Conservation Committee

Wednesday, 9:00 am, January 24, 2007

Commission Hearing Room
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744

Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes

  1. Land and Water Plan Update
    Staff: Robert Cook
  2. Land Sale - Donley County - 5 Acres at the Taylor Lakes Unit of the Playa Lakes Wildlife Management Area - Permission to Begin the Public Notice and Input Process
    Staff: Ted Hollingsworth
  3. Acceptance of Land Donation - Bastrop County - Acceptance of 36.245 Acres at Bastrop State Park - Permission to Begin the Public Notice and Input Process
    Staff: Corky Kuhlmann
  4. Lease Exchange with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Cameron, Hidalgo and Starr Counties - Permission to Begin the Public Notice and Input Process
    Staff: Ted Hollingsworth
  5. Land Sale - Travis County - Austin Game Warden Academy Property - Permission to Begin the Public Notice and Input Process
    Staff: Ted Hollingsworth
  6. Grant of Access Easement for M. D. Anderson Science Park - Bastrop County - Buescher State Park - Permission to Begin the Public Notice and Input Process
    Staff: Corky Kuhlmann, Ann Bright
  7. Acceptance of Land Donation - Brewster County - Acceptance of 260 Acres Adjacent to Black Gap Wildlife Management Area from Texas Bighorn Society
    (Action Item No. 15)
    Staff: Ted Hollingsworth
  8. Pending Litigation Involving Smith School Road - Travis County - Public Dedication and Transfer of Smith School Road - TPWD Headquarters Complex
    (Executive Session and Action Item No. 16)
    Staff: Ann Bright, Ted Hollingsworth
  9. Pending Litigation Involving Smith School Road - Acquisition of Conservation Easement at TPWD Headquarters Complex - Travis County
    (Executive Session and Action Item No. 17)
    Staff: Ann Bright, Ted Hollingsworth
  10. Land Acquisition Strategy at Big Bend Ranch State Park - Presidio County
    (Executive Session Only)
    Staff: Ted Hollingsworth
  11. Land Purchase - Presidio County - Acquisition of 40 Acres at Big Bend Ranch State Park - Permission to Begin the Public Notice and Input Process
    (Executive Session Only)
    Staff: Corky Kuhlmann
  12. Acquisition of Outstanding Property Interests - Tom Green County - San Angelo Fish Hatchery - Permission to Begin the Public Notice and Input Process
    (Executive Session Only)
    Staff: Ann Bright, Phil Durocher, Corky Kuhlmann
  13. Land Acquisition - Matagorda County - Acquisition of 12 Acres at Perry R. Bass Marine Fisheries Research Station - Permission to Begin the Public Notice and Input Process
    (Executive Session Only)
    Staff: Corky Kuhlmann

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

Conservation Committee
Land and Water Plan Update
January 24, 2007

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 Finance Committee on TPWD's recent progress in achieving the Plan's Goals and Objectives as they relate to the Conservation 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: Ted Hollingsworth

Conservation Committee
Land Sale – Donley County
Playa Lakes Wildlife Management Area
January 24, 2007

I. Executive Summary: Staff recommends sale of a 5-acre tract isolated from the Taylor Lakes Unit of the Playa Lakes Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Donley County by U.S. Highway 87.

II. Discussion: Playa Lakes WMA, in the Texas Panhandle, consists of three separate units. The Taylor Lakes Unit is the easternmost unit and includes a contiguous tract of 526 acres, and a 5-acre tract separated from the rest of the Unit by U.S. Highway 87. Staff finds that this 5-acre tract is impractical to manage and does not contribute to the goals of the WMA due to its size and isolation, and recommends that it be sold. The Texas General Land Office (GLO) is willing to post the tract and solicit bids through its normal land sale process. Following solicitation of public input, staff will advise the TPWD Commission of the results, and request permission for GLO to list the tract for sale. WMA staff would also notify adjacent landowners of the tract's availability.

Staff requests permission to begin public notice and input process for the sale of 5 acres of the Taylor Lakes Unit of the Playa Lakes WMA.

