AMENDED MINUTES

BOARD OF THE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES

Rembert C. Dennis Building, Room 335

Columbia, South Carolina

Friday, June 18, 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 June 18, 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 Danny Ford, Ben Gregg, Russell Holliday, Dr. Julius Leary, Malloy McEachin and Dr. Douglas Rucker. 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. Administration of Oath of Office

South Carolina Supreme Court Associate Justice Jean Toal administered the Oath of Office to newly appointed Board Members.

 

III. Meditation

Chairman Graham asked for a moment of silent meditation.

 

IV. Introduction of Guests

Chairman Graham recognized guests in the audience including Pat Robertson, The State newspaper.

 

V. Constituency Comments

Chairman Graham called on Bob Bailey, President of the SC Sportsmen's Coalition, for comments. Mr. Bailey's comments were directed toward the diminishing wildlife habitat in the state and the deer tag program. Mr. Bailey stated that the sportsmen of South Carolina would like to see a portion of deer tag revenues directed towards habitat acquisition.

Chairman Graham called on Dennis Chastain, Chairman of the SC Sportsmen's Protection League, for comments. Mr. Chastain explained to the Board that this group will be the lobbying agency for the SC Sportsmen's Coalition. Mr. Chastain's comments were aimed primarily toward the acquisition of property from Duke Energy and Crescent on the south side of Scenic Highway 11.

 

VI. Approval of Minutes

Chairman Graham asked if there were any corrections or additions to the minutes of the May 21, 1999, meeting. There being no corrections or additions, Mr. Gregg made a motion that the minutes of the May 21, 1999, meeting be accepted as mailed. Dr. Rucker seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

Dr. Sandifer announced that Hank Stallworth, Assistant Director of the Land, Water and Conservation Division, is on loan to the Governor's Office serving as the Governor's Senior Advisor for Natural Resources policy matters and will be serving as the executive staff person for the Interagency Council on Natural Resources Policy.

Dr. Sandifer also introduced Lisa Sox, Research Director for the Senate Fish, Game and Forestry Committee.

 

VII. Advisory Committee Meetings

Law Enforcement

Chairman Graham called on John Jernigan, Vice Chairman of the Law Enforcement Advisory Committee, for his report. Mr. Jernigan reported that the Committee met on June 9, in Charleston. Mr. Jernigan noted that the Committee recognized Yancey McLeod for receiving the Environmental Awareness Award, and the Committee recognized Tommy Miller for outstanding leadership as chairman of the Committee. Mr. Jernigan stated that the Committee received reports from Col. Wright, Lt. Col. Smith, Maj. Taylor and Maj. McCarty. Lt. Jolly reported on the preparations for the upcoming hurricane season and Lt. Walters made a presented a draft bill on the display of public game. Mr. Jernigan stated that the Committee also discussed the dove season. There will be no change in the manner in which fields can be grown or manipulated.

Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries

Chairman Graham called on Brock Conrad to present the report for the Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Advisory Committee. Mr. Conrad reported that the Committee met on June 10. Mr. Conrad stated that the Committee received reports concerning hardwood management, legislation, proposed DNR aquatic plant policy for Santee Cooper, elk introduction program in the southeast, proposed additions to the Santee Coastal Reserve Management Plan as suggested by the ad hoc committee, and a survey of technical assistance to private pond owners. Mr. Conrad reported that there were three items that required approval by the Committee and recommendation and approval to the DNR Board, 1) proposed duck stamp budget, 2) proposed deer tag budget, and 3) use of DNR's mitigation trust fund for fisheries resource enhancement.

 

VIII. Items for Board Information

A. Assignment to Advisory Committees

Chairman Graham noted that he would not be making any advisory committee assignments, but a form has been developed for Board Members to express their preference.

B. Board Orientation

Dr. Sandifer introduced key staff of the Department and described the basic functions of each division. A video, that briefly explained each division, was shown to the Board. Dr. Sandifer reviewed the existing Board policies, directives and authorities with the members.

