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TPW Commission

Commission Meeting, March 24, 2016

Transcript

TPW Commission Meetings

TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION

March 24, 2016

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

COMMISSION MEETING

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Good morning, everyone. Good morning, everyone. This meeting is called to order on March 24th, 2016, at 9:10 a.m.

Before proceeding, 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. I'd like for this fact to be noted in the official record of the meeting.

Mr. Chairman and Commissioners, I just want to join you in welcoming everybody today. It's standing room only. Nice to see people that have come in from literally all over the state to help honor and celebrate the service and just extraordinary deeds of our colleagues. And the first part of the Commission Meeting today is going to be just that, recognizing colleagues and former Commissioners and having a chance to honor and thank them appropriately.

After that ceremony is done, as well as some perfunctory business that the Commission is going to undertake, the Chairman will dismiss the room and take a quick break. At that time, those of you who don't want to stay for the rest of the meeting are free to leave; and then we'll reconvene the meeting about five or ten minutes later. For the duration of the meeting, there are a number of items that we have that are action items that the Commission is going to be making a decision on. Some of you have some to speak directly to the Commission about those items.

Just as a reminder, if you haven't already, please sign up outside to do so. At the appropriate time, the Chairman will call you up front to speak to the matter. Please state your name and who you represent, and you'll have three minutes to address the Commission and share your position on the item. We'll be minding the time here. We've got a red light/green light system. Green means go. Yellow means start to wind it down, and red means eject. So we'll honor that, and y'all help us with that. Also, just as a request, if you've got a cell phone, if you don't mind putting that on silent or vibrate and if you've got a conversation you need to have, just please feel free to step outside. Thank you for joining us this morning.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Yes. I want to make everybody aware, Vice-Chairman Duggins has got a -- he's in court practicing his profession today. And Chairman Friedkin is under the weather and while he wanted to be here, he decided it was the best thing for him to stay home. So being the senior enlisted man here, I'm taking over.

First item of business is approval of the minutes from the previous Commission Meeting held January 21st, 2016, which has already been distributed. Is there a motion for approval?

COMMISSIONER JONES: So moved.

COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Second.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Moved by Lee. Seconded by Scott. All in favor say aye?

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Any opposed? Motion carries.

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

COMMISSIONER JONES: So moved.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Is there a second?

COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Second.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Approved by Jones and -- moved by Jones and approved -- seconded by Scott. All in favor say aye?

(Chorus of ayes)

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

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

COMMISSIONER JONES: So moved.

COMMISSIONER LATIMER: Second.

COMMISSIONER LEE: Second.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Seconded by Commissioner Latimer. Moved by Mr. Jones. Is there -- everyone in favor say aye?

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Any opposed? Motion carries.

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

Mr. Smith, please make your presentations.

MR. SMITH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Commissioners. For the record, my name is Carter Smith. Nice to be with everyone today. Fittingly, we're going to kick off the meeting with really a special and somewhat belated word of thanks to two of your former colleagues who for six or seven -- almost eight years in Margaret's case -- has set up there on the dais with all of you as Commissioners and just a chance for us to really say thank you for their extraordinary public service and all that they have done for this wonderful Agency.

And we'll kick it off with former Chairman Dan Allen Hughes and Chairman Hughes came on the Commission, as you will recall, in 2009. Served until almost the end of 2015. I thought we were going to lose him after his first two meetings. His first meeting was a day-long budget workshop in the middle of July. His second meeting shortly thereafter was in Fort Worth and we had quite a little donnybrook over a water spinach issue. You thought these deer issues were tough, you missed the water spinach wars.

And he was waiting for when are we going to get to talk about any of this hunting and fishing and state parks stuff. So thank goodness he stuck around and what an extraordinary job he did serving with all of you and leading this Agency as Chair. You know, a man of all seasons. A great sportsman. A great steward. Knows the state from one side to the other. Great supporter and friend of our Law Enforcement Division. Big champion for our work on the coast. Really understood the value of that Redfish Bay State Scientific Area and the protection of seagrass beds on the coast and helped to lead an effort and support through the Legislature to get a bill passed that protected seagrass all across the state from the damage of trolling motors and so forth. Worked very hard to work with the Commission and our Coastal Fisheries staff and all of our anglers on the coast to get a rule passed to extend the five-trout limit up from the Laguna Madre up through Matagorda Bay. He had seen how well that had done down in the Lower Laguna Madre in terms of bigger fish and more biomass.

Out in West Texas, he really helped to bring emphasis to our desert game and focused research on Blue quail and expanding hunting opportunities for Mule deer out there and just helping to elevate the significance of that. As y'all will recall, he was really a great champion and leader for two of the Agency's largest land acquisition projects. Literally, single handedly he led and contributed to the fundraising campaign to acquire the nearly 18,000-acre Devils River Ranch, protecting 10 miles of frontage along the Devils River, the most pristine river in the state; and then the nearly 18,000-acre Powderhorn Ranch there on the coast. And y'all will recall the running joke among the Commissioners is that Peggy, his wife, would sometimes tag along on those site visits and on a couple of those properties, she would turn to Dan Allen and say, "Why aren't we buying this ranch?" And the Commission's question to all of us on any land deal during Chairman Hughes' tenure was "What does Peggy think about this deal?" And that became the litmus test as to whether or not we were going to go forward or not.

No doubt, he is most proud of the leadership role he played with all of you and working on HB 158 to help secure the dedicated funding for state parks and making sure that, you know, all Texas families have a chance to get out and enjoy these extraordinary outdoors through our 95 state parks and historic sites and natural areas. What a great friend to Texas and our home ground. Ladies and gentlemen, let's thank our dear friend Dan Allen Hughes. Chairman Hughes.

(Round of applause)

CHAIRMAN HUGHES: Thank you. Thank you very much. I'm humbled, and I want to say it was honor to serve on Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission. I made some great friends with Commissioners. As Carter said, I think we accomplished things that are going to change the state of Texas, going to change this Agency, going to change the state long term and going to be -- our state parks are going to be better for it.

Also being on the Commission, working with the staff, our staff at Texas Parks and Wildlife is second to none. They're dedicated. They're hard working. And I'll miss it, but I'm always here for anything I can do.

I would like to kind of close that when I got on the Commission, I had a friend -- a call from my good friend and former Commissioner Walter Umphrey and Walter said, "Dan Allen, being on the Parks and Wildlife Commission is going to be the best non-paying job you'll ever have." And you know what? Walter was right. So it was great.

MR. SMITH: Bravo.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Your next peer also needs no introduction. One of the longest serving Commissioners, I think, and Margaret Martin started on the Commission in 2007 and finished up her term in 2015. You know, we had a chance to mildly thank her at the last meeting after we celebrated the successful launch and graduation of our inaugural class of the Game Warden Citizen's Academy that she helped start.

And, you know, Commissioner Martin was a champion of so many things during her tenure at the Department. Never missed a meeting. Never missed a gathering. Always there around the state to help support the important work and mission of this Agency. You know, she took pride in so many things that the people of this Agency do each and every day and was always there to help celebrate it and encourage it.

You know, two of her great loves, of course, one was children and helping to focus on getting kids and families into the out of doors, into the shooting sports, into the parks, archery, fishing. She really led the way working with Nancy Herron in our Outreach and Education Program to leading a statewide development of the Children in Nature Plan, which led to the development of Children in Nature networks all across the state in communities and nonprofit organizations working to find ways to get our kids outdoors and enjoy just this wonderful outdoors that we have the privilege of stewarding.

Obviously, growing up on a ranch down in the brush country in Laredo, she grew up with ranchers and game wardens and had a special love and affinity for our colleagues in Law Enforcement. Was a great supporter of -- and is -- of our Operation Game Thief Program, helping to raise funds for our Game Warden Training Center and, of course, she was really the mastermind behind our Citizen's Academy, which she launched working with Kevin Davis and others in the Law Enforcement Division that was so successful.

She's a dear, dear friend to this Agency and just tireless supporter of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. She's now serving proudly for the State on the Texas Racing Commission, and you'll have to ask her whether she enjoys that gig more than this one. I know what I'm betting on. Ladies and gentlemen, Margaret Martin. Margaret.

(Round of applause)

COMMISSIONER MARTIN: I only have three minutes, right, or I get ejected? Darn. Well, I'm leaving anyway, so. I miss my booster chair. I couldn't see, you know. So I don't who got my booster chair, but I appreciated that.

Wow. Where do I start? The grandest times I've had in my life have been here with my family and my extended family from every area, every part of this Agency. Class act. And I almost texted you at my first meeting and said, "Can I come home? I'll be good. I promise. I know I can get a little sassy, but I promise to be good."

Anyway, just fellow Commissioners, wow, great friends. Reed, Dan Allen, Bill, Jim, Dick, I mean it's been just such a great honor and I'm not going very far. So I'm a phone call away. And I would go on -- I'd be here all day if I had to give kudos to everyone that touched my heart in such a special way, made my life joyful. And what can I say? Thank you for all the amazing times and the great times and more to come and all the great, amazing things that have come out over the last few years and it's like a family, whether -- you don't know if there's internal fighting; but on the outside, everybody looks grand and great and it's like Christmas dinner at my house.

Now, what happens afterwards, we'll -- you know, we'll leave it at that. But from the bottom of my heart, love each and every one of you in such a special way. And like I said, I'm a phone call away and I'm not that easy to get rid of. So I thank you. And, you know, I have to say I started this Commission with my little red Toyota truck. I'm a -- too bad Dan Friedkin's not here because I'm going to give Tacomas a plug. I had 289,159 miles. Started when I started Parks and Wildlife. Ended when I left. Ended up totaling it the month after I'm out of here. So we started together, we left together, and it was 289,159 miles. After that, I just -- I guess there's not much left to say. I love you.

(Round of applause and photographs)

COMMISSIONER JONES: If I might, Carter?

MR. SMITH: You bet, please.

COMMISSIONER JONES: On behalf of the Commission -- and I know I can speak on behalf of the other Commissioners and if I speak out of turn, well, then y'all do what you normally do and that is, you know, correct me. Straighten me out. Have the Colonel work me over after -- out back after. A little tune up.

But I just want to say, Dan Allen and Margaret, it was an absolute pleasure to serve with you. We know how much time and effort you put into it. Even though others might not know, we know and we appreciate it for the State of Texas, on behalf of the State Texas, and your service will be missed; but it will not be forgotten. Thank you.

(Round of applause)

MR. SMITH: Thank you, Commissioner Jones. Thank y'all, Commissioners. And thank you for joining us this morning.

One of the things that we have really the honor and privilege of receiving and acknowledging every year is a very special award that our partners and friends and colleagues at the National Wild Turkey Federation do. Every year across the country, they'll honor an officer of the year for their extraordinary public service and work to protect wild turkeys and habitat and fish and game and lands and waters, working with hunters. And before I acknowledge this year's Texas Officer of the Year, I just want to remind this Commission what a great partner the National Wild Turkey Federation is. Their biologists and outreach specialists literally work hand in hand with our wildlife biologists and game wardens on protecting turkeys and restoring turkeys and conserving habitat for turkey and a whole lot more across the state.

We couldn't really be doing the whole Eastern turkey reintroduction efforts were it not for their efforts on landowner outreach and fundraising and conservation. They do a masterful job of recruiting the next generation of hunters into the out of doors with their JAKES Program and I just want to put a plug in for that organization because they're just a wonderful, proud partner.

And this year, they honored one of our colleagues, Ellis Powell, game warden from over in Newton County, with their Officer of the Year Award. Another very, very fitting selection. Ellis graduated from the Game Warden Academy about a dozen years ago. I think he makes that this summer. His first duty station was there over in Newton County in the eastern part of the state, whereas those of you who know anything about that part of the world, know that there's a lot of job security for a game warden over there. You know, he's got the southern part of Toledo Bend Reservoir, 120 miles of the Sabine River, the Sabine National Forest. There is a lot going on in that part of the world and Ellis just represents us with great, great distinction.

He works very closely with hunting camps all around the national forest, fishing camps on the river. Been very instrumental in protecting our reservoirs of Eastern turkey over in that part of the state and encouraging the hunters and landowners and forest product companies to actively manage habitat and to protect that resource for future generations. He was one of the founding members of our statewide dive team for Law Enforcement, which as y'all know has done such extraordinary work around the state. He's one of the most productive members of the district.

In his career, literally he's, you know, had to issue hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of Class C citations and dozens and dozens of Class A and Class B citations, as well as plenty of State Jail felonies as well. Very busy over there. Just this summer, he caught some guys shocking catfish there in the Sabine River with the wire still in the water.

I don't think that was part of the statewide catfish management plan, Craig.

So Ellis is doing his part to make sure that our resource is well protected. The job does not come without dangers. You know, recently came up on four campers there in the Sabine National Forest. All of which had drugs and were using drugs. One of which resisted arrest and assaulted him in the process in which he had to apprehend him and deal with that. He was involved in a very high profile case that our game wardens worked on with our partners in Kansas and the Fish and Wildlife Service on Lacey Act violations in which folks from Texas and Kansas were conspiring to illegally take game in Kansas and bring it across state line.

