Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
Public Hearing

Nov. 3, 2004

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

Be it remembered, that heretofore on the 3rd day of November, 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
November 3, 2004

Name / Organization Matter of Interest

Donations of $500 or More

Not Previously Approved by the Commission

November 2004 Commission Meeting
  Donor Description Details
1 Coastal Conservation Association Texas Goods 16ft. Carolina fiberglass boat with 40hp Yamaha jet drive
2 Coastal Conservation Association Texas Goods Night vision & Radio Transceivers
3 Heep Petroleum Inc. Goods Dell Laptop Computer- Region
4 Ron & Roylenne Huff Goods Ice Machine for park use
5 Kathleen Hicks Goods Two head/neck-mounted white -tailed deer, one head mount javelina, one head mount nilgal, two tail fan mounted Rio Grande Turkeys
6 Ranchers & Landowners Assn of Texas Goods Beretta Shotgun 12 gage
7 Victoria 100 Club Goods 2 Portable Breath Testers and mouth pieces.
8 Friends of Garner Goods Mobile Radio
9 Dept of Agriculture Forest Service Cash Sponsorship for the 7th Governor's Symposium
10 Texas and Southwestern Cattleraisers Association Cash Sponsorship for the 7th Governor's Symposium
11 Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation, Inc. Cash Endowment grant for Canoncita Ranch
12 McAllen Chamber of Commerce Cash Sponsorship for the Great Texas Birding Classic
13 H.E.B. Butt Grocery Company Cash Sponsorship for the Great Texas Birding Classic
14 ExxonMoblie Foundation Cash Support Volunteer Program
15 Admiral Nimitz Foundation Cash Funds for Alarm & Fire System for the Bush Gallery
16 Bordelon Corporation Cash Funds to enhance Admiral Nimitz museum
17 Quail Unlimited Austin Area Chapter Cash Funds to enhance grassland habitat management on the Matador and Chaparral WMA's
18 Occidental Petroleum Corporation Cash Funds for construction of 41 feet of breakwater as part of Goose Island Restoration
19 Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation, Inc. Cash Sponsorship for the Great Texas Birding Classic
20 Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation, Inc. Cash Funds to enhance the Texas River Center Project # 100712
21 Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation, Inc. Cash Funds to enhance Levi Jordan Project # 101298
22 Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation, Inc. Cash Funds to enhance World Birding Center Project # 101402
23 Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation, Inc. Cash Funds of planning projects at State Historic Sites
24 Marine Outlet of Temple Cash Sponsorship for Antler Associates Expo Wildlife
25 Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation, Inc. (Anheuser-Busch) Cash Sponsorship Chairman Covey for TPWD / PWF
26 Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation (The Dow Chemical Co) Cash Wildlife Expo sponsorship Chairman Covey
27 Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation (The Dow Chemical Co) Goods Wildlife Expo sponsorship Chairman Covey (30,000) plastic bags
28 Camper Clinic II Cash Sponsorship for Antler Associates Expo Wildlife
29 KB Home Cash Sponsorship for Wildlife Expo-Antler Associate
30 U S Sportsmen's Alliance Foundation Cash Sponsorship for Wildlife Expo-Antler Associate
31 Ducks Unlimited, Inc. Cash Sponsorship for Wildlife Expo-Antler Associate
32 National Shooting Sports Foundation, Inc. Cash Sponsorship for Wildlife Expo- Palo Duro
33 National Shooting Sports Foundation, Inc. Goods Sponsorship for Wildlife Expo - Palo Duro
34 National Rifle Association Cash Sponsorship for Wildlife Expo-Antler Associate
35 Academy LTD Cash Sponsorship for Wildlife Expo- Lake Fork
36 Texas Bighorn Society Cash Sponsorship for Wildlife Expo - Antler Associate
37 RV Outlet Mall Cash Sponsorship for Wildlife Expo - Antler Associate
38 Ancira Motor Homes Cash Sponsorship for Wildlife Expo - Antler Associate
39 National Wild Turkey Federation Cash Sponsorship for Wildlife Expo- Antler
40 Crosman Corporation (Crosman Air Guns) Cash Sponsorship for Wildlife Expo - Antler Associate
41 Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation, Inc. Cash Assist w/Wildlife Expo- close account
42 Cabela's Cash Sponsorship for Wildlife Expo - Antler Associate
43 Travis Boating Center Cash Sponsorship for Wildlife Expo - Antler Associate
44 Holt Foundation Cash Sponsorship for Wildlife Expo- Chairman Covey
45 The NRA Foundation, Inc Cash Sponsorship for Wildlife Expo - Antler Associate
46 Texas Wildlife Association Cash Sponsorship for Wildlife Expo - Antler Associate
47 Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation, Inc Cash Sponsorship for Wildlife Expo - assist w/division programs close out
48 Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation, Inc Cash Funds to support Attwaters Prairie Chicken restoration
49 Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation, Inc Cash Purchasing vinyl hunting fishing license holders
50 Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation, Inc Cash Funding of state park interpretive brochures
51 Coastal America Foundation Cash Funding San Jacinto Battleground Project # 101426
52 Executive Signs Inc. Goods 62 sheets of outdoor ½ inch plywood.
53 Waypoint Marine Cash Wildlife Expo sponsorship
Grand Total $402,510.21

Proceedings

Commissioner Fitzsimons: Good afternoon. The first order of business is to adjourn the Conservation Committee from this morning.

And next, the meeting is called to order, the public hearing. And before proceeding with any business, I believe Mr. Cook has a statement to make.

Mr. Cook: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

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, 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 Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission must first fill out and sign a speaker registration form for each item on the agenda on which you wish to speak.

The Chairman is in charge of the meeting. And by law it is his duty to preserve order, direct the order of the hearing, 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 from the podium one at a time.

When your name is called, please come to the podium, state your name and who you represent, if anyone other than yourself, and we'll kind of do that in an on deck fashion too. He will tell you who's coming up so you can be ready.

Then 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 specified agenda item under consideration.

Each person who wants to address the Commission will have three minutes to speak. I'll keep track of that time on this handy dandy little device right here, and notify you when your three minutes are up.

When your time is up, please resume your seat so that others may speak. Your time will be extended if a Commissioner has a question for you. If the Commissioners ask a question, or discuss something among themselves, that time will not be counted 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, and I ask that you show proper respect for the Commissioners, as well as the 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, possible arrest, and criminal prosecution.

If you would like to submit written materials to the Commission, please give them to Carole Hemby or Michelle Klaus here on my right, and they will pass that information to the Commissioners.

Thank you, sir.

Commissioner Fitzsimons: Thank you, Director Cook.

Next is the approval of the minutes from the previous meeting which have already been distributed.

Is there a motion for approval?

COMMISSIONER HENRY: So move.

COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Second.

Commissioner Fitzsimons: Moved by Vice Chairman Henry, second by Commissioner Ramos.

All in favor, please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

Commissioner Fitzsimons: Any opposed?

(No response.)

Commissioner Fitzsimons: Hearing none, motion carries.

Next is the acceptance of gifts. It's also been distributed.

Is there a motion for approval?

COMMISSIONER BROWN: So move.

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: Second.

Commissioner Fitzsimons: Moved by Commissioner Brown, second by Commissioner Holmes.

All in favor, please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

Commissioner Fitzsimons: Any opposed?

(No response.)

Commissioner Fitzsimons: Hearing none, motion carries.

Next are the service awards and special recognition.

Mr. Cook, would you make the presentations?

MR. COOK: Thank you, sir.

And, guests, we appreciate everyone's attendance here today. We always take a few minutes at the start of our meeting to recognize our employees who are retiring and who have given the Agency many, many years of service. We appreciate your attention and participation in this ceremony.

First of all, on our retirement certificates today, from the State Parks Division, Lester Galbreath, Program Administrator, from Albany, Texas, with 34 years of service.

Lester Galbreath began his career with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in November of 1969 as manager of Dinosaur Valley State Park. After serving 16 months at Dinosaur Valley, he transferred to Lake Whitney.

From there he moved to Fort Griffith in 1972 as a park manager and herd manager of the official State of Texas Longhorn herd, and has held that position for over 32 years. He received the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department leadership award in 2001.

With 34 years of service, Lester Galbreath.

(Pause.)

MR. COOK: From the Administrative Resources Division, Duncan Alan McRae, Inventory Coordinator, Austin, Texas, with 31 years of service.

Alan McRae, more commonly known as Alan at the warehouse, began work for the Department in February 1973 in the Austin warehouse. In July of 1996, Alan became Warehouse Supervisor responsible for warehouse operations, surplus property, disposition, and acceptance and inspection of vehicles, boats and motors.

In July 1999, Alan became the Department Property Manager responsible for inventory of Department fixed assets in addition to the duties of Warehouse Supervisor.

Retiring with 31 years of service, Alan McRae.

(Pause.)

MR. COOK: From the Infrastructure Division, with 20 years of service, Kanha Cheatham, Custodian for Austin, Texas.

Nit Cheatham moved to Austin, Texas more than 27 years ago from Thailand. Over the past 20 years of service at the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Nit has provided excellent custodial services to the headquarters building. She has vacuumed square footage equal to 2,366 football fields, and emptied more wastebaskets than she, or I, or anyone else can count.

With all that having been said, Nit is one of those people who, you know, who it is a pleasure to know. She is always there, always helpful, whatever the call, and has really been a wonderful employee to work with and who we are proud of. She took great pride in her work, maintained a wonderful upbeat attitude that made her a pleasure to be around.

Thank you, Nit, for all your dedication and hard work. You will be missed.

Retiring with 20 years of service, Nit Cheatham.

(Pause.)

MR. COOK: Now, in our service awards, hopefully these folks are not retiring, but we do want to recognize them.

From Coastal Fisheries, Antonio Buenano, Fish and Wildlife Technician III, Rockport, Texas, with 35 years of service.

Tony Buenano began his career with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in 1967 as a Maintenance and Construction Helper. He was in integral component of the field development sampling strategy in the late 1960s and early 1970s that has become a long term monitoring project for Coastal Fisheries.

