Wednesday, 9:00 am, November 7, 2007Commission Hearing Room
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744
Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes
- Land and Water Plan Update
Staff: Robert Cook
- 2008-09 Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation Preview
- Changes in Hunting and Fishing Regulations
- Hunter Education Regulations - Reduce Minimum Age
- Amendments to the Statewide Fur-bearing Animal Proclamation – Permission to Publish
- Lengthening of Beaver Season
- Terminology Changes
- Non-indigenous Snake Permit Rules – Implementation of Legislation (H.B. 12) – Permission to Publish
Staff: David Sinclair
- Deer Breeder Permit Rule Amendments – Implementation of Legislation (H.B. 1308) – Permission to Publish
Staff: Clayton Wolf
- Amendments to the Harmful or Potentially Harmful Exotic Fish, Shellfish or Aquatic Plants Rules – Permission to Publish
- Silver Carp
- Species List – Australian Redclaw
Committee Agenda Item No. 1
Presenter: Robert L. Cook
Land and Water Plan Update
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:
- 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: Ken Kurzawski
2008-2009 Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation
I. Executive Summary: This item apprises the committee of potential changes to the Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation for the 2008-2009 seasons.
II. Discussion: Responsibility for establishing seasons, bag limits, and means and methods for taking wildlife resources is delegated to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 61. The potential changes are based upon statutory requirements and Commission policy, including scientific investigation and required findings of fact where applicable. The potential changes are intended to increase recreational opportunity, decrease regulatory complexity where possible, promote enforcement, and provide for the sound biological management of the wildlife resources of the state.
Attachments - 1
- Exhibit A – Potential Changes to the Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation
Committee Agenda Item No. 2
Potential Changes to the Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation
- Anglers would be restricted to the use of only two lines or poles to take fish in those waters designated as Community Fishing Lakes. Currently anglers can use up to 100 hooks.
- Harvest regulations for largemouth bass on Lake Nacogdoches would be changed to a 16-inch maximum length limit and 5-fish daily bag. Only fish 24 inches or larger may be temporarily retained alive in a livewell to be either donated to the ShareLunker program, retained for weighing for a state record, or immediately released (if not accepted by the program). Current harvest regulations for largemouth bass consist of a 14-21 inch slot limit and a 5-fish daily bag limit.
- On Lakes Raven and Purtis Creek, the length limit for temporarily retaining largemouth bass for weighing in these catch-and-release lakes would be increased from 21-24 inches and references to lakeside weigh stations would be removed.
- Harvest regulations for common carp on Lady Bird Lake would be changed from the current no daily bag limit and minimum length limit to limiting the daily bag to one common carp 33 inches or larger per day. Harvest of common carp less than 33 inches would remain unrestricted.
- The 14-inch minimum length limit for spotted bass on Lake Texoma would be removed and changed to the statewide limit (no length limit).
- The harvest regulation exceptions (no daily bag or minimum length limit) for red drum on Lake Nasworthy would be removed. Harvest regulations would revert to statewide limits (20-inch minimum length limit and 28-inch maximum length limit and three fish daily bag).
- The harvest regulation exceptions (20-inch minimum length limit and no maximum limit) for red drum on Lake Colorado City would be removed. Harvest regulations would revert to statewide limits (20-inch minimum length limit and 28-inch maximum length limit and three fish daily bag).
- The Coastal Fisheries Division will be scoping several items in the upcoming statewide hunting and fishing proclamation process. In particular, coastal fisheries will be considering changes in the current red snapper and shark regulations to attain greater consistency between current federal regulations and state regulations. In addition, the ongoing fishery for menhaden in state waters will be reviewed and the possibility of closing state waters will be scoped. In regards to coastal fishing guides, the department is going to scope an item within the statewide process that may not require any regulatory changes. The item will consider the creation of a Texas Saltwater Certified Guides Program. The voluntary program would establish a certification program by the department, which may include safety, angler ethics and various training to promote the protection of coastal natural resources.
