Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
Public Hearing

Aug. 26, 2004

Commission Hearing Room
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department Headquarters Complex
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744

BE IT REMEMBERED, that heretofore on the 26th day of August, 2004, there came to be heard matters under the regulatory authority of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, in the Commission Hearing Room of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Headquarters Complex, to wit:

APPEARANCES:

THE TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION:

THE TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT:

TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION
PUBLIC HEARING REGISTRATION
AUGUST 26, 2004

NAME/ORGANIZATION MATTER OF INTEREST

Number Donor Description Details
1 Wildlife Research Center, Inc. Goods Packets of deer lure, scent pads & brochures
2 Friends of Fulton Mansion Cash Program funded for T21 project
3 Friends of Fulton Mansion Cash Program funded for T21 project
4 Beaumont Convention & Visitors Bureau Cash Event sponsorship for Great Texas Birding Classic
5 South Padre Island CVB Cash Event sponsorship for Great Texas Birding Classic
6 Swift Instruments, Inc. Cash Event sponsorship for Great Texas Birding Classic
7 Fancy Publications, Inc. Cash Event sponsorship for Great Texas Birding Classic
8 Carl Zeiss Optical, Inc. Cash Event sponsorship for Great Texas Birding Classic
9 Carl Zeiss Optical, Inc. In kind Services Pair of binoculars for silent auction
10 San Antonio Parks Foundation Cash Event sponsorship for Great Texas Birding Classic
11 Eastman Chemical Company Cash Event sponsorship for Great Texas Birding Classic
12 Rockport-Fulton Area Chamber of Commerce Cash Event sponsorship for Great Texas Birding Classic
13 Jordan Outdoor Enterprises - Realtree Cash Event sponsorship for Great Texas Birding Classic
14 Brazosport Convention & Visitors Council Cash Event sponsorship for Great Texas Birding Classic
15 Espana Restaurant Cash Event sponsorship for Great Texas Birding Classic
16 Sheltered Wings Cash Event sponsorship for Great Texas Birding Classic
17 Sheltered Wings In kind Service 15 pairs of binoculars
18 Gulf State Marine Fisheries Commission Goods Toughbook Model 18, Ruggerized Laptop, Glare Reducing Screen
19 Parks & Wildlife Foundation Cash Development of WBC projet # 101402
20 Gary C Grant Sales Co., Inc. Cash Sponsorship of Palo Duro
21 Parks & Wildlife Foundation Cash Development of Government Canyon project # 100915
22 Gulf State Marine Fisheries Commission Goods Hand-held computer, Panasonic Toughbook Model 18, SN CF-18BDZAXMM
23 Friends of Purtis Creek State Park Goods Paddle boat to serve as concessions rentals at Purtis Creek SP
24 Texas Farm Bureau Cash Wildlife Expo Sponsorship for Antler Associates
25 The David B Terk Foundation Cash Wildlife Expo Sponsorship
26 Blue Bell Creameries L.P. Cash Wildlife Expo Sponsorship
27 Travis Audubon Society Cash Event sponsorship for Great Texas Birding Classic
28 The Brownsville CVB Cash Event sponsorship for Great Texas Birding Classic
29 Parks & Wildlife Foundation of Texas Cash Event sponsorship for American Electric Power
30 Parks & Wildlife Foundation of Texas Cash Printing of Garner State Park site map.
31 Dallas Woods & Watters Conservation Club, Inc Cash Construction of WetlandsTimber Frame Pavilion
32 USNA Alumni Association Cash Restoration Battleship Texas
33 National Shooting Sports Foundation Cash Promote Youth Hunting
34 National Shooting Sports Foundation Cash Promote Youth Hunting
35 Texas Hunter Education Instructors Assoc. Cash Sponsorship for Antler Associate
36 Friends of Pedernales Falls State Park Goods Park administrative equipment received: Dell Computer, Optiplex GX270
37 Bat Conservation International Cash Support TPWD bat conservation efforts
38 Houston Advanced Research Center Cash Funding database mapping of rare species in Texas.
39 Boone & Crockett Club Cash Wildlife Expo Sponsorship- Palo Duro
40 Strake Foundation Cash Wildlife Expo Sponsorship
41 St. David Medical Center Cash Wildlife Expo Sponsorship
42 MCI Cash Wildlife Expo Sponsorship
43 Dallas Safari Club Cash Wildlife Expo Sponsorship
44 Temple-Inland Cash Wildlife Expo Sponsorship
45 Shikar-Safari Club International Foundation Cash Wildlife Expo Sponsorship
46 Bushnell Corporation Cash Event sponsorship for Great Texas Birding Classic
47 Bushnell Corporation In kind Services 4 Elite scopes
48 Swarovski Optik North America, Ltd. Cash Cash donation, 4 pairs if binoculars
49 Wal-Mart Foundation-Wal-mart Supercenter # 601 Cash Purchases fishing poles
50 Parks & Wildlife Foundation of Texas Cash Funding for education and interpretation activities
51 Parks & Wildlife Foundation of Texas Cash Funding for maintenance of the Big Tree
52 Sail & Ski Centers Cash Sponsorship for Antler Associate
53 Alcoa-Rockdale Operations Cash Sponsorship for Antler Associate
54 JP Morgan Chase Cash Sponsorship for Antler Associate
55 Safari Club International Cash Sponsorship for Antler Associate
56 Weyerhaeuser Cash Sponsorship for Lake Fork
57 Olin Corporation (Winchester Ammunition) Cash Sponsorship for Lake Fork
58 Olin Corporation (Winchester Ammunition) Goods Shooting Supplies
59 PBS&J Cash Sponsorship for Antler Associate
60 Triple Crown Dog Academy Cash Sponsorship for Antler Associate
61 Triple Crown Dog Academy In kind Services Retriever demonstration
62 Houston Safari Club Cash Sponsorship for Antler Associate
63 KB Home Cash Wildlife Expo Sponsorship
64 Aqua Water Supply Corporation Cash Sponsorship for Antler Associate
65 Saltwater-fisheries Enhancement Association Goods Funding of the construction of a boat storage
    Grand total

$608,942.55

 

P R O C E E D I N G S

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Good morning. The meeting is called to order. Before proceeding with any business, Mr. Cook, do you have a statement to make?

MR. COOK: I'm sorry?

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Do you have your public statement to make? Good morning, Bob.

MR. COOK: Mr. Chairman, thank you sir. A public notice of this meeting containing all items on the proposed agenda has been filed in the office of Secretary of State as required by Chapter 551 of the Government Code, referred to as the Open Meetings Law. I would like for this action to be noted in the official record of this meeting.

So that everyone will have a chance to address the Commission in an orderly fashion today, the following ground rules will be followed. An individual wishing to speak before the Commission today must first fill out one of the forms outside, and submit that for each item on the agenda on which you wish to speak. The Chairman is in charge of the meeting. It is his duty to preserve order, direct the order of the meeting, and recognize persons to be heard. I will be assisting the Chairman today as Sergeant-at-Arms.

We have sign-up cards for everyone wishing to speak, and the Chairman will call names from those cards one at a time. Each person will be allowed to speak to speak from the podium here in the center, one at a time. When your name is called, please come up to the podium, state your name and who you represent, if anyone other than yourself. The Chairman will probably also call the next person, the on-deck person. So, be listening for that.

When you get to the podium, state your position on the agenda item under consideration, and add supporting facts that will help the Commission understand your concerns. Please limit your remarks to the specific agenda item under consideration. Each person who wants to address the Commission will have three minutes to speak. I will keep track of the time, and notify you when your three minutes are up on this little device right here. And it turns orange when you have got about a minute left, and when it turns red, your time is up.

When your time is up, please resume your seat, so that others may speak. Your time may be extended if a Commissioner has a question of you. If the Commissioners ask a question or discuss something among themselves, that time will not be charged against you.

Statements which are merely argumentative or critical of others will not be tolerated. There is a microphone at the podium, so it is not necessary to raise your voice. Shouting will not be tolerated. I also ask that you show proper respect for the Commissioners as well as other members of the audience. You will not be recognized out of turn by raising your hand or interrupting others. Disruptive or offensive behavior will be grounds for immediate ejection from the meeting. If you would like to submit written materials to the Commission, please give them to Carole Hemby or Michelle Klaus who are seated right here to my right, and Ms. Hemby will pass the written materials to the Commissioners.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Thank you, Bob. Next is the approval of the minutes from the previous meeting. Those have been distributed. Is there a motion for approval?

COMMISSIONER WATSON: So moved.

COMMISSIONER BROWN: Second.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Moved by Commissioner Watson, second by Commissioner Brown. All in favor, please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Any opposed?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Hearing none, the motion carries. Next is the acceptance of gifts which have also been distributed. Is there a motion for approval?

COMMISSIONER HOLT: So moved.

COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Second.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Moved by Commissioner Holt, second by Commissioner Ramos. All in favor, please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Any opposed?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Hearing none, the motion carries. Next, Bob, the service awards and special recognition.

MR. COOK: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners. This is always an important time for us to take a few minutes and recognize our employees who have served this organization and the people of Texas, and conservation in Texas for many, many years. And we sincerely appreciate their service, and we take a moment at this time at each Commission meeting to recognize those who have served us so well.

First of all, in the Inland Fisheries Division, we are going to recognize Bruce Hysmith, Manager II, from Pottsboro, Texas, with 30 years of experience. Bruce began his career with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in the Coastal Fisheries Division at the Perry R. Bass Marine Research Center near Palacios in 1974. He transferred to North Texas as Fisheries Biologist in charge of the Lake Texoma Fisheries Station, responsible for managing fishes in all the public waters of eight North Texas Counties in 1977. The area begins in Fannin County and Hunt County, and goes west to Montague and Wise counties. Known as Inland Fisheries District 2A, the area contains twelve reservoirs, 75 community fishing lakes and miles of stream. With 30 years of service, Bruce Hysmith. Bruce? Bruce is not here. Well, we appreciate Bruce anyway. We do for a fact.

(Applause.)

Next in our Administrative Resources Division, Pam Maxwell, Manager II Austin, Texas, with 30 years of service. Pam Maxwell began her career with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in July of 1974 as a Secretary II in the State Parks Division. She was subsequently promoted to a Secretary III, as a branch secretary. In March of 1981, Pam was promoted to an Accounting Clerk III, working for the purchasing and contracting branch within Finance and in July of 1989, Pam was promoted to her current position as Contracting Manager. With 30 years of service, Pam Maxwell.

(Applause.)

MS. MAXWELL: Thank you.

MR. COOK: Thanks, Pam, we appreciate that. Law Enforcement, Malcolm McDonald, Game Warden in Beeville, Texas, with 30 years of service. Malcolm began his career with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department on June 1, 1974 as a dispatcher for the Law Enforcement Division in Austin. In May of 1975, he began the Game Warden Field Program with two temporary assignments. The first was in Galveston County, the second in Center, in Shelby County.

On August 15 of 1975, Malcolm entered the Game Warden Academy, graduating from the Academy on December 22 of 1975, Malcolm received his first assignment to Port Arthur in Jefferson County. In October of 1977, he transferred to Liberty, and in September of 1992, he transferred to his present duty station in Beeville in Bee County, Texas. With 30 years of service, Game Warden Malcolm McDonald.

(Applause.)

MR. MCDONALD: Thank you.

MR. COOK: Next, from the State Parks Division, we have Craig Van Baarle, Manager II, Concan, Texas, with 30 years of service. Craig began his career with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in June of 1974 as a seasonal employee at the San Jacinto battleground historic site. Also working seasonal, from December of '74 through September of '76 at Lake Somerville, Birch Creek Unit. In September of 1976, Craig became a full time employee at the San Jacinto Battleground historic site as a Park Ranger II. He was promoted to Plant Maintenance Technician II in November of 1978. Craig was promoted to Assistant Manager at Brazos Bend State Park in April of 1983, and in a lateral transfer in 1987, Craig became the assistant manager at Bastrop, where he worked until July of 1990, when he was promoted to the manager position at Sea Rim State Park. And today, Craig is the Park Manager at Garner State Park. With 30 years of service, Craig Van Baarle. Craig?

(Applause.)

MR. COOK: And if you have never been to a state park, this is the guy you need to go see right here. He can tell you how to manage a state park. Thank you very much.

MR. VAN BAARLE: Thank you, sir.

MR. COOK: This next gentleman, the Commission is going to have — if you haven't had the pleasure of meeting him, if we make our Commission retreat later this fall, hopefully, you will. In our State Parks Division, David Bischofhausen, Manager II at Fort Davis, Texas. With 25 years of service. David began his career with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department as a summer intern at Lake Whitney, in the summer of 1977. On October 6 of '77, he became a Park Ranger II at Fort Lancaster State Historic Site. January 1 of 1983, David became park superintendent at Fort McKavett State Historic Site, and in May of 1995, he became the manager of the Davis Mountain State Park complex, which of course, includes our wonderful site, the Indian Lodge, with 25 years of service, David Bischofhausen.

(Applause.)

MR. COOK: I always said when we get a basketball team going, I'm picking him.

MR. BISCHOFHAUSEN: Thank you.

MR. COOK: He's tall. I had nothing to do with it. Thank you, David.

(Applause.)

MR. COOK: This next gentleman is an employee that you hear from and see regularly and it is a pleasure to deal with him and the staff that he works with. From our State Parks Division, Tim C. Hogsett, Manager IV, here in Austin Texas, with 25 years of service. Tim Hogsett began his career with TPWD as a Recreation Grants Administrator in 1979. He was promoted to Director of Recreation Grants in 1984, the program that is responsible for administration of outdoor, indoor, community, outdoor outreach grants, small community grants, regional grants and recreational trail grants. The Recreation Grants Program also includes the Boat Sewage Pumpout Program, Boat Ramp Program and park planning assistance for rural governments. During Tim's 25 year tenure with the recreation grants program, 1,376 projects have been awarded, reflecting funds totaling over $366 million. He is a certified Parks and Recreation professional. He serves on the Texas Recreation and Parks Foundation Board, and the National Recreation and Park Associations. With 25 years of service, Tim Hogsett.

(Applause.)

MR. HOGSETT: I broke it.

MR. COOK: Thank you. Also from our State Parks Division, Jimmie Rodriguez, Jr., Program Specialist V, Fredericksburg, Texas, with 25 years of service. Jimmie Rodriguez began his career with TPWD at Lost Maples in 1979. Although all of his work experience have been in the Hill Country, each assignment to Jimmie was a welcome challenge, from flood restoration to conducting public deer hunts. Other sites where Jimmie has worked, were Guadalupe River State Park, Kerrville Shriner State Park, Enchanted Rock, and his current position in the Region VII State Parks Office in Kerrville. Jimmie feels that one of the most memorable accomplishments in his career was when he was commissioned as a State Park Peace Officer in 1993. With 25 years of service, Jimmie Rodriguez, Jr.

(Applause.)

MR. RODRIGUEZ: Thank you.

