Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
Commission Meeting

Jan. 22, 2009

Commission Hearing Room
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department Headquarters Complex
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744

BE IT REMEMBERED, that heretofore on the 22nd day of January, 2009, there came to be heard matters under the regulatory authority of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission in the Commission Hearing Room of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Headquarters Complex, to wit:

APPEARANCES:

THE TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION:

THE TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT:

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Retirement Certificates, January 22, 2009
Division Name Title Location Service
Law Enforcement Milton C. Vincent Sgt. Game Warden College Station, TX 35 Years
Law Enforcement Ewel R. McCrary Major Game Warden Lubbock, TX 33 Years
Law Enforcement David W. Raybin Game Warden Palestine, TX 32 Years
Law Enforcement Stacy L. Bishop Asst. Commander Game Warden Hamilton, TX 30 Years
Law Enforcement Shawn A. Moore Game Warden Temple, TX 26 Years

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Service Awards, January 22, 2009
Division Name Title Location Service
Law Enforcement Arthur McCall Game Warden Pleasanton, TX 40 Years
Executive Office Gene McCarty Director V Austin, TX 30 Years
Law Enforcement Oscar R. Correa Major Temple, TX 30 Years
State Parks Barbara A. Price Administrative Assistant IV Galveston, TX 25 Years
Wildlife Jerry Bob Warden Program Specialist V San Antonio, TX 20 Years
TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION
COMMISSION MEETING
(PUBLIC TESTIMONY)
January 22, 2009
Name/Organization, Address Item Number Matter of Interest
Marley Porter,  Cottonwood Shores, 4401 Cottonwood Drive, Cottonwood Shores, TX 2 — Action — Local Park Grant Funding for Projects Listed in the General Appropriations Act, TPWD Rider 34
Carlos Colina-Vargas Town of Combes, P.O. Box 161540, 4512 Cliffstone, Austin, TX 78716 3 — Action — Indoor Recreation Local Park Grant Funding For
Jim Carrillo City of Weslaco, 4030 W. Braker Lane, Suite 450, Austin, TX 78759 3- Action — Indoor Recreation Local Park Grant Funding 4 — Action — Outdoor Recreation Local Park Grant Funding For
Filberto Rivera City of Taft, 501 Green Avenue, Taft, TX 78390 4 — Action — Outdoor Recreation Local Park Grant Funding
Sally Gavlik City of Corpus Christi, 1201 Leopard, Corpus Christi, TX 5 — Action — Boat Ramp Grant Funding For
Chris Godfrey Texas Hawking Association, North American Grouse Partnership, 10500 FM 150 West, Driftwood, TX 7 — Action — Threatened and Endangered Nongame Species Regulations Amendments 8 — Action — Raptor Proclamation Amendments — Consistency with Federal Rules, 10 — Action — Trapping, Transporting and Transplanting Game Animals and Game Birds Rule Amendments
Karl Kinsel Texas Deer Association, 403 East Ramsey, Suite 204, San Antonio, TX 78216 10 — Action — Trapping, Transporting and Transplanting Game Animals and Game Birds Rule Amendments
Kirby Brown Texas Wildlife Association, 2800 NE Loop 410, Suite 105, San Antonio, TX 78218 10 — Action — Trapping, Transporting and Transplanting Game Animals and Game Birds Rule Amendments Against

P R O C E E D I N G S

COMMISSIONER HOLT: This meeting is called to order. Before proceeding with any business I believe Mr. Smith has a statement to make.

MR. SMITH: I do, Mr. Chairman. Thank you.

A public notice of this meeting containing all items on the proposed agenda has been filed in the Office of the Secretary of State as required by Chapter 551 Government Code, referred to as the Open Meetings Act. I would like for this fact to be noted in the official record of this meeting.

Also, just on behalf of the Department, I want to welcome all of you here today to the Commission meeting. And I know we have a few folks in the room who have not yet had a chance to attend a Commission meeting. And so indulge me for just a moment as we talk about a few little housekeeping items. Just would respectfully ask all of you if you've got a BlackBerry or if you've got a cell phone, if you would please silence that or turn that off. And if you've got a conversation that you need to have, if you wouldn't mind just stepping outside. The acoustics in this room are less than perfect. And so it will just help with noise abatement as we go through the morning.

We've got a number of items on the agenda today that some of you may wish to provide commentary on. And we do provide an opportunity for people to do that. Would ask that you sign up outside and at the appropriate time the Chairman will call you forward, ask you to come to the microphone. We'll give you three minutes. We have a green light/red light system and so green is go and red is stop and ask you to state your name and your position on the matter that we've called you to. Other than that, we're delighted you're here and thanks for joining us this morning.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you. Thank you, Mr. Smith.

What do we do first? Here, I'm a little where do we go next? We're going to do

MR. SMITH: We're going to do service awards and recognitions.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay.

MR. SMITH: Yes.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Well, let's move to

MR. SMITH: Let's just start with the approval of minutes and we'll

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Oh, that's what it is. Sorry. I don't have my what do I have in front of me here? You can tell I haven't done this for a while. No, I don't have that in this book. Sorry. I was on yesterday's meeting.

MR. SMITH: You're getting rusty.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Carole yes, I'm rusty. Carole's always got it right. I just didn't have the right okay. Thank you. Next is the approval of the minutes from the previous meeting, which have already been distributed. Is there a motion for approval?

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: So move.

COMMISSIONER PARKER: So move.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Commissioner Friedkin and Commissioner Parker. Second?

COMMISSIONER HOLT: All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. None opposed?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Hearing none, motion carries. Thank you. Next is the acknowledgment of donation lists which has also been distributed. Do I have a motion, please?

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: So move.

COMMISSIONER HIXON: Second.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Duggins Commissioner Duggins, Commissioner Hixon seconds. All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Any opposed?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: No? Hearing none, motion carries. Okay. Now, the service awards. See, that's what I like best. Okay. Next are the service awards and the special recognitions.

Mr. Smith, let's make the presentation, please.

MR. SMITH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the Commission. And, Mr. Chairman, if I could, we have some special guests from EnCana that are here with us today that have made a very generous gift to help support the Department's activities through our official partner, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation. And so I want to start by asking Dick Davis, Executive Director, to come forward and to make that presentation.

So, Dick?

MR. DAVIS: Thank you, Carter. Greetings, members of the Commission. I wanted to refresh your memory briefly about our corporate partner program. Through the last two or three years we have actively tried to recruit some corporate support from the State of Texas and we've been fairly successful with that. If you remember, we have partners such as Toyota and Anheuser Busch and we have Shell Oil Company and we have WalMart and we have HEB and we have a number of corporations like Holt Cat and so we continue to reach out to corporate Texas without whose help some of these conservation projects that need to be conducted in Texas would not take place.

This morning I'm here to introduce you to our newest member of our corporate conservation coalition, EnCana. EnCana is a Canadian-based oil company with a large office in Dallas and a huge presence in Texas, especially right now in East Texas. They we began discussions with EnCana about a year ago, had a meeting with Paul Sander who is the company's top executive in Texas. And that initial meeting surprisingly and pleasantly led to a number of follow-up meetings with a number of EnCana staff. This company has been very friendly towards us and very aggressive and pro-active in trying to establish a partnership. It's been a very pleasant experience, which is not always the case when you're trying to reach out to private funding sources.

I wanted to briefly tell you what their contribution this morning is going to support. Their contribution is going to reach across three of our Department's divisions. In the Wildlife Division there is a water control project on Toledo Bend Wildlife Management Area. Pumps are needed and some maintenance is needed over there at the wildlife management area to control the water levels to better address the aquatic invasive plant problem that has taken over many of our Texas streams and lakes. And so a very generous contribution from EnCana is going to allow that project to take place. Been working with Bill Adams over at the WMA and with Nathan Garner, the regional wildlife director.

A portion of the contribution from EnCana is going to support the Healthy Habitats Program, a grants program to schools across Texas that allows school kids to do classroom and on-the-ground, in-the-field conservation projects we hope will lead to the next generation of stewards, the next generation of conservation philanthropists in Texas and perhaps, the next generation of employees to Texas Parks and Wildlife itself.

A third division that this contribution is going to touch is our Law Enforcement Division. A portion of this contribution this morning will go to support the brand new the construction of the brand new Texas Game Warden Training Center that's about to break ground in Hamilton County. And a portion of this contribution also supports the foundation and its work and everything we do on a daily basis to support the Department. And they were a sponsor of our Hall of Fame Expo banquet, for example, this last fall.

So this morning I wanted to say thank you publicly. I wanted to introduce you to some of EnCana's employees who have joined us this morning. And then there will be a brief presentation of a check and a photo opportunity. And after that if you will allow us we will quietly as possible leave the room because we are going to go meet with several Parks and Wildlife Department employees about these various projects. With us this morning is Deb West and she's right here. We have Susan Compton. Both from the Dallas office. Al Summers is an EnCana employee working here in Austin. And I'd like to introduce at this time the EnCana's top executive for the State of Texas to join me up here, say a few words and make a presentation, Paul Sander.

Paul?

MR. SANDER: Good morning. It's my pleasure to be here today. And it's my pleasure to be partnered with Texas Parks and Wildlife. I think our team here representing EnCana have done a wonderful job of working with Dick and finding some projects that align our corporate interests with the interests of Texas Parks and Wildlife. And we're very pleased with these projects and proud to be supporting them. They really match up with our corporate constitution where we are striving to minimize our environmental impact, promote conservation and also promote energy conservation. So this partnership very much falls in line with our goals there. Many of you may not know much about EnCana but we are the largest producer of natural gas in North America. And we're very proud that that is a domestic energy source, that it's low cost and that it's clean burning. And we entered Texas in 2004 and since then have grown our business by an order of magnitude. Texas represents our fastest growing part of our business.

And the way that we do business is we contribute back to the community in a big way. Because when we get when we come and develop our gas properties we do it in a big way and we're there in the community for a long time. And we want to be recognized as a good neighbor. This partnership with Texas Parks and Wildlife is a great example of the type of work we like to do. So I thank you for the recognition this morning. I think we have a check to present.

MR. DAVIS: Thank you, Paul. You can see this is for $486,000.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you.

MR. DAVIS: And at the moment EnCana is our largest corporate partner.

(Simultaneous discussion.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you very much.

MR. SMITH: Thank you, Dick, and thank you, Paul, and all of your colleagues from EnCana for that very, very generous gift. So we're excited about working with you.

We've come to that part of the program, which as you know, I enjoy a great deal. Because we get to recognize one of what I think is one of the great hallmarks of this agency and that is the dedication and tenure of our colleagues around the state. And as you will see, we're going to get to hear and learn about the long-standing dedication of many of them this morning. And we're going to start out with some of our retirees.

And we'll kick it off first with Bubba Vincent. And Bubba started 35 years ago as a game warden. Finished up as a sergeant. Worked out in the field in East Texas. Was a partner of David Sinclair no less and so taught him a few tricks, I believe. And then was recruited to go to work for our covert law enforcement operations back in 1993. And he distinguished himself by participating in a number of undercover operations, which I'll talk in just a moment about. I saw Bubba out in the hallway and I asked him when the last time it was he had been at a Commission meeting. And he said well, he'd never actually been before. And then he quickly corrected himself. He said, Oh, yes, now actually I can tell you, I actually did go to a Commission meeting. But it was undercover and that he had to infiltrate this radical group of tree huggers, as he called it. And so as you will soon meet Bubba, I assure you in real life you will never mistake Bubba for a long-haired tree hugger. So Bubba did his work very, very, very well.

There was an operation in South Texas that Bubba took the lead on that got a lot of attention called Venado Macho. And there was a poaching ring that was very active in poaching deer off ranches in South Texas. And when the undercover team was able to bust that up it helped encourage the Legislature to enhance the fine for those individuals that illegally killed deer and other certain species of game on landowners' properties without their consent from purely a misdemeanor to a state jail felony. And so Bubba was very, very instrumental in doing that.

Last thing I'll say about him, just because I think it speaks well to his character and this agency as a whole, Pete and our law enforcement team recognized him this year for the Humanitarian Award. And Bubba's long-standing partner in law enforcement who had retired suffered a very tragic accident in a fall and was paralyzed. And Bubba was there for his partner every day and helping his family get through that process and just, I think, really exemplified the familial spirit and culture that represents our law enforcement division and this agency as a whole.

So please join me in welcoming and recognizing Bubba Vincent, 35 years a game warden.

(Applause)

(Simultaneous discussion.)

MR. VINCENT: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you, sir. Congratulations.

MR. SMITH: As y'all know, inside this agency we approach our university affiliations and football affiliations without pride or prejudice. And so I say this without any pride or prejudice when I introduce the next in a long line of stellar game warden graduates from Texas Tech, Mokey McCrary.

And, Commissioner Bivins, you know Mokey well from his long-standing service in the Panhandle. Mokey was with us for 33 years and got out of the game warden academy, did 12 years up in Potter County up in God's Country up there, Commissioner Bivins, and then worked through a series of assignments from the state, from Dalhart all the way down to the brush country and Laredo and worked his way up through the ranks.

He served at least three or four years at our game-warden-training facility. Very progressive. Helped

developed a number of things that helped our park peace officers, including our field sobriety course to help train our park peace officers and our game wardens. He was ultimately promoted to major there in the Panhandle and served with great distinction there in Lubbock for the last five years of his career. And we're real proud to have Mokey with us today. So please join me in welcoming Mokey.

Mokey McCrary.

(Applause)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: There you go, sir.

(Simultaneous discussion.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you.

MR. McCRARY: Thank you, sir.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you for your service.

