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Work Session

Wednesday, November 6, 2019
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 August 21, 2019
Approval of the Previous Minutes from the Commission Annual Public Hearing held August 21, 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
    • Urban Outreach Advisory Committee
    • Stocking Report
    • Law Enforcement Fisheries Enforcement
    • 63rd Cadet Class
    • Sunset Advisory Commission Update

    Financial

  2. Fiscal Year 2019 Internal Audit Update and Proposed Fiscal Year 2020 Internal Audit Plan – Sophia Williams (Action Item No. 1)
  3. Natural Resources

  4. Amendment to the Threatened and Endangered Species List Rules – Recommended Adoption of Proposed Changes – Meredith Longoria (Action Item No. 2) WITHDRAWN
  5. Passive Gear Tagging Rules – Recommended Adoption of Proposed Changes – Jarret Barker (Action Item No. 3)
  6. Boater Education Fee Rules – Recommended Adoption of Proposed Changes – Tim Spice (Action Item No. 4)
  7. 2020-2021 Statewide Recreational and Commercial Fishing Proclamation Preview – Ken Kurzawski, Robin Riechers
  8. 2020-2021 Statewide Hunting and Migratory Game Bird Proclamation Preview – Shawn Gray, Shaun Oldenburger
  9. Managed Lands Deer Program Fees and Amendments to Rules – Request Permission to Publish Proposed Changes in the Texas Register – Alan Cain
  10. Land Conservation

  11. Grant of Easement – Brazoria County – Approximately 66 Acres at the Justin Hurst Wildlife Management Area – Ted Hollingsworth (Work Session and Executive Session) (Action Item No. 5)
  12. Grant of Easement – Brazoria County – Approximately 19 Acres at the Justin Hurst Wildlife Management Area – Request Permission to Begin the Public Notice and Input Process – Ted Hollingsworth (Work Session and Executive Session)
  13. Executive Session

  14. Acquisition of Land – Matagorda County – Expansion of the Matagorda Peninsula Coastal Management Area – Robert Sweeney, Ted Hollingsworth (Executive Session Only)
  15. Acquisition of Land – Marion County – Approximately 2,000 Acres at the Caddo Lake Wildlife Management Area – Robert Sweeney, Ted Hollingsworth (Executive Session Only)
  16. Litigation Update – Robert Sweeney (Executive Session Only)
    • Oysters
    • Chronic Wasting Disease
  17. BRIEFING – Cybersecurity – Robert Sweeney, George Rios, Michael Golen (Executive Session Only)

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
November 6, 2019

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:

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

Work Session Item No. 2
Presenter: Sophia Williams

Work Session
Fiscal Year 2019 Internal Audit Update and
Proposed Fiscal Year 2020 Internal Audit Plan
November 6, 2019

I.      Executive Summary:  The staff will present an update on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 Internal Audit Plan and ongoing or completed external audits, provide the methodology used to develop the proposed FY 2020 Internal Audit Plan, and recommend adoption of the motion to approve the proposed FY 2020 Internal Audit Plan.

II.     Discussion:

  1. The staff will provide an update on the TPWD FY 2019 Internal Audit Plan as well as a briefing of any external audits that have been recently completed and/or are ongoing.
  2. The staff will discuss the methodology used in the development of the proposed FY 2020 Internal Audit Plan.
  3. The staff will recommend adoption of the motion to approve the proposed FY 2020 Internal Audit Plan. 

III.  Recommendation:  The staff recommends the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt the following motion:

“The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission approves the TPWD FY 2020 Internal Audit Plan as listed in Exhibit A.”

