Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
Ad Hoc Outreach Committee

November 8, 2000

Commission Hearing Room
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department Headquarters Complex
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744
                                                             1
     
                  BE IT REMEMBERED, that heretofore on the 8th day
         8  of November,2000, there came to be heard matters under
            the regulatory authority of the Parks and Wildlife
         9  Commission of Texas, in the Commission Hearing Room of
            the Texas Parks and Wildlife Headquarters Complex,
        10  Austin, Texas, beginning at 9:15 a.m., to wit:
 
        11
            APPEARANCES:
        12  THE PARKS AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION:
 
        13  AD HOC OUTREACH COMMITTEE:
            CHAIR:     Alvin L. Henry
        14             John Avila, Jr.
                       Lee M. Bass, (Absent)
        15             Carol E. Dinkins
                       Nolan Ryan, (Absent)
        16             Dick Heath, (Absent)
                       Ernest Angelo, Jr.
        17             John Avila, Jr., (Absent)
                       Katharine Armstrong Idsal
        18             Mark E. Watson, Jr., (Absent)
 
        19
 
        20
 
        21
 
        22  THE TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION:
            Andrew H. Sansom, Executive Director, and other
        23  personnel of the Parks and Wildlife Department
 
        24
 
        25
 
 
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         1
 
         2
                           AD HOC OUTREACH COMMITTEE
         3
 
         4                 VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  The meeting is
 
         5  called to order.  Before proceeding with any business,
 
         6  and I believe Mr. Sansom has a statement to make.
 
         7                 MR. SANSOM:  Madam Chair, I have a
 
         8  public notice of this meeting containing all items on
 
         9  the proposed agenda.  It's been filed in the office of
 
        10  the Secretary of State as required by Chapter 551 of
 
        11  the Government Code.  This is referred to as the Open
 
        12  Meetings Law, and I would like for this action to be
 
        13  noted in the official record of this meeting.
 
        14                 VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Thank you,
 
        15  Mr. Sansom.
 
        16                 Our first committee is the Outreach Ad
 
        17  Hoc Committee, and that's chaired by Commissioner
 
        18  Henry.
 
        19                 If you'll take over now, Commissioner
 
        20  Henry.
 
        21  AGENDA ITEM NO. 1:  AD HOC OUTREACH COMMITTEE.
 
        22                 COMMISSIONER HENRY:  Madam Chair, since
 
        23  our last official meetings, we have had a series of
 
        24  meetings of matters related to outreach, particularly
 
        25  with regard to the establishment of the regional
 
 
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         1  centers that the commission previously discussed.  And
 
         2  Andy, along with Dr. McKinney and other staff members,
 
         3  have engaged suitable personnel to carry out the
 
         4  directives of the commission and the committee with
 
         5  regard to establishing viable programs in each of these
 
         6  sites.
 
         7                 I'm going to ask Dr. McKinney to come
 
         8  forward and to present to the committee and the
 
         9  commission recent activities in this area.
 
        10                 VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Okay.
 
        11  AGENDA ITEM NO. 2: BRIEFING -- STATEWIDE AND REGIONAL
 
        12  OUTREACH INITIATIVE UPDATE.
 
        13                 DR. McKINNEY:  Thank you, Ms. Chair.
 
        14                 My job this morning is going to be very
 
        15  easy because I'm going to introduce three folks that
 
        16  actually are going to give the information to you.  So
 
        17  I'll let Mr. Murphy's team, Paul and Darlene, come up
 
        18  and present the items.
 
        19                 MR. MURPHY:  Good morning, Madam
 
        20  Chairman, members of the committee.  My name is Bob
 
        21  Murphy, agency outreach coordinator, and with me are
 
        22  Steve Hall, our education director, and Darlene Lewis,
 
        23  the COOP program director.
 
        24                 Today I plan to update you on the
 
        25  progress that we have made on statewide and regional
 
 
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         1  initiatives to plan and coordinate our agency outreach
 
         2  efforts.
 
         3                 MR. MURPHY:  As was noted in our April
 
         4  briefing, one of our key strategies was to initiate
 
         5  regional pilots this past summer, beginning in Houston
 
         6  and then moving onto Dallas and San Antonio.  On these
 
         7  regional initiatives, I'll provide more details on
 
         8  their success and their status in a moment.
 
         9                 Let's look, first, at a few statewide
 
        10  programs and approaches that link together
 
        11  strategically for agency outreach efforts.
 
        12                 The COOP grant program is the first, and
 
        13  these grants have proven to be essential in supporting
 
        14  our partners in their efforts to get kids involved in
 
        15  the outdoors.  These grants are fundamental to the
 
        16  engagement of the communities that we have identified
 
        17  as primary target audiences, and the first steps into
 
        18  the outdoors that many of these programs provide give
 
        19  us opportunities to develop lifelong customers and
 
        20  supporters.
 
        21                 Just a couple of examples of how this
 
        22  program promotes creative partnerships.  The Galveston
 
        23  Bay Foundation received a grant in the Houston region,
 
        24  and more than 700 students and teachers will go on
 
        25  expeditions to learn about bay resources, bay uses, and
 
 
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         1  to participate in restoration activities in Galveston
 
         2  Bay.
 
         3                 In the Dallas region, the Texas Trails
 
         4  Network received a grant, and in this one, Texas school
 
         5  children will be introduced to the history and the
 
         6  heritage of trails in Texas, while demonstrating that
 
         7  today's trails are a resource for education and
 
         8  recreation.  Horseback riding will be one of the
 
         9  planned activities in this grant.
 
        10                 In the San Antonio region, the Cibolo
 
        11  Nature Center received a grant.  They're in Boerne, in
 
        12  the northwest part of that region.  And in this
 
        13  program, secondary teachers and students in the San
 
        14  Antonio area will participate in field research
 
        15  workshops, studying birds, prairie vegetation and
 
        16  insects, aquatic invertebrates, and mammals.
 
