TPW Commission

Public Hearing, January 24, 2013

Transcript

TPW Commission Meetings

TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION

JANUARY 24, 2013

TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT
COMMISSION HEARING ROOM
4200 SMITH SCHOOL ROAD
AUSTIN, TEXAS 78744

COMMISSION MEETING

REPORTED BY: PAIGE SLOAN WATTS

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Good morning everyone, welcome. This meeting is called to order January 24th, 2013, at 9:03 a.m. Before proceeding with any business, I believe Mr. Smith has a statement to make.

MR. SMITH: I do. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Public notice of this meeting containing all items on the proposed agenda has been filed in the Office of the Secretary of State as required by Chapter 551 Government Code referred to as the Open Meetings Act. I would like for this fact to be noted in the official record of the meeting.

Also if I could, Mr. Chairman, I just want to join the Chairman and the Commission on welcoming everybody this morning. We've got standing room only. Sorry we don't have chairs for all of you. We're going to start off the meeting this morning with an opportunity to recognize and celebrate a number of partners and friends and also some retirees from the Department and some colleagues that have been with us for a long, long time. So we're going to kick off the morning on a wonderful note.

After that, we'll go into the main session of the Commission meeting and I want to remind those of you who have not yet been to a Commission meeting just a couple little minor housekeeping things. If you've got a cell phone or a Blackberry, if you don't mind just putting that on silent or vibrate. If you've got a conversation that you want to have, we'd ask you to please respectfully just step outside and do that so we can maintain it as quiet as we can in here.

Last but not least, when we go into the regular session, if the Commission has an action item that you're here to speak on, we would ask that you sign up outside to speak. At the appropriate time, the Chairman will call you by name, ask you to come to the podium. You'll have three minutes and we'd ask that you state who you are and who your affiliation is, what your position is on the respective item. There's a little time light there. Green means go, yellow means start to wind it down, and red means stop. And so thanks for helping to adhere to that so we can help the flow of the meeting. Delighted to see everybody this morning.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you, Carter. Appreciate it.

Next is approval of the minutes from the previous Commission meeting held November 8th of 2012, which have already been distributed. Do we have a motion for approval?

COMMISSIONER HIXON: So moved.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Moved by Commissioner Hixon. Second by Commissioner Hughes. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any opposed? Hearing none, motion carries.

Now, we've got acknowledgment of a list of donations, which has also been distributed. Motion for approval?

COMMISSIONER SCOTT: So moved.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Moved by Commissioner Scott. Second by Commissioner Martin. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any opposed? Hearing none, motion carries.

And now the best part of the meeting, special recognitions and service awards.

MR. SMITH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Members of the Commission. For the record, my name is Carter Smith and we want to kick off this morning and acknowledge some supporters and partners of the Department and I think it's very fitting that we kick it off with T&T Marine Salvage from Galveston. I think all of the Commission is very familiar with just really the herculean efforts over last summer to help stave off and stop all of the leaks in the Battleship Texas.

And Andy Smith who is our superintendent there at the Battleship is here today and, you know, our team when all of a sudden discovered that first leak and it began to cascade into multiple leaks into that wonderful ship, quickly became apparent that we were not going to be able to handle that ourselves and so we reached out to a wonderful partner at T&T Marine Salvage.

They worked tirelessly over a very, very hot and sweltering summer in the bowels of the ship, under the ship to help protect the integrity of that and to stop the leaks. And I think what's so remarkable about it is not only the incredible teamwork with our colleagues there, but the working conditions that they endured, that people from top to bottom of that company were involved, were on that ship getting involved, and the fact that they did all that and ended up donating really in saved costs to the Department in terms of equipment and staff time over a million dollars to save the Agency at a time whereas y'all know we needed it the most. And incredibly, incredibly grateful for their spirit of generosity.

We have a proclamation from the Commission that we want to present to them, and I know that they have something that they want to present to all of you. Let me read this proclamation, if I could, for the record. Whereas, the Battleship Texas is a distinguished and cherished historic icon for freedom and sacrifice for the United States of America; and whereas, she is a notable component of the cultural identity of the Houston area and a source of great pride for all the citizens of Texas and whereas she is listed as a national historic landmark and her triple expansion steam engines are listed as national historic engineering landmarks; and whereas, on June 9th, 2012, a leak was detected on board the ship that quickly precipitated a cascade effect of multiple leaks in several compartments and tanks on the ship; and whereas, the nature of the leaks and the subsequent flooding quickly outpaced the resources of the Parks & Wildlife Department, threatening irrepairable damage to this historic ship; and whereas, T&T Marine Salvage provided a rapid and skilled response involving specialized equipment and staff that were invaluable in preserving the historic fabric of the ship; and whereas, T&T Marine Salvage donated to the salvage and repair efforts additional staff time and equipment resources totaling over $1 million in value that was not billed to the Department; and now, therefore, be it known that the Texas Parks & Wildlife Commission wishes to express it's sincerest gratitude to Mr. Kevin Teichman and all of the employees of T&T Marine Salvage for their support in preserving this treasure that is the Battleship Texas so that it may continued to be enjoyed by the people of Texas now and for the generations to come.

I would now like to ask Kevin Teichman, Donna Teichman, Jim Elliott, and Rick Francis from their team to come up. I know they have something they want to present to the Commission and then we'd love to get a picture with Andy Smith, our superintendent of the ship and Neil Thomas. And so let me ask them to come forward. Let's give them a big round of applause.

(Round of applause)

MR. TEICHMAN: I'm not a big speaker, but it was really our pleasure to help with this ship. I remember going on it when I was a little kid and hopefully my kids and their grandkids will get to enjoy it. I've done salvage jobs all over the world, and this is certainly probably the most memorable job we've ever done. So, thank you guys.

MR. FRANCIS: Good morning. My name is Rick Francis and it was an honor to help with the Battleship of Texas. As Kevin says, we do salvage and emergency firefighting and response all over the world and this was really an honor and a privilege to help. Of course, the ship is part of us and us being in Texas, we grew up on it; so it was a real honor. Thank you.

I guess at this time though, Mr. Smith is here and we would like to express our feelings about the ship. I took this photograph as we were installing the ballast system after we had uprighted the ship. My rescue team was with me and we had just come out of some tanks and I looked over and I captured this picture and I was kind of taken and I hollered at all my team and they ran down the stairs and I snapped the picture and I said, "The ship is alive. Look, she's alive."

The -- if you can notice the picture through the bow cannon, the fire -- the gun is firing through the sunrise showing that the ship is alive.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Pretty special. You know, we're blessed with some extraordinary partners as you know and obviously T&T Marine Salvage is unquestionably one of those.

Another one of our great partners, a longstanding partner is the Coca-Cola Company and certainly a company that needs no introduction to really any citizen of the U.S. or the world for that matter. One of the things I know that Coca-Cola takes very seriously is the opportunity for service and the ways to give back and we've talked extensively about the Bastrop fires and the damage there to the community and the forest and the state park. Not only were they there to help with helping to supply water and critical needs to first responders, but they were also quick to ask how they could come help Bastrop State Park at a time of great need.

It coincided interestingly at a time in which they were launching a national campaign to help elevate and raise awareness of the public about parks and they had a national campaign about, you know, your parks and they wanted -- they wanted Bastrop to be featured as part of that America Is Your Parks campaign and just felt like that was a nice way to help catalyze and engender awareness about the criticality of getting outdoors. And so they just did a masterful job of helping to celebrate Bastrop and highlight it.

In addition, you know, they wanted to make a $20,000 contribution to help support the state park's effort and here in a couple of weeks, there's a whole gaggle of Coca-Cola employees that are going to go out to help plant Loblolly pines there in the forest to help bring that forest back, so that again future generations can enjoy that park just as we have known and loved it very, very well and we're very fortunate today to have Terri Gann, who's the Vice President of Field Operations with Coca-Cola. And so I want to ask Terri to come up and say a few words and we can celebrate that partnership with her. Let's give her a big round of applause. So, Terri.

MS. GANN: Hi. My name is Terri Gann. I'm with Coca-Cola. This is my associate Frank Fuccello. He is the Distribution Center Manager in Austin, Texas, and I thought it appropriate to bring Frank up here because of his efforts and his team's efforts in the Bastrop State Park fires.

We were anxious to get involved when the devastating fires broke out and some of the things that Carter talked about that we did was provide five truckloads of Dasani water and Powerade through the Red Cross, which is about 121,000 drinks to the first responders at the scene and we were honored to be able to do that. So we've returned today to present the $20,000 grant to assist with the restoration efforts with the Bastrop State Park cleanup efforts and then as the Carter said, we'll be participating in the tree planting event come February with all of our associates. So that's -- thank you for having us here today, and we're glad to be a part of it.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: The next acknowledgment that I want to share with the Commission is really a little considerably more somber one. We all know that sometimes in life that good people leave this earth way too soon, and Clinton Colgin was unquestionably one of those people. I never had the chance to meet Clinton; but by all accounts and what I've read about this fine young man, I wish I had.

He was there in Dallas, and he had just gotten married. He and a friend were out hunting in Palo Pinto County, and unfortunately he was killed in a very tragic hunting accident. And I think as what so often happens in the aftermath of a terrible tragedy when such a fine and remarkable young man passes away, is the family and friends come together and think about ways to celebrate his life and carry that spirit forward and figure out how to give back in ways that would honor him and his legacy.

And so they have created a charity in Clinton's name and one of the first acts of kindness and generosity that they wanted to give was a $10,000 check to support our Hunter Education Program to help educate all present and future generations of hunters just about the importance of being safe out in the field. It's a wonderful way to honor the memory and legacy of this outdoorsman that left us way, way too soon. And we have a number of family and friends of Clinton's that are here with us today and I want to ask them to come up for a photo with the Chairman.

I think we have Clinton's sister, Gibbs Colgin Miller and friends Walter Clarke, Kyle Oudt, and Scott Stabler. I would like to ask them to come forward as we honor Clinton's memory and celebrate it really with this gift to our Hunter Safety Program.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Every year the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agency -- Agencies honors a Law Enforcement officer for Texas for their exemplary law enforcement work, their commitments to the profession, and conservation of our fish and wildlife, and someone who really goes above and beyond the call of duty. And it's very fitting that this year's honoree from Texas is State Game Warden Ryan Hunter.

Ryan graduated from Hardin-Simmons. Played football there. Graduated magna cum laude. I'm not sure what that means. I think it means he got a B. Got out of college and went into the Game Warden Academy where he excelled and was immediately stationed up literally in the furthest reaches of the Texas Panhandle there in Moore and Sherman County, so I think it took him about 16 hours to drive down here. Ryan has done remarkable things in a very, very short time in his tenure as a Game Warden. Made some great cases. Let me tell you about them.

He made a wonderful one in which he caught some guys that were selling game animal meat, launched a wonderful investigation on that. Worked with the National Park Service at Lake Meredith to catch some guys that were illegally gill netting catfish and carp, Gary, and they seized, you know, several hundred pounds of fish that they had illegally taken. He worked a Pronghorn antelope case and caught folks who were illegally killing Pronghorns without a permit.

