Regulations Committee

Wednesday, 9:00 am, March 31, 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
    Staff: Carter Smith
  2. Proposed Seagrass Rules for the Redfish Bay State Scientific Area – Request Permission to Publish Proposed Changes in the Texas Register
    Staff: Robin Riechers, Ed Hegen
  3. Briefing on Federal and State Cooperative Management of the Red Snapper Fishery
    Staff: Robin Riechers
  4. Migratory Game Bird Proclamation - Permission to Publish Proposed Changes in the Texas Register
    Staff: Corey Mason
  5. Deer Management Permit (DMP) Rules – Facility Standards and Release Date – Permission to Publish Proposed Changes in the Texas Register
    Staff: Mitch Lockwood
  6. Deer Permit Program Rules – Request Permission to Publish Proposed Changes in the Texas Register – Denial of Issuance or Renewal for Lacey Act Violations
    Staff: Brad Chappell, Scott Vaca
  7. Proposed Rule Review of Chapter 58 Oysters and Shrimp – Recommended Adoption of Completed Rule Review (Action Item No. 2)
    Staff: Ann Bright
  8. 2010-2011 Statewide Hunting and Fishing Proclamations – Recommended Adoption of Proposed Changes (Action Item No. 3)
    Staff: Ken Kurzawski, Mitch Lockwood

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
March 31, 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
Presenters: Robin Riechers
Ed Hegen

Regulations Committee
Proposed Seagrass Rules for the Redfish Bay State Scientific Area
March 31, 2010

I. Executive Summary: In order to establish continuous protection for the submerged seagrasses of Redfish Bay within the Redfish Bay State Scientific Area located on the mid-Texas coast, the Coastal Fisheries Division is recommending that the self-imposed term of expiration for the establishment of the state scientific area be removed. In addition, the proposal updates the proper names for two species of seagrasses to be consistent with the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature.

II. Discussion:  In 2000, a large triangle shaped area encompassing all of Redfish Bay on the mid-Texas coast was established as a state scientific area. The substantial meadows of submerged aquatic vegetation (seagrasses) within this area were receiving extensive boating pressure and subsequently the seagrasses were being uprooted and scarred by outboard motor propellers. Initial efforts for five years (2000-2005) of establishing voluntary no-prop zones proved ineffective and unenforceable. The Commission reauthorized the Redfish Bay State Scientific Area for five years (July 1, 2005 through June 30, 2010) and subsequently adopted a no-uprooting proclamation through the entire area effective May 1, 2006. Extensive efforts by Coastal Fisheries staff to educate boaters and conduct scientific research has proven that seagrasses are being protected by the current regulation. The Coastal Fisheries Division is asking that the Redfish Bay State Scientific Area be renewed and that a term limit not be included. The proclamation prohibiting up-rooting of seagrasses via outboard propellers would continue in effect. It would be reviewed annually with all other fish and game proclamations. In addition, the proposal updates the proper names for two species of seagrasses to be consistent with the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature.

Attachments - 1

  1. Exhibit A – Map of Closed Area

Committee Agenda Item No. 2
Exhibit A


Committee Agenda Item No. 3
Presenter: Robin Riechers

Regulations Committee
Briefing on Federal and State Cooperative Management of the Red Snapper Fishery
March 31, 2010

I. Executive Summary: A recent stock assessment of the red snapper fishery in the Gulf of Mexico indicates that the stock is no longer undergoing overfishing but that the stock is still overfished and remains on a long-term rebuilding plan. The Gulf of Mexico Fishery Management Council met recently and forwarded to the Secretary of Commerce the regulatory amendment to raise the total allowable catch (TAC) of red snapper from the current level to 6.9 million pounds. Unfortunately while the TAC is increasing, it is believed that the number of days the fishery will remain open will still be reduced from 75 days to somewhere between 50 to 60 days. The season is still set to begin on June 1. A definite closing date will be announced after all the data from last calendar year have been analyzed.


