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Work Session

Wednesday, January 22, 2020
09:00 a.m.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Commission Hearing Room
4200 Smith School Road, Austin, TX  78744

S. Reed Morian, Commission Chair
Carter Smith, Executive Director

Approval of the Previous Minutes from the Commission Work Session held November 6, 2019

    Land and Water Plan

  1. Update on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s Progress in Implementing the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan – Carter Smith
    • Internal Affairs Update
    • Staff Recognition
    • Update on Current “Doe Day” Regulations in Effect in 21 Counties
    • Response to Detection of Chronic Wasting Disease in a White-tailed Deer in Val Verde County
    • Oyster Mariculture Update
    • Alligator Gar Harvest Drawing
    • New Advisory Committees Update

    Financial

  2. Financial Overview – Mike Jensen
  3. Internal Audit Update – Sophia Williams
  4. Natural Resources

  5. Amendment to the Threatened and Endangered Species List Rules and Amendment to the Prohibited Species for Commercial Activity List Rules – Recommended Adoption of Proposed Changes – Meredith Longoria (Action Item No. 2)
  6. Managed Lands Deer Program Fees and Amendments to Rules – Recommended Adoption of Proposed Changes – Alan Cain (Action Item No. 3)
  7. 2020-2021 Statewide Recreational and Commercial Fishing Proclamation Preview – Request Permission to Publish Proposed Changes in the Texas Register – Ken Kurzawski, Dakus Geeslin
  8. 2020-2021 Statewide Hunting and Migratory Game Bird Proclamation Preview – Request Permission to Publish Proposed Changes in the Texas Register – Shawn Gray, Shaun Oldenburger
  9. Land Conservation

  10. Grant of Easement – El Paso County – Approximately 1 Acre at Franklin Mountains State Park – Trey Vick (Work Session and Executive Session) (Action Item No. 4)
  11. Acceptance of Donation of Land– Bastrop County – Approximately 5 Acres at Bastrop State Park – Trey Vick (Work Session and Executive Session) (Action Item No. 5)
  12. Disposition of Land – Jasper County – Approximately 1.2 Acres at the Former Jasper Fish Hatchery – Stan David (Work Session and Executive Session) (Action Item No. 6)
  13. Acquisition of Land – Brazoria County – Approximately 1,200 Acres at the Justin Hurst Wildlife Management Area – Ted Hollingsworth (Work Session and Executive Session) (Action Item No. 7)
  14. Acquisition of Land – Matagorda County – Approximately 1,100 Acres at the Matagorda Peninsula Coastal Management Area – Ted Hollingsworth (Work Session and Executive Session) (Action Item No. 8)
  15. Acceptance of Donation of Land – Matagorda County – Approximately 172 Acres at the Matagorda Peninsula Coastal Management Area – Ted Hollingsworth (Work Session and Executive Session) (Action Item No. 9)
  16. Reversion of Land – Bastrop County – Approximately 650 Acres at Buescher State Park –Ted Hollingsworth (Work Session and Executive Session) WITHDRAWN FROM THE WORK SESSION
  17. Executive Session

  18. Personnel Matters – Selection of New Internal Auditor – Carter Smith (Executive Session Only) (Action Item No. 1)
  19. Litigation Update – Robert Sweeney (Executive Session Only)
    • Oysters
    • Chronic Wasting Disease

Work Session Item No. 1
Presenter: Carter Smith

Work Session
Update on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department's Progress
in Implementing the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Land and
Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan
January 22, 2020

I.      Executive Summary: Executive Director Carter Smith will briefly update the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission (Commission) on the status of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s (TPWD) efforts to implement the Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan (plan). 

II.     Discussion: In 2001, the 77th Texas Legislature directed that TPWD develop a Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan (Texas Parks and Wildlife Code section 11.104). In 2002, the Commission adopted the first plan. A revised plan was adopted by the Commission in January 2005. In November 2009, the Commission approved a new plan, effective January 1, 2010, that included broad input from stakeholders and the general public.  Minor revisions continue to be made to the plan. The 2015 version of the plan is available on the TPWD website. Executive Director Carter Smith will update the Commission on TPWD’s recent progress in achieving the plan’s goals, objectives, and deliverables.

The plan consists of the following four goals:

  • Practice, Encourage, and Enable Science-Based Stewardship of Natural and Cultural Resources 
  • Increase Access to and Participation in the Outdoors 
  • Educate, Inform, and Engage Texas Citizens in Support of Conservation and Recreation 
  • Employ Efficient, Sustainable, and Sound Business Practices

Work Session Item No. 2
Presenter: Mike Jensen

Work Session
Financial Overview
January 22, 2020

I.      Executive Summary:  The staff will present a financial overview of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). 

II.     Discussion: The staff will update the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission on state park, boat registration/titling, and license fee revenues collected by TPWD for the full Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 and for year-to-date FY 2020. Staff also will summarize recent budget adjustments for FY 2020.


Work Session Item No. 3
Presenter: Sophia Williams

Work Session
Internal Audit Update
January 22, 2020

I.      Executive Summary: The staff will present an update on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 and 2020 Internal Audit Plans and ongoing or completed external audits.

II.     Discussion: The staff will provide an update on the TPWD FY 2019 and 2020 Internal Audit Plans, as well as a briefing of any external audits that have been recently completed or are ongoing.


Work Session Item No. 6
Presenters: Ken Kurzawski
Dakus Geeslin

Work Session
2020-2021 Statewide Recreational and Commercial Fishing Proclamation Preview
Request Permission to Publish Proposed Changes in the Texas Register
January 22, 2020

I.      Executive Summary:  With this item, the staff seeks permission to publish proposed changes to the 2020-2021 Statewide Recreational and Commercial Fishing Proclamation in the Texas Register for public comment. The proposed amendments are listed below or may come from the discussion of the scoping items below:

Inland Fisheries

  • Moss Lake (Cooke County) – Modify the 14-inch minimum length limit for largemouth bass to a 16-inch maximum length limit;
  • Brushy Creek Lake and Brushy Creek (Williamson County) – Modify harvest regulations for Brushy Creek Lake by changing to the statewide 14-inch limit for largemouth bass, and on the section of Brushy Creek downstream from the lake to the Williamson/Milam County line by reducing blue and channel catfish daily bag limit and adding gear restrictions;
  • Lake Nasworthy (Tom Green County) – Modify harvest regulations for black and white crappie by removing the current 10-inch minimum length limit;
  • Lake Texoma and the Texas waters of the Red River below Denison Dam (Cooke and Grayson Counties) – Modify harvest regulations for blue, channel, and flathead catfish in the Texas waters of Lake Texoma and on the portion of the Red River below Lake Texoma (from Denison Dam downstream to Shawnee Creek). Regulations would be standardized in the Oklahoma waters of Lake Texoma and would mirror the current Oklahoma statewide regulations; and
  • Falcon International Reservoir (Starr and Zapata Counties) — Remove the time restriction in effect for the harvest of alligator gar. 

Coastal Fisheries

  • Flounder; and
  • Paddle Craft All-Water Guide License – modify the course requirements by removing courses that are no longer listed, available, or have been redesigned and/or are being renamed. Change requirement to include successful completion of a “paddle craft leading course” from the American Canoe Association or another Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPWD)-approved course. 

