Regulations Committee

Wednesday, 9:00 a.m., Nov. 5, 1997

Commission Hearing Room
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744
Item No. Subject Public Hearing Agenda Item No.
  Approval of the Committee Minutes from the previous meeting  
  Summary of minutes  
1. Chairman's Charges (Oral Presentation) Committee Only
2. Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamations
Staff: Robert L. Cook, Phil Durocher, Gene McCarty
Committee Only
3. Proposed Scientific Breeder Regulations
Staff: Jerry Cooke
Committee Only
4. Proposed Nongame Regulations
Staff: John Herron
Committee Only
5. Proposed Falconry Regulations
Staff: John Herron
Committee Only
6. Harmful or Potentially Harmful Exotic Fish, Shellfish and Aquatic Plants Repeal and New Rules
Staff: Joedy Gray
2
7. Restricted Wildlife Animal Proclamation
Staff: David Sinclair
3
8. Harmful or Potentially Harmful Exotic Fish, Shellfish and Aquatic Plants Proclamation
Staff: Dr. Earl W. Chilton
Committee Only
9. Boater Education Program Rules
Staff: Steve Hall
Committee Only
10. Endangered Species Act
Staff: Bob Cook
Committee Only
11. Other Business  

Summary of Minutes
Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
Regulations Committee

August 27, 1997

BE IT REMEMBERED that heretofore on the 27th day of August 1997, there came to be heard matters under the regulatory authority of the Parks and Wildlife Commission of Texas, in the commission hearing room of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Headquarters complex, Austin, Travis County, Texas beginning at 11:20 a.m., to wit:

I. COMMISSION ATTENDANCE

Chair: Lee Bass
Ray Clymer
Nolan Ryan
Richard Heath
Carol Dinkins
Susan Howard-Chrane
Mickey Burleson
John Avila
Ernest Angelo

II. OPENING STATEMENT:

Mr. Andrew Sansom, Executive Director, read the opening statement into the record.

III. APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Chairman Bass entertained a motion by Commissioner Heath to accept the minutes of the July 1997 meeting of the Regulations Committee. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Burleson and was passed unanimously.

IV. THE FOLLOWING ITEMS WERE PRESENTED TO THE COMMITTEE:

1. BRIEFING - Annual Charge to Committee

Presenter: Chairman Lee M. Bass

REVIEW OF CHARGE:

- Chairman Bass began the proceedings by reviewing charges to the committee including:

- Review of legislative mandates which will proceed through the normal regulatory process.

- Continued regulatory reform using a "scalpel approach"; reviewing adminsitrative procedures; and continued efforts to broaden the scoping process.

- Continue emphasis on conservation of natural rewources on both private and public lands;

- Continue to maximize outdoor recreational opportunities;

- Paying more attention to aquatic resources issues such as:

- Senate Bill 1

- Dedicate significant resources regarding exotic species; and

- Develop strategies to limit spread and decrease introduction of exotic species.

2. ACTION - Harmful or Potentially Harmful Exotic Fish, Shellfish and Aquatic Plants Repeal and New Rules and Native Shellfish New Rules.

Presenters: Larry McKinney and Joedy Gray

Chairman Bass called for the second item of business, proposed regulations concerning Harmful or Potentially Harmful Exotic Fish, Shellfish and Aquatic Plants and Native Shellfish. Dr. Larry McKinney, Director Resource Protection and Mr. Joedy Gray, staff support specialist, presented proposed regulation changes to the Harmful or Potentially Harmful Exotic Fish, Shellfish and Aquatic Plants Proclamation and Native Shellfish Proclamation. Proposals included 1) adopting by rule a Memorandum of Understanding between the Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission (TNRCC) and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department TPWD) establishing a formal mechanism by which the two agencies can improve coordination and collaboration regarding regulation of aquaculture facilities; 2) addition of the families Synbranchidae (rice eels) and Anguillidae except for Anguilla rostrata to the prohibited fish species list and add definitions for the terms "disease", "disease-free", "waste" and "water in the state"; 3) requirement that applicants for amended and renewal exotic species permits to demonstrate that they possess or have applied for and are diligently pursuing the appropriate authorization or written exemptions from the TNRCC if the facility is designed to discharge waste into or adjacent to water in the state; 4) provide the means to allow the sale of Pacific blue shrimp (Penaeus stylirostris) under specific criteria; 5) establish methodologies for quarantine of pathogen-infected exotic shellfish, for notification of the Department in the event mortalities in cultured exotic shellfish stocks, and for certification of exotic shellfish as disease free; and create new sections in 31 TAC Chapter 69 that 1) establishes definitions for the terms "disease", "disease-free", "waste" and "water in the state"; and 2) establish methodologies for quarantine of pathogen-infected native shellfish, for notification of the Department in the event mortalities in cultured native shellfish stocks, and for certification of native shellfish as disease free. Mr. Gray requested permission from the Committee to publish proposed rule changes in the Texas Register for review and comment. Chairman Bass entertained comments and there were none. Commissioner Angello moved to send the proposed rule changes to the Texas Register for public comment. Commissioner Heath seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