MR. SMITH: A little over 30 years ago David Raybin started his career at Texas Parks and Wildlife after graduating from Sam Houston State with a degree in animal science as a park ranger there at Huntsville State Park and gradually worked his way up through the ranks. He was the first superintendent at and park manager there at Hill Country State Natural Area and then went on to become the first superintendent there at Guadalupe River State Park. Ultimately went through a law enforcement academy there at what was then Southwest Texas State, 1985 transferred over to our law enforcement division, was sent down to the free state of McMullen County to do a little tour down there in the brush country and then moved to East Texas and finished up his career there in Anderson and Cherokee counties where he's still working and in Palestine. And so he's been with us for 32 years and had a long and distinguished career in parks and law enforcement. So please join me in recognizing David Raybin.

David, please come forward.

(Applause)

(Simultaneous discussion.)

MR. RAYBIN: Appreciate it.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Congratulations, sir. Yes. Thank you. Thank you for your service.

(Pause.)

MR. RAYBIN: Appreciate it.

MR. SMITH: You know, 30 years ago Stacy Bishop and two other ladies walked through the door of our game warden academy. And on the surface nothing particularly remarkable about that except for the fact that they were the first three ladies to ever do that. And what is particularly remarkable about that is Stacy was the only one to make it through that very rigorous training academy. And in that regard she became the first female game warden to ever serve the State of Texas. And Stacy has had a very long and distinguished career. She was a very well-known and popular game warden in Travis County for 17 years, very active in community outreach and service. She then went back to where she started there at the game warden training facility and worked her way up through the ranks. She did a stint here working in internal affairs but ultimately became our assistant commander there at the game warden academy. She's done a lot for this department, has been recognized numerous times from her for her leadership. She hosted our very popular radio show in terms of helping to promote the work of the Department across the state. And so we're very proud to have Stacy with us today. And let's recognize her for 30 years of service to the Department.

So, Stacy?

(Applause)

MR. SMITH: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Congratulations.

MS. BISHOP: Thank you, sir.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Man, that's fantastic.

(Simultaneous discussion.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: We're going to miss you, Stacy. Congratulations.

MS. BISHOP: Thank you.

(Applause)

MR. SMITH: Twenty-six years ago Shawn Moore graduated from our game warden academy and was sent down to the Rio Grande Valley and was stationed in Los Fresnos. He worked the saltwater in the Laguna Madre in the brush country, did a lot of work on white-winged doves. And shortly thereafter moved up to Temple where he completed his service with the Department, distinguished himself in a host of water-safety-related things. Served us very, very proudly during Hurricane Katrina in his service there in New Orleans. And Shawn has had a very distinguished career with us. Been with us for 26 years. And we're very proud to have him with us today. And let's recognize him for his service.

Shawn?

(Applause)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Shawn, congratulations.

MR. MOORE: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you.

(Applause)

MR. SMITH: If any of you are landowners or have been a hunter in Atascosa County I want to assure you that you have heard of Arthur McCall. And Arthur has served the State of Texas for 40 years as a Texas Game Warden. And Arthur went through the academy after serving in South Vietnam, did three years there in the Hill Country in Leakey there in Real County, Chairman, before going home there to Pleasanton and Atascosa County. Arthur's been involved in a host of operations throughout South Texas, including one that I mentioned earlier the Venado Macho, but is well-known for his tutoring and mentoring to younger game wardens who look up to him for advice and counsel throughout South Texas.

A couple of things which I didn't realize, but Arthur was one of the founders of the Department's honor guard and served as our rifle team leader. And that is a team that we recognized as one of our leadership awards last year. And so very proud of his commitment. Couple things about Arthur that some of you may not know, one of which is he is a world-class artist and represented by the Mooney Gallery there in San Antonio, has produced the poster for the San Antonio Livestock Show and Rodeo at least three years. And take a look at his art. It is very, very impressive. The other thing I'll say about Arthur which I know was a very, very proud moment for he and his family was when his son, Michael decided to become a game warden six years ago. And Michael is with us here today. I saw him out in the audience and serving there in Comal County. And so Arthur McCall, 40 years of service to this Department. Let's recognize him.

Arthur?

(Applause)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Congratulations. Good to see you, sir.

(Simultaneous discussion.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: There you go. Congratulations.

MR. McCALL: Thank you, sir. Appreciate it.

(Applause)

MR. SMITH: And let me beat Arthur to the punch. He is not retiring, by the way. We're just recognizing him for 40 years.

And so, Arthur, another 40 more. All right? Let's do it.

The next individual that we're going to recognize also needs no introduction. He grew up there in Mountain Home just down the road from what was then the Heart of the Hills Fish Hatchery. Started his career at the Department actually as an intern at Heart of the Hills and he told me he slept on the floor of the hatchery for an entire summer. He's come a long way since then.

Gene McCarty, by the way, is who we are talking about. Gene has been with us 30 years. After college and getting his graduate degree he and Carol moved up to Electra to the Dundee Fish Hatchery, worked around the state for a number of hatcheries. Ended up in Corpus Christi. Took responsibility for leading the development, design and building of the fish hatchery there in Corpus Christi and later the one there at Sea Center. As the division director for coastal fisheries Gene was very instrumental in developing the shrimp license buy-back program and also, the limited entry programs, two programs that have had a huge, huge benefit for our coastal resources. Came to Austin, served as the chief of staff in the executive office. And as you all know is now our deputy executive director for administration. Gives me great pleasure to recognize Gene McCarty, 30 years.

Gene?

(Applause)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Congratulations, Gene.

(Simultaneous discussion.)

MR. SMITH: We've got another one that's been with us 30 years. One of our majors in law enforcement, Rolly Correa. And Rolly told me in the hall he's one of only two other game wardens out of his class that are have still left standing with the Department. And so that says a lot for Rolly and his fortitude. Rolly is our major in Temple and oversees a huge area there in central in kind of central East Texas. When he got out of the game warden academy was stationed in San Antonio. Quickly promoted to lieutenant and then jumped to major.

The thing I'll tell you about Rolly is, I think, Craig and Pete had gotten very concerned at the last Operation Game Thief a sporting clays event that Scott and Gene and Harold and I were going to embarrass ourselves mightily on the sporting clays course. And so they quickly assigned Rolly to our team to help our score. And I want to tell you he absolutely did. So Rolly is a crackerjack shot and a great guy. Rolly Correa, 30 years of service to the Department.

Rolly?

(Applause)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you.

MR. SMITH: I think all of you are acutely aware of the fact that Hurricane Ike tested the resilience of many of our colleagues inside the agency. And perhaps none more so than our employees on the upper coast who were affected not only professionally but also very much so personally. And today we're going to get to recognize one of our long-standing colleagues at Galveston Island State Park.

And Barbara Brown has been with this agency for 25 years. She began her career as a seasonal fee collector there at the state park, gradually worked her way up to the office manager. Two weeks before Hurricane Ike hit she had just gotten another promotion showing just how well she was doing. She has since now moved to another facility there at San Jacinto where she is carrying on her very proud tradition of service to state parks and this agency. And so please join me in welcoming and recognizing Barbara Brown, 25 years of service, State Parks.

Barbara?

(Applause)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: I think we have Barbara Price so we'll get that changed.

MS. BROWN: That's me, too.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Well, what do you want on your plaque?

MS. BROWN: This is fine.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. We'll do whatever you want.

(Applause)

MR. SMITH: The next individual that I want to recognize works every day and every night on a subject that I know is of great interest to this Commission. And that is how do we engage more youth into the out of doors and how do we work to help promote more youth hunting opportunities. And again, I know that is of keen interest to this Commission.

And Jerry Warden started with this agency 20 years ago. Started off as an engineering technician in state parks in West Texas. Worked his way up to become a regional director. Went back to the military where he had a very long and distinguished service. He retired as a colonel. And then came back to be the first executive director of the Texas Youth Hunting Program, our partnership with the Texas Wildlife Association. And since that time he has touched many, many, many youth and helped to introduce them to our very, very proud heritage of hunting and fishing and outdoor experiences, and also has set up a program that other states have worked to emulate in Colorado, in Florida and even in Mexico. He's been with us 20 years. Jerry Warden.

Jerry?

(Applause)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you.

MR. SMITH: Thanks, Jerry.

MR. WARDEN: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you.

(Applause)

MR. SMITH: Our next bit of news is one that we talked a little bit about at the committee meeting yesterday. And it's a note of goodbye. And we are here now to recognize Mary Fields, our chief financial officer. And Mary came to the agency six years ago to assume duties in our administration and finance. Quickly rose to our chief financial officer. She really helped lead the way in implementing many of the new, improved business practices and changes that had been called for in the Bomer report. And so she has helped elevate our performance considerably in that regard. Very, very proud of the accomplishments of her and her team in that area. She is taking on a new position there at the Department of Health and Human Services, obviously, the largest state agency that exists in Texas. We're very proud of her for that promotion.

I will also share this little tidbit about Mary. Some folks don't know what a active hunter she is. And we have been after Mary for some time about how well she is doing on helping us control our feral hog problem in the state. And I'm very proud to report this week Mary Fields killed her first feral hog. So it's she is we are very, very pleased to recognize her for achievements.

And, Mary, to make sure that you continue those traditions it's our pleasure to present you with a lifetime hunting and fishing license. So, Mary, you come forward and kill more hogs.

(Applause)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Congratulations. We're going to miss you, Mary. And here's your lifetime hog killer, your permit to kill hogs. Congratulations.

MS. FIELDS: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you, Mary.

MR. SMITH: Thank you, Mary. And good luck to you.

(Applause)

MR. SMITH: As you all know, in this fall the Department had the privilege of hosting the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife agencies there in Corpus Christi. And as part of that conference there was a special ceremony recognizing the respective wildlife law enforcement officers of the year from each of the participating states. And this is the 39th year, I believe, that an officer from Texas has been recognized as such.

And our honoree today is certainly very, very deserving of that award, Vance Wallace. And Vance started his career a little over 20 years ago. He was stationed there in Tarrant County commissioner helping to keep that area safe. Rumor has it he had plenty of business up there on the lakes and put that mechanical deer decoy to very, very good use in Tarrant County.

He also was instrumental in helping to enforce kind of the first boating-while-intoxicated laws. And so he and his team up there played a leading role there. After serving in Tarrant County he moved over to Baird in Callahan County, got very, very active in helping to promote shooting sports and getting kids into the out of doors and then transferred to his current station where he is in Boerne working in the Hill Country. And last year Vance got a tip from a very prominent landowner in that area that there was a major poaching problem on his ranch. And so Vance on his own initiative went out and purchased his own game cameras and trail cams with telephoto lens to help start that investigation, worked with the ranch manager to figure out what was going on. As it turned out, it was an employee of the owner who was inviting guests to come hunt on that ranch without permission. And Vance was able to break that up and make some very, very significant cases for which the local DA said it was one of the finest case files he had ever been presented with in his career. And so we're very, very proud of Vance. And please join me in congratulating him, Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agency's wildlife law enforcement officer of the year.

Vance?

(Applause)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: You can be proud of it. Here's a pin, I think. There you go, sir. Thank you. Congratulations.

(Applause)

MR. SMITH: Mr. Chairman, the last thing I'd like to do if I could, is just earlier this week we got news that Mike Bradshaw, who was a long-standing game warden in Dimmit County who had retired in September passed away tragically of a heart attack doing what he loved, which was fishing off of Port Mansfield in the Laguna Madre. And Mike had a very, very distinguished career in South Texas. And I think all of us who had the privilege of knowing Mike in some form or fashion can attest to the fact that the brush country was better with Mike in it. And so if with your permission I'd just like to ask for a moment of silence in recognition of Mike, whose services are today.

(Pause.)

MR. SMITH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Commission.

(Simultaneous discussion.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. We'll let everybody clear out and then we will start the meeting.

(Simultaneous discussion.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Thank you, Carter, it was wonderful. It's always wonderful to give service awards and acknowledge people's skills and abilities.

The first order of business is Item Number 1, Action, approval of a revised agenda. Action Item Number 13, land exchange in San Saba and Lampasas Counties at Colorado Bend State Park has been withdrawn. And we do need a motion on that. Do I have a motion?

COMMISSIONER BIVINS: So move.

COMMISSIONER MARTIN: Second.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Commissioner Bivins and Commissioner Martin seconding. All in favor, please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Any opposed?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Hearing none, the motion carries. Thank you.

Item Number 2 is an action item, Local park grant funding for projects listed in the General Appropriations Act, TPWD Rider 34. Tim Hogsett.

Hello, Tim.

MR. HOGSETT: Good morning, Mr. Chairman, members of the Commission. I'm Tim Hogsett, Director of the Recreation Grants Program in the State Parks Division. Item Number 2 is the presentation of three of the 18 special appropriations items. In the last session of the Legislature the Legislature mandated that out of the funds appropriated for the local park grants Parks and Wildlife Department shall allocate $16.6 million in matching funds to a list of 18 projects. This three projects that we're bringing to you this morning, City of Edinburg, Harris County and Kleberg bring us to a total of 12 of those projects thus far being submitted to us. We're confident that the others will be approved before the deadline of next August.

With that, the recommendation we're bringing to you this morning is that funding for the special appropriation rider projects as listed in Exhibit A are approved. Be glad to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: How were the 18 projects identified or selected?

MR. HOGSETT: They were selected by members of the Legislature. We had nothing to do with the selection of those projects whatsoever.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Commissioner Duggins, this was a special request of the Legislature in the '07 session. And essentially it just pass it's a pass-through essentially through us.

MR. HOGSETT: It's added to our Appropriations Act and it's part of the Act.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes. So they funded them. And then

MR. HOGSETT: They were funded by funds that were unused in the previous two legislative sessions when the appropriation authority was not as much as the law allowed for. So essentially there were some surplus funds available for them to appropriate for these projects.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Are all those funds now gone?

MR. HOGSETT: We still have about six other projects to bring forward to you. We're working with these applicants on helping them put their applications together and we still have some more to bring forward to you before August.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: But let's say we approve all of those, at that point this is I need some knowledge here

MR. HOGSETT: There would be

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Go ahead.

MR. HOGSETT: There would be no further funds available for these. That's correct.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: That's after those six.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: If they're all approved.

MR. HOGSETT: Correct.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Great.