Tony's excellent skills in biological sampling, species identification and data tabulation have been great training tools for numerous staff, including many of the biologists and regional directors that he has worked with. Tony is considered a leader among technicians and Coastal Fishery staff as he continues to work on several of our special projects.

With 35 years of service, Tony Buenano.

(Pause.)

MR. COOK: From our Law Enforcement Division, Arthur L. Lawrence, Game Warden, Bay City, Texas, again, with 35 years of service.

Arthur began his career with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in 1969. Upon graduation from the Texas Game Warden Academy on February 10, 1970, he was assigned to the Beaumont area. Arthur was later assigned to Port Arthur where he has spent the bulk of his career.

Some highlights of his career with the Department include enforcing new trout and red fish laws in the 1970s, and working in the marshes around Port Arthur, enforcing what were newly proposed point system duck regulations and endangered alligator laws in coordination with the Louisiana game wardens.

With 35 years of service, Arthur Lawrence.

(Pause.)

MR. COOK: Well, this gentleman here is one that most of you know, and if not, I hope you do get to know him. From the Inland Fisheries Division, Phil Durocher began his career with the Department in 1974 as a Research System Analyst in the Data Processing Division.

I bet a lot of you all didn't know that that's how Phil got started.

After receiving his pink slip from Data Processing during one of our many budget crunches back in 1977, he very quickly begged his way into the Inland Fisheries Division as a Research Analyst where he helped develop the standardized resource monitoring program still being used today.

He was Director of the Fisheries Management for the Division from 1984 to 1991. During that time, many of the length and bag limits still used today were implemented. The 14 inch minimum size limit on bass, the current statewide standard, along with some of the earlier slot limits dramatically changed the face of bass fishing in Texas, and in the rest of the U.S.

Phil Durocher became the Chief of Inland Fisheries in 1991, and Director of the new Inland Fisheries Division in 1993. The Inland Fisheries Division is nationally recognized for innovation and progressive fisheries management.

Phil Durocher is most proud of the part he's played in building innovation and progress of the nationally recognized Inland Fisheries Division. Two major initiatives that he has worked on are the creation of the Texas Freshwater Fisheries Center in Athens, and the passage of the freshwater fisheries stamp legislation during the last session.

With 30 years of service, Phil Durocher, Director of Inland Fisheries.

(Pause.)

MR. COOK: Carolyn Vogel began her career with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department June 1, 1979, working in the summers in state parks. Upon graduation from Texas A&M University, she became a full-time employee working at McKinney Falls State Park.

During her tenure with the Department, she has worked at the Goliad State Historic Site, Landmark End State Historic Site, LBJ State Park and Historic Site, in La Porte as the Parks Regional Director before coming to Austin headquarters as Chief of Operations for State Parks — for the State Parks Division.

Carolyn's last position in State Parks was in the Land Acquisition Program. In the mid 1990s, the Commission looked to enhance programs for private landowners, so Carolyn helped create, and is now Coordinator of the Texas Land Trust Council in the Wildlife Division.

The Council continues today as a service center to the 39 nonprofit land trust organizations operating in Texas. Carolyn sits on a number of national committees working to build the stewardship and organizational capacity of land trust organizations throughout the United States.

With 30 years of service, from the Wildlife Division, Carolyn Vogel.

(Pause.)

MR. COOK: From the Inland Fisheries Division, Jack Ralph, Manager III, here in Austin with 25 years of service.

Jack began his career with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in 1979 as a Biologist and Chemist in the Resource Protection Branch within the Inland Fisheries Division at San Angelo. He was the Regional Response Biologist for West Texas and the sole employee in the Analytical Laboratory.

Since coming to Austin, he has filled many positions, including Field Research Coordinator for the kills and spills team, Director of the Resource Protection Division's Environmental Contaminants Laboratory, and member of the Golden Algae Task Force.

His career has come full circle now that he, once again, is in the Inland Fisheries Division as Program Leader of the Inland Fisheries Fish Kills and Pollution Response Team.

With 25 years of service, Jack Ralph from the Inland Fisheries Division.

(Pause.)

MR. COOK: From the Wildlife Division, with 20 years of service. I can't believe this guy's been working here for 20 years. Ruben Cantu began employment with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department October 1, 1984, as a Regulatory Wildlife Biologist with the Wildlife Division on the Possum Kingdom District stationed in San Angelo.

In 1989, he was promoted to serve as a Technical Guidance Biologist for the Trans-Pecos District in Alpine. In 1995, he was the Wildlife Division's first legislative liaison during the 74th Legislative Session, working here at the Austin headquarters.

Since 1996, Ruben has been serving as the Region 1 Director for Wildlife in San Angelo. Ruben has held positions on committees and boards of various conservation organizations, including the Wildlife Society, the Texas Chapter of the Wildlife Society, the Texas Wildlife Association, and the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies.

With 20 years of service, Ruben Cantu, from the Wildlife Division.

(Pause.)

MR. COOK: From the State Parks Division, Cruz Ann Tanner, Administrative Assistant III from Livingston, Texas with 20 years of service.

Cruz Ann Tanner began her career with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department on August 2, 1984 at Lake Livingston State Park as an hourly employee. After working as an hourly employee for two years, she became a full-time employee office manager in August of 1986.

During her career with the Department, Cruz has worked for Park Managers David Perry, Edward Wisenbaker and Wilburn Cox.

With 20 years of service, Cruz Ann Tanner, State Parks Division.

(Pause.)

MR. COOK: I see that my good friends have arrived after fighting the Austin traffic.

Each year, the Shikar-Safari International recognize game wardens from North America as Wildlife Conservation Officers of the Year. This marks the 25th year this award has been presented to a deserving Texas game warden.

The Texas Wildlife Officer of the Year for 2004 is Marcus Collins who graduated from the Texas Game Warden Training Academy December 12, 1988. His first duty station was Woodville in Tyler County, East Texas.

In March 1993, he transferred to Plainview in Hale County — that may have been a shock to a guy coming out of the Piney Woods — where he excels in all areas of game, fish, water safety, and public safety enforcement through education, deterrence and apprehension.

During Marc's career, he has had an excellent work record. He displays a positive and willing attitude that allows him to think outside the box when confronted with difficult situations, and he routinely develops innovative ideas to increase his effectiveness and to promote conservation in Texas.

Last year, Marc secured leases, obtaining funding through the Wildlife Division, and executed the first ever trophy mule deer hunt in the Public Hunting Lands Program held on private land in the Texas Panhandle. This one of a kind hunt provided a quality hunting experience for 16 people for the price of a hunting license and a public hunting permit.

Marc's ability as an astute investigator during his career has aided him in making a wide variety of big game arrests. During the last year, Marc learned of an illegal killing of trumpeter swans in Floyd County.

He interviewed 51 people in 10 cities over a nine day period that resulted in the conviction of four people for killing the protected birds. $17,000 in fines and restitutions, statewide media attention and a positive image of Texas Parks and Wildlife resulted from this enforcement effort.

Marc participated in the 2001 Texas and National Police Olympics where he won five medals in five events. In 2003 he shared Top Warden Award at five state's Game Warden Association Skills and Competition.

In 2003, Marc was recognized by the Lubbock Regional Director's Round Table in their Texans Caring for Texans Program as Employee of the Year.

It is actions and results like these that gives me great pleasure in recognizing Game Warden Marcus Collins as the Shikar-Safari International 2004 Texas Wildlife Conservation Officer of the Year.

Now I know that we've got a couple of the folks from Shikar-Safari here. I think Eric Stumberg and Andy Phillips are here.

If you gentlemen would come forward?

And I know Andy's going to say a few words.

(Pause.)

MR. PHILLIPS: Director Cook, Commissioners, thank you very much for allowing us to come again to make this presentation.

My name's Andy Phillips. I'm a past president of Shikar-Safari Club International. I have with me my better half, Margaret Phillips, who's also a member of the organization, as well as Eric Stumberg.

You'll recognize by that last name one of your former fellow Commissioners, Louis Stumberg, who he ably represents today. Louis is in Scotland defending the sport against all flying onslaught.

I'd like to, if we could, ask Marc Collins to come forward at this time, and his wife, if she's with him.

MR. COOK: Absolutely.

MR. PHILLIPS: Bring her along. Having been a former police officer, I well recognize that a significant portion of your accomplishments are attributable to your wife, and we congratulate her on this award as well.

Shikar-Safari Club was started in 1952 by a group of sportsmen that met for the first time in Chicago. The purpose of that meeting was to get together for camaraderie and fellowship and just sort of talk about their worldwide hunting exploits.

The Club has always been a very small organization, but has been powerful in its involvement with conservation worldwide. We've been involved in multiple projects across the United States and the world, as well as many here in the State of Texas.

And, without doubt, one of the things that means the most to us is recognizing our wildlife officers who are on the front line of defending our natural resources and taking care of our wildlife.

The most important part of this award is that you have been selected to receive it by your fellow officers. That's where it starts. The vote comes from them and moves its way up the chain, and is endorsed and supported by all your supervisors.

It's a tremendous honor to receive this award, and only 25 game wardens in the State of Texas have had the honor of wearing that pin on their uniform, which is authorized by this Department to be worn as an accouterment to your uniform.

We hope you'll wear it with pride, and we congratulate you on a job well done.

MR. COLLINS: Thank you very much.

(Pause.)

MR. PHILLIPS: We have for Marcus a plaque that he can hang on his wall, a pewter plate that is reserved exclusively for winners of the Wildlife Officer of the Year Award. We're going to give that to his wife.

And the pin, which signifies your winning this award, my wife will give to your wife for pinning on your uniform.

(Pause.)

Commissioner Fitzsimons: Everyone's welcome to stay for the balance of the public hearing, but while those who are here for the service awards leave, we'll pause a minute and let a group of Texas A&M students who are here seat themselves.

(Pause.)

Commissioner Fitzsimons: Very well. Everybody find a seat. The first order of business is item 1, approval of the agenda which we have before us.

Is there a motion for approval?

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: So move.

COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Second.

Commissioner Fitzsimons: Moved by Commissioner Holmes, second by Commission Ramos.

All in favor, please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

Commissioner Fitzsimons: Any opposed?

(No response.)