        17                 One program that's not listed in the
 
        18  bullets up there but is pictured on the right:  Ken
 
        19  Pollard has continued to blaze trails with our
 
        20  Community Services Education and Outreach Program.  A
 
        21  particular note, they are working with the Cowboys of
 
        22  Color rodeo tour to reach inner-city communities across
 
        23  Texas with access to the parks and wildlife message.
 
        24  Three rodeos in the metroplex area: Dallas, Fort Worth,
 
        25  and Mesquite, and rodeos in San Antonio, Austin, and
 
 
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         1  Houston next year will reach eight to fifteen thousand
 
         2  people each.
 
         3                 The Outdoor Kids program has continued
 
         4  to provide a vehicle for our outreach efforts to
 
         5  youth.  We have had strong interests from schools.  In
 
         6  the Houston area, there are several schools adopting
 
         7  the program for their entire grade levels or, in one
 
         8  case, for the entire school, and they're using this to
 
         9  integrate outdoor learning into their curriculum.
 
        10  They're particularly fond of the journaling aspect of
 
        11  the program for use at the elementary level.
 
        12                 Next, the contract for services
 
        13  approach, which I'll get into detail later on, has been
 
        14  utilized in our regional pilots, and there it has been
 
        15  successful.  I'll -- it may be that there's a place for
 
        16  this strategy in our statewide scheme as well.  One
 
        17  thought here is that the series of contacts with
 
        18  entities that have special resources or talents may
 
        19  also be used for our advantage.  Examples would be
 
        20  children's performers, or zoos, or other partners that
 
        21  we can identify that have special appeal to our
 
        22  audiences.
 
        23                 And then, lastly, a critical element in
 
        24  our strategic plan is to monitor and evaluate our
 
        25  outreach efforts.  We will be developing multiple
 
 
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         1  approaches, from staff-led evaluation efforts, to
 
         2  agreements with universities and researchers as
 
         3  independent reviewers.  This will be a topic in a
 
         4  future briefing.
 
         5                 Okay.  Now onto the regional outreach
 
         6  initiatives.  First, I'll review each of the cities we
 
         7  have concentrated on, with an update on the status in
 
         8  each, and then we will look at the two contracts for
 
         9  professional services that have been developed to
 
        10  facilitate inner-city outreach.
 
        11                 Houston was our initial effort, and we
 
        12  have had several meetings there with a staff team
 
        13  assembled that represent each of the divisions that
 
        14  have a stake in outreach planning.  This is the
 
        15  initiative with the most developed team at present, and
 
        16  it is the most representative of the agency within its
 
        17  region.
 
        18                 Our pilot partner in Houston was the
 
        19  Nature Heritage Society, and, working with Glen Miller
 
        20  and his team, we have seen benefits to this contract
 
        21  services approach.
 
        22                 The hub site for the Houston Regional
 
        23  Outreach Initiative is Sheldon Lake State Park.  And
 
        24  just a few notes on Sheldon.  First, you'll hear next
 
        25  from Laura David and her consultant team on the
 
 
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         1  progress of the feasibility study and the future of the
 
         2  master planning process in developing an environmental
 
         3  learning center at Sheldon.
 
         4                 Secondly, resource protection staff have
 
         5  been working with park staff on ways to protect the
 
         6  park's watershed, the critical element there, the
 
         7  resource element there that we are using to interpret
 
         8  to the public, and, hopefully, they will be able to add
 
         9  acreage to the park in that manner.  Both, the
 
        10  mitigation process and the Natural Resource Damage
 
        11  Assessment Program are involved in that process.
 
        12                 And then, thirdly, we recently attended
 
        13  the HISD Schools of Excellence Conference at the
 
        14  Astrohall/Astroarena complex.  There were over 15,000
 
        15  HISD teachers and administrators at this conference,
 
        16  two-day event, and many that we spoke to expressed a
 
        17  desire to bring students out to Sheldon.  Many of them
 
        18  had already done so, but there were a lot of new
 
        19  contacts made.
 
        20                 Rob Comstock, the superintendent of
 
        21  Sheldon Lake, was there both days, all day, and he said
 
        22  it was the best place for him to spend his time.  He
 
        23  spoke with --he made so many contacts and talked
 
        24  directly to teachers that wanted to come out there.
 
        25                 I spoke with staff at the new Caesar
 
 
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         1  Chavez high school, and it just opened this year.  But
 
         2  next year, they're going to start an environmental
 
         3  education magnet program at that school and at the high
 
         4  school level.  That will be real exciting to have their
 
         5  students working at Sheldon on service projects and
 
         6  developing interpretive programs for younger students
 
         7  as well.
 
         8                 In Dallas, we have assembled a staff
 
         9  team, also, from most of the divisions involved in
 
        10  Outreach.  We've had one meeting that was very
 
        11  productive, but we're not quite at the level of the
 
        12  Houston team yet just due to the fact that we started
 
        13  that process later in the summer.
 
        14                 Our pilot partner this summer was the
 
        15  Inner-city Fishing Institute, and working with Mark
 
        16   Cole, the Parks & Wildlife group has --in our
 
        17  programs, have reached many inner-city youth, and we've
 
        18  entered into new relationships with community
 
        19  organizations that have the trust of their Community.
 
        20  The hub site there will be Cedar Hills State Park,
 
        21  although many sites in the region such as the Texas
 
        22  Freshwater Fisheries Center and other parks will be
 
        23  served by this initiative.
 
