Regulations Committee

Wednesday, 9:00am, April 5, 2006

Commission Hearing Room
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744
Item No. Subject Public Hearing Agenda Item No.
  Approve previous Committee Meeting minutes.  
1. Land and Water Plan Update
Staff: Robert Cook
Committee Only
2. Proposed Amendments to the Public Lands Proclamation – Permission to Publish
Staff: Mike Berger
Committee Only
3. Oyster Daily Sack Limit Rules – Permission to Publish
Staff: Bill Robinson
Committee Only
4. Repeal of the Sea Rim State Park Hunting, Fishing and Trapping Proclamation
Staff: Vickie Fite
8
5. 2006-2007 Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation and Alligator Proclamation
Staff: Robin Riechers, Ken Kurzawski, Mike Berger
10
6. Deer Permit Rules
  • Consolidation of Deer Permit Violation Provisions
  • Changes to Scientific Breeder Regulations
Staff: Clayton Wolf
11

Committee Agenda Item No. 1
Presenter: Robert L. Cook

Regulations Committee
Land and Water Plan Update
April 2006

I. Executive Summary: Executive Director Robert L. Cook will briefly update the Commission on the status of the agency’s efforts to implement the Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan (the Plan).

II. Discussion: In 2001, the 77th Texas Legislature directed that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) develop a Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan (Tex. Park & Wild. Code §11.104). In November 2002, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission (the Commission) adopted the first Plan. A revised Plan was adopted by the Commission in January 2005. The Plan is available on the TPWD web site. Executive Director Robert L. Cook will update the Regulations Committee on TPWD's recent progress in achieving the Plan’s Goals and Objectives as they relate to the Regulations Committee.

The Plan consists of 8 Goals and a total of 56 Objectives. The Goals stated in the Plan are as follows:


Committee Agenda Item No. 2
Presenter: Mike Berger

Regulations Committee
Proposed Amendments to the Public Lands Proclamation
Permission to Publish
April 2006

I. Executive Summary: This item presents proposed amendments to the Public Lands Proclamation. The proposed amendments would remove Aquilla Wildlife Management Area from the public hunting program and would clarify the powers of the executive director.

II. Discussion: Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 12, Subchapter A, provides that a tract of land purchased primarily for a purpose authorized by the code may be used for any authorized function of the Parks and Wildlife Department if the Commission determines that multiple use is the best utilization of the land's resources. Additionally, Chapter 81, Subchapter E, provides the Commission with the authority to establish open seasons, and authorizes the Executive Director to determine bag limits, means and methods, and conditions for the taking of wildlife resources on wildlife management and public hunting lands, which includes units of the state park system designated as public hunting lands.

Attachments - 1

  1. Exhibit A - Proposed Amendments to the Public Hunting Lands Proclamation

Committee Agenda Item No. 2
Exhibit A

Public Lands Proclamation
Proposal Preamble

1. Introduction.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department proposes amendments to §§65.190 and 65.192, and new §65.204, concerning the Public Lands Proclamation.

The amendment to §65.190, concerning Application, would remove the Aquilla Wildlife Management Area from the applicability of the subchapter. The Aquilla area is being removed from the public hunting program by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which owns the area.

The amendment to §65.192, concerning Powers of the Executive Director, would eliminate subsections (g)-(j).

Current subsection (g) provides that the executive director may permit recreational activities on public hunting lands, compatible with sound resource management practices and public health and safety. The subsection is being eliminated and moved to §65.190 to more specifically address recreational uses on wildlife management areas. Parks and Wildlife Code, §81.405, provides that the commission may adopt rules governing recreational activities on wildlife management areas. The proposed amendment to §65.190 authorizes recreational activities on wildlife management areas, making §65.192(g) unnecessary.

Current subsection (h) provides that the executive director may waive application and permit fees for events having participation restricted to youth or disabled persons, or for activities conducted for purposes of research, education, or charity. The subsection is being eliminated because currently there are no application or permit fees for events or activities other than hunting. The only fees currently charged at wildlife management areas, other than those associated with hunting, are entrance fees established under Chapter 53. The subsection is therefore unnecessary.

Current subsection (i) provides that the executive director may establish regulations for camping on public hunting lands, consistent with the type of public use activity authorized and the environmental protection of the area. Camping is an activity other than hunting or fishing and is thus a recreational use as defined in §65.191(34). The subsection is being eliminated for the same reasons as subsection (g).