Commissioner Fitzsimons: Hearing none, motion carries.

Next on the agenda is item 2, the East Texas Fish Hatchery Site Recommendation.

Mr. Phil Durocher, will you please make your presentation?

MR. DUROCHER: Good evening, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners. I'm Phil Durocher, the Director of Inland Fisheries. Today we seek Commission approval for the East Texas Fish Hatchery site recommendation.

As a little bit of background, during the last legislative session, House Bill 1989 created the freshwater fishing stamp. What the legislation did was require that all the revenue generated from this stamp could be used only for the renovation, replacement or repair of freshwater fish hatcheries in the state.

Last year, the staff briefed the Commission on the status and needs of the freshwater hatchery system. Replacing the Jasper Fish Hatchery was identified as the number one priority for funding by the new stamp revenue. Because several entities in East Texas express interest in hosting the facility, the Agency approached the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation to assist in the site selection process.

An MOU was developed between the Agency and the Foundation and was approved by the Foundation Board, and by the Commission. The objective was to work with the Parks and Wildlife to obtain the best value for the anglers of Texas, with two basic goals.

One — the first goal was to assist in the selection of a site, and the second goal was to assist in obtaining corporate sponsorships to further enhance the impact of the revenue from the stamp. Today marks the completion of goal one, the selection of the site for the new fish hatchery.

The staff and the Foundation began developing a list of criteria for the request for proposals to potential partners. The key criteria revolved around the location, we wanted the new facility to be in the Southeast Texas area; the land we needed — we said we needed a minimum of 100 acres; water quality and quantity, we said we needed about 10,000 acre feet of water per year, and water of sufficient quality to be able to raise fish in.

And the fourth one was operating costs. We know how — you know, every year we come in front of this Commission during budget time and we know how hard it is to find money to operate the facilities that we have in the state.

So one of the things that was extremely critical to the staff was that we assess these sites in terms of long term operating. Anything we could do to help offset some of the long term operating costs, we thought was very critical. And the fifth criteria was the value added opportunities that could come with the proposals.

Now, I want to introduce to you Mr. Ed Cox, Jr. who served as Chairman of the Foundation's Site Selection Committee. I'm sure most, or all of you know Mr. Cox. He's a current Honorary Trustee of the Foundation, he's a past Chairman of the Foundation, and, of course, he's a past Chairman of this Commission.

Mr. Cox?

MR. COX: Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, this is a great opportunity to get to speak before you today. We — every now and then, we get to do something that's a lot of fun and good for the state at the same time. And, in this case, something that really shows the relationship of the Foundation and the Department.

And I'm pretty excited to show you some of the things that we've come up with here. You went through a briefing process, I understand, back in August, so I'm just going to run through this rather quickly.

But the process was Mr. Pat Oles, our Foundation Chairman, who's here today, appointed a committee consisting of myself, Jack Brittingham, Bill Madden and Ray Murski to really sit down and work with the staff at the Department, as well as Rob Alberts at the Foundation, and come up with this criteria and really go through this bidding process.

In fact, we were talking about it today, it's one year from the time we came up with this concept to right now. So this — these things don't happen as fast as you'd think they would.

We had numerous opportunities in the spring to get this word out to as many people as possible. We had a tremendous amount of interest. We had seven actual bids, we went through a process that lasted from somewhere around — from March through — really through September 24, and then a few clarifications after to allow these interested parties to solidify and clarify their bids.

And one of the most fascinating things is how really serious these seven people were about doing this. You can see the interested parties — and at this point, we really want to thank everybody, because everybody, you know, had a very good case.

And this was one these situations where this is a good thing for the state to go through this process, and there's always a winner and there are always some losers, but everybody had a very, very good case.

And I just would like to recognize Dow Chemical, Newton First, Sabine River Authority, San Augustine County, South Sulphur Regional Development Association and Tyler County, as well as Jasper County.

And we had a process that took into account quite a bit from an internal standpoint, but at the end of the day, we've been through this before, and it was necessary to go outside to get third party, both from a CPA standpoint — John Bradley with Weaver and Tidwell is here today.

He did a really — a scoring process that was critical to this because everybody's bid's a little bit different. Everything about their — you know, the site, the water, everything is a little bit different. So we had to create an apples-to-apples scenario in order to be able to make a comparison.

And then we used two civil engineering firms. We used Lawrence and — Civil Engineering in Terra-Mar for all the terrain.

And we had these outside reviews because we want to make sure in a case like this that our I's are dotted and our t's are crossed, and that when we do make a recommendation to the Commission, that we really feel very good about it.

The recommendation today is interesting because it's a site that the staff did not previously know about. And that's one of the neat things that happened with this whole process, is we ended up not only with some land and other value added considerations, but we ended up with a site that really wasn't on the radar screen. So that was another real benefit to this process.

As we have previously released and we want to announce today, that we are recommending Jasper as the site, and we can see here on the screen that what their offer consists of.

And I particularly want to thank Judge Joe Folk and his whole team, his Commissioners Court, and Martin Dies and all the others that were involved.

As a matter of fact, we had a couple of meetings, this committee that — the Foundation committee met with all of these bidders on two occasions. And the staff met with them on several other occasions, both our Foundation staff and Department staff, and the engineering people involved.

But the Judge and his team showed up for a negotiating session with the entire Commissioner's Court, and that's actually who's here today. I think he brought his entire Commissioner's Court. They have been very, very aggressive in trying to put their bid together.

Also, I want to note that the Department staff has been very, very diligent here. And I think they've done a terrific job in supporting this effort to come up with the best value. And when we get to value, we're talking about approximately a $28 million value here, which, when we started on this a year ago, I'm not sure any of us thought we would create that much value from this process.

We knew we'd create quite a bit of value, but this is pretty exciting because it just stretches these dollars that you've got in this bass stamp to allow us to — really with what the inflation's doing to us, you know, it really allows us to finish a job.

I would really personally like to thank Phil and Dr. Gary Saul, who have worked so closely with me. And also, my committee members who have been very diligent, asked lots and lots of questions.

But that's it. We're here to recommend — you can see our recommendation here. We're very comfortable with the recommendation. This bid is about $4 million above the next bid.

And we feel very comfortable with what we've presented here today. And just thank you for the opportunity to get to work with the Department and the Foundation on this whole process. Thank you.

Commissioner Fitzsimons: Ed, thank you very much for your continuing service to Parks and Wildlife and Fish and Wildlife.

Many of you know Ed served on this Commission as a Commissioner and as Chair, and he just can't get enough. And I'm — and we're all the beneficiaries.

MR. COX: I've got to retire.

Commissioner Fitzsimons: No, don't — no, no, no, no. We have another project for you as soon as this one's over.

Phil?

MR. DUROCHER: Mr Chairman, before the staff recommends a motion, we'd like to thank the Foundation, in particular, Mr. Cox, Mr. Jack Brittingham, Mr. Ray Murski, Mr. Bill Madden, the people who served on the selection committee, and, of course, the Foundation Chairman, Mr. Pat Oles, and Rob Alberts who were such help and with us all along.

And we'd also like to thank all those who submitted proposals, some of whom, I'm sure, will address the Commission in a few minutes.

I need to say there were several excellent sites proposed for the new hatchery. The selection was — the selection process was vigorous, it was fair, and it was difficult. We know that some groups will be disappointed, and we understand that. But we want to take this opportunity to thank all of them for their efforts.

The hatchery staff and I worked closely with our Foundation partners throughout this whole process. We helped develop the criteria, score and review the proposals, and consulted with outside reviewers on technical issues. We support the Foundation's recommendation.

With that in mind, we recommend the Commission adopt the motion before you to support the Jasper County site as the home for the new East Texas Regional Fish Hatchery.

Glad to answer any questions.

Commissioner Fitzsimons: Thank you.

And before that, I know we have a large delegation here from Jasper County, the County Judge and Commissioners, plus representatives from adjoining Tyler County and I understand Walter Diggles is here, the former Vice President of Deep East Texas Council of Governments.

I want to welcome all of you to the Commission. I know you came a long way.

Before we call up those who've signed up to speak, are there any questions from any Commissioners?

(No response.)

Commissioner Fitzsimons: If not, we will start with the public testimony.

First up is Joe Folk — Judge Folk. And be ready, Martin Dies.

JUDGE FOLK: Mr. Chairman, honorable members of the Park and Wildlife Commission, first let me say that I appreciate very much the opportunity for us to be with you today, and for your consideration of this proposal that we have produced.

I'd like to take a moment to introduce some of these folks that are with us today. First of all, we do have our entire Commissioners' Court, and I'm going to ask if they would just stand as I call their name.

Precinct 1 Commissioner, Charles Shofner; Precinct 2 Commissioner, Rod Barger; Precinct 3 Commissioner, Willie Stark; Precinct 4 Commissioner, Mack Rose.

We have with us the Honorable Jimee Cooley, Mayor of the City of Woodville, who is our neighboring county; the Honorable Jerome Owens, Tyler County Judge; Honorable R.C. Horn, City Council member and former Mayor of the City of Jasper.

And we have a couple of really workhorses who have been with us throughout this. Mr. Bob Shaw is a professional engineer that's assisted us with this. His 90 year old mother has just gotten out of the hospital, so he had to stay with her today and take care of her. And Mr. Tom McClure, who is the CEO of Jasper Economic Development Commission, and he's been the real workhorse in this.

And we are grateful for each and every one of those. And, of course, Mr. Martin Dies, who is an attorney and a rancher from Orange and from Jasper County that's going to speak in just a moment.

But we're glad that we had the opportunity to present the proposal to the Commission. And I'd like to say just a few words about President Rob Alberts and Mr. Cox, Mr. Oles, and all the members of the Foundation Board. They were certainly very gracious to us and very helpful to us in all of our work that we've done with them. We were treated with the greatest respect and courtesy. And it was really a pleasure to be with them.

We knew we were being grilled, but it seemed like you were just talking to an old friend, and we appreciate that very much.

The Parks and Wildlife Board and Chairman Alberts, the Foundation Board, were very professional in every respect that we had in dealing with them and we are grateful for that. And it's important, and I think very important that you have men of this caliber who are working with you and are serving the people of the State of Texas.