Attachments – 1

  1. Exhibit A – Proposed TPWD FY 2020 Internal Audit Plan

Work Session Item No. 2
Exhibit A

Proposed Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Fiscal Year 2020 Internal Audit Plan

Projects Budgeted Hours
FY 2019 Carryover Projects 1425
FY 2020 New Projects  
Audit of Selected IT Systems and Processes 800
Audit of Selected Grants 500
Audit of Selected Contracts 500
Fiscal Controls of Selected State Parks (25) 2500
Orphan Boat Ramps 500
FY 2020 Follow-up of Internal and External Audit Recommendations 450
Advisory Projects  
   • Construction Change Order Process 300
   • Implementation of Legislative Required Actions 300
Special Projects and Investigations 200
Total 7475

List of Alternative Projects
Employee Off-Boarding Process Involving Division Systems
Audit of Selected Information Technology Systems-Boater/Hunter Education System


Work Session Item No. 6
Presenters: Ken Kurzawski
Robin Riechers

Work Session
2019-2020 Statewide Recreational and Commercial Fishing Proclamation Preview
November 6, 2019

I.      Executive Summary:  With this item, the staff seeks to apprise the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission (Commission) of potential changes to recreational and commercial fishing regulations for the 2020-21 season.

II.     Discussion:  Responsibility for establishing seasons, bag limits, and means and methods for taking freshwater and saltwater fisheries resources is delegated to the Commission under Texas Parks and Wildlife Code chapters 61 (Uniform Wildlife Regulatory Act), 66 (Fish), 67 (Nongame Species), 76 (Oysters), 77 (Shrimp), and 78 (Mussels, Clams, and Crabs).  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 fisheries resources of the state.

Attachments – 1

  1. Exhibit A – Potential Changes

Work Session Item No. 6
Exhibit A

Potential Changes to Fisheries Regulations 2020-2021

Inland Fisheries

  • Lake Moss (Cooke County) – Modify the 14-inch minimum length limit for largemouth bass to a 16-inch maximum length limit;
  • 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 
  • 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.

Coastal Fisheries

  • Southern flounder populations along the Texas coast continue to be at relatively low levels compared to historic levels.  The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission has taken several recent actions to attempt to increase the relative abundance of flounder.  In 2009, gigging for flounder was banned in November and bag limits for both the commercial and recreational fishery were reduced from five fish to two fish.  In 2014, the two fish bag limit was extended from November into the first two weeks of December with take allowed by any legal means including gigging. These efforts were an attempt to further reduce harvest during the fall escapement to increase recruitment (spawn and survival) to the fishery. It has also been recognized that flounder recruitment is highly dependent on a narrow critical temperature range that may not be occurring as often in the winter as seen historically. Coastal Fisheries will scope various items including reduction in bag limits, seasonal closures, size limits, boat limits, and other means to increase flounder abundance.

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

Work Session
2020-2021 Statewide Hunting and Migratory Game Bird Proclamation Preview
November 6, 2019

I.      Executive Summary:  With this item, the staff seeks to apprise the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission (Commission) of potential changes to hunting regulations for the 2020-2021 season.

II.     Discussion:  Responsibility for establishing seasons, bag limits, and means and methods for taking game animals and game birds is delegated to the Commission under Texas Parks and Wildlife Code chapter 61 (Uniform Wildlife Regulatory Act).   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 – 1

  1. Exhibit A – Potential Changes

Work Session Item No. 7
Exhibit A

Potential Changes to Hunting Regulations 2020-2021

Mule Deer

  • Implementation of efficient antlerless mule deer permit issuance and harvest reporting process via the Land Management Assistance (LMA) online application. 

Pronghorn

  • Implementation of efficient pronghorn permit issuance and harvest reporting process via the LMA online application. 

Migratory Game Bird Regulations

  • Decrease in scaup daily bag limit from three to one;
  • Decrease in light goose daily bag limit from twenty to ten during the regular season;
  • Shift snipe hunting season dates later; and
  • Implementation of veterans’ hunting days to coincide with youth days.