MR. COOK: I know some of them guys you have got to put up with. Thank you very much.

(Applause.)

MR. COOK: From the Administrative Resources Division, Yolanda Romo, Program Specialist I, Austin, Texas with 25 years of service. Yolanda Romo began her career with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in July, 1979 as a Clerk III in the State Parks Division. In January of 1981, Yolanda was promoted to Secretary III, working in the Revenue branch, within Finance. In 1988, she was promoted to an Accountant IV position, where she managed the Lifetime License Program and supervised the floating personnel pool for Finance. In March of 2002, Yolanda moved into the position of Supervisor for the Fines and Arrests Section. In February of '03, Yolanda made a change and accepted the position as a HUB, Historically Underutilized Business Specialist for the Department. With 25 years of service, Yolanda Romo.

(Applause.)

MR. COOK: From the Coastal Fisheries Division, we have got Richard A. Spaw, Fish and Wildlife Technician V, Corpus Christi, Texas. Again, with 25 years of service. After receiving a bachelor of science degree in marine biology from Texas A & M University at Galveston, Rick Spaw began his career with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department as a summer intern in 1979 at the Perry R. Bass Marine Research Station. In September of 1979, he transferred to the Rockport Marine Lab, where he was the Fish and Wildlife Technician assigned to the Saint Charles Bay project. During the last 24 years, Rick Spaw has participated in all aspects of Coastal Fisheries' long-term monitoring programs in the upper Laguna Madre ecosystem. His service and dedication have contributed to the successful fisheries management program in the upper Laguna Madre, making it a primary destination for trophy spotted sea trout anglers. With 25 years of service, Rick Spaw.

(Applause.)

MR. SPAW: Thank you.

MR. COOK: Also from Coastal Fisheries, Kyle W. Spiller, Manager II, Corpus Christi, Texas with 25 years of service. After receiving a bachelor's of science degree in biology from the University of Texas at Arlington, and a masters degree in biology from Texas A & I University, Kyle Spiller began his career with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in the Coastal Fisheries Division in 1979 at Galveston Bay. In 1980, he became the fisheries harvest program leader for the Upper Laguna Madre, and in 1993, he was promoted to the Upper Laguna Madre ecosystem leader, responsible for all phases of fishery management for the bay system.

When Kyle began his career in the Upper Laguna Madre, the area was considered isolated with little human impact. Over the years, he observed the area's evolution into one of Texas's most popular sport fishing destinations and major commercial fisheries. During his 25 year tenure with TPWD, Kyle has participated in the development and implementation of Coastal Fisheries' long-term monitoring programs, has collected and analyzed fisheries data which forms the basis for many state and federal fishery regulations, and has participated on numerous committees, task forces and advisory panels addressing Texas coastal issues.

Also, I see a note here. Kyle was a supervisor of two biologists and Natural Leader graduates who have been promoted to ecosystem leader positions like his. And he will be a mentor in the next leader class. So, this is a guy that not only leads, he develops leaders and we need more people like that. With 25 years of service, Kyle Spiller.

(Applause.)

MR. SPILLER: Thank you.

MR. COOK: From the Law Enforcement Division, we have Pam Hovey, Administrative Assistant IV from Victoria, Texas, with 20 years of service. Pam Hovey began her career with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in 1984 at the Lyndon B. Johnson State Historic Park in Stonewall, Texas, where she worked as an interpreter to inform visitors of the park and the area's history. In May of 1988, she transferred to the Victoria Law Enforcement District Office as an accounting clerk.

Pam has seen many advances in technology during her career. She has during two license periods performed all of the license sale and boat registration in the absence of other clerks. Pam has, since her transfer to the Victoria office, been promoted to Administrative Assistant IV. With 20 years of service, Pam Hovey.

MS. HOVEY: Thank you.

MR. COOK: From the State Parks Division, next we have Paul Craig Kisel, Manager II, Dennison, Texas, with 20 years of service. Paul Kisel began his career with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department as a seasonal worker at Mission Tejas State Historic Park in the summer of 1983. In September of 1984, Paul was hired as a Park Ranger III, Park Manager of the Lake Houston State Park. In January of 1989 he became the Assistant Manager of Inks Lake State Park, and in May of 1996, he became the Park Manager at Inks Lake. In August of 2002, Paul became the Park Complex Manager of the Eisenhower State Park Complex. During his tenure with the Department, Paul has served on the team that got the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site ready for the Texas 150th Sesquicentennial Celebration. He has become a commissioned Park Peace Officer, and served on the team that prepared the battleship for the trip to dry dock. With 20 years of service, Paul Kisel.

(Applause.)

MR. KISEL: Thank you.

MR. COOK: From the Coastal Fisheries Division, Domingo B. Sanchez, Fish and Wildlife Technician V from Rockport, Texas, with 20 years of service. Domingo Sanchez began his career with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in 1984. His 15 years of experience with TxDOT as a ferry operator, and his 20 years of experience shrimping and oystering were valuable assets to his current responsibilities as a Fish and Wildlife Technician V in the Corpus Christi Bay ecosystem. He is a team leader in Fisheries' data collection, equipment operation and maintenance at the Rockport Marine Lab. With 20 years of service, Domingo Sanchez.

(Applause.)

MR. SANCHEZ: Thank you.

MR. COOK: All right Mr. Hysmith. We won't read it all over again, but let's get Bruce's picture. Bruce has done good. Come on up, let's get some pictures.

(Applause.)

MR. HYSMITH: Thank you.

MR. COOK: After 30 years, I'll give the guy whatever he needs, absolutely. Mr. Chairman, next, we have a special recognition that is pretty unusual, that I wanted you all and all of our folks in the audience today to hear about. On some occasions, we are afforded the opportunity to serve our fellow man in a way that provides a lasting effect. Such an opportunity recently occurred just outside Lake Whitney State Park when at approximately 8:30 a.m., on Wednesday June 2 of this year, Park Manager Jeffrey Towers received a call for a rescue from the Whitney Fire Department.

The Fire Department told Officer Towers about a man, a gentleman by the name of Mr. Jack Justice, who was dismantling a section of an antenna tower, when he slipped, leaving him hanging upside down from the tower. Officer Towers loaded his rescue equipment and proceeded directly to the scene, which was approximately four miles outside the park. Officer Towers climbed the tower, with ropes and rescue equipment. When he got to Mr. Justice, he was still conscious and asked Officer Towers please hurry, as he could not hang on much longer.

Upon reaching the victim, Officer Towers found Mr. Justice still hanging upside down by his foot. The victim was still connected to the tower by a safety lanyard. Officer Towers was able to get the tower piece just above — I saw some pictures on this, just an incredible thing. He was able to get the tower section off of his foot, so that he could be released. Abel Gonzales, an employee for Red Simpson Power Line Construction Company arrived at this point in a company bucket truck, brought the bucket up to the top of the tower. Mr. Gonzales got under the victim and kind of took his weight off of that foot that he was hanging by.

At that point, our Officer Jeff Towers, who was up there on the tower with him, cut the sole of Mr. Justice's boot off, so that they could get him loose from the tower, and worked his foot around and out of the tower. Mr. Justice was lowered to the ground on the bucket where he was stabilized by Whitney EMS and transported from the scene to Hillcrest Hospital in Waco by CareFlight helicopter ambulance. Mr. Justice was treated and later released with a dislocated ankle and torn tendons.

It is with great pride that I share this example of the fine work by Texas State Park employee staff. Staff preparedness to respond through professional training has resulted in successfully completing the most important tenet of all of our work, the care and well-being of our fellow man. Would Lake Whitney State Park Manager Jeffrey Towers please come forward?

(Applause.)

MR. TOWERS: Thank you.

MR. COOK: Mr. Chairman, just one other note of information. Just last Thursday, the Game Bird Advisory Board met by conference call to discuss the water fowl season proposals as we do in that time of the year. Among the participants in that call was a gentleman by the name of John E. Walker, who many of us have known for many, many years. John has been a participant in that group for all of its more than ten year history.

I regretfully report that we learned on Monday that John had died of a heart attack sometime Friday. John has been a state, national and international leader in conservation for more than 30 years. John is a past president of Ducks Unlimited, Incorporated of the Texas Chapter and moved progressively up through their volunteer structure to become the national president, and was chairman of the DU board from 1993 to 1995. He was currently serving as president of Ducks Unlimited, Mexico. John Walker had been an active supporter of TPWD for many years, and his service to the entire conservation community will be sorely missed. Thank you, sir.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Thank you, Mr. Cook. Agenda Item number 1, first order of business, approval of the agenda which you have before you. Is there a motion for approval?

COMMISSIONER WATSON: So moved.

COMMISSIONER PARKER: Second.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Moved by Commissioner Watson, second by Commissioner Parker. All in favor, please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Any opposed?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Hearing none, the motion carries. Next on the agenda, Item number 2, local park grant funding. Tim Hogsett.

MR. HOGSETT: Good morning, Mr. Chairman, member of the Commission, I am Tim Hogsett, director of the Recreation Grants Program, State Parks Division. This item is the semi-annual request for grant awards for the Outdoor Recreation Grant Program. We received 24 applications for our January 31, 2004 deadline of approximately $10.1 million in requests. We had rank ordered, scored all the projects and rank ordered them, and the rank ordering can be found in your Exhibit A.

And today we are recommending approval of the top twelve applications in the amount of $5,223,628 in matching funds. So the recommendation that we are placing before the commission is funding for the projects listed in Exhibit A, in the amount of $5,223,628 be approved as described for individual projects in Exhibit B. I'll be glad to answer any questions that you have.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Any questions for Mr. Hogsett?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: And, we have a few people signed up to speak. I believe, John deBessonet? Did I pronounce that right? Anywhere close? And Dennis Johnston, be ready.

MR. DeBESSONET: Good morning, my name is John deBessonet. I am parks planner for Harris County. I am here this morning to speak in support of our grant application for the Baine-Clark Project. The staff has recommended support for this project, and I implore the Commission to agree with that recommendation. Dennis right behind me will give you a little bit more details. What I would like to do, we worked putting this project together for well over a year, involved a very significant acquisition, some key habitat.

And I would like to express my personal appreciation to Tim Hogsett and his staff, specifically Elaine Dill and Joel Seffel for guiding us through this process to make sure that we were going to maximize the grant dollars to provide the best and biggest variety of recreation we can for the citizens of this area. So, I ask you to please support our application. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Thank you. Mr. Johnston? And I believe Jim Rogers also signed up on this, and be ready.

MR. JOHNSTON: Thank you members of the Commission. My name is Dennis Johnston. I am with Harris County Precinct Four, representing Commissioner Jerry Eversoll's office. And I would also like to express my gratitude and support for the Baine Park Projects. It includes a major lake restoration in an area that is rapidly expanding and growing with both commercial development and residential development.

In this era of shrinking budgets, we certainly appreciate the partnerships of Texas Parks and Wildlife and your support. I also would like to thank the membership that helped us work on this grant. These grants always take a lot of time and effort to put together. Tim Hogsett, Joel Seffel, Elaine Dill and Andy Goldbloom all were there to answer questions and help us along as we moved in this project. We currently at Harris County Precinct Four have been working on a lot of partnerships with Texas Parks and Wildlife and I also want to thank you for the many programs that you support.

Baine has been a lake that has been stocked with trout through the Parks and Wildlife program for many, many years. It was one of the first lakes to be stocked, and it will be upgraded and restored, and the depth of the lake will be increased as well as the quality. We have recently certified, at Harris County Precinct Four, six junior anglers certified instructors. We will be doing programs out there with that.

We recently certified 300 education program instructors at Harris County Precinct Four and we will do the first one of those on Saturday. And I wanted to mention, we started reservations on Wednesday, and within 30 minutes, that program was completely filled up. So, we look forward to this partnership and many of the other partnerships, both forward in the future and in the past. We thank you.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Thank you for your work. Next, Mr. Jim Rodgers. And Larry Brown, be ready. Not here? All right. Larry Brown? Are you here?

MR. BROWN: Sir, I believe that their City Manager is to come up and speak briefly.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: All right. Then the next one I have on Item 2 is Ray Black?

MR. BLACK: Thank you for allowing me to speak for a moment. My name is Ray Black. I am director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Huntsville. And I am here to voice support for the funding of Aquatic Center. I believe we are on the list there. And I appreciate your support in that effort. And I want to thank all the staff with the Parks and Wildlife Department here, from Tim and all the people that is here. I want to thank you.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Thank you, Mr. Black. Next on Item 2, Joe Hernandez, San Benito, Texas. Next be ready, I believe it is Celeste Sanchez.

MR. HERNANDEZ: Good morning, Mr. Chairman, members of the Commission. My name is Joe Hernandez. I am Mayor Pro Tem from the City of San Benito. And I am here to speak to you today about a project recommended for funding and that is the funding of the Resaca. As Mayor Pro Tem from the City of San Benito, I want to express our thanks for you and your staff for the assistance provided in preparing our grant application. In January of this year, the year 2004, our application failed to receive a recommendation but we were encouraged to resume and to resubmit. We did so, and are here to ask for your approval.

We are not so presumptuous as to assume our application was approved, but do want to thank you for you and your staff's help on this project. And on behalf of the City of San Benito and Honorable Mayor Cesar Gonzales and the rest of the Commission, we would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your brilliant efforts and attention you have poured into this project. The decision is in your hands, and again thank you in advance, and may God bless you.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Thank you, Mr. Hernandez. And I commend you on your perseverance in staying with the project. Next I have Celeste Sanchez.

MS. SANCHEZ: Good morning, gentlemen. My name is Celeste Sanchez, and I am a resident of San Benito, Texas. Six months ago, I came before you to inform you of our persistence and that although our application was not selected for funding, we were not giving up. At that time, Mr. Chairman, I remember distinctly you addressing us during this time, and you said: don't give up. Redo your grant application and resubmit, and we like perseverance.

We followed your advice, and with special thanks to your staff member Jim Hoff who helped us with technical assistance, we reworked our application and resubmitted. So today, I am here because our application was selected for recommendation to you for approval. Our community sends you greetings and salutations. We invite you to visit with us in San Benito when our park and trail and other amenities are completed. Come and enjoy the quality of life that this grant, if approved today, will afford our community. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Thank you. Well done. Victor Trevino, San Benito?

MR. TREVINO: Good morning, gentlemen. And again, like Ms. Celeste Sanchez said, we were here. I was here before you six months ago and as the City Manager of the City of San Benito, I certainly understand how we the leaders of our community, when we get funding requests, there is always more asked than we have to fund. And so, at that time, we told you and truly meant it, that we understand the situation. And again, we took your advice, and we went back and again, with the help of your staff, we were able to resubmit.

And now, we are very pleased that we are being recommended for funding. And as the City Manager, I would urge you to please accept your staff's recommendation and you will truly help our community. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Thank you, Mr. Trevino. Next, I have Carlos Colina-Vargas.