II.    Discussion:  Responsibility for establishing seasons, bag limits, and means and methods for taking fisheries resources for recreational purposes is delegated to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission (Commission) under Texas Parks and Wildlife Code chapters 61 and 67. Statutory authority to regulate commercial fisheries is delegated to the commission under Texas Parks and Wildlife Code chapters 47 and 66.  The proposed rules are based upon suggestions from the public, statutory requirements, and Commission policy, including scientific investigation and required findings of fact where applicable. The potential changes are intended to increase recreational opportunity, decrease regulatory complexity where possible, promote enforcement, and provide for the sound biological management of the wildlife resources of the state.

TPWD has been concerned about long-term population trends in the flounder fishery. Staff has undertaken an extensive outreach effort to determine public support for potential regulatory approaches to stabilize the fishery and have developed a range of possible regulatory responses to present to the Commission (located at Exhibit B).

Attachments – 2

  1. Exhibit A – Proposed Statewide Recreational and Commercial Fishing Proclamation
  2. Exhibit B – Potential Actions Regarding Flounder

Work Session Item No. 6
Exhibit A

STATEWIDE RECREATIONAL AND COMMERCIAL FISHING PROCLAMATION
PROPOSAL PREAMBLE

1. Introduction.

        The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department proposes amendments to §§57.973, 57.981, and 57.997, concerning the Statewide Recreational and Commercial Fishing Proclamations.

        The proposed amendment to §57.973, concerning Devices, Means and Methods would add a section of Brushy Creek (Williamson County) to the list of locations where game and non-game fishes can only be taken by pole and line and would limit anglers to the use of no more than two pole-and-line devices at the same time. The stream segment affected by the proposed amendment is from the Brushy Creek Reservoir dam downstream to the Williamson/Milam county line (approximately 50 miles). Brushy Creek Reservoir currently is subject to this regulation. A survey of anglers who use both the reservoir and creek waters determined that both waters are heavily used, and some anglers fished both in one day. The proposed amendment would standardize regulations on the reservoir and the creek downstream, which should simplify compliance and enforcement. Additionally, the cities surrounding these water bodies recently have experienced rapid population growth and restriction of harvest methods to pole and line would serve to limit the harvest of some fishes such as sunfish, which could benefit the overall fish community and the angling experience.

        The proposed amendment to §57.981, concerning Bag, Possession and Length Limits would implement changes to harvest regulations for largemouth bass, crappie, and catfish on multiple locations.

        The proposed amendment to §57.981 would modify harvest regulations for largemouth bass on Moss Lake (Cooke County), replacing the current regulation (14-inch minimum length limit and five-fish daily bag limit) with a 16-inch maximum length limit and providing an exception for temporary possession of bass 24 inches or greater for possible submission to the department’s ShareLunker program. Moss Lake is a 1,140-acre impoundment located in near Gainesville. The bass fishery at the reservoir currently consists of largemouth and spotted bass, but angler creel surveys indicate largemouth bass are the most sought-after species. While bass are relatively abundant in the reservoir, electrofishing surveys indicate that very few legal-size (14 inches) largemouth bass are present in the population. Although surveys indicate few legal-size largemouth bass, the reservoir does support some large bass, with a few exceeding eight pounds. Spotted bass are abundant, with few exceeding 14 inches in length and samples consist mostly of fish less than 12 inches in length. Spotted bass compete with largemouth bass for forage and contribute to an overabundance of bass less than 12 inches in length.  Implementation of a 16-inch maximum length limit on largemouth bass would allow anglers to harvest the abundant smaller fish that potentially could be causing fewer bass to reach larger sizes. Since some anglers have difficulty in distinguishing spotted bass from largemouth bass, opening harvest to all small bass would allow anglers to harvest both species without differentiation.

        The proposed amendment to §57.981 also would modify harvest regulations for largemouth bass on Brushy Creek Reservoir and blue and channel catfish in the section of Brushy Creek (both in Williamson County) mentioned previously in this rulemaking. Harvest of largemouth bass in the reservoir is low. The current 18-inch minimum length limit is not benefitting the bass population and implementation of a 14-inch minimum length limit will have little impact. As noted previously in this rulemaking with respect to proposed changes to device restrictions, the standardization of regulations between the reservoir and Brushy Creek will enhance compliance and enforcement.

        Additionally, the proposed amendment would replace the current harvest regulations for blue and channel catfish for Brushy Creek Reservoir (12-inch minimum length limit and 25-fish daily bag limit) with a five-fish daily bag limit and no minimum length limit. This type of regulation is appropriate in high-use situations, such as smaller urban water bodies, to allow anglers to harvest some fish while distributing the available harvest to as many anglers as possible. Replacing the current regulation would result in standardization of regulations and beneficial harvest reduction.

        The proposed amendment to §57.981 also would modify harvest regulations for black and white crappie for Lake Nasworthy, which is a 1,380-acre reservoir in San Angelo (Tom Green County). The reservoir has a relatively stable water level for West Texas and abundant shoreline access. The crappie population in Lake Nasworthy has long been characterized by high abundance, slow growth, below average condition, and poor size structure. Slower growth results in fewer crappie reaching legal size, as most crappie die of natural causes before growing large enough to be harvested. The combination of these factors negates any advantages to the population structure that could be derived from the use of a minimum length limit (MLL). Understandably, anglers are dissatisfied with lack of harvestable sized fish in the reservoir and have expressed support for modifying harvest regulations to allow for some take of crappie less than 10 inches in length. An increased harvest of smaller crappie may reduce overcrowding, improve fish condition, and increase angler satisfaction.

        The proposed amendment to §57.981 also would make changes to the harvest regulations for blue, channel, and flathead catfish on Lake Texoma (Cooke and Grayson counties) and the Texas waters of the Red River from the dam on Lake Texoma (Denison Dam) downstream to Shawnee Creek. Harvest regulations on Lake Texoma, a 74,686-acre reservoir that straddles the Texas/Oklahoma border, are implemented cooperatively by TPWD and the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation (ODWC). Currently, harvest regulations for game fishes are the same on both sides on the reservoir. However, some harvest regulations on the Red River below Lake Texoma differ from those on the reservoir and from Texas statewide harvest regulations. With the goal of standardizing regulations on both sides of Lake Texoma and the waters of the Red River below the Denison Dam while maintaining angling opportunities, the proposed amendment would alter harvest regulations for blue, channel, and flathead catfish Texas waters of Lake Texoma and the Red River from Denison Dam downstream to Shawnee Creek. For blue and channel catfish, the proposed amendment would eliminate the minimum length limit and allow the harvest of one blue catfish 30 inches or greater. For flathead catfish, the proposed amendment would eliminate the minimum length limit and impose a five-fish daily bag limit.

        Finally, the proposed amendment would eliminate a time constraint on a special regulation governing the harvest of alligator gar on Falcon International Reservoir (Starr and Zapata counties). The department conducted a comprehensive study at the reservoir in 2014 to obtain the biological information necessary to make management recommendations for alligator gar. In 2015, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission implemented a bag limit of five alligator gar on the reservoir, directed staff to monitor the alligator gar population to determine any negative effects of the five-fish daily bag, and placed an expiration date on the special provision of September 1, 2020. Monitoring data from the reservoir continues to support the determination that the Falcon Reservoir alligator gar population can be sustained under the five-fish daily bag. Therefore, the proposed amendment would continue the effectiveness of the special provision.

        The proposed amendment to §57.997 would affect provisions concerning licensing requirements for the Paddle Craft All-Water Guide License. The proposed amendment would remove existing language concerning the successful completion of the “Four Star Leader Sea Kayak” training from the British Canoe Union and “Coastal Kayak Day Trip Leading” from the American Canoe Association and replace it with “paddle craft leading course from the American Canoe Association or a department-approved organization.” The training courses referenced in the current rule no longer exist and the department seeks to use a generic reference to avoid having to engage in rulemaking each time a course is discontinued or renamed.