Work Session Item No. 8
Presenter: Alan Cain

Work Session
Managed Lands Deer Program Fees and Amendments to Rules
Request Permission to Publish Proposed Changes in the Texas Register
November 6, 2019

I.      Executive Summary:  With this item, the staff seeks permission to publish proposed amendments governing the Managed Lands Deer Program (MLDP) in the Texas Register for public comment. The proposed amendments would: 

  • Establish fees and payment deadlines for participation in the MLDP;
  • Synchronize deadline for a program participant to decline participation in the MLDP with the deadline for fee payment;
  • Clarify the requirements for enrollment of management units and aggregate acreages in the MLDP; and
  • Allow MLDP tags to be used on any tract of land within an aggregate acreage enrolled in the Conservation Option of the MLDP. 

II.     Discussion:  Under Texas Parks and Wildlife Code chapter 42, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission (Commission) by rule may modify or eliminate the tagging, carcass, final destination, or final processing requirements or provisions of §§42.001, 42.018, 42.0185, 42.019, or 42.020, or other similar requirements or provisions of that chapter. Under Texas Parks and Wildlife Code chapter 43, subchapter Y, the Commission is authorized to impose a fee by rule for participation in the MLDP.

The MLDP is an extremely popular program that provides landowners and land managers with additional flexibility to manage deer populations, improve habitats, and provide greater hunting opportunities. The proposed rules (located at Exhibits A and B) would clarify existing program provisions, establish fees for participation in the MLDP, and make other non-substantive, housekeeping-type changes.

Attachments – 2

  1. Exhibit A – Proposed MLDP Fee Rule
  2. Exhibit B – Proposed MLDP Rules

Work Session Item No. 8
Exhibit A

MANAGED LANDS DEER PROGRAM - FEE RULES
PROPOSAL PREAMBLE

1. Introduction.

        The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department proposes an amendment to §53.5, concerning Recreational Hunting Licenses, Stamps, and Tags. The proposed amendment would establish fees for participation in the Managed Lands Deer Program (MLDP) administered by the department. The MLDP is an extremely popular program providing landowners and land managers with additional flexibility to manage deer populations, improve habitats, and provide greater hunting opportunities under the guidance of department biologists. Demand in MLDP participation has increased ten-fold since 2000, which has presented significant challenges for the department, primarily with respect to the allocation of workforce resources to meaningfully engage with MLDP participants, meet technical guidance requests, and administer the MLDP. In response, the Texas Legislature earlier this year enacted Senate Bill 733, which explicitly authorizes the commission to establish a fee for participation in the MLDP.

        The proposed amendment would establish a $30 fee for each management unit within a property that is enrolled in the Harvest Option (HO), provided the property is not part of an aggregate acreage enrolled in the MLDP; a $30 fee for each aggregate acreage enrolled in the HO; a $300 fee for the first management unit of each property enrolled in the Conservation Option (CO) plus a $30 fee for each additional management unit of a property enrolled in the CO; a $300 fee for each aggregate acreage enrolled in the CO; and a $30 fee for each management unit of a wildlife management association or cooperative enrolled the CO. The department has determined that fees for HO participation should be less than those for CO participation because administration of the HO places substantially less demand on agency resources than that for the CO, participation in which includes customized habitat and harvest recommendations from department staff as well as program benefits not available to HO participants. Similarly, because wildlife management associations and cooperatives for the most part desire assistance only with respect to the harvest of antlerless deer, the department has determined that fees for those types of entities should reflect that smaller footprint.

        The fee amounts were selected by the department after soliciting and receiving input from department staff, stakeholder groups, and advisory committees regarding what would be a reasonable fee for participation in the MLDP considering the benefits received, the demands on department staff in administering the various options available to landowners under the MLDP, and which would not result in significant attrition from the MLDP by landowners.

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 fiscal implications to the department as result of administering or enforcing the rule. The department estimates an increase in revenue of approximately $1,545,420.00 per year as a result of the imposition of fees for the various levels of MLDP participation.

        There will be no fiscal implications for other units of state or local government.

