BOARD OF THE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES
Rembert C. Dennis Building, Room 335
Columbia, South Carolina
Friday, January 19, 2001
The regular meeting of the Board of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources was held at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, January 19, 2001, at the Rembert C. Dennis Building, Room 335, Columbia, South Carolina. Notice of the date, time and place of the meeting was posted and mailed to the news media. Chairman Dr. Joab Lesesne presided at the meeting. Board Members present included Dr. Julius Leary, Danny Ford, Ben Gregg, M. Russell Holliday, Jr., Malloy McEachin and Dr. Douglas Rucker. Dr. Paul A. Sandifer and staff members of the Department of Natural Resources were present at the meeting as were various guests.
I. Call to Order
Chairman Lesesne called the meeting to order at 10:00 a.m. and welcomed everyone to the meeting.
Chairman Lesesne asked for a moment of silent meditation.
III. Introduction of Guests
Chairman Lesesne asked Cary Chamblee to introduce guests present at the meeting. Mr. Chamblee introduced Carolyn Youmans, Administrative Assistant for Senator Gregory, Chairman of the Senate Fish, Game and Forestry Committee.
Chairman Lesesne recognized Kenneth Leach, International Paper Company; Otis Taylor, TCA International, Inc.; and Dr. Wallace Boyd, a medical doctor from Spartanburg and owner of Quaker Creek Farm for their efforts and contributions to the Mobility Impaired Deer Hunts. Chairman Lesesne also presented each with the Department’s Meritorious Service Award. Chairman Lesesne asked Gerald Moore to introduce staff who have been involved with the hunts and also several hunters who were present and have participated in the hunts.
V. Constituency Comments
Mr. Chamblee introduced Rebecca Parke, Forest Watch, and asked her to address the Board. Ms. Parke introduced Dennis Cunningham and George Polk. Ms. Parke’s comments were directed toward support of DNR gaining regulatory authority of their own properties, support of the Land Legacy Initiative, and concern about erosion on roads and newly constructed helicopter pads at Jocassee.
Billy McTeer addressed the concern of the erosion at Jocassee and stated that staff will make a concerted effort to establish vegetation which should solve erosion problems.
2000 Stewardship Development Award
Chairman Lesesne asked Freddy Vang to present the 2000 Stewardship Development Award. Mr. Vang introduced Dr. Elise Schmidt, coordinator of this program. Mr. Vang asked Dr. Schmidt to provide a description of the development receiving the award. Dr. Schmidt stated that the Jarvis Creek, Hilton Head Island, is a stormwater management project as well as a community park on the project.
Dr. Sandifer commended the SC State Climate Office for receiving the Lightspan’s “Study Web Academic Excellence Award”.
VII. Approval of Minutes
Chairman Lesesne asked if there were any corrections or additions to the minutes of the December 8, 2000, meeting. There being no corrections or additions Dr. Leary made a motion that the minutes of the December 8, 2000 meeting be approved as submitted. Dr. Rucker seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
VII. Advisory Committee Reports
A. Land, Water and Conservation
Dr. Rucker reported that the Land, Water and Conservation Division Advisory Committee met January 3, 2001, in Charleston in conjunction with the SC Association of Conservation Districts Annual Conference. Dr. Rucker stated that the Beaufort Conservation Districts activities were highlighted at this meeting. Dr. Rucker noted that Dr. Helfert reviewed the long range forecast for the spring and summer. Dr. Rucker reported that staff discussed the possibility of aquifer contamination from dredging the Savannah Harbor; the results are inconclusive at this time. The committee received a report from Dr. John Dean concerning DNR’s policy with respect to pond construction. Dr. Rucker reported that public meetings will be held in January to receive input on Lake Murray’s portion of the Aquatic Plant Management Plan for 2001.
B. Law Enforcement
Dr. Leary reported that the Law Enforcement Advisory Committee met on January 10, 2001, at Lake City. Dr. Leary stated that Col. Wright informed the committee of upcoming 15% budget cut. The Law Enforcement Division has decreased the number of vehicles to be purchased and is limiting mileage as much as possible. Dr. Leary reported that the committee received a presentation from Sharon Wright on the Becoming an Outdoors Woman program.
