Minutes

Board of the Department of Natural Resources

Hubbard Hall Gallery – USC – Lancaster Campus

Lancaster, South Carolina

Friday, May 18, 2001

9:30 a.m.

 

 

The regular meeting of the Board of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources was held at 9:30 am, on Friday, May 18, 2001, at the Hubbard Hall Gallery at USC – Lancaster, Lancaster, 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, and Dr. Douglas Rucker.  Absent from the meeting were M. Russell Holliday, Jr. and Malloy McEachin.  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 9:30 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 Representative Jimmy Neal; Pat Robertson, The State newspaper; Bill McCabe, Duke Power; John Garton, Duke Power; Greg Summerson; Chuck Blowers and Rebecca Parke.

 

        Dr. Rucker welcomed all in attendance and introduced the following guests:  Bill Ardrey, Lancaster Conservation District Commissioner; Crystal Robinson, Land, Water and Conservation Division; Anne Christie, USDA-NRCS; Don Starnes and Susan Featherstone.

 

        Dr. Lesesne welcomed Lindsay Pettus to the meeting and thanked Dr. Rucker, staff and friends in the Catawba area for hosting the meeting.

 

IV.       Constituency Comments

            Mr. Chamblee introduced Mr. Buzz Williams and asked him to address the Board.  Mr. Williams’ comments were directed toward the Jocassee Gorges Management Plan.  Mr. Williams stated that he feels the management plan is in limbo at the present time and suggested that the Department seek out adequate funds and expertise to carry out the management plan.

 

            Mr. Chamblee informed the Board that Mr. Donald Starnes requested to make comments this morning.  Mr. Gregg made a motion that the Board allow Mr. Starnes to make comments at this morning’s meeting.  Dr. Leary seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously. 

 

            Mr. Starnes’ commented that controls should be imposed on netting of shad in the Catawba River.  He also proposed that a minimum size limit be past on striped bass and made comments on draining of the lake in the winter.

 

            Rebecca Parke asked the Board if Mr. Chuck Blowers could comment regarding Jocassee Gorges.  Mr. Gregg made a motion that the Board allow Mr. Blowers to make comments at this morning’s meeting.  Dr. Leary seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

 

            Mr. Blowers’ comments were critical of the construction of the helipads and the equipment shed site at Jocassee Gorges.

 

V.         Approval of Minutes

Chairman Lesesne asked if there were any corrections or additions to the minutes of the April 20, 2001, meeting.  Dr. Leary made a motion that the minutes of the April 20, 2001, meeting be approved as submitted.  Dr. Rucker seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

 

VI.       Presentations/Commendations

            Dr. Sandifer recognized John Frampton for being selected to receive the International Canvasback Award from the North American Waterfowl Management Plan Committee.

 

            Dr. Sandifer noted that he participated in the DNR Service Pins and Awards Ceremony on May 4.  Dr. Sandifer recognized DNR’s Outstanding Employee of the Year, Bill Mahan of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, along with the Division Employees of the Year - Emily Schroeder, Executive Office; Phoebe Carter, Administrative Services; Tricia Way, CEC; Tim Snoots, Marine; Neil Bartley, Land, Water and Conservation; and Betty Snipes, Law Enforcement.

 

            Dr. Sandifer participated in the Palmetto Pride Press Conference held at the State House on May 9, at which time DNR Law Enforcement was recognized for the efforts in litter control.

 

            At this time Barry Beasley, Dick Christie and Lindsay Pettus gave presentations on the habitat protection in the Catawba Valley.  Mr. Beasley also introduced Bill McCabe and John Garton of Duke Power and thanked them for their assistance in this area.

 

VII.    Advisory Committee Reports

A.      Marine

Mr. Gregg reported that the Marine Advisory Committee received an update on the saltwater license progress in the legislature.  Mr. Gregg stated that the MAC had received a status report on blue crab.  Mr. Gregg noted that much of the MAC meeting was spent discussing the red drum issue which is before the Board as an action item.

 

           B. Law Enforcement

                  Dr. Leary reported that the Law Enforcement Advisory Committee received a report from Col. Wright regarding the Palmetto Pride ceremony for litter case activity made during the No-Tolerance Weekend.  Dr. Leary expressed his pleasure in the ceremony that distinguished DNR Law Enforcement officers as the leader in litter tickets during this weekend.  Dr. Leary also noted that case activity is up even with the 1500 mile cap on travel.  The Advisory Committee received an update on watercraft fuel use and grade.  After further investigation it has been found that the division may lower the grade of fuel used in the watercraft motors, which should result in a considerable savings on fuel costs.  Dr. Leary stated that Derrell Shipes gave the Committee an update on various issues related to baiting and feeding within the state.

 

VIII.    Items for Board Information  

A.      Update on Jocassee Gorges and Walhalla Fish Hatchery

                  Mac Watson informed the Board that the Hatchery currently has a warm, fresh water permit but needs to be permitted as cold, fresh water to be in compliance with the consent order.  Mr. Watson also noted that the Hatchery has been conducting samples on a weekly basis as opposed to a monthly basis and are in compliance in this area.

