BOARD OF THE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES
Rembert C. Dennis Building, Room 335
Columbia, South Carolina
Friday, April 9, 1999
The regular meeting of the Board of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources was held at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, April 9, 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. Constituency Comments
Chairman Graham called on Bob Bailey, President of the SC Sportsmen's Coalition, for comments. Mr. Bailey addressed the Board, extending their support for the proposed Santee Coastal Reserve management plan and requested that a vote be taken today to approve the plan.
Chairman Graham called on Larry Huckabee, State Chairman of the SC Ducks Unlimited for comments. Mr. Huckabee also addressed the Board concerning their support for the proposed Santee Coastal Reserve management plan and requested that a vote be taken to approve the plan.
Chairman Graham then called on David Wielicki, Director of the SC Waterfowl Association. Mr. Wielicki extended to the Board their support for the proposed Santee Coastal Reserve management plan and requested that a vote be taken today.
Chairman Graham asked Dr. Sandifer to read a hand delivered letter received this morning from Jane Lareau. Dr. Sandifer read the letter as requested.
Dr. Sandifer recognized Dr. Barry Beasley who received the Environment, Health and Safety Partner Award - 1998, from Duke Energy Corporation. Dr. Beasley received this award for his work in river conservation activities.
Dr. Sandifer also recognized Linda Renshaw, managing editor of South Carolina Wildlife magazine for her inclusion in a newspaper article in The State newspaper, 20 South Carolina Women Making a Difference, on Sunday, April 4.
Dr. Sandifer recognized Jim Goller and Mary Pugh for their efforts in making this year's Palmetto Sportsmen's Classic such a success.
Dr. Sandifer recognized Ted Dingley who received the American Fisheries Society, South Carolina Chapter Fisheries, Conservationist of the Year.
V. Approval of Minutes
Chairman Graham asked if there were any corrections or additions to the minutes of the March 26, 1999, meeting. There being no corrections or additions, the minutes of the March 26, 1999, meeting were accepted as mailed.
Chairman Graham asked if there were any corrections or additions to the minutes of the telephone conference call meeting of April 7, 1999, in relation to a legal matter. There being no corrections or additions, the minutes of the April 7, 1999, telephone conference call were accepted as presented.
VI. Items for Board Action
A. Proposed Management Plan for Santee Coastal Reserve
Dr. Sandifer asked Buford Mabry to respond to a question that has been raised as to whether the US Park Service has any approval role with regard to the management plan for the Santee Coastal Reserve property. Mr. Mabry reported that the National Park Service does not have the legal authority to require specific items in the Santee Coastal Reserve plan.
Dr. Sandifer asked Derrell Shipes to review the recommended changes to the Santee Coastal Reserve Management Plan. These recommended changes are a result of comments made by Board members and input received from the public hearing.
Chairman Graham asked Dr. Sandifer to present his comments and recommendations relating to the plan to the Board. Dr. Sandifer suggested that considering the repeated requests of delay and/or approval of the plan, considering the time sensitive requirements for certain issues, particularly those related to hunting and the necessity of advertising availability and placing into the rules and regulations brochure, and the recently expressed desires of non hunting groups to meet with DNR staff for further explanation of and input into the overall management plan, he has four staff suggestions for consideration.
1. The Board approve staff recommendations that have been seen for the Santee Coastal Waterfowl and Deer Hunt Plans for the 1999-2000 hunting season. In this, duck hunting would be approved with clear understanding that none of the Santee Coastal Reserve would be leased to the private sector and all hunting would be open to the public and that all hunters in the waterfowl hunting would be selected through the Department's public draw hunt system and pay the $50 hunt fee.
2. In order for us to move ahead with the above suggestion, that the Board approve the expenditure of up to $107,000 for the Department to purchase the necessary equipment previously listed by staff and sent to you and presented in meetings, to make the necessary dock repairs and secure Coast Guard licensing for the Reserve personnel.