We know that the location of this fish hatchery in Jasper County will be a great asset to the citizens of Jasper County and to the entire East Texas region. We also believe that this site offers benefits for the Parks and Wildlife Department, and for the citizens and taxpayers of the State of Texas.

And we're — again, I'm going to cut it short and tell you how much we appreciate the opportunity of making a proposal. We look forward to working with you. And I know we have many other things that we would be happy to work with — and hopefully we'll be able to work with the Commission and with the Parks and Wildlife Department as we do more things to develop this and we have some ideas that I think would be very helpful.

I've visited the site in Athens and it's a great place to visit, very interesting, and we have — I know one camp that's pretty near settling in the Sky Ranch [phonetic] Program for Jasper County. They'll be a lot of young folks that'll be attending that. It'll be an opportunity for some educational programs with them.

And we have some other ideas that we have. We'd certainly love to have a visitors center and to be — and be able to assist with that in future years.

So we thank you very much for the opportunity to be with you. We're very grateful to you, to the Foundation Board and with all the staff and members of each organization. Thank you so much.

If you have a question, I'd be happy to try and answer.

Commissioner Fitzsimons: Thank you, Judge.

JUDGE FOLK: Thank you.

Commissioner Fitzsimons: Thank you very much.

Next, Martin Dies. And be ready Mayor R.C. Horn.

MR. DIES: Mr. Chairman, members of the Commission, I probably have the least portfolio of anybody to be here. I'm simply a private citizen. I'll be brief.

I don't have technical expertise, but there's one thing that I think I can talk about, and that is the level of public support for this project. As you probably know, East Texans have a great deal of support and admiration for the Parks and Wildlife Department.

That having been said, I have never seen such a level of support for a project as this. And I think it will translate into a lot of good things. We have people coming up with ideas such as the State Park at Dam B, the support group's wanting to make this the — top on their tourist list.

And I think it'll happen. I mean, we get thousands of people that go through that park from Houston with the Audubon Society, and campers, and I can just imagine — I can just see the line of cars going over to this site.

Then we have the fishing tournament people, and they will tell you Jasper County has a tremendous reputation for hospitality and following through and offering a great environment.

So I think that if you decide to award this and follow the recommendation of the Foundation for Jasper County, I don't think you will ever regret it. I think you're going to see more public support and ideas about how to make this pay from the standpoint of tourism and education than you could ever imagine. Thank you very much.

Commissioner Fitzsimons: Thank you, Mr. Dies.

And R.C. Horn? And next up, Jerome Owens after Mr. Horn.

MR. HORN: Good evening. Mr. Chairman and the Committee, I — my name is R.C. Horn. I'm the past Mayor of the City of Jasper. I'm now on the Council of the City of Jasper. I'm also the President of Deep East Texas Council of Government.

We're here this afternoon to say, thank you. And certainly it's a pleasure for us to say, thank you, because we feel that this is going to be one good deal for us because Sky Ranch begins to come in and when these — in that neighborhood where it's going to be, and this is going to be a great situation.

We thank you so much. And, at this time, if you allow me, I'm going to introduce the — Mr. Walter Diggles, and he will come and finish this speech.

Mr. Diggles. Mr. Diggles is the Executive Director of DETCOG.

MR. DIGGLES: Thank you, Mayor.

Mr. Chairman and Commissioners, it is a pleasure to be here today to — not only to support the recommendation by the Foundation and the staff, but also to say to the Commissioner from East Texas, Commissioner Parker, who actually solicited our assistance in facilitating the first meeting at the Martin Dies State Park with all of the entities that were interested in submitting a bid proposal for this tremendous facility.

Deep East Texas is very proud to not only host the current fish hatchery in Jasper County that you saw earlier on the slide, but we're very pleased that the competition was not only, I think, very effective, but it was also very thorough.

We had quite a few phone calls and we're very pleased with the outcome of the selection process. And I will also add that, from Commissioner Parker's support and his hard work and aggressive and energetic nature, we also enjoyed quite a bit of, I guess you would call it drama, about where the location of the site eventually was going to be recommended.

One of the things that was very impressive to us throughout the process, and we worked with everyone of the entities in Deep East Texas to not only supply data and information, but to be sure that the information that we provided was very fair and equitable throughout the region, and now, on behalf of our Council, we're very pleased to join in this recommendation for the Jasper County site.

One last thing, to say that I think it's a very good value added benefit to the Jasper County site is those current state employees, State Parks and Wildlife employees who live in Jasper County will not only have to — will not have to drive a long way or be located to another area, but they can just move over to the new facility.

And I think, again, that's a very, very good recommendation, and I'm pleased to support it on behalf of the Deep East Texas Council of Governments.

Commissioner Fitzsimons: Thank you, Mr. Diggles.

Next, Jerome Owens.

MR. OWENS: Thank you, and it's an opportunity for me to be here to address this Parks and Wildlife Commission. I am the County Judge of Tyler County.

As a point of privilege, I want to say, since Marc Collins started in Tyler County, after he left, we had to replace him with twelve bloodhounds. The drawback is, is the bloodhounds won't cross alligator infested waters, and Marc would. So we're missing that.

Jasper County is a friend of Tyler County, even though we were in the hunt for this, and we fought it, and Tyler County didn't get the bragging rights. But I'm here today, not just because I'm a friend of Tyler County and of Jasper County, but because I think that there are some important issues that are being resolved by the Commission today.

I know Commissioner Parker addressed many of the participants, and he said we need to get together and work together. And I'm happy to report to Commissioner Parker that that has happened.

And even though we were not successful, I will tell you that what you are doing today is you're doing something to enrich the natural resources of East Texas. And you're doing something that will effect the quality of life in East Texas. All of these things are more important than any one county or one group.

And that is why I can stand before you today and say that I firmly believe that this is headed in the right direction. Tyler County will stand behind you, they'll stand behind Jasper, and they will promise to give you every dollar of value that can be gotten out of this fish hatchery.

Thank you for the work that you do, and thank you for this opportunity.

Commissioner Fitzsimons: Thank you, Judge.

Jimee Cooley.

MS. COOLEY: I'm Jimee Cooley and I'm Mayor of the City of Woodville, the county seat of Judge Owens, and I need to share one little thing with you though. I called Mr. Parker one day when he first came on your — as a Commissioner, and I said, Mr. Parker, I'd like to buy your lunch. Well, the end of that story was, he invited 100 of his friends and we had to have lunch out at Martin Dies Park.

But I was glad to meet him, whatever the circumstances. We had — DETCOG paid for it.

Anyway, as we approach this holiday season of Thanksgiving, I'm reminded of the Caddo and Coushatta tribes that once lived and worked in Deep East Texas. They knew no county lines.

And we are here today to tell you, in the realm of the proposed fish hatchery for East Texas, we see no county line between Tyler and Jasper County, only an endeavor to share our area of lakes, parks, abundant wildlife and fishing with our neighbors throughout the United States. Thank you.

Commissioner Fitzsimons: Thank you, Mayor. Your cooperation is, I think, a model for other regions in the state. And I commend you.

Any questions for staff?

(No response.)

Commissioner Fitzsimons: Staff, anything to add there?

MR. DUROCHER: No, sir.

Commissioner Fitzsimons: Any more comments from the Commission? Is there a motion on this item?

COMMISSIONER PARKER: So move.

COMMISSIONER WATSON: Second.

Commissioner Fitzsimons: Moved by Commissioner John Parker, second by Commissioner Watson.

All in favor, please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

Commissioner Fitzsimons: Any opposed?

(No response.)

Commissioner Fitzsimons: Hearing none, motion carries.

Thank you very much for all your hard work. Thank you the Foundation. Pat, I appreciate that.

Next up, agenda item number 3, proposed Print Artwork Program. Commonly known as the Bubba item.

(Pause.)

MS. STILES: Good afternoon. My name is Frances Stiles and I'm with the Administrative Resources Division.

Under the terms of the contract with Collectors Covey for artwork design and marketing of the Departmental Print Program, the Commission approves artwork each year for the waterfowl, freshwater fishery, nongame, turkey, and saltwater stamps.

This artwork is assembled with two other prints prepared by Parks and Wildlife staff, and combined into the Collectors version consisting of seven stamps. Collectors Covey offers the print reproductions through their established marketing network, and Parks and Wildlife receives a portion of the sale of each print.

With me is Mr. Martin Wood to present this year's artwork.

MR. WOOD: Commissioners, once again I'm here, this is the 24th year that I've presented this artwork to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission. It's sort of become a tradition for me to say something, if not funny, at least sort of wise and sarcastic.

I was — in the year 2000 — for some reason, this meeting is always the day after the national elections, and in 2000, I came down here when, you know, the whole world had been turned on end. All the Commissioners were Republicans, and I've always prided myself, being a 25 year contractor with the state, with my political bisexuality.

And — but I want to say today that I have finally seen the light. There is no need for me to be bisexual anymore, and, in fact, I stopped at Double Day on the way down here and bought a bible so I can start really getting, you know, more in tune with the times.

But I was really concerned yesterday. I thought, god, what kind of mood are these guys going to be in. And then about 11:00 last night it became apparent that we were all going to be a good mood. And I've always kidded about that, being on both sides of the fence. That clearly — you all know for sure that I've always really been with you all.

MR. COOK: Mr. Chairman, the time may be up, I'm not sure.

MR. WOOD: That's what I'm hoping for. You know, I just want to stall my time out.

Anyway, this is this year's presentation. The saltwater stamp will be a crappie by John Dearman. The — you'll recall last year the duck stamp print was done by Stuart and Scott Gentling, who are way ahead of doing duck stamp designs for the State of Texas because of their great friendship with former Chairman Armstrong. She convinced them that they — and me, I might add — that they ought to do the duck stamp design.

And they liked it so much, they don't know that they're bigger than we are, and they wanted to do the turkey stamp design this year. Now, they're not real good about meeting deadlines, and they have done a little miniature, which is an example of what they will be doing for this year's turkey stamp design, and assure me we will have it by the first of the year. If you'll recall, last year they also didn't have the duck stamp design ready.

