Commission Agenda Item No. 10
Presenter:  Ted Hollingsworth

Action
Request for Easement – Ward and Winkler Counties
Water Distribution Pipeline Easement at Monahans Sandhills State Park
November 3, 2011

I.              Executive Summary:  The Colorado River Municipal Water District requests an easement for the installation of a 48 inch water distribution line across Monahans Sandhills State Park in Ward and Winkler counties.

II.            Discussion:  Monahans Sandhills State Park (SP) covers 3,840 acres straddling Ward and Winkler counties southwest of Odessa.  As the name implies, the park preserves an excellent example of arid land sand dunes, some up to 70 feet high.  The site protects a range of resources such as important archeological site and the Dunes sagebrush lizard, a candidate species for federal listing.

The park has been managed and operated since 1956 under a long-term lease from the Sealy and Smith Foundation (Foundation) of Galveston.  In 1971 the Colorado River Municipal Water District (CRMWD) obtained an easement from the Foundation and installed a 33-inch waterline through the state park in Ward County.  The CRMWD supplies water to Odessa, Snyder and Big Spring.  Due to growth in these communities since 1971, and the strain on water supplies precipitated by the current drought, CRMWD wishes to install a second pipeline of 48 inches parallel to the existing line.  They would like to begin construction in January 2012.

The Foundation has requested that TPWD negotiate terms and conditions, including mitigation and compensation for damages to natural and cultural resources, for the segment of the line passing through the state park.

III.     Recommendation:  The staff recommends the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt the following motion:

“The Commission adopts the Resolution attached as Exhibit A.

Attachments — 4

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

Commission Agenda Item No. 10
Exhibit A

A Resolution by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission Regarding the Granting of an Easement Covering Approximately Seven Acres of Real Property in Ward and Winkler Counties for a Water Transmission Pipeline Crossing the Monahans Sandhills State Park

Resolution

Whereas,  the Sealy and Smith Foundation (the Foundation) of Galveston, Texas owns 3,840 acres in Ward and Winkler Counties leased to Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) for development, management and operation as Monahans Sandhills State Park (the Park); and,

Whereas, TPWD has developed and does manage and operate the Park to preserve unique geological, topographic, biological, esthetic and recreational features for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations; and,

Whereas, the Colorado River Municipal Water District (CRMWD) was authorized in 1949 by an Act of the 51st Texas Legislature to provide water to Odessa, Snyder and Big Spring; and,

Whereas, the CRMWD constructed a 33” diameter water pipeline across the Park in 1971, and needs to increase capacity by installing an additional 48” diameter water pipeline adjacent to the existing line, to meet increasing demand for water in its service area and has requested an easement to facilitate the additional pipeline (Easement); and,

Whereas, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission (the Commission) finds that as required by Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 26, notices of today’s hearing of this matter were published at least once a week for three consecutive weeks in newspapers of general circulation which are published at least six days a week in the community nearest to the Park in which such newspapers are published (the Monahans News and the Odessa American), with the last day of publication being not less than one week or more than two weeks before the date of today’s hearing and that such notices specified the date and time at which the Commission would hear testimony regarding the Easement; and,

Whereas, staff of TPWD have worked with CRMWD to select a route, site access and construction staging areas, that will minimize impacts to fish and wildlife resources and to public recreation opportunities; and,

Whereas, CRMWD has agreed to compensate TPWD and the Foundation for damages to Park resources and for the Easement; and,

Whereas, CRMWD has provided evidence that installation of the 48” diameter water pipeline in an easement adjacent to the existing pipeline easement could reduce net impacts to fish and wildlife habitat over alternate routes; and,

Whereas, TPWD staff believe that some of the alternative routes for the 48” water pipeline are likely to result in greater net impacts to the state’s fish and wildlife resources, and therefore granting of an Easement to CRMWD is not inconsistent with the mission of TPWD; and,

Whereas, the Commission finds, in accordance with Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 26, that (1) there is no feasible and prudent alternative to the use or taking of such land (Easement);  (2) the program or project that requires the use or taking of land (Easement) includes all reasonable planning to minimize harm to the land (Easement); and,

Whereas, the Commission finds, in accordance with Section 13.009 of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Code that conveyance of the Easement subject to conditions that will minimize the overall impacts of the Easement on the WMA is in the best interest of TPWD; and,

Now, therefore, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission authorizes the Executive Director to take all necessary steps to negotiate terms and conditions under which TPWD concurs with the granting of an Easement, and to provide those terms and conditions to the Foundation with a recommendation that an Easement be granted to CRMWD for the purposes and subject to the conditions described herein and in the motion approved in this Resolution.

Adopted and approved this 3rd day of November, 2011.

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T. Dan Friedkin, Chairman

________________________________
Ralph H. Duggins, Member

________________________________
Antonio Falcon M.D., Member

________________________________
Bill Jones, Member

________________________________
Karen J. Hixon, Member

________________________________
Dan Allen Hughes, Jr., Member

________________________________
Margaret Martin, Member

________________________________
S. Reed Morian, Member

________________________________
Dick Scott, Member


Commission Agenda Item No. 10
Exhibit B

Location Map for Monahans Sandhills SP in Ward and Winkler Counties

Location Map for Monahans Sandhills SP in Ward and Winkler Counties


Commission Agenda Item No. 10
Exhibit C

Vicinity Map for Monahans Sandhills SP 30 miles Southwest of Odessa

Vicinity Map for Monahans Sandhills SP 30 miles Southwest of Odessa


Commission Agenda Item No. 10
Exhibit D

Site Map for Requested Easement at Monahans Sandhills SP

Site Map for Requested Easement at Monahans Sandhills SP


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