- Implementation of a nine-day, buck-only mule deer season in Andrews, Martin, and Gaines counties. Under current rule, there is no open season for mule deer in Andrews, Martin, or Gaines counties. Implementing a nine-day, buck-only season would offer increased hunter opportunity without adversely impacting mule deer reproduction or distribution. The literature suggests that the implementation of a buck-only season will not have any measurable impact on herd productivity or expansion; however, a measurable change in the age structure of bucks is anticipated as a result of harvest pressure on a previously unhunted population.
- Implementation of a 16-day, buck-only season for mule deer in Sherman and Hansford counties. Under current rule, there is no open season for mule deer in Sherman or Hansford counties. Each county has low-density populations of mule deer in pockets of suitable habitat. The literature suggests that the implementation of a buck-only season will not have any measurable impact on herd productivity or expansion; however, a measurable change in the age structure of bucks is anticipated as a result of harvest pressure on a previously unhunted population. Implementation of the proposal is expected to result in increased hunter opportunity with no measurable effect on reproduction or distribution of mule deer populations.
- Reduction of the minimum draw weight for archery equipment. Under current rule, the minimum draw weight for compound bows, recurved bows, and longbows is 40 pounds. If the minimum draw weight is reduced to 30 pounds, staff believes that bowhunting would become more accessible to younger hunters and others who might have difficulty drawing a 40-pound bow without affecting the effectiveness of archery equipment for harvesting deer.
- Reduction in the minimum age requirement for hunter-education certification. The current minimum age for hunter-education certification is 12, which has been in effect since 1988. Staff recommends lowering the minimum age to 9 years of age to be consistent with the minimum age standards of the department's youth hunting program and similar laws in other states.
Committee Agenda Item No. 3
Presenter: John Young
Furbearing Animal Proclamation
I. Executive Summary: The item presents proposed changes to the Statewide Furbearing Animal Proclamation, including:
- lengthening of beaver season;
- terminological changes;
- reduction of the fee for the non-resident wholesale fur dealer's license from $600 to $250
II. Discussion:: Under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 71, the commission may regulate the taking, possession, propagation, transportation, exportation, importation, sale, and offering for sale of fur-bearing animals, pelts, and carcasses as the commission considers necessary to manage fur-bearing animals or to protect human health or property. The department received two petitions for rulemaking containing suggestions that staff has determined have merit.
Attachments - 1
- Exhibit A – Proposed Amendments to the Statewide Furbearing Animal Proclamation
Committee Agenda Item No. 3
Proposed Amendments to the Statewide Furbearing Animal Proclamation
The current commercial open trapping season for beaver is November 1 through March 31. The proposed amendment would extend that season to run from October 1st through May 31. The proposed amendment would allow trappers an increased amount of time to sell beaver pelts. The current regulations employ the term "leghold" to describe a specific type of trap. Staff has been informed by the trapping community that this term is no longer used. The proposed amendment would substitute the term "foothold" for "leghold" throughout the proclamation.
Under current rule, the fee for a nonresident wholesale fur dealer's permit is $600. Petitioner requests that the commission reduce the fee for the non-resident wholesale fur dealer's license from $600 to $250. Staff believes that a fee reduction will make fees consistent with those in adjacent states and could attract non-resident fur dealers to Texas, increasing competition in the marketplace and the value of the furs.
Committee Agenda Item No. 4
Presenter: David Sinclair
Non-indigenous Snake Permit Rules
Implementation of House Bill 12
I. Executive Summary: The item presents proposed new rules to regulate the possession and transport (recreational and commercial) of non-indigenous venomous snakes and five species of non-indigenous constrictors (to be referred to collectively as controlled exotic snakes), as required by §41 of House Bill 12, enacted by the 80th Texas Legislature.