3. ACTION - Regulations Establishing a Youth-only Hunting Season

Presenter: Kirby Brown

Chairman Bass called for the third item of business. Mr. Kirby Brown, Program Director for Private Lands and Habitat Enhancement, presented proposed changes to the Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation that establish youth-only hunting seasons for white-tailed deer, quail, and Rio Grande turkey which had been published in the July 18, 1997 issue of the Texas Register (22 TexReg 6728). Mr. Brown requested permission from the Committee to carry to the full Commission for adoption the proposed rules with changes.Chairman Bass entertained comments and there were none. Commissioner Ryan moved to send the proposed rule changes to the full Commission for adoption. Commissioner Howard-Chrane seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

4. ACTION - 1997-1998 Migratory Gamebird Proclamation Late Season Provisions

Presenter: Vernon Bevill

Chairman Bass called for the fourth item of business. Mr Vernon Bevill, Program Director of the Migratory Wildlife Program, presented proposed changes to the Migratory Gamebird Proclamation which had been published in the May 2, 1997 issue of the Texas Register (22 TexReg 3875). Mr. Bevill requested permission from the Committee to carry to the full Commission for adoption the proposed rules with changes. Chairman Bass entertained comments. Commissioner Ryan asked about the proposed goose possession limit. Mr. Bevill responded that it was 40 birds as approved in 1996. Commissioner asked why dark goose season dates had not been changed in the Eastern Zone. Mr. Bevill responded that based on public feedback, changes were not warranted. Mr. Bevill requested permission from the Committee to carry the proposed rules to the full Commission for adoption. Commissioner Heath moved to send the proposals to the full Commission for adoption. Commissioner Dinkins seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

5. ACTION - Sand, Shell, Gravel Petition for Rulemaking

Presenter: Paul Shinkawa

Chairman Bass called for the fifth item of business. Mr. Paul Shinkawa, Resource Protection Division Legal Counsel, presented a petition from Mr. J.D. Head on behalf of CSB Asphalt Co., Inc. requesting a rule change that increases the active live of a permit from 1 year to 5 years. Mr. Shinkawa reported that a conference with the petitioners resulted in a compromise to increase the life of a permit from 1 to 3 years and to change the permit fee from $500 per year to $1200 for the 3-year permit. Mr. Shinkawa asked permission from the Committee to carry the petition to the full Commission to grant the petition and to publish proposed rule changes in the Texas Register for review and comment. The Chairman asked how many permits there were. Mr. Shinkawa responded there were four dredging-type permits (3 in the Brazos and 1 in the Llano Rivers), plus many crossing-type permits. Commissioner Burleson asked if this would put the resources at risk. Mr. Shinkawa responded the 3-year permit would help in this area. Commissioner Burleson asked if the Department was monitoring these activities. Mr. Shinkawa answered that there were some studies ongoing. Chairman Bass called for a motion. Commissioner Dinkins moved to carry the petition to the full Commission to grant the petition and to publish proposed rule changes in the Texas Register for review and comment. Commissioner Angello seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

V. ADJOURN -- Chairman Bass called for new business. There being none, Chairman Bass adjourned the meeting at 11:52 am.


Committee Agenda Item No. 1
Presenter: Bob Cook

Regulations Committee
Briefing
Chairman's Charges
November 1997

(This item will be an oral presentation.)


Committee Agenda Item No. 2
Presenters: Robert L. Cook, Phil Durocher, Gene McCarty

Regulations Committee
Briefing
1998-1999 Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation
and Fisheries Regulations;
Preliminary Regulatory Changes
November 1997

I. DISCUSSION: Responsibility for establishing seasons, bag limits, and means and methods for taking wildlife resources is delegated to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 61. The Commission is authorized to regulate shrimping under Chapter 77; commercial crab licensing, under Chapter 78; and nongame fish under Chapter 67.

Proposed changes to the Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation and various fisheries regulations are a result of legislative action by the 75th Legislature, proposals advanced by staff, and suggestions from the public. Changes advanced by staff are based upon scientific investigation and are required findings of fact. The proposed changes implement statutory mandates, increase recreational opportunity, simplify regulatory activity, promote enforcement, and provide for the sound biological management of the wildlife resources of the state.

The issues for consideration are contained in Exhibit A.

Attachment - 1

1. Exhibit A - Summary of Regulatory Issues

(Exhibit A is available upon request.)


