Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
Public Hearing

August 28, 2003

Commission Hearing Room
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department Headquarters Complex
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744

BE IT REMEMBERED, that heretofore on the 28th day of August, 2003, there came on to be heard matters under the regulatory authority of the Parks and Wildlife Commission of Texas, in the Commission Hearing Room of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Headquarters Complex, beginning at 9:00 a.m. to wit:

APPEARANCES:

THE TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT:

Robert L. Cook, Executive Director, and other personnel of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department


TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION

PUBLIC HEARING REGISTRATION

AUGUST 28, 2003

List of Speakers:

Mr. Dock Jackson, City of Bastrop, P. O. Drawer X, Bastrop, TX 78602

Ms. Betty G. Flores, City of Laredo, 1110 Houston, Laredo, TX 78042

Ms. Sandra Chipley, Bastrop Parks Board, 402, Bastrop, TX 78602

Mayor Rudy Villarreal, City of Alamo, 423 N. Tower Rd., Alamo, TX 78516

Mr. Jim Rodgers, Williamson County, 305 Discovery Ste., 207, Cedar Park, TX 78613

Ms. Cora Alexander, City of Houston, Parks & Recreation Dept., 2999 S. Wayside, Houston, TX 77023

Mr. John E. deBessonnet, Harris County, 1001 Preston Ave., 5th Floor, Houston, TX 77002

Dock Jackson, Councilmember-City of Bastrop, Drawer X, Bastrop, TX 78602

Ms. Sandra Chipley, Bastrop Parks Board, Bastrop, TX

Terry Modeland, City of Meadows Place, One Troyan Dr., Meadows Place, TX 77477

Mr. Christopher J. Castle, San Antonio Texas Four Wheel Organization, 13119 Huntsman Dr., San Antonio, TX 78249

Ms. Susan Christian (Ewing), 11906 Palm Springs, Houston, TX 77034

Ms. Carol Smith, TMTC, Woodlands, The Woodlands, TX 77

Mr. George Rice, Jeeps of North Texas, 1004 Craig Dr., Mesquite, TX 75181

Mr. Chris McGuill, 1704 Mohle Dr., Austin, TX 78703

Kelly Castator, Southern High Rollers, 10877 Sage Canyon Dr., Houston, TX 77089

Mr. John Chaney, Southern High Rollers 4x4 Club, 9325 Saddle Lane, Houston, TX 77080

Mr. David Scott, 4x4 WD-San Antonio Chapter, 403 Fulton Ave., San Antonio, TX 78212

Mr. Alan Hatcher, 10323 Vinemont, Dallas, TX 75218

Mr. Bubba Hickman, P. O. Box 652, Camp Wood, TX 78833

Ms. Laura White, TMTC, 260 Mt. View A, Azle, TX 76020

Mr. Clay McCuill, TMTC, 8522 Red Willow Dr., Austin, TX 78736

Mr. Glenn Lee, 20127 Brondesbury, Katy, TX 77450

Ms. Kathy S. Duke, Texas Equestrian Trail Riders Association, Region 8, 3341 NWCR 1100, Corsicana, TX 75110

Dimitry Patent, Longhorn Offroad, 1001 Quail Park Dr., Austin, TX 78758 (didn't speak)

Mr. Kirby Brown, Texas Wildlife Association, 401 Isom Rd., Ste. 237, San Antonio, TX 78216

Mr. Ellis Gilleland, Texas Animals, P. O. Box 9001, Austin, TX 78766

Mr. Kirby Brown, Texas Wildlife Association, 401 Isom Rd., Ste. 237, San Antonio, TX 78216

Mr. Dan Hepker, Texas Trapper & Fur Hunters Association, 1002 MN, Bastrop, TX

Mr. Kirby Brown, Texas Wildlife Association, 401 Isom Rd, Ste. 237, San Antonio, TX 78216

Mr. Jerry Johnston, Texas Trophy Hunters/Texas Deer Association, P. O. Box 1203, San Antonio, TX 78279

Mr. David Hayward, Texas Deer Association, 8300 Pee Pasa Ranch Rd., Anderson, TX 77830

Mr. Ellis Gilleland, Texas Animals, P. O. Box 9001, Austin, TX 78766

Mr. Kirby Brown, Texas Wildlife Association, 401 Isom Rd., Ste. 237, San Antonio, TX 78216

Mr. Dave Benson, City of Lakeway/City Manager, 104 Cross Creek, Lakeway, TX 78734

Mr. Gerhardt Schulle, Jr., City of Lakeway, 132 Pinto Lane, San Marcos, TX 78666

Mr. Karl Kinsel, Texas Deer Association, San Antonio, TX

Mr. Bill Grace, TVA, P. O. Box 1038, Salado, TX 76571


P R O C E E D I N G S

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: We'll call the meeting to order.

And before proceeding with any business, I believe Mr. Cook has a statement.

MR. COOK: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

A 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 Law. I would like for this action to be noted in the official record of this meeting.

And I'd like to take a minute to go over some ground rules for the meeting for our guests. We welcome you. We would appreciate it if you would adhere to these — to this guidance. So that everyone will have a chance to address the Commission in an orderly fashion, the following ground rules will be followed.

The Chairman is in charge of this meeting, and, by law, it is his duty to preserve order, direct the order of the hearing and recognize persons to be heard. I will be assisting the Chairman today as Sergeant-at-Arms. We have sign-up cards for everyone wishing to speak out here at the desk in the hallway, and the Chairman will call the names from those cards one at a time.

Each person will be allowed to speak from the podium here in the middle one at a time. When your name is called, please come to the podium, state your name and who you represent if anyone other then yourself, then state your position on the agenda item under consideration, and add supporting facts that will help the Commission understand your concerns. Please limit your remarks to the specific agenda item under consideration.

Each person who wants to address the Commission will have three minutes to speak. I'll keep track of your time on this handy, little stoplight-looking thing right here and notify you when the three minutes are up. When your time is up, please resume your seat so that others may speak. Your time may be extended if a Commissioner has a question for you. If the Commissioners ask a question or discuss something among themselves, that time will not be counted against your three minutes.

Statements that are merely argumentative or critical of others will not be tolerated. There is a microphone at the podium, so it is not necessary to raise your voice. I will also ask that you show proper respect to our Commissioners as well as other members of the audience. You will not be recognized out of turn by raising your hand or interrupting others; disruptive or offensive behavior will be grounds for immediate ejection from the meeting.

If you have written materials that you would like to give to the Commission, please give them to Ms. Carole Hemby or Michelle Klaus, who are seated here to my right. Ms. Hemby will pass that written — those written materials to the Commissioners.

MR. COOK: Thank you, sir.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Thank you, Mr. Cook.

Next we have approval of the minutes of the previous meeting, which have already been distributed to the members. Do we have a motion for approval?

COMMISSIONER WATSON: So moved.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Second.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: A motion by Commissioner Watson seconded by Commissioner Fitzsimons. All in favor say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: The motion is carried.

Next we have acceptance of gifts, a list of which has also been distributed. Do we have a motion for approval of the gifts?

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: So moved.

COMMISSIONER HENRY: Second.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: The motion by Commissioner Montgomery seconded by Commissioner Henry. All in favor please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Opposed?

(No response.)

Donations of $500.00 or More

Not Previously Approved by the Commission

August 2003 Commission Meeting

Donor, Description, Purpose of Donations

1. Texas State Bank, Cash, Resource Protection’s Coastal Expo

2. Government Canyon Natural History Assoc., Cash, Government Canyon SNA Project #100915

3. Parks & Wildlife Foundation of Texas, Cash, World Birding Center-Bensten Project #101402

4. Parks & Wildlife Foundation of Texas, Cash, Maintenance of the Big Tree at Goose Island SP

5. Boatus, Cash, 2003 Boating Safety Campaign

6. Mike & Susan Yuras, Goods, Coastal Law Enforcement in Calhoun Cty.

7. McAllen Chamber of Commerce, Cash, The Great Texas Birding Classic

8. Eastman Chemical Co, Cash, The Great Texas Birding Classic

9. South Padre Island, Cash, The Great Texas Birding Classic CVB

10. Woods & Water, Goods, Maintenance of Roads at the Old Sabine Bottom WMA

11. O.E.P.C. Legacy, Cash, Concessionaire Contract

12. South Austin Civic Club, Inc., Cash, Playground at McKinney Falls SP

13. Cameron Park Zoological Trail, Cash, Funding for Prairies & Pineywoods Society Wildlife

14. Park & Wildlife Foundation of Texas, Cash, Sheldon Lake SP Operations

15. Shallow Sports of Texas, Inc., Goods, Law Enforcement Equipment

16. Texas Bighorn Society, Goods, Repairs Black Gap WMA

17. Parks & Wildlife Foundation of Texas, Cash, Construction of Wetlands Trail

18. Parks & Wildlife Foundation of Texas, Cash, Fund Marketing of TFFC Foundation of Texas

19. Sabine County Hotel/Motel Tax, Cash, Sponsorship for Prairies & Pineywoods Wildlife Trail

20. Friends of Fairfield Lake SP, Cash, Operations of Fairfield Lake SP

21. Parks & Wildlife Foundation of Texas, Cash, Support of the Canoncita Project

22. Exxon Mobil Foundation, Cash, Support of Restoration Work

23. Texas Bighorn Society, Goods, Food for FNAWS Desert Bighorn Sheep Hunt at Elephant Mountain WMA

24. Parks & Wildlife Foundation of Texas, Cash, Printing and Shipping of the State Park Site Maps

25. Parks & Wildlife Foundation of Texas, Cash, Writing and Printing Printing of Texas Hook & Bullet Newsletter

26. Parks & Wildlife Foundation of Texas, Cash, Purchase of Plastic Pocket Hunting and Fishing License Holders

27. Friends of Fulton Mansion, Cash, Fulton Mansion Visitors Center T21 Project

28. Parks & Wildlife Foundation of Texas, Cash, Sheldon Lake Project #101198

29. Port Aransas Chamber of Commerce, Cash, The Great Texas Birding Classic

30. Travis Audubon Society, Cash, The Great Texas Birding Classic

31. Parks & Wildlife Foundation of Texas, Cash, The Great Texas Birding Classic

32. Parks & Wildlife Foundation of Texas, Cash, Renovations for Canoncita Septic System Repairs

33. Pioneer Natural Resource USA, Inc., Cash, Artificial Reef Program

34. Parks & Wildlife Foundation of Texas, Cash, Lone Star Legacy October 2002

35. Parks & Wildlife Foundation of Texas, Goods, 20’ American Airboat for Law Enforcement

Total $1,298,953.73

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: The motion is carried.

The next item on our agenda is the — for the meeting is the presentation of service awards.

And, Mr. Cook, would you please make the presentations?

MR. COOK: Thank you, sir.

If you'll join me down here, I'll appreciate it.

(Pause.)

MR. COOK: We've got a number of service awards in this session. And as you know, we are looking at a number of retirements, some of those decisions being made as we speak. These folks, though, that we're honoring today are folks who — and as I looked at this list — many of these people are — have been around a long time. And I know many of those who have been around a long time. And we appreciate — sincerely appreciate their service and their contribution to conservation and the cultural and historical resources of Texas.

First of all — and I do not know how these — the order of these people get on our list. But it just so happens that the first gentleman on this list is an old, old friend of mine, a person that I have known all of my adult life and have worked with on a daily basis for several years. Fielding Harwell is a Program Specialist V headquartered in Kerrville, Texas, in the Wildlife Division; he has 40 years of service with Texas Parks and Wildlife Department.

Fielding began a full-time career with TPWD in June of 1964; his career includes nine years in South Texas as a regulatory biologist conducting game surveys and research on javelina and white-tailed deer, ten years in Austin as a member of the big game program staff, and he has been part of Wildlife Region II as a technical guidance biologist headquartered in Kerrville since 1983.

And I just — I have to say this. Fielding is absolutely the standard by which we set our technical guidance program. He currently has 117 — in every year, he has something over a hundred. He currently has 117 active wildlife management plans — individual plans on individual ranches — involving over 544,000 acres of private land.

Also to his credit, the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies — and there's like 17 states that are members of that group — named Fielding Harwell biologist of the year at their annual meeting in 1997.

I've worked with this gentleman. He is thorough. He is a scientist. He is one of those, when you say, "Fielding, do you have that documented," that's a silly question, you shouldn't have even asked.

With 40 years of service, my friend, Fielding Harwell.

(Applause.)

MR. COOK: Fielding asked if he was going to have to say anything, and I said, You're not going to get the microphone.

(Laughter.)

MR. HARWELL: Thank you.

MR. COOK: Thank you, sir.

(Applause.)

MR. COOK: We've got a number of folks with a lot of years.

Bobby Wienecke, Inland Fisheries at Ingram, Texas, is an Environmental Specialist III with 35 years of service. Bobby began his career with TPWD back in 1962 as a seasonal employee at what was then called the Ingram State Fish Hatchery. In 1967, he was hired as a biology field worker, again, at Ingram State Fish Hatchery, where he stayed until February of 1970.

Later that same year, he was hired as fish and wildlife technician at Dundee State Fish Hatchery, near Wichita Falls, where he was stationed for two years. In 1972, Bobby moved to Eagle Mountain Lake State Fish Hatchery, near Fort Worth, where he was stationed for 16 years. In 1988, he was transferred to the A. E. Wood State Fish Hatchery, in San Marcos, until transferring later that same year to his current duty station, Heart of the Hills Fisheries Science Center, near Kerrville, where he has served the last 15 years.

A tireless worker and one of the best fish culturists in the state, Bobby always finds ways to overcome the many challenges presented to those in research technical support and has been an outstanding mentor for many of our younger technicians over the years. With 35 years of service, Bobby Wienecke.

(Applause.)

MR. COOK: Mickey Clayton is an Engineer Specialist IV in the Infrastructure Division in Tyler, Texas, with 30 years of service. Mickey began his career at TPWD in 1973 with the force account crew. After working with the force account crew for six years, in 1979, he was hired as a construction superintendent, where he has been instrumental in opening 13 new state parks to the public, including the TPWD headquarters.

During his career, he has completed over 42 projects in 33 different state parks, involving several million dollars in state funds. His past accomplishments are too numerous to list, but several of the more diverse and complex projects include Lake Mineral Wells Rails & Trails and the renovation of the Caddo and Daingerfield cabins built in the 1930s by the CCC.

Mickey's primary goal in his career was to aid in the conservation of our Texas resources and to assure recreation areas will be available for our future and the enjoyment of our future generations. With 30 years of service, Mickey Clayton.

(Applause.)

MR. COOK: Here's another guy that I've known for a long time. Kay Fleming is a Natural Resource Specialist V in the Wildlife Division in Athens, Texas, has 30 years of service.

Kay's first job with TPWD was in 1972 as a summer student at the J. D. Murphree Wildlife Management Area. During the school year as a student at Texas A&M, he worked part-time for A&M's wildlife department building miniature radio transmitters for placement on wild turkeys. And believe me, back in those days, you — it was — you had to build them if you wanted a transmitter for turkey. You built them yourself. He was asked to return to TPWD the following summer and worked again as a summer student.

Kay then hired on full-time by the Department as a Wildlife Technician in southeast Texas, where he worked for ten years. In 1983, he transferred to Athens, in northeast Texas, and has worked as a regulatory natural resources specialist for the past 20 years.

Kay has been involved with the stocking, trapping and research of eastern wild turkeys, which we have re-established in that part of the state, and white-tailed deer, and he has censused most populations of wildlife species occurring in east Texas. He is currently providing technical assistance on wildlife and habitat management plans to landowners and collecting data on game populations and their habitat. He has published numerous scientific and popular articles on wildlife, habitat management and botany. With 30 years of service, Kay Fleming.

(Applause.)

MR. COOK: I'm telling you, when you start adding up them years of those guys — and here's another one right on top of it. James R. Fugate — now, we know Fugate as either "Fugate" or "Randy" — Environmental Specialist III, Wildlife Division, Falfurrias, Texas, with 30 years of service. And if you live, work, hunt or enjoy wildlife in South Texas, you have benefitted from Randy Fugate's service. Randy began employment with TPWD in May of 1973 in Edinburg, Texas, and became a permanent employee in September of that same year.

Most of Randy's time as a fish and wildlife technician in the Rio Grande Valley was spent working on the white-winged dove project and the Los Palomas Wildlife Management Area. In 1976, Randy transferred to the South Texas Regulatory District and assumed his present location in Falfurrias in 1979.

Randy serves as a valuable member of the long-term White-tailed Deer Selective Harvest Research Project on King Ranch. He is the TPWD District 8 Water Board representative on water issues in south Texas. He is the District 8 coordinator for turkey production surveys, as well as the coordinator for the Public Dove Hunting Lease Program in that area. He is the former lead staff in south Texas on their turkey trapping project.

Randy has worked on many game and non-game projects throughout his 30 years; however, his favorite has been conducting Rio Grande turkey research. With 30 years of service, Randy Fugate, Falfurrias, Texas.

(Applause.)

MR. FUGATE: Thank you, sir.

MR. COOK: We're not letting him have the mike, either.

MR. FUGATE: This is a good guy to be with, you know, when you go out after lunch — or after dinner, I mean.

(Laughter.)

MR. COOK: William F. "Bill" Granberry is a Manager V in the State Parks Division at Kerrville, Texas. He has 30 years of service. Bill began his employment with TPWD in the summer of 1972 as an hourly employee at Galveston Island State Park. In May of 1973, he was again hired, as a summer intern, at Galveston Island. In November of '73, he was hired as the assistant manager at Galveston, in 1979 promoted to the park manager position.

In July of '82, he transferred to Lake Texana State Park as the park manager and served in that position until May of 1998 when he was promoted to the Region 4 Regional Maintenance Specialist position in LaPorte. In May of 2002, he was promoted to the Regional Director position in Kerrville. With 30 years of service, Bill Granberry.

(Applause.)

MR. COOK: Just a side note on Bill, that regional maintenance supervisor job for — you know, when you're in a region that's got, say, 15 to 20 parks, working with the park managers and getting them put back together with their bond projects and — Bill Granberry has been outstanding. And with the retirement thing happening to us, we're losing four of our eight regional directors in the State Parks Division. So it's a huge loss for us. Fortunately, we've still got guys like Bill Granberry.

Steven W. Jones is a Manager I at the Mineral Wells State Park in Mineral Wells, Texas, with 30 years of service. Steve Jones began his career with TPWD at Lake Somerville State Park as a seasonal employee, where he hauled garbage and cleaned restrooms, for $1.49 an hour.

(Laughter.)

MR. COOK: Now, I've known Steve not as long as I've known some of these other guys, but I'm going to tell you that $1.49 might have been a little excessive.

(Laughter.)

MR. COOK: After four years as assistant park manager, Steve left and became the manager at Possum Kingdom State Park, where he worked for 12 years. In 1989, Steve became the manager at Lake Mineral Wells State Park and Trailway. During this time at Lake Mineral Wells, he has been instrumental in building and opening the Lake Mineral Wells State Trailway in 1996, the Administration Training Center in 1999 and the 750-person Lone Star Amphitheater in 2002.

Also, I've got to say about Steve, and if you know, this guy — he's a wonderful guy, but, obviously, a character or I wouldn't be kidding him. He has worked with those communities in that area as well as or better than anybody in this entire Agency. When you pull into Mineral Wells and that part of Texas, they know who Steve Jones is. He is very active in the community, has been very involved in youth target range development, shooting areas for young people and for shooting clubs. And we appreciate him very much. Steve Jones, 30 years of service.

(Applause.)

MR. COOK: Richard W. Luebke is a Manager V, Inland Fisheries, Ingram, Texas, with 30 years of service. Dick Luebke began his career with TPWD in 1973 as a fish and wildlife technician in Coastal Fisheries at Rockport; later that same year, Dick was promoted to fisheries biologist in the Inland Fisheries Division at Sheldon.

He transferred to the Heart of the Hills Research Station near Kerrville in 1977, and he soon became the regional director for research; he has been there for the past 26 years doing whatever he can do to help his staff maintain their strong national reputation for conducting some of the best fishery research in the nation. Many of you Commissioners have been to this site, and you know what the site is. And this man deserves much of the credit for what has been accomplished there.

His editing skills are exceptionally well known not only in Texas but throughout the southeastern United States. His red pen has bled on many technical manuscripts over the years, helping others improve their science. With 30 years of service, Dick Luebke.

(Applause.)

MR. COOK: I won't send — I wouldn't send any of my papers to him.

(Laughter.)

MR. COOK: Another with 30 years of service: Henrietta Solis, Accountant I in the Administrative Resources Division here in Austin, Texas. Henri started working at the Oetting Building at 13th and Lavaca in July of 1973 as a Stenographer II, typing and taking dictation for the entire Finance Division. She was promoted to an Accounting Clerk III and as floater for the Magazine Section/Park Reports and assisted with Fines and Arrest.

Henri later transferred to the license section and then to accounts payable, where she currently serves as an Accountant I. With 30 years of service, Henri Solis.

(Applause.)

MR. COOK: David Sykora, Manager V in the Infrastructure Division in Austin, Texas, with 30 years of service. David first joined the Department in May of 1973 as a project manager in the Engineering Division; he worked in this position with responsibility for the coordination and accomplishment of development and repair projects. David assumed leadership of the current Force Account Program in 1991 after a reorganization merged Force Account entities from the Historic Sites and the Development and Repair branches into one program.

When the Department's design and construction function was restructured in September of 1996 and given division status, David was assigned the leadership of the Construction Management Branch. With 30 years of service, David Sykora, Infrastructure Division, Austin, Texas.

(Applause.)

MR. COOK: Jose E. Cano, Jr., is a Natural Resource Specialist V in the Wildlife Division in Clifton, Texas, with 25 years of service. Joe began his career with TPWD as a fish and wildlife technician in Runnels County in June of 1978. In 1979, he transferred to Eastland County and, in December of 1980, promoted to biologist and stationed in Clifton, where he serves today.

Joe currently serves as a regulatory biologist for four counties in Southern District 3, where he has assisted with the bighorn sheep restoration project, the pronghorn antelope restoration project and restocking efforts of Rio Grande turkey and white-tailed deer. With 25 years of service, Jose Cano.

(Applause.)

MR. COOK: Tad C. Gose, Park Ranger III, State Parks Division, Wichita Falls, Texas, with 25 years of service. Tad Gose has served his entire career at Lake Arrowhead State Park, near Wichita Falls; he started as a Park Ranger I. He currently serves as park interpreter and safety officer.

Tad attended the first Safety Officer training class put on by the Department. In the year 2000, Tad received the Employee Recognition Award for Community Outreach; he has earned other awards from TPWD and the local communities for his work with inner-city youth groups.

His help with nonprofit groups has aided them in receiving many TPWD grants. Some of his special programs include teaching handicapped persons, the Project Wild and Buffalo Soldier programs and Outdoor Kids programs, along with a new Master Naturalist program. With 25 years of service, Tad C. Gose.