MR. COLINA-VARGAS: (Speaking Spanish.) Buenos dias, Senor Chairman y membre de la Commission. Mi llamo Carlos Colina-Vargas, y represento Valley pueblos piquenos en Texas. My name is Carlos Colina-Vargas. I represent several cities in Texas. Today, the cities of Elsa, La Villa they have been recommended for funding. The town of Anton is not recommended for funding, however, they will be resubmitted in the future.

Today is a very important and rewarding day for the small communities in Texas. Being funded for these projects is very important, because it is the only dedicated assistance that exists in the state for recreation in small communities. My testimony concerns the support of the program. I want to be very brief, because two other cities are here this morning too.

But I want to express my commendation to the state agency, and to the Recreation Grants Program staff, Mr. Tim Hogsett and his staff are very helpful in supporting and assisting the communities with the applications, the process and the implementation of the projects. Again, Senor Chairman, en nombre de la communiales piqueno de Texas, quiero la gracias y la presio por ecouter and por la chicos. Muchas gracias.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Let's see, Patrick Brzozowski? Did I get close?

MR. BRZOZOWSKI: Very good. I have to spell it every time I say it. Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, my name is Patrick Brzozowski. I am the General Manager of the Lavaca and Navidad River Authority. Development of new and recreational opportunities and public access to Lake Texana and associated wildlands have been a long-term goal of the River Authority. Since 1996, with the support of our customers and local state partnerships, the River Authority has been able to add a variety of new opportunities for those visiting Lake Texana and Jackson County. So, on behalf of the River Authority and our directors, I would like to thank you for your support and consideration of our latest recreation development project. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Thank you. Next up, Eddie Gonzalez, and be ready, Felipe Balli.

MR. GONZALEZ: Mr. Chairman, Commissioners. Eddie Gonzalez, City of Elsa. Small community, South Texas, but I tell you what, for us, it is a beautiful city. And I am here personally today because we are being recommended for support on our project, on our application, and on behalf of the Mayor, the Council, and especially myself, we put so much effort into trying to get this funding because if it wasn't for this type of assistance that we are getting, dreams that we have in Elsa would not ever become reality if people like you were not doing this kind of support. So, for Elsa, it is a big day. It is a dream that is going to apparently come true, and what I wanted to do today was basically put the face to the names, because I have heard the names of you all, but I haven't seen the faces. And I wanted you to know that you don't know how big this is for the City of Elsa. So on behalf of the Mayor, the Council and all of the citizens of Elsa, thank you. Thank you. Thank you very much.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Thank you. You are the one doing the work. I appreciate it. Mr. Gonzalez is done. I see Felipe Balli? Also on Item 2, Felipe? No? Okay, Ray Alejandro. I think you are also on two. Ray Alejandro from Elsa?

MR. GONZALEZ: I guess they feel I said enough.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: All right. Well, we don't mind all this.

MR. GONZALEZ: These are my councilmen, by the way. Okay?

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Okay. Will you stand up? We would like to recognize your Council.

(Applause.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: You are doing some great work down there. I will tell you. It really shows how the program is supposed to work. Thank you very much.

MR. GONZALEZ: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Next, Bob Duke. Bob Duke?

MR. DUKE: Good morning. I am here to speak in favor of the recommendation from staff to fund an outdoor grant for the Fort Bend/Harris County Regional Park and Trail. This also is a park that took some persistence to get going, and with me today is Michael Davis. He is the Park Director for Fort Bend County. I wrote the grant, but it was the partnership that was put together by his boss, the County Commissioner Myers and representatives of Tarabrook, which is now Newland Communities, who donated a considerable amount of land. There may be a representative of Newland Communities here? And I just wanted to ask you to approve what the staff has recommended and thank you for your support and the staff for their hard work. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Thank you, Mr. Duke. Is there anyone else I might have missed, signed up on Agenda Item 2?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Tim? Do you have anything? Any questions for Tim on the recommendations? Staff have any comments?

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: I have a question.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Commissioner Holmes?

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: Tim, yesterday, we heard a comment in respect of Vidor's Sparrow Lane Park?

MR. HOGSETT: Yes, I heard that as well.

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: And I was just wondering what your comment was?

MR. HOGSETT: Well, first of all, we believe that that is a local issue. We believe that is an issue between the land owner and the City. The City is here, and they could address those concerns more specifically for you, if you like. But in general, particularly as it relates to the landfill issue, the City will be permitted by the Texas Council of Environmental Quality, TCEQ, before any construction begins.

And we actually probably will not issue a contract to the City for this grant until that cleanup is complete and we have a good situation out there. I didn't hear all of the comments, so I am not sure if that addresses everything, but basically, we feel that they have competed. They met all of our requirements and will meet all other legal state requirements and once that is done, we will issue the contract to them.

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: It did seem logical that this would be a benefit in helping it get cleaned up, as opposed to if we didn't approve it, that it wouldn't.

MR. HOGSETT: And the City has to do the cleanup whether we approve a park grant for them or not.

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: Right.

MR. DUBRE: Mr. Chairman, I am with the City of Vidor, if you have any questions.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Commissioner Holmes, do you have anything to comment or add to that? You are welcome.

MR. DUBRE: I signed up.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: All right. You were missed. I apologize. Just state your name for the record, if you would please.

MR. DUBRE: Good morning, Mr. Chair. My name is Shawn Dubre. I am the City Manager for the City of Vidor. Good morning to you also, Commissioners. Just to bring you up to date, that was a project that was a former landfill, that the City has worked in conjunction with TCEQ to properly close it. The closing process started in 2002 and if I had to say, we are probably about 98 percent complete. We are just waiting for the grass to grow enough for the TCEQ to come out and finalize the recommendation and to give us our release of closing the landfill. As Mr. Hogsett has stated, we feel that the gentleman that spoke or made note yesterday is a local issue. I have some correspondence that I have sent to Parks and Wildlife previously that touched on probably the issues that Mr. Fulton is — what has caused these relations. I have been the City Manager for two years. We have tried numerous times to build bridges with Mr. Fulton and his family. The good thing about this grant is, it has brought the community together, and also some other government entities to work together in helping out one another to get this to a park where the community can be proud of. It can be a draw to our community for people from outside the area, and give us something to be proud of. And just to finish up, we would appreciate the recommendation that Mr. Hogsett has given you all in approving this grant. If you all have any questions.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Any questions for the City Manager?

COMMISSIONER HOLT: I have one.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Commissioner Holt?

COMMISSIONER HOLT: He indicated, Mr. Fulton yesterday, there were 23 other neighbors or families up and down that road. How do they feel? He obviously made his point.

MR. DUBRE: Mr. Fulton is the one that is directly adjoining to the property.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Right.

MR. DUBRE: And originally, it is my understanding and feeling that it was an attempt. Mr. Fulton is who wanted the landfill properly closed. And the City understands it didn't act quickly enough to close it, but there were other government entities that were involved in operating this landfill. And so trying to do a joint effort never came together. So the City had to step in and actually take over the entire closure, where other government entities participated in an inter-governmental or jointly operated landfill. We haven't received any complaints, other than a direct relationship, a family relationship with Mr. Fulton. We haven't even received complaints from neighbors about the closing of the landfill and the increased traffic of equipment going in and out of the landfill to properly cap it. So, I would have to say myself, and the Mayor from Rose City, which is the jurisdiction this is in have worked closely. And I would say that if it wasn't with Mr. Fulton, then we didn't receive any type of complaints. And if we did receive a complaint, it was like maybe a dump truck had dropped some of the dirt off its tires, and we immediately had a crew out there cleaning it up. So, we responded quickly as we will in the future to any needs in that area, to help them.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Maybe I just didn't say it. I understand that. The cleanup, I would assume they all want it. It is the issue of the park. I mean, Fulton made two comments. Of course, one, he felt that it hadn't been cleaned up as well as it should, or as quickly as it should. The other was, he doesn't seem to want the park. That is what I am trying to ask you. How do the other neighbors feel about it? We are talking about Vidor Sparrow Lane Park. Are they comfortable with the park going in there?

MR. DUBRE: As far as I can tell. We have held many public hearings. We have had a lot of correspondence in the local newspapers as well as other print media and television. And we haven't received any negative complaints.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Because that is going to be where monies is going for from us, is for the park.

MR. DUBRE: Really, the community is looking forward to an area that we can have fall and spring activity other than just the swimming pool area.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Any other questions of the City Manager? Tim, this may be for you, or for the City Manager. Did I understand that the condition of the grant is the TCEQ permit, or the TCEQ approval before the issuance of the grant?

MR. HOGSETT: Yes, that is correct. We are going to hold the contract until we are satisfied that all the legal requirements, all environmental closures have been met.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Okay. Any other questions for Tim or for Commissioner Parker?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: No? I saw you motion there. Okay. All right. Any other comments from the Commission? Is there a motion on this item?

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: Move it.

COMMISSIONER HENRY: Second.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: That is a motion by Commissioner Holmes. Second by Vice-Chairman Al Henry. All in favor, please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Any opposed?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Hearing none, the motion carries.

(Applause.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Congratulations. Next up, Item 3, Small Community Grant funding. Tim Hogsett? Tim Hogsett is a one-man show today.

MR. HOGSETT: It seems that way. Item 3 is the recommendation for Small Community Grants. We define small communities as population of 20,000 or less. And these are matching grants of no more than $50,000 in matching funds. We take applications B

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Let me hold you up while our guests file out. I don't want to overrun your presentation here, because this is important. It is an encouraging turnout. Okay, Tim, thank you. Go ahead.

MR. HOGSETT: Okay. Again, we take applications for our Small Community Grant program once a year. These are communities of population of 20,000 or less and matching grants not-to-exceed $50,000. For our annual deadline of January 31, we received 26 applications requesting 1.1 million in matching funds. We have scored all the projects using the scoring system that you have adopted, rank ordered those projects by score, and you can find that rank ordered list in Exhibit A.

And we are recommending this morning approval of the top 15 applications. So the motion that we are placing before you is funding for projects listed in Exhibit A, in the amount of $703,495 is approved as described for individual projects found in Exhibit B. I would be glad to answer any questions that you might have.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Thank you, Tim. We have a few people signed up on Item 3. First, Luke Giles. And be ready, Terry Modeland.

MR. GILES: I signed up for the wrong one.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Signed up for the wrong one. All right. So, shall we hold Mr. Giles for what agenda item?

MR. GILES: Surcharge.

MR. COOK: 15.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Okay. 15. No problem. Terry Modeland, and Bob Duke up again after Ms. Modeland.

MS. MODELAND: Good morning, Commission. My name is Terry Modeland and I am a parks co-director for the City of Meadows Place, a very small community that borders the big city of Houston. Thank you for letting me speak to you today. Being a parks director for a small city, for 16 years and living firsthand all the financial stress, we are extremely appreciative and supportive of the Small Community Grant program that Texas Parks and Wildlife has offered. We have been through the heartbreak of working so hard on a master plan and an application for the Outdoor Community Grant. It is tough to compete with the big guys.

Although we were not successful with that grant application, we support every grant for every one. I support and compliment the decisions and all the hard work, planning, hearings that were held all over the state to secure this relatively new Small Community Grant. Tim and Elaine and their staff with Texas Parks and Wildlife are always so helpful and make this whole application process run smooth and not so intimidating for the smaller staffed communities. Again, thank you for considering City of Meadows Place for the funding of this grant. Present with me this morning is my co-director, Mine Keenan. And again, thank all of you for your hard work and commitment.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Thank you for participating in the program. Next, Mr. Duke?

MR. DUKE: I'll pass, Mr. Chairman. Terry said it all.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: All right. Good job. Any other comments there, Tim? We have the recommendation before us. Any questions from the Commission regarding Agenda Item 3, the Small Community Grant funding?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Did I miss anyone who wished to speak on that item?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Tim, anything to add?

MR. HOGSETT: No, sir.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: A motion on this item?

COMMISSIONER HOLT: So moved.

COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Second.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Moved by Holt, seconded by Ramos. All in favor, please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Any opposed?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Hearing none, the motion carries. Thank you, Tim. Tim, you stay right where you are. Item 4, Regional Park Grant funding.

MR. HOGSETT: Mr. Chairman, members of the Commission. Item 4 is our annual presentation to you of recommendations for funding from the Regional Park Grant program. These are typically larger grants than our Outdoor Recreation Grant program. The program is designed to support multi-jurisdictional projects that have regional significance, primarily in metropolitan areas. These can be either intensive use recreation facilities or regional conservation kinds of projects.

We received five applications for our annual deadline of January 31, 2004, requesting $9.4 million in matching funds. We rank ordered the five projects using the scoring system that you have adopted, and are recommending funding for three of those projects. So the recommendation we place before you this morning is funding for three projects listed in Exhibit A, in the amount of $4,425,713, is approved as described for individual projects in Exhibit B. I would be glad to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER HENRY: Thank you, Tim. Is there any discussion by the Commission?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HENRY: Now we will hear from those who signed up to speak. The first one, and you are going to have to help me on the name. It is Shawn Dubre. He was City of Vidor. Is that person?

MR. HOGSETT: That was the gentleman who was before you.

COMMISSIONER HENRY: The next one is Mike Harris. Richard Zavala?

MR. ZAVALA: Good morning, Mr. Chair, members of the Commission and the executive director. If those folks aren't here, can we have their grants? I thought you had to be here to get it. I am Richard Zavala. I am the Parks and Community Services Director for the City of Fort Worth, and the grant that staff is recommending to you is a resubmit, just like San Benito.

It is a grant that will really extend the purpose of this grant program of a multi-jurisdictional collaboration involving the City of Fort Worth Parks and Community Services Department, the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Tarrant Regional Water District, and a private non-profit, Streams and Valleys. The City is putting up and these other agencies, both in dollars and in-kind services, $2.5 million. The grant is for $2 million and that is the staff recommendation.

But more importantly, we wanted to share with you the fact that we are working with the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers and the chief's report that will be submitted in the near future will recommend $23 million in funding for an ecosystem restoration. So in essence, this grant serves as the catalyst to an additional over $25 million worth of improvements in the City of Fort Worth. So we would recommend or ask that you approve staff's recommendation. Accolades to them, as it was a resubmit, and they worked with us diligently to improve the application.

And I wanted you to know, if you don't approve the application, you are going to have to find me a job, because they told me not to come back to Fort Worth. Otherwise, I'll be washing elephants at the zoo. So, thank you very much.

COMMISSIONER HENRY: Thank you, Mr. Zavala. Next up, Mr. Joe Janucik from Fort Worth, also? Did he say it all? Thank you. Next, Mr. Steve Klepfer.

MR. KLEPFER: Good morning, Commission. My name is Steve Klepfer, and I am the Mayor of the Village of Wimberley. I am here to speak in favor of a staff proposal for the granting and saving and preserving and protecting of a famous Texas swimming hole called Blue Hole. The quick story, this land was slated for 400 houses and a lodge. The Village of Wimberley began to look at that development and see bigger potentials for this Texas treasure.

