Regulations Committee

Wednesday, 9:00 a.m., August 27, 2003

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. Oyster Dredge Regulation
Staff: Larry Young/Robin Riechers
10
3. Petition for Rulemaking Procedure
Staff: Ann Bright
11
4. Alligator Proclamation
Staff: Mike Berger/Amos Cooper/Monique Slaughter
15
5. Statewide Fur-bearing Animal Proclamation
Staff: Mike Berger/John Young
16
6. Surplus Deer
- Anterless and Spike Buck Deer Control Permits
- Trap, Transport, and Process Permits
Staff: Mike Berger/Clayton Wolf
17
7. Other Business  

Summary of Minutes
Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
Regulations Committee
May 2003

BE IT REMEMBERED that heretofore on the 28th day of May 2003, there came to be heard matters under the regulatory authority of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, in the Commission Hearing Room of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Headquarters complex, Austin, Travis County, Texas at 9:00 a.m., to wit:

I. REGULATIONS COMMITTEE:

II. APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

Minutes were approved.

III. THE FOLLOWING ITEMS WERE PRESENTED TO THE COMMITTEE:

1. Chairman’s Charges

The chair recognized Executive Director Robert L. Cook. Mr. Cook reported that staff would publish three items in the Texas Register for consideration at the August commission meeting: an item concerning petitions for rulemaking, a fee increase for the Lake Texoma fishing license, and an item allowing a nonresident to purchase a resident lifetime license by proclamation of the governor.

2. Fish Guide Regulations

The chair recognized Mr. Paul Hammerschmidt with the Coastal Fisheries Division. Mr. Hammerschmidt presented a proposed fee increase for fishing guides that would implement a differential fee for guides working only in freshwater and those working in coastal waters.

3. Mule Deer - MLDP

The chair recognized Mr. Scott Boruff, Deputy Executive Director of Operations. Mr. Boruff introduced Mr. Clay Brewer, program leader for mule deer, bighorn sheep, and antelope. Mr. Brewer began by presenting the historical background of a proposal to implement a Managed Lands Deer permit program for mule deer, continuing with an overview of the department’s cooperative efforts with landowners and the Trans-Pecos Advisory Committee to develop the proposed regulations. He also provided a summary of the department’s outreach efforts and a breakdown of public comment received in response to the proposal. Mr. Brewer then stated that based on strong opposition to the proposal, staff recommended withdrawal of the proposal. Commissioner Fitzsimons asked Mr. Brewer to review the process of formulating the proposed regulation with regard to the role of the Trans-Pecos Advisory Committee. Mr. Brewer then described the interactions with that group and the various directions that the deliberations took before the final proposal was approved for submission. Commissioner Fitzsimons noted the comments provided by the commissioner’s courts of several counties, and stated his concern that the particulars of the proposal had been misunderstood. Mr. Brewer replied that there were misunderstandings on both sides of the issue, but that the department had worked hard to present the actual impact of the proposed rules to all concerned. Executive Director Robert L. Cook stated that staff had done a good job of presenting the issues, and that building trust in the region was essential.

4. Oyster Dredge Regulation

The chair recognized Mr. Larry Young, chief of fisheries enforcement in the Law Enforcement Division, and Mr. Robin Riechers, management director in the Coastal Fisheries Division. Mr. Young began by providing background information on the oyster industry in Texas and presented a consensus developed between the department and the regulated community to address enforcement issues with respect to regulations concerning dredging gear.

5. History of Grass Carp in Texas

The chair recognized Mr. Phil Durocher, director of the Inland Fisheries Division. Mr. Durocher presented the history of grass carp introduction and use in the United States and in Texas, noting several problematic issues such as habitat destruction and biological impacts on native species caused by the escape and reproduction of grass carp. He also reviewed the various controls that can be used to control noxious vegetation and the relative benefits and drawbacks of each. Mr. Durocher noted that there was a black market for diploid carp, which concerned the department, and that the department response had been to allow the use of triploid carp, a less dangerous alternative. He then provided some statistics on the use of triploid carp in the state since 1992. Chairman Armstrong asked what risks were associated with drawdowns of reservoirs to combat invasive vegetation. Mr. Durocher replied that there weren’t any, but that the technique also was not particularly effective. Commissioner Angelo asked about how big a problem was being caused by free-ranging diploid carp. Mr. Durocher replied that diploid carp did not seem to be a huge problem, but they were out there, and it was difficult to predict eventual impacts. Commissioner Fitzsimons asked about the use of grass carp in Lake Austin. Mr. Durocher provided an overview of the situation and the department’s response and recommendations.