Any questions for Tim? And then we do have some public comments.

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Great. Tim, thank you.

And what I'll do is call out somebody's name to come up. And then I'll call the second name and so you'll be on standby.

What is it? Roughly three to five minutes? Why don't you go ahead and explain about how the light works. Is the light still

MR. SMITH: It does. Just to reiterate, when you come up to the mike I'll be the timekeeper here. You'll get a green for go. And right before your time expires you'll see a yellow light. And then a red means your three minutes are up. So

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. First individual is looks like it's Crystal Lord from the City of Kyle. Why don't you come up?

And then standby Harley Porter from looks like Cottonwood something. Sorry.

Is Crystal here?

MS. LORD: I think I'll pass.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Passing? Okay. Thank you, Crystal.

And, Harley Porter?

MR. PORTER: It's Marley.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Oh, Marley. I'm sorry. You want to come up?

MR. PORTER: On behalf of the City of Cottonwood Shores, which is just a little podunk place between Horseshoe Bay and Marble Falls on Lake Marble Falls, we would like to thank the Fish and Wildlife or the Texas Park and Wildlife and for the grant. It's wonderful for us. We've been able to get close to 30 acres donated in the city proper. We've been able to get about $160,000 worth of architectural and planning services donated. We also have the entire city organized to donate clean up and caretaking for these parks. City of Cottonwood Shores will be known as the City of Parks. We will actually have 12 parks. And this is our first step in going towards that. And we just appreciate your effort in helping us do our job.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you. Thank you very much. Okay. Tim, anything else?

MR. HOGSETT: No, sir.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. We do need a motion on this item.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: So move.

COMMISSIONER PARKER: Second.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Commissioner Duggins, seconded by Commissioner Parker. All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Any opposed?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Hearing none, motion carries. Thank you.

Item Number 3, Indoor Recreation Local Park Grant Funding. Tim, you're up again, please.

MR. HOGSETT: Mr. Chairman, members of the Commission, Tim Hogsett Recreation Grants Program and State Parks Division. This is our annual review of indoor recreation grant applications. We received 11 applications for our July 31st, 2008, deadline requesting a little over $6.9 million. We have scored these projects using the scoring systems that you have adopted. We've rank-ordered them and the rank order can be found in Exhibit A. We're recommending funding this morning for three applications in the amount of $1,395,000. I will note that the project from the City of Weslaco is recommended for partial funding due to the lack of the ability to fully fund it. We have contacted the city and they're certainly agreeable to that.

With that, our recommendation before you this morning is funding for three projects listed in Exhibit A in the amount of $1,395,000 is approved. Be glad to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Any questions for Tim from the Commission?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. I do have some people that want to come up and speak. The first individual, Rolando sorry. I can't see I'm not don't have my glasses on. So, anyway, from Taft? If you'll come up.

And then on wait. I'm sorry. This is 4. I don't have oh, no. Here's 3. I'm sorry.

Jim Carrillo, on behalf of the City of Weslaco, please come up. And then on standby, Carlos Colina-Vargas from the town of Combes.

MR. CARRILLO: Commissioners, thank you on behalf of the City of Weslaco. I would like the mayor, Buddy de la Rosa, the city manager, Anthony Covacevich, and David Fox who's the director who is here, of the Boys and Girls Club would like to thank you very much for your assistance to the City of Weslaco for this important project. It serves 5,000 kids every year in the area. And it's a wonderful project for them as we very much appreciate your assistance with this. Thank you very much.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you. We've had a store in Weslaco since 1938. Been here a long time. Thank you.

But I didn't have any say in this, did I, Tim? Tim does the work.

Carlos Colina-Vargas, please.

MR. COLINA-VARGAS: Good morning, Mr. Chairman and members of the Commission. My name is Carlos Colina-Vargas. I'm a planning consultant. I'm here this morning representing the town of Combes in Hidalgo County. Mayor Garcia, Silvester Garcia sent his regards and his apologies. He couldn't make it today to this meeting. The mayor has asked me to say, Gracias, Muchos gracias in his behalf, on behalf of his community for the assistance that the Department's extended to Combes. This city will receive a grant in the amount of $327,000 for the expansion and completion of a recreation center. This funding is essential for this community to have this project completed. The recreation center will be the first and only facility in this community. As you know, in the Valley recreational centers are more than recreation venues. They're places where people seek refuge and shelter during hurricane season and flooding. And that has been the case in Combes. And this would be one of the uses of the recreational center, too.

I would like to also publicly and personally recognize and extend my appreciation to the office of Mr. Tim Hogsett and his staff for their support and assistance that the town of Combes received during the process of applying for this funding. Muchos gracias, Señor Tim.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you. Muchos gracias. Thank you. Thank you very much.

Are there any more comments from the commissioners or staff?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. We need a motion on this item.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: So move.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Commissioner Friedkin. Second?

COMMISSIONER HIXON: Second.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Commissioner Hixon. All in favor, please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Any opposed?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Hearing none, motion carries. Thank you.

Who's up next? You're up next. Outdoor Recreation Local Park Grant Funding. Mr. Hogsett.

Tim, please make your presentation. Thank you.

MR. HOGSETT: Mr. Chairman, this is our twice annual review of outdoor recreation grants. These are the $500,000 maximum matching grants. Very popular program. We received 26 applications for the July 31st, 2008, deadline requesting approximately $10.9 million. We have scored these projects using scoring system that you have adopted. We've rank-ordered them, conducted site visits. And the rank-ordered list can be found at Exhibit A.

This morning we're recommending funding for the first six projects on the list in the amount of $2,999,981. The recommendation funding for six projects listed in Exhibit A in the amount of $2,999,981 is approved. Be glad to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Any questions for Tim from the Commission?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: We do have some people who would like to speak. Again, I'll call out the first person and the second person will be on standby. And then I'll do that each time.

I think it's Rolando Rodriguez. I'm sorry if I am mispronouncing that. Taft? Are you up or

MR. RODRIGUEZ: I'm going to pass, sir.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: You going to pass?

MR. RODRIGUEZ: Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Is it Rodriguez?

MR. RODRIGUEZ: You did beautifully.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you. I didn't know if I was reading that correctly or not. Thank you.

Sean Griffin representing Senator Zaffirini's office? Is Sean here?

MR. GRIFFIN: I'll pass, sir.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Thank you. Thank you for coming.

Filberto Rivera from Taft City of Taft?

MR. RIVERA: Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Excuse me. Next up would be Jim Carrillo on behalf of the City of Abilene and Weslaco, I guess.

MR. RIVERA: Thank you

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Go ahead.

MR. RIVERA: Commissioner, and Chairman of the Board. I'm here this morning. Unfortunately, we're one of the ones that didn't get funded. So

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Oh.

MR. RIVERA: But I'm here this morning to ask, you know, if the board can, you know, look at our application and reconsider it. You know, we're a small community with limited resources and facilities. And one of the reasons that we need the funding is going to be for our Little League lights and restrooms. And right now our kids they usually go over to the communities close by like Portland and Sinton.

And, you know, with our limited resources we normally don't apply for grants, you know, the shortage of money and things like that. But this year we're able to get a commitment from our county commissioner and also, from our Taft EDC Corporation of which Mr. Rolando's the vice-president. And we also have Mr. Huttman with State Representative Todd Hunter's office, who is in support of our project here. And one of the things that I'd like to ask if there's no funding that perhaps if one of the cities, one of the other cities, drop out because of, you know, economic circumstances that we be reconsidered for the project. Also this morning I saw where you got a big check. Maybe you can give us a chunk of that.

(Laughter)

MR. RIVERA: But we appreciate the time that you've given us.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Sure. Thank you very much. I appreciate you taking the time coming up.

Tim, are you aware of this? where's Tim? lost Tim of this particular situation?

MR. HOGSETT: We'll be glad to work with him, of course, on a resubmission

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes.

MR. HOGSETT: in the next review. That's really, given the funding limitations, that's all I can recommend that we do at this point.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Fair enough. So we're back in working with the Legislature. And of course

MR. HOGSETT: And I'll sit down with you and go through the scoring, how your project was ranked and maybe make some suggestions for a resubmission.

MR. RIVERA: Okay. Well, thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Well, thank you very much. And, please, from the City of Taft, don't hesitate to get with Tim and let him help work through it with you.

MR. RIVERA: Okay? Thank you.

Jim Carrillo? Jim.

MR. CARRILLO: Commissioners, once again, the City of Abilene did ask me to speak on their behalf. They were not able to be here today. But they do very much appreciate your assistance with the Lake Fort Phantom Lake grant. This grant in particular will improve access to water, which as you know, in west Texas is vital.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes.

MR. CARRILLO: And this is a wonderful resource for the citizens of both the City of Abilene and in Jones and Taylor counties around them. So a very large area that this project will serve. And we very much appreciate your assistance with that.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Wonderful.

MR. CARRILLO: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you.

Any other questions from the Commission?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. We need a motion on this. Motion is there a motion on this item, please?

COMMISSIONER BIVINS: So move.

COMMISSIONER HIXON: Second.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Moved by Commissioner Bivins and second, Commissioner Hixon. All in favor, please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Any opposed?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Item Number 5, Action Boat Ramp Grant Funding. Tim's up again, please.

MR. HOGSETT: Andrea it's Andrea? Okay. Thank you. Item Number 5 is the annual review of boating access projects. These are federal funds that are passed through from the Sports Fish Restoration Act. They're 75 percent matching grants to local governments for boating access, boat ramps that they would agree to operate and maintain. We received this is a little unusual in that we received more applications than we have the resources to be able to fund this year. We received 16 applications requesting a little over $4.9 million in matching funds. We're recommending funding for 13 projects in the amount of $2.9 million. We are also recommending that we not fund in a number of projects that we are recommending some of the elements that are not directly related to boating access, things like pavilions and restrooms. Having said that, the recommendation we're bringing forward for you this morning is that funding for boating access construction and renovation projects listed in Exhibit A in the amount of $2,922,255 is approved. I'd be glad to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Any questions?

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: What's the reason for your recommendation against the funding of restrooms at the site? Because as I read the discussion item it says it can be boat ramps, access roads and other related facilities. And

MR. HOGSETT: Those kinds of facilities are eligible for application. What we're saying is is that given the fact that we have more applications than we have the resources to be able to fund that we want to concentrate on the boat access facilities directly, as compared to other ancillary facilities. Doesn't mean they're not eligible. It just means that as a staff recommendation we're not recommending support of those elements that are not directly related to boating access.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: What's been your response from those that you've granted this but not I assume in some of those grants you're giving for the boat ramps

MR. HOGSETT: Well, I think

COMMISSIONER HOLT: and also requested. What's been their response?

MR. HOGSETT: I don't think they're going to be extremely happy about it. But I think they're going to be understanding of the fact that given limited resources that they're still going to be able to build the boat access facility that they requested.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: How have we done it in the past? It just depends on funding and prioritization? Because you're obviously prioritizing that relative to

MR. HOGSETT: We have not ever had a priority system for this program. And that's one of the things we're going to be considering doing. Because we've not had a situation except, I think, maybe once before that I can recall where we've had more applications than we've had resources to be able to fund.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. I'd be interested particularly in these economic times we may end up getting more and more requests. Yes. Okay.

MR. HOGSETT: Okay.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Any other questions for Tim?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. I have one individual that wants to speak, please, Sally Gavlik from the City of Corpus Christi.

Sally? How are you?

MS. GAVLIK: Fine. How are you?

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Good. Thank you.

MS. GAVLIK: I'm from Sally Gavlik from the City of Corpus Christi. And I have Bob Hughley with me from the General Land Office. We really want to thank you for this project. This is actually a joint project with the GLO, TxDOT, with Texas Parks and Wildlife, the City of Corpus Christi, the leaseholders, Clemmons and Billings boat ramps. These boat ramps are at the bottom of the JFK Causeway as you go into Padre Island and are the launching point for the fishing people men off of the island and going through Packery Channel to the Gulf of Mexico.

And all of our funding will be used for the actual boat ramp construction because we feel like this is something that will help with the fishing operations and also increase tourism in that area and economic development. So we thank you for that and that we will be coming back to you for the Clemmons' side of the boat ramps because we really want to improve that area. So thank you very much.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you.

Any other questions from the Commission?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. I do need a motion on this.

COMMISSIONER PARKER: So move.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: So move, Commissioner Parker. And who was second?

MR. MARTIN: Second.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Second, Commissioner Martin. All in favor, please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Hearing none, motion carries. Thank you.

MR. HOGSETT: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you, Tim.

Item Number 6, a briefing, Community Outdoor Outreach Program update.

Ms. Darlene Lewis, please come up. Thank you.

MS. LEWIS: Good morning, Chairman and Commissioners.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Good morning.

MS. LEWIS: Thank you for this opportunity this morning. I am the program director of the Community Outdoor Outreach Grant Program. It is a program where we are able to offer funding resources to tax-exempt organizations to introduce kids to outdoor recreation, environmental education and conservation programs. Before I get started with the presentation I would like to take this opportunity to show a short video of one of our actual programs.

(Videotape playing)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Wonderful.

MS. LEWIS: The Community Outdoor Outreach Grant Program creating diversity, partnerships and stewards. Give you a little background on the program. Back in 1996 Representative Yvonne Davis out of Dallas decided Texas Parks and Wildlife should be doing a little bit more to reach more diverse populations. So she set aside $250,000 in a rider and said, See what you can come up with. We got together with different constituents from tax-exempt organizations, from kayaking groups, from hunters, from anglers, all these people who were working with programs who were introducing kids to the outdoors and said, What do you guys need; tell us what we can do for you to make this happen. So we formed this focus group.

And out of this focus group they decided we do a reimbursement program out of Texas Parks and Wildlife. So to make sure they will be accountable for what they were going to do there's going to be a reimbursement program. We offer seed funds for this program. And the seed funds, because many tax-exempt organizations don't have the funds to get started, the seed funds allow them 10 percent of what they are awarded to get started. However, when they get ready to start requesting reimbursements they have to repay that 10 percent back before they start to receive any funds from us. This is just for start-up. They have to write a one-year proposal. And after they have been funded for that year they have to wait two years before they can reapply.

