MINUTES

BOARD OF THE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES

Rembert C. Dennis Building, Room 335

Columbia, South Carolina

Friday, May 21, 1999

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 Friday, May 21, 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.

II. Meditation

Chairman Graham asked for a moment of silent meditation.

III. Introduction of Guests

Chairman Graham recognized guests in the audience including Pat Robertson, The State newspaper and Bob Bailey, Sportsmen's Coalition.

IV. Approval of Minutes

Chairman Graham asked if there were any corrections or additions to the minutes of the April 9, 1999, meeting. There being no corrections or additions, the minutes of the April 9, 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 May 3, 1999, in relation to a legal matter. There being no corrections or additions, the minutes of the May 3, 1999, telephone conference call were accepted as presented.

V. Presentations/Commendations

Dr. Sandifer recognized Sergeant Timothy Baxley and Corporal Don "Bubba" Morris for their quick action in rescuing a Sumter girl thrown from a boat in the Wyboo Creek area of Lake Marion in Clarendon County. Representative Alex Harvin sponsored Concurrent Resolution H. 4008 expressing appreciation to Sergeant Baxley and Corporal Morris for this rescue.

Dr. Sandifer announced that Robert Boyles of the Marine Resources Division has graduated from the Governor's 1998-99 EXCEL Leadership Institute.

Dr. Sandifer recognized Hope Mizell, Assistant State Climatologist, for being the first place winner in the 1999 Climate Specialty Group student paper competition at the annual meeting of the Association of American Geographers and for receiving her Master of Science degree in Geography from USC.

VI. Advisory Committee Meetings

A. Law Enforcement

Chairman Graham called on Col. Wright to report on the Law Enforcement Advisory Committee meeting. Col. Wright reported that the meeting was held on April 14, in Florence. Col. Wright stated that Lt. Col. Smith distributed information on the selection process and spoke about the swimming requirement. Maj. Pulaski recapped the accomplishments of the Law Enforcement Division in the past year and thanked the Committee for their support. Maj. Pulaski also announced his retirement. Maj. McCarty reported on the physical fitness program which will be a two year pilot program. Tara Fabian gave an update on the Property Watch Program. David Cline discussed possible solutions to the public display of game. Sgt. Walters presented a draft proposal for possible future legislation dealing with the public display of game.

B. Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries

Chairman Graham called on Mr. Coxe to report on the Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Advisory Committee meeting. Mr. Coxe reported that the meeting was held on April 15, in Columbia. The topic of most discussion was the Aquatic Vegetation Control Program on the Santee Cooper Lakes. Several constituency comments were received related to this program. It appears that there is a contingency of lake users that would like to see more vegetation, including hydrilla, left in the lake. The Advisory Committee requested DNR staff to develop a consolidated DNR position on the hydrilla issue for consideration at the June meeting. The Committee received a report on experimental deer depredation permits. This is an experimental system whereby the deer depredation permits would be issued through the Clemson Extension Service's county offices. Mr. Coxe reported that he met with the Santee Coastal Reserve Ad Hoc Advisory Committee on Tuesday, May 18, at the Santee Coastal Reserve. Mr. Coxe advised this Committee of their duties and the Board's expectations and the time frame in which they need to have the completed report. Mr. Coxe noted that there were some recommendations that he feels need to be considered prior to the completion of their report. One of the recommendations was that access to the outer islands be allowed by permit or DNR personnel accompaniment. This recommendation was advanced because of concern of pilfering and robbing of historical/cultural sites on the outer islands. Mr. Coxe requested that this be placed on the agenda for the June Board meeting for action. Another recommendation was to have a sign-in at a kiosk, at the entrance to the Santee Coastal Reserve, for public safety and to record users of the Reserve and what they are using it for. Mr. Coxe made the following motion that DNR give appropriate recognition and commendation to the Collins Creek Gun Club for their years of protection of this outstanding coastal environment, and also would like DNR to give appropriate recognition and commendation to the Santee Gun Club for their gift to the people of South Carolina for this incredibly valuable piece of property by July 31. Ms. Hutson seconded the motion and motion carried unanimously.