3. Public Benefit/Cost Note.

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

        (A) The public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing or administering the proposed rules will be the continued ability of the agency to provide landowners and land managers with effective technical guidance for deer management that in return provides additional ecological benefits.

        There will be no adverse economic effect on persons required to comply with the rule as proposed, as participation in the MLDP is not mandatory and resource management can still be attained by landowners and land managers under existing harvest rules.

        (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 because the proposed rule creates fees for voluntary participation in a resource management program administered by the department for the sole purpose of enhancing the enjoyment and use of public wildlife resources that by statute cannot be bought, sold, or harvested for profit in this state (i.e., that cannot be a commercial commodity), there is therefore no direct economic effect on any small businesses, micro-businesses, or rural community. 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 rule 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 rule.

        (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 rule.

        (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, as the need for additional employees to administer the MLDP already exists;

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

                 (4) not affect the amount of any existing fee, but will create new fees;

                 (5) create a new regulation to impose fees for participation in the MLDP;

                 (6) expand an existing regulation (by providing for a fee for MLDP participation);

                 (7) potentially decrease the number of individuals subject to regulation, if current levels of participation in the MLDP decrease; and

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

4. Request for Public Comment.

        Comments on the proposal may be submitted to Alan Cain (white-tailed deer program) at (830) 480-4038, email: alan.cain@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 43, Subchapter Y, which authorizes the establishment of a fee for participation in the MLDP.

        The proposed amendment affects Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 43, Subchapter Y.

6. Rule Text

        §53.5. Recreational Hunting Licenses, Stamps, and Tags.

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

        (d) Managed Lands Deer Program (MLDP). The annual fees for participation in the Managed Lands Deer Program under §65.29 of this chapter are as follows and are nonrefundable.

                         (1) Properties enrolled in the Harvest Option (HO).

                                  (A) For each management unit within a property that is not part of an aggregate acreage — $30; and

                                  (B) For each aggregate acreage — $30.

                         (2) Properties enrolled in the Conservation Option (CO).

                                  (A) Enrollment by management unit.

                                          (i) For the first management unit within a property — $300;

                                          (ii) For each additional management unit within a property — $30; and

                                          (iii) For each management unit within a wildlife management association or cooperative — $30.

                                  (B) Enrollment by aggregate acreage — $300.

        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. 8
Exhibit B

MANAGED LANDS DEER PROGRAM RULES
PROPOSAL PREAMBLE

1. Introduction.

        The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department proposes an amendment to §65.29, concerning the Managed Lands Deer (MLD) Programs.

        The proposed amendment would consist of several components. First, the proposed amendment would change the title of the section to reflect the fact that the Managed Lands Deer Program is a single program, and not multiple programs.

        Next, the proposed amendment would add definitions for “aggregate acreage” and “management unit” to subsection (a), which is necessary to differentiate between the options available for enrollment of multiple portions of a tract of land or multiple tracts of land in the MLDP.  “Aggregate acreage” would be defined as “contiguous tracts of land, to, from, and between which deer have complete and unrestricted access, combined by multiple landowners to create an area of land for the purpose of enrollment in the MLDP.”  “Management unit” would be defined as “a specific portion of a tract of land enrolled in the MLDP for which the department shall specify a harvest quota and tag issuance.”

        The proposed amendment also would update a definition. The department has determined that the term “Resource Management Unit” does not accurately describe the scale at which deer population data are utilized by the department under the MLDP and should be re-titled “Deer Management Unit.” The proposed change is made throughout the rule.