Our duck stamp is by an artist, Herb Booth. This is his second Texas duck stamp print. He did the 1986 design. We envision on that design — since Herb Booth is a sporting artist more in the tradition of Jack Cowan in that he has hunters and birds and animals in his paintings — to retain the flavor of what his artwork is about, we have hunters in the lower right hand corner of that design, and — but yet large ducks.

And we plan to crop the stamp, the collector's stamp, where all you can see is the ducks in the image, and we've done that on two duck — Jack Cowan's design, and we did it on Herb's other design too. You know, sort of the stamp and the design are identical, but one, we hope, compliments the other.

The design of — for the saltwater stamp is a tarpon by Al Barnes from Rockport. And the long billed curlew is by J.D. Cleland-Hura, who is an artist from — you probably never heard of — from Oregon who paints, not so much hunting and fishing and game birds and animals, but more environmental things, including lots of shore birds and things that you don't hunt.

We think it's a great selection, and hope you agree.

If there are any question, I'll be glad to —

Commissioner Fitzsimons: You did it again, Bubba.

MR. WOOD: Yes. Good. Good.

Commissioner Fitzsimons: I never questioned your —

MR. WOOD: No, I knew you didn't —

Commissioner Fitzsimons: Yes. Yes.

MR. WOOD: — Chairman. I knew. And by the way, you're the best chairman we've ever had. You understand that?

Commissioner Fitzsimons: Bubba, I was here the last time you said that, and I wasn't Chairman.

MR. WOOD: I have now said it, I think, seven or eight times.

Commissioner Fitzsimons: Yes. Well, you have to stand for cross-examination, and I believe I'll recognize —

MR. WOOD: Okay.

Commissioner Fitzsimons: — Commissioner —

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: I was wondering, given your abysmal history of picking winning candidates whether you were going to give us your speech on conservation in the Kerry administration.

MR. WOOD: Conservation in the Kerry administration, first of all, I want to be on the record to say I voted a straight Republican ticket for the first time in my life. But that would be a short speech.

But you got — you have to admit that the humor value of having Teresa Heinz Kerry as First Lady for four years would make you want to go home at 5:00 and see what she had done that day.

COMMISSIONER PARKER: Mr. Chairman.

Commissioner Fitzsimons: Commissioner Parker.

COMMISSIONER PARKER: I've been around probably a little bit longer than the rest of you, and Bubba Wood and I go back too many years.

MR. WOOD: A long time.

COMMISSIONER PARKER: A long, long time. And I want to tell you that this man has done as much for wildlife conservation in the State of Texas as any man that I know of. He has shipped tons of framed prints out to Duck Unlimited, Quail Unlimited, Turkey Federation, CCA, PGA, EEA, over and over and over, year after year after year.

And, Bubba, I for one, I want to publicly — in this forum say thank you.

MR. WOOD: Thank you. We couldn't get a reduction in our royalty after that speech, could we? Would it be proper to make that motion?

Thank you all.

Commissioner Fitzsimons: Thank you, Bubba.

Any more comments — oh, I'm sorry — any questions for staff, comments from the Commission?

(No response.)

Commissioner Fitzsimons: Is there a motion on this item?

COMMISSIONER RAMOS: So move.

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: Second.

Commissioner Fitzsimons: Moved by Commissioner Ramos, second by Commission Holmes.

All in favor, please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

Commissioner Fitzsimons: Any opposed?

(No response.)

Commissioner Fitzsimons: Hearing none, motion carries.

Thank you very much. And, Bubba, we'll be contacting you later for that information on Commissioner Parker that will make —

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: Mr. Chairman, if you could —

Bob, could you bring that —

Commissioner Fitzsimons: It's already been approved, Ned.

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: I just want to be able to see it.

Commissioner Fitzsimons: Okay.

Next up, agenda item number 4, Boat Ramp Grant Funding, Tim Hogsett, always ready.

MR. HOGSETT: Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman, members of the Commission. I'm Tim Hogsett from the Recreation Grants Program in the State Parks Division.

This item is a proposal for funding of six boat ramp facilities. This is federal pass through money from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service through the program known as the Sport Fish Restoration Act.

These are 75 percent matching grants to local governments and the local governments affirm that they will maintain and operate these facilities at their own expense after they're completed.

We have six applications requesting $2.1 million in 75 percent matching funds. One from the Aransas County Navigation District Number 1 in Rockport requesting a ramp for $187,202 on Aransas Bay in Rockport.

The Brazos River Authority is requesting $103,125 for a boat ramp on Lake Possum Kingdom. Hidalgo County requesting $500,000 to renovate an existing boat ramp along the Rio Grande River near the Rio Grande — Lower Rio Grande National Wildlife Refuge.

Lubbock County Water Control and Improvement District is requesting $500,000 for a three lane boat ramp on Buffalo Springs Lake near Lubbock.

The Mackenzie Municipal Water Authority is requesting $33,697 to add facilities to an existing boat ramp, including a courtesy dock and pier. This lake is close to the City of Tulia in the Panhandle.

And the Department is requesting $708,000 for the construction of a two lane boat ramp at the Sheldon Lake Environmental Learning Center, which a number of you were at last week in Harris County.

My recommendation, placing before you, is funding for new construction and renovation projects in the amount of $2,104,024 is approved for boating access facilities in Aransas County, Briscoe County, Harris County, Hidalgo County, Lubbock County and Palo Pinto County.

I'd be glad to answer any questions.

Commissioner Fitzsimons: Any questions for Tim?

(No response.)

Commissioner Fitzsimons: No one signed up on this issue?

(No response.)

Commissioner Fitzsimons: Is there a motion on the this item?

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: So move for approval.

COMMISSIONER HENRY: Second.

Commissioner Fitzsimons: And that was a motion by Commissioner Montgomery, 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, motion carries.

Next up, Tim, you're item 5, action item National Recreational Trail Grant Funding.

MR. HOGSETT: You will recall that in August we brought you a number of trail grant applications. The Trail Grant Program is funded through the — these are federal funds through the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Since 2003, the Congress has been unable to resolve issues and pass a highway bill, so they have been operating on continuing resolutions. At the time we came to you in August, we had enough support in dollars to be able to fund approximately $1.9 million worth of projects.

These applications are received once annually, and are reviewed and ranked by our Trails Advisory Board. At the time we came before you in August, we funded all of the projects in a priority list that we had the resources to fund, but the Trails Advisory Board didn't understand that there was a likelihood of additional — either a full highway bill being passed, or another continuing resolution.

Another continuing resolution has been passed by Congress, and we have approximately $400,000 additional funds, so we'd like to go that much further down the list that you approved back in August.

We have five projects that we would be funding, and those are found at Exhibit A. And our recommendation we're placing before you today is funding for five projects recommended in Exhibit A in the amount of $402,750 as approved.

I'd be glad to answer any questions.

Commissioner Fitzsimons: Any questions for Tim?

(No response.)

Commissioner Fitzsimons: A motion on this item?

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: So move.

COMMISSIONER HENRY: Second.

Commissioner Fitzsimons: Moved by Commissioner Montgomery, 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, motion carries.

MR. HOGSETT: Thank you.

Commissioner Fitzsimons: Thank you very much, Tim.

Next up, Wildlife Expo. Ernie?

MR. GAMMAGE: Mr. Chairman and Commissioners, I'm Ernie Gammage. I'm the Director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Expo here to report to you on the 13th Annual Expo held the first weekend of October.

We had about 22,000 folks that came out. The weather did not cooperate for the first time in those 13 years. And we'll talk about that a little bit later.

In spite of the heavy rains on Saturday, we had over 8,000 folks that came out and enjoyed the outdoors. Friday night we kicked the event off with the Texas Conservation Banquet. There is this year's Chairman of the Expo, Commissioner Holt, who shepherded us through the process this year.

The banquet's auction benefitted the Sheldon Lake Environmental Learning Center. We had a couple of other new things that were going on, some of our new partners, Canon, was there as well as members of the Sea World group who came and presented at Expo, created a fun opportunity. So Friday night was great.

Then it rained. Sometime between 2:00 and 4:00 in the morning, we got approximately three inches out here on site. And so when we showed up Saturday — Sun — yes, Saturday morning, this is what we found. Depending on where we were, up to the three inches of standing water.

You'll notice those hay bales in the corner under the tent there. Those became like gold as they were spread out to enable folks to get around. And folks, in fact, did get around.

They came out prepared, brought their slickers, walked through the mud, and came out and joined us on Saturday. They literally stood in the rain to participate and see what was going on. It was an astounding activity under the tents. Folks gathered — so everybody that had a tent, in fact, had great visitation.

But not everybody was so enthusiastic. Our own Executive Director took this photo.

Other folks who were not so thrilled were the people that came out and thought they were going to be parking in our hay field, because we couldn't park there Saturday or Sunday. And our plan B, which is a rain plan, proved to be based on a faulty assumption, which was that folks won't come out to Expo in the rain. They will.

So we're going to go back and revisit that next year so if it does, in fact, rain in another 13 years, we don't have the problems that we had with folks parking, finding their way to the shuttle site, and we'll tend to that.

Sunday, however, was a different story. The sun did come out, all of the activities at Expo were back up and functional, with one exception, and that was mountain biking. This photograph is actually of the — some of the shooting sports area, and you can see that it is packed.

Outreach efforts. We'd mentioned to you that we thought we might have up to 40 buses that came from different corners of Texas. We actually had 33. Thanks to Commissioner Holmes and Commissioner Holt for sponsoring 20 of those. So we had 33 buses that we found homes for, all of them out here on Saturday.

This is a group from Beaumont, underwritten by Tony Houseman, who sends kids up here every year. We also had about 2,000 scouts that joined us, both leaders and kids. That's Sunday. You can tell by the mud on the walk there. They came out and did all the things that scouts do, including participating in the new Trailblazers Program.

We had probably 11 or 1200 volunteers who, again, really make this event run. That's an air gun activity with one of our fine volunteers. I love this photograph, there's a lot of history in here.

First of all, that little girl on the right, even though it's Sunday, she is wearing her Expo tee shirt that were available for the first time on Saturday. So it looks like she came back out.

