heating costs. We do receive about five inquiries about this per year, usually in the fall. However, those programs usually opt to use native species or Mozambique tilapia, which can be possessed under an exception for noncommercial use without permit with a few stipulations. Possession of Blue or Nile tilapia or of hybrids of Blue, Nile, or Mozambique for any purpose requires a permit, as does sale of tilapia as an aquatic product. Although schools that are using Mozambique under that exception can sell fried fish or a fish dinner if the want to have a plate sale or a booster event or they can sell their produce. So the initial fee for the permit is $263, which includes an inspection and the annual renewal is $27.

Senate Bill 1204 amended Parks and Wildlife Code to waive fees for public schools using aquaponics for agricultural education programs, both the TPWD exotic species permits and and the TDA aquaculture license fees. The bill does require that schools submit an application for a permit and meet all facility and other requirements.

Staff propose two changes to the permit regulations to address this. First, the application requirements be amended to waive the fees for schools meeting the conditions established by Senate Bill 1204; and second, the regulations regarding permit issuance be amended to specify that these permits would be issued to public schools only for fish species that were previously authorized by the Commission for aquaculture, which includes tilapia. We received some public comment on this. Three in support, none in opposition, and no specific comments.

This concludes my presentation. I'll go ahead and read the recommendation: Staff recommend that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts an amendment to Sections 57.117 and 57.118 concerning harmful or potentially harmful fish, shellfish, and aquatic plants, with changes as necessary to the proposed text as published in the July 17th, 2015, issue of the Texas Register.

With that, I'll be happy to address any questions.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you. Any questions? Okay. Nobody is signed up to speak on this item. So motion for approval?

COMMISSIONER JONES: So moved.

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

(Chorus of ayes)

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

No. 10 is Implementation of Legislation Passed During the 84th Legislature, Senate Bill 1978, Designation of Nonprofit Organization to Receive Donations Made by Persons When Purchasing a Hunting License for a Statewide Program to Provide Hunters a Way to Donate Legally Harvested Deer to Local Food Assistance.

MR. HALVORSEN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Good morning, members. Again, for the record, I'm Justin Halvorsen, Revenue Director, to present the action item concerning the designation of the nonprofit as mandated by Senate Bill 1978. I've been told by some of my colleagues that I win the award for the longest agenda item name.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: I think you're right.

MR. HALVORSEN: Members, Senate Bill 1978 by Senator Lucio allows for a voluntary contribution to a nonprofit organization to help feed hungry Texans when a person applies for a hunting license. The nonprofit, as designated by the Commission, must administer a statewide program that provides hunters with a to donate legally harvested deer to food assistance providers. Now those two bullet points I know are kind of a mouthful. So let me just kind of walk you through how this process would work.

So you may have harvested a deer, but your freezer is already full. So let's say you go to a processer and you say, "I have this deer. I just want to donate it to charity." In general, processers, if they're okay with taking the meat and donating it to a food pantry, they're still going to charge you a fee, a processing fee to cover their costs. Now there are a handful of nonprofit organizations that work with those local food -- those local meat processers to subsidize their cost when the meat is being donated and then by lowering or even possibly eliminating the processing cost to the hunter who's donating the meat, then the idea is that that will encourage more people to try and make that donation. And then, of course, the processed meat would then be donated to a local food pantry.

So the selection of the nonprofit in late July and early August was made through an open application process and our recommendation is the nonprofit titled "Feeding Texas," formally known as the "Texas Food Bank Network." Specifically, their program is called "Hunters for the Hungry." They have a network of 67 deer processers throughout the state. In the 2013-14 hunting season, approximately 100,000 pounds of venison were donated to local food banks and over the program's 20-year history, they've provided over 2 million pounds of venison at about 9.3 million servings.

So staff recommendation: The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts the resolution attached as Exhibit A, the designation of "Feeding Texas, Hunters for the Hungry Program" as the nonprofit organization to receive donations made by persons when purchasing a hunting license for a statewide program to provide hunters a way to donate legally harvested deer to local food assistance provider.

And with that, that concludes my formal presentation. I'm happy to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: That's a terrific program. Commissioner Duggins.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Are we limited to designating one nonprofit?

MR. HALVORSEN: Yes, sir, we are. The bill specifies just one nonprofit organization.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: And how -- and how often would -- if a decision -- if the Commission were to want to change the designation, can we change it at any time?