A local philanthropist by the name of Mr. Peter Way came to our rescue and bought that land and held it for the Village for two years to come up with the funding to make it public. This particular grant you are looking at, a regional grant will go a long way to making that a reality, and this land, leaving the comforting hands of Mr. Way and into the public domain. This is truly a partnership program.

Hays County has contributed $700,000 to this project out of its first park and open space bond issue. LCRA, the Trust for Public Lands, the Nature Conservancy, GBRA, the Village of Wimberley, Buda, the City of Woodcreek, San Marcos, Texas State University, the Wimberley Valley Watershed Association, the Texas Forestry Department, all have partnered in this project. We applaud you for taking steps forward to preserve, protect and save this Texas treasure. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Commission, that is a unique project. Anyone else on Item 4? Tim?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: We have a recommendation before the Commission. Any questions from the Commissioners? Any comments from staff?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Is there a motion on this item.

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: So moved.

COMMISSIONER BROWN: Second.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Moved by Commissioner Holmes, second by Commissioner Brown. All in favor, please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Any opposed?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Hearing none, the motion carries. Next up, you again, Tim. Item 5, National Recreational Trail Grant funding.

MR. HOGSETT: This item is our annual proposal for funding from the National Recreational Trail Grant program. These are federal funds that are passed through to sponsors. This program was created in 1991. The revenue source is a portion of the Federal Gasoline Tax and Offroad Vehicle Use. We received in our annual review, 53 project proposals requesting $4 million. These projects are reviewed by our State Trail Advisory Board, looking at the issues of quality, cost-effectiveness and recreation opportunity impact.

The State Trail Advisory Board works with the staff to create the recommendations that we are placing before you this morning. So, our recommendation before you today is funding for 27 projects, recommended in Exhibit A, in the amount of $1,918,797 is approved. Glad to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Thank you, Tim. I think we have two people signed up to speak on Item 5. Jack Bowen and Nancy Naeve, be ready. Come right up; it is yours.

MR. BOWEN: Good morning, Mr. Chairman and members of the Board. On behalf of Lost Creek Municipal Utility District's residents and board of directors, I would like to thank you in advance for your consideration on approving the trail grant that we applied for earlier this year. And also, thank Mr. Hogsett and the fine staff for helping us with this project.

I know it will be a great benefit to all of the area residents as well as residents outside of the District. This has been a major accomplishment, and the residents at Lost Creek have voted or polled to have trails as their top priority in the development of parks and recreation facilities in the district. So, again, thank you very much.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Thank you, Mr. Bowen. Nancy Naeve, did I pronounce that?

MS. NAEVE: Perfect.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Well, it is my lucky day.

MR. NAEVE: Good morning, Commission members. I am Nancy Naeve. I am a member of the board of directors of the Lost Creek MUD. I am here today to thank you for going to perhaps approve your staff's recommendation for our trail grant program.

Our neighborhood is located along Barton Creek, and we do have some existing internal trails, but we want to improve them and to make the trails more walkable for our neighbors and for people that come through along Barton Creek. So, I want to thank your staff for recommending our grant approval and I hope that is done. Thank you very much.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Thank you, Ms. Naeve. Did I miss anyone on Item 5, or has anyone signed up? Tim, do you have anything to add?

MR. HOGSETT: No, sir.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Do we have any questions from any of the Commissioners of Tim on Item 5?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Is there a motion?

COMMISSIONER WATSON: So moved.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Moved by Commissioner Watson. Second?

COMMISSIONER HENRY: Second.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Second by Vice-Chairman Henry. All in favor, please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Any opposed?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Hearing none, the motion carries. Thank you, Tim. And you are still up there.

MR. HOGSETT: My final appearance today.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Right. Well, I hope it is not your final appearance, then. You are a pretty popular guy here, Tim.

MR. HOGSETT: Mr. Chairman, members of the Commission, this Item 6 is our annual recommendation to you for target range grants. These are federal funds from the Wildlife Restoration Act. There is 75 percent matching grants, and they aid in the vital area of providing shooting range, target range opportunities that are important to hunter education. We are recommending approval to you today of six applications in the amount of $300,000. So the recommendation before you is Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission authorizes the executive director to execute contracts funding the projects at Exhibit A through F, pending availability of funds.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Thank you, Tim. Do we have anyone signed up on Item 6? I don't have any sheets. No, Gene? All right, thank you. Any questions for Tim on Item 6, the Target Range Grant funding?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Is there a motion on this item?

COMMISSIONER PARKER: So moved.

COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Second.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Moved by Commissioner Parker, second by Commissioner Ramos. All in favor, please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Any opposed?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Hearing none, the motion passes. Thank you, Tim. Next up, Item 7. We have several briefing items, starting with Texas tourism. Lydia?

MS. SALDANA: Good morning. I'm not Tim Hogsett. I'm Lydia Saldana, director of the Communications Division. As you all know, Texas Parks and Wildlife is one of the many partners that play a role in the tourism industry in our state. Texas state parks, wildlife management areas and historic sites, fish hatcheries and visitor centers, as well as birding and wildlife trails are all part of the nature and heritage tourism infrastructure in the State of Texas.

The Texas Travel Industry Association is the over-arching organization that represents virtually all public and private tourism entities. It is my pleasure to introduce Paul Serff to you today. He is president and CEO of the Texas Travel Industry Association, and he has also served as a member of our Parks Advisory Committee. He is here to brief you on TTIA and the many tourism partnerships that make up this important industry in Texas. Paul?

MR. SERFF: Thank you, Lydia. Mr. Chairman, members of the Commission. It is my pleasure to be here and to talk about the great partnership as Lydia has expressed that exists between the public and private sectors in Texas in promoting travel and tourism. I have a brief slide show, we are going to go through kind of quickly for you.

This in Texas, as this industry is a $41.4 billion industry, and quite honestly, that is probably just the tip of the iceberg, because there is so many parts of this industry that are not measurable in direct impact terms. In all probability, one out of every ten people that live in Texas are directly or indirectly employed in the travel and tourism industry, which probably makes it the largest single employer we have in our state. Our mission is to unify and develop and as Lydia said, to act as the over-arching umbrella organization for travel and tourism.

We work collectively with all of the other state associations, and all of the other actually, eleven state agencies that have a direct or indirect role in travel and tourism. Here we are. We are organized in 1989. We are an association. We also manage the Texas Tourism Foundation, which I will talk about a little bit later. And that has a particular interest, it should have an interest to Texas Parks and Wildlife.

Our membership includes most of the attractions in the state, historical sites, state parks obviously, nature tourism sites, hotels, restaurants, professional sporting teams including the classiest NBA team in the Lake. You are welcome, Peter. And a number of other groups, quite honestly. Airports, Texas Parks and Wildlife, all the other state agencies, most of the major newspapers in the state, Texas Monthly, Southern Living, National Geographic Traveler, Anheuser-Busch, Coca-Cola, anybody who has a direct or indirect interest in travel and tourism, in all probability, they are members of our organization.

The state agency partners, again, there are eleven that work together and have a significant role in travel and tourism. Obviously, Texas Parks and Wildlife is one of the key in that group, and you have an enormous impact all over Texas, and a great partnership with the private sector industry. We have a number of programs that we have produced.

Like most associations, we have an annual what in other states might be the Governor's conference on travel and tourism, we call the Travel Summit. That will be in South Padre Island this September. It works around the state in different locations each year. We talk about tourism trends. We talk about public policy issues, we talk about marketing and promotion. Anything that impacts this industry, again, from the public and private sector. We have a legislative seminar we do in November. We have done this now for three years.

And this one in particular, it is right after the election, so we talk about election results. It is right after the pre-filing for bills, so we try to get a handle on what is going to happen during the upcoming session that impacts the industry, and how we can support our state agency partners and the other private sector organizations.

Our Unity then, is our biggest event. It is in February, actually February 14, this coming year. And we will have about 1,200 people attend, including probably 100 legislative offices, 100 local officials, mayors, city council members, et cetera, and the rest of the industry in Texas. Last year, our Governor was our speaker, and it was just a wonderful, wonderful event. We hope that you all can attend this year.

The Travel Fair for travel counselors is in conjunction with Texas Department of Transportation. Again, we have that and try to showcase everything that there is to do in the state with regard to travel and tourism. We work closely with Lydia. By the way, Lydia has been a member of our board of directors as an ex-officio member for a long time, so we work very closely with her. She also serves on three separate sub-committees with TTIA, and she has just been an invaluable member of our group. Walt Dabney will be presenting at the upcoming summit, in September, as will Russell Fishbeck, talking about the new Birding Center down in South Texas.

We also have a Newspapers First program, which is a newspaper insert we do spring and fall. Texas Parks and Wildlife has been participating in that for a number of years, and I think we have a slide coming up on what that looked like. The most recent example of the quarter page ad that Parks and Wildlife put in there received about 6,600 responses requesting the State Park Guide. There are other ways that we can measure the results, and it has all been very, very good. There is a copy of the ad that was in last year's, or last spring's issue.

This past spring, we did a Rediscover Texas program. The goal was to try to get folks in Texas to rediscover everything that they have to do in this state that has a really great way of showcasing not only local communities, but also what is unique about Texas.

We worked with Clear Channel. In fact, we are on 93 radio stations, two television stations, and the program in all was about a two million dollar ad campaign that we worked with all of our partners with, including Parks and Wildlife. And just tried to promote travel within Texas. This happened in the spring. We gave away packages that we received from our members and our partners, totaling about $125,000. These were given out on these radio stations and obviously the banter that went with them just made them very exciting.

Parks and Wildlife participation, we have eight trip packages to state parks and historical sites. Those are listed on the slide. Those packages received about $26,000 in on-air promotional value, advertising value. In addition to that, we had a Big Bend Getaway as one of our grand prizes. Actually, we gave away a grand prize on the sweepstakes was a weekend vacation a month for a year for a family in Texas.

This Big Bend Getaway was an additional prize that we gave away. In addition, we gave away 93 state park passes, and by the way, I am a card-carrying member as is my wife, of the state parks. But these park passes were given away, and they just had phenomenal reception out there, and probably a media value that was received as far as the radio stations of about $200,000, which was a great return.

Again, it says here we had about a million and a half dollars in advertising from this, quite honestly, if we include not only what we received from Clear Channel, and from the TV stations, but from a direct mail drop and a program with Cinemark. Over 800 movie screens across Texas, it probably approached closer to $2 million in terms of total value. We have the plan well underway to do this again next year, and we will in fact, have more partners involved.

One of the other programs that we have, that we are ramping up now and we will hopefully have the first phase underway this winter, is called the Texas Education Vacation and this is part of our 501(c)(3) Texas Tourism Foundation program. Our goal here is to list everything there is to do in our state, that has a significant educational content to it. Great for parents who are taking their kids on vacation, grandparents who are taking their grandkids on vacation. And probably as important, if not more important for school groups. The Governor has endorsed this program, TEA has endorsed this program, and in fact, we have a grant from TEA as a starter grant to get this program underway.

And what it will do, is it will list all of these things that school groups can do together. It will be a tool for teachers. In fact, we will be in probably every school in the state, and in most homes in the state, probably within the next 18 months with this program. It is just going to be a great tool for everyone. We're coordinating with the curriculum coordinators for schools, so that teachers, when they talk about Texas history, and they can say all right, we have studied the following part of Texas history for the last week and a half. Here are the places you can go, either on the website, or go visit. Talk about those particular and reinforce those particular things that we have been talking about.

I just want to again, thank the Texas Parks and Wildlife staff in particular, but the Commission also for their support of tourism. You are very important part of our industry, both with what you do and what you present to the public is critical for us, and we thank you for your support. We want you to know that we are here to support you in any way this coming year. Thank you. Mr. Chairman?

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Thank you, Paul. Any questions for Paul from any of the Commissioners?

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: I do.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Yes?

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Sir, thank you. We appreciate all the good work you are doing. It sounds like a great overview and strategy. If we have small communities in rural Texas who want to build up the natural features of nature tourism, how does our agency go about doing that with you to expand and develop those opportunities?

MR. SERFF: Part of it would be part of this State Agency Tourism Council, because this probably would involve also Texas Department of Agriculture, perhaps the Historical Commission, the Commission on the Arts, and obviously the Governor's Office. But what we normally do, is if we get a request in to say, I want to develop our tourism program, we will then figure out exactly what they want to try to do, and either go in and make a presentation before the a parks commission or before a city council, et cetera, we will help bring in the other state agencies and say well, you really need to talk to these folks, because they have a great grant program that will help you here.

We found that rural Texas has become every bit as eager to embrace tourism as the urban areas have been now, for a number of years. In fact, on a world basis, they look at tourism as preventing hunger in a lot of third world countries. They look at it as a great way of preserving the uniqueness of cities here in Texas, too. COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: I guess that is what I have seen, is that the nature of tourism can really breathe life into small towns which are struggling for a reason to exist now.

MR. SERFF: Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: So, if we came to you with six to ten priority opportunities, you would be able to assign staff and help coach those towns in how to build up their programs and their natural features?

MR. SERFF: We would use everything we have. Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Okay. Thank you.

MR. SERFF: We do have a Texas Nature Tourism Council, which is a very significant sub-organization as part of TTIA. And their whole role is to look at everything that we can do to develop nature tourism opportunities in Texas. One of our projects that we have not gotten funded yet, but are working on, is a nature tourism video that talks about, will talk to communities about how do they go about developing nature tourism?

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: That would be great. Thank you very much.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: To follow up on Commissioner Montgomery's point, the most successful nature tourism we have, certainly in rural Texas is hunting and fishing.

MR. SERFF: Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Do you include hunting and fishing in your nature tourism promotion?

MR. SERFF: Absolutely. You bet.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: My guess is that is the best opportunity that most rural communities, small communities have to promote tourism in their area. Do you think that is right?

MR. SERFF: I think it is. It also works hand-in-glove with the historical sites, with cultural tourism, with special events. We find that people, when they come to Texas, perhaps their main goal is to do some good hunting or fishing. But while they are there, they enjoy restaurants. They might go to a museum. They will definitely shop. It all just works hand-in-glove.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Do we have any specific programs to promote hunting and fishing to the out-of-state customer, specifically? Because I have seen your work in magazines and newspapers out-of-state, and it is great. As you know, my friend Dave Dunham has worked very closely with you, and I have been impressed with it. But I haven't seen much that specifically targets the hunting and fishing markets.

MR. SERFF: I don't know that we have anything that specifically targets that, that we do. The Governor's Office of Economic Development and Tourism does the out-of-state campaign. And I know that they have a lot of nature tourism ads, but I don't know that it is specifically to hunting and fishing.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Lydia, would you want to respond to that, about how we coordinate that with the Governor's Office?

MS. SALDANA: Well, they put together a marketing plan every year. Certainly, I think the focus has been in the past, more on fishing than it has been on hunting. Birding, they certainly done ads, national ads, and international ads related to birding. I think that is more of the emphasis than hunting. I think that is a correct statement.