When he flew out there to help interview some of the suspected poachers, he ended up -- inadvertently perhaps -- once he found out what he was doing, he knew exactly what he was doing. But one of the guys that he was interviewing, got him to confess about killing a wild turkey off a public road there in Kansas. So he's doing the work for the Kansas game wardens as well when he's out there. A proud member of the community, working actively to represent us in the churches and the schools and the neighborhoods.

I want to tell you what Ellis has been doing for the last two weeks because I think this speaks volumes about a part of the work that our Law Enforcement officers do that don't get -- doesn't get a lot of recognition. You know about the torrential rains that have just plagued that part of the state and particularly, the Sabine River and all of the major tributaries and the other big river basins near there. Ellis and his partner over there, Landon Spacek -- only two officers really in that county that had the capabilities initially when the rain started to perform search and rescue. The only ones that had the training. The only ones that had the boats.

And so the first night as rain is just coming down in buckets and everything is starting to flood and get out of the banks, Ellis is called out quickly. He has his first rescue at 11:00 o'clock that night. Sheets of rain. Able to get to a husband and wife in their boat. Their house has over 5 feet of water running through the house like a creek. They're able to extricate, get them to safety. 2:00 a.m. they've got their next rescue with four adults that are stranded on the roof of their house. Because of the darkness and the high waters and the danger, they aren't able to get to them. They have to wait until daylight. They get to them immediately with another search-and-rescue team and were able to bring them home to safety. Next day at 11:00 a.m., there's a lady trapped on the second story of her house with all of her pets. The water has come up to the second story. They're able to navigate a boat in there, dock that on the porch on the second story of the house -- that tells you the extent of this flooding -- and bring her and her pets to safety. They're literally working 20-hour days this entire time, going entirely on adrenaline and no sleep.

They shift over to another part of the county and this is just -- this next story is just remarkable if you think about it. You know, their next call is to go rescue an elderly man that is stranded by the floodwaters and, you know, with him are his three donkeys and, you know, Ellis and his team have got to navigate a boat over there and somehow load up this elderly man and his three donkeys in a boat in the middle of the floodwaters and you can imagine what a rodeo that must have been.

And so I'll buy the beer for that story, Ellis.

And on and on and on and so numerous rescues and just extraordinary. And I love this last one that I'll share just because I think it shows the compassion of the people that work for this Agency. There was -- in addition to the lifesaving, which is huge, there was an elderly man that was stuck the whole time in the floods. Didn't have any food. Obviously, the water situation was problematic. And Ellis found out that he had been stranded there with no food and, you know, Ellis goes and gets him a hot meal and brings over food and water for that elderly man. And I think it just speaks very, very well to the character, integrity, and service beyond self our your State game wardens and then men and women that wear that blue badge and work for this Agency. And I'm very proud today to honor Game Warden Ellis Powell for Newton County, the National Wild Turkey Federation of the Year.

I'd like for Ellis to come up and Terry Turney and Gene Miller from the National Wild Turkey Federation. Dear friends. So, Ellis, please come forward.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: We now have a chance to thank one of our colleagues, Christine Clopton, who has served proudly for this Agency for nearly 30 years -- twenty-seven to be exact -- inside our state park system. And Christine had a very long and distinguished career as a park ranger and as you know, that's where the rubber hits the road in the state parks. They're our interpreters, our outreach specialists. They're building trails, interfacing with the public, making sure that the parks have their Sunday clothes on and that the visitors get to have a high quality experience while there and Christine just exemplified and personalized that in so many ways.

She started with us actually as a seasonal worker out at Enchanted Rock State Natural Area. Obviously, one of the flagship sites there in the system. Got a lot of training in search and rescue. After about five and a half years, she was promoted to another park ranger position over at Pedernales Falls State Park, where she worked there for a number of years. Over the years, she's accumulated all these wonderful park ranger stories. She loves to tell the story of her first encounter with this little family of raccoons who had gotten a little too comfortable in the Dumpster and were not in the mindset of leaving that with that, you know, perpetual buffet there. And so she draws the black bean with her colleague to try to get those raccoons out of the Dumpster and, you know, all the coaxing and, you know, king's men and queen's women couldn't get those raccoons to leave that Dumpster. And so finally her colleague gets out a big stick and pokes the lead raccoon right in the head, which of course prompts that raccoon to start hissing at them and then looks at them and, you know, rubs its head, "Why did you have to hit me so hard?" And she's just enjoyed her career so much.

She served out at Monahans State Park and then over at Colorado Bend State Park where she finished up her career and just a great steward out there and we're proud today to celebrate 27 years of service, Christine Clopton. Christine, please come forward.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: We now have a chance to honor a number of our colleagues for their long tenure with the Agency and it's fittingly that we start off with our colleague and friend Kevin Good, also of the State Parks Division. Kevin started out with this Agency 25 years ago and he was our first volunteer coordinator in State Parks and you heard yesterday, April volunteer month. You know how important volunteers are to the stewardship and running of our state park operations. We just can't do without them, and Kevin really was responsible for taking that program and just sending it into the stratosphere.

He started our Park Host Program in which we have couples usually that come from all over the state and country and they'll reside on a park on a volunteer basis for several months at a time working with our staff there on all kinds of projects and tasks big and small. He -- thanks to his efforts and his leadership, we saw the number of volunteers as he started that program increase tenfold.

He was soon promoted to the Director of our State Park Community Service Program, in which he started friends group for state parks in many of the parks around the state. Started our Buffalo Soldier's Program here -- which by the way, we're celebrating 20 years of the Buffalo Soldier's Program here at Parks and Wildlife and that's something we're going to want to come back and talk more to the Commission about because that program has just been remarkably successful from an outreach perspective.

Kevin launched kind of our first formal minority outreach efforts there in state parks. Started the State Park Intern Program. Worked very closely with the Parks and Wildlife Foundation to help raise private dollars to help augment State investments inside state parks. In 2004, Kevin was promoted to his current position. Brent and Russell call it the Special Assistant to the Director of State Parks. That's pretty fancy. We just call him the "jack of all trades." If you need something in state parks, you go to Kevin and he's been our liaison to the State Parks Advisory Committee on all kinds of matters related to the Legislature, Kevin is there, special projects big and small. He's just been a tireless servant for your state parks and made them better and better every day. Twenty-five years of service, Kevin Good. Kevin.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Our next colleague, Yvonne Molina, also has 25 years of service. And she, throughout her career, has been on the front line representing this Department to customers interested in hunting and fishing licenses, boat registration and titling. She's just done a terrific job managing and working with that customer interface, which is oftentimes, you know, people's first contact with the Agency. Sometimes their only contact. And so her work with them is critically important in terms of our reputation and how they perceive us.

She started out as a seasonal worker in our contracting and purchasing section. After a short time, she joined our license team and really assisted walk-in customers that needed help with hunting and fishing licenses, boat registration, titling, other kind of services that the Agency was provided. Ultimately, moved over to our boat titling and registration team and she was one of our two principal counter staff. So again, folks that needed to deal with the challenges sometimes of boat registration and titling stuff, there was Yvonne to help walk them through it.

In 2006, she transferred to our boat information phone bank where every single day all day long she takes questions and queries from customers all around the state and she does a terrific job representing this Agency with great experience and knowledge and problem solving and we're proud of her service. Yvonne Molina, 25 years of service. Yvonne, please come forward.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: We've now got a number of our colleagues that are celebrating 20 years of proud service to this Agency as State game wardens. They all went through the Academy together back in 1996, and so fun to celebrate their two decades of service of making a difference for our home ground. And we'll start out with Sergeant Joe Bostick, who graduated from that class, like I said, in '96. Spent four or five, six years there in Johnson County there southwest of Fort Worth serving as a field game warden.

He was then promoted to sergeant in our Special Operations Unit, working largely on environmental crimes and so part of the statewide task force that y'all have heard about working on land and water and air related issues, serious environmental related crimes that require a high level of investigative skills, a lot of technical knowledge, a lot of collaboration with state and local and federal agencies on some very high profile related issues.

Joe has just done a terrific job as part of that. He's also an expert martial arts instructor and so he's trained in that and provides important training to our game warden staff and other law enforcement officers around the state. Known for his cool and calm demeanor and just does a terrific job representing this Agency and has done so for 20 years, Sergeant Joe Bostick. Joe, please come forward.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Our next colleague from that class, Bryan Callihan, graduated proudly with this class. Started his career out there in Northeast Texas in Mt. Pleasant there in Titus County. Served there a couple of years before moving over to Lamar County and the Texas version of Paris up there on the Red River, where he has, again, proudly served where the rubber hits the road. I mean, our game wardens in those counties are our faces for this Department. They're our ambassadors. They are the law enforcement off the pavement and on the water, as you know, and Bryan has certainly been no exception with his proud representation and service to this Department.

He's got a great, great story about catching one of the many bad guys that he's had to chase over the years. He calls it "winning the lottery." He got a call from a landowner about a deer that had been shot on his ranch and when he went over to investigate, he found part of the carcass. And as he was looking around for other evidence or clues, he finds part of a lottery ticket there and isn't that interesting? And so Bryan grabs that and he knows on those lottery tickets, it identifies the store number where the ticket was purchased. And so he calls the Lottery Commission, who tells him exactly what convenience store where that was purchased. And so Bryan goes over to that store, asked if they've got video surveillance cameras there so that he could look at it and see the time of day when this individual bought the ticket. Sure enough, they had video equipment. He's able to access that and he gets the pictures of the individual and while he's visiting there in that small town convenience store, somebody happens to walk in and they talk to them and Bryan asked him if he knows him. Yep, he knows him. This guy comes in every week on the hour, same time, and let me tell you exactly who it is. So Bryan calls into dispatch, gets the name, where he lives and Bryan drives out to his house and sure enough, there's the pickup and he's got blood and hair in the back and Bryan knocks on the door and wasn't that guy surprised to see his local game warden. And after a very, very, very futile attempt to represent that that was coyote blood in the back of his truck, Bryan convinced him to give up the farce.

Bryan's had a great career for 20 years. He's very proud of the fact that he's been married to his wife, Kristi, who's an assistant principal up in that neck of the woods. His daughter Ashlyn is a 7th grader up there and his son Kaden is a freshman at Texas A&M. I know he's proud of -- thank you, thank you. First time we've had a chance to do that all morning. Wow. I was starting to have a little separation disorder complex from that whooping.

How about that basketball game, by the way? Wasn't that terrific?

Bryan Callihan, 20 years of service to Texas Parks and Wildlife. Bryan.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Our next colleague from that class of 20 years ago, Captain Jeff Carter. And Jeff, like all of his colleagues, has had a very distinguished career. When he got out of the Academy, he was stationed over in Ellis County around Waxahachie and so busy in that Blackland Prairie area; but also really on all those lakes in the Dallas area that have so much traffic and activity, Tawakoni and Joe Pool and Lake Lavon. And Jeff quickly became well versed in the laws of enforcing BWIs and DWIs in and around that lake and just did a terrific job up there.

2003, he transferred to the Hill Country there in Bandera County and worked that county and all of the ranch country; but also Medina Lake that also has its fair share of activity, to say the least. Jeff very interested in, again, making sure he was doing everything he could to perfect his knowledge and skills on boater safety and BWI related issues. Became a certified trainer in our standardized field sobriety testing and he's now teaching game wardens all around the state how to administer sobriety tests out there on the water and in the field.

2013, Jeff was promoted to our captain game warden position out of the Kerrville district and so he leads a team of men and women that serve our Hill Country and beyond, just does a terrific job. He's currently studying to get his pilot's license and although I hope it's no time soon, he's thinking about when he retires becoming a bush pilot and doing missionary work up in Alaska and so that would be another wonderful form of service as he extends all that he has done for our state and our country. Very proud of his young son Matthew, who is 14 years of age and I think Matthew is with us today to help celebrate 20 years of service with his dad. And, Jeff, I know you're proud of him. Captain Jeff Carter -- Jeff -- 20 years of service.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Our next colleague, Kevin Davis, also part of that class. Y'all know Kevin most recently for his service as our Chief over Wildlife Law Enforcement and he has spent a lot of time in the trenches on all things deer and CWD as of late and just incredibly grateful for that service. He's just done a terrific job.

Kevin, again, part of this class. Got out of the Game Warden Academy and he and his much better half, Stacy, then moved over to Franklin County, where they quickly immersed themselves there in the community. He was then promoted to sergeant and moved over to the Dallas area where he worked for a while.

2002, he was promoted to lieutenant to work at the Game Warden Academy; and so for the next six or seven years, Kevin was really responsible for training our next generation of officers and all of the cadets and getting them through Academy, helping to lead all of the in-service training. And then in 2008, he got one of the great dream jobs inside the Agency as a captain over in Llano, also in the Hill Country, where he oversee that -- saw that proud team of game wardens and administrative professionals who serve six counties there in the heart of the Texas Hill Country.