3. The Board approve staff proposal to spend up to $60,000 in waterfowl funds and $50,000 in deer project funds as part of a minimum operating and management budget of $375,000 for Santee Coastal Reserve for FY 1999-2000. This information was submitted to Board members previously and presented at the public meeting. Should any State general fund dollars be appropriated for the Reserve by the General Assembly, they would be added to this minimum budget and used only for operating and management as previously directed by the Board.
4. Consider delaying until the May 21, 1999, meeting approval of the final overall management plan for Santee Coastal Reserve, with the exceptions as noted, in order to consider the requests and needs of the general public. This would be done with the understanding that the present DNR and TNC approved management and use plan dated 1987 will remain in place until a new plan is approved by the Board and TNC. Staff is directed to set up meetings with conservation groups, hunting organizations, and the public to iron out any remaining differences and arrive at final recommendations for Board consideration to include visitation of various types e.g., hiking, wildlife watching, horseback riding, canoeing, bicycling, fishing, hunting for small game, turkey, racoons and opossum, and any other matters of general interest.
Chairman Graham opened the item for comment and/or action. Mr. Coxe made brief comments (verbatim transcript attached to original minutes) regarding the management plan and the planning process. He stated that all options had been explored and it is time for final action. He made the following motion that the DNR Board approve staff's March 22, 1999, management plan for the Santee Coastal Reserve with revisions on pages 35, 37 and 39 and the first and last pages of Appendix B-16, The Public Use Plan. To ensure staffs success in management for all users and protection of this vital resource there will be an ad hoc committee appointed by the DNR Board consisting of representatives of various interest groups, consumptive as well as non consumptive, staff and independent biologist, members of the public and others to observe, critique and give recommendations to the DNR Board by March 1, 2000. With prior arrangement with staff, the ad hoc committee will have unrestricted access to the Santee Coastal Reserve during this period to observe staffs implementation of the management plan. The committee will be provided copies of budgets, expenditures and records as they deem necessary to fulfill their assessment of the Santee Coastal Management Plan. Mr. Miller seconded the motion.
Mr. Miller questioned the longevity of the ad hoc committee. Mr. Coxe stated that if the Board in place at that time deems it necessary to continue the committee they have the prerogative. The intent is to give the committee direction on what to do and how long they have do complete the objective.
Ms. Hutson thanked staff and constituency groups, consumptive and non consumptive, for their effort on this issue. Ms. Hutson then read a statement which is attached to the original minutes. Ms. Hutson stated that she was very satisfied with the increased opportunities for the public use of the property and the fact that the consideration of the timber management plan had been postponed. She was disappointed in the lack of opportunity for public input, and a study of the carrying capacity of the property. She also expressed concerns relative to inadequate funding. She also expressed concerns about the long term sustainability of the resource.
Dr. Graham asked if any other Board members would like to address the motion. Mr. Oxner commented that he had a few words to say. (transcript of comments attached to original minutes). Mr. Oxner stated that he took offense to some of the statements made by Mr. Bailey earlier. He also expressed concern regarding the Department's lack of funding to manage and provide for hunting at Santee Coastal Reserve. Mr. Oxner stated that he had an amendment to Mr. Coxe's motion. Mr. Oxner stated, "My amendment would relate only to Murphy and Cedar Islands, it would provide for a separate draw. In that separate draw a hunter would be drawing to hunt the entire season, one day a week of the two days provided and an officer would accompany each pair of hunters to the blind with the cost being $3,000 a year." Ms. Hutson seconded the motion. Chairman Graham called the question on the amendment as proposed by Mr. Oxner. The amendment failed with Ms. Hutson and Mr. Oxner voting in favor and Mr. Miller, Mr. Coxe, Mr. Lee and Mr. Burnside voting in opposition.
Chairman Graham asked if there were any other additions, comments or amendments that any Board member would like to bring up at this time.