2. Fiscal Note.

        Robert Macdonald, Regulations Coordinator, has determined that for each of the first five years that the rules as proposed are in effect, there will be no fiscal implications to state or local governments as a result of administering or enforcing the rules.

        There will be no adverse economic effect on persons required to comply with the rules as proposed.

3. Public Benefit/Cost Note.

        Mr. Macdonald also has determined that for each of the first five years that the rules as proposed are in effect, the:

        (A) The public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing or administering the proposed rules will be the dispensation of the agency’s statutory duty to protect and conserve the fisheries resources of this state, the duty to equitably distribute opportunity for the enjoyment of those resources among the citizens, and the execution of the commission’s policy to maximize recreational opportunity within the precepts of sound biological management practices.

        (B) Under the provisions of Government Code, Chapter 2006, a state agency must prepare an economic impact statement and a regulatory flexibility analysis for a rule that may have an adverse economic effect on small businesses, micro-businesses, or rural communities. As required by Government Code, §2006.002(g), the Office of the Attorney General has prepared guidelines to assist state agencies in determining a proposed rule’s potential adverse economic impacts to small businesses, micro-businesses, or rural communities. Those guidelines state that an agency need only consider a proposed rule’s “direct adverse economic impacts” to small businesses and micro-businesses to determine if any further analysis is required. For that purpose, the department considers “direct economic impact “to mean a requirement that would directly impose recordkeeping or reporting requirements; impose taxes or fees; result in lost sales or profits; adversely affect market competition; or require the purchase or modification of equipment or services.

        The department has determined that the proposed amendments regulate various aspects of recreational license privileges that allow individual persons to pursue and harvest fisheries resources in this state and therefore do not directly affect small businesses, micro-businesses, or rural communities. Therefore, neither the economic impact statement nor the regulatory flexibility analysis described in Government Code, Chapter 2006, is required.

        (C) The department has not drafted a local employment impact statement under the Administrative Procedures Act, §2001.022, as the agency has determined that the rules as proposed will not impact local economies.

        (D) The department has determined that Government Code, §2001.0225 (Regulatory Analysis of Major Environmental Rules), does not apply to the proposed rules.

        (E) The department has determined that there will not be a taking of private real property, as defined by Government Code, Chapter 2007, as a result of the proposed rules.

        (F) In compliance with the requirements of Government Code, §2001.0221, the department has prepared the following Government Growth Impact Statement (GGIS).  The rules as proposed, if adopted, will:

                 (1) neither create nor eliminate a government program;

                 (2) not result in an increase or decrease in the number of full-time equivalent employee needs;

                 (3) not result in a need for additional General Revenue funding;

                 (4) not affect the amount of any fee;

                 (5) create a new regulation;

                 (6) will not repeal, expand, or limit a regulation;

                 (7) neither increase nor decrease the number of individuals subject to regulation; and

                 (8) not positively or adversely affect the state’s economy.

4. Request for Public Comment.

        Comments on the proposal may be submitted to Ken Kurzawski (Inland Fisheries) at (512) 389-4591, email: ken.kurzawski@tpwd.texas.gov or Dakus Geeslin (Coastal Fisheries) at (512) 389-8734, email: dakus.geeslin@tpwd.texas.gov. Comments also may be submitted via the department’s website at https://www.tpwd.texas.gov/business/feedback/public_comment/.

5.  Statutory Authority.

        The amendment is proposed under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 61, which requires the commission to regulate the periods of time when it is lawful to hunt, take, or possess aquatic animal life in this state; the means, methods, and places in which it is lawful to take, or possess aquatic animal life in this state; the species, quantity, age or size, and, to the extent possible, the sex of the aquatic animal life authorized to be taken or possessed; and the region, county, area, body of water, or portion of a county where aquatic animal life may be taken or possessed.

        The proposed amendment affects Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 61.

        §57.973. Devices, Means and Methods.

                 (a) In fresh water only, it is unlawful to fish with more than 100 hooks on all devices combined.

                 (b) Game and non-game fish may be taken only by pole and line in or on:

                         (1) community fishing lakes;

                         (2) sections of rivers lying totally within the boundaries of state parks;

                         (3) any dock, pier, jetty, or other manmade structure within a state park;

                         (4) Brushy Creek (Williamson County) from the Brushy Creek Reservoir dam downstream to the Williamson/Milam county line;

                         (5)[(4)] Canyon Lake Project #6 (Lubbock County);

                         (6)[(5)] Lake Pflugerville (Travis County);

                         (7)[(6)] North Concho River (Tom Green County) from O.C. Fisher Dam to Bell Street Dam;

                         (8)[(7)] South Concho River (Tom Green County) from Lone Wolf Dam to Bell Street Dam; and

                         (9)[(8)] Wheeler Branch (Somervell County).

                 (c) No person may employ more than two pole-and-line devices at the same time on:

                         (1) any dock, pier, jetty, or other manmade structure within a state park;

                         (2) community fishing lakes that are not within or part of a state park;

                         (3) Brushy Creek (Williamson County) from the Brushy Creek Reservoir dam downstream to the Williamson/Milam county line;

                         (4)[(3)] Canyon Lake Project #6 (Lubbock County);

                         (5)[(4)] North Concho River (Tom Green County) from O. C. Fisher Dam to Bell Street Dam; and

                         (6)[(5)] South Concho River (Tom Green County) from Lone Wolf Dam to Bell Street Dam.

                 (d ) – (g) (No change).

        This agency hereby certifies that the proposal has been reviewed by legal counsel and found to be within the agency’s authority to adopt.

        Issued in Austin, Texas, on

        The amendment is proposed under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 61, which requires the commission to regulate the periods of time when it is lawful to hunt, take, or possess aquatic animal life in this state; the means, methods, and places in which it is lawful to take, or possess aquatic animal life in this state; the species, quantity, age or size, and, to the extent possible, the sex of the aquatic animal life authorized to be taken or possessed; and the region, county, area, body of water, or portion of a county where aquatic animal life may be taken or possessed.

        The proposed amendments affect Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 61.

        §57.981. Bag, Possession, and Length Limits.

                 (a) – (c) (No change.)

                 (d) Exceptions to statewide daily bag, possession, and length limits shall be as follows:

                         (1) Freshwater species.

                                  (A) — (B) (No change).

                                  (C) Bass: largemouth.

                                          (i) – (ii) (No change.)

                                          (iii) Lakes Bellwood (Smith County), Davy Crockett (Fannin County), Kurth (Angelina County), Mill Creek (Van Zandt County), Moss (Cooke), Nacogdoches (Nacogdoches County), Naconiche (Nacogdoches County), Purtis Creek State Park (Henderson and Van Zandt counties), and Raven (Walker).

                                                  (I) – (II) (No change.)

                                          (iv) Lakes Bright (Williamson County), [Brushy Creek (Williamson County),]Casa Blanca (Webb County), Cleburne State Park (Johnson County), Fairfield (Freestone County), Gilmer (Upshur County), Marine Creek Reservoir (Tarrant County), Meridian State Park (Bosque County), Pflugerville (Travis County), Rusk State Park (Cherokee County), and Welsh (Titus County).

                                                  (I) – (II) (No change.)

                                          (v) – (x)  (No change).

