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TPW Commission

Commission Meeting, November 7, 2018

Transcript

TPW Commission Meetings

TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION

November 7, 2018

TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT
MISSION EVENT CENTER
200 NORTH SHARY ROAD
MISSION, TEXAS 78572

COMMISSION MEETING

CHAIRMAN DUGGINS: Okay, let's get started. Good morning, everyone. I would like to call our meeting to order November 7, 2018, at 9:05 or six a.m.

Before we proceed with our business, Carter needs to make his open records declaration.

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

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

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIRMAN DUGGINS: Thank you.

First item is to approve the minutes of our Commission Meeting held August 23, 2018. Those minutes have been distributed. Is there a motion for approval?

Commissioner Scott. Second Commissioner Warren. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

CHAIRMAN DUGGINS: Hearing no opposition, the motion carries.

Acknowledgment of the list of donations, which has been distributed. Is there a motion to approve the donations on that list?

COMMISSIONER LATIMER: So moved.

CHAIRMAN DUGGINS: Commissioner Latimer. Second Commissioner Warren. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

CHAIRMAN DUGGINS: Hearing no opposition, the motion carries.

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

COMMISSIONER JONES: So moved.

CHAIRMAN DUGGINS: Commissioner Jones.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Second.

CHAIRMAN DUGGINS: Second Commissioner Morian. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

CHAIRMAN DUGGINS: Hearing no opposition, the motion carries.

Action Item 1, Approval of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Fiscal Year 2019 Internal Audit Plan. Cindy Hancock, welcome.

MS. HANCOCK: Good morning. For the record, I'm Cindy Hancock, Director of Internal Audit; and hopefully this clicker will work this morning. There we go.

Texas Government Code 2102.008, also known as the Texas Internal Audit Act, requires the annual internal audit plan to be approved by the Commission. I'm here to request approval for the fiscal year '19 internal audit plan as listed in Exhibit A.

Exhibit A shows the new proposed projects for fiscal year '19. This exhibit also includes the number of hours estimated to complete these projects, and it also includes the audit plan -- in the audit plan an alternative project that we can include as time permits.

Staff recommends the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt the following motion: The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission approves the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's fiscal year 2019 internal audit plan as listed in Exhibit A. That concludes my --

CHAIRMAN DUGGINS: Members, any questions, comments?

COMMISSIONER JONES: Mr. Chairman, I approve of the audit plan and move for its approval by the Commission.

CHAIRMAN DUGGINS: Okay. Commissioner Jones motion. Second Commissioner Scott. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

CHAIRMAN DUGGINS: I guess one point of clarification, Cindy, when you -- on the bottom line, you have alternate project and you say "as hours permit." Would that be if the budgeted hours -- sorry -- the projects that are listed take less than 7,258 hours, you would fill those hours in with special projects?

MS. HANCOCK: Yes, sir.

CHAIRMAN DUGGINS: Okay.

MS. HANCOCK: Yes, sir.

CHAIRMAN DUGGINS: Thank you so much for your presentation.

MS. HANCOCK: All right, thank you.

CHAIRMAN DUGGINS: All right. Pardon me. Action Item 2, Raptor Proclamation Rules, Matt Reidy. Welcome, Matt.

MR. REIDY: For the record, my name is Matt Reidy. I'm a Natural Resource Specialist with Parks and Wildlife, as well as a licensed master falconer and a member of the Falcon and Raptor Council. Today, I'm going to talk to you about -- oops, there we go -- I'm going to talk to you about proposed amendments concerning the raptor proclamation as it concerns the sport of the falconry in Texas.

But before I get started, I want to give you a little bit of information, brief information, on what is falconry. Falconry is the hunting of wild game with a trained bird of prey. It is regulated at both the state and the federal level and it is regulated by -- in Texas -- by Texas Parks and Wildlife and it comply -- which we comply with the federal falcon regulations. All falconers are required to have a state permit, as well as have a hunting license whenever they're practicing the sport.

It is practiced by a very small number of people in the state. Actually, in the country. About 283 licensed falconers; and it requires a lot of time, energy, dedication. Texas Parks and Wildlife works with the Falconry and Raptor Council to make sure that falconry is exemplary in the state.

The Falconry and Raptor Council consists of the Permit Administrator for the State; the Wildlife Diversity Program Lead Director; several licensed falconers; as well as members of the Texas Hawking Association, the State club for falconry, and these proposed amendments were developed with the Falconry and Raptor Council.

So the proposed amendments are pretty simple. There's two amendments that we want to look into amending. The first is a reference to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service falconry database, and the second is cleaning up some language on transferring of wild-caught raptors to out-of-state permit holders.

So as far as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service falconry database, our current Texas falconry regulations reference a specific website, a specific URL, managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service which requires falconers to document capture, loss, and transfer of wild-caught raptors and captive-bred raptors to anyone -- any other permit holder. This website is no longer supported by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and has actually not been available for several years.

