MINUTES

BOARD OF THE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES

Rembert C. Dennis Building, Room 335

Columbia, South Carolina

Friday, March 27, 1998

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, March 27, 1998, in room 335 of the Rembert C. Dennis Building, in 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 Thomas Miller, Marion Burnside, Campbell Coxe, Edwin Oxner, Mary Pope Waring 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 9:30 a.m. and welcomed everyone to the meeting.

II. Meditation

Chairman Graham asked for a moment of silent meditation.

III. Approval of Minutes

Chairman Graham asked if there were any corrections or additions to the minutes of the February 12, 1998 meeting. There being no corrections or additions, the minutes were accepted as mailed.

IV. Presentations/Commendations

A. Audit Services

Bethany Allen Narboni gave an overview of the Audit Services program and what audit services will be provided.

B. Prioritizing Purchases of Natural Areas in the Heritage Trust Program

Steve Bennett outlined the method the Heritage Trust Program has developed to prioritize the purchase of natural areas.

V. Items for Board Action

A. Shrimp Trawling Season

Mrs. Waring moved that the Board authorize the Marine Resources Division to open the 1998 spring commercial shrimp trawling season on or after May 15 based upon sampling data and following notification of the Board by telephone and adjust the season on brown shrimp as required. Mr. Lee seconded and the motion carried unanimously.







VI. Advisory Committee Reports

A. Marine

Mrs. Waring reported that the Marine Advisory Committee met March 11, in Columbia. The Marine Advisory Committee members met with 27 legislators regarding the Coastal Fisheries Bill, Chapter 5. There has been positive response since the committee members met with legislators. The bill has been introduced and referred to committee in both the House and Senate.

Mrs. Waring commented on a report that was given by Dr. Holland on Pfiesteria in South Carolina. There have been several occurrences of toxic algae and outbreaks of lesions on fish, however, more study is required to determine whether or not it is Pfiesteria. A task force has been formed to study Pfiesteria and outbreaks of toxic algae which have primarily been seen in areas where there is lack of flushing as well as high nutrient loads.

Mrs. Waring asked Robert Boyles to report on the Oceans Act. Mr. Boyles reported that this Act calls for the development and implementation of a coherent, comprehensive and long-range national policy to explore, protect and use ocean and coastal resources. The goals of the Act are to maintain a coordinated policy consistent with international obligations on ocean and coastal activities, ask the federal government to review federal agencies' ocean and coastal activities, integrate all ocean and coastal programs, designate lead responsibilities and help to ensure cooperation. Mr. Boyles informed the Board that a letter has been drafted, for their signature, to the House Delegation supporting the Oceans Act.

B. Conservation Education and Communications

Mr. Burnside reported that the Conservation Education and Communications Advisory Committee spent most of their meeting reviewing the Magazine's Business Plan.

Mr. Burnside informed the Board that a bill has been introduced naming The Sandlapper as the state magazine. The CEC Advisory Committee does not agree with this and they voted to write and promote a bill to name South Carolina Wildlife as the state magazine.

Sonny Baines thanked Charles Myers and Cindy Wood for their work towards better accountability in the by-product program.

Mr. Baines asked John Davis to give a summary of some of the comments made by the CEC Advisory Committee regarding the Magazine's Business Plan.

Mr. Baines asked Jim Goller reported on the circulation rate of the Magazine.

Mr. Baines reported that there is an education retreat scheduled for April 19-21. One of the goals of this retreat is to develop an education plan for the Department.

Mr. Burnside mentioned a discussion by the Advisory Committee of having a license package which would include the magazine, a hat, a patch, plus all hunting and fishing licenses. Mr. Burnside recognized that Brock Conrad had thought of this earlier. Mr. Conrad added that he was thinking along the lines of a "super sportsman's" license. This would give the Department the opportunity to develop a constituency of individuals who support Department.

VII. Director's Briefings

A. Executive Office

1. Director

Dr. Sandifer recognized Col. Alvin Wright and congratulated him in his new role as Deputy Director for Law Enforcement.

Dr. Sandifer reported that he appeared before the Senate Finance Committee on March 19 and the response was positive.

Dr. Sandifer informed the Board that a delegation went to Washington, DC, to work with the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies on the Department of Interior's Fish and Wildlife Service budget, the Department of Commerce's budget and a variety of other federal issues.

Dr. Sandifer mentioned that there was a major leadership training activity this month with 23 staff going through this activity. Dr. Sandifer applauded Jean Cowell on getting this program established.

Dr. Sandifer reported that he received an invitation to present the Jocassee Gorges Management Plan to the Governor's Cabinet meeting.

Dr. Sandifer informed the Board that he attended the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources conference in Orlando.

Dr. Sandifer advised the Board that he participated with Secretary Babbitt, Department of Interior, in signing an historic agreement to protect Red- cockaded woodpeckers in South Carolina and also to assist landowners who may have colonies of these birds in their timberland. Dr. Sandifer noted that South Carolina has the first statewide permit in the nation for handling safe harbors for Red-cockaded woodpeckers.

