TPW Commission

Public Hearing, November 5, 2015


TPW Commission Meetings


                              November 5, 2015

                           COMMISSION HEARING ROOM
                           4200 SMITH SCHOOL ROAD
                             AUSTIN, TEXAS 78744

                             COMMISSION MEETING

                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Good morning,
          everyone.  Welcome.  Nice to see everyone.  This meeting
          is called to order November 5th, 2015, at 9:22 a.m.
                         Before proceed with any business, I
          believe Mr. Smith has a statement to make.
                         MR. SMITH:  I do, Mr. Chairman,
          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 would like for this fact to be noted in the
          official record of the meeting.
                         Mr. Chairman and Commissioners, I just
          want to join all of you in welcoming everybody today.
          We've got a standing room only.  Folks have found a
          place to get out of the rain and so nice to see
          everybody.  For those of you this is your first Parks
          and Wildlife Commission meeting to attend, just a little
          bit about kind of the rules of road, if you will.  We're
          going to kick off this meeting with a series of special
          awards and presentations and then recognitions of staff
          for their long serving tenure and time with the Agency.
          After that is completed, the Chairman will call for a
          brief recess.  And at that time, those of you who want
          to depart can do so and then we'll open it up for the
          remainder of the Commission meeting and so that should
          happen around 10:00 or so.  So please plan on that.
                         For those of you who have come to stay
          with us for the rest of the meeting, we have a number of
          action items that the Commission is going to be taking
          action on.  Some of you may be here to speak on those
          items.  If so, I would respectfully remind you to make
          sure that you've signed up outside.  At that appropriate
          time when that action item is up for consideration and
          it's time for you to speak, the Chairman will call you
          up by name.  We'll ask you to come to the microphone.
          You'll have three minutes.  Please state your name and
          who you represent and what your formal position is on
          that item.
                         We'll have a very simple green/red light
          system to help manage time so we can work through it as
          efficiently as possible.  Green means go, yellow means
          start to wind it down, and red means eject.  So help us
          honor that system this morning, if you will.  Also, if
          we happen to have an agenda item for which there are a
          lot of speakers and you happen to be sort of late in
          line to be called up, if you notice that somebody else
          or many other people have really covered all of your
          points, please don't hesitate to just come up and share
          with the Commission that you're for or against the
          proposal, without simply repeating things that have
          already been said multiple times to the Commission.  And
          that way, we'll make sure that the meeting is efficient
          as possible.  So if y'all will help us with that.
                         Last but not least, just some minor rules
          of decorum.  I'll apologize in advance.  But it is a
          formal Commission meeting and so if you have a
          conversation to have, please feel free to step outside
          away from the hearing room and also if you don't mind
          just silencing your cell phones for the duration of the
          morning.  We'd appreciate it.  Welcome and thank you.
                         Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Thank you,
                         Okay.  Before proceeding, I want to
          announce that Commission Agenda Item No. 9, Grant of
          Utility Easement, Brazoria County, Approximately 37
          Acres at the Justin Hurst Wildlife Management Area has
          been withdrawn from the agenda.
                         And next is approval of the minutes from
          the previous Commission meeting held August 20th, 2015,
          which have already been distributed.  Do we have a
          motion for approval?
                         COMMISSIONER JONES:  So moved.
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Commissioner
          Jones.  Second -- sorry, Commissioner Scott.  Second,
          Commissioner Jones.
                         (Chorus of ayes)
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Any opposed?
          Okay.  That motion carries.
                         And the next is acknowledgment of the
          list of donations, which have already been distributed.
          Do we --
                         COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  Move for approval.
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  -- have a motion
          for approval?  Commissioner Duggins.
                         COMMISSIONER MORIAN:  Second.
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Second
          Commissioner Morian.  All in favor?
                         (Chorus of ayes)
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Any opposed?
          Hearing none, motion carries.
                         Now, consideration of contracts, which
          has also been distributed.  Do we have a motion for
          approval?  Commissioner Martin.  Second, Commissioner
          Scott.  All in favor?
                         (Chorus of ayes)
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Any opposed?
          Hearing none, motion carries.
                         And now we have special recognitions,
          retirement, and service awards.  Carter Smith.
                         MR. SMITH:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman,
          Commissioners.  For the record, my name is Carter Smith.
          As a point of departure, we are very honored and
          privileged today to have with us our State's Land
          Commissioner, George Bush.  And General Land Office and
          Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, as all of you know,
          have enjoyed a very longstanding relationship.  We have
          a very deep and shared interest in the future and
          heritage of our lands and our waters and our coasts and
          our natural resources.  They have a terrific team over
          there.  We've really enjoyed the chance to work with the
          Commissioner and his leadership team as he's taken over
          the helm there on the 2nd of January, I believe,
          Commissioner.  It probably just seems like yesterday
          and -- but we're very honored to have him with us today.
                         He and his team have a special award in
          which they're recognizing one of our game wardens for an
          innovating -- innovative project to deal with abandoned
          boats up on the upper coast that we hope to extrapolate
          down to the lower coast.  And with that, let me turn it
          over to Commissioner Bush and have him make this special
          presentation.  So let's welcome him, Commissioners.
                         (Round of applause)
                         COMMISSIONER BUSH:  Mr. Chairman,
          Commissioners, Carter, thank you very much for having me
          on behalf of the Texas General Land Office.  Privilege
          to join y'all this morning to honor Sergeant Robert
          Waggett at this November 6 meeting.  Just by way of
          background, for the last 16 years under a statutory
          requirement, the Legislature asked for the General Land
          Office to be the first responder to all oil spills up
          and down the Texas coast, all 367 miles from the Sabine
          Pass to the South Padre Island.
                         Since that time, we have awarded every
          year to individuals, government entities, NGOs,
          corporations, and universities an achievement award in
          connection with their efforts to enhance these issues
          that we deal with on a daily basis, whether they be oil
          spill prevention, response, or educating the public, the
          good people of Texas.
                         As Carter had mentioned, abandoned and
          derelict vessels present a huge threat to the Texas
          coast.  The represent a threat to navigation, public
          safety, and to our state's environment.  On water
          removal costs typically run about 200 bucks per linear
          foot.  So, for example, a 25-foot vessel would cost
          upwards of 5,000 bucks, which is a large impact for a
          lot of our citizens.
                         Recognizing these risks that these
          vessels present, the Land Office partnered with Parks
          and Wildlife and also Galveston County to develop a
          proof of concept -- a pilot project, if you will --
          which is what we need to see more of in government
          candidly, that would address the persistent abandoned
          vessel problem in Galveston County, particularly in the
          wake of Hurricanes Ike and Dolly.  The partnership
          resulted in what we know now as the Vessel Turn-In
          Program, aka VTIP.
                         Much like the household hazardous waste
          disposal concept, the VTIP Program affords vessel owners
          the ability to properly dispose of their derelict
          vessels at no cost.  Thereby, removing the temptation of
          improperly disposing their assets, whether they're
          usable or not.  Vessels with unknown owners were cleared
          through a public process here at the Parks and Wildlife
          in order to allow for a disposal.  So each of our three
          partner entities made substantial contributions to the
          program's success, and in just recent time.
                         Galveston County promoted the event,
          utilized their equipment to compact the derelict vessels
          and transport these vessels to a landfill.  Our agency
          would be involved in the proper remediation of hazardous
          materials from these assets.  And Sergeant Waggett
          himself was instrumental in developing the protocols for
          this program to help streamline the process to clear
          vessels, clear their title, and then delete the relevant
          asset from the database in the Parks and Wildlife
          registry.  So at the first VTIP event earlier this year,
          25 vessels were processed for disposal, which resulted
          in a cost savings of just over $95,000.  The event also
          represented an excellent public outreach effort in the
          Galveston area and another event is scheduled in the
          city of Galveston and another scheduled in Brazoria
          County this upcoming spring.
                         Wherever I travel in the great State of
          Texas, whether it be coastal zone or otherwise, people
          are excited about this program and want to figure out a
          way to get involved.  The VTIP Program is a fantastic
          example of how government entities can work together to
          capitalize on our respective strengths to serve the
          people.  On behalf of the General Land Office and the
          oil spill prevention response team, I'd like to present
          Sergeant Waggett with this OSPRA award in recognition of
          his important contributions to the VTIP Program.
                         (Round of applause and photographs)
                         MR. SMITH:  Thank you, Commissioner.
          That's a great award.
                         And, Sergeant, we're very proud of you.
                         You know, really that introduction is a
          great segue into our next special presentation.  The
          Commissioner talked about the importance of innovation
          and entrepreneurship and partnerships in state
          government and how important that is.  And one of the
          greatest and most long lasting partners for this
          Department, of course, has been the Parks and Wildlife
          Foundation.  And one of their -- really their longest
          standing corporate partners has been Anheuser-Busch.
                         Anheuser-Busch was the first corporate
          sponsor of the Parks and Wildlife Foundation.  Made
          really an extraordinarily generous gift at the urging of
          August Busch himself to help support the conservation
          and stewardship and outdoor pursuits of this Agency and
          that partnership really has just flourished with time.
          And really, you can't go to any part of the state
          without seeing their footprints in terms of something
          that they've helped support and whether it's a hatchery
          or a park or a public hunting area or an education or
          outreach program, Anheuser-Busch through their
          relationship with the Parks and Wildlife Foundation and
          then in turn the Department, have really accomplished
          some wonderful things.
                         So it was no surprise this summer when
          they reached out to the Parks and Wildlife Foundation
          and said that they wanted to launch a new contest to ask
          the citizens to vote for your favorite state park and
          they launched that this summer.  A lot of fanfare, a lot
          of interest as you might imagine.  You know how beloved
          your state parks are.  But perhaps it was no surprise
          that the little park on the Blanco River quickly rose to
          the top, got the vast majority of the votes.  And I'll
          tell you, I know I can speak for Ethan Belicek, our
          superintendent, that the timing couldn't have been
                         Certainly, Commissioner Scott, as you
          well know from Memorial Day and just those horrific
          floods that perched right over the Blanco River and
          specifically the state park and had very consequential
          impacts for the river and the communities and Hays
          County and the park itself, this was a real shot in the
          arm to see the park recognized that way.  We're blessed
          to have an extraordinary friends group there at Blanco
          that supports Ethan and his team.
                         And so today, we've got Elliot Sparkman,
          who's the on-premises activation manager for
          Anheuser-Busch; and he's going to present a check to
          Ethan and the team from Blanco State Park and Anne Brown
          from the Foundation.  And so let's welcome them to come
          on up.  So, everybody.
                         (Round of applause and photographs)
                         MR. SMITH:  One of the better kept
          secrets in Parks and Wildlife and really state
          government as a whole and it's a little known fact is
          that Parks and Wildlife manages the second largest
          number of facilities in the entire state, just behind
          the Department of Criminal Justice.  And so you know
          that.  Campgrounds and campsites, marinas and fishing
          piers.  We've got, you know, hotels.  We've got
          restaurants.  All kind -- German breweries, explains why
          State Parks are always in such good spirits.  It's a
          huge diversity of infrastructure that really we have to
                         And one of the important elements of that
          stewardship is making sure that our capital assets
          reflect our mission, they reflect our conservation
          mission, our stewardship; and we want to manage those
          assets in ways that not only are good for the
          environment, but also in ways that are good for our
          bottom line.  And today we're very proud to announce a
          wonderful partnership with Green Mountain Energy, work
          with Andee Chamberlain in our Infrastructure team who
          manages a lot of our sustainable -- sustainability
          projects and initiatives.  And they work together with
          our State Parks team at Enchanted Rock and Green
          Mountain Energy is donating the solar photovoltaic
          system, which will be installed on the headquarter's
                         We're expecting that to cut our energy
          usage in half, save about 50 percent on our energy
          bills; and that's real money to the bottom line there at
          the park.  And so it's a very, very generous donation
          and we've got Mark McShane, who's the Vice President of
          Green Mountain Energy, with us today to make a
          presentation.  Let's welcome Mark.  Mark.
                         (Round of applause)
                         MR. MCSHANE:  Good morning.  On behalf of
          the Green Mountain Sun Club, it's my pleasure to present
          40,000 -- $40,000 donation to the Texas Parks and
          Wildlife to be used towards the development of a new
          solar array at Enchanted Rock State National Area --
          Natural Area, excuse me, to build a new solar array at
          the headquarters out at Enchanted Rock.
                         The Green Mountain Sun Club, formed out
          of Green Mountain Energy back in 2002 and since that
          time, we have made over 84 donations throughout the
          state of Texas, totaling $84 million -- excuse me,
          totaling $4 million and built out almost one megawatt of
          solar energy here in Texas.  It's my pleasure to be here
          today, and we're excited to work with the Texas Park --
          Parks and Wildlife, given both your regional and
          national recognition for conserving natural resources.
          Thank you.
                         (Round of applause and photographs)
                         MR. SMITH:  For our next presentation,
          we've got some -- really, some old friends that have
          come in from the Shikar-Safari Club International.  You
          know this group, a very prominent and distinguished
          sportsmen and conservationists and hunters active in
          wildlife conservation and our hunting heritage in our
          state and our country and really our world and they're
          just great ambassadors for the sport of hunting and the
          whole model of hunter conservation.
                         And so the Shikar-Safari Club every year
          honors a game warden with their Wildlife Officer of the
          Year and this will be the 36th year, I believe, that the
          Shikar-Safari Club has honored a wildlife officer of the
          year and we could not be more proud of the fact that
          this year, it's our very own Benny Richards.  Benny has
          been with us for two decades, serving proudly as a State
          game warden in Northeast Texas.  He's based up in Hunt
          County, which is a very busy area of the state.  It's
          got a great mix of agricultural lands, but also that
          kind of rural/urban interface as that whole Dallas/Fort
          Worth metroplex kind of expands east.  And so he stays
          awfully busy.
                         Benny is one of those just consummate
          game warden game wardens.  Has integrated himself very
          well into his community, involved in youth sports and
          youth mentoring.  He's just a trusted advisor to all of
          the community leaders in that county who look to him for
          not only his law enforcement acumen, but also his
          leadership in the community and just a pillar of the
                         His captain loves to tell the story that,
          you know, Benny can never let his work quite go.  He and
          his family recently returned home from a trip up to New
          York City.  Literally the plane landed at DFW, he
          stepped off the plane at night, got a phone call about a
          poaching case, raced home, put on his uniform, and
          before sun up he had five people arrested and on his
          road to making a great case on a deer poaching incident
          there in Hunt County.
                         He also had another case that he led
          recently that had to do with -- I'll just call them what
          they are -- a bunch of rednecks that were riding ATVs up
          a little dry creek bed in Hunt County and so they were
          using that waterway to ride their four-wheelers and so
          forth and then trespassing on farms and ranches and
          Benny led a great investigation to catch those and help
          shut those down.  Benny also recognizes the importance
          of communicating the important work of our game wardens
          and very actively writes an article in the local
          newspapers that they publish called "Furry Tails" about
          the adventures of the game warden there and so that's a
          very popular series that everybody looks forward to
          reading each week.
                         Last thing I'll say about Benny, I hope
          all of you have seen those billboards for our Operation
          Game Thief Program and some of them you'll see, you'll
          have that game warden scene with the game warden looking
          off with the binoculars and the eyes of Texas are upon
          you.  And Benny was the one that came up with that
          moniker about the eyes of Texas are upon you and so our
          Operation Game Thief Committee integrated that and put
          it on the billboards.  Of course, "The Eyes of Texas" is
          obviously a proud song.  Something that I know that all
          the Aggies really enjoy singing.  We're going to get
          Benny up here.  We're going to have the former Chairman
          of the Texas A&M Board of Regents, Bill Jones is going
          to come up and lead us in singing "The Eyes of Texas"
          with Benny to help celebrate that.