Committee Agenda Item No. 4
Presenter: Corey Mason

Regulations Committee
Potential Changes to the Migratory Game Bird Proclamation
March 31, 2010

I. Executive Summary: This item:

II. Discussion: Responsibility for establishing seasons, bag limits, means, methods, and devices for harvesting migratory game birds within U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) frameworks is delegated to the Commission under Chapter 64, Subchapter C, Parks and Wildlife Code. Parks and Wildlife Code, §64.022, authorizes the Executive Director, after notification of the Chairman, to engage in rulemaking. At present, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) has not issued the annual regulatory frameworks for migratory game birds. Typically, the Service issues the preliminary early-season (dove, teal, snipe, rails, gallinules) frameworks in late June and the preliminary late-season (ducks, geese, cranes) frameworks in early August. The Service typically issues the final early-season frameworks in early August and the final late-season frameworks in late September. Because no Commission meetings occur between May and August, the early-season regulations are adopted by the Executive Director in early July, using the rulemaking authority delegated by the Commission.

Attachments - 1

  1. Exhibit A – Proposed Seasons

Committee Agenda Item No. 4
Exhibit A

Summary: Proposed 2010-2011 Migratory Game Bird Seasons

 

Early season species:

Dove:  Staff anticipates that Texas will have a 70-day season with a 15-bird daily bag limit.

            North Zone:  September 1 — October 24, 2010; December 25, 2010 — January 9, 2011

            Central Zone:  September 1 — October 24, 2010; December 25, 2010 — January 9, 2011

            South Zone:  September 17 — October 31,2010; December 25, 2010 — January 18, 2011

Special White Winged Dove Area*:  September 4-5 and 11-12, 2010; September 17 — October 31, 2010 and December 25, 2010 — January 14, 2011.

*Shooting hours in the SWWDA during the September special season are from noon to sunset.  There is an aggregate daily bag limit of 15 dove (no more than 4 mourning dove and no more than 2 white-tipped dove).  During the general season the aggregate bag limit is 15.

Woodcock:  Staff anticipates that Texas will have a 45-day season with a 3-bird daily bag.

            Statewide:  December 18, 2010 — January 31, 2011

Snipe:  Staff anticipates that Texas will have a 107-day season with an 8-bird daily bag.

Statewide:  October 30, 2010 — February 13, 2011

Rails/Gallinules/Moorhens:  Staff anticipates that Texas will have a 70-day season.

            Statewide:  September 11 — 26, 2010 and October 30 — December 22, 2010

            Daily bag limits:

                        Sora and Virginia rails — 25

                        King and clapper rails — 15

                        Purple gallinules and common moorhens — 15

Teal:  Staff anticipates either a 9-day or a 16-day season with a 4-bird daily bag limit.

            Statewide:  September 18 — 26, 2010 (9-day season)

                               September 11 — 26, 2010 (16-day season)

Late Season Species:

Ducks:  Staff anticipates a "liberal" package from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

North and South Zone: October 30 — November 28, 2010; December 11, 2010 — January 23, 2011.

High Plains Mallard Management Unit — October 23-24, 2010 and October 29, 2010 — January 23, 2011.  Youth seasons will be the weekend before opening day of the general season in each zone.

            Daily bag limit:  Coots — 15.

Ducks — 6 in the aggregate, to include no more than 5 mallards (only 2 of which may be hens); 3 wood ducks; 2 scaup (lesser scaup and greater scaup in the aggregate); 2 redheads; 1 pintail; 1 canvasback and 1 dusky duck (mottled duck, Mexican like duck, black duck and their hybrids) after the first 5 days in each zone.

Mergansers — 5 in the aggregate, to include no more than 2 hooded mergansers

Geese:  Staff anticipates that Texas will have a 107-day season for snow and dark geese and a 72-day season for white-fronted geese in the Eastern Zone, and 95-day for all species in the West Zone.

            East Zone:

            White-fronted goose:  October 30, 2010 — January 9, 2011

            Canada and light geese:  October 30, 2010 — January 23, 2011

            Daily bag limit:

                        Light geese — 20 in the aggregate

                        Canada geese — 3

                        White-fronted geese — 2

            West Zone (all species):  November 6, 2010 — February 6, 2011.

            Daily Bag Limit:

                        Light geese — 20 in the aggregate

                        Dark geese — 4 Canada and 1 white-fronted goose

Sandhill Cranes:  Staff anticipates a 93-day crane season with a 3-bird bag limit in Zones A and B, and a 37-day season with a 2-bird bag limit in Zone C.