C. Memorandum of Agreement with SC Department of Transportation

Cary Chamblee reviewed the Memorandum of Agreement with SC DOT as it relates to wetland mitigation and planning in the highway construction process. Mr. Chamblee introduced Ed Duncan, Director of Environmental Services. Mr. Chamblee gave a brief summation of wetland mitigation. Mr. Chamblee asked Mr. Duncan to give background of mitigation banking and how the process works.

D. Private Support for Marine Center Library Expansion

John Miglarese made a brief slide presentation of the current Marine Center Library and advised the Board that at the next meeting he will bring a resolution to the Board so that they may embark on a fund raising effort of private, federal and state support, with primarily private support from the individuals who helped found the Marine Center. The ultimate purpose will be to form an exploratory committee to review the possibility of expanding the cooperative Marine Resources library with a public/private fund raising effort.

 

IX. Items for Board Action

Election of Vice Chair

Ms. Holliday made a motion that the Board postpone action on this item until the July meeting. Dr. Leary seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

Use of DNR's Mitigation Trust Fund for Fisheries Resource Enhancement

Gerrit J÷bsis gave a brief background of the forming of the Trust Fund and the various ways this fund can be used. Mr. J÷bsis presented a proposal from the Freshwater Fisheries Section to conduct a three-year assessment of the fishery resources in the Broad River, looking at the effects of land use and hydroelectric power production and identifying areas that need restoration, so that future funds can be used for enhancement and restoration activities. The plan was reviewed by Duke Power Company, SCE&G, US Fish and Wildlife Service and DNR's technical staff. All parties agree that the study being proposed would be in compliance with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission guidelines for the fund and would also be beneficial for the resources of the Broad River. After questions posed by Board Members were answered, Mr. Gregg made a motion that the Board approve the three-year study and using funds from the Broad River subaccount of the Mitigation Trust Fund. Dr. Rucker seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

Proposed Duck Stamp Budget

Tim Ivey gave a brief background of the Migratory Waterfowl Stamp program and reviewed the proposed budget for 1999-2000. After question asked by the Board Members were answered, Dr. Leary made a motion that the 1999-2000 Duck Stamp Budget be approved as presented. Dr. Rucker seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

Proposed Deer Tag Budget

Charles Ruth gave a brief background of the Individual Antlerless Deer Tag Program and the Antlerless Deer Quota Program. Mr. Ruth reviewed the proposed Antlerless Deer Quota Program budget for 1999-2000. Dr. Leary made a motion that the Board approve the Antlerless Deer Quota Program budget for 1999-2000 as presented. Mr. McEachin seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimsouly.

Mr. Ruth reviewed the proposed Individual Antlerless Deer Tag Program budget for 1999-2000. After questions posed by the Board Members were answered, Mr. Gregg made a motion that the Board approve the Individual Antlerless Deer Tag Program budget for 1999-2000 as presented, with the following caveat, if there is any money left over it earmarked for habitat acquisition. Ms. Holliday seconded the motion. After discussion and questions, Mr. Gregg and Ms. Holliday agreed to withdraw the original motion and second. At this time, Mr. Gregg made a motion that the Board approve the Individual Antlerless Deer Tag Program budget for 1999-2000 as presented, with the understanding that funding for habitat acquisition will be studied by the Department and there will be further discussion at future Board meetings concerning acquisition. Ms. Holliday seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

SCE&G Power Line Right of Way/Mason Tract/McCormick County

Benny Reeves reviewed the right of way request by SCE&G. After questions asked by the Board Members were answered, Dr. Leary made a motion that the possibility of burying the line be explored before a vote is taken on the issue. Mr. Gregg seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

 

X. Director's Briefings

A. Executive Office

1. Director

Dr. Sandifer reminded the Board of Brock Conrad's retirement on July 1, 1999, and discussed plans for posting the position.

Dr. Sandifer mentioned the efforts by the Law Enforcement Division in assisting SLED, Highway Patrol and Horry County Law Enforcement officers with the recent biker's weekend at Myrtle Beach. In order to make approximately 75 officers available, over 40 DLEO's were asked to work where needed over the weekend.