One of the things that I think is really interesting about Ryan's background, up in the Panhandle you have a large Burmese population up there that work up there in the meat packing plants and agricultural sector and one of the things Ryan recognized that there was a disproportionate number of citations that were going to members of that community and obviously, you know, they weren't familiar with our laws and regulations and really didn't have the awareness that they needed. And Ryan just did a masterful job of working with that community, help educate them about our game laws and why they were important and the need to abide by them and just again did an extraordinary job and really the cornerstone of our Law Enforcement work and that community oriented policing. It's a wonderful manifestation of that.

Ryan and his wife were also involved in one of those just very, very, very difficult cases that our officers are sometimes asked to help with and the Texas Rangers were doing an investigation about the sexual assault of a child and when they needed a place for that child to go temporarily, Ryan and his wife took that child in and kept that child before they were able to work with Child Protective Services to find a home for that child.

He's been recognized as the officer of the year up in Moore County with his work with the 4-H Program. He started this Law Enforcement Explorers Club for youth and young adults to introduce them into the out of doors. He really exemplifies the best of our mission and awfully proud to recognize Ryan as the Southeastern Association Officer of the Year. So let's ask Ryan to come forward. So, Ryan.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: You know, we now have got a chance to honor some of our retirees that are wonderful old friends of this Department and have been part of this family for a long, long time and we're starting off on a good note, let me assure you. You know, it's rare that a Game Warden serves the entirety of his or her career in one place. It's rarer still when that place is an area where he or she grew up and that's the case though with Ken Baker.

You know Ken well. You know, Ken was with us for 41 years. Up until his retirement, he was the longest active serving Game Warden in the state of Texas. When he graduated from the Academy at Texas A&M then in '72, he was sent down to Hidalgo County and worked out of Edinburg. Of course, working everything from river cases to White-winged dove matters and working the Monte in the brush country with ranchers where Ken, you know, just developed a very, very well deserved and well earned reputation with the landowners and Law Enforcement officers in that area.

Had a great tenure with us. You know, he was promoted to captain I think as all of you know. Just did a masterful job there in Cameron and Hidalgo Counties working the Gulf, intercoastal waterway, the border, the brush country, in a very, very difficult climate. He's a great leader. One of the founding members of the Texas Game Warden Association and couldn't be more proud to celebrate Ken Baker's 41 years with the Department. So, Ken, please come forward.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Our next colleague who retired, again been with us for 32 years, Captain Gus Sorola. And Gus again had another one of those extraordinary careers as a Game Warden. When he got out of the Academy, this one in Austin, he was stationed over in Galveston County, like so many wardens at that time were sent to the coast. Went back to Maverick County and served there as a Game Warden before he promoted to captain. First in Alpine in West Texas and then in the latter part of his career, he was in Uvalde where he just led a topnotch team there.

Gus just had many, many contributions to the Agency. Always a pleasure and a privilege to work with him and awfully proud to be able to celebrate his retirement with y'all today. Thirty-two years of service, Gus Sorola. Captain.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Our next one is another old friend, Steve Whiteaker, Major Steve Whiteaker. Steve was with us for almost 30 years. When he got out of the Game Warden Academy, he was sent out to Hudspeth County in far West Texas to the wilds of Sierra Blanca. Steve was out there I think for 17 or 18 years and, you know, you still meet ranchers in that country that inevitably the first question out of their lips is "How's Steve doing?" He made just a huge impression on that community out there. Known as a lawman's lawman. Just as fair as he could be and just did a remarkable job for us.

He was promoted to captain in Alpine. Went on to promote to be the major in San Angelo in which he oversaw all of the West Texas region. Just a consummate team player, a great leader and no finer lawman that you'll meet and Steve retired. He's gone to work for his church and I know he's awfully proud to be involved with that ministry and also I think a full-time grandparent duty from what I hear. So Major Steve Whiteaker, 28 years of service. Steve.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: When we were celebrating Colgin's life and memory and thinking about the Hunter Education Program, I think it's very fitting now that we're, you know, thinking about that program and really someone who was the heart and soul of that, Terry Erwin. And Terry came to the Department from the Department of Health. He had been involved in -- really as a volunteer Hunter Ed. instructor; but when the Hunter Ed. Program was established, he became really our first leader of that program. And Terry was known really not only throughout the country, but really the world as being on the front lines of hunter ed. He pioneered home study, online courses creating really an exemplary field course.

Was President of the International Hunter Education Association. He was awarded really one of the highest honors from the Safari Club for his work in hunter education. Won the Director's Award from IHEA. I know he was very, very proud of the fact that he helped establish hunter education programs in Latin America and so helping to take that knowledge to other countries.

I know one of the things that Terry had hoped to do while he was still here was to certify the 1 millionth student that went through the Hunter Ed. Program. He left 20,000 students short; but I think we're going to hit that milestone this year and you can rest assured that we're going to have Terry Erwin back to present that certificate and a gun that he has arranged to give that lucky student. And so we're celebrating Terry today, 24 years of service. Terry Erwin.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: All right, we've got a moratorium on retirements. So now we're on to service awards and we're going to kick it off with another great veteran of this Department, Royce Wells. And Royce has been with us for 40 years as a Game Warden. Started out his career out in West Texas in El Paso and Brewster County. Was promoted to lieutenant at the Game Warden Training Center. Ultimately would -- went on to become District Supervisor in Temple as a captain there overseeing that team.

Went back to the Game Warden Training Center to lead that as its chief and really did some remarkable things helping to help that academy grow and again train really the best generation of Game Wardens. He retired in 2002 and quickly brought him back to the Agency to work on Law Enforcement recruiting. Royce is so much of an ambassador for this Department. He's out visiting with individuals all around the state nonstop trying to encourage them to consider a career in Law Enforcement. He's just an extraordinary ambassador for this Department. Very proud of his service. Forty years, Royce Wells. Royce.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Our next colleague has been with us a long time, not that long. Keith Gerth has been with us for three decades. Many of you know Assistant Commander Gerth. Keith has been with us again 30 years. Got out of the academy, was stationed down in Port Isabel right there on the Laguna Madre until he was transferred to work in the Hill Country in Burnett and Llano Counties.

And Keith's job now -- and I just want to share a little bit about it because it's so important -- is he's our Assistant Commander as he oversees all of Homeland security, our emergency management, our communication, Law Enforcement communication programs, and also our Law Enforcement building programs and facilities and so he's overseen a number of very significant capital construction projects. Obviously the work at the Game Warden Training Center Keith has been intimately involved in. A new center down in South Texas at Choke Canyon that some of y'all have had a chance to go to. One up at Texoma as well and Keith is very involved in the Game Warden Association and awfully proud to have him as one of our senior leaders on the Law Enforcement team. Thirty years of service, Keith Gerth. Keith.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Our next colleague, Keith Ahrens has been with us also for 30 years on our State Parks team there at Lake Somerville State Park and Keith started in the 1970s. He was hired back in '83 as a Maintenance Specialist and our utility plant operator and y'all know how critical that is in terms of maintaining utilities at state parks, which are really like small cities in and of themselves, there at Birch Creek State Park.

He promoted to Maintenance Specialist and UPO Leader there. Obtained his Class D and Class C from water license from TCEQ. Opened a new wastewater treatment facility there. He's maintained that facility very well with the highest integrity and operational standards. Exactly what you'd expect of our State Park team. Keith just has done a great job. '99, you know, he arrived at work one day to find the Birch Creek headquarters on fire and Keith apparently just did an extraordinary job of making sure that everybody was safely evacuated from that burning building and getting them out of there and making sure that no one was injured in that tragic fire.

Just his mechanical knowledge and skills have been invaluable to that team at the park and awfully proud to celebrate his 30 years of service. Keith, please come forward.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: We're going to celebrate another colleague at Lake Somerville State Park. Obviously works very, very closely with Keith, Bobby Schumacher. And Bobby started also there at Birch Creek as a fee collector. Worked his way up there to Maintenance Specialist. Got his Class C and Class D water license there from TCEQ. Became the backup utility plant operator, obviously working very closely with Keith.

People talk about just how instrumental he was in helping to get the park reopened after some devastating floods in the early 90s. He's an avid outdoorsman, loves to fish and hunt and very interactive with the public that comes to Lake Somerville to fish or participate in some of the public hunts there. He says that one of the best days of his life was when he received the call that he had been hired with the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. Pretty nice. Thirty years of service, Bobby Schumacher. Bobby.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: One of the great signature features of State Parks and really all of the facilities across the Department are those really wonderful brown routed out signs in yellow that points your way to various facilities and trails and campsites and if you want to know the individual behind that sign and I say individual, it's Martha Gonzales. And Martha has been with us for 25 years. She runs single-handedly the sign shop out at Bastrop routing out each and every one of those signs. She works in an old CCC historic building where she says she still feels the spirit of those CCC workers that I know give her a lot of energy and passion for her job.

Because of the uniqueness of it, she's been celebrated in many ways. Country Reporter did a great story on the lady behind the signs of State Parks. She's just got a wonderful spirit. Martha happens to be bilingual, and so we don't hesitate to press her into service when we need some help reaching out to our Spanish speaking audiences. Been featured like on Univision, Disparate to Austin, Wake Up Austin, and just done a great job representing us and so we're awfully, awfully proud of Martha and celebrating her 25 years of service, Martha Gonzales. Martha.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Our next colleague, Joseph Molis, has been with us 20 years and Joseph is currently our Branch Manager in Infrastructure overseeing our finances and I'll talk a little bit about that. But he started initially with the Agency in Accounts Payable and one of the things he first did was really revolutionize a number of our systems and processes to make us as efficient as we could be from a business perspective.

When he got here, he found it was taking way too long for the Department to pay its bills and he got that fixed posthaste. I know the Commission does not like for the Department to be in arrears to anybody, and Joseph did a very good job of making sure that we don't do that. He helped create that system. He was one of the brains behind our first financial systems that the Department created. Created our travel voucher form that is now used widely throughout State government.

As I said, now he's our Branch Manager in Infrastructure and really manages that team's finances, which you know is very, very complicated with all the bond funds and all of the many, many capital projects that we have going on over multiple years. And so he's been a great team player and we're awfully proud of his service, Joseph Molis, 20 years of service. Joseph.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Y'all had a chance yesterday to hear from Tom Heger, one of our biologists in Inland Fisheries and Tom has been with us for 20 years. And really Tom is kind of on point for us when we are asked to provide biologically based, science based comments to reservoir projects, utility projects, reservoir projects, and started his career really working on that.

He's an expert in wetland and aquatic resources. Really a go-to person for information about aquatic ecology and really the biology of rivers and creeks and streams. Tom now oversees our Sand and Gravel Program, which has him moving around the state helping often times again to protect the health of our riverine resources. He's part of the Fort Worth District Interagency Mitigation Bank Review Team and also on our State Hazard Mitigation Team and so Tom has made many contributions as a biologist to this Agency. Just has a wealth of knowledge and expertise. Tom Heger, 20 years of service. Tom.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Our next colleague is Randall Brown. Been with us for 20 years. He's out of the metropolis of Art over there in Mason County. Those of you who know the Hill Country well know exactly where that is. Randall said his happiest day of his life, also like another colleague you've heard, originally was when he got the call to come work for Parks & Wildlife, until he got married and he wisely said that was the happiest day of his life and then when his daughter was born, that was the happiest day of his life. So I think ultimately he's got us in the right order there.

Randall started out when he got out of the academy, he was sent out to Jeff Davis County where he worked up in Fort Davis. Very active in the community there. Was the 4-H rifle team coach. He then transferred to Coleman County and really following on the heels of so many in this Department and particularly in Law Enforcement, thinking about Operation Orphans. He started a program there in Coleman County to give youngsters who didn't have a chance to get out and hunt, to give them places to go and who otherwise wouldn't have a chance to do that.