2012, I guess it was, Kevin was asked by the Colonel to launch our K9 program; and so Kevin was responsible for doing all of the research on that. Ended up partnering with a law enforcement agency out in Utah, finding the dogs, selecting the first group of wardens to go through that training, and that program has just skyrocketed and taken off and added an extraordinary new dimension to the work that our game wardens do and I'm very, very proud of Kevin's work to help launch that.

2013, he assumed his current role as a Wildlife Law Enforcement Administrator. And as I said earlier, Kevin was really responsible with working with former Commissioner Martin to launch our Game Warden Citizen's Academy and so just played a critical, critical role. Kevin, like all of us, likes to hunt and fish and about this time of year, we have what I like to call among the leadership of the Law Enforcement team the White bass flu. All of a sudden, the sick leave starts coming in in spades and you can't find a ranking game warden anywhere within about 50 miles of this place when the White bass are running.

And Kevin decided to take Clayton Wolf out fishing to give him a little break from all the deer fun that he has had and their biggest mistake was taking Grahame Jones along, who never misses an opportunity to snap pictures of things that are going on when you're not looking. The other mistake he made, for those of us who were left behind, was not taking Hunter because all he did was run around here pouting all day, why he wasn't fishing. The mitigating grace is when Grahame sends in the first picture of the morning with Clayton and Kevin with their big White bass, they were about this size. Back home, I think we call those "minners."

And we were talking to Kevin the other day. He told this priceless story on his son who he's been introducing at a very young age to hunting. Ryan is 12 and they were out shooting hogs and they were sitting in a blind and a hog walks out and Ryan turns to his dad and said, "Dad, I think I'm going to shoot that one in the head."

And Kevin said, "You sure?"

"Oh, yeah."

"Okay, big boy. You shoot that hog."

Well, he shot and, of course, typical head shot, he misses. And Kevin, being the consummate hunter ed. instructor, said, "Ryan, what happened? You know, did you squeeze the trigger like you've been taught?"

"Oh, no, Dad. I slapped it. I slapped that trigger."

Twenty years of service, Kevin Davis. Awfully proud of him.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Our next colleague, Dwayne Havis, who's a lieutenant game warden and a pilot with our Aviation Law Enforcement Team, which, you know, this group of pilots just does extraordinary things for this Agency every day and Dwayne has been on the front lines of this literally for 20 years. Probably flown more -- has definitely flown more hours than certainly any pilot that we have on the team.

Started out as a pilot for Trans World Express and so that airline company and then he was charter pilot for Victoria Aviation Services, which is where we poached him from to come work for us as a pilot game warden. Went through this class with this team.

Over his 20-year career, he's accumulated 17,000 hours of flying in fixed-wing and in helicopter service and so whether it's law enforcement missions all up and down the state, search and rescue, you know, Dwayne flew there at Rita and Katrina and the floods over in Wimberley or it's biological surveys with our Wildlife Division on Mule deer and Pronghorn antelope or waterfowl or environmental contaminant related issues that he does with Special Operations, Dwayne gets up in the air and gets our folks wherever they need to go in a very expeditious and safe way. Puts a great premium on safety. He's just done an terrific job.

He was recently honored with a really special award, and I want to mention this. 2015, he was the National Airborne Law Enforcement Association's Fixed-wing Operator of the Year and there's 3,000 law enforcement pilots around the country and you can imagine how talented that group is and what a proud day for Dwayne and this Department and the Law Enforcement Division to see him selected as the pilot of the year across the country. Dwayne Havis, 20 years of service. Dwayne.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Our next colleague from that class, Captain Scott Jurk. And Scott also, obviously, served with us for 20 years. Grew up on a farm just east of here somewhere in Williamson County, I think. Where is Scott? Is he --

MR. JURK: Hutto.

MR. SMITH: Hutto. Yeah, Hutto. Hutto hippos. And boy, that's changed a little bit since you were a kid, to say the least.

Scott got out of the Game Warden Academy and served in Fayette County for almost nine years and just did a terrific job there. He was on the BWI task force there. Nominated any number of times for the Boating Safety Officer of the Year Award. He was soon promoted to lieutenant out of the Temple office and as part of those responsibilities, oversaw all of our Austin related communications and dispatch and y'all know how critical that role is in terms of that centralized communication. Also, he was responsible for really operationalizing a lot our deployments in, you know, very high stress related situations such as Hurricane Rita there on the coast and managing all the communications as part of that.

In 2010, Scott was promoted to his current position as captain in that Temple area, serving a number of counties there in Central Texas. Just done a terrific job with the men and women that work with him every day as game wardens and administrative professionals inside that area. Scott was our lead logistics' officer during the West explosion when literally we had several hundred game wardens that were deployed to help with security during that horrific event. And he also personally led a lot of search crews in Wimberley in the Blanco River related flood events and very proud of that.

Scott was our nominee to represent the Agency at the inaugural class, the National Association of Conservation Law Enforcement Chief's Academy, which is a leadership academy across the country in which up-and-coming leaders are selected to go through that with their peers across the country. And recently, he received the Mothers Against Drunk Driving Hero's Award for his work to help stem drunk driving and drunk boating out there and very proud of Scott for that.

He's most proud of the fact that he's married to his lovely wife, Susan. They've been married for 23 years. They've got three boys. Great kids, all of them. They went through a little rough patch with Brady, their middle son, who was diagnosed with bone cancer. And one of the really heartening things to see -- and Scott has said this on many occasions -- just the wonderful support that he got from his colleagues inside and outside the division, which pull together to help families in times of great need and duress and it just makes you proud to serve for this Agency and we're also very pleased that Brady's in remission and latest scan was clear and a big relief for Scott and his lovely family. Twenty years of service, Scott Jurk. Captain.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Our next colleague from that class, Captain Lacy Loudermilk. And Lacy's had a long and distinguished career with this Agency. Got out of the Academy, stationed up in that Rolling Plains/Panhandle area in Dickens County. Also, Kent County, I think, was soon added to his portfolio within a few mere months of the service. That's got that Double Mountain Fork of the Brazos River that runs through it and a very gamey area up there.

Served up there proudly through 2009, when Lacy was promoted to be our captain in the Abilene district. And again, like the others, he just oversees a wonderful team of wardens and administrative staff that represent us in that important region and district of the state. Lacy was an alum of the 2012 FBI National Leadership Academy and that's another extraordinary professional development opportunity that we have for our leaders in Law Enforcement, go to the National FBI Academy and get what is, I think, widely considered some of the world's best training for law enforcement officers with peers from many agencies all across the country and I know he's very proud of being an alum there and we're proud of him going through that successfully.

Lacy's working on some -- on neat stuff these days. In addition to all of his routine responsibilities, working with field game wardens to create a new simulation training exercise as it relates to boat and water safety and a new tracking related skills program to help our wardens find, you know, lost hunters and anglers and boaters. It's just a part of their search-and-rescue related things. We're awfully proud of his service, 20 years of service, Lacy Loudermilk. Lacy.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Last but not least from that class -- and we had a chance to recognize him, God, last time, Benny. I think was it last meeting on the Shikar Safari Award? Benny Richards was the Officer of the Year for Shikar Safari and you got to hear a lot about Benny's exploits and great public service there and recognition from a very trusted and valued partner.

Benny's had a great, great career. Got out of the Academy, stationed up in Delta County there in Northeast Texas. Was sent up to Dallam County there in the High Plains in the Panhandle, almost as far north as you can get in Texas and still be in Texas for a time. Came back to the woods and waters of Red River County there in Northeast Texas and then is currently in his current duty stationed there in Hunt and as you heard last time, Benny has just been a great representative for this Agency in terms of his work with private landowners, catching poachers and trespassers.

We told the story about him, you know, literally flying back from vacation, stepping off the plane, getting a call, racing over, and, you know, at 2:00 in the guilty morning, 3:00 in the morning, apprehending some trespassers on a creek on a rancher's property over there near Greenville. Gotten a number of awards through his career, not the least of which, of course, was the Shikar Safari one, which is such a prestigious one.

He does a great job in the community being out and about as a face of this Agency and you might have a chance to see his face a little bit more often in that show Lone Star Law. So look for brother Benny Richards, 20 years of service. Benny.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Mr. Chairman and Commissioners, I think that's all the news that's fit to print. So thank you for the chance to honor and celebrate our colleagues.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: At this time, I would like to inform the audience that everyone is welcome to stay for the remainder of the meeting. However, if anyone wishes to leave, now would be an appropriate time to do so. We're going to take a small, short break.

(Recess taken)

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: All right. I guess everybody ready?

First item is -- before we proceed, I want to announce that Item No. 10, Update on Regulatory Litigation, Executive Session, has been withdrawn from the agenda.

The first item of business is Action Item No. 1, Approval of Agenda. Is there a motion for approval?

COMMISSIONER LATIMER: I move with that change.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Commissioner Latimer moved and --

COMMISSIONER LEE: Second.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: -- Commissioner Lee seconded. Thank you very much. All in favor say aye?

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Any opposed? Motion carries.

Action Item No. 2, Implementation of Legislation During the 84th Texas Legislative Session, Senate Bill 20, State Agency Contracting, Recommended Adoption of Proposed Rules, Ms. Ann Bright and Tammy Dunham.

MS. BRIGHT: Good morning, Commissioners. I'm Ann Bright, General Counsel. And Tammy is here, who will be available if you have any questions. Tammy is our Director of Contracting and Purchasing in Administrative Resources Division.

We are going to talk today about state agency contracting. As you all are aware, during the last Legislative session, contracting was a big item. There were a number of pieces of legislation that were passed. The most significant of which, at least for state agencies, was Senate Bill 20. Among other requirements of Senate Bill 20 is a requirement that state agencies adopt by rule procedures to identify contract for which enhanced contract monitoring and reporting is necessary. Also, there's a requirement in this bill that the procurement director, which in this case will be Tammy Dunham, immediately notify the governing board or official if there is a problem with one of these contracts that being carefully monitored.

Senate Bill 20 also requires that the governing -- that the presiding officer sign and that the governing board approve any contract over a million dollars, but also authorizes the delegation of that to the Agency's Executive Director. In response to that, we came to you in January with some proposed rules and these have been published in the Texas Register and I'm going to talk about those.

As you can imagine as a large and diverse Agency, the Department enters many, many contracts. Some of these are very small dollars. Some of them are very large and complicated. The proposed rules were developed to implement SB 20 and to address contract review and signature.

On the first few items, I just want to mention when we came to you in January, the Commission expressed some interest in making sure that contracts were appropriately reviewed before they were signed and we've incorporated that into the proposed rules. So what the proposed rules are going to do, is they require that the Executive Director develop and implement policies and procedures, which are already in place, to ensure that contracts are awarded in a fair and equitable process and in compliance with the applicable law and as you can imagine, there are many, many laws and regulations affecting state agency contracting and that they're subject to appropriate review, which would include legal counsel, someone in my division.

The current regulations already authorize the Executive Director to sign contracts and this one just adds some clarification to provide that that includes contracts in excess of a million dollars. The other big piece is identifying contracts that require enhanced contract monitoring, and the proposed rules have a list of factors that will be considered. And I'm going to go through these fairly quickly. If you want any additional information on these, please just let me know. But the total contract price, the duration, the funding source, how -- how impact -- how users are going to be impact, the criticality of the delivery timeline, the impact on the Agency or others if the contract fails, locations impacted, availability of resources for contract management, the complexity, health and safety risk, business processes impacts, payment methodology risk, end-user training needs, and then these last three items are really specifically geared towards technology contracts -- software customization, the degree of customization that will be required, the impact on existing technology and the interfacing connectivity.

The proposed rules also require that if the Department determines -- the Department may determine that certain classes of contract are of such a low risk or -- and there's a low likelihood of problems, that those can be sort of categorically excluded from the monitoring. And these are usually going to be just small dollar, one-time purchases -- office supplies, that sort of thing. And then the rules also will provide that the procurement manager will notify the Executive Director who will notify the Commission in the event of problems with any of these contracts that we are monitoring.

The rules were -- the proposed rules were published on February 19th. We received two comments in support. They didn't provide a reason for their support, and no comments were received in opposition. And then the proposed motion would be that the Commission adopts the amendments to 51.60 regarding authority to contract and new 51.61 regarding enhanced contract monitoring, with changes as necessary to the proposed text as published in the February 19th issue of the Texas Register.

And I'm happy to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER JONES: I have a couple questions, Ann.

MS. BRIGHT: Sure.

COMMISSIONER JONES: We all understand the reasoning behind the senate bill and the statewide objectives that the Legislature is trying to accomplish. One of my concerns is that we don't hamstring state agencies or prevent state agencies from being innovative or creative or being able to take advantage of opportunities. And I understand that this is a work in progress and I understand this is a process, which might include going back to the Legislature with issues and concerns that we run into in trying to implement Senate Bill 20.