MR. HALVORSEN: The bill doesn't specify that. I think our thoughts were to have probably like a four- or five-year initial contract and then reopen it up and have another -- open it up to other nonprofit organizations that would be interested in doing it.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Well, my suggestion would be go shorter term and see how it works with this organization. It may work great and if so, you can -- we can renew it.

MR. HALVORSEN: Okay.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: But if we're limited to one, we might be thinking short term to see how it works first, unless I'm misapprehending here.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: What did you say the term was?

MR. HALVORSEN: There isn't. There's nothing --

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: No specified term?

MR. HALVORSEN: The bill doesn't specify. So we can really -- we can do whatever we want.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: I mean, I think that's a good idea to specify a term so it's not open-ended or, you know, a nebulous. How -- can we --

MR. SMITH: Chairman and Vice-Chairman, certainly we'll your direction on that. I guess my suggestion would be this is a very well established program. Hunters for the Hungry has got a lot of name recognition among hunters. It's really the only entity right now that services the entire state, per se. You know, I think we'll want to take into --

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: It's the only entity that has processing capability currently, right, across the state?

MR. SMITH: Yes, in concert with --

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Right.

MR. SMITH: -- these local processers. You know, they're going to need to ramp-up to market this program to hunters so that folks are aware that there's a possibility of making donations and so I think we want to give them some reasonable time to --

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Okay.

MR. SMITH: -- capture those costs. Maybe we could -- you know, we'll definitely look at defining that timeframe, look at an option for renewal, you know, with a trigger on satisfactory performance and meeting appropriate reporting standards, etcetera; but we hear you. We're not going to have it open-ended.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Okay.

MR. SMITH: Is that fair?

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Fair, perfect.

MR. SMITH: Okay. All right, thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you. Is that it?

MR. HALVORSEN: That's it.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Okay. Any questions? Additional questions?

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Move for approval.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Moved by Commissioner Duggins. Second --

COMMISSIONER JONES: Second.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: -- Commissioner Jones. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

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

Item No. 7 is a -- 11 is a briefing item. It's Impacts of the Memorial Day Flooding and Other Events, Jessica Davisson and Brent Leisure.

MR. LEISURE: Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, my name is Brent Leisure, for the record, Director the State Parks Division. And it's our pleasure -- I'm joined by Jessica Davisson today to provide a briefing and overview of some of the impacts to your parks and what we've received from the resulting floods from earlier in this year.

I want to -- we're going to share some pretty impressive photos and information, some of -- and categorize some of the impacts that we've received. But, you know, certainly the 95 state parks that you have across the State Park system, many of them are sitting on water bodies, either reservoirs or streams and rivers; and so they've sustained some considerable damage over time.

But it's important I think to note and worth noting that leading up to the spring, the early spring and when we started to experience heavy rains, we were having a very significant positive year in state parks. The trends were very good. Lake levels were up. Rivers and streams were flowing. Boat ramps were open. Burn bans were lifted and many of the recreational opportunities that we see in parks were at their maximum and so there was great opportunity for Texans to see and experience those parks.

At that same time, from September of 2014 leading through April of 2015, visitation was up. And you'll see here by these figures, nearly a quarter of a million more people were using parks in that same time period compared to the year before, representing about 5.4 percent increase and the associated revenue with that visitation was also up considerably and that's what -- that was the stage that was set leading up to these significant rainfalls that we saw in May and June.

This map is depicting rainfall totals for the month of May and you're going to see that up on the -- north of the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex, as much as 27 inches and more received in that one month; 24 inches, almost 25 inches north and west of Houston; and significant rainfall totals all across the state. And so that certainly has impacted our operations, and we'll get into that a little bit more. But leading -- after the significant May rainfalls, we saw that continue into June.

This map is depicting rainfall totals in June and, again, we're seeing some of those same areas continue to be doused with additional rainfall and the impacts were pretty significant. May and June rainfall totals combined are depicted on this map and you can see very significant rainfall totals up in that same area of North Texas, with nearly 40 inches, and more than 40 inches down in Southeast Texas.

One of the things that I'm most proud about is the way that our staff respond in these emergency situations to the eight-plus million visitors that come to state parks each year. And during severe incidents and events like this, certainly their lives are at risk if we don't intervene and so I'm very proud of the way that our officers, our state park police officers and the other staff within parks, join together and implement emergency management plans and evacuate our parks and get people out of harm's way. And these pictures here -- for example, the upper-right hand corner -- is some of our Law Enforcement officers responding to storm damage in Van, Texas, down in the -- in the bottom right-hand corner, Officer Barrett Durst over at Lake Sommerville carrying a woman that was stranded in high water conditions over at that lake. And then an officer on patrol and responding to high water conditions at Cedar Hill State Park. Another example to kind of -- to share in this regard. And these kinds of responses take place in your Park system all across the state from one week to another.