He's now stationed, as I said, in Art in Mason County and awfully proud to celebrate Randall's 20 years with the Department. Randall, please come forward.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Our next colleague, Calvin Harbaugh, is also in that class of Game Wardens that graduated 20 years ago. And last night, one of the -- Calvin will very much appreciate this -- one of the great blessings of the dinner last night that Commissioner Hughes hosted is I got to sit next to Commissioner Hughes and Commissioner Jones where I was well inculcated into the ways of the Aggies and Aggie lore and Calvin is a graduate of Texas A&M, would surely appreciate the indoctrination that I received last night.

And when Calvin got out of A&M, you know, he immediately began to look for a job as a Game Warden. He worked in construction briefly there in San Antonio before he was accepted into the 43rd Game Warden Academy class and he was sent down to Corpus Christi where he served. Proudly CCA named him their officer of the year. A very, very fine honor from that organization. Calvin then moved on to Karnes County where he was there for about four years and now he's in Fayette County there in La Grange where he's been stationed and where he's serving us proudly. So, Calvin, please come forward. Twenty years of service, Calvin.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Some of you I know know Captain Tom Jenkins over in San Augustine County in the Piney Woods. Tom has also been with us for 20 years. Grew up over there in the Piney woods. Also, I know is a master at carpentry. Is a really good builder and when Tom got of the Academy, immediately sent to Newton County where those of you who know anything about Newton County, that's not blue skies and bluebonnets for a Game Warden, let me assure you. And he was there for a number of years where he served proudly.

Moved over to Nacogdoches County. Became lieutenant at the Rusk Regional Office and ultimately was promoted to -- I love this -- Captain of the Eastern Front in San Augustine County right there. So Tom is a great guy. Been with us for 20 years, Captain Tom Jenkins. Tom.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: I'll tell you, there's a lot I could say about our next colleague, Grahame Jones; but I'm not for a lot of reasons. That boy knows how to get you back, and so my wife just encouraged me to be kind and gentle. You know, in all seriousness, Grahame has just been an extraordinary leader in this Agency. All of you have had the privilege of working with Grahame. He's been with us for 20 years. Part of that great class that we're celebrating right now.

When he got out, he was stationed over in Tyler County in Woodville. Then was transferred over to Waller County before he was promoted to sergeant of the Environmental Crimes Unit and then he was promoted to captain, Internal Affairs and as you know has been the major of Internal Affairs until he was promoted to Chief of Special Operations for the Law Enforcement team. There's no finer professional. No better really public servant and someone who is unequivocally committed to Parks & Wildlife's mission. Just a fine, fine man. Grahame Jones, 20 years of service. Grahame.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Our next colleague is Scott McLeod, also been with us for 20 years. And when Scott got out of the Game Warden Academy, he was sent down to Rockport there to work the coast. He and his wife have just absolutely fallen in love with that area, working the bays and the gulf and inland waterways and I know Scott has just fallen in love with that country.

He and his wife are very grateful to be there on the coast with their family. He's had a great, great career. You know, Scott said he wanted to thank everybody for this fine career that he's been honored with and this is going to warm the cockles of some hearts and for this Tech boy it's hard to say, but last but not least, Gig 'em Aggies. Scott McLeod, 20 years of service. So, Scott.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Kerry Peterson is also a graduate of that Game Warden class and when Kerry got out of the academy, he was stationed right here in Travis County, in Austin and served us here for six years before moving over to Hallettsville and Lavaca County, where he still is over in that area, Shiner and in that country.

One of the things about Kerry and all of you have heard the story. Some of you were here when this happened during Hurricane Katrina when the Game Wardens were sent off to New Orleans to help in that incredible relief effort and response effort and you know how proud we are of our team for their efforts and Kerry was part of that first wave of 50 Game Wardens that were sent into very, very difficult circumstances there and just did an extraordinary, extraordinary job.

We also had the privilege of honoring Kerry last year with the Director's Lifesaving Citation for his part really in the rescue and lifesaving of some distressed boaters in Lavaca Bay and awfully proud of his career with the Agency, 20 years of service, Kerry Peterson. Kerry.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Major Alan Teague, I'll have to get used to saying that, major. He hasn't had it for very long. So Alan, you know, again part of that class of 20 years. He was down in Corpus when he got out of the academy. Was a lieutenant there in that office and served in that position before he was promoted to Captain Game Warden in Kerrville where Alan just did a masterful job overseeing our team and working with our team in the Texas Hill Country.

Recently got promoted to be the major in San Antonio, overseeing South Texas. Alan is again one of those great leaders of our senior Law Enforcement team and a very, very dedicated professional. Major Alan Teague, 20 years of service. Alan.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Our next colleague was another alum of that 20-year class, Michael Wheelington; and wonderful to see this group of colleagues still with us and serving the State. I just think it exemplifies when folks come to work for Parks & Wildlife, they want to stay and they're dedicated and Michael Wheelington is no exception.

After he got out of the academy, Mike was sent down to Nueces County and Corpus Christi where he still serves proudly today. And I love this. It says after working for six supervisors, five majors, he's been through five patrol vehicles and 176 ticket books; so he's done his job down there and he still looks forward to going to work every day. Twenty years of service, Michael Wheelington. Michael, please come forward.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Next colleague, Captain Malcom Wilkes. And the first thing I want to tell you about Malcom is don't get in an arm wrestling match with this man. Malcom has got forearms like tree trunks.

Malcom when he got out of the academy was assigned over to Falls County, where he served the citizens there. One of the things about Malcom is he's always figuring out ways to give back. He's been the president of the Game Warden Association. I had the privilege of working with Malcom in that leadership capacity and always have really enjoyed my relationship with him in that regard.

When he was in Lott, he was a councilman, was a mayor pro tem, and ultimately the mayor of that community. Ultimately promoted to lieutenant there in Brownwood before he was promoted to captain at Llano and then come back to Brownwood again. Malcom has just been an integral part of this team. One of the leaders in Law Enforcement and just a very, very dedicated Law Enforcement officer. Captain Malcom Wilkes, 20 years of service. Malcom.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: I want to now honor one of our colleagues in State Parks, Mike Knezek. And Mike also has been with us 20 years and Mike's had a great career at a variety of parks. He started up in the Panhandle there at Caprock Canyons in which he was a park ranger and the backup utility plant operator.

Mike was instrumental in getting a federal ISTEA grant to help develop that Caprock Canyon's trailway, which we've talked to the Commission a lot about. Wonderful partnership with the city or the town of Quitaque that Mike helped foster and develop, providing again outdoor's opportunities for people who come to visit that wonderful part of the state.

Ultimately became the assistant manager there at Caprock Canyon. Mike then transferred to Kickapoo Canyon State Park -- Kickapoo Cavern State Park there on the Kinney Edwards county line north of Brackettville and really was responsible of getting that park open to the public, helping to develop the early infrastructure in that park which has just some extraordinary limestone karst features and cave features that the public really enjoys visiting in that Hill Country setting.

Forgot to mention also he was involved in helping to relocate the state bison herd there at Caprock Canyon, and I know that's been a highlight of Mike's career. Mike is currently back at Lake Mineral Wells State Trailway and taking the lead to help refurbish part of that trailway. I know he's excited to get back to that important part of our mission and been a proud part of our State Parks team. Twenty years of service, Mike Knezek. Mike.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: You know, last but not least it's always nice to have a chance to celebrate birthdays and I don't know if any of you possibly recognize this young outlaw; but, yeah, he's groaning over in the corner now. Sixty years ago, Commissioner Dick Scott proudly came into this world and Commissioner Duggins desperately wanted to be here to help celebrate your birthday. Whoever put whatever they put in his punch last night, they pulled it off; so you're safe. But what you're not safe from, Commissioner, is we sing you happy birthday.

(Round of applause)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Excellent. Thank you-all very much. So everyone is welcome to stay. I think that -- Carter, that completes that portion of the meeting?

MR. SMITH: Yeah, on that note.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Excellent, on that high note. We're just going to pause for a minute, and let folks clear out if they want to.

(Recess taken)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: All right, we'll go ahead and carry on with the meeting. First order of business is Action Item No. 1, Approval of a Revised Agenda. Revision of that agenda, Action Item 14, Land Acquisition, Approximately 50 Acres as an Addition to Alazan Bayou Wildlife Management Area has been withdrawn from the agenda at this time.

Do we have a motion for approval for the revised agenda?

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: So moved.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Moved by Commissioner Morian. Second by Commissioner Hixon. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any opposed? Hearing none, motion carries.

Next item is a briefing item, Texas Parks & Wildlife Department celebrating its 50th year anniversary in 2013.

MR. HARVEY: Good morning, Commissioners.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Good morning.

MR. HARVEY: My name is Tom Harvey. I'm the Media Communications Director in the Communications Division and as you can tell from the service awards and the retirements this morning, this organization has a long and proud history. It goes way back, way longer than 50 years. But this year Texas Parks & Wildlife turns 50.

In 1963, the Texas Game and Fish Commission and the State Parks Board merged and I'm going to be sharing some historical high points just from the last five decades of our history and my colleague Darcy Bontempo will then share our plans to spread the word about the anniversary.

The golden age of State Parks were ushered in by the Connally bonds, which were passed shortly after the merger in 1963 under then Governor John Connally. This was the first ever bond issue for State Parks. It raised $75 million to create many of our best-loved parks across the state, including Galveston Island shown here. Voter approved bond funding has continued to be a really important source of funding for our Agency. Two bond propositions in the 2000s provided tens of millions of dollars for capital repairs and infrastructure improvements and our Legislative appropriations request for the upcoming biennium includes capital requests that is going to be partly funded with bond money.

The last 50 years have seen the rise of some world class Texas fishing and fisheries management, from the creation of our nation's southern most Rainbow trout fishery in 1965 to our first stocking of Striped bass in 1967 to the start of native Guadalupe bass restoration in 1992. In the 21st Century, we've launched an ambitious new approach that focuses on entire river watersheds.

The remarkable comeback of desert Bighorn sheep illustrates the success of wildlife restoration in our state. From the first Bighorn release at Black Gap in 1971 to the largest Bighorn relocation in Texas history at Big Bend Ranch in 2011. The Red fish wars era of the 1970s were a difficult time; but they ended in triumph when the Legislature passed HB 1000, the Red fish bill designating Red drum and Spotted seatrout as game fish and prohibiting their commercial sale. Today these popular fish have come back to record abundance.

Private land conservation, a hallmark of our Agency, has come a long way since we started the Technical Guidance Program to advise landowners in 1972. This was joined later by the Lone Star Land Steward Awards in 1995. Through these and other efforts, our state now has more than 29 million acres of land under wildlife management plans. To build support for these kinds of conservation efforts, we've reached out to new audiences for many decades. From the start of the Buffalo Soldiers Program in 1995 to the Texas Outdoor Family Effort in 2008 to the Texas Children and Nature Strategic Plan in 2010 and at a summit conference tomorrow in San Antonio, we will launch the Texas Natural Resource Environmental Literacy Plan.

