MINUTES

BOARD OF THE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES

Washington Light Infantry Building, 287 Meeting Street

Charleston, South Carolina

Friday, February 18, 2000

9:30 a.m.



The regular meeting of the Board of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources was held at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, February 18, 2000, at the Washington Light Infantry Building, Charleston, 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 Danny Ford, Ben Gregg, Russell Holliday, Dr. Julius Leary, 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 9:30 a.m. and welcomed everyone to the meeting.


II. Meditation

Chairman Lesesne asked for a moment of silent meditation.


III. Introduction of Guests

Cary Chamblee introduced the following guests: Pat Robertson, Outdoor Writer with State Newspaper; Frank Gibson, member of the Marine Advisory Committee; Jimmy Leland, member of the Marine Advisory Committee; Sam Hiott, retired member of the Marine Advisory Committee; and Rick DeVoe, Executive Director of the SC Sea Grant Consortium.


IV. Constituency Comments

Mr. Chamblee stated that there was one request for constituency comment made in advance by Chip Sharpe. Mr. Sharpe's comments were to thank the DNR Board for the decision made in reference to the Carter and Edmondson appeal.


V. Approval of Minutes

Chairman Lesesne asked if there were any corrections or additions to the minutes of the January 14, 2000, meeting. Ms. Holliday made a motion that the minutes of the January 14, 2000, meeting be approved as presented. Dr. Rucker seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.


VI. Presentations/Commendations

Dr. Sandifer asked Alvin Wright, DNR; Mark Huguley, SLED; and Rev. Eric Skidmore to come forward and speak on behalf of the Employee Assistance Program, a cooperative effort among DNR, SLED, Public Safety and Probation, Parole and Pardon Services. SLED has agreed to house the offices and all agencies have committed to funding until specific state funding is available.

Dr. Sandifer commended Barry Beasley for his work with Catawba River.

Dr. Sandifer recognized Emily Schroeder and others for the efforts and arrangements at the recent legislative reception. Mr. Gregg also acknowledge the efforts put forth by staff.

Dr. Sandifer asked Dale Theiling to give a brief history of the Washington Light Infantry and thanked Dale and the WLI for allowing the Board to use its facilities.

Dr. Sandifer recognized John Frampton and Bob Redfern for the success of the recent Hunting Symposium.


VII. Items for Board Information

A. Berkeley, Charleston and Dorchester Regional Growth Projection for 2030

Freddy Vang asked Richard Lacy to review and explain DNR's involvement with this project. Mr. Lacy reported that DNR has gathered the historical data of urban growth through satellite imagery. Mr. Lacy presented information on the expansion of urbanized land in the Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester area over the period from 1973 through 1994 and found that urbanized land increased at a rate six times that of population growth in the region.

Dr. Robert Becker, Director of the Strom Thurmond Institute at Clemson University, reported that SC has experienced remarkable growth in the past 20 years, but this growth will pale in relation to that projected for the next 15 years. Dr. Becker noted that the population of South Carolina is estimated to grow by some 1 million new people over the next 12-15 years. Dr. Becker then introduced Mr. Jeff Allen of the Strom Thurmond Institute, who headed a team that modeled urban growth for the Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester area using data developed by the DNR. Mr. Allen explained the urban growth projection model and its various assumptions and illustrated some of the possible outcomes using maps. The most likely scenario showed urbanized landscape increasing to a total of 868 square miles in these three counties by the year 2030. This is likely to be the result if more effective land-use strategies are not developed and implemented soon.

Mr. Vang then discussed the GAP analysis and how it will look at habitat by species and what will be impacted. Mr. Vang stated that there will also be an increased awareness effort to get this information and the urban growth data before the public.

B. Activities of the Marine Patrol District

Maj. Alvin Taylor reviewed the activities of the Marine Patrol District (District 9) and also their duties and achievements as outlined under the Joint Project Agreement (JPA) with the National Marine Fisheries Service. A detailed written report on the JPA was presented to the Board (copy included with original minutes).