So I'm making this sort of long speech to get to the point of I would want -- I would like for our Agency, whoever the procurement -- who is procurement manager, by the way?

MS. BRIGHT: I should introduce her. Tammy Dunham, who does --

COMMISSIONER JONES: Oh, it is Tammy. That's who you introduced earlier.

MS. BRIGHT: Who I should let you know does an incredible job for us. She's really provided a lot of leadership in, for example, the historically underutilized business program. She's been on various committees that have had meetings about these rules. And I think with regard to your last comment, you're probably speaking to the choir a little bit when you're talking to Tammy about those.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Well, and here's where I'm going with this. I want us to do what we are required to do legally and legislatively. That's -- we don't have a choice. But I want to keep -- I would like for us to keep notes on issues that we run into during the year as we try to implement this program because while I see the good in it and what the Legislature is trying to accomplish, I also can foresee some potential pitfalls for -- that we end up -- we end up letting the good get in the way of -- we end up letting perfection or the attempt at perfection to get in the way of good, of what we're trying to accomplish as an Agency on behalf of the state.

MS. DUNHAM: I agree. We are trying so much to follow all the rules as they're laid out and to streamline them as much as possible. It definitely added a lot of extra steps in our process, and I have notes any time you want to talk about that. We're definitely --

COMMISSIONER JONES: Well, I mean, I'm serious.

MS. DUNHAM: Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER JONES: That's -- I think that's a good thing to have and I understand that there are -- we have limitations on what we can do about it, particularly for the next year. But when we go into next year's session, I think we need to be able to provide information to the Legislature to say this is what we've run into in trying to meet your goals and your guidelines.

MS. DUNHAM: I agree. We have -- the SACC Committee actually discusses that a lot and we're taking a lot of notes and recommendations so whenever it does come up again, we can bring that up.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Okay.

MS. DUNHAM: Yeah.

COMMISSIONER JONES: All right.

MS. BRIGHT: And for clarification, the SACC Committee is the State Agency Coordinating Committee and it's a group of individuals from each agency that meet periodically. There's one for purchasing. There's one for legal and I believe there may be one for the chief officers, as well.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Do they meet individually, or do they meet together?

MS. BRIGHT: They meet -- they meet separately, but it would be like all of the attorneys from certain agencies meet and discuss. All of the procurement managers meet periodically. I think it's probably about once a month.

MS. DUNHAM: Every other month.

MS. BRIGHT: Every other month.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Every other month?

MS. DUNHAM: Yes.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Do they compare notes with each other?

MS. DUNHAM: Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Well, let's make sure they do if they don't because I think -- I think all of them probably will run across similar issues and to the extent they don't, those three groups need to get together and compare their notes so that we have a comprehensive list that we can go to the Legislature to address and to say these are our issues, these are the things that are working and they're great and these are -- you know, these are sort of audit functions that we've put in place to protect the state resources. But on the other hand, these other things that you've made us -- that you've required us to do are superfluous, we don't really need to do that and they cost us time, money, and lose opportunities.

MS. BRIGHT: Absolutely.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Okay.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Any other discussion by Commissioners?

No one signed up to speak. Is there a motion for approval?

COMMISSIONER LEE: I'll so move.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Second.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Commissioner Lee. Commissioner -- seconded by Commissioner Jones. All in favor say aye?

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Any opposed? Motion passes.

Next item is Action Item No. 3, Statewide Recreational and Commercial Fishing Proclamation, recommended Adoption of Proposed Rules. Ken, you're on.

MR. KURZAWSKI: Good morning, Commissioners.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Good morning.

MR. KURZAWSKI: My name is Ken Kurzawski in Inland Fisheries Division and I'm here today to, once again, go over our proposed regulatory changes and give you a summary of some of the public comment.

First off on Meredith Reservoir, we had a good Smallmouth bass population there which was decimated by the drought and Golden Algae. We did have a slot limit, 12- to 15-inch slot limit on that population at that time. With the elimination of the population, we're going to change that regulation to the 14-inch -- statewide regulation, 14-inch minimum and five-fish bag. And if we do attempt to introduce Smallmouth bass there, that would be a good regulation for that reintroduction.

Next up, a similar situation. We were stock -- had a program to stock Saugeye. Had a special regulation on it, an 18-inch minimum length limit, that -- stocking those fish wasn't successful. We've discontinued that program and we're going to fold that regulation, special regulation, into the statewide regulation for Walleye.

Next, on Lake Naconiche. It was a new reservoir that we opened with an 18-inch minimum, five-fish bag. That population is still developing. Staff believes that it still has some high trophy potential and we want to try and take advantage of that as much as we can and based on the public input and looking at the population, we are proposing an 18-inch max -- excuse me, a 16-inch maximum length limit, with a five-fish daily bag and that means you can't harvest any fish over 16 inches; but if you would happen to catch a fish over 24 inches, you could temporarily retain that if you were going to donate it to our ShareLunker Program. And this is the same -- similar regulation on a couple nearby reservoirs, Nacogdoches and Kurth, and it has been accepted by the anglers in that area.

Next, the coastal estuaries of Southeast Texas. There was an increased interest there in bass fishing and in tournaments and a local desire to recruit more tournaments. We took -- staff took an extensive look at populations in that area and we did find few bass over 14 inches. We saw high mortality within those populations, slow growth; but good condition. Base -- taking a look at that population and getting some angler input, we have -- our proposed change there is to reduce that minimum length from 14 to 12 inches and we're going to retain the current five-fish bag, except for the Sabine River where the bag is eight, which is a standardization with Louisiana and that was the regulatory option favored in a recent angler survey that we did there. And here's the areas that would be covered by that, as noted on the Sabine River from the Toledo Bend Dam downstream to Sabine Pass and then it would be in Chambers, Galveston, Jefferson, and Orange Counties and any adjoining water -- any waters on the county boundaries.

We are working with Louisiana to standardize the length limit on the Sabine River. Currently, it's 14 inches. And we have discussed with them and met with them, and we believe we will -- we'll be able to get that standardized at the same time we make our change in September if approved.

We also as you -- as I noted, the genesis of this change was a bill that was introduced in the last Legislative session and we have worked with the local representative and his staff to keep him apprised of our efforts on this and he's -- he has given his support to this proposed change.

Last one is on Lake Tawakoni, which currently has a 12-inch minimum length limit and 25-fish daily bag for Blue and Channel catfish. That population has -- lake has produced an excellent population of Blue catfish and anglers are catching a large number of large fish. They were concerned about potential overharvest, and our staff was also. They want to maintain the quality in this population. They did a -- took a look at -- extensive look at that population. Did some modeling on possible changes to the regulation to maintain that quality and what we are proposing is to remove the 12-inch minimum length limit, retain the 12 -- 25-fish daily bag for Blues and Channels, but we are making a special segregation of the bag. Of that 25-fish bag, you would be allowed to harvest seven fish over 20 inches; but of those seven fish, only two can exceed 30 inches. This is primarily -- will have most impact on Blue catfish, as Channel catfish will be minimally impacted.

Just to quickly look at the comments that we received on these. Most of them were in support. The most specific comments we did receive, which was 11 for Lake Tawakoni, and the main -- one of our concerns going into this was a possible complication of that bag. We only received one mentioning that. The other category was six about the -- and those people wanted more restricted regulations, much more restricted than we were proposing.

So that's all I have for the regulations at this time. Do you have any questions or comments?

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Any questions from the Commissioners?

COMMISSIONER JONES: I have one quick question about the Lake Tawakoni Blue/Channel catfish. Is your recommendation based more on the science or the population, the other -- seemingly the other bass population areas are issues that you covered in the other lakes, seem to rely on more of the science of what you were finding and the links and the whatnot and it appeared that the Lake Tawakoni, at least part of the consideration, was what the anglers wanted. Is there a distinction?

MR. KURZAWSKI: What we did, our staff did react to the anglers' concern about overharvest and we did do an extensive look at that population and we did some extensive modeling of various regulatory impacts to try and address the anglers' concerns about too many fish -- big fish being harvested and also our concerns about maintaining the population at a high quality and that's -- that regulation is looking at the modeling when we looked at -- we focused on those 20- to 30-inch fish. That's where there's a lot of harvest of those fish. And our goal there is to reduce the harvest of those 20- to 30-inch fish and to keep a good number of large fish in the population and still allow some harvest of fish over 30 inches. So it does -- it does have a -- certainly a biological basis to it.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Okay. Well, I guess what I'm asking is does our -- does our biological science survey support what the anglers are indicating they wanted? Because it's one thing for the anglers to say, "Well, we think too many people are getting too many big fish," whatever. I don't -- it doesn't matter what the concern is.

MR. KURZAWSKI: Right.

COMMISSIONER JONES: I'm just wanting to verify that our biologists confirmed what they're being told by the anglers.

MR. KURZAWSKI: Yes, that's -- that was the -- you know, the whole reason for our proposal to react to those angler -- angler complaints, look at the population, and have a biological basis for reducing that population and continue that population, you know, the quality population into the future. If we didn't -- if we didn't see anything through our modeling that could be done, then that would be more of a perception issue that we'd have to talk with the anglers with about too many fish being -- big fish being harvest, but the population wouldn't being impacted.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Okay.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: We have one speaker signed up to -- Mr. Darin Ryan.

MR. RYAN: Thanks for --

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: You're welcome.

MR. RYAN: -- letting me speak today. I'm a little nervous. This is kind of overwhelming, but I've been hunting and fishing here in Texas since I was three years old and I asked recently a friend that -- out around -- how I -- how we express our support and he said just go up there and do it. So I decided to come here and thank you guys myself.

Most of what this Department does protects what's beautiful in our state and I just wanted to come up and say thanks for that, with the artificial reefing and the hatcheries. I'm just really proud of what you guys do to protect our resources. I just don't know if you guys know that regular people, you know, out there support and I just wanted to come express my gratitude and mention my support for the proposed. So thanks for all you do and appreciate your time.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Thanks for your kind words.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Where are you from?

MR. RYAN: Originally, Monahans and then La Salle, Texas, and then here in Austin now.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Okay. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: With that, I'll ask for -- no, sorry. We've got to move on to Mr. Jeremy Leitz. I jumped ahead of you there.

MR. LEITZ: Good morning, Commissioners. For the record, my name is Jeremy Leitz with the Coastal Fisheries Division and I'm here to present 2016-2017 statewide items for both Coastal Fisheries and Law Enforcement.

Four things in front of you again today. One regarding to clarify in the recreational maximum length limit for Black drum, increasing the minimum size limit of Greater Amberjack, clarifying the definition of foul hooking with a pole and line, and then House Bill 1579 regarding sharks.

First, with Black drum, just a recap of the current regulations. For recreational anglers, it's a five-fish daily bag with a 14-inch minimum length limit and one over 52 may be -- one over 52 inches may be retained as part of that five-fish daily bag. And up until this current, there was a 30-inch maximum length limit, as well. However, that 30-inch maximum length limit was excluded accidentally when those Administrative Code tables were switched to a text format. And so we're just proposing to reinsert that 30-inch maximum length limit back into Administrative Code.

Moving on to Greater Amberjack, just a quick recap of prior regulations. No minimum size or bag limits prior to 1990. However, in 1990, a 32-inch minimum size limit and a three-fish bag was implemented. The minimum size was increased in 2008 to 34 inches, but the bag reduced to one fish. And at that time, captain and mate bags were eliminated also.

Just this past January, NOAA raised the minimum size limit to 34 inches fork length. And if you recall from yesterday, feds use fork length. We use total length here. A little bit different measurement. And so to mirror that, we're proposing to increase our minimum size limit to 38 inches. And just a little background there, just a little over a third of our trips land fish greater than 38 inches; but the mean size is about six inches larger than that at 44.

Public comment for Black drum, we received approximately 50 comments. Of those, 44 are in agreement with the proposal, six disagree. Greater Amberjack, about 44 comments and 35 of those agree with the proposal.

Foul hooking with a pole and line, this is an attempt to clarify that definition that using a pole and line to take a fish by foul hooking or snagging is unlawful. It's been brought to our attention that the current wording is a little confusing to anglers. So we're attempting to clean that up by removing some of that language to make it a little more clear, to give a little more discretion to Law Enforcement. This does apply to both fresh and saltwater. We've received just about -- just under a hundred comments, of which 89 of those are in agreements.

Lastly, House Bill 1579 regarding sharks. This was a bill that was enacted by the most recent Legislature and it prohibits anglers from possessing any finfish besides Broadbill swordfish or King mackerel that has the tail removed until it's at its final destination and processed. Our definition of finfish does include sharks. They're in this bill. It does become effective July 1, rather than September 1 as these other regulations do.

So lastly, we recommend that the Park and Wildlife Commission adopt these amendments to 57.972, 973, and 981 concerning the statewide recreational and commercial fishing proclamations.