We do this so that we can give other groups and organizations an opportunity to apply for the funds. The target audience was determined by the focus group. These are the people least likely or the populations least likely to be participating in Texas outdoor recreation programs. They are ethnic minorities, rural communities, inner-city communities, females, low-income and physically and mentally challenged.

The barriers to participation include the transportation costs, program equipment costs, staff. We will pay up to 40 percent of staff for organizations and groups who want to take the kids outdoors, camping and entry fees, liability insurance and also training. So we've made this a part of our scoring criteria that we use in the Recreation Grants Branch for putting our application and process together. The scoring criteria, as I mentioned, has changed a lot over the years. When we initially started this program we were just wanting to get the kids outdoors, you know, that one-time experience, let's get them out there, let's get them to the state park. And we realized if we wanted to get them more actively involved we needed to do something a little different. So over the years we've gone back through a public hearing process and said to groups and organizations, What would you like to see us do differently. And from that we've had some of the changes to our scoring criteria.

One of the changes we've made over the years is diversity. We've added more diverse programs to the application. So an organization or a group who's taking kids outdoors and not just taking them fishing one time but they're also, as you saw in the video, spending a whole week doing fishing, doing bike riding, mountain bike, mountain climbing, those types of activities. I'm sorry. My mouth is really dry. We would get extra points for that.

We also allow up to 4 percent four points for partnerships. We encourage partnerships in this program. And the reason we do that is because oftentimes we don't have we have $1.25 million in the program right now. That has to cover all tax-exempt organizations in the State of Texas. That includes city and local governments, that includes school districts, that includes nonprofit organizations, $1.25 million. So in order for us to be able to allow these people to continue their programs when we're not able to fund them, developing these partnerships will help them to do so.

We a few years ago had a program at Brenham ISD, Camp YES Program. Chris Holmes actually worked with those people to get that program started. And it was such a successful program that they decided to implement it district-wide and they no longer come to us for funding for the program. So those are just some examples of how partnerships can work with these projects.

Their relationship to Texas Parks and Wildlife: We encourage them to use our resources, our site, our staff and our programs. And they get extra points for doing so. They can take kids outdoors and not necessarily have to use them. But they will have to come up with points in a different area just so they can make up for those points that don't get in that particular area.

At risk youth. We also have points that we assess to that. We I sat on a committee with Senator West's office several years ago to try to determine a definition for at-risk youth in the State of Texas. And after several meetings we decided every youth in the State of Texas is potentially at risk for changing his behavior and taking a left instead of making a right turn. So we do have that component in there.

We added an education curriculum because those kids didn't realize that they were actually learning out there. We just made it fun so they didn't know that they were learning. So groups who come in with an education component to their program, we know that those kids are going to walk away with something more just than the memory of having fun out there.

And one of the things that we added through the last public hearing that we had was an outdoor service project. Some of our groups wanted to add points assign points to groups who were doing outdoor service projects. Some of the ones that we have seen as a result of that is trail restoration projects. We've also seen research types of projects with the butterflies and those types of things. And another good example of that is after the hurricane we had groups who were working with the state parks to help to clean up as part of their service projects and also tree planting to replace trees because of Hurricane Ike.

The funding amount. The minimum a group can apply for is $5,000. The maximum a group can apply for is $50,000. As I mentioned, we have a total of $1.25 million. What we require from these groups and organizations who do receive these grants are quarterly reports. This is how we keep track of what those groups are doing.

We have a form and I do have a copy of those forms in your handouts that we gave you today but we have a form that we fill out. We ask very specific questions: How are you going about reaching your goals and objectives; what challenges are you facing those types of things. We also have an evaluation form that we include in this process, too. From those evaluation forms they'll tell us about the number of people they are serving, the ethnic breakdown of the people that they're serving, the TPWD programs that they're using and even includes the staff that we work with.

Andrea Clark sat down with Dana Lagarde, who is our program coordinator and she did an amazing job helping us develop a database for this program. You can't see it very clearly on here but what this database will allow us to do is you can look at this database and we can go to any given program that we have and it an example of what this one is saying here, they served a total of 1,491 participants; 811 of those were females, 1,487 were youth, 437 were ethnic minorities, 795 low-income and 130 physically and mentally challenged. The TPWD's sites used were Enchanted Rock and Eisenhower Birthplace. The activities included environmental education, hiking, nature photography and rock climbing. And these are the members of the TPWD staff that were involved in working with this project; they were partnering with these people in this project. So this is the kind of information we can have available to you if you have questions about a specific project in the area that you're interested in finding out more information about.

Also, as a result of this database we're able to go in and take a look at some of our hard numbers. As you can see here, in FY 2003 we were able that's since when the last year we had the $1.25 million before we started going through the funding reductions. We were able to fund we had 154 applications, which is shown in the gold bars, 48 applications were funded out of that. And the numbers in the green parentheses show the number of participants reached. There were 73,727. The next year, Fiscal Year 2004, the funds were reduced by the Legislature to $800,000. Then after that it was $470,000. And as you can see, back in 2008 it starts to go back up again.

Now, the difference between the number that we served in Fiscal Year 2003 and what you're going to see in 2008 are going to be a little bit lower because in Fiscal Year 2003 the maximum amount they could apply for at that time was $30,000. Now the funding amount is $50,000. So naturally that means we're going to have fewer grants to give out.

From Fiscal Year 2003 to Fiscal Year 2006 from our database we were able to show that we spent over $3 million awarded in grants, we served over 189,000 participants at a cost of about $18 per participant. And even though there's no match required for this program every co-op dollar spent the sponsor spent about $1.37. So as a result of this we are able to see exactly how our funds are being used and how the money is being spent.

The program assistance that we offer in this grant program. We offer workshops; we do grant-writing workshops. We actually have in various different cities we always do the major cities, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio and then we do a lot of the rural communities, as well. Those grant-writing workshops we actually walk them through the grant application. We tell them exactly what we are looking for and exactly what we want in that application. We also try to target areas where we don't get as many applications from. We wonder if it's just because they don't know about the program. So we try to target communities and areas that we're getting the least applications from.

We also offer critiques in this program. Up until 30 days before the grant deadline you can submit a rough draft of your proposal and we will critique that application for you. And so we'll give you tips and suggestions on how you can make your application more competitive.

We also have program audits. The program audits is when we actually go out on the trips like you saw before and we go out and visit with the programs just to see what kind of issues they may have, what kind of problems. We're not there to judge them or anything. We just want to make sure some of our rules and guidelines are not getting in the way of them trying to run a successful program. So we just want to make sure everything is going well.

And probably about 80 to 90 percent of what we do each and every day is technical assistance, not only with people who are applying for grants and trying to get grant applications, but also for those who have the grants. Many of them are first-time grant writers or grantees, as well. And so a lot of them don't have any idea of what to do about submitting program reports, reimbursement reports and those types of things. We are a two-person staff. Program coordinator Dana Lagarde

Dana, can you stand up, please?

Program coordinator Dana Lagarde and I cover the entire state of Texas. We also have the support of and we wouldn't be able to do it without them our program administrative support system. They help us with entering information into the database, getting the reports taken care of. And our fiscal staff in recreation grants also takes care of handling all the financial reimbursements for us. And so that enables Dana and I to be able to do the things that we do.

Some of our program goals. One is to continue to be a model for other states. Also, in your handouts you will see a copy of a grant from Washington State which was modeled after the co-op grant. It's called No Child Inside. They flew me up to Washington. I spent a couple of days with them and their constituent groups. And we talked about the co-op program and how it could work for them. And they have since in turn implemented a program very much similar to what we do here. I worked with Martin LeBlanc with the Sierra Foundation who is working very closely with Richard Luge to help get that legislation passed. We've been working also with we've gotten calls from other states, Wisconsin, Michigan, New York and possibly could be hearing soon from Maryland. So I think it's a great compliment to what we are doing here in Texas that these other states are interested in what we are doing.

One of the things I noticed in the Washington State application is they offer points and credit for those programs who are doing career development. And that's one of the things the next time we go out for public hearing we would like to consider for our application, as well. Since most of our TPWD staff are currently already doing partnerships with a lot of these groups and organizations we think that it might be something just simply as them saying, you know, This is what I do every day on my job when I go to work at Parks and Wildlife, and being able to talk a little bit about their careers while they're doing their interpretive presentations. I've been instructed by Tim Hogsett, who is my supervisor, to sit down with the HR department and go over with them some things that they might, you know, want to include in this process. And so we are going to be looking at that.

Also, I want to continue to develop more workshops for internal staff. We have a lot of our internal people who are working with various partners and organizations. And so we are more than happy to sit down and do workshops with them and tell them how to work with these programs and what we are looking for and any other suggestions that we may get from them on how we can guide our external partners to work with the organization.

And with that, if you have any questions I'd be happy to answer your questions. I'm sorry. I've got cottonmouth all of a sudden getting up here.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Any questions? Yes.

MS. LEWIS: Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Who exactly is eligible? Any nonprofit by any

MS. LEWIS: Any

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: 501(c)(3)?

MS. LEWIS: Yes, sir. Yes. Any tax-exempt organization. That includes school groups, church groups, Boys and Girls Clubs, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, YMCAs, local and county governments.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: How do we publicize the availability of this program to the various potential users such as those groups you just named or identified?

MS. LEWIS: We will we rely on newspaper articles. We also have a Recreation Grants Newsletter that we send out. We have, I think, over 1,000 participants in the newsletter. When we conduct workshops or we go out and meet people we'll tell them, Sign up for the newsletter. That newsletter sends out information about not just this particular grant program but all of our recreation grant programs. We are also listed on the web site. We get tons of calls from people on the web site who have gone on the web site. We are under the grants department. They are looking for funding. And so they will contact us as a result of that.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Okay. And I think you said that if you're approved you try to encourage the applicant to call on TPW staff to assist and I wanted to understand that a little better. For example, if an applicant let's just use Lena Pope Home in Fort Worth.

MS. LEWIS: Uh-huh.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: If they were to apply for some sort of grant to take kids on a day camping trip or a fishing trip, what exactly do we offer by way of services?

MS. LEWIS: Well, what we encourage them to do is develop these relationships before the application is actually put in. That means actually calling up let me step back for a second. One of the things we normally will do if we get someone who is not familiar with Texas Parks and Wildlife's programs or what we do, we ask them to visit the web site and take a look at our education programs and all our different programs and resources that we have.

And then once they decide what it is they want to do give us a call and then we will put them in touch or contact with a person in that particular department or whatever and make them so they can get together and develop a relationship and help guide them through what types of programs, what we can offer as an agency and our sites and locations and those types of things. And once they do that they come up with a program that they submit for an application. And once that application is approved then oftentimes in that application those partnership agreements with our staff are already a part of that application.

So they go into this process knowing exactly what commitments they're going to get from Texas Parks and Wildlife. Some of our commitments from my staff may be doing an interpretive tour when the kids come out. Some of our commitments may be like you saw, the lady in the video doing the fossil presentation. So it's different types of commitments. Some parks may even reduce some of the entry fees. It just depends on what that particular site has agreed upon to do.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Well but if they wanted to, in this example, if Lena Pope Home wanted to take some of the children that it works with there in Fort Worth on a trip to a state park, are we able to provide a park ranger or somebody to give that tour?

MS. LEWIS: Absolutely. Yes, sir. The parks have interpretive programs. And I think the parks have interpretive programs set aside. And so all they have to do is call the park and they can get a schedule of different programs. Or if they want a particular if it's a different time from something that's already scheduled within the park then they can actually set aside some time when the group of kids comes to the park that they have agreed to take them on a tour and do that. And it may be an interpreter. It may be a ranger. It could even be the superintendent of the park. It's whoever they're working with.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Are there any funds left?

MS. LEWIS: As a matter of fact, our next available grant deadline is February 1st. So it's right around the corner. And so

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: What's the next deadline after that?

MS. LEWIS: October 1st. Our deadlines are October 1st and February 1st

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: And

MS. LEWIS: every year.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: And do we have in the current LAR a request for further funding than this for this type of

MS. LEWIS: From what I can tell in the request that we have right now it's a rider. It's listed as a rider in the LAR. And it's capped off at $1.25 million. Kim and I were looking at some of the proposed legislation yesterday where they were going to take the cap off, which would benefit us greatly. Because if there were any additional funds left in from the local park grant that they're not able to use or award they would be able to possibly put those funds in this program. Right now they don't have the ability to do that.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you.

MS. LEWIS: Any other questions?

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Any other questions for Darlene?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Wonderful presentation.

MS. LEWIS: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: And we'll fight hard to hold and hopefully get more money.

MS. LEWIS: Okay.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: But, you know, it's going to be tough years next biennium. So we'll see.

MS. LEWIS: Anything

COMMISSIONER HOLT: But you did

MS. LEWIS: you can do.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: a wonderful job.

MS. LEWIS: All right. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: It's a wonderful program.

MS. LEWIS: Thank you so much.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: A wonderful program.

MS. LEWIS: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you.

MS. LEWIS: Appreciate it.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you for taking your time.

MS. LEWIS: Bye-bye.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Item Number 7, Action, Threatened and Endangered Non-Game Species Regulations, Amendments.

Dr. Matt Wagner and Dr. Gary Garrett, please make your presentation on this action item.

MR. WAGNER: Good morning, Mr. Chairman and Commission. My name is Matt Wagner. I'm Program Director for Wildlife Diversity. We're coming to you this morning with some proposed changes to our threatened and endangered non-game species rules. To refresh your memory, endangered species are handled under Chapter 68 and are species that are either designated as such by the federal government or listed as threatened with statewide extinction by the executive director. Threatened species, on the other hand are handled under Chapter 67. And these are species designated by the Department as likely to become endangered in the future.