II. Discussion:: Section 41 of House Bill 12, enacted by the 80th Texas Legislature, amended the Texas Parks and Wildlife Code by adding new Subchapter V to Chapter 43. The provisions of H.B. 12 require the commission by rule to establish permits to allow the possession or transport of live nonindigenous venomous snakes and five named species of constrictors for commercial and recreational purposes. The bill also authorizes the Commission to promulgate rules to govern the permit application forms, fees, and procedures; the release of such snakes; reports that the department may require a permit holder to submit to the department; and other matters the Commission considers necessary.
Staff requests permission to publish the proposed controlled exotic snake rules as described in Exhibit A in the Texas Register for the required 30-day public comment period.
Attachments - 1
- Exhibit A – Summary of Proposed Rules
Committee Agenda Item No. 4
Proposed Controlled Exotic Snake Regulations
House Bill 12 requires the department to regulate the possession and transportation of certain non-indigenous snakes (all species of non-indigenous venomous snakes and five species of exotic constrictors). For convenience, the proposed new rules will refer to these snakes collectively as "controlled exotic snakes."
As required by H.B. 12, the proposed new rules will create two new permits (commercial and recreational) to authorize the possession and transport of controlled exotic snakes. Each permit will have a period of validity of one license year (September 1 to August 31).
The commercial permit will authorize persons to possess, transport, and sell controlled exotic snakes. Sale is defined as "the transfer of ownership or the right of possession of a controlled exotic snake to a person for a consideration, including by barter or exchange." The recreational permit will authorize possession and transportation for any other purpose.
Both permits would be available wherever licenses are sold via the department's automated point-of-sale system. The fee amounts have not been determined, but in keeping with commission policy, the department will propose fees in the amounts necessary to recover the costs of administering and enforcing the program.
The proposed rules would require commercial permit holders to maintain a daily log of all activities involving the acceptance or transfer of controlled exotic snakes, including the identity and address of any person from whom such snakes are obtained or transferred to, and that person's commercial controlled exotic snake permit number (if the person is required to possess a permit). Additionally, the proposed rules would require the retention of the daily log and all receipts, bills of sale, etc., for a period of two years, and would require that they be made available for inspection upon the request of any department employee acting within the scope of official duties.
The department has no method of determining the magnitude of demand for the proposed new permits.
Committee Agenda Item No. 5
Presenter: Clayton Wolf
Deer Breeder Permit Rule Amendments
Implementation of HB 1308
I. Executive Summary: This item presents changes to the regulations governing the holding of deer in captivity for breeding purposes. The proposed changes would implement the provisions of House Bill 1308, enacted by the 80th Texas Legislature, as well as clarifications and housekeeping-type changes, including:
- removal of the term "scientific" from the regulations;
- removal of provisions regarding marking of deer;
- elimination of notarization requirements for permit applications and notifications;
- simplification of breeding plan requirements;
- provision for transfer permits to authorize temporary possession of deer by non-permitted persons;
- provision for euthanization of breeder deer;
- elimination of offense of capturing wild deer.
II. Discussion:: House Bill 1308, enacted by the 80th Texas Legislature, made amendments to Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 43, Subchapter L, which governs the possession of white-tailed deer and mule deer for scientific, management, and propagation purposes. In addition to re-titling the subchapter ("Deer Breeder's Permit," replacing "Scientific Breeder's Permit") and removing all references to the word "scientific," H.B. 1308 eliminated the regulatory authority of the Commission with respect to the marking of breeder deer and altered several statutory definitions, necessitating rulemaking. At the same time, staff recommends making several changes to clarify and improve the rules. The proposed changes are the consensus of staff and the Breeder User Group, an ad hoc group of deer breeders appointed by the Executive Director to advise the Department on regulatory issues affecting permit holders.
Attachments - 1
- Exhibit A – Deer Breeder Proclamation
Committee Agenda Item No. 5
Deer Breeder Proclamation
The proposed amendments to the Deer Breeder Proclamation will make several changes to make the regulations consistent with statutory changes made by House Bill 1308, enacted by the 80th Texas Legislature.