(Applause.)

MR. COOK: Deborah Skates, Program Administrator III in the Administrative Resource Division here in Austin, Texas, with 25 years of service. Debby Skates started with TPWD in June of 1978 as a clerk typist in the boat titling and registration section of the revenue branch; during her tenure, she has covered many functional areas within the boat section and was instrumental in establishing the liaison positions with the county tax offices and law enforcement field offices.

Debby worked on development of an automated boat system in 1988 and the subsequent introduction of the Interactive Voice Response telephone system for boat information. She has been through one system's life cycle and is now the foundation of knowledge for the development of the next automated system.

In December of 1995, Debby was promoted to her current position of Program Administrator within the boat titling and registration section. With 25 years of service, Debby Skates.

(Applause.)

MR. COOK: Shirley Lee Cage, Administrative Technician III with the State Parks Division in Karnack, Texas, with 20 years of service. Shirley Cage began her career with TPWD in 1983. She is presently office manager at Caddo Lake State Park, Karnack, Texas, where she has worked for 20 years serving under three park managers and two regional directors. And for that, she deserves a lot of credit by itself.

(Laughter.)

MR. COOK: With 20 years of service, Shirley Lee Cage.

(Applause.)

MS. CAGE: Thank you.

MR. COOK: I know those guys she has put up with.

(Laughter.)

MR. COOK: Elroy Griffin III is Programmer II in the Administrative Resources Division here in Austin, with 20 years of service. Elroy began his career with TPWD in 1983 as a data entry operator in a temporary position. Elroy's hard work has allowed him to learn new skills and serve the Agency in several different positions. He has been a Data Entry Operator I and II, Computer Operator I through IV and Applications Developer-Programmer I.

Elroy currently works as a Programmer II. Elroy has installed computer equipment and telephone equipment at several regional and district offices across the state. He has participated in the different Outdoor Kids programs here at TPWD, which has inspired him to work more with young people. With 20 years of service, Elroy Griffin.

(Applause.)

MR. COOK: Sometimes you wonder, these young people, how they ended up with 20 years.

(Laughter.)

MR. COOK: And I mean that in the best of ways, Joyce.

Joyce Marie Moore is a Natural — it seems like about a year ago that she went to work — I swear. Joyce Marie Moore, in the Wildlife Division, is a Natural Resource Specialist IV in Dilley, Texas, with 20 years of service.

Joyce began her career as a summer intern at the newly opened Guadalupe River State Park, near Boerne, in May of 1983. In October of that year, she became a permanent TPWD employee as a fish and wildlife technician in the South Texas Regulatory District, stationed in Frio County. Her title has changed over the years, but she continues to serve the wildlife division as a field biologist from the Pearsall/Dilley area with major responsibilities in Frio, Dimmit and Zavala counties.

Joyce has assisted the South Texas Regulatory District and the nearby Chaparral Wildlife Management Area with census activities, field days, youth activities and numerous research studies ranging from white-tailed deer to herds. She continues to stress habitat issues by providing hands-on technical assistance to a wide array of landowners ranging from small tracts to expansive holdings.

She currently assists three separate wildlife management associations. She has served as the District 8 coordinator for alligator hide tag issuance and as the principal investigator for statewide javelina harvest reporting since 1997. In 1999, Joyce was recognized by the Frio County Soil and Water Conservation District as its outstanding conservation business professional and as a certified wildlife biologist by the Wildlife Society. With 20 years of service, Joyce Marie Moore.

(Applause.)

MR. COOK: Now you tell me if she looks like she has worked 20 years. I'll swear about five.

(Laughter.)

MR. COOK: Robert Wesley Moss is a Manager IV in the State Parks Division here in Austin, Texas, with 20 years of service. Bob Moss began his career with TPWD in May of 1983 as a seasonal employee at Mission Tejas State Park. In December of '83, he was promoted to park manager at Mustang Island State Park, where he worked until he was promoted to assistant manager and park police officer at Pedernales Falls State Park, in September of '87.

In July of 1993, Bob became park manager at Huntsville State Park, where he worked until November of '95 when he became the state park customer services director responsible for the TPWD Customer Contact Center, the position that he now holds. Additional duties that have kept Bob busy with the Department include park peace officer, safety officer, water treatment plant operator and swift-water rescue technician.

Now, this name, "TPWD Customer Contact Center" — that's our call center. That's our reservation center right over here. And I will tell you that Bob Moss has done a great job of putting that group together, refining their services and providing us a wonderful service center and reservations system. With 20 years of service, Bob Moss.

(Applause.)

MR. COOK: Thank you, Bob.

We are very fortunate to have all those fine folks.

We have a special group of folks here this morning. Seated in the second row here behind me, you will see several folks in uniform. It is my honor today to recognize seven Texas Parks and Wildlife Department employees who are currently on duty or who have recently returned from active military service.

These folks were called away from their families and their jobs to serve their country in a time of crisis. One of them is still on duty in Bosnia, but we welcome his wife here today.

We have done everything that we know of possible to be part of these folks' lives and their families and help and assist in every way possible, but I don't think we do enough. And I want them to know from all of us how much we appreciate them and respect what they're doing and thank them for that.

First, Dr. David Bowles. David is a Program Specialist V with the Resource Protection Division, working with the River Studies program in San Marcos; David has ten years of service with TPWD.

Now, the United States Air Force refers to him as Major Bowles. David was mobilized for direct support of both Operation Noble Eagle and Operation Enduring Freedom by the U. S. Air Force Protection Battlelab of the U.S. Air Force Security Forces Center at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio from January through October of 2003; he is the first U. S. Air Force Reserve medical entomologist ever to be mobilized for war. During the mobilization, he conducted worldwide medical intelligence, research and field testing in direct support of the war on terrorism and of homeland defense.

Thank you, David, for your service to your country and to the people of Texas.

(Applause.)

MR. COOK: Thank you, David.

I don't usually get to stand that close to a major, a guy with all them — geez.

(Laughter.)

MR. COOK: Craig Colquitt is a fish and wildlife technician with the Coastal Fisheries Division, at the Dickinson Marine Laboratory. He has two years of service with TPWD. Boatswain Mate 2 Colquitt was called to active duty for the U. S. Coast Guard Reserve from February of 2003 until July of 2003. He was assigned to the U. S. Coast Guard Cutter, Hatchet, and served out of New Orleans and Corpus Christi in support of Operation Noble Eagle, or Homeland Security, as we civilians call it. Craig's responsibilities as a sea marshal included federal law enforcement actions along our coastline, including pollution, drug interdiction, fisheries and homeland security.

Craig, we thank you for your service, and we appreciate your sacrifice.

(Applause.)

MR. COOK: Adrian Edmundson works for the Administrative Resources Division in the information technology branch as a Programmer IV. Adrian has over four years of service with TPWD.

As a member of the 133rd Field Artillery Division of the Texas Army National Guard stationed in New Braunfels, Sergeant Edmundson was mobilized to active duty in August of 2002 in support of Operation Noble Eagle II. During this time, Adrian was stationed at Pueblo, Colorado, defending the Pueblo Chemical Depot, one of the nation's largest chemical weapons stockpiles, against a dangerous and continuing terrorist threat.

Welcome back, Adrian, and thank you for your service.

(Applause.)

MR. COOK: Dale Shively is our coordinator for the artificial reef program with the Coastal Fisheries Division. Dale has over ten years of TPWD service. Now, I can't tell you much about what Intelligence Specialist First Class Shively does; his work is so top-secret that he said he would have to shoot me if he told me.

(Laughter.)

MR. COOK: I haven't seen him shoot, but I'll take his word for it.

Dale served in the U. S. Naval Reserves for almost 13 years and holds a top secret clearance. His current unit is the Joint Intelligence Command Center in San Antonio.

Dale was mobilized to the San Antonio unit in April of 2003 for 30 days during the initial phase of Operation Iraqi Freedom, where he performed direct support of the operation by providing briefs and intelligence reports to Central Command personnel in Qatar on a daily basis. His unit provided intelligence information on key individuals in the Iraqi government, tracked their whereabouts and located facilities and targets through satellite imagery and, I guess we could all say, did a very good job of that.

(Laughter.)

MR. COOK: Dale, we appreciate your service to your country and to the people of this state. Thank you.

(Applause.)

MR. COOK: Tim Spice is a Manager II in the education branch of the Communications Division. Tim has over eight years of service with TPWD. Master Sergeant Spice was called to active duty with the 4003rd Garrison Support Unit, stationed at Fort Hood, to support Operation Enduring Freedom and Noble Eagle.

MSG Spice, or Tim the Tall Guy, as we know him, is the III Corps Provost Marshal Operations Sergeant. Fort Hood has over 108,000 acres with a supported population of 165,000 people. He is responsible for plans, operations and soldier issues related to law enforcement activities on Fort Hood.

Tim volunteered for active duty during Desert Storm and has served at Fort Hood for nine months. He was activated in September of 2001 for 11 months and once more in January of 2003. Tim has also performed duty in Korea and Italy; he joins us here today from Fort Hood, where he is currently enrolled in the Sergeants Major Academy.

Thank you, Tim, for your dedication and service to your country and to the State of Texas.

(Applause.)

MR. COOK: Thank you, sir.

MR. SPICE: Thanks.

MR. COOK: Another one of them guys you want with you after it gets dark.

MR. SPICE: And I can shoot.

MR. COOK: That's what they all say.

(Laughter.)

MR. COOK: Jim Ranft is a Captain Game Warden for Region 3, District 2 in the Law Enforcement Division. Jim Ranft has over 12 years of service with TPWD; he supervises wardens in East Texas, one of the toughest areas for wardens to work in the state. Second Lieutenant Ranft joined the Marine Corps in 1981 and completed his obligation in 1987. He has been a member of the Texas Army National Guard since 1997.

Jim was called to active duty with the 49th Armored Division of the Texas Army National Guard from July 2002 until July 2003 in support of Operation Noble Eagle; he served at Fort Hood and the Pine Bluff Arsenal in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. During his mission, Jim was also selected to attend officer candidate school in Fort McClelland, Alabama, which he completed. As a tank platoon leader, his responsibilities included the protection of a chemical weapons stockpile and the leadership of tank and armored reconnaissance units.

Welcome back, Jim, and thank you for your service.

(Applause.)

MR. COOK: If you've flown with us in any of our equipment and particularly in the helicopters, you've probably flown with Lee Finch. Lee is a lieutenant game warden with the aircraft-helicopter in the Law Enforcement Division and has over nine years of service with TPWD.

Chief Warrant Officer Finch was called to active duty with the 2nd Battalion, 149th Aviation Regiment of the Texas Army National Guard. Lee was called to active duty in June of 2003 as part of the stabilization force, Task Force Renegade in Bosnia as an aviation safety officer/pilot in command of a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter.

We are joined today by Lt. Finch's wife, Marsha, who has come here today to accept this honor on Lee's behalf. When Lee returns, we will look forward to congratulating him in person.

Thank you, Marsha, for the sacrifices you make each day in support of your husband and your country.

(Applause.)

MR. COOK: I want to mention one other thing on this. You know, again, we don't do enough, I don't think, to thank and recognize these folks. And I hope that this tells you something about how we feel and how important you are to us.

And I want to say thanks to a lady who brought this idea to me, and she sort of apologized when she did. And I said, No, no, no; wait a minute; this is a good idea. Mary Dean walked in my office one day and said, Mr. Cook, can I suggest something? Well, I figured she was going to tell me I had on a goofy-looking shirt or something — I don't know.

(Laughter.)

MR. COOK: But she said, You know, we've got several people who have been in or who have served in the military during this time, and I think it would be a good idea to recognize them. And I said, Let's do it. We got a lot of help from a lot of people. We appreciate it.

And, folks, we appreciate you. Again, Thank you.

(Applause.)

MR. COOK: I'd like to take a few minutes and ask you to join me in saying thanks and farewell to a person who has meant a great deal to us for the last several years. Katharine Armstrong — Chairman Armstrong — regretfully sent her notice in a few weeks ago. And ever since that time, I have struggled with trying to figure out a way to say thanks, and it has been hard. I learned a lot from Katharine; I think we all learned a lot from Katharine, and we appreciate her.

It is not easy to say good-bye to someone who has given her all to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. So I will just say, "Until we meet again," because I know that she will always support us and our mission and that she will always be welcome.

Katharine Armstrong spent her life preparing for her role as Chairman of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission. Born and raised on her family's ranch in South Texas, she grew up hunting and fishing with her brothers and sisters and parents. No stranger to working cattle or setting fence posts, her work ethic has served her well.

Katharine was appointed to the Commission in January of 1999 by Governor George W. Bush and became Chairman in June of 2001, when Governor Rick Perry made history by appointing the first woman to the position of Chairman of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, and she has done us all proud. Governor Perry was at our little shindig last night, and he could not have been more complimentary; it was very nice, and we appreciated him being there. And his appointment meant so much to us.

Now, Katharine knows everybody, and she has friends in high places who have helped us many times. And the real thing, I think, about Katharine that I learned to appreciate: She is willing and able to "Make the ask," as we say, when the time is right and to the right people.

Her interest in every aspect of TPWD's operations has been evident from the start. The first addition to her wardrobe, for example, was a pair of white rubber shrimper boots for those forays on the trawler.

(Laughter.)

MR. COOK: She has spent her tenure on the Commission learning from TPWD employees, whether it be wildlife management or fisheries, appreciating the pictographs at Waco Tanks or spending a weekend cleaning up abandoned crab traps with the volunteers and our staff down on the coast.

I believe that two of the most significant contributions that Chairman Armstrong made to Texas Parks and Wildlife and to the state of Texas and for the future of conservation in Texas were her keen interest and her accomplishments in providing for freshwater inflows for fish and wildlife and "The Land and Water Resources Conservation and Recreation Plan." She led the effort in pulling off this long-range planning effort. This plan will guide our conservation efforts far into the future.

Her efforts to ensure adequate fresh water for our springs, rivers, lakes and bays are critical to the future of fish and wildlife in Texas and were widely recognized and acknowledged by state leadership and conservationists throughout Texas. The Chairman's support of TPWD employees has been welcomed, appreciated and enjoyed by all.

Without Katharine Armstrong's support and hard work throughout this recently — well, I shouldn't say, "Completed legislative session," but — throughout this legislative session, we might have ended up in a far less fortunate position financially; legislation which was very favorable to conservation, such as our Fresh Water Fisheries Stamp, the game warden inspection bill and water for environmental flow, would not be a reality today.

Chairman Armstrong, we thank you for being our champion for conservation in Texas. And for everyone at Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, thank you, very much.

(Applause.)

MR. COOK: We've got a small, small token of our appreciation, but it's something we wanted to give Katharine to remember. And, also, at the event last night, the Foundation made a presentation to Katharine that I want you all to see. We'll get the photographs right here.

(Pause.)

FORMER CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: This is very exciting to me. Thank you so much.

I want to speak today primarily to the employees of the Parks and Wildlife department, but before I do so, I want to thank my wonderful friends and colleagues, my fellow Commissioners.

I once asked an old friend of mine, Polly Sall [phonetic], who has been in the Governor's Appointments Office since the first Bill Clements administration — about a year or two ago, I said, Polly, why is Texas so different? And she said, Katharine, it's really very simple. Unlike any other state in the union, the agencies of state government are run by over 3,000 volunteers; And that can give you assurance that their motivation comes from right here, the right motivation to do the right thing for their state.

I want to thank you all for being the perfect example of the things that make our country great: Volunteerism, dedication to community, hard work, all qualities that I really believe are writ large in Texas. Thank you, all, very much.

(Applause.)

MR. COOK: Katharine, before we let you get away, we've got a couple of folks who want to make a brief presentation of their appreciation.

Leonard Ranne with the Freshwater Anglers Association would like to make a presentation to Chairman Armstrong.

FORMER CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Well, I'm delighted to hear that, but I just want to let you know that I'm not quite done yet.

MR. COOK: Oh.

(Laughter.)

MR. COOK: All right. We've got all day. We're here.

FORMER CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: As I said, Mr. Executive Director, I was here — I'm going to finish what — I'd like to finish my presentation to the employees.

MR. COOK: Yes.

FORMER CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: And then I'll be right with you.

(Laughter.)

FORMER CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: I have a confession to make to the employees of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. When I first came on this Commission — many of you know my background.

I come from bedrock Republican stock, who has an instinctive — really, you shouldn't blame them — instinctive response to state government. We largely view state government as maybe a necessary evil. And we don't — aren't always so sure that state government is always — or any government, for that matter, is ever operating in the best interest of the people. And what I've learned since I became a Commissioner is that I was wrong. You've proven me wrong.

I have learned that there are people in state government that will work their hearts out for the right reasons. I've seen it in the way that oftentimes in our state parks, they go to the toolbox and get out the rubber bands and bubble gum and Scotch Tape to keep things running right and keeping our parks so beautiful and so clean and so wonderful for its citizens. I've seen it during tough times.

These last two years especially have given us some unique challenges, some difficulties, that needed to be met and overcome. And every employee in this Agency has risen to the occasion and made me proud.

This will be a highlight of my life. The reason it will be is that the employees have made it so. We're the best hunting and fishing and outdoor recreation outfit in this country, and you guys make it that way. It has been a distinct honor and privilege to serve as the Commission — the Chairman and as a Commissioner of the best darn agency of its kind in the country.

I also want to talk a little bit about what I see in the future. So much great work was done long before I got here, and that's evident in all the people that come to our state and that want to move here permanently, that come to visit. They value and find our quality of life worthy. You all have done work for many years to make that a reality here, and you've got a whole lot more work to do in the future.

Texas is going to grow. It's going to grow fast, and it's going to grow big. All the elements are in place to make Texas the premier state in our union. There's no doubt in my mind that that will happen. Our education system will improve, and our transportation systems will improve. And your jobs and their job and future Commissions' jobs is to make sure that the quality of life equation in this future we have remains strong and good and wholesome.

I hope that you all understand that our mission statement is a strong one. It is a coherent one. It is a clear one. I always prefer to have simple messages that imply much more than long and wordy ones that try to say too much and get lost in its attempt. Our message is clear. It is strong. Your charge is there.

Read and think about your mission statement. It's all there. The conservation of our assets, both natural and historic, our wildlife, our fish and clean water — it's all in the mission statement. Outreach and education must work especially hard to reach the newcomers to our state, the folks that are moving from the country to the city. It is critical that their message also remains clear and strong, coherent and on-message.

You know, when you hear politicians say, "He stays on-message, he stays on-message," they say that as a compliment because — you know what? They know it works. It works. So keep your voices strong, keep them unified, and keep them clear. I know you will.

I will always think of you all with great warmth in my heart, admiration and pride. And I bid you farewell and join you and our wonderful constituents who help us in so many ways. I will join you now from the sidelines, and I want you to know that I'll be cheering for you every step of the way. Thank you, all, so much.

(Applause.)

MR. KIRKPATRICK: Chairman Armstrong and I were talking yesterday about how good it is in Texas. We've both worked in New York City downtown, so we know what it's like to come back.

And it reminded me of a guy a couple of weeks ago I had out. He's a native Texan. He has been in Michigan for several years, and he came back home on vacation, came out and went fishing with me. And he got an 8-1/4-pound bass, a 4-pound bass and two 3-pound bass in about 30 minutes. And his parting words were, Well, I've got to come back to Texas.

Commissioner, you and your fellow Commissioners have a lot to do with this. Thank you.

MR. RANNE: I'd like to just take a few minutes to thank the Commission and Ms. Armstrong for the outstanding job they did in protecting and enhancing our state resources; through their efforts, our state will benefit for years to come.

I'd like to present you with this award in appreciation from all the fishermen in the state. It says, "In deep appreciation for distinguished and unselfish service rendered to the State of Texas while serving as Chairman of the Commission, Texas Parks and Wildlife. This great service is given for dedication and outstanding leadership."

FORMER CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Thank you so much.

(Applause.)

(Pause.)

MR. COOK: Next we have Myron Hess with the National Wildlife Federation.

MR. HESS: We had a little traffic jam back there. It's probably no surprise to all of you that the National Wildlife Federation really is here to talk about the water issue. I have with me Susan Kaderka [phonetic], who's the center director for our regional office here in Austin.

I want to start off just by saying that how — the National Wildlife Federation recognizes the issue of river flows, freshwater inflows, as probably the primary issue affecting the future of fish and wildlife resources nationally and certainly here in Texas. Right now, that issue has a currency and a level of recognition that it hasn't ever had before, I think, and that's in no small part due to all of you, to the Commission, to the staff, to Bob Cook, Larry McKinney and to folks like Dick Luebke, who serves as a regional representative on a planning group. And we very much appreciate that, but this morning, we want to take this opportunity to give special recognition to the role that Katharine Armstrong has played in raising the profile of that issue.

MS. KADERKA: Chairman Armstrong, on behalf of the 46,000 members of the National Wildlife Federation in Texas, I want to present you with this Conservation Service Citation.

And I'll just read what it says here: "Presented to Katharine Armstrong, Chairman, Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, in appreciation for her leadership in protecting freshwater flows for the rivers, bays and estuaries of Texas."

Thank you, very much.

(Applause.)

FORMER CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Let me get in between you guys.

(Pause.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Well, now the Commission will get a chance to say a few words.

Last night at Katharine's going-away party, every speaker, beginning with the Governor, mentioned every superlative that I believe I've ever heard before in my life describing Katharine personally and in her performance as Chairman of Parks and Wildlife. So in thinking about it, it really came to me pretty quickly that there wasn't any way that I was going to be able to top any of that.

So, Katharine, what I want to say first is that I second every comment that was made last night and today.

(Laughter.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: But probably from a personal standpoint, the most important thing to me — and the very best thing — is that we've had the opportunity — I've had the opportunity for Katharine to become a very, very special personal friend. And that's the best of all from my perspective.

So, Katharine, I want to wish you the very best in all that you do, and, without a doubt, I know that you'll do it well. So, again, it's not really good-bye. We all love you, and we thank you.

And the Commissioners would like to say a word or two, also.

COMMISSIONER RAMOS: May I?

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Yes.

COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Well, Katharine, this is tough.

And I echo what Ernie said. There's no way that we can describe what Katharine has done. I thought about that this morning.

I see two terms that clearly, clearly mandate what Katharine has done, and one is the word, Total commitment. Katharine was totally committed to her chairmanship, to staff, to the resources of the state and the people of the state. And it kind of reminds me of the Nike commercial: "Just do it." That's Katharine: "Just do it, you know; What do we need to get accomplished; let's do it."

But one thing that I think, Katharine, and I admire you for this, although we may have not agreed necessarily on every issue, which was very rare, I can always say that her focus was always on the natural resource and the mission statement. And I can't overemphasize that.

And, Katharine, I really respect you. You were always fair. You were rigid. You were strong. You were aggressive, and you were fair. It was great. It was an experience. I —

FORMER CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Donato, I love that, rigid and fair.

