Conservation Committee

Wednesday, 9:00 a.m.
November 3, 2010

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

Commissioner Mark E. Bivins, Committee Chair
Scott Boruff, Committee Liaison

Approval of Previous Meeting Minutes

  1. Update on TPWD Progress in Implementing the TPWD Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan
    • Assistance for Private Landowners
    • Spring Team
    • Wildlife Division — New Fire Management Coordinator
    • Desert Bighorn Sheep Restoration Efforts
    • Sister Grove Creek Treated for Zebra Mussels
    Staff:  Carter Smith
  2. Val Verde County Land Project — Devil’s River State Natural Area Property Exchange — Resolution (Executive Session and Action Item No. 6) WITHDRAWN AS A COMMISSION ACTION ITEM        
    Staff:  Scott Boruff
  3. Potential Black-footed Ferret Reintroduction       
    Staff:  Sean Kyle
  4. Briefing on Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZ) Transmission Lines       
    Staff:  Kathy Boydston
  5. Development of Watershed Best Management Practices for Conservation of Texas Aquatic Ecosystems       
    Staff:  Tim Birdsong WITHDRAWN
  6. Acceptance of Land Donation – Kendall and Bandera Counties – 3700 Acres (3K Ranch) – Request Permission to begin the Public Notice and Input Process (Executive Session)       
    Staff:  Corky Kuhlmann
  7. Request for Easement – Brazoria County – Power Line Easement at Justin Hurst Wildlife Management Area – Permission to begin the Public Notice and Input Process       
    Staff:  Ted Hollingsworth
  8. Request for Easement – Briscoe County – Transmission Line Crossing Caprock Canyons Trailway – Request Permission to begin the Public Notice and Input Process       
    Staff:  Ted Hollingsworth
  9. New Park Search Briefing – Palo Pinto County       
    Staff:  Ted Hollingsworth (Executive Session)
  10. Personnel Matters — Performance Evaluation of TPWD Executive Director (Executive Session)
    Staff:  Chairman Holt
    CANCELLED — MOVED TO JANUARY 2011 MEETING
  11. Land Exchange — Blanco County — 300 Acres for the Pedernales Falls State Park Conservation Project — Resolution (Action Item No. 7)
    Staff: Ted Hollingsworth

Committee Agenda Item No. 1
Presenter:  Carter Smith

Conservation Committee
Update on TPWD Progress in Implementing the
TPWD Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan
November 3, 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 Conservation Committee on TPWD’s recent progress in achieving the Plan’s goals, objectives and deliverables as they relate to the Conservation 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. 3
Presenter:  Sean Kyle

Conservation Committee
Potential Black-footed Ferret Reintroduction
November 3, 2010

I.       Executive Summary:  Staff will provide an overview of TPWD’s efforts to examine the feasibility of a Black-footed ferret reintroduction.

II.     Discussion:  The federally endangered Black-footed ferret is a predator that preys on prairie dogs and is considered a keystone species for Great Plains ecosystems.  Though its historic range covers over half of Texas, the species has been extirpated from the state since 1963.  By 1985, the entire species was reduced to only 18 individuals in Wyoming.  Captive breeding and reintroduction efforts have brought the species back from the brink of extinction.  The species has been reintroduced at 19 sites in 5 western states, Canada and Mexico, but the majority of these efforts are in the Northern Plains.  TPWD is assessing the feasibility of establishing a small, experimental population of Black-footed ferrets, and is considering a site on the Rita Blanca National Grassland as well as other public and private sites.  This potential reintroduction effort would result from strong partnerships between TPWD and other state and federal agencies and would necessarily include a strong package of regulatory assurances to protect Texas landowners.  Staff will brief the commission on the current status of these efforts.


Committee Agenda Item No. 4
Presenter:  Kathy Boydston

Conservation Committee
Briefing on Competitive Renewable Energy Zones
and Transmission Lines
November 3, 2010

I.       Executive Summary:  Staff will brief the Commission on the Public Utility Commission (PUC) process for establishing the Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZ) and TPWD’s role in this process and subsequent transmission line development in Texas.

II.     Discussion:  In 2005, Texas Senate Bill 20 (79th Texas Legislature, 1st Called Session) directed the Public Utility Commission (PUC) to determine the most productive wind zones in Texas.  In response to SB 20, the PUC studied 25 zones and asked developers to nominate zones in which they had an interest in developing wind energy, known as Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZ) (Tex Utilities Code §§39.203, 39.904).  Also in response to SB 20, the PUC identified transmission system improvements necessary to transmit electrical power from wind generation locations in the west and northwest portions of the state to population centers such as San Antonio, Austin and Dallas/Fort Worth.  Since that time, the Public Utility Commission (PUC) has been evaluating proposed routes for CREZ transmission lines in multiple dockets at the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH).

