TPW Commission

Public Hearing, May 24, 2012

Transcript

TPW Commission Meetings

TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION
MAY 24, 2012
TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT
COMMISSION HEARING ROOM
4200 SMITH SCHOOL ROAD
AUSTIN, TEXAS 78744
COMMISSION MEETING

REPORTED BY: PAIGE SLOAN WATTS


PROCEEDINGS

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Good morning, everybody. This meeting is called to order at 9:04 a.m. on May 24th, 2012. Before we proceed with business, Mr. Smith has a statement to make or read.

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

I want to join the Chairman and the Commission on welcoming everybody. It looks like we've got a full house today. We're going to kick off the meeting this morning with some special awards and acknowledgments and service awards and so we've got a full house. People have come from near and far to participate in that and we're delighted you're here. That's going to take up the first part of the meeting and so after we're done with that element of the Commission meeting, the Chairman will call for a brief recess. So for those of you who don't want to stay for the remainder of the meeting can go ahead and leave and head on back home or wherever you're going, some of you back to your duty stations.

Just a quick reminder, as you've probably gathered, the acoustics in this room are not good. And so I just respectfully ask if you've got a conversation to have, if you don't mind stepping outside. If you've got a cell phone or pager, if you don't mind putting that on silent, that would be a big help. For those of you who are going to stay for the Commission meeting after the service awards, we'll have a couple of action items which the Commission will take testimony.

If you plan to testify on any item, I want to make sure that you signed up outside. At the appropriate time, the Chairman will call you forward. He'll ask you to come forward. You'll have three minutes to address the Commission and share your position on the matter. We will keep time. Green means go, yellow means wind it down, and when it hits red, we're going to hit the trap door. So wind it up there. So thanks for joining us. Appreciate y'all coming to the Commission meeting today.

Mr. Chairman.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: All right. The next item on the agenda is the approval of the minutes from the previous Commission meeting held March 29, 2012, which have been distributed. Is there a motion for approval?

COMMISSIONER MARTIN: So moved.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Commissioner Martin.

COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Second.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Second by Commissioner Scott. All in favor, aye?

(A chorus of ayes)

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

Next is an acknowledgment of the list of donations, which has also been distributed. Is there a motion for approval? Commissioner Hughes. Second by Commissioner Scott. All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes)

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

Now, we go to special recognitions and service awards. Oh, boy. Carter, Mr. Smith. There looks like a nervous colonel behind you.

MR. SMITH: Yeah, yeah. Well, he better be. We're going to make him sweat for a little while, too, if that's all right with you, Chairman.

COLONEL FLORES: After last night...

MR. SMITH: You leave us alone for one minute, Pete, and look what happens.

Mr. Chairman and members of the Commission, for the record, my name is Carter Smith. We're going to start off with a couple of some wonderful grants that some partners are providing to the Agency and we want to celebrate those and it's fitting that we're starting with the Dallas Safari Club. Dallas Safari Club is one of our absolute best partners. Longstanding funders of our Operation Game Thief and our program and our game wardens. They've been behind the Bighorn Sheep Program in West Texas for a long, long time and provided critical funding for that.

And this year, they wanted to go a little extra and their year is off to a very good start. I hope some of you made it up to their annual convention in Dallas in January. It's a wonderful gathering. And this year, they've got a special $60,000 gift that they are making to the Department that's going to go to help support leasing of land for public hunting, to support our Drawn hunting programs, our youth outreach and communication, Operation Game Thief Program, and our State Parks Program. And so we've got Ben Carter, who's the Executive Director of the Dallas Safari Club with us today and I want to ask Ben to come forward and so let's give him a round of applause. Ben.

(Round of applause)

MR. CARTER: Thanks a lot, Carter. As Carter had mentioned, Dallas Safari Club has been a long time partner with Texas Parks and Wildlife and a proud partner of Texas Parks and Wildlife. We were one of the founding sponsors of Operation Game Thief. We have purchased over the last number of years a life insurance policy for each of our game wardens out there and unfortunately, we've had to use that too many times.

But also another thing that we're really proud of is our partnership with Texas Parks and Wildlife on our outdoor education program. We are now in over 120 schools in Texas and we're impacting over 15,000 kids a year with getting outdoor education and I think that's critical to the State of Texas, as well as our country, that if we don't develop the next generation of outdoorsmen and people that care about what we care about, we're all going to be in trouble.

Again as Carter said, we had a very successful convention this year. And we would like to support those that believe like we do. Texas Parks and Wildlife has been a great partner and we've got a check here for $50,000. We gave one at our convention for $10,000 and then we also support Operation Game Thief for $7,500. So this year, we've given Texas Parks and Wildlife $67,750 and we're glad to do it and hope we can do more next year.

MR. SMITH: And we're counting, Ben. Thank you.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Lydia, I think you would prefer the real one.

MS. SALDANA: Yes. Yes, sir. Thank you.

MR. SMITH: Thank you, Ben. Well, it's -- following on the heals of that, it's awfully nice that we've got a private company that has voluntarily come forward to help support our States Parks program and it's no surprise for those of you who know Whole Earth Provision Company. If you're in the market and wanting to have anything to do with the out-of-doors -- camping and hiking and repelling and mountain biking and skiing, anything outside, it's the go-to place here in Austin. They've opened up stores in The Quarry in San Antonio and Houston and San Antonio.

They're employees care passionately about our State parks. They're great users of them. The owners have longstanding connections to the State Parks system. In fact, one of their cousins, Tommy Seargeant, an old rancher from Brackettville, made the bargain sale to the Department in the 80s to create Kickapoo Caverns State Park. And so they still have a family reunion out at the state park every year and celebrate their family's ties and heritage.

They recognize that the State parks needed some help this year. And so Whole Earth kicked off a couple of events. One, every year they sponsor the Banff Mountain Film Festival in Austin, which is a two-night deal down at the Paramount in which they have documentaries and adventure, outdoor action films of just some amazing feats of kayaking and downhill skiing and repelling that's just extraordinary. And the proceeds from that event dedicated to State Parks.

Also, April was State Parks month there at Whole Earth Provision Company and so people that came in and made a contribution to support State Parks, they had bought a gift certificate to help -- for those folks to thank them and so then they could go out and use in State parks. So just wonderful partners. And we've got the Jones family here, who are the owners of Whole Earth and I think we've got some of their colleagues there. I think Marie Fraide, their social media maven. She was behind getting all the word out on Twitter and YouTube and Facebook about the partnership. Alicia Sullivan, who's their marketing manager and Holland Jones. And so I want to ask them to come forward as they present this contribution to your State Parks. So let's thank Whole Earth Provision Company.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. JONES: I just want to say that we had a great time working with Parks and Wildlife and we look forward to doing it again.

MR. SMITH: That's wonderful. Now, as y'all know, one of our core functions in law enforcement has to do with water safety and boater safety. And on a more somber note, we have with us the parents and brother of Scott Freund. Scott lost his life very tragically in 2010 in a boating accident. And in a way to help cope with their grief and their tremendous loss, they started a foundation in his honor that dedicated to help supporting first responders, boating safety officials, law enforcement officials to help make our waters more safe for people to enjoy.

And it's a great testament and tribute to their family member who perished. This year, the Parks and Wildlife is a beneficiary or one of the beneficiaries of their generosity and recognition in honor of Scott. In the last session, HB 673 from Representative Parker was passed, which required Parks and Wildlife to produce a water safety video for every single person going through driver's ed. So every young person going and taking that course, over 200,000 a year, will now be exposed to a video on water safety. It is spot on in terms of our target of who we want to influence with respect to messages about water safety.