The proposed amendment would include the list of federally endangered species in the same subchapter of Texas Administrative Code with state-designated threatened species for ease of reference. We'd also like to remove the arctic peregrine falcon from the threatened species list and to designate the San Felipe Gambusia as a threatened species. As of this morning we've had 214 comments in favor of this proposal, four comments in opposition, which included that the peregrine should not be on any list and that the federal list should not be in state law. Staff recommends that the Commission adopts the repeal of 65.176, an amendment to 65.175 and new 65.176 and 177 concerning threatened and endangered non-game species with changes as necessary to the proposed text as published in December 19th, '08 issue of the Texas Register.

And with that, I'd be happy to take any questions.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: San Felipe Gambusia. Help me, Matt.

MR. WAGNER: That's a fish that Dr. Gary Garrett actually discovered some time ago in San Felipe Creek which flows through the City of Del Rio. And it just so happens there are other rare fish in the creek. The community is actually very proud of the fact that it's a unique system and they are taking steps to protect the creek in terms of water quality. So they're very supportive of this amendment.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: So does it actually San Felipe Creek actually run through is that the one that runs into the Rio Grande? Is that

MR. WAGNER: It actually runs into the Devil's River.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Devil's River. That's right. Okay. Okay.

Yes. Any questions from the commissioners?

COMMISSIONER BIVINS: You make a reference to the federal list should not be in state law. Can you explain the relationship there?

MR. WAGNER: We mirror federally endangered species. There are 36 federally endangered species that state law mirrors. Now, the difference is in invertebrates. Insects and spiders are not included under the endangered species definition in 68. But they are still federally protected.

COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Okay. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Any other questions from our commissioners?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: But we do have one individual that would like to speak, Chris Godfrey from the Texas Hawking Association.

MR. GODFREY: I'd like to pass on this issue. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Sure. Thank you for coming.

Any other questions for Matt?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. I know you've spent a lot of time on this Matt, you and Gary. Appreciate it.

Is there any discussion? We've done that. Is there a motion on this item? I need a motion.

COMMISSIONER HIXON: So move.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Commissioner Hixon. Second?

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Second.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Commissioner Friedkin second. All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Any opposed?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Hearing none, motion carries.

Thank you, sir.

Action Number 8, Raptor Proclamation Amendments Consistency with Federal Rules. Dr. Matt Wagner.

Matt, you're up again.

MR. WAGNER: For the record I'm Matt Wagner, Program Director for Wildlife Diversity. And we're coming to you with changes in our raptor proclamation. For background, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has recently authorized falconers to engage in abatement activity using raptors to control nuisance wildlife such as pigeons. A federal abatement permit allows falconers to possess raptors for abatement purposes in addition to raptors possessed for falconry purposes. The proposed amendment would allow possession of raptors by licensed falconers under a federal abatement permit. As of this morning there were 28 comments in favor of this amendment, four comments opposed. Those included that state law should mirror the new federal regulations which, by the way, we are forming a task force to do that over the next, probably, eight to ten months. And we'll be coming back to you with those changes. And another comment that individuals should not be able to use wild-caught birds for abatement activities.

So staff recommends the Commission adopt amendments to 65.265 concerning permit classes, qualifications and restrictions with changes as necessary to the proposed text as published in the December 19th issue of the Texas Register. Any questions?

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Any questions from our commissioners?

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Quick question.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Go ahead.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Matt, I'm confused. Should mirror new federal regulations. It would, wouldn't it? Am I

MR. WAGNER: Yes. We

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: What am I

MR. WAGNER: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is getting out of the business of permitting falconry. They're going to delegate that to the states. We've formed a Falconry and Raptor Council of members that are here today. And then out of that group we're going to be engaged with them in revising our regulations to mirror those that oversight.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thanks.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Any particular reason you should not be able to use wild-caught birds for abatement?

MR. WAGNER: As a matter of fact, I believe that the rules are that you can only use captive-raised raptors for abatement activities.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay.

Any other questions for Matt?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. I do have one speaker.

Chris, would you like to get up and speak?

CHRIS: No comment. But thank you very much.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Is Chris involved

You involved with the

CHRIS: Yes, sir, I am.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Good. Okay. Wonderful.

Any other questions for Matt?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. This is an action item. I need motions, please.

COMMISSIONER PARKER: So move.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Second.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: From Commissioner Parker, second by Commissioner Duggins. All in favor, please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Any opposed?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Hearing none, motion carries.

Thank you, Matt. Appreciate your time.

MR. WAGNER: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you.

Item Number 11, a briefing, Interstate Wildlife Violators Compact. Major David Sinclair.

MR. SMITH: Mr. Chairman?

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes. We're skipping. I'm sorry.

MR. SMITH: We did. I think we have a presentation by Alan Cain on the

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Oh, yes. I see it. Okay. But that's

MR. SMITH: Yes.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: But that's Number 10 oh, wait.

VOICE: Wendy Gordon.

MR. SMITH: Wendy Gordon. I'm sorry. We've got Wendy next.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: No. Oh

MR. SMITH: I didn't help with the clarification there.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: I understand. But I've got a different thing in my book. So help me. We've got that's not what I'm showing.

VOICE: Item 9.

DR. GORDON: No. Number 9.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: I don't yes. I don't have it on my screen.

VOICE: There's no presentation for it. There's just slides for it.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Slides for it.

(Simultaneous discussion.)

MR. SMITH: Wendy's going to give a presentation about the designation of a member to a biological advisory team in the Hill Country. And so we need to designate a representative to that. And so her presentation

COMMISSIONER HOLT: So I can skip that.

MR. SMITH: is to do that.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. I'm boy, I'm telling you. I'm off today.

MR. SMITH: Yes.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay.

MR. SMITH: Action Item Number 9.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes. And I've got it now.

I apologize, Wendy.

DR. GORDON: That's okay.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you for coming up. And I do apologize.

DR. GORDON: Sure. Good morning, Mr. Chairman and Commissioners. I'm Dr. Wendy Gordon. I'm a new program leader in the Non-Game and Rare Species Program.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Excuse me. Can I stop you one second?

DR. GORDON: Yes.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: I think it's I have this book and nobody else does. It may be in our on our main book. This is an action item, Resolution, Designation of Representative to the Biological Advisory Team of the Comal County Habitat Conservation Plan, which I think we have an obligation is that correct? a legal obligation

VOICE: That's correct.

VOICE: Yes.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: to have a representative.

VOICE: That's correct.

VOICE: Yes.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: And, Wendy, are you that representative?

DR. GORDON: No. I am not. So the resolution is to designate Terry Turney of the Wildlife Division

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Yes. Just to let the Commission know that's what this is about.

DR. GORDON: Right. So you've actually pretty much stated what the matter is. And, yes, it's a resolution to designate the actually, in this case it's a new representative

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay.

DR. GORDON: to the biological advisory team for the Comal County Regional Habitat Conservation Plan. We did have an individual on there and that person resigned a couple of months ago. So there's a vacancy and we need to reappoint a new individual from the staff.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Any questions from our commissioners?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: I have one. Is this a unique situation with Comal or are we doing this in other county habitat conservation plans?

DR. GORDON: So in all cases the Department is obligated to name a chair essentially for the biological advisory teams. And in this case we have a vacancy.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: I guess what I'm asking generally, across the state how many counties are doing this that we're involved with?

DR. GORDON: You know, that's a good question, to which I don't know the answer.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay.

DR. GORDON: I know around this area there are a number of these habitat conservation plans underway right now.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Are you aware? So I'm already asking questions. But yes, I knew we'd been doing this before.

MR. WAGNER: We do have a number of HCPs in the state. I think about eight, actually. Williamson County, Travis County's had one for many years, Hays County is undergoing one, Comal and then Bexar County's also considering an HCP. Bastrop County with the Houston toad is another one. Red-cockaded woodpeckers in East Texas.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay.

MR. WAGNER: So these are really a great way to plan development while protecting endangered species.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Does it matter or maybe Wendy can answer. Is this driven by the local county and then they come to us or do we help educate counties that they have this capability?

MR. WAGNER: Well, initially it would start with, you know, education process, working with local officials to make sure they understand that they do have endangered species habitat. You know, when you look at the I-35 corridor, for example, intensive development pressure under these limestone karst systems, there's a lot of endangered species associated with those systems. And so it's not a piecemeal approach. And habitat conservation plan many times is either a county or multi-county to where the entire habitat can be mitigated for development. And so often the county commissioners actually uphold the plan, hire a contractor and Parks and Wildlife is directly involved in those operations.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Any questions from the commissioners?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: What interests me about this is you say it's on a county-by-county basis but yet we're also hearing from other parts of the Department that we need to look at habitat on a geographic basis. How does that help me understand why we shouldn't promote when someone some county comes to us for this, we shouldn't promote it on an RMU isn't that the acronym?

MR. SMITH: Yes. But I think we're talking apples and oranges here, Commissioner. This is a regulatory requirement and it has to do with helping communities comply with the Endangered Species Act, particularly when they're undergoing rapid development. And so this is really designed to be limited to specific kind of municipalities and county-area designations that we have. And so statutorily we're required to provide a member to the biological advisory team to help provide recommendations on mitigation, on opportunities to conserve unique areas that will help compensate for the loss of endangered species habitat due to development.

Now, our Wildlife Division also, though, works cooperatively with those same communities and landowners and the counties to think about wildlife on bigger scales, but just through a different process. But this is a very specific, statutory and kind of regulatory-driven thing. And that's why there's that distinction.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Thank you.

MR. WAGNER: And for example, the red-cockaded woodpecker habitat conservation plan is multi-county. It's throughout the range of the red-cockaded woodpecker.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Wendy, maybe we can get back to you know.

DR. GORDON: Yes.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Who were you going to you didn't realize this was going to go on so long, did you?

DR. GORDON: Oh, it's very simple. But nonetheless

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Now

DR. GORDON: good questions.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes. Well and who did you want to appoint? And maybe give a little background.

DR. GORDON: Terry Turney.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. And what's her background? He or she?

DR. GORDON: He I think one of the requirements for these is that the staff that are appointed be residents of the county.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Oh, okay.

DR. GORDON: And so my understanding is Terry Turney is a resident of Comal County.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Any other questions from the Commission?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Wendy, you didn't realize you were going to be up quite as long.

I do need a motion on this. Any other excuse me. Any other questions from the Commission?

VOICE: No.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. I do need a motion.

MR. FALCON: So move.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Commissioner Falcon. Second?

COMMISSIONER HIXON: Second.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Second from Commissioner Hixon. All in favor, please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Any opposed?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Hearing none, motion carries.

Thank you, Wendy.

DR. GORDON: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you.

Okay. Now, Item 10. I'll get back on track. Action. This is an action item, Trapping, Transporting and Transplanting Game Animals and Game Birds Rule Amendments. Mr. Alan Cain. So finally I got kind of back on track.

Sorry, Alan.

MR. CAIN: No problem. Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, for the record my name is Alan Cain. I'm the district leader for the South Texas Wildlife District. Be presenting the proposal on the application deadline for the trap, transport and transplant permit, commonly referred to as TTT. Might be a little redundant. Y'all have heard it at least twice now.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: That's all right.

MR. CAIN: So we'll get through it again. Refresh your memory. Again, current rules state that TTT applications received by Department field staff or Department staff between September 1st and November 15th shall be approved or denied within 45 days of receipt. Applications can also be received up until March 31st of that permit year. And white-tailed deer may be relocated between October 1st and March 31st within that permit year, also. In addition, the TTT application a part of the process requires approval of the release, a wildlife management plan for the release site also requires approval of the trap site and release site and, also, on-site habitat inspection.

Of concern to staff is that the majority of these is the March 31st deadline the majority of these TTT applications are received after January 1st. And, for example, last year in 2007/2008 we had 77 permits approved. Fifty-one of those were issued after February 1st, late in that TTT season. And again, it doesn't sound like a lot of permits. But that represents over a release 146 release sites. In my district alone that accounts for 87 of those were in South Texas. And I only have ten staff to handle that plus the other job responsibilities.

Field biologists are constrained by these late TTT requests and the necessity to complete these habitat inspections on these TTT release sites. And in addition, it's these taking these late TTT requests is taking away from other programs, whether it's the Managed Lands Deer Permit Program, which also requires browse survey inspections, TG requests that we get from other landowners just wanting our help, our other responsibilities where that's conducting regulatory surveys or whatever else we have going on at that time of the year.

Staff proposed the following rule change is that all TTT applications must be received by Department staff no later than January 1 of the current permit year and applications submitted to the Department's staff must have at least the trap site and release sites identified, along with the number of deer to be trapped and released on that application. To date we've received just four comments on the Parks and Wildlife web site. Three were in favor, one opposed. The comment that was opposed just didn't want us to move deer at all, which is not relevant to this discussion again. I've had other feedback and comments, also.

Just to refresh your memory, the White-tailed Deer Advisory Committee has seen this presentation back in August. They support the January 1 deadline. I've also heard from other constituents with the range of dates or deadline dates that they've given us feedback on February 1 to January 1. Consultants out there, a few that I've talked to, and expressed their concern like the concept of a January 1 deadline. Some like January 15th. Their idea or their thought-process was that it would help these landowners that may be release sites make a decision quickly and not procrastinate and help them move that process along. And same with some of the helicopter companies. It would force folks to make a decision, get scheduled quickly and help us to get out there and schedule things.

On the other side of the coin, you've got Texas Wildlife Association's leadership. They've proposed an alternative or at least expressed an alternative deadline date of February 1, indicating that their constituents and folks feel like they need that extra time to plan or determine whether they need deer.

In summary, I'd like to mention that the research in South Texas conducted on our stem count surveys or browse survey techniques indicates that winter sampling is the best time of the year to determine deer use or deer impacts on that native habitats, which is kind of relegated to a short time period there when sampling can occur and should occur. Both the TTT and the MLD program require on-site habitat inspections and, you know, because of that they're kind of competing against each other. You know, we need to if we get these late requests coming in we've got to be able to try to meet those demands and then also try to meet the demands of those MLDP cooperators. The MLDP program it's habitat based.

