Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
Commission Meeting

Nov. 6, 2008

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

BE IT REMEMBERED, that heretofore on the 6th day of November, 2008, 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:


Donations of $500 or More for Acknowledgement at the November 6, 2008, Commission Meeting
  Donor Description Detail & Purpose of Donation *Amount
1 East Texas Woods & Waters Foundation In-kind Services Construction of one 70' x 10' fishing pier at Tyler Nature Center $13,857.07
2 The Dow Chemical Company Cash Sponsorship Wildlife EXPO $25,000.00
3 Academy Sports and Outdoors Cash Sponsorship Wildlife EXPO $10,000.00
4 National Wild Turkey Federation Cash Sponsorship Wildlife EXPO $1,675.00
5 Steve Prewitt Other Goods 12 Foot Aluminum diving board for Balmorhea State Park $1,830.50
6 Mid-Tex Truck & Trailer, Inc. In-kind Services Painted the Region 2 Disaster Response Trailer and applied decals to make it easily identifiable to support our ongoing efforts for conservation, disasters, and homeland security issues. $2,500.00
7 CEMEX Cash Sponsorship Wildlife EXPO $5,000.00
8 Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation (VerizonBusiness) Cash Sponsorship Wildlife EXPO $2,500.00
9 Koch Pipeline Company LP Cash Sponsorship Wildlife EXPO $1,500.00
10 National Rifle Association Cash Sponsorship Wildlife EXPO $2,500.00
11 Stacy & Michael Collins Other Goods 200 gallon aquarium w/accessories and live organisms $3,500.00
12 Kerr McGee Oil and Gas Corp. Cash Artificial Reef Program Rigs-to Reefs $135,750.00
13 Eagle Optics Other Goods Fifteen (15) EO-821 binoculars for education and interpretation $749.85
14 Salt Water Enhancement Association (SEA) Capital Property Item Wand magnetic tag detector from North West Marine Technology to support research activities $5,000.00
15 Houston Safari Club Cash Sponsorship Wildlife EXPO $5,000.00
16 Catfish Parlour South Cash Sponsorship Wildlife EXPO $879.59
17 FPL Energy Cash Sponsorship Wildlife EXPO $10,000.00
18 Underwater Expeditions Other Goods Offshore fishing trips to collect and help restock aquariums and allow children to have new species in tanks. $850.00
19 Judy Paige Other Goods Assorted Shoulder Mounted heads of Whitetail Deer (4), Corsican Sheep (4), Pronghorn Antelope (2), Blackbuck Antelope (2), Axis Deer (1), Sika Deer (1), Fallow Deer (1), Javelina (1), and Elk Skull Mount (1) $1,650.00
20 Lubbock Chapter of Safari Club International Other Goods Three (3) Night Owl Optics Model NOXB3 3X Night Vision Binoculars to aid Law Enforcement $1,469.85
21 Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation Cash Sponsor operating costs of the Budweiser ShareLunker Program and Operation World Record $38,101.88
22 International Boundary & Water Commission Cash For Vegetation management in the Rio Grande $10,000.00
23 Consejo De Promocion Turistica De Mexico Cash Sponsorship Wildlife EXPO $2,000.00
24 City of Austin Cash Sponsorship Wildlife EXPO $10,000.00
25 Kerrville Convention & Visitors Bureau Cash Guadalupe Bass Restoration Program $1,000.00
26 Upper Guadalupe River Authority Cash Guadalupe Bass Restoration Program $2,000.00
27 Emerald Point Marina In-kind Services Assist Boater Education Program and Nobody's Waterproof campaigns by providing free boat storage during winter months at Lake Travis $1,935.00
28 Highland Mall In-kind Services Shuttle parking opportunities during Texas Wildlife EXPO $966.00
29 Outdoor Cap Company Other Goods Mossy Oak 'Cap of the Year' for Texas Wildlife EXPO $1,036.00
30 Mossy Oak Other Goods Camouflage shirts for staff working at Texas Wildlife EXPO $8,038.00
31 ACM Tractor Sales In-kind Services Replace and remove approx. 35 posts, mow hayfields twice, rental of two (2) Honda Land Pride mules and one (1) 18' tandem trailer $3,410.00
32 ACM Tractor Sales Cash Sponsorship Wildlife EXPO $404.00
33 Jackson Safety Other Goods Ear plugs for the shooting events at the Texas Wildlife EXPO $2,400.00
34 Rio Ammunition Other Goods 12 gauge ammunition for the shooting activities at the Texas Wildlife EXPO $1,575.00
35 Arby's of Central Texas Other Goods 600 box lunches/3000 kids coupons for Hunter Ed volunteers, parking staff and greeters at Texas Wildlife EXPO $3,814.00
36 Winchester Ammunition Other Goods Hunting safety literature and 20 cases of 12 gauge ammunition for shooting sports at Texas Wildlife EXPO $2,466.00
37 White Flyer Other Goods Clay birds for the shooting sports event at Texas Wildlife EXPO $1,200.00
38 Lone Star Bowhunters Association In-kind Services Sponsor of youth archery activities at Texas Wildlife EXPO $2,966.00
39 Travis County 4H In-kind Services Sponsor of the air gun activities at the Texas Wildlife EXPO $2,466.00
40 Horton Manufacturing Company In-kind Services Sponsor of crossbow activities at the Texas Wildlife EXPO $2,466.00
41 Federal Premium Ammunition Other Goods 20 cases of 20 gauge ammunition to be used at Texas Wildlife EXPO $1,500.00
42 Dallas Arms Collectors In-kind Services Sponsor of muzzle loading activities at Texas Wildlife EXPO $1,966.00
43 Crosman Air Guns In-kind Services Sponsor of air gun activities at Texas Wildlife EXPO $3,814.00
44 Briley Manufacturing In-kind Services Sponsor sporting clay activities at Texas Wildlife EXPO $3,814.00
45 Big Fish Bowfishing Texas In-kind Services Sponsor of bowfishing activities at Texas Wildlife EXPO $966.00
46 Winter Kennels In-kind Services Snake proofing demos at Texas Wildlife EXPO (4 shows) $966.00
47 Last Chance Forever In-kind Services Sponsor of Birds of Prey shows for Texas Wildlife EXPO (4 shows) $1,966.00
48 Haydel's Game Calls, Inc. In-kind Services Sponsor of hunting/game calling seminars at Texas Wildlife EXPO $1,466.00
49 Shakespeare Fishing Tackle Other Goods Sixty-five (65) synergy 10 spincast combos, sixty (60) Penn logo sunglasses, sixty (60) PFL & SKP logo caps, Fifteen hundred (1500) SKP logo fish shaped casting plugs $1,791.00
50 EZ Dock of Texas In-kind Services Use of floating safety dock for Wet Zone at Texas Wildlife EXPO $1,188.00
51 Bird Dog for all Seasons In-kind Services Sporting dogs demos (4 shows) at the Texas Wildlife EXPO $966.00
52 Best Retrievers In-kind Services Sporting dogs demos (4 shows) at the Texas Wildlife EXPO $966.00
53 Texas Parks & Wildlife Foundation Cash Texas Parks & Wildlife Game Warden Academy $4,032,625.00
Total $4,383,449.74

*Estimated value used for goods and services


Retirement Certificates
Division Name Title Location Service
Inland Fisheries David R. Sager Manager V Austin, TX 21 Years
State Parks Mary Ann Seay Staff Services Officer I Austin, TX 20 Years
Wildlife Michael E. Berger Director III Austin, TX 12 Years

Service Awards
Division Name Title Location Service
State Parks William F. Granberry Manager V Kerrville, TX 35 Years
Wildlife James R. Fugate Fish & Wildlife Technician IV Falfurrias, TX 35 Years
Wildlife David R. Synatzske Natural Resources Spec. VI Cotulla, TX 35 Years
State Parks Tad C. Gose Park Specialist I Wichita Falls, TX 30 Years
Coastal Fisheries Britt Bumguardner Natural Resources Spec. VI Palacios, TX 25 Years
Inland Fisheries Joseph D. Gray Natural Resources Spec VI Austin, TX 25 Years
Wildlife Lee Ann Linam Program Specialist III Wimberley, TX 25 Years
Wildlife Joyce Marie Moore Program Specialist V Harper, TX 25 Years
Communications Clemente F. Guzman Graphic Designer III Austin, TX 20 Years
Communications L. Carol Otto Printing Services Tech V Austin, TX 20 Years
Information Techn Stephen P. Anderson Data Base Admin. IV Austin, TX 20 Years
Inland Fisheries Joan A. Glass Program Specialist V Waco, TX 20 Years
Law Enforcement William D. Heath Game Warden Coleman, TX 20 Years
Wildlife Judit W. H. Green Natural Resources Spec. IV San Antonio, TX 20 Years
Wildlife Matthew W. Wagner Manager V Austin, TX 20 Years

TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION
COMMISSION MEETING
(PUBLIC TESTIMONY)
November 6, 2008
Name/Organization, Address Item Number Matter of Interest
Larry Pressler, Director of Parks & Recreation, City McAllen, P.O. Box 220, McAllen, TX 78505-0220 8 — Action — Local Park Grant Funding for Projects Listed in the 2007 General Appropriations Act, TPWD Rider 34 For
Joe Turner, City of Houston, 601 Saywer, Houston, TX 8 — Action — Local Park Grant Funding for Projects Listed in the 2007 General Appropriations Act, TPWD Rider 34 For

P R O C E E D I N G S

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Good morning, everybody. I know we've got lots of people in this room have lots of things to do so we'll get this thing started. 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 and visitors, good morning. 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.

I also just want to welcome all of you today. We're delighted that all of you could join us for the commission meeting. This is a big part of our meeting on Thursday, having our partners and colleagues come in from the field all around the state that could join us.

For those of you who have not been here before just a couple of little things on housekeeping. If you don't mind, if you've got a BlackBerry or cell phone or PDA, if you'll either just turn that off or silence it or put it on vibrate. And if you've got an important conversation to have if you don't mind just stepping outside in the hallway and doing it out there.

If you have a matter that you want to address the commission on with respect to an action item if you'll please stop by that table out there and sign in and let us know what you want to speak about, at the appropriate time the Chairman will recognize you and ask you to come forward. We'll give you three minutes to say all you want to say and can say during that time frame. And we've got a little green light/red light system and so you'll know when the time is up. So thank you all for coming and we appreciate you joining us today.

So thank you, Chairman and commissioners.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: You mean if we ‑‑ the world will continue going on without those PDAs and all that? It actually ‑‑

MR. SMITH: It's astounding how that works.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: It is amazing, isn't it? Yes. Okay. That makes me nervous to turn it off. Actually, makes me happy to turn it off, to tell you the truth.

Next is the approval of minutes from the previous meeting which have already been distributed. Do I have a motion for approval.

COMMISSIONER BROWN: I move.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Second.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Commissioner Brown seconded by Commission Friedkin. Excuse me. All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Great. Carries.

Next, the acknowledgment of a revised donation list which has been distributed. Is there a motion for approval?

COMMISSIONER HIXON: So move.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Commissioner Hixon.

Do I have a second?

COMMISSIONER MARTIN: Second.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Second from Commissioner Martin. All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: And I do want to thank ‑‑ I don't know if everybody gets a chance to see the donations that we get every month. They can be in-kind type donations, they can be cash donations, they can be anything from, you know, spotlights to put on our game warden boats up to ‑‑ I think we got a quite large one for our new game warden facility from Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation of almost $4 million.

So those kind of things come in every month. And they certainly help this Department to operate. There's no doubt about the good will that Texas Parks and Wildlife Department over the many years has created. And it comes back in spades with all the help that we get from all our various partners. So I do want to thank everybody for those donations.

We have service awards and special recognitions. Mr. Smith will crank that up.

MR. SMITH: Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, I'm Carter Smith with the Texas Parks and Wildlife. For the record, start out with a couple of special recognitions.

And our first one is from our partners there at the Shikar-Safari International Club. Been long-standing supporters of wildlife conservation and our hunting heritage. I suspect many of you are members. And if not, you should be. It's a great organization. Every year they recognize a law enforcement officer of the year around the country. For the past 29 years we've had the privilege of having one of our Texas officers recognized.

And this year they're going to be celebrating one in Montgomery County, Brannon Meinkowsky, who's been with us since 2002 when he got out of the Game Warden Academy and was stationed there in Montgomery County. He's just really personified that whole community-based law enforcement model that Pete and Scott and their team have tried to promote within the ranks. And very active with their Operation Game Thief Program, education and outreach and hunter education. Did a remarkable job of busting up a huge poaching ring there in Montgomery County. And so you're going to hear a little bit about his efforts today.

We got a number of our partners from Shikar-Safari. I see Danny Butler there. Are you going to make the presentation then or ‑‑

MR. BUTLER: I guess so.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Well, you're the first one I pointed to. I usually try to pick Danny out of the crowd and make him talk. But if you'll come forward and make that presentation that would be great. So ‑‑

MR. ROGERS: Happy Rogers.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes.

MR. ROGERS: Good to see you.

MR. SMITH: Good to see you. Thanks, Happy, for coming.

MR. ROGERS: You bet. Well, I am uninitiated in these. Danny, why don't you come help me since you ‑‑ okay. All right.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: You are going to become initiated.

MR. SMITH: Thank you, Peter. Thank you. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Well, I'm glad you're here.

MR. ROGERS: I'm glad to be here. I just don't know what I'm doing. So ‑‑ but anyway ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT: It's a fairly informal group.

MR. ROGERS: Is Brannon here?

MR. SMITH: Brannon's right behind you.

MR. ROGERS: Oh. Hi, Brannon. Happy Rogers. I want ‑‑

MR. MEINKOWSKY: Brannon Meinkowsky. Yes, sir.

MR. ROGERS: I want to thank you for everything you've done. I have for you this framed certificate. And also, here is a plaque. And we're going to take some pictures, I hope.

Peter, do we have ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Oh, yes.

MR. ROGERS: ‑‑ time to do that? Or do we do that out in the hall? Or ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Be glad to take pictures. We like to take pictures.

MR. ROGERS: We also have a pin for you. This is to be given to Major Sinclair. This is a brass plaque that goes on the winner's deal. And also, Brannon, for you we have ‑‑ this is information that concerns itself with benefits to your family in the unlikely event that you would ever fall in the line of duty. Our organization ‑‑ our club provides benefits to your family. So anyway ‑‑

MR. MEINKOWSKY: I appreciate that.

MR. ROGERS: We want to thank you for your hard work and dedication.

MR. MEINKOWSKY: Thank you very much.

MR. ROGERS: Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes, let's get some pictures.

MR. ROGERS: Okay.

(Simultaneous discussion.)

MR. ROGERS: Other members of our organization ‑‑ we've got Danny Butler here, Tom Montgomery and Erik Stumberg.

(Simultaneous discussion.)

MR. ROGERS: Thank you. And congratulations. Put this one here. Put that in there. I'm just going to cover you up with all kinds of stuff. Good deal. Go ahead.

MR. SMITH: Happy, thank you. You get an A plus in extemporaneous speaking. So I'm sorry I had to put you on the spot like that.

MR. ROGERS: Oh, it's been worse.

MR. SMITH: It's been worse. All right. Good. Good. Probably some of these San Antonio natives have done that to you in the past. It's ‑‑

Brannon really did a remarkable job. Just a little bit more about this poaching ring. This has been going on for several years. And he and a number of his colleagues investigated that and ended up getting, I think, 250 criminal charges for folks that were killing white-tailed deer and exotics in and around kind of neighborhoods and subdivisions there in Montgomery County. So remarkable job and we're real proud of him. Pete and others had recognized him as part of the law enforcement team awards earlier this year. So it's nice to get him up here and embarrass him again. So we're happy about that.

Another opportunity for a little extemporaneous speaking for our colleagues at Ducks Unlimited. I think all of you know that DU has just been a long-standing partner of this Department. And they bring resources and funds and scientific expertise to help us manage our waterfowl for wetlands today and tomorrow, a wonderful vision of filling the skies with ducks forever. And have helped a whole lot of wading birds and shore birds and other wetland-affiliated wildlife in the process. And just remarkable partners. We couldn't have better ones.

