Minutes

Board of the Department of Natural Resources

Rembert C. Dennis Building, Room 335

Columbia, SC

Friday, June 21, 2002

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, June 21, 2002, 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.  Chairman Dr. Joab Lesesne presided at the meeting.  Board members present included Dr. Julius Leary, Danny Ford, Ben Gregg, M. Russell Holliday, Jr., 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 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

        Cary Chamblee introduced Patten Watson, SC Wildlife Federation and Nancy Stone-Collum, Coastal Conservation League.

 

IV.        Constituency Comments

            There were no requests for comment.

 

V.          Approval of Minutes

Chairman Lesesne asked if there were any corrections or additions to the minutes of the May 17, 2002, meeting.  There being no corrections or additions the minutes of the May 17, 2002, meeting were approved as submitted.

 

VI.        Presentations/Commendations

            Dr. Sandifer commended Corporal Gene Morris upon his receipt of the Medal of Valor from the SC Law Enforcement Association.

 

            Dr. Sandifer commended Capt. John Watford on his selection to attend the 210th session of the FBI Academy.

 

            Dr. Sandifer congratulated Buford Mabry upon his receipt of a Joint Resolution presented to him on the House Floor in honor of his appointment as Brigadier General in the Army National Guard.

 

            Col. Alvin Wright congratulated Joey Rentiers- and the Hunter Education Program for being recognized at the IAFWA for having one of the best hunter education videos in the southeast and also for the work on the Hunter Ed CD.

 

            Dr. Sandifer read a letter from the Greenwood Sheriff’s Department thanking the Department for the law enforcement assistance on the recent bomb threat of the Wilson Creek Bridge.

 

            Dr. Sandifer congratulated Marine Division employee Billy McCord on his recognition by Charleston’s Post and Courier newspaper as an “Unsung Hero” in recognition of his volunteer work on nights and weekends tagging and sharing information on butterflies.

 

            Dr. Sandifer congratulated Mary Crockett of Land, Water and Conservation on her graduation from the Governor’s EXCEL Leadership Institute.

 

            Tom Kohlsaat informed the Board that the Heritage Trust Program received the Robert N. S. and Patti Foos Whitelaw Founders Award in recognition of their role in the protection of Childsbury.

 

            Mr. Kohlsaat also reported that the Port Royal Adventure Trail has been designated as a National Recreation Trail.

 

            Dr. Sandifer introduced Mr. Gary Martel, Chief of Fisheries with the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.  Mr. Martel presented the 2001 Aquatic Education Outstanding Sport Fish Restoration Project of the Year to SC Reel Kids Program on behalf of the American Fisheries Society’s Fisheries Administrator’s Section.

 

VII.            Advisory Committee Reports

A.      Saltwater Recreational Fisheries

Dr. Miglarese reported that the Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Advisory Committee recommends, along with division staff, that the $5 enhancement to the saltwater fishing license will be used in the following three projects:  1) red drum stock enhancement, 2) oyster reef restoration, and 3) inshore artificial reefs.

 

            B. Land, Water and Conservation

Dr. Rucker reported that the Land, Water and Conservation Advisory Committee met May 29, in Columbia.  The Advisory Committee received a presentation on non point source pollution concerns in the Greenwood Conservation District.  The Advisory Committee received updates on the drought and DHEC’s development of TMDLs.  Mike Janis gave an overview of the new Southeast Regional Climate Center website. 

 

            C. Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries

Ms. Holliday reported that the Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Advisory Committee met June 6.  The Advisory Committee received an informational handout and a DNR news release concerning Chronic Wasting disease.  Derrell Shipes provided the Advisory Committee with an explanation of the history of the public draw hunt program and proposed a $25 non-refundable application fee for hunts.  This fee would lower staff workload and generate about $40,000 of revenue annually.  Ms. Holliday stated that the Advisory Committee expressed numerous concerns about this fee.  The Advisory approved the duck stamp budget and the antlerless deer tag budget.  The Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Advisory Committee and the Law Enforcement Advisory Committee will have a joint meeting on July 24, to discuss proposed legislation for fox running enclosures.