Committee Agenda Item No. 3
Presenter: Jerry Cooke

Regulations Committee
Action
Scientific Breeder Regulations
November 1997

I. DISCUSSION: Under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 43, Subchapter L, the Commission is authorized to promulgate regulations governing the possession of white-tailed deer and mule deer for scientific, management, and propagation purposes. The passage of House Bill 2541 by the 75th Texas Legislature amends Subchapter L and necessitates rulemaking by the Department to conform existing regulations with the intent of the legislature. The proposed regulations located at Exhibit A would: synchronize the period of validity of scientific breeder permits by setting a universal expiration date; standardize the tagging requirements for captive deer; allow the recapture of escaped deer; provide procedures and requirements for the transportation of deer immediately before and during an open deer season; stipulate that all deer entering the state for the purposes of Subchapter L be tested as required by the Texas Animal Health Commission; and effect housekeeping changes in the interest of clarity.

The Department sponsored a meeting of all interested parties for the purposes of soliciting comments on the draft regulations, the result of which was qualified approval. At the time of the Committee meeting, staff will recapitulate those objections articulated by the regulated community.

II. RECOMMENDATION: Staff recommends the Regulations Committee adopt the following motion:

"The Regulations Committee of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission authorizes staff to publish the proposed regulations located at Exhibit A in the Texas Register for public comment."

Attachment - 1

1. Exhibit A - Proposed Scientific Breeder Regulations

(Exhibit A is available upon request.)


Committee Agenda Item No. 4
Presenter: John Herron

Regulations Committee
Action
Proposed Nongame Regulations
November 1997

I. DISCUSSION: Chapter 67 of the Parks and Wildlife Code requires the Department to develop and administer management programs to ensure the viability of nongame fish and wildlife , and authorizes the Commission to establish any limitations on the take, possession, propagation, transportation, importation, exportation, and sale of nongame fish and wildlife that the Department considers necessary to manage such species. Nongame wildlife are vertebrates or invertebrates not defined as a game animal, game bird, game fish, furbearing animal, endangered species, alligator, marine penaeid shrimp, or oyster.

Although approximately 82% of the wild vertebrates in Texas are classified as nongame, there are no seasons or bag limits established for the take of such species, and no restrictions on means or methods of take, or upon their sale or purchase, except that a person must possess a valid hunting license to lawfully take or possess. The commercial take of nongame fish, however, is regulated at the present time. While many nongame species are actively harvested and sold, the Department has very little data on this activity and its impact on wild populations, although there is clear evidence of an active commercial trade in a number of areas. The Department is aware of markets for, among other things, mountain lions, prairie dogs, bats, bobcats, coyotes, jackrabbits, flying squirrels, and ground squirrels. According to 1990 figures, native mammal values range from $20 to $1000 a piece. Native Reptiles and amphibians are also commercially important as pets and food. As an example, one gentleman who contacted the Department was about to sell 60,000 pounds of soft-shell turtles as food to a source in Taiwan. The turtles were being sold live at a rate of $2.15 per pound, for a total of nearly $130,000. Many national articles have focused on animals such as box turtles, which are popular in the pet trade, but difficult to care for and which have a high mortality in shipment. At least 64 other species of native reptiles and amphibians have been identified in the Texas food and pet trade. Most species range from $1 - $400 in value. Some retail values quoted by an Austin pet store ranged from $3 for green anoles to $149 for a gray-banded kingsnake. The range of species and the number of animals traded indicates a potential significant impact on some local nongame populations. Additionally, staff has received reports of buyers driving circuits to buy rattlesnakes for the pet trade. In 1992, at least 2 large-scale dealers in live rattlesnakes claimed multiple processing facilities throughout the state. At least 12 commercial buyers of rattlesnakes and rattlesnake parts were identified in 1992 and 1993. In 1986, five dealers collectively estimated to have processed between 300,000-500,000 rattlesnakes. The 1989 harvest estimate by seven dealers was 500,000 lbs. of meat and/or products from at least 400,000 snakes. One USFW agent reported 10,000 lbs. of whole-frozen rattlesnakes in a Gulf Coast fish house in late 1989. The market value at that time ranged between $3.25 and $12.00 per pound of live snakes. Seventeen states regulate the commercial use of reptiles and amphibians, while nineteen states prohibit commercial use. Arkansas, Louisiana and Oklahoma all regulate commercial activity to some extent, which may increase collection pressure in Texas.

During the past several months, staff has solicited opinion from herpetological organizations, sponsors of rattlesnake round-ups, universities, representatives of the Texas Department of Health, and members of the general public. There is a consensus that some sort of permit and reporting system is appropriate. A few individuals strongly opposed any regulation. Staff will outline several options at the time of the hearing, and seek guidance from the Regulations Committee.