And they're here today to recognize one of our colleagues who is retiring, Dr. Mike Berger. And so we're going to celebrate his long and successful tenure here with the Department. And we've got Scott Manley, who is their director of conservation programs at DU, to make a special award. And with him is their state director, Todd Merendino, a long-standing waterfowl biologist with this Department and still a great partner.

So, Scott and Todd, you guys want to come forward?

MR. MANLEY: Okay. Thank you.

MR. SMITH: Yes.

MR. MANLEY: Thank you very much. My wife encouraged me to put a few notes together before I left last night. Yes, right. I was barely saved by her on that. So ‑‑ but thank you all very much for this opportunity to recognize Dr. Berger today. I just wanted to make a couple of points of how closely we work together. And you'll all get a kick out of this.

One of the neat things is is that Todd Merendino was working with the Texas Parks and Wildlife for the last 15 years before I convinced him to come over and work in a partnership way with Ducks Unlimited. But yet he's still here today. He's told me he's been in your state office here more now that he's worked for Ducks Unlimited than he did when he was in the field working for you guys. So that goes to show you one example of how close we've worked together.

One thing you might not know is that Dr. Berger actually worked for Ducks Unlimited for 11 years himself before he came to you guys. So ‑‑ from 1982 to 1991 he worked over in the western states as a fund-raiser and then in our policy, sort of the infancy of our conservation policy program, which it was in our main office in Chicago back in those days. So, you know, again, the cross-pollination is just something tremendous. We've worked together here in the state to do over 200,000 acres of habitat work, shared over $26 million in conservation resources to put on the ground together with you guys. And that's in this state. Not to mention the work that we do together in Canada.

And Mike and I agree that one of the most important things is to think ‑‑ when it comes to wetlands conservation and waterfowl conservation to think continent wide. It's just not this state. But it's actually, we take care of the birds from one end of the fly-way to the other.

And in that name or in that regard the plaque reads ‑‑ need a little reflection ‑‑ "Presented to Mike Berger by Ducks Unlimited in sincere appreciation for your outstanding service to all of North America's waterfowl and wetland resources continent wide." So ‑‑

Okay. Thank you very much.

MR. BERGER: Thank you very much. Appreciate it.

MR. SMITH: At this time I want to ask Chairman Holt to share a few words about Mike and his tenure.

And so, Chairman, could I ask you to come forward and say a few words about Mike? So ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT: I was wondering what Mike did all those years in between getting degrees at A&M. It said, Mike Berger, the consummate Aggie, a three-time graduate from A&M. I didn't quite know how to take that. And so I'll take it straightforwardly that he moved from one to the next to the next.

But anyway, began his career at Texas Parks and Wildlife on February 10th, 1997. And as we now have heard, worked for Ducks Unlimited, of course, before then. Served as the director of the Wildlife Division for the past five years. He's directed TPW's activities concerning the full spectrum of wildlife conservation. And obviously, Texas Parks and Wildlife is what we're all about. And under Mike's leadership there's no doubt about the accomplishments that he's been a big part of over the last five years particularly.

Over seven million acres have been added to lands under the approved wildlife management plans. We even survived the Mule Deer Wildlife Plan. Congratulations, Mike. Yes.

Wildlife Action Plan was developed and implemented. Recommendations of the science review, including state of the art surveys. He hosted the Governor's Symposium on North American Hunting Heritage in Houston in 2003. So he's always been focused not only here in the state, but as we talked about, in the nation and the continent.

He supported the development of the Farm Bill emphasis areas for pronghorns, quail and Lesser Prairie Chickens, cooperated with The Nature Conservancy ‑‑ so that's how you got your jobs, Carter ‑‑ oh, no, I see ‑‑ okay ‑‑ to acquire the Fitzgerald Ranch, an important Lesser Prairie Chicken research and conservation area. Of course, I don't know if you were here yesterday. But still, lots and lots of talk about the Lesser Prairie Chicken and how we're going to get that species to not only survive but thrive.

He chaired the International Relations Committee, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies and brought in Nuevo Leon, Chihuahua and other areas as the first ever Mexican member states. So actually, reaching across the border there also.

And then ‑‑ I was just down in Corpus with him over the last couple of weeks ‑‑ as his last hurrah he hosted the highly successful annual meeting of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies in Corpus Christi.

Mike's widely respected as we all know. And the day ‑‑ literally, the day he retired, he moved. He's over, I think, in Spring ‑‑

Is that correct?

MR. BERGER: Right.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: ‑‑ with children and grandchildren and enjoying the fruits of his labor.

So with that, Mike, I'd like to give you a certificate of retirement for 12 years. I have no idea what's in this envelope. So we won't even start there. But we'll take a picture ‑‑

MR. BERGER: Thank you very much, Chairman.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: ‑‑ and like you to say a few words, please. So ‑‑

MR. BERGER: Appreciate it.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: ‑‑ if you can do that? Yes. Let's do that. There you go, sir.

MR. BERGER: Great.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: There you go, sir. And this goes with that.

MR. BERGER: Okay.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Here. I'll carry that over there and hand it to you.

MR. BERGER: All right. Thank you.

Just a few words, Chairman and Commissioners. Been my pleasure over the last 12 years to work for this agency. I came back here to Texas and found home again. And this is my family out here, all these people that work for the agency and for the Wildlife Division in particular. It's my good friends back there that have helped out and helped achieve a lot of things here. And I'm very, very proud of what we have accomplished. Been my pleasure to work with all of you and other commissioners before this.

And all these folks back here who've made life better and made great strides for conservation, I appreciate all you've done. And I'll miss all of you more than you know.

And to Ducks Unlimited, who I spent a good part of my career with, as well and have always been good partners, we appreciate them and all the other conservation organizations that do such wonderful work in partnership with us in this state. So thank you for what you do, thank you for what you all do and I appreciate you. And like I say, I'll really miss you. So thank you. Thank all of you.

MR. SMITH: Mike, I'll just go ahead and break the surprise to you. What's in that manila envelope is not Scott's last performance review for you, but a lifetime hunting and fishing license on behalf of the Department. So get out in the field.

We've got a couple of special retirements that we're going to acknowledge. And the first one is one of our long-standing fisheries biologists. Dave Sager's been with us for 21 years. Started out in the Resource Protection Division. Quickly manifested his expertise in all realms associated with water, water quality, golden algae, kills and spills with respect to oil spills and contaminants. Just has cultivated and earned a really, really strong reputation with all of his peers around the state and just gave us remarkable service over 21 years. And so we're going to miss Dave and ask him to come forward. So Dave Sager.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Congratulations, sir.

MR. SAGER: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Absolutely. Congratulations.

MR. SMITH: The next retiree that we're going to recognize, Mary Ann Seay, had the challenge of having to herd and corral and keep four State Park Division directors in line during her career as the executive assistant for State Parks. And Mary Ann is just a wonderful, cheerful lady and a great member of the team. I miss seeing her smiling face. I think she has retired to Lockhart. And just been a remarkable member of this agency. And Mary Ann was with us for 20 years. And so very, very proud of her service. And so let's recognize Mary Ann Seay today. So ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Congratulations.

MS. SEAY: Thank you, sir.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Well, thank you. Thank you for everything you've done.

MS. SEAY: Could we get Walt up here.

MR. SMITH: Yes. We absolutely can get Walt Dabney up here. Let's ‑‑ he was the most incorrigible of the bunch.

(Simultaneous discussion.)

MS. SEAY: Thank you.

MR. SMITH: We've now got a host of service awards in which we're going to recognize colleagues that have been with us for two decades or more. And we've got a whole sweep of folks. Collectively they represent about 400 years of experience beneath their belts. So there is a lot of institutional wisdom that you're going to hear from today.

And we're going to start with one of our Regional Park directors, Bill Granberry. Like many of us, Bill started as an intern there at Galveston Island State Park. And he saw that park kind of develop from the ground up. He was there the first time the Battleship Texas was dry berthed. So he's got a little expertise there that we may want to tap into here at a later date. And just done a remarkable job for state parks and highly, highly respected. And let's celebrate Bill's 35 years with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Bill Granberry, please come forward.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: If Hurricane Ike would had done any more I might have needed your help again on that ship.

MR. GRANBERRY: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Congratulations.

MR. SMITH: When I started with the agency as an intern back in the early '90s one of the things that Kirby Brown did was occasionally ship me out into the field to go shadow people. And one of the folks that he sent me to go shadow was a Randy Fugate down in South Texas. And I have a lot of memories of my time with Randy. At least one that I will share is Randy and I were put under the charge of David Synatzske at the Chap. And he and I and John Huff were assigned to fence-painting duty that day. And so Randy picked me up and he and John, and so we got the paint and the brushes and went over.

And Randy and John got out of the car and made a big show of the fence that we were going to paint and dropped me off ‑‑ the fence and paint because they needed to go check on something. And three days later they came back. So I could tell a few more stories. But I don't want to disabuse Len Polasek back there. I know he's got that angelic reputation of Randy and mine. And seriously, Randy has just been the consummate professional down in South Texas. He's been with us for 35 years. Started out with the Dove Program down there. Moved his way up. And working with the Regulatory Program. He's got a key to every single ranch gate in South Texas because of the trust that he has cultivated and earned with South Texas ranchers. And he's been involved in innumerable studies from dove and deer and turkey and quail. And he's just a very, very well respected denizen of the brush country. And we're proud to have him on our team. And so Randy Fugate, 35 years.

Randy?

(Simultaneous discussion.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: There you go, sir. Congratulations.

MR. FUGATE: Oh, thank you, sir.

MR. SMITH: Thanks, Randy.

Another cohort, down in South Texas, David Synatzske's been with us for 35 years. And David has had a long and storied career with this Department. What I think he is most known for is his 25 years leading the Chaparral Wildlife Management Area. That is one of our premier R&D and public hunting sites. And David has helped develop that research program that has just really flourished under his vision and leadership and been a site of just some exemplary applied research that has been a benefit to South Texas landowners and hunters ever since he got down there.

It's been a wonderful vision. And I am particularly proud, as I know all of us are, of how he responded after the big wildfire down at the Chaparral last year that ended up burning about 95 percent of the Chap's acreage and research program that David has immediately put in place to help take advantage of this great learning opportunity for us. And so David is a consummate biologist and leader and we're proud to have him on our team. So, David Synatzske, 35 years.

David?

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Congratulations, sir.

MR. SYNATZSKE: Thank you. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: A few changes down there.

MR. SYNATZSKE: Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Looks a little different, doesn't it?

MR. SYNATZSKE: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you.

MR. SMITH: Thanks, David. Appreciate it.

MR. SYNATZSKE: Now I know why it took three days to get the [indiscernible].

MR. SMITH: Our next colleague that we're going to recognize is Tad Gose. And Tad has been with our State Parks team for 30 years, all at Lake Arrowhead there near Wichita Falls, working on our interpretive programs. And so he's a great interpreter and educator. Each year he touches about 20,000 people a year and introduces them to the importance of the mission of this agency. He's been very involved in our Living History programs and our Buffalo Soldiers, participated in the historic Huff Wagon Train Trail. He's received a number of awards, including the Department's Outreach award. And so Tad is just a consummate professional. We're proud to recognize him for his long years of service. So please join me in congratulating him.

Tad?

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you, sir.

MR. GOSE: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you.

MR. SMITH: Now I want to recognize one of our colleagues in Coastal Fisheries, Britt Bumguardner, who has been with the agency for 25 years. Started out as a technician there at the Palacios Research Center doing research on red drum and black drum and spotted sea trout, looking at their life history and ecology and genetics. He's now the station manager there at the Perry Bass Marine Center in Palacios. Been a great leader on the coast. And Mike Ray told me this morning in the parking lot just how proud he has been of Britt since he has taken on that position. And so we're celebrating 25 years of service to this agency. So please join me in congratulating Britt.

Britt, please come forward.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Congratulations.

MR. BUMGUARDNER: Thanks.

MR. SMITH: Congratulations.

Our next colleague that we're going to recognize is another one of our Coastal Fisheries biologists ‑‑ or Inland Fisheries. I'm sorry. You all forgive me. Joedy Gray. And Joedy started out in Palacios. I think at the same time as Britt. And so they started out as technicians down there at Palacios. And Joedy has had a wide variety of assignments with the organization. And he's been a biologist again, doing research on all of our coastal fish species. He has headed up our exotic species program, our public water stockings, non-game fish permits, brood fish collection, angler recognition program. He's also got a heck of a green thumb. I'll tell you, if you ever get him to bring you any of his home grown okra you are in the money. So Joedy Gray. He's been with us for 25 years.

And so, Joedy, if you'll come forward?

And then, Britt, if you'll come back, too. And we want to get both of you guys in a picture.

So, Joedy?

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Great.

MR. GRAY: Not only was it the same month, it was the same day?

VOICE: Was it really?

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Great.

MR. SMITH: Nice job.

Another colleague that's been with us for 25 years in wildlife is Lee Ann Linam. And Lee Ann started out on the coast there at the Murphree area doing research on ducks and alligators and then moved to Austin at an interesting time, in the early '90s, to take on endangered species work for the agency. And if ‑‑ those of you that were involved in endangered species issues in Austin and Texas in the early '90s you will recall that it was not exactly like Easter week in a nunnery to describe the conditions there. And Lee Ann just brought remarkable composure to it.

She wrote a wonderful guidebook for landowners on how to manage endangered species and helped to diffuse the tension there. She's moved on to create a number of our citizen science programs inside the agency to involve citizens in tracking everything from horned lizards and other species that we're concerned about. She's with our Wildlife Diversity Program. So let's recognize Lee Ann for 25 years of service.

Lee Ann?

MS. LINAM: And we both survived the start under Kirby Brown.

MR. SMITH: Yes.

MS. LINAM: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Congratulations.

MS. LINAM: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you. Appreciate it.

MR. SMITH: We're going to recognize another one of our wildlife biologists, Joyce Moore, who is our technical guidance biologist in the Hill Country. And it's quite an accomplishment. And I want to come back to that in just a minute. Joyce grew up on a ranch near the Guadalupe River State Park and started her tenure with the agency actually in the state park system and then moved down to South Texas where she was a biologist there for almost 20 years and worked with Randy and David down there. I remember that very, very well.

And Joyce has the distinction of being the first woman who was promoted to technical guidance biologist. And so she's done that very, very well. She oversees kind of the western edge of the Edwards Plateau. For those of you that were able to make the Lone Star Land Steward Award winners or that event, the Vandiviers there on the Nueces River is one of the landowner partners that Joyce has worked with so well. And so we're celebrating her 25 years with the agency today.

So, Joyce Moore, please come forward.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Congratulations.

MS. MOORE: Thank you, sir.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes, absolutely. Thank you. Thanks.

MS. MOORE: Thank you.

MR. SMITH: I suspect at some time all of you have seen some of the artwork or illustrations of Clemente Guzman. That little picture that he drew of a little boy with a horned lizard is just one of my absolute favorites. Have note cards made out of it. And Clemente's just a masterful artist and very accomplished. I think ‑‑

Lydia, did you tell me when he started? You hired him in high school? Was that ‑‑ it was ‑‑

He's been with us a long time, I will tell you that. But he's just very, very talented. And a wonderful part of our team. And all of you have seen his artwork in the magazine and on other renditions that we have published throughout the years. And so 20 years of service, Clemente Guzman.

Clemente, please come forward.

MR. GUZMAN: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: There you go, sir.

(Simultaneous discussion.)