                         And so in all seriousness, we're just
          thrilled, the Shikar-Safari Officer of the Year.  I saw
          the Stumbergs and Danny Butler back there, Marko Barret
          are here and so we're going to ask that merry band to
          come up and present this award to Benny.  Let's give
          them all a round of applause, so.
                         (Round of applause and photographs)
                         COMMISSIONER JONES:  Carter, I would
          gladly love to join in on the singing of that song; but
          I don't know the words and the words I would substitute,
          they probably wouldn't like.
                         MR. SMITH:  I was afraid of that.  Good
          call, Commissioner.  Thank you.
                         We've got a very special presentation now
          in which we're going to honor the inaugural class, the
          graduating class of our first Game Warden Citizen
          Academy.  And yesterday, we had a very robust discussion
          with the Commission about the critically important role
          that our game wardens have played and we really started
          out that discussion talking about the just extraordinary
          work they do serving the state as part of the Operation
          Strong Safety II related initiative; but as you know, we
          talked about a whole lot more than that.  We talked
          about the extraordinary emergency response and roles as
          first responders and their important roles in public
          safety and disaster relief with recent floods in Navarro
          County and right here in Travis and Hays and Caldwell
          Counties and helping to respond to the fires over at
          Bastrop and Buescher.
                         And so we talked about just, again, the
          very important role that our game wardens play in terms
          of helping to protect our lands, our waters, our fish,
          our wildlife, our environment, our property, and
          oftentimes our lives.  But we also talked about the fact
          that, you know, our game wardens quietly do their work
          behind the scenes and they get it done and oftentimes
          that work that they do for communities throughout all
          the state's 254 counties does not go as recognized or
          noticed as some of us might otherwise like.
                         And so thanks to the leadership of
          Commissioner Margaret Martin, who really came to us
          about two years ago.  She had just graduated from the
          FBI Citizens Academy and said we really ought to think
          about creating a citizens academy for our game wardens
          in which we can go out and identify community leaders,
          people of influence, to really come and learn through an
          in-depth process what our Law Enforcement team does on a
          day-to-day basis.  And so under her leadership, working
          with Craig and Danny and Grahame and others, they put
          together the inaugural citizens academy.
                         And we decided to focus it on really a
          hand-picked group of leaders in business and agriculture
          and government and conservation to run through the
          program.  It was a five-month program.  Every month they
          came together and were introduced to some element or
          facet of our Law Enforcement work from going to see the
          Game Warden Training Center in Hamilton to going out
          with our dive team and learning about the
          search-and-rescue operations they perform, watching the
          K9 team in operation, riding along with game wardens in
          the field as they did their day-to-day responsibilities
          out protecting our natural resources and looking out for
          the safety of our lands and waters and people and it
          just a great experience.
                         And today, we're going to have a
          graduation ceremony to thank those community leaders who
          took time out of their very, very busy schedules to go
          through the Citizens Academy.  We're very proud of that,
          and so I want to call each of the proud alums.  They all
          passed their finals with flying colors, and we have a
          little something to say thank you.
                         Commissioner Martin, we'd like for you to
          come forward; and, Vice-Chairman, if you'll come forward
          as we call them out and take a picture.
                         I'll start off with the first one, Robby
          Byers.  Robby Byers, State Director for the Coastal
          Conservation Association.  Robby, please come forward.
                         (Round applause and photographs)
                         MR. SMITH:  Our next alum is Bill
          Horabin.  Bill's a prominent Austin businessman and
          rancher, supporter of our K9 team and Operation Game
          Thief.  Bill.  Where are you, Bill?  There you are.
                         (Round of applause and photographs)
                         MR. SMITH:  Vol Montgomery, businessman
          and rancher, Reveille Peak Ranch there in the Hill
          Country, works very closely with our Law Enforcement
          team.  Vol, are you here?  Vol?  There you are.
                         (Round of applause and photographs)
                         MR. SMITH:  John Nelson, John's in real
          estate and ranching and farming here in the Central
          Texas area, also chairs our Operation Game Thief
          Committee, John Nelson.  John, you here?  John, yeah.
                         (Round of applause and photographs)
                         MR. SMITH:  Craig Rosenstein.  Craig is
          the CEO of Lewis Energy.  And so, Craig, you here with
          us?  Yeah, there you are, Craig.
                         (Round of applause and photographs)
                         MR. SMITH:  Scott Sanderson.  Scott is a
          local businessman.  He's also President of the Austin
          Chapter of CCA, serves on their State board.  Scott.
                         (Round of applause and photographs)
                         MR. SMITH:  Our old friend Eric Stumberg.
          Eric's here in Austin, rancher and businessman,
          longstanding friend of Parks and Wildlife Department and
          so Eric Stumberg.  Eric.
                         (Round of applause and photographs)
                         MR. SMITH:  Bob Starns, local
          businessman, proud Texas Aggie.  Let me get a -- okay,
          all right.  Yeah, now we've got that done with for the
          morning.  Also our -- a proud member of the Parks and
          Wildlife Foundation Board.  So, Bob.
                         (Round of applause and photographs)
                         MR. SMITH:  Ben Stratmann.  Ben is the
          Chief of Staff for Senator Birdwell and strong
          outdoorsman, involved with the Young Men's Business
          League here in Austin and great friend of the
          Department.  So, Ben.  Ben, welcome.
                         (Round of applause and photographs)
                         MR. SMITH:  No stranger to this
          Commission, Susan Houston from the Parks and Wildlife
          Foundation.  Works every day to help raise funds for the
          Department.  You may not know this, as just polite and
          demure as she looks, you know, she was world class
          basketball star at Texas State.  Craig Hunter calls her
          the "little dribbler," Susan Houston.
                         (Round of applause and photographs)
                         MR. SMITH:  Okay.  I've been ordered to
          watch my tongue.  Jay Kleberg, you're fortunate.  Jay
          Kleberg for the Parks and Wildlife Foundation, great
          friend.  Jay, bravo.  Thank you.
                         (Round of applause and photographs)
                         MR. SMITH:  And last but not least, it's
          our great pleasure to really formally thank Commissioner
          Martin.  She has just been, you know, again, not only
          the intrepid sponsor and leader of this program; but she
          served so proudly on the dais as a Commissioner with all
          of you.  To be fair, you know, we really think of
          Commissioner Martin as the great den mother of Texas
          Parks and Wildlife.  I mean, she makes sure we get up on
          time, we've got our lunch packed; and when the bullies
          pick on us, she steps in their way.  She never misses an
          event.  She just lives and breathes Parks and Wildlife.
          She's just -- it's in her DNA since she grew up on the
          family ranch there north of Laredo in Webb County and
          certainly that experience at an early age really caused
          her to have a very strong and fond and deep connection
          with our State's game wardens and as she's served
          proudly with all of you on the Commission, she's really
          made a couple of things her priorities.
                         And I love hearing the little baby in the
          back.  It sounds a lot like home.  And getting kids into
          the outs of doors and youth related initiatives and
          supporting our Law Enforcement team really have just
          been at the forefront of her efforts.
                         And, Margaret, the State's game wardens
          and the Parks and Wildlife Foundation wanted to formally
          thank you for this.  And we've got Robby Robinson, who
          is the Vice President of the Game Warden Association,
          with us today with the Colonel and they want to present
          you with a commemorative duty pistol and an honorary
          game warden badge.  I feel absolutely compelled to tell
          you that that gun and badge will get you into more
          problems than it will get you out of.  So use that
          judiciously, Commissioner, would you?  Commissioner,
          bravo, bravo.
                         (Round of applause and photographs)
                         MR. SMITH:  And then if I could ask all
          of the graduates the first annual Citizens Academy to
          come back up, and we're going to do a group picture.
                         Kevin, don't go far.
                         (Photographs taken)
                         MR. SMITH:  Okay.  I think that's it in
          terms of our special presentations and what a wonderful
          lineup that was, just a great suite of partners who give
          so generously of their time and talents to this
          wonderful Agency and really all sectors.
                         The next part of our program this morning
          is to really celebrate the extraordinary service of
          three colleagues in State Parks and Coastal Fisheries
          and Law Enforcement who have retired from the
          Department.  Collectively between them, these three
          colleagues have 104 years of service to the Texas Parks
          and Wildlife Department, 104 years of service.
                         And I think, Vice-Chairman, that is very
          emblematic of the kind of commitment and dedication and
          loyalty and just love of mission and place that is so
          well-embodied by the 3300 professionals that proudly
          work for all of you at the Department; and so we have a
          chance to celebrate their careers today.
                         And it's fitting that we'll start off
          with the longest serving one of them, Jimmie Rodriquez.
          Jimmie literally grew up in state parks.  He's a native
          of San Antonio.  He served with us for 36 years.  At the
          ripe old age of 23, he started working out at Lost
          Maples State Natural Area before that State Natural Area
          was even open to the public; and so he was instrumental
          in helping to get it ready for opening it up.  He moved
          on and became our superintendent at Guadalupe River
          State Park; the old Kerrville-Schreiner State Park that
          some of you know, right there on the Guadalupe River,
          which the city now manages; Enchanted Rock State Natural
          area, which we had a chance to talk about.
                         Also served as interim superintendent
          back at -- or, well, at the Hill Country State Natural
          Area, Blanco State Park, and then back at Lost Maples
          State Natural Area.  The last part of his career, Jimmie
          really served as a project manager serving all of the
          Hill Country parks, working with them on infrastructure
          needs, minor repairs, putting Humpty Dumpty back
          together again when something was broken and just,
          again, proudly served those wonderful places.  Just
          takes a great sense of pride in the state parks.  Very
          focused on future generations, not only of outdoor
          enthusiasts; but also employees for this Department.
          He's just led by example.
                         Jimmie's retired to Bulverde there in the
          Hill Country with his wife of 35 years, Cindy; and now
          it's time for a little fishing.  Jimmie Rodriguez, 36
          years of service.  Jimmie.
                         (Round of applause and photographs)
                         MR. SMITH:  Our next colleague, Art
          Morris from our Coastal Fisheries Division, one of our
          biologists.  Has been with us for 35 years and Art, like
          so many folks, again, I mean, literally grew up inside
          the Agency.  Art was hired as a technician to work in
          Coastal Fisheries Division down in Rockport and so part
          of the team that did all of the sampling there in
          Aransas and Copano and Saint Charles Bays.  Moved down
          to the Upper Laguna Madre to work in the hyper-saline
          lagoon for a year or two and really just a couple of
          years into his career, Coastal Fisheries recognized that
          we really needed a formal liaison to work with Coastal
          Conservation Association and anglers all up and down the
          coast as we launched new initiatives, considered
          regulation changes, so that we had somebody that really
          was on the front line for getting public input and
          feedback on things that the Commission was considering.
                         And so Art became really our fishery
          outreach specialist from the coast.  Again, all the way
          from Sabine Pass down to Boca Chica, working with both
          recreational and commercial fishermen.  Many highlights
          in his career, but I'll mention a couple just because
          they really are signature projects for Coastal Fisheries
          and our partners.  One, Art was instrumental in starting
          the Abandoned Crab Trap Cleanup Program.  And so these
          are these ghost traps that just get left out in the bays
          and those crab traps will catch all kinds of marine
          organisms and kill things and every year, Art would
          sponsor an abandoned crab cleanup effort and CCA and
          other anglers, commercial fishermen, game wardens,
          biologists, communities would all pull together to help
          clean up those death traps in the bays and just done a
          terrific job.
                         Also, back in the 90s and early 2000s
          when folks were really starting to bemoan the absence of
          Tarpon along the coast and folks got very interested in
          how do we restore Tarpon back to the coast and as all of
          you know, is just one of the great pinnacle experiences
          of any angler is, you know, catching a Tarpon,
          particularly on a fly rod.  I assure you if Craig Hunter
          ever catches a Tarpon on a fly rod, you'll hear about it
          for the rest of your lives.
                         But Art launched a program to really
          engaged anglers all over the coast.  Started this Tarpon
          observation network where people could record
          observation sightings and catches on the internet to
          just give a us a better sense of distribution,
          abundance, migratory patterns.  Just a wonderful citizen
          science related project.  And then last but not least,
          Art was instrumental in helping to launch our license
          buyback program, which has bought back bay and bait
          shrimp licenses, crab license buyback, and some finfish
          licenses along the coast from commercial fishermen as
          part of our conservation effort.  He's a past President
          of the Texas Chapter of the American Fisheries Society,
          was named as the outstanding fisheries worker for that
          body of professionals.  Again, he just knows the coast
          backwards and forwards.  We're going to miss him dearly.
          Art's not going to ride off in the sunset.  You'll
          probably find him Padre Island National Sea Shore
          chasing a fish.  Art Morris, 35 years of service.  Art.
                         (Round of applause and photographs)
                         MR. SMITH:  All right.  You heard it from
          Earl.  Our next one, Kevin McDonald.  Happy, happy,
          happy when you get up here.  So I want to see a big
                         Kevin McDonald, 33 years of service as a
          State game warden.  Kevin comes from a long line of
          public servants.  His dad was the proud mayor of Corpus
          Christi.  Many folks may remember him.  His late brother
          Chris was a highly respected game warden down in Bee
          County where he served for many years, and Kevin really
          followed in those footsteps in terms of his career as a
          public servant and law enforcement.
                         Grew up on the coast in South Texas.
          That's his home ground.  He knows it backwards and
          forwards, cares deeply about it.  When he got out of the
          Game Warden Academy, he was stationed down in
          Brownsville for a couple of years in Cameron County and
          then he moved up to Mathis in the San Patricio County,
          was promoted to lieutenant there in Corpus and then in
          1999, Kevin was promoted to our captain game warden down
          to really oversee kind of that lower and mid coast area.
          I mean, that part of the state which because of the
          huge, vast ranches and undeveloped habitat and the Piper
          Saline Lagoon and barrier islands and wonderful ranch
          country.  What many people call the last great habitat,
          that area kind of from Petronila Creek all the way down
          to El Sals and Kevin has lead his team of game wardens,
          proudly serving the State in that area.
                         An amazing network of friends and
          relationships in the ranch country that has served this
          Department well.  They wrote that Kevin had proudly
          served under five different majors.  I will warn you,
          that is classic Law Enforcement speak for "he outlived
          the bastards."  Kevin just always kept his head down and
          did a great job as a leader.  We just couldn't be more
          proud of him.  One of my -- and I have many stories on
                         We spent a lot of time together in South
          Texas at different points in our careers.  But not my
          most favorite story, but one of my most memorable ones
          of Kevin.  Craig's predecessor, Pete Flores, and I had
          to go down to Kingsville for a series meetings with
          Kevin and when we were done meeting with a group of
          ranchers, we were going back up to that Kingsville
          Kenedy County Airport and Pete had ridden with another
          game warden and gotten there ahead of us.  And right as
          we were about to turn into the driveway down the FBO,
          there was this kind of beat-up car on the side of the
          road and there was this husband and wife that were
          outside, terrible situation.  You know, just screaming
          at each other and looked like they were about to come to
          blows, just absolutely horrific.  The lady was holding a
          baby in one arm.  And so Kevin quickly turned on the
          reds and blues and we jumped out to intercede and stop
          something before it got too bad for anybody involved
          there and I'll never forget following -- you know,
          Kevin's about 6'8 and so you want him in a bar fight,
          let me just tell you that.
                         Kevin steps in and they won't calm down
          and they're screaming at one another.  It looks like
          they're going to go to blows.  And I'll never forget
          watching this.  It was like slow motion as I watched
          Kevin reach towards the lady with this motion like this,
          like this, and "Here, you take it," which was a baby
          with this very ill-fitted diaper that looked like I had
          put it on.  The baby was very stressed and no sooner had
          the baby been passed to me, that was the job Kevin
          clearly thought the Executive Director should do, take
          care of the baby and get out of way, sir.  And the -- it
          just came out of both ends all over my shirt.  And I
          looked down, I'll never forget, and I looked over and
          there was Pete Flores with his binoculars watching the
          whole thing doubled over in laughter on the Tarmac.