C. Heritage Trust

Tom Kohlsaat reported that the Heritage Trust Advisory Board met on May 6, in Columbia. Mr. Kohlsaat stated that the Advisory Board approved five management plans and also took action budgeting funds for property acquisition. Mr. Kohlsaat reported that the Advisory Board heard a proposal from Save the Light, Inc., which is working to save the Morris Island Lighthouse. This group now has title to the lighthouse and needs to donate it to a public entity in order to qualify for assistance from the Corps of Engineers in restoration and stabilization. This group asked the Heritage Trust Advisory Board and DNR to take title to the lighthouse. Mr. Kohlsaat stated that the Advisory Board took the request under advisement and several members are going to visit the lighthouse.

D. Marine
Chairman Graham called on Ms. Hutson to report on the Marine Advisory Committee. Ms. Hutson reported that the MAC met on May 7, in Charleston. The committee received a legislative report from David Cupka. Ms. Hutson noted that Partnership 2000 was discussed. Ms. Hutson stated that the committee received a report on virus issues. Dr. Sedberry reported on the Charleston Bump and a workshop is planned for July 29-30. Ms. Hutson reported that the Shrimp Ad Hoc Committee members have been named.

E. Marine Recreational Fisheries

John Miglarese reported that the Marine Recreational Fisheries Advisory Committee met and reviewed the proposed projects for the utilization of saltwater stamp funds.

F. Land, Water and Conservation

Freddy Vang reminded the Board that June is American Rivers Month and Governor Hodges has issued a proclamation naming the month of June American Rivers Month in South Carolina. Mr. Vang noted that the forecast is for 10 hurricanes in the Atlantic this year. Mr. Vang stated that the Advisory Committee received reports on the current status and outlook for water resources; DHEC reported on water quality and the issue of ponds and the cost of a permit; and conservation tillage. Mr. Vang reminded the Board that the Southeastern Region of the National Association of Conservation Districts meeting will be the first week of August in Charleston.

VII. Items for Board Action

A. Consideration of 1998 Governor's Cup Billfishing Series Annual Report

Chairman Graham called on Bill Cox, Chairman of the Governor's Cup Billfishing Series, for his report. Mr. Cox emphasized highlights of the 1998 Governor's Cup Billfishing Series Annual Report. Mr. Miller made a motion that the Board approve the 1998 Governor's Cup Billfishing Series Annual Report as presented. Ms. Hutson seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

B. Proposed Heritage Trust Property Acquisitions

This item will be handled in executive session since this is a contractual matter.

C. Proposed Management Plans for Stevens Creek Heritage Preserve, Bay Point Shoal, Joiner Bank and North Santee Bar Heritage Preserves, Rock Hill Blackjacks Heritage Preserve, Blackwell Heritage Preserve

Johnny Stowe reviewed the proposed management plans and answered questions asked by Board Members. Mr. Lee made a motion that the Board accept the management plans as written. Ms. Hutson seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

D. Proposed Management Plan for Daws Island Heritage Preserve

Chris Judge reviewed the proposed management plan for the Daws Island Heritage Preserve and answered questions asked by Board Members. Mr. Miller made a motion that the Board accept the management plan as written with one amendment, delete the following sentence under public access: Should a greater demand for use of the island occur, a small dock might be built at 38BU10 on the upland portion of Daws Island. Mr. Lee seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

VIII. Director's Briefings

A. Executive Office

1. Director

Dr. Sandifer asked Mike Creel to introduce Dawn Mills Campbell, the newest employee in the News Section of CEC.

Dr. Sandifer stated that Dan Dobbins and Sonny Baines are attending a dedication of PRT's Foothill Visitors Center on Highway 11. Dr. Sandifer noted that the Department has a display in this Center.

Dr. Sandifer announced that 19 employees of the Department are retiring in May and June. Dr. Sandifer read a memorandum that Brock Conrad sent to his staff regarding this retirement.

Dr. Sandifer noted that Cary Chamblee represented him at a meeting with Buddy Jennings and Ron Carter, PRT, Doug Bryant, DHEC, and Ken Driggers, Palmetto Conservation Foundation to begin developing a coalition related to conservation initiative for the Governor.

Dr. Sandifer reported that there have been four Women in Natural Resources focus group meeting and over 50% of female employees attended at least one of the focus group meetings. Results of the focus group meetings will be compiled and used as a basis for a survey to be sent to all Department employees concerning the status of women in DNR.

Dr. Sandifer stated that Dan Dobbins and Lt. Jolly, in working with Ed Duncan, arranged a debriefing for him and all the participants in the recent oiled bird rescue project.

Dr. Sandifer noted that Klaudia Martini, Minister of Environment of South Carolina's sister state, Rheinland-Phalz, met with him and other deputy directors during her visit to South Carolina.