Those stickers that are on there, the bigger ones are from our Spanish language partner, La Invasora, who does a tremendous job of promoting Expo to the Hispanic audience in Central Texas.

The other two stickers that are there are the Take Me Fishing and Take Me Camping stickers that we gave to kids, along with Take Me Hunting, Take Me Boating, Take Me Mountain Biking, Take Me Rock Climbing. So those are very, very popular with the kids, and the smiles prove it.

What was new at Expo this year? This is a shot of the Texas Parks and Wildlife helicopter that law enforcement brought in and sat down on Thursday. All weekend it had great visitation with people wanting to know not only how does a helicopter fly, but what in the world do we have one for, and how do we use it in our programs.

This is a shot of a new activity that we worked on probably for three years, and it finally came home to roost. This is bow fishing. It was so popular with kids that the adults didn't get to shoot, so we're going to double it next year and give them an opportunity to try that as well. Pretty amazing shot as that arrow actually enters the water. We had tremendous lines there all weekend.

We did have some great new sponsors on board. I'd like to point those out to you. This is the most significant new retail sponsor that we had. A newcomer to the Central Texas area, in fact, they only have two stores in Texas, but they came on in a big way and underwrote all of our shooting sports. That's the Sportsman's Warehouse.

Canon. This was part of their stand out near the retention pond at the end of the building down here where they gave people a chance to find out about photographic equipment, about optical equipment, hear from top notch wildlife photographers and also see examples of wildlife photography. And this was extremely well received and Canon was very, very happy to be here as part of the Expo.

We totally retooled our visitors survey this year in response to the audit that was performed on Expo a few years ago, to try to get at more value driven questions related to what do our visitors actually get out Expo. And I just want to hit some highlights. This is still a work in progress.

Here are a couple of interesting things. We had more kids at this Expo than we did last year, as a percentage of the crowd. You can see, in fact, on Saturday we had 39 percent, on Sunday 44 percent. This is a family event. These are kids that are coming out here with moms, dads, aunts, uncles, grandparents to enjoy the event. Still and always, Expo is a family event.

Very interesting this year. For the first time, the percentage of females, and this is adults now, women who are in the survey, the percentage of women topped 45 percent, which is the highest percentage we've ever had at Expo.

That hovers somewhere between 65, 45 and further afield than that. This is significant. We don't know why, especially in the rain. But we'll try to figure that out.

Ethnicity, we landed right about where we have landed in the past, 72 percent of the folks that come out here are Anglo, 19 percent Hispanic, which is the same as it was last year. We were down a little bit in the African American population, and up in the other. We believe that was primarily from Asian Americans.

This does not look like Texas, to quote my friend, Mr. Alvin Henry. We want Expo to look like Texas and we will continue to strive to make it look like Texas.

Some quick conclusions from the survey that we'd like to draw. First of all, we discovered that whether the 52 percent of the folks that came to Expo had been here before, or whether they had not been here before, they are engaged already in the outdoors, and they participate in the outdoors in a significantly broad based number of outdoor activities.

They don't just fish, they don't just hunt, they don't just camp, they tend to do all of those things. And, in fact, it's very, very much higher than the normal population. So we can say that especially for boating and hunting, the folks that come out here are people that recreate in the outdoors. They are outdoor recreationists.

Attending Expo, coming out here, do we have an impact on them? And the answer is, yes. The greatest impact, and this was in the 60 percentile, was on folks who came out here and wanted information about state parks, whether they had camped before or been to state parks, or never been there, they were driven to either participate more or said they were going to participate for the first time in the next 12 months.

So state parks really got a lot of bang for the buck for being at Expo.

Moderate impact was increasing frequency of activity by those who already engaged in hunting, birding, fishing and boating, for example. I already hunt, 47 percent of the folks who already hunted say they were more likely to hunt more often as a result in the next 12 months of coming to Expo.

And finally, for non-hunters, we saw no evidence that Expo encourages them to go hunting in the next 12 months. The reality of that is, on the one hand, we did see about a 25 percent up tick in folks that said, yes, we will go hunting in the next 12 months. These are non-hunters. We also saw about a 22 percent down tick from folks that said they are less likely to go hunting having come to Expo.

What does that mean? Well, we're going to evaluate that. Probably means they came out here with those opinions already.

We think we showed them a good time. Hats off to staff who did a great job under difficult circumstances. We still saw those great smiling faces from kids and families, moms and dads, that come out to Expo as we taught them to take care of Texas, be safe, use it wisely and obey the law.

Do you have any questions that I can answer?

Commissioner Fitzsimons: Good job, Ernie. I know you were under some tough circumstances. That was —

MR. GAMMAGE: Appreciate your support.

COMMISSIONER HENRY: Mr. Chairman, not a question, but a comment. I think it's important that we as a Commission continue to reiterate our support for Expo as being one of the outstanding activities that the Department engages in, particularly with regard to our region, more specifically to urban outreach.

I'd like to also commend Commissioner Holmes and Holt for their efforts in getting inner city kids to Expo, the great majority for the first time. I think it's important that we continue to try to make Expo look like Texas just as we try to have this encouraging the rest of the Department, that we celebrate the diversity of this state.

And I would like to thank Ernie and the staff who do a tremendous job in pulling this off. I think it's a wonderful activity, and I'm just very pleased to be associated with it.

MR. GAMMAGE: Thank you. Other questions?

Commissioner Fitzsimons: Any other questions for Ernie?

(No response.)

Commissioner Fitzsimons: Again, great job. Thanks.

MR. GAMMAGE: Thank you, sir.

MR. COOK: Mr. Chairman, I'd just like to comment, we do appreciate your support. We're already looking for dates for next year to get settled on a date and go forward.

Commissioner Fitzsimons: Good deal. Good deal.

I neglected — before we get to the next item — I neglected to call someone who had been signed up on the Trails — but thank goodness they're for it. So they's probably not a problem there. But Michelle — I'm sorry, is it Pundt?

(No response.)

Commissioner FitzsimonsS: From city of Pflugerville?

(No response.)

Commissioner Fitzsimons: Well, we voted in favor of her grant, so I guess she went on.

Michelle, you're out there? I apologize.

All right. On to the next item, agenda item 7, Nonprofit Partner Resolution, Ann Bright and Walt Dabney. Oh, we don't need Walt.

MS. BRIGHT: That's what I say.

Good afternoon, Commission. My name is Ann Bright, I'm the General Counsel.

And today we're here to address our nonprofit partners. There's a provision of the Parks and Wildlife Code that authorizes the Commission and the Department to work with nonprofit partners, and these are very important as we do a lot of our work.

There is a group of these nonprofit partners that we call closely related nonprofit organizations, which are essentially our Friends Group. Under the statute, the Commission approves each nonprofit partner that is added to the list. The Commission must also approve any nonprofit partner that is removed from the list.

There are seven nonprofit partners that we're wanting to remove from the list. Most of these — all but one of these are being removed simply because they really don't exist anymore, either they were — for a lot of reasons. You can see, for example, Kerrville-Schreiner is up there, and that park has been transferred to the City of Kerrville and that group disbanded.

The Friends of Hueco Tanks, that group is experiencing some internal turmoil, and so we'd like to remove them off the list at this point. Hopefully, at some point, things will get better for them or there will be some group that will help us at Hueco Tanks.

And the resolution, I believe, is going to be distributed and we would ask that the Commission approve the resolution.

Commissioner Fitzsimons: Any questions for Ann?

(No response.)

Commissioner Fitzsimons: And don't want to make the same mistake I did last time. Anyone signed up that I've missed to speak on this issue, agenda item 7?

(No response.)

Commissioner Fitzsimons: Is there a motion on this item?

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Move approval.

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: Second.

Commissioner Fitzsimons: Commissioner Montgomery moved to approve, second by Commissioner Holmes.

All in favor, please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

Commissioner Fitzsimons: Any opposed?

(No response.)

Commissioner Fitzsimons: Hearing none, motion carries.

Thank you, Ann, and you're still up for item 8.

MS. BRIGHT: Again, for the record, I'm Ann Bright, General Counsel. As part of, again, our continuing process of reviewing and updating our rules and making sure that they're clear, we have come to pretty much the end of the process of reviewing these chapters, Chapter 51, 55 and 61.

We published notice that we were going to review these in March and in July we looked at the rules and we considered whether the reasons for adopting them continued. We reviewed the statutory requirements.

We also received authorization in August to publish some changes to these rules. Those recommended changes were published in October. We received no comments regarding those changes, and I'm going to quickly go through the changes that we're proposing and that we're requesting the Commission to adopt today.

Most of them are just clarifying changes regarding the procedures for adoption of rules, the authority to contract, our sick leave pool and our contracts for public works.

We're recommending the repeal of three subchapters, one involving easements, and the other one involving litigation, and another one involving memoranda of understanding. None of those were statutorily required, and so we thought we would get any unnecessary regulations off the books.

We also, in an effort to make rules a little bit easier to find, are requesting adoption of the relocation. And this is accomplished basically through repealing and then readopting in another chapter, three subchapters, nonprofit organizations, mandatory hunter education program, and mandatory boater education program.

We're also requesting the adoption of employee training rules. This is a statutory requirement, and as part of the rule review process, we realize that's something that we needed to address.

And this is the recommendation, it's rather complicated because of the various things we're trying to do in cleaning this up, but I'd be happy to answer questions.

Commissioner Fitzsimons: Any questions for Ann?

(No response.)

Commissioner Fitzsimons: One person signed up here. Gene Matocha.

MR. MATOCHA: Gene Matocha.

Commissioner Fitzsimons: Yes, I'm sorry if I mispronounce your name.

MR. MATOCHA: I am Gene Matocha from Portland, Texas. I represent an idea, and this is a proposal for your consideration, and it's entitled, The Life Long Legacy License.

There are seven items I'd like to cover briefly with you, please. Number one being that this would be a life time hunting and fishing license for senior sportsmen age 65 and older. Two, the fee for this super combination license package would be $500. Three, it's a legacy because all fees received would be received in a permanent trust fund.

Four, $500 invested for one year at 6 percent would produce $30 in revenue which is equal to the current cost of a senior resident super combination license package, but that is $5 more than the regular senior resident combination hunting, all water fishing license. That would be a gain of $5 for the state.