                                  (D) – (G) (No change).

                                  (H) Catfish: channel and blue catfish, their hybrids and subspecies.

                                          (i) – (v) (No change).

                                          (vi) Lake Texoma (Cooke and Grayson counties) and the Red River (Grayson County) from Denison Dam to and including Shawnee Creek (Grayson County).

                                                  (I) (No change.)

                                                  (II) Minimum length limit: No limit [12 inches.]

                                                  (III) (No change.)

                                          (vii) Brushy Creek (Williamson County) from the Brushy Creek Reservoir dam downstream to the Williamson/Milam county line, Canyon Lake Project #6 (Lubbock County), North Concho River (Tom Green County) from O.C. Fisher Dam to Bell Street Dam, and South Concho River (Tom Green County) from Lone Wolf Dam to Bell Street Dam.

                                                  (I) – (II) (No change.)

                                          (viii) – (x) (No change).

                                  (I) Catfish: flathead.

                                          (i) Lake Texoma (Cooke and Grayson counties) and the Red River (Grayson County) from Denison Dam to and including Shawnee Creek (Grayson County).

                                                  (I) (No change.)

                                                  (II) Minimum length limit: No limit [20 inches.]

                                          (ii) (No change.)

                                  (J) Crappie: black and white crappie their hybrids and subspecies.

                                          (i) – (iii) (No change.)

                                          (iv) Lake Nasworthy (Tom Green County).

                                                  (I) Daily bag limit: 25 (in any combination).

                                                  (II) Minimum length limit: No limit.

                                                  (III) Possession limit is 50.

                                  (K) (No change.)

                                  (L) Gar, alligator.

                                          (i) Falcon International Reservoir (Starr and Zapata counties).

                                                   (I) – (III) (No change.)

                                                  [(IV) The provisions of this subparagraph expire on September 1, 2020.]

                                          (ii) – (iii) (No change.)

                                  (M) – (P) (No change).

        This agency hereby certifies that the proposal has been reviewed by legal counsel and found to be within the agency’s authority to adopt.

        Issued in Austin, Texas, on

        The amendment is proposed under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, §47.004, which authorizes the commission to adopt rules governing the issuance and use of a resident fishing guide license, including rules creating separate resident fishing guide licenses for use in saltwater and freshwater.

        The proposed amendments affect Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 47.

§57.997. Fishing Guide License Requirements.

                 (a) – (c) (No change.)

                 (d)  No person may be issued a Paddle Craft All-Water Guide license unless the person possesses proof that the person has successfully completed:

                         (1) – (2) (No change.)

                         [(3) the “Four Star Leader Sea Kayak” training from the British Canoe Union; or]

                         (3)[(4)] paddle craft leading course from the American Canoe Association (or another department-approved course).

        This agency hereby certifies that the proposal has been reviewed by legal counsel and found to be within the agency’s authority to adopt.

        Issued in Austin, Texas, on


Work Session Item No. 6
Exhibit B

FLOUNDER

Current harvest regulations for flounder consist of a five-fish daily bag and possession limit for recreational take and a 30-fish commercial daily bag and possession limit for commercial take except for during the period from November 1-December 14, when there is a two-fish daily bag and possession limit for both recreational and commercial take.

Figure 1.

figure 1

Figure 2.

figure 2

Figure 3.

figure 3

Figure 4.

figure 4

Literature citation referenced above:

Kaiser, J.B., C.K. Faulk, E.A. Williamson and G.J. Holt. 2012. Natural spawning and larviculture of southern flounder Paralichthys lethostigma. World Aquaculture, Vol. 43, No. 1, pp 48-54.

Luckenbach, J.A., J. Godwin. H.V. Daniels, R.J. Borski. 2003. Gonadal differentiation and effects of temperature on sex determination in southern flounder (Paralichthys lethostigma). Aquaculture, Vol. 216, Issues 1-4, pp 315-327.

Montalvo, A.J., C.K. Faulk, F.J. Hold. 2012. Sex determination in southern flounder, Paralichthys lethostigma, from the Texas Gulf Coast. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology, Vol. 432-433, 30 November 2012, pp 186-190.

In scoping meetings held with the public to describe the current status of the flounder fishery and to seek input the following options were presented as potential regulatory actions which could be taken to increase the overall stock abundance.  These actions included:

Recreational Fishery:

  • 3 fish daily bag limit
  • Increase the min. size limit to 15 inches
  • 5 fish daily boat limit
  • 3 fish daily bag limit with a complete closure in November
  • 3 fish daily bag limit with a complete closure in December
  • 2 fish daily boat limit in November and close December entirely
  • Close November entirely
  • Close November and December entirely

Commercial Fishery:

  • Reduce daily bag limit to 20 fish
  • Reduce daily bag limit to 15 fish
  • Reduce daily bag limit to 10 fish
  • Close November entirely
  • Close November and December entirely

Recreational and Commercial

  • Total recreational and commercial gigging closure

Additional suggestions that were received through the scoping process included the use of a slot limit, a geographic approach to management closure or very specific local area closures, different or additional times added for closures above, and various other suggestions that fall within the scope of the items above.

The items listed above provide a wide range of options and were presented at the scoping meetings for discussion purposes but are not completely exhaustive of potential regulation changes that could be considered by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.  These and other proposals are still being considered for proposed regulatory changes.


Work Session Item No. 7
Presenters: Shawn Gray
Shaun Oldenburger

Work Session
2020-2021 Statewide Hunting and Migratory Game Bird Proclamation Preview
Request Permission to Publish Proposed Changes in the Texas Register
January 22, 2020

I.      Executive Summary:  With this item, the staff seeks permission to publish proposed amendments to the Statewide Hunting Proclamation and the Migratory Game Bird Proclamation in the Texas Register for public comment. The proposed amendments would: 

General

  • Implement rules to administer an automated process for the application and issuance of pronghorn and antlerless mule deer permits. 

Migratory Game Bird Regulations

  • Establish seasons and bag limits for the take of migratory game birds for 2020-21;
  • Decrease the daily bag limit for scaup from three to one;
  • Open goose seasons (and light goose conservation season) in the Western Zone one week later than in previous years;
  • Decrease the light goose daily bag limit from twenty to ten during the regular season in both zones; and
  • Shift snipe hunting season dates two weeks later. 

II.     Discussion:  Responsibility for establishing seasons, bag limits, and means and methods for taking wildlife resources is delegated to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission (Commission) under Texas Parks and Wildlife Code chapter 61.  The potential changes are based upon statutory requirements and Commission policy, including scientific investigation and required findings of fact where applicable. The potential changes are intended to increase recreational opportunity, decrease regulatory complexity where possible, promote enforcement, and provide for the sound biological management of the wildlife resources of the state.

Attachments – 2

  1. Exhibit A – Statewide Hunting Proclamation Text
  2. Exhibit B – Migratory Game Bird Proclamation Text

Work Session Item No. 7
Exhibit A

2020-2021 STATEWIDE HUNTING PROCLAMATION
PROPOSAL PREAMBLE

1. Introduction.

        The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department proposes amendments to §65.3 and §65.24, concerning the Statewide Hunting Proclamation. The department is in the process of automating the application and issuance procedures for pronghorn antelope and antlerless mule deer permits, which has until this point been manual. To do so efficiently and cost-effectively, the department has determined that those processes should first be defined by rule in order to provide a definitive, permanent structure before programming begins.

