Board of the Department of Natural Resources
Ellison Building – Carolina Regional Park
125 Regional Parkway
March 16, 2007 10:00 a.m.
The regular meeting of the Board of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources was held at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, March 16, 2007, at the Ellison Building, Carolina Regional Park, Orangeburg, South Carolina. 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, and Caroline Rhodes. Board members Frank Murray and Norman Pulliam absences were excused. Mr. 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 Col. Alvin Taylor to offer the invocation.
- Pledge of Allegiance
Chairman McShane led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance.
- Introduction of Guests
Hank Stallworth introduced Ben Gregg, Executive Director, SC Wildlife Federation; Charles Farmer, CCA; Cary Chamblee, SC Wildlife Federation; Representative David Umphlett; Mary Shriner, Santee Cooper Promotions Commission; Scott Whitaker, Executive Director, CCA; and Representative Gilda Cobb-Hunter.
- Constituent Comments
Ben Gregg informed the Board of his long standing relationship with the Department, beginning with his employment with the Coastal Council, through his service as a DNR Board Member, and now in his position as Executive Director of the South Carolina Wildlife Federation. Mr. Gregg recognized Buford Mabry as the newest Board Member of the SCWF. Mr. Gregg reviewed the commonalities of the SCWF and the Department and stated that he wants to work closer and partner more with the Department. Mr. Gregg noted that there will be several organizations invited to a wildlife committee meeting at Sandhills REC on April 5.
Representative Cobb-Hunter welcomed the Board to her district. She informed the Board that they will be pleased with what has been recommended for the Department by the House Ways and Means Committee. Chairman McShane and Mr. Frampton thank Representative Cobb-Hunter for her leadership and work on the budget.
Mr. Frampton informed the Board that the Comprehensive Wildlife Strategy 2005-2010 received a Notable State Document Award from the SC State Library. Mr. Frampton presented the award to Breck Carmichael but noted that numerous staff from the Marine, Land and Water and Outreach and Support Services Divisions worked on this document.
- Approval of Minutes
Chairman McShane asked if there were any additions, deletions, or corrections to the minutes of the February 16, 2007, meeting. There being no changes, Mr. Evans made a motion that the Board approve the minutes of the February 16, 2007, meeting as presented. Mrs. Rhodes seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
- Advisory Committee Reports
Robert Boyles reported that the Marine Advisory Committee met March 9. The Advisory Committee received presentations on South Carolina Oyster Restoration and Enhancement Program (SCORE), Invasive and Non-Native Species, and the Satellite Tagging Program. The Advisory Committee received a legislative update on the proposed Finfish Legislation. The Advisory Committee was briefed on the recent ASMFC meeting and was given a brief presentation on the Marine Resources Division’s role, and possible implications of the reauthorization of the Magnuson-Stevens Act.
- Items for Board Information
- Grass Carp in Santee Cooper Lakes
Chairman McShane reviewed the history and Board Policy concerning the stocking of grass carp in public water bodies. Steve de Kozlowski reviewed the proposal by the SC Aquatic Plant Management Council for stocking these fish in public waters for 2007. This proposed releases are Lake Marion, 2100 fish; Lake Moultrie, 520 fish; and Goose Creek Reservoir, 185 fish. Mr. de Kozlowski reviewed the two comments opposing this stocking that were received in the 30-day public comment period. Mr. de Kozlowski stated that the staff recommend support of the 2007 SC Aquatic Plant Management Plan as approved by the SC Aquatic Plant Management Council on March 15, 2007.
Chairman McShane asked Representative Umphlett to comment on the letter from sixteen representatives opposing the current proposal for the restocking. After discussions with several people and based on experiences with his own property, Representative Umphlett now supports this restocking effort.
Mr. Davis made a motion that the Board accept the Proposed Sterile Grass Carp Stocking in Public Waters for 2007 as presented with the contingency that staff meet with each representative who signed the letter of opposition. Mr. Evans seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
- Time-Line for Cormorant Work/Research/Survey
Breck Carmichael gave the Board a brief history of this project. There are about two million Cormorants in the US, with two populations in South Carolina. He reviewed the effect of Cormorants on the striped bass population and vegetation. Mr. Carmichael noted the two possibilities of taking Cormorants allowed by the USFWS. He recommended the agency cooperate with Clemson University to conduct a study regarding the population and its impact on the resource. Staff believe this study must be conducted prior to making a decision on the USFWS options. The Board would like staff to move forward with this study.
- Recreational Use Policy
Tim Ivey gave the Board an update on the Recreational Use Policy. Mr. Ivey stated that the policy was approved by the Board on November 17 and staff received the policy in late December. Field staff were instructed to begin implementing this policy according to the Management Plan Schedule. After a request from the Wildlife Subcommittee of the House Ag and Natural Resources Committee regarding the current and proposed uses of DNR properties, Mr. Ivey asked staff to proceed with implementation as it relates to equestrian use on DNR properties. Regulations were prepared and approved last month. Mr. Frampton noted that there has been discussion in every subcommittee and committee meeting he has been involved regarding this issue. Mr. Frampton encouraged staff to be sure that the six appropriate uses be addressed up front and provide justification as to why a use is deemed inappropriate. Mr. Frampton asked that action on Woodbury and Hamilton Ridge WMA Interim Management Plans be deferred until further review.
- Proposed Conservation Easement Policy
Chairman McShane asked Board Members to review the information and give him any comments. The Board will take action on this item at the April meeting.
- Director’s Briefings
Mr. Frampton distributed a Board Resolution regarding the Sale of National Forest Land in South Carolina and the use of the money from the sales and asked the Board to adopt this Resolution. Mr. Campbell made a motion that the Board adopt the Board’s Resolution on the Sale of National Forest Lands as presented. Mr. Evans seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously. Mr. Frampton noted that the Resolution will be sent to South Carolina’s Congressional Delegation, the National Forest Service, the Secretary of the Interior, the Governor’s Office, Senator Gregory, and Representatives Pitts and Witherspoon.
