Board of the Department of Natural Resources

Whispering Pines
271 Weeks Landing Road
Lone Star, SC
May 21, 2009 10:00 a.m.

The regular meeting of the Board of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources was held at 10:00 a.m. on Thursday, May 21, 2009, at Whispering Pines, 271 Weeks Landing Road, Lone Star, SC. Notice of the date, time and place of the meeting was posted and mailed to the news media. Chairman Mike McShane presided at the meeting. Board members present included Stephen Davis, John Evans, Norman Pulliam and Caroline Rhodes. Board members Michael Campbell and Frank Murray were absent. Director John Frampton and staff members of the Department of Natural Resources were present at the meeting.

  1. Call to Order
    Chairman Mike McShane called the meeting to order at 10:00 a.m. and welcomed everyone to the meeting.
  2. Invocation
    Chairman McShane asked Rev. Ron Kenyon to offer the invocation.
  3. Pledge of Allegiance
    Buford Mabry, Chief Counsel, led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance.
  4. Introduction of Guests
    Don Winslow, Chief of Staff, noted that there were no guests present.
  5. Constituent Comments
    Mr. Winslow stated that there were no requests for constituent comment.
  6. Approval of Minutes
    Chairman McShane asked if there were any amendments, additions, deletions or corrections to the April 23, 2009, meeting minutes. Mr. Pulliam made a motion that the Board approve the minutes of the April 23, 2009, meeting with the following amendments:
    1. Director’s Briefing
      Mr. Perry distributed copies of the previous preliminary plan and the a copy of the draft proposed revised plan noting that in the proposed revised plan the solid waste landfills will be south of Pee Dee Road, beyond the Great Pee Dee River drainage area. Mr. Perry noted that the DEIS will probably be amended to reflect this change.

      The Board looks favorably on the draft revised plan aswhat was presented today and commends all involved in this solution. The Board would like to be kept informed of the project.
    2. Items for Board Action
      1. Emergency Regulations for DNR-Owned Lands
        Mr. Carmichael reviewed the proposed emergency regulations for DNR-owned lands. Mr. Evans made a motion that the Board approve the emergency regulations for DNR-owned lands as proposed. Mr. Davis seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously. The Board instructed staff to notify legislators and prepare a news release about the closing of Botany Bay on Tuesday of each week and report back to the Board.
      Mr. Evans seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
  7. Presentations/Commendations
    Mr. Frampton gave the Board a brief report on the Horry County wildfires, specifically Lewis Ocean Bay Heritage Preserve. Mr. Frampton stated that DNR is only receiving $0.50 - $0.54 per ton for the salvaged timber. Chairman McShane suggested that DNR pursue legislative changes that would provide the agency with a better return.

    Mr. Frampton commended DNR Law Enforcement, DLEOs and staff who were involved in battling the wildfires in Horry County in April.

    Mr. Frampton commended Sandra Hartley, Stephanie Welch and staff who assisted in the four Regional Meeting/Service Pin/Employee of the Year Appreciation Events across the State: Region 1 on April 20 in Salem, Region 4 on April 24 at the Marine Center, Region 2 on April 27 at the Darlington Racetrack and Region 3 on April 28 & 30 at Styx.

    Mr. Frampton commended the 2008 Division Employees of the Year recognized at the Regional Meetings: Outreach and Support Services, Philip Wolfe; Law Enforcement, Simeon Ellis; Land, Water & Conservation, Debbie Miller Winslow; Executive Office, Bob Perry; Wildlife & Freshwater Fisheries, Mitch Manis; and the Marine Resources Division and overall 2008 Department Employee of the Year, Amy Dukes.

    Mr. Frampton commended Sam Chappelear, Capt. William Poole, Lt. Mike Sabaka, Bryan Kyzer, Antonio Bates and Chris Page, DNR graduates of the Budget & Control Board’s Certified Public Manager (CPM) program.

