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TPW Commission

Work Session, August 23, 2017

Transcript

TPW Commission Meetings

TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION

August 23, 2017

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

COMMISSION WORK SESSION & EXECUTIVE SESSION

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Good morning, everyone. Welcome. This meeting is called to order August 23rd, 2017, at 9:15 a.m.

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

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

Public notice of this meeting containing all items on the proposed agenda has been filed in the Office of the Secretary of State as required by Chapter 551 Government Code, referred to as the Open Meetings Act. I'd like for this fact to be noted in the official record of the meeting.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you, Carter.

Next is approval of the minutes from the previous Work Session held on May 24th, 2017, which have already been distributed. Do we have a motion for approval?

COMMISSIONER LATIMER: So moved.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Moved by Commissioner Latimer. Second, Commission Morian. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

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

Work Session Item No. 1 is the Update on Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Progress in Implementing the TPWD Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan, Mr. Carter Smith.

MR. SMITH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners. For the record, my name is Carter Smith with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Mr. Chairman, I'm going to be uncharacteristically brief this morning; so, time me.

First and foremost, very pleased to welcome a few new faces -- some are familiar, some aren't -- to some new roles inside the Department. I'll start to my left, Ms. Angie Gonzales-Sanchez, who's been with us almost 20 years. Started in Law Enforcement and was in working with State Parks, was basically the right hand for Wes Masur, our Director of Law Enforcement and Angie has taken on Dee's former role and so we're excited to have her as part of the team and she'll be working closely with the Commission going forward. So, Angie, welcome.

Also, Dr. Pamela Wheeler, our new HR Director; and so Pamela has started work now. It's been all of six weeks or so, something like that. We're thrilled to have her on the team as our new HR Director and so I hope that y'all have a chance to meet her.

Bob Sweeney, our General Counsel -- where is Bob sitting? Over here. Obviously, Bob is no stranger to the Commission and very pleased to welcome him to his new role with the Department.

And last but not least, our new Colonel, Grahame Jones; and so Grahame is taking over that Colonel role. So we're excited about that, and honored to welcome everybody to the team. So thank y'all, yeah.

(Round of applause)

MR. SMITH: Mr. Chairman, obviously, as required by law, let me give just a very quick synopsis of our Internal Affairs Team. Jon and his team continue to do a remarkable job in that regard. Obviously, y'all are aware that Brad Chappell finally made retirement official; and so that gave us an opportunity then to recruit and hire a new Captain with Internal Affairs. That Captain is Mark Hammonds. Mark has had a very distinguished career as a game warden inside the Department. Most recently, he was a lieutenant at the Game Warden Training Center there in Hamilton. Prior to that, Mark was based in Hill County, where he certainly served with distinction; and he's going to be officing out of the Fort Worth office.

And so, Craig and Grahame, we appreciate that accommodation. It will be nice to have an officer up there in that regard. So y'all will have a chance to meet and welcome Mark to the team.

Last thing I'll say about Internal Affairs, Jonathan is working on a year-end summary of the case load and activities of that team; and so he ought to have that buttoned up by the end of September, and then we'll have that distributed to the Commission for your review. And as always, if you've got any questions about it, don't hesitate to query Jonathan or myself.

A quick update on Desert Bighorn sheep. You know, obviously, one of the great flagship projects of the Department and Mitch and Clayton and Bob and Froy and the whole team that have been working out there in West Texas on this, obviously have achieved a lot of milestones. They just finished up the Bighorn sheep surveys, I think, last week for the region. Although, I guess they've got some at Elephant Mountain going on this week.

The news that I want to share with y'all: We have a couple of planned sheep captures for this fall, and would love to get those on your calendars. If you're able to come out to West Texas to see it, it's very, very impressive. We plan to translocate a fair amount of sheep from Elephant Mountain to Black Gap Wildlife Management Area right there on the Rio Grande, what our team calls that "South Brewster County" population. Prior to that translocation, our team is going to be trapping 30 sheep at Black Gap. They're going to fit them with satellite transmitters. They're going to take hair and blood and fecal samples and nasal swabs. They want to look at disease and parasites and genetic related information. They'll also submit that sample to a western sheep disease database -- Bob, I guess -- and just want to make sure that that population is clean and disease free before we end up moving maybe as many as a hundred sheep down there from Elephant Mountain to Black Gap later on in December.

The satellite transmitters, obviously, will give us realtime information to be able to track home range and movements and habitat use and selection, also looking at things like mortality and predation. So excited about this chapter of the Bighorn Sheep Program. And, again, if you can get any of these dates on you calendar, we invite any and all Commissioners to come join us for that.

So, yeah, Commissioner Jones.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Carter, who monitors the movement, the data that --

MR. SMITH: Through the transmitters?

COMMISSIONER JONES: -- that's transmitted by those --

MR. SMITH: Yep.

COMMISSIONER JONES: -- collars?

MR. SMITH: Yep, yep. Are we doing that or is Borderlands Research Institute, Mitch?

MR. RIECHERS: Both.

MR. SMITH: Both, okay. So our staff, along with our partners at Sul Ross through the Borderlands Research Institute. So it will be a partnership, and Sul Ross has been part and parcel with a lot of these efforts from a scientific perspective.

COMMISSIONER JONES: And do our staff monitor there in the county, or is that transmitted all the way back here to Austin?

MR. SMITH: Yeah, you can access it wherever; and so that's the beauty of those satellite transmitters is you can monitor those collared individuals remotely and be able to track them realtime in terms of their movements. So enormously beneficial. We'll get an artesian well of data from that. So very, very, very helpful.

Anything else, you guys?

Okay. Anyway, please take a look at the calendar and we'd love to have you out there for that.

Last but not least, I just want to thank Chairman Morian who oversees the Farm and Ranch Land Conservation Program for the Department. You will recall that in 2016, that program was moved from the General Land Office to Parks and Wildlife. That is essentially a program to acquire -- through a voluntary basis -- conservation lands to help protect working lands, farms and ranches around the state. We get a lot of other ancillary benefits from that in terms of water quality and water quantity and habitat and open space related values; but it's a Farm and Ranch Land Program, and so that's the genesis of it.

The Council has had now two different appropriations over two different biennia of roughly $2 million a year. Chairman Morian can certainly chime in; but the leverage and outcomes have been terrific. We've had great participation by the Land Trust community and private landowners. They have done 14 projects in 11 counties from the coast through the Hill Country out to West Texas; and for every State dollar that has gone into that program, it's been leveraged over seven to one. And as a result, there's over 26,000 acres permanently conserved around the state. So very, very pleased about that and want to thank Ted Hollingsworth and Ross and Jeanne and the whole team that have been working on that.

So, Chairman Morian, do you want to add anything to that?

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: No. It's just an extraordinarily successful program; and like you said, the leverage is what's so attractive. The last go-around, it was almost eight to one, so.

MR. SMITH: We're making headway.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Yeah.

MR. SMITH: Yeah, yeah.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: It's a great program. Thanks.

MR. SMITH: Yeah, only limitation is money. Yeah, yeah.

With that, Mr. Chairman, that concludes my remarks this morning and so happy to address any other issues or questions that y'all may have.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any other questions for Carter?

MR. SMITH: Great. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Appreciate it.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you.

Item No. 2 is a Financial Overview, Fiscal Year 2018 Operating and Capital Budget Approval, Budget and Investment Policy Resolutions, and Approval of State Park List for Performance Measures. Mr. Mike Jensen, good morning.

MR. JENSEN: Good morning, Chairman, Commissioners. This is the annual meeting. I'm going to go a little bit slower today than I'll go tomorrow. Tomorrow it will be the afternoon where we have the motion. We have a number of housekeeping items that we generally go over with the operating budget.

This slide here kind of tells you want those items are. I'm going to crosswalk for you the General Appropriations Act, how we created the budget, what the Legislature approved. We'll break that down by Division with FTEs and we'll very high-level summarize the full-time equivalent FTE employee cap. We'll have a couple of slides on the capital budget and we'll have a housekeeping item -- the annual approval of the budget policy for the Commission, annual approval of the investment policies. And at the start of each biennium, we have an approval -- a starting point for the LBB performance measure related to the state parks list, and we'll get your approval for that. I have a slide about one particular bill, House Bill 448; and then I will conclude the presentation.

Moving forward, we'll crosswalk to the General Appropriations Act for 2018. You see the first line on here, we have 385.03 million that we start with. We consider that our baseline budget. We're in Article 6 of the Appropriation Bill, along with other natural resource agencies; and this is really the net of a lot of different things. When we submitted our Legislative Appropriations Request, we had a base in there. We had a 4 percent reduction of almost 23 million. That's already included here. They zeroed out our unexpended balance where we could move capital construction moneys from '17 into '18. We don't have any UB authority for general revenue or the State Parks Account or for Fund 9. We do have some for other funds.

This also includes the exceptional items that were approved. One item was 17 million in deferred maintenance. I think this was the House's way of giving back some funding for taking away the unexpended balance. We have a million dollars for Law Enforcement's capital transportation; 49.2 million for weather-related capital construction damage repairs. And we have the centralized accounting and payroll system from the Comptroller's Office -- 802,000 -- to kick that project off. Border security money, instead of having an interagency contract with D.P.S., they directly funded $7 million for that effort for Law Enforcement. They gave us $4 million to replace that 35-year-old, 65-foot vessel. And one item that's reflected in our bill pattern is for another reduction of 1.8 million. There's an informational provision in Article 9 -- it's called "Contract Cost Containment" -- but all of that is netted together, so we have 385.03 million.