Current subsection (j) provides that it is a violation to conduct business concessions on public hunting lands unless specifically authorized in writing by the executive director. Business concessions include but are not limited to activities such as selling, buying, leasing, or peddling goods, merchandise or services to the public. The subsection is being eliminated as unnecessary because there are no business concessions currently authorized on wildlife management areas.

Proposed new §65.204, concerning Recreational Activities on Wildlife Management Areas, would authorize recreational activities on all wildlife management areas, provided the use does not conflict with the operation or management of an area or with the utilization of an area for the purposes for which it was purchased, leased, or acquired. The amendment is necessary to allow the use of wildlife management areas for purposes other than hunting and fishing. Many if not most of the wildlife management areas in Texas were purchased wholly or in part through the Pittman-Robertson (PR) Federal Aid program. Under PR rules, such property can be used for any purpose not inconsistent with the reasons for which the property was approved for purchase

2. Fiscal Note.

Robert Macdonald, regulations coordinator, has determined that for each of the first five years that the rules as proposed are in effect, there will be no fiscal implications to state or local governments as a result of enforcing or administering the rules.

3. Public Benefit – Cost Note.

Mr. Macdonald also has determined that for each of the first five years the rules as proposed are in effect:

(A) The public benefit anticipated as a result of enforcing or administering the rules as proposed will be the optimized use of wildlife management areas for recreational purposes and regulations that accurately reflect the intent of the legislature and the commission.

(B) There will be no adverse economic effects on small businesses, microbusinesses, or persons required to comply with the amendments as proposed.

(C) The department has not drafted a local employment impact statement under the Administrative Procedures Act, §2001.022, as the agency has determined that the rules as proposed will not impact local economies.

(D) The department has determined that there will not be a taking of private real property, as defined by Government Code, Chapter 2007, as a result of the proposed rules.

4. Request for Public Comment.

Comments on the proposed rules may be submitted to Dennis Gissell, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, 4200 Smith School Road, Austin, Texas, 78744; (512) 389-4407 (e-mail: dennis.gissell@tpwd.state.tx.us).

5. Statutory Authority.

The amendments are proposed under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 12, Subchapter A, which provides that a tract of land purchased primarily for a purpose authorized by the code may be used for any authorized function of the department if the commission determines that multiple use is the best utilization of the land's resources, and Chapter 81, Subchapter E, which provides the Parks and Wildlife Commission with authority to adopt rules governing recreational activities in wildlife management areas.

The amendment affects Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapters 12 and 81.

§65.190. Application.

(a) This subchapter applies to all activities subject to department regulation on lands designated by the department as public hunting lands, regardless of the presence or absence of boundary markers. Public hunting lands are acquired by lease or license, management agreements, trade, gift, and purchase. Records of such acquisition are on file at the Department's central repository.

(b) On U.S. Forest Service Lands designated as public hunting lands (Alabama Creek, Bannister, Caddo, Lake McClellan Recreation Area, Moore Plantation, and Sam Houston National Forest WMAs) or any portion of Units 902 and 903, persons other than hunters are exempt from the provisions of this subchapter, except for the provisions of §65.199(15) of this title (relating to General Rules of Conduct).

(c) On U.S. Army Corps of Engineer Lands designated as public hunting lands ([Aquilla,] Cooper, Dam B, Granger, Pat Mayse, Ray Roberts, Somerville, and White Oak Creek WMAs), persons other than hunters and equestrian users are exempt from requirements for an access permit.

(d) On state park lands designated as public hunting lands, access for fishing and recreational use is governed by state park regulations.