But over at Blanco State Park where we obviously saw very high water levels and extreme conditions, Ethan Belicek, our superintendent over there, was in place to be able to provide evacuation guidance to the people that were in that park. That park is bisected by the Blanco River and so Ethan's on one side of the park while a couple of other -- our other staff members are on the south side of the river -- or on the north side of the river rather. They were cut off. Ethan actually ended up putting about 100 of the campers that were in that park, they retreated to high ground under his guidance and stayed with him at his residence that night and just outside and so those are some of the things that our staff go above and beyond the call to make sure that people are safe and we are fortunate to be able to report that nobody lost their lives and was harmed in that significant flood on the Blanco River.

This is a picture of Mother Neff State Park. Many of you have -- are familiar with this site near Waco, just west of Waco. It sits on the Leon River up above Belton Lake. Mother Neff has historically flooded many times over in the last many years. As a matter of fact, we have just completed a reopening of that park after significant floods and so we invite people to come down and see some of the infrastructure that has been developed, the facilities that are out of the floodplain; but we continue to have Civilian Conservation Corps facilities down in the lower areas of the park that are subject to flooding.

One of the things that came out of this flood event was a better way to communicate and share the impacts of parks in realtime with Texans. As -- it was an outcome from this. We established a point on our website where people could go and get realtime information on flooding impacts. And so this was a screenshot of what you'll find on our website right now and we continue to use this and we will permanently now on our website where people can go and get realtime information on the parks and impacts for various causes and how they may change. It's a very dynamic situation when floods are coming like this and it's changing very quickly. As a matter of fact, conditions and public access to the parks would oftentimes change many times in one day. And so this interactive map is available. We also use social media quite a bit to get the word out very quickly about these changing conditions in parks.

The operating status of parks is -- can be determined by going to that website. But this is a screenshot. This map is showing in mid June the conditions that we were facing in the Park system. Of the 95 parks, those that were marked in red there, there's about 11 site that were closed as a result of high water. And many of those parks were some of our greatest visited and high revenue generating sites and so four of those remain closed today and so this has had a significant impact on many of our -- not only the public access to those parks, but the resulting revenue that we depend on so greatly.

If you were to categorize impacts to the parks that resulted in the floods, we'd categorize them in this way. Those impacts on natural and cultural resources -- and there were many, and we'll see a couple of photos here in just a second to depict that -- and then facility and equipment losses and damage and Jessica will speak to that a little bit more after I visit with you. And then the interruption of business and the business continuity and the loss of visitation and the resulting revenue are all very significant impacts to the Park system.

I want to show a brief video here with the help -- it's only two minutes long and I'll talk over it as it shows. Mother Neff State Park, this is a view from above. And you'll see a tremendous logjam that's -- that's on the Leon River right there. You can't even see the river channel. So it's difficult to determine what we're looking at. But that logjam persists, and is a real problem. There you are looking -- if you look closely, you're going to see some rooftop buildings. Those are the tabernacles and some of the other CCC structures in the lower part of that park that's flooded, campgrounds flooded. Again, a lot of this is influenced by backwater from Lake Belton.

Brazos Bend State Park down near Houston, one of our busiest state parks is -- was closed for some time as the Brazos River came out of banks and flooded that property down there. Brazos Bend is open right now, but that interruption to service had significant impact on our revenues to that area. Obviously, gators extended their range just a little bit in the park. They enjoyed it just fine.

With the help of our Communications Division, they took these drones down into some of our parks and we were able to get some aerial views. Oftentimes, we can't see what's happening because we don't have access to it in times like this. So this is a new and -- new opportunity for us to see what's happening in back areas of the park during flood conditions.

This is Palmetto State Park. San Marcos River runs through this site, and it has historically flooded. It endures these floods really surprisingly well with relatively minor damage. Although we've had some huge erosion events in the past.

This is Bastrop State Park. This is -- I was actually there at this point and this was just a few minutes after the breach of the dam there at Bastrop State Park. We have about a 15 -- a 12-acre lake there in the -- around the cabin area. The public roadway that goes across that dam obviously is cut off. That breach of the dam went on downstream and created flooding on Highway 71 and closed that highway for about an hour.