COMMISSIONER RAMOS: That's right.

(Laughter.)

COMMISSIONER RAMOS: That's right.

But that's Katharine.

And I admire you for that. On behalf of the citizens of the state, I want to thank you because you've done — time will tell what you've contributed to the state on the water issues — on many, many issues — outreach. And I know it's impossible for the state to be here, but I'm going to take the — get their power of attorney and congratulate you and thank you more than anything.

There's no doubt in my mind that you will be missed by all of us and by myself. You are a true friend. You're a friend of the Commission, and you're a friend of staff. And we just thank you. And come back — I know you're not going anywhere. We'll miss you.

FORMER CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Thank you, Donato.

COMMISSIONER WATSON: It's very difficult, as Ernie said, to embellish on everything else that was said last night. And, you know, I have the unenviable position of sitting between two lawyers here, and there's no telling what they're going to say.

So as sort of the amateur in this trio right here, I'd like to tell you that — you know, you and I came here together. And, you know, it has been my pleasure to be with you and to grow and appreciate the dedication and the sacrifice, you know, that you've made.

I don't think that anybody that serves on this Commission has made the sacrifices you've made for the betterment of not just the Commission but for all of Texas. And I think that your vision and strong leadership is something that's irreplaceable. And I'm just happy to be able to say I was your friend and was part of your career here on the Commission, and I just hope that we'll be able to do some things in the future. And I wish you all the best. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Katharine, I don't want to repeat everything from last night.

But for those of you who don't know it, I wasn't at all surprised — a lot of the people — I don't know why — were giving these speeches about what an incredible job you did. But I wasn't surprised, because I've known you and your family all my life.

And as I said last night, the greatest compliment I know is for someone to be worthy of their heritage. And you are not only worthy of your heritage; you raised the bar. And it's going to be tough for this Commission to meet that standard, but I think we will.

And as an aside — everybody's talking about the water issue. I've got to tell you that all you need to know about Katharine Armstrong and her leadership and the commitment that Donato mentioned is that Katharine was not — she was not shy about getting forward on this issue. And because of my background in water, she called me early on, and she said, What do you think? And I said, I'll tell you what I think, but a lot of people aren't going to like the answer.

And she said, Well, is that what we need to do? Is that important? And I said, Well, it is; it's going to happen now or never. And Katharine put it number one. And as I heard her say many times, No water, no fish. And whether it was "Hunting equals habitat" or the water issue, she never lost her focus.

And for that, I commend you. It was courageous. And I know that you're going to have a great career. I look forward to it. And I have your phone number. So you're not going to get away that easy. Thank you.

FORMER CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Thank you, Joseph.

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: If I may? It's nice in public life to be able to use superlatives as descriptive adjectives. And I second all the ones you've heard here, but they are true.

I want to add a couple of facts that I think are extraordinary when you look at the personal stamp that you had.

Katharine made a full-time commitment to this job, which was really remarkable —

The amount of time and energy you dedicated to it.

You heard Bob describe a lot of the accomplishments, but I want to add a few to that list — summarize and add a few. She stepped into the job and oversaw the successful transition of an executive director, which is a tough thing at any time. She jumped all over initiating and leading a major agency audit, our management practices audit, which was a huge task and a major thing for this Agency.

She segued gracefully and quickly into leading a ten-year strategic plan, the Land and Water Conservation Plan, which has some very broad and bold commitments for this Agency and will guide it for the next decade or more. She worked hard and, as Bob noted, restored confidence with the legislature and led that effort and really took us through the toughest fiscal environment this state has seen since probably the '70s in remarkably strong shape.

I was stunned that we came through as well as we did, but we did, a great tribute to your leadership.

She recharged and reorganized the multiple advisory groups we've got here with very strong, very active and very broad citizen leadership, which has added a lot of strength and muscle to what we do and a lot of depth to our decision making.

She did a great job building confidence in the Trans-Pecos, an area where the Agency has had a hard time for a long time and where there's a lot of suspicion from landowners of our motives and our tactics and our strategies. And I think she helped lay the groundwork for what will, hopefully, be a strong presence and a positive presence for the Agency in the future.

She oversaw and initiated what is about to be produced, the Strategic Review and Strategic Plan for Education and Outreach, the first time that has been done for a long time. She crafted and — helped lead and craft a constructive-but-principled role in water policy, as has been noted here.

No one has mentioned it, but she really brought a lot of focus and near completion to the funding of the World Birding Center, which is a major project for this Department, a big thing in the Valley and a big thing in ecotourism in the state.

And I think those are all — I'm sure that I've left things off of there that were substantial, but when you think of that much happening in two years and of the profound personal stamp you put on each of those activities, it's an extraordinary accomplishment to have led an administration that did that many things and did them as well as they did and has this Agency in such strong condition.

So I hope that's a legacy you're proud of. I know I'm proud of having been involved in a number of those things and having been a cheerleader on the sidelines watching you lead it. So you did a great job. I think we all value your leadership and value your friendship and want to help you in whatever you do next and really respect and appreciate the incredible contribution you've made. So thank you.

FORMER CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Thank you, Phil.

COMMISSIONER HENRY: Katharine called me one evening and said, Al, the governor's going to announce shortly that I'm to be Chairman or Chairperson of the Parks and Wildlife Commission, and I'm going to need your help. And I said simply, You've got it. And she jumped in and went about the way of learning this Agency and doing things unlike anything I've seen. And I've served on a number of boards and commissions. As I said last night, the best words that I could offer with regard to her work were simply to say, Well done.

When Katharine and I were sworn in together, shortly after, she walked over to me and said that her family was going to be hosting a reception and she'd like for me and my family to come. I said, Oh, we've got a pretty big family here. And she said, I want you all to come. She said, We can get to know each other; I'd like for the Armstrongs and the Henrys to be friends.

The Armstrongs and the Henrys will always be friends. Thank you.

FORMER CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Thank you, Al.

COMMISSIONER RISING: Well, Katharine, when I first started talking to you and met you, I knew that you had a deep affection for our state and the resources. And, you know, your tireless work I mean just lays the groundwork for everything. And we will miss you, and we appreciate it.

FORMER CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: Katharine, you have seriously raised the bar. I think it's a challenge for the present and future Commissioners of this Agency and, really, any state agency that has been able to observe the dedication, hard work and extraordinary amount of time that you've put into it. My only regret, quite frankly, is one of selfishness, and that is that I didn't get to serve on this Commission longer with you.

FORMER CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Be careful what you wish for.

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: I know.

(Laughter.)

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: I know. But just as a side note, shortly after the governor announced my appointment, you phoned. And it was during Fiesta time in San Antonio.

And Katharine said, Meet me in the morning at about 7:30. And it was after the queen's coronation, which goes really late. And when I got down to the breakfast area at about 7:30, you had already finished breakfast, you had read the paper, you were on about your fourth phone call, and you had a long list of notes for me that you were going to help me with. And I appreciate it. You gave me great guidance.

I'm sure going to miss you, but I hope that you continue — in fact, I know that you'll continue your help, support and love of this Agency. Thank you, very much.

FORMER CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Thank you, Ned.

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: And congratulations.

FORMER CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Well, it was a short but sweet time.

And I would like to add that Governor Perry has made some great additions to this Commission that was largely or — totally appointed at this stage of the game by then-Governor Bush. And my confidence in this Commission is so strong.

His appointments have been excellent, once again, in the last few months: Ned Holmes from Houston, who is just a leader by any measure; Peter Holt from San Antonio, who is — will be filling my term and an extraordinary individual.

All these wonderful men up here that — you can be proud of and you can go to for sound and sensible leadership. It has been an honor and a great joy and pleasure serving with you all. Thank you, all, for your sweet comments.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: It has been our privilege, and we thank you.

FORMER CHAIRMAN ARMSTRONG: Thank you.

(Applause.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: I believe Gene McCarty has a special announcement he'd like to make.

MR. McCARTY: This is principally fair warning for the Commission and the division directors. We all know that or — those of you go into Mr. Cook's office know that he has a picture gallery on the wall of blonds and redheads, and he likes you to ask questions about them. Well, Monday, when we come in, there are going to be some new pictures up there. This morning at 9:17 a.m., Cameron Lily Cook was born — an eight-pound redhead for his wall.

(Laughter, then applause.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: All right. Before we get into business, our first item is the approval of the agenda which we have before us. I'd like for you all to note that I would propose that Agenda Item Number 2, which is the election of a vice-chairman, be removed from today's agenda. And that's known as a job protection move.

(Laughter.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: And Item Number 18, the easement request for Galveston County, has been withdrawn by the applicant.

With those two changes, do we have a motion for approval of the agenda?

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: So moved.

COMMISSIONER WATSON: Second.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: The motion by Commissioner Fitzsimons seconded by Commissioner Watson. All in favor of the motion please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Opposed?

(No response.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: The motion is adopted.

Also, I forgot to suggest that this would be a good time for those of you that wanted to leave at —

(Laughter.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Obviously, no one needed the suggestion. We'll wait a moment until the hall clears.

(Pause.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: All right. Then we'll move on here. Let's see. Well, one other thing. I did want to mention that we had the good fortune earlier — and I don't know if he's still with us or not — to have one of the strongest supporters of Parks and Wildlife in the state legislature, Representative Edmund Kuempel.

Is Edmund still here?

(Pause.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: He's out in the hall, so he didn't get to hear those compliments. But we appreciate him. You might pass that on to him.

Item Number 3 is a briefing item on the Texas Wildlife Expo. The briefing will be presented by Ernie Gammage.

Ernie?

MR. GAMMAGE: Mr. Angelo and Commissioners, good morning. My name is Ernie Gammage; I'm the Director of the Texas Wildlife Expo, and I'm here to give you an update on this year's event. This will be the 12th annual Texas Wildlife Expo. Over the past 11 years, we have engaged over 388,000 Texans in the joys of the outdoors, and this is considered to be the premiere event of its kind in the nation.

We knew at the end of last year's expo that this was going to be a year of challenges; you couldn't walk outside without seeing the impact of the construction, and we had some other changes in the wings. And our Chair this year, Mr. Donato Ramos, put together a cracker-jack advisory committee to help us wade through those changes, and I think they and he have done an outstanding job.

Before we talk about those changes and this year's event, we'd like to roll some tape and let you look at the 2003 marketing video that really defines what Expo is all about and then the two different ads that will be appearing or have appeared across the state to attract visitors to this year's event.

(Whereupon, a video was viewed.)

MR. GAMMAGE: Incidentally, this, I believe, is the third year that we've produced bilingual ads for Expo; as we reach out to the Hispanic community, we feel like it's important that they hear that message in Spanish.

Probably the biggest changeto Expo is what happens when we kick things off on Friday night at the Texas Conservation Banquet. Over the past 11 years, the Foundation through the Wildlife Expo Conservation Banquet has raised over $380,000 for scholarships. This year, it will become a wholly managed event of the Foundation to raise those monies, and, as in prior years, the focus will be on fun, food and the auction.

We'll have about a thousand of our friends, our constituents and our supporters and legislators there. And as always, it will be a great, great time. The biggest change, though, that has happened this year is what has happened out on the grounds.

This is the Wildlife Expo last year at 12 o'clock noon on Saturday. Is the parking lot full, or what? You can see over on the left-hand side, about seven o'clock the beginning of the construction for the new Del Valle Independent School District Ojeda Junior High School. This little strip of road right there is McKinney Falls Parkway. That construction had just begun at that time. That was last year.

This is July of 2003. As you can see, the construction for Ojeda is just about done. And these roadways, now they come in off McKinney Falls and connect our parking lots are in place.

The biggest challenge was what to do with the wet zone that used to be located right here, which has now been moved up there, and, also, how to handle this new retention pond that went in, too, up there, I guess, at about 11 o'clock or so to handle the drainage flow from the site.

We had to relocate a lot of activities. As you can see, we relocated the wet zone. All of the shooting sports have been put to the back of the room — of the back of the building, where they were in fact at one point in time.

What is new at Expo? Well, obviously, this relocation, and the fact that folks will be able to get around now a little bit better, because we've got more concrete, especially those who are disabled, which is another one of our targets for outreach at Expo. As I say, the wet zone, which is our paddle sport tank, has been relocated. We have relocated all of the sporting enclaves and swapped that with crossbow and archery.

And that retention pond, I think, is going to be one of the most exciting things that we will see at Expo. It's the first time on the grounds when we will have a living laboratory for habitat, and there'll be a presentation there called "Wetlands and Wildlife" that will use that retention pond as a display for wetlands habitat with some quizzes and a lot of fun for the folks that come and enjoy that.

"Passport for Texas" in the State Park area will give our visitors a chance to record their memories of fun in the outdoors and at Texas state parks for airing on that radio program.

And probably one of the most significant things and, certainly, one of the most visible to our visitors is that we will recycle this year at Expo. Last year, we drained over 26,000 plastic bottles that went into our area landfill. This year, our commitment is to recycle those, saving landfills, saving energy and, ultimately, having a positive impact on the environment. This is one way that our Agency can walk the walk, and we intend to do that.

Why do we do Expo? It's these folks right here. It's our customers. We want the public, we want our legislators and we want our constituent groups to understand how important they are to us. It gives us a chance to meet these folks and to thank them for their contributions to conservation.

That's one of the reasons that we do Expo. The other is for these folks. These are our future customers, those communities that right now may not be engaged in the outdoors and may not understand their role in conservation and may not understand the role and importance of hunters and anglers and others who recreate in the outdoors as they help us to conserve nature and conserve wildlife, fish and water resources in the State of Texas.

So that's why we do this event. We hope that you will join us Friday night at the banquet. We hope that we'll see you out on the grounds.

We want to thank Mr. Ramos again for his continued leadership. It's going to be a great, great Expo this year. And if you have any questions, I will be happy to answer them.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Any questions?

Mr. — Commissioner Ramos?

COMMISSIONER RAMOS: I just have a comment.

Ernie, you're very benevolent in giving credit to other people, but, really, Expo is driven by Ernie Gammage and your staff. And what a lot of people don't realize is that Expo could not occur without the many volunteers from Parks and Wildlife. And that is so critical.

So I thank you in advance for your support. And I would like to encourage my fellow Commissioners to go back to your communities and see if you can recruit people that historically are not able to access the outdoors. And perhaps this could be an experience for them and a stepping stone for future experiences in the outdoors.

I know Commissioner Henry and Commissioner Watson and others have historically gone to the communities and obtained buses. I know there's representatives from Laredo that — the mayor from the city is here, and — Mr. Valvalina [phonetic]. And I know that from Laredo we've been able to do that. So I encourage the other Commissioners and anyone, for that matter. If you know of someone that you can identify, bring them to Expo.

But, again, Ernie, thank you. Thank you for the staff and the many, many volunteers that make it possible. Thank you.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Any other questions or comments?

(No response.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: If not, thank you, Ernie. We appreciate it.

Agenda Item Number 4: Outdoor Grants, presented by Tim Hogsett.

Tim?

MR. HOGSETT: Good morning, Mr. Chairman and members of the Commission. I'm Tim Hogsett, Director of the Recreation Grants Program in the State Parks Division.

This is our semiannual presentation to you of recommendations for funding under our outdoor recreation grant program. I'll note that this is the first review in which we will be feeling the effects of the approximately 30 percent reduction that the legislature made in this fund in the session that was just completed.

For this review, we received 32 applications, requesting a little bit in excess of $14 million. These are all the applications that were submitted for our January 31, 2003, deadline. In Exhibit A of the item, you can find the rank order priority list of applications. We rank — we prioritize the applications by score using the criteria of the scoring system that you've adopted and list them in priority order. And this morning, we are recommending the approval of the top nine applications, in the amount of $4,389,793.

In addition to that, a couple of other items tagging onto this item. In last January, you approved the transfer of Kerrville-Schreiner State Park to the City of Kerrville. The transfer amount did not, though, include an amount that's necessary to be able to allow the City of Kerrville to continue to take reservations for the park on our central reservation system. That will be done through a contractual arrangement.

The city will pay $5 for each reservation that we take on their behalf. And we're asking for an additional $29,741 to be added to the transfer grant agreement to enable the city to be able to buy the necessary software and other licenses necessary to be able to continue that arrangement.

Also, in the 2002/2003 Appropriations Act, there was a rider attached to our appropriations that stated that the Department shall allocate a million dollars for a one-time grant to the City of Houston for the purpose of completing park restoration projects at Hermann Park. This is not part of the competitive process; it is a legislative mandate. And we've received an application from the City of Houston for that million dollars, and we're recommending approval of that today.

So we have a three-part recommendation for you: First, that funding for projects listed in Exhibit A in the amount of $4,389,793 be approved as described for individual projects in Exhibit B; that the Executive Director is authorized to increase the City of Kerrville's Kerrville-Schreiner State Park facility transfer grant agreement in the amount of $29,741, and; lastly, that the Department allocates $1 million for a one-time grant to the City of Houston for the purpose of completing park restoration projects at Hermann Park.

You probably have some testimony. I'm —

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: We do.

MR. HOGSETT: — also glad to answer any questions that you have.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Let's see. We have — we'll take the testimony and see then if we have any questions, Tim.

The first individual is Cora Alexander, and to be followed by Jim Rodgers. If you all might, follow in that order.

MS. ALEXANDER: Good morning.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Good morning.

MS. ALEXANDER: My name is Cora Alexander; I manage the Office of Development for the City of Houston Parks and Recreation Department. My mission here today is to thank you for your support over the years in helping us to green Houston and, also, to improve the health benefits for our citizens.

I want you to know that I bring greetings from the Director, Roxsan Okan-Vick, thanking you for our wonderful partnership with the fine staff here at Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Thank you.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Thank you.

Jim Rodgers, followed by Mayor Rudy Villarreal.

MR. RODGERS: Mr. Chairman, Commissioners and Mr. Cook, I want to thank you. I'm the Williamson County Parks Director. My name is Jim Rodgers. And the Commission and — through your grants division and Walt Dabney have been very gracious to us. We hope to make you proud in what we do.

We're having park benefits. Travis County as well as — Williamson County and northern Travis County will benefit from the things that you do for us. And I just wanted to say thank you. So thank you, again.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Appreciate you being here.

MR. RODGERS: Sure.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Mayor Villarreal, followed by Sandra Chipley, please.

MR. VILLARREAL: Good morning, Mr. Chairman and honorable Commission. My name is Rudy Villarreal; I'm the mayor of the City of Alamo, in the Rio Grande Valley. And I'm here in support of the Alamo sports complex.

As you all know and read, that the Rio Grande Valley is really growing. Our city of Alamo was — the population was increased by 86 percent from the '90s to 2000. And in the past three years, we have approved subdivisions that total 508 residents. We are in support of and we are very much in need of this sports complex.

We're working together with the county. The county has no facilities in that area; we're going to be working with them and, also, the school district. It's a regional project. And as you know, not only the Rio Grande Valley but the whole country is suffering from obesity. And I think we need more parks. Thank you, very much.

(Laughter.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Thank you.

Sandra Chipley, and followed by Betty Flores.

MS. CHIPLEY: Good morning, Chairman and Commissioners. My name is Sandra Chipley; I'm with the City of Bastrop Parks Board. I would like to speak concerning the Bastrop County Park, which is on the agenda for approval.

We're just thrilled that you considered our project; we think it's a great project. Our county has — this is going to help our county meet our goals for providing recreation for the county residents, not just the City of Bastrop residents. The county's population is growing so fast, we just can't give the recreation opportunities to the citizens of the county that we need.

So this is a great opportunity, and we're thrilled, like I said, that you're giving this opportunity to us. And I'd like to thank the school district for going in partnership with us on this project. Thank you, very much.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Thank you.

And Dock Jackson will be last on this item.

MS. FLORES: Good morning, Mr. Vice-Chair and Commissioners. It's an honor and a pleasure for me to be here. My name is Elizabeth G. Flores — Betty Flores. I'm the mayor of the City of Laredo, Texas, and I welcome you all to come and visit some of the things that we're doing in Laredo.

With me is the City Manager, Mr. Larry Valvalina, and Horacio de Leon [phonetic], who is our Parks and Recreation Department Director — and by the way, when he was growing up, he wanted to be a parks —

What did you want to be?

(Laughter.)

MS. FLORES: What did you want to be?

MR. de LEON: A park ranger.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: A park ranger, yes.

MS. FLORES: A park ranger. So I think our city manager placed him in the right place.

Also with us is Selena Rivera [phonetic], who is Administrative Assistant and the grant writer for the grants that we have submitted to the Department.

I just want to say very quickly that the Mission of the City of Laredo Parks and Recreation Department since the department's inception has been to deliver quality of life to all citizens through recreational programming and effectively develop and maintain Laredo's park system.

Through the years, the department and its responsibilities have grown exponentially along with the growth in the city's population. As a direct result of this growth, the city has been struggling with the problem of creating new parks in limited areas surrounded by rapid development.

Because of the commitment of our director, staff and especially the direction of the city council, we have found ways to do more with less. The principal solution lies for us in the development of parks and recreational areas along our creek corridors and greenways.

We're very proud to have a Laredoan serve on this honorable Board, and he has been a great leader and certainly one of our best citizens.

So, Mr. Ramos, it's great to see you, sir.

COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Thank you, ma'am.

MS. FLORES: The City of Laredo has studied this issue that we have extensively and has developed a master plan that would create a network of trails that would link the entire city and highlight the natural beauty of our creeks, the famous Rio Grande and other natural waterways. The plan addresses the multi-uses the creek corridors offer while preserving their primary natural function. This is very important for us.

Planned improvements include the possible development of public amenities such as active and passive parks, trails, ponds, habitat preserves and educational amenities. A ten-year capital improvement project has been initiated by the city to schedule improvement projects and address funding for these future projects.

At the center of this master plan and with your help lies the Zacate Creek Linear Park project. Since the Zacate Creek flows through the center of town, it has become our focal park project; the proposed development of this park focuses at the southern end of the creek, beginning north and extending south to the mouth of the Rio Grande.

The grant award will provide for the rehabilitation of much-needed soccer fields, the replacement of playground modules, improvement on walking trails, the reconditioning of multi-purpose fields, the installation of picnic shelters and park benches, the construction of a spray park, the creation of bird-watching stations, the renovation of a pedestrian bridge, the addition of xeriscape and interpretive signage and the preservation of natural, open spaces along the planned acquisition of our vega-land, among other planned improvements that I won't go into.

We're very proud of this. We've been working with TxDOT, as well, to do other enhancement funds. And on behalf of the citizens of Laredo, I want to thank you all for this. The City of Laredo is very grateful for you providing us the opportunity. This project has enormous benefits not only for us and for our children, but, also, for the great state of Texas.

Thank you, sir.

Thank you.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Thank you.

And Dock Jackson.