Attachments - 1

  1. Exhibit A – Location Map

Committee Agenda Item No. 2
Exhibit A

Playa Lakes Wildlife Management Area
Taylor Lakes Unit

Location of proposed sale tract in relation to US Highway 287

For help in interpreting this map, please contact Ted Hollingsworth.


Committee Agenda Item No. 3
Presenter: Corky Kuhlmann

Conservation Committee
Acceptance of Land Donation – Bastrop County
Bastrop State Park
January 24, 2007

I. Executive Summary: Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation (TPWF) will acquire 36.245 acres adjacent to Bastrop State Park (BSP) with the intention of donating this acreage to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). The property has excellent recreational potential and habitat for the endangered Houston toad.

II. Discussion: Approximately 36.245 acres of land have been offered for sale adjacent to BSP. TPWF has negotiated a contract to purchase the property. Upon acquiring this property, TPWF will donate the tract to TPWD. The property has 0.80 of a mile of boundary in common with BSP (see Exhibit A). The vegetation cover is native pine-oak forest. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designated the tract as known Houston toad habitat. The location and attributes of the tract make it manageable by existing park staff, and offer potential for expanding public outdoor recreation opportunities in the future, to the extent this does not adversely impact toad habitat.

Staff would like to begin the process of providing public notice and obtaining public input regarding a proposed donation of 36.245 acres of land to TPWD from TPWF.

Attachments - 1

  1. Exhibit A – Site Map

Committee Agenda Item No. 3
Exhibit A

Subject Property Outlined in Red Below

Location of proposed donation in relation to Bastrop State Park

For help in interpreting this map, please contact Corky Kuhlmann.


Committee Agenda Item No. 4
Presenter: Ted Hollingsworth

Conservation Committee
Lease Exchange with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Cameron, Hidalgo and Starr Counties
January 24, 2007

I. Executive Summary: TPWD proposes to lease Boca Chica State Park (SP) and eight units of the Las Palomas Wildlife Management Area (WMA) to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and to lease from FWS tracts adjacent to the Weslaco and Resaca de la Palma World Birding Centers (WBC).

II. Discussion: Las Palomas WMA is comprised of some twenty (20) individual units, ranging in size from a few acres to several hundred acres. The tracts proposed for transfer are spread out over 100 miles, making the cost of operation out of proportion to the benefit. FWS would continue to manage the tracts for conservation.

1,055-acre Boca Chica SP was acquired in 1994 to provide conservation and low-impact public access to marshes, flats and the Gulf of Mexico at the extreme southeast tip of Texas. Access, elevation and tropical storms minimize the suitability of the site for development of recreational facilities, and no development has taken place. FWS owns the adjacent Santa Ana National Wildlife Refuge, and is better situated to manage this remote property for both wildlife and public access. In exchange, TPWD would receive the 201-acre Noriega tract adjacent to Resaca de la Palma WBC and the 37-acre Mercedes tract adjacent to Weslaco WBC.

Staff seeks authorization to publish public notice, accept public comment, and seek authorization to finalize the lease exchange with FWS at a future TPW Commission meeting.

Attachments - 1

  1. Exhibit A – Site Map (3 segments)

Committee Agenda Item No. 4
Exhibit A

Las Palomas Proposed Land Agreement
August 2006

Explanation of Exhibit A - Site Map (3 segments)

The site map that accompanies this agenda item (Exhibit A) consists of three sheets, showing the (8) units of the Las Palomas Wildlife Management Area and Boca Chica State Park, proposed for lease to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in exchange for leases on tracts of land adjacent to Estero Llano Grande and Resaca de la Palma Wild Birding Centers. These units are shown on three sheets because they are spread out over an area of 100 miles. Map sheet A-1 shows the easternmost group of sites, extending to Boca Chica on the Gulf of Mexico, and includes the federal unit adjacent to Resaca de la Palma. Map sheet A-2 shows the central group of sites, including the federal site adjacent to Estero Llano Grande, and map sheet A-3 shows the western group of sites, and extends as far west as the community of Roma on the Rio Grande.