Chairman Graham called the question on the original motion presented by Mr. Coxe. The motion to approve the management plan with additional appointment of an ad hoc observation committee to exist under the auspices of this Board until March 1, 2000 carried with Mr. Miller, Mr. Coxe, Mr. Lee and Mr. Burnside voting in favor and Ms. Hutson and Mr. Oxner voting in opposition.
Chairman Graham stated that he wanted to make one comment as the prerogative of the chairman before moving to the next issue. Chairman Graham stated that on behalf of the Department that he finds it extraordinary that as much time and as much effort and as much manpower on an item that takes less than 1% of the total operation and the total budget of this Department over one year's time. Chairman Graham apologized to all the other divisions and all the other managers and deputy directors who have been ignored over the past six months. Chairman Graham thanked them for their patience through this process. Chairman Graham stated that he felt the Department has very capable senior management and if they can't find less than $500,000 out of a $65 million budget then we need some new managers and I think they can handle it. Chairman Graham stated that there are also very capable wildlife resource biologists who have been managing the Santee Coastal Reserve for 25 years, we haven't had a serious accident on that property in that length of time and if they can't manage it, who else can? I think we need to proceed forward knowing that there will be risk involved and I thank this Board for their patience and for their serious consideration of this Santee Coastal plan. Chairman Graham also thanked those that have been in opposition, I think the process has worked. We've had good input, the plan has been amended because of the efforts of the parties that have been in opposition to the original draft of the plan and it's a better plan today because of their efforts.
Dr. Sandifer asked for two points of clarification about the observation committee. The committee will be appointed by and respond back to the Board by March 1, 2000. It's anticipated that the committee will have completed its work as of March 1, 2000, unless the Board asks that it be continued.
VII. Items for Board Information
A. Lake Murray Waterfowl Subcommittee Report
Chairman Graham called on Mr. Ed Muckenfuss to present the report of the Lake Murray Waterfowl Subcommittee. Mr. Muckenfuss reported that at the last Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Advisory Committee, Commissioner Coxe asked him to act as chairman of a committee to study the waterfowl hunting situation on Lake Murray. The committee met on March 30, 1999, to develop recommendations. Mr. Muckenfuss recognized the members of the committee (Stewart Mungo, Larry Huckabee, Bob Bailey, Tommy Eleazer, Denton Lindsay, and Mike Sloan) and noted that it was an outstanding committee and every member negotiated in good faith to try to come up with a workable solution. Mr. Muckenfuss noted that the Board should have a copy of the report he wrote to Mr. Coxe. Mr. Muckenfuss reviewed the recommendations of the committee with the Board. (copy of recommendations attached to original minutes)
VIII. Advisory Committee Meetings
A. Governor's Cup Billfishing Series
David Cupka reported that the Governor's Cup Billfishing Series Advisory Committee met at the Marine Resources Center on Wednesday, April 7, 1999. Mr. Cupka noted that the current chairman of the committee, Bill Cox, was reelected for another term. There was a representative from the International Game Fish Association present and requested that the committee work with IGFA to explore the development of a Junior Angler Program. Mr. Cupka stated that there were also three representatives from Georgia at the meeting who reported that Georgia is now putting together a Governor's Cup Series based largely on the South Carolina's program. Mr. Cupka noted that the representatives from Georgia met with representative from North Carolina and South Carolina to explore the possibility of expanding the shootout at the end of the season to include Georgia. Mr. Cupka announced that the Charleston Harbor Hilton will serve as the host of the 1999 shootout.