Dr. Sandifer stated that the participated in an Earth Day celebration at Grove Plantation in the ACE Basin along with Ms. Hutson. Secretary of Education Dick Riley was the keynote speaker.

Dr. Sandifer, Cary Chamblee, Dan Dobbins, Lt. Jolly and Dr. Mike Helfert participated in an emergency Preparedness Division's Executive Tabletop Emergency Management Exercise chaired by Governor Hodges.

Dr. Sandifer noted that the Department recently held its State Service Pins/Awards Day Ceremony. Dr. Sandifer announced that CEC's former employee, Cindy Thompson, received the DNR Employee of the Year and Ed Duncan was recognized as the Executive Office's Employee of the Year.

Dr. Sandifer reported that he attended the Agency Director's Organization Spring Forum attended by Governor Hodges.

Dr. Sandifer stated that a signing ceremony between DNR and the South Carolina Sportsmen's Coalition signing the Memorandum of Understanding on the Take One Make One Program.

Dr. Sandifer reported that Mr. Chamblee represented him at the Southeastern association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies' Spring meeting in Oklahoma city.

Dr. Sandifer stated that he attended the Palmetto Conservation Foundation Board of Directors meeting.

Dr. Sandifer informed the Board of the Billy Tolar Boat Ramp dedication will be held on May 28, at 10:00 a.m., at the ramp.

Dr. Sandifer also informed the Board that there will be a DNR Hurricane Exercise on June 4, at the Marine Center.

2. Legislative

Billy McTeer briefly informed the Board of legislative issues that are currently before the General Assembly.

B. Deputy Directors

1. Administrative Services

Benny Reeves briefed the Board regarding the status of the budget. It currently is in Conference Committee. Mr. Reeves distributed a copy of the House version and mentioned that the Senate version is matched fairly well.

2. Marine Resources

Dr. Miglarese also informed the Board that the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) has closed federal waters to shrimp trawling from the three mile line to ten miles offshore. This action was taken due to the heavy migration of leatherback turtles - an endangered species. The only shrimp trawling that would be allowed is trawling that incorporates a modified TED specifically designed to exclude leatherbacks. Thus far, the NMFS has closed the area from the Savannah River to Cape Romain and it is expected that this area will open on May 28. It is anticipated that the area from Cape Romain to Cape Fear will soon be closed as the turtles transient the area. S.C. shrimpers have cooperated fully and law enforcement officers from DNR and NMFS have boarded numerous boats to assure compliance.

Dr. Miglarese announced that the 1999 shrimp season will open May 26, in conjunction with Georgia's opening.

XIII. Executive Session

At this time, Mr. Lee made a motion that the Board hold an Executive Session for legal briefings and consideration of three pending legal cases, advisory committee appointments, conservation district commissioner appointments, property acquisition and personnel items. Mr. Coxe 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 appoint Terry LeCroy to the Law Enforcement Advisory Committee in the vacant position. Mr. Coxe seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Miller made a motion that the Board follow staff recommendation to appoint to the Governor's Cup Billfishing Series Advisory Board of Directors, Mr. D. Therrell Collier, Sr., Mr. Michael Larrow and Mr. Bony H. Peace, III. Mr. Lee seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Miller made a motion that the Board approve the acquisition of Long Branch Bay in Barnwell County and an addition to Rock Hill Blackjacks Heritage Preserve in York County for dedication as heritage preserves. Mr. Lee seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Miller made a motion that the Board follow staff recommendation to reappoint, as conservation district commissioners, W. Ben Oswald, Becky Williams, W. E. Corbin, Jr., Sheila B. Sistare, Norris R. Fowler, Jr., and new appointments J. W. Scott, Jr., C. Wayne Satterwhite, and as commissioner emeritus Spencer C. Smith, Raymond E. Wells, Jr., J. P. Hodges, and John Rex Edwards. Mr. Burnside seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Miller made a motion that the Board endorse and approve Dr. Sandifer's continuing academic activities and research in areas of interest to the agency and in teaching and mentoring students. These activities are subject to State Law and Policy and must not interfere with the discharge of his primary duties as administrator of the Department of Natural Resources. Mr. Lee seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

XIV. Time and Location of the Next Meeting

Chairman Graham stated that the next meeting of the DNR Board will be held on Friday, June 18, 1999, at 10:00 a.m., at the Dennis Building in Columbia, South Carolina.

XV. Adjournment

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