For help in interpreting this map, please contact Ted Hollingsworth.


Committee Agenda Item No. 5
Presenter: Ted Hollingsworth

Conservation Committee
Land Sale – Travis County
Austin Game Warden Academy
January 24, 2007

I. Executive Summary: Sale of the Austin Game Warden Academy to generate revenue for development of the PAL Ranch Game Warden Academy is authorized by the legislature and recommended by staff.

II. Discussion: TPWD has been training its game wardens at the Austin Game Warden Academy on 50th Street, adjacent to the University of Texas campus, since 1978. At only 4.26 acres, instruction at the Austin Academy is limited to classroom instruction and some physical training. With the donation of the 219-acre PAL Ranch in Hamilton County, TPWD will have the facilities to conduct essentially all Game Warden training functions in one location, and the potential to accommodate training needs of other law enforcement programs.

Once the transition to the PAL Ranch facility has been made, the Austin Academy will no longer be of value to TPWD. Staff recommends sale of the Austin Academy with sale proceeds dedicated to development of the PAL Ranch facility. The TPW Commission has standing authority for the sale under §13.009. Application of the sale proceeds to development of the new facility was authorized in the last session of the legislature by Senate Bill 1; Article 6; Department Rider 25, and is not to exceed $700,000. Staff anticipates requesting an increase in this cap.

Upon identification of the best offer to TPWD at appraised value or greater, staff seeks permission to negotiate a contract of sale, begin the public notification and comment process and return to the TPW Commission at a future meeting with a recommendation.

Attachments - 1

  1. Exhibit A – Site Map

Committee Agenda Item No. 5
Exhibit A

Austin Game Warden Academy

Location of Austin Game Warden Academy

For help in interpreting this map, please contact Ted Hollingsworth.


Committee Agenda Item No. 6
Presenters: Ann Bright
Corky Kuhlmann

Conservation Committee
Grant of Access Easement for M.D. Anderson Science Park
Bastrop County
Buescher State Park
January 24, 2007

I. Executive Summary: Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation (TPWF) will acquire 36.245 acres adjacent to Bastrop State Park (BSP) with the intention of donating this acreage to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD). The property has excellent recreational potential and habitat for the endangered Houston toad.

II. Discussion: Approximately 36.245 acres of land have been offered for sale adjacent to BSP. TPWF has negotiated a contract to purchase the property. Upon acquiring this property, TPWF will donate the tract to TPWD. The property has 0.80 of a mile of boundary in common with BSP (see Exhibit A). The vegetation cover is native pine-oak forest. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service designated the tract as known Houston toad habitat. The location and attributes of the tract make it manageable by existing park staff, and offer potential for expanding public outdoor recreation opportunities in the future, to the extent this does not adversely impact toad habitat.

Staff would like to begin the process of providing public notice and obtaining public input regarding a proposed donation of 36.245 acres of land to TPWD from TPWF.

Attachments - 1

  1. Exhibit A – Location Map

Committee Agenda Item No. 6
Exhibit A

Location Map

Location of access easements in relation to Buescher and Bastrop State Parks

For help in interpreting this map, please contact Corky Kuhlmann.


Committee Agenda Item No. 7
Presenter: Ted Hollingsworth

Conservation Committee
Acceptance of Land Donation – Brewster County
Black Gap Wildlife Management Area
January 24, 2007

I. Executive Summary: Staff recommends acceptance of a donation of 260 acres of desert bighorn sheep habitat adjacent to the Black Gap Wildlife Management Area (WMA) from the Texas Bighorn Society (TBS).

