BOARD OF THE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES
Quail Unlimited National Headquarters
Edgefield, South Carolina
Friday, May 15, 1998
The regular meeting of the Board of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources was held at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, May 15, 1998, at the National Headquarters of Quail Unlimited, in Edgefield, 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 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 the following guests: Dr. James A. Timmerman, Jr., Director Emeritus; Angela Viney, Director of the SC Wildlife Federation; and Kathy Kelly, President of SC Garden Clubs, Inc.
IV. Amend Agenda
Mr. Miller made a motion to amend the meeting agenda to include the amendments to Policy 301.01 (Use of Force). Mr. Oxner seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
V. Constituency Comments
Chairman Graham introduced Rocky Evans, Executive Vice President of Quail Unlimited, and thanked him for hosting today's meeting at Quail Unlimited National Headquarters and for the hospitality. Mr. Evans presented a video which detailed some of the programs of Quail Unlimited. Mr. Evans then introduced the members of South Carolina's State Executive Committee.
Chairman Graham introduced Norm Sharp, Chapter Conservation Chair of the South Carolina Sierra Club. Mr. Sharp expressed concerns regarding the Jocassee Gorges Management Plan. (Comments attached to original minutes)
Chairman Graham introduced Butch Clay, SC Forest Watch. Mr. Clay also expressed concerns regarding the Jocassee Gorges Management Plan. (Comments attached to original minutes)
VI. Approval of Minutes
Chairman Graham asked if there were any corrections or additions to the minutes of the April 17, 1998 meeting. There being no corrections or additions, the minutes were accepted as mailed.
Sonny Baines gave a brief history of the beginning of Camp Wildwood and asked Steve Bates to present additional information about the Camp and plans for the future.
Mr. Bates announced that Camp Wildwood will begin June 21 and is at capacity.
Mr. Bates presented a video of last year's camp. The video can be purchased by the campers at the end of the week. Mr. Bates mentioned that they are considering putting together a "year book" for the camp. Mr. Bates distributed a camp brochure, a staff handbook and a newspaper published by SC Wildlife Federation.
Mr. Bates introduced the two co-sponsors of Camp Wildwood. Ms. Angela Viney, Director of the Wildlife Federation and Ms. Kathy Kelly, President of the SC Garden Clubs, Inc.
Ms. Viney read the mission statement of the SC Wildlife Federation so the group would understand their interest in co-sponsoring Camp Wildwood. Ms. Viney stated that Camp Wildwood is one of the most important educational opportunities in which they are involved. Ms. Viney commented that students are not learning just about soils, water, wildlife and habitat they are also learning to build confidence, how to interact with others, building relationships that will continue throughout their lifetime, how to be responsible and teamwork.
Ms. Kelly informed the Board that the Garden Clubs of South Carolina's main concern is about the people who will be the leaders in the neighborhoods and cities of South Carolina and the southeast. They feel if there is some environmental education influence on young people an impact has been made for South Carolina.
Mr. Bates mentioned that two scholarships are awarded through the Garden Clubs of South Carolina.
VIII. Advisory Committee Reports
A. Land, Water and Conservation
Freddy Vang introduced Neil Bartley, Conservation Specialist in Edgefield County.
Mr. Vang reported that the Land and Water Advisory Board met April 23. Mr. Vang stated that they would be involved in the Clean Water Act Initiatives on Nonpoint Source Pollution.
Mr. Vang informed the group that Dr. Helfert is continuing his work on the transition period between El Nino and La Nina.
Mr. Vang reported that Geologic Survey has started their summer field work. Mr. Vang stated that a TV series will begin June 2 and there will be a statewide teleconference regarding the State Water Plan on July 8, with a final document for the Board to review in August.
B. Heritage Trust
Mr. Lee reported that the Heritage Trust Advisory Committee met May 7. Four projects were approved at this meeting. They also approved a project for the initial negotiations for the Harleyville Longleaf Pine Tract which joins Southern Railroad.
The Advisory Committee declined to approve the Henderson Heritage Preserve in Aiken County.
Mr. Lee stated that they requested a briefing on procedures for procuring surveyors, appraisals and title work and information on estimates vs. actual acquisition expenses for the last 10 projects.