And water resources as we all know are a critical resource for our state and in 1997, the Legislature passed a historic water reform law, Senate Bill 1. This brought wildlife and environmental interests to the table for the first time and since then, our Agency and its staff have been a key player in implementing a series of policy reforms in subsequent Legislative sessions. Alongside these policy matters, we led a ten-year effort to inform Texans about water issues from the very first 2002 Special Water Issue of Texas Parks & Wildlife Magazine to a series of video documentaries, several of them narrated by native Texan Walter Cronkite.

For close to 100 years, the role of Texas Game Wardens has evolved and expanded. From 1971 Legislation that authorized wardens to be fully commissioned peace officers empowered to enforce any law of our state to the first out-of-state use of Parks & Wildlife personnel in New Orleans after Katrina in 2005 to the creation of a state-of-the-art Texas Game Warden Training Center in 2008. So these are just a few little highlights from the last 50 years and Darcy will now share with you plans to spread the word.

MS. BONTEMPO: Good morning, Commissioners. I'm Darcy Bontempo, Marketing Director at Parks & Wildlife and this morning I will be updating you on how we plan to use the 50th anniversary. It's an opportunity to tell people about the ways we make life better outside in Texas. We also want to inspire Texans to get outdoors and to help support our mission.

Of course, our current customers already support our mission and there's no question about that. But this opportunity -- the 50th anniversary gives us an opportunity to engage them in ways we never have before. We also know that there are millions of Texans who -- especially those living in metro areas, major metro areas -- that are not our customers. They are unengaged. They don't know much about our Agency, what we do or who we are or why they should necessarily care and we certainly want to reach out to these Texans as well. We're going to do our very best to do that, and we know we won't reach all of them; but we're going to try our hardest to reach these Texan and engage them.

The campaign actually started just last week. We launched our promotional web area, and the next two months we'll continue to build the campaign. We're going to -- we have segments of our television show, they're airing vintage footage looking back at the history of Parks & Wildlife. We also have many social media posts that will be sharing some of the milestones that Tom shared and other stories about Parks & Wildlife. And our Passport to Texas radio program will also have many stories airing throughout the state.

Come early March, we will kick it into high gear. That will be right before spring break, which we think is ideal timing. And at that time we'll debut what we're calling an inspirational video and we're going to be posting that on our website and our Facebook page and we'll also be doing all the things we normally do. We'll be doing news releases. We'll also be doing online advertising, driving people to the video and to our website, and we'll have print ads and a number of other communication materials.

The magazine in July will have a special issue dedicated to the 50th anniversary and throughout the year we'll continue to have articles in the magazine and many other social media postings we'll continue. In addition, I guess last to mention is of course the state parks and the Parks & Wildlife sites will also be having promotional materials for customers. So just here is a quick look at the promotional web portal I mentioned, just to give you an idea what it looks like. Hopefully, you'll have a chance to visit.

And this website isn't designed simply to tell the Parks & Wildlife story. It really is designed to invite others to tell their stories and to share their stories and photos about their most memorable outdoor experiences. And here you can see that on the website we've got -- we're sharing stories where people can read all the different types of stories. There are some that are romantic, the most romantic moments. Some are, you know, about fishing and hunting and some are actually comical. So we're looking forward to these continuing and refreshing our website with these and you may also notice there are -- there's a photo gallery there, which has a wonderful nostalgic look back at our Agency, the work we do, and the ways that Texans used to enjoy the outdoors. There's some pretty good hair styles in there I encourage you to look at. But in any case, we'll also be adding photos that users submit in that photo gallery as well.

One of the most important parts of this whole campaign is really a call for ambassadors, for Texas Parks & Wildlife ambassadors. You know, we see this as an invitation to invite, as I mentioned earlier, our current customers and those who maybe didn't realize the ways in which we were relevant to their life to play a personal role in helping keep the outdoors in Texas better. So we're going to have a pledge form on our website and people can go and choose any number of these actions that you see here and they can do something as simple as share our video. That is also an important part of them helping us reach a circle of their friends and family outside of what we could reach with our limited advertising and media budget.

And we will also ask people to give us their e-mail addresses and we can sign them up for our e-newsletters and e-mail communication. If they provide their mailing address, we're going to actually send them this window decal so they can display it on their vehicles. Hopefully, it will serve as a reminder of their connection to our Agency. We'll also enlist the help of our employees, our volunteers, and their like-minded partner organizations and groups.

We're going to ask them to join the celebration as well and we're going to ask them to spread the word to their customers, their employees, their members and hopefully they also will take part in the ambassador pledge drive that we're doing. Of course, we invite all of you. We hope all of you will be taking part in this celebration. We look forward to reading your stories and your photos, Commissioners; so it's a -- it's going to be a very exciting year at Parks & Wildlife.

And when the -- when the campaign is finished and we close the chapter, that part of our 50th anniversary history, we're going to look back and we're going to assess the results of our efforts. We'll be measuring a number of things, a number of different metrics from how many people we reached to how many new people like our Facebook, view our video and of course we'll be very interested to see how many people become Parks & Wildlife ambassadors.

So, I hope that gives you a good overview of the campaign that we're getting under way right now; and I'd be happy to hear any comments or answer any questions that you might have.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Sounds terrific, Darcy. Tell me on the call to ambassadors, will that be -- will that be in some of the printed material as well and has that started or will it just be on the web?

MS. BONTEMPO: It will just be online. We'll be driving people online. It's just going to be online. People will submit it online and then we will be able to, you know, keep track of that that way. I think that we don't certainly have plans to do anything in the parks at this time.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: And you mentioned it a little bit; but the printed material, just the timing on that and what different sources and so forth, what do we have in our print budget for that? What do we anticipate?

MS. BONTEMPO: Well, mostly what we're going to be doing is incorporating the message into existing publications and other things. For example, our State Park Guide will be featuring a 50th anniversary focus. We will also be doing something in the Outdoor Annual. We'll have, as I mentioned, the fliers and posters at all the parks. And the online and print ads, we'll have a print ad running in our magazine as well as a spread print ad running in Texas Monthly. Online advertising will be actually sponsored video ads on Facebook and we're very excited about that because we can track how many people click through, come to our site, and we're going to be targeting people in those major metros who we believe are most likely to be interested in the outdoors and in our mission.

Does that answer your question?

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: It does. No, that's great. Good. Commissioner Hughes.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: Darcy, are we going to have a -- is there like a week or any specific time we're going to really try to highlight what's going on, or is this going to go on over several months?

MS. BONTEMPO: I mean it's really going to be a yearlong effort. As I mentioned, March will be our period where we're really going to focus all of our advertising and our social media posts will be every day during March. So March is kind of the peak, but it's certainly going to continue throughout the year. There's not one event or anything that's planned. It's meant to be a campaign that builds throughout the year.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: I was wondering is there going to be like a one-time maybe try to get the newspapers involved and media involved, just let them know what's going on and maybe have a few articles run or is this going to be year long?

MS. BONTEMPO: Yeah, that will be tied -- yes, sir. That will be tied to the March launch, as I mentioned, where we'll be putting out a press release and that will be the time where we'll be encouraging stories to be running in the newspaper right before spring break. That has always historically been a time when the newspapers are interested in stories about Texas Parks & Wildlife, is before spring break, people are thinking about getting in the outdoors. It's been a -- that's going to be the ideal time I think for us to get the message out. So that's -- that's our plan. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: That's exciting. Great, good work. Thanks.

MS. BONTEMPO: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you very much.

Okay, Item 3 is Approval of Parks & Wildlife Fiscal Year 2013 Internal Audit Plan, Ms. Cindy Hancock. Good morning.

MS. HANCOCK: Good morning. I'm Cindy Hancock, Director of Internal Audit, and I'm requesting today the Commission's approval for the proposed fiscal year 2013 internal audit plan.

As required by Texas Government Code 2102, each year internal audit must develop a risk-based annual audit plan consisting of executive management's review of Agency functions, activities, and processes. According to this Government code, the annual internal audit plan should be based on the impact of financial, managerial, compliance, and information technology risks and their probability of occurrence. To satisfy these requirements, internal audit interviewed executive management to gain a perspective as to their top concerns or risks within each of their divisions, agencywide, external to the Agency, IT related issues, and any concerns related to fraud, waste, and abuse.

Once the interviews were complete, we assimilated a hierarchy of management's concerns. We then presented this list to senior management to gain a consensus and analyzed our audit resources needed to perform the identified projects. Finally, we presented the proposed list to the Commission for your input, comments, and review.

According to Texas Government Code 2102, the internal audit plan must be formally approved by the Commission. My puncher isn't working here. There we go. Here's our list of the projects reflecting management's top concerns. The budgeted hour column reflects the estimated number of staff hours needed to complete the project. In addition to these projects, we have listed as part of the plan three alternative projects which could be performed or substituted if necessary.

The staff recommends the Texas Parks & Wildlife Commission adopt the following motion: The Texas Parks & Wildlife Commission approves the Texas TPWD fiscal year '13 internal audit plan as listed in Exhibit A.

I apologize for not keeping up with my clicker here, and I'll be happy to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any questions for Cindy? Commissioner Jones.

COMMISSIONER JONES: I've got to push the button here. Mr. Chairman, might I, I guess, self-impose an idea on myself, I guess. One of the things that I would like to explore -- and I'm by no means taking a position on this one way or the other -- but just explore maybe a way for us to get audit reports that are more comprehensive. And what I mean by that is that includes all of the various Agency functions that you audit that we will get occasional e-mails on or notices that says, hey, we've got -- we've done an audit on Bastrop State Park or we've done an audit on whatever the function is and here are our findings.

And rather than getting those periodic onesies, think more in terms of giving us maybe an audit report at our board meeting that is comprehensive of all of the audits that you've done in that quarter or two- or three- or four-month period of time so that we can look at all of them at one time rather than sort of splatter shot here, there, and yonder.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: I think that's a great suggestion and that way we can see it in context as opposed to just individually and -- yeah.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Exactly. And I --

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: I like that. Carter, maybe we can work on a construct for that.

MR. SMITH: I think it's a super idea and I think we can put that together very easily on an executive summary that Cindy does, you know, quarterly, whatever y'all would like in terms of reporting that again summarizes those findings and that way you see it in its entirety. I really like that idea.

COMMISSIONER JONES: And I would be happy, Mr. Chairman, to -- I'm volunteering to step to be an intermediary to help with that since I -- you know, since I'm going to encourage more work, I might ought to help out.

MS. HANCOCK: Well, I have started preparing a quarterly report. You'll be getting another one at the end of February and it gives a list of all the audits that we've completed and what stages we are in currently. In addition to that, if you would like for us -- for me to present on a quarterly basis or however often and condense our audits into some summary here in this agenda item or whatever, that will be fine.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Okay. You can work with them to come up with a format that you -- that, you know, you're happy with. I think that would be great. You obviously have a lot of experience with that, too. I know that, so that would be helpful to all of us.

COMMISSIONER JONES: And I'm here in Austin, so it's easier for me to --

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Perfect.

MS. HANCOCK: Be happy to work with you.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Okay.

MS. HANCOCK: Any other questions?

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thanks, thank you. Any other questions? Commissioner Falcon.

COMMISSIONER FALCON: I just need some help on how to turn this on.

MS. HANCOCK: I need help with the clicker.

COMMISSIONER FALCON: Oh, it's the other button. All right, that was --

MS. HANCOCK: IT challenged.