        The proposed amendment to §65.3, concerning Definitions, would add definitions for “herd unit,” “buck pronghorn,” and “pronghorn.” “Herd unit” would be defined as “a discrete geographical area designated by the department for the purpose of population monitoring and permit issuance with respect to pronghorn,” which is necessary to create an unambiguous meaning for the basic management context utilized by the department for pronghorn. The proposed amendment also would define “pronghorn” as “pronghorn antelope (Antilocarpa americana).” Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 63, designates the “pronghorn antelope” as a game species; however, the animal is not a true antelope. Additionally, the department believes it is less cumbersome to simply refer to the animal as a pronghorn. Therefore, the definition is necessary to establish that the word “pronghorn” means the pronghorn antelope established by statute as a game animal. The proposed amendment also would define “buck pronghorn” as “a pronghorn with black cheek patches below the ears,” which is necessary because certain harvest rules in the subchapter have a narrow application to male pronghorn (bucks), which are distinguishable by their unique markings. Finally, the proposed amendment relocates the definition for “pre-charged pneumatic” in order to preserve the alphabetic order of the section.

        The proposed amendment to §65.24, concerning Permits, would set forth the application requirements and conditions for the issuance of pronghorn and antlerless mule deer permits. The proposed amendment would alter subsection (a) to allow for multiple landowners to combine multiple tracts of land to create an aggregate acreage for permit issuance and utilization. By allowing acreages to be combined, the department hopes to increase hunting opportunity and encourage resource management; however, because mule deer are very mobile and can travel substantial distances within their home ranges, the department employs a conservative harvest philosophy for the doe segment of the mule deer population. In order to ensure that harvest is not concentrated to a deleterious extent in one or two areas, the proposed rule would require tracts of land within an aggregate acreage to be contiguous, which is necessary to distribute hunting pressure and harvest across a geographical range. Proposed new subsection (d) would require all permit applications to be submitted electronically and establish application deadlines. The purpose of automation is to relieve staff of burdensome, time-consuming administrative labor, which allows more time that can be devoted to other job duties. Therefore, use of the automated system must be mandatory in order to achieve maximal efficiency. Additionally, deadlines must be established in order to establish smooth workflows.

        Proposed new subsection (e) would require landowners who receive permits to maintain a daily harvest log and prescribe the information that must be contained in the daily harvest log (name of hunter, driver’s license or customer number, date of kill, location of kill). A daily harvest log is necessary to allow the department to verify that permits are being lawfully utilized.

        Finally, the proposed amendment would require landowners to enter harvest data by a deadline following the end of permit validity. The submitted data is used by the department to inform and guide future management decisions.

2. Fiscal Note.

        Clayton Wolf, Wildlife Division Director, has determined that for each of the first five years that the rules as proposed are in effect, there will be no fiscal implications to state or local governments as a result of administering or enforcing the rules.

3. Public Benefit/Cost Note.

        Mr. Wolf also has determined that for each of the first five years that the rules as proposed are in effect:

        (A) The public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing or administering the proposed rules will be the dispensation of the agency’s statutory duty to protect and conserve the resources of this state, the duty to equitably distribute opportunity for the enjoyment of those resources among the citizens, and the execution of the commission’s policy to maximize recreational opportunity within the precepts of sound biological management practices.

        There will be no adverse economic effect on persons required to comply with the rules as proposed.

        (B) Under the provisions of Government Code, Chapter 2006, a state agency must prepare an economic impact statement and a regulatory flexibility analysis for a rule that may have an adverse economic effect on small businesses, micro-businesses, or rural communities. As required by Government Code, §2006.002(g), the Office of the Attorney General has prepared guidelines to assist state agencies in determining a proposed rule’s potential adverse economic impact on small and microbusinesses and rural communities. Those guidelines state that an agency need only consider a proposed rule’s direct adverse economic impacts” to determine if any further analysis is required. The department considers “direct economic impact “to mean a requirement that would directly impose recordkeeping or reporting requirements; impose taxes or fees; result in lost sales or profits; adversely affect market competition; or require the purchase or modification of equipment or services.

        The department has determined that the proposed rules regulate various aspects of recreational license privileges that allow individual persons to pursue and harvest wildlife resources in this state and therefore do not directly affect small businesses, micro-businesses, or rural communities. Therefore, neither the economic impact statement nor the regulatory flexibility analysis described in Government Code, Chapter 2006, is required.

        (C) The department has not drafted a local employment impact statement under the Administrative Procedures Act, §2001.022, as the agency has determined that the rules as proposed will not impact local economies.

        (D) The department has determined that Government Code, §2001.0225 (Regulatory Analysis of Major Environmental Rules), does not apply to the proposed rules.

        (E) The department has determined that there will not be a taking of private real property, as defined by Government Code, Chapter 2007, as a result of the proposed rules.

        (F) In compliance with the requirements of Government Code, §2001.0221, the department has prepared the following Government Growth Impact Statement (GGIS).  The ruled as proposed, if adopted, will:

                 (1) neither create nor eliminate a government program;

                 (2) not result in an increase or decrease in the number of full-time equivalent employee needs;

                 (3) not result in a need for additional General Revenue funding;

                 (4) not affect the amount of any fee;

                 (5) create a new regulation (the rules governing permit application and issuance);

                 (6) not repeal, expand, or limit an existing regulation;

                 (7) neither increase nor decrease the number of individuals subject to regulation; and

                 (8) not positively or adversely affect the state’s economy.

4. Request for Public Comment.

        Comments on the proposal may be submitted to Shawn Gray at (432) 837-2051, email: shawn.gray@tpwd.texas.gov. Comments also may be submitted via the department’s website at https://www.tpwd.texas.gov/business/feedback/public_comment/.

5. Statutory Authority.

        The amendments are proposed under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 61, which requires the commission to regulate the periods of time when it is lawful to hunt, take, or possess game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life in this state; the means, methods, and places in which it is lawful to hunt, take, or possess game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life in this state; the species, quantity, age or size, and, to the extent possible, the sex of the game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life authorized to be hunted, taken, or possessed; and the region, county, area, body of water, or portion of a county where game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life may be hunted, taken, or possessed.

        The proposed amendments affect Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 61.

6. Rule Text

        §65.3. Definitions. The following words and terms, when used in this chapter, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise. All other words and terms in this chapter shall have the meanings assigned in the Texas Parks and Wildlife Code.

                 (1) – (10) (No change.)

                 [(11) Pre-charged pneumatic — An air gun or arrow gun for which the propellant is supplied or introduced by means of a source that is physically separate from the air gun or arrow gun.]

                 (11)[(12)] Buck deer — A deer having a hardened antler protruding through the skin.

                 (13) Buck pronghorn—A pronghorn with black cheek patches below the ears.

                 (14)[(13)] Daily bag limit — The quantity of a species of a wildlife resource that may be lawfully taken in one day.

                 (15)[(14)] Day — A 24-hour period of time that begins at midnight and ends at midnight.

                 (16)[(15)] Deer population data — Results derived from deer population surveys and/or from systematic data analysis of density or herd health indicators, such as browse surveys or other scientifically acceptable data, that function as direct or indirect indicators of population density.

                 (17)[(16)] Final processing — The cleaning of a dead wildlife resource for cooking or storage purposes. For a deer or antelope carcass, the term includes the processing of the animal more than by quartering.

                 (18)[(17)] Fully automatic firearm — Any firearm that is capable of firing more than one cartridge in succession by a single function of the trigger.

                 (19) Herd unit—A discrete geographical area designated by the department for the purpose of population monitoring and permit issuance with respect to pronghorn.

