Wednesday, 9:00 am, March 26, 2008Commission Hearing Room
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744
Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes
- Land and Water Plan Update
Staff: Carter Smith
- Public Lands Proclamation - Hunter Recruitment Events - Permission to Publish
Staff: Linda Campbell
- Individual Transferable Quotas (ITQs) in Commercial Marine Fisheries
Staff: Robin Riechers
- Proposed Offshore Aquaculture Rules - Permission to Publish
Staff: Larry McKinney
- Commercial Nongame Species Regulations - Permission to Publish
- Dealer Permits
- Captive Breeding Provisions
- Amendments to the Harmful or Potentially Harmful Exotic Fish, Shellfish or Aquatic Plants Rules (Action Item No. 7)
- Australian Redclaw, Black Carp, Silver Carp
- 2008-2009 Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation (Action Item No. 3)
- Changes in Hunting and Fishing Regulations
- Hunter Education Regulations (Action Item No. 9)
- Reduction of Minimum Age
- Homeland and Border Security
Staff: Pete Flores
- Advisory Committee Rule Amendments (Action Item No. 4)
Staff: Ann Bright
Committee Agenda Item No. 1
Presenter: Carter Smith
Land and Water Plan Update
I. Executive Summary: Executive Director Carter Smith 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 Carter Smith 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:
- Goal 1: Improve access to the outdoors.
- Goal 2: Preserve, conserve, manage, operate, and promote agency sites for recreational opportunities, biodiversity, and the cultural heritage of Texas.
- Goal 3: Assist landowners in managing their lands for sustainable wildlife habitat consistent with their goals.
- Goal 4: Increase participation in hunting, fishing, boating and outdoor recreation.
- Goal 5: Enhance the quality of hunting, fishing, boating and outdoor recreation.
- Goal 6: Improve science, data collection and information dissemination to make informed management decisions.
- Goal 7: Maintain or improve water quality and quantity to support the needs of fish, wildlife and recreation.
- Goal 8: Continuously improve TPWD business management systems, business practices and work culture.
Committee Agenda Item No. 2
Presenter: Linda Campbell
Public Lands Proclamation - Hunter Recruitment Events
Permission to Publish
I. Executive Summary: The item seeks permission to publish proposed rulemaking that would amend the Public Lands Proclamation to:
- Create a mentored hunting permit to be used by participants attending hunter recruitment workshops on WMAs. The permit would allow public access for a nominal fee ($10 - $25 per person) to specific wildlife management areas for participation in multi-day education workshops. The workshops would teach hunting skills, safety, ethics, game processing and preparation, elements of habitat management, and provide guidance and advice for hunting activities in the future. As part of the workshop, participants will be offered the opportunity to participate in a mentored hunt on a WMA as part of the educational event. The program is a tool for hunter recruitment.
- Waive the access fee requirements for a person entering wildlife management area as spectators for hunting dog field trial events.
II. Discussion: Under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 81, Subchapter E, the Parks and Wildlife Commission is authorized to establish open seasons on public hunting lands and wildlife management areas, and the Executive Director is authorized 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. Chapter 81 also authorizes the department to issue permits authorizing access to public hunting lands and specific hunting, fishing, recreational, or other use of public hunting lands and wildlife management areas and requires the commission to prescribe by rule any terms, conditions, and fees for the issuance and use of such permits.
Committee Agenda Item No. 3
Presenter: Robin Riechers
Individual Transferable Quotas (ITQs) in Commercial Marine Fisheries
I. Executive Summary: This briefing item will present the concept of Individual Transferable Quotas (ITQs) as a management tool for marine commercial fisheries.
II. Discussion: This briefing item will present the concept of Individual Transferable Quotas (ITQs) as a management tool for marine commercial fisheries. ITQs as a management strategy focus on output controls (the total allowable harvest) as compared to input controls (trip limits, seasons, size limits). This creates an incentive based management strategy that allows the individual operator more flexibility in their approach to harvesting. In this type of approach each individual is allocated a share of the total allowable catch (TAC) for a given fish species and the individual then decides the most economically efficient harvest approach and time.