And I'll be happy to address any questions or comments you have.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Yeah. Yes.

COMMISSIONER LATIMER: On the Black drum regulations --

MR. LEITZ: Uh-huh.

COMMISSIONER LATIMER: -- it says one over 52 inches may be retained.

MR. LEITZ: Yes.

COMMISSIONER LATIMER: But then there's the 30-inch maximum length limit. So there's the maximum length limit except for one fish?

MR. LEITZ: Right. That was put in --

COMMISSIONER LATIMER: I just was confused by that.

MR. LEITZ: Sure. That was put in after the 30-inch maximum length limit was put in back in the 80s and what that does is it gives you a chance to obtain a state record. At the time, it was just 52 inches. So we left that in there so if you do catch one, you can keep that one; but it does count as part of the five-fish daily bag.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Any other questions?

COMMISSIONER JONES: For public consumption, tell -- let us know what was the purpose of the finfish legislation?

MR. LEITZ: The shark bill or the --

COMMISSIONER JONES: Yes.

MR. LEITZ: That was relating to the sale and purchase of shark fins, making it a criminal offense here in Texas unless you have the proper licensure. And through that process, they eliminated -- you cannot possess that fin -- that fin of the shark of which the tail is a part. And so this just put that into rule, and so we're bringing it into Administrative Code. It just prohibits the person from possessing that tail fin without the proper licensure and documentation and making it a criminal offense.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Okay. What do people use that for? Just --

MR. LEITZ: The tail? Well, often they'll -- those tails -- to bleed the fish out, they're hung -- they're hung up and then the tail's cut off so they bleed out and the tail can be either discarded or -- well, typically discarded, I guess.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Okay. Is that what they're trying to prevent? I guess that's what I'm trying to get at.

MR. LEITZ: Yeah, that and then the sale of that fin if they choose to sell it, to kind of regulate the sale of those shark fins. The tail would be now a part of that fin.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Okay.

MR. SMITH: Commissioner, there's a global trade in shark fins and there's been a lot of concern about sharks being catched and then the fins lopped off and then sold on a global market to be used in other countries for various quasi medicinal purposes and other uses.

COMMISSIONER JONES: That's what I thought.

MR. SMITH: Yeah.

COMMISSIONER JONES: It's sort of like the rhino horn --

MR. SMITH: That's right.

COMMISSIONER JONES: -- concept.

MR. SMITH: Same issue, yep.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Any other questions?

MR. LEITZ: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Thank you.

I got out of order there. I don't know if Mr. Ryan would like to get up and repeat his kind words or not; but if no other questions, I'll entertain a motion. Approved, Commissioner Scott.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Second.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Seconded by Commissioner Jones. All in favor say aye?

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Any opposed? Motion carries.

Action Item No. 4, 2016-17 Statewide Hunting Proclamation, Recommended Adoption of Proposed Rules, Mr. Alan Cain and Mr. Dave Morrison.

MR. CAIN: Good morning, Mr. Chairman and Commissioners. For the record, my name is Alan Cain, White-tailed Deer Program Leader. Just like yesterday, I'm going to go over the statewide harvest recommendations and proposals for White-tailed deer. Try to hit the high points today. I know y'all have heard this about three, four different times.

First proposal staff are bringing forward is the elimination of the ADCP permit. The permit was started in '93. It's been very popular up until '03. Then, we saw a dramatic decline in utilization because the majority of folks at that time period switched to the Managed Lands Deer Program because of changes we made to it. Since 2012, we'd only issued four permits each year and so staff are proposing to eliminate the ADCP permit. We've had a total 309 public comments, 299 supporting that change and ten opposed to it. There was no comments on why the opposition.

The next change concerns the definition -- amending the definition of a legal buck during the special late season. Currently, we have 136 counties with a late antlerless and spiked buck season in the state and hunters in counties with antler restrictions -- also this antlerless and spike season, have some confusion concerning what a legal buck is. During the general season, a legal buck is anything with at least one unbranched antler, such as a spike with a three-point in the photo there. But when late season opens and general season closes, the only legal buck is a spiked buck and so there's considerable confusion among hunters. And, in fact, many of them comment that they already think that an unbranched antlered buck is a legal buck during that late antlerless and spike season.

Therefore, staff propose to amend the definition of a legal buck to include any buck with at least one unbranched antler. We hope this will reduce confusion among the hunters and it will provide a consistent definition of a legal buck with our antler restriction regulations and also with the new Managed Lands Deer Program changes, where under the harvest option, a person may harvest a buck with at least one unbranched antler during the early part of the season.

We've had 393 total comments, 383 support the proposed change and ten oppose. Some of the concerns were worried about harvesting bred does, spikes needing to mature to turn into branched antlered bucks, and just to limit the season to antlerless only in that late -- special late season.

The next proposed change is the expansion of a White-tailed deer season in 14 counties in the Panhandle. As we've talked about, that White-tailed population is expanding westward towards the New Mexico border. We're having some requests from landowners because they're dealing with crop depredation issues or concern with the expansion of the White-tail population and the Mule deer range and where those populations overlap, concern for hybridization or just displacing some of those Mule deer out there in that region.

Staff are proposing an archery and general season with a bag limit of one buck and two antlerless in the counties in blue on your screen, which is 13 counties. And then for Winkler County and the county in green, proposing an archery and general season with a bag limit of one buck and two antlerless; but antlerless may only be taken during the archery only season. That regulation would be consistent with the regulations in the counties that surround it that are outlined in green on the map.

We have had 297 public comments. At the request of the Commission, we did hold a public hearing in Lynn County. Had 38 folks show up. Their comments are captured in the totals here: 279 support, 18 opposed for a various list of reasons from law enforcement concerns to lack of deer to concerns over harvest mistakes. As I pointed out yesterday, y'all did have a copy of a petition that was sent in with 105 signatures from various landowners and individuals requesting the Commission not adopt this proposal; but consider carving out parts of counties of Lubbock and Lynn County and open a season there, but not in other areas.

Next proposed change is the expansion of doe days in 23 counties in the Post Oak Savannah Ecoregion there, there in red on the map. We have an increasing deer density over there and skewed sex ratio as a result of the limited antlerless harvest and we've had a 50 percent increase in MLD participation over the last six years and so folks are really seeking ways to manage those expanding deer populations over there.

Therefore, staff propose to -- the following: In the counties in orange, we would propose to expand from the current zero doe days to four doe days; and then for the counties in green, we propose to expand from a current season of four doe days to 16 doe days.

We've had 443 total public comments; 402 support, 41 oppose. There was various reasons listed for opposition, including simply a lack of deer for various reasons from illegal hunting to other -- not seeing them on their property. And some other folks indicated the season wasn't long enough and would like to have those doe days extended or add some additional counties to those proposal.

Staff are also proposing to open a muzzleloader season in 32 counties, again, in that Post Oak Savannah Region there. It's those counties in blue. The muzzleloader season would open the first Monday following the first Sunday in January and run 14 consecutive days. As I mentioned yesterday, that's concurrent with the late antlerless and spike season in the other counties that are in the white over there. And, again, just to clarify, in Comal, Hays, Williamson, and Travis, that -- this proposal would apply to that portion of the county east of I-35. West already has a late antlerless and spike season in effect.

We've had 359 total comments; 330 support, 29 opposed. Again, for various different reasons from just wanting to keep that muzzleloader season as part of the general season or muzzleloader as part of the general season to restricting the type of weapon to an antique muzzleloader or adding a shotgun and handgun season, to mention a few.

Another proposal is -- at least currently under the current regulation, an antlerless deer permit is required to harvest antlerless deer on certain U.S. Forest Service properties, primarily in the eastern part of the state there. We've had requests from the U.S. Forest Service to exempt youth from that permit requirement or tag requirement on those U.S. Forest Service properties. The Department -- staff agrees that we would like to take advantage of that and allow youth to hunt during the youth only season without -- and take antlerless without requiring an antlerless permit. Also, it would provide additional harvest opportunity for youth in that U.S. Forest Service properties.

There's been 333 total comments; 315 support, ten oppose. Some individuals thought that the season shouldn't be limited just to youth, but also include disabled folks; youth only season is discriminatory; and then some were concerned that adults are doing most of the harvesting during that youth season.

The last few items are some clarification to some of the regulations. In 65.9, we propose to clarify that the White-tailed deer antlerless deer harvest during the archery only season does not require a permit. And then for Section 65.2, to clarify that harvest of antlerless deer during the youth season is restricted to persons 16 years of age or younger, including those properties issued Level 1 MLD tags.

Staff recommend that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts the repeal of 65.27 and the amendments to 65.3, .7, 65.10, .24, .25, and .42 concerning statewide hunting proclamations.

And if you have any questions, I'll be glad to entertain those.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Any questions?

MR. CAIN: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Thank you.

Dave?

MR. MORRISON: Mr. Chairman, Commission Members, my name is Dave Morrison. I'm the Small Game Program Director for the Wildlife Division and this morning, I'm here to discuss the proposed -- the final proposals for the 2016-17 migratory game bird regulations and look to you guys to adopt these as the final rule for that 2016-17 season.

As I mentioned yesterday, this is a new process that we entered into this year established by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Essentially, it's taking the early -- which was dove, snipe, rails, etcetera -- and late season, which was waterfowl, pushed them into one and it's going to be earlier this year. This change allows us as the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission to adopt all hunting season, both resident and migratory, at the same time and thereby hopefully simplifying our regulation's process. These proposals were developed by the Wildlife Division staff and they were then presented to the Migratory Game Bird Advisory Committee and they supported our proposals in their entirety.

So moving forward, there are some changes for this year. One of the things, the big change is that we're going to see an increase in the total length of dove season from 70 to 90 days. So we got 20 extra days this year that we're going to try to sprinkle around at the best time for each zone. Because of these additional days, we're proposing a different closing date for the North and Central Dove Zones. With respect to waterfowl and ducks, particularly in the North Duck Zone, we are proposing to shorten the split. In the past, we had a 12-day split in the North Zone. This year, we're proposing to go with a five-day split in an effort to maximize the number of days in December and January for waterfowl hunting.

In the South Zone, essentially are proposing to shift the season one week later. That's going to provide more hunting opportunity in November, as well as maintain a 12-day split and push the season structure all the way to the end of the framework. We have been noticing what appears to be a little bit later arrival of geese in the Western Goose Zone. So in an effort to address that, we are proposing to shift that season one week later to take advantage of geese when their numbers are at their highest.

So first I'd like to talk about dove, teal, rail, gallinule, snipe, and woodcock, what was formally the early season proposals. And for the dove regulations, the recommendations that we are proposing in the North Zone would be September 1 through November the 13th, close, reopen on December 17th, and run to January 1st. In the Central Zone, it would be September 1 through November the 6th, reopen that season on December the 17th, and run through January the 8th. In the South Zone, September 23rd through November the 13th, reopen on December 17th, and run through the 23rd of January. This is a 90-day season with a 15-bird bag, daily bag limit.

In the Special White-wing Dove Area, which is just a portion of the South Zone, staff is proposing a -- we are allowed four days in early September -- 3rd, 4th, 10th, and 11th -- and we're only allowed those four days. As you mentioned yesterday, if we wanted to move it, we can; but we would have to lose a date someplace else. So the second split would open as early as the framework allows on September the 23rd, run through November the 13th, and then reopen on December 17th, and run through January the 19th. Again, the bag limit is 15 in the aggregate, with the exception of that first two weekends in September when you can only have two Mourning dove or two White-tipped dove as part of your bag limit.

You did mention the possibility of looking at something a little bit different in the Special White-wing Area. So what you have before you is a calendar that shows the Special White-wing Dove Area on the right and you can see those early four days in September, that's those first two weekends. And the November 10th, 11th, 12th, and 13th, which is outlined in a heavy black line, you proposed: What would it look like if we moved those to the end of the season? So you can see we did push those to the end of the season. So now the -- if you wanted to adopt this particular season structure, you would have both the South and the Special White-wing season close the same at the end, the second split; but they would have differing closing dates on the front end. We did do that one time, and the last time was two years ago. And as I mentioned yesterday, there was some concerns that people just didn't get the message. But again, these seasons are well within the frameworks that are offered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Moving on to early teal season. This new process requires us to use prior year information. We have no new information and because the Blue-wing teal populations last year were well above the trigger to reduce the season, we do have an opportunity to, again, have a 16-day teal season. It has been the Commission's policy over the last many, many years, we try to take advantage of the maximum number of weekends late in September. So this year to get those three full weekends in September, we're proposing a season of September 10th through the 25th, with a daily bag limit of six teal.

Lesser known species for migratory birds -- rail, gallinule, and moorhen -- we typically try to structure that season to run concurrent with the September teal season. So that will be September 10th through the 25th. We'll finish out the 70 days that are provided by federal framework with a season structure being proposed of November 5th through December the 28th. With respect to snipe, we do have an opportunity to hunt those 107 days. So we take advantage of the maximum allowable under framework and that's October 29th through February the 12th.