In addition to that, there are some moneys that are not reflected in our Article 6. There are some contingency legislation. In two of those, one of them relates to consolidating the shrimp buy-back program into Fund 9. That's about 1.17 million. Then we have the Lifetime License Endowment. This was a last-moment bill that was passed that opens up that endowment for this biennium of $8 million. So that 8 million plus the 1.17 reflects this 9.17 million adjustment there. That's what that is.

In the past, we provided our own estimate based upon historical study of fringe benefits. This time, we're just using exactly what's in the Appropriation Bill. We feel that's slightly inflated, but we actually only record actuals on that. So the third line item, the 75.07 million, reflects the fringe benefit replacement pay and our total budget is 469.27 million to kickoff 2008[sic].

COMMISSIONER JONES: How much was taken out of the Article 9 for future repairs that was not allowed to rollover?

MR. JENSEN: Our UB was approximately 18.65 million, which does create serious logistical concerns, as Jessica can tell you. I think that's why the House gave us the 17 million in deferred maintenance; but giving us a brand new appropriation, the expectation is we're going to work on new projects with the brand new appropriation. The reality is we needed that money to finish up things that have already been designed with our construction in progress, but we can use some of the Article 9 provision from Lifetime License Endowment, the 8 million. 4 million of that is going to be intended to replace Law Enforcement boats. Three and a half million, we have a plan that we presented back to the Legislative Budget Board to use that for a quasi-type of UB to finish out Fund 9 projects that are in place right now that are not quite finished. And another 500,000 would be for some easements needed for wildlife areas at Caddo Lake.

This next slide relates more to your Exhibit A on page 11 of your Commission books. It reflects the method of finance on that exhibit. It directly ties, again, to the Article 6 base the amounts that we just had with the adjustments for our Article 9 and fringe of 469.27 million.

You can see general revenue is about 34 percent. Our Fund 9 -- Game, Fish, and Water Safety -- is about 29 percent. State Parks Account is about 12 percent of the budget. You have general revenue dedicated to other, about 2 percent; federal funds is 16 percent; and other funds is seven. We believe that the estimate that the Legislative Budget Board provided for federal funds is highly optimistic. So we did not allocate that through all divisions. We're holding what we think was too much in Departmentwide budget. I have a slide for that. We can walk through that later.

One thing that's not in here, you'll see sporting good sales tax. We talked about that a lot. Sporting good sales tax is reflected in the general revenue piece. I want the Commission to know that we do have an informational rider that's available to the public, to everybody -- Rider No. 16. It walks through dollar for dollar what was available for Historic Commission and Parks and Wildlife out of sporting good sales tax. The Comptroller's estimate, the maximum amount that could be allocated is 333.5 million, 94 percent of that which could be allocated to Parks and Wildlife is 313.5. Out of the 313.5 million that was available, the Legislature in Rider 16 does provide 277.6 million. That's 88 and a half percent. So that's actually pretty good. It's not 100 percent like we wanted; but it's better than historically what was provided in the past 10 years or so, with the exception of this biennium where we had 100 percent.

Moving on to the operating budget summaries, the first slide ties to your Exhibit B, which is on page 13 of your Commission books. That exhibit in your books has a column for each one of these line items here. So you see salaries and other personnel costs of 169.3 million. You'll see a column for operating, grants, capital budget, debt service, and fringe benefits and how that's broken out.

The following slides are going to break that down by Division, with also the number of budgeted FTEs by Division. The only one that doesn't have a lot of detail here is the grants. About half of that is local park grants, sporting goods sales tax, some of the Farm and Ranch Land moneys. About 29 percent of the grants relate to recreational trail grants and state wildlife grants, and 14 percent is some grants that we have related to the game bird stamps.

If we look at this by Division -- I'm not going to read. This is in your exhibit on page 13. What I do want to call your attention to is the FTEs that are listed here reflect budgeted FTEs. We do have an FTE cap that's in the Appropriation Bill; but it doesn't put a cap per Division, but we track that internally. Any Division can budget above that cap, and many Divisions do. It's our responsibility as a Division, and as an Agency, to manage within that cap as we have retirements and vacancies.

And Article 9, Section 6.10 provision: Article 9 is a part of the Appropriation Bill that applies to all State agencies. It provides general guidance for a State classification plan. And the latter sections are where you have contingency riders for bills that are out there. This is one provision for an agency of our size that gives us flexibility of plus-50 over the FTE cap. Historically, that hasn't been an issue for this Department.

We did lose an Agency-specific rider where we were able to average our FTEs over the biennium; but we're not that close, so it shouldn't be that much of a problem in this biennium. And this slide just continues. I couldn't fit them all on one. Again, the budget is 469.27 million. The budgeted FTEs are 3,232.3 and the actual cap is 3,149.2.

And I'll just walk you back into history. Back there around '14 and '15, the cap was 3,109.2. The 84th Legislative Session gave us 34 additional FTEs, if you'll recall. Two were for coastal habitat monitoring; two for Farm and Ranch Land Program; five were for aquatic invasives; 19 for game wardens along the border; and six for state parks. And that's how we got to the cap that we're currently in, 2017, of 3,143. This past Legislative Session, the Cap's HR project, it gave us an additional authority for six FTEs; and that's reflected on this slide.

The Departmentwide budget, as we've presented and briefed in the past -- this is a placeholder, it's not really a division -- but if we have a program that benefits the Agency as a whole, we tend to budget this in a central location and some of the items that are in here are payments to our license vendors and to the vendor who runs the license system for us. We budget those moneys there. So we have 6.95 million there. The debt service and master lease payments -- the debt service is roughly 3 million. Master lease payment is about 70,000. 3 million there. Those are debt service on bonds from 1998 that were revenue bonds for state parks.

This negative amount for strategic reserve, this is not a real call for concern. What this reflects here, historically, the State Parks Division has had to manage within their operation budget, they had to project what they thought was going to be a salary lapse in order to operate. What we've done in building their budget for this fiscal year, for this biennium, we've put more funding in their budget for operations so that they won't have to account for lapse from day one. We're going to be managing that centrally now.

The next line item is SORM payment. It's about 875,000. Airport commerce is for our facility that's about 3 miles from here and that's the lease cost for 681,000. Headquarter, utility, and the fleet and other costs are roughly 348,000. We have some pass-through plates that we budget here for 126,000. The Cap's HR Project, we're budgeting this for this fiscal year in DYed for 652,000. And when I had started to mention that we believed they were highly optimistic with their federal funds to the tune of about 23.9 million, we're holding that authority here in the DYed. We don't want to pass it out. We don't want Divisions overspending. Should the apportionments be higher, then we will allocate those budgets at the time of those apportionments and those Divisions will get a budget increase at that time. So the DYed budget is 35.98 million.

Capital budget, we have a number of riders -- and this, again, this ties to your Exhibit B on page 13. We have a Rider 2, a Rider 3 and a 4 that give the Commission and the public more information as to what capital is. The main rider that people look at is Rider 2. It's the capital rider that we have. So if you look at this column called "Capital Budget," all those numbers tie to a dollar to Rider No. 2 in our bill pattern. The UB amount there, that does -- that reflects other funds, it reflects some federal funds, appropriated receipts, interagency contracts, bond proceeds. So we do have UB; but we don't have UB for general revenue or for the State Park Account or for Fund 9 Account.

So for the first line on there of 71.52 million, that's Rider No. 2, plus Rider No. 4 UB amount, plus 3.5 million out of Article 9 -- the Lifetime License Endowment, that Section 18.26. Parks minor repair is Rider No. 2 Paragraph B, 4.29 million. The third item -- Information Technology and Data Center -- that's Rider 2 Paragraph C and Paragraph G. Transportation items is Rider 2 Paragraph D, plus 4 million that we've mentioned from the Lifetime License Endowment. Capital equipment is from Rider 2(E), the 1.5 million. And master lease, the small amount there, is Paragraph F of Rider 2. Cap's HR is Paragraph H in Rider 2. And capital land acquisition, we're currently providing information to the Legislative Budget Board and we provided to them here's how we plan to spend the $8 million from the Lifetime License Endowment. 4 million is reflected in transportation items on this slide for -- to replace the boats for Law Enforcement. And three and a half million is up there on the first line for capital construction. It's like a quasi-UB to finish out some projects. And this 500,000 is for some necessary easements on Caddo Lake.

This next slide, I'll probably do away with it. It's more of an informational thing. In the past, we had license plate revenues that was deposited in the Capital Conservation Account. A Trust Account was created, Account 0802, about four years ago. There was some mechanics with the Comptroller's Office where all the moneys weren't transferred. They've all been since transferred now. So going into the next biennium, all the license plate revenues will be in Account 0802.

But we have a Parks and Wildlife Code provision that required Commission approval for projects that used Capital Conservation Account. Now, all of the moneys that we have in Account 5004 are in our Appropriation Bill pattern from sporting good sales tax into this account for capital construction. We already have processes in place for Commission approval of all of our capital construction projects. So this slide will probably go away in the future. There's probably no need to present it; but I want y'all to be aware so next year if you ask me, "What happened to that slide," we don't have any projects that need approval. The license plate revenues are now handled in a Trust Account.