MR. JACKSON: Good morning, Commissioners and Mr. Chair. I am Dock Jackson, council member from the City of Bastrop and Parks and Recreation Director for the City of Elgin. And I have just come to thank you for all the past support that you've given to our county and to our cities. I'm here to speak in favor of the Bastrop County Park project that's up before you today.

As a member of the task force that was putting together the master plan for Bastrop County, I'm just really excited about this project because it will be the first county park within our — within the county. And a lot of planning has gone into this.

And as our — Sandra Chipley, our parks board chair from Bastrop, spoke of earlier, it will benefit the whole community. And so the school and the county and all the citizens of Bastrop encourage you to vote favorably for this project because we're very much looking forward to a county park in Bastrop County, which is one of the fastest-growing counties, as you know, in the nation. Thank you.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Thank you for being here.

I don't believe — we don't have any other registered speakers. So does the Commission have any questions or comments for Mr. Hogsett?

Mr. Montgomery?

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: A quick question.

Tim, have we looked at the City of Laredo project to see whether it qualifies for the federal trail grants, as well as the local grants —

MR. HOGSETT: That —

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: — local park grants?

MR. HOGSETT: — I don't know.

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: I just wonder if we might advise them if there's an additional source of funding they might —

MR. HOGSETT: I'll find out.

MR. GOLDBLOOM: They are receiving a grant. They have a trail grant.

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: They have a trail grant, also?

MR. HOGSETT: Okay.

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: We've done it.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Good.

Any other questions or comments?

COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Just a comment.

I know some of you, unfortunately, did not qualify for the projects. But in analyzing the top nine, I noted that four were resubmitted applications. And to those municipalities and those of you who have previously applied and not made it, don't give up. Unfortunately, we have limited funds.

And the other point that I wanted to make is that I can assure the Commission that the funds that are being given to the City of Laredo will go to a great cause and in an area that will certainly enrich the lives of many people.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Any other comments or questions?

(No response.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: If not, the Chairman will entertain a motion.

COMMISSIONER WATSON: So move.

COMMISSIONER RISING: Second.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: A motion by Commissioner Fitzsimons seconded by Commissioner Rising. All in favor please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Opposed?

(No response.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: The motion is carried.

We'll move on to —

Who made — did he make the motion?

(Laughter.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: My hearing's not that good, I guess.

We'll get you next time, Mark. I'm sorry about that. We could change that if you would —

Commissioner —

COMMISSIONER WATSON: No.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Commissioner Watson made the motion. The Chair made a mistake.

Agenda Item Number 5, which is Regional Grants. Mr. Hogsett?

MR. HOGSETT: Item Number 5 is our annual presentation of recommendations for the regional park grant program, a relatively new program about five — going on five years old now, I think. It is a program that's designed to support multi-jurisdictional projects of regional significance in the metropolitan areas of the state. It can be used for either intensive use recreation and — or it can be used for regional conservation and recreation projects.

It has become a very popular program. We typically make larger grants than we make in our outdoor recreation grant program from this fund.

We received eight applications for the January 31, '03, deadline, requesting $15.4 million in matching funds. We, once again, used the scoring system that you're adopted to prioritize in rank order this — the applications that we've received. And you can find that rank-ordered list at Exhibit A.

And we are recommending approval for one application in the amount of $2 million in matching funds. And the suggested recommendation is, "Funding for one project listed in Exhibit A in the amount of $2 million is approved as described for individual projects in Exhibit B."

I'll be glad to answer any questions you might have.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: We have several — at least one individual to speak on this one, Tim.

John deBessonet?

MR. DeBESSONET: Good morning. My name is John deBessonet; I'm the park planner for Harris County. I'm here this morning to express my appreciation to you and your staff for the favorable recommendation to fund our grant application for the Halls Bayou Greenway project.

It has been quite a while since I've had the privilege to address this Commission, as Harris County for the past four years has been in the process of preparing our first-ever master plan for parks, recreation and open space. This effort has produced a comprehensive inventory of every public park and open space in the county, including federal, state, county and municipal. The results have been published in these two volumes now adopted by the Harris County Commissioner Court and approved by the Recreation Grants section of Texas Parks and Wildlife.

But, better almost than the printed documents, we produced a geographic information database of this inventory of every public park in Harris County. We have shared that database with all of our municipal partners, and it will be a continuing tool to plan for the future parks' locations and distribution of our park facilities.

The Halls Bayou Greenway project is an acquisition and development project with a total estimated budget of over $6.5 million. The project will include the acquisition and conservation of critical habitat while providing trails, recreational facilities and environmental education opportunities, all in the very heart of Harris County.

To accomplish this project will require the coordination and participation of five partner jurisdictions: Harris County Precinct 1, Harris County Precinct 2, the Harris County Flood Control District, the City of Houston and the Aldine Community Improvement District. Now, hopefully, we will soon have a sixth partner, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.

I want to especially thank the Recreation Grants staff for all their assistance and guidance. This, too, is a resubmittal project; it was a very complicated project to pull together. And their recommendations and advice were invaluable in producing a final project.

I finally want to thank Karen Smith Culler [phonetic], who's with me today, from the Harris County Flood Control District, for her outstanding effort in coordinating all of the partners and compiling this application.

With great respect, I urge your approval of the Halls Bayou Greenway grant. Thank you.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Thank you.

Do we have any questions or comments?

(No response.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Hearing none, do we have a motion?

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: So move.

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Second.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: A motion by Commissioner Holmes seconded by Commissioner Montgomery. All in favor please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Opposed?

(No response.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Okay.

We've been asked to name the motion — the mover and the seconder, and I'm having a little difficulty doing it, but — we'll keep working at it here. I need a little help.

All right. We'll move to Item Number 6, Small Community Grants.

Mr. Hogsett?

MR. HOGSETT: Item Number 6 is our annual recommendation to you of grants from a very popular program for small communities. Specifically, small communities are defined as cities or counties with populations of 20,000 citizens or less.

The intent of this program is to provide grants of — not exceeding $50,000 in match to help do basic recreation facilities in small communities and enable small communities to be competitive in their own program and not necessarily have to compete in the larger programs.

We received 35 applications for our January 31st deadline, requesting $1.6 million in matching funds. Again, we've prioritized and rank-ordered the projects using the scoring system that you've adopted. That list can be found at Exhibit A.

And we are recommending approval of the top 18 projects, and the suggested motion is, "Funding for the projects listed in Exhibit A in the amount of $858,354 is approved as described for individual projects in Exhibit B."

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: We have a number of folks registered on this item. We'll begin with Dock Jackson, to be followed by Sandra Chipley.

MR. JACKSON: Good morning, again. I am Dock Jackson, from the City of Bastrop, council member. And this project is one that is very dear to all of our hearts because it will be the creation of a park at a national historical site that has been very important in our community.

It has been a dream for many years for us to improve this project and to add a park there, and the city recently even added it as one of our local historical sites. So with this particular neighborhood and the rest of the city, we'd encourage you to favorably vote for this project.

And we just want to thank you for all the other projects that we've been blessed to have over the years, also. We're putting them to good use, and we welcome all of you, of course, to come to Bastrop to see some of the work that you have helped make happen for our citizens and for the rest of the state. Thank you.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Thank you.

Sandra Chipley, and followed by Mario Gonzalez-Davis.

MS. CHIPLEY: Once again, I'm Sandra Chipley with the City of Bastrop Parks Board. I'd like to say thank you for considering this grant application for the Kerr Community Center Pocket Park.

This — I'm a landscape architect, and I've been in the business for over 20 years. And it's rare that I've seen a project that everything came together on like this. It's an historic site; it was the site of the black USO during World War II. And in Bastrop, as I understand it, there were 40,000 people downtown on the weekends from — the soldiers and everything from the war.

And then it became a community center and was adopted by the Kerr Community Center. It's — the building itself served as a library and a recreation center for after-school classes for the elementary school that was only a block or so away.

When the project first came up and Mayor Tom Scott asked me to attend a meeting with the Kerr Community Center Foundation, I was a little leery because I didn't know that much about the project. I knew it was just a really small, little project. But coming out of that meeting — that's one of the first meetings I had come out of, and I just said, This is it; there's — it's a project. It's great; it's a perfect project.

And everyone that we approached about joining with us on it — it was so easy to get people to donate their time. Everyone has donated their time on this project. We really appreciate the fact that you have recognized its importance, too. Thank you, very much.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Thank you.

Mario Gonzalez-Davis, and then Jerry Modeland.

(Pause.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Jerry Modeland? Did I pronounce that right?

MS. MODELAND: Modeland.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Modeland? I'm sorry.

MS. MODELAND: Good morning. I'm Terry Modeland with — the Parks Director for the City of Meadows Place. And I'd like to express my appreciation to the Parks and Wildlife staff, who were so helpful for us to write such a grant.

And being such a small community, less than 5,000 people, we get a little intimidated competing with the big guys. But with this new grant program, you've made it so much easier. And we really appreciate that it did not get cut, that it's still — that you are supporting it. And I know that this is the third cycle that it has gone through, and I'm so appreciative that it's there and that it continues to remain. Thank you.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Thank you.

Feliciano Azuna [phonetic]?

(No response.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Okay. Well, then we'll go back to the Commission. Do you all have any questions or comments?

(Pause.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Can we make — have a motion?

COMMISSIONER HENRY: I'd like to move approval.

COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Second.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: A motion by Commissioner Henry seconded by Commissioner Ramos. All in favor please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Opposed?

(No response.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: The motion is adopted.

And we'll move to Item Number 7, National Recreation Trail Grants.

Again, Mr. Hogsett?

MR. HOGSETT: The National Recreation Trails program — this is an annual review of applications. It is a federal pass-through fund from the U. S. Department of Transportation; the revenue source is gasoline tax on off-road recreational vehicle use.

We received 59 projects, requesting approximately $4.6 million in matching funds. And in this case, the federal requirement is that there be a state trail advisory board formed and that that advisory board act in the capacity of prioritizing the projects using the scoring system that they have adopted.

The recommendation is a bit different from what's in your book. As directed yesterday in the committee meeting, our suggested recommendation reads, "Funding for 30 projects recommended in Exhibit A, in the amount of $2,519,575, is approved," and that, "Staff is directed to present the Uvalde County TMTC land acquisition to the Commission for final approval after a public hearing is conducted and the project has obtained the required environmental clearances."

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: We have a number of people registered on this item. Are there any questions from the Commission before we get started on that?

(No response.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: All right. We'll move first to Albert Hernandez, followed by Rafael Perez.

MR. PEREZ: Good morning, sirs. Actually, my name is Ralph Perez; I'm reading for my stage-frightened colleague here. First off, I'd like to say thank you to the Texas Parks and Wildlife. Since '91, ever since I was introduced to fishing and hunting, you all have brought a lot to fisheries and game management and taught me a lot. I would like to voice my support for TMTC and their work in bringing this park into operation.

When Governor Perry signed the law of SB 151 — I'm sorry — Proposition 155 making a state-owned property legal for us to access, that had given us a sense of despair. Not only were the rights of the public lands being taken away, but our economy was also hit with equal hardship. Many local businesses depended upon the four-wheel community to maintain jobs — such as gas stations and stuff like that — and it supported hundreds if not thousands of employees which supported the local community.

Many misinformed activists are believing that as a whole we're out to ruin the public property and pollute the environment when that is really a rare case. It is wrong to cast judgment on all valid four-wheelers because of the actions of a few misguided individuals.

The TMTC is a great organization, and we are thankful for the work in keeping this a safe sport. The new park would be a great way to unite many of the four-wheel-driving community and make it a safer sport for all. This park would help keep many of the misguided individuals from illegally using the public lands; this alone is worth opening the park.

The park can be a winning situation for all parties involved. The state will have less violators of public lands, and the four-wheel-driving community will have a place to call their own and pass its values which we're taught for generations of future four-wheelers.

I would also like to ask that you please consider the benefits of allowing the park to open and give us the chance to teach the next generation the responsibilities given. Thank you.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Well, thank you.

(Applause.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Susan Christian, to be followed by Carol Smith.

MS. CHRISTIAN: Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, my name is Susan Christian. And I'm here on behalf of Benny Ewing. This is Mr. Ewing here with me. Mr. Ewing is the owner of the ranch through which this park is to — would have the ingress through. Mr. Ewing would like to express his strong opposition to the proposed funding for a motorized trails ranch in northern Uvalde County by the Texas Parks and Wildlife.

Access to the proposed site involves entrance through two miles of private ranch that raises sheep, goats and cattle. The excessive trafficking over the Ewing Ranch would be disastrous to the livelihood of the livestock, especially during lambing and kidding season, when sheep and goats are easily separated from their mothers. It is not uncommon for these separations to be fatal to the baby sheep and goats.

Maintenance of the gates on this road would have to be borne by the landowners. The approval of this site for recreational purposes would have the potential of causing the loss of income to the Mills and Ewing Ranch from the raising of livestock on their property, as well as the loss of income by hunting leases.

Another area of concern: Who is going to monitor the activities of the members of this group while they are traversing the two-and-a-half miles of land that belongs to private landowners? Who is going to make sure that there is no chasing of animals, poaching, et cetera? These are problems. These are everyday problems that can be encountered on our ranch without the trafficking that is being proposed. As private landowners, would we need to hire a security guard to protect our property?

This land is home to many wild animals and birds. Can you imagine the wildlife's response to many motorcycles and four-wheelers noisily flying over the countryside to provide thrills for thrill seekers? Imagine if you will the effect this could have on racoons, porcupines, the jackrabbits, armadillos, javelina, deer, ring-tailed cats, fox, bobcats and panthers that live on this special piece of land.

This land is more suitable as a sanctuary than a motorized four-wheeler site. The noise quotient alone is enough to deny funding for this project — not to mention the endangerment of animals and the damage to the landscape of many types of trees and flora. Additionally —

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Ma'am, if you could, please wrap it up.

MS. CHRISTIAN: Oh. I'm sorry.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: That's okay.

MS. CHRISTIAN: I thought I was going fast.

(Laughter.)

MS. CHRISTIAN: Okay. Let me get to the heart of the matter here.

It seems that a location that would not involve entrance through the miles of private property and easements, endangering loose livestock, on a working ranch would be preferable for the purposes of the applicants applying for tax funding for their private enjoyment. Mr. Ewing's grandparents worked hard and endured many hardships to secure this land for their children and grandchildren.

We strongly urge Texas Parks and Wildlife to deny funding for the Texas Motorized trails group, thereby freeing them up to search for a more suitable site. Thank you.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Thank you.

(Applause.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Next — I think I've got the first name incorrect here, but is it Calora Smith? Is that —

MS. SMITH: No. You had it right the first time.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: I was right the first time?

MS. SMITH: Yes.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: It is Carol? Okay. I'm sorry.

MS. SMITH: That's quite all right.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: And George Rice, to follow that.

MS. SMITH: Good morning, Vice-Chairman Angelo and Mr. Cook and fellow Commissioners. I represent the Texas Motorized Trails Coalition as one of a 13-member board of directors.

We incorporated in 1999 and are a not-for-profit, all-volunteer membership organization that owns and operates OHV parks throughout the state. Our 3,200 members are a family-oriented group of responsible OHV owners who agree to abide by our rules of safety and decorum. Our parks have on-site managers, and each trail is mapped, rated and marked with signage as to degree of difficulty.

Our mission statement reads, "TMTC will demonstrate expertise in the operation of family-oriented motorized recreation parks within the State of Texas with the best management and educational tools currently available." Our vision statement is thus: "The purpose of the TMTC is to build an organization that will become an authority figure for trail use and land management use in Texas."

Not a political entity, but a management tool: The best team of off-road management specialists representing a variety of user groups. We are living our mission.

We currently have an MOU with the San Angelina National Forest to help them develop and maintain their OHV trails, we're working with the General Land Office to lease or purchase some of their underutilized properties, we've worked with the Army Corps of Engineers to develop and maintain their trails on the Marshall Creek OHV area, and we've been advisors to various municipalities, working with them to develop parks.

During the last legislative session, Senate Bill 155 was passed and mandated that the TPWD actively help to locate more OHV venues. Due to the language of the law, which severely limits OHV usage in state-owned river beds in a state with a minuscule amount of public land, this further restricts the amount of land available for OHV. The acquisition of this property will help to provide more public access and help TPWD fulfill the legislative mandate of SB 155.

OHV usage in this state is surpassed by only one other, California, who has 231 OHV parks and is a $3 billion-a-year industry.

We have another piece of property that we feel will make a perfect OHV venue. We have letters of support and approval from the county, the city, economic development corporations, local businesses and the community at large. We have completed our initial archeological, environmental and wildlife assessments. I would like to ask your assistance in helping to bring our next project to fruition.

It is our sincerest wish to help with our state's OHV issues in a safe and responsible manner, and we look forward to working with and through this Agency. Thank you.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Thank you.

(Applause.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: George Rice, followed by Chris McGuill.

MR. RICE: Good morning. My name's George Rice; I'm the Membership Director for Jeeps of North Texas. We have 360 members in our organization, and we promote a family organization. We promote the Tread Lightly, and I would like to ask the Commission for your support in purchasing this property for TMTC.

We are a big supporter of TMTC, and they also support the four-wheel community and give us people a place to go off-roading. Thank you, very much.

(Applause.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Chris McGuill, followed by Kelly Castator.

MR. McGUILL: Good morning, gentlemen. My name is Chris McGuill, and I'm speaking on behalf of myself, my family and off-highway-vehicle enthusiasts throughout the state.

My — I'd like to speak my support for the TMTC project down in Uvalde County. My family has been camping down in the Rio Frio area near Uvalde since the late '50s, and we've enjoyed the Nueces River, as well. Camping and recreating in the river — that has been closed off.

And we enjoy, you know, viewing the outdoors and viewing nature, and it's getting harder and harder to do with more and more people crowding the public campgrounds. You know, you try to leave your neighborhood and you go there to the campground, and it's like — someone is camping right next to you, and it's the same thing. So we've enjoyed, Jeeping and four-wheeling in areas that we can, but there's — there's getting to be less and less of those.

And we can't — my wife and I — she can't go hiking. And we can't enjoy, you know, getting way out of the public domain, so we kind of turn to off-roading and Jeeping. And she can go with me and do that in a Jeep where we can't go hiking. So keep that in mind. There's people that use it for — that can't necessarily get out that can use Jeeping and off-roading to see nature.

The last thing: I believe, yesterday, a point was made, that perhaps the proposed ranch is too small. And I know that the property that TMTC currently uses up in — north of Dallas is actually smaller than the one being proposed. And I believe the state has looked favorably upon TMTC's usage of that property so far.

But the person that made that point yesterday makes a good point, that there isn't enough space for the people that like to do the recreation that we like to do. And approval of this park and approval of more parks will incur less — the sport will incur less environmental damage the more parks that there are approved. Thank you, very much.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Thank you.

(Applause.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: You'll be followed by John Chaney.

MR. CASTATOR: Good morning. My name is Kelly Castator; I'm a member of the Southern High-rollers Four-by-Four Club. The Southern High-rollers Four-by-Four Club would like to express our feelings over the proposed acquisition of a new off-highway-vehicle park near Uvalde County, Texas.

It is our understanding that this property will be purchased by the Texas Motorized Trails Coalition using federal recreational trails program funds administered by Texas Parks and Wildlife. Southern High-rollers would like to strongly urge the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission to support the purchase of this property.

Southern High-rollers is an established Houston-area club that has been serving the community for over ten years, starting in 1992, as an outreach to fellow enthusiasts who wanted to organize a group of like-minded individuals and families in the pursuit of our pastime. Today, we have over 115 family members from all walks of life.

We as an organization are aware of the need to limit the impact of our hobby while enjoying and protecting the surrounding wildlife and fauna. We find it extremely important not to destroy or damage that which we have loved and which is the driving force behind what we do: Living and playing in the great outdoors of Texas.

Four years ago, Southern High-rollers members joined with other clubs in the forming of an organization that could lead Texas in the pursuit of responsible recreation, and that organization became the Texas Motorized Trails Coalition. In fact, the vast majority of our members have been paying, individual members of the TMTC since its inception.

As you well know, Texas has very little public land where this pastime can take place in a legal, safe and environmentally friendly way. In addition to the passage of SB 155, which has eliminated the rights to access to river beds and floodplains, which have historically been used by families and recreationists, thus tightens the belt on the area in which outdoor enthusiasts can legally recreate.

In 2002, TMTC opened Bardwell Mountain Recreational Area in Gilmer, Texas. In a few short years, it has become an outstanding facility. It is a showcase to people who come from other states to see what can be done with little funding and a lot of sweat and a well-organized and efficient organization like TMTC leading the way.

In fact, the amount of work that has been done to make it a safe and enjoyable for off-highway driving and the efficient way in which it is administered is being touted as an example to the off-roading community not only in Texas but throughout the country.

In our opinion, the TMTC has done what it set out to do with Bardwell Mountain Recreational Area, because they have provided a place to drive off-highway that provides a legal outlet for noncompetitive trail-driving, protects and works within the local environment, promotes safe recreation by holding and providing educational training classes and promotes a family atmosphere where rules are adhered to, supports the surrounding community with events that provide for local entities.

Southern High-rollers believes that the development of the property near Uvalde County will not only benefit the off-highway community, but —

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Mr. Castator, if you could —

MR. CASTATOR: — based on the data —

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: If you could, wrap it up, please.

MR. CASTATOR: Yes, sir. I'll try to keep this —

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: I noticed you were moving fast.

(Laughter.)

MR. CASTATOR: I'm trying to.

Southern High-rollers urges the Commission of the Texas Parks and Wildlife to support the efforts of the TMTC in the purchase of the property in Uvalde County. Thank you, very much.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Thank you.

(Applause.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: John Chaney, followed by David Scott.

MR. CHANEY: Good morning. I'd like to thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today. My name is John Chaney, and I'm before you today not only as a board member of the Southern High-rollers, a group of 115-plus off-road enthusiast families in Houston, but, also, as an off-road enthusiast for over 25 years, a Texas police officer for 20 years and a father of four who has gotten all of his children involved in the sport of off-roading.

I'd like to speak in favor of the Texas Motorized Trails Coalition and their efforts to acquire new property for off-roading in Texas. The bond established in our family through off-roading is best described in the words of my ten-year-old stepdaughter in a story that was published in the September 2003 TMTC newsletter. I'd like to read that story to you now.

"My First Trail Ride," by Brandy Katowski [phonetic] age ten: "'Mom, are we there yet?' I hollered from the back. 'No,' she said. Finally, after what seemed like days but was actually hours, we arrived at Bardwell Mountain. When we arrived, it was dark, but I knew that the next day, I would have the time of my life. And sure enough, I had a blast.

"In the morning, we got up and unloaded our four-wheelers. Mom made us practice turns and stuff before she would take us on a trail. Finally, she took me on a trail while my sister was practicing stopping.

"My first time on the trail, I had some trouble getting up one of the hills with ruts and rocks. But the second go-round, I went full throttle up the hill in one try. The first time my sister went, she took a long time. Thank goodness I went first.