        24                 In San Antonio, we've had one meeting
 
        25  and that was fairly recently.  We've begun to assemble
 
 
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         1  the staff team, and I believe that this is a real
 
         2  energetic group.  They're going to do some really good
 
         3  things once we get together and devote some more time
 
         4  to that planning process there.  There was not a pilot
 
         5  partner chosen this summer in San Antonio, but we'll
 
         6  work to identify an appropriate partner or partners and
 
         7  initiate contracts at the proper time.  Government
 
         8  Canyon will serve as the hub site for that initiative.
 
         9                 Okay.  And to review the contracts for
 
        10  professional services that we entered into this past
 
        11  summer, let's look first at the Nature Heritage
 
        12  Society.  They were involved from June through August.
 
        13  They got started first.  We had our contract with them
 
        14  first.  And they worked to include over 800 kids at our
 
        15  sites in the Houston region:  Sheldon, the Battleship
 
        16  Texas, Lake Houston, and Huntsville State Parks, as
 
        17  well as a number of local city and county parks and
 
        18  recreation centers.  Their programs were primarily in
 
        19  partnership with the Houston Parks & Recreation
 
        20  Department and the HISD.  I think they did a fine job
 
        21  of including adults in their program as mentors, and
 
        22  they were successful in creating a number of new
 
        23  partnerships with community organizations.
 
        24                 In Dallas, working with Mark Cole and
 
        25  the Inner-City Fishing Institute, there were over 600
 
 
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         1  kids involved through that contract for services.  The
 
         2  focus of many of these programs was fishing, but new
 
         3  relationships with some partners will lead to more
 
         4  diverse programming in the future, and we look forward
 
         5  to expanding on that contract as well.  Both of these
 
         6  agreements were very positive and beneficial to the
 
         7  agency.  They will be reviewed, changed where
 
         8  necessary, and reconstituted for this next year.
 
         9                 So to look back at the regional outreach
 
        10  initiatives, our strategies will be to work with the
 
        11  teams that we've created for more effective regional
 
        12  planning and to put some plans in place that everybody
 
        13  can turn to and know where the resources should be
 
        14  directed.  We will hire regional outreach coordinators
 
        15  very soon.  Those positions will be posted right away.
 
        16  Their charge will be to optimize our outreach resources
 
        17  and increase opportunities to visit our sites and
 
        18  participate in our programs.  They'll have a focus on
 
        19  breaking down the barriers to participation.  And then,
 
        20  to focus on the Outdoor Kids program in these regions,
 
        21  to set up cooperative ventures and better access to
 
        22  that program for, both, our staff and for
 
        23  participants.  And, lastly, to develop new and to
 
        24  strengthen existing partnerships.
 
        25                 In closing, on a statewide perspective,
 
 
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         1  our goals are to improve internal outreach
 
         2  coordination, to foster partnerships and look toward
 
         3  new and creative partnerships, and to support
 
         4  assessment and evaluation.
 
         5                 Are there any questions or comments?
 
         6                 COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  What age group are
 
         7  you targeting?  You may have said and I didn't catch
 
         8  it.  But what age group are we focussing on, or are we?
 
         9                 MR. MURPHY:  In each of the regions, it
 
        10  will be up to team to identify the audiences, and, for
 
        11  instance, Houston is broader at this point than the
 
        12  others.  There's not really an age group; although, I
 
        13  think youth is the term everybody is focused on.  There
 
        14  will also be, obviously, efforts to involve adults as
 
        15  mentors.  There will be efforts to reach women, in
 
        16  particularly, those that are heads of households.  But
 
        17  I would say the youth are generally younger, the
 
        18  elementary to junior high age; although, like I said,
 
        19  we'll have some high school age programs involved.
 
        20                 COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  In any type of
 
        21  outreach effort where you're trying to expand your
 
        22  constituency, regardless of what the situation is, one
 
        23  of the most difficult things that I've seen in the
 
        24  past, in what efforts I've had in that field, is the
 
        25  last thing you've got up there, and that's assessing
 
 
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         1  and evaluating what, if anything, you've actually
 
         2  accomplished.  And, of course, the younger the target
 
         3  group is, the longer it's going to take you to tell,
 
         4  but I think it's extremely important that we focus a
 
         5  good bit on that third point there, in order to find
 
         6  out if what we're doing is having any impact, and if
 
         7  it's not, what could we do differently that might
 
         8  have.  Otherwise, we could do a lot of things that make
 
         9  us feel good and look great but don't accomplish
 
        10  anything.
 
        11                 MR. MURPHY:  I think our goal is,
 
        12  certainly, within the next two years, under the
 
        13  recommendations of the Sunset Commission, to develop a
 
        14  plan, and some of it will be short term, and some of it
 
        15  will have to be long range so that we can, like you
 
        16  say, account for the youngsters that we've got in the
 
        17  program.  But we've had preliminary discussions with
 
        18  universities in each of those regions, and then we have
 
        19  staff that are concentrating, as some of their
 
        20  professional development, leadership exercises on some
 
        21  of these sites.
 
        22                 COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  And I guess you're
 
        23  developing a database of people that have been involved
 
        24  so subsequently, down the road, you'll be able to
 
        25  follow up, maybe, and see if it's increased their
 
 
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         1  involvement level?
 
         2                 MR. MURPHY:  One of the real exiting
 
         3  opportunities I think we'll have is that HISD was
 
         4  interested in that very aspect, and they, of course,
 
         5  have the database, they have the students for a long
 
         6  period of time, and they wanted to do some tracking on
 
         7  their students.
 
         8                 COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Because if we
 
         9  don't know who's going through it, we're going to have
 
        10  a hard time figuring out whether they stuck or not.
 
        11                 MR. MURPHY:  Yeah, very much so.
 
        12                 VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Do you have a
 
        13  schedule for Government Canyon, a schedule for when you
 
        14  hope to enlist a partner and move forward there?
 
