Minutes

Board of the Department of Natural Resources

Rosewood’s - State Fair Grounds

Columbia, South Carolina

Friday, March 23, 2001

9:00 a.m.

 

 

The regular meeting of the Board of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources was held at 9:00 am, on Friday, March 23, 2001, at Rosewood’s on the State Fair Grounds, 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 9:00 a.m. and welcomed everyone to the meeting.

 

II.         Meditation

         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 Jim Harrison, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee; Bob Bailey, Executive Director of the Sportsmen’s Coalition; Marty Solomon; Shelley Hill, The State newspaper; Joey Holleman, The State newspaper; and Crosby Lewis, a Columbia attorney.

 

IV.       Presentations/Commendations

            Chairman Lesesne asked Mr. McEachin and Stuart Greeter to make a presentation to the US Customs Service.  Mr. Greeter introduced Greg Sassi from the Customs Service.  Mr. Greeter stated that the presentation of the Certificate of Appreciation is to recognize the Customs Service for their donation of a 200-acre parcel on the Little Pee Dee River to DNR last year.

 

            Dr. Sandifer asked John Miglarese to give a brief background of the three recipients of the Board’s Meritorious Service Award.  Dr. Miglarese gave background information on Charles Farmer, Mike McKenzie and Bob Van Dolah and presented each their award.

 

            Dr. Sandifer recognized Mike Willis for his efforts in keeping communication open during the recent search and recovery at Lake Murray.

 

            Dr. Sandifer noted that Ken Prosser and Neil Bartley, mentees in the W.I.L.D. program, are in attendance.

           

V.          Constituency Comments

            Mr. Chamblee introduced Buddy Meetze, Richland County Council Member, and asked him to address the Board.  Mr. Meetze’s comments were directed toward information provided to Richland County Council and FEMA.  Mr. Meetze’s written comments are attached to the original minutes.

 

            Mr. Chamblee introduced Dr. John Grego, College of Science and Math, Statistics Department, University of South Carolina, and asked him to address the Board.  Dr. Grego’s comments were in support of the information the Department provided to Richland County Council and FEMA.

 

            Mr. Chamblee introduced Dr. John Mark Dean, Professor of Marine Science, University of South Carolina and Member of the Land, Water and Conservation Division Advisory Committee, and asked him to address the Board.  Dr. Dean’s comments were directed toward the responsibilities of staff and the Board in relation to actions taken and the process of reviewing permits.  Dr. Dean stated that his involvement over the years with the agency has resulted in confidence in the staff.

 

            Mr. Chamblee introduced Ms. Nancy Stone-Collum, Coastal Conservation League, and asked her to address the Board.  Ms. Stone-Collum’s stated that over the years she has been impressed with the increased technology and scientific information that comes into play in decisions, comments and recommendations made by DNR staff.

 

VI. Approval of Minutes

            Chairman Lesesne asked if there were any corrections or additions to the minutes of the February 16, 2001, meeting.  There being no corrections or additions Mr. Gregg made a motion that the minutes of the February 16, 2001, meeting be approved as submitted.  Dr. Rucker seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

 

VII. Advisory Committee Reports

A.     Law Enforcement

Dr. Leary reported that the Law Enforcement Division has decided to decrease the number of vehicles ordered and decrease the field officer mileage to 1500 miles per month.  The Advisory Committee received an update on in-service training and upgrading radio and communication services to be compatible with SLED.  The Advisory Committee discussed the Victim Advocacy Grant from the Governor’s Office.  Dr. Leary stated that the Hunter Education Program is now available on CD.  The Advisory Committee also received a legislative update.