"After about an hour or so, we started to get hungry so we grabbed some lunch. Then came the fun part, Jeep trails. The big surprise was that they were all — and I mean all — four-diamond trails. Four-diamond trails are really rough, with steep drops, deep ruts and, well, just plain rough and dirty.

"The first trail we did was "Saturday Night Live." As we sat on top of the hill looking down on at least four ledges, in the back of my mind, I was thinking, Holy-moley. But after the four ledges, everything was going good until we climbed a rocky hill. When we got to the top, we turned onto L&B Turnpike, which had a creek crossing about one foot deep. I could feel the tires hit the water.

"Now, Sunday Cruise, that was something. Talk about hills with ruts and rocks. At one point, the trail had a big hole right in the middle. John, my stepdad, wanted me to get out and take some pictures. My favorite one is where the right front tire is four-and-a-half feet in the air.

"At the end of the trail, there was a hill that everybody had trouble with, but a guy who was with us told John how to get up it without any problems. But then Wiley Coyote was a climb I'll never forget; with loose rocks, sand and ledges, boy, that was one hill climb. After, we told Mom all about it. That was one day I'll never — I mean never — forget because it was better than any roller-coaster on Earth."

On behalf of my family and my club, we urge you to back TMTC in their acquisition of this property. Thank you.

(Applause.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: David Scott, followed by Alan Hatcher.

MR. SCOTT: I'm here representing the San Antonio chapter of Texas Four-wheel-drive Clubs, approximately statewide about 1,200 members. I'm not really prepared. So all I wanted to say was that as far as I know, the majority of our club supports TMTC and what they do in Texas, and we hope that you will, too.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Thank you.

(Applause.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Alan Hatcher, followed by Bubba Hickman.

MR. HATCHER: Good morning. I'm Alan Hatcher. And my day started at 3:30 this morning. I drove down from Dallas. So it's that important that a park that's eight hours away from me come into existence.

But first, I'd like to say, hopefully, howdy to a future neighbor. And I hope that we can learn to work with you on how to get around all of any problems that you might have so we can nip them in the bud before it becomes a problem.

I am a member of: The Fort Worth/Dallas Four-wheel-drive Club; the Southwest Four-wheel-drive Association, which is a regional association of four-wheel-drive clubs; the United Four-wheel-drive Association, which is a world-wide association of four-wheel-drive clubs, and; the Texas Motorized Trails Coalition.

And we need this park; it's 2,200 acres, and it's not just for four-wheel drive. It's not just for jeeps. It's multi-use. TMTC has already proved that and shown that up at Bardwell Mountain.

We have all types of off-highway vehicles — the quads or the four-wheelers, four-by-four Jeep-type vehicles and motorcycles — but then we're always going to be always welcoming mountain bikes and hikers. There is a hiking trail at Bardwell Mountain right now. There will be the same — I know, because we talked about it at the last TMTC meeting, there will be the same at High Heaven. And there's a horse event coming — an equine event coming up at Bardwell Mountain.

So TMTC is definitely about multi-use properties. So it will not strictly benefit the off-road, gas-burning community even though the money comes from federal gas tax funds. So with only 30 percent being mandated for motorized parks — and we're a multi-use park — it seems pretty fair that we get this park.

And as I stated to our, hopefully, future neighbor, we can work with anybody. We are not out to tear up the environment. We want to preserve it so that we can enjoy our sport, which is just another way to enjoy the outdoors. And with careful management, it will be there for generations to come. Thank you, very much.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Thank you.

(Applause.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Bubba Hickman, and next will be Laura White.

MR. HICKMAN: Mr. Chairman and Commissioners, thank you today for the opportunity to come speak to you. I'm here in support of the proposed park there in Uvalde County. I am a resident of Uvalde County, and I've dropped off two letters from two county commissioners in Uvalde in support of this park, also, with a list of signatures from people in and around Uvalde County.

I believe that we need this park because we're going to lose tourism dollars from Senate Bill 155. This park will help recoup some of those dollars plus, hopefully, bring in added dollars to an already economically depressed area.

I've talked to the TMTC already, and what I like about this park, like Mr. Hatcher went over, is it's not just about ORVs; it's also about camping and hiking. And with the type of land that they're talking about, there's several hills where the kids, especially in my family, can go around and enjoy a little bit of nature.

I have my own selfish reasons for this park. I moved into the area four years ago; I live there on the Nueces River. And in some parts of it, it's pretty well trashed.

Two years ago, we put on in the local media a trash bash in that area. We didn't get a lot of the people from the local area, but what I was surprised at is the amount of people that come in from all over the state from these four-wheel-drive clubs. We had people coming in from Houston, Victoria, Austin and San Antonio.

And you really can't appreciate what these guys and gals did unless you were there to witness this. We were there at the 83 bridge, and, within four hours, those folks picked up and filled up a tractor-trailer loadful of trash.

And we not only need this park, but we also need these type people that are concerned about this river and want to come up and help out in keeping the Nueces River clean. Thank you.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Thank you.

(Applause.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Laura White, to be followed by Clay McGuill.

MS. WHITE: I'm Laura White, Texas Motorized Trails Coalition Outreach Director. And I don't know what else we can say. We need the park.

You know what we do. This gentleman doesn't. He doesn't realize that we're the people who do the cleanup after floods. We're the people who clean up the highways and have the signs on them that we take care of it.

We're the people who take care of our neighbors at Bardwell, so much so that we closed part of it because this man didn't like the noise. And we put a buffer up. When the lady at the end of the hill started getting sick and under the weather, we closed those trails after dark so it doesn't bother her in the evening.

We take care of our neighbors; we're not out there to destroy anything. There's really no reason that this shouldn't go through. Thank you.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Thank you.

(Applause.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Clay McGuill, followed by Glenn Lee.

MR. McGUILL: Good morning. I'm Clay McGuill, and although I'm not officially representing them, I would like to voice my support for the efforts of the Texas Motorized Trails Coalition to create an OHV recreational area in Uvalde County.

The TMTC already has a proven track record in its creation and maintenance of an off-highway-vehicle recreational area near Gilmer, Texas. The recent passage of SB 155 will soon restrict access to public river beds and other areas, and the establishment of this new, managed OHV area will give the public a mandated alternative place in which to enjoy their outdoor hobbies in a safe, controlled manner.

I'd like to reassure the land and business owners in Uvalde County that a new OHV recreational area will not be a liability, but, instead, will be a contributor to the local economy. We look forward to working with landowners to allay their fears and concerns. Thanks for your time.

(Applause.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Glenn Lee, and then Kathy Duke, please.

MR. LEE: Thank you, Chairman and Commissioners. My name is Glenn Lee. My wife and I own a ranch adjoining this property on two sides. We don't have an organization speaking for us or the neighbors. We don't have 3,200 members, but I can tell you that every neighbor in that area is very much opposed to this for a number of reasons. Ms. Christianson mentioned several.

This is a pristine area. It's an area of mountains, ledges and canyons. It's an area of spring nesting. It's an area of over 200 bird types. As you know, it has been proven over and over and over that semi-arid areas like this cannot stand this type of abuse to it.

Again, this — the access is through two-and-a-half miles of private ranches — two-and-a-half miles. There's three bump-gates that are maintained by the property owners, and there's open livestock on those roads.

I was at the back of the room, and I heard Chairman Armstrong talking about the mission of this agency and about protecting natural resources. And I can't believe that this agency would not only agree to this but actually allow it through the funding of this type of operation.

We cannot stand 3,200 members out there on motorcycles or four-wheelers going through this area. There's no way. We don't want it in our backyard, just as you wouldn't want it in your backyard. Thank you, very much.

(Applause.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Kathy Duke, followed by Dimitri Patent.

MS. DUKE: Good morning, gentlemen. My name's Kathy Duke, and I'm with the Texas Equestrian Trail Riders Association, Region 8. We're the ones that have proposed the project at Bardwell Lake in Ellis County. It'll be an outstanding benefit to the community and the county, as there is no other facility like it within a mile's drive.

It will also be a good financial impact to the Bardwell area, which is not doing very well, and, also, to Ennis, which is a small, thriving community. It will offer recreational opportunities to families, individuals and groups. And we appreciate your consideration to our project. Thank you.

(Applause.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Dimitri Patent, and then Kirby Brown.

(Pause.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Kirby?

MR. BROWN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Commissioners. My name's Kirby Brown; I'm Executive Vice President of Texas Wildlife Association. We represent hunters, landowners and conservationists in Texas, and our membership owns or controls about 30 million acres of Texas.

I'm not sure about the board — the trails board, but I hope there are landowners on that board. So for an overarching perspective, I would like to see that a private lands concerns would be incorporated into that if they're not already. And I'm not aware one way or the other, but I would recommend that to staff.

Secondly, I would hope that in projects like this that work with adjoining landowners was always a top consideration in the very initial stages of any project so that things could be looked at in that regard even really before they're dreamed of in some places, especially with the Rails to Trails areas. There are some places that those will work great and some that they won't.

Specifically here on the TMTC tract, I guess, as we look at plans and what is going on, I would be concerned, you know. Are the roads and trails buffered? What kind of noise is going to be out there? What is the data that indicates that noise pollution will be low enough that landowners can actually continue to work on their wildlife plans, their livestock and on any nature tourism activities that are involved in those areas. That's a very big concern.

And then we're also looking at property owners that depend on hunting and nature tourism for their income. And how will this actually affect those incomes of those adjacent landowners? It's very critical that we support something and that we do something that is not going to impact those people in a negative way financially.

And then, finally, we are concerned about the road right-of-way and the way that's coming in and the access through a very primitive road system and what the plans are for that.

So those are our concerns that would have to be addressed before we could move forward. Thank you. We appreciate it.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Thank you, very much.

(Applause.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Is there anyone else desiring to speak on this item that I've missed?

(No response.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: If not, Mr. Hogsett, I think the Commission probably has a lot of questions. And Mr. Brown has raised a lot of questions. But I — it's my understanding that the process calls for staff and others to proceed with evaluating this application and then, after that, it will be brought back to the Commission for a final decision. Do I understand that correctly?

MR. HOGSETT: That's precisely the intent of the second part of the recommendation that's up on the screen right now. We do think, as a result of the adjacent landowners' concerns and some of the other concerns that have been raised in the last few days about this project, that it is important that we take a hard look at this, including a local public hearing be conducted to give the folks in that area the opportunity to speak their minds about how they feel about the project.

The access issue is something that we need to take a close look at before we proceed. And in particular, the environmental clearances that would be necessary to ensure that endangered species and that cultural resources and that other resources of the property and of the adjacent landowners' properties are protected.

So for that reason, we're asking that you allow us the ability to move ahead in terms of these clearances and the needed public hearing and that we will bring back a final project, one way or the other, with a recommendation to you.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Would you also reiterate what the legislation that was passed requires as far as or obligates the Parks and Wildlife Commission to do with respect to these types of facilities?

MR. HOGSETT: There are two pieces of that. First of all, the fund itself — the National Trails Fund, as I stated earlier, derives its money from off-road vehicle use gas tax and mandates that we — if we spend money from this program for trails of any sort, a percentage of that go into off-road vehicle facilities. So we have that obligation.

And then Senate Bill 155, which was passed by the most recent session of the legislature, also limits access to river environments and has, in lots of folks' opinions, by and large taken the access away from four-wheel drive and does also mandate that we as a Department and you as a Commission look for alternatives and plan for alternatives for use for those kinds of activities.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Thank you, Mr. Hogsett.

Commission Montgomery?

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Tim, whatever the outcome is here, I don't know. And I'm very concerned about the access issues and the points we're hearing today. I'm — we're, I think, all cognizant of our responsibility to see that something's done for the off-the-road folks. And I want to do it, and I think the right way to do it is this broad approach, which is to privatize it and confine it to certain areas where they can do it the way they want to do it and do it right.

But I wonder whether we ought to step back and approach this from a competitive standpoint and say, "Look, we're willing to make a certain number of grants over a certain period of time," and put out our specifications which, to me, would announce our approach and our policy on these issues in advance, and require a certain series of local approval from the local jurisdictions and then have some competition and see which communities want them, which counties want them and who's willing to commit more resources to supplement our grants to come up with even bigger and better projects, rather than simply taking the first one that came in.

It seems to me we — if our desire — a lot of communities are going to desire this kind of a project, and it will be a good economic development engine for some places and that we ought to maximize our grants and our approach and that perhaps stepping back and taking that approach might work better for everyone's sake.

MR. HOGSETT: Part of the problem that we face, though, is that — maybe we've not widely publicized enough our need for applications for these kinds of facilities, but, frankly, we have not received a great number of applications and have received very few from local governments. And this nonprofit has stepped forward and gone through the process of finding a piece of property.

This is the second piece of property that they've looked at. There was another site that they were interested in that just didn't work out. And it may be that if this one doesn't work out, there may be another location. But I think your points are well taken about our need as staff to be sure that the word's out there and that we are trying to promote the program.

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: I wasn't being critical of what you've done up until now. I'm not familiar with it, and —

MR. HOGSETT: Sure.

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: — it sounds like you've done a lot of the things that I've just described. But I suspect that if we can broadcast it broadly enough and give it enough time, we will get competing proposals and we will find communities who want it in appropriate sites.

COMMISSIONER HENRY: Mr. Chairman?

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Mr. Henry.

COMMISSIONER HENRY: Tim, I would appreciate it and, I'm sure, the other Commissioners would, as well, if you would give us information regarding the access issues — maps or anything similar — that would help us to understand specifically what's being purchased and its relationship to the area and all.

MR. HOGSETT: We can absolutely do that. I will say about the access — and Andy Goldbloom, who's our staff resource for this program, may want to help me on this. There are about two miles of existing access that is a fairly rough road that is maintained by the county, and then the remaining, about a half-mile, would be — is an easement. There are — that is something that I think in this process of going back and taking a second look at this that we —

COMMISSIONER HENRY: An existing easement?

MR. HOGSETT: Yes —

Is that —

Yes.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: The — it's my understanding, again, to repeat myself, that all of this is going to be part of your review and study. Is that not correct?

MR. HOGSETT: Yes. Absolutely.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: So —

COMMISSIONER HENRY: Great.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: — I think that's certainly something that has to be taken care of.

COMMISSIONER HENRY: Thank you.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Do we have any other questions?

Commissioner Holmes?

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: Thanks, Mr. Chairman. I did have a — want to voice my concern about the easement.

Are there bump-gates that —

MR. HOGSETT: Yes, there are.

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: I would suspect that most neighboring property owners would not necessarily welcome this type of facility. And so I doubt that we're going to find, or that TMTC's going to find, a property that, you know, does not raise some objections from a neighbor.

Having said that, it is an important facility to provide, but I would hope that we could find tracts that are accessible off of hardtop roadways that are not obstructed by bump-gates.

MR. HOGSETT: And we would agree with you completely.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Of course, on the other hand — and I don't have any idea what the situation is, but, if it is a county-maintained road, then that's certainly a consideration.

Mr. Fitzsimons?

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: One question on the Gilmer property.

It, presumably, has no easement issues. It is —

MR. HOGSETT: Not that I know of.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: As Commissioner Holmes says, it's on the highway. Is that right?

MR. HOGSETT: Yes. That's correct. And it apparently has a very successful track record of operations and management.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Okay. One second question on this — on the Bill 155, because I like Commissioner Montgomery's idea. As usual, he comes up with good, creative ideas. Is it a continuing obligation — I mean this is one — is this something we're going to have to continually do? Because —

MR. HOGSETT: Yes.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: — we do need some sort of systematic approach of that's the case.

MR. HOGSETT: Yes, it is.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Well, I would echo his recommendation to staff, that we look at something that will encourage some of these small, rural communities, as it was pointed out, that would benefit economically to compete for this. And I think, as Commissioner Holmes pointed out, the more people that like it, the easier it is to get it done.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Any other questions?

COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Yes, Mr. Chairman.

The only thing I would ask is that as you identify these tracts, you select tracts where we can have multiple purposes, where we can have trails, where we can have bird watching and issues of that type, and to where we maximize the impact, as you might say, for our dollar. That's all.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Any other comments or questions?

(No response.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: If not, the Chairman would entertain a motion.

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: So move.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Commissioner Holmes.

Do we have a second?

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Second.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Is that you?

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: That's me.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Commission Fitzsimons.

Any further discussion?

COMMISSIONER HENRY: Yes.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Commissioner Henry.

COMMISSIONER HENRY: Would the motion exclude — I mean what does the motion do? Does it exclude funding for this particular project?

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: No. What it's — it covers the approval of all of the items on the list, with the specific reference to this project —

COMMISSIONER HENRY: That is to come back to the Commission?

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: — that has to come back to the Commission.

COMMISSIONER HENRY: I understand. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: We're not approving this today.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: That's correct. We're not approving it.

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: We're approving that staff proceed with the evaluation and come back here —

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: That's correct. And it comes back to the Commission.

COMMISSIONER HENRY: Thank you.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Any further discussion?

(No response.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: If not, all in favor please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Opposed?

(No response.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: The motion is adopted.

And we'll move on to — let's see — Item Number 8, which is the Target Range Grants and, again, Mr. Hogsett.

You've had a busy day today.

MR. HOGSETT: Yes.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: We thank all of you all for being with us today. We appreciate your comments.

MR. HOGSETT: The target range grant program, again, is a federally funded program through the Wildlife Restoration Act. These are 75 percent matching grants that can be made to either nonprofit organizations or municipal organizations, and we take applications once a year. We're recommending the approval of four projects as can be found in Exhibits B through E. I'd be glad to answer any questions.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Any questions or comments?

(No response.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: If not, the Chairman would entertain a motion.

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Move approval.

COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Second.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Commissioner Montgomery, seconded by Commissioner Ramos. All in favor please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Opposed?

(No response.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: The motion is adopted.

MR. HOGSETT: Thank you.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: And, Mr. Hogsett, we thank you for a job well done, as always. We appreciate it.

Let's see. Item Number 9. And we'll — this will be the operating and capital budget review presented by Mary Fields — and the investment policy and budget policy.

MS. FIELDS: Good morning, Commissioners. For the record, I'm Mary Fields, Chief Financial Officer for Parks and Wildlife. And I'm here to present the proposed Fiscal Year 2004 operating and capital budget for your adoption.

Yesterday, I provided an overview of the proposed budget. And today, I'll mention just a few key points. The 78th Legislature appropriated 253.9 million to the Department. And during the budget process, we identified adjustments and additional funds that bring our operating and capital budget to 289.1 million. Of that total, the operating budget represents 234.1 million, which includes 26.3 million for grants, and the capital projects budget is at 55 million.

Our FTE cap for Fiscal Year 2004 is 3,037.5, and the Department will stay within that capped amount. Our Fiscal Year 2004 budget is 14.5 percent lower than our current Fiscal Year 2003 budget; however, as budget decisions were made, we ensured that our core responsibilities would still be accomplished.

It is recommended that the Commission adopt the following motion: "The Executive Director is authorized to expend funds to operate the Parks and Wildlife Department in accordance with the proposed Fiscal Year 2004 operating and capital budget and the proposed Fiscal Year 2004 grant budget."

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Are there any questions? This is probably, if not the most, one of the most important items that the Parks and Wildlife Commission has the responsibility of covering. And even though we haven't had a great deal of discussion at this meeting, I want to again say what I said yesterday, that the Commission did have an in-depth budget review in our budget session a month or so ago, and all of you have received voluminous material and data, which I hope you're studying, in addition to that.

And we appreciate the job you've done, Mary, in making and presenting it to us.

And if there's nothing further, may we have a motion to cover this item?

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: So moved.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Commissioner Holmes.

COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Second.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Commissioner Ramos seconds. Any further discussion?

(No response.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: All in favor please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Opposed?

(No response.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: The motion is adopted.

Thank you, Mary.

MS. FIELDS: Thank you. I do have one more item.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: You have another item. I know. I'm sorry. We should have taken those together, but we'll let you do them separately.

MS. FIELDS: Okay. Thank you.

I'm also presenting the Texas Parks and Wildlife investment and budget policies for your annual review and approval. We reviewed the policies, and staff recommended changes to these policies yesterday. I'll recap those recommended changes today and seek your approval.

The investment policy has been updated to reflect certain requirements from the Public Funds Investment Act, and the statutory references have also been updated.

For the budget policy, we are recommending that budget adjustments that exceed $250,000 require prior approval from the Chairman and the Chair of the Finance Committee; this threshold has been increased from 150,000. We also recommend eliminating the notification requirement for budget adjustments that exceed 100,000; instead, I will brief the Commission for budget adjustments during the regularly scheduled Commission meetings.

Staff recommends that the Commission approve the recommended changes to the investment policy and the budget policy.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Any questions or comments?

(No response.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: If not, the Chair would entertain a motion.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: So moved.

COMMISSIONER RISING: Second.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: By Commissioner Fitzsimons, seconded by Commissioner Rising. All in favor please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Opposed?

(No response.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: The motion is adopted.

MS. FIELDS: Thank you.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Now thank you.

And let's see. We'll go on to Item Number 10, which is the oyster dredge regulations.

Larry Young and Robin Riechers?

MR. YOUNG: Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Commissioners. I'm Larry Young, Chief of Fisheries Enforcement with the Law Enforcement Division. Robin Riechers is out of town on Department business. I'll be covering the proposed changes — the recommended changes, rather, to the statewide oyster fishery proclamation.

The oyster fishery in Texas is a very valuable fishery. Last year, there — the most recent data, from Fiscal Year 2000, shows nearly $14 million in oysters were landed in Texas. The Department staff works very closely with the Oyster Advisory Board to identify ways to best protect the harvest of oysters from Texas waters.

The oyster industry is opposed to the use of multiple dredges for many reasons; however, the regulation in its current form is difficult to enforce. Therefore the staff and the Oyster Advisory Committee recommend that it make it illegal to have on board more than one dredge unless spare dredges are secured to or on the wheelhouse or to the deck in such a manner as not to be readily accessible for use.

Furthermore, the staff and the Oyster Advisory Committee recommend that it make it illegal to have on board more than one winch, chain, cable or rope unless spare winches, cables or ropes as secured below the deck. And finally, we recommend that it make it illegal to have on board more than one lifting block unless spare blocks are secured below the deck.

To this date, there has been no public comment on this issue.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Do we have any questions or comments?

(No response.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Hearing none, the Chair would entertain a motion.

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: I move approval.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Commissioner Montgomery.

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: Second.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Commissioner Holmes seconds. Any discussion?

(No response.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: All in favor please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Opposed?

(No response.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: The motion is adopted.

Thank you.

MR. YOUNG: Thank you.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Number 11 is the petition for rule-making procedure, Ann Bright.

MS. BRIGHT: Good morning. This is really a very minor technical change we discussed yesterday to our rule-making procedures.