MR. SMITH: We're going to get to recognize another colleague in our communications division for 20 years of service. And Carol Otto is just a delightful lady, responsible for helping to edit and publish a number of our publications. She's very professional in her job. The "Tracks and Trails" newsletter, which is our internal newsletter which we send out to all of the agency employees is under her auspices. I know we're particularly proud of all the volunteer service that she brings inside the agency. She's involved the Gary Job Corp. And so she has a whole team from the Gary Job Corp that come over every week to help with various and sundry assignments there for our creative services branch. Has, you know, involved them in service hours that accumulate, you know, and have saved the agency well over a quarter million dollars. And so Carol's just a delightful lady. And it's a pleasure to celebrate her 20 years with the Department.

So, Carol Otto, please come forward. Carol?

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you.

VOICE: Congratulations, Carol.

MS. OTTO: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: There you go. Thank you.

MR. SMITH: Our next colleague that we're going to recognize for 20 years of service is Stephen Anderson in our Infrastructure Technology Division. And this place does not run without the support of IT, let me assure you. And George Rios and his team just do a remarkable job with customer service and solving problems and making sure that everybody's equipment works and works well. He has commented on several occasions just what a incredibly hard worker Stephen has been over the term of his career. I know at one time he was very involved in the state parks reservation center and played a great role in that and now very involved in helping to work with Oracle and a lot of our data base administration. And so Stephen is a valued colleague. And so let's recognize him for 20 years of service to this agency.

Stephen Anderson, please come forward.

MR. ANDERSON: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: No. Thank you.

MR. SMITH: Mr. Bivins, I'm tickled to death that the Longhorns didn't have Stephen when they played Tech last weekend. So ‑‑

But we're now going to recognize another one of our colleagues for 20 years of service, Joan Glass. And one of our biologists there in Inland Fisheries. She also started in the Resource Protection Division and has moved into Inland Fisheries, works with the kills and spills team. She's investigated over a thousand contaminant-related issues that she's worked with, everything from aflatoxins and dewatering and waterfowl diseases and nutrient-enrichment issues from dairies there, Nile virus, drought, floods. If there's a plague or pestilence we bring in Joan to get a handle on it. So wonderful biologist, been with us for 20 years.

So, Joan Glass, please come forward.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: He said that in a nice way. Thank you.

MR. SMITH: The first time I heard of William Heath, a game warden there in Coleman County, was when I heard that he had discovered six of my college roommates hunting doves up in Coleman County. And apparently, they thought they were going to be very, very smart and they carried these little walkie-talkies to communicate with one another. And William said when he pulled up on the field the first one that he approached, right as he was approaching him, the radio went off and one of the guys is going, Is that the game warden, Is that the game warden. So William grabs the walkie-talkie and said, Yes, this is the game warden. So William has ‑‑

He should have wrote every one of them a ticket, I'll tell you, William. That's ‑‑

William has been with us 20 years and started out in East Texas back when they were running dogs and so knows a lot about those issues there in the Pineywoods. Went from there to Rock Springs for a couple of years and then over to Denton County and Pilot Point for about six and then has been in Coleman County ever since with his family. And so real proud of William. And so let's celebrate his 20 years.

So please come forward.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: He didn't say he was there, did he? Thanks, William.

MR. SMITH: We're going to recognize another one of our wildlife biologists for 20 years, Judit Green. And so Judit also started out her tenure there in East Texas in Tyler and working with that program. She was doing a lot of interpretation and outreach, long ago recognized the importance of that as a tool for us in the wildlife management community. And she is particularly recognized for honing her speaking skills and mastering all of the toastmaster stuff. She's now an urban wildlife biologist there in San Antonio and has been there for about 15 years. And obviously, that's a very, very important community to this agency. And so we're celebrating Judit's 20 years with this agency.

So, Judit, please come forward.

MS. GREEN: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes. Sure. Absolutely. Thank you.

MR. SMITH: Okay. We've got 12 to go. Last but not least is someone who you all know well, Dr. Matt Wagner. And Matt has spoken before this commission many, many times on issues associated with non-game and wildlife diversity and habitat management and rare and imperiled species. Does a great job leading our Wildlife Diversity Program. Started out in the state parks division as one of our natural resource specialists working with David Riskind. Very, very proud of that service. Went to the non-game program for a number of years and then went to College Station where not only did he serve as a technical guidance biologist working with landowners in that area, but he got a Ph.D. in his spare time. So not bad. And has moved to Austin and heads up our wildlife diversity team and very, very pleased to recognize Matt for his 20 years of service to this agency.

So, Dr. Matt Wagner, please come forward. Matt?

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Congratulations. They made you move back to Austin. Congratulations. Thank you.

DR. WAGNER: Thank you very much.

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

COMMISSIONER HOLT: There were quite a few.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Yes, there were.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Other than that, it's short.

As people already know, at this time we'd like to inform the audience that everybody is welcome to stay, may. But whoever wants to or wishes to leave, this is a good time to leave. We'll empty the place out. Yes.

(Simultaneous discussion.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: The first order of business is Item Number 1, an action approval of the ‑‑ sorry, my brain is not working today. Sorry, my brain's not working today. The first order of business, as always, is Item Number 1, Action — Approval of the agenda itself. Do I have a motion?

COMMISSIONER BROWN: So move.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Commissioner Brown and second commissioner approval. All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay.

Then we'll move on to Item Number 2, which is an action proposed stamp and print artwork program for migratory bird and game, Upland, et cetera. Ms. Frances Stiles is going to make a presentation.

Frances?

MS. STILES: Looks like we're short on presentation right now. My name is Frances Stiles. I'm with the Administrative Resources Division. Under the terms of the contract for the print program and the collector's stamps the Commission reviews each year the artwork that's submitted. During the committee meetings yesterday the original artwork was displayed and today we hopefully have the images electronically. There we go. All right. So without a lot of discussion I'm just going to go through the artwork. For the migratory game bird artwork we have the blue-winged teal, which is by Scott Storm. For the upland game bird we did have a piece of artwork which was a prairie chicken. And due to the possible ban on hunting we're going to remove that and another piece of artwork will be resubmitted at a later date. The non-game artwork is the Harris hawk by Tom Quinn. The saltwater artwork is the cobia by Don Ray. And the freshwater fish artwork is white bass by John Dearman. These are the images that are submitted and recommended for your approval. Do you have any questions?

COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Where are the originals of this artwork?

MS. STILES: Mr. Wood had those and he did take those home. These are the ‑‑ took them back to Dallas with him.

COMMISSIONER BIVINS: And so they are at his gallery?

MS. STILES: Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Okay. Thank you.

MS. STILES: And I believe dealing with the upland game bird there probably needs to be a motion to delegate the authority to Mr. Smith to approve the resubmitted upland.

COMMISSIONER BIVINS: So moved.

COMMISSIONER PARKER: Second.

(Pause.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Oh, all in favor? Sorry. See, because I was looking at the fish. Sorry, Frances.

MS. STILES: All right.

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: But that makes it ‑‑ it's more fun to do that than all this other stuff.

MS. STILES: That's true. Okay.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Say aye, too.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes, it did, didn't it?

MS. STILES: All right. Are there any other questions or ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Any other questions for Frances? Sorry.

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Thank you. And thank you for what you do every year. It's always wonderful. The art work ‑‑

MS. STILES: All right.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: ‑‑ is beautiful.

MS. STILES: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes. Thank you very much.

We will move on to Item Number 3, Action — approval of projects funded from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Conservation and Capital Account. Ms. Mary Fields will make her presentation.

MS. FIELDS: Well, good morning, Commissioners. For the record, I'm Mary Fields, Chief Financial Officer. And I'm here to present the proposed projects to be funded from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Conservation and Capital Account 5004 for your adoption. I'd like to start off with a little background on the Texas Parks and Wildlife Conservation and Capital Account. It consists primarily of allocations of sporting goods sales tax and our conservation license plate revenues.

Section 11.043 of the Parks and Wildlife code governs the sources of revenue and uses of the fund and provides that money in the account may only be used for projects that have been individually approved by the Commission. Statute directs that preference should be given to projects that directly provide hunting, fishing or outdoor recreation opportunity to the public.

The fiscal year 2009 commission-approved budget, which was adopted by the Commission in August reflected a total of $4.19 million in funding related to the Conservation and Capital Account as outlined on this slide. While this overall amount of funding from the account was approved at the August Commission meeting information on the individual projects to be funded from these sources was not provided to the Commission. And that's why we're bringing the project listing to you today for your approval.

Overall, the projects listed in Attachment A totaled to $4.8 million. This includes the $4.1 million that was originally budgeted as you just saw on the previous slide, as well as an additional $621,000 that divisions have requested be brought in and budgeted in fiscal year 2009. And that's basically balances and interest on the account. In addition to the projects funded from the specialty plates that are listed in Attachment A, there are also a few projects that make use of the bluebonnet plate, account balances and sporting goods sales tax portions that are deposited into the account.

The General Appropriations Act or the GAA included specific direction on the use of those funds for the purchase of state park capital equipment items, infrastructures, support costs and state park minor repairs. And actually, the state park minor repair part was a part of House Bill 12 and is included in Article 9 of the General Appropriations Act. So if additional revenues are earned in fiscal year 2009 we are requesting ability to apply those additional revenues to the projects as listed in the attachment. And that concludes my presentation. Are there any comments or questions relating to the proposal?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: No. This is fairly straightforward now. We've always done it in the past. Is that correct?

MS. FIELDS: That's correct. This is just a new listing for this fiscal year. So if there are no questions staff recommends the Commission adopt the following motion. The Commission approves the expenditure of fiscal year 2009 Texas Parks and Wildlife Conservation and Capital Account funds, including any additional amounts realized in fiscal year 2009 for the individual projects that are shown in Exhibit A. That's it.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Any questions?

Yes, sir, Mr. Duggins.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: How much money is allocated for the prize money on Texas birding? Am I reading the right exhibit or the wrong exhibit?

MS. FIELDS: Exhibit A has a listing of numerous projects. Let me see. (Perusing document.)

MR. SMITH: I think it's $20,000, isn't it, Mary, for the coastal birding trail.

MS. FIELDS: I have the amounts.

MR. SMITH: Right?

MS. FIELDS: I'd have to find it on the list.

Can you tell me what project it was again? I'm sorry.

MR. DUGGINS: It says ‑‑ if I'm reading the right exhibit it says Texas birding classic.

MS. FIELDS: It's $10,000.

MR. SMITH: 10,000.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Mary, can you help me through account 5004, the ‑‑ so if you go back a couple, the fund type in 2009 budget. You may have mentioned this. But account balances? Where's ‑‑ I'm just trying to get handle on how this is funded, this particular account.

MS. FIELDS: They're actually ‑‑ the conservation license plates did have some balances that were remaining from the prior session. And those were appropriated to us. There are also balances from the sporting goods sales tax. There's a million that's deposited into this account each year. And there were amounts that had accumulated in that account. So those are the two primary sources.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Just so I can understand it then, approving this budget then we're approving how we're going to spend those dollars relative to the various amendments that showed.

MS. FIELDS: Yes.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Am I saying that correctly?

MS. FIELDS: What you're actually approving today are the projects that are on that list.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay.

MS. FIELDS: The budget was actually approved previously in the August meeting.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay.

MS. FIELDS: And we adding some budget to it, which we typically get Commission approval for. But today's action is really to approve those specific projects because the code requires Commission approval.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Which means then at that point those dollars can be taken and spent?

MS. FIELDS: Yes, sir. They will be spent on the projects as outlined.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: As outlined. Okay. Need to spend the money. Okay.

Any other questions or comments from anybody?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Do I have a motion?

COMMISSIONER BROWN: So move.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Brown.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Second.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Mr. Brown, second Friedkin. All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Great, Mary. Thank you.

MS. FIELDS: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Item Number 4 is an Action — rule review — recommended adoption of proposed changes. Ms. Ann Bright.

Please make your ‑‑

MS. BRIGHT: Good morning, Commissioners. For the record, I'm Ann Bright, General Counsel. In May 2008 the Commission authorized staff to begin review of several chapters of the Texas Administrative Code. This is part of the rule review process that we're statutorily required to do once every four years. Those chapters were chapters 51, 52, 55 and 61. In August the Commission authorized staff to publish in the Texas Register proposed changes that we identified as a result of this review. On October 3rd the changes were published in the Texas Register. And I'd like to briefly go over what those changes are.

In Chapter 51 we'd like to change the provisions regarding provisions for rulemaking. First, we would like to add a provision that staff is allowed to basically administratively deny a petition for rulemaking that's duplicative of a previously denied petition for rulemaking that we've received within the previous six months. It's not unusual for us to receive, if there's an issue that's particularly sensitive or popular, for us to receive several petitions for rulemaking on it to amend the petition for rulemaking process, to address the situation in which staff believes a petition for rulemaking should be granted.

There is some reference to petitions regarding the statewide and the current rules. But it really doesn't clearly address the situation in which staff receives a petition for rulemaking and thinks it's a good idea. And then also, eliminate the requirement that staff verify that Commissioners received a petition for rulemaking. That has not been a problem in the past. And given current communication methods, that's ‑‑ we usually know if somebody's received something. We'd also like to revise the employee fund-raising rules to reflect the changes made by the Commission in the Investment Policy back in August and to revise the hunter education rules to clarify the passing grade requirements.

Chapter 52 ‑‑ this is just to change the title of that chapter to Stocking Policy, which is a little bit more accurate. We have no changes to law enforcement. Chapter 61 ‑‑ we're requesting that we revise the Regional Park Program priority ranking system to be consistent with changes to the grant process that were approved in previous meetings and also, to change the definition of low income throughout that rule. On the gifts to TPWD we received 20 comments. Only one was against. And that person expressed a concern about the influence of individuals making gifts to the Department. Petitions for rulemaking ‑‑ received no comments in opposition. Hunter education ‑‑ we received three against in part or in whole. And those all had to do with the difference between online courses and in-person courses, the fact that there's a different passing grade for those. And Steve Hall discussed that a little bit yesterday. And four comments regarding design and construction. And the one comment that was kind of against really wasn't germane. They mainly talked about legislative earmarks for projects.

Staff recommends that the Commission adopt the following motion. Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts amendments to Sections 51.3, 51.70, 51.80, 52.101 and 61.133 through 61.139 as published in the October 3rd issue of the Texas Register with changes as necessary to the proposed text and that the Commission also adopts the completed review of Chapters 51, 52, 55 and 61 of the Parks and Wildlife Department rules. I'd be happy to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Do we have any questions? We only have one attorney on this group.

Do you have any questions?

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: No, sir.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay.

VOICE: That's good.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Good. Actually, we have two attorneys.

COMMISSIONER BROWN: No, I don't claim to be ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT: You don't claim to be anymore.

No questions. Do I have a motion ‑‑ excuse me?

COMMISSIONER PARKER: Move.

Commissioner Parker?

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Second.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Dan Friedkin. All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Great.

Ann, you're wonderful. Thank you.

Item Number 5, approval of FY 2009 Internal Audit Plan.

Carlos Contreras, please come up and make your presentation.

MR. CONTRERAS: Good morning, Chairman, Commission members and Mr. Smith. I'm up here today to seek approval of the FY 2009 Internal Audit Work Plan. Texas Government Code Chapter 21.02 requires agency-wide risk assessment and attendant audit plan, including the project types and number of hours to be created and approved by the governing board. We worked in a number of different methods to gather the information. We reviewed documentation, previous audit reports, including audit reports from the State Auditor's Office.

We sought input from senior management and select staff members via interviews and surveys that we sent out. We conducted our agency-wide risk assessment. And we went ahead and scored the projects according to established risk factors. We finally categorized the projects as being program, operational, IT or financial. And this is apart from the regular park audits that we are mandated to do through Rider 31 ‑‑ Rider 29. I also had some discussions with LBB analysts and the SAO agency contact manager on the use of the field auditors and whether it would be in the best interest of Parks and Wildlife to utilize some of those resources for performing other types of audits. Our audit work plan consists of the FY 2009 park audits, lease concession audits that are related to park revenue. And we have one program or operational larger project, two IT-related projects and two financial-related projects. And the detail for all the plan is included in the attachment that was provided to you. Are there any questions that you have for me?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: You're making it too easy on us, Carlos. Very well.