The browse survey's an integral part of that. It helps us to determine if the harvest recommendations, the management goals are being met for that landowner through the management practices we recommend and again, those harvest recommendations. If we take that away or we kind of forgo those we don't always do justice to that MLD program. We may not maintain the integrity. It's not that we want to sacrifice TTT. We'd like to be able to provide, you know, equal opportunity, I guess, for both programs to ensure that a habitat-based program is getting its fair shot in looking at those properties.

We feel or staff feels the January 1 deadline provides us the flexibility in planning. At this current stage, you know, with our work load and the demands of the TTT MLD program that we can at least hope to meet those requests, TTT requests and also get to a good number of our MLD properties requiring these browse surveys. And we feel it's going to help us maintain the integrity of the MLDP program.

Staff recommends the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt an amendment to 65.103 concerning permits for trapping, transporting and transplanting game animals and game birds with changes as necessary to the proposed text as published in the December 19th, 2008, Texas Register. And that concludes my presentation. If y'all have any questions I'll try to address those now.

Yes, sir?

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Commissioner Parker?

COMMISSIONER PARKER: Who adopted the submission of the fee for us doing this work on the landowner's property? Does that fee require [inaudible]

MR. CAIN: To my understanding

Or, Carter?

MR. SMITH: Why don't we let Scott address that

MR. CAIN: Scott. Okay.

MR. SMITH: and help Alan. Yes, thanks.

MR. CAIN: That's fine.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes. This is a conversation we had yesterday, just to let our audience

MR. BORUFF: We did a little research on this yesterday after the Commission meeting. For the record, my name's Scott Boruff, Deputy Executive Director of Operations. Think the way this works practically in the field is for those 5,000 or so cooperators, as we call them, that already have wildlife management plans, we have 5,000 of those ranches across the state, as you'll remember, about 21 million acres

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes.

MR. BORUFF: of property there. If you're one of those folks and you want to TTT the process is you call up your biologist who's been working with you sometimes for many years and sometimes fairly recently, but there's a relationship there. You're the landowner. You call up your biologist and you say, I'm interested in doing a TTT and moving these deer from my place to another place. That biologist then comes out, talks to you about the process, lets you know how it works, arranges to do a habitat assessment because that is one of the requirements is a habitat assessment, both on the sending and the receiving end. So they go through this preliminary discussion with their own biologist, look at their property, go take a look at the other property.

If at that point it looks like it's something that could be accomplished and there is a reason to go forward with the process because the habitat at both ends is right, so to speak, at that point the landowner sends his application in to the permitting shop in Austin with the money. So that's how that process happens. At that point then the permitting shop goes through the regulatory issues, makes sure that the documents are in order, consults with the field staff to make sure that all the parameters have been met. Then the permit is issued. And one of the questions that was asked yesterday it's pretty rare that the permits are denied. It's a small very small number.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: If the permit is denied is the money sent back at that point normally? I mean, I understand

MR. BORUFF: Normally, the fund the funds you send are non-reimbursable.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes.

MR. BORUFF: We have made exceptions. But when we set the fee for this just to make this clear, too, three or four years ago the Commission directed us to go look at a recovery system that recovered our costs for this particular permit. We went out and looked at and did work studies in the field and in Austin so we had both the field staff times accounted for in the model, as well as the Austin permitting folks. We used those numbers then and essentially did the simple math and divided the number of folks using that program into that dollar amount. And we came out with $750. So the fees that are recovered for the TTT permitting system envision all of the activities that go on, both in the field and in Austin.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay.

MR. BORUFF: And one of the reasons this has been working pretty good, I think, is because there is a lot of work that goes on in the normal course of work with a landowner before they make this decision so that they're not just jumping out there ill-informed and then sending their money in and causing a lot of problems. They've already gone through the process with the field staff of talking about it and wondering, you know, going over the issues, whether it's an appropriate activity.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Ahead of time, essentially. And so that they're

MR. BORUFF: Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: they can figure out whether it really makes sense to do it or not

MR. BORUFF: Right.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: before they send in the fee. Okay.

Commissioner Parker excuse me. Any more questions, Commissioner Parker?

(Pause.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay.

Commissioner Duggins?

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: That, to me, is the all the more reason to add a sub-part five to this proposed amendment in 65.103(b) that requires the submission of the application fee at the time of the application. Because it sounds like you're not even going to submit an application unless you're reasonably assured that you're going to proceed. And so you've got the four items you're saying, Alan, that you want to require. I personally would like to see us add a fifth that requires the submission of the fee at the same time, as I stated yesterday.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: And Commissioner Duggins brought this up yesterday. Walk me because I get a bit confused. When the application is sent in it's sent with a check.

MR. BORUFF: I think that is in practice what happens.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Normally.

MR. BORUFF: In practice

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Am I saying

MR. BORUFF: that's what happens. I'm not sure it's articulated in the rule.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes, as a "requirement." But

MR. BORUFF: But in practical purpose that's what happens. The permits that come to Austin come with a check.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: A permit application?

MR. BORUFF: Permit application.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes. It's a permit application. Then you the field work's been done, but not the work in house. You go through that. Then the permit is issued that you've been given the money's already been paid?

MR. BORUFF: That's correct.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. I think I understand what you're saying. But I think we're doing it. Do we need to then somehow clarify that? Do we need to help me

MR. BORUFF: My perceptions from talking with the permitting

COMMISSIONER HOLT: We've already gone with

MR. BORUFF: it's not been a big issue for us. I don't know what to recommend to you. I just will tell you there doesn't seem to have been a big problem in folks not paying for their permits.

MR. SMITH: The other thing, Chairman, just for clarification again if we are going to modify this, is we're

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes.

MR. SMITH: going to have to go through another rulemaking activity. I think that we can. In talking with Ann, we could modify it and then bring it back in March. But again, just to make sure you understand what's going to be required of us, it would require separate rulemaking.

COMMISSIONER PARKER: [inaudible] is there any way for us to backtrack all those records to determine how many of those applications that come in or not come in how many times do we go out and work with the trapper and the trappee and then discover that, you know, they say, Well, I don't think we [inaudible]?

MR. BORUFF: I have no clue.

MR. CAIN: Yes. I mean

Thanks, Scott.

I don't have an exact number. I can't tell you that, Commissioner Parker. This year alone I've had maybe two or three TTT requests have come to my staff, they've gone out, conducted the browse surveys and we denied them because the habitat simply could support additional deer. In that case I guess what Commissioner Duggins is, you know, kind of illustrating, we're losing that $750 because they're not going to submit the application obviously because they're not going to get approved for a TTT permit. And

But in general, a small percentage, a very small percentage of folks are probably denied in the field. A lot of times we may get a landowner that comes to us and requests a TTT, never worked with the guy before. We'll set up an appointment, go meet with him wildlife management planner or maybe even talk him out of a TTT. He doesn't know his goals. He doesn't know his deer density on his place, especially late in the season. So he's scratching his head. And so let's take a break a minute and let's look at your habitat, what's the resource concern here, why don't you have the deer population you want or the quality or whatever it is else it is. We can always put him off to next year and have those folks come in, you know, and sit down and really talk with him. But as far as folks come, there's generally very few that are denied, you know. Or we tell them, Look, we're not going to approve this or sign off on this release site because of whatever reason. But there's a just a small percentage.

MR. BORUFF: Maybe Scott Boruff again. Maybe to address your question, Commissioner Parker, just a little differently, when we did the work study exercise to determine how much energy went into this that included all these activities that go on. So there was whatever the small number of folks or incidents is where we don't actually follow through to come to the permitting process, in other words, the staff's out there working, that was captured in that work study activity. So we believe at least at that time that it was the model envisioned all the work that went into the TTT work. And then secondarily, I will remind you that a lot of this work comes in the context of ongoing technical guidance to landowners. So a lot of this happens in the ongoing work process. They're going out there and visiting with landowners to do technical guidance anyway.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes. I'm glad you brought that up, Scott. Let me suggest something.

I definitely I understand what you're bringing up, Commissioner Duggins and Parker. But this is part of our mission is working with our landowners on an ongoing basis. Our biologists are out in the field for that very reason. And personally, I would be a little hesitant to start charging for that ahead of the actions that you're trying to accomplish, whatever that landowner's trying to accomplish. I want them calling us. Okay? I want them asking us to be involved in their decision-making process. And I don't want our constituents to think that they have to pay $750 up front to get us to come out to the location. I'm probably exaggerating to make a point. But I think that's extremely important to our mission and to our biologists in the fields' mission.

And so what I'd like to ask, though, Scott and Carter, is let's go forward on the way it's stated and the Commission has the right to vote one way or the other and then observe and watch, let's say, over the six months or through the at least, the next season because that's probably your most important time. And then we can always come back to this.

If that's okay with the two commissioners. But again, you have, of course, the right to vote either way. But I'm really we went through it yesterday, thought about it over the evening and then again today. And I think it's a good discussion. But it really is a big part of what we who we are. And we want to be out there on that habitat and kind of any reason to be there is a good reason, in my opinion. Yes.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: That's a main goal of our mission.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes, exactly.

MR. BORUFF: In fact, I'll just remind the Commission. I mean, technical guidance does not cost the landowner in the State of Texas. That's part of your commitment to conservation.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes.

MR. BORUFF: Under your wildlife management plan we provide you with biological assistance and technical guidance at no cost. And so this really is an add-on service, if you will, and it's a valid one and we support it. But it is something that is in addition to the normal technical guidance that goes on on a private property.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Right. So I certainly don't want to discourage those phone calls.

MR. BORUFF: Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes. Thank you.

And, Alan, we do have some people who would like to speak.

Any other questions?

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: I have one.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes, sir. Sure, Commissioner.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Scott, am I correct, though, that if the rule were amended to require the submission of the fee at the time the other four items are submitted that would merely formalize current practice?

MR. BORUFF: That's yes, sir. That is correct.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Oh, no. Alan, please stay. Because I have some people that want to come up and speak.

Let's start. Chris Godfrey with the Hawking Association.

Chris?

VOICE: He had to leave.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay.

Karl? Karl Kinsel?

MR. KINSEL: Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes, please come up. With the Texas Deer Association. Glad you're here. Good to see you.

MR. KINSEL: Good to see y'all. And I guess Happy New Year. That's still appropriate.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes.

MR. KINSEL: I'm Karl Kinsel, Executive Director of the Texas Deer Association. And I want to say first off we certainly understand and sympathize with staff needs. No question. No concern on that. We request, though, that that February 1 is a lot more realistic and a lot more palatable. We complement it particularly, I think that 45-day period, which is an incentive period in which they get them in between September and November 15th. And the also, I believe, although I'm not sure might question staff if a date stamp situation is in place where first come, first received, is service so that people would feel an urgency even beyond November 15th.

I think that we believe, though, that really a real aggressive policy of notice and understanding would probably solve this any better better than even more regulation. Although we understand the regulation. Therefore, I think TDA and I know TWA certainly commits to making sure that this industry is aware, those that utilize these permits are aware that what they're doing in handicapping and delaying their decisions, although some decisions are not delayed by procrastination, they're delayed by need. So I'd hope the Department would take those into exception.

Listening just here recently, though, to what the commissioner brought up with regards to being just a complete not dealing with incomplete by putting the money up forward I think would be fine with the applicants. I certainly respect, though, what you said with regards to why do we want to tell people to pay in advance. Although I think keeping the application complete would make sure that no one is filing an application without being wholeheartedly involved in knowing that they want to do it. And I certainly don't want to see that and it gets abused by not just procrastination but by just guessing that I may use the permit and not wanting to use a permit. So I would support the March adoption to re-look at this to include the $750 and see if any other comments primarily, though, because I want to do my job in the association business and get the word out so we don't have any outcries from it. That's all.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Good points, Karl. I appreciate that. Do you mind staying just a second?

Let me ask a question relative to procedure. Okay? January, obviously, this season, for lack of a better term, is pretty much

MR. SMITH: For all practical purposes

COMMISSIONER HOLT: over with.

MR. SMITH: almost over. Although, I guess, we may have some more requests come in and

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Why, certainly.

MR. SMITH: But we're really talking about looking ahead to next season.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes. This is really for the next season.

MR. SMITH: Uh-huh.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: So if we modified had a little more discussion and modified what help me what we'd have to do and when could we vote on it if we put the vote off today. Would it be March? The next meeting?

MR. SMITH: Yes. That's exactly right. We could revisit this in March.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay.

MR. SMITH: We'd need to formally amend the rule and then go back out for public comment and

COMMISSIONER HOLT: But

MR. SMITH: But we could come for next March.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: could go to March. So you'd still be prepared for next season.

MR. SMITH: Yes.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Alan and Scott, any issues from your point of view relative to the operational issues?

(Pause.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Karl, appreciate it. Thank you.

MS. BRIGHT: Good afternoon.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: If you don't mind yes, thank you, Karl. And

MS. BRIGHT: Or good morning, I guess. I'm Ann Bright, general counsel. Procedurally what we would need to do is probably we would just pull back the previous proposal and resubmit a proposal, make sure we get it published 30 days before the March meeting and then come back with the new proposal and request adoption in March.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay.

MS. BRIGHT: And

COMMISSIONER HOLT: And then, Scott and Alan, can I ask you, do you see any issues with that relative to operational problems it would create in the next what is that? roughly 90 not even 90 days, probably 75 days?

MR. SMITH: So Alan Alan, if we delay this decision to March what impact is that going to have on the field?

MR. CAIN: That's not going to have an impact

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay.

MR. CAIN: on us. I mean, if you all want to delay that till March, that's

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Yes. Thank you.

Did that help answer your question? And then I

Let's let our next speakers come up. And then we'll have a bit more discussion, if y'all don't mind. I have one more speaker.

Kirby Brown, TWA?