Under the Administrative Procedure Act, the APA, an individual — any member of the public may petition a state agency for rulemaking. The state agency, under the APA, has 60 days to respond to the petitioner, denying the petition or either putting the petition or — initiating rule-making action.

Under the current procedures of Parks and Wildlife, once a petition for rulemaking is received, staff prepares a recommendation for the Executive Director. That recommendation is prepared within ten days of receipt of the petition. Then the recommendation is forwarded to the Commissioners, to each Commissioner.

And if any Commissioner asks that it be put on the agenda, then it's put on the agenda for the next meeting. If no Commissioner responds, then the petition is denied.

Under our current procedures, Commissioners are given 60 days from the date — until the 60th day after the Agency receives the petition to respond. What that does is — that doesn't give us much of a window to respond to the petitioner.

Therefore, we're requesting that the rule be amended to shorten the time from 60 to 50 days. This will also — this will enable Commissioners to have about 35 to 40 days, depending on the mail, to review the petition, and it will ensure that we comply with the APA. And the motion is that the amendments to 31 TAC 51.3 be adopted as published in the July 4, 2003, Texas Register.

Any questions?

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Any questions or comments?

(No response.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: If not, may we have a motion?

COMMISSIONER HENRY: So moved.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Commissioner Henry.

COMMISSIONER RISING: Second.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Commissioner Rising.

Any further discussion?

(No response.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: All in favor of the motion please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Opposed?

(No response.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: The motion is adopted.

And thank you, Ann.

MS. BRIGHT: Thank you.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Item Number 12 is implementation of HB 2926, the marine dealers bill.

Frances Stiles and Dennis Johnston?

MS. STILES: Good morning, Commissioners. My name is Frances Stiles; I'm the manager of the Boat Titling and Registration Section of Administrative Resources Division. And with me is —

MR. JOHNSTON: Dennis Johnston, Chief of Marine Enforcement.

House Bill 2926, passed by the 78th Legislature, changed the present system of licensing marine dealers from a voluntary license to a mandatory license requirement effective March 1, 2004.

This legislation applies to any person engaged in the business of selling five vessels — motorboats or outboard motors — in a calendar year and includes dealers, manufacturers and distributors. This legislation also provides for law enforcement inspection authority of dealers and penalties for refusal to allow an inspection. The fee for a dealer license was raised from $130 to $500, and the Commission was also given rule-making authority to implement the program.

Proposed 53.200 adds the definition of a consignment. Proposed 53.201 provides the rules to implement the marine dealer program application requirements for dealers, manufacturers and distributors. Proposed 53.202 requires a license holder to notify the Department in writing within ten days if there is a change in ownership, business name, physical location, dealer agreements, distributors', dealers' and representatives' addresses or phone information.

Proposed 53.203 requires dealers to publicly display the license in the place of business. Proposed 53.204 requires a marine dealer license holder to keep a complete record of transactions available for inspection at all times in the place of business and retain records for a minimum of 24 months.

House Bill 2926 also provided mandatory registration of U. S. Coast Guard-documented vessels and provided authority to the Commission to allow an exception to the placement of the registration decal on antique vessels. Proposed 53.205 requires documented vessels to place the registration stickers on both sides of the bow. Documented vessels used in coastal shipping and vessels exceeding 115 feet in length are exempted from registration.

The proposed rule also requires vessels registered as antiques to attach the registration validation sticker to the left portion of the windshield; in the absence of a windshield, the validation sticker must be attached to the certificate of number and made available for inspection when the vessel is operated on public water.

MS. STILES: The third item of this legislation provides for the Commission by rule to charge a fee for access to ownership records and other records made or kept under the Water Safety Act. The rule establishes two ownership reports, at $2 and $10, and two accident reports, at $2 and $10.

And the last category of the legislation provides the Commission and the Agency the authority to issue bonded titles on boats and outboard motors. The rule establishes a new bonded title fee of $35, which is a titling situation backed by security bond.

The vessel or motor must not be stolen, and we must establish that the situation would not defraud the owner or lienholder. This is brought about by a break of ownership in the documentation trail in that the customer has no ability to obtain the needed documentation.

The rule establishes situations where there is a lack of title or title assignment, there is a lack or problem with the bill of sale or invoice and/or a lack of authorization to handle the disposition of an estate. We did receive one public comment.

MR. JOHNSTON: Comments on proposed rules published in the Texas Register were received from the Boating Trades Association of Texas and the Boating Trades Association of the Greater Metropolitan Houston Area. Comments included a requested clarification in the rule language between dealer, distributor and manufacturer requirements and to increase the retention of dealer records to 36 months.

The proposed language was amended to facilitate the ease of understanding for the affected dealers. The increase in retention period was not changed, because it is a substantial change to the published proposal. Both trade associations have submitted a final letter recommending the proposal as amended.

MS. STILES: We're available for any questions or if there's any public comment.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: We do not have any public comment. And are there any questions or comments from the Commission?

(No response.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Do we have a motion?

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: I move approval.

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Second.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: By Commissioner Fitzsimons, seconded by Commissioner Montgomery. All if favor please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Opposed?

(No response.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: The motion is adopted.

Thank you.

MR. JOHNSTON: Thank you.

MS. STILES: Thank you.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Item Number 13, the Chapter 53 license fee adjustments.

Julie Horsley?

MS. HORSLEY: Good morning, Commissioners. My name is Julie Horsley; I'm here to talk about a proposed rulemaking regarding Chapter 53, Finance. I'm a Program Specialist in the Budget and Planning Section of the Administrative Resources Division.

The first item to discuss deals with the fishing guide licenses and is necessary to implement provisions of Senate Bill 608, which was passed during the last legislative session. That bill created separate resident and nonresident categories for fishing guide licenses and authorized the Commission to set fees for those categories.

This proposal would create the nonresident category for the fishing guide licenses in the Agency rule and, effective September 1, 2004, would increase the nonresident fishing guide license for saltwater from 200 to $1,000.

The next item deals with the commercial shrimp license surcharge that's mandated by House Bills 2470 and 1858, also passed during the last legislative session. These bills created a new shrimp marketing assistance program of the Department of Agriculture and required that the Parks and Wildlife Department increase certain fees to fund that program.

This proposal would implement that mandated 10 percent surcharge and would effect resident and nonresident commercial gulf and bay shrimp licenses, as well as retail and wholesale fish dealers and fish dealers' truck licenses. The revenue anticipated as a result of this increase would not be kept by the Department; we are required to transfer it all to the Department of Agriculture.

The next item deals with the Lake Texoma fishing license and stems from recent action taken by the state of Oklahoma. They have — the legislature there has increased the fee for the Lake Texoma fishing license contingent upon Texas adopting a similar increase. So this proposal would increase the fee for this license from $7.50 to $12 effective January 1, 2004.

The next item deals with the Conservation Passport. This is an annual pass that allows entrance to state parks. The proposal is to discontinue the reference to the passport in Chapter 59; as of December 31, 2003, it would be replaced with the state parks annual pass, which would be included in Chapter 59. And that's going to be discussed during a separate rulemaking — the establishment of that particular pass.

Then the final item deals with the eligibility of certain nonresidents to purchase a lifetime license. Currently, only residents are eligible to purchase a lifetime fishing, hunting or combination license; however, the Commission does have the authority to designate certain categories of individuals as residents through regulation.

Basically, what this proposal would do would be to allow a person who's designated as an honorary citizen by the governor and is a nonresident to be considered a resident for the purpose of purchasing such a license.

The items that I just reviewed were published in the July 25 issue of the Texas Register. We've received two comments. Both were against the proposals. And the recommended motion is that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt the amendments to 31 Texas Administrative Code Sections 53.2, 53.3 and 53.6 and 53.7 concerning license fees and boat motor fees as published in the July 25, 2003, issue of the Texas Register.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Would it be a fair characterization to say of those two who objected to the lifetime license for the out-of-state individuals named honorary citizens, that they probably didn't really have all the facts with respect to how that would work? Would that be fair to say?

MS. HORSLEY: It's — it is possible, yes.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: But didn't they — weren't they concerned about it costing the state money? Wasn't that it?

MS. HORSLEY: They were in the sense that over the long run, I think, they felt that it would cost the state money. And that is if the nonresident were required to purchase nonresident licenses, as opposed to getting the lifetime license, and that over — I'm not sure I'm articulating what —

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: But they'd have to — the person would have to be in the state several times before that would be true, I mean, because — before they would use up the cost of the lifetime —

MS. HORSLEY: Yes.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: — license. Is that not correct?

MS. HORSLEY: Yes. I think so.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: So the odds of it actually costing the state money is not very high. That would be my opinion. Is that — am I wrong?

MS. HORSLEY: Well —

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: They're paying a thousand dollars. Is that not right for —

MS. HORSLEY: Yes. It Would be a thousand dollars.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: All right.

MS. HORSLEY: Let's see.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: So you'd have to buy a few out-of-state licenses before — I don't know what — I forget the numbers exactly, but it would take a while before you'd get to $1,000.

MS. HORSLEY: Right. The —

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: And I'm not particularly concerned, because two objections is not anything significant. But I wanted to explore that a little bit.

MS. HORSLEY: Okay.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Any other questions or comments?

(No response.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Do we have a motion?

COMMISSIONER RAMOS: So moved.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Commissioner Ramos.

COMMISSIONER RISING: Second.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Commissioner Rising.

Any further discussion?

(No response.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: All in favor please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Opposed?

(No response.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: The motion is adopted.

And thank you, Julie.

MS. HORSLEY: Thank you.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Item Number 14, Chapter 59 park fee range adjustments.

Walt Dabney?

MR. DABNEY: Chairman and Commissioners, my name's Walt Dabney, State Park Director, and I'm before you to talk about the state park fee range proposal.

The — in 1991, the Commission authorized the utilization of differential fee pricing; that allowed us to set fees in a range for the different types of facilities and services that we provide. It allowed us to vary fees from park to park and fees even within the same park, because the premium sites and that sort of thing could be different.

The need to propose new fees — the last time this fee range was changed was 1992. So for 12 or 13 years, we've been operating within the current fee range.

Some of the fees in the current range are up against the upper limit. And our costs, because of inflation and higher costs of utilities and that kind of thing, have increased to the point that it is time to re-evaluate those fee ranges. As we re-evaluate the fee ranges, that does not necessarily mean that we increase fees in all categories.

We go through a process. First of all, the Commission, you, authorize us to establish a range of fees, again, for each facility or for each type of service that we provide. And then the parks on an annual basis go through and evaluate each one of those fees against the local environment.

For example, campgrounds that we provide that provide certain amenities will be indexed against the local economy so that we're not undercutting or over-charging in the same environment for the same thing. That does mean that a park in one part of the state may well provide similar types of services or facilities that will be charged for differently in another part of the state.

The Executive Director, then, as I and State Parks staff provide him a list of proposed fee changes, has the authority from you within those fee ranges to approve those on an annual basis. That's implemented in January of each year.

The other changes within the — that are in your book there are mainly intended to clarify some language that is not — that needed clarification. It also provides for the establishment of a new state park annual pass, which we think is going to be a really exciting opportunity. With that pass, with that card, you and whoever is in your vehicle will be able to go to any unit in the state parks system where an entrance fee is charged, and you're allowed to go in.

If you go 365 days a year, that card will let you and your family in there. We think it's one of the best deals that will be available to families in Texas and, certainly, will encourage people to use the state parks system.

In addition, we've needed some changes in the fee ranges because we've done such things as upgrade old, screened shelters as we've had to replace them to cabinettes. Now, these are not fancy. There'll be two bunk beds in there — and a picnic table. But it does have heat and air-conditioning. So it's usable during the hotter and cooler times of the year, which makes them very popular and gives us the ability to increase the season for people to enjoy the parks.

Each year that we increase these fees, we're able to recover more of the cost in operating the state parks system. We anticipate that if this is anything as it has been historically, we could be generating a half-a-million to 700,000 additional dollars.

We anticipate that if you approve these fee ranges that have been published, that that should be good for another eight, ten or 12 years; if it holds true as the past has, we would not anticipate the need for further change at least for another ten years.

We received one public comment, and that comment — it was very clear the person did not understand what we were proposing and they thought that you were going to have to buy an annual pass for each park that you went to. We've answered that letter back to that person and said, No, you buy one pass, and you can go to all the parks.

The other was that — they thought that immediately upon your approval of the fee ranges, we would immediately go to the upper end. That has not been the case over the last 12 years and would not be the case now. We have, again, facilities that are up against that range that we are way under our ability to even recover our costs in those. So we need this to happen.

Our recommendation is — the State Parks Division would ask you to approve the changes to TAC 59 as is in your book. And I'm here to answer any questions that you might have.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Do we have any questions or comments?

(No response.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Well done, Walt.

MR. DABNEY: Thank you, sir.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Thank you.

Do we have a motion?

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: I move approval.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Commissioner Montgomery.

COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Second.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Commissioner Ramos.

Any further discussion?

(No response.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: All in favor please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Opposed?

(No response.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: The motion is adopted.

Item Number 15: Alligator Proclamation, Mike Berger and Amos Cooper.

Mike?

MR. BERGER: Good morning, Mr. Chairman and members. I'm Mike Berger, the Director of the Wildlife Division. And I'm joined here this morning by Amos Cooper and Monique Slaughter, our wildlife biologists from the Murphree Wildlife Management Area, to talk about the alligator proclamation. And Mr. Cooper will make the proclamation changes.

MR. COOPER: Good morning, Mr. Chairman and Commissioners. My name is Amos Cooper, and I'm a wildlife biologist at J. D. Murphree Wildlife Management Area. The alligator proclamation has not been revised since the Chairman's sunset review of 1997. This presentation is of the accumulated proposals since that time.

The proposed changes fall into several categories. Housekeeping: Revise the definition of, "Processed alligator parts," replacing it with, "Processed products"; simplify the definition for harpoon or gig; make other nonsubstantive changes.

Importation and exportation: This allows out-of-state farmers to transport live alligators into Texas for transport out of the state. Also, they must treat these animals humanely during transport. Change in importation permit: Notification requirement and an export fee of $4 per alligator. Purchase and sale of alligators: Requires a separate retail dealers permit for each place of business. Alligator farms: Require hide tag applications to be submitted 15 days prior to the harvest of alligators except for non-harvest mortalities.

Reporting: Extend the deadline for the return of egg collection reports; notification for loss, destroyed, stolen or mutilated hide tags and nest stamps. Possessions: Allow persons other than hunters and dealers to possess alligators; require all alligator skulls greater than nine inches to be permanently marked.

Hunting: Hide tags be attached within ten inches of the tip of an alligator's tail; clarifies night hunting; also clarifies one tag per taking device; requires a float to be attached to lines on all handheld devices. Population management: Creates a new, reduced-price hide tag to encourage the harvest of sub- or dud alligators and establishes a fee of $5 per tag.

Nuisance alligators: Clarifies contracting authority for the removal of nuisance alligators. General issues: Prohibits the feeding of free-ranging alligators; also requires a person who kills an alligator in self-defense to notify the department immediately, rather than within 24 hours.

Additionally, staff recommends these changes to correct typographical errors: To exclude "Louisiana hatchlings" from export fees; to add "nest stamps" to the report requirements, and; to grandfather all skulls greater than nine inches prior to the changes taking place.

There were no public comments related to these proposed changes. The recommended motion: "The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts the repeal of 65.357 and 65.365, amendments to 65.352 through 65.354, 65.356, 65.359, 65.360 through 65.364 and the new 65.357, 65.365 and 65.366 concerning the alligator proclamation with changes to the proposed text as published in the July 26, 2003 issue of the Texas Register.

That concludes my presentation. Are there any questions?

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Well done.

Any questions or comments?

(No response.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Do we have a motion for the recommendation?

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: So move.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Commissioner Fitzsimons.

COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Second.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Commissioner Ramos.

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Did we —

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: The Commissioners can't hear you there.

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Oh. I just wondered if we could add to the motion that we request the staff to come back in the next 12 months with the —

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Wait.

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: That we add that the staff come back in the next 12 months with a program to make alligator hunting more accessible to the public, as we discussed yesterday. If we could, add that to the motion.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Yesterday, in the Regulations —

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Mr. McCarty has pointed out to me while we were in the process of discussing it that we did have two folks that would like to speak on the subject. And I erroneously overlooked those. We'll put the motion on hold, if that's okay with the Commission, and ask the two individuals to make their comments. Thank you, gentlemen.

Ellis Gilleland is first, and followed by Kirby Brown.

I apologize for that. I got in too big a hurry.

MR. GILLELAND: I have a handout.

(Pause.)

MR. GILLELAND: My name is Ellis Gilleland, and I'm a private citizen speaking for myself and speaking for Texas Animals, an animal rights organization on the internet. I have just one comment, and that has to do with the control of nuisance alligators. I've given you a handout which shows the entry that was made in the Texas Register, the new paragraph entered for the nuisance control, 65.363.

My recommendation is to add one new paragraph, which would be Paragraph E, which would say, "To the maximum extent possible, nuisance alligators shall be relocated alive to and released in an appropriate natural wildlife environment." And the purpose of that is, obviously, to prevent another reoccurrence of the pickup truck dragging the alligator away and them being shot.

In other words, you're saying specifically — if you adopt that addition I just gave you, you're saying specifically that the objective is — in the control of nuisance alligators, the overall objective and overriding objective is to return the animal to its natural wildlife environment. In my opinion, that's what should be the major thrust of that section, and I think it should be said specifically in black and white.

And I can quote two just maybe hypothetical examples. One is an alligator — a 15-foot alligator, or whatever, with a man's leg in his mouth and dragging him down the road. You're obviously going to shoot the alligator and save the man, and the alligator cannot be removed to another environment.

On the other hand: The lady that comes out her back door and sees a 10- or 12- or 15-foot alligator in her swimming pool, and the alligator can't get over the drainage lip, and he's stuck. Well, then, obviously, you've got a captive alligator in a swimming pool. You can deal with that alligator. You can net him, noose him or do all sorts of things to get him captivated and get him hauled back to his natural environment.

So there will be variation based on what the actual circumstances are, but the overriding theme, I believe, in the control of nuisance alligators should be to return them to their natural habitat alive. Thank you.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Thank you, Mr. Gilleland.

Kirby Brown?

MR. BROWN: Thank you. My name's Kirby Brown, with Texas Wildlife Association. And I want to comment in support of the staff's recommendations and congratulate Amos and Monique for careful review of these over the years and continued work on that.

And I also would ask one question for clarification on the skull. I know I have a skull that may exceed that point — and then there are several friends of mine who do — that were — some of those were pre-'84, before the hunting. And some have been afterwards, but have tag materials. And I just need a clarification on that. Thank you.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Thank you.

Mr. Cooper, could you respond to both of those questions, if you would, please?

MR. COOPER: Well, that's what — we were asking to grandfather all those skulls previously taken before these regulations take place.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: We understand that. How about Mr. Gilleland's comment?

MR. COOPER: About the nuisance alligators?

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Right.

MR. COOPER: Well, simply by the definition, a nuisance alligator is one that is depredating or causing a threat to human health. If it's doing that, we've got one choice, and that's to kill that animal before it hurts somebody else. If we relocate it in another system, you know, he's just going to go look for the first human he sees for food.

Like I said yesterday, we evaluate — each time we go out, we look at the situation and make the determination at that time. We've caused more problems relocating the alligators than killing them. So —

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: You've solved that. Thank you.

Now we're back to the motion which has been made.

And, Commissioner Montgomery, I believe you were in the process of asking for an addition to it.

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: I'm just trying to add the part about —

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Would you clarify that again just for the record and to make sure it gets on the record?

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: I'd simply ask that the motion include a request to come back in the next 12 months with measures to make alligator hunting more accessible to the public — more readily accessible and easier.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Is that acceptable, Mr. Ramos? I believe — was that your motion?

COMMISSIONER RAMOS: That was my second. It was Joe's motion.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Mr. Fitzsimons, that's acceptable?

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: That's acceptable.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: It's acceptable to the motion and the seconder. And any other discussion?

COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Let me make —

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Excuse me, Mr. Ramos.

COMMISSIONER RAMOS: I just want to make a comment on taking an alligator that's a nuisance alive. I think that under the regulations, we have the discretion. And I'm sure our game wardens will exercise their best efforts and if at that given point in time, they feel that it's a threat to human life, they may take him. But I would think that they would first —

MR. COOK: Absolutely.

COMMISSIONER RAMOS: — try to relocate an alligator back into the natural habitat. And the way the regulation reads, it says, "May take alligators by the means or methods as specified by the Department." And I would say that under that scenario, whoever's doing the taking would exercise the discretion to where we would not have to necessarily kill an animal. Is that correct? Is that —

MR. COOK: I believe that's absolutely correct.

COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Okay.

MR. COOK: In other words, like Amos is saying —

And, Amos, help me out here if I get off track.

But to be classified as a nuisance alligator as opposed to just an alligator in the wrong place at the wrong time, a nuisance alligator is one that has created some problems —

COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Right.

MR. COOK: — that we've got — we know that that gator has created some problems or is already hooked on — I started to say cat food, but I won't use that one.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Subsidies?

COMMISSIONER RAMOS: I guess —

VOICE: Subsidies.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Subsidies.

COMMISSIONER RAMOS: But we don't resort to actually killing the alligator until such time as we're satisfied that it has reached that level?

MR. COOK: That is a nuisance and that it's a problem.

COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Okay.

MR. COOK: Otherwise, we try to —

COMMISSIONER RAMOS: And that would address the concerns of the gentleman that addressed us earlier.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: I think yesterday's Regulations Committee discussion had to do with how we get in front of the nuisance problem by using and looking at our hunting regs to see if we can encourage hunting in areas that'll be future interface between habitat and development. And, you know, if we reduce the number of interfaces or conflict there, we'll reduce the number of nuisance alligators, presumably.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Any other comments?

COMMISSIONER HENRY: Just one.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Commissioner Henry?

COMMISSIONER HENRY: The — I'm just a little concerned about the definition of "nuisance." We were talking about — the Conroe alligator wouldn't be described as a nuisance here. My concern has to do with the whole concept of attractive nuisance.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: It can only be "outlaw"?

COMMISSIONER HENRY: I'm not sure. But I think it's — I just think we should take that into consideration, as well — an actual nuisance as opposed to an attractive nuisance that may concern kids.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: I don't really believe the definition's even in the regulation. Is it? So it's just the way you're interpreting what it means; it's not defined.

MR. BERGER: A nuisance alligator is defined in the regulation as, "An alligator that is depredating or a threat to human health or safety."

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: There you go. So it is very clearly defined then.

COMMISSIONER HENRY: It is?

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: That sounded pretty clear to me. Didn't it to you?

(Laughter.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Does that satisfy you, Commissioner?

COMMISSIONER HENRY: I'll pass.

(Laugher.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Any other discussion?

(No response.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: All in favor please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Opposed?

(No response.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: If the alligators only knew, they'd appreciate all the attention they got today and yesterday. Thank you, gentlemen.