 

            B. Marine

                  Mr. Gregg reported that the Marine Advisory Committee met on March 8 and 9.  The meeting held on March 8 was a joint meeting of MAC and DHEC-OCRM.  Mr. Gregg stated that MAC took action on an item brought up in the meeting with OCRM.  The item was to support OCRM on having freshwater wetlands within the coastal zone designated as geographic areas of particular concern.  Mr. Gregg noted that another matter discussed in the MAC and DHEC-OCRM meeting concerning regulations to change permitting in the critical areas regarding docks and private bridges.  The MAC passed a resolution supporting OCRM on the proposed regulations with the stipulation that any private bridges have a compelling public need for the structure.  Mr. Gregg noted that there was discussion regarding shrimp baiting and the proposed legislation.  MAC agreed to serve as a resource to address the problems of shrimp baiting but neither endorse or oppose the bill at this point.  Mr. Gregg stated that the Advisory Committee received an update on the red fish stock.  Indications are that the red fish stocks are dwindling and this is a concern for the Department and recreational fishermen.  The Department is currently researching solutions for the decline in red fish stocks.

 

            C. Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Advisory Board

Dr. Miglarese reported that the Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Advisory Board met on March 14.  The Advisory Board elected new officers – Bill Puckett was elected Chair and Ed Holder was elected Vice Chair.  The Advisory Board also used this time to prepare for the presentation before the Senate Fish, Game and Forestry Committee on the proposed changes in the fee structure for saltwater license.

 

VIII. Director’s Briefings

Dr. Sandifer reported that the House passed budget includes a direct cut of 13% of DNR’s state appropriated funds - $4,046,946.  Dr. Sandifer noted that this would cause a huge impact because most of the state funds are dedicated to personnel – 81%.  The House budget bill also removes an unknown figure, but something over $2 million from earmarked revenue funds.  Dr. Sandifer stated that this is a very serious problem and will have affects across the entire agency.  Dr. Sandifer noted that every step is being taken to reduce expenditures in the current year and carry forward the reductions into the next year.  Dr. Sandifer reported that a freeze has been established on hiring and major equipment purchases.

 

IX.      Items for Board Information

            A.  South Carolina 2000:  Special Places Identification Project

            Dell Isham, Executive Director of the South Carolina Chapter – Sierra Club, distributed copies of South Carolina 2000:  Special Places Identification Project.  Mr. Isham stated that this document was virtually a total volunteer effort.  The volunteers went to 110 sites (public and private) taking photographs and collecting maps to identify the volunteers idea of the special places in South Carolina.  The volunteers were also given guidelines to follow such as a special place is a place in South Carolina that has a unique environment or an important habitat or has some historic/cultural significance and is also threatened by neglect, development, land conversion or uncontrolled pollution.

 

B.     Climate Update

Hope Mizell gave the Board an overview of the upcoming hurricane season and a status report of the drought.

 

   X.      Items for Board Action

A.     Amendments to FOIA Policy #500.01

Dr. Sandifer distributed copies of the latest draft of Policy #500.01.  The earlier draft of the policy was placed on the Department website and most of the comments received did not arrive until March 22.  Dr. Sandifer asked that the Board receive this as information today and staff will respond to those who have provided comments and ask for additional input and bring it back to the Board for final approval at the April meeting.  Mr. Gregg also recommended that action be deferred until the April meeting.

 

B.     Amendments to DNR Disciplinary Policy #701.03

Jean Cowell reviewed the amendments which were discussed at the February Board meeting.  Ms. Cowell also reviewed changes which have been made since the Board received their materials for the meeting.  Dr. Leary made a motion to approve the amendments to DNR Disciplinary Policy #701.03 as presented.   Mr. Ford seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

 

C.     Creel Limits and Lure/Bait Restrictions in portions of Chatooga River and Cheohee Creek

Dan Rankin explained to the Board that they are attempting to institute a trout management program.  The proposal is to change the creel limits under statutory authority.  This proposal is being made to two streams, the Chatooga River in northern Oconee County, and a section of Cheohee Creek at Piedmont Forestry Center.  Dr. Leary made a motion that the creel limits and lure/bait restrictions in portions of the Chatooga River and Cheohee Creek be approved as presented.  Ms. Holliday seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

 