MR. CONTRERAS: The staff recommends that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt the following motion. That the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission approve the FY 2009 Office of Internal Audit Work Plan.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes, sir.

MR. DUGGINS: I just want to confirm that you're confident you have the resources ‑‑ the way this reads, the resources dedicated to internal audit program to determine if you have adequate resources to ensure that the risks you identify in your annual risk assessment are adequately covered within a reasonable time frame.

MR. CONTRERAS: Yes, sir. We do. We went ahead ‑‑ and due to this being a legislative session year, what we did is I've allocated a number of hours for special projects, requests from management, requests from the Commission and others ‑‑ some other hours also to work in conjunction with various programs within the agency in case they need our assistance during this time.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Carlos, you're fairly new. How's the integration of the addition of the multiple auditors that we had to add? It was 14 or 16.

Walt, I can't ‑‑

VOICE: Sixteen.

MR. CONTRERAS: Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: How has that gone from your point of view? And I know you're fairly new. But kind of through a new set of eyes. Has the integration worked pretty well?

MR. CONTRERAS: Yes, sir. That's worked very well. We haven't any of the 14 ‑‑ there's 14 of the 16 that are assigned out in the regions themselves.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay.

MR. CONTRERAS: You know, we haven't lost any of them yet. They're all performing admirably at different levels somewhat. But we've identified some really good performers and we've been able to utilize their talents in other aspects besides just auditing. We bring them in for review. We bring them in for special projects.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Good. Walt gives them a compass and they don't get lost out there. Right?

MR. CONTRERAS: No, sir.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: You're a good man, Walt.

MR. DABNEY: Put a radio collar on them.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes. Get a radio collar on them. Right. Right. Right.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Any other questions for Carlos?

Yes, sir, Commissioner Parker.

COMMISSIONER PARKER: Carlos, is there any part of this audit or audit process that you think is hindrance to our man hours of ‑‑ that will deter our service to our park customers, the people?

MR. CONTRERAS: No, sir. We strive to minimize the disruption within the park operations. Whenever we go do our audits we try to coordinate up front. Additionally, we've received some really great cooperation from both the state parks and from administrative resources, the park revenue accounting branch. And they both have worked with us very well, you know, to accomplish these audits. Like I mentioned yesterday, already for this year we've already ‑‑ by the end of this month we should have taken a look at nearly 50 percent of the 2008 revenues that the parks generated. So that coordination has allowed us to move ahead.

And some of the other projects that you see that are ‑‑ fall outside of the park audits are the ones that we're going to attempt toward the middle and toward the end of the fiscal year.

COMMISSIONER PARKER: Okay. Very good. Just as long as you, you know, were taking care of our customers and not burying our heads down in this and somebody standing out there waiting to ‑‑ with money in their hand wanting to get in the park.

MR. CONTRERAS: Oh, I understand the situation, sir. And like I said, you know, there's going to be times when we're going to have to disrupt operations to a certain extent. But we try to minimize that and try to work around, you know, established park hours and, you know, some of the duties that the parks people have at the individual parks.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Any other questions for Carlos?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER BROWN: So move.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Do I have a second?

COMMISSIONER HIXON: Second.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you, Ms. Hixon.

All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)

(Pause.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: All right. Carlos, thank you very much.

MR. CONTRERAS: Thank you, sir.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: I appreciate your cooperation coming forward. Because I know you got thrown kind of in the middle of everything from a state audit to a Sunset and everything else going on all at the same time. You've done a good job. And so I appreciate it.

MR. CONTRERAS: Thank you very much. And you're only as good as your staff. So I have to give them a lot of credit.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: [indiscernible]

MR. CONTRERAS: Yes, sir. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Item Number 6, Briefing — Texas Parks and Wildlife Expo Review. I wonder who's going to give us this one?

Mr. Ernie Gammage. And it didn't rain.

MR. GAMMAGE: It did not rain. Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, Mr. Smith, my name is Ernie Gammage. I'm the chief of the Urban Outdoor Programs branch and the Director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Expo here to report to you and review the 2008 event that happened a month and two days ago right here at Parks and Wildlife headquarters.

We kicked things off on Friday night with the Expo Conservation banquet, which was held for, I believe, the third year just down the road near Bastrop at the Hyatt Regency ‑‑ yes, the Hyatt Regency. And the event honored Dr. James Teer, John P. Cowan, noted wildlife artist and our corporate partner, Anheuser Busch. I'm told by the foundation that puts on this event that it was one of their most successful fundraisers to date as the Expo Conservation banquet. Saturday morning the skies were clear, it was in the high mid to mid-80s and folks were lined up to attend the wildlife expo. And they came jamming in on that morning and on Sunday morning.

Who were our visitors? We have a preliminary report from the University of North Texas team that actually did our visitor exit surveys. And I'd like to share some of that information with you. Pretty well split between Saturday and Sunday. Saturday is typically our largest day. That total, 37,234 is within a thousand people of our ten-year average attendance, our five-year average attendance and our three-year average attendance. So somewhere about 38,000 is the number of folks that we have come to Expo.

I want to point out a couple of things about that slide. The hay field slide. That, of course, is the big hay field out there where we park all our folks. You've no doubt seen the construction that has blossomed in this area. And at some point in the future we will no doubt lose the use of that hay field. And, in fact, for a number of years have been thinking about a contingency for that. And that is now upped on our radar. Shuttle buses? That's the off-site shuttle that brings folks from north Austin.

And the outreach activity are the folks that come in typically on a Saturday to bring youth groups and schools from outlying areas in the state. As we anticipated, the $3 dollar and 50/60-cent gas had an impact on those groups. And we were down about 50 percent. Last year we had 14 groups and over 600 youth and chaperons that came. But I do want to point out to you where they came from. They came from far away. And they would typically come up for the day. Some of them would go home that night. Or some of them would find a place to camp or stay nearby. So we're very, very thankful that folks think enough of the Expo to bring these kids to us.

Youth and adults? We swing about 50/50 year to year. You can see it compared to the makeup of adults and youth in the City of Austin and in Texas. We are much more youth oriented. Last year was the first year that we actually blipped over 51 percent as a percentage of youth that attended. And we are back to 47 this year, which mirrors 2006. Who comes to Expo? Do we look like Texas? These are the figures from this year. Seventy-seven percent Anglo, 15 percent Hispanic, 5 percent black, 3 percent other. If you look down below at the very bottom, as you can see, we have a way to go. Thirty-two percent Hispanic, for example, is the state average.

How did we compare to last year? Well, not favorably. The blue bars are last year's numbers. We dropped in the number of Hispanics significantly, a little bit in African-Americans and actually had an increase in other, which was primarily a number of Asians attending. I think this was a surprise to a lot of us. We have not yet got the detailed data. But as soon as we get those we're going to drill down and try to see what happened. Because we used the same great strategy that was so successful last year in bringing that number up to 23 percent. So that's clearly an area of concern and something that we will address this coming year.

As far as gender, we are typically a 40/60 split between male and female. And that has not varied significantly in the past oh, ten years. What about first timers versus returning? Again, we're about a 45/55. As you can see, we've had a few percentage point swings. But typically, we have more people that come back to Expo than first timers. But the fact that we've got such a strong first time showing really, I think, fills the bill for us in terms of reaching those new customers. As you can see, we were back down again to the 2006 figures.

What about rural or urban? How do our visitors define themselves? Significantly more urban residents this time than in the past two years. Was that a result of gas prices and people not willing to travel as far? Could be. But again, we'll drill down in that data and find out specifically where they came from. But you can see there's not that big a swing year to year.

These are our visitors looking at our sponsors at Expo. And we're going to point out some of the contributions of sponsors today because without our sponsors we could not produce the Wildlife Expo. And we're really happy that so many of them are in lock step with our mission at the Wildlife Expo. For example, this is an aerial shot of the Toyota area at Expo. It's just south of the Little Critters Corner on the road there. To the left that blue ‑‑ I mean the yellow and white tent is the mountain-biking tent. And you can see the Toyota truck logo there.

The white tent at the bottom is the kid fishing activity. So that really doubles our efforts and puts fishing activities in another place on the grounds for us. Just above that is an opportunity for kids to try their hand at casting. And frequently throughout the day there are pros there to give advice and to give tips to kids that are learning how to fish. So once again, this ties right in to our mission and we appreciate Toyota's working with us to provide these opportunities.

Shooting sports. Always a big deal at Expo. Whether it's for adults or for youngsters taking their first crack at a sporting clay. We asked a new question this year that I thought I'd share with you because I think it's pretty remarkable. Thirty percent of the people that we asked as they exited Expo said that they had participated in shooting sports. I think that's a pretty high number. And now that we are asking this question we're going to track this year to year. But more significantly, of those people, almost half of them said it was their first time to shoot.

So we are getting people engaged in shooting sports at Expo, if there's ever been any doubt about that. If you add those all up and do the math it comes out to about 12 percent of all adult participants participated in shooting sports for the first time. And I should say, by the way, that this survey is only of adults. We don't survey children.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: At Expo itself.

MR. GAMMAGE: At Expo. Correct. The wildlife folks always do a great job for us. This was the formerly branded wildlife touch, see and feel, which is now called wildlife CSI critter scene investigation. And you can see kids and their families, many of them for the first time getting to stroke a fur, to pick up a skull or look at a bird's nest or look at a snake skin. This is really sort of an introductory wildlife experience at the Wildlife Expo.

And this is in Little Critters Corner. Over in the fishing and aquatic area, of course, the coastal fisheries folks do a great job for us. Here they are at a touch tank getting a look up close and personal at some sea critters that our folks bring up from the Gulf Coast. The inland folks, not to be outdone, of course, have the bass tub there. I don't know who's looking at who. But an addendum this year that we will continue to refine was an area called fishing fundamentals, which was a response to, Hey, Dad, I just caught my first catfish, Mom, I just caught my first trout, let's go fishing. And mom or dad or their ‑‑ whoever it is says, Well, I'm not really sure about how to do that. This was a tent where they could go and get information on gear, where, how to and so forth and so on.

And we think that that's a bright future for that area because our job is not only to introduce these outdoor activities to our visitors but also to help them actually go out and participate. I thought this was a great shot of the kayak area, the wet zone. You can see this is always really, really popular. In fact, there's still water out there in that pond if you're interested in kayaking when you leave.

I tell you, the Region 4 game wardens, I was really proud of those guys, Pete. They built this shrimp boat and brought it up to Expo to put in the law enforcement area, stocked it with game warden shrimpers, deputized kids and then took them on the shrimp boat to find violations. This is called the whodunit. And I was absolutely flabbergasted when I saw this thing. But that's the Little Jane, Region 4 game wardens' great job there for us.

You know, an important part of Expo is giving people an opportunity to really explore the full range of things that it takes to get them into the outdoors. Like it or not, recreating the outdoors for the most part requires gear. And we provide our visitors in the exhibiter tents the outdoor marketplace, an opportunity to look at a wide range of things that they might need to go into the outdoors and also destinations in the outdoors. Trey Hamlett, our new Expo coordinator did a great job of filling the exhibiter booths this year.

We had a new hotshot shooting demo. This was a young man named Patrick Flanigan who brought some new sizzle to the shooting demonstrations once a day out in back of us at the shooting sports arena. And also, we had two professional anglers that happened to be Texans, Diane and Hector de la Garza, who spent both days talking to young visitors about their lives as professional anglers, giving angling tips, talking to the crowd and actually demonstrating some tips up on the bass tub. So we were really happy to have them. And they were very well received here at the Wildlife Expo.

The most exciting thing that happened this year, though was the be-a-diver tent, which was an activity, a great above-ground pool presented by the Diving Equipment Manufacturers Association. And they put over 600 kids in diving gear and wet suits, gave them the fundamentals and put them in the water. They said this was the most people that they have ever had in a two-day weekend. We've already met with them and they'll be back to present this again next year. It was really fun and we got a lot of great media play out of it.

Another great sponsor partnership was with our partners Anheuser Busch and locally, the Keep Austin Beautiful Folks and we recycle. This is the third very successful year that we've had. We took over 2,000 pounds of cardboard and plastic out of the landfill at Expo and were happy to do that. Got a great volunteer crew here from the University of Texas, I believe, that helped us out and other schools in the area. One of the things that also complemented that was the aim to recycle activity, mad scientists, I should say mad PVC plastic pipe scientist Paul Hammerschmidt created this gun which allowed kids to lob a plastic ‑‑ empty plastic bottle into a recycling bin. And the cool thing about this was that first you had to take a shooting safety orientation just as if you were going to shoot a shotgun or whatnot. So it put a new spin on it. We had kids out there all day. And it was very, very popular. And we will be taking this to some of our other outreach events where recycling takes place.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has been a good sponsor of Expo over the last several years but really haven't had a presence here. And their challenge this year was, What could we do that really demonstrates what we do? And they came up with this idea all on their own. It took place in the Little Critters Corner. Right to the left of this photograph was a brush truck, a big fire tanker. And they dressed up these little kids. And I'll tell you they're some of the cutest pictures I've ever seen in my life of these little fire fighters out there standing in line all duded up ready to walk the fire line and put out a fire. Parents, while they were watching their kids, got to see information about fire suppression and wildlife habitat and range management. So it was a great, great deal and a lot of fun. We didn't know if there was going to be a Everglades-type swamp there or not. But it turned out that there was not.

Another one of our partners, Academy, really came to the party this year in the state parks area and specifically in the area that they sponsor, the camping and outdoor skills area. Brought Coleman, a whole lot of tents, a lot of equipment. Great demonstrations and really stepped up to the plate in giving our visitors an opportunity to look at the kinds of gear that you need in order to recreate in the outdoors. And obviously, Coleman was a big part of that presentation this year. And we hope that they'll be back next year.

Expo is about a couple of things. First of all, it's a celebration, as these kids are doing. It's a celebration of the outdoors. It's a celebration of the tremendous team work that all of the employees at Texas Parks and Wildlife exhibit as they come together to put the Wildlife Expo on. It's a celebration of those people who are our supporters, who are our constituents, the folks that actually ‑‑ that we work with day to day in the field to ensure conservation of our natural resources.

But it's about something else that maybe in the long term is even more important. And that's this. Whether this little boy becomes a wildlife biologist or a game warden or a park ranger or maybe just somebody in the public who understands his relationship to the outdoors and why our mission is so important, we'd like to think that that understanding, that learning, that passion and that interest all started at the Wildlife Expo. I'd be happy to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Any questions?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Ernie, you do a great job. How many years have you been in this?

MR. GAMMAGE: This will be my either 11th or 12th Expo. And we have been doing it for 17 years.

COMMISSIONER PARKER: Question?

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes, Mr. Parker. Excuse me.

COMMISSIONER PARKER: We have been ‑‑ every time Ernie gives this beautiful presentation we have always talked about putting the Expo on the road and taking it to other cities like Dallas/Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, El Paso, Amarillo, down in the Lower Valley. When can we really get down to thinking about moving this wonderful show to other locations so that we expose these wonderful events to another piece of our population in Texas?

COMMISSIONER HOLT: I'll answer this. And I'm not saying any ‑‑ that in a negative way, John. We've all ‑‑ would like to be able to, and Ernie as much as anybody, the work that's done by the individuals here at the headquarters and brought in from the field ‑‑ I'm talking about Texas Parks and Wildlife people alone. The cost just to get it done here is so much. And we've looked into trying to move it to a Houston or Dallas or whatever. It just would not be cost effective. There's no way the Texas Parks and Wildlife agency can afford to do it. I mean, it just comes down to money.

COMMISSIONER PARKER: Can we maybe investigate the possibility of several partners?

COMMISSIONER HOLT: We'll, you're talking about ‑‑ yes. You try to do it, to get the private sector in there to do a sponsorship type of thing. And, you know, it's a one-day event. I'm not saying you couldn't do it. And ‑‑

COMMISSIONER PARKER: Two-day event.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Well, excuse me. Yes. You're right. It's a weekend event.