MR. BROWN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, members. I'm Kirby Brown with Texas Wildlife Association. And we just want to say we almost always agree with staff on a lot of things. And we agree basically on this that there is a need based on the staff and manpower-scheduling issues that something needs to happen here. We think it's necessary. We want to see more time and more efficiencies associated with the staff getting to technical guidance, getting out into the field with landowners. So we very much agree on that. But we think there are a lot of folks that currently do TTT that can get their paperwork in early. Probably somewhere around 80, 85 percent of the folks, maybe 75, 80, 85. And this would force that to happen. So we very much agree with that and we think that's necessary, especially for staff efficiencies. And March 31 is way too late to leave this open.

But we do know that it's going to affect about probably 15, 20, maybe up to 25 percent of the people that come in late that are still in their hunting seasons, that are working through their wildlife management plans and looking at what their last push is. And we're talking about a date that's before the end of the season. So it's a little bit early, in terms of what we're looking for. Now, again, most people are going to be able to figure that out. Most people are going to know ahead of time what they're talking about and where they're going. So this is just a little bit early for some. And it what we don't want to do is disenfranchise those people, disenfranchise their effort to meet their goals in their wildlife management plan and to affect habitat.

So it I've got to say from our perspective we're late. We didn't understand this. The guys that sit on the White-tailed Deer Advisory Committee for us thought this was all part of the scoping process and would go through basically a January submission and then March for comment. And so we missed that. That's our fault as an organization. I did not attend the meeting. And so we apologize for that. But we do think and have had since this came out in November tremendous work by staff to come talk to us, talk to our executive committee, talk to our deer committee and then work through with staff some decisions. I really appreciate Alan and Clayton and Mitch for making themselves so available and doing what they've done. They're always very responsive.

But as proposed within the box that's set here today, which you can only change a date because that's the proposal on the table and within that box we would recommend changing that date to February 1. But if we had more time where we could discuss other alternatives, where we could look at a possibly scenarios where there were either incentives to get at that January 1 deadline or perhaps maybe some higher fee if it's after January 1 with February 1 being a deadline, something that gives us a little more flexibility out there for those landowners in the field that are going to come up at that last minute. But not typically impact the overall manpower scheduling.

So that's what we'd propose is we could come back to you in March with the proposal and pass it as late as May if we need to. So it's up to you guys. We're glad to help in any way. But we think there is more there's a need for more time and discussion.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay, Kirby?

Any questions for Kirby?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: And, Karl, I appreciate your comments, too. And both of you are obviously involved in this heavily day-to-day. So I listen to what both of you say.

Are we fairly comfortable is staff and Commission to just put this off? Is everybody fairly comfortable with that?

(Pause.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay.

MR. SMITH: Scott?

Mr. Chairman, could I ask Scott just to comment?

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes, please. Any other questions that you want to

MR. BORUFF: Well, we would just like to be sure what you're directing us to do, Mr. Chairman. Could you articulate that again just so we know what you expect us to come back with?

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes. Well, my understanding is, is this is an action item. Is that correct? And that we were supposed to take a vote on it.

MR. BORUFF: That's correct.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: So am I saying that right? Just to make sure I say it correctly. Okay. And I guess what I'm asking is can we

MR. BORUFF: You could

COMMISSIONER HOLT: put it off and let's talk study it, talk about it, think through it a little more. And I apologize. I need to obviously get much more involved in this and have more discussion with our constituencies, okay, as representative of TWA, TDA, but also, of course, others, and talk to staff and let me get a little more involved. And, Carter, help me.

And any commissioners that want to be involved on the pricing issue, of course, and when to pay and those kinds of things and then also, the date itself. And so

MR. BORUFF: So would you like us to come back in

COMMISSIONER HOLT: I guess I'd like to ask that we don't vote today and put it off in the sense of studying it a little longer.

MR. BORUFF: And in terms of what we bring you back in March would you like us to bring you back a range that goes from January 1st to February 1st, which is what I'm hearing here or something different?

VOICE: Well, I

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: A revision with date considerations and options

MR. BORUFF: Okay.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: as well as possibly exploring the incentive, you know, type idea that Kirby mentioned. And I think the third thing would be clarification to tie up the loose end on the fee payment on the front.

MR. BORUFF: On the fee payment?

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Those three elements, I think.

MR. SMITH: I want to may I I just want to make sure that everyone's okay on the timing issue. Because if we come back in March with a range of options to talk about and the fee options then we'd need direction from you in March on a specific date and fee issue to go out for public comment. And that would push us into May for a decision. So maybe what I would suggest is that because I think based on what I've heard the conversation is that we table this proposal, we go out to public comment with the January 1 date and we will continue to work with TDA and TWA and all of the stakeholders here to get their feedback and make sure that they feel like they've had opportunities to engage, but also then, I guess, for this issue about the payment ahead of time. And so we can put that in an amended proposal. And then we can come back and give you that feedback and talk about your recommendation in March. Would that work to keep this moving?

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Procedurally would that allow us in March to vote on that based on

MR. SMITH: Yes.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Okay.

MR. BORUFF: And let Ann make sure I'm right on this.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: And I need to say one thing, too. Go ahead.

MS. BRIGHT: Ann Bright, general counsel. There is just one little tricky issue about adopting in March. Because of the just the way the meetings are structured we have very little time between the March meeting and the May meeting or actually, between this meeting and the March meeting and then this the March meeting and the May meeting to get something to the Texas Register because it has to be published at least 30 days in advance of the meeting. And there's about a week-and-a-half lead time for getting it to the Texas Register. So in terms of getting with groups, if you want to adopt something in March that's going to give us probably a couple of weeks at the most. Another option would be to come back in March with a proposal that could be adopted in May. Give us a little bit more time.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Right, Ann. And I kind of like it. But let me ask the operational people.

Would May create an issue?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: No? Okay. The second part is remember our White-tailed Deer Advisory Committee did recommend the January 1. So we'll need to go back to them, too, and talk. And that group definitely is obviously going to have a lot of input, as they already have.

MR. SMITH: Absolutely.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: And I want to make sure that they understand we're supportive of them and want to go back to them and talk through all these issues with our own white-tailed deer advisory group, which, of course, of which the various groups are members, too. So okay.

Yes, sir? Both Commissioners Duggins and Parker?

Go ahead, John.

COMMISSIONER PARKER: Scott, I just wanted to say that I like Kirby's suggestion about maybe a fee and then if they turn in a late request the fee is increased by some amount. I think that may [inaudible] the situation for turning in [inaudible]

COMMISSIONER HOLT: That'd be part of that discussion.

MR. BORUFF: Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Mr. Chairman, in light of the conversations, I'd move that we table this item until the March meeting.

COMMISSIONER PARKER: Second.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Second, Commissioner Parker. All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)

MR. SMITH: And so we will absolutely go back to the White-tailed Deer Advisory Committee. We'll work with the Texas Deer Association and Texas Wildlife Association, all the other kind of landowner groups and our internal committee to make sure we get good feedback, come back with options to talk about in March.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Perfect. Thank you very much. And I appreciate Karl and Kirby and our own white-tailed deer advisory group that's spent a lot of time on this, too. And I will get back with them, too, also. Thank you.

Okay. Excuse me. Now, we're on Item Number 11, Briefing, Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact. I had gotten way ahead of myself, David. So I appreciate you MAJOR SINCLAIR: No problem.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: being patient. Thank you. Okay. Now we're on Number 11.

MAJOR SINCLAIR: Good morning, Mr. Chairman and Commissioners. I'm Major David Sinclair, Chief of Fisheries and Wildlife Enforcement. And this morning I will be briefing you on the Sunset's recommendation that the Parks and Wildlife Commission join the Interstate Wildlife Violator Compact on behalf of the State of Texas. If legislation is enacted the Commission will have the ability to request that the Law Enforcement Division implement the compact and run the day-to-day operations. The compact's purpose is to assure non-residents the same treatment that we give Texas residents. Currently Texas residents that violates a minor wildlife law, they're given a citation. They sign a citation. They promise to appear in court. And that's all that's done with the locals. Someone from outside of the state, they're going to be in most cases taken before a magistrate where they can be arraigned. They'll have the opportunity to plead, pay a fine or they can make a bond and appear later for court. So that's one of the purposes.

For those locals that don't appear then there's an arrest warrant that's made out and they will be picked up and brought before the court. For someone that's a non-resident currently if they leave the state there's on the minor violations it's really hard to get them back here for prosecution. So what the compact does is it gives the authority for the home state and the state that issued the citation to suspend their license until that case is taken care of. And it's a reciprocal agreement with all the other states that are in the compact. And they can all suspend if they so desire.

Now, the importance of the compact, the mobility of wildlife violators necessitates interstate cooperation and communication in order to protect and manage our wildlife resources for the benefit of all sportsmen. And the compact will provide Texas with an established mechanism to accomplish this cooperation and communication. The compact is very proactive and it deters wildlife violations by suspending violators' privileges in other states. And the wildlife violators cannot escape consequences just by crossing a state line. Revocations have been shown to be a great deterrent to these would-be wildlife violators.

Little bit about the history. Started back in the talks started back in the early 1980s by the Western Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies. The compact is patterned after the current driver's license compact which Texas is a member. And during the '89 the 1989 legislature Colorado, Nevada and Oregon passed legislation and began the compact in about 1991. Now, this map indicates that the states that are currently members there's 31 of those in red. In the process Texas, Arkansas, Nebraska, Rhode Island and now, I've already forgotten that the other one

VOICE: Pennsylvania.

MAJOR SINCLAIR: Pennsylvania. Thank you. Thank you, Colonel.

And as you can see, North Carolina recently passed legislation. Also, Louisiana passed legislation this past year. Compact benefits for the consumers. Delays and/or the inconvenience involved with processing of violation are comparable for residents and non-residents of participating states. Personal recognizance is permitted in many cases involving wildlife violations. Certain violations and circumstances still require an immediate appearance or bonding. Currently, in Texas we're going to treat our Texas residents on Class Bs, Class As and above. They're going to be taken before a magistrate and we do have with the out-of-state, as well. Also, I guess, as far as if this were to be enacted we would still, if someone doesn't have a good identification, even though we have the compact we could still take them before a magistrate.

Benefits to the Department. Game wardens would be able to devote more time to patrols, surveillance and apprehension and the burden to the courts and to the jails would be reduced because of less people being brought in. Additionally, public relations are improved by not having to subject as many violators to the inconvenience of appearance or bonding and incarceration. The failure to appear is reduced because of that possibility of suspension. And wildlife law violators are put on notice that their activities in one state can affect their privilege to hunt and fish in all participating states.

Now, before I talk about the notice of failure to appear I might mention our suspension process here in Texas. The executive director has the ability to revoke or suspend a license but it's only after a hearing. And that creates somewhat of a problem because of the Administrative Procedures Act. We have to go downtown, use an administrative hearing judge, quite timely, it's expensive, chances are, you know, the license would expire before we could get it revoked, anyway. So with that in mind, we're hoping that the Legislature will look at the way we do civil restitution. And with civil restitution that program is exempt from that Administrative Procedures Act in that once they plead guilty if they don't pay their civil restitution, well, we can automatically block their license. So we're hoping that this will be very similar to make the program run a little bit easier.

Okay. Talking about the notice of failure to appear and this is just kind of the working part of this issuing states where violations occur may initiate an administrative failure to appear notice to the violator in the home state. We would send a certified letter to the violator. We would notify that state and the procedures for suspension would begin at that time. Then all the compact states may honor that suspension. If a Texan who violates another state and fails to appear is subject to a suspension in Texas the nice thing about this and one of the problems that I think that we've been this long in joining is the fact that we didn't realize that we could pick and choose. For instance on the violations. For instance, baiting for deer here in Texas is lawful but in some states it's not. So if a license was suspended in a state that prohibited hunting over corn, well, we probably wouldn't honor that here. Same thing can be said about a redfish violation. We've got redfish on the coast. There are states that don't have that. So they probably wouldn't honor a suspension that we have here on that.

Automatic revocation of license upon conviction. Now, this is already in law. Hunt or fish without landowner consent, hunt from vehicle, hunt at night or hunt with a light, hunt with dogs, hunting deer with dogs, waste of game. That's the big game animals, deer, pronghorn, desert bighorn sheep and shocking fish is automatic revocation by the court. If the judge does not set that, it's automatically one year. Or it can go up to five depending on the court, up to five-year suspension.

One of the concerns that we have the Sunset Commission's recommending a half-FTE to run this program. It would be an administrative assistant. LE, after looking at all the other states and looking at the complexity of this program we feel like that it's going to take a full FTE to manage the program. There will be certified letters that have to be sent. We'll be contacting courts to get certified docket information. It's just a whole lot to it. Texas is a big state so we're real concerned about that. Earlier this week I talked to Steve Hopson, who is with the Sunset Commission. Did he oversaw the Sunset review here. And he understands our concern. And I think after talking with him he'd probably be willing to work with us on that. So that concludes my presentation. I'd be glad to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Any questions from the commissioners?

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Yes.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: How many citations are would you say are issued annually to non-resident hunters and fishermen?

MAJOR SINCLAIR: This past year I believe it was either 1,200 or 1,800. But it's less than 2,000 out of state.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: And do you know why Oklahoma, Alabama and South Carolina have not joined?