        15                 MR. MURPHY:  No, not at this time.  But
 
        16  we'll -- as that  team meets with a full
 
        17  complement -- when we met originally, it wasn't all of
 
        18  the divisions.  When it meets together and sets some
 
        19  goals, we'll report back to you on that.  I would say
 
        20  that in the spring, we'll have all of that fairly well
 
        21  laid out, and that -- you know, we just met with them
 
        22  about a month ago for the initial meeting.
 
        23                 COMMISSIONER HENRY:  But, generally
 
        24  speaking, you do plan to have all three programs up and
 
        25  running for next summer?  That's my understanding.
 
 
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         1                 MR. MURPHY:  Definitely, for the summer
 
         2  season.  There are COOP --
 
         3                 COMMISSIONER HENRY:  So, in answer to
 
         4  the Chairman's question, at least, by summer --
 
         5                 MR. MURPHY:  Yes, I projected the
 
         6  spring.
 
         7                 CHAIR HENRY:  -- we can see that --
 
         8                 MR. MURPHY:  Yeah, I would think in the
 
         9  spring.
 
        10                 VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  That's an important
 
        11  area.
 
        12                 I wanted to ask about the equestrian.
 
        13  Andy, I -- when I reviewed the minutes of the public
 
        14  meeting from -- you know, the annual public meeting
 
        15  from last time, one of the persons who testified was
 
        16  talking about equestrian opportunities and said that
 
        17  there were so many parks of greater than 5,000 acres
 
        18  and could we look at providing equestrian
 
        19  opportunities, and I wondered if y'all had had a
 
        20  response to that, because it seems to me, with the way
 
        21  young people like to ride, if they had the opportunity,
 
        22  that that is one area that we might, at least, want to
 
        23  pay attention to that comment and see if there's
 
        24  something that we might do.
 
        25                 MR. SANSOM:  Well, we've got a -- the
 
 
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         1  equestrian folks are represented on our statewide
 
         2  Trails Advisory Committee, and we -- you know, we
 
         3  continue to look for opportunities.  We have tremendous
 
         4  equestrian activities under way at Capprock Canyons in
 
         5  Lake Summerville, and Government Canyon itself
 
         6  incorporates an equestrian trail.  So it's a situation
 
         7  that is a work in progress, but we've got the
 
         8  stakeholders involved, and it's on the radar screen.
 
         9                 VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Well, that's good.
 
        10                 MR. HALL:  Andy, I might add, too, that
 
        11  the Parrie Haynes Ranch is -- that will be a goal of
 
        12  our youth camp as well, is to essentially begin an
 
        13  equestrian -- more routine equestrian activities
 
        14  there, for the summer camp as well, this next summer,
 
        15  and they've certainly done a good job opening that
 
        16  facility to TETRA, which is the equine association.
 
        17                 VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Oh, that's good.
 
        18  Thank you.
 
        19                 MR. HALL:  I would also like to add --
 
        20  if he's not in the room -- Mark Cole, from Inner-City
 
        21  Fishing Institute, he did have plans to make it this
 
        22  morning, if he's late, but, certainly, if you want to
 
        23  pick his brain, he should be here for the duration of
 
        24  the day.
 
        25                 VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Thank you.
 
 
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         1                 MR. MURPHY:  Okay.  Thank you very
 
         2  much.  I'll turn it over now to Laura David for the
 
         3  session on Sheldon Lake.
 
         4                 MS. DAVID:  Good morning.
 
         5                 COMMISSIONER HENRY:  Good morning.
 
         6                 MS. DAVID:  What I'd like to do is bring
 
         7  our consultants that we got on board around mid
 
         8  September, and what we've been doing is a feasibility
 
         9  at Sheldon Lake, to look at all the resources there and
 
        10  partnerships that might be useful when we go into a
 
        11  final master plan.  We'll be finished with this
 
        12  feasibility study at the end of this month and start
 
        13  the master plan.  We have a really good collaborative
 
        14  of professionals here working on this.  Some are from
 
        15  Houston.  Mary Talley Pope and Don Olson, as well as
 
        16  Donna Carter from Austin and Earl Broussard from
 
        17  Austin.
 
        18                 Would you like to show us what we've
 
        19  been doing -- And in the meantime, we've also had a
 
        20  charette with Parks & Wildlife staff, as well as the
 
        21  consultants, and we've brainstormed all the different
 
        22  things that might happen at Sheldon, and we went way
 
        23  broad, and probably when it's all said and done, it
 
        24  will be narrowed down to something that's very
 
        25  realistic.  But I think there were some really good
 
 
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         1  ideas put forward.
 
         2                 So, Mary, if you'll show us what we've
 
         3  got here.
 
         4                 MS. POPE:  Good morning.  Glad to see
 
         5  you-all this morning.
 
         6                 This is really a status report.  I will
 
         7  be finishing the feasibility study at the end of the
 
         8  month, but we wanted to catch you up as to where we
 
         9  were.
 
        10                 Let me start with existing.  I know
 
        11  you're familiar with Sheldon, but, basically, this
 
        12  vicinity map shows you that Sheldon is really close.
 
        13  The first ring is ten-mile radius, and then each ring
 
        14  subsequent is an additional 10.  So 10, 20, and 30
 
        15  miles.  So within 10 miles of Sheldon, you've included
 
        16  the heart of downtown, and within 20 miles, we have
 
        17  included far past the Galleria and up into the Kingwood
 
        18  area and far south.  So the location, as everyone
 
        19  knows, is prime.
 
        20                 This map also depicts the other
 
        21  environmental education centers that are located in the
 
        22  Houston area.
 
        23                 This map represents the school
 
        24  districts.  There are 13 school districts within that
 
        25  10-to 15-mile radius of Sheldon that are served --
 
 
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         1  some are served by Sheldon, and others targeted at this
 
         2  point.  But you can see HISD comes in from their
 
         3  southwest, and then these other independent school
 
         4  districts, so the opportunity is great.
 