II. Discussion: In 2005, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and the Texas General Land Office (GLO) executed provisions of a Memorandum of Understanding that resulted in the exchange of lands at several TPWD sites, including Black Gap WMA. In 2006, TBS earmarked $100,000 to acquire bighorn sheep habitat in and contiguous with the WMA. As a result, several inholdings have been acquired and donated to TPWD. Staff has identified a parcel of land, approximately 260 acres in size, traded to the GLO in 2005, consisting of quality bighorn sheep habitat, which the GLO is willing to sell to TBS for addition to the WMA. Staff has provided public notice and has solicited public comment regarding this transaction.

The staff recommends the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt the following motion:

"The Executive Director is authorized to take all necessary steps to accept donation of approximately 260 acres of land for addition to the Black Gap Wildlife Management Area."

Attachments - 1

  1. Exhibit A – Location Map

Committee Agenda Item No. 7
Exhibit A

Location Map

Location of Texas General Land Office tract in relation to Black Gap WMA

For help in interpreting this map, please contact Corky Kuhlmann.


Committee Agenda Item No. 8
Presenters: Ann Bright
Ted Hollingsworth

Conservation Committee
Pending Litigation Involving Smith School Road
Travis County
Public Dedication and Transfer of Smith School Road
TPWD Headquarters Complex
January 24, 2007

I. Executive Summary: The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) is the defendant in a lawsuit involving driveway access to Smith School Road at TPWD's headquarter complex. (Telecom Park, L.P. v. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Cause No. D-1-GN-06-001844, in the 201st District Court of Travis County, Texas). TPWD staff, through the Office of the Attorney General has negotiated a tentative settlement agreement with the Plaintiff.

II. Discussion: Telecom Park, L.P. (Telecom), the owner of land on the south side of Smith School Road at TPWD's headquarters complex, is seeking multiple driveways onto Smith School Road. As part of this effort, Telecom filed a lawsuit against TPWD seeking a determination that Smith School Road is a public road and that Telecom is entitled to an easement to access the road. The parties have reached a tentative settlement agreement. Part of the proposed settlement agreement calls for the transfer of Smith School Road to the City of Austin. Commission approval is required to transfer title and control of Smith School Road to the City of Austin. Staff has provided public notice and has solicited public comment regarding this transaction.

Staff will be recommending that the Commission adopt the following motion:

"The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission finds that ownership of Smith School Road is no longer in the best interests of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and authorizes the Executive Director to take all necessary steps to transfer title and control of Smith School Road to the City of Austin, contingent upon acceptance by the City of Austin, and settlement of the lawsuit styled Telecom Park, L.P. v. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department."

Attachments - 1

  1. Exhibit A – Location Map

Committee Agenda Item No. 8
Exhibit A

Location Map

Location of Smith School Road in relation to Telecom Park and TPWD Headquarters

For help in interpreting this map, please contact Ted Hollingsworth.


Committee Agenda Item No. 9
Presenters: Ann Bright
Ted Hollingsworth

Conservation Committee
Pending Litigation Involving Smith School Road
Acquisition of Conservation Easement
Travis County
TPWD Headquarters Complex
January 24, 2007

I. Executive Summary: Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPWD) staff is proposing the acquisition of a conservation easement on approximately 1.3 acres adjacent to TPWD headquarters. The proposed conservation easement will be funded in part by Telecom Park, L.P.

II. Discussion: The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) is the defendant in a lawsuit involving driveway access to Smith School Road at TPWD's headquarter complex. (Telecom Park, L.P. v. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Cause No. D-1-GN-06-001844, in the 201st District Court of Travis County, Texas) TPWD staff, through the Office of the Attorney General, has negotiated a tentative settlement agreement with the Plaintiff. Under the proposed settlement, the Plaintiff will contribute to the acquisition of a conservation easement on approximately 1.3 acres along McKinney Falls Parkway and Parks and Wildlife Drive and at TPWD headquarters. Staff has provided public notice and has solicited public comment regarding this transaction.

Staff will be recommending that the Commission adopt the following motion:

"The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission authorizes the Executive Director to take all necessary steps to acquire a conservation easement by purchase and/or donation on approximately 1.3 acres along Texas Parks and Wildlife Drive and McKinney Falls Parkway at TPWD headquarters in Travis County."