I talked early about Blanco State Park and some of the impacts at that site. The Blanco River had a huge rise. Fortunately, no one was hurt. But that's an example of some of the -- some of the things, these videos and photographs that can be seen, you can see them right now if you go to our website. At the State Parks page, there's a banner at the top of that page that will tell you what is -- and give you some ideas of not only visually what those impacts are, but tell you a little bit about the infrastructure impacts and closed facilities in the Park system.

This is remarkable photograph that actually was taken by our superintendent at Bastrop. As they rounded the corner and they saw that breach and the dam busting at that park just as it was breaking. Of course, they had time to snap the picture, turn around and go downstream and make sure that downstream campgrounds were evacuated. I have to say that we were fortunate because had this occurred the day before, those campgrounds were full. It could have been a catastrophic story, and we're fortunate that that was not the case.

Interrupted businesses and some of our loss of visitation and revenue certainly at our big sites like Cedar Hill State Park in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex is a very big interruption of our business in state parks and the facility damages, which Jessica will speak to a little bit more here in just a minute, are pretty significant. This happens to be a relatively new restroom that was built on Lake Sommerville. This site is still closed and remains so today.

One of the things that are -- that is pretty impressive I think is the Zebra mussels and how quickly they have taken over in some of our areas up in North Texas. This is on Lake Ray Roberts. And, you know, we've heard about the impact of Zebra mussels on infrastructure and water infrastructure and such. The recreational impact is pretty significant as well and we can see by the looks of this picture, these are Zebra mussels on a small sapling tree that was underwater for just a couple of weeks and see how they've taken hold. They're on the ground everywhere. They're in the brush. They're in the water systems. This is a hose bib serving a campground and how quickly they surrounded the outside of the piping and inside that hose bib. This is a sign down at the boat ramp completely covered in Zebra mussels, and it was covered in just short order. This might -- this might be hard to tell what this is actually, but the upper left-hand corner is actually a barbecue grill covered in Zebra mussels very quickly. The lower right-hand corner are steps going into a playground and if you've ever seen a Zebra mussel, you know how sharp these shells are. So the cleanup is extremely difficult, and our teams are out there doing that right now.

We had some equipment losses. This is -- we had three vehicles washed downstream at Blanco State Park. Really, we only had three people I believe on duty at time the time that the waters rose quickly and their time was spent -- and rightly so -- evacuating people and ensuring their safety and so did not have the opportunity to move some of the equipment out of the way. We lost three vehicles in that site.

The business impacts I think are worth noting and I want to point out here that if you look at what we projected revenue to be for three of those busiest sites that were impacted -- Brazos Bend, Cedar Hill, and Lake Ray Roberts -- this is the projected revenue for the year for those sites. And you're going to see that it's approaching or it actually just is projected to exceed $6 million for those three parks alone. This was prior to the rainfall events. This is the result for those three sites and the loss of revenue that's depicted in this graph. Not quite $2 million for the period of time for just those three parks alone. But what's especially worth noting is this next graph and this is after the -- taking the floods into account, this is where we stand as a Park system overall. We are still up in revenue, still up in visitation, and it speaks I think to the continuing trends of high visitation in your Park system and the resulting revenue. It's pretty extraordinary to think that 11 parks, many of which were some of our very busiest and revenue generating sites, were closed for an extended period and some remain closed today and still exceed last year's record setting revenues. So it's pretty remarkable.

The disaster declarations are pretty important to us, particularly as we move forward in the recovery efforts and financing those recovery efforts. The Governor of the State declared emergency disaster in 122 counties, and you'll see that shown on this map. But what's even more important perhaps in addition to that is the federal declaration of disaster that occurred in another 113 counties and that is what sets the stage for us to be eligible for FEMA reimbursements on some of our recovery efforts and Jessica will speak to that a little bit more here in just a second. So this map overlays both the state and the federal declarations and I'll say that those sites that did receive significant impacts are in those counties that are declared. So we're fortunate in that regard, and we think that we'll be able to get some relief in the years ahead.

Current operating status, we have four sites, as I mentioned earlier, that remain closed -- Cedar Hill State Park in the Dallas/Fort Worth area; Lake Whitney State Park, which we hope to get open here relatively quickly; and Lake Sommerville State Park and we have two sites on that lake that are both closed; and certainly Lake Ray Roberts, one of our busiest sites and multiple state parks that exist on that lakefront.

So I'll just turn this over to Jessica at this point, but I just want to also emphasize that many of these parks have not been assessed yet because the water hasn't receded enough for us to be able to get in there and determine what the impacts are. But fortunately with the good fortune of the appropriation that we received in this past session, we think that that sets the stage for a recovery opportunity that perhaps we wouldn't have seen in this current biennium. So with that, I'll turn this over to Jessica and we'll both be available for questions.