Committee Agenda Item No. 5
Presenter: John Herron

Regulations Committee
Action
Raptor Proclamation
November 1997

I. DISCUSSION: Chapter 49 of the Parks and Wildlife Code governs the take, capture, and possession of raptors in this state. The passage of House Bill 2542 (Parks and Wildlife Omnibus Bill) by the 75th Texas Legislature enacted amendments to Chapter 49 which necessitate rulemaking by the Department in order to reconcile the current regulations with legislative intent. At the same time, staff seeks to incorporate suggestions made by the Falconry Advisory Board pursuant to Parks and Wildlife Code, §49.016. The changes would eliminate numerical restrictions and reporting requirements for educational display of raptors; allow the purchase and sale of captive-bred raptors; eliminate the five-day nonresident permit and institue a nonresident trapping permit; and set open seasons and bag limits for hunting game birds (except migratory game birds, which are subject to federal management frameworks) and game animals by means of falconry.

II. RECOMMENDATION: The staff recommends the Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt the following motion:

"The Regulations Committee of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission authorizes publication of the proposed repeals of 31 TAC §§65.262, 65.263, 65.264, 65.265, 65.267, 65.268, and 65.276, and proposed new 31 TAC §§65.262, 65.263, 65.264, 65.265, 265.267, 65.268, 65.276, and 65.277, concerning regulations for the take, capture, and possession of raptors in this state, in the Texas Register for public comment."

Attachment - 1

1. Exhibit A - Proposed Raptor Proclamation

(Exhibit A is available upon request)


Committee Agenda Item No. 6
Presenter: Joedy Gray

Regulations Committee
Action
Harmful or Potentially Harmful Exotic Fish, Shellfish
and Aquatic Plants Repeal and New Rules
November 1997

(This is Public Hearing Agenda Item No. 2.)


Committee Agenda Item No. 7
Presenter: David Sinclair

Regulations Committee
Action
Restricted Wild Animal Proclamation
November 1997

(This is Public Hearing Agenda Item No. 3.)


Committee Agenda Item No. 8
Presenter: Dr. Earl W. Chilton

Regulations Committee
Action
Harmful or Potentially Harmful Exotic Fish, Shellfish
and Aquatic Plants Proclamation
November 1997

I. DISCUSSION: Staff proposes changes to the Harmful or Potentially Harmful Exotic Fish, Shellfish, and Aquatic Plants Proclamation which would prohibit the harvest of grass carp from public waters which have a valid Triploid Grass Carp Permit in effect. Triploid grass carp are usually purchased by river authorities, water districts, or public action groups as a means of vegetation control. Harvest of these fish reduces their numbers, lessens their effectiveness as vegetation control agents, and could necessitate the use of aquatic herbicides to control noxious aquatic plants. Should harvest become necessary for biological or management reasons grass carp could still be removed by TPWD, or by persons acting as agents of TPWD.

II. RECOMMENDATION: The staff recommends the Regulations Committee adopt the following motion:

"The Texas Parks and Wildlife Regulations Committee grants approval to publish the proposed amendments concerning the Harmful or Potentially Harmful Exotic Fish, Shellfish, and Aquatic Plants rules in the Texas Register as shown in Exhibit A for public comment."

Attachment - 1

1. Exhibit A - Proposed Rule

(Exhibit A is available upon request)


Committee Agenda Item No. 9
Presenter: Steve Hall

Regulations Committee
Action
Boater Education Program Regulations
November 1997

I. DISCUSSION: To comply with new Parks and Wildlife Code §§31.108-31.110 enacted by the Seventy- fifth Legislature, Education and Law Enforcement Division staff reviewed revised sections regarding Personal Watercraft (§31.106) and Operation of Motorboat (§31.107), and new sections regarding a Mandatory Boater Education Program, Requirements and Exemptions (§§31.108 - 31.110), and make the recommendations found at Exhibit A.

Similar to the passage of mandatory hunter education in Texas, the new mandatory boater education program represents a significant step up from the current voluntary boater education program which began in 1977. The new program will give staff the opportunity to reach thousands of new boaters. Staff plans to use many diverse teaching methods such as home study, challenge exams and a course available over the world wide web to make it as convenient as possible for boaters to comply with the new provisions. Future generations will experience safer, more enjoyable boating despite more crowded conditions as a result of this comprehensive effort.

II. RECOMMENDATION: The staff recommends the Regulations Committee adopt the following motion:

"The Regulations Committee of the Parks and Wildlife Commisson authorizes staff to publish the proposed rules concerning the new mandatory boater education program in the Texas Register for public comment."

Attachment - 1

1. Exhibit A - Proposed Rule

(Exhibit A is available upon request)


Committee Agenda Item No. 10
Presenter: Bob Cook

Regulations Committee
Briefing
Endangered Species Act
November 1997

(This item will be an oral presentation.)


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