        Next, the proposed amendment would alter subsection (b)(1), (9), and (10) to create a new deadline for decisions to decline participation in the MLD program, stipulate that date as the deadline for fee payment for program participation, and provide for default harvest regulation in the event that a program participant does not remit the required fee by the deadline. The current rules stipulate September 15 as the deadline for declining program participation, which the proposed amendment would replace with “the Friday closest to September 30.” Since the proposed amendment also would require fee payment by no later than the Friday closest to September 30 in order for MLDP enrollment to be valid, the department has determined that instead of having two deadlines for essentially the same thing, it is prudent to have one deadline. The Friday closest to September 30 was selected because the period of validity for MLDP tags begins on the Saturday closest to September 30. Additionally, the proposed amendment would provide that failure to timely remit required fees will result in disqualification for program participation and automatic default to the harvest regulations established by 65.42, relating to Deer (i.e., the standard county seasons, bag limits, special provisions, etc.). Obviously, failure to remit required fees should not result in enjoyment of program benefits. The proposed amendment also corrects an internal reference that is missing from the current rule.

        The proposed amendment would also alter subsection (c)(1) and (2) to provide that the department shall issue a harvest quota for each management unit of a tract of land enrolled in the HO or CO. The department has determined that on a single tract of land it is necessary to provide a harvest quota and tag issuance for unique management units within the tract of land (i.e., the property is divided into multiple "high-fenced" pastures) or that landowners may desire to have a harvest quota and tag issuance for unique management units with the tract of land (i.e., separate pastures are leased to different groups of hunters).

        The proposed amendment would also amend subsection (c)(2) to expressly provide for the use of MLDP tags on any tract of land within an aggregate acreage enrolled under the CO. The current rule allows participants in the HO to use tags on any property within an aggregate acreage. The department has determined there is no reason not to allow this practice on aggregate acreages under the CO as well.

        Finally, the proposed amendment would make non-substantive modification to provisions regarding the enrollment of aggregate acreages in the HO and CO in order to utilize consistent language and rule structure and avoid confusion.

2. Fiscal Note.

        Clayton Wolf, Wildlife Division Director, has determined that for each of the first five years that the rule as proposed is in effect, there will be fiscal implications to the department as result of administering or enforcing the rule. The department estimates an increase in revenue of approximately $1,545,420.00 per year as a result of the imposition of fees for the various levels of MLDP participation.

3. Public Benefit/Cost Note.

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

        (A) The public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing or administering the proposed rules will be the continued ability of the agency to provide landowners and land managers with effective technical guidance for deer management that in return provides additional ecological benefits.

                 There will be no adverse economic effect on persons required to comply with the rule as proposed, as participation in the MLDP is not mandatory and resource management can still be attained by landowners and land managers under existing harvest rules.

        (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 because the proposed rule creates fees for voluntary participation in a resource management program administered by the department for the sole purpose of enhancing the enjoyment and use public wildlife resources that by statute cannot be bought, sold, or harvested for profit in this state (i.e., that cannot be a commercial commodity), there is therefore no direct economic effect on any small businesses, micro-businesses, or rural community. 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 in the number of full-time equivalent employee needs, as the need for additional employees to administer the MLDP already exists;

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

                 (4) not affect the amount of any existing fee, but will create new fees;

                 (5) create a new regulation requiring fees for participation in the MLDP;

                 (6) expand an existing regulation (by providing for a fee for MLDP participation);

                 (7) potentially decrease the number of individuals subject to regulation, if current levels of participation in the MLDP decrease; and

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

4. Request for Public Comment.

        Comments on the proposal may be submitted to Alan Cain (white-tailed deer program) at (830) 480-4038, email: alan.cain@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; Chapter 42, which authorizes the commission to modify or eliminate the tagging, carcass, final destination, or final processing requirements or provisions of Section 42.001, 42.018, 42.0185, 42.019, or 42.020, or other similar requirements or provisions of that chapter; and Chapter 43, Subchapter Y, which authorizes the commission to impose a fee by rule for participation in the MLDP.

        The proposed amendments affect Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapters 61, 42, and 43.

        §65.29. Managed Lands Deer Program (MLDP)[[(MLD) Programs].