And a couple of months ago, Representative Lyle Larson from San Antonio called and told our team about the Freund Family Foundation and said that there may be a partnership here with the Department and so our teams from Communication and Law Enforcement met with the family. Their graciously providing a $20,000 gift to help fund the production of this video, which again will be seen by over 200,000 students a year.

We're very blessed to have with us today Scott's brother, Matt, and his parents, Robert and Georganne. Let's welcome them.

(Round of applause)

MS. FREUND: I worked my way through the University of Texas by working at the old Game and Fish Commission. So I've had a warm and very thankful connection with Texas Parks and Wildlife for a long time, but never more than when they helped us with our son's tragic accident. And I just wanted you-all to know how important it is to the families for all you do and we thank you very much.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: This is a fitting succession I think to that. Each year, our Law Enforcement Division honors a Texas State Marine Officer of the Year Award and it's in recognition and honor really of an officer who has gone above and beyond the call of duty to help make our water safe, our boaters, our anglers, and everybody who enjoys the great outdoors and making sure that they're enjoying it safely, responsibly, legally, and ethically.

And could not be more proud of the fact that this year one of our very own, Game Warden Michael Hummert who is stationed up in Grayson County, did a tour of duty down in Webb County, Commissioner, before he moved up to Lake Texoma and Grayson County, where he has just done extraordinary things on the water. Really been on the cutting edge of helping to innovate on addressing BWI issues on the lake. In his short time there, he has made six BWI convictions. Including catching one gentleman who had nine convictions for DWI, somebody who obviously should not have been behind the wheel of a boat.

He was instrumental in saving the life of a man who was thrown from a boat in a terrible accident and who had broken his neck and was in the water. He kept him afloat until Life Flight could be there. Not only has he had to save people, but he's also had the very, very difficult circumstance of having to recover people as well and was instrumental after just an exhaustive two-day search of having to recover the body of a 12-year-old child.

Michael has just given generously of his talents to the Agency. The partners up there love him for his work up there. Very instrumental in protecting waterfowl and migratory bird habitat. Also, works very closely with the Boy Scouts in educational efforts and their Safety at Sea Program where he educates Boy Scouts about the importance of safety on the water. He's also a great ambassador for this Department. A wonderful spokesperson and frequently someone who's out front speaking on behalf of boating safely and responsibly.

My great privilege to welcome Game Warden Michael Hummert. Michael.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: We're going to now move to the retirement and service awards. And I want to start off with one retirement, and we'll come back to another maybe a little later on in the program. We want to start off with one of our colleagues who's retired from our Infrastructure Division, M.L. Hill.

And Marvin L. Hill, he started with our Force Account, which is our teams in infrastructure which go around the state working on special projects. This is an amazing group of craftsmen. They can build anything. They can fix anything. They're masters at historical architecture. He worked with the Force Account team for a number of years. Then he went on to become Assistant Superintendent at Garner State Park, a pretty good gig if I have to say so myself. Then he went back and led his own Force Account team for 18 years and then was over in Tyler as a Construction Supervisor. Recently retired from the Agency with 31 years of service. M.L. Hill, let's thank him.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: We're going to now honor colleagues for their service with the Agency and we're going to start off -- and I think it's fitting -- in Inland Fisheries. Eduardo Nunez is the longest serving Fish and Wildlife Technician in the Department. Been with us for 45 years in Inland Fisheries.

Started up there in Graford at Possum Kingdom at the fish hatchery when that was just basically dirt tanks in an old storage building. That facility, our fisheries' biologists will tell you has come a long, long way. And I think what's so remarkable in his 45 years, he's really become kind of the godfather of Striper fishing in the fishery in the state. Very involved in collecting Stripers at Lake Livingston and at other lakes around the state and bringing them over to the hatchery there at P.K., raising them out.

In his tenure, he has helped spawn and hatch and stock -- what is the number -- 160 million fish during his time. So all of us who care about angling, owe Ed a big debt of gratitude. Also, I noticed that during this time period, I think he has lived through five, six, maybe seven different hatchery managers during that time. I think he's probably got them all trained and no doubt he is following that age-old mantra that Al Bingham teaches every one of our new employees -- that if you don't like the supervisors, all you got to do is just outlive the bastards. So Ed Nunez, 45 years of service.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Our next colleague has been with our State Parks program for four decades, 40 years, Betty Johnson. And started with Parks and Wildlife as kind of clerical support for the Finance Division. Promoted to secretary for the Accounting branch. And then she transferred over to the San Jacinto Battleground and was the Office Manager there.

In 1981, not surprisingly she got promoted to the Regional Office Manager and has, like so many people in the Agency, gradually and progressively taken on more duties and responsibilities. She's our Regional Administrative Specialist that handles all of the budgets, all the administrative stuff, you name it for Justin Rhodes and his team of over a dozen parks and 200 park employees in that part of state. Justin describes her as an angel in disguise. Always there to solve any problem, lend a shoulder when you need someone to cry on apparently. Apparently she's always quick with a jar full of M&Ms if he needs a little energy during the day as well.

Also -- and I hope, Commissioners, y'all will appreciate this -- she recently went through the Becoming an Outdoors Woman program. And so this is near and dear to her heart. So, Betty Johnson, 40 years of service.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Our next colleague, Mark Foreman, has been with us for 25 years. All up in God's country there at Sabine Lake right there on the Louisiana border near Port Arthur and Beaumont. Home to one of the finest oyster reefs in all of the Western Hemisphere. And started out as a Resource Technician for us in Coastal Fisheries and, again, gradually took on more and more responsibilities. Doing all the creel data. Responsible for managing and analyzing all of the harvest data for our Coastal Fisheries team and that ecosystem.

Right now, he's the Safety Officer, Lab Editor, coordinates all the data flow. He volunteers with local groups. Very involved in the Saltwater Anglers League of Texas Tournament, Commissioner, you may be familiar with down every Memorial Day. And also, I know that he's the unofficial head of the Sabine Lake Field Station's entertainment committee and I will leave that to your imagination, but I suspect it has something to do with oysters and crawfish and shrimp and blue crab. Twenty-five years of service, Mark Foreman. Mark.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Our next colleague, Cindy Loeffler, has been kind of the face of water for this Agency for 25 years. And she's an engineer by vocation. Came to us after working for the Fish and Wildlife Service for three years. Graduated from Colorado State and she was hired really has a hydrologist for the Agency to help develop the Parks and Wildlife Department's instream flows and worked with the team to characterize and categorize how much instream flows that we need to support our bays and estuaries to keep them healthy so that Mark has got plenty of shrimp and blue crabs and oysters to cook for his buddies up in Sabine Lake. So Cindy has just labored tirelessly in that effort. Right in the middle of all of the water stuff. Very difficult job as all of you know with respect to water related issues in the state.

She's our Water Branch Chief, Water Resources Branch Chief, our representative on the Edwards Aquifer Recovery Implementation team that y'all have heard so much about. She sits on the Texas Water Conservation Advisory Council and the Governor's Commission for Women in State Government. Awfully proud to honor Cindy Loeffler for 25 years of service. Cindy.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Some might argue that there are things that we can do without around here, but I can assure you telephones are not one of them. And Jim Burney is our guy with our IT team. Jim has been with us for 25 years. Started off in the radio shop. Became the head of really that group helping to service radios across the state for our game wardens and park peace officers, park staff, wildlife biologists, fisheries biologists, everybody who needs that to communicate. And then eventually he ended up moving over to Information Technology under George Rios' group, where he became our telecommunication's specialist.