 

            D. Marine

Mr. Gregg reported that the Marine Advisory Committee met on June 14.  The Advisory Committee discussed the derelict and abandoned vessels.  Mr. Gregg stated that the Advisory Committee received status reports on blue crab, red drum and sea trout. 

 

VIII.      Items for Board Information   

A.      Update on Wildlife Diseases

                  Charles Ruth distributed copies of information on Chronic Wasting Disease.  Mr. Ruth also distributed copies of a recent Department news release relating to Chronic Wasting Disease.  Mr. Ruth noted the ever-changing status of this disease and stated that a free ranging mule deer in New Mexico has been diagnosed with the disease.  Mr. Ruth stated that there is a feeling that the chances of keeping this disease out of South Carolina appear somewhat favorable.  Mr. Ruth noted that the disease has occurred in mostly commercial situations but there have been outbreaks in free ranging cervids in five or six states.  Derrell Shipes noted that there is a national team designated to develop prevention and response protocol for the disease and there is a national workshop in Denver, Colorado, in August, to begin development of this protocol.  After much discussion, the Board suggested to be sure the public is informed of this disease and make sure that all those who have enclosures know that deer, both inside and outside enclosures, will be monitored for this disease.

 

Derrell Shipes brought two other diseases to the attention of the Board.  The first disease being AVM, which occurs primarily in birds.  Mr. Shipes noted that at this time there have been 19 eagle mortalities in South Carolina and noted other birds affected.  Mr. Shipes stated that there is a national team working on this disease and when information is developed it will be shared with the Board.

 

Mr. Shipes also discussed West Nile Virus, an encephalitis virus.  Mr. Shipes stated that the virus was introduced into New York City in 1999, and is now documented from Maine to Florida, with the exception of West Virginia and South Carolina, and as far west as Louisiana, Arkansas, Missouri and Iowa.

 

B.     Savannah River Basin Study

Dr. Bud Badr reviewed the Savannah River Basin Study and highlighted issues within the basin.  Dr. Badr stated that this study will enhance the ability to use science to strike a fair deal between South Carolina and the State of Georgia.  Dr. Badr shared some of the issues of concern in the Savannah River Basin.  The basin is more than 10,000 square miles and has five major lakes.  The purpose of the study is to set and develop a comprehensive tool that will enable South Carolina and the State of Georgia to fairly distribute and allocate the water between the two states and all the users.  The only way this can be done is to establish and develop this tool together. 

 

           C. Shellfish Restoration Program

Dr. Miglarese introduced Bob Van Dolah, Interim Director of the Marine Resource Research Institute.  Dr. Bob Van Dolah noted that the shellfish restoration program is one of two programs involving shellfish.  The second program is a monitoring program.  Dr. Van Dolah introduced Loren Coen and asked that he make the presentation to the Board.

 

Dr. Coen described the types of oysters and the benefits of oysters, such as filtering and fish habitat.  This program was developed to involve the public in a community assisted restoration program.  A Department Shell Recycling Program has also been developed.  The idea is to restore and enhance shellfish on a priority basis.  The idea of the community restoration program is to develop an awareness in the public, in terms of the value of oysters, not just as a resource but as a habitat, in the recycling of shell and putting the shell out, to use these small pilot reefs as research platforms and to involve children.  Dr. Coen then described the Shell Recycling Program.  This program allows a recycling center to be set up so that people can bring in 5-25 bushels of shells or they can be picked up.  Dr. Coen then described “planting” of shells.  Dr. Coen stated that by using the information from these programs and past research to improve and expand to a larger restoration effort.  It is also hoped to be able to develop and evaluate more effective ways to manage oyster beds.