Ernie, why don't you speak to that? Go ahead and speak to that. Because we've looked into all of ‑‑

MR. GAMMAGE: We ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT: ‑‑ this.

MR. GAMMAGE: We have looked into that.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: So ‑‑

MR. GAMMAGE: And I'll tell you, our fall back position has been this. There are any number of businesses and organizations around the state that come to Expo and, Mr. Parker, say, Gosh, we'd like ‑‑ in fact, I got an email yesterday. We would like for you to bring your show up ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes.

MR. GAMMAGE: ‑‑ to Arlington.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes.

MR. GAMMAGE: And our response has been, We will support your efforts to put on an event similar to this and we will come and participate to the extent that we can, but we simply can't afford to staff it, to provide the infrastructure, to buy the media that it would cost extravagantly in those big-city markets and so forth and so on. And over the years they come and they go but we actually see a lot of events similar, but of course, not as large as the Wildlife Expo. We've looked at what it would cost to ‑‑ and it's been several years and if you like, I'll be happy to do that again ‑‑ to actually move and produce this in San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, anywhere else. And it would be astronomical. We've got 800 people captive in this building that work on Expo all year long. And the thought of moving that machine to another city and the infrastructure that it would ‑‑ that we'd have to put in place would be daunting, to say the least.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes, I mean, that's the issue, is the manpower. And I'm not saying it couldn't be done. You know, Ernie's a one-man show. And, you know, of course, in these financial times trying to find a private sponsor would be, I assume, almost impossible. And then at that point if you do and they're paying for it, then it's their event, which it should be. I mean, if they're the ones paying for it. You know, not to pick on Toyota or anybody else. But remember, we're supplying, as Ernie said, by being able to do it here in Austin and using TPW people, 800 people for those two days.

So you can imagine what that would cost you in the private sector. I mean, it would just ‑‑ Ernie's looked into this for years. We've just never been able to make it work financially. We've never been able to find a sponsor to be able to carry it or want to carry it at that level. And a few times we've even gotten close to talking. When we talk to people it then becomes theirs; it's not ours.

COMMISSIONER PARKER: Yes.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: You know, legitimately. So ‑‑ because they're paying the bills. So ‑‑

Ralph?

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: What ‑‑ have we ever assessed what the financial effect of this is? I mean, what the costs are to the agency to put it on and what revenue is received. I'm just curious what that is in a ‑‑ sort of an offshoot of this discussion.

MR. GAMMAGE: It's about a million-dollar event, million-three altogether. In 2003 the state auditors took us to task for essentially wasting our FTEs, wasting our money to put the Wildlife Expo on. The following year, 2000 ‑‑ think either four or five ‑‑ we did an exhaustive survey that looked at the cost benefit. Did the event actually generate license sales, did it generate campers and camping use fees, so forth and so on? And it came out to the positive. We raise annually about $500,000 in cash and in kind to put this Expo on.

I did ‑‑ Lydia just reminded me of something that is on the horizon as an example of the partnerships, Mr. Parker, I was talking about. And that's with the San Antonio Rodeo. In February we will actually be taking for family day, the last day of the rodeo, we'll actually be taking a mini-Expo on site on that Sunday from, I think, 10:00 in the morning till 6:00 at night. So that's the kind of event. They're providing all the marketing. They're providing the venue. They're providing all the infrastructure. We just roll in the things that we need to roll in. And it will be a scramble for us, frankly, to find staff and volunteers. But that's something that we've committed to bite off. So that's a great example of the kind of partnership where we can actually take an event like this on the road at much, much less cost than it would cost.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Well, it makes sense. If it works in San Antonio, then maybe the next year you rotate and you go over and do Houston and ‑‑ because I know you can't do them all. And then maybe the year after that you could do a Fort Worth. Maybe there's ‑‑ yes, why don't we see if we can get a little more creative, at least try to create a piece of ‑‑

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Like a bass classic.

MR. GAMMAGE: The bass classic, also ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes.

MR. GAMMAGE: We have a presence ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Exactly.

MR. GAMMAGE: ‑‑ there.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Exactly.

COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Ernie, what are the numbers from the banquet this year, the ‑‑

MR. GAMMAGE: I'm not privy to those. That is a foundation event. And I really ‑‑

COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Okay.

MR. GAMMAGE: I have no knowledge of that.

COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: The only thing ‑‑

Carter, do you want to speak to that?

MR. SMITH: Yes.

COMMISSIONER BIVINS: I think that what I heard, they had grossed a little over $100,000 in revenue on that. And so I think they were very, very pleased. Certainly a record year for them.

COMMISSIONER PARKER: Gross or net?

MR. GAMMAGE: They're net. I'm sorry. They ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes.

MR. GAMMAGE: ‑‑ netted ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes.

MR. GAMMAGE: ‑‑ $100,000.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes.

MR. GAMMAGE: Yes.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: So it was a record evening.

COMMISSIONER MARTIN: I'd like to just thank you for you and the 800 other people that put it on. It's ‑‑ first of all, I would challenge anyone that thinks they have more fun than I do at Expo. It's just great fun. And the ‑‑ how big it is and the team work is phenomenal. It's humbling to see everybody coming together and really making it a spectacular event for so many people.

And this year, I was sharing with Carter, I think was extra special because it was soon after Hurricane Ike. And so many of our own family here had suffered terrible losses. And it was moving to hear everybody's stories and the different stories of what people had endured during Hurricane Ike and how everyone in this organization, which I commend, and is again very humbling, that everyone comes together like a family. Who knows? You may squabble in the background but you come together, you hold hands and you help each other out.

And like I said, it was phenomenal to hear the stories of each other helping one another out during this terrible time. And again, it gave them ‑‑ made something a little bit happier to participate and seeing all the happy children and all the gleeful screams. And it kind of puts a little bit of a light-heartedness on it. So I wanted to commend you for that. And absolutely everyone in this agency, that everyone does come together when times are tough and everyone holds hands and helps each other out truly like a family.

And again, I want to tell ‑‑ you know, this is a little bit off centered, but Colonel Flores ‑‑ with everything that's going on with law enforcement right now, I see all the wardens and I see law enforcement, everybody's coming together and rallying around the situation that you all are faced with right now, or I should say we are faced with. We're all a family.

So again, just wanted to commend you and commend this agency and organization of holding hands and having incredible spirit. Again, it's to be applauded, it's commended. It's truly ‑‑ I've worked with many agencies and have never seen it at this level. So I just wanted to put in my own personal opinion on this and thank you from again, the bottom of my heart for everybody's incredible spirit and family atmosphere.

So thank you. Appreciate it, Mr. Gammage.

MR. GAMMAGE: Well, if I can just say, I mentioned the 800 folks that are here at headquarters. All of the divisions bring in field staff. And without them there is no way that this event could be as effective as it is. I don't have a final count on the number of actual staff. But we do know that everybody in this building worked Expo. But law enforcement, the fisheries, wildlife, everybody that's got folks, communications in the field, they are here at Expo participating. And it is a family event. And I think it's us at our finest.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: No doubt about it. I think that's why this ‑‑ Commissioner Parker's talking about, we'd all love to be able to take it to the various cities. I mean, it's just ‑‑ you know, because you talk about an outreach. There's nothing better. It really is wonderful. So maybe through ‑‑ hadn't thought about it ‑‑ through rodeos and maybe eventually we can figure out a way ‑‑ county fair, you know, get creative of mini expos somehow that are tied to other events like rodeos and the county fairs and other things.

Any other questions?

Yes, sir?

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: To follow up on your observation, which I agree with, about the effectiveness of this outreach, did you say that about half of the 30 some thousand or so people were first-time visitors?

MR. GAMMAGE: Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Do we require any registration of people or should we consider trying to do that where we could consider a follow-up to those first timers and whether it's a mail out or an email?

MR. GAMMAGE: We have never specifically required that information. I guess we could try to capture that as we come in. But I'd first want to figure out with the marketing folks exactly what we would do with it. One of the things that we do capture is we have about 2,000 youth that go through the outdoor kids challenge every year. And we do capture that information. In fact, Mr. Smith is in the process of contacting some of those kids. And we told him in advance that there would be squealing on the telephone when they found out that they won that hunting package or camping package or whatever it is. So we do have that data. And, in fact, we've kept it for the last, I guess, seven or eight years.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: For example, do we market lifetime licenses at the Expo?

MR. GAMMAGE: We actually sell licenses at Expo. Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: I mean, do we actually market the lifetime license, as opposed to just a license booth?

MR. GAMMAGE: I don't know what happens in that booth in terms of that detail. But I can sure find out for you. I think it would be a great idea.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Those are good questions. There is more we can do with the information and probably do a better job of gathering information and then making use of it. And these are some of the things that we're going to be working on over the next couple years as we figure out how to do a better job of outreaching throughout the state. Unfortunately, we say Expo is Austin. And we've measured, you know, very few people from any place outside of the county. So ‑‑

MR. GAMMAGE: We have about 85 percent of our visitors come from a hundred-mile radius of Austin.

MR. SMITH: Chairman, if I could just add a few more things to what Ernie has said. In addition to this new partnership at the San Antonio Livestock Show and Rodeo that he and Trey Hamlett have been so involved in helping to come to fruition, which is, you know, there can be 40,000 people coming to the livestock show and rodeo on that outdoor family day.

But our Wildlife Division is partnered with the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo because we have so many landowners and ranchers that come to that event. They have a three-day seminar that our Wildlife Division puts on to target private landowners there. Our coastal fisheries had a Coastal Expo event not only down in the Rio Grande Valley but they also had one at Fredericksburg. So there have been some very targeted outreach activities ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes.

MR. SMITH: ‑‑ that are trying to get at this issue of how can we get something tantamount to Expo on the road in strategic communities and places with demographics we want to touch without us having to shoulder all of the burden of putting that on. And again, Ernie and his team are doing that literally on a daily basis throughout the state.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: We hold the outreach to youth. I mean, that's ‑‑ you know, obviously ‑‑

MR. SMITH: It's ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT: ‑‑ to use the politician's phrase, That's our future.

MR. GAMMAGE: That is our future. Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes. Any other questions for Ernie?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Congratulations, Ernie. As usual ‑‑

MR. GAMMAGE: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: ‑‑ it was wonderful.

And, Lydia and everybody else. Because I know how much, how hard you all work. Thank you.

Let me see. Where are we? We are on Number 7, Briefing — TPW Cooperative Education Efforts regarding Invasive Species of Mussels and other mussels and all kinds of mussels.

MR. GOODRICH: Thank you, Chairman, Commissioners.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes, sir.

MR. GOODRICH: For the record, Assistant Chief Robert Goodrich with the Law Enforcement Division. I'm over the fisheries enforcement. I'm glad to come to you today. I wanted to give you a briefing on an effort we've made, a cooperative effort between divisions. And that's the Communications Division and Freshwater Fisheries and Law Enforcement. And basically, this effort is ‑‑ we're joined in a battle and it's kind of protect our waters. And there's a brochure there with you that you'll be able to follow along with.

But we're working to educate users out there and employees about the threat of the invasive aquatic species, zebra and quagga mussels. Many ‑‑ if you're not familiar with those, they're quite a threat to freshwater. We've developed some pamphlets and I was going to show you a poster here today. That pamphlet you have in front of you ‑‑ the poster is basically the same information that's on your pamphlet. We've developed those and we've got those pamphlets and posters out there with the users, fishermen, boaters.

We put them at out regional offices, law enforcement offices and with game wardens. So we can help educate the public about how to help us with this threat. Because when I got into this ‑‑ and I think it would be remiss of me not to tell you a little bit about how I got involved in this. Because we were ‑‑ we're always involved in it. But I got a little more involved when Colonel Flores came back from a meeting with several other states and he said, You know, this is really bad. He said, This thing is worse than we think up in those other states. And when I got to looking at it ‑‑ and he said, We need to get the message out.

And so he gave me that challenge. And when I got to looking at it I realized how right he was. When you look at that poster and you see ‑‑ this 100th Meridian Initiative that's at the top corner of that poster, that's an initiative that 34 different states are involved in. Because many of those states involved in that already have the zebra and quagga mussels in their freshwater areas. And what they've experienced are some of the things like, you sit there and you can see that rod and reel that's covered with zebra mussels on it. These things will attach themselves to anything. And they'll attach themselves to the infrastructure in your lake.

If you've got freshwater being pumped out of those lakes it will get right in there and clog all the infrastructure in it. The other thing about it is it attaches itself to ‑‑ it eats on the lower part of the fishery in there. It comes in and goes and gets the algae, some of the same as the smaller fish eat. And it feeds on that. And there's not a whole lot that feeds on the zebra or the quagga mussel ‑‑ as a feed.

So we saw that as an attack on our fisheries and the freshwater. We don't have them in Texas yet. And that's a knock-on-wood situation for us. But our effort is to educate the public to ‑‑ so we can prevent that. And I knew when I got involved in this ‑‑ I said, Well, you know, I can get that message out to the game wardens but I need a good message. So I got ahold of the 100th Meridian Initiative people and they gave me this brochure. And I looked at it. I said, Wow, this is great. Can we use this?

And they have every state involved in this, which we are one of the member states ‑‑ can use their information. So I got to use all the artwork and the brochure. But if you'll notice on that one part down in the center of this brochure, Operation Game Thief Texas Parks and Wildlife is listed there. So we can get the users to call us if they see a threat, if they see an issue out there. And whether it's attached to a vessel or a boat or to equipment that's going from one lake to another, that's how this threat gets spread. And so we got that. We got the message there.

And I said, Well, I've got to craft this message. So I got ahold of the Communications Division and the people there and Dyanne Cortez and Kathleen Martin ‑‑ and I hope they're ‑‑ I know Dyanne's here; I hope they're all here. And I said, Well, I need to be sure I got my signs right. So I got ahold of Freshwater Fisheries and Joedy Gray, who's out here with me, also. We all came together in a meeting and said, We need to get a better message out. So this is what we decided to do. And I got art design to help put this together. We printed the brochures, got the posters made and we got this out there to everybody. And this has just been in the last few months. But I wanted to bring it to your attention. There's a graph picture of where those mussels are. And you can see they're in our border states.

Oklahoma has them and Louisiana has them. And one of the ways ‑‑ one of the greatest ways to stop them is for the public to know what's involved with it. So we've done that. We've got it out there in our regional offices. We're also putting them at marinas so that user groups can see that out there and help us with the threat.

I think that bait bucket there just says it for me. You know, that bait bucket's covered with those mussels. Unless ‑‑ I don't ‑‑ set for a while in there in the water and it just got covered. And then it will attach. They'll attach themselves to anything. We're linked to that organization, the 100th Meridian. We work, you know, with them, as far as when communications come and give us other information. We know that. Right now that is in a ‑‑ we're not as susceptible in some situations because our waters get colder sometimes and we don't have some ‑‑ a lot of that warm water that kind of promotes it. But it's already in another lake in Oklahoma in the last month that's very close to our border. So they're there and we're trying to prevent the spread.

We thought of another way. When I got with Kathleen Martin she said, Well, we thought ‑‑ and Dyanne ‑‑ I said, Can we put this out on another area and let's ‑‑ can we get it on our web site. So what we did is we linked it on our web site. And I wanted to give you a little bit of it on this slide here. You can get up on our web site, click on Life's Better Outside, go to Fishing and Boating and you can follow the links where we say, Protect Our Water. And you can go right to this information.

What's great about it is it tells you how to clean up your recreational equipment as well as the brochure does. And one other thing, you know, the law enforcement side of me there looks at it, you know, couple years ago ‑‑ actually, two sessions ago Legislature passed a law that says you have to clean this off of your boat. So it's actually an enforcement issue. But more than anything we wanted the cooperative effect with the ‑‑ and get compliance out there with the public. So ‑‑ but we want to curb the spread of the invasive species. Because ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes.