Mr. Frampton informed the Board of recent legislative activity involving the I-73 Corridor and Conservation Bank Funding. Amendments were offered in the House budget debate to use Conservation Bank land acquisition to mitigate highway construction in South Carolina. There were specific comments about DNR, DNR staff, the DNR Board and the Heritage Trust Advisory Board relative to refusal to take a reasonable approach to mitigation for I-73, specifically not discussing the exchange of 27 acres for 306 acres. Mr. Frampton informed the Board that he verified in his discussions with Tony Chapman, Interim Director of DOT, that no official position on the transfer has been proposed. Mr. Frampton stated that there has been a misrepresentation regarding this issue. Mr. Frampton asked Ed Duncan to give the Board an update on the I-73 Project and its impact on the Little Pee Dee Heritage Preserve. Mr. Duncan stated that Section 4F property designation deals with what has to be done in the event that a federal project is going to adversely impact a national wildlife refuge, public parks, national parks, or state owned wildlife management areas. The current proposal for I-73 places it parallel to the existing Highway 917 to the bridge crossing which will take about 27 acres of existing Heritage Trust property. The Heritage Trust Act requires that the Department be reimbursed at an equal level for the affected property. Mr. Duncan noted the other federal law involved is Section 404 Clean Water Act which involves impacts on wetlands. Mr. Duncan stated that DNR staff have been working closely with DOT staff on this project. At the last Heritage Trust Advisory Board meeting they indicated they want to see a specific proposal from DOT and DNR is waiting on this proposal. Chairman McShane directed staff to draft a letter to Tony Chapman, providing a copy to the House and Senate, explaining DNR’s willingness to discuss mitigation for I-73 and the fact that a proposal has not been received from DOT.
Mr. Frampton reminded the Board that their Statement of Economic Interests forms are due by April 15.
Mr. Frampton met with Frank Burroughs of National Geographic to discuss their upcoming article on the ACE Basin. This article will be in the September 2009 issue.
Mr. Frampton and Robert Boyles met with Scott English to discuss ocean issues.
Mr. Frampton informed the Board that the Legal Section of SEAFWA will be meeting in Charleston on April 12 and 13.
- Legislative Report
Derrick Meggie distributed and briefly reviewed a summary of legislative activities for the week. Mr. Meggie highlighted WMA authority, the river shack and ATV legislation. Mr. Frampton noted that there is $19.1 million increase in the House Budget for property repairs/enhancements, radio upgrade, and computer upgrades. Chairman McShane noted that Senator Campsen has introduced a finfish bill, deleting flounder. Mr. Meggie noted that flounder has been removed but a separate bill may be presented. Chairman McShane asked Charles Farmer if he wished to comment. Mr. Farmer said that Senator Campsen’s bill does not deal with flounder, but there are several bills that do. Mr. Farmer has met with Marine Resources Division staff about this issue. Mr. Farmer stated that CCA would be willing to go to Senator McGill and ask him to introduce a separate flounder bill to include a 40 fish per boat limit, 15 per person limit and 13 inch minimum length. Robert Boyles stated that based on state finfish survey data, a 13 inch minimum length will have a 22% reduction in creel. Mr. Boyles mentioned the preliminary Gig Survey shows the 13 inch minimum length will have an 8% reduction. Mr. Frampton stated that upon review of the draft legislation and based on Mr. Boyles’ statements, DNR would support such legislation.
- Executive Session
At this time Mr. Davis made a motion that the Board hold an Executive Session to discuss contractual, legal, and personnel matters. Mr. Campbell seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
- Return to Regular Session
Mr. Davis made a motion that the Board return to regular session. Mr. Evans seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
- Deputy Directors’ Reports
- Marine Resources
Mr. Boyles reiterated the meeting he and Mr. Frampton had with Scott English and the topic was alternative wind energy development and use of the Outer Continental Shelf. Mr. Boyles reported on a proposed federal regulation that would suspend the circle hook requirement for billfish tournaments for calendar year 2007.
- Land, Water and Conservation
Mr. de Kozlowski mentioned that this is Freddy Vang’s last official month of employment with DNR. The staff of the Land, Water and Conservation Division express their appreciation for Mr. Vang’s leadership.
- Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries
On behalf of the Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division, Mr. Carmichael also expressed appreciation for Mr. Vang’s leadership and cooperation. Mr. Carmichael reported that the SC Chapter of The Wildlife Society presented awards to Mark Bara, Tom Murphy, and Tim Ivey.
- Law Enforcement
Col. Taylor informed the Board that all supervisor training has been completed for Law Enforcement supervisors. Col. Taylor gave the Board an update on boating season preparations.
- Outreach and Support Services
Carole Collins stated that she, too, will miss Mr. Vang very much. Ms. Collins reported on the 23rd annual Palmetto Sportsmen’s Classic. There will be 260 vendors at this year’s event. Ms. Collins also reported that there were 575 prints received for the photography contest this year, 215 was the most received previously.
Chairman McShane asked how the turkey tagging was working? Mr. Frampton responded that as always the bird must be tagged before it is moved. The requirement that the tag must be notched is not being enforced this season due to lack of notice to the hunters. However, with proper notice for next season it likely will be a requirement. With this explanation the Board affirmed that enforcement include the requirement that the turkey be at least tagged.
- Time and Location of the Next Meeting
The April Board meeting will be held on Friday, April 20, at the Yawkey Wildlife Center in Georgetown.
There being no further business to be brought before the DNR Board at this time, the meeting was adjourned.