                  (20)[(18)] Gig — Any hand-held shaft with single or multiple points.

                 (21)[(19)] Landowner — Any person who has an ownership interest in a tract of land, and includes a person authorized by the landowner to act on behalf of the landowner as the landowner’s agent.

                 (22)[(20)] Lawful archery equipment — Longbow, recurved bow, and compound bow.

                 (23)[(21)] License year — The period of time for which an annual hunting license is valid.

                 (24)[(22)] Muzzleloader — Any firearm that is loaded only through the muzzle.

                 (25)[(23)] Permanent residence — One’s domicile. This does not include a temporary abode or dwelling such as a hunting/fishing club, or any club house, cabin, tent, or trailer house used as a hunting/fishing club, or any hotel, motel, or rooming house used during a hunting, fishing, pleasure, or business trip.

                 (26)[(24)] Possession limit — The maximum number of a wildlife resource that may be lawfully possessed at one time.

                 (27) Pre-charged pneumatic — An air gun or arrow gun for which the propellant is supplied or introduced by means of a source that is physically separate from the air gun or arrow gun.

                 (28) Pronghorn—A pronghorn antelope (Antilocapra americana).

                 (29)[(25)]  Silencer or sound-suppressing device — Any device that reduces the normal noise level created when the firearm is discharged or fired.

                 (30)[(26)] Spike-buck deer — A buck deer with no antler having more than one point.

                 (31)[(27)] Unbranched antler — An antler having no more than one antler point.

                 (32)[(28)] Unbranched antlered deer — A buck deer having at least one unbranched antler.

                 (33)[(29)] Upper-limb disability — A permanent loss of the use of fingers, hand or arm in a manner that renders a person incapable of using a longbow, compound bow or recurved bow.

                 (34)[(30)] Wildlife resources — Alligators, all game animals, and all game birds.

        §65.24. Permits.

                 (a) Except as specifically provided in this subchapter, permits and tags issued under the provisions of this subchapter shall be issued only to the landowner. Multiple landowners may combine multiple tracts of land to create an aggregate acreage for issuance of pronghorn or antlerless mule deer permits; however, tracts of land aggregated for purposes of antlerless mule deer permit issuance must be contiguous. 

                 (b) Except as provided in §65.29 of this title (relating to Managed Lands Deer Program) or §65.30 of this title (relating to Pronghorn Antelope Permits), no person may hunt white-tailed deer, mule deer, desert bighorn sheep, or antelope when a permit or tag is required unless that person has received from the landowner and has in possession a valid permit or tag issued by the department.

                 (c) When a permit or tag is required to hunt or possess the wildlife resources listed in subsection (b) of this section, it is unlawful to:

                         (1) use a permit or tag more than once;

                         (2) use a permit or tag on a tract of land other than the tract for which the permit or tag was issued;

                         (3) falsify or fail to fully complete any information required by a permit or tag application; or

                         (4) possess the wildlife resource without attaching a valid, properly executed permit or tag, except as may be otherwise provided in this subchapter, which shall remain attached until the wildlife resource reaches its final destination.

                 (d) All applications for issuance of pronghorn permits or antlerless mule deer permits shall be submitted electronically via a department system designated for that purpose on or before the deadline specified in this subsection. The deadline for submission of applications for:

                         (1) pronghorn permits is July 1; and

                         (2) antlerless mule deer permits is September 1.

                 (e) A landowner to whom a pronghorn or antlerless mule deer permit is issued shall maintain a legible daily harvest log on the tract a tract of land for which the permit is issued.

                         (1) The daily harvest log shall be on a form provided or approved by the department and shall be maintained by the landowner until the last day of permit validity.

                         (2) A person who kills a pronghorn or antlerless mule deer that is required by a provision of this subchapter to be tagged shall, on the same day that the pronghorn or antlerless mule deer is killed, legibly enter the required information in the daily harvest log.

                                  (A) The daily harvest log shall contain the following information for each pronghorn or antlerless mule deer killed on the enrolled tract of land:

                                          (i) the name and customer or driver’s license number of the person who killed the pronghorn or antlerless mule deer;

                                          (ii) the date the pronghorn or antlerless mule deer was killed;

                                          (iii) the location where the pronghorn or antlerless mule deer was killed; and

                                          (iv) the pronghorn or antlerless mule deer permit number of the permit affixed to the pronghorn or antlerless mule deer, as appropriate.

                                  (B) The daily harvest log shall be made available to any department employee acting in the performance of official duties upon request.

                 (f) A person to whom the department has issued pronghorn or antlerless mule deer permits shall submit a harvest report electronically via a department system designated for that purpose.

                         (1) For pronghorn, the harvest report shall be submitted by no later than October 31 of the year of permit issuance. The report shall contain the number of buck and/or doe pronghorn killed in addition to any other information required by the department.

                         (2) For antlerless mule deer, the harvest report shall be submitted by no later than January 15 of the year following the year of permit issuance. The report shall contain the number of antlerless mule deer killed in addition to any other information required by the department.

                 (f)[(d)] No state-issued permit is required to hunt antlerless white-tailed deer on a National Wildlife Refuge.


Work Session Item No. 7
Exhibit B

2020 -2021 MIGRATORY GAME BIRD PROCLAMATION
PROPOSAL PREAMBLE

1. Introduction.

        The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (the department) proposes amendments to §§65.314-65.320, concerning the Migratory Game Bird Proclamation.

        The United States Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) issues annual frameworks for the hunting of migratory game birds in the United States. Regulations adopted by individual states may be more restrictive than the federal frameworks but may not be less restrictive. Responsibility for establishing seasons, bag limits, means, methods, and devices for harvesting migratory game birds within Service frameworks is delegated to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission (Commission) under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 64, Subchapter C.

        The proposed amendments would specify the season dates and bag limits for the 2020-2021 migratory game bird seasons. The remainder of the amendments, with the exceptions addressed later in this preamble, would retain the season structures and bag limits for all migratory game birds from last year and serve only to adjust the season dates to allow for calendar shift (i.e., to ensure that seasons open on the desired day of the week, since dates from a previous year do not fall on the same days in following years).

        The exceptions are as follows.

        The proposed amendment to §65.315, concerning Ducks, Coots, Mergansers, and Teal, will reduce the bag limit for scaup from three to one in compliance with the federal frameworks. The commission cannot modify or alter the mandates of the federal frameworks.

        The proposed amendment to §65.316, concerning Geese, would open the light and dark goose seasons in the Western Zone one week later than has been the case in the past and reduce the daily bag limit for light geese in both goose zones from 20 birds to 10 birds. The department has noticed a gradual shift in migration chronology in that part of the state, characterized by the later arrival of large numbers of geese in the Western Zone and believes that moving the opening date will result in greater hunter opportunity. The proposed amendment also necessitates a conforming change to the traditional opening day of the Light Goose Conservation Order as well. The bag limit reduction is necessitated by continuing concerns about long-term declines in wintering populations of light geese, especially along the Texas coast. Department data indicate that populations of wintering light geese in Texas have declined by over 50% since 1970, and although a variety of factors are believed to be responsible, primarily habitat loss, the department believes that a reduction in the daily bag limit is warranted.

        The proposed amendment to §65.319, concerning Gallinules, Rails, Snipe, Woodcock, would open the season for snipe two weeks later than in years past. Hunter survey data indicate a preference for a later season, and the department does not believe that moving the opening date to a later time will result in negative population impacts. 