(e) Public hunting lands include, but are not limited to, the following:

(1) Alabama Creek WMA (Unit 904);

(2) Alazan Bayou WMA (Unit 747);

[(3) Aquilla WMA (Unit 748);]

(3)[(4)] Atkinson Island WMA;

(4)[(5)] Bannister WMA (Unit 903);

(5)[(6)] Big Lake Bottom WMA (Unit 733);

(6)[(7)] Black Gap WMA (Unit 701);

(7)[(8)] Caddo Lake WMA (Unit 730);

(8)[(9)] Caddo National Grasslands WMA (Unit 901);

(9)[(10)] Candy Abshier WMA;

(10)[(11)] Cedar Creek Islands WMA (includes Big Island, Bird Island, and Telfair Island Units);

(11)[(12)] Chaparral WMA (Unit 700);

(12)[(13)] Cooper WMA (Unit 731);

(13)[(14)] D.R. Wintermann WMA;

(14)[(15)] Dam B WMA—includes Angelina-Neches Scientific Area (Unit 707);

(15)[(16)] Designated Units of the Las Palomas WMA;

(16)[(17)] Designated Units of Public Hunting Lands Under Short-Term Lease;

(17)[(18)] Designated Units of the Playa Lakes WMA;

(18)[(19)] Designated Units of the State Park System;

(19)[(20)] Elephant Mountain WMA (Unit 725);

(20)[(21)] Gene Howe WMA (Unit 755)—includes Pat Murphy Unit (Unit 706);

(21)[(22)] Granger WMA (Unit 709);

(22)[(23)] Guadalupe Delta WMA (Unit 729)—includes Mission Lake Unit (720), Guadalupe River Unit (723), Hynes Bay Unit (724), and San Antonio River Unit (760);

(23)[(24)] Gus Engeling WMA (Unit 754);

(24)[(25)] James Daughtrey WMA (Unit 713);

(25)[(26)] J.D. Murphree WMA (Unit 783);

(26)[(27)] Keechi Creek WMA (Unit 726);

(27)[(28)] Kerr WMA (Unit 756);

(28)[(29)] Lake McClellan Recreation Area (Unit 906);

(29)[(30)] Lower Neches WMA (Unit 728)—includes Old River Unit and Nelda Stark Unit;

(30)[(31)] Mad Island WMA (Unit 729);

(31)[(32)] Mason Mountain WMA (Unit 749);

(32)[(33)] Matador WMA (Unit 702);

(33)[(34)] Matagorda Island State Park and WMA (Unit 1134);

(34)[(35)] M.O. Neasloney WMA;

(35)[(36)] Moore Plantation WMA (Unit 902);

(36)[(37)] Nannie Stringfellow WMA (Unit 716);

(37)[(38)] North Toledo Bend WMA (Unit 615);

(38)[(39)] Old Sabine Bottom WMA (Unit 732);

(39)[(40)] Old Tunnel WMA;

(40)[(41)] Pat Mayse WMA (Unit 705);

(41)[(42)] Peach Point WMA (Unit 721);

(42)[(43)] Ray Roberts WMA (Unit 501);

(43)[(44)] Redhead Pond WMA;

(44)[(45)] Richland Creek WMA (Unit 703);

(45)[(46)] Sam Houston National Forest WMA (Unit 905);

(46)[(47)] Sierra Diablo WMA (Unit 767);

(47)[(48)] Somerville WMA (Unit 711);

(48)[(49)] Tawakoni WMA (Unit 708);

(49)[(50)] Walter Buck WMA (Unit 757);

(50)[(51)] Welder Flats WMA;

(51)[(52)] White Oak Creek WMA (Unit 727); and

(52)[(53)] Other numbered units of public hunting lands.

§65.192. Powers of the Executive Director.

(a) The executive director is authorized by the Parks and Wildlife Commission to execute lease and management agreements for public hunting lands.

(b) The executive director may designate lands acquired under short-term lease agreement or lands acquired following the adoption of this subchapter for application of regulations governing hunting, fishing, and other public use.

(c) The executive director may designate hunt areas, legal species, hunt dates, shooting hours, bag limits, means and methods, and permit requirements within the framework established by the commission to promote the proper management and public use of wildlife resources on public hunting lands.

(d) The executive director may designate specific hunts for participation only by persons who meet established criteria with respect to age or disability.

(e) The executive director may designate limited-use zones on public hunting lands, within which public use is prohibited, restricted, or limited to certain periods of time.

(f) The executive director may close public hunting lands to public use to protect sensitive sites, and may cancel hunts or close the seasons on certain areas to avoid depletion of wildlife resources or in response to severe weather or other emergencies.

[(g) The executive director may permit recreational activities on public hunting lands, compatible with sound resource management practices and public health and safety.]

[(h) The executive director may waive application and permit fees for events having participation restricted to youth or disabled persons, or for activities conducted for purposes of research, education, or charity.]