After SB 20, TPWD staff recognized the magnitude of potential impacts on natural resources from transmission line development and the additional wind energy development after the transmission lines are in service.  TPWD has been working closely with the PUC on reviewing and commenting on the CREZ transmission lines to assist the PUC in minimizing impacts to the fish and wildlife resources.  The Commission will also be updated on the schedule of the CREZ lines; and information about the lines that have been reviewed by TPWD staff and the lines that staff are still reviewing.


Committee Agenda Item No. 5
Presenter:  Tim Birdsong

Conservation Committee
Development of Best Watershed Management Practices for
Conservation of Texas Aquatic Ecosystems
November 3, 2010

I.       Executive Summary:  Staff will provide an overview on the development of watershed best management practices in Texas.

II.     Discussion:  Inland Fisheries Division staff are coordinating a multidivisional and multiagency effort to develop watershed best management practices (BMPs) to address specific watershed and habitat impairments identified within each Ecological Drainage Unit (overlay of ecoregions and watershed boundaries) in the state.  Final deliverables will include a web-based platform that provides access to summary information for each Ecological Drainage Unit including native species, important habitats, regional fish and wildlife conservation priorities, conservation threats, watershed and habitat impairment issues, and specific watershed BMPs that address identified impairments.  This project is on schedule to be completed in summer 2011 and fulfills action item 1.A.001 of the Land and Water Plan.


Committee Agenda Item No. 6
Presenter:  Corky Kuhlmann

Conservation Committee
Land Donation – Kendall and Bandera Counties
3K Ranch
November 3, 2010

I.       Executive Summary:  Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) has been left a 3,796-acre tract of land from the estate of Albert and Bessie Kronkosky.

II.          Discussion:  TPWD has been left a 3,796-acre tract of land located approximately 8 miles west of Boerne and 30 miles northwest of the center of San Antonio, along and adjacent to State Highway 46 between Boerne and Pipe Creek.  This tract is largely undeveloped with one ranch complex along State Highway 46 including a main residence, ranch manager residence, a 6-car garage, two 2-car garages and 2 barns.

TPWD Staff is currently evaluating the site to determine the best use within our system.

Staff would like to begin the process of providing public notice and obtaining public input regarding a proposed donation of the 3796 acre tract.

Attachments — 3

  1. Exhibit A – Location Map
  2. Exhibit B – Vicinity Map
  3. Exhibit C – Site Map

Committee Agenda Item No. 6
Exhibit A

Location Map
Kendall and Bandera Counties
3K Ranch

Location Map

Committee Agenda Item No. 6
Exhibit B

Vicinity Map
3K Ranch

Vicinity Map

Committee Agenda Item No. 6
Exhibit C

Site Map
3K Ranch

Site Map

Committee Agenda Item No. 7
Presenter:  Ted Hollingsworth

Conservation Committee
Request for Easement – Brazoria County
Power Line Easement at Justin Hurst WMA
November 4, 2010

I.       Executive Summary:  Dow Pipeline Company requests an easement to install a cathodic protection (CP) unit to protect three existing pipelines crossing the 13,777-acre Justin Hurst Wildlife Management Area (WMA) in Brazoria County.

II.     Discussion:  The Justin Hurst WMA was established in 1986 to conserve a mosaic of coastal prairie, marsh and riparian woodland.  The site is important for migratory waterfowl and is a popular waterfowl hunting destination.

Several pipeline and utility corridors cross the WMA.  One corridor contains pipelines belonging to Dow Pipeline Company.  In the monitoring of these lines, the company has determined that existing cathodic protection (CP) is inadequate within the WMA and cannot be provided by existing CP units outside the WMA’s boundaries.  CP involves providing a steady electrical current to the pipeline, which reduces the rate of metal pipeline oxidation.  The company wishes to install a single CP unit within the WMA to provide this protection to three existing pipelines.

The CP unit will consist of a rectifier mounted on a short pole adjacent to the pipelines, an anode well 350’ deep, to be drilled near the rectifier, and a 1,172’ aerial power line to provide electricity for the CP unit.  Staff has evaluated the proposal and believes that installation of a CP unit is appropriate.  Staff requests permission to begin the public notice and input process.