Number five, when the senior sportsman passes on, the money that he or she has invested in the life long legacy license would remain in the trust fund. This would provide a permanent funding source for the Texas Parks and Wildlife to continue its fine work and services.

Number six, as a convenience, the senior sportsman would not have to be concerned with license renewal each year. Texas Parks and Wildlife would mail the hunting tag stamps with the fishing tags each year to every life long legacy license holder.

The seventh one is simply a statement, and it reads, in general, seniors have had wonderful hunting and fishing experiences in Texas. Their sportsmanship and attention to conservation, along with the Texas Parks and Wildlife's conservation, support, education, and enforcement efforts, have contributed greatly to our joy in the outdoors.

Now, I'd like to comment on number four, if I still have time. Six percent is a relatively conservative number. The Texas Employment Retirement System, the ERS, last year made on their investments 11.7 percent. I think you could exceed 6 percent with investments in this trust fund.

Any questions, gentlemen?

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Any questions for Mr. Matocha?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HENRY: Just one question. Mr. Chairman, should we refer it to one of our committees for study?

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Yes, I believe that it's a little bit off the agenda, as far as the rule review. And, certainly something that we need to refer to staff to look at and report to the regulations committee.

MR. MATOCHA: Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Because as you can imagine, there's a lot of analysis that goes through any change in fees to see if there's any net gain or loss, what those effects are. But certainly worth considering.

Thank you, Al.

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: Mr. Chairman, as the regulations committee looks at it, I assume they'll look at the number of life time licenses that occur, so people that are 65 and older, which I —

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Correct.

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: — suspect is fairly low —

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Yes. Well, the optimistic among us.

MR. MATOCHA: Sir, could I comment on that? For my two sons, I purchased each a life time license for $1,000 each. I wanted one also, but at my age, I found it a little too pricey. But at $500, I'd gladly purchase the very first one.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: But, to use your analysis, you get the combo at $64, that's 6.4 percent of the $1,000, right? So you're doing fine with the life time.

MR. MATOCHA: Well, my — which, my sons?

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: No, no. For the older person.

MR. MATOCHA: Oh, yes.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: $64 is your super combo cost.

VOICE: For seniors.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Yes, it's an even better deal. But I think the question's correct, you have to look at the impact on life time sales.

Thank you very much.

MR. MATOCHA: Thank you, sir.

VOICE: Thank you for bringing it up.

MS. BRIGHT: I'd like to —

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Ann.

MS. BRIGHT: If I could also point out, we have received a petition for rule making on this matter, and I believe it's been forwarded to you with staff's recommendation. And we'll continue to look into this as well.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Any other questions for Ann on this item?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Is there a motion on the rule making item?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER WATSON: So move.

COMMISSIONER HENRY: Second.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: And that was moved by Watson, second by Henry.

All in favor, please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Any opposed?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Hearing none, motion carries.

The next up is agenda item number 9, Rule Review, Mike Berger.

MR. BERGER: Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman and Commissioners. I'm Mike Berger, the Director of the Wildlife Division.

As Ann pointed out, we are required every four years to review these rules. We brought these rules to you the last time to request permission to publish, which we did in September. At that time, at the August meeting, we had five subchapters which we previously adopted at that time.

These are — the pertinent points are summarized on this slide. What we are doing here is removal of fee amounts from this chapter, they've all been moved to Chapter 53 in finance.

Regarding terminology in subchapter 8 we're changing the word youth, substituting youth for minor for clarification in the public lands proclamation. Also in the public lands proclamation we are removing conservation permit, which is an item that no longer exists.

And in subchapter H, we would provide that no further notification of people who have an incomplete application for public comments, and we would not be able to notify them and try to get that application corrected.

And we brought those to you for publication. There have been no comments on these.

And four chapters would be readopted without change. Those are raptor proclamation, the migratory bird proclamation, alligators and the fur bearing animal proclamation. So we have the recommendation for you to accomplish that.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Anything for Mike, questions for Mike?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Motion on this item?

COMMISSIONER WATSON: So move.

COMMISSIONER RAMOS: So second.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: That was moved by — was it Watson — and second by —

MR. COOK: Comment — public comment.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Oh, I'm sorry. Okay. Before we get to that, Walt Glasscock, you're up next. And Mike Livingston.

MR. GLASSCOCK: Thank you for this opportunity. We are aware of the fact that all places and all people don't have the freedoms we have in America, and I thank you, each and every one, for this open forum.

We approached this Commission several years ago about the possibility of antler restrictions in a six county area, and you acted on it. We thank you for that. It's been a roaring success. The greatest of sceptics are now in favor and just can't believe how well the program is working.

However, significant portions of Colorado, Austin, Fayette, and Lee Counties, Washington County, are not heavily populated with deer to this point. And Mr. Carroll has proposed — and I have his proposal in writing, you've seen, you've heard it — that we continue with the program basically as it is, but with one addition. We add a spike buck to the 13 inch rule, which would give two bucks.

We are fully convinced — I'm president of the Texas Sportsman Association, I cannot find anybody within our organization that believes that this is a good proposal. We just don't have — it's kind of like aborting a baby at three months gestation and say, now live, live, live. It's not going to make it.

We are not ready for this proposal. Now I — we were with Dr. Cook and others and they threw out this proposal early on. This is what we'd like to go to. And we'd like to see that. It's been over 30 years since we've have two bucks.

But we are nowhere yet ready for that, gentlemen. And I beg you don't impose this kind of regulation on your neighbors. Well, we'd like to have it, we're just convinced, thoroughly convinced, the evidence — there are people are out in the field all the time.

I honestly believe our membership is in the field far more often and greater hours than your biologists are, because they live there. And we don't see the numbers to support this proposal.

So in all earnestness, we beg you to give us some more time on this before you stick in the second buck rule with the spike. Spikes are not necessarily inferior. There's a lot of data of that. I know Parks and Wildlife has their data.

But I just recently read an article by Dr. Harry Jacobson in Mississippi State, and many, many years indicate that at seven years a spike buck is not inferior, in fact, sometimes superior by the time he reaches his seventh year.

Thank you for hearing us.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Walt, thank you. And I enjoyed working with you on the antler restrictions — MR. GLASSCOCK: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: — the last time.

MR. GLASSCOCK: It's been a success.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: I think we'll have the testimony, and then, Mike, you can respond to some of those comments.

And Mr. Mike Livingston.

MR. LIVINGSTON: Thank you. Mr. Director and Commissioners, I'm here to represent the Desert Mule Deer Association.

Over the past eight months, we've formed this organization. Four of us started it, ranchers. We now number over 200. We try to do positive things that will help the desert mule deer.

So far, we have done educational programs on predator control, which was very well received. We've been asked to do more. We've arranged for youth and handicapped hunts to be conducted this season.

We're also going to put out a newsletter this month, which each one of you all will receive. We've done an alternative program, management program, to the MLDP. Some of our members are in negotiations now towards funding for some research.

But still, many of our ranchers and landowners in Far West Texas remain concerned with some of the aspects of the MLDP program. Although better than it was, we continue to see the possibility, if not the probability, of our mule deer herd going down. It has already been drastically reduced due to drought and [indiscernible].

On the other hand, we do understand that there's legitimate concern to have greater hunting opportunity for the youth especially, and also for better management practices.

As a result, we have developed this alternative proposal, and we urge the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission and its staff to consider this proposal. This is something that people on both sides of the MLDP can and will support.

Each one of you has been sent a copy of this proposal. It is a good proposal. Please read it and study it. It is good for the desert mule deer, it's good for the landowner, it's good for the hunter, it's good for the family, and it's good for the youth of Texas.

Now, several of you all asked questions this morning about the MLDP. We would be glad to meet with you at any time, if we can help you. I think you all are having meetings out in our area the 17th through the 18th. We would be at your disposal, if you'd like to contact us. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Thank you, Mr. Livingston.

And next, John Oncken? Did I get that right?

MR. ONCKEN: You said it correct.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: I'll be darned. That's the first thing I did right all day.

MR. ONCKEN: My name is John Oncken, and I am one of the directors for the Texas Sportsman Association.

A few years back, we came in to the Commissioners here, and asked for some antler restrictions, that have been placed on to the six counties that reside over in the Columbus area. And I would like to thank the people that have worked on that. Bob Cook is one of those people.

Mr. Fitzsimons, I know you were involved and showed up at some meetings out there to talk to folks.

I'd also like to thank Mr. Bob Carroll for some of his work in that early stage of getting everything started off, as well as some of the other Commissioners that were present when we started that program.

Right now there's some discussion about extending that program and broadening it, adding a second buck tag — that would be in addition to the slot limit that we currently have that allows for a 13 inch plus width rack, or a spike — to adding a tag, second tag that will allow for a spike in addition to what I prefer to say, a slick antler, because that could be a spike on one side and two or three points on the other side.

As Walt Glasscock said a few minutes ago, the herd is really, really not recovered to that point. We own property, my family owns property in multiple locations around the county. On the west end of the county, we have a pretty decent number of deer.

The handout I just gave to the lady to my left has some data from one of the co-ops we belong to, Sandy Creek Co-op. And in that co-op, which consists of about 25,000 acres — it's been around for — it's one of the earlier started co-ops, so it's been in operation a while — but on 25,000 acres there were 105 bucks killed last year.

Of those 105 bucks, 33 of those had 13 inch plus spreads, which means 72 were spike or slick antler bucks. So you've got more than two bucks of the essentially yearling class that are being shot for every buck that's 13 inches and greater.

When you look at the numbers on that summary sheet, it also says that those deer are, for the most part, deer that are only one year old. I'd like to see less emphasis on a second tag that would take out more of our young deer.

In conclusion, I'd also like to point out, last year I participated in the North American Governors Hunting Symposium in Houston. One of the big items that we had on the agenda was to try and encourage and provide opportunity for more people to get out there.

I for one can tell you right now, in the 500 or so acres we have, I could put a person on every five acres of that property tomorrow if I had the deer to do it. But we just don't.

And I would much rather see more opportunity for additional persons to participate, rather than having one person having the opportunity to shoot two deer rather than one.