The Advisory Committee requested that work proceed on the Heritage Trust Strategic Plan to better allocate the remaining acreage under the 100,000 acre cap.
Mr. Lee reported that the Advisory Committee amended the by-laws to provide for election of officers as needed instead of on a strict bi-annual schedule and to provide for telephone and mail proxy voting.
Mr. Lee stated that the Advisory Committee requested staff to begin identifying which portions, if any, of the Jocassee Gorges property should be identified for potential heritage trust designations.
Mrs. Waring reported that the Marine Advisory Committee met on May 8. Mrs. Waring stated the Advisory Committee received a report from staff relative to the closing of Shipyard Creek due to a high chromium level. Mrs. Waring commented that the Advisory Committee would like DNR to initiate a coastal resources roundtable with all state agencies. This would be a two day workshop with the goal being to examine the impact on the coast.
Mrs. Waring reported that the coastal fisheries legislation will be taken up next year.
Mrs. Waring stated the motion that passed the Marine Advisory Committee was a motion from the Marine Recreational Fisheries Advisory Committee requesting the Board to instruct the Marine Resources Division to initiate a thorough public involvement and education effort designed to gauge public opinion and support to expand the saltwater stamp. This proposal would (1) quantify the number of fishermen who are recreational anglers fishing from the shore or shore based structures (2) recreational anglers using crab pots and (3) recreational shrimpers, excluding those with valid shrimp baiting permits. Mrs. Waring made a motion to this effect. Mr. Lee seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
Mrs. Waring reported that the Advisory Committee received a presentation from staff regarding the dolphin fishery. A survey was developed and conducted with more than an 18% response. According to the survey there is support for a limit on dolphin, not only for recreational fishermen but also for commercial fishermen. A motion made in the Marine Advisory Committee by Mickey Scott is to limit dolphins to 10 fish per person per day for recreational anglers and 50 fish for the boat per day and a commercial limit of 4,000 pounds and all fish landed in South Carolina must have head and tail fins intact and a minimum fork length of 24". Also it would be illegal to harvest, land or process sargasso weed in South Carolina. This motion passed then tabled after much discussion concerning more input from commercial fishermen.
A special meeting was called on May 13 to receive more input. Commercial fishermen present felt there should not be a limit placed on them. Many recreational fishermen noted interested in having a limit both recreationally and commercially. After much discussion, another motion was made calling for 8 fish per day or 30 fish per boat per day for recreational anglers with no minimum size limit and the commercial limit set at 4,000 pounds per trip and a margin of error of 10% with head and tail fins intact. Also it would be illegal to harvest, land or process sargasso weed in South Carolina. This motion was seconded and passed but not with a unanimous vote. The Marine Advisory Committee is requesting that the DNR Board endorse this action. Mrs. Waring made a motion that the Board endorse the recommendation made by the Marine Advisory Committee and asked staff to draft legislation at the request of Sen. Drummond as soon as possible, but also to review all legal ramifications on or before its introduction. Mr. Burnside seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
D. Marine Recreational Fisheries
John Miglarese stated that the Marine Recreational Fisheries Advisory Committee meeting was informative and fruitful.
IX. Items for Board Action
A. Proposed Management Plan for Jocassee Gorges Property
Brock Conrad introduced and commended DNR staff involved in the compilation and editing of the proposed management plan. Mr. Conrad reviewed the steps taken in drafting the proposed management plan. The results of the survey provided at the public meetings include 57 individuals support the draft plan without change, 99 individuals support the plan with minor changes and 36 individuals do not support the draft plan. Mr. Conrad also stated that comments were received through letters, e-mail, telephone calls and personal contact with 204 separate points or issues being presented. Mr. Conrad explained that the primary objective is to maintain the natural character of the area while protecting, maintaining, restoring and/or enhancing significant plant, fish and wildlife communities and their habitat. The secondary objective is to provide recreation that is compatible with the areas natural character. Mr. Conrad reported that a detailed forest management plan will be developed in cooperation with the South Carolina Forestry Commission following acquisition of the property. Mr. Conrad stated that no timber will be harvested until a detailed forest management plan has been made available for public review and is approved by the DNR Board. Mr. Coxe commended staff for their work on this plan. Mr. Coxe made a motion that the Board adopt staff's proposed management plan as written. Mr. Burnside seconded the motion. After much discussion concerning funding for maintenance, enforcement and the reiteration of public involvement the motion carried unanimously.