         5                 This map is where we have looked at
 
         6  green space, open space parks that are in the Sheldon
 
         7  area, because another important initiative of the state
 
         8  park, in general, is connectivity, so that not only we
 
         9  have buses bringing school kids, but the possibilities
 
        10  of trails and linkages back into the urban center.  So
 
        11  we have lots of parks and green space identified that
 
        12  can ultimately, I think, be linked together and link us
 
        13  back into downtown.  So this is another opportunity
 
        14  we've looked at in the feasibility.
 
        15                 This map is really showing the city
 
        16  council districts and county precincts.  We have three
 
        17  county precincts.  Sheldon is not in the city of
 
        18  Houston, per se, but is very close; it's in the E.T.J.
 
        19  So, again, we have lots of partnering opportunities
 
        20  because the county Commissioner whose precinct we're
 
        21  in, Commissioner Frank Olie, already has an active
 
        22  outreach program where he takes, both, seniors and
 
        23  school-aged children to different parks and is very
 
        24  interested in working with us because they're always
 
        25  looking for another opportunity.  They have more
 
 
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         1  children than they have resources.  So, again, that was
 
         2  good to find out.
 
         3                 This starts into our site analysis that,
 
         4  again, just looking at, physically, Sheldon, you have
 
         5  the opportunities and challenges of the aqueduct that
 
         6  cut through it, and Sheldon, when it was built, the
 
         7  reservoir was built to include all this, so there's a
 
         8  levy that surrounds it.  Currently, this is ag use and
 
         9  has been for the last 16 to 20 years.  We have wooded
 
        10  sites and other possibilities that -- main access is
 
        11  currently to the education center; it comes in right
 
        12  here, off of Old 90, but the beltway has been
 
        13  constructed and the new Highway 90 is here, and so the
 
        14  access, even though it's always been close to Houston,
 
        15  the feel of Sheldon now is that it's much closer
 
        16  because access is so much easier.  So, you know, it
 
        17  didn't move, but the urban community feels like it's
 
        18  part of it now, for the first time, I think.  That
 
        19  wasn't the situation before.  It feels really close.
 
        20                 These are just some existing shots of
 
        21  what we are working with.  And I think Bob mentioned
 
        22  that water is the resource and the foundation for our
 
        23  learning, but also one of the challenges we have to
 
        24  meet.
 
        25                 The top slide is showing us a view from
 
 
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         1  the north boat ramp, and the bottom slide is one of the
 
         2  deck -- the fishing piers that goes out, from the west
 
         3  side.  And so we have some facilities to look at, the
 
         4  upgrade, and how we're going to incorporate the new.
 
         5                 This is our access, this -- the slide
 
         6  to the top left is our access point, from 90-A.  Here's
 
         7  a view of the aqueduct, and it's fenced as it goes
 
         8  through the park, so we have done quite a bit of
 
         9  research with the city of Houston about going over it,
 
        10  connecting the park, working with them to make the
 
        11  aqueduct part of the park instead of a barrier.
 
        12                 This is existing trail and signage.  And
 
        13  these are two of the eighteen fish hatchery ponds.  And
 
        14  you can see the diversity in these two, and that is
 
        15  just a small sampling of the eighteen offers --
 
        16  eighteen different ecological evolutions, because they
 
        17  were left unmanaged, and that's probably been a
 
        18  blessing for our studies.  So we have lots of
 
        19  opportunity.
 
        20                 This is a view of the two lakes up near
 
        21  the classroom that exists right now, the single
 
        22  classroom, and the ag fields.  And this is where they
 
        23  do a lot of their fishing program currently.  But I
 
        24  think you can still see the need for development and
 
        25  looking at how we will manage more children.
 
 
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         1                 The thing we did was look at typical
 
         2  programs, and we find that Texas Parks & Wildlife has
 
         3  done a really great job of developing programs.  And,
 
         4  in fact, when we looked at the other centers in
 
         5  Houston, most of them are using the curricula that was
 
         6  developed by Parks and Wildlife.  So it's natural for
 
         7  Parks and Wildlife now to provide a site to use that.
 
         8  And we looked at the varying kinds, from the current
 
         9  programs that they're taking on at Sheldon, to
 
        10  expanding that with train the trainer, train the
 
        11  teacher, as well as your skill-based programs like
 
        12  hunter education and boating education, and then
 
        13  internal staff training from Parks and Wildlife,
 
        14  because we think the balances of providing facilities
 
        15  for all of those things is what will make a maximum
 
        16  used facility that we build.
 
        17                 And what we did was we took those
 
        18  facilities -- and all of these things will be in your
 
        19  report for you to study in depth, but we looked at the
 
        20  facilities in relationship to what the -- we used that
 
        21  as our basis to type and figure out the facility's
 
        22  needs.  And this is the primary thing we did in
 
        23  charette was work out this matrix of what were the
 
        24  requirements versus the preferences, and that was
 
        25  shaping our program.
 
 
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         1                 From this matrix then, we looked at what
 
         2  is the developable area, and this park offers us
 
         3  opportunity.  This is site resources, which we have a
 
         4  number of, starting from the fish hatcheries that are
 
         5  being used now, to the possibility of connections so
 
         6  that we have canoeing and other activities on the
 
         7  reservoir.  Several really nice wooded areas.  The ag
 
         8  land gives us land that's available and economically
 
         9  feasible to develop, and also develop other habitats
 
        10  that may not be represented at Sheldon, along with what
 
        11  currently is there, and then, on the north side, we
 
        12  have developable area, and we have some really nice
 
        13  cypress marsh, and a levee, and, again, access to the
 
        14  reservoir.  So lots of opportunity for development.
 