                         Kevin's been a great friend to this
          Agency.  Proudly served us.  He hadn't ridden off in the
          sunset.  He's got a wonderful ranch in Jim Wells County.
          He's now a captain for the Jim Wells Sheriff's
          Department, oversees their reserve deputy program.
          Stays involved with law enforcement down at the King
          Ranch.  Very proud of Kevin.  Thirty-three years of
          service, Kevin McDonald.  Kevin.
                         (Round of applause and photographs)
                         MR. SMITH:  We're going to now go into
          our service awards and we have a chance to really honor
          some distinguished colleagues, again, who have given so
          generously of their talents over the years.  And it's
          fitting that we start off with Chris Beckcom in State
                         Chris has been with us for three decades.
          You may not have had a chance to meet Chris, but I
          assure you you've seen his handywork.  Chris is our lead
          planner for State Parks and so he really is the one that
          helps to shape the footprint and design and development
          of parks literally from one end of the state to the
          next.  And throughout his proud career, he's developed
          plans for Cooper Lake and Government Canyon, Mustang
          Island, Big Bend Ranch, Palo Duro Canyon, the World
          Birding Center, Devils River State Natural Area; and, of
          course, right now he's working on the Palo Pinto
          Mountains State Park west of Fort Worth.  And so Chris
          just brings a wonderful suite of skills, bringing
          stakeholders together to try to identify what people
          want in their state parks, what kind of amenities, what
          kind of infrastructure, and how best to fit that on the
          land and be sensitive to the important natural and
          cultural resources that we're charged with serving.
                         Chris has had a wonderful career with us;
          and we honor him today for 30 years of service in State
          Parks, Chris Beckcom.  Chris.
                         (Round of applause and photographs)
                         MR. SMITH:  Our next colleague, John
          Thomas also from State Parks, also been with us for 30
          years and really all of that time in deep East Texas.
          John's been one of our great leaders over there, very
          fortunate to have him on our team.  Started off as a
          park ranger in 1985 at Caddo Lake State Park.  He was
          then promoted to a regional interpretive specialist and
          John really helped lead this statewide effort to help
          enhance our educational interpretive efforts, working
          throughout all the parks in the state, working in
          concert with our wildlife biologists at some of the
          WMAs.  Again, helping us develop really the best
          educational and outreach programming for the millions of
          visitors that come and visit the state parks each year.
                         In '98, John transferred to the Starr
          Family Home Historical Site, where he was superintendent
          and proudly led that historic site for a number of
          years.  And then in 2005, John moved over to
          Daingerfield State Park and Daingerfield State Park, of
          course, is one of the state parks built by the men of
          the Civilian Conservation Corps.  And back in 2007 when
          we got some significant infrastructure funding, Jessica,
          that -- Daingerfield State Park was front and center for
          us in terms of helping to remodel and renovate really
          all of the facilities on site and John just played a
          great role in terms of helping to preserve that historic
          infrastructure and make sure that it will continue to
          last for future generations and we're proud to honor
          John today for 30 years of service, John Thomas.  John.
                         (Round of applause and photographs)
                         MR. SMITH:  Our next colleague from
          Coastal Fisheries is Dr. Robert Vega.  Robert, again,
          just this decades' long career with us.  Literally grew
          up inside Parks and Wildlife, as well.  Got his
          bachelor's degree in biology from A&M Galveston and then
          his master's degree there at what was then Corpus
          Christi State University, I guess, prior to being A&M
          Corpus Christi.  Got his master's degree.  Came to work
          for us as a technician at the -- what we call the CCA
          Hatchery there that we have in partnership with CCA
          there in Corpus.
                         And Robert started working there at the
          hatchery.  Quickly moved his way up, was promoted to
          hatchery manager; and then several years later, Robert
          was promoted to his current position, which he's held
          since 1992.  Robert oversees all of our three coastal
          hatcheries, which as I told you yesterday, you know,
          produced upwards of 30 million fingerlings last year to
          put out back in our bays of Redfish and trout and
          Southern flounder.  Robert's been on the leading edge of
                         One of the things I love about his
          background is he's never stopped learning; and while
          working full time for Parks and Wildlife, overseeing all
          of the hatcheries on the coast, Robert went back to
          College Station part time and completed his PhD.  And
          he's a very well-revered scientist in the hatchery
          community.  He's published over 40 papers and peer
          reviewed journals.  He's really a go-to guy all across
          the world for folks to come to to learn about
          cultural -- culture and propagation techniques in
          hatchery related settings and you won't meet a nicer
          guy.  Dr. Robert Vega, 30 years of service.  Robert.
                         (Round of applause and photographs)
                         MR. SMITH:  Our next colleague, Monica
          Davenport.  Monica has been with us for 25 years, and
          Monica literally is a colleague that is on the front
          lines for us.  She works for our Law Enforcement team
          out of the -- out in Galveston County there in the La
          Marque office.  But really for her first 22 years, she
          was our office manager there in Freeport, working for
          our Law Enforcement team.  She was the, I think, the
          only one in that office and so for literally 22 years,
          dealing with folks that were coming in -- commercial
          fishermen, recreational anglers, boaters.  She was our
          representative in Freeport and just did a terrific job
          there representing the Department.
                         At one point in her career when we had
          created the Limited Entry Program for commercial
          fishermen, she noticed some mischief going on in that
          program and, obviously, worked with the game wardens to
          get that stopped and very proud of her for that for
          folks that were trying to abuse our -- the license
          privileges.  In April in 2012, Monica transferred to the
          La Marque office where she continues to work in her
          administrative role there as an administrative assistant
          and, again, front lines for the Department interfacing
          with the public, critically important role.  Monica
          Davenport, 25 years of service.  Monica.
                         (Round of applause and photographs)
                         MR. SMITH:  Our next colleague, Merida
          Cuellar, budget analyst inside our State Parks System.
          Also been with us for 25 years.  And Merida had a
          distinguished career really with the Air Force and
          retired for that -- from the Air Force.  Came to work
          for the Department in what, at that time, we called the
          Planning and Design Section, Jessica.  A little trivial
          pursuit for you.  That's now our Infrastructure
                         She then moved over to our Administrative
          Resources team, Mike, and worked in contracting and
          procurement and administrative related functions.
          Worked in accounting, federal grant billing, budgeting,
          all of the back office stuff that we just have got to
          have to make the ship run.  In 2006, Merida transferred
          over to our State Parks Division.  She's held a variety
          of positions there; but she's now our lead budget
          analyst, and so critically important role supporting
          Brent and his leadership team there in State Parks.
          Twenty-five years of service, State Parks, Merida
          Cuellar.  Merida.
                         (Round of applause and photographs)
                         MR. SMITH:  Our next colleague has also
          been with us for 25 years in State Parks, Zeo Corpus.
          And Zeo started out his career there at Pedernales Falls
          and was there for a couple of years and then moved over
          to LBJ State Park and historic site and that's where he
          has proudly served for 23 out of the 25 years and he's
          had all kinds of jobs there.  Working initially as a
          seasonal; he was on the maintenance team; worked on the
          tour center team working along the National Park
          Service, who's obviously our neighbor there at the LBJ
          site.  He was a lifeguard during the summers there at
          the pool.  Then became a clerk at the site and, again,
          went back to working for the tour center desk.  Again,
          really is the person that people would go to to get
          information about the park, where can they drive, where
          can they walk, what can they see.  Zeo is really the
          one, again, on the front lines that's the face of the
          Department at the park that people go to for
                         We changed his title in 2013 as a
          customer service rep, which I think reflects the
          important commitment our State Parks Division has each
          and every day to give exemplary customer service to the
          8 million visitors that come and visit their state
          parks.  We're proud that he embodies that.  Zeo Corpus,
          25 years of service.  Zeo, please come forward.
                         (Round of applause and photographs)
                         MR. SMITH:  Our next colleague, Cindy
          Hobson has also been with us 25 years.  One of our
          Fisheries biologists.  Cindy started out in Inland
          Fisheries and -- where she launched her career over in
          East Texas.
                         When Cindy came to work for us, Craig,
          she was the first female biologist working on one of our
          management teams in the state; and so proud of her for
          helping to break that barrier.
                         She worked over in East Texas with the
          Fisheries Management crew for a couple of years and then
          she moved to Tyler, working on our kills and spills
          teams and so when there were spill related events and
          we'd have mortalities of fish and other organisms, Cindy
          would work on that on assessing the damage and cleanup
          and remediation.  In '93, she moved over to San Marcos,
          again, with our kills and spills team; but really
          focused on water bodies in Central and West Texas.  And
          then since 1997, she's worked on our Water Quality team
          and makes sure that the state water quality standards is
          promulgated by the Commission on Environmental Quality,
          sufficiently reflect fish and wildlife related concerns
          with the development of those standards.
                         She's been also instrumental in helping
          to put in place a seagrass monitoring program.  We know
          how important and critical that is for our habitats on
          the coast.  And Cindy has just been a very valuable
          biologist for our Coastal Fisheries team.  Twenty-five
          years of service, Cindy Hobson.  Cindy.
                         (Round of applause and photographs)
                         MR. SMITH:  Our next colleague, Annette
          Sudyka is with our Inland Fisheries team and she, too,
          has been with us for 25 years all at the Heart of the
          Hills Research Station there at Mountain Home.  Just
          that's an old historic hatchery that, Craig, I guess
          was -- what -- built in the 30s, late 20s -- 1927.
                         Yeah, really an amazing aqueduct fed by a
          spring.  It's just really a fascinating place.  She's
          been our staff services officer there.  Started off as
          an administrative assistant there at the Heart of the
          Hills.  She's, again, constantly working on professional
          development.  She's a certified Texas procurement
                         She's one of only three employees, Craig,
          in your division that's a certified procurement manager.
          That means she can buy stuff.  Be nice to her is my
          words to you.
                         But she does a whole lot more than that.
          She works with this little merry band of researchers and
          biologists out at the Heart of the Hills and it's this
          great team of biologists that are working on things and
          they're always needing help with their administration
          and managing stuff and finding papers and research and
          networking with researchers all around the world and
          there's never a task that's too big or small for Annette
          and we're proud of her service to our Inland Fisheries
          team.  Twenty-five years of service, Annette.  Bravo.
                         (Round of applause and photographs)
                         MR. SMITH:  Our next colleague is in our
          Information Technology Division.  He's been with us for
          20 years, Arnie Montemayor.  And Arnie has a great
          history.  He grew up down in San Diego there in Duval
          County.  Home of Ballot Box 13 for all you political
          junkies.  And Arnie's family's been deeply rooted there
          for a long time.
                         Arnie did go off to the University of
          Texas.  So he actually can sing "The Eyes of Texas are
          Upon You."  We won't let him get too close to this mic,
          though.  Arnie graduated from University of Texas, came
          to work for the Parks and Wildlife Department.  Really
          was our first HUB coordinator inside the Agency.  Then
          was responsible for creating that audit program over our
          procurement cards and so did a great job in terms of
          setting that up.  And then as we were creating our first
          automated financial system, hard to imagine that that
          just happened in the last 20 years, that Arnie was
          really responsible with helping to interface with
          clients, help develop that system.
                         And he moved over, at that time, to our
          Information Technology related division and since then,
          Arnie's been our manager of customer service.  So the
          help desk, all the IT support; and so Arnie is really
          George's liaison to everyone inside this Agency.  If
          there's a meeting around the state, Arnie is there.
          He's always here to help, always has a smile on his
          face.  He's just a -- so much embodies the wonderful
          spirit of this Agency and just brings a great initiative
          and work ethic every single day.  Arnie Montemayor, 20
          years of service.  Arnie.
                         (Round of applause and photographs)
                         MR. SMITH:  Okay.  Last but not least,
          Kelly -- all right, you're out here.  Good, good, good.
          Kelly Simon, Kelly's been with us for 20 years as one of
          our Wildlife biologists and just, again, has a very long
          and distinguished career.  Started out in our Nongame
          and Urban Wildlife Program in which she was the
          coordinator of the Texas Wildscapes Program and that
          really is working with folks, again, in urban areas to
          help them cultivate wildlife habitat in their backyard
          and their gardens.  You know, we talked about this
          yesterday with the Monarchs, that anybody can
          participate in that recovery effort.  It doesn't matter
          how much land you own.  And Kelly was on the front lines
          of helping to launch that program.
                         And if you go into Barnes and Noble or
          really any bookstore, you can see this wonderful book
          that she wrote on Texas Wildscapes as the author.  So
          it's a great resource for folks that want to have
          ecologically appropriate and adaptive plants to plant,
          again, to help enhance habitat in urban settings.
                         She worked for us as an urban wildlife
          biologist in the Nongame and Urban Wildlife Program.
          Transferred over to Region II over in Bastrop in which
          she worked in Bastrop and surrounding counties.  Came
          back to the Wildlife Diversity Program as, again, one of
          our Nongame and Urban biologists.  She's a proud alum of
          our Natural Leaders class.  Worked on a big project on
          alternative funding sources that she helped the Agency
          with.  Kelly is also, at various points of her career,
          been on the front lines with us.  Like the Lost Pines
          Recovery Team after the devastating 2011 fires.  She's
          worked on Houston toad issues.  She's been our
          representative on the Texas Invasive Species
          Coordinating Council, Lower Colorado River Refuge Board.
          She's just been a great ambassador for wildlife to the
          people of Texas and proud to call Kelly Simon a
          colleague.  Twenty years of service, Kelly.
                         (Round of applause and photographs)
                         MR. SMITH:  Mr. Vice-Chairman and
          Commissioners, that concludes my presentation.  Thank
                         COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  Thank you, Carter.
          And thanks to all those involved.  This is always a
          special time for us.
                         At this time, let's take about a
          five-minute recess; and then we'll resume with the
          agenda at that time.  Let's reconvene in about five
          minutes.  Thank you.
                         (Recess taken)
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Okay.  We'll go
          ahead and reconvene at this time.  I want to just thank
          everyone for waiting through our service awards.  I know
          we have a lot of folks here today who waited very
          patiently.  So I just want to convey our appreciate for
                         Item No. 1 is approval of the agenda.  Do
          we have a motion for approval?
                         COMMISSIONER JONES:  So moved.
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Moved by
          Commissioner Jones.  Second by Commissioner Scott.  All
          in favor?
                         (Chorus of ayes)
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Any opposed?
          Hearing none, motion carries.
                         Item No. 2, Action Item No. 2 is the
          Election of a Vice-Chairman.  Do we have any discussion
          by the Commission?
                         COMMISSIONER JONES:  Mr. Chairman, I
          would like to nominate the continuation of Ralph Duggins
          as Vice-Chair.
                         COMMISSIONER MORIAN:  I'll second.
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  We have a motion
          for Ralph Duggins as Vice-Chair.  Second by Commissioner
          Morian.  All in favor?
                         (Chorus of ayes)
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Any opposed?
                         Well, Ralph, motion carries.  Looks like
          you got through again.
                         COMMISSIONER SCOTT:  Skated again.
                         COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  Thank you.
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  I appreciate all
          your service and everything you've done.  You've given a
          lot to this Commission and this Agency, and we're all
          better for it and appreciate it very much.
                         Item No. 3 is --
                         COMMISSIONER MARTIN:  Did I miss that?
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Yeah, you missed
                         COMMISSIONER JONES:  You can still vote
          no if you like, just for the record.
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Should we start
                         COMMISSIONER MARTIN:  I vote in absentia.
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  There you go.
                         Item No. 3 is our Youth Hunting Program.
          Justin, would you please make your presentation?