[(i) The executive director may establish regulations for camping on public hunting lands, consistent with the type of public use activity authorized and the environmental protection of the area.]

[(j) It is a violation to conduct business concessions on public hunting lands unless specifically authorized in writing by the executive director. Business concessions include but are not limited to activities such as selling, buying, leasing, or peddling goods, merchandise or services to the public.]

§65.204. Recreational Use of Wildlife Management Areas.

(a) Hunting is allowed on wildlife management areas only as provided in this subchapter.

(b) The following recreational uses may be allowed on a wildlife management area if authorized by the executive director:

(1) camping;

(2) equestrian activities, including horseback riding;

(3) hiking;

(4) bicycling;

(5) water recreation, which may include, but is not limited to boating, canoeing, kayaking and swimming;

(6) nature viewing (wildlife watching, wildflower viewing,, etc.);

(7) fishing;

(78) educational and demonstration programs; and

(98) other recreational uses consistent and compatible with the purposes for which the wildlife management area was purchased, leased or otherwise acquired.

(c) Any recreational use allowed under subsection (b) of this section is subject to conditions and restrictions, including dates, times, and locations, prescribed by the executive director,

(d) No person may engage in any of the recreational uses listed in subsection (b) of this section on a wildlife management area unless such use is expressly authorized by the executive director.

This agency hereby certifies that the proposal has been reviewed by legal counsel and found to be within the agency’s authority to adopt.

Issued in Austin, Texas, on


Committee Agenda Item No. 3
Presenter: Bill Robinson

Regulations Committee
Oyster Daily Sack Limit Rules
Permission to Publish
April 2006

I. Executive Summary: At the August 25, 2005 Commission meeting, an amendment to the oyster proclamation was adopted that was intended to reduce the commercial daily bag limit for oysters. However, the language published in the Texas Register failed to make it clear that 90 sacks was intended to be a daily limit. Staff is seeking permission to publish an amendment to the oyster proclamation to clarify that the daily bag limit for commercial oyster fishermen is 90 sacks and is 2 bushels for recreational fishermen. The amendment would also change the recreational limit units from "bushels" to "sacks" so that all oyster fishermen will be using the same units for measuring take.

II. Discussion: Responsibility for adopting rules covering the taking, attempting to take, possession, purchase, and sale of oyster resources in the salt waters of Texas is set forth in Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 76 Oysters. This item proposes amendments to 31 TAC Chapter 58, Subchapter A (Statewide Oyster Fishery), §58.11 Definitions and §58.22 Commercial Fishing.

At the August 25, 2005 Commission meeting, amendments were adopted that created a definition of "sack" for measuring oyster taken from Texas waters. The second part of this action was intended to reduce the commercial daily bag limit for oysters to preserve and stabilize the economic value of oysters taken during the open season. However, the language published in the Texas Register (30 Tex.Reg. 6935-6936) only changed the amount of oysters that may be in possession on board a commercial oyster vessel and did not make it clear that 90 sacks was intended to be a daily limit as well. The proposed amendment would correct that error and clarify that the daily bag limit for commercial oyster fishermen is 90 sacks and the daily bag limit for recreational fishermen is 2 bushels (i.e., which is equal to 2 sacks). This amendment would also change the recreational limit units from "bushels" to "sacks" to remove the possibility of confusion in the fishery that could result from using different units to measure take.

Attachments - 1

  1. Exhibit A - Oyster Daily Sack Limit Rule Text

Committee Agenda Item No. 3
Exhibit A

§58.22 Commercial Fishing.

(a) - (b) No change.

(c) Possession Limits. It is unlawful while taking or attempting to take to take in one day for pay or the purpose of sale, barter, or exchange, or any other commercial purpose, or to have on board any licensed commercial oyster boat more than oysters for pay or the purpose of sale, barter, or exchange or any other commercial purpose to have on board any licensed commercial oyster boat:

(1) more than 90 sacks of culled oysters of legal size; or

(2) more than 6 sacks of unculled oysters while on the reef.

(d) (No change).

§58.23 Non-commercial (Recreational) Fishing.

(a) - (b) No change.

(c) Possession Limit. It is unlawful for a person to take in one day or possess, more than two bushelssacks of legal sized oysters per person.

(d) No change.


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