        15                 So then, in the charette, we began to
 
        16  frame the facility's needs and put them in
 
        17  relationships, and the driving force, of course, is the
 
        18  Outreach Program, and this is really your student area,
 
        19  and we identified that we would come in, have a
 
        20  drop-off, and have an orientation, and then we would
 
        21  have the hatcheries and things that might be close by,
 
        22  or other classroom settings that we may establish could
 
        23  be close, and you'd also have destination sites because
 
        24  of the size of our park.  At the same time, we would
 
        25  develop something that was very easy access for the
 
 
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         1  adult education programs that might be night and
 
         2  weekends.  And there's a need for hunting trail, gun
 
         3  range, and other things that could happen on this site
 
         4  and work in relationship, and overflow into the student
 
         5  area on the nights and weekends, or corporate retreats,
 
         6  other things, and the student area also overflows into
 
         7  these in the daytime.  So it was, again, trying to look
 
         8  at the facilities needed and maximum use of the
 
         9  facilities when we build them.
 
        10                 From there, we took these relationships
 
        11  and put them on site, because our goal is making sure
 
        12  that we can meet your needs on this site, and looked at
 
        13  an arrangement that we thought would work and came up
 
        14  with two possible scenarios that assure us that,
 
        15  indeed, this is workable, and the types of -- the
 
        16  distances we need for working with children are
 
        17  workable on site to get us to the resources, and this
 
        18  was one scenario.
 
        19                 And long term, we are looking at, also,
 
        20  more of an emersion program where they could come and
 
        21  stay three nights and not only be introduced to Sheldon
 
        22  but stay and get a feel for what it's like to camp and
 
        23  stay in the wilderness, which some of the children that
 
        24  come to programs now don't have an opportunity to do.
 
        25                 And this was a second scheme that we
 
 
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         1  came up with that takes us -- takes the center or
 
         2  orientation area deeper into the site and looks at
 
         3  connectivity closer into the north area and really ties
 
         4  us farther into the north.  And, again, we enlarged
 
         5  that, so you could start to see that we have the same
 
         6  facilities, relationships, workable situation.  And
 
         7  this will be the basis that we spring from, to go into
 
         8  the master planning that's our next phase to roll
 
         9  into.
 
        10                 Also, in preparation of the master plan,
 
        11  one of the very first things we'll do is call staff
 
        12  back together and develop the architectural standards
 
        13  and really tie down the facilities and the style and
 
        14  structures that are appropriate for Sheldon.  So we
 
        15  started by developing images that we think are -- are
 
        16  starting to get the feel of what we want to do at
 
        17  Sheldon, and I had a few slides to show you the types
 
        18  of things, because one of our charges is that education
 
        19  is important, but that adventure and learning to love
 
        20  nature is the balance of the education.
 
        21                 And we think that with all the water
 
        22  that we are have on site, the boardwalks and piers and
 
        23  these kinds of facilities will be an integral part of
 
        24  what we're developing.  So we're poised to complete
 
        25  this in -- this feasibility in November, and, at
 
 
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         1  Laura's charge, move rapidly forward with our master
 
         2  plan.
 
         3                 Here is a few shots of trails.
 
         4                 And are there any questions?
 
         5                 COMMISSIONER HENRY:  The ones having to
 
         6  do with the master plan itself, what timelines are you
 
         7  projecting at this time?
 
         8                 MS. DAVID:  We're going to have a
 
         9  completed master plan in early spring, but before we
 
        10  get there, we'll have a draft master plan that you will
 
        11  be presented and we'll get your comments from.
 
        12                 COMMISSIONER HENRY:  Early spring.  Are
 
        13  your dates receding --
 
        14                 MS. DAVID:  No.
 
        15                 COMMISSIONER HENRY:  -- from --
 
        16  prior --
 
        17                 MS. DAVID:  We'll have something in
 
        18  January for you to look at and review, and then we'll
 
        19  take your comments and make whatever revisions, and
 
        20  then get it published, and then it will be ready to
 
        21  implement.
 
        22                 MS. POPE:  And I think Laura is looking
 
        23  out for us contractually, and our team is also very
 
        24  poised to have you, I think, the tools that you need
 
        25  for some of your meetings in January.  It won't be a
 
 
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         1  completed master plan.  That really needs to be a
 
         2  thoughtful document that you have to build from.  But I
 
         3  think, in the interim, our team is ready to work the
 
         4  holidays and get you some drawings, Commissioner Henry,
 
         5  and things that you need for the tools to meet with the
 
         6  foundations that are anxious to get us started.  So I
 
         7  think we can bring you some package that's very usable,
 
         8  if that's your question.
 
         9                 COMMISSIONER HENRY:  Madam Chairman, I
 
        10  raise that question because of interest that's been
 
        11  shown by some parties that Andy and I previously met
 
        12  with who have expressed a desire to work with us, Paula
 
        13  and her staff, the foundation, to take position papers
 
        14  and plans and projects to the foundation community.  I
 
        15  was in touch with the foundation office just this past
 
        16  week, and we are looking at potential dates --
 
        17                 VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Yeah, somebody
 
        18  called me --
 
        19                 COMMISSIONER HENRY:  -- to -- called
 
        20  you?
 
        21                 VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Yes, uh-huh.
 
        22                 COMMISSIONER HENRY:  I knew they were
 
        23  going to. And that's why I was pressing for a
 
        24  particular date, because they're fairly anxious to get
 
        25  started on this.  I was informed just yesterday that
 
 
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         1  former Commissioner -- and one of our former
 
         2  commissioners has also been active in this process.
 
         3  Then name (inaudible) was telling me this.  She had a
 
         4  group, a foundation group, out from New York, out from
 
         5  Sheldon, just this past week. Is anxious to be of
 
         6  assistance however possible.
 