                         MR. DREIBELBIS:  Mr. Chairman,
          Commissioners, good morning.  For the record, my name's
          Justin Dreibelbis.  I'm the Private Lands and Public
          Hunting Program Director.
                         Since 1996, Texas Parks and Wildlife
          Department has partnered with Texas Wildlife Association
          to offer safe educational hunting opportunities for
          youth on private land across the state through the Texas
          Youth Hunting Program.  It's a partnership that the
          Department is very proud of, and we appreciate the
          opportunity to highlight the program today.
                         I would like to welcome the director of
          TYHP, Chris Mitchell, and a couple of his special guests
          to make a presentation to you.
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Thank you.
                         MR. MITCHELL:  Chairman and
          Commissioners, we really appreciate the opportunity to
          give you a little report on the Texas Youth Hunting
          Program.  I provided each of you each a little card that
          has our stats on there, and it also includes a little
          thumb drive on there.  We had one young man who
          participated in our hunt that could not join us today;
          but he made a video, and it wasn't of a good audio
          quality to show in a big auditorium like this.  So I put
          it on that thumb drive for you and I would encourage you
          to please watch it.  Shiv Gosch is from Colorado and he
          joined us on one of our hunts and we invited him to come
          speak at the TWA convention and made -- he made a
          video -- his dad made a video of his presentation.  So
          we encourage you to watch that.
                         As far as the statistics from last year,
          we conducted 218 hunts, taking over 1600 youth across
          the state on safe, educational hunts.  And, of course,
          we did that with the help of 133 landowners; and those
          aren't just private landowners.  Those are also federal
          and state agencies and nongovernmental organizations.
          And, of course, we also could not do that without the
          help of our large volunteer base.  We have over 1600
          trained hunt masters since we began the program in 1996
          and collectively, our volunteers and our landowners have
          helped us take over 58,000 people on outdoor experiences
          all across the state.
                         What I'd like to do now is introduce you
          to our credentials.  These numbers are all real nice,
          but our credentials are the young people that
          participate in our hunts.  And to my left, I have Julie
          Krebs.  She's from Kerrville.  In addition to being a
          TYHP hunter, she's also participated in Texas Brigades.
          And I'll let her speak first, and then I'll introduce
          you to our -- to Monica Pena to my right.
                         MS. KREBS:  Hello.  My name is Julie
          Krebs.  I am a sophomore at Harper High School in
          Gillespie County, and I am thankful for the opportunity
          to be able to speak to you today.  I have been grateful
          to be a part of Texas Youth Hunting Program and Texas
          Brigades for several years.  I have gained a lot of
          knowledge from these programs about conservation,
          preservation, land stewardship, leadership, and
                         Through these programs, I have learned
          that to make a difference in the future, it starts with
          my generation and I to make that difference.  Even
          though I have been a part of Texas Youth Hunting Program
          for several years, I only have gone on a youth hunt once
          participating as a hunter two years ago.  My hunt was an
          exotic hunt in Rocksprings on a wonderful and beautiful
          property.  There, I saw many beautiful animals and I
          have made an everlasting bond with one of the hunters.
                         Even though I did not harvest an animal,
          I have gained many friendships from that trip and an
          everlasting memory and story with my father.  My dad is
          a hunter safety instructor and has made a youth hunt in
          memory of my brother, the Jacob Krebs Memorial Youth
          Hunt for Wounded Warriors.  My brother was also a hunter
          ed. instructor like my father.  He enjoyed the outdoors
          and cross-country; but my brother longed to be in the
          military, particularly being a Navy Seal.  Before my
          brother died, he volunteered in numerous youth hunts,
          including the Cave Creek Super Hunt.
                         Since then, my dad has started the youth
          hunt to honor our fallen heros by giving their children
          and themselves an opportunity to experience the great
          outdoors.  I have been a part of this youth hunt since
          the beginning and I enjoy greatly volunteering wherever
          needed and I've seen firsthand the impact that TYHP has
          brought upon others and I am beyond grateful for TYHP
          and all that they have done.  I have even recently been
          awarded the Texas Wildlife Association's Youth Volunteer
          of the Year because my dedication and volunteer service
          to TYHP.  I also was nominated because of my willingness
          to do any job at my brother's youth hunt and because of
          my promotion of the Texas Brigades Program, as well.
                         John Muir wrote "When one tugs at a
          single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest
          of the world."  I have found out that each program I
          have been a part of has tugged on everyone's lives that
          they have impacted, including mine.  Texas Brigades has
          tugged on my ability to become a better leader and
          speaker and Texas Youth Hunting Program has tugged my
          ability to share the value of enjoying and managing
          nature, seeing different wildlife, and creating new
                         You have tugged on so many different
          people and organizations that, in turn, impacts others
          beyond realization.  I would like to thank you
          personally for your generous and invaluable support
          towards TYHP.  Thank you for letting me speak to you
          today.  Do you have any questions?  If so, I'd be glad
          to answer them.
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Julie, thank you.
                         Any questions for Julie?
                         MS. KREBS:  Thank you.
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Thank you very
                         MR. MITCHELL:  And as I mentioned, this
          is Monica Pena.  She's participated in a couple of our
          hunts, and I met her on a spot-and-stalk hunt that we
          did in Blanco a couple of years ago and was just really
          impressed with her.  And so I'd like to give Monica an
          opportunity to tell you her experiences.
                         Thank you, Monica.
                         MS. PENA:  Thank you.  Hello.  First of
          all, I would like to express my appreciation for the
          Commission and for the Texas Parks and Wildlife
          Department for the Texas Youth Hunting Program and the
          opportunity that it offers to young people of all ages
          to get outside and to have fun and enjoy each other's
          company.  I'd also like to share my hunting experience
          with you.
                         I met such nice people over the weekend
          who made it so much better.  The volunteers and the
          cooks and the hunt masters and the landowners who were
          incredibly generous with us.  And I also learned so much
          on this -- on the youth hunts.  The ethics of
          responsible hunting was one of the main points that I
          walked away with.  I also -- last year in my freshman
          year of high school, I took biology and I dissected a
          deer and it was really, really -- it was amazing because
          it really brought to life the biology course that I took
          and it was amazing because we did not waste any of the
          deer.  And then also, I learned a variety of life
          skills, such as making fire, tracking the animals, and
          knot making.  It also gave me a chance to bond with my
                         My very first hunt, I went with my
          grandfather and it was very special and we both had fun
          and we both enjoyed it so much.  My second hunt was with
          my dad and that was incredibly special, too.  Both
          experiences were unique and memorable in their own way
          and I believe that Texas Youth Hunting Program has made
          a positive impact on a lot of kids, including myself.
          Personally, I have gained a greater experience --
          appreciation for nature because when you're in the blind
          and you're listening to the birds singing, you just --
          it just takes you to a different place and it just --
          it's so special.  And it was really cool to see
          different people coming together from all over Texas and
          we were all learning and we were all bonding with our
          parents and grandparents and we were all having fun at
          same time.  Again, thank you for your time.  God bless.
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Monica, thank
          you.  You both exemplify what's great about this
          program, and we really appreciate your leadership.
          Thank you.
                         Commissioner Duggins.
                         COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  I have a quick
          question for you young ladies.  Where did you -- or how
          did you get your hunter safety course?  How did you
          accomplish hunter safety?  Just out of -- it's just out
          of curiosity.
                         MS. KREBS:  My dad taught me on his
          property since he's a hunter ed. instructor and I've
          been going to many of his camps, so to speak, and I've
          listened on his lessons and hunter ed. instructor and
          ethnics and everything.
                         COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  Okay.  Ms. Pena?
                         MS. PENA:  And my dad took me to Red's
          Shooting Range in Austin, and they have hunter safety
          courses there.
                         COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  You took it at a
          shooting range?
                         MS. PENA:  Yes.
                         COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  Okay.  Well, I
          second the Chair's comments.  This is just so great to
          hear young people get up and tell us those things.
          Thank you so much for coming today.
                         MR. MITCHELL:  Thanks again for the
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Thank you.
                         Okay.  Action Item 4 is Approval of the
          Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Fiscal Year 2016
          Internal Audit Plan, Ms. Cindy Hancock.
                         MS. HANCOCK:  Good morning.  For the
          record, I'm Cindy Hancock, Director of Internal Audit.
          Texas Government Code 2102, also known as the Texas
          Internal Audit Act, requires the annual internal audit
          plan to be approved by the Commission.
                         I'm here to request approval for the
          fiscal year '16 internal audit plan, as listed in
          Exhibit A.  Exhibit A shows fiscal year '15 carryover
          projects and our new projects for fiscal year '16.  This
          exhibit also shows the number of hours estimated to
          complete these projects, and it has an alternative
          project that can be substituted or added if time
                         Staff recommends the Texas Parks and
          Wildlife Commission adopt the following motion:  The
          Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission approves the TPWD
          fiscal year 2016 internal audit plan as listed in
          Exhibit A.
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Any discussion or
          questions for Cindy?
                         COMMISSIONER JONES:  Mr. Chairman, I move
          for adoption of the audit plan as presented by
          Ms. Hancock; and I've reviewed it and talked to Cindy
          about it during the interim break.
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Moved by
          Commissioner Jones.  Second by Commissioner Morian.  All
          in favor?
                         (Chorus of ayes)
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Any opposed?
          Hearing none, motion carries.
                         Cindy, thank you.
                         MS. HANCOCK:  Thank you.
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Item No. 5 is
          Implementation of Legislation During the 84th Texas
          Legislative Session, House Bill 721, Relating to Hunting
          and Fishing License Waiver for Certain Disabled Veteran,
          Justin Halvorsen.
                         MR. HALVORSEN:  Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
          For the record, Justin Halvorsen, Revenue Director.
          Commissioners, the action item I'm presenting today is
          simply a cleanup/housekeeping issue from the past
          Legislative session.
                         The Agency offers as super combo hunting
          and fishing license at no cost to military veterans with
          a service connected disability above a certain
          threshold.  That disability rating prior to fiscal year
          '16 was 60 percent or higher.  House Bill 721, from this
          past Legislative session, dropped that down to
          50 percent or higher.  That's effective as of 2016.  The
          Administrative Code currently reflects the old
          60 percent rating.
                         Our proposal is to replace the exact
          disability rating in the TAC code and replace it with a
          reference to statute.  In this case, Parks and Wildlife
          42.012.  That way in case there are any subsequent
          changes to the disability rating, we don't keep having
          to bring this issue up as an action item.
                         The proposed rule was published in the
          October 2nd, 2015, issue of the Texas Register.  As of
          Tuesday, October 27th -- and actually, these numbers
          haven't changed as of this morning -- there were 23 in
          favor, three opposed.  One commenter noted that it
          complicated the reading of the law to have it reference
          the statute.  The other two in opposition either didn't
          comment or their comments weren't relevant.
                         Therefore, staff recommends the approval
          of the following motion:  The Texas Parks and Wildlife
          Commission adopts amendments to 31 TAC 53.3 concerning
          combination hunting and fishing license package, with
          changes as necessary to the proposed text located at
          Exhibit A, as published in the October 2nd, 2015, issue
          of the Texas Register, Issue No. 6855.  That concludes
          my prepared remarks.  I'm happy to answer any questions
          you might have.
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Any questions for
                         Commissioner Scott.
                         COMMISSIONER SCOTT:  I'd just like to
          move that we approve this.  I'll make a motion.
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Okay.  Motion for
          approval Commissioner Scott.  Second?
                         COMMISSIONER JONES:  Second.
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Commissioner
          Jones.  All in favor?
                         (Chorus of ayes)
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Any opposed?
          Hearing none, motion carries.  Thank you.
                         MR. HALVORSEN:  Thank you, sir.
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Action Item
          No. 6, Chronic Wasting Disease, Recommended Adoption of
          Interim Proposed Rules.  And before Clayton makes his
          presentation, I believe Mr. Smith has some clarifying
          comments to make.
                         MR. SMITH:  I do, Mr. Chairman.  Thank
                         And just, Commissioners, as we discussed
          yesterday and I think this is really important that you
          have a chance to hear this again from me, as well as all
          of the many stakeholders out in the audience, the
          proposal that Clayton is going to be laying out in front
          of you is not intended to be a permanent rule.  This is
          an interim rule.  One to provide continuity through the
          existing hunting season.  It's exactly what we told the
          stakeholders we would be doing.
                         We have a proposed sunset date on these
          rules of the 31st of August.  But I want to explain that
          because it is our intention with all of the wealth of
          information and data that we have been collecting in
          concert with our landowner and hunting partners, both of
          captive and free-ranging deer, to utilize that
          information along with a much more thorough
          epidemiological assessment to be able to come back in
          March to this Commission with a proposal on a new set of
          rules relating to this subject.
                         At that time, we'll have a proposal
          certainly that everybody will have a chance to see and
          comment on through the normal regulatory process.  And
          then the hope is then in May, we'll come back to you
          with a formal proposal for adoption.  So at that time,
          the Commission can choose to adopt rules.  That will
          provide clarity and business certainty for all of the
          many stakeholders that have an interest in this.  So I
          want to be abundantly clear about the timeline and the
          process that we're laying out in front of you.
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Thank you.
                         Thanks, Clayton.  Go ahead.  Appreciate
                         MR. WOLF:  Mr. Chairman and
          Commissioners, for the record, I'm Clayton Wolf.  I'm
          the Director of the Wildlife Division.  And this
          morning, we're going to ask you to consider for adoption
          these interim rules for breeder deer movement and
          liberation.  Also, I want to point out again that in the
          room, we have some staff from Texas Animal Health
          Commission with us.
                         We have Dr. Andy Schwartz.  He's the
          Assistant Executive Director, and a State
          epidemiologist, and also we have Mary Luedeker.  She's
          Assistant General Counsel over Governmental and Industry
          Relations.  And as I indicated yesterday, this -- you
          know, this -- these rules and the development on the
          short timeframe just would not have been possible
          without their partnership.  They were -- they were here
          and became very familiar faces at this building, as we
          were over at the Texas Animal Health Commission.  Truly
          a partnership that we really appreciate.  We appreciate
          their expertise, their professionalism and their
          dedication and their involvement in the development of
          these rules.
                         As I mentioned yesterday -- and this is
          going to be a bit more abbreviated -- the rules that
          we're asking you to adopt this morning really establish
          three transfer categories or three different levels of
          movement qualification status.  And then associated with
          those, release site requirements that are associated
          with the release of deer from these different transfer
          category breeding facilities.
                         I also showed you this graphic here,
          which basically demonstrates the model that we adopted
          to develop these enhanced testing requirements, wherein
          we recognize that someone with a TC 1 status or the
          highest level of testing out there, that really helps to
          mitigate risk for disease transmission.  And so with the
          release of a deer from a TC 1 facility, which creates a
          Class I release site, the testing requirements on that
          release site are the lowest.  In fact, in this
          particular case or in our rules, there are no testing
          requirements at Class I release sites.
                         So we move forward to the TC 2
          facilities.  Transfer Category 2 have a moderate testing
          performance; and so to compensate for that, the testing
          requirements at the Class II release sites are at a
          moderate level.  And hence, also on TC 3, that is the
          lowest testing performance within breeding facilities;
          and so to offset that, the testing requirements at the
          release sites are their highest.
                         And so I'll go through that, that -- you
          know, information I covered yesterday.  For TC 1
          Category, those would be certified or fifth-year status
          herds.  These are herds that are enrolled in a Texas
          Animal Health Commission CWD Herd Monitoring Program.
          And, of course, these herds must have a reconciled herd
          inventory; and they cannot be a Tier 1 site.  And you
          will recall a Tier 1 site are these sites that received
          CWD exposed deer.  And Class I release sites have no
          additional testing requirements.
                         The Transfer 2 Category is really the new
          category or the new threshold that we established in the
          rules.  In order to qualify as a TC 2 breeding facility,
          you must test 4 and a half percent of the average
          population in the facility over the last two years.
