Conservation Committee

Wednesday, 9:00 am, May 21, 2008

Commission Hearing Room
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744

Commissioner Mark E. Bivins, Committee Chair
Scott Boruff, Committee Liaison

Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes

  1. Land and Water Plan Update
    • Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) Meeting
    • Planned Review of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan
    Staff: Carter Smith
  2. Feral Animal Control
    Staff: Scott Boruff
  3. Nuisance Vegetation Update
    Staff: Earl Chilton, Kelly Bender
  4. Right-of-Way Easement - San Saba and Lampasas Counties - Colorado Bend State Park - Permission to Begin the Public Notice and Input Process (Executive Session Only)
    Staff: Corky Kuhlmann
  5. Land Donation - Williamson County - 6.18 Acres at Twin Lakes County Park (Action Item No. 13)
    Staff: Corky Kuhlman
  6. Land Acquisition - Walker County - Approximately 4 Acres at Huntsville State Park (Action Item No. 14)
    Staff: Corky Kuhlman
  7. Pipeline Easement - Orange County - Tony Houseman Wildlife Management Area (Action Item No. 15)
    Staff: Ted Hollingsworth
  8. Land Acquisition -Brewster County - 20 Acres at Big Bend Ranch State Park (Action Item No. 16)
    Staff: Ted Hollingsworth
  9. Land Exchange - Harris County - La Porte Regional Office - Permission to Begin the Public Notice and Input Process (Executive Session Only)
    Staff: Ted Hollingsworth
  10. Land Exchange - Aransas County - The Big Tree at Goose Island State Park - Permission to Begin the Public Notice and Input Process (Executive Session Only)
    Staff: Ted Hollingsworth
  11. Grant of Easement - Aransas County - Goose Island State Park - Permission to Begin the Public Notice and Input Process (Executive Session Only)
    Staff: Ted Hollingsworth
  12. Land Exchange - Bandera and Medina Counties - Hill Country State Natural Area - Permission to Begin the Public Notice and Input Process (Executive Session Only)
    Staff: Corky Kuhlman
  13. Palo Duro Property Acquisition - Randall County - Permission to Begin the Public Notice and Input Process (Executive Session Only)
    Staff: Scott Boruff
  14. Land Acquisition - Brewster County - 610 acres at Big Bend Ranch State Park (Executive Session and Action Item No. 17)
    Staff: Ted Hollingsworth

Committee Agenda Item No. 1
Presenter: Carter Smith

Conservation Committee
Land and Water Plan Update
May 2008

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 Conservation 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
Presenters: Scott Boruff

Conservation Committee
Feral Animal Control
May 2008

I. Executive Summary: Scott Boruff will brief the Commission on TPWD's practice regarding the control of exotic, feral and nuisance wildlife on TPWD lands. TPWD staff are currently planning a series of public meetings to obtain public input and provide information about feral animal control on TPWD lands.

II. Discussion: Exotic, feral and nuisance wildlife can have a negative and often disastrous impact on native plant and animal habitats, as well as precious freshwater supplies especially in the western half of the state. For example, feral hogs uproot native plants and consume forage preferred by native wildlife. Aoudad sheep can disrupt plans to restore native desert bighorn sheep by competing for food and water and spreading diseases. Feral burros consume valuable and extremely limited plant and water resources that would otherwise support unique native species including desert mule deer, desert bighorn sheep and various reptiles and amphibian species that rely on scarce water resources for survival, especially in the fragile arid habitats of far West Texas.

In an effort to protect native species and habitat, TPWD has used various methods for controlling exotic feral population, including offering additional public hunting opportunities and using qualified contractors or trained TPWD employees to handle the removal. However, during the last year, concerns were raised regarding the removal of feral exotic burros on Big Bend Ranch State Park. Therefore, TPWD has held a series of public meetings around the state, to solicit public input on feral animal control management practices.


Committee Agenda Item No. 3
Presenters: Earl Chilton
Kelly Bender

Conservation Committee
Nuisance Vegetation Update
May 2008

I. Executive Summary: Staff will brief the Conservation Committee on the current status of nuisance vegetation occurrences in Texas and department efforts to eradicate or control these species. Department actions to address ongoing concerns cooperatively with state agencies, federal agencies, and others will be discussed, including progress of the new Texas Invasive Species Coordination Committee composed of eight state agencies.


Committee Agenda Item No. 4
Presenter: Corky Kuhlmann

Conservation Committee
Right-of-Way Easement - San Saba and Lampasas Counties
Colorado Bend State Park
May 2008

I. Executive Summary: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) staff has a request for a right-of-way (ROW) easement through a portion of Colorado Bend State Park.

II. Discussion: TPWD has received a request for a ROW easement through a portion of Colorado Bend State Park (Park) from an adjacent landowner. Staff is currently in negotiations with this landowner to grant a road easement in an area of the Park that will not adversely affect park traffic.