         7                 So while we have this well of enthusiasm
 
         8  built up, we sure don't want to let it dissipate;
 
         9  therefore, the interest in moving along.
 
        10                 VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Well, what you've
 
        11  shown us this morning is so much more specific than
 
        12  anything that we've had to work with before, in terms
 
        13  of the Outdoor Kids Program, and I think it -- I think
 
        14  it moves us a good way forward.
 
        15                 COMMISSIONER HENRY:  It does.  They've
 
        16  done a good job.
 
        17                 VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Yes.  It's exciting
 
        18  to see this and be able to envision what you're doing.
 
        19                 MS. POPE:  We're really excited about
 
        20  the process.  There's just opportunity galore.  And
 
        21  what I've done is printed you some of the images to
 
        22  leave with you, and then, as I said, you'll have a full
 
        23  report by the end of the month and have everything in
 
        24  detail.
 
        25                 VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Oh, good. Thank
 
 
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         1  you.
 
         2                 One thing I was going to suggest when I
 
         3  was looking at your visual aids is that when you had
 
         4  the Harris County Flood Control/Storm Water Detention
 
         5  ponds on there, I think it's a little terse just to say
 
         6  the acronym and then "detention area."  I think it
 
         7  would be better if you would put "Flood Control
 
         8  Detention Ponds" or something so that people have --
 
         9  who don't maybe know that term would have a vision that
 
        10  those are large green spaces.

 
        11                 MS. POPE:  Oh, okay.  Okay.  That's a
 
        12  good suggestion.
 
        13                 MR. SANSOM:  I would like to ask the
 
        14  staff to give us a little bit of an update, Madam
 
        15  Chair, if I might, (indaudible) at Sheldon by water
 
        16  availability, and kind of where -- what the issue is
 
        17  and where we might -- how we might approach some
 
        18  solutions.
 
        19                 VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  I thought there was
 
        20  a lot of water at Sheldon.  There has been when I've
 
        21  been out there.
 
        22                 DR. McKINNEY:  Madam Chairman, for the
 
        23  record, I'm Larry McKinney of the Resource Protection
 
        24  Group.
 
        25                 I'll have to get you more details at a
 
 
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         1  later point, but I would tell you that the prospects
 
         2  are not good, unfortunately.  I mean, we've worked --
 
         3  Bob Spain, on our staff, who's kind of led a
 
         4  multidivisional group out there just to work with it.
 
         5                 We have -- We thought we were on a good
 
         6  course, but the development activity in that area out
 
         7  there has changed hands between owners and buyers, and
 
         8  we cannot keep up with -- we'll have some agreements
 
         9  with one group, and it'll change, and so it has been
 
        10  difficult.
 
        11                 I'm very concerned about it, about
 
        12  that.  There are a couple of possible solutions,
 
        13  working through the flood control district of Harris
 
        14  County.  They've been very cooperative in trying to
 
        15  work with us.  TXDOT, we're going to have to have some
 
        16  help from them because some of the activities related
 
        17  to the construction of roads out there, obviously, has
 
        18  been the -- been the big concern there, and I think
 
        19  some issues there, whether it's through looking through
 
        20  ISTEA types of grants, which would be perfect for these
 
        21  types of things because that's exactly what thatrule
 
        22  has done.  We're going to have to look at it, but
 
        23  there's no easy solution.
 
        24                 I'm kind of rambling, but I'll get you
 
        25  some -- I will get an update for all of you,
 
 
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         1  specifically where we are.
 
         2                 VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Excuse me. Is the
 
         3  concern that the water is being diverted away from
 
         4  Sheldon?
 
         5                 DR. McKINNEY:  The construction roads
 
         6  out there has considerably reduced the watershed and
 
         7  diverted that flow out, away from Sheldon, into other
 
         8  areas.  And so the water is -- the potential watershed
 
         9  is considerably reduced from what it was.
 
        10                 VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  That must be rather
 
        11  recent.
 
        12                 DR. McKINNEY:  In the last five years.
 
        13  Something like that.
 
        14                 MS. POPE:  Maybe even two years --
 
        15                 DR. McKINNEY:  Maybe even --
 
        16                 MS. POPE:  -- with the beltway.
 
        17                 DR. McKINNEY:  Beltway has really been
 
        18  the last -- beltway was kind of the last straw that
 
        19  really cut away.  We could almost have gotten by until
 
        20  the beltway got us.
 
        21                 VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Well, we've got
 
        22  some good partnerships with TXDOT, the flood control
 
        23  district.
 
        24                 I was on the podium with Art Storey from
 
        25  flood control last week for a ground breaking and, you
 
 
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         1  know, visited with him a little bit about how much we
 
         2  appreciate them working with us, and I would hope that
 
         3  we can find some solutions to that, because that's one
 
         4  of the marvels of Sheldon is all that water out there.
 
         5                 DR. McKINNEY:  Absolutely.  And Art has
 
         6  been a -- has been a great supporter in helping us on
 
         7  that type of things when he's there.  So we will --
 
         8  we'll get you a more updated report, Mr. Chairman and
 
         9  Members.
 
        10                 MS. POPE:  If I may add, I haven't had a
 
        11  chance to get with Mr. McKinney because we're finishing
 
        12  the feasibility, and we did touch base with Bob Spain,
 
        13  but I don't -- I think what he's saying is accurate,
 
        14  but, also, we have been maybe a little more hopeful
 
        15  with the flood control connection that you're talking
 
        16  about, and that's one of the reasons that we put the
 
        17  mitigation bank and detention on, that I think there's
 
        18  some things in the work that we could partner that are
 
        19  maybe a little more optimistic, that are so early that
 
        20  they haven't really had a chance, and we haven't had a
 
        21  chance to connect on.
 