    Chairman McShane presented Mr. Evans with mallard decoys from The Wildlife Shop in appreciation for hosting the meeting.
  8. Advisory Committee Reports
    1. Law Enforcement
      Col. Taylor reported that the Law Enforcement Advisory Committee met on April 29 in Columbia. The advisory committee received a presentation on abandoned vessels, as well as updates on the budget, pending legislation, wild hogs, and activities since the last Committee meeting.
    2. Waterfowl
      Breck Carmichael, Deputy Director for Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, reported that the Waterfowl Advisory Committee met on May 5 in Columbia. Two candidates, Lynn Fore and Campbell Coxe, were nominated for Vice Chair.; a vote is slated for August. The peer review team for the Bonneau Ferry Waterfowl Area and Sandy Beach Waterfowl Area was formalized and has scheduled a site visit. The advisory committee received a report on the Atlantic Flyway Midwinter Waterfowl Survey and the economic impact study. The advisory committee will conduct public listening sessions in the near future.
    3. Heritage Trust
      Barry Beasley, Land, Water and Conservation Division, reported that the Heritage Trust Advisory Board (HTAB) met on May 7 in Columbia. The HTAB received reports on the DNR Bird Conservation Program and the Myrtle Beach wildfire and its impact on Lewis Ocean Bay. The HTAB approved the Stumphouse Mountain Management Plan, the Botany Bay Management Plan and the Woodbury Management Plan. They also approved the FY 2010 budget for natural areas and cultural preserve management. Dr. Beasley distributed copies of the 2008 Annual Report, which will be considered by the DNR Board at their June meeting. Dr. Beasley also distributed a revenue sheet for information.
    4. Saltwater Recreational Fisheries
      Robert Boyles, Deputy Director for Marine Resources, reported that the Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Advisory Committee met May 12 in Charleston. Skeeter Nash was elected as Chair and Tommy Webster as Vice Chair (both unanimously). Current projects as well as potential projects for next year were discussed. Staff project available revenue at $1.1 to 1.2 million for next year. Mr. Boyles distributed the proposed projects and asked the Board to review them in preparation for action on them at the June meeting.
  9. Items for Board Information
    1. Drought Update
      Ken Rentiers, Deputy Director for Land, Water, and Conservation, informed the group that 27 counties now have no drought status, nine counties were in incipient drought and ten counties in the upstate remained in moderate drought. Mr. Rentiers reviewed streamflows, lake levels and ground-water monitoring wells around the state.
  10. Items for Board Action
    1. Request for Easements by the City of Bennettsville at Lake Paul Wallace
      Mr. Mabry reviewed the easement as included in the meeting package. Mr. Frampton informed the Board of the grass cutting issue at Lake Paul Wallace, and noted that the City of Bennettsville submitted the highest bid for this service. Mr. Pulliam made a motion that the Board approve the easement and allow staff to negotiate for grass cutting at Lake Paul Wallace. Mr. Evans seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
    2. Berkeley Electric Coop Easement on Bonneau Ferry
      Mr. Mabry reviewed the easement as included in the meeting package. Mr. Mabry noted that Berkeley Electric Coop may need a right of way over this property, so it may be subject to additional negotiation. Mrs. Rhodes made a motion that the Board approve the easement and allow the Director to negotiate with Berkeley Electric Coop for a more favorable agreement for the agency. Mr. Davis seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
    3. Stumphouse Mountain Heritage Preserve Management Plan
      Mr. Carmichael reviewed the Stumphouse Mountain Heritage Preserve Management Plan as included in the meeting package. Mr. Davis made a motion that the Board approve the Stumphouse Mountain Heritage Preserve Management Plan as presented. Mrs. Rhodes seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
    4. Wildlife Management Plan – Bonneau Ferry WMA
      Mr. Carmichael reviewed the Wildlife Management Plan for Bonneau Ferry WMA as included in the meeting package. After some discussion, Mr. Pulliam made a motion that the Board approve the Wildlife Management Plan for Bonneau Ferry WMA as presented. Mrs. Rhodes seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
  11. Director’s Briefing
    Mr. Frampton gave the Board a brief update on the budget, stating that DNR has taken approximately a 40% budget cut since July 2008. Mr. Frampton noted that if the economy doesn’t improve, DNR will be looking at staff reductions. Mr. Frampton and Deputy Directors are reviewing any programs that are not mandatory or will not further reduce revenue.

    Mr. Frampton met with the President of NRA and they agreed on language for the Right to Hunt legislation. Some concerns remain, but South Carolina is probably better off than other states.

