Board of the Department of Natural Resources
Marine Resources Division
Marine Resource Research Institute Classroom
217 Ft. Johnson Road
February 13, 2009 10:00 a.m.
The regular meeting of the Board of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources was held at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, February 13, 2009, in the MRRI Classroom, 217 Ft. Johnson Road, Charleston, SC. Notice of the date, time and place of the meeting was posted and mailed to the news media. Chairman Mike McShane presided at the meeting. Board members present included Michael Campbell, Stephen Davis, John Evans, Frank Murray, Norman Pulliam, and Caroline Rhodes. Director John Frampton and staff members of the Department of Natural Resources were present at the meeting, as were various guests.
- Call to Order
Chairman McShane called the meeting to order at 10:00 a.m. and welcomed everyone to the meeting.
Chairman McShane asked Rev. Rob Dewey to offer the invocation.
- Pledge of Allegiance
Buford Mabry, Chief Counsel, led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance.
- Introduction of Guests
Don Winslow, Chief of Staff, introduced Representative Ann Peterson Hutto; Representative Jeff Duncan; Jim Goller, Executive Director, Harry Hampton Memorial Wildlife Fund; Bill Simpson, Co-Chair, Land, Water and Conservation Advisory Committee; Jeff Dennis, Outdoor Writer; Douglas Ford, Director of Research, Senate Fish, Game and Forestry Committee; Sam Hiott, Chairman, Harry Hampton Memorial Wildlife Fund; Scott Whitaker, Executive Director, Coastal Conservation Association; Kathy Barco-Johnson; Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission; Mike Able, Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Advisory Committee; and Frank Gibson, Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series Advisory Committee.
- Approval of Minutes
Chairman McShane asked if there were any amendments, additions, deletions or corrections to the second draft of the January 15, 2009, meeting. There being no amendments, deletions, or corrections, Mr. Evans made a motion that the Board approve second draft of the minutes of the January 15, 2009, meeting as presented. Mr. Pulliam seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
Sam Hiott, Chairman, Harry Hampton Memorial Wildlife Fund, presented the Department with a symbolic check in the amount of $101,925 for 2009 projects.
Mr. Frampton commended Jim Quinn and Stephen Robertson for their work on a recent BUI case.
Col. Alvin Taylor, Deputy Director for Law Enforcement, presented Ken Cope with his SEAFWA plaque for his selection as South Carolina’s Law Enforcement Officer of the Year. The plaque was not ready at the time of the SEAFWA Conference.
Col. Taylor announced the selection of Chisolm Frampton as the Captain for Region IV.
Col. Taylor announced the selection of Ferrell Pulaski as the Sergeant in the Orangeburg and Bamberg Unit.
Mr. Frampton welcomed Ken Rentiers, Deputy Director for Land, Water and Conservation, to his first official Board meeting.
- Advisory Committee Reports
- Saltwater Recreational Fisheries
Robert Boyles, Deputy Director for Marine Resources, reported that the Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Advisory Committee held a workshop on January 20. Dr. Brad Tiller was welcomed to the Advisory Committee. The workshop was held to discuss current budget cuts to the Marine Resources Division and the realignment of Recreational Fishing License revenues to areas other than programs currently funded by Stamp money. The Advisory Committee received a presentation from staff on trends associated with recreational fisheries and threats to resources and fisheries, which gave a broad view of the challenges staff face. The Advisory Committee passed a motion that the SRFAC support MRD staff in their efforts and programs including: stocking programs at the Waddell Center, artificial reefs, inshore habitat, monitoring, law enforcement and support of healthy marine recreational fisheries. The Advisory Committee passed a second motion to recommend to the DNR Board that persons who purchase a saltwater license have the option to pay an additional $5 with their license with the revenue earmarked for Marine Resources Division programs.
Representative Jeff Duncan, Chairman, House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee, requested to speak to the Board. Representative Duncan noted that he supports the proposal by Santee Cooper PSA to construct a coal-fired power plant along the Pee Dee River but also appreciates the stance DNR took on opposing the plant. Representative Duncan informed the Board that the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee has several new members. Representative Duncan thanked DNR staff for their work and assistance on several matters. Representative Duncan briefed the Board on several bills currently in committee. Chairman McShane asked Representative Duncan if staff can provide assistance with a tutorial for the new committee members. Chairman McShane also asked Representative Duncan to help him promote that DNR is not opposing the concept of a coal fire plant.
- Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries
Breck Carmichael, Deputy Director for Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, reported that the Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Advisory Committee met January 27 in Columbia. The Advisory Committee received a report on the status of the fox squirrel population. Staff believe the fox squirrel population is stable and do not recommend changes to regulations. The Advisory Committee received a report on the 2008 Public Alligator Hunting Season and the Economic Impact of Freshwater Fisheries in South Carolina. The Advisory Committee was updated on the Dog Deer Hunting Stakeholder Group results, legislative initiatives and the budget situation. Staff provided the Advisory Committee with a forecast for the 2009 turkey season.
- Land, Water and Conservation
Ken Rentiers, Deputy Director for Land, Water and Conservation, reported that the Land, Water and Conservation Advisory Committee met February 5 in Columbia. The Advisory Committee presented a Certificate of Appreciation to Von Snelgrove for his 34 years of service. Greg Henderson, President, SC Association of Conservation Districts, gave the Advisory Committee an update on the Association’s activities which included the cancellation of their legislative reception and the hosting of the National Association of Conservation Districts Southeastern meeting. Larry Boyleston, Assistant Commissioner of Agriculture, reported on the Waste Pesticide Recovery Program and noted that 200,000 pounds were collected during the first month. The Advisory Committee received updates on drought, climate, pending water legislation and the budget situation. The Advisory Committee received a presentation on the draft 2009 Aquatic Plant Management Plan. The Advisory Committee thanked Steve de Kozlowski for his service as Interim Deputy Director.
Breck Carmichael reported that the Waterfowl Advisory Committee met February 10 at Nemours Plantation. The Advisory Committee received reports on the results of the Waterfowl Hunting Season on WMA’s, the mid-winter waterfowl survey and the draft 2009 Aquatic Plant Management Plan. Chairman Sam Hiott is leading an effort for peer reviews on DNR waterfowl areas. The next areas scheduled for peer review are Bonneau Ferry and Sandy Island. The Advisory Committee remains interested in holding public listening sessions. DNR staff will assist with these sessions but will have limited participation. The Advisory Committee received an update on legislative priorities and the budget situation. The Advisory Committee discussed future waterfowl seasons.
- Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series
Chairman McShane reported that the Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series Advisory Committee met on February 12 in Charleston. The Advisory Committee was informed that the 2008 Annual Report is complete and will be reviewed by the Committee prior to sending it to the DNR Board. The Advisory Committee received an update on the 2009 sponsorship. The Advisory Committee approved the separation, based upon age, for the Youth and Lady Angler awards. The Advisory Committee approved a rule modification to include that if the intent of the crew is to land a fish and is unsuccessful, no release points will be awarded. The Advisory Committee also modified the current rule, which suspends a day of fishing if a “Small Craft Advisory” is posted by NOAA Weather Service. Mr. Davis made a motion that the Board approve the nomination recommendation of Peter Loy, replacing Stephen Cryst. Mr. Pulliam seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
- Items for Board Information
- Drought Update
Hope Mizzell, State Climatologist, informed the group that there has been no change in drought status. Dr. Mizzell reported that the Drought Response Committee will meet February 19, 2009. Dr. Mizzell reviewed streamflows, lake levels and ground-water monitoring wells around the state.
- Belfast Project Update
Emily Cope, Assistant Director for Special Projects and National Affairs, reported on the fundraising efforts for the Belfast Project. DNR closed on the first phase of Belfast in October. The Conservation Fund is holding the southern half of the property while funds are being raised. Currently, DNR owes The Conservation Fund approximately $7.7 million to complete the deal. Staff are fairly confident that there will be some Forest Legacy funding in 2010 and have informed The Conservation Fund that the closing may have to be pushed back farther than originally anticipated. Staff is in the process of submitting a $1 million NAWCA Grant for this and also saving Heritage Trust Funds in the hopes of using them toward Belfast. Ms. Cope informed the Board that the National Wild Turkey Federation has committed to being a full partner in this effort and is working on some major fundraising efforts.