2. Fiscal Note.

        Clayton Wolf, Wildlife Division Director, has determined that for the first five years that the amendments as proposed are in effect, there will be no additional fiscal implications to state or local governments of enforcing or administering the rules as proposed.

3. Public Benefit/Cost Note.

        Mr. Wolf also has determined that for each of the first five years the proposed rules are in effect:

        (A) The public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing the rules as proposed will be the department’s discharge of its statutory obligation to manage and conserve the state’s populations of migratory game birds for the use and enjoyment of the public, consistent with the principles of sound biological management.

        (B) Under the provisions of Government Code, Chapter 2006, a state agency must prepare an economic impact statement and a regulatory flexibility analysis for a rule that may have an adverse economic effect on small businesses, micro-businesses, or rural communities. As required by Government Code, §2006.002(g), the Office of the Attorney General has prepared guidelines to assist state agencies in determining a proposed rule’s potential adverse economic impact on small and microbusinesses and rural communities. Those guidelines state that an agency need only consider a proposed rule’s “direct adverse economic impacts” to determine if any further analysis is required. The department considers “direct economic impact” to mean a requirement that would directly impose recordkeeping or reporting requirements; impose taxes or fees; result in lost sales or profits; adversely affect market competition; or require the purchase or modification of equipment or services.

        The department has determined that the proposed rules regulate various aspects of recreational license privileges that allow individual persons to pursue and harvest migratory game bird resources in this state and therefore do not directly affect small businesses, micro-businesses, or rural communities. Therefore, neither the economic impact statement nor the regulatory flexibility analysis described in Government Code, Chapter 2006, is required.

        There will be no adverse economic effect on persons required to comply with the rules as proposed.

        (C) The department has not drafted a local employment impact statement under the Administrative Procedures Act, §2001.022, as the agency has determined that the rules as proposed will not impact local economies.

        (D) The department has determined that Government Code, §2001.0225 (Regulatory Analysis of Major Environmental Rules), does not apply to the proposed rules.

        (E) The department has determined that there will not be a taking of private real property, as defined by Government Code, Chapter 2007, as a result of the proposed rules.

        (F) In compliance with the requirements of Government Code, §2001.0221, the department has prepared the following Government Growth Impact Statement (GGIS).  The rule as proposed, if adopted, will:

                 (1) neither create nor eliminate a government program;

                 (2) not result in an increase or decrease in the number of full-time equivalent employee needs;

                 (3) not result in a need for additional General Revenue funding;

                 (4) not affect the amount of any fee;

                 (5) not create a new regulation, but replace existing regulations;

                 (6) not expand or limit an existing regulation, but will replace existing regulations;

                 (7) neither increase nor decrease the number of individuals subject to regulation; and

                 (8) not positively or adversely affect the state’s economy.

4. Request for Public Comment.

        Comments on the proposed rules may be submitted to Shaun Oldenburger (Small Game/ Bird Program Director) at 512-389-4778, email: shaun.oldenburger@tpwd.texas.gov. or

via the department website at www.tpwd.texas.gov.

5. Statutory Authority.

        The amendments are proposed under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 64, which authorizes the Commission and the Executive Director to provide the open season and means, methods, and devices for the hunting and possessing of migratory game birds.

        The proposed amendments affect Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 64.

6. Rule Text.

        §65.314. Doves (Mourning, White-Winged, White-Tipped, White-Fronted Doves).

                 (a) (No change.)

                 (b) Seasons; Daily Bag Limits.

                         (1) North Zone.

                                  (A) Dates: September 1 — November 12, 2020 and December 18, 2020 — January 3, 2021[September 1 — November 12, 2019 and December 20, 2019 — January 5, 2020].

                                  (B) (No change.)

                         (2) Central Zone.

                                  (A) Dates: September 1 — November 1, 2020 and December 18, 2020 — January 14, 2021[September 1 — November 3, 2019 and December 20, 2019 — January 14, 2020].

                                  (B) (No change.)

                 (3) South Zone and Special White-winged Dove Area.

                                  (A) Dates: September 5, 6, 12, and 13, 2020; September 14 — November 1, 2020; and December 18, 2020 — January 23, 2021[September 1, 2, 7, and 8, 2019; September 14 — November 3, 2019; and December 20, 2019 — January 23, 2020].

                                  (B) Daily bag limit:

                                          (i) on September 5, 6, 12, and 13, 2020[September 1, 2, 7, and 8, 2019]; 15 white-winged doves, mourning doves, and white-tipped (white-fronted) doves, in the aggregate to include no more than two mourning doves and two white-tipped (white-fronted) doves per day.

                                          (ii) from September 14 — November 1, 2020; and December 18, 2020 — January 23, 2021[September 14 — November 3, 2019 and December 20, 2019 — January 23, 2020]; 15 mourning doves, white-winged doves, and white-tipped (white-fronted) doves in the aggregate, including no more than two white-tipped (white-fronted) doves per day.

        §65.315. Ducks, Coots, Mergansers, and Teal.

                 (a) (No change.)

                 (b) Season dates and bag limits.

                         (1) HPMMU.

                                  (A) For all species other than "dusky ducks": October 31 – November 1, 2020 and November 6, 2020 — January 31, 2021[October 26 — 27, 2019 and November 1, 2019 — January 26, 2020]; and

                                  (B) "dusky ducks": November 9, 2020 — January 31, 2021[November 4, 2019 — January 26, 2020].

                         (2) North Zone.

                                  (A) For all species other than "dusky ducks": November 14 – 29, 2020 and December 5, 2020 — January 31, 2021[November 9 — December 1, 2019 and December 7, 2019 — January 26, 2020]; and

                                  (B) "dusky ducks": November 19 — 29, 2020 and December 5 — January 31, 2021[November 14 — December 1, 2019 and December 7, 2019 — January 26, 2020].

                         (3) South Zone.

                                  (A) For all species other than "dusky ducks": November 7 — 29, 2020 and December 12, 2020 — January 31, 2021[November 2 — December 1, 2019 and December 14, 2019 — January 26, 2020]; and

                                  (B) "dusky ducks": November 12 – 29, 2020 and December 12, 2020 — January 31, 2021[November 7 — December 1, 2019 and December 14, 2019 — January 26, 2020].

                         (4) September teal-only season.

                                  (A) During the September teal-only special season, the season is closed for all species of ducks other than teal ducks (blue-winged, green-winged, and cinnamon).

                                  (B) Dates: September 12-27, 2020[14 — 29, 2019].

                 (c) Bag limits.

                         (1) The daily bag limit for ducks is six, which may include no more than five mallards (only two of which may be hens); three wood ducks; one[three] scaup (lesser scaup or[and] greater scaup [in the aggregate]); two redheads; two canvasbacks; one pintail; and one "dusky" duck (mottled duck, Mexican like duck, black duck and their hybrids) during the seasons established for those species in this section. For all species not listed, the daily bag limit shall be six. The daily bag limit for coots is 15. The daily bag limit for mergansers is five, which may include no more than two hooded mergansers.

                         (2) The daily bag limit during the September teal-only season is six in the aggregate.

        §65.316. Geese.

                 (a) (No change.)

                 (b) Season dates and bag limits.

                         (1) Western Zone.

                                  (A) Light geese: November 14, 2020 — February 14, 2021[November 2, 2019 — February 2, 2020]. The daily bag limit for light geese is 10[20], and there is no possession limit.

                                 (B) Dark geese: November 14, 2020 — February 14, 2021[November 2, 2019 — February 2, 2020]. The daily bag limit for dark geese is five, to include no more than two white-fronted geese.