Budget and investment policies: The first one, the budget policy is your Exhibit C, which is pages 15 and 16. There have really been no material changes to this policy since 2012. Very high level is the last line on there: "The Commission permits the use of these funds for any things permitted by statute or rule." We do authorize -- the Commission authorizes the Parks and Wildlife Executive Director to execute the budget. If there are adjustments that are not related to federal funds or bonds greater than 250,000, it requires a Chair or Vice-Chair approval. And y'all are all aware with the donation's process, anything over 500 is acknowledged and received by the Chair or Vice-Chair or a designee; and at each Commission meeting, those where recognized formally in the meeting.

This is another housekeeping item. It's Exhibit D in your book, pages 17 through 19. Again, there have been no major changes since 2012. This slide merely provides a summary of the enabling statute for the Public Funds Investment Act and the basis for having an Agency-specific investment policy. All of our moneys are maintained in the Treasury. So we really don't have to have a designee investment officer. In the event that some moneys were deposited outside of the Treasury, the Executive Director would then have to appoint an investment officer and that investment officer would have to ensure the Agency's compliance with the Public Fund Investment Act.

There's also a new provision in Article 9 -- not just for Parks and Wildlife, but for all agencies -- there's some reporting requirements for funds held outside the Treasury. So we may have some reports that we have to report now on, some of the BP moneys that benefit some of the projects salient to our mission. It's -- those are moneys outside the Treasury, and so we'll participate in that reporting process.

Next housekeeping item is pages 21 through 23 in your workbook. This basically ties to the performance measure for Strategy B-11. It's an output measure of the number of state parks in operation. In order to keep the numbers clean, every other year we get the Commission to approve a starting-point list in the event that there are acquisitions or something gets sold, so that we can have clean data for the Legislative Budget Board.

Before I talk you through this slide, I want to give you some history on it; and probably in November, we'll probably have a more fleshed-out presentation for you. I just want to back you up about four years ago, when the Legislature had some targeted pay increases to the Department, it had significant cost expenditure increases for Fund 9; more so than for Account 64. So essentially, we increased our expenses by approximately 6.4 million per year over the past four years without a fee increase to our Fund 9 funding streams.

So what was happening, we were spending down our balances for general Fund 9. We had some healthy balances for, like, the freshwater stamp and the migratory stamp; but we can't use those funding streams for unrestricted, general-type purposes. So we were noting a trend, a downward trend, spending down those balances. So that required us to take some action so that we wouldn't go zero, get to zero.

One of the things that we did as an Agency that we had your approval when we submitted the LAR, we did some method of finance swaps. We consolidated our general revenue in the Law Enforcement Department and the Aquatic Invasives Program; and that swap right there, the Legislature adopted it and accepted it. That eased the burden on Fund 9 by a little over $8 million a year. So that improved the cash balances through 2019 by a positive $16 million swing.

Then we looked at some other actions, statutory changes that could be looked at; and one was Senate Bill 50 -- 573. It expands the permissible use of freshwater stamp. That gave us some flexibility. House Bill 3781 that we've talked about, expanding the use of the Lifetime License Endowment where we have now $8 million that we can hit some key priority items for the Department. And we had this House Bill -- this particular slide here -- of 448. I think many of you are aware that the boat revenue that we collect, the Parks and Wildlife Code -- the first line on this slide -- we transfer on a monthly basis 15 percent of all the boat revenues from Fund 9 into the State Parks Account, Account 64.

This was needed probably a dozen or more years ago when the balances for the State Parks Account were approaching a lower threshold. They're pretty healthy right now. House Bill 448 modified this statutory provision. It gives us flexibility and makes that permissive. The Department may transfer an amount up to 15 percent on a monthly basis. So basically, the purpose of this bill is to give us flexibility in managing our cash balances for Fund 9 and for Fund 64.

Presently the Fund 9 -- Fund 64 projections are pretty solid. They probably don't need this $3 million transfer long term. So if we're able to retain all the boat revenues in Account 9 for this biennium, that would be a $6 million positive swing for the Game, Fish, and Water Safety Account. So tomorrow when we have the final motion, I'm going to add that as a last item to seek your authorization and permission for the Department to retain 100 percent of the boat fee revenues in Fund 9 for fiscal year 2018.

And just for your information, if we continue the 15 percent transfer, the State Parks ending balance in 2019 would be 40 million; and we don't have appropriation authority for that. If we keep that in Fund 9, their ending balance will be 34 million. As opposed to Fund 9, if we continue the transfer, we'll have a little over two and a half million of unrestricted cash balances for Fund 9. If we preserve and keep that 6 million, it will be about 8.6 million; and so we're sort of catching up because our funding stream for Fund 9 does grow between two and a half to about 2.8 percent. It couldn't -- it couldn't handle that 6.4 million cost increase; but over a period of six or seven years, we're going to reach the point where we can sustain where we're at. However, if we want to do additional things when we do our next LAR, we'll have to look at how we can accomplish that with the funding stream that we have.

I think when we get to the next LAR, we'll be able to sustain what we have; but we'll again be trying to figure out what can we do to grow and meet those needs that we've not been able to meet in the past.

That's all I have for today. Tomorrow, we'll conclude with this recommended motion; and you can see, basically, it's to approve all the exhibits to approve the budget, the budget investment policy, the number of state parks, and the last item here just seeking authorization to retain all the boat revenue in Fund 9 for fiscal year 2018. I'd be happy to entertain any questions.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Commissioner Duggins.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Mike, you've mentioned twice that we're going to -- we've been given authorize to access $8 million in the Lifetime License Account; is that right?

MR. JENSEN: Yes, that's correct.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: But how much remains in that account that we do not have the ability to spend?

MR. JENSEN: The bill that was passed, it requires us to keep a minimum balance of 20 million in there. So we're going to have close to -- we we're projecting close to about 29 or 30 million. So they're giving us eight. So we'll have 20 to 22 million still in there. This just allows us to attach the corpus to make sure we don't spend it all down, and we're still working with the Legislative Budget Board on this.

We do have authority -- it was a last-minute bill. So the way they passed the bill, they -- there was language to put in a specific goal and I think the intent is more broad -- broader than how they passed the bill. So we're still working through that. Our intention to them, is 4 million is intended for -- to replace boats. There were a lot of boats that were damaged along the border the last four or five years. Three and a half million for capital construction to finish out, since we don't have the UB for Fund 9; and the other 500,000 for Caddo Lake. If for some reason they say you can't have the land acquisition for Caddo Lake, then we would put that as -- with the other capital construction to increase the UB.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Is this the first time in a long time that we've been able to access the Lifetime --

MR. JENSEN: This is the first time ever.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: That's what --

MR. JENSEN: The enabling statute only allowed us to spend down the interest. So we have a small amount of interest that has been funding some wildlife efforts and --

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: That's my point. So I think next cycle, we ought to keep in mind trying to access more of those funds. I mean, it just makes no sense that we're incurring costs associated with those licenses and not able to -- the interest is totally insignificant.

MR. JENSEN: We can do that. One of the things, the growth of that fund is approximately 1 million to 1.3 million a year. So we definitely should seek appropriation authority for the revenue stream, but that would be a call for the Commission if you wanted to work with the Legislature. Right now, there's a -- you have to have a floor of 20 million. We have to keep at least 20 million in the account.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Well, I'm suggesting we work with the Legislative Budget Board next cycle to try to reduce that floor.

MR. JENSEN: I will do that.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any other questions for Mike?

Mike, thank you.

MR. JENSEN: Thanks.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: With that, I'll place the Financial Overview on the Thursday Commission meeting agenda for public comment and action.

Next, Item 3, Fiscal Year 2017 Internal Audit Update and Proposed Fiscal 2018 Internal Audit Plans. Cindy Hancock, good morning.

MS. HANCOCK: Good morning. I'm Cindy Hancock, Director of Internal Audit; and I'm here today to update you on the completion status of our current internal audit plan and any external audits and I'm also going to brief you on the proposed Fiscal Year '18 Audit Plan.

Here's a list of audit projects that are in progress right now. For the State Park fiscal control audits, we've completed and issued 31 of 32 scheduled reports, with Balmorhea being the last state park to be finished. The follow-up audit is ongoing and from May through July, we followed up on the -- excuse me -- followed up on the implementation status of 16 recommendations, with six having been implemented and 10 not. This leaves 12 internal and 4 external audit recommendations remaining in progress as of the end of July.

The IT audit, which we selected the license system to audit this year, is still in progress; but fieldwork is winding down. The Federal Grant audit is in progress, and fieldwork will be completed very soon.

Here's a list of the compliant state parks. Twenty-seven of the 31 state parks had no significant findings, and that's 87 percent of what we audited. Only four state parks had findings, and all have been taken care of and resolved during the follow-up process. Eleven of the 12 Law Enforcement offices had no findings. That's 92 percent. And the one office that did have a finding, has -- the issue has been resolved.

So our Fiscal Year '17 Internal Audit Plan looks like this to date: Two projects are still in fieldwork stage, but they're very close to be finished; two are in the final reporting stage; and four have been completed. So we're in pretty good shape as we end the fiscal year.

For external audits, the Department of Interior Office of Inspector General conducted a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Federal Grant audit and management has provided the responses to the draft report. At this time, we are waiting to hear back from the auditors on this one. I know it's been -- I've been reporting on this for a long time. I'll be glad when this one's closed.

The KPMG audit firm has been hired by the Microsoft -- by Microsoft to conduct a Microsoft Office licensing audit. The results, we're hoping, will be reported sometime in -- this audit will be finished in September. Also, the State Auditor's Office is in the fieldwork stage of the Infrastructure Division's contracting processes. Their report -- they have advised us -- is scheduled to be issued in October.