                 (a) Definitions. The following words and terms shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise. All other words and terms in this section shall have the meanings assigned in the Texas Parks and Wildlife Code.

       (1) Aggregate acreage—Contiguous tracts of land, to, from, and between which deer have complete and unrestricted access, combined by multiple landowners to create an area of land for the purpose of enrolment in the MLDP.

                         (2)[(1)] Landowner — Any person who has an ownership interest in a tract of land.

                         (3) Management unit—a specific portion of a tract of land enrolled in the MLDP for which the department shall specify a harvest quota and tag issuance. 

                         (4)[(2)] MLDP — The Managed Lands Deer Program established by this subchapter, which consists of:

                                  (A) the Harvest Option (HO) set forth in subsection (c)(1) of this section; and

                                  (B) the Conservation Option (CO) set forth in subsections (c)(2) and (d) of this section.

                         (5)[(3)] MLDP tag — A tag issued by the department to a participant in any option under this section.

                          (6)[(4)] Program participant — A landowner or a landowner’s authorized agent who is enrolled in the MLDP.

                         (7)[(5)] Deer[Resource] management unit (DMU)[(RMU)] — An area of the state designated by the department on the basis of shared characteristics such as soil types, vegetation types, precipitation, land use practices, and deer densities.

                         (8)[(6)] Unbranched antlered deer — A buck deer having at least one antler with no more than one antler point.

                         (9)[(7)] Wildlife Management Plan (WMP) — A written document on a form furnished or approved by the department that addresses habitat and population and management recommendations, associated data, and data collection methodologies.

                         (10)[(8)] Wildlife Management Associations and Cooperatives — A group of landowners who have mutually agreed in writing to act collectively to improve wildlife habitat and populations on their tracts of land.

                 (b) General Provisions.

                         (1) A landowner and the landowner’s tract(s) of land are enrolled:

                                  (A) – (B) (No change.)

                                  (C) An enrollment is not valid unless the applicant has remitted the fees prescribed by §53.5 of this title (relating to Recreational Hunting Licenses, Stamps, and Tags) to the department on or before the Friday closest to September 30 of the year for which program participation is sought.

                         (2) – (8) (No change.)

                         (9) If an applicant does not wish to engage in program participation, the applicant must affirmatively decline program participation by the Friday closest to September 30[September 15] via the department’s online web application. On an enrolled tract of land for which a program participant has failed to timely decline participation as provided in this paragraph, the provisions of this section continue to apply to the harvest of deer until the last day of tag validity in the year following application.

                         (10) The provisions of this section cease effect and the provisions of §65.42 of this title (relating to Deer) apply on any tract of land for which:

                                  (A) [On a tract of land for which] an applicant has timely declined participation under the provisions of paragraph (9) of this subsection; or

                                  (B) the fees required by §53.5 of this title have not been remitted in accordance with subsection (b)(1)(C) of this section[, the provisions of §65.42 of this title (relating to Deer) apply].

                         (11) (No change.)

                (c) MLDP—White-tailed Deer. The provisions of this subsection shall govern the authorization and conduct of MLDP participation with respect to white-tailed deer.

                         (1) Harvest Option (HO).

                                  (A) (No change.)

                                  (B) An aggregate acreage may be enrolled in the HO, provided:

                                          (i) the application contains the name, address, and express consent of the landowner of each tract of land comprising the aggregate acreage for which enrollment is sought; and

                                          (ii) a single program participant is designated to receive MLDP tags for the aggregate acreage.

                                  [(B) Multiple landowners may combine contiguous tracts of land to create an aggregate acreage for program enrollment.]

                                          [(i) A landowner or authorized agent participating in the MLDP under the provisions of this subparagraph must designate a single program participant to receive MLDP tags.]

                                          [(ii) MLDP tags issued under the provisions of this paragraph may be utilized on any tract of land within the aggregate acreage enrolled in the MLDP.]