MS. DAVISSON: Thank you. Thank you, Brent.

Good morning, Commission. For the record, my name is Jessica Davisson and I am the Infrastructure Division Director. As Brent said, infrastructure in state parks are still in the process of doing damage assessments and developing recovery plans; but this was an opportunity to tell you what we know at this time.

The most costly sustained damage that we know of now was certainly at Bastrop State Park due to the loss of the dam. This dam was originally built in 1913. It's over 100 years old. It actually predates Civilian Construction Corps construction. Although the CCC did do modifications to it in the 1930s. At normal capacity it holds 68-acre feet and a max capacity would have been 110-acre feet and it discharges into Copperas Creek. The dam is actually located in the bottom of this image and the top of -- the crest of the dam was actually covered by asphalt and was part of Park Road 1A.

On Memorial Day due to intense rainfall and overwhelming inflows, the dam breached and how that happened was water started to overtop the dam and started to erode the earth and embankment on the downstream side of the dam, taking the road with it. A close-up image of the actual breached section of the dam. For scale, from where this image is being taken to across the other bank to the road is about 150 feet and from lake bottom to the crest is about 25 feet deep. An image from the breach section looking up the stream into the empty lake bed. And then lastly, this is an image taken from the west bank looking south and that cabin and that image right there is currently closed because of the safety concerns of the erosion.

Next, we assessed Blanco State Park and Blanco hit record level flooding, which basically uprooted many trees, debris was everywhere. Completely destroyed the day-use picnic area and flooded the park's nerve center, which is this building that you see here is a CCC structure that they use for offices. It was submerged under 7 feet of water. And what you don't see in this image is the maintenance area just adjacent to it, which was also flooded, where they store equipment and vehicles. There -- we have a plan underway to actually relocate this area out of the floodplain now.

At Mother Neff you saw a great video of this with Brent. The lower part of the park sits adjacent to the Leon River. It's very common that it gets flooded. It did again. You can see the logjam and the bank erosion. There we have campsites to clean up, utilities to repair, a restroom we need to replace and still much more cleanup to perform.

At Lake Whitney, this park is still closed; but we were able to get in and do some assessments early on. Really the main impacts here were the loss of 11 screened shelters, some shade shelters need repairing, a dining hall was flooded that needs repairs, and many appliances need to be changed out in the dining hall.

Two other parks that are not in this slide that we did assess were Palmetto and Brazos Bend. Very minimal infrastructure repairs needed there. Really the effort was cleanup, debris removal, sterilization. So nothing really needed in the major capital repair side of things. We're not completely done with all the assessments, like Brent said; but right now our best guess at total damages is $16 million due to the flood damages.

So what's the recovery plan? Recovery is really how are you going to fund the repairs. So there are many things going on. We are closely coordinating with Texas Department of Emergency Management and FEMA trying to -- trying to capture the moment of disaster claims where we can. We have two employees dedicated to this effort full time. And I also wanted to mention TxDOT's participation in this effort. We have many of our road systems that are on their system and many that are not, but they are a great partner to us to help us clean up, the local maintenance districts to actually clean up debris and remove silt and they have done that in many of our parks so far and repaired culverts that were washed out.

Lastly, we have re-prioritized what we were going to do in FY 16-17 to account for many of these repairs we now need to perform because of the flooding. And as Brent said, I think to end on a happy note here is due to the House Bill 158 and the dedication of sporting goods sales tax, we're able to develop a plan to recover from this flooding and not have to cannibalize or cancel deferred maintenance projects that were already in the queue to be performed and so that's a really great thing. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Jessica, thank you. Thank you both for all your efforts and certainly for the Division's efforts. Appreciate it. We know it's a lot of work. Any questions? Discussion?

COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Yeah. Thank you, Dan.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Commissioner Scott.

COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Two comments. One, I know we'll keep track of it, Carter. But you know 2017 will be here before you know it and we don't want this to be out of sight out of mind. You know, they gave us -- we got our budget and our cap stuff fixed in this session. We need to make sure and show and remember and remind them how much we've overcome this year, you know.

MR. SMITH: You bet.