- Economic Impact of SCDNR
Carole Collins introduced Dr. Doug Woodward, USC Moore School of Business. Dr. Woodward informed the Board that five areas were included in this study: 1) recreational fishing, hunting and wildlife viewing; 2) coastal tourism; 3) forestry; 4) mining; and 5) recreational manufacturing (boating and other vehicle) industry. Dr. Woodward reviewed the different impacts (value added, labor income, employment and output) in each of the areas. Dr. Woodward then gave the overall economic impact of natural resources in South Carolina as $29,048,260,568 in output; 235,431 employment; and $7,768,344,539 in labor income. The conclusion drawn is that natural resources are responsible for creating more jobs than any other state asset—that is, along with its educated work force. He noted the two resources are complementary. The State needs to raise the quality of its education opportunities and retain its educated population. Natural resources can be effectively used as part of an economic development strategy focusing on the higher quality of life engendered by natural amenities and the wise business use of natural assets. Following Dr. Woodward’s presentation, there was much discussion about the possibility of including more areas in the study and also about the release of this information.
- Items for Board Action
- Proposed Final Regulations to Implement Alligator Control and Management
Breck Carmichael distributed the 2008 Public Alligator Hunting Season Report. Mr. Carmichael then reviewed the final regulations as included in the Board package. Mr. Campbell made a motion that the Board adopt the proposed final regulations to implement alligator control and management as presented. Mr. Evans seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
- Emergency Regulations – Hunting in WMA’s
Mr. Carmichael reviewed the proposed emergency regulations for hunting on WMA’s as included in the Board package. Mr. Campbell made a motion that the Board adopt the emergency regulations for hunting on WMA’s as presented with the understanding that staff will specifically look at opportunities to go to March 15. Mr. Evans seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
- Item for Board Information
Update on Waddell Mariculture Center
Bob Van Dolah, Director, Marine Resources Research Institute, gave the Board a brief update on the activities at the Waddell Mariculture Center which included Cobia, Red Drum, the Charleston Harbor Striped Bass and Super Intensive Shrimp Culture Technology.
- Director’s Briefing
Mr. Frampton stated that he would like for the Board to revisit the December 11, 2008, Board meeting minutes to add the fact that Bob Perry made a presentation on the Santee Cooper project.
Mr. Frampton informed the Board that the Board of Economic Advisors reported a continued downturn in the economy. The Department will sequester an additional 3% of the budget in anticipation of another cut.
Mr. Frampton reminded the Board that the Statement of Economic Interests forms are due by April 15. Mr. Frampton and Chairman McShane met with Kevin Marsh, President of SCE&G, to discuss the Saluda River barrier issue. Chairman McShane stated that the two issues of concern are the placement of the barrier, 2,500 feet from the dam, and the perceived exclusivity of that area for SCE&G employees only. SCE&G made the commitment that no employees fish from vessels in that area. They may fish from the bank, but SCE&G owns that property. SCE&G has requested a response from the Department as to where the barrier should be located. Mr. Frampton recommended that the barrier be moved back to where the original buoys were for the safety zone. Mr. Pulliam made a motion that the Board accept the recommendation to move the barrier to where the previous restrictions were located. Mrs. Rhodes seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously. Chairman McShane recommended that Mr. Frampton remind SCE&G officials, in the letter, of their commitment that no employees fish on the water behind the safety zone.
- Legislative Report
Derrick Meggie, Director of Legislative Services, reported on the status of the WMA – Heritage Trust Lands, Shore-Based Angler, Shark and Bird Nest, Turkey Baiting, Bear, Deer/Dog bills and the Landscape Architect/Soil Classifiers bills. Mr. Meggie noted that he has not received any comments from his second request to Department of Motor Vehicles on the Natural Resources License Plate. Mr. Meggie informed the Board that the Constitutional Right to Hunt was introduced by Representative Hunt in its original form from two years ago. Mr. Meggie also informed the Board that Representative Hayes has introduced the Surface Water Bill. Mr. Frampton reported that Mr. Mabry has drafted failure to stop for blue light language to be included in Title 50 instead of Title 56. This language will be provided to the Board for their consideration.
- Environmental Report
Mr. Frampton informed the Board that he has had three meetings with Santee Cooper about the proposed coal-fired power plant at which time he informed Bill McCall that if the ash pits remained on the river bluff DNR would oppose the project. Chairman McShane reminded the Board why this topic was brought up in January. He stated the purpose was due to the TVA Kingston Fossil Plant ash spill on December 22. The Board recommended that Mr. Frampton write a letter to Santee Cooper addressing specific allegations, outlining meeting dates, discussion topics and include the article from the Wall Street Journal, which the Chairman referenced.