COMMISSIONER FALCON: I just want to thank the Department for the process that is occurring now with the audits and we have certainly come a long ways since we came on the Commission, Carter. That was just after the violent reaction that the -- that we had downtown to potentially missing moneys, etcetera, risk management. We've come a long ways and I certainly applaud your effort to not only do the audits, but participate in the process of fixing the problems.

MS. HANCOCK: And all I can say is that we -- the people and staff at Parks & Wildlife are dedicated and once an issue has risen to the top, they do take effort to go and try to resolve those problems and that's what you're seeing in our park audits and our law enforcement audits that we're presenting to you so often is there's really no significant findings because they have taken great steps and pains to follow those fiscal controls.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Terrific, that's a good point. Commissioner Morian.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: I'm just curious. When I looked at the -- when I got this, I looked at your Exhibit A and roughly -- the thing that jumped out at me is a quarter of your time is spent on auditing parks, and that's not a quarter of our budget. As an erstwhile auditor, you always go where the money is. Is that just because of the time and the transactions or why would that be -- seem to me to be a disproportionate amount of the time when you're doing an internal audit.

MS. HANCOCK: We asked for permission from the Commission to do these interim projects and we like to go and management likes for us to go and reinforce the fiscal control process at the parks. With 93 parks and so many Law Enforcement offices, it -- for us to do a cycle, we have to space these out for about three years. So we'll go to every park within three years, a three-year cycle.

And I'm -- you know, since we're not getting any audits, if we want whenever we come around and do this again, which we'll probably have to do pretty quickly, I'd be glad to take more input from management or from you on areas that you would like for us to cover if -- since we're doing pretty good in this.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Okay.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Carter, any observations?

MR. SMITH: Well, I think -- yeah, I think -- you know, I think Cindy said it well. Our State Parks team has done an extraordinary job complying with the fiscal controls that were put into place and you see that reflected in the audit and that's, you know, attributed to Brent and his leadership team and our staff in the field that are working so hard to make sure that they're good fiduciaries and I think you're hearing that. Same thing on the Law Enforcement side. And I -- you know, Law Enforcement offices also collect I think upwards around $60 million in revenue and so we have an appropriate focus there and again, I think they're doing an extraordinary job of addressing the issues.

One of the things I guess what I might suggest, Commissioner, is we take a look at when we develop a plan for next year, then maybe we look at shifting some of those hours to another part of the business where we want to focus, depending upon the risks. I feel -- I want to tell you personally, I feel very comfortable that our Parks team is doing a really, really good job on the business side of their operations and so, you know, scaling it back to kind of periodic audits as needed; but maybe cutting back on the intensity, you know, I think that would be -- that certainly would be welcome from the Division.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: I was just curious why so much of your effort was focused --

MS. HANCOCK: A lot of parks. A lot of places to go. Travel time. They really -- some take longer than others, especially if you have to travel further; but generally, they run about 90-hours to complete an audit. So, that's how we calculated it.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Okay. Well, thank you.

MS. HANCOCK: All right. Any other questions?

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you, Cindy.

MS. HANCOCK: All right. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Appreciate it, thanks. Okay, so approval of the internal audit plan. Do we have a motion for approval?

COMMISSIONER HIXON: So moved.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Moved by Commissioner Hixon. Second Commissioner Morian. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any opposed? I didn't hear any. Motion carries.

Action Item 4, Rule Review, Recommended Adoption of Proposed Changes and Completed Rule Review, Ms. Ann Bright. Good morning, Ann.

MS. BRIGHT: Good morning, Commissioners. I'm Ann Bright, General Counsel. We are wrapping up one of our groups of rules that we have completed the review of and proposed changes. You've seen this slide many times. We go through this process every four years. We are now at the end of the process for these three chapters -- Finance, Parks, and Resource Protection.

After reviewing the rules, we've recommended some changes and these have been published in the Texas Register. For fees, we want to clarify some language regarding electronically issued licenses. Again, some wordsmithing on the senior combo license. The fees for duplicate licenses, year -- from purchase license, fur dealers license. Mason Mountain Wildlife Management, we no longer charge fees at that facility; so we need to delete the fees for that. Parrie Haynes was transferred to -- or actually, terminated our lease from what is now the Juvenile Justice Department.

Old Tunnel WMA is now part -- or what was Old Tunnel WMA is now part of the State Park system and those fees are covered in the State Park fee rules; so we need to repeal those. We need to clarify some references. Clarify the types of vessels that are exempt from the boat registration requirements. We would like to also recommended the increase of the maximum fee for the recreational meeting hall.

Many of you have seen the Mack Dick Pavilion at Palo Duro Canyon. It's a really excellent facility and it really probably warrants a fee higher than what we currently allow. Gratuities, certain employees, primarily waitstaff and service staff at hotels and -- or Indian lodge is the main one -- are allowed to accept gratuities and we needed to update the rules on that.

We received six comments in favor of the finance rules, two opposed. One suggested adding a reference to senior. Again, this is kind of a wordsmithing suggestion. We think it's a good suggestion related to the fishing license. We agree and recommend that change. Another person suggested that we create a senior lifetime hunting license and a lifetime fishing license for $100 each. Staff would recommend against this change primarily because it could have a negative fiscal impact.

On 59, we received six rules in -- or six comments in favor, one opposed. They opposed the fee for the -- the increased fee for the recreation halls and as I mentioned earlier, at this point we're only looking at increasing the fee for one facility; but we needed that flexibility. With that, we recommend that the Commission adopt the following motion: Parks & Wildlife Commission adopts amendments to Sections 53.2, 3, 5, 7, 30, 60, 93, and 59 -- 59.90, 59.3, 59.221 as published in the December 21st issue of the Texas Register, with changes as necessary and also we request adoption of the completed rule review. I'm happy to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Questions for Ann? Great. Thanks, Ann. Okay, appreciate it. Motion for approval?

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: So moved.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Commissioner Hughes. Second Commissioner Jones. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any opposed? Hearing none, the motion carries.

Action Item No. 5 is Local Park Grant Funding, Tim Hogsett.

MR. HOGSETT: Good morning. I'm Tim Hogsett from the Recreation Grants Branch of State Parks Division. It's a pleasure to be back here again with some local park grants after a short absence. You're probably all aware that our State Park grant funds were suspended in this current session of Legislature.

We do, however, receive some money from the U.S. Department of Interior through a program called the Land Water Conservation Fund. In 2012, we received an apportionment of approximately 2.8 million. That money can be used for both the State Park system, most recently we've done quite a lot of land acquisition using those funds, and it can also be used for most of our local park grant programs. The only one that's really excluded is indoor recreation.

Therefore, we have split the Land Water Conservation Funds approximately in half. Leaving five -- about half of them available for State Park use, and are recommending this morning a group of grants for possible approval. We have two programs as you know under the local parks umbrella. We have a non-urban program. Those are communities of 500,000 in population and less and for that application deadline of August the 1st, we reduced the typical grant slightly -- actually, quite a bit, from 500,000 to a $100,000 maximum ceiling application.

We received 32 applications requesting 6.7 -- $2.6 million in matching funds. We rank ordered those using the scoring system that you've adopted previously and we're recommending in Exhibit A funding for the top ten grants in the amount of a million dollars.

We also have an urban grant program. Those are communities in excess of 500,000 in population and in a similar fashion, we reduced the amount of available funds for those grants from typically a million dollars when we have full state funding to $220,000 and we received three eligible applications requesting a total of 550,000 for our August 1st deadline. Again, we rank ordered those using the scoring systems that you've adopted and are recommending approval of the two top applications in the amount of 330,000 in matching funds.

So this morning, our recommendation is funding for 12 projects listed in Exhibit A and B in the amount of $1.3 million is approved. I think we have speakers, and I'd also be glad to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Just a couple of quick questions, Tim. On the indoor one, when was the last year that we applied funds to indoor projects?

MR. HOGSETT: It's been -- it's been almost two years since we've funded any local park grant projects at this point.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Okay. And roughly over the last three years, how would the -- how would the urban and nonurban trend look over the last three years in terms of funding?

MR. HOGSETT: We've funded -- in terms of numbers or...

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: I'm just trying to get a sense of, you know, where we're deficient under the --

MR. HOGSETT: Under the urban program when we had full funding and we were making million dollar grants, we had well in excess of the amount of money that we had available. At a 15 and a half million dollar level, for both of the programs actually, we had well in excess of the numbers of applications. So I think what we're bringing you today shows a pent-up demand, even if the grants are much smaller than they've normally been.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: That's helpful. Okay, thank you. We do have some signed up and first is David Garza. Sam Listi will be next if you want to --

MR. GARZA: Mr. Chairman and Commissioners, David Garza, County Commissioner from Cameron County, Texas. It's a pleasure to be here with you today and to thank you in anticipation of the action you will take on this item because I think we're included an exhibit; so we want to thank you for that.

But mostly we want to thank you and we want to thank Tony for your service to Texas and to our area as a Commissioner that we've always gone to. We've -- in coming up here, we determined that we had not had a public elected official before this Commission in many years. Yet, we're a partner with you on numerous projects in Cameron County. Just counting as I was sitting there, I think we're more than involved with you in 13 different community parks and island parks in Cameron County. So you're a critical component to the quality of life that we serve our constituency and our visitors to our area on an annual basis.

Your Agency has been extremely helpful during spring break, you know. Your Game Wardens have been very helpful to us and we hope that continues because that's coming up pretty soon. But, you know, with me today you have two faces, which is Javier Mendez which is our parks director and Joel Vega who is our assistant parks director that always call your staff and your staff has been always unwavering. They're the face that we know in your Agency and you need to know that some of these folks -- and Tim Hogsett was one of them. He visits us occasionally. Roxane Eley is another one. Dana Lagarde and Andy Goldbloom are just some names that come to mind of folks that answer their phone right away to our folks in helping us trying to do the right thing and in utilizing you and making sure that we become good mutual partners for our projects.

Cameron County has invested heavily in the parks and quality of life of our residents and we thank you for your efforts that you've made in helping us get to where we want to be today. So, Tony, congratulations on your service. Mr. Chairman and Commissioners, we will be coming to visit more regularly I hope. Okay.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Mr. Garza, thank you.

MR. GARZA: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thanks for making the effort to be here. We appreciate it and thanks for those kind remarks. Tony?

Okay, next is Sam Listi, please.

MR. LISTI: Good morning. It's a pleasure to be here. Mr. Chairman, Members of the Commission, my name is Sam Listi. I'm the City Manager for the city of Belton, Texas. I just want to take an opportunity to express my appreciation for what the Commission and Mr. Hogsett's department have done for Belton in the past. Especially, support for parks development and the trout stocking program as well.

Belton's quality of life within our community and for our citizens has been forever enriched as a result and we are committed to remain good stewards of these enhanced resources and we thank you for your continued support of parks and recreation and we appreciate the favorable recommendation that we're anticipating today. Thank you so much for your service and what you do for the state.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you, Mr. Listi. Appreciate it.

And David Withers.

MR. WITHERS: Thank you, Chairman and the Commissioners. Appreciate you allowing me here. I'm David Withers. I'm with the city of Brownwood, Parks and Recreation Director. I very much appreciate the grant that is anticipated to be approved. It sure has improved the quality of life there in Brownwood and very much appreciate all the work that the recreation crew has done.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you.

MR. WITHERS: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thanks. And Joe Turner. Joe, I think I pronounced that right, didn't I? How are you? It's good to see you.