For woodcock, we're allowed 45 days. In the framework, the last day of the framework is January the 31st. So in order to try to maximize the opportunity, we count backwards to -- and that takes you to December 18th. We've had this same season structure for many, many years.

Now, I'm switching over to ducks, mergansers, coots, geese, and Sandhill cranes. In the High Plains Mallard Management Unit, we're allowed a very long season simply because this is a management area and this is simply a calendar adjustment from last year whereby we're proposing a youth season from October 22nd to the 23rd; the regular season would open for a weekend, October 29th and 30th; have a very short split of four days; reopen on a Friday, November the 4th; and run until the end of the framework, which is January 29th. Once again, the Fish and Wildlife Service has required us to have a five-day closure at the beginning of all zones. So the dusky duck -- which is essentially a mottled duck, black duck, Mexican-like duck, and their hybrids -- they're off limits until after those first five days. So that season would open on November the 7th in the High Plains Mallard Management Unit and run to the end of the framework, January 29th.

In the North Zone, we did -- we are offering up a proposal -- proposed change compared to the prior years and we had actually -- excuse me -- moved that season a little bit later. The youth season would open on November the 5th and 6th, pushing the regular seasonal a little bit later to November the 12th, run through November the 27th, and November the 27th is the Sunday after Thanksgiving. In the past, we have proposed a 12-day split. This year, it's a five-day split. So you're not getting advantage of a weekend in that split and that would be from December 3rd through January the 29th. Again, the five-day moratorium on mottled ducks, black ducks, and Mexican-like ducks is in effect here. So that season is delayed, but then it's essentially the same as the rest of the North Zone.

In the South Zone, again, we are proposing to shift this just a little bit later to take -- maximize the number of days in November. And so the youth season would be October 29th and 30th, reopen for regular hunting on November the 5th through the 27th -- again, the Sunday after Thanksgiving -- have a 12-day split in the South Zone, run from December the 10th through January the 29th. For dusky ducks, again, the delay of five days, then it would run concurrent with the rest of the seasons.

Again, this is the first year of the new process and we have no new information. So the bag limit is essentially the same of six ducks per day, five mallards, two hens, three wood ducks, three scaup, two redheads, two pintails and again this year, we do have two canvasbacks, which is the first time we've had two back to back in quite a while, and one dusky duck, which is essentially in Texas a mottled duck. All other ducks -- gadwall, wigeon, green-wings, blue-wings -- the bag limit is six.

For mergansers, it's five per day. No more than two hooded allowed per day. Coots is 15 per day. And for intents and purposes, all migratory birds have a three times the daily bag limit, with exception of White geese, which is no possession limit.

So moving on to geese. As I mentioned earlier, the -- we are offering up a proposed change to move the West Goose Zone a little bit later in response to what we see as maybe a later arrival of those birds. So both the dark and the light geese season would open on November the 5th and run through February the 5th. The light goose conservation season would open on February the 6th and run through March the 19th. Bag limit for geese is five dark geese to include no more than two White-fronted geese and a daily bag limit of 20 for light geese.

In the East Zone, we're again offered the opportunity to take advantage of an early Canada goose season in the East Zone. We have structured that season along with the proposed September teal season from September 10th through 25th. After that special season is up, both light and dark geese have the same season of November 5th through the 29th, for both White-front, Canada, and White geese. The conservation order would open on January the 30th and run through March the 19th. Again, the bag limit is five dark geese, to include no more than two White-fronted geese with the exception of that September season when it's five Canadas only, and the daily bag limit for White geese is 20.

For Sandhill cranes, we have basically proposed calendar adjustments for what we did last year. And that season in Zone A would be October 29th through January the 29th, with a bag limit of three. In Zone B, we'd kind of delay that opening and let those Whooping cranes get through and get down on the coast and that's November 18th through the 29th of January, with a bag limit of three. And in Zone C, we take the maximum allowable days allowed by federal framework, which is 37, and that's December 17th through January 22nd, with a bag limit of two.

There is a change this year in falconry season simply because we were granted the additional 20 days for dove hunting. So that means that for Mourning, White-tipped, and White-winged dove, the falconry season has been reduced by 20 days from November 19th through December the 5th. And the reason for this is we're only allowed 107 exposure days. So you've got the 90 for dove. This gives you the remainder of that 107 days. For woodcock, moorhen, gallinules, rail, and ducks, in the North and South Zone, that special falconry season will be from January 30th through February the 12th. And there is no falconry season in the High Plains Mallard Management Unit simply because we use the full 107 days between September teal season, youth hunts, and our regular duck seasons.

These were the public comments. I presented these to you yesterday, and they're broken down by zone and species. As you can see, there's quite a bit of support for these proposals out there. And with that, we are proposing a recommendation that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts amendments to Texas Administrative -- Texas Administrative Code 65.318, .320, and .321 concerning the migratory game bird proclamation, with changes as necessary to the proposed text as published in the February 16, 2016, issue of the Texas Register.

With that, I'll be happy to entertain any questions that you may have.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: I have one. I talked to a couple of the Commissioners last night about the four days in the modified Special White-wing Area. And those four days, what's the procedure if we want to move that?

MR. SMITH: I think if you just want to direct us to do that, to move those four days from the end of the first split for the Special White-wing Area to the end of the second split.

COMMISSIONER LEE: I make a motion for the proposed changes.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Is that -- then I would entertain a motion with the proposed change.

COMMISSIONER LEE: Mr. Chairman, I move approval with the change of moving the four days to the end of January, as shown in the slide, for the Special White-wing Dove Area season.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Thank you, Commissioner Lee.

Do I have a second?

COMMISSIONER JONES: Second.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Second by Commissioner Jones. All in favor say aye?

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Any opposed?

MR. MORRISON: Thank you very much.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Okay.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Just let the record reflect we did not discuss this last night. I think the acting Chairman may have dreamed about this last night at some point during the thunderstorm, and sometimes that happens.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: I wasn't there last night.

MS. LAGARDE: Good morning. My name is Dana Lagarde. I'm the Local Park Grant Manager in the State Parks Division, and I'm pleased to be here today to present some recommended funding for some local parks.

Funding from a portion of the State's sales tax on sporting goods and from federal offshore gas royalties provide matching grants to local governments for the acquisition and development of public park land. Available funds include funding from the Texas Recreation and Parks Account, which is $5,456,235; the Texas Large County and Municipality Recreation and Parks Account, we have $1,259,264 in available funds; and finally, we have $3,694,094 in Land and Water Conservation Funds.

The three grant programs that I'm presenting today are for the Urban Outdoor Recreation Program, which is for populations of 500,000 or more; the Nonurban Urban Outdoor Recreation, which is for less than 500,000 in population; and the Small Community Recreation Program for communities under 20,000 in population.

As of October 1st, 2015, TPWD received 55 eligible applications requesting $12,877,836 in matching fund assistance. Exhibits A, B, and C ranked the projects in descending order based on each grant program's scoring criteria previously adopted by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.

Staff recommends that the TPWD Commission adopt the following motion: Funding for 39 projects listed in Exhibits A, B, and C in the amount of $10,409,593 is approved.

I'd be happy to take any questions at this time. I believe we have a few Legislative letters that we were going to pass out.

MS. HALLIBURTON: They've already --

MS. LAGARDE: They've already received them. Okay. We have received -- okay. There they are.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: We have them. Thank you very much.

MS. LAGARDE: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Any questions by Commissioners or any -- if not, we have a couple of people signed up to speak.

The first person is Sally Gavlik.

MS. GAVLIK: Commissioners, my name is Sally Gavlik and I'm representing Rhodes Enterprises and Tres Lagos Public Improvement District. This district is in northwest Hidalgo County and it is a 2500-acre planned development community and the park that we have submitted would be the first park for this area and we would greatly appreciate your consideration for funding. It is recommended. Thank you. If you have any questions.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Any questions?

COMMISSIONER JONES: And how much is your request?

MS. GAVLIK: 500,000.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Okay.

MS. GAVLIK: The total project is 6 million.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Okay.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: I think that -- I think there was -- we did approve a grant to that park, did we not?

COMMISSIONER LATIMER: It's recommended.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Recommended we approve it.

COMMISSIONER LATIMER: It's No. 15.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Fifteen, thank you.

Next speaker is Chris Whittaker, City of Rockdale.

MR. WHITTAKER: Good morning. Thanks for your time today. First of all, for reminding me that I need to take a couple days off and go hunting or fishing sometime soon. And second of all, being a City Manager for Rockdale, being on your side, I'm not going to try to take up the whole three minutes and try to end this a little bit earlier. But we're -- I'm from Rockdale. We're a 5500-person rural community. We're requesting a splash pad on the east side of Rockdale, which is really our minority and economically challenged side of Rockdale. We do have a pool on the west side, but we have a really unique park over there that we'd like to put a splash pad.

And just like all our other grants we usually apply for -- whether it's TxDOT or other organizations -- usually, we don't have the funding to do the project and we usually score low because of engineering and a bunch of other things. So I would like to just ask for your consideration on this grant. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Thank you very much.

The next speaker is Mauricio Cantu.

MR. CANTU: Good morning, Members of the Board, Mr. Smith. My name is Mauricio Cantu and I'm reading this letter on behalf of State Representative Sergio Muñoz, Jr., from District 36 down in the Rio Grande Valley.

"Dear Mr. Smith, I am writing to ask that all due consideration be given to the City of Hidalgo nonurban outdoor recreation grant application. This grant will assist Hidalgo in purchasing and developing five acres for the Villa Garza Flores/Valle Alto parks. The development will include playscapes, trails, a community garden, picnic units, splash pad, adult swings, wheelchair swings, exercise stations, and other various recreational facilities. The park will be a tremendous asset to the City and lead to promote a healthy community. Additionally, I am writing to ask that all due consideration be given to the City of McAllen nonurban outdoor recreation grant application. This grant will assist McAllen in further developing an 8.2-acre Veteran's War Memorial of Texas. The development will include the installation of an outdoor plaza to accomplish the mission of the Veteran's War Memorial Foundation of Texas, which is to provide an educational, cultural, and historical facility to assist future generations to learn about the sacrifices or those who died in service of their country. In addition, the addition will be a tremendous asset to the City and provide a great way to honor those who lost their lives. And lastly, I am writing to ask that all due considerations be given to the City of Pharr nonurban outdoor recreation grant application submitted to Texas Parks and Wildlife by Pharr. This grant application will assist Pharr with developing an 8-acre nature park in the south area of the city. The 8-acre park development will include a .6-mile all-weather surface trail with a stretching exercise area and interpretive science, a catch-and-release fish pond with a boardwalk, covered wildlife observation points, picnic tables, a mini-amphitheater, a pergola with wildlife habitat gardens, and a pavilion. The park will promote the conservation of natural resources through open space preservation and environmentally sensitive planting and preserve unique natural open spaces and important habitats for endangered species of plants and wildlife. I would appreciate your efforts to ensure that I am kept informed as to the progress of this application. Please feel free to contact me with any developments regarding this proposal. Thank you for your assistance and consideration. Respectfully, Sergio Muñoz, Jr., State Representative of District 36."

Thank you for your time.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Thank you.

Next speaker is Carlos Colina-Vargas? Did -- it's a little --

MR. COLINA-VARGAS: Yes, sir. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Buenos dias, Mr. Chairman, Members of the Commission, Mr. Smith. For the record, my name is Carlos Colina-Vargas. I have the privilege of representing the City of Hidalgo in Hidalgo, Texas, in the Lower Rio Grande Valley of the state. Also here with me representing the City are Mr. Robert Segura, the Assistant City Manager, and Mr. Rogelio Gonzalez, the Planning Director for the City of Hidalgo.

We are here to convey the greetings of Mayor Martin Cepeda and the city council and their apologies for not being able to be here personally to acknowledge the recommendation of award of a grant for outdoor recreation to the City of Hidalgo.

The City applied for $500,000 to develop -- to acquire and develop a neighborhood park. It has been recommended for approval and the City wants to express their gratitude to the Commission and to the staff of the program in the Department for their support and assistance in this funding. This particular park, you can be assured it will bring a great benefit to the neighborhood and it will increase the recreational opportunity not only of the neighborhood, but the entire community of the City of Hidalgo.

I want to also express my appreciation for the support of Representative Sergio Muñoz, Jr., who has been an advocate for parks in the Valley. Parks not only increase the esthetic value of the communities, but they will help prevention of disease and improve the well-being and wellness of the residents of the community. This is a major priority of the citizens of the Valley because diabetes is getting very widespread in the region.

I also want to take this opportunity to convey the appreciation of numerous cities and counties in South Texas -- specifically in South Texas -- for the reinstatement of the parks and recreation grants for the small cities. You will remember that a couple years ago, there was no money in this program. Now, the funding is available. The cities have the opportunity to develop parks that otherwise they couldn't develop because there are not enough resources in these communities.

Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Thank you, Commissioners. Thank you, Mr. Smith. And thank you to the staff of the program. We appreciate your help.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Thank you for your comments.

Next speaker is Richard Zavalla, with Paul Frederiksen on deck.

MR. ZAVALLA: Good morning, Mr. Chair, Commissioners, Director Carter. Good to see you. I'm Richard Zavalla, Park and Recreation Director for the City of Fort Worth; and I just have to comment on the speakers before me because of what they have conveyed to you, what this means to these communities and while it helps economically, it helps environmentally, what it really does is help recreate lives. And as we enter the Easter season, it reminds me that the Almighty created a park on the third day. He created recreation on the seventh day. So we are all doing the Lord's work here at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission throughout the state of Texas. But it just moves me to hear the different projects and the things that are being done for those communities.

I bring you greetings from Mayor Betsy Price and the Fort Worth City Council, who have been staunch supporters of the local park fund. They've also in their legislative priorities, established a priority for making a constitutional amendment to make that fund state law at some point at the time that we move forward in this state to establish that, that should go on in perpetuity for the citizens of Texas.

The project before you that is being recommended by the staff, enables us to stake a claim on an additional community park in far north Fort Worth that we are utilizing acquisition dollars to be able to purchase the land that the developer is reinvesting those dollars to enable us to further the funding that we're going to receive as part of this grant. So we're getting a foothold on 69 acres. Eventually, that park could triple that size as we develop it in the future. So it's going to be a great beginning for that project.

The last thing I'll leave you with is that -- excuse me -- this staff, the grants and aid staff, is by far the most ethical, the most professional, the most customer friendly staff that I've ever had the opportunity to work with it. They hold us to task, as they should. They keep the program objective, that I just wanted to let you know -- and I know that Carter knows, as well -- that they're an outstanding staff and we just enjoy working with them. So with that, we appreciate your favorable vote of this. If you don't vote in favor of it, I'm going to have to stop in Temple and pick up a job application at Buc-ee's because I won't be able to go back to Fort Worth. Thank you very much.

COMMISSIONER JONES: What is the number of your city's request? Do you know from --

MR. ZAVALLA: $1 million is the grant. Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER JONES: But do you know which number it is on --

COMMISSIONER LATIMER: It's No. 2.

MR. SMITH: It's that urban outdoor grant funding for the City of Fort Worth, Commissioner.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Oh, there it is.

MR. SMITH: Yeah.

COMMISSIONER JONES: I just need to turn to the right page. Okay, got it.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Mr. Frederiksen.

MR. FREDERIKSEN: Paul Frederiksen, Town Manager for the town of Argyle. I do want to follow the comments, if you don't approve our application, I'll also be going to Buc-ee's as well to apply.

Commission Members, we want to just thank you in advance for your consideration of our grant application. It's in the nonurban grant application category. I also want to give a shout out to your grant's application staff or grant staff. I have pestered them during the last year -- Dan, Roxane, Dana -- at some point. When you wake up in the middle of the night, have a nightmare that you didn't get your grant application in, you call again just to make sure that you weren't, you know, imagining things.

But on behalf of Mayor Peggy Krueger and the rest of our council, we want to thank you again for your willingness to look at our grant application and consider its funding. We had a number of people in our community that worked on this, not just staff and council; but everybody in the community came together, and it was just a really fun and fantastic project to work with.

Two of our council members kind of also took the lead. I would like to read a -- some comments from Council Member Marla Hawkesworth, along with Joey Hasty who took the lead on our council. And if I may just read this into the record.

"It is with great excitement and anticipation that I thank you on behalf of our entire community for the consideration of this partnership. We have been counting down the days here in Argyle for the announcement of the winners and hoped that we would be among them. We began researching and forming a commission on our own in 2015 to work diligently towards securing grant money for our town's first park. We are a small community and numerous people rolled up their sleeves and gave selflessly of their time and creativity to make this dream a reality for our families. The town of Argyle will make your Commission incredibly proud of your choice in selecting us for funding. We can't wait to get started on this project. Our citizens have wanted a central gathering place for years, and your Commission is making this possible. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. This grant program is a huge example of taxpayer dollars hard at work in an effort to make our great state even better."

Thank you.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Thank you.

With that, I'll -- unless there's any discussion -- entertain a motion to approve Action Item No. 5, Local Park Grant Funding, Urban Outdoor Recreational Grants, Nonurban Outdoor Recreational Grants, and Small Community Recreation Grants. Do I have a motion?

COMMISSIONER SCOTT: So moved.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Second.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Commissioner Scott and second by Commissioner Jones. All in favor say aye?

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Any opposed? Motion carries.

Move to Action Item No. 6, Acceptance of Land Donation, Cameron County, Conservation Tracts Near Boca Chica, Mr. Ted Hollingsworth.

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Chairman, Commissioners, good morning. My name is Ted Hollingsworth. I'm with the Land Conservation Program. This item is related to an item that you took action on back in November, pertains to Boca Chica. Boca Chica is a state park. Although, it is currently managed by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service as part of their Lower Rio Grande National Wildlife Refuge. And as you all know, SpaceX has acquired a 49-acre tract adjacent to that park and are currently working on developing a space launch facility.

As a part of their program to develop that facility, they have been acquiring inholdings inside the park and tracts very near the park to try and eliminate incompatible uses. The FAA requires a certain radius from that -- from the launch zone where there are not residences and other private uses. And so as they've acquired those tracts, back in November you approved that the tracts that they acquired inside the park boundary property could be donated to Texas Parks and Wildlife once we ascertained that there were no environmental liabilities associated with those tracts.

Now SpaceX has acquired additional tracts outside that boundary, but very near the state park. As it turns out, we already own a number of tracts that are outside that boundary. Back in the 20th century, much of that property near the park was broken up into subdivisions and sold. A number of those tracts are out on tidal flats and are places where nobody could ever -- would not think anyone could possibly build a home and as people have realized that, they have donated a number of those tracts to the Department over the years.

SpaceX has acquire those tracts as they've come on the market and now has accumulated some tracts that they would like to donate to Texas Parks and Wildlife and although those are not in the state park boundary proper, they are among a number of tracts that we own that are not inside that property boundary proper.

The goal that we have and that SpaceX has and that U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has is that ultimately that entire landscape will be in conservation. SpaceX, of course, for the intent of avoiding any incompatible uses with their space launch facility and, of course, the rest of that property has high fish and wildlife value and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Texas Parks and Wildlife would like to see as much of that in conservation as possible. Those tracts that are accepted by Texas Parks and Wildlife, will simply be added to the lease, to the 50-year lease that we have with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and they will monitor and manage those properties as they currently do with the Boca Chica State Park property.

Again, a number of reasons why we all want to eliminate inholdings and small privately owned tracts near the park and the launch area. We've received no public comments regarding this action. And with that, the staff recommends that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission authorize the Executive Director to take all necessary steps to accept the donation of tracts of land with conservation value near Boca Chica State Park in Cameron County.

I'd be happy to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Would you go back to that map? Are those tracts -- in the lower right, are those the tracts you're talking about?

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: One of those tracts is in the lower right. Most of those tracts are in-between the state park and South Bay. Actually, most of those tracts. For some reason, again, all of that area got broken up into half-acre lots many, many, many years ago. A number of people bought those. I don't know if they got sold at world's fairs or how they got sold. We didn't have eBay back then, but somehow people bought those tracts and have since realized that they're not suitable for building homes on and a number of those have already been donated to us.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: So it's up in the -- most of them are in the northwest --

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: -- northwest of the park?

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Yes, sir, exactly.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Okay. Thank you.

Any questions?

With that, I'll entertain a motion to approve acceptance of the land donation.

COMMISSIONER JONES: So moved. So moved.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Commissioner Jones. Then, do I have a second?

COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Second.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Commissioner Scott, thank you. All in favor say aye?

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Any opposed? Motion carries.

Action Item No. 7, Grant of Utility Easement, Brazoria County, Approximately 37 Acres at the Justin Hurst Wildlife Management Area. Mr. Ted Hollingsworth, please make your presentation.

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Chairman, Commissioners, good morning. My name is Ted Hollingsworth. I'm with the Land Conservation Program. This item hopefully will wrap up some very old business for the Agency. It pertains to a power line, a high-tension transmission line that crosses the Justin Hurst Wildlife Management Area in Brazoria County. That wildlife management area is about 60 miles south of Houston, almost 15,000 acres of really choice coastal habitats, including some hardwood forests, a lot of marshes, a lot of coastal prairie. A very, very, very popular destination for waterfowl and for waterfowl hunters. Also close to industries in the Freeport area.

For that reason, there are already a number of right-of-ways, pipelines, utility easements across the WMA. And, of course, staff has worked hard to minimize those and to aggregate those and to try and reduce the impacts of those to the wildlife management area. We did own the property back in 1994 when a right-of-entry construction permit surface use agreement was issued to South Texas Electric Cooperative to construct this high-tension line.

The line was installed per our procedures at the time. The surface use agreement was for a ten-year term and upon its expiration, was supposed to be replaced with an easement. For reasons I'm not privy to, that just simply did not happen. We became aware a couple of years ago of the fact that this easement exists or this power line exists, this right-of-way exists and is not covered by an easement. And so staff has been working with STE -- STEC on the terms and conditions of an easement.

We have a draft easement prepared, and we are coming to the Commission to request permission to proceed with that easement. It would be a standard Parks and Wildlife easement with a ten-year term. That line is a little over three miles long where it crosses the WMA. It's a hundred feet wide. We've worked with STEC to eliminate their regular mowing, their management of vegetation so that that vegetation can be restored to be consistent with the native vegetation in the wildlife management area and, again, minimize the impact that line has on the habitats of the wildlife management area.

We've received no comments with regard to this item, and the staff does recommend that the Commission adopt the resolution that you have attached as Exhibit A.

I'd be happy to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Any questions? Entertain a motion to approve.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Move to approve.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Jones. Second by Commissioner Galo. Thank you very much. All in favor say aye?

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Any opposed? Motion carries. Thank you.

Next item is Action Item No. 8, Request for Recreational Trail Easement, Tarrant County, Inland Fisheries District Office, Mr. Corky Kuhlmann.

MR. KUHLMANN: Good morning. For the record, Corky Kuhlmann with the Land Conservation Program. This is a request for a recreational trail easement from the City of Fort Worth Parks and Recreation Department.

The City of Fort Worth has planned a trail, Lake Worth trail, that is running along parts of the west bank of the Trinity River and Lake Worth right east of the dam. Portions of that trail is going to cross Parks and Wildlife property due to doing design of the trail system, the City had originally planned on using property they owned that they had obtained in 1975, doing the design process, they found out that a lot of that land had eroded away and continuation of that trail -- the planned trail -- would have to encroach onto Parks and Wildlife property. Hence, the request for an easement.

To that end, the City of Fort Worth is requesting an easement from us. They're going to provide security for the easement. They're going to have -- they're -- we've negotiated for a good privacy fence, not a chain-link; but a wire welded fence, good fencing, security fence. Camera surveillance if needed, long-term maintenance and litter pick up. We've been told they'll pick up the litter each week, every Monday after every weekend and then after holidays. And there will be a reversion clause if the trail is never -- if ever abandoned for use as a recreational trail or not maintained up to standards, there is a reversion clause that the easement would go away.

On this slide you can see in relationship of the -- it's an old fish hatchery that Parks and Wildlife no longer uses as a fish hatchery. It's a district office now. Most of all the hatchery has returned back to native habitat. There's a couple of ponds that were restored for a kid-fish facility a few years ago, and this is in the very eastern section of the hatchery property along the banks of the Trinity. So Parks and Wildlife would grant the easement and also as another -- that isn't part of actually what y'all are going to approve today, if you approve it. We will also grant them a temporary surface use agreement to access the project through hatchery property that doesn't need your approval and we will give them a recreational trail easement not to exceed two acres. At some point after they build the trail, they'll go in. We'll survey what they actually need, and it will be something up to two acres; but probably something less than two acres.

There's been no public comment on this transaction. And with that, staff recommends that the Commission adopt the following motion: Commission adopts the resolution as attached in Exhibit A.

And I'll be glad to answer any questions.

Yes, ma'am.

COMMISSIONER LATIMER: Go back to that map. The fencing area would probably be proposed on that white -- along that white?

MR. KUHLMANN: If you see the white, yes, ma'am. Yes. And actually there -- part of the -- part of the -- it's going to be one of those things that we will fence the trail. There will be other access, you know, that they could get to besides the trail; but the trail itself will have a good security fence. And then if you notice on this slide, too, the dam for Lake Worth -- which Lake Worth is the water supply for Fort Worth -- that dam, they're very cautious about security and trespassing, anything in that area because of homeland security. So the security for that for our part of the hatchery property will be pretty tight.

COMMISSIONER LATIMER: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Any other questions?