For completed external audits, we have some good news. The Texas Workforce Commission has conducted an EEO in Human Resource Policy Compliance Audit, of which TPWD passed with no issues. And finally, our Internal Audit Department went through a peer review process and were found to be compliant with the standards and code of ethics. We received a "pass" rating. So before I move on to the proposed Fiscal Year '18 Audit Plan, do you have any questions?

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Vice-Chairman Duggins.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Am I right that the only uncompleted audit being conducted by any Federal agency is this one you referenced for the Department of Interior?

MS. HANCOCK: That's correct. As far as I know, that's correct.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER JONES: I would just like to comment on the audit, I guess, success on all of the state parks and the Law Enforcement agencies. I know you guys have been getting e-mails from me every time we get a report on one, to try to highlight the excellence that we find; but it can't be overstated. I know we're all kind of sleepy this morning and are just kind of brushing over this stuff, but that's real important stuff that these agencies -- these Divisions are operating very efficiently and are spending the State funds. I mean, we just had the financial report about the challenges that we have; but the one thing that we can all rest assured on is that the money that we do get is being spent appropriately and that's -- that's -- that's really outstanding kudos to the staff and to the Division leaders and the regional commanders and folks who emphasize what's important to this Commission and I just want to really thank Brent and Colonel for all of your help and for your support to make this happen.

MS. HANCOCK: I don't know if I'm a normal auditor, but it's always a wonderful experience to have an audit completed with no findings.

Okay. The Texas Internal Audit Act requires that an audit plan should be developed using risk-based approach consisting of Executive management's review of Agency's functions, activities, and processes. The risks should be ranked on their probability of occurrence and impact to the Agency in the financial, managerial, compliance, and information technology areas.

Questionnaires or surveys were sent to Executive management and Division directors. The surveys were structured to obtain top concerns within the Division agencywide external to the Agency, as well as concerns regarding information technology systems and fraud, waste, and abuse. Responses were recorded and these concerns were scored and ranked, creating a list of priority concerns. Once the responses were scored, I sent the top concerns to Executive management and Commissioner Jones to score as to their priority.

Once prioritized and categorized, I estimated the work hours needed to complete each project and compared it to the total number of auditable work hours available to our Audit team. I then sent the proposed internal audit plan to our Executive Director and Commissioner Jones for comment. The plan will be finalized upon Commission approval, hopefully tomorrow.

Exhibit A shows our new proposed projects for fiscal year '18. This exhibit also includes the number of hours estimated to complete these projects. Also included in the fiscal year '18 internal audit plan, is an alternative project that can be substituted or added if time permits. We have a good -- we have good project coverage in most Divisions this year, and it will be a busy one for all involved.

Therefore, this is the motion that I'll be asking you to adopt tomorrow: Approval of the fiscal year '18 internal audit plan. This concludes my presentation, and I'd be glad to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Great work. Thank you, Cindy.

Any questions for Cindy?

MS. HANCOCK: All right. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you so much.

Okay. I'll place this -- the fiscal year 2018 internal plan on the Thursday Commission meeting agenda for public comment and action.

Item 4, Nonprofit Partner Rules, Request Permission to Publish Proposed Changes in the Texas Register, Mr. Kevin Good.

MR. GOOD: Good morning, Commissioners.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Good morning.

MR. GOOD: My name is Kevin Good. I'm with the State Parks Division. This morning, I am going to bring a proposal for some changes to the nonprofit organization rules of the Agency.

The existing nonprofit partner rules were originally established back in 2001, following an Agency Sunset review. At that time, the concept of nonprofit partners and the Parks and Wildlife Foundation were relatively new; so the Sunset review recommended the Commission implement some rules governing these types of nonprofit partners.

There's three broad categories in this section of our rules. It first defines the types of Agency nonprofit partners, it establishes best practices, and establishes some Department procedures for working with these nonprofits.

As currently written, there are three types of nonprofit partner categories. First is the official nonprofit partner that's approved by the Commission and, of course, that is the Parks and Wildlife Foundation, Anne and her folks. Closely related nonprofit, these are Friends Groups for state parks or the Freshwater Fisheries Center's Friends Group. These are groups that were established primarily to provide support to a particular Department site or program. And then finally, there were general nonprofit partners; and we'll talk a little more about those. The current rules also require Parks and Wildlife to maintain a list of all of these partners.

So what is a general nonprofit partner? Well, the definition in the Code refers to a nonprofit partner that is neither a closely related nonprofit partner, nor the official nonprofit partner. You're probably kind of scratching your head after reading that. Further on, there are some additional guidance provided to the Agency in developing the rules. It states that a general nonprofit partner would be a group that has an agreement of any kind with the Department, has a representative serving on the Department or Commission Advisory Committee, or otherwise has a relationship with the Texas Parks and Wildlife. Still, those are pretty broad; and as you can imagine, sometimes developing this is a little bit arbitrary.

So in the proposed rule changes, we're asking to make a few minor changes really. The staff would like to remove references to the general nonprofit partners. The designations for the official nonprofit partner and the closely related nonprofit partners would remain, as well as the requirement that those groups follow the best practices that are established. Those requirements do not extend to the general nonprofit partners because, again, those groups can be anything from a Boy Scout troop that maybe performs a weekend work project at a park, to somebody like the Desert Bighorn Society which we have an ongoing and regular relationship with.

We also feel that this action would greatly simplify the Administrative Code and that it would allow us to focus on those groups that we do truly have an ongoing relationship with, rather than spending our time developing a list of hundreds of groups that may come in for just day or so and do some type of project. I'd also like to point out that as near as we can determine, nobody has ever asked for this list of general nonprofit partners; and if somebody is interested in the contributions of those groups, the majority of that would be covered in the list of donations that y'all approve at each meeting.

So at this time, staff requests permission to publish proposed amendments to Chapter 31 Texas Administrative Code, Chapter 51 Subchapter G in the Texas Register for public comment. And I'll be happy to address any questions you may have.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any questions for Kevin?

Thank you.

MR. GOOD: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Appreciate it.

Okay. Staff -- I'll authorize staff to publish the proposed nonprofit partner rules in the Texas Register for the required public comment period.

Item 5 is 2017-18 Oyster Rules, Recommended Adoption of Proposed Changes. Good morning, Lance.

MR. ROBINSON: Good morning. Good morning, Commissioners, Mr. Chairman. For the record, my name is Lance Robinson with the Coastal Fisheries Division and I'm here this morning to kind of bring you up to speed on a proposal that we brought before you in May and for final action tomorrow dealing with commercial oyster fishery.

As you may recall in May, I gave a brief on some of the issues that this industry or this fishery and resource has undergone in the last decade. Beginning in 2008, Hurricane Ike came across and made landfall Galveston Bay. The resource, the predominant abundance of oysters are found in that system. We lost about half of those from that storm. 2010, Deepwater Horizon created some situations where other bays -- other states were closed, increasing harvest pressure on the resources here in Texas. 2011 through '15, we had one of our drought of records; and although that's typically harmless, the high salinities are harmless to the oysters, there are some parasites and diseases that increase during those high salinity events and we certainly saw mortality associated with those over that four-year timeframe. And then most recently in 2015 and 2016, the flooding events that occurred, hit at a time when oysters are typically spawning. So we basically lost a couple of year classes of that resource in the Galveston system and some other resources -- spawners and adults and some of the recruits -- in some other bay systems along the coast. So all of those events kind of coming together -- any one by themselves probably would not have been a major blow to that resource; but the cumulative impacts of those, coupled with a high harvest pressure that we are seeing in this fishery partly brought on by the fact that other Gulf states are also having some challenges with oyster production in their states and so the demand of oysters is very high.

This slide just kind of gives you a picture, a snapshot, of how that value of the oyster keeps continuing to go up, while the landings are dropping a bit. And I will point out that in 2013, that precipitous looking drop that you see on the slide is somewhat Department driven. That was when we started implementing the emergency closures, where we would step in and close bay systems when we found that market abundance of oysters were depleted. So we would step in and close those. So, obviously, the landings -- those areas closed, so the landings would drop during that time.

When we do open those areas that have been closed, usually -- typically, have been closed for two years or we do restoration activities and they're closed for two years prior to opening. The fleet is very mobile and these are the kind of episodes that we see. We get a large fleet of boats that move into the area, work very hard on there; and very quickly, they've depleted that resource. Again, part of that high harvest pressure that we're seeing up and down the coast. And the fleet will move up and down the coast depending on where the availabilities -- availability of oysters are.

One other thing that we also observed of late -- and it's partly driven by the fact that we're closing big bay areas or deepwater reefs because of management implications and loss of abundance of the market ones -- is the fleet is beginning to move around into other areas. Areas that we historically have not seen a lot of activity in. It's shallow-water reefs, intertidal reefs up near the shoreline, also some smaller bay systems along the coast that traditionally -- although, some harvest has taken place -- we've not really seen the magnitude of the harvest that we've seen over the last few years.

Just to kind of bring you to where we are right now, the current -- these are the lists of the current regulations that apply to the oyster fishery. Forty sacks a day. They can legally fish from sunrise to 3:30 in the afternoon. Legal fishing days currently are Monday through Saturday. Sunday is closed to commercial harvest, and there is a three-inch minimum size on oysters.

The last bullet there is a requirement that a cargo of oysters or however many oysters are on the boat, sacks, they cannot be made up of more than 15 percent that are undersize or also contain -- and/or contain dead shell in the sack. Let's see. And so one of the things I wanted -- let me go back to this one. So one of the things that we did after -- up to this point, we've had a number of public comments that have come in. We've also heard from the industry.