Attachments — 3

1.      Exhibit A – Location Map

2.      Exhibit B – Vicinity Map

3.      Exhibit C – Site Map

4.      Exhibit D – Project Map


Committee Agenda Item No. 7
Exhibit A

Location of Justin Hurst WMA in Brazoria County

Location of Justin Hurst WMA in Brazoria County

Committee Agenda Item No. 7
Exhibit B

Vicinity Map for Justin Hurst WMA – 50 Miles South of Houston

Vicinity Map for Justin Hurst WMA

Committee Agenda Item No. 7
Exhibit C

Justin Hurst WMA Showing Location of Easement Request

Justin Hurst WMA Showing Location of Easement Request

Committee Agenda Item No. 7
Exhibit D

Project Map With Project Details

Project Map With Project Details

Committee Agenda Item No. 8
Presenter:  Ted Hollingsworth

Conservation Committee
Request for Easement – Briscoe County
Transmission Line Crossing Caprock Canyons Trailway
November 3, 2010

I.       Executive Summary:  Cross Texas Transmission, LLC requests that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission authorize solicitation of public comment regarding the proposed crossing of the Caprock Canyons Trailway by an electric transmission line component of the Competitive Renewable Electric Zone.

II.     Discussion:  In 2005, Texas Senate Bill 20 (79th Texas Legislature, 1st Called Session) directed the Public Utility Commission (PUC) to determine the most productive wind zones in Texas.  In response to SB 20, the PUC studied 25 zones and asked developers to nominate zones in which they had an interest in developing wind energy, known as Competitive Renewable Energy Zones (CREZ) (Tex Utilities Code §§39.203, 39.904).  Also in response to SB 20, the PUC identified transmission system improvements necessary to transmit electrical power from wind generation locations in the west and northwest portions of the state to population centers such as San Antonio, Austin and Dallas/Fort Worth.  Since that time, the Public Utility Commission (PUC) has been evaluating proposed routes for CREZ transmission lines in multiple dockets at the State Office of Administrative Hearings (SOAH).

In Application of Cross Texas Transmission, LLC for a Certificate of Convenience and Necessity to the Silverton to Tesla 345 kV Transmission Line in Briscoe, Childress, Cottle, Floyd, Hall and Motley Counties — PUC Docket No. 38435, SOAH Docket No. 473-10-5543, a number of the proposed routes being evaluated by the PUC would require crossing the Caprock Canyons Trailway.  In the course of the above-referenced proceedings, PUC staff, Cross Texas Transmission, LLC, and the potentially impacted private landowners have attempted to reach a settlement regarding the route to be selected.  TPWD staff was contacted regarding the potential crossing of the Caprock Canyons Trailway.  The “First Settlement Route” presented to TPWD staff evolved into the “Second Settlement Route” in response to concerns raised by TPWD staff.   In anticipation of possible authorization of this route by the PUC, the project sponsor, Cross Texas Transmission, LLC requests that TPWD begin the public input process for issuance of the easement that would be required for the trailway crossing.

Attachments — 3

  1. Exhibit A – Location Map
  2. Exhibit B – Vicinity Map
  3. Exhibit C – Project Map
  4. Exhibit D – Site Map

Committee Agenda Item No. 8
Exhibit A

Location of Caprock Canyons Trailway in Briscoe, Floyd and Hall Counties

Location of Caprock Canyons Trailway

Committee Agenda Item No. 8
Exhibit B

Vicinity Map for Caprock Canyons Trailway

Vicinity Map for Caprock Canyons Trailway

Committee Agenda Item No. 8
Exhibit C

Map Showing Caprock Canyons Trailway and CREZ Project Vicinity

Map Showing Caprock Canyons Trailway and CREZ Project Vicinity

Committee Agenda Item No. 8
Exhibit D

Site Map for Proposed CREZ Line Routes Across Caprock Canyons Trailway

Site Map for Proposed CREZ Line Routes Across Caprock Canyons Trailway

Committee Agenda Item No. 9
Presenter:  Ted Hollingsworth

Conservation Committee
New Park Search Briefing – Palo Pinto County
November 3, 2010

I.       Executive Summary:  In 2008, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) sold the Eagle Mountain Lake State Park property for $9.2 million, with the understanding these funds would be used to acquire a site for a new state park within approximately 90 miles of Fort Worth.  Staff will update the Commission in Executive Session on the status of this process.


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