If the Commissioners have no objection, I'd like to see if we can't continue the agenda and finish it up here in a relatively short time. Is that all right? We've got some people waiting to address us.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Press on.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Okay. We'll move on then to Item Number 16, which is the statewide fur-bearing animals proclamation.

Mike Berger and Larry Young?

MR. BERGER: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

I'm Mike Berger. I'm joined by John Young, our state mammalogist.

MR. YOUNG: Mr. Chairman and Commissioners, for the record, my name is John Young, and I'm the Mammalogist for the Wildlife Division.

In March of 2003, the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Division, the management authority, notified Texas Parks and Wildlife Department that our application for river otter CITES tags was conditionally granted for the 2002/2003 trapping season. In order to achieve approval for the 2003/2004 season and future trapping seasons, one of their requirements was that we develop regulations requiring a CITES tag be placed on all otter taken within Texas.

In response to this requirement, staff developed changes to the statewide trapping proclamation and posted the changes in the Texas Register in July 2003 for a 30-day public comment period.

The proposed regulation changes focus on: Requiring all river otter taken or transported into Texas be tagged with a CITES tag; eliminating the retail fur buyer license since relatively few have been purchased in recent years and they are similar to the wholesale fur buyer license, and; renumbering sections, consolidating provisions and adding clarifying language and definitions to eliminate confusion and tedious regulatory language.

One public comment was received from Texas Trappers and Fur Harvesters. And based on their comments, the staff proposes changes to the proclamation to clarify that nuisance otter are not required to be tagged with the CITES tags and restate that nuisance fur-bearing animals may not be possessed or sold, a change to replace the word "permit" with the word "license" to maintain consistency in the regulation, and a change to clarify that Otter CITES tags will only be issued to wholesale fur dealers and individuals who present an otter pelt to a law enforcement office.

Staff recommends the motion that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt the repeal of Sections 65.377 and 65.380 and amendments to Sections 65.372, 65.374, 65.376, 65.378, 65.379 and new Sections 65.377, 65.381, 65.383 and 65.385 concerning the statewide fur-bearing animal proclamation with changes to the proposed text as published in the July 26, 2003, issue of the Texas Register.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Thank you.

We do have a couple of folks signed up here. I'd like to take their testimony first.

First is Dan Hepker, followed by Kirby Brown.

MR. HEPKER: Vice Chairman, Commissioners, and Mr. Cook, my name is Dan Hepker, representing the Texas Trappers and Fur Hunters Association. Currently, Texas trappers are required to sell our furs six days after the close of trapping season; this creates a serious disadvantage, as there are intense fluctuations in the fur markets.

At the time we must sell, if the market is low, we get very little return for our efforts. Combine this with the fact that most areas of Texas have low-quality fur, we often during these lows cannot even find a market for many of our products.

If tanning is not an option for the trappers, then the hides may need to be destroyed to remain in compliance. And I do not think anyone wants to see this happen. If allowed to continue possession of our products, then the 3,000 trappers of Texas can wait for market increases or sell to the taxidermy trade.

I have spoken with Texas Parks and Wildlife staff relating to this issue, and their concern is from a legal standpoint: How do we determine if pelts are being harvested out of season? First, there is no market for summer-grade pelts, and this includes the taxidermy trade. It just doesn't exist. Without a market, there is no reason for anyone to harvest them. Any fur buyer that I know of would easily recognize a summer-caught pelt and alert the law enforcement immediately.

Secondly, Texas game wardens are second to none. For example, their forensic capabilities not only can tell you the age of venison but what part of the state it came from if at all it even came from Texas. I feel absolutely confident they would be able to make the determination if pelts were illegally harvested and make a case.

I phoned 23 other states, inquiring about their regulations to this matter. Eighteen states allow year-round possession, and five states have holding time limits unless you acquire an inventory permit, which then allows you to have year-round possession.

I'm very impressed with the Texas Parks and Wildlife staff that I have spoken with, and feel quite confident that we can work out a solution. Thank you.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Kirby Brown?

MR. BROWN: Actually, I was not aware of that. Dan brings up a good point that should be looked into. My name's Kirby Brown; I'm with Texas Wildlife Association. We do support the staff's proposal and think this is a good change in a positive direction. Thank you.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Mr. Berger, do you have a comment on the point that Mr. Hepker raised?

MR. BERGER: All I would say is that we will be happy to work with the trappers to work out a solution to this.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: I think that's all we could ask for at this point. Thank you.

MR. COOK: Mr. Chairman, I'd like to speak to that, also.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Mr. Cook?

MR. COOK: The fur bearing rules are similar in my opinion and — I'm a little bit familiar with them — are — kind of remind me of this issue we were talking about some in the alligator rules. I think there's room for us to really look into a couple of these sets of rules and simplify them for everyone. And I think this is probably a good opportunity, and I would certainly encourage staff to go to work with these folks right off the bat and see what we can do.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Good.

Commissioner Montgomery?

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Can we do that in time not to disadvantage them for this hunting season? Can we do that by the November meeting —

MR. COOK: No.

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: — at least on this particular point?

MR. YOUNG: A requirement of the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service for otter CITES tags for this year was that we get regulation changes in place prior to the start of the season.

MR. COOK: Yes.

MR. YOUNG: If we don't get those in place prior to the start of the season, they're going to — they may not allow us to use CITES tags for this year.

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Can we amend that particular provision today to give them more time — while we study it to, at least, give them more than six days? That's awfully short.

MR. COOK: We'd have to go back through —

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: You'd have to go back through the hearing process?

MR. YOUNG: Right. We'd have to go back through the Register.

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: So we're stuck for right now?

MR. YOUNG: I'm afraid so.

MR. COOK: I think so.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Any other questions or discussion?

(No response.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: If not, the Chair would entertain a motion.

COMMISSIONER RISING: I move approval.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Commission Rising.

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: Second.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Seconded by Commissioner Holmes. Any further discussion?

(No response.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Mr. Cook?

MR. COOK: Mike, let me just ask a question here following the Commissioner's question. A liberalization of that time frame — would that require —

Ann, would that require a — I mean we would be giving them more — we'd be giving the folks more time to market their hides, if it's a month or — I don't know what would be the step to take. But I can't imagine that — it's not more restrictive. It's a liberalization from the people we are impacting — a benefit.

MR. BERGER: It might be.

MS. BRIGHT: Normally, a liberalization is not something that is going to affect fewer people or loosen things up a little. A lot of times you don't have to go back through the process. But I have to say I've been thumbing through this and I can't find where — I can't find the provision we're talking about. So I really need to look at that.

MR. BERGER: I'm not sure it's a provision that we changed in this.

John —

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: I have a question.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Commissioner Fitzsimons, turn on your mike.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Ann and Mike —

VOICE: The sale deadline?

MR. BERGER: Yes. Is it in here?

MR. YOUNG: No. We had not changed that. The sale deadline date has stayed the same as it was before. The —

MS. BRIGHT: Okay.

MR. YOUNG: — sale could — had to be done by April 6.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: And that probably applies to all the fur rather than just the otter. Is that correct, or not?

MR. YOUNG: That's correct. It's all fur-bearing animals taken during the commercial season.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: And this item was really specifically directed to the otters. Correct?

MR. YOUNG: We — this item was directed specifically to otters, and then we took the opportunity to address a couple of other issues that had come up over the time frame since it had been opened last.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: But that wasn't one of them?

MR. YOUNG: And that wasn't one of them, no. It wasn't.

MS. BRIGHT: It sounds like there may be time to address this issue in a separate rulemaking.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: But do we need to amend the motion? Is that — the question is: Do we need to amend the motion to —

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: I think the — your point is that we can't do it at this point. Is that correct?

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: No. It — I think they're saying —

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: You can narrow it to the river otter if you —

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Well, what if we make the motion —

MS. BRIGHT: This is not before them right now.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: It is.

MS. BRIGHT: It's in there? Where is it?

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Could someone identify the section that we would —

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Let's wait a minute here and get an official opinion.

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Yes.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: And we'll be able to go from there.

(Pause.)

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Ann, could we make the motion subject to legal review or give the Executive Director the authority to extend it, but approve it for, I'd say, six months unless you all have a better idea?

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: What's the consensus there, Mike?

MR. BERGER: Well, I think we can look at this if we — subject to Ann and Robert and I looking at this, I think we can come up with something. If the end of the season is not until April, then there's time to work on this and maybe open it again and consider it before —

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: To address it —

MR. BERGER: — the trapping season closes.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: — at the November meeting?

MR. BERGER: Yes.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Is that what you're saying?

MR. BERGER: Yes.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Does that satisfy everybody, or not?

COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Is there another way where we could implement it but suspend that particular — in other words, pass it — let's say that for this year, we're not going to enforce that — no?

MR. COOK: No.

COMMISSIONER RAMOS: Okay.

MR. COOK: We don't want to do that.

COMMISSIONER RAMOS: That's fine.

MR. COOK: It's in the books. We've got to —

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: That seems to me to be a reasonable approach. When does the season open?

MR. BERGER: The season opens October 1?

VOICE: November 1.

MR. BERGER: November 1.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: So we're not talking about that big of a time frame if the November meeting could take care of this. Is —

MR. BERGER: No. And —

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: — that correct?

MR. BERGER: And pelts would have to be sold, as I understand, by April. So we've got time between the trapping season and April to —

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Is that something that would still have to be posted?

MR. COOK: Yes, sir.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: So could the Commission — since it was — could we direct that it be posted today to do that?

MR. COOK: Yes.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: As a part of this motion, or should it be separate?

MR. COOK: We can do it separately.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: All right. Well, let's take care of this motion first, and then we'll address it.

Any discussion on the motion?

(No response.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: All in favor say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Opposed?

(No response.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: That motion is adopted.

And now the floor's open for a motion regarding posting of an extension. And I don't know how to phrase that, but —

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: I defer to my counsel, Mr. Fitzsimons.

(Laughter.)

MR. COOK: I think you can just authorize us to proceed —

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Develop that —

MR. COOK: — with that and —

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: — and post the necessary language?

MR. COOK: — post it with the intent to extend the time frame that they have there. And we'll look at it and come back to you in November.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: All right.

Does that sound like a good motion?

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: I move to adopt the Executive Director's recommendation.

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Second.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: How's that for my legal language?

(Laughter.)

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: I knew you'd come up with something articulate.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Commissioner Fitzsimons makes the motion seconded by Commissioner Montgomery. Do we have any further discussion?

Commissioner Holmes?

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: Is it limited to the extension of the time period to sell, or is it a full review?

MR. COOK: I wouldn't attempt to do a full review in that time frame. Let's —

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: All right.

MR. COOK: Let's just address this one, because it is quite complex. And then — but we will make the commitment to everyone involved and interested that we will get into this thing and, before this time next year, we'll have —

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Right.

MR. COOK: — hopefully, a nice cleanup for you.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Any further discussion?

(No response.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: All in favor say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Opposed?

(No response.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: That motion is also adopted.

Thank you, Mr. Berger.

MR. BERGER: Thank you.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: And now we'll come to Item Number 17, surplus deer.

Mr. Berger and Clayton Wolf?

MR. BERGER: Good morning. Again, I'm Mike Berger of the wildlife division. I'm joined by Clayton Wolf, our white-tailed deer program leader.

MR. WOLF: Mr. Chairman and Commissioners, I'm Clayton Wolf; I'm the white-tailed deer program coordinator for the wildlife division. This morning, I'm going to ask you to consider — this afternoon, I'm going to ask you to consider the adoption of two proposals relating to the management of surplus white-tailed deer in Texas.

In May of this past year, wildlife division staff were directed to publish proposed changes to the antlerless and spiked buck deer control permit regulations, those being: Extending the period of validity by two months in that ADCPs would be valid September 1 and run through the last day in February; also, allowing licensed youth under the age of 17 to participate in addition to designated harvesters; and extending the reporting deadline from February 14 to March 14 to accommodate the extended season.

We received 17 comments on this proposal; we had nine speaking in favor of the proposal. And additionally, our White-tailed Deer Advisory Committee had a chance to review this proposal and also spoke in favor of it.

We had eight other comments, and all of these were not germane to the proposal. Either folks were just offering up other alternatives and ideas without expressing their opinions of the proposal at hand or the individuals clearly did not understand the proposal and, in most cases, they thought we were talking about extending the regular countywide hunting seasons to these dates.

Our second proposal stems from the passage of Senate Bill 1582. Senate Bill 1582 authorizes our Department to issue to political subdivisions or property owners' associations permits to trap and transport surplus white-tailed deer. First, these political subdivisions or property owners' associations must demonstrate that there's an overpopulation of deer. If they can do this, then TPWD would issue the permit designating the destination and disposition of the trapped deer.

Now, this probably sounds very familiar to our urban deer-removal permits or Triple-T permits that we have in place, but, in actuality, this is a new section within our Triple-T proclamation which actually creates a new permit; the intent is lethal removal, and TDCJ would be the primary recipient of the processed animals to be used for consumption by inmates.

Mr. Tom Fordyce, who is the Director of Agribusiness, Land and Minerals with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, was actually instrumental in working with legislators to provide a more economical means to allow these people that are dealing with surplus deer issues to be able to process deer at no cost if they could get them to the TDCJ facilities in Palestine or Amarillo.

The proposed name of this new permit is the Trap, Transport and Process Permit. Rules are published within Chapter 65, subchapter C, more commonly known as our Triple-T proclamation. You will note in your Commission handbook that there are numerous changes throughout the proclamation to incorporate and facilitate the implementation of the trap, transport and process permit.

These published rules include that trapped deer shall be delivered to a processing facility that is selected by the applicant and approved by the Department. All carcasses shall be utilized either by a penal facility or by donation to a Department-approved charitable organization.

So we have built in a little more flexibility so that if the case arises where TDCJ cannot accept animals, county jails or other correctional facilities that have department of health inspectors can also accept these surplus animals. And additionally, these animals could be processed at commercial locker plants and donated to charitable organizations.

Deer may be euthanized at the trap site or the processing facility. The transport of live deer shall begin within 18 hours of trapping, and that would be within 18 hours of the capture of the first deer.

And the applicant shall specify individual trap site locations for larger political subdivisions. For instance, a place such as Southwest Research, which is not an incorporated city, has surplus deer problems. They could have Bexar County apply on their behalf or be a co-applicant, and, in such a case, we would need to know where in Bexar County the trapping was going to take place.

We are recommending to withdraw our CWD testing requirements from the TTP proposal. When we published the rules, we basically duplicated our testing requirements from our Triple-T proclamation.

In the interim, we began a study of the rationale that we used to adopt these previous CWD testing requirements specifically to scientific breeder deer and Triple-T deer. And, in fact, we learned that the same rationale did not apply to trap, transport and process deer in that our current CWD testing requirements apply only to the importation and/or release of live deer, versus deer that are going to be processed.

Additionally, we conferred with Dr. Ken Waldrup, who is in the room with us this morning if you should have any questions. And Dr. Waldrup advised us that their recommended protocol for animals that are in a monitoring program with the animal health commission is that animals are exempt — they're exempt animals from testing if they pass a pre-slaughter inspection. That would be by a department of health meat inspector.

Additionally, Dr. Waldrup advised that they recommend testing animals that do not pass a pre-slaughter inspection. So it is our intent that we at TPWD test animals that do not pass a pre-slaughter inspection, as opposed to making it a requirement of the applicant. We feel that by not making it a requirement, we stay consistent with our rationale in that we only require testing of animals that are going to be released alive; all others are voluntary.

Also, by us targeting sick animals or clinical animals, we are testing the most important animals from a disease-monitoring standpoint. And finally, by not adding this additional requirement, we do not increase or add any hurdles or burdens to people that are already dealing with surplus deer problems in the state.

The comments on the TTP proposal. This was run past our White-tailed Deer Advisory Committee. The general consensus was to support the proposal, although there was a minority opinion with some concerns that our testing rationale was being prejudiced. However, our explanation for that, as I stated, was that if these deer are released alive, we require testing; if they are going to be processed, we do not require testing.

Additionally, we received five letters — one additional one since I spoke with you yesterday. In these letters, there's some concern expressed about our rules and whether our rules actually implement the provisions of Senate Bill 1582. It's my understanding —

And, Ann, you can correct me if I'm wrong.

But staff counsel has reviewed this and determined that the rules package implements the provisions of SB 1582 as adopted.

The recommended motion is: "The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts an amendment to Section 65.27 concerning antlerless and spike buck deer control permits and amendments to Sections 65.101, .102, .107, .109, .111, .115, .117 and the new 65.104 concerning trap, transport and process permits with changes to the proposed text as published in the July 26, 2003, issue of the Texas Register."

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Thank you, gentlemen.

We've got a number of people signed up. We'll take a comment first and then come back to you all.

First, we have Ellis Gilleland, followed by Kirby Brown.

Mr. Gilleland?

MR. GILLELAND: My name is Ellis Gilleland; I'm speaking for Texas Animals. I've given you two handouts. The first handout is in reference to Rule 65.104. I do not believe your surplus deer effort is in good faith, and the reason — why it is not a good faith effort is in the comments I've given you here.

You have made no cutback in the scientific breeders — the number of them is 467 and growing. You've made no cutback in the statewide importation of deer; they're still coming, pouring down from the Midwest. There's no cutback in the breeding of deer behind high fences, to include your own at Kerr Wildlife Management Area.

In short, to summarize, you're doing nothing to reduce the number of deer that are becoming surplus other than killing them. Sound familiar to yesterday? Solve all problems. Shoot. Kill.

The next handout I've given you is a handout from The Texas Register from 25 July, which is your proposed rule on 65.104, handling surplus deer. And please notice that I have attached a copy of Senate Bill 1582.

You keep talking about, for two days, Bill 1582, but you never make it available, you never look at it and you never mention that every paragraph authorizes trap and transport. The next paragraph: "Trap and transport." The next paragraph: "Trap and transport." The next paragraph: "Trap and transport." The next paragraph: "Trap and transport." The next paragraph: "Safe and humane handling."

This is SB 1582 I'm reading. The next paragraph: Authorized trapping and transport. The next paragraph: "Trapping and transport." The next paragraph: "Trapping and transport." The next, Paragraph (h): "Take, trap and possess." The next paragraph: "Trapping and transport." And that's (i).

By the way, (i), on the second page, says the state is not liable for and may not incur any expense for the trapping and transport of white-tailed deer under the permit issued under this section. It says nothing about processing, killing or slaughtering.

The whole SB 1582 is trapping and transport. And the last paragraph, (k), deals with including rules — that the Commission may adopt rules necessary to implement this chapter, including rules which enhance the opportunity to relocate overpopulation of urban deer, signed by the governor and executed.

Now, your Texas Register says on your rule in the preamble, "The amendments would implement the provisions of Senate Bill 1582 enacted by the 78th Legislature." That's a lie because there's no provision in 1582 — you can hold it in your hot, little hands, and there's no provision in 1582 to do that.

If you will, please follow the rule of law. You lawyers quoted the rule of law yesterday for us peons to follow: Follow the rule of law; hunting in the river beds. Well, by God, you people follow the law.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Mr. Gilleland?

MR. GILLELAND: And the law is 1582. I apologize —

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Control yourself.

MR. GILLELAND: — for invoking the name of our Lord. There's no ambiguous language in 1582, lawyers. There's nothing to interpret it, interpolate.

Number three, there's no mention of processing in 1582, no mentioning of shooting deer in 1582, no mention of euthanizing deer in 1582, no mention of slaughtering deer in SB 1582 and no mention of killing deer in SB 1582. I request that you withdraw this rule. It is a fraud on the Texas public.

The least you can do is get an opinion from the Texas attorney general. Do that to cover your skirts, because you're going to need it in the future. You have no cover whatsoever. You're doing it in violation to what the legislature has told you to do. Please withdraw it. Thank you.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Kirby Brown, followed by Dave Benson.

MR. BROWN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Commissioners. My name is Kirby Brown, with Texas Wildlife Association. I want to thank Mike and Clayton and Bryan Richards for their work on these issues. We appreciate the fact that the youth have been added to the ADCP; we think that's an excellent opportunity for kids out there.

Also, we were initially opposed to SB 1582 but dropped our opposition when the language was changed as the bill was passed, because we did understand that it had a lethal approach to it. And we support the staff recommendation. Private landowners would be strongly opposed to differential application of the rule between urban areas and private lands, and this does not do that, and we appreciate that.

We also agree with the staff on their testing process. We think this parallels the testing in scientific breeder deer and in Triple-T deer. And we are concerned a little bit that if enough deer are not available for testing, perhaps we would like to revisit that again through the White-tailed Deer Committee. But we think initially that there will be plenty of deer for testing that are out there. So thank you.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Thank you.

Mr. Dave Benson, followed by Gearhardt Schulle.

MR. BENSON: Good afternoon, Mr. Chairman and members of the Commission. I'm Dave Benson, and I'm City Manager of Lakeway, Texas. I've testified before the Commission before; I was here in November. The City of Lakeway continues to be very concerned about the public safety aspects of overpopulations of urban deer certainly in the City of Lakeway, and as it afflicts a number of other Central Texas and Hill Country cities.

I've got to continue to espouse my certain thanks to the members of the wildlife division for their continuing support and cooperation in assisting us who are in the cities that are afflicted with too many white-tailed deer.

Having said that, Senate Bill 1582 wasn't a creation of the department; it was a creation coming out and arising from the continuing concerns that more mechanisms and tools need to be provided to the urban areas in order to deal with the public safety concerns of these overpopulations of the deer. For instance, I myself and others contributed to the drafting of the bill, and so — and watched it march itself through the legislative process.

We certainly appreciated the support of Senator Jeff Wentworth and Representative Keel, who sponsored the bills for House Bill 1427 and Senate Bill 1582. We saw it go through a number of amendments, not all that we necessarily agreed with.

But in finality, as it came out of the legislature and was passed by the governor to go into effect next week, we saw in it the opportunity to continue to add tools that we may use, understanding that there are a couple of priorities here, one of which, of course, is that we be able to continute to deal as effectively as we can with our public safety concerns, but, whatever we do, it has to be affordable.

And I think everybody at the dais understands that Texas cities are suffering right now and budgets are difficult and continue to be difficult and the cost of dealing with the relocation or the removal of surplus deer continues to go up. And it's very difficult for us to be able to afford to continue to do these things.

I recall — because we've been dealing with this thing for a long, long time, I recall when it used to be, you know, $25 or $30 an animal. And we were able to handle these things before 1997 in a fairly effective and economic manner. Now we're talking about the possibility of a range all the way up to $150 an animal.

And if people understand and are familiar with White Buffalo — that's our sharp-shooting expert out of the northeast. He'll come down and he'll take care of these animals right inside your cities should you allow him to do that. That's the kind of money that we're talking about right now in the State of Texas in terms of trap, transport, process or relocate. So it's a difficult issue for us to deal with economically and in a budgetary fashion, too.