One of the things that we've done is gone back and kind of revisit and look at the data that we complied, looking -- to come up with the original proposal. And based on the comments that we're hearing, we're here today to kind of bring you a modified proposal for consideration for tomorrow; and I'll kind of jump into that real quick.

So this was the proposal we brought before you in May. The area highlighted in yellow would be the modification to this original -- the original proposal. So we're proposing that the sack limit reduction go from 40 sacks to 30 sacks per day and the elimination of Saturday instead of Monday as a legal fishing day and I'll get into that in just a minute.

Going from 40 to 30 sacks and the closure of Saturday in the fishery, we don't believe it's going to have an overall impact on the total number of sacks harvested in a given year and the reason we don't -- we say that is because when we looked at the analysis of what's currently being harvested by this industry, they're not utilizing the full opportunity that's available to them. For example, they're fishing under a 40-sack limit now; but for the last three years, they've been averaging about 25 sacks a day. The number of days that are allowed in a season are about 150 days or so, 156 days in a season; but they're, on average, only fishing about 106 days over the course of the whole year -- an average a vessel.

So we don't expect that any of these particular two changes would have an impact on the overall harvest. What we do believe will happen -- we really have two fisheries that are taking place here in Texas. We have a half-shell fishery where dealers are harvesting product that they sell to restaurants for that half-shell trade. We also have a market or an industry that is looking for shucking oysters. Oysters that they can remove from the shell and they package in pints or quart containers and they sell to restaurants and to grocery stores and things like that.

The problem -- the challenge is, is that the half-shell market can fish pretty much anytime on the resource and utilize that product in their markets and they typically shoot for November and December as the time that's most optimum for that half-shell market. However, the half -- the shucking market, they want an oyster that weighs a lot more and the oyster doesn't really start putting on weight until the winter months, when it starts bulking up with fat stores, getting ready for spawning. So the optimum time for harvesting oysters that would be shucked, are going to be January and February -- those colder months, the water is colder.

So the idea here with this particular proposal, would be to delay some of that harvest that's taking place now in November and December and push some of it back into January and February by not allowing as much of the product to be taken out of the water earlier in the season and instead, taking it out when that half -- or that shucking product is more available and usable to that industry.

The other option that we -- or proposal that we have was a reduction in that tolerance for undersize oysters in a cargo from 15 percent down to 5 percent. Now, I'll -- I've added a slide in here. We had this slide in the main meeting. It's probably not in order in your presentation, but it is attached at the ends of your presentation on your computers. This particular slide shows the number of cases filed by Law Enforcement over the last six years for undersized oyster, for that 15 percent undersize.

And one of the things I'll draw your attention to is the bottom row there and especially 2014 and that number of 223 cases that were filed for violation of undersize oysters. The following year, it went down; and if you'll recall back to that slide when I showed the difference in the price per pound and the landings, that was about the time we started implementing the closures in these areas. When the oyster -- the adult market oysters became depleted, we would step in and close the area down and it certainly had a positive effect on, we believe, on the number of undersized cases that were coming in.

That number has begun to creep back up in the more recent years. We're up to 127. And you can't see this on the screen. I apologize. You can probably see it better in your presentation there, but I draw your attention to the bullets to the side. This was a case -- an event that took place in February of 2017, in the central part of the coast -- San Antonio Bay, Aransas Bay, in that area. This is 37 cases, all were undersize oyster cases; but 68 percent of these cases contained cargo in excess of 30 percent undersized. And you'll see certainly up near the top of the list, we had some cases that -- as many as 95 percent of the cargo was all undersized product.

In bay systems up and down the coast, it varies of what a legal number of oysters in a sack would be. It ranges from 260 to 300. Some of those cases you'll see there, had abundance of oysters in a sack of over 1,200 oysters in an individual sack. Currently, this violation is a Class C. It applies only to the captain.

House Bill 51 that passed this session, expands and enhances this particularly penalty. It now would apply to the captain and the crew members and as the penalty violations in -- number of violations increase, then that penalty will escalate to a Class B and also includes a license suspension both for the captain, the crew, and for the vessel.

Another part of our proposal that we bring before you is the closure of some minor bay systems. Seven originally proposed. We're -- we bring to you a modification of that by removing Keller Bay, which is just off of Port Lavaca or Lavaca Bay, as part of that closure option. And then the closed areas of shoreline that are within 300 feet of that shoreline, primarily to protect these intertidal oyster reefs that occur in those shallow waters. This is just a list of kind of the distribution geographically of where these minor bays are located along the Texas coast.

And just a little bit on the intertidal oysters. Some of the information that's now becoming available and is available in the literature -- scientific literature -- is that the value of these intertidal reefs are being found to be much more -- much higher than what was previously thought, even to the comparison of the deeper water reefs. Some of the ecosystem services that these oyster reefs provide outside of the commercial value and even the recreational fishing value, approach values as high as $240,000 an acre; and certainly, these are very important for other species' abundance and recruitment.

This slide just gives you an idea of the total number of acres that would be covered by this proposed closure of these minor bays. For this slide, I've taken out the Keller Bay, and so the yellow number down at the bottom in parenthesis represents the total number of acres of oyster habitat that would be protected from these close -- from harvest from these closures. The column to the right, the first number is the percentage of oyster reef within the bay system that that minor bay is affiliated with. So, for example, Christmas Bay is part of the Galveston Bay Complex. So two and a half percent -- Christmas Bay accounts for two and a half percent of the oyster habitat in Galveston Bay or -- the parenthesis -- 1.4 percent of the total acreage of Texas, total oyster acreage.

For the intertidal oyster reefs, again, we propose a closure within 300 feet of the shoreline and we looked at three different options here, settling on the 300-foot buffer. This just gives you a breakdown of the total number of acres that would be affected by this particular closure. And, again, down at the bottom, when you add the minor bay closure acreage as well as the bottom 300-foot buffer zone, you're looking at a total of about 2,860 acres, but it would be closed or -- about 6 percent of the total oyster habitat in the State of Texas.

As of -- public comments that we've received thus far as of last night -- this slide is a little bit dated, and I'll update it for tomorrow -- but as of 5:00 o'clock yesterday, we've had a total of 1,457 comments. About 81 percent were -- expressed explicit agreement with the proposals that were originally proposed. About 18 percent were explicit in their comments in disagreeing with the proposal. About ten -- about less than ten per -- 1 percent, no opinion. And you'll see that the support that -- the groups that have identified their support for this proposal, is also -- we've had some additional groups come in: Lower Brazos River Watch, the National Wildlife Federation, and the Bayou City Water Keepers have also submitted comments in support of these proposals.

Of those comments that were in opposition, we have 87 of the 197 comments were opposed; but they were in support of an industry proposal. That industry proposal, very briefly, asks that the Department not lower the sack limit, to maintain it at 40 sacks or, in fact, increase the sack limit to 50; but allow the Department flexibility to -- to do -- modify sack limits in season. So during the season, based on sampling if we found that the sack limit needed to be lowered in an area, then act on that and close it. That's a challenge that makes it difficult for enforcement, but also from the standpoint of monitoring every bay system and every area with sampling that's robust enough to be able to determine when that sack limit should be changed.

The other option that the industry proposed was no -- no additional day closure. They felt like the six days was adequate and they preferred to not have that day closure. In talking with some individuals, we have had comments from some folks in the industry who have asked that if we're going to do a closure, they would prefer Saturday to be the closure as opposed to the originally proposed Monday because they've had -- they voiced some concerns over getting trucking companies lined up on a weekend versus a weekday. That it's easier on a weekday, obviously.

And the other point that they have actually made as well, is by closing on a Saturday with the already Sunday closure, that would also remove the commercial fishery from interactions with the public recreational fishery. It kind of takes it out of that conflict that may occur.

The other comments that we've received, we have had some concerns voiced through these public comments about the impacts of these closures of these minor bays and the 300-foot buffer to recreational fishermen; and specifically, recreational fishermen who would like to go out and harvest oysters during the day. Recreationally, a fishermen is allowed to keep up to two sacks. A sack is 110 pounds. They're allowed to keep up to two sacks per person per day.

We do intercept fishermen in our creel surveys that sometimes will harvest oysters. It's a very small number of individuals. In 2016, I believe we had -- let me find it here. Oh, in 2016, recreational harvest looked like it was about 704 hours in the year that was expended harvesting oysters recreationally, harvesting a total of 10.6 sacks during the year.

And then the other comments that we heard that were really in opposition to the proposal, they were really specifying that they thought there should be more restrictions. Either close the season -- the fishery down for several years, go into tonging only, get rid of the dredges. So several options were presented that were more restrictive than what was originally proposed.

So with that, I think that's my presentation. I'll be happy to try and answer any questions for you and...

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Commissioner Morian.

Thanks.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Clarification. When you -- the pounds and price per pound, that's in the shell? That's --

MR. ROBINSON: That price per pound is not. That's the meat price.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: That's the meat price.

MR. ROBINSON: Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: And each bag weighs 110 pounds?

MR. ROBINSON: 110 pounds. Each bag will carry -- have about 19 pounds of meat.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Nineteen pounds of meat. And you may not know the answer to this, but if somebody has a 95 percent -- a bag of 95 percent are undersized oysters, how do those move into the commerce stream? I mean, if you've got a bag of two-inch oysters, what do you do with them?

