Regulations 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 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
    • TPWD Stocking Policy
    • Managed Land Deer Permits (MLDP) 2009-2010
    • Pronghorn Management and Population Research
    • Oil Well Inspections
    Staff:  Carter Smith
  2. 2011-2012 Statewide Hunting Proclamation Preview       
    Staff:  Jason Hardin
  3. 2011-2012 Fishing Proclamation Preview       
    Staff:  Robin Riechers, Ken Kurzawski
  4. Update on Revisions to Exotic Aquatic Species Rules       
    Staff:  Gary Saul
  5. Update on Alligator Gar Research and Management       
    Staff:  Craig Bonds

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
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 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:  Jason Hardin

Regulations Committee
2011-2012 Statewide Hunting Proclamation Preview
Potential Changes
November 3, 2010

I.       Executive Summary:  This item apprises the Commission of potential changes to hunting regulations for the 2011-2012 seasons.

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 statutory requirements and Commission policy, including scientific investigation and required findings of fact where applicable.  The potential changes are intended to 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 — Potential Changes to  Statewide Hunting Proclamation


Committee Agenda Item No. 2
Exhibit A

Staff is considering the following changes to the hunting regulations for the 2011-2012 seasons:

Eastern Turkey

  • Closure of the season for Eastern turkey in Camp, Cherokee, Delta, Gregg, Hardin, Houston, Hunt, Liberty, Montgomery, Rains, Rusk, San Jacinto, Shelby, Smith, Tyler and Walker counties in response to low population and harvest numbers.  Closure is necessary for the resumption and success of stocking efforts.
  • Alteration of the spring season for Eastern turkey.  The current season runs from April 1st to April 30th.  The proposed new season would open April 15th and close May 14th.  The change is intended to prevent harvest until the majority of hens have begun incubating, which is expected to result in higher breeding success and a reduction in accidental harvest of hens.  The change will also allow harvest during the second peak in gobbling activity, which is expected to result in greater hunter satisfaction.

Rio Grande Turkey

  • Alteration of bag composition during the spring season.  The current bag composition is gobblers only.  Staff recommends allowing the harvest of any bearded Rio Grande turkey during the spring season.  The Rio Grande turkey population in Texas is large and stable, and bearded hens are estimated to constitute less than 10 percent of the total hen population.  Allowing harvest of bearded hens during the spring season would not have a negative impact on the population and would allow for the harvest of surplus hens.
  • Implementation of a limited spring season in Austin County.  Under current regulations there is a limited spring season for Rio Grande turkey in Bastrop, Caldwell, Colorado, Fayette, Jackson, Lavaca, Lee, and Milam counties, during which one gobbler may be taken.  Staff has determined that the Rio Grande turkey population in Austin County can sustain limited harvest.

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

Regulations Committee
2011-2012 Statewide Fishing Proclamation Preview
Potential Changes
November 3, 2010

I.       Executive Summary:  This item apprises the Commission of potential changes to recreational and commercial fishing regulations for the 2011-2012 seasons.

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 statutory requirements and Commission policy, including scientific investigation and required findings of fact where applicable.  The potential changes are intended to 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

Exhibit A — Potential Changes to Statewide Fishing Proclamations


Committee Agenda Item No. 3
Exhibit A

Coastal Fisheries

The Coastal Fisheries Division has been monitoring closely the overall abundance of spotted seatrout on the Texas coast.  Staff will present an update of the current status and discuss scoping options regarding the management of the spotted seatrout fishery.

Inland Fisheries


Committee Agenda Item No.  4
Presenter:  Gary Saul

Regulations Committee
Update on Implementation of Revisions to Exotic Aquatic Plant Rules
November 3, 2010

I.       Executive Summary:  Staff will update the Commission on the implementation of revisions to exotic aquatic plant rules as directed in Sunset legislation.

II.     Discussion:  In the regular session of the 81st Texas Legislature (2009), the legislature enacted House Bill 3391, commonly referred to as the Sunset Bill, which requires TPWD to publish a list of exotic aquatic plants that are approved for importation or possession in Texas without a permit.  Proposed rules were presented to the Commission in August 2010 and staff requested approval to publish these rules in the Texas Register for public comment.  Staff has received extensive comments on the proposed rules and approved list of exotic aquatic plants since that meeting.  HB 3391 required the list of approved exotic aquatic plants and revisions to existing rules governing the importation, possession, and sale of exotic plants be effective no later than December 31, 2010 necessitating approval by the Commission in November.  However, based on the volume of comments and at the request of one of the legislative authors of the Sunset Bill, publication in the Texas Register will be delayed and rules revising the aquatic plant regulation will be presented to the Commission at its January 26, 2011 meeting for implementation later in 2011.  The interdivisional team working to accomplish this task will continue to work with stakeholders to consider their input on proposed rules and the draft list of exotic aquatic plants under consideration for approval for possession in Texas without a permit.


Commission Agenda Item No. 5
Presenter:  Craig Bonds

Regulations Committee
Update on Alligator Gar Research and Management
November 3, 2010

I.       Executive Summary:  Staff will provide an update on the status of alligator gar research and management in Texas.

II.     Discussion:  Alligator gar populations have declined throughout much of their historic range and are threatened by overfishing and habitat degradation.  However, Texas offers the best remaining trophy alligator gar fishing opportunities attracting anglers from all over the world.  Increased public interest in this species and concern for potential over-harvest prompted TPWD to implement a 1-fish-per-day bag limit on September 1, 2009.  Staff has continued efforts to acquire information needed to properly manage Texas alligator gar populations.  Projects have included investigations into alligator gar population dynamics, age validation, movement and habitat needs, tag retention, fish tissue contaminants, genetic variability, bow fishing tournament angler effort and harvest practices.  Many of these projects were undertaken in close collaboration with both rod-and-reel and bow anglers.


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