BOARD OF THE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES
Rembert C. Dennis Building, Room 335
Columbia, South Carolina
Friday, March 26, 1999
The regular meeting of the Board of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources was held at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, March 26, 1999, at the Rembert C. Dennis Building, Columbia, South Carolina. Notice of the date, time and place of the meeting was posted and mailed to the news media. Dr. George Graham presided at the meeting. Board Members present included Tommy Miller, Marion Burnside, Campbell Coxe, Edwin Oxner, Mary Pope Hutson and Edward Lee. 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 Graham called the meeting to order at 10:00 a.m. and welcomed everyone to the meeting.
Chairman Graham asked for a moment of silent meditation.
III.Introduction of Guests
Chairman Graham introduced Mark Robertson, Director of The Nature Conservancy for South Carolina, and Lisa Sox, Director of Research for Senate Fish, Game and Forestry Committee.
IV.Amendment to the Agenda
Chairman Graham stated that if there was no objection, the agenda would be amended to include the request concerning the Morris Island Lighthouse for action.
V. Approval of Minutes
Chairman Graham asked if there were any corrections or additions to the minutes of the February 19, 1999, meeting. There being no corrections or additions, the minutes of the February 19, 1999, meeting were accepted as mailed.
Chairman Graham called on Freddy Vang and Barry Beasley to present the 1998 Stewardship Development Awards.
The "outstanding achievement award" was presented to Lolly Tai for the StillWater project. This is a 200-acre residential development in Oconee County.
The 1998 Stewardship Development Award winners were presented for the Prince George project and the Arcadia Farms project. The award for the Prince George project was presented to E. Scott Trotter, Tim Casey and Larry Ridlehoover. The Prince George project is a 1,900 acre coastal development in Georgetown County. The award for the Arcadia Farms project was presented to Dr. Braxton Wannamaker and Dr. Fairey. The Arcadia Farms project is an 800-acre residential development in Orangeburg County.
Dr. Sandifer announced that Bubba Rawl and Teddy Cone each received the Order of the Palmetto from former Governor David Beasley, for their service on the Governor's Protection Detail.
Dr. Sandifer reported that Cary Chamblee graduated from the Executive Institute.
VII. Advisory Committee Reports
A.Land, Water and Conservation
Mr. Vang reported that the advisory committee received an update on the Reedy River Project and a La Nina Status report. Mr. Vang distributed copies of the 1999 Aquatic Plant Management Plan as reviewed and approved by the Aquatic Plant Management Council. Mr. Vang briefed the Board on the report regarding the deepening of the Savannah Harbor as presented to the advisory committee. Mr. Vang stated that the Land, Water and Conservation Advisory Committee voted, unanimously, to oppose this activity until completion and public review of all the studies.
Dr. Sandifer noted that he has written a letter asking Congress to withhold authorization for this project until the environmental options have been explored and everyone understands the options.
VIII.Items for Board Action
A.Proposed Management Plan for Santee Coastal Reserve
Chairman Graham commended the staff for their efforts and abilities in providing information to the Board and public in a timely manner.
Chairman Graham read, for the record, a letter received from the Santee Gun Club. "Dr. Graham, there appears to be some confusion surrounding the Santee Club's proposal submitted to the SC DNR Board on July 11, 1997, and reiterated in my letter to you on November 9, 1998. The Santee Club had not asked for and will not ask for an extension of the current lease or for a new lease involving Murphy and Cedar Islands. We ask that Murphy and Cedar be put up for bids and that anyone wishing to bid on the property could do so. By doing this all interested parties would have an opportunity to bid. The Santee Club might very well not be the successful bidder. Thus, the Club could not enter into a lease with the State of South Carolina. Would you and Mr. Tommy Miller please make it clear at your Board meeting on Friday and on other occasions that all the Club asked for was a bidding procedure. Thank you for helping to clear up any implication that may have risen to the contrary."
Chairman Graham stated that a request has been received from four members of the Charleston County Legislative Delegation that the Board not take final action on a Management and Access Plan for Santee Coastal Reserve today and that final action be postponed indefinitely. Chairman Graham stated that unless the Board objects to the request he would like to honor the request and ask that final action not be taken today, but if anyone had questions, comments, or ideas concerning the latest copy of the Management Plan, dated March 22, 1999, he would be glad to entertain them.
Chairman Graham read, for the record, a letter from Mark Robertson to Dr. Sandifer. "Under the terms of the 1974 transfer of ownership of the Santee Coastal Reserve to the State of South Carolina, The Nature Conservancy retains certain interests in property including the responsibility to approve the management plan for the property or any revisions. The Nature Conservancy staff has completed our review of the revised draft management plan for the Santee Coastal Reserve, dated March 22, 1999. It is our opinion that the plan meets the terms of the Quitclaim Deed and this letter is the Conservancy's approval of that plan. I want to take this opportunity to thank you and the staff of the SC Department of Natural Resources for the consideration you have afforded us during our review and discussions and I look forward to continuing to work with you and the Department to advance our mutual conservation goals for this important property. Please do not hesitate to contact me if there are any questions or concerns."