Dr. Sandifer informed the Board that the first meeting of the Interagency Council on Natural Resources Policy will be held on June 29 at 2:00 p.m.

Dr. Sandifer mentioned the DNR Hurricane Tabletop Exercise held recently in Charleston.

Dr. Sandifer informed the Board that he attended a special Sea Grant Board of Directors meeting in Charleston as part of Sea Grant's South Carolina Program Review.

Dr. Sandifer informed the Board that he has been contacted recently about the Crackerneck property owned by the Department of Energy located at the Savannah River Site. This property has been in the WMA program for some time, but there have been limits on use. The Department of Energy has asked that DNR accept management of the property and potentially accept ownership in the future. Dr. Sandifer has been asked to participate in a signing ceremony with Secretary of Energy Bill Richardson on June 24 at the Savannah River Site.

Dr. Sandifer reminded the Board that the Board's Education Retreat will be held July 14-15 in Clemson.

2. Legislative

Billy McTeer stated that at the Board retreat he will be distributing a copy of DNR's legislative proposal to the Board Members. Mr. McTeer distributed a summary of prefiled legislation that was introduced in the General Assembly that is of interest to the agency.

Budget Report

Mr. Reeves stated that at the Board retreat there will be more detail on the budget process. Mr. Reeves gave a brief report on successes in the budget process.

B. Deputy Directors

1.Marine Resources

Dr. Miglarese stated that he will give the Board an overview of the Marine Resources Division at the Board's Education Retreat in July. Dr. Miglarese informed the Board that they may receive telephone calls regarding shrimp baiting. There is an ad hoc committee presently studying this issue but there are no recommendations at this time. Dr. Miglarese also thanked the Board Members for their assistance with the Coastal Fisheries legislation.

2. Land, Water and Conservation

Freddy Vang stated that he will give the Board an overview of the Land, Water and Conservation Division at the Board's Education Retreat in July. Mr. Vang reported that yesterday there was a meeting of the Drought Response Committee. Mr. Vang distributed a packet of information describing the current status and expectation.

3. Administrative Services

Mr. Reeves stated that he would defer further comments until July.

4. Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries

Brock Conrad stated that over his 34 year employment with the agency he had worked with several Board Members and he regrets not being here to work with this Board. Mr. Conrad noted that he has known several of the members for a long time and that after one meeting he is confident that this Board will carry on and do an excellent job like the other Boards and Commissions of the past. Mr. Conrad briefly reviewed the programs in the Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division.

5. Natural Resources Enforcement

Col. Wright introduced Lt. Col. Stanley Smith, Major Taylor, Major McCarty, Cpt. Glenn Ward and Cpt. Gregg Smith. Col. Wright mentioned that there were no fatalities on the waterways over the Memorial Day Weekend. Col. Wright commended Major Taylor for his efforts with the Boating Safety Act. Col. Wright reported that interviews will begin next week for current Conservation Officer vacancies and if new positions are allocated through license fees legislation the current applications will be considered. Col. Wright reviewed the past month's case activities.

6. Conservation Education and Communications

Sonny Baines mentioned that the Wildlife Shop has some clearance merchandise available at 20% off and this supports the magazine.

 

XI. Board Member Comments

Mr. Gregg suggested that there be input from Board Members, working with Dr. Sandifer, on interviews for Brock's replacement. Mr. Gregg also question if there would be outside solicitation for applicants.

 

XII. Executive Session

At this time, Dr. Leary made a motion that the Board hold an Executive Session for a legal briefing concerning a property matter, a pending legal case, and a personnel matter. Dr. Rucker 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. McEachin made a motion that the Board approve and send to the Budget and Control Board the proposed agreement on the Samworth property between the DNR and Evans Holland. Mr. Gregg seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

 

XIII. Time and Location of the Next Meeting

Chairman Graham stated that the next meeting of the DNR Board will be held on Friday, July 16, 1999, at 10:00 a.m., at the Madren Center in Clemson, South Carolina, following the dedication of the Clemson Office Building.

 

XIV. Adjournment

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