If I could make a comment about, we have had discussions with the Texas Department of Agriculture. They do now have a grant program called Texas Yes. And we have begun initial discussions with them about possibly focusing some of those dollars on priority areas. But at this point, it has just been a discussion at State Agency Tourism Council meetings.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Thank you. Any other questions for Lydia or Paul on the Texas Tourism Partnership briefing? Thank you very much for your work.

MR. SERFF: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Next briefing item, Agenda Item Number 8, Expo. Ernie Gammage.

MR. GAMMAGE: Mr. Chairman, and members of the Commission. I am Ernie Gammage. I am the director of the Texas Wildlife Expo, excuse me, Texas Parks and Wildlife Expo. We have a new name, and a new logo. I am here to report to you on the event today. I would like to thank Mr. Holt for jumping into the fray this year. We appreciate his support and help. I would like to start just to remind you of what the dates are. We'll have the Texas Conservation Banquet on Friday, October 1, and Expo will be the 2nd and 3rd, right here at headquarters, that Saturday and Sunday following.

Let's look back for a second at one of the major impacts that has happened as Expo, really, since it has started, which was last year. The building of Ojeda Junior High, which is at the top of your screen, and the inclusion of the new roadway. All of the modifications that we did to the layout of the grounds worked according to visitors and staff alike, very, very well, and we will keep the same modifications that we made last year.

One of the interesting things that has happened recently is the sale of the hay field between our road, Smith School and Burleson Road. That was sold to a gentleman who actually sold the Armstrong McCall facility. We have been in contact with him. The terms of the lease are that we have the use of that for this Expo, and he is amenable to providing us a lease for some time into the future. We are working on that right now. But we do have that parking lot, which as you can see, is full.

Lots of new things happening at Expo this year, that we are very, very happy with. Maybe the most fun and significant, Canon has come on as a major sponsor, and will have a big tent, devoted to photography, digital, traditional, all kinds of photographic gear, lenses, video cameras, people will actually be able to come up and take pictures and print them out on the spot. We have placed this tent very near the wetlands pond, so we'll have some habitat for them to shoot at, in the pond.

Bow fishing, certainly a topic here in the Austin area recently. We'll have an opportunity for kids to come up to this new activity. Kids and adults stand on the bow of an air boat, and actually shoot at 3D submerged targets. This is a fast, fast rising sport in Texas, because you can do it year-round.

One of the things that we have talked about for a number of years is how to really bring more interest and excitement to the wildlife presentations. And this year, you will see a difference in the way they look and feel, to bring more road appeal, as our visitors walk by, they will be open air, if you will. One whole side of them available to the public, so people can walk by and see what is going on, rather than having to walk down a darkened tunnel.

The wetlands and wildlife activity area that I mentioned is really going to be ramped up this year. Texas rivers information will be included in it. Wildlife habitat assessment and migratory waterfowl program will all move under that area. This is probably if not the only, the best habitat that we have on our site, and having this there, last year it got a lot of interest and looked pretty good. This year, it looks great. We salt it with decoys and all other kinds of stuff, so that it really looks like habitat. And it again ties into our whole initiative toward water, to help people understand how important these wetlands are for us.

Something that I don't have a picture of, but you should know about is our Law Enforcement Division is going to bring a helicopter and set it down on Thursday at Expo, where it will be available Friday, Saturday and Sunday for people to look at and learn how we use air surveillance in wildlife management in catching the bad guys. And we think this will be a lot of fun.

We have got some great new outreach programs this year. First of all, there is a Trailblazers' Adventure, which is put together with the Boy Scouts and the U. S. Sportsmen's Alliance Foundation. It will tie into our Outdoor Kids' Challenge and really focus on angling and hunting. Those particular activities that we are so interested in. Kids will be able to earn a Trailblazers patch when they come out here.

Science by the Horns, with apologies to our Aggie leader, Mr. Cook. The Horns being the University of Texas Horns, which is a collaboration between the University of Texas and the Austin Independent School program. They have a pilot program where they are going to bus three elementary schools' worth of fifth graders out here. We will providing them — our educational folks upstairs will be providing them with information that they can find at Expo to help improve the science-based knowledge, using the outdoors for these fifth graders. If this goes gangbusters like we are expecting, we should see this really flourish and hopefully it will happen in other communities as well.

We will have, as we have started under our esteemed former leaders tutelage, our buses that come in from other communities. Mr. Henry started that a couple of years ago, and we have buses coming in from Dallas, Houston, Laredo, Beaumont, and other cities around, and that usually happens on Saturday.

Finally, and I think most exciting, and this is an idea that kind of came home to roost as you will remember, a number of years ago, some folks from Wyoming came to the Expo to see how we did it. In fact, they came for a number of years, and have for the last several years been putting on the Wyoming Hunting and Fishing Heritage Exposition in Casper. We got a video of their event, that happens actually in September, after it, and noticed that they were doing something that really promoted the recruitment of folks to work in resource management and conservation, and we have stolen that idea, as they have stolen many of ours, and you will see that as a much more robust outreach and recruitment effort this year.

We do have some visitors. We have some folks from Louisiana, including their director who they call their Secretary, Dwight Landreneaux and one of his associates, and a number of people that are coming down, actually four of them, from Oklahoma. They plan to do their first Expo next year. I am not sure about Louisiana, but we are always glad to have these folks come and visit with us.

As far as marketing goes, we are going to have a much more robust marketing plan, and go back to including a more statewide spread. We want to get our numbers up past that 40,000 again, and that should be easy to do. We will continue to have a strong Hispanic focus and in fact, one of the pieces you have there in front of you, our bilingual flyer that we will be taking to an event in about two weeks here in Austin, where there will be approximately 20 to 25,000 of our Hispanic friends that we want to get to come to the Wildlife Expo.

If you need any of this promotional material yourself, or you are interested in getting a bus here, please let us know, and we'll give you that information. That is about it, in a nutshell. I will be glad to answer any questions related to this year's Expo.

COMMISSIONER HENRY: Mr. Chairman?

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Al?

COMMISSIONER HENRY: Mr. Chairman, I would like to first commend Ernie and Peter for all the work they are doing on Expo. Last year, there were some questions raised by various components, of not only government, but media concerning Expo and its value to these communities and to this state. So, I think it is very important that we set forth this year, and for the future our strong commitment to back this program.

I particularly commend you on your new efforts with regard to outreach. Expo gives us an opportunity to celebrate our diversity. Unlike any other single program, I believe, that we have, where we focus so much activity on the one central location for one period of time. And I think this is extremely important and I would hope that with this as a program, it could continue in years to come, I hope that we find ways in the future to let it spread its wings, even.

We have talked about this for some time. But Ned and I were talking a little bit last night about the Ned is Commissioner Holmes, for those of you who may not know, the importance of getting kids from urban areas, not just the major urban areas of the state, but the smaller communities as well, where kids have little or no contact with nature and the great outdoors, how important it is for us to get these kids in, to just to give them a feeling for what it is like, and then encourage them to continue on in this regard. So, I just want to commend you and ask not only that all Commissioners, but all of our friends and visitors to support this outstanding effort. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Thank you, Al. I am intrigued by your Boy Scout Sportsman's Alliance. That is the first year you have pulled that together? That is a great partnership.

MR. GAMMAGE: It's a new coalition that they have begun, and the purpose of it really is to reintroduce in a meaningful way to the Boy Scout community, and that is the target. Not Girl Scouts. The traditional hunting and fishing and other sports related to the outdoors. And I think it will do really well.

They have tried these in other places, but this was a natural for them to come to our event, which already has all of the things that they want. And I think we will see hopefully a lot more Scouts, and certainly a lot more Scouts excited about hunting and fishing. I would like to take a second to publicly thank Susan Mathis and Ashley Matthews of our staff, who did a tremendous job in keeping the Expo ball rolling while I was out for a couple of months. Ladies, thank you so much for doing that. And of course, all the fine staff that work on Expo all year round.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Ernie, you did a great job. Thanks. Pete? Do you have anything?

COMMISSIONER HOLT: I just wanted to ask him about the Boy Scout thing this year, I want to thank everybody too, Ernie and of course, his staff, the two ladies really did keep it going this summer. On the Boy Scouts, have we been able to get the Boy Scouts to spread it out kind of throughout the state, in the sense that if I am a Boy Scout troop in Dallas, I know that this is a place I can come down?

MR. GAMMAGE: We actually sent out newsletter material, news releases to specifically to the Scout Councils back in the summer.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Right.

MR. GAMMAGE: Because most of their material starts rolling out in July or August.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Getting ready for the school year.

MR. GAMMAGE: So, they are all alerted to it. And we have been getting phone calls and emails about how I can bring my folks down.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: On a statewide basis?

MR. GAMMAGE: On a statewide basis.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Right. Okay.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Peter, our Alamo Council is going to send some B

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Right. You know, that's why we talked about it. Ernie, I think, was more aware of it probably than anybody, and Al too, is that how do we get more statewide people to get to Austin? And it seems like the Boy Scouts and some of these statewide type of organizations are the way to do some real outreach to the youth.

MR. GAMMAGE: We have, over the past several years, from a news and information and marketing perspective shrunk our efforts, and we are back on track with those efforts. We're really going to try to put local news stories in communities that have a tie to Expo, groups that come down, exhibitors that may be here from local communities, so there is a reason for those communities to pick those stories up. And I think that will be successful, to spread that statewide message.

MR. COOK: Mr. Chairman?

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Bob?

MR. COOK: I'd like to just say thanks. Thanks go to a lot of people and many of you have been involved in this event for years. I want to especially thank this gentleman. He has done us a great job at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. This event is good for us. It is good for the people who work here to get to spend those two days right face-to-face, hand-in-hand with our customers, with our constituents. It really is. And we appreciate the opportunity.

I also think it is important to note and to recognize our partner. The dinner on Friday evening, a fund raising event for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation. Rob Alberts is here. We appreciate their assistance very, very much. Those funds that are generated, we use in a lot of different projects, a lot of different ways. We use them for scholarships. We use them for research. So, encourage each and every one of you to attend and to participate in that.

You know, Ernie mentioned a couple of other states that are coming in. The last several years, I typically — three or four times a year, I end up at places where a number of the executive directors from other agencies all work together for a day for a meeting, for whatever it is. It never fails; our Expo comes up. And people are asking us, what is that? How do you do that? How do people react to that? And it has, Ernie, and again, thanks to Ernie and our efforts across the board, many other states have picked up on this and are beginning to do something very similar at different scales, but very similar. A good event, good for us, and I think, good for conservation. We thank you very much.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Thank, Ernie. Well done. Next up, Briefing Item number 9, Vernon? Waterfowl update.

MR. BEVILL: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. My name is Vernon Bevill. I am the Small Game and Habitat Assessment Program director, and I am here today to brief you all on the waterfowl season selections that were made via the executive order process to start the wheels rolling and to get all our printed material put together and out for the sportsmen of Texas.

As you may recall, several years ago, the Fish and Wildlife Service sort of changed their procedure and backed it up a little bit on the deadlines for season selections, which really put us in a bind to be able to continue to come before the Commission with these season selections, and the decision was made to authorize the director on the executive order allowing consultation with the Chairman to make those decisions. Again, this year, surprisingly to a number of us, the mallard population held up.

The pond count held up just enough, and that computerized modeling scenario that the Service goes through that gives us a liberal or a moderate or a restrictive season, we got liberal again, for I think, the seventh year in a row. And that functionally means a 74-day season for about two thirds of Texas.

And then you add 22 days to that red area on your map, the High Plain Mallard Management Unit which regulatorily is the State of West Texas. It operates under a different framework, all the way up to the Canadian border, that segment of our central flyway, because it is lightly hunted and lightly harvested.

The High Plain Mallard Management Unit season selections are the Youth Hunt in late October the 23rd and 24th, with the regular duck season again this year. We didn't do it last year, because we had a 16-day teal season the year before last. We started the first segment of the regular duck season on the day after teal season closed. We are doing that this year, and because of the days and weekend configurations, we are running that little segment to October 4, and closing it on a Monday and reopening on October 30, and running to January 25, a Tuesday.

And the pintail-canvasback season within a season, which is 39 days then runs from the 18th of December to the end of the framework. It starts on Saturday the 18th. The North Zone, which is your light blue area on the map, the Youth Hunt is the last weekend in October ‘‘ the following weekend November the 6th through November the 28th with the first season segment, and then reopening on December 11th and running through January 30th, which is the end of the framework for the regular late season segment with the pintail-canvasback season, December 23rd through January the 30th.

The South Zone season, your green area, the Youth Hunt, also the last weekend in October. And the first segment of the regular duck season, we are doing the same thing we did in the High Plain mallard management Unit, except we closed in on Sunday, so that would be September 27th through October 3rd, followed by November 13th reopening and running to Tuesday, January the 18th, with the pintail-canvasback running the last 39 days.

One of the things we are doing here, just so you will understand that September 27th opening the day after teal season, that we have been talking about and hearing feedback from duck hunters for a number of years about the growing population of whistling ducks and the fact that whistling ducks functionally aren't available because they have migrated into Mexico by sometime in late October, or early November, so there are very few around, although a few get killed every year, get harvested.

And we have been looking at a way to maybe make the whistling duck a bonus bird in the bag during teal season. And this gives us an opportunity without jumping through the eye of the needle that Fish and Wildlife Service will eventually ask us to if we proposed it, to test this, and see if this is an opportunity worth further consideration. So, I think that will be an interesting thing to do.

And I just got an email today this morning from a friend in South Dakota. He says South Dakota is pretty dry and pretty cool, and the birds are already beginning to shuffle south. So, we may have a lot of ducks in Texas, just beyond teal by late September. So, this should be an interesting offering. The bag limit again, is a six-bird bag, not to exceed the species composition shown in this slide. And for those who like a coot per low [phonetic], you can take 15 of those a day, if you know how to make one.

The Western Goose Zone, the light goose season will open on October the 30th and run through February the 1st, with a 20-bird bag, no possession limits. Possession limit otherwise is twice the daily bag on other species, all other species. Dark geese, October 30th through February 1st, with an aggregate bag of four, not-to-exceed three Canadas and one Whitefront.

The Eastern Goose Zone is November the 6th through January the 30th, the light geese and dark geese, same scenario, except the dark goose bag package is a five-bird bag, not-to-exceed three Canadas and two Whitefronts. Whitefront population operates on a very restrictive management plan, and we use a three year running average of the population counts that is actually going to be made in late September, looking at fall flight to tell us what we are going to be doing the following year.

And right now, that management plan is right on the crest of dropping back to a one-bird bag next year, so just alerting you to that. It ebbs and flows with reproduction. We are still under the light goose conservation order rules, and under those rules, they will start right after the regular goose season closes. There is no daily bag. The electronic collar is available. Shotguns do not have to be plugged and shooting hours are extended one half hour after sunset.