In return for the granting of this ROW easement, TPWD will receive a Conservation Easement on a portion of the landowner's property that is adjacent to the Park. The Conservation easement will cover approximately 400 acres with about 1.5 miles of common boundary with the Park.

Staff would like to begin the process of providing public notice and obtaining public input regarding the granting of a right-of-way easement to an adjacent landowner and accepting a Conservation Easement on 400 acres of an adjacent ranch.

Attachments - 2

  1. Exhibit A – Location Map
  2. Exhibit B – Site Map

Committee Agenda Item No. 4
Exhibit A

Location Map

Location of right-of-way easement in relation to Colorado Bend State Park

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


Committee Agenda Item No. 4
Exhibit B

Site Map

Location of right-of-way easement in relation to Colorado Bend State Park

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


Committee Agenda Item No. 9
Presenters: Ted Hollingsworth

Conservation Committee
(Executive Session Only)
Land Exchange - Harris County
State Parks Region 4 Office - La Porte
May 2008

I. Executive Summary: A developer proposes to construct a new State Parks Region 4 Headquarters building and exchange it with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for its existing facility in La Porte.

II. Discussion: The existing State Parks Region 4 Office building in La Porte, Texas is a 5,000 square foot flat-roofed commercial building constructed in 1960. The building has experienced recurring problems with rainwater leaks, and is currently scheduled for extensive work to address structural issues and update the facility. The structure and associated land, approximately a half city block, is strategically located relative to a proposed City of La Porte revitalization plan. The city supports transfer of the building to a developer for replacement with a modern mid-rise commercial building.

Staff has met with city officials and the developer to hear proposals for sale or exchange of the Texas Parks and Wildlife (TPWD) property. Staff continues to negotiate the details of such a transaction.

If agreement on a transaction is reached that benefit TPWD park operations, staff seeks authorization to solicit public input and conduct a local public hearing, in anticipation of bringing an action item before the TPW Commission at a future meeting.

Attachments - 1

  1. Exhibit A – Location Map

Committee Agenda Item No. 9
Exhibit A

Location of State Parks Region 4 La Porte Office

Location of proposed State Parks Region 4 Headquarters building in relation to the state of Texas

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


Committee Agenda Item No. 10
Presenters: Ted Hollingsworth

Conservation Committee
(Executive Session Only)
Land Exchange - Aransas County
The Big Tree at Goose Island State Park
May 2008

I. Executive Summary: A landowner would like to exchange privately owned land adjacent to the Big Tree for an equal area of TPWD-owned land at the Big Tree, which is part of Goose Island State Park.

II. Discussion: A 70-acre tract located between the Big Tree and the Aransas National Wildlife Refuge is under contract to a developer who would like to trade tracts totaling approximately 2.4 acres for a TPWD tract of equal area. The exchange would facilitate development of the adjacent tract while increasing the buffer, or distance, between the Big Tree and the new park boundary. TPWD staff seeks permission to begin the process of providing public notice and seeking public input regarding the proposed exchanged. Upon final negotiation of the terms of the exchange and after obtaining public input, staff will return to the Commission for authority to close the transaction.

Attachments - 3

  1. Exhibit A – Location Map
  2. Exhibit B – Area Map
  3. Exhibit C – Site Map

Committee Agenda Item No. 10
Exhibit A

Location of Goose Island State Park, Aransas County

Location of proposed land exchange in relation to the state of Texas

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


Committee Agenda Item No. 10
Exhibit B

Area Map of Goose Island State Park
Showing Location of Big Tree

Location of proposed land exchange in relation to Goose Island State Park

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


Committee Agenda Item No. 10
Exhibit C

Site Map of Big Tree; Goose Island State Park
Current Park Boundary Thin Yellow Line
Proposed New Boundary Thick White Line

Location of proposed land exchange in relation to Goose Island State Park

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


Committee Agenda Item No. 11
Presenters: Ted Hollingsworth

Conservation Committee
(Executive Session Only)
Grant of Easement - Aransas County
Goose Island State Park
May 2008

I. Executive Summary: TPWD staff is requesting approval to begin the process of providing public notice and obtaining public input regarding the possible grant of easements for water and wastewater lines through Goose Island State Park.

II. Discussion: Goose Island State Park is a 321.4 acre park located north of Rockport in Aransas County surrounded by the St. Charles and Aransas Bays. TPWD has received a request for an easement for water and wastewater lines. TPWD staff requests permission to begin the process of providing public notice and obtaining public input regarding the proposed easements. Upon final negotiation of the terms of the easements and after obtaining public input, staff will return to the Commission for authority to close the transaction.