        22                 So I think we have some doable
 
        23  solutions.  All of them are going to be challenging and
 
        24  require partnering, probably, but I -- I'm a little
 
        25  bit hopeful in that regard from some of the responses
 
 
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         1  we've gotten recently, and that would -- again, we
 
         2  haven't had a chance to convey because our reporting
 
         3  isn't quite finished.  Thank you.
 
         4                 COMMISSIONER HENRY:  Madam Chair, I
 
         5  think that completes the briefing on the committee this
 
         6  morning, unless there are any questions or comments
 
         7  from Members.
 
         8                 VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  No.  That's --
 
         9  it's exciting to see it move to this stage.
 
        10                 COMMISSIONER HENRY:  I'll have to say
 
        11  that I've been extremely pleased with the efforts that
 
        12  staff have made to bring us this far.  I've attended a
 
        13  couple of meetings of the staff team, and it's exciting
 
        14  to witness the commitment that's coming down from Andy
 
        15  and Larry and the rest of the staff to make these
 
        16  things work.  And I'm convinced that, following the
 
        17  Chairman's charge to us, that we are on the right foot,
 
        18  and we're making some distinctive moves that's going to
 
        19  benefit greatly the citizen of this state.  So I'm very
 
        20  pleased to report to you that -- that progress is
 
        21  being made.
 
        22                 VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  That's good.
 
        23                 Well, I notice that we've got a briefing
 
        24  on the chairman's charges, and I'm not sure that we
 
        25  approved the minutes.
 
 
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         1                 COMMISSIONER HENRY:  Well, I want -- I
 
         2  deliberately held off on that until such time as there
 
         3  were sufficient members here to do that.
 
         4                 Before I do that, however, it was
 
         5  mentioned earlier that Mr. Mark Cole was due to join us
 
         6  this morning, and, at the time, he wasn't here, but I
 
         7  noticed he's come into the room since that time.  So if
 
         8  he would just hold his hand up, the person that was
 
         9  referred to earlier, working in the Dallas area Inner
 
        10  City Fishing Institute.
 
        11                 So with that having said, Madam
 
        12  Chairman, I'd like to move that the minutes of the
 
        13  previous committee meetings be approved.
 
        14                 COMMISSIONER ANGELO:  Second.
 
        15                 VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Okay.  All in
 
        16  favor?
 
        17                 Thank you.
 
        18               (Motion carries unanimously.)
 
        19                 VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Did you want to do
 
        20  the chairman's charges also?
 
        21                 MR. SANSOM:  I have no report on the
 
        22  charges today, on the outreach committee, Ms. Chair.
 
        23                 VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Is that it for
 
        24  the --
 
        25                 COMMISSIONER HENRY:  That's it for
 
 
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         1  the --
 
         2                 VICE-CHAIR DINKINS: -- Ad Hoc?
 
         3                 COMMISSIONER HENRY:  -- Ad Hoc
 
         4   Committee.
 
         5                 VICE-CHAIR DINKINS:  Okay.  Well, good.
 
         6  It was a good session.  Thank you.
 
         7                 I did want to recognize and welcome the
 
         8  students who are in the audience.  We always appreciate
 
         9  your interest in the work of the commission.  And I
 
        10  know the members all wish you good luck in your
 
        11  studies, and we hope to see you back in other ways and
 
        12  many times in the future.
 
        13
 
        14
 
        15
 
        16
 
        17
 
        18
 
        19
 
        20
 
        21
 
        22
 
        23
 
        24
 
        25
 
 
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         1  THE STATE OF TEXAS   )
            COUNTY OF BEXAR      )
         2
 
         3                 I, STACI D. SLAYDEN, a Certified Court
 
         4  Reporter in and for the State of Texas, do hereby
 
         5  certify that the above and foregoing pages constitute a
 
         6  full, true, and correct transcript of the minutes of
 
         7  the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission on November 8,
 
         8  2000, in the Commission hearing room of the Texas Parks
 
         9  and Wildlife Headquarters Complex, Austin, Travis
 
        10  County, Texas. I FURTHER CERTIFY that a stenographic
 
        11  record was made by me at the time of the public meeting
 
        12  and said stenographic notes were thereafter reduced to
 
        13  computerized transcription under my supervision and
 
        14  control.  WITNESS MY HAND this ____ day of
 
        15  ________________________, 2001.
 
        16
 
        17                       ________________________________
 
        18                       STACI D. SLAYDEN, Texas CSR 7290
 
        19                       Expiration Date:  12/2001
 
        20                       7800 IH-10 West, Suite 100
 
        21                       San Antonio, Texas 78230
 
        22                       (210) 377-3017
 
        23
 
        24
 
        25
 
 
                          ESQUIRE DEPOSITION SERVICES
                7800 IH-10 WEST, SUITE 100, SAN ANTONIO, TX  78230
               (210)377-3027    (800)969-3027    FAX (210)344-6016
.                                                               37
 
 
 
         1
 
         2  _______________________________________
            ALVIN L. HENRY, CHAIRMAN
         3
 
         4  _______________________________________
            CAROL E. DINKINS
         5
 
         6  _______________________________________
            DICK W. HEATH
         7
 
         8  _______________________________________
            NOLAN RYAN
         9
 
        10  _______________________________________
            ERNEST ANGELO, JR.
        11
 
        12  _______________________________________
            JOHN AVILA, JR.
        13
 
        14  _______________________________________
            LEE M. BASS
        15
 
        16  _______________________________________
            KATHARINE ARMSTRONG IDSAL
        17
 
        18  _______________________________________
            MARK E. WATSON, JR.
        19
 
        20
 
        21
 
        22
 
        23
 
        24
 
        25
 
 
                          ESQUIRE DEPOSITION SERVICES
                7800 IH-10 WEST, SUITE 100, SAN ANTONIO, TX  78230
               (210)377-3027    (800)969-3027    FAX (210)344-6016


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