And you can always still shoot does, and you get doe tags in that area. So it's not like you only shoot one buck and you're through for the year.

I thank you for your time. I appreciate any direction and guidance you can provide in the future. And I'd also like to see, at least in the survey that goes out, some opportunity to consider that option as a viable entity to continue the program as is. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Thank you.

Mike, would you like to address some of these comments, please? Talk about the data that this recommendation is based upon.

MR. BERGER: Well, the first thing, the survey, the opinion survey is being mailed out right now to a number of landowners in the surrounding counties, and later there'll be another survey that goes out to the landowners in those six counties to garner their feelings and their opinions about this. And we're certainly going to take that into consideration in whatever proposal we bring to you.

And our biologists have looked at the data and believe there is justification to add that second deer with one unbranched antler.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: My memory, which is pretty faulty, was that when we discussed this, and there was quite a bit of controversy over the restrictions, and I'm so glad to hear that it's been a big success.

The comment was made either by — I don't know if I made it, or one of the other Commissioners, you know, how do we get to two bucks, how do we expand hunter opportunity. And that was really the answer wasn't it, that we would —

MR. BERGER: Yes, that we would add a second deer, we would create in essence a slot limit where we would have the better class of yearling bucks protected and the one with the unbranched antler would provide additional opportunity for the hunters out there.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: And in the event we're wrong, can you address their concerns of how we correct that?

MR. BERGER: Well, these are regulations that can be changed at any time. The data from the Kerr area will show that the long term and large sample sizes, that the bucks with an unbranched antler, the spikes, do not produce as well as those with multiple points in their yearling year.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: And we will be able to — we have the survey and census data to be able to make those corrections in the future?

MR. BERGER: Yes.

MR. COOK: Mr. Chairman, I would like to point out that, keep in mind that this is just a recommendation in the process of being developed. There's not been a recommendation.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: I understand. I'm trying to — yes.

MR. COOK: I appreciate Walt and John's comments. I've known them for a long time, and I look at that as input in this process. And we'll be back to you in January with a lot more information about the constituency input and landowners, hunters involved, so we're a little bit ahead of the curve on this one.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Yes, we understand. We're getting a public comment early on this one.

MR. COOK: We are.

MR. BERGER: Yes.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: But I want to just recognize their concern. Good.

MR. BERGER: Yes.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Any other questions for Mike on this one?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: A motion on this item?

COMMISSIONER WATSON: So move.

COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Second.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: It was moved by Watson, second by Ramos.

All in favor, aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: All opposed?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Hearing none, motion carries.

MR. BERGER: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Thank you, Mike.

Ann Bright, you're next up for item 10.

MS. BRIGHT: Good afternoon. My name is Ann Bright, I'm General Counsel.

Chapter 83 of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Code addresses the development of regional habitat conservation plans. And it — there are several requirements that are relevant to why I'm here today. It requires the formation of a Citizens Advisory Committee. It also requires the formation of a Biological Advisory Team.

There is to be a representative from the Parks and Wildlife Department to serve on each of these committees. The representative to the Biological Advisory Team is, by statute, to serve as the chairman of that committee, that group.

The Edwards Aquifer Authority is working to develop a regional habitat conservation plan. The previous representatives from Parks and Wildlife to the Biological Advisory Team, and to the Citizens Advisory Committee have left the Agency, therefore we're here to recommend the appointment of new representatives.

We're recommending specifically Dr. Wayne Schleitter from the Wildlife Division to the Citizens Advisory Committee, and Randy Moss of the Inland Fisheries Division to the Biological Advisory Team, and he will serve as the chairman of that team.

We're requesting to do this by resolution, and there is the resolution. I'd be happy to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: I have one question. What's the status of that habitat conservation plan with EAA?

MS. BRIGHT: You know, I'm not real sure. I know — I don't know if the draft has actually been developed —

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: So we're sending these poor people into a black hole.

MS. BRIGHT: Yes, the —

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: I'm sure you chose well.

MS. BRIGHT: — the departures of these employees were not as timely as we would have liked.

MR. McKINNEY: Just a quick response, Mr. Chairman. For the record, I'm Larry McKinney, Director of Coastal Fisheries.

The habitat conservation plan, a revised version is out for public comment over at least a 30 days period, looking for public comment at this time. So within that time period, we'll try to meet their requirements.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Thank you.

Any questions for Ann on this resolution?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Nobody signed up on item 10?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Motion on this item?

COMMISSIONER PARKER: So move.

COMMISSIONER HENRY: Second.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Moved by Commissioner Parker, second by Vice Chairman Al Henry.

Next up, item 11, action item, Nomination for Oil and Gas Lease, Jack.

VOICE: Want to vote on that?

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Oh, gosh, I'm sorry. Didn't vote on that one. Long night, it's a long night. Thank you.

All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: All opposed?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Hearing none, motion carries.

Now, you're up, Jack.

MR. BAUER: Mr. Chairman and Commissioners, I'm Jack Bauer, Director of Land Conservation.

As you all are aware, the Board for Lease for Parks and Wildlife Plans holds the authority for leasing our minerals on our properties, but they have always wanted the input from the Parks and Wildlife Commission for those actions. And we have a recommendation for an oil and gas lease at Gus Engeling for your consideration today.

As you know, Gus Engeling is in Anderson County and it's one of three very significant wildlife management areas, including Richland Creek and Big Lake Bottom, in that neighborhood.

Gus Engeling is a very diverse facility, large in size, of post oak savannah and several wetland communities, including bog and bottom land hardwood wetlands. And it also has existing oil and gas operations on it.

And we have proposed two tracts totaling 156 acres near Highway 287 near the headquarters that has been under lease, and it also has existing infrastructure on it. The lease that has been on it recently expired, and the developer did not get to the point where he developed any of those minerals, and he has nominated it — renominated it to carry on those activities.

So, again, it would be 156 acres with existing facilities, and it would be of terms the same as what the lease has been under, which is $150 per acre, 25 percent royalty, $10 per acre delay rental on a three year term, and would be restricted to either off site or as approved by Parks and Wildlife staff for any drilling location. Anticipated income, about $23,000.

So staff is recommending the motion before you to get a recommendation to the Board for Lease to lease these mineral acres. And I'll be happy to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Any questions for Jack?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: No questions for Jack?

Is there a motion —

COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Let me ask a question. Is there any drilling going on around this tract? Or production?

MR. BAUER: There was — yes, there is.

COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Existing production?

MR. BAUER: And there — had the existing lease owner, before it expired, been able to do what he wanted to do, he wanted to drill another well in this same complex to further exploit those minerals. And I would expect that if he wins the lease, that's what that individual will do.

COMMISSIONER RAMOS: But they won't — obviously they won't commit up front to drill us a well?

MR. BAUER: No, sir.

COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Okay.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Any other questions for Jack on item 11?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Is there a motion on this item?

COMMISSIONER BROWN: So move.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Moved by Commissioner Brown. Second by —

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Second.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: — Commissioner Montgomery.

All in favor, please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Any opposed?

(No response.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Hearing none, motion carries.

Next up is agenda item number 12, Land Sale and Exchange. Corky Kuhlmann.

MR. KUHLMANN: Good afternoon. I'm Corky Kuhlmann, Project Manager with the Land Conservation Program of Texas Parks and Wildlife.

This item represents a land sale and exchange at Caprock Canyon Trailways State Park as heard in the executive section of the Parks and Wildlife Commission. The trade portion of this item, the red outline is right—of—way that we would get in the trade, trade gain.

In exchange for the trade loss, which is outlined in yellow, it's land deemed as unsuitable for trailway use by Parks and Wildlife, and this is also the same type of land we would offer for sale to qualifying adjacent landowners in the area, along the trail.

Parks and Wildlife staff recommends that the Commission adopt the motion in front of you. Any questions?

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Any questions for Corky on this one?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Move approval.

COMMISSIONER PARKER: Second.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Motion — moved by — moved for approval by Commissioner Montgomery, second by Commissioner Parker.

All in favor, say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

MR. KUHLMANN: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Any opposed — thank you, Corky — any opposed?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Hearing none, motion carries.

Let's see. Next up, item 13, Jack Bauer, Land Acquisition.

MR. BAUER: Jack Bauer, Director of Land Conservation.

This item summarizes the conservation committee discussions heard earlier today in executive session relating to proposed acquisition of land in Bexar County at Government Canyon State Natural Area.

Parks and Wildlife has secured an endangered species grant to acquire up to 856 acres of karst cave invertebrate habitat, in conjunction with the City of San Antonio and the San Antonio Water Service.

Staff recommends the Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt the motion before you authorizing staff to acquire at least 421 acres under this grant as the Government Canyon State Natural Area addition under shared ownership with the City of San Antonio and San Antonio Water Service.

In the audience, Ms. Susan Spegar is here from the — representing the City of San Antonio that would be happy to answer — either of us would be happy to answer any questions over this proposed action.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Any questions of Jack on item 13?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Is there a motion on this item?

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Move approval.

COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Second.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Moved by Commissioner Montgomery, second by Commissioner Ramos.

All in favor, please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Any opposed?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Hearing none, motion carries.

Mr. Cook, any other business to come before the Commission today?

MR. COOK: No, sir.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: All right. I declare this ourselves adjourned. Thank you very much.

(Whereupon, at 3:15 p.m., the hearing was concluded.)


Approved this the 3rd day of November, 2004.

_______________________________
Joseph B.C. Fitzsimons, Member

_______________________________
J. Robert Brown, Member

_______________________________
Alvin L. Henry, Member

_______________________________
Ned S. Holmes, Member

_______________________________
Peter M. Holt, Member

_______________________________
Philip Montgomery, Member

_______________________________
John D. Parker, Member

_______________________________
Donato D. Ramos, Member

_______________________________
Mark E. Watson, Jr., Member

CERTIFICATE

MEETING OF: Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
Public Hearing
LOCATION: Austin, Texas
DATE: November 3, 2004

I do hereby certify that the foregoing pages, numbers 1 through 94, 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.

11/10/04
(Transcriber) (Date)
On the Record Reporting, Inc.
3307 Northland, Suite 315
Austin, Texas 78731


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