Attachments - 1

  1. Exhibit A – Location Map

Committee Agenda Item No. 9
Exhibit A

Location Map

Location of easement in relation to TPWD Headquarters

For help in interpreting this map, please contact Ted Hollingsworth.


Committee Agenda Item No. 10
Presenters: Ted Hollingsworth

Conservation Committee
Land Acquisition Strategy – Presidio County
Big Bend Ranch State Park
January 24, 2007

I. Executive Summary: Staff is researching access, boundary and inholding issues within Big Bend Ranch State Park (SP), with the assistance of the Big Bend Ranch SP Task Force, in anticipation of developing and implementing a Public Use Plan and identifying priorities for acquisition from willing sellers.

II. Discussion: Per charge of the TPW Commission Chairman, Land Conservation, Natural Resource and Parks Division staff have worked with the Big Bend Ranch State Park Task Force to define roles and responsibilities, and identify areas where the task force can assist in the resolution of land issues. Staff will brief and discuss with the Commission in Executive Session on land acquisition strategies for Big Bend Ranch State Park.


Committee Agenda Item No. 11
Presenters: Corky Kuhlmann

Conservation Committee
Land Purchase – Presidio County
Big Bend Ranch State Park
January 24, 2007

I. Executive Summary: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has been offered a 40-acre inholding within Big Bend Ranch State Park (BBRSP).

II. Discussion: A private 40-acre inholding tract within BBRSP has been offered for sale to TPWD. Staff is currently in negotiations with a willing seller.

Staff would like to begin the process of providing public notice and obtaining public input regarding a proposed acquisition of 40 acres of land being an inholding at Big Bend Ranch State Park.

Attachments - 1

  1. Exhibit A – Location Map

Committee Agenda Item No. 11
Exhibit A

Location Map

Location of 40-acre private tract in relation to Big Bend Ranch State Park

For help in interpreting this map, please contact Corky Kuhlmann.


Committee Agenda Item No. 12
Presenters: Ann Bright
Phil Durocher
Corky Kuhlmann

Conservation Committee
(Executive Session Only)
Acquisition of Outstanding Property Interests
Tom Green County
San Angelo Fish Hatchery
January 24, 2007

I. Executive Summary: Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPWD) staff will brief the Commission in Executive Session about a real estate matter involving the former San Angelo Fish Hatchery. Staff is seeking permission to begin the public input process regarding the proposed acquisition of outstanding property interests at the former San Angelo Fish Hatchery in Tom Green County.

Attachments - 1

  1. Exhibit A – Location Map

Committee Agenda Item No. 12
Exhibit A

Location Map

Location of San Angelo Fish Hatchery in relation to San Angelo, TX

For help in interpreting this map, please contact Corky Kuhlmann.


Committee Agenda Item No. 13
Presenters: Corky Kuhlmann

Conservation Committee
(Executive Session Only)
Land Acquisition – Matagorda County
Perry R. Bass Marine Fisheries Research Station
January 24, 2007

I. Executive Summary: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) staff is in negotiations with willing sellers for the purchase of approximately 12 acres of land adjacent to the Perry R. Bass Marine Fisheries Research Station. The property is to be used for new development. Staff will brief and discuss with the Commission in Executive Session the proposed acquisition.

II. Discussion: The Perry R. Bass Marine Fisheries Research Station in Palacios conducts research on the life history and reproductive processes of marine fish of Texas. In an effort to enhance this facility, staff would like to begin the process of providing public notice and obtaining public input regarding a proposed acquisition of 12 acres of land adjacent to the Perry R. Bass Marine Fisheries Research Station.

Attachments - 1

  1. Exhibit A – Location Map

Committee Agenda Item No. 13
Exhibit A

Location Map
Perry R. Bass Marine Fisheries Research Station

Location of 12-acre tract in relation to Perry R. Bass Marine Fisheries Research Station

Bass Research Station is represented in this image by a yellow star.

For help in interpreting this map, please contact Corky Kuhlmann.


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