MR. TURNER: I try to come as often as possible, especially when there's money involved.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: We appreciate it.

MR. TURNER: I just wanted to thank you for the grant that hopefully you're going to approve for us also. It's for Shady Lane Park and to give you a quick background on that park, we will be showcasing that park this October 2013. We will have the national NRPA convention in Houston and this is part of our national campaign, which is called Parks Build Communities and we're so happy you're going to be one of the partners in this project with us.

And I'd also like to tell you this project is -- it's a 12-acre park, but it's part of a 65-acre detention pond that was built -- that was a buy-out program from hurricane -- or Tropical Storm Allison. And we have this beautiful now instead of looking like a 12-acre park, it looks like we have an 80-acre park and on the north side is our County Commissioner that we work with, too, Commissioner Jack Morman. So we have this amazing facility to where we'll have this new park; but also at the same time, we're able to attach our kids to the conservation piece and the nature piece.

As soon as this basin was built, as soon as the first basin got water in it, we were already attracting the birds that these basins do for us and it allows us to teach the conservation and the nature piece to our urban kids. So with this grant, thank you. I would like to tell you, too, that when we do have this National Park and Recreation Association meeting, because of Justin Rhodes -- and we're very appreciative of Justin -- we have what are called 12 off-site institutes and they're opportunities to showcase parts of the region and at the same time earn CEUs. And Justin -- because of Justin working with us, we actually have four state park project's pieces that are on it. They'll be visiting Sheldon Lake State Park. They will be out at Brazos Bend State Park and Observatory. Be out at San Jacinto and then we'll -- Diane will also be doing what we call the Wall Street, Wall Street Bat Colony. Thank you very much.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thanks, Joe. Good to see you, thanks. Okay, I think -- I believe that's all we have signed up to -- on Item 5. Any other discussion or questions from the Commission?

Okay, motion for approval?

COMMISSIONER SCOTT: So moved.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Moved by Commissioner Scott. Second by Commissioner Martin. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any opposed? Hearing none, motion carries.

MR. HOGSETT: Thank you very much.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you. Thanks, Tim.

Item 6 is Sand and Gravel Permit Program Rules, Recommended Adoption of Proposed Rules.

MR. HEGER: Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners. My name is Tom Heger. I'm the Administrator of the Sand and Gravel Permit Program in Inland Fisheries. Under Chapter 86 of the Parks & Wildlife Code, the Parks & Wildlife Commission has the authority to regulate disturbance or take of sedimentary materials in the navigable streams and the tidewater limits of the state and to issue permits for disturbance or take in those areas.

The Sand and Gravel Permit Program currently issues two to three individual permits per year, and that includes commercial operations, operations that remove and sell material from state owned areas. And those commercial operations are required to pay royalties based on the amount of material they remove and sell and are required to submit monthly reports of their activities.

Currently, the Sand and Gravel regulations do not include any language about penalties or interest on late royalties or on late or incorrect documents. Though an -- excuse me, an internal audit recommended that language addressing penalties and interest be inserted. So, therefore, we -- to address this, we had gotten approval for publication of proposed rule changes in the December 2012 Texas Register and that proposal included establishing penalties for late royalties in the amount of 5 percent or $100, whichever is greater for royalties 30 days or less late and for royalties more than 30 days late, the greater of 10 percent or $100.

Also, included a proposal for establishing interest on late royalties in the amount of 12 percent simple interest per year with accrual to begin 30 days after the due date. And finally, it included a proposal to establish penalties for late or incorrect documents of $100 per document that was delinquent or incorrect with an additional $100 for each document for each additional 30-day period that the problem was not corrected.

We received one public comment as a result of publication of the proposal, and it was in support of the changes. Therefore, staff recommends that the Commission adopt the proposed motion. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you, Tom. Any questions? Okay, nobody signed up to speak on this item. Motion for approval?

COMMISSIONER JONES: So moved.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Commissioner Jones. Second Commissioner Hixon. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any opposed? Hearing none, motion carries. Thank you.

MR. HEGER: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Item 7 is Deer Breeder Regulation Changes, Recommended Adoption of Proposed Changes, Mr. Mitch Lockwood. Good morning, Mitch.

MR. LOCKWOOD: Good morning, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners. For the record, my name is Mitch Lockwood. I'm the Big Game Program Director. As we discussed yesterday, staff have proposed to modify the deer breeder reporting requirements. Simply put, we have proposed to require that all reports and notifications occur through the Department's internet based deer breeder application, with one exception and that being that the activation of transfer permits could occur either through that online deer breeder application or by calling the Law Enforcement Communication Center and receiving a confirmation number.

These changes -- the main advantages of this change would be a significant reduction in the reporting errors. It would also provide for more efficient means of herd inventory reconciliation and it would make data more immediately available to the Department's -- to the Wildlife Division and Law Enforcement personnel. We also proposed one single permit fee of $200. Currently, we have a $400 permit fee for deer breeders, except there is a 50 percent discount for those who do enough of their reporting through our existing online deer breeder application and if this proposal is adopted, then by default all permittees would qualify for this discount. So for clarification purposes, we propose this one single fee of $200.

And to date, we've received -- or as of about 24 hours ago, we've received three comments, public comments on this. All were in support. Our breeder user group has discussed this on two different occasions and are in support of it and the Texas Deer Association has voiced their support as well.

And so with that, the staff recommend that the Texas Parks & Wildlife Commission adopts amendments to 65.602, 65.603, 65.605, 65.608, and 65.610 concerning deer breeder permits and 53.14 concerning the deer management and removal permits, with changes as necessary to the proposed text and as published in the December 21, 2012, issue of the Texas Register. And with that, I'll be glad to entertain any questions you might have.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Questions for Mitch? Great. Thanks, Mitch.

MR. LOCKWOOD: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: All right, motion for approval? Moved by Commissioner Hughes. Second by Commission Falcon. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any opposed? Hearing none, motion carries.

Item 8 is a briefing item, the Development of a Catfish Management Plan for Texas, Mr. Dave Terre. How are you this morning?

MR. TERRE: I'm doing awesome. Good morning, Chairman Friedkin and Commissioners. My name is Dave Terre. I'm the Chief of Inland Fisheries Management and Research for the Inland Fisheries Division. Today -- hold on a second. There we go. Today I'll update you on some of our work on catfish and the progress we've made towards the development of a statewide management plan for this species.

Catfish are very important to Texas anglers and the future of fishing in our state. Catfish rank second in popularity behind Largemouth bass. They are very easy to catch and good populations exist in most all of our waters. Many youth can claim catfish as their first fish. They provide an opportunity for a fish fry and also a catch of a lifetime. Catfish fishing opportunities are diverse, and three species exist now that are utilized in Texas waters. First the Channel catfish, which is the most abundant and probably the most utilized; and Blue and Flathead catfish, which are generally less abundant, but grow to much larger size and offer great fishing trophy potential.

About 80 percent of our catfish anglers pursue catfish with rod and reel; but unlike other kinds of fish that are caught in Texas waters, other fishing techniques are also available. Catfish are a very adaptable species and do well in fluctuating reservoir environments and I think that's something we're going to be seeing more of in Texas as water demands increase. Catfish also do very well in small urban impoundments in cities, making them a great choice for providing quality fishing opportunities for folks that live in urban areas.

With proper fisheries management, we believe that the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department has the opportunity to make catfish fishing better and this has been a major focus of our activities for the past five years. In 2010, we worked with Dr. Hunt of Mississippi State University to conduct a statewide catfish angler survey. The purpose of this survey was to find out exactly who our catfish anglers were and what they wanted in their fishing. Results of this study are being used to help and form the development of this management plan. We thought knowing what our anglers felt and wanted was key.

So what did we learn about our catfish anglers? First, we found that 80 percent of our 1.8 million freshwater anglers do fish for catfish; so they are important. Also, we found out that 82 percent of our catfish anglers also live in or near urban areas, which is really significant. Also, the availability and quality of facilities and access points are very important to these anglers. A lot of catfish anglers want that sense of privacy or solitude in their fishing and they don't really want to travel far to go fishing.

The biggest driving factor though is numbers and size of catfish caught and who -- you know, who would have guessed that? But these are really main factors that drive where people choose to go fish. Unlike some other species we manage though, greater than 70 percent of catfish anglers harvest some of the fish that they catch, which means that harvest -- whatever we do with the management of catfish is critically important. Catfish, our anglers are more diverse than what we had thought and we are going to use this information to help us go forward in the development of this plan.

What our survey results really told us is that we need to provide -- we need to continue to manage catfish in a way that provides for high catch rates, it provides -- allows for harvest, it improves size quality and where possible, provide these fishing opportunities near urban areas and areas that also have good facilities and access. Thus, the main goals of this plan were to, one, maintain or improve our existing catfish populations and, two, to increase fishing opportunities and access to catfish for all anglers.

So over the past five years since we've kind of ramped up our efforts on catfish, we've conducted over 27 catfish related research projects, very significant, and have made a great effort to exchange this information with other states. We've also conducted nearly 500 population surveys and interviewed over 35 -- 36,000 anglers over the past five years specific to catfish. We've implemented some special fishing regulations, which I'm sure you're aware of, on a few lakes that were consistent with the needs that were identified in this catfish angler survey.

These regulations -- if these regulations are successful and we're currently experimenting with those, our goal would maybe to be to replace some of our statewide regulations with some specialized regulations that target fish specific fisheries management goal. You know, and that has been a frame mark or a landmark for us for the management of Largemouth bass in our state and we think we can do the same thing with catfish.

Today, we stock over 1 million catfish per year in our lakes, rivers, and streams, small urban impoundments. It's very significant. And finally, we've been working to identify the habitats that are needed for catfish and trying to learn some techniques on how to enhance those.

So, new for 2013 is a research evaluation designed to measure the potential impacts of handfishing at Lake Palestine and Lake Palestine is in Northeast Texas. As you know, Lake Palestine was a very popular destination for handfishing in 2012 and many large Flathead catfish were believed to be harvested at that time. So what this research will provide us is important information on not only the demographics of handfishermen, who they are; it will also provide us much needed data on size structure of these large catfish and what those impacts are on populations. So these results should help us determine if new regulations would be necessary to sustain the quality of these fisheries under this new pressure coming from handfishing. We think though we'll have some preliminary results of that in 2014.

Our second goal is to increase fishing opportunities and access to catfish, particularly in our urban areas. The Neighborhood Fishing Program does exactly this in 15 lakes that are located in nine major metropolitans of the state. These lakes are actually stocked every two weeks with catchable sized catfish for these urban anglers to enjoy and that's done in the spring, summer, and fall; so that's quite a bit of fish.

Today, we estimate that this program reaches about 50,000 people and 50 percent of these people are either youth or adults that are new to fishing; so we're reaching the right folks with that. But on a broader scale, the Department stocks over 250 community and state park lakes across the state and we all know that in our state parks, no license is required to go fish a state park; so it's a great opportunity for somebody to go out and get connected with our parks and at low cost to them for sure for a day's fishing.

Texas Parks & Wildlife is also working to increase the number of public access points on our rivers and we're doing this through some lease -- new lease agreements that we have on some of our major rivers and also promoting fishing as part of our Paddling Trails Program, which will help us get anglers out and get connected with those good catfish populations in our rivers.