          These facilities also must have a reconciled herd
          inventory and not be a Tier 1 site.  Individuals may
          choose to voluntarily sacrifice animals if they're not
          at that TC 2 level, but wish to be at that level.
                         The release sites associated with TC 2
          then are obligated to Class II release site testing
          requirements.  If deer are released on a ranch and it
          becomes a Class II release site, they must test
          50 percent of the hunter harvested deer in that season
          or a number equivalent to 50 percent of the breeder deer
          that were released that year.  Irrespective of those
          first two bullets, they must test 50 percent of the
          breeder deer liberated and harvested in the same season.
                         And for a Transfer Category 3, 20 percent
          of the eligible mortalities in that facility since
          May 23rd, 2006, must be tested and have a result of not
          detected.  This is a -- those rules were established on
          May 23rd, 2006.  These were the standards that had been
          in place since that time, and so many folks have -- were
          operating by these standards and when we were able to
          reactivate TWIMS, everyone that met these standards was
          at a minimum able to meet the TC 3 status on
          September 24th.  TC 3 breeding facilities must also have
          a reconciled herd inventory; but as opposed to TC 1s and
          TC 2s, these Tier 1 sites, these exposed herds, may be
          in the TC 3 Category provided that they abide by the
          provisions within their Texas Animal Commission Herd
                         And the Class III release sites, as I
          said, have the highest testing requirements.  The
          harvest on these sites, 100 percent of the hunter
          harvested deer must be tested or they must test a number
          equivalent to the number of breeder deer released that
          year, whichever is greater.  And in addition, all deer
          released on Class III sites must have an RFID tag or a
          USDA National Uniform Ear Tagging System clip tag.
                         Just a few other general provisions, a
          deer breeding facility assumes the status of the
          originating facility from which it received deer.  If
          that facility is of lower status, all the release sites
          must be high fenced and the Class II and Class III
          release sites must maintain a daily harvest log on site.
          All those provisions are in the existing emergency rule
          that was filed and effective August 18th.  Since that
          time, there have been several questions come up in
          discussions; and one of those questions was about new
          breeding facilities.  We had -- during that exercise, we
          had been assigning folks a category or a status level
          and sharing that information with them; but the question
          was asked "What about new breeders that do not already
          have a testing performance?"
                         And so the rules that we're asking you to
          adopt this morning, also establish that a new breeding
          facility will inherit the lowest status from among all
          facilities from which it received deer.  Also if a
          facility has its status dropped because it received deer
          from a facility of lower status, the question was asked
          "How long must that facility stay at that lower status?"
          And the rules that we're asking you to adopt would
          specify that period at two years.  And then for new
          facilities, the new facility status would be calculated
          after two years.
                         Obviously, though, as Carter Smith
          indicated, we're going to be revisiting these rules in
          January.  So there's no certainty on where we're going
          forward.  This may be changed as we evaluate the rules
          with our stakeholders and our partners at Texas Animal
          Health Commission.  And then finally, as --
                         COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  Can you hold on
          just a second?
                         MR. WOLF:  Yes.
                         COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  On the first
          bullet point, new breeding facility.  If a new facility
          acquires deer from two different sites that have
          different classifications, what would happen
          hypothetically in that case?
                         MR. WOLF:  They would assume the status
          of the facility with the lowest classification.  So if
          they got deer from a TC 2 and they got deer from a TC 3
          when they opened their facility, they would become a TC
          3 breeding facility.
                         COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  Okay, thank you.
                         MR. WOLF:  And then as Mr. Smith
          indicated, these rules -- and these are not in the text
          of the draft of the rules that were submitted to the
          Texas Register; but an amendment that we're asking you
          to consider, as well, is an expiration date of
          August 31st.  Understanding that as Mr. Smith said, our
          process, we hope -- we plan to be back in front of you
          in March with proposed rules and in May to consider
          those proposed rules for adoption.
                         As of 7:00 a.m. this morning, the public
          comment primarily through the web was 678 that agreed,
          supported the rules, with 372 opposed to or disagreeing
          with the rules.  We also received a letter that I
          reported to you yesterday that had numerous signatories.
          I have those on the screen here in front of you, and I
          will scroll through those as you see them.  There were
          26 organizations or associations on that first letter.
          This morning, I was presented with a new version of that
          letter.  It's basically the same letter, but it has
          three additional signatories on that letter in addition
          to the 26 that are on the screen here; and that includes
          the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, the
          Council to Advance Hunting and Shooting Sports, and the
          Texas Agricultural Land Trust are also now signatories
          to that letter of support.
                         We also received individual letters of
          support from organizations and associations to include
          East Texas Woods and Waters Foundation, the Texas
          Conservation Alliance made a web comment.  Ducks
          Unlimited, Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers
          Association and King Ranch.  And then we received a
          letter from Texas Farm Bureau that was -- it didn't
          necessarily speak specifically to the rules, but we
          would categorize it as a letter of support.  They --
          when they submitted the letter, they said it was in
          reference to our Chronic Wasting Disease rules.  And
          I'll just read the third paragraph.
                         "Farm Bureau policy favors Texas Parks
          and Wildlife Department and the Texas Animal Health
          Commission addressing the disease problems associated
          interstate and intrastate shipment of native wildlife,
          particularly those related to hunting -- to the hunting
          economy of Texas.  Additionally, the Farm Bureau policy
          supports continued research to develop a live test for
          CWD," which, of course, we will be thoroughly
          investigating at the beginning of the year.
                         We also received a web comment from Texas
          Deer Association in opposition to the rule.  And if we
          look at the reasons, the more common comments, we did
          have 106 comments that were identical or nearly
          identical, rather lengthy comment; but in essence, the
          comments on the web indicated that they did not feel
          that there was no longer an emergency because of where
          we were in the -- in our testing, that there was no
          considerable threat, that current testing requirements
          were injuring industry without just cause; and
          specifically in addition to just asking the Commission
          to consider the rules, the adoption of the rules in
          their entirety, there was -- there is a specific request
          to dispense with Class II release site testing.
                         Other more common themes, the numbers
          here are probably -- will be updated a bit because this
          is from yesterday morning, and we weren't able to keep
          up with everything over the last 24 hours.  But the
          common themes, there were some in opposition to the
          rules because they -- the individuals are opposed to
          deer breeding in general or the rules were not stringent
          enough.  Some felt that this was Agency overreach and
          overreaction.  There were some that believed that the
          rules required deer to be sacrificed.  Others indicated
          the rules were punitive and singled out deer breeders.
          And then, of course, as we make the reference to live
          animal testing, several believe that the rules should
          allow for live animal CWD testing.
                         A few more comments that testing
          requirements should be the same for all deer; and then
          we had some more comments, individual comments that
          weren't the form comments, opposing release site test
          and also commenting that they did not believe that there
          was an emergency.  And then, in general, just scanning
          through the comments, there were a few that indicated
          that the rules would have a negative impact on the
          economy, on deer breeders, land value, and local
          economies and such.
                         And so the motion that we're asking the
          Commission to consider this morning is:  The Texas Parks
          and Wildlife Commission adopts new 31 Texas
          Administrative Code Section 65.90 through 65.93
          concerning disease detection and response, with changes
          as necessary to the proposed text, which is located in
          Exhibit A, as published in the October 2nd, 2015, issue
          of the Texas Register.
                         And with that, I'll be glad to take any
          questions or step aside for public comment.
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Thank you,
                         Any questions for Clayton at this time?
          Okay.  We have several people signed up to speak on Item
          No. 6.  Starting with Carrie Collard, and Marko Barrett
          is next.
                         MS. COLLARD:  For the record, my name is
          Carrie Collard.  Chairman and Chairmen Members, I sat
          here in this room in July at a special hunting -- in a
          special hearing in September discussing the making of
          interim regulations concerning the deer industry at the
          end of the hunting season.
                         Now, I am attending today without any
          discussion with this industry as the hunting season
          begins.  How can you tell the public you're going to do
          something, and then do the complete opposite?  I feel as
          a Texas resident that I cannot trust my government
          because their word means nothing.  These emergency rules
          have crippled this industry and the landowners who
          purchase this product that are not even deer breeders.
                         It has placed burdens on the breeders and
          landowners just because they purchased from a deer
          breeder.  The regulations have decreased land values and
          have put a financial strain on me, deer breeders,
          landowners, and the Texas economy.  I think integrity is
          at stake here.  There is a process in which rules and
          regulations are made by State governments and this Texas
          government should be held to the same standards.  You,
          as government officials, have a duty to be honest, fair,
          listen, and discuss with both sides of the issue before
          you write or pass regulation.
                         As a Texas resident, I feel that you have
          overstepped your boundaries on this issue.  I am not a
          deer breeder.  I am a concerned mother of two little
          boys being raised working in a deer breeder industry.  I
          have taught my children values and how the State
          government is to work for the people.  You have a duty
          to hear concerns from all the people.  I have a problem
          with mandating landowners because they happen to
          purchase a breeder deer, and then place a financial
          burden on them.
                         These breeder deer have been liberated.
          They are no longer a breeder deer.  They are wild deer.
          Before the emergency rule went out and went into effect,
          hundreds and thousands of breeder deer have been
          liberated into the wild on these same release sites.
          You wiped the state clean across the board and
          considered them all wild and without risk.  After your
          emergency rules, the breeder deer are released and not
          considered wild and they are at risk because they came
          from a breeder pen.
                         Okay, sorry.  We raise deer in a
          permitted breeder pen and have regulations that protect
          our deer from being hunted and killed.  Some groups seem
          to hide behind the TTP, TTT, and DMP Programs; but in my
          opinion, they were breeding those deer illegally because
          they do not hold a breeder permit.  They should be held
          to the same standards as a deer breeder and be held
          accountable.  Deer liberated from a deer breeder permit
          are released onto private property and are no longer
          breeder deer.  They are wild.
                         These deer have the right to roam wild on
          the land and the landowner has the right to hunt them,
          just as the other groups do, without burdens placed on
          them because they came from a breeder pen.  I vote no to
          the extension of these rules being placed.  You need to
          hear all the people, not just a select few before you
          regulate.  Please stick to your word.  And another
          thing, I don't think it was fair to sit up here and put
          new rules that were not exposed to the public, to go
          ahead and pass them through real quick.  I think that
          was pretty crappy.  Thank you very much.
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Thank you for
          your comments.
                         Next is Marko Barrett.
                         MR. BARRETT:  Mr. Chairman,
          Commissioners, for the record, my name is Marko Barrett,
          San Antonio, Texas; and I'm in favor of the adoption of
          the interim rules that are proposed.  I'm the current
          President of Texas Wildlife Association; a group of
          Texas landowners, wildlife managers, sportsmen, and
          conservationist nearly 10,000 strong.  But before that,
          I'm a hunter, I'm a landowner, I'm a wildlife manager.
                         My family has both high- and low-fenced
          property.  We farm.  We raise cattle.  We lease for
          hunting, and we outfit for packaged hunts.  I have
          property in Medina County, the county here in Texas
          where CWD was first found in a White-tailed.  We have
          used many of the varied programs and regulated permits
          that our State and the Department has made available to
                         On our Medina County property, we were
          permitted under Level 3 of the MLDP Program.  We have
          transferred deer into the Medina County ranch both with
          the Triple T Program and from a permitted deer breeder.
          I have personally extracted brain stems to ship off to
          Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic's Lab to qualify to
          move deer out of another ranch with a Triple T Permit.
          I understand the sense of unease that comes from the
          what-if scenario that goes through a landowner's mind
          awaiting for those tests to come back.
                         I will be testing this year voluntarily
          on my property because I believe it is the right thing
          to do.  We need to have a better understanding of just
          where this disease is or has been as we move forward
          into the future.  I am extremely hopeful we will not
          find any more positives, but my optimism isn't paired
          with a high level of confidence.  I commend the
          Department and the Texas Animal Health Commission for
          erring on the side of caution by swiftly stopping
          movement once the disease was discovered and also for
          working with varied stakeholder groups, managers,
          hunters, and landowners to provide a cautious way to
          allow for movement of deer before this hunting season
          via the currently in place emergency rules.
                         A week after the discovery of the index
          positive, I and many of my friends who span the spectrum
          from large property, low-fenced landowners to small
          acreaged, high-fenced breeders, were having serious
          discussions questioning whether deer movement of any
          kind would be allowed at all this year.  Let us not
          forget how far we have come in such a short period of
          time.  I fully support the adoption of the rule as
          proposed and have faith that with the information and
          science garnered by the rule's required testing
          protocols during this season the Department has
          indicated in the rule discussion section, we're better
          equipped to considering modifying the testing protocols
          in the future.  So we will continue to protect our
          State's deer herd, the hunters who depend on that for
          recreation, the landowners and managers who provide us
          habitat, while at the same time being mindful of the
          impacts on users with tools in place.  Thank you.
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Marko, thank you
          for your comments n.
                         Next up is David Yeates; and after that,
          Van Bruns.
                         MR. YEATES:  Mr. Chairman, Commissioners,
          thank you for your time.  For the record, my name is
          David Yeates.  I work for Texas Wildlife Association.
          In the interest of time, I'll keep this very brief.  I
          want to speak specifically to the letter that's being
          delivered that's a hard copy of the most updated version
          with the additional signatures that Mr. Wolf mentioned.
                         I recognize there is a desire to amend
          the rules, specifically to Class II release sites.  The
          stubborn, unfortunate facts are that there -- we don't
          know if there is connectivity or not.  We don't know
          who's connected and who is not.  We haven't the found
          source of the initial index herd.  And, therefore, I
          believe that we should err on the side of caution in
          moving forward; and I want to reiterate the Texas
          Wildlife Association is absolutely committed to
          retooling and revisiting these rules with the
          information at hand at the end of the season.
                         I understand there's already about 1500
          non-captive samples collected already.  Hunting season
          opens this weekend.  I'm personally excited about that.
          I hope that we'll see a heavy tranche of new samples
          come in.  I personally will be sampling for myself.  I
          did want to point out that you certainly don't need us
          to explain the risks that we are potentially exposed to
          here.  Thank goodness there are only four -- five
          positives at this time.  We may, indeed, find more.  I
          hope that we do not.
                         But rather than that be treated as an
          opportunity to back off and ease up, I think it demands
          responsible vigilance.  This is an opportunity to nip
          this in the bud and react in a responsible manner.  So
          with that, I'll close and I'll be happy to any answer
          questions and thank you for your wisdom and leadership.
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Thank you.
                         Any questions?
                         Appreciate it, thank you.
                         Mr. Bruns and after Mr. Bruns, is
          Mr. Bender, Steven Bender.
                         MR. BRUNS:  For the record, Van Bruns,
          deer breeder, 64 years old, about ready to retire; and
          the deer business is very important to me.  I work for
          HP Zachary as a contractor for a number of years, and
          then went into pipe design.  I don't have a pension, and
          I'm relying heavily on this.
                         So why did I get in the deer breeding
          business?  I wanted to tell you that.  Back in the 90s,
          I was in DeWitt County and deer numbers plummeted and
          there's a number of factors.  You know, we have
          bulldozers and small acreage tracts in DeWitt County;
          and also, small acreage tracts and a drought.  We went
          from 38,000 deer to seven, 8,000 deer.  Landowners were
          very unhappy.
                         And what did the Parks and Wildlife do?
          They implemented a program -- not their fault -- to kill
          four does.  So it hit DeWitt County at that time at a
          very bad time.  People were very unhappy.  Landowners,
          they had a meeting in -- public meeting in DeWitt County
          and it got out of control.  So we have a passion.  I
          love the White-tailed deer.  I've been hunting since I
          could barely walk.  So it's something we have a real
          passion for, love for.  We make money at it.
                         I'm a small guy.  I worked my way up from
          the bottom, and I talked to the guys that are on the
          bottom.  Y'all want to affect the guys on the bottom?