Dr. Leary stated that the officers need to be commended for their efforts. Dr. Leary also noted that with the projected growth of the States' population, the Department needs to look at how it needs to grow to continue to provide services.

Dr. Sandifer recognized Capt. John McClellan and his District 9 officers for their outstanding work.


VIII. Advisory Committee Reports

A. Governor's Cup Billfishing Series Advisory Board

John Miglarese reported that the Governor's Cup Billfishing Series Advisory Board met February 2. The Board is preparing for the upcoming tournament season. Dr. Miglarese distributed a copy of the tournament schedule for information. Dr. Miglarese stated that the Governor's Cup Series was nominated for a state-wide environmental award. Although the GCBS did not receive the award, it is quite an honor to be nominated and the Series continues to emphasize catch and release.

B. Heritage Trust

Malloy McEachin reported that the Heritage Trust Advisory Board met earlier this month at Bonneau Ferry. Mr. McEachin stated that the Heritage Trust Board desires to work with the General Assembly to either remove or increase the current acreage cap on Heritage Trust property. Mr. McEachin noted that Chris Judge would present several Heritage Trust registration agreements under Items for Board Action.

C. Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries

Russell Holliday stated that the Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Advisory Committee received several important reports, including the following: John Tanner provided an update on the Road Hunting legislation; John Jernigan reported on the public meetings that were beginning to be held on the high fence issues; Breck Carmichael provided information on legislation of interest; Bob Redfern reported on the Future of Hunting Symposium; Tommy Strange reported on the 1999-2000 season waterfowl harvest on state managed areas and on the first year of public waterfowl hunting at the Santee Coastal Reserve; staff presented information about a practice observed in some other states where pesticides or other toxins are illegally or improperly used in attempts to control quail predators, with negative impacts on non-target species including possibly humans; and staff discussed the decline in revenues from the sale of hunting and fishing licenses this year.


IX. Items for Board Action

A. Proposed Revision of Board's Habitat Resolution

Ben Gregg recommended that the Board's Habitat Resolution, which was passed unanimously in August 1999, be amended to specifically recognize the importance of farms and forestlands. Mr. Gregg then reviewed the proposed amendments and made a motion that these amendments be included in the Habitat Resolution. Dr. Rucker seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously (copy of amended resolution attached to original minutes).


B. Approval of Heritage Trust Registration Agreements

Chris Judge presented three proposed registration agreements with Westvaco (Calais Ferry Mile Markers, Berkeley County; Comingtee Plantation, Berkeley County; and the Oswald Unit Gopher Tortoise Site, Jasper County). Mr. Judge also presented a proposed registration agreement with the John De La Howe School, McCormick County, on a two acre site. Mr. McEachin made a motion that the Board approve the four proposed Registration Agreements. Ms. Holliday seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.


C. Ad Hoc Shrimp Baiting Committee Report

Dr. Miglarese asked Wayne Waltz to give the Board a brief history of the ad hoc Shrimp Baiting Committee and present its recommendations. Mr. Waltz stated that the Committee was formed at the request of the legislature to investigate various concerns expressed about the shrimp baiting fishery and develop recommendations to address those concerns as it deemed necessary. Mr. Waltz reported that the Committee had reached unanimous consensus on the following five recommendations: 1) that the sale of shrimp baiting permits to individuals who held certain commercial licenses be prohibited; 2) that stricter proof of residency requirements be required for anyone seeking a resident baiting permit; 3) that a minimum cast net mesh size of 3/8 inch be established, with a 2- year grace for implementation to allow the inch nets currently in use and in stock to be used up; 4) that participants be redefined so that if two or more people were in one boat participating in the fishery, one must have a shrimp baiting permit and the other at least a saltwater fishing stamp if he/she did not also have a shrimp baiting permit; and 5) that there be no change in permit fees. It was recognized that all of these except perhaps item 2 would require action by the General Assembly.

Dr. Miglarese noted that the committee was composed of representatives of interest groups. Dr. Miglarese also stated that many man hours were devoted to working with this committee and preparing the report and documentation of all meetings.