C. Conservation Education and Communications
Mr. Ford reported that the Conservation Education and Communications Advisory Committee met on January 12, 2001, in Columbia. Mr. Ford announced that Ms. Audreya Adams was appointed to the advisory committee by Governor Hodges. Mr. Ford stated that the committee received a report from Carole Collins outlining progress made in several areas including sponsorships for BOW and Camp Wildwood. The committee received the results of a study conducted by Clemson University’s PRT Department on the BOW program in May 1999. Mr. Ford stated that the Conservation Education and Communications Advisory Committee will attend the luncheon at the Palmetto Sportsman’s Classic March 23, 2001, and will volunteer their time with the Classic afterward. Mr. Ford encouraged other advisory committees and the Board to participate in this supportive effort.
D. Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series
John Miglarese reported that preparations are being made for the upcoming series. Dr. Miglarese also reported that the Governor’s Cup Board has endorsed the recommendation concerning the saltwater license. Dr. Miglarese noted that this will be brought before the Board at the February meeting.
IX. Item for Board Information
A. Mecklenburg Regional Sewer Authority Proposal
Mr. Gregg stated that he has spoken with Mr. Chamblee and Dr. Rucker about this issue and due to the fact that he works with a company in Charlotte who is working with a group that is a proponent of this project, he will recuse himself from any action the Board takes on this project.
Dick Christie informed the Board that he has been involved with this project since 1996. Mr. Christie reported that this project was first initiated in the 1980’s as a result of the area’s rapid growth. The proposal in the early stages was one large plant, located in Lancaster County across from the Bowater Plant below the Highway 5 Bridge, involving a 7-foot diameter pipeline that would bring raw wastewater from some of the North Carolina areas but would also include upper South Carolina. This plan was presented to the public in 1994 and was met with strong opposition. In 1995, a new study group assembled to explore the idea of regional wastewater treatment. The Tri-County Wastewater Committee was formed through a three-way agreement with York, Lancaster and Chester Counties. The agreement stated that the treatment of wastewater has become a primary concern of citizens and local government bodies within the tri county area. Mr. Christie outlined the makeup of the Tri-County Wastewater Committee and their advisory committees. Mr. Christie then described the four phases of work as outlined by the consultant hired by the Committee. Since the Committee had less than $200,000, between all three counties, to invest in wastewater planning they decided to, at that time, invite Mecklenburg and Union Counties, North Carolina, to partner and share the expenses. When the two counties accepted the invitation to join the planning team, Tri-County Wastewater voted to change the name of the committee to the Catawba Regional Wastewater Committee. They also conducted two public opinion surveys. In Phase Three, engineers provided nine technical alternates for this project. The recommendation that came from the full committee was very similar to the original proposal. Mr. Christie stated that there was some unwillingness to compromise between technical alternates. Phase Four was the development of a funding and implementation strategy. This phase has been abandoned because on December 13, the Catawba Wastewater Committee voted by a 4-3 vote to disband. In summary, the most recent planning for regional wastewater began in 1995, a considerable sum of money was spent to insure an open public process was being used, two major issues will have to be resolved (1) should wastewater be accepted from Charlotte, and (2) how to avoid the large diameter connectors being located along the river.
Duane Christopher, York Conservation District Commissioner and Commissioner of York County Forever, also addressed the Board on this issue. Mr. Christopher stated that he had been involved in with this issue since 1995 and felt it was necessary to bring in the York Conservation District in 1999. Mr. Christopher then described the efforts of the York Conservation District and also conservation districts statewide.
X. Items for Board Action
A. Proposed Changes to Fishing Regulations at Star Fort Pond – Greenwood County
Gene Hayes reviewed the proposed changes to the fishing regulations at Star Fort Pond (Greenwood County). The proposed change would open the pond one month earlier to April 1. Dr. Leary made a motion that the Board approve the proposed change as presented. Dr. Rucker seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
B. Proposed Heritage Trust Property Acquisitions
This item was deferred to executive session.
Susan Quinn reviewed the request from York Electric Coop in relation to the right-of-way easement. Dr. Leary made a motion that the Board accept the changes as outlined. Ms. Holliday seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
XI. Director’s Briefings
Dr. Sandifer reported that the last DNR Regional Meeting was held at Fort Johnson on January 3. Dr. Sandifer also noted that all responses are being recorded and a report will be prepared.
Dr. Sandifer participated in the SC Association of Conservation Districts Annual Meeting held in Charleston, January 3-6. Dr. Sandifer served on a panel during breakfast on Saturday, January 6, and was able to brief the group on some of the activities within DNR.