COMMISSIONER SCOTT: But more importantly, Brent brought it up; but I don't know if people in here realize how bad the flooding was. That's only about 9 miles Blanco Park is from my ranch where I live and I went over there right after it happened and our people -- it's just mind boggling. You'd have to see it to appreciate it. But there were 75 families there and if they hadn't of got them out, the death toll in Wimberley would have been insignificant compared to what it would have been in Blanco State Park. Seventy-five families were down in that hole. So our people deserve a huge clap on the back. It's pretty amazing. Pretty amazing.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Good point. Commissioner Duggins.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Jessica, does the proposed plan include rebuilding the lake at Bastrop State Park?

MS. DAVISSON: At this time, yes, it does.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: I hope we do that and there may be some federal funds there, too --

MS. DAVISSON: Uh-huh.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: -- that might be available to help do that. But I would encourage us to do that and get with all these people that were honored today in Inland Fisheries and get them to give you some fish and get going. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you. Any other discussion?

COMMISSIONER JONES: Mr. Chairman --

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Bill.

COMMISSIONER JONES: -- I just have a quick question. The nine counties that the Governor declared as emergency or disaster areas, but the President did not, what's the -- what's -- what is usually the difference in one declaration and not the other?

MS. DAVISSON: So it has to start with our Governor declaring an emergency and then actually FEMA comes in and assesses whether or not it meets the threshold for the federal side, and they are still doing that assessment county to county. So they are not completely finished with that assessment.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Oh, okay. So the map that you gave us that shows the nine counties that are not filled in yet by FEMA, it's not that they've been denied. They simply haven't finished their assessment.

MS. DAVISSON: Correct. Correct.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Got it, okay. So there still could be more counties --

MS. DAVISSON: There could be.

COMMISSIONER JONES: -- by the next meeting.

MS. DAVISSON: Uh-huh.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Okay.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Jessica and Brent, thank you. Any other questions or discussion?

MR. SMITH: Mr. Chairman, if I could, I just want to build for a second on the comments by Commissioner Scott. You know, I don't think we can overstate just really the heroic and herculean efforts of the State Park and Law Enforcement teams during this event over Memorial Day. I mean, it is absolutely remarkable that not a single life was lost in a state park because of the incredible work of our staff there to make sure that the visitors and employees were safe.

The superintendent that Brent referenced that hosted, you know, 100 stranded campers that night, it was his anniversary evening. The superintendent at Bastrop that was there to witness the breach in the dam and then who raced downstream to evacuate the campground was eight and a half months pregnant. There were literally hundreds of lifesaving events by State game wardens and park police officers who rescued people in swift water and in situations where they were stranded on roofs.

I mean, just absolutely amazing work that has gone unnoticed and unsung and I just wanted to let this Commission know how proud we are of our staff and the incredible service under great duress, at great personal sacrifice and risk and what they did to ensure the safety of really the State's citizens during that event. It's just phenomenal. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you. I agree. Thank you. Appreciate it. Great briefing.

And before we adjourn, our previous Chairman, Commissioner Dan Allen Hughes, would like to say a few words.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Yeah. My term on this Commission has expired and I just want to let everybody know it's been an honor, a privilege, and a pleasure to be on this Commission to work with these fine Commissioners today and the ones that have been here before. But mostly it's just been a pleasure to work with the staff and the dedicated employees of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. It's been a -- it's been a -- even though I'm coming off the Commission, I'm not going away. I'll be here and be back and always here for the Department. So thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: We appreciate your leadership and everything. It was, as we all know, a very successful Legislative session and for all of your efforts and certainly Carter and the rest of this Commission, but your leadership was really tremendous through that period and through your term as Chairman. So thank you very much. Appreciate it.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Okay. Mr. Smith, this Commission has completed its business and I declare us adjourned.

(Commission Meeting adjourns)

In official recognition of the adoption of this resolution in a lawfully called public meeting of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, we hereby affix our signatures this _____ day of ______________, 2015.

____________________________________
T. Dan Friedkin, Chairman

____________________________________
Ralph H. Duggins, Vice-Chairman

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Dan Allen Hughes, Jr., Member

____________________________________
Bill Jones, Member

___________________________________
James H. Lee, Member

___________________________________
Margaret Martin, Member

___________________________________
S. Reed Morian, Member

___________________________________
Dick Scott, Member

C E R T I F I C A T E

STATE OF TEXAS )
COUNTY OF TRAVIS )

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

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

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

___________________________________
Paige S. Watts, CSR, RPR
CSR No.: 8311
Expiration: December 31, 2016
DepoTexas - Firm Reg. No.: 17
Sunbelt Reporting - Firm Reg. No.: 87
1016 La Posada Drive, Suite 294
Austin, Texas 78752
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Job No. 204026

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