D.     Proposed Legislation

Mr. McEachin made a motion that the following language be adopted as a guide for future policy and possible legislation regarding coyotes.  “The enforcement officers of the DNR may enter onto public or private property whether or not enclosed for the purpose of investigating whether coyotes are on such property.  If coyotes are on such property, the officers must take the coyotes in the most humane fashion possible as determined by the Department.  Coyotes are declared to be contraband and it is a misdemeanor to possess a live one without a permit from the Department.  It is further declared a misdemeanor to interfere with any officer who is attempting to take coyotes. “  Ms. Holliday seconded the motion.  After much discussion the Board agreed, by unanimous vote, to use this language as guidance for future consideration of this issue.

 

E.      Heritage Trust Property Acquisition

This item was deferred to executive session.

 

XI. Executive Session

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

 

XII.      Return to Regular Session

            The Board returned to regular session and invited staff and guests to join the meeting.

 

Dr. Leary made a motion that the Board purchase the Clamp Tract as a Heritage Trust Preserve as presented.  Mr. McEachin seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

 

Dr. Leary made a motion that the Board purchase the Berkeley County property, as discussed by the Heritage Trust Advisory Board, into the Heritage Trust proposal for acquisition.  Ms. Holliday seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

 

XIII. Director’s Briefings

A.     Habitat Protection

John Frampton stated that the Atlantic Flyway Council endorsed the option for a season extension.  Mr. Frampton stated that this will now be considered by the USFWS.  Mr. Frampton also reported that it is unlikely that South Carolina will have a continuation of the teal season.

 

B.     Legislative

Derrick Meggie updated the Board on the status of bills proposed by the Department and those that are of interest to the Department.

 

C.     Executive Office

Dr. Sandifer and Chairman Lesesne attended the annual National Wild Turkey Federation convention in Columbus, OH.

 

Dr. Sandifer met with Senators McGill, Branton and Grooms and staff member Bruce Duke, of the Senate Finance Subcommittee, as they toured DNR on February 27 to learn more about DNR and visit the Dennis Building facility.

 

Dr. Sandifer met with the mentees of the W.I.L.D. program on March 1, as they held a group project planning meeting.

 

Dr. Sandifer attended the swearing-in of new DNR officers on March 2 as well as their graduation ceremony on March 9.

 

Dr. Sandifer reported that Mr. Chamblee attended the Governor’s Summit on Growth held March 11-13, 2001, in Myrtle Beach.

 

Dr. Sandifer attended the Senate hearing, along with Chairman Lesesne and Mr. Gregg, on the Conservation Bank bill on March 14.  Chairman Lesesne and a substantial number of supporters from the Land Legacy Coalition spoke in favor of the bill and it was reported out unanimously.

 

Dr. Sandifer attended the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Conference held in Washington, DC, on March 16-20.

 

XIV.     Deputy Directors’ Reports

A.     Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries

Billy  McTeer asked Tim Ivey to review the two sets of proposed WMA regulations, which are currently before the General Assembly.  Mr. Ivey distributed copies of the proposed regulations and reviewed the changes (proposed regulations are attached to the original minutes).

 

B.     Law Enforcement

Lt. Col. Stanley Smith reported that the number of cases is higher than this time last year.  Lt. Col. Smith also stated that the Governor’s Palmetto Pride Project deals exclusively with litter and the Governor’s staff is looking into making the OGT telephone number the central recording location for litter violations in the state.

 

C.     Conservation Education and Communications

No further report.

 

D.     Marine Resources

No further report.

 

E.      Land, Water and Conservation

No further report.

 

F.      Administrative Services

No further report.

 

 

XV.      Time and Location of the Next Meeting

Chairman Lesesne stated that the next meeting of the DNR Board will be held on Friday, April 20, 2001, at the Rembert C. Dennis Building, Room 335, beginning at 10:00 a.m.

 

The May meeting of the DNR Board will be held on Friday, May 18, 2001, at USC-Lancaster, in the Hubbard Hall Gallery, beginning at 9:30 a.m.

 

XVI. Adjournment

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