Regulations Committee

Wednesday, 9:00 am, January 27, 2010

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department
Commission Hearing Room
4200 Smith School Road, Austin, TX 78744

Commissioner T. Dan Friedkin, Committee Chair
Ross Melinchuk, Committee Liaison

Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes

  1. Update on TPWD Progress in Implementing the TPWD Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan
    • Ducks Unlimited Canada - Partnership Update
    • Water Spinach Regulations Implementation
    Staff: Carter Smith
  2. Proposed Rule Review of Chapter 58 Oysters and Shrimp - Permission to Conduct Rule Review and Publish Proposed Changes in the Texas Register
    Staff: Ann Bright
  3. 2010-2011 Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation - Permission to Publish Proposed Changes in the Texas Register
    Staff: Robin Riechers, Ken Kurzawski, Mitch Lockwood
  4. Pronghorn Antelope Update
    Staff: Billy Tarrant (Jon Means, Landowner)
  5. Proposed New State Falconry Regulations - Raptor Proclamation - Recommended Adoption of Proposed Changes (Action Item No. 10)
    Staff: Matt Reidy

Committee Agenda Item No. 1
Presenter: Carter Smith

Regulations Committee
Update on TPWD Progress in Implementing the TPWD Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan
January 27, 2010

I. Executive Summary: Executive Director Carter Smith will briefly update the Commission on the status of the agency's efforts to implement the Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan (the "Plan").

II. Discussion: In 2001, the 77th Texas Legislature directed that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) develop a Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan (Tex. Park & Wild. Code §11.104). In 2002, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission (the Commission) adopted the first Plan. A revised Plan was adopted by the Commission in January 2005. In November 2009, the Commission approved a new Plan effective January 1, 2010. The 2010 Plan is available on the TPWD web site. Executive Director Carter Smith will update the Regulations Committee on TPWD's recent progress in achieving the Plan's goals, objectives and deliverables as they relate to the Regulations Committee.

The Plan consists of the following four goals:

  1. Practice, Encourage and Enable Science-based Stewardship of Natural and Cultural Resources
  2. Increase Access To and Participation In the Outdoors
  3. Educate, Inform and Engage Texas Citizens in Support of Conservation and Recreation
  4. Employ Efficient, Sustainable and Sound Business Practices

Committee Agenda Item No. 2
Presenter: Ann Bright

Regulations Committee
Rule Review - Chapter 58 Oysters and Shrimp Permission to Begin Review and Publish Changes
January 27, 2010

I. Executive Summary: Section 2001.039 of the Texas Government Code requires state agencies to review each rule under its jurisdiction at least once every four years.

II. Discussion: A state agency's review of a rule must include an assessment of whether the reasons for initially adopting the rule continue to exist. Under the requirements of this statute, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) must now review Chapter 58, Oysters and Shrimp of Title 31 of the Texas Administrative Code:

With Commission approval, the staff will publish a Notice of Intent to Review for public comment in the Texas Register. Also, TPWD staff seeks permission to publish any changes resulting from the review of rules in Chapter 58, in conjunction with the publication of the Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation.


Committee Agenda Item No. 3
Presenters: Ken Kurzawski
Robin Riechers
Mitch Lockwood

Regulations Committee
2010-2011 Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation
Proposed Changes
January 27, 2010

I. Executive Summary: This item seeks permission to publish proposed changes to the Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamation for the 2010-2011 seasons in the Texas Register for public comment.

II. Discussion: Responsibility for establishing seasons, bag limits, and means and methods for taking wildlife resources is delegated to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 61. The potential changes are based upon suggestions from the public, statutory requirements, and Commission policy, including scientific investigation and required findings of fact where applicable. The potential changes are intended increase recreational opportunity, decrease regulatory complexity where possible, promote enforcement, and provide for the sound biological management of the wildlife resources of the state.

Attachments - 1

  1. Exhibit A – Summary of Proposal

Committee Agenda Item No. 3
Exhibit A

Summary of Proposal

Coastal Fisheries

The Coastal Fisheries Division will propose to decrease the minimum size limit on snook from 24 to 22 inches.

General Fishing Rules

The Coastal Fisheries Division and Inland Fisheries Division will propose to organizationally separate the body of regulations governing commercial fishing from the regulations regarding recreational fishing. The proposed changes also specify reporting requirements for all commercial fishing in both coastal and inland fisheries.

Also, the Coastal Fisheries Division and Inland Fisheries Division will propose a regulatory clarification. Current rules that cover the taking and possession of fish could be misinterpreted to mean it is unlawful to attempt to take fish in waters where length limits are in place. Proposed changes will ensure length and bag limits can continue to be enforced, and anglers can clearly determine when their fishing activities are lawful.

Wildlife

The Wildlife Division will propose the implementation of an open general season in Dawson and Wheeler counties. Under current rule, there is no open season for mule deer in Dawson or Wheeler counties. Implementing a nine-day, buck-only season in Dawson County and a 16-day, buck-only season in Wheeler County would offer increased hunter opportunity without adversely impacting mule deer reproduction or distribution. The literature suggests that the implementation of a buck-only season will not have any measurable impact on herd productivity or expansion; however, a measurable change in the age structure of bucks is anticipated as a result of harvest pressure on a previous population that is not hunted.

Wildlife Division staff will also discuss a potential change that would lengthen mule deer season in Trans-Pecos counties by moving the opening day to the Friday immediately following Thanksgiving Day. The season currently opens on the last Saturday in November.


Committee Agenda Item No. 4
Presenters: Billy Tarrant
Jon Means

Regulations Committee
Pronghorn Antelope Update
January 27, 2010

I. Executive Summary: Wildlife Division District 1 Leader Billy Tarrant and Trans-Pecos Landowner Jon Means will briefly update the Regulations Committee on the status of pronghorn antelope in the Trans-Pecos Ecological Region.

II. Discussion: Several Trans-Pecos pronghorn herds have recently declined considerably and sampling efforts have indicated that internal parasites may play a role in affecting populations.

In 2008, TPWD Wildlife Division staff documented a significant die-off of pronghorn in several herd units in Jeff Davis and Presidio counties. Drought, a May freeze, and increased predation were thought to be the primary reasons for this event. Although range conditions improved with increased rainfall in summer of 2008, landowners continued to report pronghorn mortalities. In 2009, reproduction in several of these herd units was much lower than expected and pronghorn necropsies indicated significant numbers of the abomasal parasite, Haemonchus contortus or barber's pole worm.

In 2009, an assembly of Trans-Pecos landowners, hunters, outfitters, wildlife veterinarians, wildlife biologists, and researchers established the Trans-Pecos Pronghorn Working Group. One of the recommendations of this group was to sample hunter-harvested pronghorn in October for mineral deficiencies and Haemonchus concentrations. Numerous TPWD Wildlife Division staff, Sul Ross State University students, landowners, and outfitters assisted with this considerable initiative.

Analyses indicated that Haemonchus concentrations in Trans-Pecos pronghorn were probably high enough to impact reproduction and survival. While these parasites have previously been reported in pronghorn, there appears to be no prior research indicating numbers of this magnitude. Additional research and monitoring are needed to assist TPWD staff in making management recommendations to landowners.


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