MR. GOODRICH: ‑‑ it hitches a ride on boats, trailers and vehicles. That's how it gets spread. Again, this program was developed with a professional team work. And I wanted to get everybody in here. And I think I have. But we couldn't have done it as one person. We did it as a team. And we're still keeping that effort out there. I have the ability to get more of these brochures printed up and keep sending them out there and keep the wardens and field staff informing the public. So that was what I wanted to brief you on here today. And be happy to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you, sir. Commissioner Brown, sir?

COMMISSIONER BROWN: Couple of things. You know, what are the other states doing that already have these and how difficult is it to treat and rid the lakes of this problem? And then what are we doing to ‑‑ let's just assume that it's going to ultimately happen. I mean, even taking into account all these precautions and things we're doing, and then what kind of plan do we have in place to react immediately to rid the specific lake that we may have a problem with of this problem?

MR. GOODRICH: Well, I could relate to what some of the others that have had gotten it having.

Joedy, jump in any time here and help me if you feel the need, if I'm not getting the science right. But a lot of it, once they get established, it seems like drawdowns, where they draw the water levels down. They're the only thing that are going get rid of these things. And the reason is they ‑‑ for a period of time that they're out of water, depending on humidity, temperature they can die. But it takes a period of time. One of the remedies for a boater is if he doesn't elect to clean it off of there he's got to at least have his boat out for around 15 days before he goes to another water body. They'll all die during that time. So drawdowns of reservoirs are some of the only ways you're able to get rid of them.

COMMISSIONER BROWN: So there's not any type of chemical or anything else that you can actually treat ‑‑ kill these things?

MR. GOODRICH: No. They started in Lake Michigan and up in that area. And these things came from the Caspian Sea. They were ‑‑

COMMISSIONER BROWN: Well ‑‑ and that's another thing. You've mentioned warm water. But it seems like from the areas where they came from it was all cold water.

MR. GOODRICH: It was.

COMMISSIONER BROWN: So I'm surprised somewhat that they can survive in warm water, I guess. I mean, it's kind of contrary to ‑‑

MR. GOODRICH: It's ‑‑

COMMISSIONER BROWN: ‑‑ where ‑‑

MR. GOODRICH: It's ‑‑

COMMISSIONER BROWN: ‑‑ they came from.

MR. GOODRICH: It is that way. And I don't know how they got established up there and once they seemed to get a foothold in there ‑‑ it's very hard to get them out. They're ‑‑ some of the pictures that you can see, you can get up on the internet and look at some of those things in different states. It's just unreal. They've become a beach. You know, when they wash ashore they'll wash ashore on some of these big lakes.

COMMISSIONER BROWN: Uh-huh.

MR. GOODRICH: They're ‑‑ I don't think they're going to get rid of them in some of those places they've got them in the really big lakes. They're trying to control them as best they can to prevent the spread. What's happened to things where they've gotten involved is they've had to change out all the infrastructure, public works so that they can screen everything so these won't go up into the water areas. So it's very expensive when it gets in your lake. And as far as a plan for when it gets in there, you know, to get rid of it, we're not there on that part. I think it's something we do need to look into.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes, sir?

MR. DUROCHER: Commissioners, I'm Phil Durocher, the Director of Inland Fisheries, for the record. This invasive is like all invasives. Once it gets established I don't think there's any way we're going to get rid of it. What we go into is a management or control mode at that point. But if they ever get here, and I'll agree with you, eventually they probably will, then we'll have to go into some kind of control and management of the same thing we do with hydrilla and everything else. There's not enough money in the world or there's ‑‑ we don't know of any magic bullet that we have that we can go ahead and eradicate these once they're here.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: And what do we ‑‑ just refresh my memory. What are we doing currently to enforce the removal of harmful, you know, plants and species? I mean, what do we do kind of statewide ‑‑

MR. GOODRICH: Well ‑‑

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: ‑‑ in terms of programs or ‑‑

MR. GOODRICH: ‑‑ as again, education is the number one thing because, you know, you're not going to catch every boat coming out of every lake. But we do have that requirement and it's posted at many lakes that you need to clean hydrilla off; it's a law that you need to clean it off of your vessel before going into another lake. And we enforce that. I mean, if we ‑‑ we actually ‑‑ and I think Pete may relate to some of that where it first started ‑‑ and we had a lake up in Fort Worth.

COLONEL FLORES: Commissioner, for the record? I'm Colonel Peter Flores, Director of Law Enforcement. This evasive species issue, as I go to the national conferences in the rest of the United States, is a very serious issue in a lot of the continental United States and in Canada and, in fact, in the world.

An invasive species in conservation is one of the major issues of today and in the future. You know, when we talk about conservation law enforcement you traditionally think about protecting deer and game animals. But what conservation law enforcement today and in the future is dealing with exotics and invasives, which is because of what they do to our ‑‑ they'll change a watershed and the lakes. They'll change the landscape, the wildlife so dramatically that if we don't take some steps, proactive steps to stop it now then we'll have to deal with the consequences.

To answer your question, Commissioner Friedkin, the education component for Texas is the most important for us.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Okay.

COLONEL FLORES: But especially so with our ‑‑ with my old rank and file, with my colleagues who think game warding is about just deer. But game ‑‑ conservation ‑‑ the protection of our resources in Texas is to keep these things ‑‑ these types of organisms and plants out of Texas. And to emphasize the importance of not overlooking this cute little plant or this little critter that's on our list that are prohibited that we should do our best to stop from coming in.

A lot of states in the Union ‑‑ to answer your question on what's being done in the country, they've been taking some very drastic steps. For example, at check stations for boats coming into states such as Washington and California and ‑‑ where they actually have wardens at those stations which will inspect vessels to make sure that there's none of these quagga mussels or zebra mussels attached.

They've even gone so far as to employ dogs that are trained specifically for quagga and zebra because of the severe impact that these organisms have to those lakes. And especially, there are impoundments, major impoundments. So they've got very drastic and very severe in their penalty. In fact, our penalty in Texas is a Class B, it's not a Class C. You know, but we want to be sensitive to educate the people as they come out of the lakes in East Texas with their trailer. If they don't ‑‑ where we have, for example, these organisms in these lakes that they understand the importance of washing the boat and making sure they don't take these plants elsewhere. And we don't want to get to that point where we have to do ‑‑ get dogs and ‑‑ but it is that bad. It can be that bad.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: And obviously getting worse.

COLONEL FLORES: Yes, sir.

(Simultaneous discussion.)

COMMISSIONER PARKER: What the fine of that class, Class C, for ‑‑

COLONEL FLORES: Class C goes up to $500 ‑‑ it's from $25 to $500. A Class B carries up to 180 days in jail and I believe it's a ‑‑

VOICE: $2,000.

COLONEL FLORES: ‑‑ $2,000 fine. So it's severe for that. Absolutely. But what is more severe is the economic and conservation impacts to Texas if we do nothing. Yes, doing nothing is not acceptable. We're working very closely with our colleagues in the agency and with the federal government and with other conservation agencies in the country to try to stop these things as much as possible.

COMMISSIONER PARKER: Could we go to the Legislature ‑‑

VOICE: And ask ‑‑

COMMISSIONER PARKER: ‑‑ that we want a broader, you know, start the fine at $500 and take it to $2,500?

COLONEL FLORES: Commissioner, I believe the fine itself is sufficient. I think what's important to us at this point is to educate the citizenry of Texas, especially those that have these type of plants, whether it ‑‑ and it goes ‑‑ plants or animals that bring them in either in the pet trade or in some cases bringing them in the ornamental plants or in some cases it's a matter of diet, ethnic diet, that they bring these plants in because they're eaten in their country. But here they're prohibited because if they get in our waterways they do such great damage. It's to be able to educate them as to how bad that is.

And again, from our perspective it's to educate our rank and file, our game wardens that this is as important to the future of conservation in Texas as protecting our deer.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Was this particular observation coincidental or was it part of the ‑‑

COLONEL FLORES: It was a presentation that was given at a national chiefs' meeting, conservation chiefs' meeting. And working also with fisheries biologists who brought it to the national conservation chiefs and said, This is a big problem. I'll be the first one to admit that, you know, I've always known about this type of threat but it never rose to the level that I would think, Oh, well, I got a bunch of guys killing a bunch of deer and we need to do something about that, until I realized how dire the consequences were to our fisheries and to our landscape if we didn't do anything about it. And generally, the only folks that can do something about it are those of us in conservation that are here to protect.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: I agree with you when you mention the critical importance of educating people. So I'd ask this question. When we sell a boat and send the title could we or should we include in there a brochure like this ‑‑

COLONEL FLORES: Absolutely. We could do that. That's a ‑‑ any opportunity we get to educate the people, the boat dealers, marinas, fishermen, about this threat the better it will be.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: And I assume that the professional fishermen would very willingly cooperate if they're aware of this. I don't know ‑‑ are we making sure that the out-of-state folks that come to our tournaments are aware not only of our law but of this?

COLONEL FLORES: I believe that's a totally doable thing, Commissioner, yes.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Putting these up in marinas? These posters?

COMMISSIONER BROWN: Is this a potential threat to our saltwater base, also?

COLONEL FLORES: I'm not sure about the quagga mussel. From what I'm understanding it's ‑‑

VOICE: Pretty much ‑‑

COLONEL FLORES: ‑‑ a freshwater ‑‑

VOICE: ‑‑ freshwater.

COLONEL FLORES: ‑‑ species. But saltwater has its own host of organisms of their own.

COMMISSIONER BROWN: Other critters that are bad.

COLONEL FLORES: I guess the whole spectrum here is a different perspective of ours, especially in enforcement as to the importance of doing everything we can to keep these and other types of organisms out of our state because of the impact that it can have to everyone.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Uh-huh.

MR. GOODRICH: One of the thing ‑‑ and I guess, Commissioner Parker, what you had asked ‑‑ this cleaning of the boats is a Class C misdemeanor. That's just for ‑‑ but if someone ‑‑ it's a Class C, that $500. But if someone introduces exotic species into our system, you know, knowingly does that, that's not a Class C, that's a Class B. And then that enhances. It's an enhanceable offense. If they get caught at it again it's a Class A and it can go up to a state jail felony. So ‑‑

COMMISSIONER PARKER: I just think that, you know, if we could ‑‑ you know, when somebody ‑‑ it doesn't take long for the word to get around, You need to wash your boat off before you leave the ramp or you're going to ‑‑ you know, if stuff is hanging off of your trailer when you leave that ramp, you know, there's a possibility you're going to get a very stiff fine. You know, I realize that this stuff ‑‑ all of these invasive species are, you know, a real threat to what we're trying to promote here. This ‑‑ you know, if you can hit them in the jaw instead of slapping their hand it might get their attention.

MR. GOODRICH: Well, and along those same lines, another thing that I'm working towards with the law enforcement group out there is to get the wardens to contact the courts and the prosecutors to give them the severity of this problem so that when those cases come up those people know how important and how serious this really is so that it isn't something that's dealt with in a minor way. And so that's a part of that education process, is to get the courts and prosecutors on board, too.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Could I ask one more question?

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes, sir. You may.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Where we lease state park property for marina operations have we considered requiring those marina operators to provide a boat-washing area where people who come from out of state or wherever are required to ‑‑ or at least made aware of it and given a location where they could clean a boat and a trailer?

MR. GOODRICH: I'm not ‑‑ think that's definitely a good idea. And I think it would be a good ‑‑ but as I know of right now, we aren't requiring that. But that's something we could look into.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Might want to look into that. It seems to me if it's not there people will just try to slide it in and go or just don't think about it.

MR. GOODRICH: Right. Well, and Colonel Flores alluded to some ‑‑ I know one of the states that I looked into they're even tagging a vessel when it comes out of a water that's infested already. It's got a seal tag on the boat where it attaches to the trailer. And if they come to any other lake and that seal is broken then they don't get to launch, you know. And it's just that serious. They're doing that in other states.

COMMISSIONER PARKER: Good idea.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: So we've got to ‑‑ we're learning, I assume and looking at it and benchmarking with other states to figure out what they're doing ‑‑

MR. GOODRICH: Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: ‑‑ trying to stay ahead of the curve.

MR. GOODRICH: We're hoping we don't get there. But, you know, it's ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Well, we got to do more than hope.

MR. GOODRICH: Mr. Durocher said ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT: I mean, we ‑‑

MR. GOODRICH: Yes.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: We may need to start ‑‑

MR. GOODRICH: We're working to ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT: ‑‑ doing ‑‑ yes.

MR. GOODRICH: ‑‑ not get there. But Mr. Durocher said, it's ‑‑ may be inevitable.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: We may need to start doing some of these things now. Okay? Even though we don't have the problem yet.

MR. GOODRICH: Right.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay? So I guess what we're asking you as the Commission, is law enforcement and inland fisheries you ought to look into it now what can we do. Okay? And will you give us a report back in the next commission meeting, please?

MR. GOODRICH: Okay.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: For all the invasives.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: For the all invasives ‑‑ well, freshwater is what we're talking about here particularly.

MR. GOODRICH: Okay.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Whether we've been invaded or not, you know. So ‑‑ okay. Let's see. There's some things ‑‑

MR. GOODRICH: And ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT: ‑‑ other states that are doing that they've had to do after the fact. Maybe we can do before the fact so we don't get in that position. Okay? We may be willing to be, as a Commission, be willing to take more aggressive stance and take a little bit of the heat for it.

MR. GOODRICH: Okay.

MR. SMITH: And Mr. Chairman, we absolutely will do that. And I think bringing forward kind of an integrated plan as to how we're attacking this issue of invasive species across the landscape on the aquatic side and the terrestrial side. Because that's also a huge part of this, both the plant and animal invasive species.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Well, invasive species is ‑‑

MR. SMITH: It's ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT: You and I have talked about this many times. It's one of my biggest single worries. And so I guess we have to just happen to be talking about inland fisheries at this point. So maybe ‑‑ you know, I mean, I don't know how to say this the right way. Maybe over the next few Commission meetings we can go through each kind of area. What are we doing, what can we do, what other states are doing, states that are ‑‑ already have the problem, are there things that we can do now to prevent the problem?

I mean, how do we do a better job of being preventive on all of these areas? Okay. Because at least as chairman ‑‑ and I believe my colleagues feel the same way ‑‑ I think we're willing to go ahead and take whatever political heat we may have to take to stop some things or to change some things or to put some law enforcement rules in place before we get invaded. Okay? So that we don't have to then try to figure it out after the fact. Because at that point you've already, in my opinion, lost the battle.

MR. SMITH: Absolutely. Now, we'll take that direction. And you're right. I mean, next to habitat loss, invasive species is the number two threat to our biological diversity in the state. And so ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Absolutely.

MR. SMITH: ‑‑ where we've got problems we're expending a lot of resources. And we did try to address that in a legislative appropriations request with some additional ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Well ‑‑

MR. SMITH: ‑‑ funds.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay.

MR. SMITH: We've made that very clear to other parties in the legislature that this is growing, it's here, we've got to get it now. I mean, the work that they're doing to try to stop, as you said, the zebra and quagga mussels from ever getting established is critically important. So let us come back with kind of an integrated plan that we'll present to you all.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes. And you're going to have to do it in your different divisions, obviously.

MR. SMITH: Yes.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: You have different issues in different areas. Okay.

MR. GOODRICH: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you, sir.

Any other questions?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you. Thank you for taking the time.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Item Number 8, Local grant ‑‑ park grant funding for projects listed in 2007 General Appropriations Act.

MR. HOGSETT: Good morning. Tim ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Mr. Tim ‑‑

MR. HOGSETT: ‑‑ Hogsett.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: ‑‑ Hogsett.

MR. HOGSETT: I'm Tim Hogsett from Recreation Grants ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT: You are going to give money away. Yeah, Tim.

MR. HOGSETT: Thank you, sir.

The 80th session of the Legislature restored funding to the Competitive Grant Program in the amount of $15-and-a-half million a year for competitive park grants. In addition to that, the Legislature also appropriated to us $16.6 million. And along with that, a list of 18 projects that were specific mandates from the Legislature for park grants. I've brought some of these to you previously. This is the third installment. This will bring us to the endorsement of nine of 18 of these.