Dr. Sandifer reminded Board members that their Statement of Economic Interest forms are due by April 15.

2. Legal

Buford Mabry reported that on Monday, Judge Barber signed an Order which declared unconstitutional the regulations and statutes prohibiting Sunday hunting in the Piedmont.

3. Legislative

Michael Thompson updated the Board on the Department's legislative proposal for 1998. Mr. Thompson mentioned the House Agriculture Committee has decided to delay the Game Zone Restructuring bill until next year. Mr. Thompson informed the Board that the Jocassee Gorges Trust Fund legislation has passed both the House and Senate and has gone back to the Senate for their concurrence on two amendments.

4. Human Resources

Jean Cowell reported on the leadership training that was conducted last week. Ms. Cowell informed the Board that this week began an intensive EPMS training workshop. Ms. Cowell also mentioned that OHR staff have implemented a monthly flier to improve communications with employees on human resources issues.

5. Environmental

Nothing to report.

B. Deputy Directors

1. Natural Resources Enforcement

Col. Wright announced that Law Enforcement's command structure is in place. The new LTC will be Cpt. Stanley Smith and the new Maj. of Field Operations will be Cpt. Windy Pulaski.

Col. Wright informed the Board that the Directives Committee met in February and there is a meeting scheduled in April to review the new directives and set a time table.

Col. Wright announced that three of the fallow deer cases have been disposed of and are final. Col. Wright views this as success for District One Officers as well as Lt. Sharpe and his investigators.

Col. Wright thanked Sonny Baines, his Division and Mike Willis, in particular, for their assistance in relation to the recent drownings in McCormick County.

Col. Wright announced that Maj. Van McCarty will be attending the FBI Academy this summer.

Col. Wright reported that Tim Baxley, an officer in District 6 and member of the dive team, has been requested to do a national presentation on the Susan Smith case and how the DNR divers handled this very difficult situation.

Col. Wright reported that South Carolina will be serving on the following North American Wildlife and Natural Resources committees: Federal Grants, Violators Compact and Information and Intelligence Sharing.

Col. Wright announced that Susan Dennis has been selected as the Law Enforcement Division Employee of the Year.

2. Conservation Education and Communications

Mr. Baines distributed a schedule for upcoming HOFNOD events and a copy of The Resource.

Steve Bates gave an update on the SC MAPS program. Mr. Bates reported that last year approximately 300 teachers were trained and they are on schedule to train another 300 teachers this year. An SC MAPS workshop was held last week in Berkeley County with approximately 80 teachers in attendance.

3. Marine Resources

John Miglarese reported that the Marine Recreational Fisheries Advisory Committee and the Governor's Cup Billfishing Series Advisory Committee met, both Committees endorse the Costal Fisheries legislation.

4. Land, Water and Conservation

Freddy Vang announced that DNR had two of the top ten publications in the state, as recognized by the State Library, one being Farming for Clean Water in South Carolina and the other being Mineral Resources Map of South Carolina. Mr. Vang also recognized Mike Helfert, State Climatologist, for his award from Scientific American.

Mr. Vang reminded the Board of the Drought Workshop that will be held next week.

Mr. Vang informed the Board that the Envirothon was held last weekend. There were 27 teams plus 8 alternate teams in attendance for this competition.

Mr. Vang announced that the statewide hearing on the Water Plan will be July 8, at 7:00 PM.

Mr. Vang asked Joy Boswell to describe the Love-a-Tree program. Ms. Boswell stated that this program is a joint effort of DHEC, International Paper and DNR through conservation districts.

5. Administrative Services

Benny Reeves advised that the Division of Administrative Services has been investigating a procedure that provides customer service for our constituents by allowing them to call a telephone number and order a hunting/fishing license. This process, if proven workable, will be available to residents and nonresidents. Residents will be verified by driver's license number through the Department of Transportation or some other means. Details are being worked out.

6. Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries

Brock Conrad reported on the public meeting for the Jocassee Gorges Draft Management Plan held March 26, at Pickens High School. Plans were set up around the gymnasium for public review and input. Mr. Conrad reported that there were several people there that passed out literature in opposition to the plan. Mr. Conrad informed the Board that, of the evaluations received thus far as a result of the Pickens meeting, 29 support the plan as it is, 104 support the plan with minor modifications and 35 oppose the plan. The next public meeting will be April 2, at the National Guard Armory in Columbia.

VIII. Executive Session

At this time, Mr. Miller made a motion that the Board hold an Executive Session to discuss legal, contractual and personnel matters. Mr. Lee seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.

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RETURN TO REGULAR SESSION

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

Chairman Graham called the meeting back to order.

Following the Executive Session, Mr. Miller made a motion that the Department continue to pursue the Dixon Lee vs South Carolina DNR decision through the appeals process. Mr. Burnside seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

IX. Time and Location of the Next Meeting

Chairman Graham stated that the next meeting of the DNR Board will be held on Friday, April 17, 1998, at 10:00 a.m., at the Dennis Wildlife Center, in Bonneau.

X. Adjournment

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