                                  (C) The department shall specify a harvest quota establishing the maximum number of buck, unbranched antlered, or antlerless deer to be harvested on each management unit within a tract of land or aggregate acreage enrolled in the HO.  The harvest quota shall be based on:

                                          (i) department-derived survey data for the DMU [RMU] in which the tract of land is located;

                                          (ii) – (iv) (No change.)

                                  (D) – (E) (No change.)

                         (2) Conservation Option (CO).

                                  (A) – (D) (No change.)

                                  (E) On each management unit within a tract of land enrolled under this subsection:

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

                                  (F) – (G) (No change.)

                                  (H) Special Provisions

                                          (i) (No change)

                                          (ii) An aggregate acreage may be enrolled in the CO [Other Aggregate Acreages. Multiple landowners may combine contiguous tracts of land to create an aggregate acreage for program enrollment], provided:

                                                   (I) the application contains the name, address, and express consent of the landowner of each tract of land comprising the aggregate acreage for which enrollment is sought; [and]

                                                    (II) a single WMP that addresses all tracts of land within the aggregate acreage is submitted and approved by the department[.]: and

                                                   (III) [the program participants designate] a single program participant is designated to receive MLDP tags for the aggregate acreage.

                                                  (IV) MLDP tags issued under the provisions of this paragraph may be utilized on any tract of land within the aggregate acreage enrolled in the MLDP.  

                 (d) – (f) (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 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.

        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. 10
Presenter: Ted Hollingsworth

Work Session
Grant of Easement – Brazoria County
Approximately 19 Acres at the Justin Hurst Wildlife Management Area
Request Permission to Begin the Public Notice and Input Process
November 6, 2019

I.      Executive Summary: Enbridge Inc. and Oiltanking GmbH have combined efforts to design and construct an offshore oil export terminal called the Texas Crude Offshore Loading Terminal (COLT) that would include a new tank facility adjacent to the Justin Hurst Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and pipelines crossing the WMA. The COLT sponsors request easements from Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) for those pipelines.

II.     Discussion: The Justin Hurst WMA consists of 14,734 acres of coastal prairies, bottomland hardwoods, and marshes that serve as significant habitat for a number of resident and migratory species, including waterfowl and wading birds. It is located on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway and the New Brazos River (Port of Freeport) near a unit of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve and petrochemical industries associated with the cities of Freeport, Clute, and Lake Jackson.

The COLT sponsors are in the process of securing permits required to construct a very large crude carrier loading facility approximately 40 miles off the coast of Freeport. COLT will also include the construction of a new liquid storage tank battery on the north side of the WMA. A 42-inch diameter supply line would connect the tank battery to the offshore facility.

Crude oil, primarily coming from the Permian Basin, is to be supplied to the tank battery adjacent to the WMA via 30-inch and 24-inch pipelines. The COLT sponsors request easements for the installation of the 42-inch offshore supply line and the two crude oil pipelines.

The staff requests permission to begin the public notice and input process.

Attachments – 3

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

Work Session Item No. 10
Exhibit A

Location Map for Justin Hurst Wildlife Management Area in Brazoria County

Location Map for Justin Hurst Wildlife Management Area in Brazoria County


Work Session Item No. 10
Exhibit B

Vicinity Map for Justin Hurst Wildlife Management Area (WMA),
60 Miles South of Houston

Vicinity Map for Justin Hurst Wildlife Management Area (WMA)


Work Session Item No. 10
Exhibit C

Site Map for Justin Hurst Wildlife Management Area (WMA)
Proposed Routes for Pipeline Easements Shown in White
Proposed Tank Farm Shown in Red

Site Map for Justin Hurst Wildlife Management Area


Work Session Item No. 11
Presenters: Robert Sweeney
Ted Hollingsworth

(Executive Session Only)
Acquisition of Land – Matagorda County
Expansion of the Matagorda Peninsula Coastal Management Area
November 6, 2019

I.      Executive Summary: The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) staff is negotiating the acquisition of land from willing sellers for addition to the Matagorda Peninsula Coastal Management Area (CMA).