6. Surplus Deer

The chair recognized Mr. Scott Boruff, Deputy Executive Director of Operations. Mr. Boruff began by describing the nature of deer overpopulation in certain areas of the state and reviewed existing management options available to landowners and communities. Mr. Boruff then presented additional options developed with the assistance of stakeholder groups, including a more expeditious depredation permit, relocation of deer to Mexico, enhancement of the Antlerless and Spike-Buck Control (ADC) permit, and removal of deer for processing by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, and presented the benefits and disadvantages of each. Mr. Boruff then presented a proposed amendment to the Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation that would lengthen the period of validity for ADC permits. Commissioner Angelo asked about the potential of the program to use surplus deer to feed prison inmates. Mr. Boruff responded that the situation was very workable. Commissioners Angelo and Fitzsimons then discussed the possibility of exploiting the surplus deer situation to provide additional hunting opportunity. Commissioner Henry asked for a status report on the surplus deer situation at Lakeway, which Mr. Boruff provided. Executive Director Robert L. Cook stated that a major concern of landowners was that large numbers of hunters on properties being intensively managed could lead to the accidental harvest of deer that were not intended for harvest. He then mentioned the possibility of removing deer from those types of properties and relocating them to areas that could then be opened to hunting by the public. Commissioner Ramos stated that he felt the situation presented a great chance to enhance youth hunting opportunity. He added that maybe, since there was a proposal to expand the ADC period of validity, the department could encourage landowners to provide youth opportunity. Commissioner Angelo stated that he did not think that using youth should be a condition for receiving permits. Commissioner Watson asked if the prison system would be getting deer at no cost. Mr. Clayton Wolf, White-tailed Deer Program Leader, responded that the municipalities trapping the deer were paying for the trapping costs, and that the prison system would be paying for the processing. Commissioner Henry asked about the public safety aspect of surplus deer in Lakeway. Mr. Boruff responded that that the health and safety issue was the primary reason the department had revamped the depredation permit system to make it easier for municipalities to remove surplus deer.

7. Otter Tag/Trapping Regulations

The chair recognized Mr. Scott Boruff, Deputy Executive Director of Operations, who in turn introduced Mr. Doug Humphreys, Big Game Assistant. Mr. Humphreys stated that the U.S. Department of the Interior had authorized Texas to issue Convention on the International Trade in Endangered Species CITES tags for river otters, which would necessitate regulatory action to require all river otters taken in the state to be tagged with a CITES tag. He also stated that staff would take the opportunity to restructure the Fur-bearing Animal Proclamation to address housekeeping-type changes and clarifications.


Committee Agenda Item No. 1

Regulations Committee
Chairman's Charges
August 2003

(This item will be an oral presentation.)


Committee Agenda Item No. 2
Presenters: Larry Young
Robin Riechers

Regulations Committee
Oyster Dredge Regulation
August 2003

(This is Public Hearing Agenda Item No. 10.)


Committee Agenda Item No. 3
Presenter: Ann Bright

Regulations Committee
Petition for Rulemaking Procedure
August 2003

(This is Public Hearing Agenda Item No. 11.)


Committee Agenda Item No. 4
Presenters: Mike Berger
Amos Cooper
Monique Slaughter

Regulations Committee
Alligator Proclamation
August 2003

(This is Public Hearing Agenda Item No. 15.)


Committee Agenda Item No. 5
Presenters: Mike Berger
John Young

Regulations Committee
Statewide Fur-Bearing Animal Proclamation
August 2003

(This is Public Hearing Agenda Item No. 16.)


Committee Agenda Item No. 6
Presenters: Mike Berger
Clayton Wolf

Regulations Committee
Surplus Deer
August 2003

(This is Public Hearing Agenda Item No. 17.)


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