 

  IX.      Items for Board Action

A.      Approval of Duck Stamp Budget

Derrell Shipes reviewed the proposed Duck Stamp Budget as submitted to the Board in the meeting package.  Ms. Holliday made a motion that the Board approve the version of the Duck Stamp Budget as included in the Board meeting package.  Dr. Rucker seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

 

B.     Comp Time Policy

Jean Cowell briefly reviewed the changes in the Comp Time Policy.  Mr. Ford made a motion that the Board approve the Comp Time Policy as presented.  Ms. Holliday seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

 

C.     Heritage Trust Property Donations

This item will be discussed in executive session.

 

D.     Oconee County Confirmation of Right-of-Way

Paul League reviewed the request from Oconee County for a right-of-way to pave a county road.  The area in question forms part of the boundary of the Brasstown Creek Heritage Preserve in Oconee County.  After discussion, Mr. McEachin made a motion that the Board approve the request for right-of-way from Oconee County as presented.  Mr. Ford seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

 

   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 appointment of William Dean Moss, Jr., to the Land, Water and Conservation Division Advisory Committee to fill Tom Dunaway’s term that expires October 21, 2002.  Dr. Rucker seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

 

Dr. Leary made a motion that the Board approve the acquisitions of the Stewart tract, as an addition to the Henderson Heritage Preserve, and the Cothran tract as a new Heritage Preserve.  Dr. Rucker seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

 

XII. Director’s Briefings

Dr. Sandifer informed the Board that Representative David Wilkins has appointed Tommy Miller to the Conservation Bank Board and that Senator Glenn McConnell has appointed Tom Deloach and Chip Campsen.

 

Dr. Sandifer reported to the board that Cary Chamblee represented him at the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies’ Spring Meeting.  Dr. Sandifer’s term as President of the organization ended in May. 

 

Dr. Sandifer participated in a meeting on May 20 of the governor’s Homeland Security Council. 

 

Dr. Sandifer received the final report submitted to the Governor’s Office by the SC Law Enforcement Officer Safety Review Task Force and thanked Maj. McCarty and his team of officers for their assistance in this matter.

 

Dr. Sandifer attended the dedication and tour of the North Inlet-Winyah Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve headquarters building on May 30, at USC’s Baruch Marine Field Laboratory in Georgetown.

 

A.      Habitat Protection Activities

John Frampton reported that the House and Senate are in the process of making some appointments to the Land Bank.

 

B.     Legislative Report

Derrick Meggie reviewed several items legislators have requested information on during the off season.  Mr. Meggie also noted that several bills passed one house and not the other last year and these bills need to be reviewed for next year.

 

XIII.      Deputy Directors’ Reports

A.      Marine Resources

No further report.

 

B.     Land, Water and Conservation
Mr. Vang reported that the probabilities of receiving significant federal funding for the State Mapping Project are very favorable.
 
C.     Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries

Breck Carmichael reported that he is serving on an intergovernmental committee to provide input into the State Trails Plan. 

 
D.     Law Enforcement

Col. Wright reported that efforts at Bike Week were successful.  Col. Wright noted that there is interest from SLED to utilize the Department’s aircraft and vice versa and to move the aviation headquarters to SLED.  Col. Wright stated that there is opposition to that because the Department has a unique mission and the aircraft is valuable to the agency.  Col. Wright noted that there was an agreement, between DNR and SLED, to be on pilot rotation for Search and Rescue.  Col. Wright reported that there have been 37 boating accidents with nine fatalities thus far this year.

 

            E. CEC and Administrative Services

Carole Collins reported that the direct mail license form went out and in the first four days 3,700 combination purchases were received and 1,882 single license purchases were received.

 

XIV.     Time and Location of the Next Meeting

Chairman Lesesne stated that the next meeting of the DNR Board will be held on Friday, July 19, 2002, at the Dennis Building in Columbia, beginning at 9:30 a.m.

 

The August meeting will be held Friday, August 16, 2002, in Columbia.

 

The November meeting will be held in conjunction with the dedication of the new NERR facility at Bennett’s Point.

 

XV. Adjournment

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