Specifically, today we're bringing four projects to you, two from the City of Houston and two from the City of McAllen. A $1 million grant for Townwood Park in Houston. This is a matching grant. That's also a matching grant, $600,000 for Sylvester Turner Park. And then a matching grant for two parks in the City of McAllen in the amount of $2 million. Summarize the proposals in Attachment A of Exhibit A. And our recommendation to you this morning is that funding for the special project appropriation rider projects as listed in Exhibit A are approved. And I'll be glad to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. We have a couple people would like to speak. Do we have any questions from the Commissioners at this point?

Yes, sir?

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: You said there were two amounts, there was $16 million and 685,000 that's specifically been appropriated ‑‑ I mean, been appropriated for specifically designated projects?

MR. HOGSETT: That's correct.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: And then was there an additional sum that you said was annually appropriated?

MR. HOGSETT: We were restored to $15.5 million a year for our regular competitive grant programs. And this was in addition to that.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: The $16 million ‑‑

MR. HOGSETT: Yes.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: ‑‑ is in addition to the regular ‑‑

MR. HOGSETT: In addition to the restoration at $15.5 million annually for competitive grants.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: And the amount you're proposing that we approve come from which bucket? The ‑‑

MR. HOGSETT: From the special appropriations bucket, the $16.6 million.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Okay. Thanks.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. We have two people would like to visit, Larry Pressler. And then after Larry, Joe Turner.

MR. PRESSLER: Good morning, Mr. Chairman and Commission.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Morning.

MR. PRESSLER: The mayor of McAllen and the Commission asked me to come before you this morning just to express our gratitude for your continued work in wildlife habitat and restoration and conservation and outdoor recreation. The two grants that are awarded to the City of McAllen will go a long ways to help with things like citizen science. And one of the projects is, of course, part of the Quinta Mazatlan, which is the McAllen wing of the World Birding Center, which Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is the anchor partner of that project. So again, we just want to thank you for your contributions to the citizens of Texas and for supporting these two projects.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Thank you, Larry. Appreciate you taking the time to come up.

Joe Turner from, where else but the City of Houston?

MR. TURNER: From Houston. Thank you ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Hello, Joe.

MR. TURNER: ‑‑ Chairman. How are you ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Good.

MR. TURNER: ‑‑ this morning, Commissioners? Just wanting to come before you again, as always, thanking you for the support we get for Texas Parks and Wildlife for the City of Houston. All grants for the City of Houston, particularly since we're an urban city and we work with urban kids, we do appreciate any grant opportunities that are out there. These two particular grants help really in two of our areas where we really have a lower income level. And these are really going to be very successful for us to continue our programming. And thank you again.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Thank you very much.

Any other questions?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Comments?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: With that, do I have a motion?

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: So move.

COMMISSIONER HIXON: Second.

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

(A chorus of ayes.)

MR. HOGSETT: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes. It's fun to give away that money.

Item Number 9, Briefing — State Parks Texas Outdoor Family Program. Mr. Walt Dabney and Mr. Chris Holmes.

MR. DABNEY: Chairman and Commissioners, Director, my name's Walt Dabney, state parks director. And I'm here to introduce a briefing on what we think is a very exciting program that we've got going now in state parks. And there's a counterpart to that. You had a briefing on previously from Lydia's shop that we're doing in urban parks, as well. We feel that this is a terribly important approach. America is now largely urban. And Texas is no different. Texas is at about 90 percent urban. We got lots of kids growing up these days that have absolutely no tie to the outdoors. They grow up in the city. That's what they know. They're very busy doing things that are mostly sedentary or focused on indoor activities like computers and video games and that kind of thing.

We found out that while we're doing many programs all across the United States directed at children if what you teach them and get them enthusiastic about then is going to require going home and having their parents get involved to follow up with that. And the parents didn't grow up doing that. And the parents don't have maybe the interest to do that. And certainly, not the skills and in some cases the equipment. It can really build in some frustration for these young people.

So what we've been thinking about trying to do for the last nine years is do something that's focused at the entire family so that the family learns these skills together and then can pursue them together as a family unit ‑‑ wasn't going anywhere. And finally we pulled the next person I'm going to introduce you to out of his position as a regional interpretive coordinator, Chris Holmes, and put him in charge of this program. We worked very closely with Lydia's shop and communications. And Carter and Scott have been absolutely supportive in trying to get this going.

It is already exceeding our expectations. We are absolutely booked. And Chris is going to let you know what this program is all about. I'm going to have him come up here now. You'll see Chris is a very enthusiastic person. His way, way deep Texas accent is something we're trying to work on on a daily basis. As you will see we've got an uphill climb to do to get him to speak proper English in his venue now.

So, Chris, if you'll come up and do our briefing.

MR. HOLMES: Thank you, Walt. For the record my name is Chris Holmes and I'm the Outdoor Programs Coordinator for Texas State Parks. And I'm from England but I came here as quickly as I could. Right? Is that ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes.

MR. HOLMES: ‑‑ what I'm supposed to say?

COMMISSIONER HOLT: You have that bumper sticker. Right?

MR. HOLMES: That's right.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes.

MR. HOLMES: But I am thrilled and proud to be here today to tell you about the Texas Outdoor Family Program in state parks. And I got the phone call in June last year from Walt to say, Hey, we really need you to head this program up in our state parks. Our state parks are great venues to get people out and camp in the outdoors. And as Walt alluded to, we have seen national and state research that has shown that family outdoor recreation in state parks, wild places, is declining.

And when we talked to people, the Joe Public in Houston and San Antonio and Austin and we talk about state parks they think of these state parks as scary places. They think that these state parks contains bears. They think that they contain wolves, snakes, things that can hurt you. And especially parents ‑‑ they view the outdoors as a dangerous place and limit their children's exposure.

We're also seeing a decline in outdoor recreation in wild places like state parks because of the parents' own lack of experience, both in the outdoors. They don't know how to camp in state parks. We believe they want to, they simply just have never had the experience. And we talked to some of our partners in Academy and REI and they're saying the same thing, that people are coming to these shops and saying, We don't know how to set up a tent.

Lastly, we think that one of the reasons that there's a decline in outdoor recreation in our wild areas is because the parents themselves don't want to feel lacking or inadequate in front of their own children. And so I ask you, So what? I ask people ‑‑ today's childhood adventures may mean watching TV, may mean playing on computer games, may mean only seeing the outdoors from the vehicle, may mean only going to the mall as their only outdoor experience. And I have a brief TV show that I'd like to show you.

(Video playing.)

MR. HOLMES: So we think that the Texas Outdoor Family and State Parks, as well as in our local parks is something that we can really do to get our children outside. And like Walt said, we scratched our head about, you know, Yes, we can do things with children but it's those parents, those guardians that make those decisions to get the kids outside. And so we decided on this Texas Outdoor Family. It is part of a national movement. And I believe that the Commission was briefed a couple of meetings ago with the national movement with Richard Louv, The Last Child In the Woods. And we're working with Texas Parks and Wildlife itself to talk about life's better outside. And so the Texas Outdoor Family Program is part of this big effort to get people outside.

This is the kind of marketing that we're going after. We all know that ‑‑ we're kind of nostalgic. We all know that camping is good for us. We all know that being outside is fun. Perhaps you want to try but you don't know how; you've got questions. Well, we can help.

And so the Texas Outdoor Family is a proactive program that's aimed at children and the decision makers, the parents. We want to develop new users in our parks. We want to teach these people skills and confidence to be outside. We want to promote healthy lifestyles and we want to build the support for the future of the outdoor recreation, as well as our parks. As I said, no experience or equipment is necessary. We provide all the equipment.

And I got a real ‑‑ two very quick stories I want to tell you. We found on the federal surplus store that there was a whole bunch of equipment that Coleman had donated to FEMA after Hurricane Katrina. And this equipment wasn't used. It was tents. It was equipment. It was stoves. And so we were able to get our hands on this equipment through the federal surplus store. So we got $60,000 worth of equipment for about $3,000. And so that really helped us kick-start this program.

And so we provide all the equipment. We provide the tents. This is a list of all the things that we provide. We did provide a dual fuel lantern. And on our first program we did a dry rehearsal for our Texas Parks and Wildlife staff at Buescher State Park. And about 8:00 at night a family came running to me going, Fire, fire, fire. And I went out there and it was a lantern was on fire and it was dripping and it was starting a little grass fire. And the family was Kay Shultz [phonetic], our attorney. And so she gave me some legal advice to say it may not be a good idea to use those for these. And so we invested in some really, you know, on/off ‑‑ you can put it in the tent.

But we do want this to be a very positive experience for people when they come camping. And so we've even gone to the point of providing air mattresses and French presses, too so people can enjoy their coffee in the morning.

When the families show up ‑‑ before they show up ‑‑ when they sign up we give them a package of information, checklist reminding them what to bring and a list of what we bring. We don't provide food but we provide them a shopping list. And we had lots of debates for a long time on what's the best to camp outside, what's the best food. But we came up with a good shopping list and menu that I think is good.

And so we have core units. Every time we do one of these Texas Outdoor Family programs we have core units. We teach people how to pitch a tent the correct way. We teach people how to use the stoves and lanterns safely. We teach dishwashing. It's kind of interesting. Lot of the families have come up to us and said, My child has never washed a dish before.

And so the program is based on Leave No Trace principles, the seven Leave No Trace principles. It's a national organization of best practices for camping. We work with REI. REI's staff come out. And they have a program called PEAK, which is Promoting Environmental Awareness in Kids. And so when we're teaching the adults how to pitch the tent, the REI staff come out and take all the kids and do some fun activities about Leave No Trace. So we're really proud of that partnership that we developed. And we also have a State Park Junior Ranger Program that the families do throughout the weekend.

One of the real big successes of this program is teaching geocaching, using a GPS unit to go out and find treasure in the parks. The kids just absolutely love it. I have two four-year old English Texans, I call them. And they just love going out into the parks and looking for treasure. You know, they can't believe that we're using a GPS unit. And so it's a really good program to get people safely onto the trails. So we teach geocaching.

If there's fishing obviously we're going to teach fishing in our state parks and promote the fact that you don't need a fishing license. And it's just so much fun to see the kids, you know, catch their first fish. Depending on the site we may be doing nature activities. We may teach mountain biking or going on an interpretive hike using kayaks. We teach family food, how to cook properly and how to build a fire. It's amazing to me how many people simply don't know how to build a fire anymore. And they really rely on us to teach them how to build a fire safely. And also, just how to cook on a grill and how good that tastes.

One of the interesting things we found, we did an evening program and it was just a standard slide show about the park. But we were having families that were coming up to us the next morning terrified that they thought that the boogie man literally was walking around the camp site. Well, there are these sights and sounds that they had no idea what it was.

And so now we do this evening program and we say, Let's celebrate the natural noises that you guys are going to hear tonight. And that sound which sounds like someone walking around your tent, it's not a person, it's an armadillo just looking for some food. And that really weird noise, it's just a leopard frog which is this big. And let's just celebrate, you know, how much because these urban families typically that are coming out have never heard these sounds.

And like Walt says, The tent is less than a millimeter wide. And so it doesn't give you much security when you're listening to some of those sounds. And, of course, it's Texas and so we're going to have s'mores, even if it's 95 degrees at nighttime. In the morning it's much more kind of laid back. We have a graduation morning. And something that I really like is just coffee with the park rangers. And we talk about conservation as careers for the kids.

We teach people how to strike down the tent and leave no trace as they leave. And we have a graduation and we give people these little information packets, How to make reservations in parks and some leave no trace activities. And then just some down time. These families just want to ‑‑ they've survived the night, as we say. And now they just want to, you know, enjoy their accomplishments and just enjoy the park. We have a lot of equipment that's still there. And if they want to go kayaking we let them go kayaking.

This is where we've gone so far. We limit the program to 16 families. And we've done 10, 11 programs so far since July. And so you can see that we are maxed out at most of them. We're really proud that we've got waiting lists now for the rest of this year on five of our last six programs. So it's a real need. You can just see ‑‑ this is just a demonstration of the program ‑‑ kind of moving up. The first chart is of our phone calls. Our reservation center takes all phone calls. And so we're getting more and more phone calls about this program.

I really want for the record, to thank Lydia and her crew for helping promote this program. The internet ‑‑ we get a third of ‑‑ where we ask people, Where did you hear about this program, over a third is the internet and over a third is the major newspapers. We've been on the front page of all the big newspapers and have got terrific exposure from that. Average driving time ‑‑ driving distance, interestingly, is about 54 miles per family to come to one of these parks. So they're not typically going to their local parks. Notable outreach ‑‑ like I said, we've got lots of newspaper coverage and TV coverage. We're working with the Texas PTA. We're going to be in their big newsletter next month.

And something that I've had a lot of fun ‑‑ we've had typically people that say, We would love for you to come out to our company, our corporation and talk about the Texas Outdoor Family. And so I've actually been to the Fluor Corporation in Sugar Land which is a huge, multi-national company and I stood just like this in front of about 180 people, architects and engineers, all wearing suits. It was kind of ‑‑ and I said, Isn't it great that you have a limey talking to you about Texas parks and wildlife. But I'm going to Valero, too, next year to ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Good.

MR. HOLMES: ‑‑ next week to talk to them, too. But, you know, I think that it's a really good program and there's some real potential to find some corporate sponsorship to sustain the program. This is where we're going in the next year. You can see that most of the programs are centered around the big Dallas/Fort Worth, San Antonio, Austin. We are going down to the Valley. We made a conscious effort to go down to South Texas. And so we're going down to Laredo, Lake Casa Blanca in January and we're going to the World Birding Center in February, too. And so we ‑‑ but we are concentrating our efforts in those parks within an hour of the big cities.

But we are going to do a couple of other programs like you see up in Palo Duro and Caprock Canyon. Austin area parks, Houston area parks, San Antonio area parks and Dallas/Fort Worth. So we have a total of 41 parks that we're going to this next year to do this two-day program in our state parks.

It's $55 per family. We think that's a real good deal. And that's the ‑‑ with Walt and Mike Crevia and our business people we think that that's enough money that most people can afford it. And we do have some money available for scholarships, too.

The other really good thing that I think has happened is we've been working with our Parks and Wildlife Department. We offer three free workshops per program for Parks and Wildlife employees and their families. And this has been really successful because just like the general public, Texas Parks and Wildlife employees, if you can believe it, don't know how to camp, either or want a refresher. And so, so far we've had 21 state park employees and their families, four inland fisheries, two infrastructure, four communications, two coastal, three law enforcement, three wildlife and three administration resources.

So it's a family program for the Department. And I'm really thrilled that people from all the divisions are coming, too. The other thing that we're going to implement is free invitations to our Texas Legislature and the staff, too. And I've got some copies of these invitations. We're going to hand-deliver some of these invitations to our legislative staff because we really want them to come out and see, you know, what wonderful work that we do in our state parks. We measure success through program evaluations.

I get an email ‑‑ it's kind of cool ‑‑ every time someone who has attended one of these events goes camping, makes a new reservation I get an email that pops up saying that, you know, we've got a new graduate that's actually camping in our state parks. So we can actually track these people and see how many times they go camping after they've worked on the Texas Outdoor Family.

Ninety percent of our fall programs are full, nine out of ten workshops are. We've got over 37,000 web site hits so far this year, unique hits. And the word is getting out. We had 148 phone calls this last year. As I said, we're really working to sustain ‑‑ we're looking for some corporate partners. Toyota's on board. REI is on board. These are some lists of some of the other ones that we're in discussions with right now as far as finding some corporate support to sustain the program.

This is what I call the stair step to stewardship and advocacy. And this is, I think, really important for the Department. It's not just a state park program, it's a Texas Parks and Wildlife program. All of us in this room, I'm sure, have been inspired somewhere where we've been in the outdoors. And the Texas Outdoor Family Program provides that initial experience. And hopefully, if you have an experience you want to become aware of it. If you are aware of it you want to care for it and care about it. And ultimately, we're talking about stewardship and advocacy.