Everybody around here knows him as just one of those great, solid, dependable guys. Known as the "phone guy." If you need anything with your telephone, your headset, your computer, your conference phone, Jim always gets a call and he always answers. Twenty-five years of service, Jim Burney. Let's thank him.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Our next colleague is also with Inland Fisheries, and we've honored several with that program today. Michele Nations, she's our Staff Services Officer up at Graford there at Possum Kingdom. She's been with us 25 years. She started as a Fish and Wildlife Technician up at the Dundee State Fish Hatchery there up in Electra. And then she moved on to work for the regional office and then transferred over to P.K. back in 2003 to work there.

She's got a great skill with databases. She's very technologically literate and helped to maintain all of their budget stuff and fisheries related databases. She's helped the Freshwater Fisheries Center with databases so that they can track funds that come in to support that program. She also helped one of our colleagues in State Parks, Jeff Sparks, creating a database to help track firefighters, their equipment and fires they've been on and training certification. She's also a certified Texas Purchaser and involved in purchasing channel catfish for the Neighborhood Fishing Program.

She's an accomplished photographer, historian. She's very involved with the Texas Chapter of the American Fisheries Society. Been with us for 25 years, Michele Nations. Michele.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Another one from Inland Fisheries, that's a great testament to that division and the tenure that we have with our colleagues who work in that program, Roy Kleinsasser. And really one of the state's premier aquatic biologists working on the health of the rivers and streams and fisheries and aquatic organisms that depend upon the water quality and quantity in our rivers and streams.

He started in 1987 with us as an Aquatic Biologist. Became the program leader over the Fish Kill Investigative Program and ultimately ended up heading up the River Studies Program. I think he got maybe like others, a little tired of all the management administrative stuff. Wanted to go back to being a biologist. Who can blame him for that? And went back full time working on stream and river issues throughout the state. He's done a great job. Twenty-five years of service, Roy Kleinsasser. Roy.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Our next colleague is from our Infrastructure team, Mark Lacy. And he's been a surveyor with us for 25 years. He began his career in 1987 as a rod man on a three-man survey crew. Mark spends 80 to 90, 95 percent of his time on the road for the Agency as a Surveyor documenting things -- at WMAs and fish hatcheries and state parks and state natural areas.

One of his first projects was working with Ducks Unlimited, surveying new levees to build wetlands there at Catfish Creek at the Gus Engeling WMA. He moved up to head up the responsibility of being our Lead Surveyor. He's become an expert at precision GPS and robotic surveying. Again, been a part of every park and WMA in the state. Awfully proud to have someone of his talents on our team. Mark Lacy, 25 years of service. Mark.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Deirdre Hisler, what do you say about Deirdre Hisler? One of the great free spirits of this Agency, how about that? Deirdre started with our State Parks team 25 years ago there on the Guadalupe River. In 1997, Commissioner Hixon, she was temporarily assigned to Government Canyon for two months to help get that park up and running. Fourteen years later, Deirdre was still there leading the charge, to say the least. And I want to assure you, she accomplished a lot in those 14 years.

Deirdre really better than just about anyone, recognizes the value and importance of community based conservation and Government Canyon is not only and extraordinary park and natural area in and of itself, but it's essential to the health and vitality of the entire San Antonio region. She's really become a go-to person in San Antonio. People looking to her for leadership on conservation. The City looked to her to help guide efforts to strategically invest funds to invest over the Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone and protect the water quality for the 7th largest city in the United States.

She's just incredibly well-respected. I can't emphasize that enough. In June 2011, she moved out to Fort Davis, where she was promoted to be the Regional Director out there in God's country. We get occasional e-mails, always with the name of "Thelma from the West." And Thelma keeps us well informed, let me assure you. So 25 years of service, Deirdre Hisler. Deirdre.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: In case you hadn't noticed, Thelma is always good for a hug. So you know to count on that when you need her.

Okay, another colleague from Inland Fisheries with 25 years of service. Another one of our very dedicated and hard working biologists working to protect the health of our rivers and creeks and streams, Gordon Linam. Started off like Roy as an Aquatic Biologist. Moved over to the River Studies Program and really Gordon has had a chance to work in every single river basin of the state working on environmental flows and fish kill related issues.

When we had a big fish kill up in the Trinity River downstream of Dallas in the 1980s, he was our point person working on that. Very involved working on fish kills in the Pecos River associated with the occasional Golden alga blooms that we get in that system. Gordon was responsible for developing biological indices for evaluating stream fish communities as a way to help gauge the health of water quality in streams that were ultimately adopted by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. Very involved instream flow studies on the Colorado and San Antonio River.

Also, when the State was looking at the impacts from off-road vehicles to riverbeds and streams, Gordon was on point for helping to document some of those impacts. And awfully proud of his 25 years of service, Gordon Linam. Gordon.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Our next colleague that we're going to honor, no stranger again to this group, Tom Harvey. Tom has been with us for 20 years. One of the faces and voices of this organization. Literally involved in about every single thing we do. He's kind of the spokesperson for the Agency.

Began his career his leading the News and Information branch, which he did for over 15 years and did an extraordinary job. Responsible for really creating and building several important programs that we have for getting the word out. Our news video release program so that news stations just have really things in the can that they can put on the TV stations to help promote things of interest to the Department. He was responsible for starting "Passport to Texas" radio series, which is that 90 second feature which is on, you know, well over 100 radio stations every day.

In 2010 when the Communications Division was reorganized, he was tapped to lead the Media Communications group. And so he oversees that extraordinary group of storytellers and the magazine, the radio, the TV program, and our social media program, which has become such an important element of it. Tom has just got a great sense of humor, a wonderful sense of life, and he's just a great colleague. Awfully proud of him. Twenty years of service, Tom Harvey. Tom.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Next colleague is -- happens to be an old personal friend and I'm tickled to death to be able to recognize him today, Dale Schmidt, with 20 years of service to the Wildlife Division. Dale is our Wildlife Technician up in Llano and San Saba Counties. Actually started in 1992 as a Seasonal -- I didn't know this -- Seasonal Reservation Clerk at Inks Lake State Park. On Day 2, I think Paul Kisel, who was the superintendent at the time before he moved to Eisenhower, recognized that Dale was one heck of a good welder and so Dale immediately went to the shop working on welding stuff. I'm not sure Dale made one single reservation in his job.

But so after a year, Dale transferred over to the Wildlife Division working in Bell and Coryell Counties. Moved up to Llano and San Saba County, where he works very cooperatively and closely with private landowners and ranchers there providing counseling and guidance on their wildlife management needs. I frequently run in to people that have land up there that are just very, very complimentary of Dale and his professionalism and the service that he provides. Awfully proud of him. Twenty years of service, Dale Schmidt. Dale.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: I've got to take a sip of water before I do this next one. Twenty-seven years ago, we hired a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed young Aggie. Are there any other kind? Let me ask that. I know somebody cares about that, once again. Came out of Laredo as a young man inspired to become a game warden by -- by the way, a game warden I think gave him a ticket for not having a fishing license or at least a good lecture, Pete.

COLONEL FLORES: We never give people tickets. You've got to earn them, Boss.

MR. SMITH: You've got to earn them. That's right. He earned that ticket and a hall pass into the Game Warden Training Center right out of A&M and that was when the training center was right there on the edge of the University of Texas campus. And as Pete liked to say, the first time he ever saw hunter orange was on the mohawk of a UT student living next door to the academy. I figured you Aggies would appreciate that.