            Zone A:  November 6, 2010 — February 6, 2011

            Zone B:  November 26, 2010 — February 6, 2011

            Zone C:  December 18, 2010 — January 23, 2011

Falconry:  January 24, 2011 — February 7, 2011 (North and South Zones only).


Committee Agenda Item No. 5
Presenter: Mitch Lockwood

Regulations Committee
Deer Management Permit Rules
March 31, 2010

I. Executive Summary: This item seeks permission to publish proposed changes to the rules governing the Deer Management Permit (DMP). The proposed changes would:

II. Discussion: Under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 43, Subchapter R, the Commission may establish the conditions for the use of a permit to manage deer on acreage enclosed by a fence capable of retaining white-tailed deer. This permit is referred to as the Deer Management Permit, or DMP.

Current rules state that a pen used to temporarily retain deer under a DMP cannot be smaller than five acres in an area unless it contains a minimum of 50,000 square feet of vegetative cover. The White-tailed Deer Advisory Committee (WTDAC) recommends prohibiting pen sizes of less than five acres and requiring any pen used to temporarily retain deer under a DMP to contain at least 50,000 square feet of vegetative cover, irrespective of pen size. The WTDAC also recommends that existing facilities be exempted from compliance with the new rules, if adopted.


Committee Agenda Item No. 6
Presenters: Brad Chappell
Scott Vaca

Regulations Committee
Deer Breeder, Deer Management, and Triple T Permits
Standards for Denial/Refusal to Renew - Inclusion of Lacey Act Violations
March 31, 2010

I. Executive Summary: This item seeks permission to publish proposed changes to the regulations governing the issuance and renewal of deer breeder permits, deer management permits, and permits to trap, transport, and transplant game animals and game birds. The proposed rules would allow the department to refuse permit issuance or renewal for five years to persons following final conviction or assessment of a civil penalty for violating the federal Lacey Act.

II. Discussion: Parks and Wildlife Code (the Code), Chapter 43, Subchapter E, requires the Commission to adopt rules for the content of wildlife stocking plans, certification of wildlife trappers, and the trapping, transporting, and transplanting of game animals and game birds ("Triple T" permits). Chapter 43, Subchapter L of the Code requires the Commission to establish permits for and authorizes the promulgation of rules governing the possession of breeder deer (deer breeder permits). Chapter 43, Subchapter R of the Code authorizes the Commission to issue and establish conditions for the use of a permit to manage deer on acreage enclosed by a fence capable of retaining white-tailed deer (deer management permit, or "DMP").

Under current rule, the department may refuse to issue or renew a deer breeder, Triple T, or deer management permit to any person who within five years prior to applying for or renewing one of those permits has been convicted of or received deferred adjudication for a violation of Parks and Wildlife Code, Subchapters C, E, L, or R; a Parks and Wildlife Code Class A or Class B Misdemeanor; a Parks and Wildlife Code Felony; or Parks and Wildlife Code, §63.002 (which prohibits the possession live game animals for any unauthorized purpose.) In general, the offenses involve the possession of live animals and serious violations of the Parks and Wildlife Code. The purpose of the provisions is to prevent persons who have been proven to exhibit disregard for statutes and regulations governing the taking or possession of wildlife, including the possession of live wildlife, from obtaining permits.

The Lacey Act is a federal statute that, among other things, prohibits trade in wildlife, fish, or plants that are taken, possessed, transported, or sold in violation of state law. Although the federal government must prove that a violation of state law occurred in order to obtain a conviction under the Lacey Act, there is no requirement that a conviction also be obtained in a state court. The department's current rules provide only for denial of permit issuance or renewal upon conviction for a violation of specific state laws. Since a Lacey Act conviction is a federal conviction for a violation of federal law, it is therefore possible for a person convicted of or assessed a civil penalty for a Lacey Act violation involving Texas law to continue to obtain deer breeder permits, DMPs, and Tripe T permits, if there is no concurrent prosecution by the state. Since concurrent investigations and prosecutions are redundant, time-consuming, and expensive, staff recommends amending current department rules to allow for denial of permit issuance or renewal of deer breeder permits, DMPs, and Tripe T permits on the basis of convictions for Lacey Act violations.


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