Committee Agenda Item No. 4
Presenter: Larry McKinney
Offshore Aquaculture Regulations
Permission to Publish
I. Executive Summary: This item seeks permission to publish proposed amendments to rules in the Texas Register for public comment. The proposed rules would:
- Modify requirements concerning documentation of permit acquisition from other regulatory entities;
- Clarify the definition of "disease condition;"
- Allow for the issuance of permits to business entities as well as to named persons;
- Create a dispute resolution process;
- Allow a greater amount of time for the removal of infrastructure following permit revocation or expiration
- Provide for a review panel of senior agency managers to review decisions to suspend or revoke permits.
II. Discussion: Under Parks and Wildlife Code, §12.015, the department is required to regulate the introduction and stocking of fish, shellfish, and aquatic plants into the public water of the state. Under §66.015(c), the department is required to establish rules related to the issuance of permits for the introduction of fish. Under Agriculture Code, §134.005, the commission is required to adopt rules necessary to carry out its responsibilities under that chapter to regulate aquaculture.
In November of 2006, the Commission adopted new rules governing the practice of offshore aquaculture in Texas state waters. Although offshore aquaculture is being practiced elsewhere in the world, it is in its infancy in the United States in general and the Gulf of Mexico specifically. Federal legislation has been introduced that would direct the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to establish procedures for the development of an offshore aquaculture industry in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), which is the federal jurisdiction extending from the seaward boundary of state waters (nine miles) out to 200 miles. The rules adopted by the Commission in 2006 were intended as a regulatory precaution in advance of the development of interest in offshore aquaculture in Texas waters.
Committee Agenda Item No. 5
Presenter: Matt Wagner
Commercial Nongame Species Regulations
Permission to Publish
I. Executive Summary: The item presents a proposed rulemaking that would amend the commercial nongame species regulations to:
- authorize persons in possession of a nongame dealer permit to breed all species of indigenous turtles in captivity, provided breeding stock is lawfully obtained and the offspring are uniquely and permanently marked;
- remove the cornsnake (Pantherophis guttata), the House Mouse (Mus musculus), and the rough-footed mud turtle (Kinosternon hirtipes) from the list of species that may not be used in commercial activity.
II. Discussion: Under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 67, the department is required to develop and administer management programs to ensure the continued ability of nongame species of fish and wildlife to perpetuate themselves successfully, and to conduct ongoing investigations of nongame fish and wildlife to develop information on populations, distribution, habitat needs, limiting factors, and any other biological or ecological data to determine appropriate management and regulatory information. The commission is required to establish any limits on the taking, possession, propagation, transportation, importation, exportation, sale, or offering for sale of nongame fish or wildlife that the department considers necessary to manage the species.
In April of 2007, the Commission adopted new rules to govern commercial activity involving nongame species. The new rules provided a "grandfather" provision for personal collections of animals that had been lawful to possess prior to the new rules but became unlawful to possess under the new rules. Many of these collections seem to be turtles of various species. Staff has determined that such persons should be allowed to breed and sell the offspring of turtles that were lawfully obtained, provided the breeding stock and the offspring are permanently and uniquely marked.
Another component of the new rules was a list of species that may not be used in commercial activities. The new rules inadvertently included three species on the list that should not have been placed on the list. Under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 67, nongame wildlife is defined as wildlife indigenous to Texas that is not classified as game animals, game birds, game fish, fur-bearing animals, endangered species, alligators, marine penaeid shrimp, or oysters. Neither the cornsnake nor the house mouse is indigenous to Texas, and the rough-footed mud turtle is already listed as a state-threatened species, which means that it cannot be taken or possessed. All three species should be removed from the list.
Committee Agenda Item No. 9
Presenter: Peter Flores
Homeland and Border Security
I. Executive Summary: Colonel Peter Flores, Director of Law Enforcement, and Sheriff Sigifredo Gonzalez, Jr., Zapata County, will brief the committee on Homeland Security efforts on the Texas border.
II. Discussion:: Homeland and Border Security is a real issue for Law Enforcement in Texas. The Texas Homeland Strategic Security Plan, 2005-2010, requires close coordination among state, local, and federal authorities in an effort to build capabilities to prevent, protect against, respond to, and recover from all threats to our homeland. Texas Game Wardens have historically worked very closely with the local law enforcement entities, and the operations in Zapata County are prime examples of the close roles that game wardens play in state and local public safety. Texas Game Wardens' duties in conservation law enforcement place us in a unique and important role in the security of citizens of both Texas and the United States.