After several questions from Board Members, Dr. Lesesne expressed his appreciation for the work involved in this report and the recommendations. Dr. Lesesne then asked if there were any other comments. Tom Saylor, a member of the ad hoc Committee, distributed and read a letter he sent to the Board regarding the results of the Committee process (copy attached to original minutes). Mike Gifford, a member of the ad hoc Committee, congratulated Sam Hiott for the hours he put in as Chairman and his patience and the DNR staff for their work with this Committee. Dr. Miglarese stated for the record that responses were sent to Mr. Saylor and that Department personnel did not serve on the Committee but rather staffed it. Jimmy Leland, a member of the Marine Advisory Committee, stated that he attended a few of the meetings and found them to be very restrictive and closed in a way that if you were not a member of the Committee you could give no input. Mr. Leland suggested that a solution to the residency problem would be to permit the boat and not the person.

Dr. Leary made a motion that the Board accept the five recommendations as presented by Wayne Waltz and that they be forwarded to the General Assembly. Dr. Rucker seconded the motion. Mr. Gregg commended staff for their time and work with this Committee and encouraged the Board members to read the report thoroughly and the Committee comments. The motion carried unanimously (copy of report and recommendations with original minutes).


D. Proposed Amendment to Board Policy 100.01

Mr. Chamblee reviewed the proposed amendment to Board Policy 100.01 regarding constituency comments. Mr. Ford made a motion that the Board adopt the proposed amendment as presented. Dr. Leary seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously (copy of amended Board Policy 100.01 attached to the original minutes).


X. Director's Briefings

A. Executive Office

1. Director

Dr. Sandifer stated that Benny Reeves is absent because the House Ways and Means Chairman and Subcommittee Chairs are meeting today.

Dr. Sandifer reported that he presented the Department's FY 2001 budget request before the House Ways and Means Natural Resources, Economic Development and Environmental Subcommittee on January 19. He noted that the request was viewed favorably by the Subcommittee members.

Dr. Sandifer participated in a meeting of the External Advisory Committee to the Clemson Institute of Environmental Toxicology External Advisory Committee on January 20 and 21.

Dr. Sandifer attended the SC Wildlife Federation awards banquet on January 22. DNR Employees Robert Gooding and Bill Mahan were recognized, as was former DNR Board member Mary Pope Hutson.

Dr. Sandifer thanked Law Enforcement and other employees who assisted during the recent snow storm. Law Enforcement staff did a fine job under very difficult circumstances.

Dr. Sandifer participated in the Environmental Awareness Award ceremony held in the State House Rotunda on February 1. Governor Hodges presented the award to Kenneth Richardson.

Dr. Sandifer reported that he, Ben Gregg, Brad Wyche, John Frampton and Cary Chamblee met on February 4 to discuss development of a habitat protection strategy for the department.

Dr. Sandifer met with representatives of Public Safety, SLED, Department of Corrections, Department of Juvenile Justice and Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services on February 11 to discuss law enforcement salary issues and other matters.

Dr. Sandifer noted that John Frampton, John Miglarese and Robert Boyles represented DNR at IAFWA Federal Budget briefing held in Washington on February 14 and 15.

Dr. Sandifer thanked Board members for attending the legislative reception held on Tuesday evening and the breakfast on Wednesday morning.

Dr. Sandifer attended a meeting of the SC Aquarium Board yesterday and has been asked to chair that Board's Animal Care Committee.

Dr. Sandifer referred to a memo from him as drafted by Benny Reeves related to revenue income from the Wildlife Endowment Fund. We have the right to spend the interest from this fund and Dr. Sandifer wishes to spend approximately $300,000 of the $360,000 available to make up for license revenue shortfalls we are experiencing this year.

Dr. Sandifer reported that he and John Frampton will be attending the National Wild Turkey Federation Convention on February 24-27, in Nashville, Tennessee. The NWTF is one of the nation's largest and most effective conservation organizations in the country and it is headquartered in Edgefield, SC.

Dr. Sandifer commended Jean Cowell and the Human Resources staff for their efforts in promoting diversity in the work force. The agency was ranked 7th from the bottom in relation to meeting our Affirmative Action goals. This is a very significant improvement over last year's ranking.