IX. Items for Board Action
A. 1999 Shrimp Trawling Season
Chairman Graham called on Mr. Cupka to present the recommendation for the 1999 Shrimp Trawling Season to the Board. After Mr. Cupka's presentation, Ms. Hutson made a motion to authorize the Marine Resources Division to open the 1999 spring commercial shrimp trawling season on or after May 15, 1999, based upon sampling data and following notification of the DNR Board by telephone and also adjust the season on brown shrimp as required, if necessary. Mr. Lee seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
X. Items for Board Information
A. Lake Hartwell Apple Island Special Event Boating Access Facility Proposal
Chairman Graham called on James Duke to review this proposal. After reviewing the three alternate plans for the proposed Lake Hartwell Apple Island Special Event Boating Access Facility, Mr. Duke explained that the next step would be to draft a letter to the Corps of Engineers Resource Manager asking that the area be put under lease to DNR. This request would result in a public comment/public hearing period at which time the alternates would be posted and public comments would be taken. Mr. Duke noted that he does not have a good handle on the funding for this project. Possibilities for funding and funding sources that have been used on previous projects.
Mr. Miller made a motion that a letter be sent to the Corps of Engineers, as suggested, and to the upstate county delegations to inform them of the intention and that there will be a need for the water recreation funds. Ms. Hutson seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
Dr. Sandifer asked for a point of clarification as to whether the Santee Coastal Reserve motion included the expenditure of funds for the proposed budget. Chairman Graham stated that he felt that was a part of the package for approval, other members were in agreement.
B. Forest Legacy Program Briefing
Emily Cope gave the Board a briefing on the Forest Legacy Program and answered Board member questions about the program.
XI. Items for Board Action
A. Proposed Naming of Hybrid Striped Bass - Palmetto Bass
Chairman Graham asked Mr. Miller to review the proposal for naming the hybrid striped bass the Palmetto Bass. Mr. Miller asked Val Nash to give some background on the hybrid striped bass. Mr. Miller made a motion that the Board officially name the hybrid striped bass the Palmetto Bass. Mr. Burnside seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
XII. Director's Briefings
A. Executive Office
Dr. Sandifer updated the Board on the status of the budget.
Dr. Sandifer distributed copies of an article from the April 8, 1999, Charleston Post and Courier relating to this year's hurricane season. Dr. Sandifer stated that while attending the National Hurricane Conference in Florida one of the things that most impressed him was projections of economic impacts, if storms of the past were to hit the U.S. mainland now.
Dr. Sandifer noted that he met with Congressman Jim Clyburn along with Freddy Vang and Hank Stallworth to discuss Army Corps of Engineers projects and other water issues.
Dr. Sandifer reported that the Women in DNR Steering Committee has set up four focus group meetings to receive input from women across DNR. The first focus group meeting was held on April 7.
Dr. Sandifer brought to the attention of the Board that the Becoming an Outdoors Woman workshop in May needs to be proclaimed a fishing event so the participants do not have to purchases licenses for this event.
Billy McTeer informed the Board of subcommittee and full committee meetings that are scheduled for next week.
B. Deputy Directors
1. Law Enforcement
Col. Wright reported that the in-service training, the Department DLEO Glock transition training, and the OC spray training are complete.
Col. Wright informed the Board that BUI and K-9 training are in progress.
2. Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries
Brock Conrad asked Bob Redfern to give the Board an update on the Take One Make One program.
After much discussion, Mr. Coxe made a motion that the following organization, entities and interested groups have a representative on the Santee Coastal Reserve Ad Hoc Committee: SC Coastal Conservation League, Sierra Club, SC Wildlife Federation, SC Sportsmen's Coalition, SC Ducks Unlimited, SC Waterfowl Association, trail users, history and culture, local government and Budget and Control Board. Mr. Miller seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
XIII. Executive Session
At this time, Mr. Coxe made a motion that the Board hold an Executive Session for legal briefings and consideration of conservation district commissioner appointments and reappointments. Mr. Lee 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. Miller made a motion that the Board approve staff recommendations for conservation district commissioner appointments and reappointments. Ms. Hutson seconded the motion and the motion carried. (copy attached to the original minutes)
XIV. Time and Location of the Next Meeting
Chairman Graham stated that the next meeting of the DNR Board will be held on Friday, May 21, 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.