MAJOR SINCLAIR: I do not. It may be similar reasons. You know, the reason we've been so long, there's always other priorities. When we go to the Legislature finances normally, you know, take the front seat. And there may be some misconceptions there with the way this compact operates. But I'm not for sure about those.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Let me understand what happens if we issue a citation to a non-resident hunter or fisherman and that person doesn't take care of the citation. If the non-resident violator comes back to Texas the next year do we go ahead and issue a non-resident license? Or is there a way to track it? You talk about suspending the current

MAJOR SINCLAIR: Uh-huh.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: license. But

MAJOR SINCLAIR: Currently we would not block that license. He could come back next year. And, you know, if we're lucky enough to realize that he's here, you know, we could serve a warrant on him, currently. But under this new program, under the compact if we were members, we would notify that home state and they could start suspension on that end and then we could block here. And we could block we have the ability to go in and block the system. Now the license system where someone cannot walk up and purchase a license. We do that with the civil restitution.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Okay. One other question or comment. You said that if a non-resident were issued a citation in another in his or her home state let's pick California, which I think prohibits baiting of deer. So they're issued a citation by California, the home state, for baiting deer. And I think you said Texas would not honor that would not recognize that violation. And if that's right I think that's a mistake. It's a violation of their law just as we would want them to recognize a citation we issued here if the shoe were on the other foot. Did I hear you right on that?

MAJOR SINCLAIR: That is correct. And that's been our philosophy. But, you know, certainly I understand what you're saying.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: But is that discretionary or mandatory if we join this pact this compact?

MAJOR SINCLAIR: It's discretionary. And we

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: But why would want to why would we not want to recognize a citation issued by another member of the compact even though we might not have the same rule or regulation, out of respect for comity and their rules and regulations?

MAJOR SINCLAIR: I guess the answer is, you know, we don't feel like that is a violation, even though it is in that state. We don't consider it here. And we would not honor it. That's our thinking now. But that could certainly change.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Well, I think that's unwise. I really disagree with that approach.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: How do other states deal with that? Do they the same way?

MAJOR SINCLAIR: They pick and well

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Or do

MAJOR SINCLAIR: Most pick and choose. Some states, it's just carte blanche. If another state suspends, well, they're going to suspend, as well. And something I think I failed to mention, on those major violations that we have, the hunting at night and those types of violations the other states, even though they're the violation is here, other states can honor that suspension so it prevents someone that's filed on here for hunting without landowner consent they could be blocked in every one of those 31 states that are out there now.

COLONEL FLORES: May I jump in?

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Sure. Go on.

COLONEL FLORES: For the record, I'm Colonel Peter Flores. Commissioners, in discussion of the Wildlife Violator Compact and I'm a member of NACC, which is National Association of Conservation Chiefs, and this is a big initiative of a national initiative just like it was for driver's licenses and the Uniform Traffic Acts. The original intent of the Wildlife Violator Compact which we have supported all along it is the main emphasis of the violator compact was to go after egregious violators.

Originally, in the western states they were targeting it was guides and things of that commercial operations that were going over the state lines in the western states and operating their businesses violating heavily in Colorado, then going into Nevada with impunity. And so they wanted to be able to so that was the original intent, was to go after the major violators and not so much the low-level violators. They were going after criminals to keep the criminal element from going being able to operate state-by-state.

The ability to pick and choose was very important. That was one of the issues that was of concern to us in Texas and a number of other states that eventually joined, was, for example, in some streams in Colorado for those of you that fish up there you can it's barbed here and barbless there and this size fish here. And we wanted to be able to concentrate and on egregious violations, those that were poachers, hunting at night, illegal commerce of wildlife across state lines, things of that nature. So we were very careful.

I get ribbed a lot in weird places that I go about our practice of baiting in Texas. And in most of the United States they think it's terrible. But for us, we feel it's something we do in Texas that we manage our populations well, our and so it would be almost like a practice that we think is okay in Texas and if someone in another we can pick and choose whether we want to recognize those violations, we felt, as opposed to having a violation, for example, of not having a barb on a hook in a specific stretch of creek in Colorado and then block the Texan for that.

So North Dakota and other states like that have been able to came on board when working with their commissions agree, you know, with your consent as to what you feel Texans should be held accountable for in other states and vice versa. That why we wouldn't have to subject our citizens and their citizens to something that may not be socially acceptable and legally acceptable in their states. And again, baiting is probably one of the big issues for us. You know, we allow it and most states don't. But where we block a Texan and I understand what you're saying. A law is a law anywhere. But that was a consideration that we had in terms of getting support for this type of legislation amongst our constituents to see what was acceptable.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: I support this proposition, if you will. But I think it is a very dangerous approach to pick and choose when we're going to recognize the sanctity of another state's rules. I mean, it's

COLONEL FLORES: Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: That's not our business to tell them how to run things in California. But it is our business to recognize that somebody violated a law there just as we would expect them to recognize a ticket issued here.

COLONEL FLORES: Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: And I just I don't think I think that's inconsistent with our legal system. And I'm not trying to be a lawyer. I'm just saying

COLONEL FLORES: Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: I think we ought to recognize a ticket issued by another state.

COLONEL FLORES: I guess simply put, the Uniform Traffic Act, for example, uniform traffic laws are pretty uniform throughout the United States. So when you deal with traffic laws, you know, a stop's a a stop sign is a stop sign anywhere, speeding is speeding, not having insurance is not having insurance, although not all states do that. But certainly, that when you're talking about the Water Safety Act it's uniform in the United States and comes from federal law. All water safety acts they are derived from federal law and they can't deviate very much. So it's pretty uniform state or throughout the United States in our water safety laws. I mean, not having a life jacket, having the same type of light configuration. But it becomes somewhat a little bit more a different issue when you're talking about regulations and hunting and fishing as to what some states do and others. Although, in principle I agree with you, Commissioner, that the law is the law. Although, some states see some things as a violation and others don't. And having the flexibility to pick and choose is to be able to get something that we can agree that it's egregious in the in light of the original intent of the Wildlife Violator Compact, which is to keep serious poachers from being able to operate throughout the United States regardless of boundaries. But certainly, we are willing to we are hoping that this legislation goes through with the authority for the Commission to be able to provide us with the guidelines that we can put into place.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes. I appreciate that.

And, Commissioner Duggins, we appreciate your comments. What remember this is not an action item at this time. But do

Maybe, David, you could walk us through a little bit. Where does this go, relative to Sunset and decisions made by the Legislature. I assume they're going to make the MAJOR SINCLAIR: Well, they're

COMMISSIONER HOLT: What

MAJOR SINCLAIR: making the recommendation.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Right.

MAJOR SINCLAIR: There will have to be lege counsel will draft a bill that will and they'll find a sponsor. This could even be part of the Sunset legislation

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes, I would assume it might be.

MAJOR SINCLAIR: That may be the goal.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Probably will be, don't you think?

MAJOR SINCLAIR: So it will go through the process. And I presume that, you know, be effective September 1st. So we'll be coming back to you after September 1st with some rulemaking.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Right. Okay.

Does that help then?

Sure. Commissioner Parker, go ahead.

COMMISSIONER PARKER: What would be the downside of us agreeing with what Ralph said?

MAJOR SINCLAIR: No real downside, other than just basically the workload. You know, keeping up entering everything in the system. Because this thing could really explode if we're looking at every violation, every suspension across the U.S. or in these member compact states.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes. I think what you're hearing from commissioners is and luckily, we have some time is we need to look into this more deeply, obviously. And remember, this would not be the earliest it would be enacted be September 1st. But I do think it's an issue that we need to discuss. And I think we've got to look at the logistical issues of you know, we've got lots of Texans go hunt all throughout the United States. And we're probably the biggest travelers, I'd guess, maybe of any state. So now all of a sudden you could have, as you said, a hell of a work load theoretically.

MAJOR SINCLAIR: Uh-huh.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: And we need to look into that and try to see if there's some way we can ascertain what that load could be or might potentially be. And then try to figure out how to do it. Because the problem is we got to be practical, also. I mean, it's nice to have a million regulations, which theoretically you could have if you added all these states up and looked at them. But, you know, do we want to burden ourselves and the citizens of Texas with every little one, a la the barb or non-barb or whatever it may be? And I

But I think your point's well taken but I think we also have just pure realistic issues that we're going to have to deal with if we join this group. And it sounds like some other states already have. So hopefully, I'd ask you to look at some of the larger states, how are they dealing with it. I assume there are a lot of Californians, for example, that travel and hunt throughout hunt and fish throughout the country. Maybe some of those states of our population size. Is Florida a member? I didn't see whether Florida was or not.

MAJOR SINCLAIR: Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Well, those would be two kind of obvious states maybe we could look at.

MAJOR SINCLAIR: Very good.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: And whoever else you think's appropriate. And give us some measurement matrixes.

MAJOR SINCLAIR: Okay. We've had a pretty good learning curve. As a matter of fact, I'm still getting information e-mailed to me this morning on the way some of the other states are

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Wonderful.

MAJOR SINCLAIR: doing.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay.

MAJOR SINCLAIR: So we'll be working through this process and hopefully, have a lot of input with lege counsel when they're drafting.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Right. You know, if I could ask you to give us feedback, Carter, if you'll help ramrod that and make sure that we're all the commissioners are getting the info as we get closer. My guess is this will be in Sunset. And I don't we're not going to fight it, are we?

MR. SMITH: No. I mean

COMMISSIONER HOLT: I mean, we joined the compact.

MR. SMITH: We supported that along with

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes. I think you have and so

MR. SMITH: Absolutely.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: that probably's going to happen. So then we'll have between now and September 1st to figure out what we want to do and not do. And this Commission needs to be educated in this.

MR. SMITH: But I do think you raise a good point. I mean, just to put it in perspective, I you know, we've got 70,000 Texans that go out of state to hunt every year and

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Is that a number?

MR. SMITH: 270,000 fishermen. So it's we've got quite a group of Texans that go to participate in

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes. Sure.

MR. SMITH: outdoor activities in other states. So, you know, I guess to answer Commissioner Parker's question, I mean, I we do want to be mindful of the fact that there may be literally an innocent mistake, as Colonel Flores mentioned, about not being as familiar as some person ought to in an area. Just want to be mindful of the impact it may have to someone who's coming back to Texas. But we've got ample time to talk about this with y'all. As the Colonel and David said, ultimately this will be the Commission's decision as to, you know, whether we adopt all of the rules in the other states the participating 30 states or we just look at certain ones. But we'll make sure we have plenty of conversation with you as we go through the process. So we appreciate the feedback.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Secondly, on law enforcement recommending one FTE let's make sure we get that in place relative to what we're going to be have to working with the Legislature. So

MR. SMITH: We have

COMMISSIONER HOLT: if it is going to be in Sunset and we are going to need one FTE, well, but the reason there's got to be some thought-process on this because if we end up deciding to go with Commissioner Duggins' recommendation I'd assume that could expand theoretically the need of maybe even more than one FTE. Not. So

MR. SMITH: Absolutely. And we

COMMISSIONER HOLT: I think probably a little more.

MR. SMITH: We sat down with them and talked about that issue just so you know. And, you know, ultimately we'll have to see what happens. Our experience with Sunset is that, you know, they're usually not all that excited about having a fiscal note attached to a recommendation. This is not a big one. But we'll we're going to have to figure out how to cover

COMMISSIONER HOLT: But reality's reality.

MR. SMITH: this from an operational perspective. So we're conveying that need.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Good. Well, it sounds like you're doing a great research. And we just keep researching. And you need to give us feedback. Okay?

MAJOR SINCLAIR: Thank you, sir.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Sure. Thank you.

Any other questions from the Commission?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Great.

Thank you very much.

Item Number 12 is an action item, Land Acquisition Angelina County, Alazan Bayou Wildlife Management Area. Corky Mr. Corky Kuhlmann.

How are you, Corky?

MR. KUHLMANN: Pretty good, sir. Commission. For the record my name's Corky Kuhlmann with the Land Conservation Program. This is an addition to Alazan Bayou Wildlife Management Area in Angelina County. And I don't know what's going on.

(Simultaneous discussion.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Sounds familiar.

MR. KUHLMANN: This Alazan Bayou is halfway between Lufkin and Nacogdoches. This is an area as 486 acres is not adjacent to the Angelina I mean, to the Alazan Bayou. But it is in a conservation area that's separated by the Stephen F. Austin Experimental Forest. And I understand we have some a management agreement with the forest service for hunts and some recreation on that area. This is just another shot showing you the relationship of Alazan Bayou to the acquisition tract. This acquisition will protect this 486 acres from fragmentation or agricultural use and development. It also has 3.3 miles of Angelina River which will provide for some recreation use. And I understand that law enforcement's also interested in this tract because of the two boat ramps that provide them access to the river.

With that, staff recommends you authorize the executive director to take all necessary steps to acquire the 486 acres as an addition to the Alazan Bayou Wildlife Management Area. Can I take any questions?

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Questions?

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Yes.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes, sir, Commissioner.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: We have the funds set aside for this?

MR. KUHLMANN: Yes, sir. It is it's 75 percent grant federal funds. We have the 25 percent grant matched in-house. But there is also a possibility that of the 25 percent coming from other grant money.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: And the Stephen F. Austin experimental forest that's federally owned land?

MR. KUHLMANN: Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Any other questions for Corky?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. I need a motion?

COMMISSIONER PARKER: So move.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Commissioner Parker. Second?

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Second.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Commissioner Friedkin. All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Any opposed?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Hearing none

MR. KUHLMANN: Thanks.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: motion carries.

Thirteen we have put off or canceled or withdrawn. So this Commission has completed its business. I declare us adjourned. Thank you all very much.

(Whereupon, at 11:45 a.m., this hearing was adjourned.)

In official recognition hereof, we hereby affix our signatures as approved this 22nd day of January 2009.

Peter M. Holt, Chairman

T. Dan Friedkin, Vice Chairman

Mark E. Bivins, Member

J. Robert Brown, Member

Ralph H. Duggins, Member

Antonio Falcon, M.D., Member

Karen J. Hixon, Member

Margaret Martin, Member

John D. Parker, Member

C E R T I F I C A T E

MEETING OF: Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, Commission Meeting
LOCATION: Austin, Texas
DATE: January 22, 2009

I do hereby certify that the foregoing pages, numbers 1 through 133, inclusive, are the true, accurate, and complete transcript prepared from the verbal recording made by electronic recording by Penny Bynum before the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.

1/29/09
(Transcriber) (Date)
On the Record Reporting, Inc.
3307 Northland, Suite 315
Austin, Texas 78731


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