When Pete got out of the Academy, he was stationed over in Chambers County working in the marshes on -- with a fair amount of job security down in Chambers County, how about that? And then was quickly promoted to Captain over in Beaumont and San Antonio. Became a Major in San Angelo. Promoted to the Lieutenant Colonel, just obviously worked his way up very, very quickly. In 2005, he was promoted to Colonel of this fine Agency and I think you all know Pete very, very well.

He's been an incredibly outspoken proponent of our mission. He's been an incredibly outspoken proponent of the North American model for wildlife conservation and the Public Trust doctrine and the stewardship and fiduciary responsibilities we have to protect the public's fish and game from harm. He has done an incredible job of helping to make our Law Enforcement Division the most contemporary, the most modern really in all of the country, if not the world. He has reshaped that.

He and his leadership team have invested very heavily in equipment and training to make sure our game wardens are as well equipped and as well armed and as well trained as they can possibly be. That legacy is going to be well carried on by Pete's vision to create the new game warden training center in Hamilton, as y'all know, modeled after the old frontier forts, the premier academy really in all of the world.

He's built an extraordinary relationship with other agencies. Positioned as well to assist wherever needed on border security related issues and capitalized on funding opportunities to help this fine Agency. Made sure that everybody knows that our state game wardens are the law off the pavement. Pete is awfully proud of the extraordinary service of the men and women that work for him and all of you know Pete so well. We could go on and on. I know you also know from, you know, seven years, Pete sitting in that exact same chair, Pete does not miss a beat. I mean I'm telling you, he's taking in every single thing going on in this room. Does not like to be surprised. Nothing rarely gets past him.

I will say that after he announced his retirement, things have gone to hell in a hand basket. Literally the first week after he announced it, I'm driving home from work and I get a phone call from some guy who says he's with Bill O'Reilly and Fox News, wanting to know if it was true that our game wardens had said that it's okay to hunt Bigfoot in Texas and went on to say something about that our game warden said something, well, it was an indigenous cryptid and, therefore, it was not protected.

And I said, "Pal, let me tell you. Our game wardens know a lot of words and they know a lot of colorful words. But indigenous cryptid ain't one of them, let me assure you."

Pete left us alone for one night last night and God almighty, our game wardens and park peace officers get involved in having to break up a drunken brawl on 6th Street. And I need to correct the record because last time we here and we talked about that milk shake drinking bunch of cops that work for the Agency, let me tell you, don't let those milk shakes fool you. These boys and girls can kick some ass and you saw it last night.

(Round of applause)

MR. SMITH: Back to Pete not liking to be surprised. One of the things I've loved about the last three days, one of his dear friends and colleagues has just been hiding in plain sight all over the place with none other than, who, Craig Hunter of course. Gene Elms, the Colonel of Arizona, he's been here. Pete, he's flown one of your helicopters. He shot one of your machine guns. He's addressed the Game Warden Academy. He's had dinner with the Commission. He broke up the bar fight. And he's here today on behalf of the North American Conservation Law Enforcement Chiefs to honor Pete for his extraordinary legacy and let's give Gene, who's the Chief there in Arizona, has been for five years, graduate of the FBI National Academy, went through with one of our very own, Captain David Murray, Gene has come all the way from Arizona to be with us. He's had a great and very, very memorable time, Craig, in Texas. Let's give him a Texas round of welcome, Gene.

(Round of applause)

COLONEL ELMS: Do you want to come hold this for me?

COLONEL FLORES: That's a life size model by the way.

COLONEL ELMS: Mr. Chairman, Members of the Commission, thank you for this opportunity to come and -- you know, ever since I've known Pete, he has said come to Texas and we'll treat you right. They didn't disappoint. In fact, I told Craig that if you guys ever have an opening in the Executive Protection team, let me know. I'm ready. When I got here on Tuesday, you know, I guess first of all, it's probably good that Pete is retiring. I've been here for three days, and he hasn't known anything about it. So I think he's lost his edge just a little.

I got here on Tuesday. I was all excited. I took the award out of my suitcase, and it was in about eight pieces. I think they used to it chock the wheel on the airplane. And so I said asked myself what would Pete do? So I made a phone call and made a couple and had another one shipped and, in fact, I was going to give the headless version today; but I thought that would be inappropriate. So we managed to get it all together through game warden fashion and we got it to present.

I wrote down a few words, and I'll share those with you on behalf of NACLEC and Law Enforcement Chiefs across this country. Colonel Pete Flores has been a visionary leader in conservation law enforcement community, his ability to see new opportunities, motivate people to seize them. He's balanced the additional role of game warden with responding and adapting to new challenges. He understands the importance of public support and the critical role they have in the success of our mission. He cares deeply about the people of the Agency and has been a great asset to the institution of Fish and Wildlife Law Enforcement across the country.

For the last eight years, Pete has been the leader in the national -- on the national level as well. From Maine to California, Pete has been a mentor to new chiefs. He has shared his unyielding commitment to conservation and law enforcement and has motivated many to do more, often with less. Yesterday I visited the hallowed grounds north of here and spoke to the new warden recruits. One of the topics we discussed related to qualities of a good leader -- integrity, honor, mentor, servant, professional, positive attitude, accountable, communicator.

Originally, I thought these attributes came from a scholarly research; but now that I've had time to reflect, I believe the researcher followed Pete around for a day. On a personal note, I have known Pete for about five years and consider him a positive role model in my life and a mentor and a friend. This humble approach -- his approach to his profession and his ability to work a room in the name of conservation law enforcement is unlike any I've ever seen. I think most of you in this room will recognize the following phrase: Brother, how can I help you?

Pete, all I can say is you have a thank you. I would also like to thank Craig Hunter and the Executive Protection team. Although Pete did not know I was here, he would have been very proud. I have had nothing but first class treatment since I've been to this great state. On behalf of the National Association of Conservation Law Enforcement Chiefs, I would like to present Colonel Pete Flores with their first ever Legacy Award.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Thank you, Gene. And thanks for coming down from Arizona. That was great. We do have a couple of other gifts for Pete that we want to share. And the first one really I'm giving on behalf of the 532 men and women that proudly wear the blue badge of your Texas state game wardens. And one of every one of the warden's greatest fears in life is to be invited to lunch by Pete Flores.

There was a time not long ago in which a certain cadet with -- and I'll just leave it at this, considerable name recognition -- was struggling to get through the Academy and it was just clear that that individual was not going to be able to make it and so Pete went in to see my predecessor Bob Cook and said, "You know, this is going to be tough. You know, how do you want me -- what do you want me to do?"

And Bob said, "Well, God, Pete. You know, if you're going to have to ask him to leave the Academy, you know, at least take him to lunch."

And so Pete said, "Got it."

Pete being one of the last big spenders, took him to Whataburger where he bought him his last meal and so every warden lives in death fear that Pete is going to invite him to lunch for Whataburger.

Pete, on behalf of your game wardens, they're going to beat you to the punch on this one. Here's your Whataburger card.

(Round of applause)

MR. SMITH: Now, Pete, also because we remembered that fishing story. There were there a lot of us that were awfully concerned about what would happen to this and so on behalf of all of us at Parks and Wildlife, Scott and Gene and Ross and the Commission and the Parks Wildlife Foundation, we're very honored and proud to present Pete Flores with a lifetime hunting and fishing license. So, Pete Flores.

(Round of applause)

COLONEL FLORES: Thank y'all very much. I'm not going to have much to say for the first time. But what a great outfit, what a great mission, and thank y'all for what you do and your service and for keeping Texas wildlife resources for Texans always and we believe in that deeply. I can't do anything about myself. Do it with yourselves and the people, my staff, the people in our offices and the wardens, the people that wear the blue.