MR. ROBINSON: Yeah, yeah. Good question. In talking with industry -- and I have to relay this is information that industry has shared in our conversations under the Oyster Advisory Workgroup -- some of those undersized oysters are being sold as half-shell product. There are some states that are buying that product and I think that's helping to drive that market and so they're able to sell some of that just for the half-shell. You know, just a smaller oyster on the plate. Some of them are actually being shucked, even though it's a little harder to shuck a smaller oyster. So they're figuring out ways to get it into the market; but it's just a smaller product than what would normally be expected, and certainly would be legal.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: And your landings in pounds, that's the meat pounds. So there was 7 million pounds -- I mean, there was 3 million pounds roughly in 2016; is that --

MR. ROBINSON: Correct, yes.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Of meat?

MR. ROBINSON: That's correct.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Okay, thanks. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Commissioner Duggins.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Lance, where in the rules is a sack defined to be 110 pounds?

MR. ROBINSON: The sack definition is actually in statute.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Okay.

MR. ROBINSON: It defines it as a volume, a box that is defined by 20 inches by 13 by whatever. And several years ago, I believe -- and Brandi may be able to speak more to this -- but I believe the Law Enforcement constructed boxes. There were some problems that were coming up where sacks were coming in heavier than what -- they were loading them heavy. And so there was a calculation done. They built some boxes, filled them up, weighed them, and came up with this 110-pound that now is in our proclamation.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: But our rules are tied to the statutory definition of a sack?

MR. ROBINSON: Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Okay. Second question is in 58.22(d)(1) and we say 20 -- that's where we're proposing to go to 25, now 30 sacks, of culled oysters of legal size. What is meant by "culled"?

MR. ROBINSON: Culled oyster -- a culled oyster would be an oyster that doesn't have dead shell. It's that 15 percent is -- if it's got 15 percent undersize and dead shell and that's it or less, then that's considered a culled load. The tolerance going to 5 percent, would have them cleaning that product up better. There would be fewer pieces of shell. There would be fewer smaller oysters in the sack. But that culled is actually going through and they dump a load of oysters on the deck, they're going through measuring -- supposed to be measuring, knocking off the undersized oysters, and only keeping the legal oysters. That's culling the catch.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: So you're culling out the undersized oysters?

MR. ROBINSON: Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Okay. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any other questions for Lance?

Commissioner Jones.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Why was Keller Bay first included and then excluded?

MR. ROBINSON: Sure, good question. Thank you. Sorry, I meant to speak to that.

When we first went down the road looking at -- I mean, Christmas Bay was the one that really got the attention and really started us looking at these smaller, secondary, tertiary bays. And as we started looking at Christmas Bay, we decided to let's look at other similar bay systems along the coast; and so that's where the seven originally came from.

As we started looking more closely at the dynamics of these systems and the reason for Keller, all the other bay systems are actually part of a -- again, the State Health Department classifies areas as approved waters. All the other bay systems except Keller, have their own unique designation. Okay?

Keller is a small sub-bay off of Lavaca Bay and when we started looking at Keller and at Lavaca Bay and the landings -- landings, as well as the availability of resource -- it's really driven -- Keller is really driven by what's going on in Lavaca Bay. There's very few oysters in Keller Bay. It's a deeper bay. It's physically different than the other bay systems. The others are much more shallow. They have oyster reefs and seagrass and some other valuable ecosystem habitats or habitats associated with them. Keller Bay is just a little bit different; and so of any of the ones that might be a candidate for removal, Keller was the one we felt like really didn't fit the mold as well as the other six and so that's why that one kind of separated out.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Okay. So I'm just a little confused as to why it was in there then in the first place, I guess.

MR. ROBINSON: When we first took a look at it, we kind of looked at it more broadly and kind of looked at the oyster reefs in there. Based on the comments we were hearing and kind of going back and then revisiting and diving down into the data that we have, we begin to see that Keller is just a little bit different than the other ones. And originally, if we'd dove a little deeper, we probably would not have had that as one of the original ones. So that's kind of the reason it kind of teased out.

COMMISSIONER JONES: And Powderhorn, the reason Powderhorn has N/A is because that really wasn't a legal place to harvest.

MR. ROBINSON: No. It was legal to harvest. Powderhorn has been legally available for harvest for many years, but it is a very shallow bay. It's really a lot of intertidal oyster habitat, and so that certainly has a very high value from the ecosystem standpoint and the protection of those intertidal oyster reefs that we're trying to accomplish.

COMMISSIONER JONES: So why does it have N/A instead of assignment --

MR. ROBINSON: Oh, I'm sorry.

COMMISSIONER JONES: -- of acreage --

MR. ROBINSON: Yeah.

COMMISSIONER JONES: -- in value and percentage?

MR. ROBINSON: I'm sorry. Yeah. Part of the challenge there is as we do our monitoring, Powderhorn has not been a bay system that we've routinely gone in and sampled ourselves because it's so shallow. The gear that we use is an oyster dredge, and we can't sample in that bay system because of its shallow nature. And so we're looking now at ways to -- to -- new techniques that would allow us to get in and quantify habitat using other types of gear, you know, other than the dredge. Maybe a tong, patent tong, or something like that. We'll also be doing some side-scan work in there, but we physically haven't been able to get in and sample it because of its shallow nature.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Okay. But it does have acres of oyster habitat --

MR. ROBINSON: Absolutely.

COMMISSIONER JONES: -- we just don't know exactly what it is.

MR. ROBINSON: Absolutely, yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Okay. All right.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: One more, Dan.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Commissioner Duggins.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: So, Lance, you're saying that as to Keller Bay, the science is such that you're not concerned about it in the same vein as the other six?

MR. ROBINSON: That's correct, yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: All right, thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any other questions for Lance?

Commissioner Scott.

COMMISSIONER SCOTT: I would suggest tomorrow when you're giving your presentation -- what jumps out at me and having been from that area, the percentage of undersize and the -- actually, it's huge. I did not realize it had gotten that much out of line. But I think that's something that needs to be very clearly pointed out very early on.

MR. ROBINSON: Okay.

COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Because a whole lot of the reason we're looking at addressing what we're addressing, is because of this overharvesting and taking the smaller ones out.

MR. ROBINSON: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER SCOTT: That's creating the issue on top of the natural disasters.

MR. ROBINSON: Thank you. I'll do that.

COMMISSIONER JONES: You might switch your slide presentation. You might switch this undersize stuff, put it in front --

MR. ROBINSON: Okay.

COMMISSIONER JONES: -- and then put your other presentation behind it.

MR. ROBINSON: Thank you. I will.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Questions?

Lance, thank you.

MR. ROBINSON: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Appreciate all your hard work.

I'll place 2017-18 oyster rules on the Thursday Commission meeting agenda for public comment and action.

Item 6 is Coastal Management Area Classification and Conduct Rules, Request Permission to Publish Proposed Changes in the Texas Register for Public Notice and Comment. Robin Riechers, good morning.

MR. RIECHERS: Good morning, Chairman and Commissioners. For the record, I'm Robin Riechers with Coastal Fisheries Division. And starting about a year ago, Land Conservation started bringing you several different tracts of acquisitions that you've either approved to acquire and we're in some form of acquiring those properties now in both Matagorda or Brazoria Counties. Oop, there we go.

All of those tracts have high fish and game values and are ideally situated for unimproved recreational use -- including hunting, fishing, kayaking, beach use and birding, among others -- and Ted Hollingsworth certainly went into more detail about some of the activities on those properties. Those lands are acquired with various agreements on them based on the funding sources, whether those be from Deepwater Horizon funding sources or a partnership philanthropy that has helped us acquire some of those tracts and bring those into the system.

They've long since -- many of these tracts have long since being looked at in the conservation community, trying to figure out how to put them into conservation and so we're seeing the fruition of some of that now. What we really didn't have though was a classification system for these tracts of land and so what we're proposing to do with this item is basically create a classification system, which is allowed under Parks and Wildlife Code. The Commission can create different classification systems for wildlife management areas. And in this term, it's not wildlife management areas as you think of in Clayton's shop; but it's the term of how we classify those lands.

And so what we're bringing before you is an item that will actually create that classification. We will call them "coastal management areas," if you agree, and then the item will go on to basically delineate some of the public use rules of conduct.

Moving forward, these CMAs will be monitored and managed by Coastal Fisheries Division, of course, with help from our sister Divisions -- law Enforcement, Wildlife, etcetera -- but the whole goal here is to both manage them in alignment with the agreements that were reached to bring those into conservation, but also for the enjoyment of the public and Texans as we -- as they enjoy them today.

So basically in a general sense, what we're going to propose is either -- and it may be prohibition of certain activities or regulation of certain activities -- but in a general sense, some of the things that we would be concerned with on these types of properties is abandonment of property of any sort. So we're going to basically prohibit that sort of thing. Obviously, in our state parks and our other lands that we manage, consumption of alcoholic beverages; the issues regarding discharge of firearms so that we can ensure safety when people are on the property; and, of course, if we would also -- if we can -- try to also find ways to create hunting opportunity.

Obviously, some of these properties could have natural and cultural resources and we want to ensure that all of those natural and cultural resources are protected in all the ways that we can afford them protection. We may want to manage -- given the remote nature of some of these properties, and also the facts that we won't necessarily have people on site, we may want to manage camping and campfires and the duration that someone could camp on those properties.