B. Clarks Creek Fish Kill Report
Dick Christie reviewed the report submitted to the Board concerning the Clarks Creek Fish Kill. DHEC attributed the kill to illegal dumping of a slurry used in well drilling. The cost of the investigation was $875.54, the monetary value of the fish according to the American Fisheries Society guidelines was $32.14, for a total of $907.68. Mrs. Waring made a motion that the Board approve the report and seek restitution for damages. Mr. Oxner seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
C. Lake Greenwood/Laurens County Headquarters and Edward L. Price Proposed Exchange Agreement
Lt. Uldrick gave a brief background on this issue. Paul League then reviewed the proposal and survey which includes swapping two parcels between the Department and Mr. Price with Mr. Price constructing a boat shed to the Department's minimum standards. This exchange will require approval by the State Budget and Control Board. Mr. Miller made a motion that the Board approved the proposed exchange agreement. Mr. Oxner seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
D. Amendments to Policy 301.01 (Use of Force)
Col. Wright explained the reasons for these amendments. In reviewing the directives and policies attention was brought to the area under training and qualifications dealing with weapons which says "while on and off duty enforcement officers shall carry weapons and ammunition authorized by and registered with the Department" and another reason is with the biker's weekend coming over Memorial Day weekend there is a need to have the same weapons other state police have concerning chemical weapons. Mr. Miller made a motion that the Board approve the amendments as presented. Mr. Oxner expressed concern over the use of the word "citizens" instead of "citizen" and the use of the word "constant" when describing visual observation and suggested striking the word "constant". Mr. Miller amended the motion to include the changes recommended by Mr. Oxner. Mr. Lee seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
E. Audit Committee Charter
Bethany Narboni reviewed the proposed Audit Committee Charter. Mr. Oxner had a comment in reference to number five of the duties and responsibilities.
5. Shall review and confer in the appointment, evaluation, replacement, reassignment, or dismissal of the director of the internal audit department.
Mr. Oxner suggested that this be changed to say "Advise in the appointment, evaluation, replacement, reassignment, or dismissal of the director of the internal audit department".
Mr. Oxner made a motion that the Board adopt the Audit Committee Charter as amended. Mr. Lee seconded the motion and the motion carried. (Amended Charter attached to the original minutes).
X. Director's Briefings
A. Executive Office
Dr. Sandifer thanked Rocky Evans and Quail Unlimited for their hospitality.
Dr. Sandifer commended DNR staff and the management team for the process and development of the management plan for Jocassee Gorges. Dr. Sandifer also stated that he was pleased to see Dr. Timmerman in attendance for this occasion.
Dr. Sandifer reported that he was invited to speak at a Congressional Research Service seminar on Ocean Resources for members of Congress and staff in Washington.
Dr. Sandifer informed the Board that he attended an all-day meeting with Freshwater Fisheries staff at Bonneau and received a thorough briefing on their activities. Dr. Sandifer stated that he has requested Freshwater Fisheries to be on a future agenda to discuss the Fisheries Survey results.
Dr. Sandifer stated that there have been meetings with Farm Bureau on deer issues. Farm Bureau is involved in two ways (1) they are representing the farmers and their concerns over deer eating crops, and (2) as an insurance agency, they are concerned over deer-vehicle collisions. Dr. Sandifer congratulated Derrell Shipes and Charles Ruth on the handling of these meetings.
Dr. Sandifer reported on the recent meeting with Duke on planning for projects that would eventually be related to relicensing issues.
Dr. Sandifer informed the Board that the Marine Resources Division has been working closely with DHEC, Medical University, Sea Grant and other organizations on the potential for toxic algae blooms (Pfiesteria) in South Carolina waters. There is an interagency task group to update and train health professionals, biologists and law enforcement on what to do in this situation.
Dr. Sandifer stated that the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies fall meeting will be September 10-16, 1998, in Savannah, GA. There will be a special session for commissioners and board members. Mrs. Waring attended last year's meeting and commented that it was useful and informative and encouraged other Board members to attend. The Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies will be meeting October 3-7, 1998, in Orlando, FL.