 

                  Billy McTeer gave the Board an update on the status of the helipad, and the stabilization of the soil and roads at Jocassee Gorges.  Mr. McTeer also spoke of the plans to develop a detailed Forestry Management Plan for Jocassee.  Mr. McTeer noted that DNR is currently working on an MOU with Palmetto Trail.

 

B.   Drought Update

Hope Mizell gave the Board a brief update on the drought conditions and short-term outlook.  The outlook is for below average precipitation and above average temperatures.  Ms. Mizell also reviewed with the Board their responsibilities with regard to the upcoming public hearing for the drought regulations.  This public hearing will be held Monday, June 25, at 4:00 p.m., in room 335 of the Rembert C. Dennis Building in Columbia.

 

IX.     Items for Board Action

            A. MAC Recommendations on Red Drum Creel and Slot Limits

                  Mr. Gregg asked John Miglarese to review the different proposals received by MAC for the Red Drum creel and slot limits.  Dr. Miglarese began his report by stating that legislation has been proposed for a limit of two and a slot size of 5” to 24”.  Dr. Miglarese then reported that the staff of the Marine Resources Division recommended a limit of three to the Marine Advisory Committee.  The Marine Advisory Committee passed a motion recommending a limit of one.  Since legislation has already been proposed, Mr. Gregg made a motion to direct staff to work toward legislation for the best possible limit for Red Drum, preferably being one, two or three, but at least less than the current limit of five.  Dr. Leary seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

 

B. Lease Agreement between Virginia C. Walker, et al. and SCDNR Middle Saluda River

  This item was deferred to executive session.

                       

  X. Executive Session

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

 

XI. 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 approve the following appointments/reappointments to the Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series Advisory Board:  Robert Hood, Francis Johnson, Nancy D. Ravenel, Norman F. Pulliam, William “Sam” Hiott and Edgar A. Buck, Jr.  Dr. Rucker seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

 

Dr. Leary made a motion that the Board approve the Cleveland family leaseon the Middle Saluda River adjacent to Jones Gap State Park.  Dr. Rucker seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

 

 

XII. Director’s Briefings

A.      Executive Office

Dr. Sandifer reported that he attended a meeting of US Army Corps of Engineers Chief of Engineers’ Environmental Advisory Board in Washington DC, April 23-24.

 

Dr. Sandifer attended the 10th Anniversary celebration of Jack Dunnigan’s service as Executive Director of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.

 

Dr. Sandifer and Mr. Chamblee met with Dr. Rod Rutledge on April 25, to discuss minority participation in hunting and fishing and the assistance Dr. Rutledge could provide in promoting outdoor activities to the African-American community.

 

Dr. Sandifer attended the FEMA/Congaree Flood Map meeting held at the State Museum on April 27; DNR did not make a formal presentation.  The final resolution is expected from FEMA in June.

 

Dr. Sandifer reported that the Department hosted the spring Directors’ meeting of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies in Charleston, April 27-29.  Dr. Sandifer noted that he was elected President for 2001-2002.

 

Dr. Sandifer met with John Durst and Scott Langford, of PRT, and Mike McKenzie, of DNR, to review, plan and model the proposed Education Center at Edisto Beach, on May 7.

 

Dr. Sandifer informed the Board that copies of proposed revisions to the RIF plan and leave policy and a new telecommuting policy have been placed in the envelope at their seat.  These have been provided for the Board’s review and will be on the agenda for the June meeting.

 

B.     Habitat Protection Activities

Mr. Beasley stated that the internal committee will be having a retreat at Donnelley to continue developing its strategy.  Mr. Beasley noted that this committee should have something for the Board by mid-summer.

 

C.     Legislative Report

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

 

 

XIII. Deputy Directors’ Reports

A.      Land, Water and Conservation

No further report.

 

B.     Administrative Services

No further report.

 

C.     Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries

Mr. McTeer noted that Dick Christie will be taking on the additional duties associated with FERC relicensing.

 

D.     Law Enforcement

No further report.

 

E.     Conservation Education and Communications

Carole Collins distributed copies of the “Pass It On Down” video.  Ms. Collins informed the Board of several upcoming events such as the three-day BOW in Clemson, the media fishing tournament and a one-day mother/daughter BOW.

 

F.      Marine

            No further report.

 

XIV.    Time and Location of the Next Meeting

Chairman Lesesne stated that the next meeting of the DNR Board will be held on Friday, June 15, 2001, at the Rembert C. Dennis Building in Columbia, beginning at 10:00 a.m.

 

Chairman Lesesne also noted that the Board will be conducting a Public Hearing for the proposed drought regulations on Monday, June 25, 2001, at the Rembert C. Dennis Building in Columbia, beginning at 4:00 p.m.

 

XV. Adjournment

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