Recently, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service developed a new website for this documentation of raptor disposition; and so our current regulations mentioning a specific URL, doesn't fit with the URL that's now currently being used. So this amendment recommends to make the reference to the website generic instead of specific, in case there's any other changes to the URL in the future.

The next amendment is concerning wild-caught raptor transfer. Current Texas falconry regulations referencing transfer of wild-caught raptors, cause confusion with the constituent group and does not specify whether the regulation applies to raptors captured during the current permit year only or any wild-caught raptor in possession.

Staff propose to clarify that a wild-caught raptor could be transferred to an out-of-state permittee in that same permit year it was trapped, but limits such transfers to one per permittee per year. Therefore, raptors captured in previous years, would not be limited to one transfer per permittee per year. This coincides with the federal regulations, as well.

We had a total of six public comments: Four in favor, two opposed. One of the opposition responses did not have any further comments to let us know why they opposed and the second opposition, the comments were not germane to the rulemaking.

Staff recommend that Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts the proposed amendments concerning the raptor proclamation as published in the Texas Register. I'll take any questions.

CHAIRMAN DUGGINS: Members, any questions?

COMMISSIONER JONES: I just have a generic question.

MR. REIDY: Sure.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Are raptors -- if you're -- I guess you can dove hunt with a raptor?

MR. REIDY: Dove, ducks, rabbits, quail.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Are you held to the same limits as someone using a firearm?

MR. REIDY: Yes, except for migratory birds. We actually have a little bit of a different limit. We have extended season; but a reduced bag limit, according to the federal regulations.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Okay.

CHAIRMAN DUGGINS: Did you watch Scott Pelley's segment on Ms. McGough in hunting -- using Golden eagles to hunt in Mongolia?

MR. REIDY: I did. I know her well.

CHAIRMAN DUGGINS: It was cool, wasn't it?

MR. REIDY: Yeah, it was great.

CHAIRMAN DUGGINS: Okay. Good presentation. Is there a motion for approval?

COMMISSIONER JONES: So moved.

CHAIRMAN DUGGINS: Commissioner Jones. Second Commissioner Scott. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

CHAIRMAN DUGGINS: Hearing no opposition, the motion carries.

Thank you, sir.

All right. Action Item 3, Ken Kurzawski, Shad Rules. Good morning, Ken.

MR. KURZAWSKI: Good morning, Chairman. Good morning, commissioners. My name is Ken Kurzawski of the Inland Fisheries Division; and I'm here today to go over some proposed changes to the permit requirements, specifically those on the collection, possession, and sale of shad.

Back in 2017, we undertook some rule changes to the permit requirements and these focused on Threadfin and Gizzard shad. There was some concern about stocking of Threadfin shad in private ponds that they do as a prey. Since those fish were not for sale, a permit was not needed and there was concerns expressed about the quantities of fish being harvested from public waters and we addressed that.

We looked at that. We didn't think that was an issue at the time, but we did institute a permit for the harvest and possession of substantial quantities for those noncommercial uses to capture that.

We settled on a container volume to try and get at that. We selected a size that we thought was sufficient enough for persons doing bait activities for recreational fishing, but would also allow us to capture those persons collecting larger quantities for use in private ponds. The goal there were was to minimize impacts to recreational anglers and also to fishing guides.

We decided to require a permit for persons collecting for private ponds, as they were previously exempted from that. That allowed us to get some information on the harvest being done by that activity and it also gave us the opportunity to communicate to those permit holders about the risk of transfer of Zebra mussels possibly in water and also some best practices that they could do that and also to inform them of the water draining rules that are a separate category.

Earlier this year, we did receive a petition for rulemaking to request -- their initial position was to request a removal of the container size. After discussing this with the petitioner, we decided to propose to you upping the container size from the 82 quarts, around 20 gallons, to 30 gallons. When we originally proposed this rule in 2017, we kind of looked at the size of coolers and container sizes that people were using and we settled on 20 gallons. The next size up is that 30 gallons. We think this is still -- will have minimal impact on the populations. Specific to this petitioner's request, he is hauling Gizzard shad to use as live bait for catfishing. So, you know, our main concern originally was for the Threadfin shad. The larger -- his request for the larger container would improve his survival when he's engaging that activity and we still believe those persons that are collecting for Threadfin shad for private ponds are using much larger containers, upwards of 75 to 100 gallons. So we think we're still in a good spot with this and it won't -- will have minimal impacts.

So, basically, our proposed change is to increase that container volume from 82 quarts to 30 gallons for that exemption of the permitting requirements. We believe it will have minimal impacts. We also went into the rule and added a little clarifying language that based on public comments since we made the initial rule change in 2017, there's some impacts there of the water draining rules, which are separate rules; but there's just a little bit confusion there. So we hope to make those changes and clear that up.