Dr. Sandifer reported that the dedication of the Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge will be held Saturday, May 16, from 2:00 - 4:00 pm.
Dr. Sandifer distributed copies of a draft itinerary for a Board retreat. This retreat would begin on Wednesday evening and end with the Board meeting on Friday. Dr. Sandifer reviewed the outline and requested Board members to notify him of issues they want to discuss.
Dr. Sandifer informed the Board that he will be out of town the first two weeks in June. The first week he will be in Boston for his son's graduation from Harvard and the second week he will be attending the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission meeting in Washington, DC.
Buford Mabry reported that the Rabon Creek Watershed Conservation District, in Laurens County, recently lost a case questioning the construction of an easement. Explaining that when the watershed conservation districts come together to build a watershed they are required to get an easement to allow flooding on adjacent property. In this particular case the easement was not drawn specifically so that the reservation was to a certain elevation and two years ago when there was flooding in the upstate, Rabon Creek Watershed rose significantly and there were structures within the easement area that were damaged. The judge held that because the easement was not specifically descriptive to the contour they should have been responsible for telling the landowners building structures that they were building in a flood zone.
Michael Thompson reported that the Coastal Fisheries legislation is being held over until next year. Mr. Thompson also stated that legislation involving deer farming, the Sandlapper Magazine and artificial lights have been stalled.
4. Human Resources
Jean Cowell stated that there was one item to be discussed in Executive Session.
Dr. Sandifer informed the Board that DHEC has proposed to make a change in allowable dissolved oxygen concentration in their Water Quality Regulations. This would effect all rivers, streams and estuaries in the State that are under DHEC regulations. Two areas in particular that are targeted are the Cooper River and the Wacammaw River. The revised proposed regulation would allow for as much as a 10% lowering of dissolved oxygen below the established standard if it can be demonstrated that natural conditions are the cause of the oxygen being below standard. Currently the regulation allows only a 0.1 milligram per liter variance from the standard unless a site specific study is conducted. Dr. Sandifer stated that the Department has a preference for the current regulation be retained as written.
6. Audit Services
Bethany Narboni distributed and reviewed the process for developing the draft 1998-99 Audit Plan.
B. Deputy Directors
1. Administrative Services
Benny Reeves distributed copies of the status of the budget.
2. Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries
Brock Conrad reported that the survey for waterfowl hunters is almost complete and he will be bringing that report at the next meeting.
Mr. Conrad stated that staff have been working on a proposed rule change for migratory bird hunting regulations regarding baiting and baited areas.
3. Natural Resources Enforcement
Col. Wright introduced Link Uldrick and congratulated him on his promotion to Captain of District 2.
Col. Wright also informed the Board that Joe Zorn was also promoted to Captain of District 3.
4. Conservation Education and Communications
Nothing further to report.
John Miglarese reported that they have been involved with the fishing fair, shrimp trawling, fuel spill in the Cooper River, the Governor's Cup Tournaments are ongoing, dolphin workshops and involvement with the shrimp growers. Dr. Miglarese then commented that three days ago there was an algae bloom event but he received word this morning that the algae is not toxic.
6. Land, Water and Conservation
Hank Stallworth stated that there are conservation district commissioner appointments for Executive Session.
VIII. Executive Session
At this time, Mrs. Waring made a motion that the Board hold an Executive Session to discuss legal, contractual and personnel matters. Mr. Miller seconded the motion. Motion carried unanimously.
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 Agency Meritorious Service Award be awarded to Mr. Dave Wilson for his role and leadership and partnership between the Department and the Forest Service. Mr. Lee seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
Mr. Miller made a motion that the Board accept staff recommendations for conservation district commissioner reappointments (recommendations attached to the original minutes). Mr. Coxe seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
Mr. Miller recommended that the Board accept staff recommendations for conservation district commissioner new appointments (recommendations attached to the original minutes). Mrs. Waring seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
Mr. Waring made a request that the Board endorse the Partnership 2000 proposal.
IX. Board Retreat
The date for the Board Retreat is June 17-19.
X. Time and Location of the Next Meeting
Chairman Graham stated that the next meeting of the DNR Board will be held on Friday, June 19, 1998, at 10:00 a.m.
There being no further business to be brought before the DNR Board at this time, the meeting was adjourned.