          Believe me, you are.  I've got a feed bill that I have
          to pay.  It's a -- well, actually, I worked my way up --
          probably $100,000 a year.  And so the decisions y'all
          make are going to decide whether those guys get paid or
          not.  I was fortunate enough to sell my bucks this year.
          I want you to know I had one call.  No other calls.
          Normally, we don't have to advertise or do anything.
                         Okay, now let's get to the Chronic Waste
          Disease.  I'm a Level 2.  I buy deer, and I sell deer.
          Okay, so what does that mean, I'm a Level 2?  I don't
          just do 20 percent testing.  I test -- try to test all
          the deer that I possibly can.  I don't have a lot -- I
          don't have help on the place, like a wildlife biologist.
          I work myself, do almost all the work myself.  Okay, so
          what does that mean?  I go to work on -- I also work, go
          to work before daylight; and the time we have right now,
          I get home after dark.  So there is a possibility I'm
          going to miss a deer every once in a while as far as
          doing a test on them.
                         But I'm guaranteeing you, I've tested all
          I possibly can.  Haven't released any dead deer out into
          my pasture.  Okay?  So Level 2, I've tested all these
          deer and I -- now, when I release a deer out into my own
          site, I've got to kill some of those deer; and I've
          tested a bunch of them all ready.  I'm not connected up.
          Now, I understand that we could have this disease
          totally gone and I could still get it in my pen because
          it could be brought in by what?  Feed?  Hay?  It could
          be in the ground already.  So just because I don't have
          it, doesn't mean that I'm not going to get it.
                         The other thing, you've got the best
          level out there; and y'all are trying to tell us that
          they don't need to be tested going out.  Okay, that's
          fine.  I understand they've tested some deer and hadn't
          showed up or maybe they tested every deer.  But if they
          can get it out of the ground, out of feed and hay, how
          do you think they could not possibly have it?  And what
          I'm saying is that Level 2s are definitely -- I feel
          like I'm being discriminated against.
                         I've tested my deer.  I'm not a level --
          the best level.  But I feel like I'm being discriminated
          against as a breeder, and I love the White-tailed deer
          just like anybody.  Thank you.  Any questions?
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Thank you very
          much.  Appreciate your comments.
                         Mr. Bender.
                         MR. BENDER:  Good morning, Chairman
          Friedkin, Commissioners, and Mr. Smith.  I'm here today
          to speak in support of the proposed interim Chronic
          Wasting Disease rules as put forward by the staff here
          at Texas Parks and Wildlife.  For the record, my name is
          Steven Bender.  I work for the National Wildlife
          Federation, but today I represent NWF and our -- and
          Texas Conservation Alliance, our longtime affiliate and
                         At the National Wildlife Federation, my
          job is to work with sportsmen and women and to engage
          them in conserving the natural resources of this
          country.  Our organization has more than 4 million
          members through the world and half a million of those
          are hunters and anglers.  They are our roots, and we
          have been working with them for 80 years.
                         I won't go into why we're here.  We know
          that there have been two significant events over the
          last several years that have brought us concern with CWD
          in both West Texas and Medina County.  Every year, our
          NWF affiliates -- and we have 49 of them -- come
          together with our staff to discuss and debate affiliate
          sponsor resolutions.  Some of the most heated debate is
          around the care and protection of our cervids in this
                         Our first reference to Chronic Wasting
          Disease was in 2000, when this disease was fairly
          tightly contained into a few different states.  Now,
          that has changed; and it's made its way around the
          country.  We have made comments on behalf of our
          affiliates to the Animal and Plant Health Inspection
          Service, APHIS, concerning these issues, as well.  The
          tradition of hunting and fishing runs deep in this
          country and most certainly in Texas.  Many people who
          hunt do so because they want to get out in nature, they
          want to get outdoors.  And when successful, these
          hunters want to put meat in their freezers for their
          families to enjoy throughout the year.
                         Hunters should not be concerned in the
          field about harvesting an unhealthy animal.  They are
          concerned this has a potential to hurt hunting license
          sales and, therefore, decrease the revenue to this State
          agency.  In-state hunters and our out-of-state friends
          want to hunt in Texas without fear or concern of the
          health of the animal they're harvesting.  National
          Wildlife Federation and Texas Conservation Alliance
          support the actions taken by the biologists here at
          Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.  We trust the
          Agency to manage this resource properly and from a
          scientific perspective.
                         Therefore, we encourage the Commission to
          adopt the interim rules as laid out by the Wildlife
          Division; and we also encourage you to embark on a
          process that engages the best scientific minds inside
          and outside of this state to create a plan for
          postmortem and live testing and herd screening.  Thank
          you for your time and consideration of this issue.
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Thank you.
                         And next up -- you may have to help me
          with this a bit -- Brent Geistweidt.
                         MR. GEISTWEIDT:  For the sake of time,
          I'll withdraw; but thank you.
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Okay.
                         And next up is Mike Ford.
                         MR. FORD:  Chairman, thank you for your
          time today, Commissioners, ladies and gentlemen, Carter.
          I see lots of people in this room we call
          "stakeholders."  I have a stake in everybody in this
          room's business.  I've developed equipment personally
          that an international company in Mount Pleasant is
          building for us.  Some of it, I've sold to the Kerr
          Wildlife Management Area to further their knowledge and
          experience in what we're dealing with these animals.  We
          all love them.
                         I only beg and pray somewhere that as a
          Commission Court and Carter and his direction, that we
          find a science-based leader to teach us about this
          disease and let the passions that seems to have divided
          our wildlife community -- I'm a member of every
          organization sitting in this room.  Some of them as a
          life member.  I joined the TWA when I played for the San
          Antonio Gunslingers for Clinton Manges and getting $100
          to give TWA out of Clinton Manges was a pretty tough
          deal back then for y'all that know Clinton.  Bless his
          heart, he's gone today.
                         But I just ask the Court and the
          Commissioners to have the foresight that lets science
          teach us; and if we can do things to help eradicate the
          disease through science-based facts, then we have to go
          that way.  Today in the communities of the wildlife that
          we're all involved and love, passion is what's directing
          us.  Passion is what's dividing us.  Only science can
          educate us.  And I beg the Commissioner's Court to let
          that be the thing that we all strive to find.
                         Somewhere in this deal, science has to
          tell us what we have to do.  We know that science has
          proved to us that that disease won't make you sick.  We
          could eat 100 pounds of backstrap this afternoon, and
          nobody is going to get sick from eating it.  We know
          that it's not going to depopulate a herd anywhere.  They
          just released bison at the Colorado State University
          where they've done a brucellosis extraction from the
          gene.  They just released those bison last week on the
          same property where they found CWD in the 1960s.
                         How on earth can we have such a narrow
          mind of passion ruling something that science is the
          only answer to have?  It took me 30 years to get out of
          college.  I'm not the smartest guy in the room.  I
          enjoyed every bit of it.  I'd like to go back for a
          year, but I don't think that's going to happen at my
          time.  But if we take our passions -- we all have them,
          each and every one of us in this room does.  I have
          friends here.  I have lots of friends.  I've know
          Clayton.  Brad Chappell and I are from the same county.
          I'm from Red River County.
                         We talk about the deer in our pens not
          being wild.  They're -- in our eyes, they're livestock.
          We're producing a product for a consumer.  In my
          county -- and I see the light flashing -- they had to
          catch deer in some counties to bring back to Red River
          County in the 1940s.  I've seen the reports of it.  We
          killed all the deer in Red River County out of need to
          eat.  We killed all the turkeys.  As I visited with Mr.
          Linder this morning, we caught turkeys and took them
          back and reintroduced them.  We caught deer in three
          counties -- Zapata, Webb, and Johnson Counties -- and
          reintroduced them.  So in my particular case in Red
          River County, which is just shy of Oklahoma if you know
          where that is, we didn't have those animals when I was a
                         I had no hunting season when I was a kid
          in Red River County because there was no deer.  My
          forefathers and all their friends had shot all the deer
          and all the turkey to eat.  We, as man, and science let
          us go get some animals to bring back to reintroduce.  I
          don't think we're doing a whole lot different with that.
                         And I'll say this:  There is not one deer
          breeder anywhere in this room or anywhere in this state
          that ever would want anything bad to happen to any
          client or customer that ever come to them.  We would --
          we need to be the people leading that science fact.
          We've got the animals to test.  We can do the homework.
          We can do the numbers to get to there.  I beg the
          Commission to use the science-based facts to lead our
          industry and not our industry, but our state as a whole
          wildlife association.  We've got too many things pulling
          from outside this room.  Well, this room needs to be
          together, not divided.  I take the Commissioners' time,
          and thank all of y'all for that.
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Appreciate your
          comments.  Thank you very much, Mike.  Thank you.
                         Mr. Patrick Tarlton, and next up is Mike
                         MR. TARLTON:  Good afternoon, Chairman,
          Commissioners.  My name is Patrick Tarlton.  I'm the
          Executive Director of the Texas Deer Association.  On
          behalf of our membership, we oppose the adoption of
          the -- or the interim rules, Chronic Wasting Disease
          response rules.
                         This industry will never minimize CWD.
          For decades, deer ranchers in this state have led the
          way in CWD testing.  No one is more committed to
          mitigating, controlling, and finding the source of CWD
          than my members.  Our very livelihoods depend on it.
          The rules currently governing our industry were created
          in response to a perceived emergency that does not
          exist.  Animal Health Commission and Parks have gained a
          wealth of knowledge of information, which they did not
          have at the time of the creation and implementation of
          these rules.
                         The abundance of caution upon which these
          rules were created must be balanced with the facts
          before us today.  Sampling at the high -- of the
          high-risk deer at the index facility yielded four
          positives.  Conclusive tests on the remainder of the
          index facility had zero positives.  The single positive
          test result outside of the index herd can be directly
          traced back to the same pen and cohort at the index
                         I take extreme exception to the comments
          that we cannot assess connectivity.  Through the use of
          the robust and innovative TWIMS system we all utilize,
          we have identified, contained, and managed this incident
          of CWD in Texas.  There is no statewide emergency.  The
          system did work.  Our industry has euthanized and tested
          more than 800 animals since July 1st.  The absence of
          any additional test -- positive test results,
          significantly narrows the potential impact of CWD
          incident on this state, both in wild and in captive
                         These results should immediately alter
          the dynamics of the rules governing our industry moving
          forward.  The significant increase in CWD testing by
          breeder facilities should allow the Department to
          release Class II release sites without impacting the
          important functions of the Department on controlling the
          spread of the disease.  This immediate relief would
          equalize testing across thousands of landowners that are
          completely unconnected to CWD Tier 1 facilities.  The
          current testing and surveillance on Class II release
          sites required by emergency rules, are significantly
          damaging our industry.
                         I would ask you give this matter your
          prolonged consideration.  You do not have to adopt these
          rules as written today.  Making them permanent only
          validates decisions made in haste with limited
          information and based on a completely different set of
          facts than we were looking at today.  Additionally, if
          these rules are truly interim, we should not include
          consequences lasting two years.  Regulators in industry
          must work together to maintain a certain balance of
          private property rights, economic impact, and disease
                         The deer industry is in dire need of a
          permitting process that provides regulatory certainty,
          while maintaining a climate conducive to business
          growth.  We need -- we know challenges lie ahead.  The
          Deer Association and all my members are committed to
          working alongside regulators to find a path forward that
          balances fair and appropriate rules that take into
          account the economic livelihood of essential rural Texas
          industry like ours.  Thank you for your time.
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Patrick, thank
                         MR. TARLTON:  Thank you.
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Appreciate it.
                         Mr. Mike Wood.  Next up is Tim Condict.
                         MR. WOOD:  Greetings, Chairman Friedkin,
          Commissioners, Mr. Smith.  First off, I'd just like to
          say I love that we live in a country and a state where
          we're all allowed to get up and voice our opinion.  I
          appreciate all of your time, the State employees' time.
          Animal Health, Parks and Wildlife has devoted an undue
          amount of time and the sleepless hours and the abundance
          of work they've put in.  Since this was found in late
          June, early July, I think us, as ranchers, have had very
          much similar unrest and -- through this entire process.
                         It's cost many Texans their property,
          their livelihoods, their health, and even some their
          marriages.  Temporary emergency, according to Webster,
          temporary:  Lasting for on a limited period of time, not
          permanent.  Emergency:  A serious, unexpected situation
          requiring immediate action.
                         Well, we got the emergency part down
          pretty good.  The temporary part, we're still working
          on.  Emergency rules according to Texas Code, 120 days
          followed by two sets of 30 days each.  I implore you to
          act upon the temporary part and realize that Parks and
          Wildlife has been planning for this exact situation
          since 2005, when the importation of deer into Texas was
          stopped and as recent as a few years ago in far West
                         Guys they've had the time.  They put the
          plans together.  Let's let them work.  Implementing
          these temporary orders to permanent status or extending
          them, I believe is a bad precedent.  You have not
          educated the hunters, the landowners, the lessees, the
          lessors.  There's been nothing to these people who have
          deer on their properties.  I've received calls from
          people, neighbors and so forth.  One of my neighbors is
          the Executive Director of the Dallas Safari Club.
          That's a pretty big organization.  He's asking me what
          do to.  I don't know.  "What's going to happen if it's
          found on my land and I voluntarily submit it?"
                         I don't know.  I've worked lots with
          Mitch Lockwood.  I want to applaud Mitch for every time
          since this has started, I have called Mitch and he's
          instantly answered the phone.  He's never sent it to
          voice mail.  He's never said, "You know, I can't help
          you."  And before this, I've had good relations with
          Mitch and I know that's blinking; but I just had to say
          that.  But even Mitch couldn't answer what's going to
          happen to you if it's found.
                         We'll I've got two words -- three words
          for you:  Three Mile Island.  Your land's toxic.  If you
          really want to find where -- if you really want to find
          this, we need to really start testing.  We need to test
          everywhere, not just voluntarily.  We need to test
          everywhere.  TTP, those deer are already terminal.
          They're dead.  Let's test them.  You've got free animals
          right there to test.  So I beg of you to let the
          emergency order expire before more good, honest,
          hardworking Texans are forced into a bad situation.
          Many ranchers like myself realize released bred does in
          the spring and carrying this forward, this rule forward
          to August of 2016, will be taxing at best and dangerous
          that many have -- more dangerous than many have even
                         Let the rule expire as we were told; or
          simply put, you can shorten the MLDP season by two weeks
          when many of the folks are already through with their
          hunting and by usurping this emergency rule procedure to
          simply cover the last two weeks of the MLDP season, I
          feel is improper and reckless in many eyes, as well.
          The proper action will be to proceed with caution.  Let
          the tests conducted, then reviewed, come in.  Let the
          science and information disseminate where we go from
          there and all points moving forward.  Thank you for your
          time, and I appreciate you.  Any questions?  Thank you.
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Thank you.
                         Mr. Tim Condict.  Then next up is Evelyn
                         MR. CONDICT:  Mr. Chairman, members of
          the Commission, thank you for allowing me to make
          comment of the rule.  I feel strongly on the importance
          of our industry, not only in Texas, but across our great
          nation.  We create jobs.  We pay taxes.  We work hard;
          and we give families the opportunity to live their dream
          of raising great children in a rural environment,
          allowing parents to instill the ethics, morals, and
          values into those children through the responsibility of
          a day's work of doing chores on a deer farm.  It would
          be wonderful if every child in this country could be
          raised in this manner.
                         We are very patriotic and freedom-loving
          people.  We love our country, and we love Texas.  Across
          the nation, we have volunteered to be the canary in a
          coal mine.  We test our animals at a much higher rate
          for disease than animals on the outside of our fences.