2. Habitat Protection Activities

John Frampton reported that several meetings have been held among staff since the last Board meeting. Staff are considering development of a brochure to use to educate the public about this program. Mr. Frampton stated that we will continue to work in partnership with state, federal and private organizations to implement a broad habitat conservation strategy.

3. DNR Regional Meetings

Mr. Chamblee reported that two regional meetings have been held for DNR staff in the upstate portion of the state. Plans are being developed to have a meeting in Columbia next.

4. Legislative Report

Derrick Meggie reported on the success of the legislative reception held Tuesday evening and again thanked Emily Schroeder and other staff for their efforts.

Mr. Meggie reported that the Coastal Fisheries Bill Conference Committee met on February 16 and the bill passed both Houses on February 17.

Mr. Meggie stated that the next bill up for action is S 688, the Drought Response Act.

Mr. Meggie noted that the next bill in priority order is S 753, Department Authority to Regulate Department Owned Lands.

Mr. Meggie stated that the Road Hunting bill probably will not be heard until after April 1.

Mr. Chamblee reported on the progress of the Rules and Regulations Committee in simplifying the Department's annual manual of hunting and fishing regulations.


B. Deputy Directors' Reports

1. Natural Resources Enforcement - Alvin Wright thanked Dr. Sandifer for his efforts in bringing together the heads of State law enforcement agencies. Col. Wright distributed copies of a working document intended to clarify the point system and provide a much improved mechanism for accurate and timely responses to staff and the public in reference to questions concerning point assessments for wildlife and fishery violations. Col. Wright noted that this was developed in response to the Board's direction. Col. Wright reviewed the four clarification steps and requested comments and suggestions from the Board.

2. Conservation Education and Communications - No report.

3. Marine Resources - Dr. Miglarese expressed his appreciation to the Board for their assistance in gaining passage of the Coastal Fisheries bill. Dr. Miglarese suggested that the Board may like to have a briefing on the Department's participation in the securing and planned raising of the Hunley, the sunken Confederate submarine found just off Charleston a few years ago. He proposed this briefing for the April Board meeting in Charleston.

4. Land, Water and Conservation - Mr. Vang noted that the Governor's Summit on Agriculture and Natural Resources will be held at the State Museum on March 13; that the conservation districts will be hosting a legislative reception on March 14 at Seawell's; and that the Rivers Management Society will be having their national meeting in Charleston in April. The Board is invited to participate in any or all of these activities.

5. Administrative Services - No report.

6. Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries - Mr. McTeer stated that the division will be participating in an ad hoc Blue Ribbon Committee dealing with waterfowl issues in South Carolina. Mr. McTeer reported that, for the first time, members of the General Assembly have contact DNR about working on a bill that would provide some type of financial incentive(s) to private landowners to keep their land in the public hunting program.


XII. Executive Session

At this time, Dr. Leary made a motion that the Board hold an Executive Session to discuss legal, contractual and personnel matters. Mr. Ford seconded the motion and the motion passed unanimously.


RETURN TO REGULAR SESSION

Following the Executive Session, the regular meeting was resumed and participants were invited into the meeting.

Dr. Leary made a motion that the Board direct staff to move forward with the potential acquisition of a parcel of land under the Forestry Legacy Program. Mr. Ford seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

Dr. Leary made a motion that the DNR staff work with Ducks Unlimited on the dedication of a mutually acceptable area at Donnelley Center in honor of Coy Johnston, provided that the details can be worked out satisfactorily for both agencies. Dr. Rucker seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

Dr. Leary made a motion that the Board award a meritorious service award to an individual for assistance in a complex legal matter at the April meeting. Ms. Holliday seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.


XIII. Time and Location of the Next Meeting

Chairman Lesesne stated that the next meeting of the DNR Board will be held on Friday, March 24, 2000, in conjunction with the Palmetto Sportsmen's Classic in Columbia.


XIV. Adjournment

There being no further business to be brought before the DNR Board at this time, the meeting was adjourned.