Other activities regarding fishing and hunting, there may be some things there that we need to do as well; but what our plan is, is try to find some ways to allow some level of waterfowl hunting at the very least here. And through the use of the Annual Public Hunt Permit, we believe we can do that in accordance to how we manage our other lands that we would be allowing people to hunt on.

And then lastly, obviously, when you think about vehicle use on these properties, these are barrier island properties, some of them. And so, you know, our goal will be to manage that in a way and at least try to direct people to certain traffic paths as opposed to just letting them go anywhere on the properties and we hope to do that with both some probably regulated activities; but also through signage and through some development of paths where we basically guide people through those properties if they're going to be on them.

So our goal here is to come before you with a permission to publish the proposed amendments in the Texas Register, and we'd come back to you in November for adoption. And just to remind you of those properties that we're talking about: Truly the Follets Initiative, which is -- in total -- we hope to acquire somewhere in the neighborhood of 1,200 to 1,400 acres eventually there. We have about 850 in acquisition now or in some level of acquisition. The Sartwelle property, which is up the road from our Perry R. Bass research station, about 450 acres; and that's -- you know, part of that will also be able to be used in some sort of conservation activity and then, of course, the Matagorda Peninsula, as well. So those are the three properties in question that we're talking about now; and, of course, those could be added to as we move forward in the next few years to come.

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

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Questions for Robin?

Commissioner Jones.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Don't we have properties that have a mixed use like this, that's both a conservation and we allow hunting and certain activities?

MR. RIECHERS: Yes, Commissioner Jones. Certainly we have WMAs that have some of those kinds of properties and activities, as well as some of our state parks also; and so what we've done, is we've kind of looked at that list. The only difference here is that these are going to be unmanned, on-site and so they're going to be a little bit different in nature; but we're certainly using some of those rules that we have in those other places as a guide here.

COMMISSIONER JONES: So you're not completely having to reinvent the wheel on these rules that you're proposing?

MR. RIECHERS: That is absolutely correct, yes.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Okay.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any other questions for Robin?

Robin, thank you.

MR. RIECHERS: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Okay. I'll authorize staff to publish the proposed coastal management area rules in the Texas Register for the required public notice and comment period.

Item 7 is a Briefing on Chronic Wasting Disease Science Update, Dr. Bob Dittmar. Good morning.

DR. DITTMAR: Good morning, Commissioners, Mr. Chairman, Director Smith. My name is Bob Dittmar. I'm the veterinarian with Texas Parks and Wildlife. I've been tasked this morning with providing an update on information regarding CWD research.

CWD has only been identified for about 50 years. So it's a relatively new disease, particularly when we compare it to other transmissibles -- spongiform encephalopathies that we know about, like scrapie. While there's been a lot of progress in CWD research, there's still a lot we have to learn. This is will be a very high altitude flyover of some new work, some older ongoing work that I thought you might find interesting.

The first study I'm going to cover is from a report given by Dr. Stefanie Czub at the recent 2017 prion conference held in Edinburgh, Scotland. Stated in the title, this is a preliminary report on a work in progress that started in 2009. It's not complete. It hasn't been peer reviewed, nor has it been published.

Basically, the study used 21 Cynomologus macaques that were exposed to CWD by various means that might be similar to human exposure. I want to stress up front that macaques are animal models that can be used to study human disease. They're not little humans; and though they're genetically similar to humans, this does not mean the study equates to human infection. We have several cervid species that are not known to be naturally infected with CWD.

First off, in the oral -- first off, have elicited an intracranial challenge as a proof of concept. Intracranial challenge is not an expected human exposure; but it's used to show that macaques can be infected. Basically, it's a positive control. In the oral challenges, which would mimic humans eating or consuming deer meat, some of those macaques received five doses of two grams of fascia brain material over 15 months. Others received 200 grams or about seven ounces of muscle tissue from positive -- CWD positive -- White-tail deer monthly for two years. This totaled about five kilograms or roughly the body weight of those macaques. The muscle meat was from unclinical CWD positive White-tail deer.

In the skin scarification, which would mimic possible exposures when hunters are field dressing deer, positive material was applied to abraded skin; and in the blood transfusion, blood was taken from macaques that have been exposed to CWD positive material from elk, White-tail deer, and Mule deer. While humans wouldn't get blood transfusions from macaques or deer, blood transfusions or transmitting human TSEs by blood transfusion is a topic of great interest.

We have some preliminary reports so far on this. The study is not complete. So far, 11 animals have been euthanized as per schedule or for humane reasons. The report is going to center on the first five animals; which basically at this time, that's all the data they have is those first five that were euthanized. Two were challenged by intracranial inoculation, and three were challenged by oral administration of CWD positive White-tail deer muscle or brain tissue.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: What do you mean by "challenged"?

DR. DITTMAR: Oh, they're given that material. Basically, dosed with it to see if they come down with it. Results so for, the post inoculation time on those five animals was from four and a half to 6.2 years. Four of the five developed symptoms that were commensurate with CWD, such as wasting, ataxia, apathy, and tremor. The one that was not symptomatic, was a scheduled postmortem that was an intracranial challenge. All were positive for CWD by various testing methods, and all had histopathological lesions that were consistent with CWD.

Some observations from this study, in this study, the histopathological evidence was observed earlier in its spinal cord than the brain. In cervids, you expected that the prions will travel by nerve pathways first to the brain and then the spinal cord. In this situation, it seemed to go first to the brain and then the spinal cord, suggesting a different pathway of prion progression in the macaques. This is also the same pathway that seemed to occur when macaques were experimentally exposed or infected with bovine spongiform encephalopathy. I'll also point out in the earlier study, those macaques were given fewer, larger doses of infectious material; where in this study, they were given multiple, smaller, more frequent doses.

Some other observations, there was a high incident of diabetes in this study group of macaques. It's not clear if this is significant, as the colonies used to provide the macaques have a rate of diabetes. Just genetically, they're predisposed to it. The earlier study had some diabetic animals, but not as many; and just we do know insulin has some immunoprotective properties.

There are ten animals left from the original 21. The study may terminate in the coming year basically just due to cost factors. This study has cost almost $8 million to date. And also with this study, the Center for Disease Control is considering strengthening their recommendations regarding testing and consumption of harvest in CWD endemic areas.

Moving on to another study, this is a study that's been recently published. This group inoculated elk, Mule deer, and White-tail deer with CWD; and they found that prions -- or they found prions in urine and feces as early as six months postinoculation and that feces were more likely to contain prions than urine and the more susceptible June taps were much more likely to shed the prions in urine and feces.

Another study that was presented at Prion 2017, is a compilation of previous studies and some ongoing work by Dr. Candace Mathiason, who's from the Prion Research Center at Colorado State University. They've been looking at CWD transmission in cervids using various materials. One of the studies used large amounts of brain material orally and they were finding positive animals 3 to 18 months postinoculation. That work is still ongoing using smaller amounts of material.

Using saliva and giving doses of 15 to 50 CCs, which is about one to three tablespoons, they were finding positives at 12 months inoculation. Using smaller doses, they were finding positives at 12 months with QuIC amplification testing; and that study is also ongoing using smaller amounts.

By giving blood, they were finding positive at six months postinoculation. Interestingly, they found if they gave only the plasma or the liquid fraction of the blood, they did not detect CWD; but if they give the cellar fraction, they had positives in that same six-month postinoculation timeframe.

Fomites are inanimate objects that can pass disease. In this study, they transferred bedding, feed and water containers from known infected pens and exposed naive deer and they had positive deer 15 months postexposure.

In their -- they also conducted a study where they challenged deer with oral urinal and feces. They did not detect any positives after 38 months. Those animals were sacrificed; but another study took that brain material from those particular deer, and were able to infect transgenic mice. These researchers also demonstrated vertical transmission or mother-to-fetus transmission in Muntjac deer and also found positive fetal tissue, uterine tissue, placentomes, and amniotic fluid in positive free-ranging elk.

Here are a couple of studies dealing with population declines in local populations. All of these studies were on herds with a long history of CWD that had a high prevalence. The Edmond Study was in White-tail deer in Wyoming. He estimated a 10.4 percent annual decline in that population and found that CWD deer were four to time -- four and a half times more likely to die than non-positive deer.

The DeVivo study was in Mule deer, also in Wyoming. Her model predicted a 19 percent annual decline in population, and found that CWD positive deer were three times more likely to die than the non-positive deer.

The Monello study dealt with elk; and in that study, they concluded that CWD can exceed in the actual rates of mortality, reduce survival of adult females, and decrease population growth of elk herds.

Some research that's anticipated or upcoming, while there have been a lot of studies on prions, transmissibility, environmental contamination, and things like that; to date, there have only been about 11 studies on management and control. The first two studies listed there, you may have seen some fresh information about. Matter of fact, there was an article in my AVMA Journal this morning when I opened it about that. The positives on that is that fire or grazing by non-susceptible species -- like, wild horses -- could reduce the prion loads in plants out in the environment. I'm not sure that we know to what degree plant uptake plays a role in CWD transmission yet, but that will be an interesting study.

The adaptive management studies are coming from Wyoming and Colorado, and they will compare different harvest strategies to reduce prevalence and evaluate population effects. And with that, I'll entertain any questions.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any questions?

Commissioner Jones.

COMMISSIONER JONES: So I'm going to admit my ignorance. I didn't know what a macaque was, so I looked it up. That's a monkey, right?

DR. DITTMAR: Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER JONES: All right. Did the oral -- I think you call it "challenge," I'll call it "application" -- did they cook the deer meat before they gave it to the monkey?