          We work hard to be part of the solution by helping show
          when a problem possibly exists.  When we do find
          something, we are put out of business and our dreams are
          lost.  We do what we do not to get rich, but simply
          because we love our particular species so much that we
          can't imagine not being able to surround ourselves with
          these animals, learning and loving every minute spent.
                         Over time I feel there's been a level of
          distrust built between this Agency and deer breeders
          across Texas.  I'm not here to point fingers.  I am here
          to be part of a solution.  We should all be part of a
          team.  We all want what's best for the future of
          hunting, and we all want what's best for a future filled
          with people being able to spend time and learn the same
          respect for the great outdoors that we all share.  I
          think the people who work and take direction from the
          members of this Commission would agree that I am very
          open and honest with them and express my opinion of
          agreement or disagreement in a non-obstructive way.
                         I have sincerely appreciated the way that
          the gentleman that the Commission oversees has worked
          with me and given me the opportunity to express my
          opinion in a non-obstructive way.  I find myself reading
          proposals for rules that include language that I feel
          can be misinterpreted or detrimental to our industry.  I
          think we would be better served if a couple of the
          representatives from our industry had opportunities to
          work in an earlier stage of every process to eliminate
          unforeseen issues.  It is hard sometimes to understand
          how rules and laws will affect breeders unless you are
                         The route of CWD throughout the body of
          cervids is totally predictable.  It first shows up in
          the lymph node, then the tonsil to the brain, and then
          to the rectal lining.  From the time it shows up in the
          lymph node to the tonsil, according to the best research
          people in the nation, is less than two months.  The
          tonsil test is 100 percent accurate if CWD has reached
          the tonsil.  People lead you to believe it is hard to
          accomplish this test.  It takes 20 seconds once an
          animal has been knocked out.  That is absolutely not
                         We have people in quarantine situations
          that are losing their livelihoods and dreams that we can
          test out.  Please allow me to help work out these
          situations.  The DBC believes many deer were wasted
          through the retroactive 4.5 percent testing of animals
          that were not in trace-outs, costing our industry over
          $5 million.  We believe this could have been done going
          forward and avoided that loss.
                         We feel the emergency no longer exists
          and the information -- with the information we now have,
          we believe that testing breeders in hunt -- and hunt
          facilities is double jeopardy on the animal and testing
          in hunt facilities is crippling our industry.  Because
          of these reasons, we cannot support these emergency
          rules.  However, I would like to say that I really have
          appreciated the effort that's been put forth on behalf
          of Texas Parks and Wildlife extended to me and I thank
          you, Carter Smith and Clayton Wolf and Mitch Lockwood
          for the work that they have done with me because I do
          appreciate how they've reached out to me and I've
          reached out to them and the DBC would like to extend an
          invitation to put me in Austin, Texas, however long it
          takes, to stay in a motel down here and assist working
          out these situations with particular breeders that are
          caught in quarantine situations that will put them out
          of business.  Thank you for your time, and thank you for
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Mr. Condict,
          thank you for your thoughtful comments.  Appreciate it
          very much.
                         Ms. Evelyn Merz.
                         MS. MERZ:  Good morning, Carter, Mr.
          Chairman, Commissioners.  My name is Evelyn Merz.  I'm
          here representing the Lone Star Chapter of the Sierra
          Club.  To us, this is a very straightforward issue.  The
          solution to this issue is found in the name of the
          Agency Texas Parks and Wildlife.  The Agency's
          responsibility is to protect the State's wildlife
          population for the benefit of all the people, not just
          for the benefit of a special interest group.
                         This goes to the heart of the public
          trust doctrine.  The interim rule is a necessary,
          reasonable, fact-based, and thoughtful response to
          protect the wild deer herd from the transmission of
          Chronic Wasting Disease from private deer hunting
          facilities.  The Lone Star Chapter strongly supports the
          interim rule -- not the permanent, the interim rule --
          and urges the Commission to adopt it.  Thank you.
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Thank you very
                         And for the record, Mr. Tom Vandiver
          wishes to register a position for the adoption of
          interim proposed rules; and Mr. Craig Wilson wishes to
          register a position against the adoption of proposed
          interim rules.  They did not wish to speak.
                         And that, I believe, is everyone that's
          signed up to speak on Item No. 6.  Is there any
          discussion by the Commission?
                         We have a question from Commissioner
          Duggins.  Yeah.
                         COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  It's actually a
          question I would like to ask of Dr. Schwartz, if you
          wouldn't mind coming up please, sir.
                         Does the Animal Health Commission
          consider the rules that are proposed for adoption
          reasonable and prudent from a disease management
                         DR. SCHWARTZ:  Thank you.  For the
          record, my name is Andy Schwartz.  I'm Assistant
          Executive Director with the Texas Animal Health
                         And, Commissioner Duggins, the short
          answer to your question is yes.  We've -- would say that
          even before this first case of CWD was found in
          White-tailed deer and pen deer in Texas, our Agencies
          have worked together.  The Texas Animal Health
          Commission and Texas Parks and Wildlife, our leadership
          saw the need to do that.  Although we have differing
          missions, we knew that we needed to come to the same
          table because we both have a card in this game of
          protecting White-tailed deer.
                         So we support -- we supported a stopping
          of movement of deer while the epidemiological
          investigation was taking place.  We were -- as Mr. Wolf
          had said earlier, we were involved in the discussions
          about how to resume movement, how to allow the industry
          to resume some normalcy and still mitigate any risk
          that's still there, still was presented by this case,
          chronic Wasting Disease.
                         As it's been stated earlier, we still
          don't know the source of infection in this particular
          herd; and so I think it warrants some caution moving
          forward.  We do need extra surveillance that's being
          accomplished this year through the hunting season
          through the additional testing that was done to qualify
          herds for movement.  We plan to come back to the table
          with Texas Parks and Wildlife to consider this
          information that's gathered through additional
          investigation through hunting surveillance and making
          any recommendations to change the rule.  But, again, we
          see ourselves as sitting at the door.  The actions that
          our Agencies take, could have a long-term affect on the
          health of deer population in Texas; and I think caution
          is warranted.  So we do support this rule.
                         COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  Thank you, sir.
                         COMMISSIONER JONES:  Can I ask a question
          of Clayton Wolf?  I just --
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Please.
                         COMMISSIONER JONES:  Clayton, I just have
          a quick question.  A couple of comments mentioned the
          science, which is obviously very important to us, as
          well, and education of the stakeholders, the landowners,
          the deer breeders.  Are we do any -- what are we doing,
          if anything, both on the science side and the education
          side?  Testing procedures, even live testing, are we
          doing anything in that regard; or do we have something
          planned in that regard?
                         MR. WOLF:  Yes, Commissioner.  On the
          science side, in the time period that we had, we
          obviously relied upon the expertise of Texas Animal
          Health Commission, our veterinarian to pull together the
          scientific information we had.  The short answer,
          because many of the comments are related to antemortem
          or live animal testing, was really there was no protocol
          in place to be able to do that without really creating
                         But as we've indicated before, the
          purpose of our January symposium really is going to be
          to pull all the national experts on -- not just on live
          animal testing, but on the impacts of CWD.  You know, so
          there's a lot that's unknown; and so that's fertile
          ground for speculation on what population level impacts
          might -- there might be.  And so for January, we're
          going to bring together all the experts and put that
          together in a forum that all the stakeholders will be
          able to have access to; and then we're going to use that
          as a springboard as we move forward because we do -- we
          do feel like we can be leaders.  We can be innovative.
          We don't necessarily need USDA approved -- approval if
          we're going to develop standards for intrastate movement
          using a live animal test.
                         But we need to parameterize really those
          aspects of the test, and that's the part that we did
          engage some staff statisticians.  And what is concerning
          is when you look at probabilities of detecting this
          disease, particularly this type of disease, it is tough
          to detect.  And so some of the sampling levels we've had
          in the past, really the statisticians tell us it could
          take decades to find the disease.  And so what we want
          to do is bring the scientists together, along with the
          statisticians.  So not only can we look at the technique
          of how you get a sample and how sensitive that CWD
          sample is, but also convert that to something that means
          something for us how.
                         How long would it take, or what is the
          probability of detecting disease in this population or
          in this herd?  And so that will -- we'll do a more
          comprehensive look into that in January, and that will
          be -- all that material will be part of the
          decision-making process when we come to you in March.
                         As far as education goes, our partners at
          Texas AgriLife Extension have really taken the lead.  We
          have been part of numerous seminars and outreach
          meetings throughout the state.  In fact, there was one
          in San Antonio last night; and I think Mitch went down
          there to represent the Department.  And I've been
          involved in some in Bandera and Hondo and other places.
          We'll have them in Austin and Houston, San Antonio.  So
          outreach, just general outreach to get the hunters and
          landowners and talk about the disease, that is also
          taking place and Texas AgriLife Extension has really
          been a -- played a critical role in helping us do that.
                         COMMISSIONER JONES:  Okay.
                         MR. WOLF:  Did that answer all your
                         COMMISSIONER JONES:  It did.  When you
          look at -- have you scheduled the date in January yet
          for that symposium?
                         MR. WOLF:  We have not.  We've got a week
          that we have penciled in right now.  But, obviously,
          we've got to try to get ahold of all the experts to make
          sure we can get them here.  But we're looking at the
          middle of the January right now as our target, but we
          haven't scheduled anything yet.
                         COMMISSIONER JONES:  Okay.  Would you
          make sure you talk to the stakeholders before that
          scheduling because I'd like to make sure that as many of
          them can be there and it doesn't interrupt hunting
          season and whatnot that they may have.  I just want to
          make sure you --
                         MR. WOLF:  Sure.
                         COMMISSIONER JONES:  -- get as many of
          them there as you can.
                         MR. WOLF:  Yes, sir.
                         COMMISSIONER JONES:  Okay.
                         MR. WOLF:  Thank you.
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Any other
          questions?  Discussion?  Okay.  Do we have a motion on
          Item 6?
                         COMMISSIONER MORIAN:  So moved.
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Moved by
          Commissioner Morian.
                         COMMISSIONER JONES:  Second.  Second.
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Second by
          Commissioner Jones.  All in favor?
                         (Chorus of ayes)
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Any opposed?
          Okay.  Hearing none, the interim rules carry.  Thank
                         Item 7 is Land Acquisition, Matagorda
          County, 6,554 Acres on the Matagorda Peninsula, Mr. Ted
                         Hi, Ted.  Good morning.  It's still
                         MR. HOLLINGSWORTH:  Chairman,
          Commissioners, good morning.  My name is Ted
          Hollingsworth.  I'm with the Land Conservation Program.
          And at the risk of changing the subject, I'd like to
          talk briefly about Matagorda Peninsula.
                         We briefed the Commission on this
          potential acquisition back in August and are returning
          to discuss action.  Matagorda Peninsula is in southern
          Matagorda County.  The peninsula itself ranges in width
          from 800 feet to about a mile wide, about 22 miles long.
          Separates the Gulf of Mexico from East Matagorda Bay.
          The eastern two-thirds of that tract is owned by the
          General Land Office.
                         At one time, it was a state park; but in
          1997, Legislation arranged for that -- for some exchange
          of assets.  The property went to the General Land
          Office, and the coastal conservation community has been
          looking for opportunities to put that property back into
          conservation since then.  With the Deepwater Horizon
          spill and the funding opportunities or mitigation
          opportunities that have come from that, we have been
          working with our partners and with our trustee partners,
          with the Restore Council, with the NRDA trustees; and we
          propose to acquire this property and add it to the
          inventory of the Coastal Fisheries Division to be
          managed as a coastal preserve, using restored funding.
                         6500 acres in interest.  Most of that is
          100 percent interest.  There are some undivided
          interests in those tracts.  The property is really --
          really very, very, very high conservation value for
          migratory and resident wading birds, waterfowl.  Sea
          turtles nest on those beaches.  Just very, very high
          conservation values.  The property is quite remote; and
          for that reason, we feel like it warrants protection
          while we have that opportunity.
                         This map shows that, again, most of that
          property is 100 percent owned by the General Land
          Office.  Some of those tracts are 99 percent owned or
          less.  There are some inholdings in some of those
          tracts.  I just want to be very clear about that.  At
          the same time, the opportunity to conserve 11 miles of
          Gulf beaches and East Matagorda Bay, we consider to be
          worth taking this opportunity.  Especially with the
          opportunity -- with the potential for restore funding
          for this.
                         The Restore Council has placed this one
          on their FPL, their Funding Priority List, which we
          finalize next month.  We're confident that the -- that
          this is one that the Restore Council will advocate
          funding for and we wanted to get ahead of that and ask
          the Commission to approve that acquisition when those
          funds become available.  We've received two public
          comments both in favor of the acquisition.
                         And with that, the staff recommends that
          the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt the
          following motion:  The Texas Parks and Wildlife
          Commission authorizes the Executive Director to take all
          necessary steps to acquire approximately 6,554 acres on
          Matagorda Peninsula to manage for conservation of fish
          and wildlife.  And I'd be happy to answer any questions.
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Any questions
          from the Commission for Ted?  And nobody has signed up
          to speak on this item.  No questions, motion for -- oh,
          did you have a question?
                         COMMISSIONER JONES:  Moved.
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Okay.  Moved by
          Commissioner Jones.  Second by Commissioner Morian.  All
          in favor?
                         (Chorus of ayes)
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Any opposed?
          Hearing none, motion carries.
                         Ted, you're back at it with Item 8, Grant
          of Utility Easement, Brazoria County, Approximately .4
          Acres at the Justin Hurst Wildlife Management Area.
                         MR. HOLLINGSWORTH:  Chairman,
          Commissioners, good morning.  My name is Ted
          Hollingsworth.  I'm with the Land Conservation Program.
          This item is brought to you as a result of a request
          from Phillips 66 Petroleum and CenterPoint Energy to
          provide a service drop for a valve station on the Justin
          Hurst Wildlife Management Area.  Phillips has an
          easement across the Justin Hurst that they've had since
          long before we acquired the property.
                         They've installed some new pipelines and
          they've installed a valve station, very necessary for
          safety and for managing the flow in those valves.  The
          valve station requires electricity, electrical power.
          The valve station is very close to an existing
          CenterPoint easement.
                         This is the general location in the north
          part of wildlife management area where these two
          easements occur.  They're separated by a very short
          distance and staff has taken a close look at this now
          and determined that truly most expedient way and the
          best way to minimize impacts to fish and wildlife
          resources at the wildlife management area is to grant
          this short easement that would allow CenterPoint Energy
          to provide that drop for those valve -- for that valve
          station for Phillips 66.
                         CenterPoint and Phillips 66 have both
          worked fairly closely -- well, have worked closely with
          us to find this -- to find the shortest route possible
          to get that power to the valve station and to minimize
          harm to the wildlife management area in the process.
          We've received no public comments on this one.
                         And staff does recommend that the Texas
          Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt the following
          motion:  The Commission adopts the resolution attached
          as Exhibit A.  And I'd be happy to answer any questions.
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Any questions for
                         Commissioner Duggins.
                         COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  Does the -- what
          you labeled as the existing easement, does that have a
          term on it; or is it perpetuity?
                         MR. HOLLINGSWORTH:  It's in perpetuity.
                         COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  And if it's -- if
          the use is discontinued, do we have the option of
          leaving the lines in the ground or requiring the
          easement holder to remove?
                         MR. HOLLINGSWORTH:  Yes, sir.  In fact,
          all of the easements we've issued for a number of years
          now, give us the exclusive option to have the
          infrastructure removed or left in place at our
                         COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  And so the new
          proposed easement show in red would contain the same
                         MR. HOLLINGSWORTH:  Yes, sir.
                         COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  And would they be
          tied to the existing easement so if the existing
          easement went away, they go away?
                         MR. HOLLINGSWORTH:  We could certainly
          make sure that that's clear in the easement, yes, sir.