You know, I got my -- I got pinned right there, right about there by Chester Burdett and then went to Anahuac and I've learned a lot since Anahuac. I'll share some of my first couple of lessons there. When I was at the Anahuac National Wildlife Refuge one night because there would always be some old boys catching Redfish off of trotlines and me being the 25-year-old freshly admitted game warden, went down there in my blue Dodge Diplomat with a big blue emblem that said Texas Parks and Wildlife and, of course, those of us that know the marsh, know there are certain things you don't do in that country; but I didn't know that.

I rolled up next to them and opened up the door to that car. I wanted them to see the emblem, you see. I wanted them to see it, game warden. Went and did my thing. Well, little did I know that the dome light stayed on in that car and every biting insect within 50 miles was in there. It was like a Deep Woods commercial. I learned my lesson.

You also need to learn about your equipment and how things work and anything that we do in our job, the vernacular for lack of better words. And as a young rookie, well, I had my -- we had the radios back when they stacked about that high. And, of course, whenever you would run a subject and they would have warrants, the dispatcher would ask you if your radio is secure. And we all know what that means. It's they're not around to listen.

Well, as rookie I said let me check; so I shake the radio. 10-4, my radio is secure. But I did that in front of a witness, so that will never die. But great adventures. I've learned a lot. Traveled all over. Had the opportunity to work all over the state from one side to the other. All the different cultures, all the beliefs; but everything has been good and thank you very much for the opportunity and privilege. Thank you.

(Round of applause and photographs)

MR. SMITH: Mr. Chairman and Members of the Commission, that completes my presentation. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Thank you, Mr. Smith.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Mr. Chairman?

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Might the record reflect that the drunken brawl on 6th Street this time did not involve the Commissioners? Just for the record.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: This is what Mr. Smith does to this bunch. All right, at this time I would like to inform the audience that everyone is welcome to stay for the remainder of the meeting; but if you wish to leave, this would be an appropriate time to do so.

(Recess taken)

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: All right. The first order of business Action Item 1, Approval of the Agenda. Is there a motion for approval?

COMMISSIONER SCOTT: So moved.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Commissioner Scott. Second? Commissioner Morian. All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes)

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

Action Item 2, the Selection of a New Internal Auditor, Mr. Carter Smith.

MR. SMITH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman and Members of the Commission. For the record, my name is Carter Smith. It's my privilege to report to all of you on the search for our new Director of Internal Audit. After a very exhaustive and extensive search, we were able to narrow the field down to several very, very capable and talented finalists that were interested in coming to work for the Agency in this important role. After we had a chance to interview the finalists, and members of the Commission did as well, it's my great privilege to recommend to all of you that the Commission consider hiring Ms. Cindy Hancock.

Cindy has a long tenure with this Agency and the internal audit program. Several different times during her career, she's acted as the Interim Audit Director. She brings a lot of competency and a lot of capability. She knows the Agency and people and programs well and on behalf of the staff, I want to make the recommendation to you that you consider hiring her as your new Director of Internal Audit.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Thank you, Mr. Smith. Is there any discussion, or do I have a motion?

COMMISSIONER HIXON: So moved.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Commission Hixon.

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Second.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Second by Commissioner Morian. All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Congratulations, Cindy. Would you like to say a few words? We'll give you that opportunity.

MS. HANCOCK: Thank you, Commissioners, for giving that vote of confidence as I take this position as the Internal Audit Director. I can't express how excited I am to join the TPW team. Thank you with sincere gratitude for this opportunity. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: We're very happy to have you take this on and look forward to working with you. Mr. Smith.

MR. SMITH: That completes my report. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Thank you. All right, Action Item 3, Recreation Trail Grants Funding, Mr. Andy Goldbloom.

MR. GOLDBLOOM: Good morning, Commissioners. For the record, my name is Andy Goldbloom. I manage the Recreational Trails Program under the States Parks Division. The recreational trail fund is federal funds coming from the gas tax generated by off-road vehicles -- ATVs, dirt bikes, full size vehicles when they utilize those vehicles on off road. The funds are distributed to the states based on population and gas tax generated.

The 2012 apportionment for Texas at this time is a little over 2.7 million. That's only nine months of funding. The funds are tied to the highway transportation bill, which really expired in October of 2009 and has been extended by Congress for a series of extended resolutions. So it's put the program a little bit in an uncertain funding situation waiting for these next extensions to come along. So right now, we're only work withing nine months of funding. We anticipate that runs through June 30th. We anticipate getting an additional three month's worth of funding, which would be about another $900,000 for the program.

We utilize about 200,000 a year for project administration. And this year, we also have about 573,000 funds from previous years available for redistribution from projects. We had a few that failed, never got off the ground. We had a number of projects that came in under budget that generated those additional funds. We got 82 project proposals submitted this year requesting $11.5 million, which is a record in both categories. We have -- the law requires the State to have a State Trails Advisory Board that helps guide the program. We utilize that Board to help evaluate these proposals.

We met in March and evaluated the proposals based on their quality, geographic distribution, the amount of recreational opportunities being created, and bang for the buck. We also utilize this fund to improve State Park trails. We utilize about $485,000 a year. We have a -- we fund a trail crew that -- made of the AmeriCorps program that works in the various State parks. This next year, they're going to be working in restoration of the Bastrop trails that were burned out in the fire. They've done great work up to this point rebuilding some of the bridges and actually rerouting some of the trails there and getting those back open to the public.

Expanding the -- we have one little OHV area up in Eisenhower State Park that's been in existence for decades of only about 20 acres. The park was able to add 50 acres to that from the Corps at no cost and so we're expanding that opportunity into those additional acres. We also focus a lot on ADA improvements. Making sure our trails are accessible.

The motion in front of you, based on funds available at this time is funding for 27 projects recommended in Exhibit A in the amount of 2,689,992 and State park trail improvements in the amount of 485,000 is approved. We would also like to ask that if additional funding is made available, funding for additional projects based on their score is also approved at this time. We probably will have funds to fund about another four or five projects if we get that additional three months of funding. Rather than come back to you, we would like to get that approval at this time.

We get in a crunch because when we don't find out that we have funds until the last minute, once those funds are appropriated, there's a real short time frame to obligate those funds to projects. There's such a focus on federal funding these days, if the funds aren't obligated in a quick manner, sometimes they're redistributed back to a different use; so we want to be ready to obligate those just as soon as they're available. With that, if there's any questions, I'd be happy to answer them. I think we have a few people signed up to speak.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Any comments or questions? All right, we do have two people signed up to speak. The first is Bobby Sanders of the city of Childress. Mr. Sanders.

MR. SANDERS: For the record, my name is Bobby Sanders. Mr. Chairman, Members of the Commission, this year we did a little something different. The lady that works for the Parks and Wildlife came to us, Dana Wright, and asked if we could do the State Wildlife Resource Management and Career Development at our park and we accepted what she had put forth. On our day off, which is Monday and Tuesday, we had over 300 people come to our park to do their judging this is year.

It's -- for a small town, that's quite an enhancement to our community. It also give us a lot of exposure to people that didn't know we had a park up there. So, again, thank you guys. Appreciate all you do for us.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Thank you, Mr. Sanders. Any questions? Comments?

MR. SANDERS: We have a little deal here that come out of the newspaper. Pass that around and y'all can decide who gets to keep it.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Very nice of you, thank you. All right, appreciate that, Mr. Sanders.