DR. DITTMAR: I'm not exactly sure -- no, I do know that. No, they did not; but it's pretty well generally accepted that cooking temperatures will not destroy the prions. So they don't think that was a major factor in that. In this particular study, as well, those macaques, they're not really meat eaters. So they were actually given the meat by tube feeding it.

COMMISSIONER JONES: You already -- you jumped ahead of my next question: Is whether cooking does anything to it?

DR. DITTMAR: Yeah. There was another study, I think, that was conducted in France, where those macaques did actually eat the meat; and I believe that's still an ongoing study.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Because I would be interested in knowing -- while cooking may not -- does cooking and digesting cooked meat, does that make a difference in whether --

DR. DITTMAR: Yeah, interesting point.

COMMISSIONER JONES: -- the enzymes and whatever in your stomach, treats it differently?

DR. DITTMAR: We're relatively sure that the regular digestive enzymes probably do not inactivate prions. There's been some studies where they have looked at animals like coyotes and found that the prions do pass through their digestive system and they can find it in the feces. So I would -- while I don't know that for a fact, I would be surprised if that actually occurred.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: And that would happen in non-susceptible animals as well for the grazing study, wouldn't it?

DR. DITTMAR: Yes, sir, that would be very true. And quite probably, it occurs in susceptible species with that study about the shedding of the prions in the feces. One of the things they pointed out, was that they were keeping these animals in a research facility that had had high levels of CWD. So they're not sure that the difference in urine production and feces production may did not -- maybe did not have something to do with just pass-through. That they were picking up the prions out there and actually pooping them out.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Do we know -- do -- in the other six, is that just timing of the study? Waiting for the results on the other six that were euthanized or do --

DR. DITTMAR: On the macaques study?

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Yes, on the first one.

DR. DITTMAR: No, I don't know a definitive time. I know the study may end. And this is kind of a multinational study. The funding and Dr. Czub are actually in Canada. The macaques are actually in Germany. And so, like I said, they've had 11 that were euthanized; but we only have the results on five. So I would anticipate it's going to be quite a few years before we get the total study out.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: And they spent $8 million to study a sample size of 11?

DR. DITTMAR: I'm sorry. What?

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Did I hear that correctly? Eleven animals and an $8 million study?

DR. DITTMAR: And again, this is the transmissible -- I didn't point that out. The transmissibility portion of this is not the total study. They're doing some other things, as well --

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Good.

DR. DITTMAR: -- and looking at that, but it's pretty expensive. That's why it --

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: I was just curious. That's all.

Anything else?

Thank you very much.

DR. DITTMAR: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Appreciate it.

Okay. Item No. 8 is Disease Detection and Response Rules, Chronic Wasting Disease Zone Rules, Movement of Deer, Recommended Adoption of Proposed Changes. Good morning, Mitch.

MR. LOCKWOOD: Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, Director Smith. For the record, my name is Mitch Lockwood. I'm the Big Game Program Director; and tomorrow I will recommend adoption to proposed amendments to the rules pertaining to the CWD zones in Texas, which this Commission adopted last May.

The proposed amendment pertains to the movement of breeder deer from deer breeding facilities that have a TC 3 status and are located within a CWD zone in this state. The rules of Division 1 in Chapter 65 Subchapter B, prohibit the movement of susceptible species except as authorized in either 65.81, which pertain to the containment zone rules, or 65.82, which pertain to the surveillance zone rules, or 65.87, which address how these rules may be applicable to scientific research permits.

During the May Commission meeting, this Commission adopted -- among other things -- amendments to 65.81 and 65.82, which authorize some movement of breeder deer from -- excuse me -- within CWD containment zones and surveillance zones in the state. You may recall that breeder deer may be released from a TC 1 deer breeding facility to any registered release site that's located within that same containment zone; and also within the containment zone rules, breeder deer may be released from TC 2 deer breeding facilities onto adjacent release sites under the same ownership within that same zone.

But there's no reference to TC 3 facilities in either 65.81 or 65.82. So this applies to both the containment zone and the surveillance; but it was our intent all along, to allow for breeder deer to be released from TC 3 breeding facilities located in one of these zones if it is authorized by a herd plan that's issued by Texas Animal Health Commission and prepared by both of our agencies. In fact, the comprehensive CWD rules that are in Division 2 of Chapter 65 Subchapter B, do authorize the release of breeder deer from TC 3 facilities, if it is authorized by a herd plan; but Division 2 does not supersede Division 1.

Therefore, we propose to amend the rules in Division 1, again, to allow for TC 3 breeding facilities that are located within a containment zone or a surveillance zone to release breeder deer, provided that the deer released onto adjoining acreage under the same ownership; that the breeding facility and release site have been in full compliance with the requirements of 65.95 of this title, unless exempted by a herd plan; and the release is specifically authorized in a herd plan that is prepared by this Department and Texas Animal Health Commission.

Finally, we also propose to clarify which rule prevails in the event of conflicting rules. If any provision of Division 1 -- excuse me. If any provision of Division 2 conflicts with any other provision of subchapter -- of Chapter 65, other than Division 1 of this subchapter, then Division 2 prevails. However, if any provision of Division 2 conflicts with any provision of Division 1, then Division 1 prevails. Simply put, the only rules that would prevail over Division 2 -- which are the comprehensive CWD rules -- would be Division 1, which are the CWD zone rules.

Finally, we received eight comments in support of this proposal. Two in opposition to this proposal, but those two comments in opposition really weren't germane to this proposal. One of the commenters was opposed to deer breeding of any native species. The other comment had to do with Red snapper rules and how we may or may not have articulated those rules in the Outdoor Annual.

So with that, I believe I have just set a record for the shortest presentation on CWD for this Commission; and I'll be glad to answer any questions you might have.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thanks, Mitch.

COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Excellent.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Commissioner Duggins.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Dick, I told you not to make that Red Snapper comment. No, I'm joking.

The question is on the limitation that you propose, you limited it to -- you said, "Compliance with the requirements of Section 65.95." Is there a reason to limit it to just that one section and not require compliance with all of the rules applicable to deer breeding.

MR. LOCKWOOD: Well, I think that the short answer to that is no. I think 65.95 really is the rules that directly pertain to release sites. They apply to the movement of breeder deer and release site testing requirements; and what we've observed so far is if a release site is not going to be in compliance with the rules, it is that section of the rule that they're not complying with.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: But suppose the individual or entity fails or refuses to submit timely reports or to submit information that the staff has reasonably requested? I mean, it seems to me that if you're out of compliance with a substantive rule applicable to deer breeding, I think you ought to have the discretion -- maybe not the duty, but the discretion -- to decline to permit the release.

MR. LOCKWOOD: I think that's good advice, unless Todd George or any of our Legal team would like to further address this, we'll certainly take that under advisement and potentially propose adoption with changes as requested tomorrow.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: I'd maybe consider that between today and tomorrow, please.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any other questions for Mitch?

Mitch, thank you.

I'll place the Chronic Wasting Disease zone rules and movement of deer rules on the Thursday Commission meeting agenda for public comment and action.

With regard to Work Session Item No. 9, Grant of Easement, Somervell County, Approximately 9 Acres of a High Voltage Transmission Line Right-of-Way at Dinosaur Valley State Park, do we have any Commissioner with questions or comments?

Okay. I'll place the grant of easement, Somervell County, on the Thursday Commission meeting agenda for public comment and action.

For Session Item No. 10, Acquisition of Land, Bastrop County, Approximately 1 Acre at Bastrop State Park, does any Commissioner have any questions or comments?

Okay. I will also place this -- acquisition of land, Bastrop County -- on the Thursday Commission meeting agenda for public comment and action.

And for Item No. 11, Grant of Easement, Randall County, Radio Tower at Palo Duro Canyon State Park, do we have any Commissioner questions or comments?

Okay. I'll place this -- grant of easement, Randall County -- on the Thursday Commission meeting agenda for public comment and action.

Work Session Item No. 12, which is an Update on Regulatory Litigation Regarding Red Snapper, Oysters, and Chronic Wasting Disease, this item will be heard in Executive Session.

Item 13, San Jac Battleground State Historic Site Improvements, will also be heard in Executive Session.

And Item 14 will also be heard in Executive Session; and 15, as well, which is Personnel Matters, Performance Evaluation of Texas Parks and Wildlife Executive Director.

At this time, I would like to announce that pursuant to the requirements of Chapter 551 Government Code, referred to as the Open Meetings Act, an Executive Session will be held at this time for the purpose of seeking legal advice under Section 551.071 of the Open Meetings Act, including advice regarding pending or contemplated litigation; deliberation of real estate matters under Section 551.072 of the Open Meetings Act.

We will now for recess for Executive Session. Thank you.

(Recess taken for Executive Session)

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: We'll now reconvene the regular -- we will now reconvene the regular session of the Work Session on August 23, 2017, at 2:16 p.m.

For Work Session Item 12, Update on Regulatory Litigation, Red Snapper, Oysters, Deer Breeder Litigation, no further action is required at this time.

Work Session Item 13, the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site Improvements, no further action required at this time.

Work Session Item No. 14, Management Strategy, Marion County, Boundary and Access Issues at Caddo Lake Wildlife Management Area, no further action is required at this time.

Work Session Item No. 15, Personnel Matters, Performance Evaluation of the Executive Director Carter Smith (laughter), no further action is required at this time.

So at this point, the Commission has completed its Work Session business; and I declare us adjourned from Work Session.

(Work Session Adjourns)


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, 2018

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