II.     Discussion: In 2017, TPWD established the Matagorda Peninsula CMA with the acquisition of 5,402 acres of land on Matagorda Peninsula from the Texas General Land Office. The CMA currently preserves approximately 12 miles of peninsula from the Caney Creek Cut westward and from the Gulf of Mexico to East Matagorda Bay. This is a remote and undeveloped barrier system that preserves habitat for a remarkable diversity of coastal wildlife from nesting sea turtles to resident and migratory shore and wading birds, several of which are listed as species of greatest conservation need. Habitat present at the WMA consists of Gulf beaches, sand dunes, lagoons, strand prairies, bayous, tidal flats, and emergent salt marshes that are critical for the production of crustaceans, shellfish, and finfish. The East Matagorda Bay system has been identified as a conservation focal area by TPWD and its conservation partners.

TPWD and the Galveston Bay Foundation have received grants from criminal and civil settlements of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to acquire land on Matagorda Peninsula from willing sellers for addition to the CMA.

Attachments – 2

  1. Exhibit A – Location Map
  2. Exhibit B – Vicinity Map

Work Session Item No. 11
Exhibit A

Location Map for Matagorda Peninsula Coastal Management Area in Matagorda County

Location Map for Matagorda Peninsula Coastal Management Area in Matagorda County


Work Session Item No. 11
Exhibit B

Vicinity Map for Matagorda Peninsula,
45 Miles East of Port Lavaca

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Work Session Item No. 12
Presenters: Robert Sweeney
Ted Hollingsworth

(Executive Session Only)
Acquisition of Land – Marion County
Approximately 2,000 Acres at the Caddo Lake Wildlife Management Area
November 6, 2019

I.      Executive Summary: The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has received an award from the state and federal Natural Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) Trustees for the acquisition of land to be added to the Caddo Lake Wildlife Management Area (WMA).

II.     Discussion: Caddo Lake State Park was established in the 1930s on the south shore of Caddo Lake in Harrison County. Over time, TPWD expanded the park north across the lake, covering several thousand more acres. In 1997, the TPWD land holdings on the north side of the lake in Marion County were re-designated as a WMA and their management assigned to the TPWD Wildlife Division. Today, the WMA consists of roughly 8,100 acres that protect portions of the lake itself and the adjacent swamps, floodplains, slopes, and upland forests that exemplify the habitats of northeast Texas.

NRDA Trustees recovered damages for injuries to natural resources from a wood-treating company in Texarkana and published a restoration plan selecting projects to compensate for the natural resource injuries. The restoration plan includes funding for several projects in northeast Texas, including the acquisition by TPWD of bottomland and associated habitat for addition to the Caddo Lake WMA.

Attachments – 2

  1. Exhibit A – Location Map
  2. Exhibit B – Vicinity Map

Work Session Item No. 12
Exhibit A

Location Map for Caddo Lake Wildlife Management Area in Marion County

Location Map for Caddo Lake Wildlife Management Area in Marion County


Work Session Item No. 12
Exhibit B

Vicinity Map for Caddo Lake Wildlife Management Area (WMA),
20 Miles Northeast of Marshall

Vicinity Map for Caddo Lake Wildlife Management Area


Work Session Item No. 13
Presenter: Robert Sweeney

(Executive Session Only)
Litigation Update
November 6, 2019

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.

Work Session Item No. 14
Presenters: Robert Sweeney
George Rios
Michael Golen

(Executive Session Only)
Briefing - Cybersecurity
November 6, 2019

I.      Executive Summary: The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) staff will brief the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission on the TPWD cybersecurity program and the latest cybersecurity program assessment.

II.     Discussion: The staff will provide an overview of the cybersecurity program including how the program is structured, the protection it provides, and the results from the latest cybersecurity program assessment.