Now, we would like to here from Alicia Stoll. Hope I pronounced your name correctly.

MS. STOLL: You did.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Welcome.

MS. STOLL: Hi, good morning. As you said, I'm Alicia Stoll, the Parks and Recreation Program Manager from the city of Elgin. And we are so grateful y'all are considering this funding. We are one of the projects listed and the project that is listed is something that we're hoping will be a great pathway and connection for the city of Elgin and it will connect the Austin Community College Elgin campus to our local parks, so we're very excited about it and wanted to say thank you for your consideration.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Thank you. Any questions or comments?

Is there anybody else that wishes to speak in connection with Item 3?

All right, is there a motion for approval?

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: So moved.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Commissioner Hughes. Seconded by Commissioner Morian. All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes)

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

Okay. Item 4, Corky Kuhlmann, Acceptance of Land Donation, Cameron County, 10 acres at the Ebony Unit at the Las Palomas Wildlife Management Area. Corky, welcome.

MR. KUHLMANN: Good morning, Commissioners. For the record, Corky Kuhlmann, Land Conservation Program. This is a small donation at the Ebony Unit of the Las Palomas Wildlife Management Area in Cameron County. It is mostly habitat. The unit itself allows for some hunting, but this 10-acre tract will be used basically for the habitat value.

So with that said, the staff recommends that the Parks and Wildlife adopt the following motion: That Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission authorizes the Executive Director to take all necessary steps to acquire a 10-acre tract of land as an addition to the Ebony Unit of the Las Palomas Wildlife Management Area.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Any comments or questions? Motion for approval?

COMMISSIONER SCOTT: So moved.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Commissioner Scott. Second by Commissioner Hixon. All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Hearing no opposition, the motion carries.

Item 5, Land Sale, Brazoria County of 2.5 acres along the San Bernard River, Corky Kuhlmann.

MR. KUHLMANN: Thank you. And for the record, Corky Kuhlmann. This is the second viewing of this item. The sale of some Inland -- or Coastal Fisheries tracts down on the San Bernard River in Brazoria County. This tract was acquired as a staging unit for our Coastal Offshore Reefs Program. Once it was purchased and studies done, it was found that the river silts in way too often. They had dredged it once, it silted back in and the property is not suitable for uses for which we had purchased it.

We did hold a public meeting. There was -- there's no comment. There's been no comment either for or against this project of sale. And during the advertising for the meeting, we had some people contact me interested in the purchase; so we have some potential buyers as we speak. So with that, the staff recommends that Texas Parks and Wildlife adopt the following motion: The Commission adopts the resolution as attached on Exhibit A.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Any comments? Questions? We've got a motion by --

COMMISSIONER MORIAN: Moved.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: -- Commissioner Morian. A second by Commissioner Jones. All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Hearing no opposition, the motion carries.

Item 6, Acceptance of Land Donation, Harris County, 2.5 acres adjacent to the Sheldon Lake State Park, Corky Kuhlmann.

MR. KUHLMANN: For the record, Corky Kuhlmann. This is a donation, but it also is the granting of an easement at Sheldon Lake State Park Environmental Learning Center, Harris County. A local church has bought a tract of land adjacent to us. In order to develop the tract, they have to do something with their storm water. They will build a stilling basin on their tract, but the tract of land -- I mean that stilling basin will drain into Sheldon Lake.

We are grateful for the water. It's something that we have done in the area. For a local EMS/fire station, we have let them drain into our area and a local high school. In this case, we have asked for a small buffer of land around their property and around the stilling basin. It's going to be about between two and half and 3 acres. In exchange for letting them drain onto Sheldon Lake, they're going to make a donation of the two and a half/3-acre tract to Parks and Wildlife.

With that said, the staff recommends that the Commission adopt the following motion: The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission authorizes the Executive Director to take all necessary steps to accept the donation of the two and a half acre tract and grant a drainage easement at Sheldon Lake State Park.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Any comments? Questions?

COMMISSIONER JONES: Move for approval.

COMMISSIONER HIXON: Second.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Motion by Commissioner Jones. Second by Commissioner Hixon. All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Any -- hearing none, the motion carries. Thank you, Corky.

MR. KUHLMANN: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Item 7, Land Acquisition, Coryell County, Mother Neff State Park, somebody named Ted Hollingsworth.

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Chairman, Commissioners, good morning. My name is Ted Hollingsworth, and I'm with the Land Conservation Program. This item pertains to a recommendation to purchase 142 acres of land in Coryell County adjacent to Mother Neff State Park, right in the heart of Texas. Mother Neff is the oldest designated state park. It's not far outside Waco, Killeen, Temple, that area.

Acquisition includes about a half a mile of frontage on the Leon River. And although it's only 142 acres, it's extremely high quality property for recreational values, natural resource values, culture resource values. It will increase the size of that park by about 55 percent. As you can see in this drawing, it is on the river and it is tucked right up against the park. We've had this property under option for about a year now, waiting for the sale of the Fortress Cliffs Ranch, which you authorized a few months ago.

That property contains Land and Water Conservation federal funds and because of that, we're required to reinvest those funds in recreational opportunities expeditiously and so -- which was the reason we had this one in the queue and we're anxious to get it to you. As you can see in this picture, just a huge, huge rock shelter site that's never been looted. One of the few in the region that the landowners have lived close enough to to protect all these years. A half mile frontage on the Leon River and I was told by someone from the Hill Country that this doesn't look like a river; but I'm from the Gulf Coast, and this looks like a great river to me. Looks like a good place to put a catfish line, in fact. Suitable for canoe and kayak use and for fishing and would triple the amount of frontage the park has on the river.

We are ready to close. With your blessing, we're ready to close that acquisition. The sellers are not only willing, but they've been members of the Friends Organization for many years and are very excited to see their properties added to the State park. With that, the staff does recommend that the Commission adopt the follow motion: The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission authorizes the Executive Director to take all necessary steps to acquire approximately 142 acres in Coryell County for addition to Mother Neff State Park. And I would be happy to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Any questions or comments? Motion for approval? Commissioner Jones.

COMMISSIONER SCOTT: Second.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Second from Commissioner Scott. All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Hearing no opposition, the motion carries.

Item 8, Acceptance of Land Donation, Aransas County, 80 acres, approximately 80 acres at the Big Tree area at Goose Island State Part, Ted Hollingsworth.

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Chairman, Commissioners, for the record, my name is Ted Hollingsworth. I'm with the Land Conservation Program. This is an item we're really excited to bring to the Commission. We've been working with the Nature Conservancy for several years to try and figure out how to acquire the Big Tree Ranch. It is right down on the coast. It is contiguous with Goose Island State Park and it wraps around the Big Tree, which is a feature that was actually acquired in the early 1930s because it's such an impressive tree and, in fact, was recognized as the State champion live oak tree up until very recently when an equally large tree was discovered in Brazoria County.

The tree is quite vulnerable. It sits on a 5-acre site that's connected to the main body of the park by a scenic driveway. This particular ranch wraps around that tree and that 5 acres that protects it. The property is prime real estate for development. It's been on the market and because we've been working closely with the Nature Conservancy and had an opportunity to propose to the Attorney General's Office and the Department of Justice that this be acquired as partial compensation to offset MOEX's culpability in the Deep Water Horizon spill, we were able to get that in front of the court and the court has agreed that it is appropriate.

MOEX likes the acquisition. They have a contract to acquire and with your authorization, we expect that to -- we expect that federal process to be completed in the next few weeks and we would expect probably in July to add this piece of property to the State park. Again, I want to emphasize that without the Nature Conservancy having already done the appraisal work and the survey work and having already been working hand in glove with us on this project, we would have not been able to get it in front of the court on such short notice to take advantage of this opportunity. So we are really excited about it.