So how do we grow these opportunities? Today, over 85 percent of Texans -- some 18 million people -- live in our urban areas of their state and most don't fish. Catfish are a good vehicle to get these folks involved in fishing and really I think the future of fishing -- with the future of fishing, it's going to be critical for us to make those connections in those urban areas. We should also work, I think, with -- close with community leaders and urban planners as they develop new lakes that are just acquired in parks in these cities, to work with them and use our -- the results of our catfish angler surveys to try to provide the needs that our catfish anglers have told us.

We should also use targeted marketing approaches to help us strategically connect with families that are likely to fish in those areas and we're doing some of that already with our Neighborhood Fishing Program. On a broader scale, really a lot of Texas waters already support outstanding catfish populations and I think that a lot could be done to promote catfish fishing in Texas to help make Texas a destination nationally for catfish. No question about it.

Full implementation though of this program will require additional partners and funding. No question. A workable framework for this, however, has been established with our Neighborhood Fishing Program and I think that's a good launching board for us to go forward into a larger program. So as we develop a catfish management plan for Texas, we plan to get additional feedback from stakeholders and we plan to do this perhaps in public meetings or focus groups across the state and we would like to start that in 2014 to kind of ground truth the information we have to make sure we're on the right track.

One purpose of the management plan will be to help refine the work that we're already doing, but I think a larger purpose of this plan is to clearly articulate this vision that I presented to you today about catfish; to promote catfish angling opportunities across Texas; to generate increased public support, interest and support for our management directions and programs; and to help us attract those new partners and funding to expand fishing opportunities, especially in our urban areas.

So with that, I'll be happy to answer any of your questions. Thank you for having me.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Great. Thank you, Dave. Thanks for all the effort with this program. It's great. Any questions or comments? Appreciate the brief, thanks.

MR. TERRE: Okay, thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Item 9 is Request for Pipeline Easement, Parker County, Pineline Crossing Lake Mineral Wells Trailway, Mr. Ted Hollingsworth.

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Chairman, Commissioners, good morning. My name is Ted Hollingsworth. I'm with the Land Conservation Program. This is the second reading of this item. You saw it in November. The trailway is 25 long -- miles long, a little skinny piece of property. And, of course, we get a number of requests for utility crossings and other kinds of crossings.

With pipeline crossings -- in particular, gathering line crossings like this one -- we've required for some years now have required directional drilling. This is a request for an easement to directionally drill an 8-inch gathering line to serve a local oil and gas field under the right-of-way. There will be no surface expression and no occupancy of the trailway itself.

The line will go in on one side of the trailway and come up on the other side of the trailway. One of several that cross the trailway now. This is fairly standard operating procedure for us on these trailways. With that, the staff recommends that Texas Parks & Wildlife Commission adopt the following motion: The Commission adopts the resolution attached as Exhibit A. I'd be happy to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any questions for Ted? Okay, motion for approval? Moved by Commissioner Scott. Second by Commissioner Morian. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any opposed? Hearing none, motion carries.

Mr. Ted Hollingsworth, Action Item 10, Acceptance of Land Donation, Brazoria County.

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Chairman, Commissioners, good morning. My name is Ted Hollingsworth. I'm with the Land Conservation Program. We like donated land. This particular tract -- this is a picture of the tract. It's kind of a boring picture, but it's really a pretty neat piece of property. It straddles Follets Island, which was created by the construction of the intercoastal waterway; but straddles it from Drum Bay and Christmas Bay all the way to the Gulf of Mexico.

A lot of neat habitats. There are sand flats. There are emergent marshes, dunes, dune swell wetlands. And one of the neat things about this tract is it would be the first property we've brought in for our inventory as a coastal preserve. The adjacent Christmas Bay is already leased to us by the GLO for a coastal preserve and the property opposite this tract is all in the National -- the Brazoria National Wildlife Refuge.

This tract is a -- well, mile-long stretches of beach and barrier island that don't have houses and other development on them are getting increasingly rare. They're very important for Piping Plovers, nesting sea turtles, and other wildlife. We think this is a valuable addition to the conservation portfolio for public lands in Texas and we were fortunate to get a CIAP grant several years ago. The money is just now available. We had to have a partner. At the time, we did not have authority from the Legislature to use grant moneys for land acquisition. Brazoria County agreed to sponsor the grant and acquire the land and then convey it to Texas Parks & Wildlife. We're working closely with the County and are getting very close to being ready to close.

And with that, the staff recommends that the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department -- Texas Parks & Wildlife Commission adopt the following motion: The Executive Director is authorized to accept the donation of approximately 480 acres of land adjacent to the Christmas Bay Coastal Preserve. I'd be happy to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any questions for Ted? Okay, motion for approval? Commissioner Scott. Second Commissioner Falcon. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any opposed? Hearing none, motion carries.

Ted, you're doing such a great job.

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: I just stay up here, right?

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: We'll just keep you up here for the next one. Item 11, Land Acquisition, Stephens County, 250 Acres, Palo Pinto Mountains State Park.

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Chairman, Commissioners, I'm still Ted Hollingsworth and I'm with the Land Conservation Program. We like adding -- we like adding land to state parks as well. As you know, for the last year we've been acquiring tracts to form our newest state park, the Palo Pinto Mountains State Park, straddling Palo Pinto and Stephens County.

The park is about 70 miles west of downtown Fort Worth. Readily accessible right off I-20. Spectacular topography. It straddles what's known locally as the Palo Pinto Mountains. You can see in this map, the tracts that we've added in the last three months. The tract will make up the west boundary of the park. Very, very pretty. Very pretty topography. Almost a mile of north Palo Pinto Creek across that property, and it is our highest priority for adding to that park.

With this addition, the State Parks staff and infrastructure will begin -- will seriously begin planning public use and development for the site. We have an option to buy from a willing seller at appraised value and are prepares to close -- prepared to close next month. And, therefore, the staff recommends the Texas Parks & Wildlife Commission adopt the following motion: The Texas Parks & Wildlife Commission authorizes the Executive Director to take all necessary steps to acquire approximately 250 acres in Stephens County for addition to Palo Pinto Mountains State Park. And I'd be happy to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Questions for Ted? Motion for approval?

COMMISSIONER HIXON: So moved.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Commissioner Hixon. Second Commissioner Hughes. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any opposed? Hearing none, motion carries.

Action Item 12, Delegation of Easement Renewal Authority, Mr. Ted Hollingsworth.

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Chairman, Commissioners, good morning. My name is Ted Hollingsworth. This is an item we discussed yesterday. It's -- essentially, it's a housekeeping item. It's an operations item. We have approximately 1,400 easements and surface use agreements that extant on our properties across the state.

Most of those and all of those issued in the last 15 or 20 years are issued on ten-year terms and when they expire, it is necessary to -- in many cases, it's appropriate to renew those. Technically once they've expired, the land, the property rights associated with those leases also expire and when we renew those, technically we re-issue or regrant those property rights. And so in accordance with -- in accordance with policy and procedure, it is appropriate for the Commission to authorize the granting of those rights.

Most of what we're talking about is utility right-of-ways, pipelines, water/wastewater infrastructure, communication facilities, and related infrastructure that we have on many of our sites. Historically what we've done is that staff has reviewed those. Staff has updated those to current standards for third-party use of our lands, and we've issued those upon the signature of the Division Director or Deputy Executive Director; but technically that authority lies with the Commission.

And what the staff is suggesting and what the staff is recommending is that for those easements that are preexisting, that you've approved, that the GLO has issued, or that we've inherited with these sites, when they come due for renewal, that the Commission delegate to the Executive Director the authority to negotiate the terms and conditions for those renewals and to proceed with those renewals.

As we discussed yesterday, we would certainly advise the Commission of those renewal requests before we issue those and we have two versions now of that policy. One of which would require the Executive Director to do so and the staff can easily go either way at your discretion and would appreciate you advising the staff as to which way you would like to go in terms of notifying you of each renewal or not notifying you of each renewal before we proceed with those.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: All right. I would -- any comments? Commissioner Jones.

COMMISSIONER JONES: My -- I'll go along with whatever the other Commissioners feel comfortable with, but I'm always cautious when the Commission gives up authority. So my preference would be that we get notice before the easements are actually executed. That would just be my preference, but I can go either way.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any other thoughts on that?

COMMISSIONER SCOTT: I agree with...

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Okay. So that would be -- that would be the Commission directive on that.

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: And procedurally would you like those in the form of a presentation or would you like those in the form of a list or we can be as elaborate -- we can be as formal or informal as you'd like about notifying you of those requests.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Commissioner Hughes.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: I personally would like to see a list of it. I don't think we need a presentation. And maybe a list at each meeting. I know I don't want to be bombarded every week with another easement that we're going to -- I mean I personally don't. I think just a list showing what we -- what's up for renewal and then if any of us have comments, we can come back to you, unless the other Commissioners would like to see it some other way.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: I certainly agree with that. Okay, so that would be the -- that would be the form or the process.

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Very good. And we have a policy prepared to go with the resolution that you'll be voting on that would mandate that. So with that, staff does recommend that the Texas Parks & Wildlife Commission adopt the following motion: That Texas Parks & Wildlife Commission adopts by resolution in Exhibit A Commission Policy CP-020, which is Exhibit B. I'd be happy to answer any other questions or address any other comments you have.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Anything else on that?

COMMISSIONER JONES: By the way, if you do something and hack somebody off, you can still -- you can always cover your rear end with, well, the Board knew about it.

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: I won't hesitate.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Give you some top cover. Motion for approval?

COMMISSIONER JONES: So moved.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Okay, moved by Commissioner Jones. Second by Commissioner Scott. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any opposed? Hearing none, motion carries. That's it, Ted?

Action Item 13 -- there we go -- Request for Deed Modification, Harris and Montgomery Counties. You walked away.

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: I'm doing better -- I'm doing better than I thought I was. Chairman, Commissions, good morning. My name is Ted Hollingsworth. I'm with the Land Conservation Program. This item actually pertains to a site we no longer own. It was at one time known as Lake Houston State Park. The City of Houston was in a much better position to develop that park and to promote that park and manage that park and in 2007, we transferred the site to the City of Houston.

There were deed easement -- deed restrictions that prohibited any commercial use of the property. Enterprise Pipeline does need to cross the site with a 24-inch gas/liquids pipeline and has convinced the City and staff at Texas Parks & Wildlife that there is not a reasonable and prudent alternative. In order for the City to be able to grant the easement for the pineline, it is necessary to -- for us to modify that deed.

The deed would be modified to permit only this one 24-inch pipeline. If in the future there is a need for another easement, the City would come back to the Department and request your concurrence for another deed modification. As you can see from this map, the new pipeline corresponds -- or at least it's adjacent to an existing right-of-way for most of the length across the park. The route and the construction methods are as requested by TPWD staff. We've worked with Enterprise. They've worked with us extremely well to minimize impacts, to minimize the need to take out additional vegetation for that new pipeline, and because they've worked with us well and because there is not a reasonable and prudent alternative, staff does recommend that the Parks & Wildlife Commission adopt the following motion: The Commission adopts the resolution attached as Exhibit A. And I'd be happy to answer any questions you have.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any questions for Ted? Okay, we do have Joe Turner signed up to speak on this item.