    Mr. Frampton reminded the Board that the Economic Impact Survey Announcement will take place on May 27 at 9:30 a.m. at the Reedy River Park in Greenville, at 12:00 Noon at the West Columbia Riverwalk Amphitheater and at 3:30 p.m. at the Charleston City Marina in Charleston.

    Mr. Frampton plans to attend the National Shooting Sports Foundation’s Task Force 20/20 meeting at the Shooting Sports Summit in Weston, Florida, where he and Superintendent of Education, Dr. Jim Rex, will make a joint presentation on the Natural Resource School Program.
  12. Environmental Report
    Bob Perry, Director of Environmental Programs, distributed a copy of a letter dated May 13, 2009, regarding the Woodruff-Roebuck Water District’s proposed project, and the recommendation that the proposed permit not be issued until a more thorough review and EIS can be completed. After some discussion, the Board directed staff to continue their work with this issue and keep the Board informed.

    Mr. Perry distributed correspondence dated May 8, 2009, from Jay Hudson, of Santee Cooper, which confirmed moving the landfills, as discussed at the April 23 Board meeting. The revised site plan has been submitted to regulatory agencies. The Corps of Engineers is reviewing the draft EIS and will probably issue the public notice near the end of the summer. Mr. Frampton stated that throughout the permitting process staff will continue to work to protect the bluffs. Mr. Pulliam commended DNR staff for their work on this issue.
  13. Deputy Directors Reports
    1. Outreach and Support Services
      Carole Collins, Deputy Director for Outreach and Support Services, also commented on the upcoming Economic Impact Survey Announcement. Ms. Collins reported that 230,000 early renewal license forms have been mailed.
    2. Marine Resources
      Robert Boyles reported on the proposal to change the Commercial Blue Crab Fishery. Mr. Boyles stated that the Citizens Group believes that conditions still exist for limited access to the fishery. The Marine Advisory Committee remains interested in pursuing legislation for limited access to the blue crab fishery. Staff would like the Board to consider the legislation in next year’s package. Mr. Boyles informed the Board that DHEC and the FDA have confirmed the first South Carolina case of Vibrio parahaemolyticus, from the ACE Basin on April 16. This will trigger additional shellfish sanitation requirements because of health concerns. Mr. Boyles reported that the Marine Resources Division is working with local media and the Outreach and Support Services Division to develop products to notify people of the saltwater license changes.
    3. Land, Water and Conservation
      Mr. Rentiers attended the Charleston County Conservation District meeting to swear in new commissioners John Smoak and Raymond Tumbleston. Mr. Rentiers met with Nature Conservancy staff to discuss the Savannah River Potable Water Study. Mr. Rentiers reported that hydrology staff met with officials from the Town of Bluffton and Beaufort County at their request to look into surface water issues associated with rapid growth in the area. Mr. Rentiers noted that Dr. Aziz, of Clemson University, provided an update of their study of the Corps management of the Savannah Lakes system.
    4. Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries
      Mr. Carmichael reported that the turkey presentation from last month’s meeting is on the DNR website. Mr. Carmichael met with Senator Cromer and they discussed the possibility of providing the turkey presentation to both the House and Senate. Mr. Carmichael reported that he met with key legislators to brief them on the closing of Botany Bay on Tuesdays. The Edisto Island Historical Society sent an email supporting this closure. Thus far, staff have received no negative reactions to the closure. A news release about the closure will be included in this week’s packet.
    5. Law Enforcement
      Col. Alvin Taylor gave the Board a brief update on abandoned vessels. Over 200 boats have been identified, and of these, at least 42 are abandoned. Once the vessels were posted the owners began to call. Col. Taylor asked that Lt. Gary Sullivan give the Board a full presentation on this topic at a future meeting.
  14. Executive Session
    At this time, Mr. Davis made a motion for the Board to hold an Executive Session to discuss personnel matters. Mr. Evans seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
  15. Return to Regular Session
    Mrs. Rhodes made a motion that the Board return to regular session and noted that no actions were taken in Executive Session. Mr. Pulliam seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
  16. Time and Location of the Next Meetings
    The June Board meeting will be held Thursday, June 18, 2009, in Columbia, beginning at 10:00 am.

    The July Board meeting will be held Wednesday, July 8, 2009, in Charleston.
  17. Adjournment
    There being no further business to be brought before the DNR Board at this time, the meeting was adjourned.