                         COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  I don't think that
          would affect their use.  But I would suggest that the
          ease -- the new easements, if the Commission approves
          them, state that if they -- quote, existing easement
          goes away, that these go away too.
                         MR. HOLLINGSWORTH:  We can easily make
          that a condition of the easement.  That's a good point,
          yes, sir.
                         COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  Thank you.
                         With that, I'll move approval.
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Okay.  Moved by
          Commissioner Duggins.
                         COMMISSIONER JONES:  Second.
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Second
          Commissioner Scott.  All in favor?
                         (Chorus of ayes)
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Any opposed?
          Hearing none, that motion carries?
                         Item No. 9, Grant of Utility Easement,
          Brazoria County, About 37 acres at the Justin Hurst WMA
          has been withdrawn.
                         And Item No. 10, Acceptance of Land
          Donation, Cameron County, Inholdings Totaling
          Approximately 15 Acres at Boca Chica State Park, Mr. Ted
                         MR. HOLLINGSWORTH:  Chairman,
          Commissioners, good morning. my name's Ted
          Hollingsworth.  I'm with the Land Conservation Program.
          We have a state park facility in Cameron County, just a
          couple miles north of the mouth of the Rio Grande River.
          That facility, Boca Chica State Park, is currently
          leased to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and managed
          as part of their Rio Grande Refuge System.
                         When we acquired that property, there
          were a couple of subdivisions that we acquired at the
          same time.  A number of tracts had already been sold;
          and although very, very little development has occurred
          on those tracts, they are inholdings.  As most of you
          know, there was a 49-acre tract that the state park
          property is sort of wrapped around that was acquired by
          SpaceX for a space vehicle launch site.
                         For health and safety reasons, as well as
          for compliance with FAA regulations, SpaceX as been
          acquiring those inholdings within the state park within
          a certain radius of their facility.  And they have no
          interest in managing those, those odd tracts of land;
          and are proposing to transfer those to Texas Parks and
          Wildlife.  The park's about 1100 acres.  It's a
          really -- if you haven't been to that part of Texas, it
          really is truly unique.  And, of course, any of those
          tracts we can acquire are going to facilitate our
          operation and, of course, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife
          Service operation of that fish and wildlife habitat
          there at that property.
                         The white box there shows where most of
          those inholdings are.  Again, that was conceived to be a
          neighborhood at one time, although no homes have been
          built in that area.  And most of these, although not all
          of those odd tracts, are in that.  What we're asking the
          Commission to do is authorize the Executive Director to
          accept those tracts as SpaceX acquires them and offers
          them to us.  We've put one caveat on that and that is
          that we're going to put somebody on the ground to look
          at each of those tracts to make sure there's no
          underground storage tanks or other obvious environmental
          liabilities before we accept them.
                         Obviously, the more of those inholdings
          we can eliminate in the state park property, the easier
          it's going to be for operation and management of that
          property going forward.  We've received no public
          comments on this potential action.
                         And the staff recommends that the
          Commission adopt the following motion:  The Texas Parks
          and Wildlife Commission authorizes the Executive
          Director to take all necessary steps to accept the
          donation of inholdings within Boca Chica State Park in
          Cameron County.  I'd be happy to answer any questions.
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Thanks, Ted.
                         Any questions?  Motion for approval on
          this item?  Commissioner Duggins.  Second Commissioner
          Scott.  All in favor?
                         (Chorus of ayes)
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Any opposed?
          Hearing none, motion carries.
                         Ted, I think you get a break for a
                         So Item No. 11 is Land Acquisition,
          Cochran County, Approximately 5 Acres at Yoakum Dunes
                         MR. KUHLMANN:  Yeah, for the record, I am
          not Ted Hollingsworth.  So Corky Kuhlmann with the Land
          Conservation Program.  Good morning.
                         Y'all have been hearing a while, for the
          last couple of years, as we've been putting together
          this wildlife management area in Yoakum Dunes.  Cochran,
          Yoakum, and Terry Counties, Texas.  Well, staff -- well,
          the total WMA is now about 1400 acres.  Staff has had
          the need or found the need to have a headquarter's
          complex to serve this area; and we decided we should
          look outside of the area, out of primary -- out of prime
          chicken habitat.  A minimum of 5 acres, high priority
          chicken habitat out of it, and reasonable distance of
          the WMA and utilities available.
                         We were lucky enough and fortunate enough
          to find a willing seller for this type of tract.  It's
          about 5 miles north of the WMA.  It's noted there by the
          red star.  It is from a willing seller.  The tract has
          440 feet of paved county road frontage.  The west side
          access will be -- the owners will deed us an easement
          along the west side.  If you look at that, the green
          polygon is what we'll be purchasing.  The area just to
          the west of that is leased to an oil field.  It's 3
          acres leased to an oil field for a maintenance area.
          They are going to give us a right of first refusal on
          that 3 acres if they ever decide to sell it.  With that,
          I'll answer any questions.
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Commissioner
                         COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  You said -- you
          misspoke.  You said 1400 acres.  You meant 14,000.
                         MR. KUHLMANN:  Oh, 14,000.  Excuse me,
          yes.  14,000.
                         COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  Thank you.
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Any other --
                         MR. KUHLMANN:  If there's no other
          questions, staff recommends the Texas Parks and Wildlife
          Commission adopt the following motion:  The Texas Parks
          and Wildlife Commission authorize the Executive Director
          to take all necessary steps to acquire approximately 5
          acres as an addition to Yoakum Dunes Wildlife Management
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Okay.  Motion for
          approval?  Any other questions?  Motion for approval?
                         COMMISSIONER MORIAN:  Moved.
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Commissioner
          Morian.  Second?
                         COMMISSIONER JONES:  Second.
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Commissioner
          Joes.  All in favor?
                         (Chorus of ayes)
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Any opposed?
          Hearing none, motion carries.
                         Thank you, Corky.
                         Item 12, San Jac Waste Pits Settlement,
          10 Million of Appropriation to Texas Parks and Wildlife
          Department for Environmental Grants, Mr. Ted
          Hollingsworth.  It's --
                         MR. HOLLINGSWORTH:  Chairman --
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  It's afternoon
                         MR. HOLLINGSWORTH:  It is.  Chairman,
          Commissioners, good afternoon.  My name is Ted
          Hollingsworth, and I'm with the Land Conservation
          Program.  This is a briefing item.  We just want to take
          a few minutes and let the Commission know what's going
          on with this particular appropriation.
                         Some of you may know that down in San --
          down in Harris County, just a couple miles north of San
          Jacinto, there's a Superfund site.  Back in the 1960s, a
          waste company levied off some marshes and dumped waste
          from a paper mill.  And they only did that for two or
          three years, but they filled those pits up.  And in
          short order with subsidence and erosion and other
          things, those pits began to leak into the San Jacinto
          River.  The most toxic or the chemicals of greatest
          concern for health of wildlife and people are dioxins.
                         In 20080, the site was declared a
          Superfund site.  In 2011, the EPA stepped in and put a
          temporary cap over that site.  Research into whether
          that cap is sufficient or not, research into how much
          dioxin has been released, research into the effects of
          that dioxin on fish and wildlife and the potential human
          consumption of fish and wildlife are ongoing.  There are
          also other legal actions ongoing at this time.  But in
          19 -- but in 2011, Harris County filed a suit.  The
          County itself filed a suit against the operators of the
          waste pits, as well as the producer of the waste.  And
          last year they arrived at a settlement of $29.2 million.
                         Under State law, 10 million of that went
          to the State.  The County asked the State to convey that
          $10 million to Texas Parks and Wildlife, to be then
          granted back to the County to use -- to be used on
          projects that would mitigate impacts to fish and
          wildlife service and also impacts to the human access to
          and use of those river facilities.  And the
          Commission -- I mean, the Legislature did, in fact, pass
          legislation appropriating that $10 million to Texas
          Parks and Wildlife.
                         You can see in this slide, again, that
          those pits are just a couple miles north of the San
          Jacinto Battleground.  We have already executed an MOU
          with Harris County that defines how those funds will be
          used.  Texas Parks and Wildlife is going to play the
          role of coordinating a proposal process.  We'll work
          with the County to identify the projects we think best
          meet the intent of the legislation and will do the
          best -- do the most long-term benefit for fish and
          wildlife resources in the lower San Jacinto River and
          help educate the public and give the public access to
          those river resources.
                         Once we have agreed on those projects,
          we'll convey -- we'll enter into a new MOU that lists
          those projects.  We'll convey that $10 million to Harris
          County; and at that the point, Harris County will be
          solely responsible for doling out those funds to the
          project sponsors, tracking those funds, making sure that
          there's compliance with the intent of the legislation.
          So at that the point, Texas Parks and Wildlife will be
          out of the process.  But over the next few months, we do
          expect to work with the public in Harris County and with
          the County to identify those projects that that
          $10 million would be best used to fund.
                         And with that, I'd be happy to answer any
          questions that you might have about that $10 million
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Any questions for
                         COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  One quick one.
          Ted, I noticed on the -- under the grant schedule, you
          said there's going to be a local public meeting --
                         MR. HOLLINGSWORTH:  Yes, sir.
                         COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  -- to inform
          potential applicants how to apply for projects?
                         MR. HOLLINGSWORTH:  Yes, sir.
                         COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  I would suggest we
          put something on the website, too, just for people
          who -- again, trying to drive our business through our
          website.  I would suggest that in addition to the
                         MR. HOLLINGSWORTH:  We've given our web
          team a heads up that we -- that once we have that time
          and date established, that we would like for them to put
          a link with that information on our website.
                         COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  A link about the
          meeting, or how to apply?  Because what I'm talking
          about is give them some of the same information that
          will be conveyed at the meeting for those who cannot
          come to the meeting, but might want to apply.
                         MR. HOLLINGSWORTH:  Yes, sir, both.
          That's correct, yes, sir.
                         COMMISSIONER DUGGINS:  Thank you.
                         MR. HOLLINGSWORTH:  And I would just
          mention about the public meeting, at this point, we
          don't intend to host that meeting.  The County asked us
          to be involved because there's a perception -- and I
          think rightly so -- that we're an impartial third party
          and can help select those processes without maybe some
          of local biases involved for the best benefit of fish
          and wildlife and for the best recreational and
          educational value of those dollars.  So we'll be
          present, but we anticipate that the meeting itself will
          be hosted locally.  There is a citizen's group down
          there that's already taken a very active role in
          educating the public about this whole process; and we're
          working with them, as well as with the County.
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Any other
          questions, discussion for Ted?
                         Thank you.
                         Item No. 13, Ted -- is Ted again on Texas
          Farm and Ranch Lands Conservation Program, Transfer of
          the Program to TPW.
                         MR. HOLLINGSWORTH:  Chairman,
          Commissioners, good afternoon.  My name is Ted
          Hollingsworth.  I'm with the Land Conservation Program,
          and this is another briefing item.  I believe all of you
          are familiar with the Texas Farm and Ranch Lands
          Conservation Program and the fact that the
          84th Legislature transferred that program from the
          General Land Office to Texas Parks and Wildlife.
                         The purpose of the program is to make
          funds available for the acquisition of conservation
          easements on working lands.  I think everybody who's
          looked at the statistics, realizes that we are losing
          ranch land and farmland in Texas at an alarming rate.
          And in 2005, the Legislature created a program for the
          purpose of making funds available to nonprofit -- mostly
          to NGOs, land trusts, specifically for the purpose of
          acquiring easements on working lands.
                         The Commission -- I'm sorry, the
          Legislature did not provide appropriation, did not
          appropriate State dollars for that program.  The GLO did
          manage to get some funds out of CAP to fund that program
          for a few years.  But the purpose of the program is to
          make dollars available to land trusts to acquire
          conservation easements on working lands to try and
          preserve some of the best of the farm and ranch land in
                         The statute gives a priority to those
          lands that are adjacent to or contribute to other
          conservation lands, lands that are threatened -- that
          are most threatened with fragmentation, threatened with
          development, and that are productive working lands.  The
          Legislature did appropriate $2 million to Texas Parks
          and Wildlife to get this program up and running over
          this coming biennium.  We're already very actively
          working on a grant selection process, application forms
          and that we hope very early next year to roll that out
          and to start requesting proposals from the NGO, the land
          trust community.
                         The statute also provides for a council.
          The statute increased the number of members on that
          council to 12.  Just this last week or so, the Governor
          has appointed the two vacancies on that council; and we
          anticipate that when the program is officially
          transferred to the Department on January 1st, that
          shortly thereafter we'll convene that council and ask
          that council to approve the selection criteria, the
          grant process that we're working on now.
                         We are working closely with several land
          trusts already in anticipation of their interest in this
          program.  We're working with our -- in our CS to see if
          there's a way to leverage those State dollars with
          federal farm bill dollars to increase the number of
          conservation easements that we'll be able to fund in
          this upcoming biennium.  The Department will be managing
          the program.  It'll be managed in the Land Conservation
          Program shop; and, of course, we will work very closely
          with the council to make sure that they're -- they have
          the oversight responsibility intended by the
          Legislature.  They will be approving the suite of grant
          proposals that are recommended by staff.
                         And just in a nutshell, here is the
          composition of the board.  The chairman of this
          commission is also the chairman of the council.  There
          are six of those positions are appointed by the Governor
          again.  Those top two is Pam McAfee and Mr. George
          Scott, were recently appointed to serve six-year terms
          on that council.  Again, we anticipate that by January,
          we'll be ready to seat that council and present them
          with our recommendations for a grant process, selection
          criteria and, in general, policies and procedures for
          moving forward with the Farm and Ranch Program.
                         Again, here is that schedule.  We hope
          that by spring, we're able to select the projects that
          are most appropriate and to make those awards.  We're
          also very helpful that -- hopeful that there will be a
          tremendous demand.  We think there will be.  We'd like
          to be able to go into the next Legislative session
          saying that, you know, there's a large unmet need, a
          large unmet demand for opportunities for families to
          place their working lands under conservation easement.
                         We get calls here regularly from the
          owners of working lands concerned that either when they
          die or when the taxes get too high or any number of
          reasons, they're concerned about what tools might be
          available for keeping those lands intact and working.
          We think as an Agency, we believe -- obviously, we
          believe in private lands and the role that private lands
          play in conservation.  And personally, I'm very excited
          that we're going to have another tool in that toolbox to
          help the owners of working lands, keep those lands
          working, and keep them in conservation at the same time.
                         I'd be happy to answer any questions that
          you might have about the Farm and Ranch Program.
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Thank you, Ted.
                         Any questions?  Any discussion?
                         Appreciate it.  Thanks for the update and
          the briefing.
                         MR. HOLLINGSWORTH:  Yes, sir.
                         COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN:  Great.
                         Okay.  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 ______________,
                        T. Dan Friedkin Chairman
                        Ralph H. Duggins, Vice-Chairman
                        Dan Allen Hughes, Jr., Member
                        Bill Jones, Member
                        James H. Lee, Member
                        Margaret Martin, Member
                        S. Reed Morian, Member
                        Dick Scott, Member

                            C E R T I F I C A T E

          STATE OF TEXAS   )
          COUNTY OF TRAVIS )

                    I, Paige S. Watts, Certified Shorthand
          Reporter in and for the State of Texas, do hereby
          certify that the above-mentioned matter occurred as
          hereinbefore set out.
                    I FURTHER CERTIFY THAT the proceedings of such
          were reported by me or under my supervision, later
          reduced to typewritten form under my supervision and
          control and that the foregoing pages are a full, true,
          and correct transcription of the original notes.
                    IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my
          hand and seal this Turn in date _____ day of
          ________________, ________.

                             Paige S. Watts, CSR, RPR
                             CSR No.: 8311
                             Expiration: December 31, 2016
                             7010 Cool Canyon Cove
                             Round Rock, Texas 78681

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