MR. TURNER: Chairman, Commissioners, I just wanted to come forward to tell you thank you for Ted Hollingsworth and Justin Rhodes. Both those guys have been extremely valuable to this process as we dealt with Enterprise. Also, Bob Sweeney and Ann Bright, they helped this process move forward. It took us six to eight months to get this process done and we actually held on January 16th a Chapter 26 hearing in Houston, had no speakers, closed the public meeting, and with favorable response from you today, then next month -- next week we'll do a request for council action to move forward. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you, Joe. Anything else on that? Motion for approval? Commissioner Scott. Second Commissioner Martin. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any opposed? Hearing none, motion carries.

Item 14 was withdrawn.

Action Item No. 15, Land Acquisition, Hemphill County, Approximately 350 Acres as an Addition to the Gene Howe Wildlife Management Area, Mr. Corky Kuhlmann. Good morning, Corky.

MR. KUHLMANN: Good morning, Commissioners, Mr. Chairman. Corky Kuhlmann, Land Conservation Program. This is an acquisition in Hemphill County, Panhandle of Texas, Gene Howe WMA. It is -- subject tracts are along the Canadian River. These are GLO tracts that have become available and been offered to us for an addition to the Wildlife Management Area.

These are tracts that we've been after for some time. They have just recently started selling those to the adjacent landowners. And having said that, the staff recommends the Parks & Wildlife Commission adopt the following motion: The Texas Parks & Wildlife Commission authorizes the Executive Director to take all necessary steps to acquire approximately 350 acres in Hemphill County for an addition to the Gene Howe Wildlife Management Area. And I'd be happy to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Questions for Corky? All right, let's see. Motion for approval? Moved by Commissioner Morian. Second by Commissioner Jones. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any opposed? Hearing none, motion carries.

Item 16 is Land Sale and Trade, Bastrop County, Sale and Trade of Small Parcels to Conform to Survey Lines at Bastrop State Park, Mr. Corky Kuhlmann.

MR. KUHLMANN: For the record, Corky Kuhlmann. This is a land sale and trade of some small parcels at -- actually, it's on Park Road 1C that runs between Bastrop and Buescher. As you see here, it's closer to the Bastrop side. As a result of the Bastrop fires and opening up the whole area between -- well, the park and the road, our in-house surveyors went out and established boundary lines that hadn't been done in lots of years, 50 or 60 years, and there were some discrepancies.

This map shows two that we're going to address now. There will probably be some more in the future. The tract north of the road is -- we actually have about three and a half acres of a gentleman's land fenced in. He goes all the way out to the paved road. As a matter of fact, his property takes a section of the asphalt road and the red polygon shows the 1 acre that he has fenced in the parkland.

This gentleman has agreed for an even swap. After the fire, he had gone in and rebuilt the fence. He likes the fence where it is, so we will trade those even. The half acre tract is -- oops, excuse me. The half acre tract is a little different story. That tract, there's actually some infrastructure on, a garage, a well. And that happened as a result of a subdivision plat being filed in the courthouse that was wrong, that actually showed these people buying property on State parkland and they didn't do it maliciously. They did it according to the survey plat and map that they had at the time.

Working with these people, they have agreed to pay fair market value for the property. They've been -- they're probably -- 15 years is what I think when they built. They're going to pay fair market value. They're going to pay for all the closing costs. Pay for an appraisal. As well as the land trade, the guy's asked us to pay for an appraisal for him.

Having said that, the staff recommends the Texas Parks & Wildlife Commission adopt the following motion: The Commission adopts the resolution attached as Exhibit A and A-1. I'll be happy to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Questions for Corky? Motion for approval? Moved by Commissioner Martin. Second Commissioner -- anybody -- Scott. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any opposed? Hearing none, motion carries.

Which one are we on now? We're on...

MR. KUHLMANN: Seventeen.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Seventeen, Acceptance of Land Donation, Anderson County, Approximately 1.55 Acres at the Gus Engeling Wildlife Management Area, Corky Kuhlmann.

MR. KUHLMANN: For the record, Corky Kuhlmann. This is a small tract at the Gus Engeling Wildlife Management Area, East Texas. This tract is actually a -- you can see where it is along the highway. And it actually is one of the abandoned rest areas, TxDOT abandoned rest areas. If you travel in Texas, you'll see they're closing most of them, fencing them off.

This rest area actually had been used over the years for our hunters, for our hunting program. They would camp there. When they closed it, we requested that TxDOT transfer the property to us. They're willing to do so, deed the property to us. Staff recommends the Texas Parks & Wildlife Commission adopt the following motion: The Texas Parks & Wildlife Commission authorizes the Executive Director to take all necessary steps to accept the donation of a 1.55-acre tract of land as an addition to the Gus Engeling Wildlife Management Area. I'd be happy to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thanks, Corky. Any questions on --

COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Yeah, I have just one quick question. Corky, you were talking about this, how TxDOT is closing down so many of these. I've noticed that up in Hays County. What -- is it strictly budget matters is why TxDOT is shutting all these rest areas down?

MR. KUHLMANN: That's my understanding, that it's budget savings. And I'm not sure if -- having dealt with these folks and it was -- this was kind of a chore to get them to deed this to us, but I'm not sure if they're going to offer any of those other properties to adjacent landowners or I'm not sure what they're going to do with those.

COMMISSIONER SCOTT: I just have been noticing how many of them they've cut in the roads and --

MR. KUHLMANN: Right, and I haven't seen one open. It looks like everywhere across the state except for the larger ones along the interstates, you know, that are full facilities.

COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Okay. Any other questions for Corky? Motion for approval?

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: So moved.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Moved by Commissioner Morian. Second by Commissioner Hughes. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any opposed? Hearing none, motion carries.

Item 18, Land Transfer, El Paso County, Approximately 8 acres to the Texas Department of Transportation at Franklin Mountains State Park, Corky Kuhlmann.

MR. KUHLMANN: For the record, Corky Kuhlmann. This is a land transfer to TxDOT at Franklin Mountains, far El Paso County, about as far west as you can get. This is an interchange at the Tom Mays Unit. The current location, the current entrance to the park is fairly dangerous. People have complained about it for years.

We are in the process of negotiating or dealing with TxDOT and actually TxDOT has the funds available to build a new entrance there at no -- when they say no cost to Parks & Wildlife, it doesn't come out of our allocated funds at TxDOT, our budget there. This is a project they will be funding completely out of a TxDOT budget. Not only will this interchange, this new entrance provide safe access to the park, acceleration/deceleration lanes, it will also provide a wildlife corridor running underneath the highway through an existing arroyo there.

It's the only, only safe access. We don't have any place within all of Franklin Mountains, Trans-Mountain Highway cuts it in half, where you can safely cross without going -- not a crosswalk, trail, or anything where you aren't just fighting traffic to get across. This is going to provide a wildlife corridor. It will also act as a hiking/biking trail for park visitors.

Having said that, staff recommends the Texas Parks & Wildlife Commission adopt the following motion: The Commission adopts the resolution as attached on Exhibit A. And I'll be glad to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Questions for Corky on 18? Okay, motion for approval?

COMMISSIONER HIXON: So moved.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Moved by Commissioner Hixon. Second by Commissioner Martin. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any opposed? Hearing none, motion carries. Thanks, Corky.

Okay. Action Item 19, Tramway Easement, Land Trade, El Paso County, Modification of FAA Tramway at Franklin Mountains State Park, Corky Kuhlmann.

MR. KUHLMANN: Once again, El Paso County, Franklin Mountains State Park, far west Texas. You can see the tram is located in the southern end of the park. This tram is a tram that is used specifically by the FAA. They own it. It's not confused with the tram that has public access and we give tours on. It's a completely separate tram area.

It's my understanding that at times when we do use this tram for rescues and, you know, emergencies of that nature, we have access to it. The tram that you see, the lower terminal, needs to be replaced. They need to operate the tram while the lower terminal is being rebuilt. So they're just going to extend it in a straight line down the mountain so they can keep operating until the time they hook up to the new terminal.

Here is a neat picture I added that was sent to me by the park manager. You get a good idea of the tram going down the mountain. The first spot is where it is, it will just extend on to a lower terminal that would be replaced, rebuilt. The FAA actually owns just short of an acre of land at the existing terminal. They propose to trade that for another site. They will re-landscape that site to our satisfaction. So we'll be trading approximately 1 acre of land, extend the aerial easement, revise the road easement, and of course the landscaping I've already spoke of.

Staff recommends the Texas Parks & Wildlife Commission adopt the following motion: Commission adopts the resolution attached as Exhibit A. I'll be glad to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Questions for Corky? Okay, motion for approval?

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: So moved.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Moved my Commissioner Morian. Second by Commissioner Jones. All in favor?

(Chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any opposed? Hearing none, motion carries.

MR. KUHLMANN: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you, Corky. Appreciate it.

I think, Carter, I think we're there.

MR. SMITH: I think so, Chairman. If I may, if I could just say one more thing --

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Please.

MR. SMITH: -- if I could and obviously we've had a lot of discussions about State Parks over the last couple of days. I think as all the Commission knows, there's been a lot of headlines recently about the specter of park closures and concerns about the Legislature on that front. And I want to make it abundantly clear to, you know, the Commission, you know, we have heard exactly to the contrary from the members that we've talked about.

We have a strong sense that the members of the Legislature really want to help. Lieutenant Governor, the Speaker, Chairman Pitts, Chairman Williams, have all expressed their strong support for Parks and working with the Agency through these times and trying to find solutions to our needs and very, very heartened by the discussions that we've had with the members on that front and we're looking forward to working with them over the course of the session.

It is way too premature for these sort of alarmist discussions about park closures and I want to be abundantly clear about that. I think the Legislature is again in support of our state parks and really wants to try to find ways to help. We're at the beginning point of the budget process. By no means at the end, so I just want to make sure that that's clear to the Commission.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: I appreciate that, Carter. And we've obviously spent a lot of time on this lately and the Department has done a great job of working with the Legislature and the Legislators to come up with solutions for all of this and I do -- I have seen it firsthand. They're working very hard to come up with solutions for the Department and we certainly appreciate it, all of their efforts. So that's a good point.

MR. SMITH: Yeah. Thank you, Chairman.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thanks. Okay, that completes our business and I declare us adjourned.

(Meeting adjourns)

In official recognition of the adoption of this resolution in a lawfully called public meeting of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, we hereby affix our signatures this _____ day of ______________, 2013.

_______________________________
T. Dan Friedkin, Chairman

_______________________________
Ralph H. Duggins, Vice-Chairman

_______________________________
Antonio Falcon, M.D., Member

_______________________________
Karen J. Hixon, Member

_______________________________
Dan Allen Hughes, Jr., Member

_______________________________
Bill Jones, Member

_______________________________
Margaret Martin, Member

_______________________________
S. Reed Morian, Member

_______________________________
Dick Scott, Member


C E R T I F I C A T E

STATE OF TEXAS       )
COUNTY OF TRAVIS )

I, Paige S. Watts, Certified Shorthand Reporter in and for the State of Texas, do hereby certify that the above-mentioned matter occurred as hereinbefore set out.

I FURTHER CERTIFY THAT the proceedings of such were reported by me or under my supervision, later reduced to typewritten form under my supervision and control and that the foregoing pages are a full, true, and correct transcription of the original notes.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and seal this Turn in date _____ day of ________________, 2013.

__________________________
Paige S. Watts, CSR, RPR
CSR No.: 8311
Expiration: December 31, 2014
Firm Registration Number: 87
1016 La Posada Drive
Suite 294
Austin, Texas 78752
Job No. 106310

TPW Commission Meetings


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