And for the Western Goose Zone, that light goose conservation order kicks in on February 2nd through March 27th, and in the Eastern Goose Zone, it starts the day after that goose season closes on January 31st, which also happens to be my 40th wedding anniversary. I may be somewhere else with my wife that day.

The sandhill crane season has to coincide with the light goose conservation order. In other words, we can't be hunting any other migratory birds in the waterfowl arena at the time of the conservation order, so these Zone A, B and C dates reflect that need to operate within the context of that light goose conservation order. So, the sandhill crane season is a little bit shorter than it otherwise might be.

Mr. Chairman, that concludes my presentation. I will be happy to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Vernon, due to improved conditions, it seems we have a liberalized bag everywhere but teal. We had the shorter teal season. Well, the bag is the same, the shorter season based on the survey. Any explanation for that? Why the teal numbers didn't maintain with the good conditions?

MR. BEVILL: Well, last year, we had 16 days and we had like 5.5 million teal, bluewing teal in the survey area. This year we had slightly over 4 million bluewings in the surveyed area. And there is no way that we lost a million and a half teal from one year to the next.

But what happens is your water distribution changes and weather patterns and migration changes and for bluewings, that survey starts a little early. It picks up ducks like mallards and other, pintails and other species pretty well. But it probably starts a week or two early before the bluewings get back in those surveyed areas. So, I think that is what we have experienced this year, is just a little bit earlier survey than the teal got back to where they could be counted.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Is there a way to work with the Service to improve the accuracy of that or to avoid that sort of outcome?

MR. BEVILL: Those surveys are so entrenched in such a long term database and tweaking those surveys for this special interest deal when mallards are the driver for setting season is probably not likely.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Another job for Billy Osborne and the Game Bird Advisory Board.

MR. BEVILL: And a big job at that.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: On waterfowl, John Parker?

COMMISSIONER PARKER: Mr. Bevill, have you been in contact with the people down in the South Zone, along the coastal areas, have they expressed any concerns?

MR. BEVILL: We did. When we got the options from the Fish and Wildlife Service back in late July, we put together a package that had two options in it. And we put those options on the street. One of the options for the South Zone was I believe, opening it on about November 6th and running it to the 5th of December, and then reopen on the 18th of December and run it to the 22nd or 3rd, I think.

And then this option that I just presented to you was to test the opportunity to look at the feasibility of a whistling duck add-on to the regular teal season somewhere down the road if we can get it approved. And the comment, in fact, Commissioner Holmes was at a meeting where we made a presentation in Houston about where are all the ducks? And we discussed that with a group of about 40 people that day.

And there was very strong support of this late September opener for a week. We put these options on the street for comment and we got about 230 or 40 comments as I recall. Actually, the preponderance of those comments favored the recommendation of the November opener with a split in early December.

We took it before, we took these proposals before the Game Bird Advisory Board last Thursday, and discussed that. And it was very significantly discussed. And what we would gain, versus what we would lose with either approach. And the Game Bird Advisory Board unanimously supported looking at the opportunity of establishing maybe a bonus bird in the September teal season, using the whistling duck. So that is why we have finalized that selection and recommendation that way. Any other questions?

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Thank you, Vernon. Thanks for working with that advisory group. It is important. Thanks.

MR. BEVILL: And I want to thank you all, and thank Mr. Cook for recognizing our good friend John Walker. We will miss him.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Thank you. We will. Any other questions on the waterfowl update? Next item, Item 10, action item on the agenda. Operating and capital budget, Mary Fields.

MS. FIELDS: Good morning, Commissioners. For the record, I am Mary Fields, Chief Financial Officer, and I am here to present the proposed fiscal year 2005 operating and capital budget, and the budget and investment policies for your adoption. Yesterday, I provided an overview of the proposed budget, and today, I'll mention just a few key points.

The 78th Legislature appropriated $210.8 million to the Department, and during the budget process, we identified adjustments and additional funds that brings our operating and capital budget to $279.2 million. Of that total, the operating budget presents $228.7 million, which includes $18.8 million for grants and the capital budget is $50.5 million, which includes $47.4 million for capital projects. Our FTE cap for the fiscal year 2005 is 3,038.5 and the Department will stay within the capped amount.

I would like to highlight just a few key points regarding the budget. Reductions that impacted us in fiscal year 2004 continue to impact us during fiscal year '05. We have had to absorb the increasing cost of fuel and maintenance expenses for aging vehicles within our operations. We have incorporated the full $15.7 million fee increase into our budget, along with an estimated salary lapse of 2.9 percent to meet budget demand. With the new freshwater fish stamp being implemented in '05, we have included the estimated revenue of $4.3 million associated with that stamp, and finally, we have applied a $5.2 million general revenue reduction to this operating budget as a result of the real estate rider that is included in Article IX of the General Appropriations Act, Section 1204.

Moving on to the budget and investment policy resolutions, I'll briefly cover a few points from each of these policies and I would like to note that neither policy has changed since last year when they were approved by the Commission. Through the budget policy, the Commission authorizes the executive director to improve and execute or have executed on his behalf the necessary expenditures, budget adjustments, and transfers. Budget adjustments excluding federal grants and bonds which exceed $250,000 require prior approval of the Chairman of the Commission, and the Chairman of the Finance Committee. The investment policy must be reviewed annually by the Commission as required by statute.

All Parks and Wildlife funds with a few exceptions, as noted on the screen are required to be deposited in the State Treasury. The policy also includes requirements for collateral on bank accounts and proper authorization. Reporting requirements are also included in this policy. It is recommended that the Commission adopt the motion as seen on the screen. And that concludes mine.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Thank you, Mary. We have one person signed up to speak, I believe, on Item 10. Dee Ann Stites? I hope I pronounced that right.

MS. STITES: Thank you. Good morning, Mr. Chair, Commissioners. I am Dee Ann Stites with the Texas Department of Agriculture Shrimp Marketing Program. I am here to briefly update you on the Texas shrimp marketing activities which are funded in part by the surcharges on the Parks' wholesale fish dealer licenses, which are part of your all's budget. Coming to you is a letter from Commissioner Combs detailing some of our efforts, and samples. You will be receiving some samples of our marketing materials.

We are very pleased to be working with the Texas shrimp industry. The industry has been very responsive to our efforts, and have been very good to work with. Also compliments should go to Robin Riechers and Jerry Cook here at the Department, as they have been very helpful in facilitating the funding mechanism between TDA and Parks.

Commissioner Combs wanted me to let you know that TDA is very cognizant of the many issues that is facing Texas shrimp industry today. And we are very glad to have this opportunity to work with him in a marketing capacity. If you have any questions about our marketing program or our materials, I am pleased to answer them. It is pleasure to be working with you all. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Thank you, Dee Ann. Maybe Mary would be the one to answer this, or you may know. In reviewing this letter, I don't see what the amount, what was the amount collected in the surcharge due to the shrimp program the first year?

MS. STITES: Robin can answer.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Robin is the answer man.

MS. STITES: 250.

MR. RIECHERS: Robin Riechers, for the record, with Coastal Fisheries Division. The amount is just under $250,000 that will be collected and that is what we were required by statute to pass over to the Texas Department of Agriculture.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: All right. And that is collected as a surcharge from commercial licensees?

MR. RIECHERS: Commercial licensees that deal with shrimp products, yes sir.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: So, bay, offshore, bait?

MR. RIECHERS: Bait, gulf, wholesale, yes, sir. All of those. There is a 10 percent surcharge on all of those except the bait license. The bait license was not directed for that, because of course, this is a food shrimp marketing program, and not a bait marketing program.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: As usual, a clear and direct answer. Thanks, Robin.

MR. RIECHERS: Thank you.

MS. STITES: Thank you. And one other thing I might add, you all will get a packet of our marketing materials. In there is a handy aluminum shrimp deveiner. I don't know if any of you all came in on commercial airline, but please don't try to take that on the plane. Put it in your checked bags. We have found out that that doesn't work very well. Thank you all.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Thank you. Any other questions for Mary?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Last opportunity to talk about shrimp. No, it's not your last opportunity to talk about shrimp today. You will get another one. Anything to add there, Mary?

MS. FIELDS: No, sir.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Any other questions from the Commissioners?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Is there a motion on this item?

COMMISSIONER HOLT: So moved.

COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Second.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Moved by Commissioner Holt and second by Commissioner Ramos. All in favor, please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Any opposed?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Hearing none, the motion carries. Thank you, Mary.

MS. STITES: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Next up, Item 11. Kris Bishop, Civil Restitution.

MS. BISHOP: Good morning, Mr. Chairman and Commission members. Again, I am Kris Bishop. I serve as the Assistant Chief of Fisheries for the Law Enforcement Division. One of my duties is to administer the Civil Restitution Program for Texas Parks and Wildlife.

Yesterday, I appeared before you to propose amendment to Texas Administrative Code 69.22 and 69.30 concerning the Department's rules for recovering monetary damages from persons convicted of taking wildlife resources in violation of the law. I reviewed the laws and regulations that pertain to our Civil Restitution Program and then informed you of research that initiated those proposals as follows: in 1985, the Texas Legislature passed amendments to Parks and Wildlife Code by adding Chapter 12.301.

This statute holds a person liable to the State for any value of the wildlife or aquatic resource unlawfully killed, caught, taken, possessed or injured. At that time, they also added Chapter 12.302 whereby the Commission shall adopt rules to establish guidelines for determining the value of those injured or destroyed resources. To remind you, the recovery value of injured and destroyed wildlife is determined on a per animal basis.

Each animal is rated on eight scoring criteria. Those scores are summed to create a total criteria score which is then multiplied by a weighting factor to adjust for the variance in public demand or perception of value. The adjusted criteria score has a corresponding recovery value, which the violator is then assessed. The value of trophy wildlife species is determined on the Boone and Crockett score.

Yesterday, I informed you that the current values for which we the restitution amounts for wildlife species are calculated and have not been changed since 1985 with the exception of the rules governing the trophy wildlife species which were adopted in 1996. I spoke of how economic factors, such as inflation and real dollar equivalents have eroded the deterrent power of the current restitution values. In addition, the cost to the Department of administering and enforcing the rules has increased for the same economic reasons.

Research indicates that the Consumer Price Index has increased 1.677 points between 1986 and 2003. The proposed amendment would increase the criteria score values to reflect that change in the CPI. The proposed wildlife values were produced by multiplying the current values by 1.677 and then rounding to the nearest 50 cents. The table includes an example of the wildlife species for each current value, and its proposed value. Staff also recommends amendments to the Texas Administrative Code 69.30, concerning trophy wildlife species by changing the dollar co-efficient used to calculate the final restitution value for white-tail deer, mule deer, pronghorn antelope and desert bighorn sheep.

Our proposal reflects the approximate current value, market value of trophy quality hunting opportunity for these four big game species. These market values were obtained by consulting department personnel, land owners and published advertising for trophy opportunities. The proposed changes in the current formulas are highlighted in yellow. In addition, the amendment removes references to elk as the Texas Legislature in 1997 removed elk from our regulatory authority, because they are an exotic.

We received 275 public comments to the proposed changes in civil restitution assessment. 87 percent agreed, 13 percent disagreed with those proposals. The recommended motion to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission: adopt the amendments to the Texas Administrative Code 69.22 and 69.30 with changes to the proposed text as published in the July 23, 2004 issue of the Texas Register. I would be happy to answer any question you might have.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Thank you, Kris. Obviously a lot of work went into this. Any questions from the Commissioners that we didn't exhaust yesterday in committee on this? And thanks for your hard work, you took some tough questions yesterday.

MS. BISHOP: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: We'll let you slide today.

MS. BISHOP: All right.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: I believe Commissioner Parker had a question regarding bobwhite and scale quail. Is that right?

COMMISSIONER PARKER: What would it take to consider all species of quail having restitution value the same as all species of geese?

MS. BISHOP: Well, they are B

COMMISSIONER PARKER: They are about half that.

MS. BISHOP: Yes, sir. I understand your question. And that eight scoring criteria, there must be one. I could check for you and get back with you and tell you what one of those eight is so off. Or maybe a combination of those eight that is off on the others, on the two quail that it isn't on the others. But something in that formula is making them come out a different amount. Everything falls into one of ten values. And for some reason, those scores are adding up different for those two species of quail. But I could look at it and tell you which one it points out that it is. I'll get back with you on that.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Any other questions for her?

(Pause.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Want to try again, Commissioner Holmes?

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: Let me ask from a different perspective. To what extent can subjective criteria be used to change the restitution value. Commissioner Parker was interested in quail having a higher restitution value. Can it be subjective? And what is the procedure by which that would be accomplished?

MS. BISHOP: Well B

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: I mean we recognize that your formula has produced a specific number B

MR. MCKINNEY: Commissioner, for the record, I am Dr. Larry McKinney, director for Coastal Fisheries, although I worked on this project many years ago. Those things, the way you rank these, it is an evaluation by professional biologists over those ranked. And so that can certainly be looked at. I would caution the Commission to be careful, that we need to keep a strong biological base in that. Because what we will have to do at some day, is to defend those in court.

So, we can look through those types of things, but we want to make sure that they are well justified and as we have done with the white-tail deer, and that type of thing. So, we just have to run through that process and give the biologists a chance to go back and look at it. So, I would just ask you to be careful about what we put on the record and how we deal with that.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Well, and the criteria is both biological and market.

MR. MCKINNEY: There are evaluation criteria that they can look at. They can be looked at and B

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Certainly, if you do it per ounce, dollars per ounce, I think that quail will score pretty high.

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: Yes. But a head count or a per pound.

COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Excuse me.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Mr. Ramos?

COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Yes. I though yesterday, you had mentioned that there were like eight factors that could be considered and only one of which would be what the animals are trading for, as you might say. So, you can use the other factor to influence the value.

MS. BISHOP: Correct. Those eight different criteria are recreational value, aesthetics, educational value, scarcity, environmental tolerance, economics which incorporates the economy that is built around that species. Duck hunting for a while, ducks were valued very high, because we didn't have a lot of ducks.

I mean the interest is still there in hunting, but we have had, perhaps through the efforts of DU and things like that, we have more ducks now, so the value because the scarcity went down, the value came down. So, all those things share an equal role. The get points out of each of those eight.

COMMISSIONER RAMOS: It seems with the white-tail, it is much more objective, because maybe there's a more defined market as you might say.

MS. BISHOP: Yes.

COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Okay.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Thank you. Any other questions for Tim? You almost got out of here without those tough questions. Next time, I am not going to promise you an easy ride. Any other questions from the Commission?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Is there a motion on this item?

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: So moved.

COMMISSIONER PARKER: Second.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: It was moved by Commissioner Holmes, second by Commissioner Parker. All in favor, please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Any opposed?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Hearing none, the motion carries. Thank you very much, Kris.

MS. BISHOP: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Next up, Mike Berger, Item 12, Legislative Rule Review.