H.B. 1308 changed the title of Parks and Wildlife Code, Subchapter L, from "Scientific Breeder's Permit" to "Deer Breeder's Permit." Accordingly, the proposed amendments would change all regulatory language as necessary to reflect the new nomenclature, including the elimination of unnecessary definitions.
Under the terms of H.B. 1308, deer breeders are authorized to euthanize breeder deer for purposes of humane dispatch, disease testing and reporting, or any other purpose required or allowed by law.
H.B. 1308 also removed the commission's authority to prescribe rules governing the marking of deer held under a deer breeder's permit. Therefore, the proposed rulemaking would repeal 31 TAC §65.607, concerning Marking of Deer, and alter internal references to note the statutory provisions prescribing the method and manner of marking deer held under a deer breeder's permit, including changes as necessary to definitions.
The proposed amendments also would address several housekeeping-type changes arising from continuing dialogue with the Breeder User Group, an ad hoc committee that advises the commission on matters concerning the regulation of persons operating deer breeding facilities under permits issued by the department.
The current rules require permit applications, renewals, and notices of escape of deer to be notarized. Staff has determined that notarization is an unnecessary and inconvenient requirement. Therefore, the proposed amendments will eliminate the notarization requirements.
In 2006, the commission adopted rules to implement disease-testing requirements for deer breeding facilities. As part of the transition process, the rules internally established effective dates for specific provisions and made the effectiveness of other provisions dependent on the original effective date of the rules. The proposed amendments would eliminate or specify effective dates as necessary.
The current rules require the holder of a breeder's permit to maintain documentation identifying the source or origin of all deer held by the breeder. This requirement is duplicative; other provisions allow the department to determine the source or origin of deer. Therefore, the proposed amendments would eliminate this provision.
The current rules also make it an offense for live deer to be taken from the wild or kept in a breeding facility by a deer breeder; however, the statutory basis for that provision has been eliminated. Therefore, the proposed amendments would remove the provision.
Committee Agenda Item No. 6
Presenter: Joedy Gray
Amendments to the Harmful or Potentially Harmful Exotic Fish, Shellfish and Aquatic Plants Rules
Permission to Publish
I. Executive Summary: Staff will brief the Commission on amendments to the Harmful or Potentially Harmful Exotic Fish, Shellfish and Aquatic Plants rules that will prohibit the possession of silver carp and correct an inadvertent error relating to the listing of Parastacidae in the exceptions in §57.113(n).
II. Discussion:: The Harmful or Potentially Harmful Exotic Fish, Shellfish or Aquatic Plants rules currently allow the possession, culture and sale of silver carp Hypophthalmichthys molitrix by individuals with valid exotic species permits under §57.113 (d). On July 10, 2007, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service added all forms of live silver carp to their list of injurious fish, mollusks, and crustaceans under the Lacey Act. Consequently, staff is proposing that the department totally prohibit the possession of silver carp in Texas. The current exception in §57.113(n) allows the possession of live individuals of any species in the family Parastacidae under certain circumstances. The original intent of the staff was to allow live possession of only one species in the family Parastacidae, Cherax quadricarinatus. Therefore, staff is proposing that §57.113(n) be amended to change the two references to Parastacidae to Cherax quadricarinatus.
Attachments - 1
- Exhibit A – Proposed Amendments to the Harmful or Potentially Harmful Exotic Fish, Shellfish and Aquatic Plants Rules Summary
Committee Agenda Item No. 6
Proposed Amendments to the Harmful or Potentially Harmful Exotic Fish, Shellfish and Aquatic Plants
Silver carp are currently listed on the department's prohibited list. However, individuals with exotic species permits may possess, propagate and sell silver carp in Texas. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have recently added silver carp to their list of injurious fish under the Lacey Act. To comply with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service rules, staff is proposing to prohibit the possession of live silver carp in Texas by exotic species permit holders. Additionally, staff is proposing to prohibit the possession of all crayfish in the family Parastacidae with the exception of the Australian redclaw crayfish. This will clarify a recently approved rule change.