                         (2) Eastern Zone.

                                  (A) Light geese: November 7, 2020 — January 31, 2021[November 2, 2019 — January 26, 2020]. The daily bag limit for light geese is 10[20], and there is no possession limit.

                                  (B) Dark geese:

                                          (i) Season: November 7, 2020 — January 31, 2021[November 2, 2019 — January 26, 2020];

                                          (ii) (No change.)

                 (c) September Canada goose season. Canada geese may be hunted in the Eastern Zone during the season established by this subsection. The season is closed for all other species of geese during the season established by this subsection.

                         (1) Season dates: September 12 — 27, 2020[September 14 — 29, 2019].

                         (2) (No change.)

                 (d) Light Goose Conservation Order. The provisions of paragraphs (1) — (3) of this subsection apply only to the hunting of light geese. All provisions of this subchapter continue in effect unless specifically provided otherwise in this section; however, where this section conflicts with the provisions of this subchapter, this section prevails.

                         (1) – (3) (No change.)

                         (4) Season dates.

                                  (A) From February 1 — March 14, 2021[January 27 — March 15, 2020], the take of light geese is lawful in the Eastern Zone.

                                  (B) From February 15 — March 14, 2021[February 3 — March 15, 2020], the take of light geese is lawful in the Western Zone.

        §65.317. Special Youth-Only Waterfowl Season. There shall be a Special Youth-Only Season for waterfowl, during which the hunting, taking, and possession of geese, ducks, mergansers, and coots is restricted to licensed hunters 16 years of age and younger accompanied by a person 18 years of age or older, except for persons hunting by means of falconry under the provisions of §65.320 of this title (relating to Extended Falconry Seasons).

                 (1) HPMMU:

                         (A) season dates: October 24 — 25, 2020[October 19 — 20, 2019];

                         (B) (No change.)

                 (2) North Duck Zone:

                         (A) season dates: November 7 — 8, 2020[November 2 — 3, 2019];

                         (B) (No change.)

                 (3) South Duck Zone:

                         (A) season dates: Special youth-only season: October 31 – November 1, 2020[October 26 — 27, 2019];

                         (B) (No change.)

        §65.318. Sandhill Crane.

                 (a) (No change.)

                 (b) Season dates and bag limits.

                         (1) Zone A: October 31, 2020 — January 31, 2021[October 26, 2019 — January 26, 2020]. The daily bag limit is three.

                         (2) Zone B: November 27, 2020 — January 31, 2021[November 22, 2019 — January 26, 2020]. The daily bag limit is three.

                         (3) Zone C: December 19, 2020 — January 24, 20210[December 14, 2019 — January 19, 2020]. The daily bag limit is two.

        §65.319. Gallinules, Rails, Snipe, Woodcock.

                 (a) Gallinules (moorhen or common gallinule and purple gallinule) may be taken in any county during the season established in this subsection.

                         (1) Season dates: September 12 — 27 and November 7 — December 30, 2020[September 14 — 29, 2019 and November 2 — December 25, 2019].

                         (2) (No change.)

                 (b) Rails may be taken in any county in this state during the season established by this subsection.

                         (1) Season dates: September 12 — 27 and November 7 — December 30, 2020[September 14 — 29, 2019 and November 2 — December 25, 2019].

                         (2) (No change.)

                 (c) Snipe may be taken in any county of the state during the season established by this subsection.

                         (1) Season dates: November 7, 2020 — February 21, 2021[October 26, 2019 — February 9, 2020].

                         (2) (No change.)  

                 (d) Woodcock may be taken in any county of the state during the season established by this subsection.

                         (1) Season dates: December 18, 2020 — January 31, 2021[December 18, 2019 — January 31, 2020].

                         (2) (No change.)

        §65.320. Extended Falconry Seasons. It is lawful to take the species of migratory birds listed in this section by means of falconry during the seasons established by this section.

                 (1) Mourning doves, white-winged doves and white-tipped doves: November 20 — December 6, 2020[November 16 — December 2, 2019].

                 (2) Duck, gallinule, moorhen, rail, and woodcock: February 1 — February 15, 2021[January 27 — February 9, 2020].

                 (3) – (4) (No change.)

        This agency hereby certifies that the proposal has been reviewed by legal counsel and found to be within the agency’s authority to adopt.

        Issued in Austin, Texas, on


Work Session Item No. 14
Presenter: Ted Hollingsworth

Work Session
Reversion of Land – Bastrop County
Approximately 650 Acres at Buescher State Park
January 22, 2020

I.      Executive Summary: In 1968, approximately 717 acres of land from Buescher State Park were transferred to the University of Texas (UT) System for the establishment of a science park for research purposes. A large portion of that tract has not been developed and could return to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) under the terms of a reversion clause in the deed transferring the property to the UT System.

II.     Discussion: In 1967, the 60th Session of the Texas Legislature directed the transfer of approximately 717 acres of land from Buescher State Park to the Board of Regents of the UT System to be used as a science park and for research purposes. The deed conveying the tract further stipulated that “in the event that the said premises or any part thereof shall be abandoned for all of said purposes, and in that event only, such premises or so much thereof as shall be actually abandoned shall absolutely revert to and revert in the Parks and Wildlife Department of the State of Texas…”

Since 1968, the UT System has constructed a campus, primarily centered on cancer research, on roughly 60 acres of the subject tract. The UT System has not developed or utilized the remainder of the tract, approximately 650 acres.

The 650-acre portion of the tract that has never been developed would be a great asset to Buescher State Park. This land has not burned in recent wildfires and has very high value for conservation and recreation. The property includes most of the watershed for Buescher Lake, critical habitat for the Houston toad, and topography that lends itself to establishment of new visitor trails.

Attachments – 3

  1. Exhibit A – Location Map
  2. Exhibit B – Vicinity Map
  3. Exhibit C – Site Map

Work Session Item No. 14
Exhibit A

Location Map for Buescher State Park in Bastrop County

Location Map for Buescher State Park in Bastrop County


Work Session Item No. 14
Exhibit B

Vicinity Map for Buescher State Park (SP), 40 Miles Southeast of Austin

Vicinity Map for Buescher State Park


Work Session Item No. 14
Exhibit C

Site Map Showing Location of 717 Acres Conveyed
to University of Texas (UT) System in 1968
Developed Campus Outlined in White

Site Map Showing Location of 717 Acres Conveyed


Work Session Item No. 16
Presenter: Robert Sweeney

Work Session
Litigation Update
January 22, 2020

I.      Executive Summary:  Attorneys for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) will update and advise the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission regarding pending or anticipated litigation, including but not limited to the following pending lawsuits:

  • Potential or pending litigation related to oysters, including but not limited to State of Texas v. Chambers-Liberty Counties Navigation District, Each in his Official Capacity: Terry Haltom as CLCND Commissioner, Allen Herrington as CLCND Commissioner, Kenn Coleman as CLCND Commissioner, Ken Mitchell as CLCND Commissioner, and Dave Wilcox as CLCND Commissioner, and Sustainable Texas Oyster Resources Management, LLC., Cause No. D-1-GN-15-003093, in Travis County District Court. 
  • Potential or pending litigation regarding disease in white-tailed deer, including but not limited to Ken Bailey and Bradly Peterson v. Carter Smith, Executive Director, Clayton Wolf, Wildlife Division Director, Mitch Lockwood, Big Game Program Director and Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Cause No. D-1-GN-15-004391, in Travis County District Court.