Bob Perry, Director of Environmental Programs, reported that DHEC has not rendered a decision on the 401 Water Quality Certification for this project. Staff did recommend in December that those permits be held in abeyance pending the EIS process. Mr. Perry reviewed the EIS process. It is expected that the draft EIS may be complete as early as August 2009. The Corps of Engineers will have an opportunity to review. Mr. Perry stated that it may be 15 to 18 months before the draft EIS is released by the Corps of Engineers for public comment. Mr. Perry stated that with regard to the decision sustained by the DHEC Board, it appears that it will be appealed to the Administrative Law Court. Mr. Perry noted that he has attended nine meetings with Santee Cooper. He has also met several times with DHEC staff and there have been no problems with working with staff or their methods. Mr. Perry noted that there are still several necessary permits for the project and the EIS.
Mr. Perry informed the Board that staff have been actively involved in discussions regarding proposed nuclear power projects for Duke Power and SCE&G. Mr. Perry reported on the Relicensing of Hydro Power Facilities. The relicensing of the Saluda project is entering a new phase, moving from a negotiation and discovery phase to a settlement phase. The relicensing of the Keowee-Toxaway project is just beginning. Mr. Perry noted that he was involved in a meeting with Corps of Engineers Regulatory staff and DHEC Regulatory staff to discuss the regulatory aspects of the stimulus package. Mr. Perry reported that the Savannah Harbor Expansion project DEIS should be released soon.
- Deputy Directors Reports
- Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries
Mr. Carmichael reported on the question of cost on the Natural Resources License Plate, from last month. The cost varies from $10 to $100, with most plates being in the $30 to $70 range. The cost of the endangered species is currently $30, while the saltwater plate is $70. Mr. Carmichael stated that his preference is to keep the cost at $30. Mr. Davis made a motion that the Board accept the staff recommendation to keep the cost of the Natural Resources License Plate at $30. Mrs. Rhodes seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
- Law Enforcement
Nothing further to report.
- Outreach and Support Services
Carole Collins, Deputy Director for Outreach and Support Services, presented the winning 15th Annual Junior Duck Stamp. This year’s competition contained 783 entries from 40 schools.
Mr. Boyles reported he and his staff participated in a workshop this week concerning Red Drum Stock Assessment. An assessment workshop will be held in June, followed by an independent review of the science of the assessment. He expects the results of this stock assessment to the NMFS in November.
- Land, Water and Conservation
Mr. Rentiers reported that the SC Aquatic Plant Management Council met last month and approved the draft 2009 Aquatic Plant Management Plan for public review and comment. Public comments are due by March 2. The draft plan includes proposed stocking of sterile grass carp in six public lakes, the largest being Lakes Marion and Moultrie, Lake Greenwood and Goose Creek Reservoir. Mr. Rentiers distributed a copy of the proposed sterile grass carp stocking for 2009. Mr. Rentiers reminded the Board that the Drought Response Committee will meet February 19. Mr. Rentiers informed the Board that staff presented a workshop to the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee earlier in the week on water resources in South Carolina, a drought update and Geological Survey activities.
- Executive Session
At this time, Mr. Davis made a motion for the Board to hold an Executive Session to discuss contractual, legal and personnel matters. Mr. Murray seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
- Return to Regular Session
Mr. Pulliam made a motion that the Board return to regular session and noted that no actions were taken in Executive Session. Mrs. Rhodes seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
Mr. Davis made a motion that the Board accept the recommendation of the Land, Water and Conservation Advisory Committee to reappoint the following Conservation District Commissioners: Elizabeth Johnston, Berkeley; James C. Lynch, Florence; Farris Michael Seymour, Laurens; C. Wayne Satterwhite, Newberry; George Ulmer, Orangeburg; and Jack L. Davis, Sumter; to appoint Patsy Smith, Pickens; and to appoint William C. Kennerty, Charleston, as Commissioner Emeritus, as requested by the Charleston Soil and Water Conservation District.
- Time and Location of the Next Meetings
The March Board meeting will be held Wednesday, March 11, 2009, in Columbia.
The April Board meeting will be held Thursday, April 23, 2009, in Columbia.
There being no further business to be brought before the DNR Board at this time, the meeting was adjourned.