Is there a motion for approval?

COMMISSIONER SCOTT: So moved.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Commission Latimer, seconded by Commissioner Scott. Thank you. All in favor say aye?

(Chorus of ayes)

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

Our last item is Briefing Item No. 9, Target Range Grants, Ms. Nancy Herron and Mr. Renan Zambrano.

MS. HERRON: Correct. Good morning, Commissioners, Mr. Smith. We're very pleased to be here. I'm Nancy Herron. I'm the Outreach and Education Director. And I have with me Renan Zambrano, our Branch Grants and Contracts Coordinator. We are here to brief you on target range grants, where we've been, where we're going, and we have a guest from the City of Grapevine to tell you about a very exciting partnership. I hope you're as excited as I am about that.

Our goal with the target range grants is to improve the access to safe shooting facilities and since 1984, we have provided pass-through grants for the construction or improvements of firearms and archery ranges. This is from the first shovel on the ground or it could be improvements to sound abatement, accessibility with sidewalks and lightings or berms or addition of classrooms and those are quite popular for our grants.

These grants are funded by the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Funds, those funds that come to hunter education. These funds are to assist with the education of hunters, for hunter safety, and increasing the public's knowledge and proficiency in the use of firearms. These are moneys that are provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which means they are reimbursed funds. A grantee will provide or complete the project and invoice us for up to 75 percent of that project's cost of the approved project.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has a very robust set of checks and balances. It's a complex process, and we are working to improve that process and the efficiency of that as we go through; but it is a wonderful opportunity to increase, again, the access to safe shooting facilities. The amount of dollars that we've had over the years have varied, depending on how much money is available by the federal government. But over the last 30 years, we have funded 64 projects and over $3 million for shooting ranges. Some of those have been very small awards, as small as $5,000; and then it goes on up. But we oftentimes have sponsored phases of projects and so we've been supporting about 36 sites over the years, plus a mobile range, and averaging about $160,000 per year that we've been awarding. Again, with understanding there's some variation, depending on the allocations that we've had.

The last couple of years, we had a big bubble of funding available to us and that's through the P-R funds that both Wildlife Division and hunter education have been afforded. These dollars need to be used for hunter education or ranges and because we can't stow those funds away for a rainy day and say, "Okay, well, we'll just hold on to them," we need to allocate them. It's a use it or lose it. If we don't use those funds within a two-year period, they revert back.

So we gave a lot of thought to what is the best use of this temporary increase in funds and we were concerned about investing in programs that we couldn't sustain over a long period of time. We looked at the source and why did we have that big bubble? The big bubble was through the sale of handguns, archery equipment, and ammunition. That's what brought that money in. So we felt that it would be very prudent of us to invest in ranges.

This addresses the need for safe and convenient facilities around the state and would benefit those who are responsible for the increase in funds. And, again, this may not be a long-term source. So we thought that this is a good investment for the future. We took a look at the target ranges that are around the state. This is a snapshot. We had information on about 440 ranges and what we found is a little over 200 of them are assessable to the public and open to the public. Less than 200 ranges, a little around that, are all private ranges. For these grants, the ranges need to be open to the public to be eligible for our grants.

We have been revising the application and the application process and we hired a coordinator to manage the grants and contracts, to handle this bubble of funding and available grants to the public. And with that, I would like to turn it over to Renan Zambrano to talk a little bit about where we are currently and where we are headed.

MR. ZAMBRANO: Good morning, Commissioners. Good morning, Mr. Smith. My name is Renan Zambrano. I'm Grant Specialist with the Communications Division. What you see before you in the green shaded areas is a representation of prior target range development throughout the state. These are former grants that we've had. The three stars that you find on the map are the three current projects that we have: The Fossil Pointe project located Wise County, just outside of Denton; the Mission Skeet and Trap Club in Hidalgo County; and Lake Houston Archery Park, which is in Harris County.

As you can see, our proposed grants for 2015 and 2016 is ambitious. We're very pleased to have the opportunity and the funding to try and get these on the ground. Let me start with telling you where they are. We have proposed grants in -- at Alvin Community College in Brazoria County, the Academy of Dogwood Hills in Smith County, Sid Richardson Scout Ranch in Wise County, Caney Creek Shooting Sports in Freestone County. I skipped the images for Conservation/Camp Lula Sams in Cameron County. We have Corpus Christi Pistol and Rifle Club in Parker County -- excuse me, in Nueces County. Fort Grard Guns and Archery in Parker County; Loma Alta Skeet and Trap in Cameron County; Camp Whispering Cedars in Dallas County, which is actually just south of Dallas serving an underserved community there; Pharr Rifle and Pistol Club in Hidalgo County; Shady Oaks Gun Range here in Travis County; and the City of Grapevine, Rockledge Park, which is in Tarrant County.

What these represent is an investment into shooting sports by having safe and assessable target ranges across the state, like Nancy mentioned. We feel that this is going to pay dividends to sport shooters and hunters who directly contribute to the funding through the sporting goods purchases. We also feel that this was going to foster behaviors and attitudes necessary in keeping Texas hunting incidents at an all-time low by certifying more students in hunter education.

This is Fossil Pointe's hunter education building and classroom. It's a very attractive and handsome building and the interior of that building for hunter education programming purposes. Here you see an outdoor education pavilion, which is part of the initial offering for Lake Houston Archery Park. This is a 20-acre site outside of Houston in New Caney, Montgomery County, which is where we're seeing a lot of urban sprawl and we're hoping to have something there for recreational opportunities for those folks.

This here shows some young men and women enjoying Mission Skeet and Trap Club, some archery that they're doing there. With the next slide, I would like to turn it back over to Nancy.

MS. HERRON: Okay. Thank you, Renan.

So those were some examples of some of the work that's been done with some of our current projects, but now I really want to talk about what we have forged a partnership with the City of Grapevine. We carved off a few of the funds -- about $2 million -- to do something that's unique.

Our target range grants have typically sponsored everything from mom-and-pop to world class type facilities for shooting sports. But what about the families? What about kids and families who are starting out in the shooting sports, and what about cities? And we approached the City of Grapevine about doing a target range and air rifle range in the city and also some offices for our staff. It was a fairy modest project. However, with school and its inception in terms of having something that's family friendly, in a park, in a city that represented some outdoor adventure, the proposed Rockledge Park along the water's edge so that would allow not only our archery; but also allow fishing.

So we started talking about that and, oh, my goodness, when they started looking into this and what they wanted to do, it exploded. And I am very excited to invite to the podium Kevin Mitchell from the City of Grapevine to tell you a little bit about what they want to do.

MR. MITCHELL: Good morning, Commission Members, Mr. Smith. Thank you for having me today. On behalf of Mayor William D. Tate and our council members, we are very excited about this project. We started visiting with staff almost two years ago about what Rockledge Park could be. And located in the heart of the Metroplex, five minutes from DFW Airport and millions of people, we felt like this site truly exemplified everything that Texas Parks and Wildlife does, the message that the men and women that work for Texas Parks and Wildlife try to portray and we're a family oriented community. We invite millions of visitors every year and what better place to have a partnership with Texas Parks and Wildlife.

In the first meeting when staff came up, I believe it was Nancy, and visited with our mayor and council -- and for those of you that don't know our mayor, he's been mayor longer than almost I've been born. His comment to Nancy and the team that was there that night at council was "Wow, this is the first project I've heard in 30 plus years that is a good project," and it's great for Grapevine and great for Tarrant County and the Metroplex. So I'll be happy to answer any questions. I know you have the exhibit before you. I don't want to take up any more of your time. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Thank you.

Questions?

I've got a couple. What criteria do you -- how do you score these requests?

MR. ZAMBRANO: We use a scoring criteria, sir. Specifically, it is ten categories with ten possible points each. Those categories can be everything from public access, hours of operation, design, does it fit with the spirit and intent of the grant. So the applicants have a possibility of scoring a total of 100, which would be a perfect score.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: And the intent of the grant is to increase access and safety or what's -- what --

MR. ZAMBRANO: Specifically, sir, the Pittman-Robertson Act and the Hunter Education Safety Program allows for hunter education programming and the construction of range development, which is specifically what we're doing here, sir, in conjunction with hunter education. We see that the two are really bonded and married together and that's why we speak very frequently about target ranges and hunter education going hand in hand, sir.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Well, I didn't know anything about this. This is real money here. This is...

MR. ZAMBRANO: Yes, sir, it is. We're very, very pleased to have this windfall opportunity.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Yeah.

MR. ZAMBRANO: And we think that these 12 projects are going to be dynamic partnerships across the state.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: It's fantastic.

MR. ZAMBRANO: Thank you, sir.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Any other comments?

COMMISSIONER JONES: Just a couple. Is there -- you showed a slide earlier that showed areas of the state where there are -- your target range areas in the state and some places there are none. In other places, in other counties they have up to 29 -- up to 29 ranges. Is there an effort to market or get to the counties that have none, to encourage them to pursue something like this so that we can get those that might be interested in something like this interested so they can get their first one?

MR. ZAMBRANO: Yes, sir. We were very conscientious of the idea that we have three very large urban centers and there has been a focal -- there's been a focus of target range concentration in those areas. When we brought this information in before our supervisor, Nancy, to review, she was very cognizant of the idea that we needed to spread these funds around.

And I would like to draw your attention to the fact that we do have three very important projects going into the South Texas area, sir, which we feel has been an area that has been underrepresented traditionally.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Well, and my question goes beyond South Texas. I mean, I'm just looking at several areas across the state that appear to have zero. And so I'm just asking is there any effort to reach out to those areas to make sure they are aware what we have available so they can apply?

MS. HERRON: Yes. And I'll step in on that. We have a new process of advertising the availability of the grants. We're fairly new in this; but absolutely as we move forward and see what we have available, how many moneys we can allocate. And, yes, we are talking about regional meetings to let proposals -- let the public know about those proposals. We do have press releases that go out at the time that we have a grant application period open. But in terms of reaching out directly with gun clubs and the like, we do intend to do that and it will always depend on the number of funds that are available; but absolutely give everyone a shot at that.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Okay.

MS. HERRON: Yeah.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: On the next slide, the green -- what was the -- what does the green signify?

MS. HERRON: The green will show you where we have invested to date.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Oh, okay.

MS. HERRON: These are places where we've already put money in over the last few years, the last three years. And those red stars are the current projects that we are funding right now, and then this next one is an overlay that shows you where the new grants that have been proposed are located.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Well, I don't know if you'll have this much money; but I would expect the number to -- the Pittman-Robertson funds to be significant again.

MS. HERRON: Yeah, we do think that this is a temporary high.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Yep.

MS. HERRON: And we're trying to do the best, what we think is the most judicial -- judicious use of those funds while we have them.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Thank you very much for your presentation.

Any other questions?

MR. SMITH: Commissioner, just to add on to that. We've seen these Pittman-Robertson funds and, you know, we utilize these for wildlife restoration and enhancement, a lot of research, restocking, conservation, and then we have dedicated funds for the Hunter Education Program and the Shooting Range Program. And since I believe 2011, we've seen the amount of Pittman-Robertson funds -- which I want to remind the Commission, are paid for by hunters and shooters -- go from about $17 million to 37 or so million for the state and those numbers may be off one or two million, but pretty close. So we've seen those funds go up dramatically, and it's been a great opportunity to give back to the hunters and shooters that pay the bills here.

I also, just if I could, just want to publically thank the City of Grapevine who I've heard about this project Josh and Nancy and now Renan for several years. And as y'all know, it's very difficult to find large blocks of open space up in the Metroplex. So the opportunity to partner to create what we have no doubt is going to be a world class shooting area, outdoor skill development area, as Kevin said, within close proximity to millions of folks up in the Metroplex is an extraordinary partnership and can't wait to see that land, which has been a bit underutilized to date, really be transformed and we appreciate the City's partnership and commitment. So thank you, Mr. Chairman.

MS. HERRON: And if I may add, as near as we can tell, this will be the first in the country and no surprise that Grapevine would be the one that would stand up and say, "Yes, let me do this." We're very, very excited about this.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Great. Thank you both.

MS. HERRON: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Item No. 10 has within withdrawn.

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

MR. SMITH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

(Commission Meeting Adjourns)

In official recognition of the adoption of this resolution in a lawfully called public meeting of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, we hereby affix our signatures this _____ day of ______________, 2016.

_________________________________________
T. Dan Friedkin, Chairman

_________________________________________
Ralph H. Duggins, Vice-Chairman

_________________________________________
Anna B. Galo, Member

_________________________________________
Bill Jones, Member

_________________________________________
Jeanne W. Latimer, Member

_________________________________________
James H. Lee, Member

_________________________________________
S. Reed Morian, Member

_________________________________________
Dick Scott, Member

_________________________________________
Kelcy L. Warren, 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
CSR No.: 8311
Expiration: December 31, 2016
7010 Cool Canyon Cove
Round Rock, Texas 78681
(512)779-8320

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