And I think that this is a really neat outreach program that we can make some big differences and get some new people into our parks, as well as all the parks of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. So I offer an invitation to everybody here. We would love to see you or your family come out and enjoy one of these parks. We're all over the state this next year. And so come join us and become a Texas Outdoor Family. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Thank you.

MR. HOLMES: Any questions?

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Good program. Good momentum. Yes.

Any questions?

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: This is really exciting to hear what you just told us. And I mean, I'm fascinated by it and would hope that we could approach both corporate sponsors, as well as private foundations if for no other reason, funds to get the word out to public schools in our urban areas. I think this ‑‑ you talk about a solution to inner city kids who are stuck with nothing to do but who may not even have a computer to find out about this. Somehow we got to get this message out even though I realize we're full and it's limited capacity. But I hope we will consider approaching foundations and corporate sponsors to try to get some dissemination of this opportunity to public schools where kids could maybe take a brochure home and a ‑‑

VOICE: Yes.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: ‑‑ sixth grader, whatever, pick a particular class. This is just terrific.

MR. HOLMES: Good. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER MARTIN: I wanted to, as well say thank you.

And thank you, Walt, and thank you for an incredible inspiring program.

Thanks, Lydia.

And I was going to follow up on what Commissioner Duggins said, as far as trying to get it into the schools. I mean, that's great. And I don't know. Maybe in one of the children's areas in this ‑‑ which is phenomenal to have ‑‑ this new children's part is just ‑‑ I love it. It's a lot of fun. And I understand it's in the schools. So maybe this would be one way of promoting the children in one of those sections. But great work. Thank you.

MR. DABNEY: Just real quickly. Walt Dabney again. Your question is ‑‑ and comments are great, sir. One of our concerns is this is getting so popular now ‑‑ and as you heard, we've got 40-something workshops scheduled. We got Chris and two helpers. And ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes.

MR. DABNEY: ‑‑ it is very intensive. You got to have enough hands on board there to really ‑‑ baby sitting's not the right word. But you really have to be in control both from a safety standpoint and just helping these people get through this weekend. And so we've got to be careful that we don't over-advertise it and be turning people away too quickly. So our goal eventually ‑‑ and that is actually in our legislative appropriation request ‑‑ is to add some additional staff to this program, is to have this in every one of our regions and again, working with Lydia's shop and others who bring in ‑‑ and Inland Fisheries and Coastal Fisheries ‑‑ bring the fishing expertise to the parks and that kind of thing.

This ought to be a centerpiece program for this Department. And ‑‑ but we got to do it in a way that we don't outstrip our capability to do a good program and be turning too many people away. So it's in the legislative appropriation request and it could be great.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Okay.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Walter.

Mr. Holmes?

Any questions? Other questions?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Great.

VOICE: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Great work. Let's see you keep it going.

COMMISSIONER FALCON: Mr. Chairman?

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes?

COMMISSIONER FALCON: I'd like to just say a few words.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Sure.

COMMISSIONER FALCON: And I think this is an appropriate time to do it. I finished my first year on the Commission here very recently. And I just want all of you, especially the members of the Department here, I want to thank you all for the hard work that you do. I have been wanting to say something since the last meeting in Houston. Because my blood started to boil a little bit after some of the comments. But I figured I'd let a couple of weeks go by before I came and said anything. And this program is just wonderful. But I think it's just an example of the type of work that all of you do. The work ethic that you've shown, the passion for conservation has just been incredible. And I want you all to know that I'm very, very, very impressed with what I've seen after one year. And I just thought that this was the perfect time to do it, after watching this program. Thank you all for everything.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: All right. Well, thank you, Commissioner.

You know, we've got a great group of people and the key is trying to find those old dollars for them. Because when you keep expanding these programs ‑‑ this is a classic one ‑‑ across all these parks then, you know, when January starts, when the Legislature meets at that time, we're not picking on anybody at all. Then, you know, we're just one of the many agencies down there. And so, of course, the elected officials have to make decisions accordingly. That's where it's part of our job and the Commission.

And going forward I will be asking all of us to help convincing our elected officials that these are the kinds of things that are very meaningful to the constituencies that they have throughout the State of Texas. And so ‑‑ but this is a classic; this is perfect. You're outreaching to not only the youth, but the families. You're outreaching to urban areas. You know, you're doing all the things that are part of our strategic plan and then pulling them into the parks and making use of areas that at least some of our elected officials believe either aren't being used enough or aren't needed. And so these are the kind of things that will be perfect. This is a perfect program. Yes. It's great.

Any other questions or comments?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. With that, we'll move on then to ‑‑ thank you, Walt and Chris ‑‑ Item Number 10, Action — Acceptance of Land Donation — Bexar County — Government Canyon State Natural Area.

Mr. Ted Hollingsworth?

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, my name is Ted Hollingsworth. I'm with the Land Conservation Program. I don't get to say this very often. But good morning.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Still morning? Let's keep it morning. You've got a few things to get through.

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: This item is the second reading. Staff does recommend that the Commission allow us to accept the donation of two-and-a-half acres of land at Government Canyon State Natural Area. This property is contiguous with the park. The owner has agreed not just to donate it but to fence it, as well. It's been surveyed. We have a gift deed. We're ready to file that pending your approval of acceptance of the donation. And with that, staff recommends that the Executive Director be authorized to take all necessary steps to accept the donation of 2.6 acres of land in Bexar County for addition to Government Canyon State Natural Area. Be happy to answer any questions you might have.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Do I have a motion?

COMMISSIONER HIXON: So move.

COMMISSIONER BROWN: Second.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Second Brown and Hixon. All in favor.

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Number 11. Ted's going to stay up for awhile. Acceptance of Land Donation — Orange County — 89 acres at the Tony Housman Wildlife Management Area.

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Chairman and Commissioners, good morning. My name is Ted Hollingsworth. I'm with the Land Conservation Program. This also is a second reading of an item that is a land donation. We've been working with a very cooperative pipeline developer/operator in Orange County to figure out how to mitigate for a pipeline easement across this wildlife management area. The solution we've come up with we think is an excellent solution, would involve donation of an 89 acre tract of land to the Department. A very excellent habitat. Works very well with the mission of that wildlife management area. There would be no regulatory strings attached to that property. We could add it and management manage it as a part of the wildlife management area as a donation.

It's ‑‑ like I say, has good wetland and upland habitat, good mature habitat. Gives us access to a public road which we don't have in that portion of the wildlife management area. This is the second reading. And staff does recommend that the Commission adopt the following motion. The Executive Director is authorized to take all necessary steps to accept the donation of 89 acres of land in Orange County for addition to the Tony Housman Wildlife Management Area. And I'd be happy to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Questions?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Do I have a motion?

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: So moved.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Second.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Mr. Friedkin and Duggins. All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Number 12, Action — Land Acquisition — Yoakum County — Fitzgerald Ranch.

Ted?

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Chairman, Commissioners, good morning. My name's Ted Hollingsworth. I'm with the Land Conservation Program. This is again, a second reading of an item. And it involves the purchase of 241 acres of land, that it would be contiguous with an area that we're working closely with The Nature Conservancy to assemble as a Lesser Prairie Chicken preserve. The reason Texas Parks and Wildlife is pursuing this acquisition is because the property currently belongs to the General Land Office. It was scheduled for public auction. And because of that the GLO can only deviate from that process by selling at appraised value to a sister state agency, such as Texas Parks and Wildlife.

As you can see, the property is contiguous in a couple of places and facilitates up several tracts of land with very good habitat for the Lesser Prairie Chicken. And staff does recommend that the Commission adopt the following motion. The Executive Director is authorized to take all necessary steps to acquire 241 acres in Yoakum County for addition to the Fitzgerald Ranch Lesser Prairie Chicken preserve. I'd be happy to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER BIVINS: I have a question.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes, sir?

COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Back to your map, on the Highway 1780 ‑‑ I think you've answered this during our discussion of it at a prior meeting. I don't remember. The two tracts that will be remaining on, you know, sort of either side of that parcel, who owns those?

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: The Nature Conservancy is actually our point of contact with all the landowners. They are in communication with all adjacent landowners all around. I honestly can't tell you who those owners are. I know that The Nature Conservancy is talking with them. And I know they would not have made this acquisition such a priority if there wasn't a prospect for filling in those ‑‑

COMMISSIONER BROWN: Okay.

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: ‑‑ those blanks.

COMMISSIONER BROWN: Okay.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Any other questions?

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Mr. Chairman, I have a question ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes, sir?

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: ‑‑ please.

Do we monitor GLO ‑‑ or the GLO public when they publish that they're going to sell a tract of land do we monitor that so that we get on a situation where it's a tract that we would or should have an interest in?

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: We don't monitor that directly. But what we do every several years is we carefully go through their inventory to make sure they don't have any properties that are either in-holdings or contiguous with sites that we want to expand so that we are aware of the properties. In fact, the Legislature directed us to do this about five years ‑‑ six years ago. And so we're pretty aware of those properties that they own that we would have ‑‑ normally have any interest in.

This one was sort of a surprise because the whole Fitzgerald Ranch Lesser Prairie Chicken Preserve acquisition project just materialized in the last year or so. But normally I review that list of properties they have every few years. Again, so that we become aware of anything that they might own that is of conservation interest to us.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Any other questions?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Do I have a motion?

COMMISSIONER BIVINS: So move.

COMMISSIONER PARKER: Second.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Bivins and Parker. All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Let me see. Where are we? Number 13, Action — Granting of utility easement — Palo Pinto County — public water line — Possum Kingdom State Park.

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Chairman ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Ted?

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Chairman, Commissioners, my name is Ted Hollingsworth. I'm with the Land Conservation Program. This is an easement that under our policy we bring to you for consideration because it not only will serve the state park but will also serve a number of downstream utility customers. The park, Possum Kingdom State Park, is a little west of Fort Worth. Currently the park is on its own water system, which has been out of compliance with TCEQ water standards for several years. TCEQ has been very cooperative in allowing us to continue to operate off that system. But we have been working closely with the water district to try and engineer a fix for that. Many of our neighbors have the same problems in terms of water quality and quantity.

This is the solution that's been worked out. It involves a water trunk, a main water line, across the state park. We are still working with the engineers to determine if the pump station and if a water storage tank need to be on the state park or not. But we did want you to go ahead and consider this item so that when staff reaches that point where we're convinced we have the best possible system that protects the state park and provides water ‑‑ staff is also negotiating water rates ‑‑ when we have reached that point that the Executive Director would be authorized to allow us to proceed to enter into that easement.

And with that, we recommend the following motion: The Executive Director is authorized to take all necessary steps to negotiate terms and conditions for the granting of an easement to the Possum Kingdom Water Supply Corporation to result in the delivery of water to Possum Kingdom State Park. And I'd be happy to answer any questions you'd have.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Any questions?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Need a motion.

COMMISSIONER BROWN: Move.

COMMISSIONER HIXON: Second.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Brown and Hixon. All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: All right. Okay, Ted, thank you.

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Fourteen, Land Acquisition — Cameron County — 25.3 acres from The Valley Land Fund, Inc., as an addition to the Arroyo Colorado Wildlife Management Area.

MR. KUHLMANN: Good morning. My name is Corky Kuhlmann with the Land Conservation Program, Parks and Wildlife. This ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Oh, it's Corky? Okay. Hi, Corky.

MR. KUHLMANN: Yes, sir. This is an acquisition in Cameron ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Hey.

MR. KUHLMANN: ‑‑ County. As you can see, Arroyo Colorado is northeast of Harlingen, just north of Rio Hondo, Texas. You can see the green polygon is the WMA, the yellow polygon is the 25 acres that we're trying to acquire. This 25 acres was purchased a few years ago by The Valley Land Fund at our request. We didn't have authority or money to buy it then. And we would take it out as soon as possible. It was to prevent a housing project that was being considered for that tract, and plus, it will protect valuable and dwindling habitat in the Rio Grande Valley.

Staff would recommend that you adopt the motion. The Executive Director is authorized to take all necessary steps to acquire the 25.3 acres as an addition to the Arroyo Colorado Wildlife Management Area.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Questions for Corky?

Yes, sir?

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: The area that's immediately north of the red on our ‑‑ on the notebook ‑‑ the tract to be acquired has a little rectangle right above it that's got a yellow line above it.

MR. KUHLMANN: Well, I'd have to ‑‑

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: You might look at ‑‑ I'm just curious if that's in the WMA. Or is it privately owned?

VOICE: Right here.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: That's ‑‑

MR. KUHLMANN: Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Okay.

MR. KUHLMANN: Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Any other questions for Corky?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Do I have a motion?

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: So move.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Duggins.

COMMISSIONER MARTIN: Second.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Martin. All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Okay. Number 15, El Paso

County — 1,673 acres from the El Paso Water Utilities Public Service Board as an addition to Franklin County State Park.

Corky, you're up.

MR. KUHLMANN: For the record, Corky Kuhlmann, Land Conservation Program. This is an acquisition from the Public Service Board at Franklin Mountains State Park. I'll have to make a comment about this slide. Even on our web site we had been posting this as the largest urban park in the nation. And the El Paso complex manager notified me yesterday and he said, Well, that's not true, there's one in Alaska that's bigger at Anchorage. And evidently he didn't understand ‑‑ he's not native Texan and doesn't understand the right of a Texan to brag a little bit or stretch the truth as needed. So on this slide I stand corrected. Alaska has a bigger urban state park than Franklin Mountains.

(Simultaneous discussion.)

VOICE: It's under contiguous ‑‑

MR. KUHLMANN: Yes, sir. We won't make that statement.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: No. Okay.

MR. KUHLMANN: In the contiguous ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT: I see.

MR. KUHLMANN: ‑‑ United States.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: You and Sarah Palin are going to fight about all that. So ‑‑

MR. KUHLMANN: This acquisition is a mandate of the 80th Legislative session of the State of Texas. That's why it's just going to be ‑‑

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes.

MR. KUHLMANN: ‑‑ done in one showing. There is about 1,473 acres at the northeast and 200 acres on the west side. This is mostly made up of mountainous foothills and will provide a buffer between the park and pending development by the PSB. In addition, this project gave us an opportunity to negotiate with the PSB for some road access on the northeast side. MLK is to the east. If you can see, the very top easement, that will be a hundred-foot-wide road easement that will be used for public access to Hitt Canyon for some equestrian use and hiking use. The lower 30-foot maintenance and emergency road easements will be used just for that.

Staff recommends that you adopt the following motion: The Executive Director is authorized to take all necessary steps to acquire approximately 1,673 acres as an addition to Franklin Mountains State Park.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Any questions?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Motion?

COMMISSIONER BROWN: Move.

COMMISSIONER FALCON: Second.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Brown and Dr. Flores will ‑‑ all in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Then that ends the public agenda. Am I saying that right? For right now. What we do is we recess to executive session, which we'll do upstairs. And I guess we'll ‑‑

Are you going to feed us, too, Carter?

MR. SMITH: We're going to feed you, yes.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: That will be nice.

MR. SMITH: Happy Commissioners.

COMMISSIONER HOLT: Yes. And we do need a quorum of Commissioners. It will be an executive session discussing a personnel matter. And I do need everybody to please come up. Okay?

(Whereupon, this meeting was continued in executive session.)

COMMISSIONER HOLT: At this time we will reconvene the regular session of the Commission meeting. Okay? The Commission has completed its business. I declare us adjourned. Thank you all very much.

(Whereupon, at 1:25 p.m. this meeting was adjourned.)

In official recognition hereof, we hereby affix our signatures as approved this 6th day of November 2008.

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: November 6, 2008

I do hereby certify that the foregoing pages, numbers 1 through 136, 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.

11/12/08
(Transcriber) (Date)
On the Record Reporting, Inc.
3307 Northland, Suite 315
Austin, Texas 78731


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