At this time Board Members' questions and ideas were addressed by staff.
Derrell Shipes reviewed the calendar that is intended to be included in the management plan.
Board Members expressed more concerns, ideas and questions which were addressed by staff.
B.Proposed Mourning Dove Season 1999-2000
Breck Carmichael reviewed the proposed mourning dove season dates with the Board. The dates of the proposed season are September 4, 1999 through October 9, 1999; November 20, 1999 through November 27, 1999; and December 21, 1999 through January 15, 2000, with a 12 per day bag limit. It is also proposed to allow afternoon hunting only during September 4-6, 1999. Mr. Coxe made a motion that the Board accept the dove season as presented by staff. Mr. Lee seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
C.Proposed Management Plan for Aiken Gopher Tortoise Heritage Preserve
Mr. Stowe reviewed the proposed management plan for the Aiken Gopher Tortoise Heritage Preserve (proposal attached to the original minutes). Mr. Lee made a motion that the Board approve the proposed management plan for the Aiken Gopher Tortoise Heritage Preserve as submitted. Mrs. Waring seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
D.Proposed Hunt Program for Francis Marion WMA 1999-2000
Bill Mahan gave a brief report on the deer hunt with dogs that was held on the Hellhole in December 1998. Mr. Mahan also reviewed the summary of the 1998 season and its comparison with the 1997 season as well as recommendations for this year. Mr. Burnside made a motion that the Board accept staff recommendations (copy attached to the original minutes). Mr. Lee seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
E.Morris Island Lighthouse
Ms. Hutson reviewed the background information of this issue. The lighthouse has been purchased by Save the Light, Inc. and they would like to donate it to the Heritage Trust program. It was decided to request that the Heritage Trust Advisory Board review this issue again.
Dr. Sandifer asked Benny Reeves to give an update on the status of the state budget. Mr. Reeves reported that the budget has passed the House.
Dr. Sandifer reported that Roger Banks and Mitch King, the new Assistant Regional Director of USFWS in Atlanta, visited DNR staff recently to discuss issues of mutual interest.
Dr. Sandifer stated that there have been two meetings of the Women in Natural Resources Steering Committee. Willis Ham, Commissioner of State Human Affairs Commission, and Gayle Roth of the Department of Transportation gave presentations to the committee.
Dr. Sandifer announced that the Nature Viewing Guide was selected as one of the 10 most notable governmental documents of 1998.
Dr. Sandifer distributed a letter he received from Governor Hodges regarding the Richard B. Russell situation.
Billy McTeer reported that there was a full committee briefing on Chapter 5. The committee did not take action but did agree on some amendments to the bill. The subcommittee meeting on this bill will be Wednesday.
Mr. McTeer stated that the Boating Safety bill passed the Senate and is going to the House.
Mr. McTeer noted that the Forest and Farmland Protection bill has passed the Senate committee and is on the Senate floor for discussion.
Mr. McTeer reported that the Dolphin bill passed the Senate and is awaiting action in the House.
Mr. McTeer updated the Board on the Road Hunting bill.
Mr. McTeer stated that the Lake Murray Waterfowl bill dealt with the Richland County portion of Lake Murray and is considered local legislation, when this happens the bill can be addressed on the floor. Mr. McTeer stated that this bill passed the Senate before the Department knew about it, when it went to the House it was sent to committee which will meet Tuesday.
Mr. McTeer noted that the Trespassing bill passed second reading in the House.
Mr. McTeer stated that he feels there is support in the General Assembly for the Habitat Passport.
Bethany Narboni reported that completed projects include Heritage Trust, construction contracts and payroll is partially completed.
1.Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries
Brock Conrad reported that the Sea Pines deer hearing has been held, Orders are being prepared and there should be a verdict by the end of April.
Col. Wright reported that Robbie Barnes won the J.P. Strom Award as most outstanding Law Enforcement Academy graduate and will be presented with this award on April 2 at the Academy.
At this time, Mr. Miller made a motion that the Board hold an Executive Session to deal with personnel matters related to advisory committee appointments, legal briefing, personnel issues and ongoing criminal investigations which contain information and techniques not known outside the government. Mr. Burnside seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
RETURN TO REGULAR SESSION
Following the Executive Session, the regular meeting was resumed and participants were invited into the meeting.
Mr. Burnside made a motion that the Board approve staff recommendations to reappoint Charles W. Harrison to the Conservation Education and Communications Advisory Committee. Mr. Lee seconded the motion and the motion carried.
Ms. Hutson made a motion that the Board reappoint Madilyn Fletcher to the Marine Advisory Committee. Mr. Burnside seconded the motion and the motion carried.
XIII. Time and Location of the Next Meeting
Chairman Graham stated that the next meeting of the DNR Board will be held on Friday, April 9, 1999, at 10:00 a.m., at the Dennis Building in Columbia, South Carolina.
There being no further business to be brought before the DNR Board at this time, the meeting was adjourned.