Attachments - 2

  1. Exhibit A – Location Map
  2. Exhibit B – Park Boundary Map

Committee Agenda Item No. 11
Exhibit A

Goose Island State Park Location Map

Location of proposed grant easement in relation to the state of Texas

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


Committee Agenda Item No. 11
Exhibit B

Goose Island State Park Boundary Map

Boundary of Goose Island State Park

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


Committee Agenda Item No. 12
Presenter: Corky Kuhlmann

Conservation Committee
(Executive Session Only)
Land Exchange - Bandera and Medina Counties
Hill Country State Natural Area
May 2008

I. Executive Summary: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) staff has a request from an adjacent landowner for road access through a portion of Hill Country State Natural Area (HCSNA).

II. Discussion: TPWD staff has been approached by an adjacent landowner who desires to have additional access to his property through a portion of HCSNA. Staff is currently in negotiations with the landowner to facilitate a deal that would involve the landowner getting approximately 100 acres of parkland, this 100 acres having county road frontage and is also adjacent to the landowner's property providing for additional road access.

TPWD would acquire 200 acres of the adjacent property with TPWD paying the difference of appraised value between the 100 and 200-acre tracts as determined by a current appraisal. In addition, TPWD will be granted a Conservation Easement on the approximate 100 acres of traded parkland and approximately 700 acres of the adjacent landowner's property.

Staff would like to begin the process of providing public notice and obtaining public input regarding a proposed donation of an approximate 800-acre Conservation Easement, and a land trade and acquisition involving 100 acres of HCSNA for 200 acres of an adjacent private property.

Attachments - 2

  1. Exhibit A – Location Map
  2. Exhibit B – Site Map

Committee Agenda Item No. 12
Exhibit A

Location Map

Location of proposed road access in relation to Hill Country State Natural Area

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


Committee Agenda Item No. 12
Exhibit B

Site Map

Boundary of Goose Island State Park

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


Committee Agenda Item No. 13
Presenters: Scott Boruff

Conservation Committee
(Executive Session Only)
Land Acquisition - Randall County
May 2008

I. Executive Summary: Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) staff has been made aware of a ranch for sale adjacent to Palo Duro Canyon State Park (PDCSP) and is currently exploring the potential to acquire this property.

II. Discussion: Palo Duro Canyon is a canyon system of the Caprock Escarpment in the Panhandle of Texas just south of Amarillo. As the second largest canyon in the United States, it is roughly 120 miles long and has an average width of 6 miles, but reaches a width of 20 miles at places. Its maximum depth is 800 feet. Man has inhabited Palo Duro Canyon for approximately 12,000 years, from the Clovis and Folsom people to Charles Goodnight to the present day campers and hikers.

Palo Duro Canyon State Park encompasses some 26,275 acres of canyon lands with the main part of the park having been built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the early 1930s, with the official opening on July 4, 1934.

TPWD is currently in negotiations for the purchase of this 2,864-acre property. TPWD staff seeks permission to begin the process of providing public notice and obtaining public input regarding the proposed purchase. Upon final negotiation of the terms of the purchase and after obtaining public input, staff will return to the Commission for authority to close the transaction.

Attachments - 2

  1. Exhibit A – Location Map
  2. Exhibit B – Site Map

Committee Agenda Item No. 13
Exhibit A

Location Map

Location of proposed land acquisition in relation to IH 27

For help in interpreting this map, please contact Scott Boruff.


Committee Agenda Item No. 13
Exhibit B

Site Map

Location of proposed land acquisition in relation to Palo Duro Canyon State Park

For help in interpreting this map, please contact Scott Boruff.


Committee Agenda Item No. 14
Presenters: Ted Hollingsworth

Conservation Committee
(Executive Session Only)
Land Acquisition - Brewster County
Big Bend Ranch State Park
May 2008

I. Executive Summary: An undivided section of land entirely surrounded by Big Bend Ranch State Park has been offered to TPWD by a willing seller.

II. Discussion: Big Bend Ranch State Park (BBRSP) is Texas' largest state park, at more than 300,000 acres. Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has recently completed a Public Use Plan aimed at providing controlled public access to this very special site, while protecting its unique biological and aesthetic resources. Inholdings are barriers to implementation of the Public Use Plan and realization of the site's exceptional potential to meet the Mission of TPWD.

A 610-acre tract straddling County Road 169 inside the park was recently listed for sale by a West Texas broker. Staff has negotiated a contract of sale and recommends purchase of this tract for addition to Big Bend Ranch State Park.

Attachments - 2

  1. Exhibit A – Location Map
  2. Exhibit B – Site Map

Committee Agenda Item No. 14
Exhibit A

Map of Texas Showing Location of Big Bend Ranch State Park

Location of Big Bend Ranch State Park in relation to the state of Texas

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


Committee Agenda Item No. 14
Exhibit B

Map of Big Bend Ranch State Park Showing Location of Inholding
State Park Outline in Yellow
County Road 169 in Black
610-acre Inholding in Red

Location of inholding in relation to Big Bend Ranch State Park

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


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