Dr. Sandifer spoke to the Charleston Exchange Club on January 4, about the Land Legacy Initiative.
Dr. Sandifer represented DNR before Representative Koon’s Finance Subcommittee to discuss the budget on January 10.
Dr. Sandifer attended a Legislative Partnership meeting on January 11. This partnership is comprised of other natural resource agencies and conservation groups.
Dr. Sandifer, Dr. Lesesne and Ben Gregg attended Representative Chip Campsen’s Press Conference on January 16 regarding his conservation legislation.
Dr. Sandifer met with Senator Greg Gregory on January 16, to discuss our legislative package.
Dr. Sandifer informed the Board that there should be a copy of the Science Review Committee report at their place, for their information.
Dr. Sandifer also noted that there should be a copy of the new Senate Committee appointments at their place.
Dr. Sandifer will be distributing proposed changes to the FOIA policy after he reviews the latest draft. This will be an action item for the February meeting.
2. Habitat Protection
John Frampton reported that the Department’s habitat protection committee has been very active. It is hopeful that a habitat protection strategy will be presented to the Board at the March meeting. The SC Land Legacy Initiative will have an Executive Committee meeting on January 31, during the morning hours and the Committee of 100 will meet that afternoon. Mr. Frampton then reviewed the Federal Budget Request. Dr. Sandifer commended John for his efforts and successes with last year’s federal budget request.
3. Legislative Report
Derrick Meggie reported that Senator Gregory offered to sponsor the legislation dealing with regulation of DNR owned lands. Mr. Meggie has also had discussions with Representative Sharpe’s staff regarding this proposed legislation. Mr. Meggie stated they would like to get the striped bass bill through the House as quickly as possible so that if there is opposition and it goes to the contested calendar it will be an early item on the calendar. Mr. Meggie reviewed three bills that will have some impact on DNR, 1) S36 – this bill would basically get rid of high fences; 2) S39 – would authorize elk farming; and 3) S40 – would authorize deer farming. At this time Derrell Shipes briefed the Board on the deer farming issue.
XII. Deputy Directors’ Reports
1. Conservation Education and Communications
Carole Collins reported that the Communications Section is working with Clemson University producing segments for their daily statewide radio show “Your Day”. The first segment will air January 25 at 12:30 pm.
2. Marine Resources
Dr. Miglarese briefed the Board on the cold kill in the harbor and the effect of water temperature on shrimp.
3. Land, Water and Conservation
Mr. Vang distributed copies of the announcement and registration form for the upcoming Governor’s Summit on Agriculture and Natural Resources. This summit will be held on February 27 at the Florence Civic Center. Mr. Vang also discussed the drought status and lake levels.
4. Administrative Services
No further report.
5. Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries
Mr. McTeer thanked the staff and all involved in the most recent issue of Wildlife Magazine and the article entitled “Preserving our Natural Wealth”. Mr. McTeer also reported that all the preserves are on the web site. Mr. Shipes briefed the Board on AVM.
6. Law Enforcement
No further report.
XIII. Executive Session
At this time, Dr. Leary made a motion that the Board hold an Executive Session to discuss legal, contractual and personnel matters. Mrs. Holliday seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
XIV. RETURN TO REGULAR SESSION
Dr. Leary made a motion that the Board reappoint Coy Johnston to the Law Enforcement Advisory Committee. Mr. Gregg seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
Dr. Leary made a motion that the Board present an Honorary Lt. Col. Award to a very deserving indivual at the Palmetto Sportsman’s Classic. Mr. Gregg seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
Dr. Rucker made a motion that the Board reappoint the following conservation district commissioners: Alexander C. McLeod, Jr., W. Tolman Salisbury, James C. Lynch, O. Richard Cothran, Jr., Thomas A. O’Neal, Jr., E. B. “Gene” McLeod, Sr., Fred K. Norris, Jr. and new appointments to the following: James Mellette Wham, Jr., James W. Scott, Jr., Steven Wallace Welsh. Mr. Gregg seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
XV. Time and Location of the Next Meeting
Chairman Lesesne stated that the next meeting of the DNR Board will be held on Friday, February 16, 2001, at the Marine Resources Division Auditorium in Charleston
There being no further business to be brought before the DNR Board at this time, the meeting was adjourned.