Probably the best place -- probably the best place on the planet for somebody in an automobile or somebody with limited mobility to see Whooping cranes. A very mature gallery of live oak forest on the property. Not much of this left on the coast. Extremely important for migratory song birds. Very excited about adding that to the park. And as I said, everything is set up and ready to go. Should occur in a few weeks with your authorization.

And with that, staff recommends that you adopt the following motion: The Executive Director is authorized to accept the donation of approximately 80 acres of land adjacent to Goose Island State Park for addition to the State park. And I'd be happy to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Questions or comments? Motion for approval? Commissioner Hughes.

COMMISSIONER HIXON: Second.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Second Commissioner Scott[sic]. All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Hearing no opposition, the motion carries.

Action item -- actually, let me ask one question, Ted. What are the -- do we have plans regarding these old improvements? I think you said yesterday...

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: We've done only a cursorary evaluation of those. We do not believe they have the structural integrity. They're from the 60s. We don't believe they're worth re...

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Furbish?

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Reusing, right. But again, what we're going to do is a complete public use plan, public use process, before we determine whether to remove those buildings, whether to try to adaptively use those buildings. There is a hanger, a small airplane hanger on the site that might make good storage for equipment. Again, our primary concern is that it is designated critical habitat for the Whooping cranes and so whatever we do, we want to do very cautiously in such ways to not compromise the use of the site by the birds.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: All right, great.

Action Item 9, Request for Easement, Harris County for some hydrocarbon pipelines at San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site, Ted.

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Chairman, Commissioners, good morning. My name is Ted Hollingsworth. I'm with the Land Conservation Program. This item is in response to a request from Chevron to add two pipelines to an existing corridor. Of course San Jacinto Battleground, as everyone knows, is just east of downtown Houston on the Houston ship channel. It is surrounded by industrial development. As such, there are three or four significant pipeline corridors that traverse the park.

Chevron owns one of those corridors. It currently has five pipelines in it. They have a need to add two additional pipelines. And looking at that corridor and working with them and in talking to the Historical Commission, it was determined that the safest way to do that was to expand that existing easement to give them just enough room to add those pipelines by directional drilling. Any area that is disturbed will be thoroughly tested for archaeological resources. There will not be any valve stations or other infrastructure visible on the surface once that project is finished.

This shows the specific route through the park of that new easement. Shows the -- or the expanded easement. Shows the three bore pit locations required to directionally drill that, those lines. Cultural and natural resource inventories are under way. We're still working on the protocol for testing and bore pit locations, coordination with the Corps of Engineers and any other regulatory requirements is also under way.

We have provided all the information that we have to the State Historic Preservation Officer at the Texas Historical Commission and they're reviewing that to determine if any further evaluation or any further testing is going to be required beyond what we recommended. Geotechnical soil testing -- in other words, soil bores -- to determine the consistency of those soils, identify historic soil horizons, should take place in the next few days. And during the process -- during the course of this project, we took advantage of the opportunity to survey the highway, which corresponds to the existing easement for the pipelines, to survey the location of those existing pipelines, to survey the park boundary.

In so doing, we did determine that one of those pipelines strays out of that right-of-way and into the park and you've heard request to solicit public input on that yesterday. We also have mapped all those pipelines to the extent we can. There is about a 700-foot stretch where those pipelines pass under the marsh that we don't have exact locations for. Those pipelines are located by probing. The surveyor did put people in the marsh. In those soft and consolidated soils, they can probe about 10 feet. Those pipelines quickly pass down below that 10-foot horizon. They followed them as far as they could. They know where they enter the marsh. They know where they leave the marsh at the beach side.

We don't know exactly where those pipelines are. We assume they're in a relatively straight line. The surveyor did attach a note to the survey stating that to locate those pipelines would require putting a "track-co" in the marsh, excavating down to the point where they could locate those with a probe. Staff recommends that's more impact to the marsh than justifies knowing exactly where those pipelines are. Although we're certainly open to recommendations from the Commission in that regard.

The engineer, project manager, and consultant are here today if you have any specific questions you would like to address to them. Otherwise, the staff does recommend that you adopt the following motion: The Commission adopts the resolution attached as Exhibit A.

I would add that we did get one comment. We got a letter from the San Jacinto Battleground Conservancy asking staff to note that every one of these infrastructure projects is a compromise of the historic integrity of the site. They also feel like the project should be subject to Section 106, which is the Federal Cultural Resource Review Process. I have encouraged the author to work directly with the Historical Commission to make sure that this project and any project on any of our sites meets both the letter and intent of all regulatory authority that's applicable. And with that, I'll be happy to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Any questions or comments? Commissioner Jones.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Just a couple. Ted, what is the risk of not knowing exactly where the pipeline is for the one that -- I guess it's one. I assume it's just one that --

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Actually, there are a couple of pipe -- actually, none of them. All of them have sunk below that 10-foot. So there's two pipelines from the 1920s, I believe, and then three additional pipelines. The last one which was put in in 1969. We know where they leave the uplands and then we know where they come out of the uplands 700 feet later. It's that 700-foot reach under the marsh.

My own opinion is that there is not any risk. If anyone else were to propose anything intrusive in the marsh, we would have to locate those pipelines obviously. If there's ever a leak, if there's ever -- and when I say a leak, those pipelines are all pigged regularly. So if there are anomalies, if there are weaknesses, if there's corrosion that's causing or risking those pipelines, then Chevron goes in and addresses those preemptively.

Before they could excavate, obviously they would have to locate those. They would have to have Section 404, clean water permits, possibly even ESA, endangered species, taking assessments because of the species that live in that marsh. They would have to have an antiquities permit from the Corps of Engineers. Potentially -- well, they would have to. They would have to have a Section 106 review because of the wetlands nexus with the Corps of Engineers and the EPA and because the site is a designated National Historic Landmark. So a lot would have to take place before you could excavate in the marsh to get to those pipelines.

If a leak were to occur, knowing where those pipelines are exactly versus knowing where they are within a few feet, I don't think would make any difference. You would have to go that location, excavate, remediate, replace those sections of pipeline.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Okay.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Any further questions? I have one. And you said that a couple of these pipelines were laid in the 1920s?

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: That's correct.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Are they still active?

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: The 1929 pipeline is active. It will be abandoned as soon as these two pipelines come online. I would have to ask the Chevron representatives if any -- what the oldest pipeline is that's still active in that corridor.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: The reason I ask is that because of the age of the line and the area, I was just curious whether -- you said they are pigged regularly, but surely there's some life expectancy on a line of that nature in that area. I'm just --

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Yes, sir, and hence the desire to abandon that 1929 pipeline.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: What about the -- were there two or just one that were --

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: There is another 1920s pipeline in that corridor. I believe it is already abandoned; but, again, I would have to ask...

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Would you mind addressing that question please, sir, and identifying yourself?

MR. GARY SCOTT: Yes, sir, Commissioner. Gary Scott with Chevron Phillips Chemical. Two of the lines that were the '29 crude oil lines are currently idle and not in use. There are two other lines that were put in the late -- or '69, I believe, that were currently propylene in those lines and restocked to propane, methane, and (inaudible). Those two will be -- they're currently active, and will stay active. The other two will be replaced with this redirectional drill that Ted has talked about.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Well, when you say "replaced," they'll be abandoned?