MR. BERGER: Good morning, Mr. Chair and Commissioners. My name is Mike Berger, and I am the director of the Wildlife Division, and here today to talk to you about the review of Chapters 52 and 65 of the Code. As you are aware, we are required to review these regulations, all regulations once every four years and re-adapt as is, amend or appeal, and must certify that the need for the rule continues to exist.

The notice of intent to review Chapters 52 and 65 was published March 5, 2004 in the Texas Register. I would note that Chapter 52 consists solely of the Department's stocking policy, and Chapter 65 contains sub-chapters on the statewide hunting and fishing proclamation, the public lands proclamation, endangered and threatened species, and a number of deer permits.

What we are proposing, that there would be no changes to Chapter 52, and no changes to sub-chapters A, G, J, O and V of Chapter 65. As discussed yesterday, we do see the need for some changes in the other sub-chapters in Chapter 65, and we will publish those proposed changes and bring them back to you for consideration in November. So the recommendation today is that you adopt Chapter 52 and sub-chapters A, G, J, O and V of 65. I would be happy to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Thank you, Mike. Any questions for Mike?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Hearing no questions for Mike on that item, is there a motion?

COMMISSIONER WATSON: So moved.

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: Seconded.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Moved by Watson, Second by Ramos. All in favor, please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Any opposed?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Hearing none, the motion carries. Thank you, Mike. We'll have you up one more time.

MR. BERGER: One more time.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Electronic license sales.

MR. BERGER: For the record, I am Mike Berger, Wildlife Division director. And here today to bring you a simplification of our regulations regarding electronic licensing procedures. Is our current would allow a person to buy a license over the telephone or through the internet, and receive an authorization number that would be valid for 20 days. However the person right now would not be allowed to hunt deer or turkey because those require a tag off that license to be attached to the harvested animal.

In April, the Commission adopted changes to the regulations to eliminate the double tagging requirement for deer, so that a person no longer requires a license tag, provided they are hunting on a managed land deer property, a LAMPS property forest service analyst or other special TPWD hunting permit. The amendment we are proposing today would allow that person to have an electronic authorization number and hunt deer on those properties without the need for the license itself to be in his possession. So, our recommendation is that we make those changes necessary to allow that to happen.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Questions?

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Mike, how are we going to notify the MLD permit holders, LAMPS et cetera. I mean, in other words, how will they know? Because I happen to be one, and I have run into this before, where people show up and don't have a license.

MR. BERGER: Well, that notification should go out when the permits are issued to the landowners who hold those permits, when they get delivered those permits.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Are the permits delivered every year? That's what I couldn't remember. Okay.

MR. BERGER: Yes. Permits are delivered to the landowners.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: So there will be some kind of number that says you can do this?

MR. BERGER: Yes. And we will be putting out news releases. We want to make sure that everyone knows that this is available.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: That is a great deal.

MR. BERGER: Yes.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Yes.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Congratulations on getting that done. I know it went a long time from the first idea to actually getting it done. Commissioner Parker?

COMMISSIONER PARKER: When you said that ‘‘ if you buy a license electronically, you cannot hunt deer for the first 20 days?

MR. BERGER: No, the electronic, the authorization number is valid for 20 days. During that interim period, you should receive your actual license. And after that time, you should carry your actual license with you. So, but the authorization number is good for the 20-day intervening period. You don't need that if you hunt deer, if this is adopted, if you hunt deer, you don't need anything but that authorization number, if you are hunting on one of the appropriate properties.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Thank you, Mike. Any other questions for Mike regarding the electronic license sales?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Is there a motion on this item?

COMMISSIONER BROWN: So moved.

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: Seconded.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Moved by Commissioner Brown, second by Commissioners Holmes. All in favor, please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Any opposed?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Hearing none, the motion carries. Thank you, Mike. Next, Clayton Wolf is up on Item 14. Triple T.

MR. WOLF: Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, again, I am Clayton Wolf, director of the Big Game Program. I am going to present to you proposed changes to our chronic wasting disease testing requirements within our Triple T regulations. First, a brief overview of what is currently required of folks that want to trap and transport live deer in Texas. If someone wants to trap and move live deer in Texas, there are some testing requirements that must come from the trap site.

One of those is that 10 percent of the number of deer proposed to be removed must be tested. And the sample size shall be no fewer than ten animals and no greater than 40 animals. The required samples, as per our regulations right now indicate that these tests must return a negative test result. Within the last year, we have discovered some issues with our regulations and inconsistencies between our regulation language and the way the Texas Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Lab reports results.

The TVMDL reports CWD test result that is not detected location or detected. Basically, not detected is the result that we are looking for. It is the one that we intended when we indicated negative. That is the sample was submitted properly, the lab technicians were able to find a specific anatomical body in that brain stem. They did the staining, and then checked for the presence of the prion. However, someone can submit a botched sample, or possibly, the lab technician cannot find that specific location, they will still test the sample for prions. They will still do the staining process.

In such a case, the result will come back as a location. And then, of course, if the sample has prions present, then the result is detected, so that you can see that there is an obvious inconsistency between our regulations and the test results from the diagnostic lab. Additionally, our Triple T regulations did not specify a time frame for CWD sampling and testing. The basic assumption was that testing would occur on an annual basis prior to Triple T activities.

However, there were a few individuals that assumed that testing could be good for several years and in addition, we were contacted by at least one urban area that asked if they could use summer road kills for their testing requirement. And the truth of the matter is, we didn't define a time frame for testing in our regulations. We took these issues before our White-tailed Deer Advisory Committee to develop some recommendations that would accommodate most individuals and be workable for those folks that do Triple T.

And the proposal that was published in the Texas Register is that the required samples must test not detected. This one is obviously pretty easy to arrive at this answer. Additionally, as far as time frame goes, the proposal is that test results are not valid if the sample was tested or collected prior to October 1 of the previous permit year. In essence, if someone wants to move deer, this upcoming Triple T season, which begins October 1, it is possible that they could use samples that were collected after October 1 of last year.

However, there are some limitations. Test results cannot be used in more than one trapping season, except in cases where the full allotment of deer was not moved the previous season. I can best describe this scenario with an example. If we approve someone to move 100 deer last year, during last Triple T season, because they met the testing requirements, and they moved all their deer, then basically, they can no longer use those test results. They have to have another set of test results that was collected and tested after October 1.

However, if they moved only a portion of those deer, say 50 of those animals, they can use those same test results up until they have moved the 50th animal. At the point where they want to move the 51st animal, then the minimum testing requirements kick in, and they will have to provide at least another ten samples. As far as public comments goes, we received 208 comments on this issue. Ninety-seven percent of them agreed with the proposal. That is 201. Seven disagreed.

For the most part there were some comments that folks didn't think any deer ought to be moved in Texas. That deer shouldn't be brought into Texas, and that our testing requirements weren't stringent enough. However, generally speaking, we confer with many individuals, including our advisory committee and the Texas Animal Heath Commission. And this sampling strategy is consistent with our CWD monitoring protocol.

Therefore, the recommended motion is that the Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts an amendment to Chapter 31 of the Texas Administrative Code, Section 65.102, concerning permits for trapping, transporting and transplanting game animals and game birds, with changes to proposed text, as published in the July 23, 2004 issue of the Texas Register. And I will be glad to take any questions.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Clayton, I think we have four people signed up to speak on this, so if you will stand by, there may be some questions. John Jefferson? They gave me your card. All right. Just observing today. All right. Ellis Gilleland? And Kirby Brown, you are on deck.

MR. GILLELAND: My name is Ellis Gilleland, and I am a private citizen speaking for myself, and for Texas animals, an animal rights organization on the internet. I would like to say that the public, I feel, is fairly well informed as to the CWD testing program, in regard to Lakeway deer. In other words, the relocation of deer from suburban areas. It has been published numerous times. There is no question 10 percent down the line.

However, the public is anxiously awaiting for you to publish, please. I have asked for two or three years now. Please tell us what your plan is for testing for CWD in the state parks, in the wildlife management areas. The individual hunter in Carrizo Springs and most importantly, what is your plan for having the scientific breeders test beyond what they voluntarily want to do. Not what is imposed by you upon them, but what it appears that they are only doing what they want to do. In other words, when, in God's name, will you publish a CWD testing program that applies to all aspects of your apparently oral, verbal program. The only aspect that is written, that I am aware of is the TTT 10 percent.

So will you please publish for the unwashed public? We can handle it. Tell us beyond the little snippets that you dribble out to the Dallas Morning News and the Houston Chronicle and so forth, those snippets about, oh, we are testing in the state parks. Oh, we are testing in the wild at Cancur [phonetic] or wherever. Well, that doesn't cut a comprehensive program against a devastating potential that hangs over our head.

Please publish your testing program, particularly where the high probability is, and the scientific breeder is paying close contact, deer being brought from Colorado, Wisconsin and God knows where all. There is no probability, zero probability in Lakeway, where they are eating petunias and they were born and raised there in a certain front yard. There is an extremely high probability that Karl Kinsel's people have CWD and they are being allowed to voluntarily push it under the carpet. Please publish your plan, overall, comprehensive for CWD testing in Texas. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Thank you, Mr. Gilleland. Kirby Brown?

MR. BROWN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners. My name is Kirby Brown. I am really here to thank the staff for their work. Scott Boruff, Mike Berger and especially Clayton Wolf and Mitch Lockwood. In working through the White-tailed Deer Advisory Committee to come up with some reasonable and flexible guidelines for landowners that still do the job of protecting our white-tailed deer resource and providing rigorous testing requirements. We are very appreciative. We think those things will continue to help the resource as we move forward. Thank you very much.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Thank you, Kirby. Robert Saunders, next up and I believe last one on this issue.

MR. SAUNDERS: Mr. Chairman and Commissioners, I am Robert Saunders, speaking today on behalf of the Texas Deer Association. I apologize, Karl Kinsel, our director would have been here today. We have a convention going on, starting today in San Antonio, at La Cantera, and we'd like to invite all of you all to attend some part of it. I know that some of you are coming, and we appreciate that.

As Kirby said, we want to thank the same people for getting things done. Probably, did a better job than we expected in the beginning. And I think that is probably on behalf of Mr. Chairman, you appointing Lee Bass as chairman of the White-tailed Deer Advisory Committee. His time is very important, and it looked like he drove to the Committee to get things done. There were some issues, I think, under the White-tailed Deer Committee that we probably didn't finish.

And today we are talking about Triple T. And we did talk about the CWD testing, but I think that our folks that are TDA members really think that Triple T is an important tool in managing deer, and we really feel like there ought to be some type of exit procedure that we need to be talking about that maybe one of these days we figure out that we don't have CWD and we don't need to be testing.

The issue of the Triple T, as I said, is very important and we really would like to see that. And I know there are some committees that are meeting. One, as a matter of fact is going to be meeting Monday, and they are going to be talking about CWD from the veterinary standpoint. So, we'd like to be involved, and I know you all have provided a lot of our membership on the White-tailed Deer Advisory Committee, and we realize that it is an ongoing project for all of us. So, thank you all.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Thank you very much. Anyone else signed up, that I might have missed on Triple T? Any questions from the Commissioners for Clayton?

MR. WOLF: Mr. Chairman, I might just add that we do have a sampling plan and the first year of our sampling, the bulk of the samples did come off of state parks and wildlife management areas. And I would suspect, by year three, which is this next season, that probably the best testing sites in the state are going to be our wildlife management areas and state parks. And we do have written regulations for scientific breeders also, that have monitoring requirements within our scientific breeder program.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Thank you for addressing that question, Mr. Gilleland's. And I guess the rest of the information is on the web site?

MR. WOLF: Yes. There is quite a bit of information on our CWD plan on the web, and in fact, our sampling plan for this year, which we get funding from the USDA, we are in negotiations with them right now, and that details locations and sample size. But it will probably be much similar to last year's.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Thank you, Clayton. Any other questions.

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: I do have one for Clayton.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Commissioner Holmes.

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: In the event that a test comes back and it says location. What does the individual do? Do they retest or what happens after that?

MR. WOLF: Well, if a test comes back as location, and what we are advising folks to do is in essence is, submit more samples. In other words, if they need ten valid test results, we suggest they send twelve or 15, depending on their comfort level with taking sample out, because the majority of the time, it is the person pulling the sample that makes the error, not the lab. But once they do that slice, in most cases, what the lab is telling me is, they have to get another sample to do that. So that is, if they can't find it in that brain stem, then basically, they set it aside, and the end result is location. There is no re-testing.

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: There is no re-testing, but they have an opportunity to send in additional samples?

MR. WOLF: Yes, they do. That is correct.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Commissioner Montgomery?

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: This is probably a long answer, but if there is a concise answer, I'd appreciate it. I have not read anything lately about whether CWD continues to spread in other states around the country. Can you give a quick summary of the status, whether it is increasing around the country?

MR. WOLF: Typically speaking, many states have really enhanced their sampling. In this past year, we came up with no new states. So, of those eleven or 13 states, I can't recall, that have CWD, no new findings this year. They are still finding animals in the states like New Mexico and Wisconsin et cetera, that have had it. But no new occurrences, no ground breaking news. Especially in the Southeast. We are pretty active with states in the Southeast, and there is a lot of sampling going on, and no positives or no detecteds this past year, or past hunting season.

MR. COOK: Commissioner Montgomery, I think it might be, and Clayton help me make sure I say this right, I think it has been interesting, what I have been told, and what I have heard, that some of the states that fought from some of the initial testing, that they might have what do you call it, an infection rate of 15 percent or something like that, that with additional sampling, most of those estimates have come down significantly, that the percentage of infection rate is not as high in most areas as they thought.

I think it is significant that they have not found new states. We are watching the New Mexico line awfully close. That is one of concern for us, and we still have of course, on any deer coming in from out of state, I mean, we're still protected there. And we are following Texas Animal Health Guidelines on all of this to the letter.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Any other questions for Clayton on Agenda Item 14, Triple T regulations, CWD. Is there a motion on this item?

COMMISSIONER WATSON: So moved.

COMMISSIONER HENRY: Second.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Moved by Commissioner Watson, second by Vice-Chairman Henry. All in favor, please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Any opposed?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Hearing none, the motion carries. Thank you, Clayton. The next up, license buyback program, Robin Riechers.

MR. RIECHERS: Chairman Fitzsimons, Commissioners, my name is Robin Riechers and I am the director of the Science and Policy Branch, Coastal Fisheries Division. The item before you proposes final adoption of the proposed changes, Chapter 53, sub-chapter A under fees, regarding the $3 surcharge to saltwater sport fishing stamp. The original surcharge is set to expire on August 31 of 2005.

The proposal will continue the fee without a sunset provision, and we would propose again that the money be dedicated for use in the commercial license buyback programs initially. The $3 surcharge raises on average $1.37 million per year, and as we said yesterday, that has allowed us to purchase over 1,170 licenses since the beginning of this program, which equates to about 36 percent of the licenses that we began the program with.