We did receive some public comments on this. Thirty-four persons, including the original petitioner, Mr. Taymon, gave us comments to agree with this. We did have three persons disagree and the only one that really was germane, one person suggested that the guide shouldn't be exempted from permit requirements and that really wasn't part of our initial rulemaking at this time. So with that, I'd be happy to take any questions if you have them.

CHAIRMAN DUGGINS: Members, any questions?

I guess one I have is: Does the rule limit each person to one container, or can they -- could they have a truckload of 30-gallon containers?

MR. KURZAWSKI: No. It would be an aggregate, one person. They could have multiple containers, but it couldn't exceed the 30-gallon limit.

CHAIRMAN DUGGINS: So the total capacity one --

MR. KURZAWSKI: Right.

CHAIRMAN DUGGINS: -- person can possess is 30 gallons?

MR. KURZAWSKI: Correct.

CHAIRMAN DUGGINS: All right. All right, sir.

MR. KURZAWSKI: So the recommendation would be that the Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt amendments to 57.385 concerning those special provisions for collection, possession, and sale of shad, with any changes as necessary to the proposed text as published in the September 28th, 2018, issue of the Texas Register.

CHAIRMAN DUGGINS: Is there a motion for approval? Commissioner Latimer.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Second.

CHAIRMAN DUGGINS: Commissioner Jones. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

CHAIRMAN DUGGINS: Hearing no opposition, the motion carries.

Thank you, sir.

MR. KURZAWSKI: Thank you.

CHAIRMAN DUGGINS: All right. Item 4, Employee Training Rules, Dr. Pamela Wheeler. Good morning.

DR. WHEELER: Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, Mr. Smith. For the record, my name is Pamela Wheeler, Human Resources Division Director for TPWD.

House Bill 3337 was passed in 2015 84th Legislature. It requires all State agencies to adopt rules requiring authorization by the Executive head of an agency before reimbursing tuition by an institution of higher education. The purpose of House Bill 3337 is to prevent Agency staff from incurring graduate degree program costs without sufficient executive level oversight. This is not known to have occurred at Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

The proposed rule would incorporate into TPWD's rules that control on tuition reimbursement enacted in House Bill 3337. Current policy, Executive Director approval is needed for tuition assistance. Since Agency policy already requires Executive head approval, the adopted rule change will not require any change in Agency policy.

There were some public comments. Seven comments received, all in favor. The recommendation is that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt the amendment to 31 Texas Administrative Code 51.500 concerning employee training rules. This change as -- with changes as necessary to the proposed text as published in the September 28th, 2018, issue of the Texas Register. Are there any questions?

CHAIRMAN DUGGINS: Commissioners, any questions or comments? All right.

COMMISSIONER JONES: I just want to make sure. So we already do this as a policy within our Department, but the Legislature is saying they want us to make that a rule?

DR. WHEELER: Yes.

COMMISSIONER JONES: And -- okay.

DR. WHEELER: So we're just bringing our rules in sync with the Legislative ruling.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Okay.

CHAIRMAN DUGGINS: Okay?

COMMISSIONER JONES: Okay.

CHAIRMAN DUGGINS: Motion for approval.

COMMISSIONER JONES: So moved.

CHAIRMAN DUGGINS: Commissioner Jones. Second Commissioner Latimer. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

CHAIRMAN DUGGINS: Hearing no opposition, the motion carries. Thank you very much.

DR. WHEELER: Thank you.

CHAIRMAN DUGGINS: Are you through? You done?

Before I adjourn us, I do want to mention that the Commission will now -- or will head to Brownsville to the Oscar Dancy Building for a Regional Public Hearing that will start at 2:00 p.m. this afternoon. And with that statement, I declare us adjourned. Thank you-all.

(Commission Meeting Adjourns)

In official recognition of the adoption of this

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

_______________________________

Ralph H. Duggins, Chairman

_______________________________

S. Reed Morian, Vice-Chairman

_______________________________

T. Dan Friedkin, Member

_______________________________

Anna B. Galo, Member

_______________________________

Bill Jones, Member

_______________________________

Jeanne W. Latimer, Member

_______________________________

James H. Lee, Member

_______________________________

Dick Scott, Member

_______________________________

Kelcy L. Warren, Member


C E R T I F I C A T E

STATE OF TEXAS ) COUNTY OF TRAVIS )

I, Paige S. Watts, Certified

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

I FURTHER CERTIFY THAT the

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

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto

set my hand and seal this Turn in date _____ day of ________________, ________.

___________________________________

Paige S. Watts, CSR, RPR

CSR No.: 8311

Expiration: December 31, 2020

7010 Cool Canyon Cove

Round Rock, Texas 78681

(512)779-8320

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