I would also tell you that we had a meeting at the end of July with members of the wildlife division, and Mike Berger and Clayton Wolf, Bryan Richards and others. We were surprised to find out that they thought the implementation of Senate Bill 1582 revolved simply and solely around the use of trap, transport and process; we did not see that, and we don't read the bill that way.

We in fact see that — we understand and agree and support trap, transport and process as another tool, but, you know, we need to be able to relocate deer under the Triple-T program, too. And we see in there language that expressly allows us to do that and allows the Commission and the staff to be able to develop more rules than those which you want to adopt today.

We see the opportunity out there for perhaps the staff to be able to generate programs with Mexico for Triple-T. We see the possibility that you could enhance or —

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Mayor, you need to wrap it up, please. We're running —

MR. BENSON: Yes. I will.

I'd just like to point out that there are about two or three other opportunities for Triple-T — and that's trap, transport and transplant — within Senate Bill 1582. Now, we would like to see the city and the staff look at some of these and see if we can't create further rules to enhance our ability to deal with our problems. Thank you, very much.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: We have a question from a Commissioner.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: I have one question for you, Mr. Brown. What are you doing in the City of Lakeway to reduce the number of deer other than the final solution of removal? In other words, in the way you manage your habitat, do you have rules prohibiting people from feeding deer? I mean what are you doing on the front end of this problem?

MR. BENSON: Yes. We do have a deer control committee. We do an annual census to determine what our numbers are. And we're not trying to make all the deer go away; we've got a magic number of 500, and that's probably more than your biologists would say should be in the City of Lakeway. We do have an ordinance that prohibits the feeding of deer — intentional feeding of the deer. So we've got — we've had proactive seminars that — where wildlife biologists and invited guests have come from out of town to tell us how to deal with our problems. We've communicated all over the country with people in cities and communities that deal with the same types of problems.

Believe it or not, nobody's reinventing the wheel around here in dealing with this problem; everybody understands that there's only limited ways you can address it. We're waiting for, obviously, technology and scientists and science to be able to provide us other tools. Right now, we're down to two, one of which you're creating rules for today; the other one, I think, however, requires further exploration by your staff to see if there isn't opportunity. The cost of this thing and the public safety aspects are things that we're very, very concerned about.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Thank you.

MR. BENSON: Thank you.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Do you have a question?

(Pause.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Thank you, Mayor.

Gearhardt Schulle, followed by Karl Kinsel.

MR. SCHULLE: Mr. Chairman and members of the Commission, I was hired by the City of Lakeway to assist in the legislation that was introduced on their behalf and of other cities' that had the same problem. And I think that, you know, there has been some real frustration about the inability to remove deer and the fact that with the Triple-T program, there was — because of trying to work with the staff, there were not available locations to transport and transplant the deer.

And I think that the legislation which was originally introduced by both Senator Wentworth and Representative Keel was much more dramatic than finally what was passed by the legislature, but it — I think, in the legislation, you know, they evolved — the staff and the Parks and Wildlife wanted a different avenue and even some people in the legislature thought there was a different avenue, and that was the one of the criminal justice system and other places to take and process these deer.

So we were — obviously, that was another avenue, and we're amenable to that. But at the last, there were several amendments put back in the bill. And you have letters from both Bill Callegari, who carried the amendment, and — that specifically state that the intent was that human health and safety was a higher regard rather than the suitability of habitat to relocate in rural areas.

And I think that that was their decision that was made, and I think that that portion of the Act needs to be implemented. It's not a good situation either way you go, but I think it was the feeling of the legislature that it was a higher priority — that human health and safety was a higher priority than suitable habitat. And so I think that's what is in the bill.

And you have a letter there from me, and you have a letter there from both — from Senator Wentworth, from Representative Keel and Representative Callegari, who carried the amendment that was adding some of those provisions in the bill. And it specifically says in the bill — it also says not only "trap and transport," but, also, it says "transplant." And it also says "relocate." Well, "relocate," — it may not be just in a processed form that you're talking about relocating.

So I think that I can understand the reluctance of the staff to wanting this to occur, but I think that to fully implement the legislation, you do need to have provisions in there that would allow these areas — if they could prove that it was a risk to health and human safety, they could remove the deer.

And, again, the real key is trying to get a method of trying to somehow control their problem, and the process is — there is one good option, but we need as many options as available. And I think the intent of the legislature is that that option be available, that they did put a higher regard for human health and safety above habitability as far as sites out there in the rural areas. With that, I'll answer any questions.

(Pause.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Thank you, Gearhardt.

MR. SCHULLE: Thank you.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Karl Kinsel, and followed by Bill Grace.

MR. KINSEL: Thank you. I appreciate this time. Let me start off not in response to this at all but to say that in recognition and appreciation, as referenced in the handout, the good job that each of you have done and do continue to do, we, the TDA, at our last annual conference last weekend dedicated that fifth annual conference and convention to all of you primarily addressing Chairman Armstrong.

Now, then with regards to Item Number 17, my comments are not adversarial or negative by design but informative by necessity because I want each of the Commissioners to be aware of the entirety of the issue.

I'm thankful for the White-tailed Advisory Committee in that, whereas — let me say this — in the beginning, we will assuredly discuss these issues further and — on September 16, which is soon. And we wish that some action on this item of Number 17 could be postponed or, at a minimum, subject to review and amendment by that committee, because I believe that that committee works very appropriately as an advisory committee to all of you.

I appreciate the open communication between myself, your TP&W, Clayton Wolf and Mike Berger, and to TAHC, Ken Waldrup, which is almost — we ought to have had a two-way radio, I think, here in the last 48 hours. But, nevertheless, we've got to openly discuss the issues.

Now, then, we appreciate the youth addition. But regarding CWD, let me say this: Foremost for the sake of the positive acceptance and response, if we must act now and go forth on this issue, I think it's imperative that I — on behalf of TDA, and in response to 1,250 of our members that showed up at that annual conference that applauded this statement, we request a TP&W management plan be in place that ensures that the procedures — the proper procedures of how captured, how handled and how euthanized are there so that there is positive acceptance and response to this plan, if implemented, and the actions being taken today.

We say that on behalf of ourselves and our industry, as well as on behalf of the deer, and to ensure that no release of these TP deer, if action is taken, by TDCJ or others be allowed to happen that would jeopardize it.

Secondarily, let me stress this. We're concerned for the protection of the landowner-managed properties as well as the privately owned deer and that all TTP deer that are not to be tested. In other words, we're specifying only the clinicals. We understand that the clinical is more valuable.

We understand release versus slaughter. Yet TPW's holding the Triple-T and the scientific breeders to a different standard, actually to a higher standard, than are being held in this proposal and, specifically, the way most of the individuals who enrolled in that program a year-and-a-half ago or, more appropriately, a year ago understood it.

You could say we're looking for just the recognition of what has been done, but let me refresh that so that it's understood. I, Karl Kinsel, and others, particularly our board of directors, sold a voluntary monitoring program. In a three-day period from 64 enrolled breeders, we exceeded over 200 when we were required only 127. That is now 287 enrolled in this voluntary program. That's very strong.

We made our deal with you and TDAHC, and we have surpassed compliance at our own cost, but it seems that now, in this program, TP&W says they are limited physically to 3,500 tests or $71,428 of fed money, and we understand. Yet this standard and understanding of physical requirements on the private were not understood at the time; it was without limit and irregardless of cost.

If clinicals are okay for the state, then why not for the private and the Triple-T? A summary of our requests: Monitoring for the prevalence should be equitable for all, i.e., at a level commensurate with the 10 percent Triple-T or voluntary CWD enrollment and/or equal clinical submission requirements. Thank you. May I answer any questions?

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Thank you.

MR. KINSEL: Thank you, sir.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: We appreciate all your input.

I'd like to ask Mr. Schulle if he'd come back. I had a question that I neglected to ask a moment ago. And then we'll go to Mr. Grace after that, followed by Jerry Johnston.

MR. SCHULLE: Yes, sir, Mr. Chairman?

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Gearhardt, do you — were — you're not advocating or — I ask, "Are you advocating," I guess I should say "that the entities be allowed to transport and transplant deer without going through the testing process or the rest of the requirements of Triple-T?

MR. SCHULLE: No, sir.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: You're not asking that?

MR. SCHULLE: No.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Okay.

MR. SCHULLE: No. Simply that the only difference would be — obviously, the bill said that, you know, we want to try to speed up the process and everything and make it easier for it to be accomplished to get permits. But the really — the only part different — if you were doing a transplant that would be different would be that provision that says that, "Suitable habitat." But they still have to go through all the rest of the things which would be the requirement.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Okay. I wanted to be sure of that.

MR. SCHULLE: No. They would not reduce any of those other requirements, no. Thank you.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Thank you.

Mr. Grace, and then Jerry Johnston, followed by David Hayward.

MR. GRACE: First off, thank you, Commissioners, for the opportunity to be heard here today in regards to the issue of surplus deer and CWD testing. Speaking as a landowner, I feel that we are being held to unfair by-standard. I'm a scientific breeder of white-tailed deer, and I'm concerned about our industry.

It appears to me that the agenda of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is much more concerned about finding clinical deer in breeder pens than making a fair assessment of the total population of deer in Texas. Let's test the surplus deer we're trying to remove, as an example.

As breeders, we represent less than 1 percent of the white-tailed deer population, yet we are being singled out to be the primary source for testing our deer at our cost, which is not the so-called $25 per deer. When you consider labor and manpower, the cost is more likely $250 per deer that we're actually testing and turning in.

This seems to me, in our industry, this is more of a liability issue, not an animal health issue. They would — and I'm talking about — Texas Parks and Wildlife would rather find a problem with us and our pens — and our scientific breeder pens than in the general population as a whole, and for reasons of liability. And I ask, Where's the balance of fair testing?

I consider our industry as — we're pretty much the good guys. We're the ones who are kind of trying to keep land from being fractionated and split up and subdivided, and for that reason, I think we need more assistance and support. Testing needs to be fair across the board.

For example the amount of money that's being given federally to us for testing is the same amount as what they're doing for Oklahoma, which — they have three-quarters-of-a-million deer compared to our 3-1/2-million deer. So I don't think that we're actually getting the right amount of funds that we could utilize for testing. Thank you, very much.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Thank you.

MR. GRACE: Do you have any questions?

(Pause.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Okay. Thank you.

MR. GRACE: Thank you.

Jerry Johnston, then David Hayward.

MR. JOHNSTON: Chairman Angelo and Commissioners, I really appreciate the opportunity to have something to say about this. And from just listening to everything that I'm hearing, it's my observation that maybe we're just in a little bit too much of a hurry on this deal.

When Chairman Armstrong created the White-tailed Advisory Committee, it was more or less understood that anything that had to do with the white-tailed in particular the committee would have a chance to kind of look over and review, kind of analyze what the subject was, and so on. And this issue kind of fell in between some of our meetings, and the e-mail that I got basically wanted our views on how we felt about the issue.

And specifically, the issue that I'm talking about is the testing of the deer from the suburb areas in regard to CWD testing. And the way the letter was written, it was that, If we don't hear from you, then we basically assume that you're in compliance or agreement with us.

And so what that really means is that the minority figure terminology that was used in opposition came from a group of people of the 30-some-odd that have a horse in the race. That's really what it boils down to: The people in the industry that are trying to make a living in this business.

So my point is: A lot of times, people don't respond because they don't have a horse in the race. And so all I'm asking is that we give this issue some time, and let's discuss it more thoroughly in the next advisory board meeting and then make a decision. I'm just requesting that. Thank you.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Excuse me. If you might, what specific part of this recommendation are you concerned about, or do you not think is proper?

MR. JOHNSTON: Well, basically, the same thing that the two gentlemen before me had to say, and that is that if you're Triple-T'ing deer, it's 10 percent or ten deer, whichever's greater, that you need to test for CWD. And as Karl mentioned, the breeder community, when asked to, jumped on the bandwagon of a voluntary monitoring program and surpassed what we were asked to do.

And it just seems to us a little unfair that we don't have any — basically in writing any agreement — we had to sign an agreement — about how many deer are going to be tested from these deer caught from subdivisions. So we're just saying that it's — what's good for one doesn't seem to be good for the other.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: The TTP permit — you're not concerned about that, are you?

MR. JOHNSTON: No, I'm not. I'm talking about the — what I'm hearing about what we're going to test and what we're not going to test.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Well, maybe I've missed something. I'll address the question to the staff, and then we'll come back to you if we need to.

MR. JOHNSTON: Okay.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Thank you.

We have Mr. Hayward, I believe, as the last one.

MR. HAYWARD: Mr. Chairman of the Commission, thank you for this moment.

Other Commissioners and Mr. Cook, it's good to see you again.

My name is David Hayward; I'm the newly elected President of the Texas Deer Association. I just wanted to introduce myself to you.

I do have a concern in regard not to the permit itself but the CWD testing and how that process works. For those of us in the scientific breeder community who have actively tested our deer, as much as 5 to 10 percent of the population, within our pens, we have nothing more to show for it than anybody that has just been sitting on their hands.

Urban communities who need to test are all of a sudden not going to have to test. In regard to money, yet, those of us who are trying to make money are having to use our money to test. So it — I agree with the gentlemen preceding me, that it needs to be across the board. And thank you for your time.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Thank you.

We don't have anyone else to speak. If you all —

Mr. Berger, if we might address some questions to you?

MR. BERGER: Uh-huh.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: What have we done to change the testing? I mean have I missed something here? Or —

MR. BERGER: Well, I would think that we haven't done anything to change the testing. The Triple-T requirements for testing are still as they were before. 1582 doesn't change; it creates a new section for the TTP process, which is separate from the TTT process, and the difference being that in Triple-T, the animals are live and released back into habitat and, in the TTP process, the animals are used to feed the inmates in the end, so there's no live release contemplated. So there's the difference.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Okay. And if the urban areas do TTT, then they're going to have to test just like anybody else —

MR. BERGER: That's correct.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: — and at their expense?

MR. BERGER: At their expense.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: The same as anybody else?

MR. BERGER: Yes, sir.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: So what have I missed? What's the concern about that each one of these gentlemen has spoken about?

MR. WOLF: Well, I visited at length with these gentlemen, and I believe I can give an accurate depiction. A scientific breeder that wishes to release deer into the wild is required to be in a monitoring program with the Texas Animal Health Commission. On Triple-T deer that we move, we require a certain testing before we move deer, and the reason we have made that decision is based on the science of what we know about CWD right now in that the best indications are that live deer can move the disease.

But there — other than that, our primary concern is potentially moving the disease across Texas. So for Triple-T and scientific breeder, we impose requirements. We are recommending not to require it for deer that are going to processing, just like we don't require it for, say, ADCP permits or any other permit where there's a lethal outcome.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: And there are still pre-slaughter inspections?

MR. WOLF: Yes.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: You still have — I'm sorry. You still have pre-slaughter inspections. So if I understand it correctly, it's not two different standards; it's two different permits?

MR. WOLF: Yes. I mean we're looking at it from the disposition of animals standpoint and applying the same standard depending on the disposition of the animal.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Right. And one permit releases a live deer, and one is terminal?

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: One releases hamburger.

MR. WOLF: That's right.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Okay. So does everybody — have we got that squared away? I think —

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Just one other question for, I believe — I'm sorry — one of the other speakers — I didn't get the name — about the unequal burden of testing. Now, how many deer have we tested for CWD now — how many thousand?

MR. BERGER: About 2,100.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: 2,100? Of those 2,100, what percentage were SBP deer?

MR. BERGER: Clayton, do you know that?

MR. WOLF: Approximately 400.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Okay. So the majority are not scientific breeder permitee deer that are being tested?

MR. BERGER: That's correct.

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: Okay. Thank you.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Mr. Johnston, I — this is not ordinary, but did you have — did you want to comment on something there?

MR. JOHNSTON: I didn't cover this point very well, and I apologize for it. But I think where I didn't get understood well is that — from all the meetings that I've been at where Animal Health was telling us about testing, it all revolved around numbers. To find something, you need numbers. And I guess that's — where we're concerned is that we've got an opportunity here to test and we're saying, Well, we're going to exclude that, you know. That's all.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: So I think you misunderstand, because we're not going to exclude it. They're going to be tested even under the TTP deal. They're going to be inspected, and all deer that are of a suspicious nature are going to be tested by Parks and Wildlife in that case. But if they're transported and transplanted, they're going to be tested the same way you'd have to do it.

MR. JOHNSTON: Okay.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Thank you.

Dr. Waldrup, we want to thank you for being here and for all that you do to help us out on these tedious issues.

DR. WALDRUP: It's my pleasure.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Thank you, very much. We appreciate it.

Commissioner Montgomery?

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: I know we've been here a long time, but, for the sake of clarity, are there any — do the folks from the TDA understand the distinction we're drawing in that we have two programs but the same standards for everybody? Those were the TDA questions, because we need for you all to communicate with your members and dispel any misunderstandings that may be out there or that you came in the room with. But I do think we ought to take the time to get it real clear.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Mr. Kinsel, if you want to, come back and comment to that.

MR. KINSEL: Yes, sir. And I'll be very brief on it, because we do understand the distinction between the two permits. And we're not trying to say that the issue is clouded with regard to Triple-T versus TTP, but — I guess, to try to summarize it — and not in a facetious way, but to say that we'd like a Triple-TI. What's wrong with a trap, transport, and inspection — if we're going to say we can expect deer?

I understand that in — at first blush, you say the difference is between release versus slaughter. But if the issue has been and still is burdensome on the scientific breeder or — let's go to the real issue, what's behind the high fence. If the burden is on them to test so that adequate numbers — that's still the issue it was when we sold ourselves up the river or down the river or across the river, or however you want to say it, a year ago.

If that's still the issue on us, why has the issue changed if discovery is a matter of numbers and, especially when it was told to us that during high density, during low quality, deer that have been brought in captured or in constraint or in confinement somewhere?

Have you all seen the Hollywood Park deer and the deer from Lakeway that these municipalities need to deal with? We sympathize with them and want everything for them in the prison systems, but if that is not the definition of deer that need to be tested and we're not going to already have our hands on them — we're not having to go out and kill deer that ranchers have an opportunity to send somewhere to enhance deer populations, why was it a numbers game then and it is not now?

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: That's not —

MR. KINSEL: I get —

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: I think, unless I'm missing something, we're going to wind up testing a lot of urban deer that today we're not testing. And the results are going to be a whole lot more deer inspected in those areas than are happening today. So I believe what you're looking for is going to be accomplished.

MR. KINSEL: I agree with that. I believe that if this procedure goes forward, we will see more test samples. And that is what we want.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: I think there will be.

MR. KINSEL: But they're not more test samples commensurate to what is being done with the privately held deer or the Triple-T deer, because, see, we're under a requirement that anything that dies in the scientific breeder situation. Be it the best 225-pound doe we've known for seven years that runs into a fence and breaks her neck, it is a requirement. We've signed on it. We didn't say, Hey, maybe we'll do it. We intend to do it, and we have agreed to do it.

And if by any chance we don't get that done — but even if it costs us $1,000 that day to be off work, out of work, drive somewhere and get it in there and get it done, we still do it. Yet that's not the same standard that TPW is saying. They're saying, We'll do the best we can if it's clinical, not if it just runs into the fence and breaks its neck. So —

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: I believe the results will be that there will be a lot of —

MR. KINSEL: We've got a small —

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: There will be a lot of testing.

MR. KINSEL: We hope so, sir.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Okay.

MR. KINSEL: Thank you.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: We appreciate it. Thank you.

Any other comments or questions?

(No response.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Do we have a motion?

COMMISSIONER FITZSIMONS: So moved.

COMMISSIONER HOLMES: Second.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: By Commissioner Fitzsimons, seconded by — who did second — Commissioner Holmes.

Any further discussion?

(No response.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: All in favor say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Opposed?

(No response.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: The motion is carried.

Item Number 19 is the land acquisition in Bastrop, Houston, Brewster and Harris counties.

Jack Bauer?

MR. BAUER: My name is Jack Bauer, Director of the Land Conservation program. The items represent a summary of the Conservation Committee land acquisition items heard in executive session yesterday.

Land additions through purchase and donation are recommended, to include a 26-acre addition at Bastrop, 291 acres at Mission Tejas State Park, 160 acres at the Black Gap Wildlife Management Area and 43 acres at the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Park. The staff recommends the Commission adopt the motion before you authorizing the additions at these locations through donation and purchase. I'd be happy to answer any questions.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Are there any questions?

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: Thank you for a mercifully short presentation.

(Laughter.)

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: You know how to get your stuff through.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Is that — can we conclude that was a motion, Commissioner Montgomery?

COMMISSIONER MONTGOMERY: I'll be happy to make the motion.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Commissioner Montgomery moves approval. Do we have a second?

COMMISSIONER RISING: Second.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Commissioner Henry, or Rising?

COMMISSIONER RISING: Rising.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: By Mr. Rising? Okay.

Any further discussion?

(No response.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: All in favor please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Opposed?

(No response.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: That motion is adopted.

Thank you, Mr. Bauer.

MR. BAUER: Thank you.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: The — is there any other business to come before the Commission?

(No response.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: There being not, the meeting is adjourned. The Chair would announce —

Do we have to — do we have to come back and adjourn it after the executive session, or can we not adjourn and then have the executive session and then adjourn it?

MR. McCARTY: You have to come back and adjourn it.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: And adjourn this meeting? The executive session's part of it?

MR. McCARTY: Recess it.

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: Recess it. That's what I mean, yes.

All right. We'll recess the meeting. And we will — pursuant to the requirements of Chapter 551 of the Government Code, referred to as the Open Meetings Law, an executive session will be held at this time for the purpose of consideration of personnel matters. This meeting is recessed for that purpose.

(Whereupon, at 1:25, this meeting was recessed for executive session.)

VICE-CHAIRMAN ANGELO: We will reconvene after recessing for completing the executive session. If no further business — none — meeting adjourned.

(Whereupon, at 2:30 p.m., this meeting was concluded.)

Approved this the 28th day of August, 2003.

_________________________________

Ernest Angelo, Jr., Vice-Chairman

_________________________________

Joseph B.C. Fitzsimons, Member

_________________________________

Alvin L. Henry, Member

_________________________________

Ned S. Holmes, Member

_________________________________

Philip Montgomery III, Member

________________________________

Donato D. Ramos, Member

________________________________

Kelly W. Rising, M.D., Member

________________________________

Mark E. Watson, Jr., Member

C E R T I F I C A T E

MEETING OF: Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission Public Hearing

LOCATION: Austin, Texas

DATE: August 28, 2003

I do hereby certify that the foregoing pages, numbers 1 through, inclusive, are the true, accurate, and complete transcript prepared from the verbal recording made by electronic recording by Penny Bynum before the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.

09/12/03

(Transcriber) (Date)

On the Record Reporting, Inc.

3307 Northland, Suite 315

Austin, Texas 78731


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