MR. GARY SCOTT: Yes.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Replaced --

MR. GARY SCOTT: They'll be replaced in this new position that's on the docket today.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: But I'm saying two lines that you will abandon, you'll leave in place?

MR. GARY SCOTT: That's exactly right. They're -- we've evaluated the removal and the damage to the park and it would be not acceptable.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Okay. Any other -- Commissioner Jones.

COMMISSIONER JONES: The lines that are currently abandoned -- oh, hold on. I'm sorry, there. The lines that are currently abandoned, I think Ted indicated there was at least one 1920s line and --

MR. GARY SCOTT: There's two.

COMMISSIONER JONES: -- maybe another one. Are they -- do they have product in them?

MR. GARY SCOTT: No, sir. They've been hydrocarbon freed and cleaned and we've tested several locations throughout the 15-mile stretch and we have not detected any hydrocarbons.

COMMISSIONER JONES: Okay, all right.

MR. GARY SCOTT: Yes, sir.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Okay, thank you very much. Appreciate that. Is there a motion for approval?

COMMISSIONER SCOTT: So moved.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Commissioner Scott.

COMMISSIONER HIXON: Second.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Second by Commissioner Hixon. All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Hearing no opposition, the motion carries. Thank you, Ted.

Items 10 and 13 on the agenda have been withdrawn and will be placed on the agenda for the August 2012 meeting. So that takes us to Item 11, Public Lands Proclamation and to Linda Campbell. Welcome, Linda.

MS. CAMPBELL: Good morning, Commissioners. For the record, my name is Linda Campbell. I'm the Wildlife Division Program Director for the Private Lands and Public Hunting Program. And I'm here today to request your action on a couple of things -- establishing an open season on public hunting lands for the 2012-13 hunting season and authorizing public hunting activities on the State parks for the 2012-13 hunting season as well.

Establishing an open season on public hunting lands allows the Department to hold public hunts during the upcoming hunting season, September 1st, 2012. Also, statute requires the Commission to approve public hunting activities on units of the State park system. In your Commission booklets, you are provided with the proposed State park hunts on 43 units of the State park lands for the 2012-13 hunting season. There are a total of 1,688 hunt positions proposed on the parks. This represents a decrease of 154 over last year. And of these, 280 are youth positions and that represents an increase of nine over last year.

This year, Purtis Creek State Park is returning to the program and the Devils River south unit will be added to the public hunting program. Devil's Sinkhole and Lake Texana will not be hunted in the upcoming season. A little background, preliminary hunt proposals were developed last fall through a joint effort by field staff of the State Park and Wildlife divisions. Public Hunting Program staff maintains close communication with Park staff to confirm the hunt recommendations and make needed adjustments.

Most of the recommended State park hunts address management needs to control deer numbers and remove exotic animals and feral hogs. However, some of the hunts -- which include hunts such as dove, quail, waterfowl, squirrel, rabbit, turkey, and javalina -- are proposed to provide additional recreational opportunity. So staff is requesting approval of the following motions. The first one, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission authorizes an open season on public hunting lands to run from September 1st, 2012, to August 31st, 2013. The second one, Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission authorizes public hunting activities contained in Exhibit A to take place on units of the State park system. And with that, I thank you and I will answer any questions, happy to answer any questions you might have.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Any questions? Okay. Thank you, Linda. We have one person signed up to speak in favor of this proposed motion, and it is our friend Mr. Kirby Brown of the Texas Wildlife Association. Welcome, Kirby.

MR. BROWN: Thank you, Mr. Chairman.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Were you on 6th Street? Mr. Hughes wants to know.

MR. BROWN: I tried to sneak out before they got really rowdy, but I didn't make it. Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, my name is Kirby Brown with Texas Wildlife Association. And our members own and steward almost 40 million acres in Texas and we're very proud to that the Department continues these public hunting activities on both the WMAs, leased lands, and State parks. This is great to provide that recreational opportunity and we're very proud of the increased emphasis on youth hunting in all the areas. Thank you for your leadership in this area and thank you very much.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Thank you, Kirby. We appreciate all TWA does to help support our mission. Any comments or discussions? Motion for approval, please.

COMMISSIONER HUGHES: So moved.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Commissioner Hughes. Second Commissioner Scott. All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Hearing no opposition, the motion carries. Thank you, Linda.

Item 12, Floating Cabins Permit Rules, Cody Jones. Welcome, Cody.

MR. JONES: Good morning Chairman, Commissioners. For the record, my name is Cody Jones. I'm a Lieutenant Game Warden in the Marine Enforcement section and Administrator of the Coastal Floating Cabins Program. I'm here this morning to present the proposed changes to the regulations governing the permitting of floating cabins.

Under current regulations, all floating cabin permits expire August 31st of each year and the renewal materials must be submitted before this date. However, I should point out that the language also allows an additional 90 days after expiration for the renewal. This causes some confusion. If a permit is not renewed by the end of the 90 days, then the permit becomes ineligible for renewal and the cabin must be removed at the owner's expense.

Under the proposed changes to the regulation, a referral to the original regulatory deadline is eliminated since it is no longer necessary. Additionally, the language is clarified to state that the deadline for submission of renewal materials would be 90 days from the date the permit expires, rather than before the expiration date. Third, the proposed language would state that upon the expiration of a permit, all permittees would be mailed a notice from the Department and they would be given an opportunity to request a review of expired permits within ten days of the Department's mailing.

In addition, it creates a review panel made up of senior Department managers, including the Executive Director or his or her designee, the Director of the Law Enforcement Division or his or her designee, and the Director of Coastal Fisheries Division or his or her designee. The panel would be able to review and make findings on their review, which is consistent with the Wildlife permitting review process which is already in place. And finally, elimination of any confusion, the term owner was changed to permittee to remain consistent within the rule.

As of today, we've only received two public comments. One in favor, and one opposed. The negative comment primarily focused on the deregulation of floating cabins to save State money for use in State parks. At this time, staff recommends that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopt the amendment to 31 Texas Administrative Code Section 55.202 concerning the period of validity and the renewal and transfer of permits with changes as necessary to proposed text as published in the April 20th, 2012, issue of the Texas Register. And with that, if you have any questions, I'd be happy to answer them at this time.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Any questions or comments? Motion for approval?

COMMISSIONER JONES: For approval.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Commissioner Jones.

COMMISSIONER HIXON: Second.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Second Commissioner Hixon. All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes)

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Hearing no opposition, the motion carries. Thank you, Cody.

MR. JONES: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: And with that, that concludes our business and I declare us adjourned and we look forward to seeing everybody in August.

(Meeting adjourns)

In official recognition of the adoption of this resolution in a lawfully called public meeting of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, we hereby affix our signatures this _____ day of ______________, 2012.

_______________________________
T. Dan Friedkin, Chairman

_______________________________
Ralph H. Duggins, Vice-Chairman

_______________________________
Antonio Falcon, M.D., Member

_______________________________
Karen J. Hixon, Member

_______________________________
Dan Allen Hughes, Jr., Member

_______________________________
Bill Jones, Member

_______________________________
Margaret Martin, Member

_______________________________
S. Reed Morian, Member

_______________________________
Dick Scott, Member


C E R T I F I C A T E

STATE OF TEXAS )
COUNTY OF TRAVIS )

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

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

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and seal this Turn in date _____ day of ________________, 2012.

__________________________
Paige S. Watts, CSR, RPR
CSR No.: 8311
Expiration: December 31, 2012
Firm Registration Number: 87
1016 La Posada Drive
Suite 294
Austin, Texas 78752
Job No. 95410

TPW Commission Meetings


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