The next slide provides the estimates that we would expect, beginning year 2006. The number of licenses that we would buy, both with the projected $3 surcharge and without the $3 surcharge, and of course, the little blue line starting in 2006, that is relatively small is what we would purchase without the license, and the red represents what we could purchase with the $3 surcharge. What that equates in numbers is about, by the end of FY '07, we would purchase about 500 licenses with the surcharge and without, about 50. By the end of FY '09, we would expect that number to rise to 800, by the end, with the surcharge, and only about 80 without the surcharge.

To date, we have received over 212 comments regarding this proposal. 82 percent have been in agreement with the proposal and 18 percent have been in disagreement with the proposal at this time. The staff recommendation comes to you in the form of the motion that you see on the screen now, and we would recommend that you adopt 31 TAC Chapter 53, subchapter A, section 53.6(b)(2) regarding the $3 surcharge, as it was published in the July 23, 2004 Texas Register. I would be happy to answer any questions at this time.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Thank you, Robin. We have one person signed up to speak on this agenda item, Luke Giles.

MR. GILES: Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners. Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you this morning. My name is Luke Giles, I am assistant director with Coastal Conservation Association of Texas, and I am here to testify in support of continuing the $3 surcharge. CCA Texas has supported this surcharge and the conservation vision behind it, since its inception and it is clear that there have been some positive results in reducing bay trawling efforts, due to the buyback license program.

Continuing this effort is a vital part in the conservation of the bay eco on virtually all levels. It is clear that we have yet to see the full benefit that this program promises to bring with further license reduction and to discontinue it now would be a disservice to the progress made so far, and to the future of the conservation of Texas's bays. The buyback program stands as one of the true examples of a win-win situation in commercial fishing reduction. It is an important tool, and directly addresses one of the most pressing issues facing Texas coastal bays.

CCA Texas supports the continuance of this program, and I would like to stress to the Commission the importance of this tool in the conservation and restoration of Texas coastal bays. Again, I thank you for the opportunity to speak to you, and I thank you for your past and continued strong support for this program.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Thank you, Mr. Giles and all the good work CCA does. We appreciate it. Any other questions or comments for Robin on Agenda Item 15?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Is there a motion on this item?

COMMISSIONER BROWN: So moved.

COMMISSIONER PARKER: Second.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: That's a motion. Give that one to Brown and the second to Parker, how's that? All in favor, please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Any opposed?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Hearing none, the motion carries. That is pretty good support for that program. Next, Item 16, action item, Cormorant Control Permit. John Herron.

MR. HERRON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Commission members. My name is John Herron. I am the program director for Wildlife Diversity, and today I am going to brief you on a proposal to implement a cormorant control program. This is an action item before the Commission, following our committee briefing yesterday and our initial briefing of you at the last Commission meeting. I will try to make this quicker this time, than yesterday. I see that we don't have a lot of folks. I was wondering if anybody was going to show up and comment on this.

But basically, we are responding to a federal depredation order that was issued last fall, that allowed state wildlife agencies to implement cormorant control programs. As I mentioned to you all yesterday, this order specifically relates to the double-crested cormorant, which is one of two species of cormorants in the state. The other one being the neotropic cormorant, which is a breeding resident species. And as we discussed yesterday, I think it is common knowledge that cormorant numbers have increased tremendously over the past 30 years.

At one point, the species was a locally threatened species, and its breeding grounds on the Upper Great Lakes and upper Midwest, northeast, but has definitely recovered at an astonishing rate, with the control of DDT. We discussed yesterday that this map shows wintering densities. Obviously, a high-density winter resident here in Texas, but breeds elsewhere in the country. Our resident breeding neotropic cormorant, which used to be called the Olivaceous Cormorant, does extend its wintering range throughout Texas, but is predominantly a Gulf Coast breeder.

In short, the proposal that we have is proposing to establish a permit, a permit that would be issued to individuals who are in control of properties, whether it be a landowner, lessee or other agent. The permit would require the individual to specify the lands and waters where they would be conducting control. It is not an intent that we would be issuing anyone a statewide permit, and we will talk about public waters shortly. The fee would be $12.

And in addition, once that individual has a permit, they can authorize others to conduct control activities on those properties, simply by giving them a signed copy of their permit, and then that will allow that individual to do it. And the focus here, is that this is for the protection of public fisheries resources. As we discussed yesterday, there is also a federal permit available to people who may want to control cormorants, simply to protect their private fish resources, which is the case. There is both a permit for aquiculture facilities and now a permit available to people who just are stocking their own ponds, in which case, those are privately owned fish.

The other aspect of the regulation is that there is a reporting requirement. We have to report to the Fish and Wildlife Service each year how many cormorants were taken, when and where. And so this permit system really is designed to help us know who is doing control permits under our authority, and to be able to get that reporting information to pass on.

In regards to public comment, we have received about 300 comments from the public. 80 percent of those in favor, about 10 percent of those opposing, 10 percent with no opinion but had other things to say, apparently. And even the opposition we had was really not opposition to the regulation itself. These are individuals who are concerned about fees and other things.

The one comment that did come up, from public entities was the question of whether they could apply for a permit. If you were a river authority, a city, a county, the Corps of Engineers, those are the entities that control those lands and waters, and in some cases, they may want to. And we realized that we had not worded our regulation correctly, and basically, we are proposing an amendment to this section of the regulation, basically saying that while we said private lands, our thinking really had been, really what we are saying is that we want that permit to either specify the lands and waters that they are going to be conducting control on, and the presumption being that those are lands and waters they have direct authority over.

In other words, we always require landowner permission, so in the case of the Corps of Engineers, it would not be a citizen who would be requesting permission to go out on a Corps reservoir and conduct control, it would have to be the Corps themselves, but again, they could designate sub-agents. So we are proposing this change in order to make sure that our intent is there, that public entities can apply for this permit as well. The other comments that we had, as I mentioned, basically were individuals saying they didn't feel a permit should be needed, or who had issues that we were charging for this permit.

As I explained yesterday, we have no choice but to do this under a permit. This is a state protected and federally protected bird. While we are exempt from a permit under the depredation order, the only way for us to authorize individuals to do this, is through some sort of permit issuance to stay in compliance with our laws.

Fee, again, as we discussed yesterday, what we are trying to charge is $12, is which we think is equivalent to our cost to administer the permitting report, the permitting program and to prepare the reports that are necessary to the Fish and Wildlife Service afterwards. With that, I would be happy to answer any questions. And basically, this is the motion before you all. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Thank you very much, John. We have two people signed up to testify on Agenda Item 16. Kirby Brown? Kirby, are you still out there? Here he comes.

MR. BROWN: Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, my name is Kirby Brown, executive director at Texas Wildlife Association. I want to commend John Herron on this private land-based thoughtful approach that will address a critical public resources issue. We think this is really a unique way to do this in a limited way, and have an effect on a nuisance issue that affects our public lake, public resources and fisheries resource.

And then also, I just wanted to take the time to thank John for his service to the Department, and his leadership in so many of the wildlife diversity issues and endangered species issues through the year. He will be missed here, and I wish him luck on his new venture. Thank you, sir.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Thank you, Kirby, and we all join you in thanking John for his good work. Last to testify on this item, Ellis Gilleland.

MR. GILLELAND: My name is Ellis Gilleland, and I am speaking for myself and Texas Animals. One of the main points I want to get on the record is, there is nobody putting a gun to your head to make you establish this permit system. The Feds, the Fish and Wildlife Service allow you, you may issue a permit. If you do not set up a permit system, this program will not be put into effect. It is not a mandatory federal program.

So, I take offense at the opening statement made by the gentleman that they are doing it under duress by the Federal government. The thing I am concerned about, is two or three things. Number one, in the Texas Register handout I just gave you, July 23, 2004 it says you are issuing this permit, and everyone that gets a permit must comply with 50 CFR Part 2124.48. Well, when you try to find that on the internet, you are going to be disappointed, because it is not there in all the government places. It is only in the Texas Register that you will find 21.47 — 48. I gave you a copy of that, and you will notice that 21.47 is where the government printing office ends.

That is the last item, and that item since 1998 has allowed commercial operators of hatcheries, what have you, Athens, where ever, to kill these animals because they are eating fish. So, for seven years, it is just a bunch of bunk that people are oh, they are ruining my whole commercial operation. That is a crock. They have had the authority for seven years to kill these birds to protect their investment, and there is no need that I can see for the program which you are now opening up for the public, for people like President Bush's bass lake. Who cares? He has got all kinds of money anyway. It's the guy who is raising fish for a living that you want to protect, and you have protected him for seven years. So the heck with the guy with the little lake that wants to run some bass.

The other thing I am concerned about is, is that I have given you a copy of the Federal Register. This is published on the 8th of February 2003. I am talking about section 21.48. It is seven pages. It is inconceivable that a person that gets this permit is going to spend the hours necessary to finally figure out that 21.48 is in the Texas Register as opposed to in the CFR. He doesn't even know what a CFR is. Outside the law library, there are no CFRs, outside of Houston, San Antonio, Austin, what have you. There are no CFRs.

So, how can you expect a permittee to abide by 21.48 when he doesn't even have it, can't get it and doesn't know it exists. So, I beseech you, publish this seven page set of instructions, condense it to three pages front and back, use smaller type, three pages. When a guy gets a permit, he gets a three page 21.48 so he knows what he has to comply with. Secondly, you are going to have to give it to your game wardens. You are going to need 400 and something copies for the game wardens because they have to enforce it. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Thank you, Mr. Gilleland. John?

MR. HERRON: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Again, for the record, my name is John Herron. In response to the questions that were brought up, I don't know exactly all the places one can find this federal rule, but the section that Mr. Gilleland was referring to, Section 21.48 CFRs was published in the Federal Register, Volume 28, number 195, dated Wednesday, October 8, 2003. It starts on page 58035. So the regulation is out there, it is real. Regarding the suggestion that we make sure that permittees are aware of this, I think that when you see the language in the regulation, we do make mention of the fact that the permittees are bound by the provisions of the CFR as was mentioned, and it is our intention, in terms of the application that we send, we typically do send permittees information regarding pertinent state and federal rules.

I think that it is a given that we will be sending permittees copies of this CFR, because we do reference it in the regulation. It will be referenced in their permit that they are required to comply. Means and methods. There is a lot of other things that are in this regulation that we have not put out explicitly, so yes. We have thought of that, and we do plan on having that distributed as well.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Good work. Any other questions for John? Commissioner Holmes.

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: John, how hard is it to tell the difference between the double-crested and the neotropic?

MR. HERRON: That is a very good question, Commissioner Holmes. And that is a concern. We are also working on an informational flyer to send out to permittees that we hope will be an aid in helping them to distinguish the two species. It is somewhat easier in the winter, fortunately. That is why the neotrop is called the Olivaceous Cormorant; it is a little bit browner, smaller, a smaller tail.

But this is going to be a challenge for permittees to be able to tell the difference, and it is something we are going to try and work with through educational materials and other things. We do not want people to unintentionally become violators, and that is just something. I think it is much like being a duck hunter. There is a responsibility these permittees take upon themselves, to be able to identify it, and it will be a challenge, and we will advise people to be cautious in their doing.

Anhingas is another similar species. The differences are much more distinct with an anhinga. An anhinga has a white wing patch that is very readily recognizably, even though it is in the water, but there is a difference between our native breeder neotropic and the double-crested. When you see them in breeding plumage, it is relatively easy, but that is not the issue here. It is wintering plumage. So, we will be working on that, sir.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Any other questions for John. I want to echo Kirby Brown's comments, John. Thanks for your years of service here, and your great work for the Department, and good luck in your new endeavors.

MR. HERRON: I appreciate it sir, and my best wishes to you all as I go. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: We look forward to seeing you. Any other questions? Is there a motion on this item?

COMMISSIONER HOLT: So moved.

COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Second.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Moved by Commissioner Holt, second by Commissioner Ramos. All in favor, please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Any opposed?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Hearing none, the motion carries. Next item 17, land acquisition, Jack Bauer.

MR. BAUER: Chairman and Commissioners, my name is Jack Bauer, Land Conservation program director. This item summarizes the Conservation Committee discussions heard in executive session yesterday relating to proposed acquisition of land at Big Bend Ranch State Park in Presidio and Brewster Counties. A 320 acre in-holding located within the solitario has been offered to the Department. Staff recommends the Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt the motion before you, authorizing staff to acquire this property. I will be happy to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Anyone signed up on this issue? Any questions for Jack? Is there a motion on this item?

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: So moved.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Moved by Commissioner Holmes.

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Second.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Second by Commissioner Montgomery. All in favor, please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Any opposed?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Hearing none, the motion carries. And who is up on this one? Corky? Item 18, land exchange in El Paso County.

MR. KUHLMANN: My name is Corky Kuhlmann. I am a project manager with the Land Conservation Program with the Texas Parks and Wildlife. This item represents a land trade between Texas Parks and Wildlife and Texas Department of Transportation in El Paso, Texas. Summary from executive session in that Texas Parks and Wildlife currently leases office space from TxDOT in El Paso. TxDOT currently has use for nine acres of park land for improvements to the entrance to Franklin Mountain State Park. Staff recommends that Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt the motion before you.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Corky, thank you. It is a good piece of work here. Any questions for Corky?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: No one signed up on this item. Do I have a motion?

COMMISSIONER BROWN: So moved.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Second.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Moved by Brown and second by Holt.

MR. KUHLMANN: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Thank you, and congratulations on your new position there, Corky. All right. At this time, we will recess this meeting and announce that pursuant to the requirements of Chapter 551 Government Code referred to as the Open Meetings law an executive session will be held at this time for the purpose of consideration of personnel matters.

(Off the record at 11:50 a.m.)

(Back on the record at 1:40 p.m.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: We reconvene the meeting of the 26th, and I need a motion to adjourn.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: So moved.

COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Second.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: All in favor, aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: All opposed, same sign.

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: The motion carries. We stand adjourned. Thank you.

(Whereupon, the meeting was adjourned.)

 

Approved this the 26th day of August, 2004.

________________________________

Joseph B.C. Fitzsimons, Chairman

_______________________________

J. Robert Brown, Member

_______________________________

Alvin L. Henry, Vice-Chairman

_______________________________

Ned S. Holmes, Member

_______________________________

Peter M. Holt, Member

_______________________________

Philip Montgomery, Member

_______________________________

John D. Parker, Member

_______________________________

Donato D. Ramos, Member

_______________________________

Mark E. Watson, Jr., Member

 

C E R T I F I C A T E

MEETING OF: Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission

Public Hearing

LOCATION: Austin, Texas

DATE: August 26, 2004

I do hereby certify that the foregoing pages, numbers 1 through 132, inclusive, are the true, accurate, and complete transcript prepared from the verbal recording made by electronic recording by Penny Bynum before the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.

9/02/04
(Transcriber) (Date)
On the Record Reporting, Inc.
3307 Northland, Suite 315
Austin, Texas 78731


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