Board of the Department of Natural Resources
Rembert C. Dennis Building, Room 335
1000 Assembly Street
August 13, 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, August 13, 2009, in Room 335 of the Rembert C. Dennis Building, Columbia, 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 Michael Campbell, Stephen Davis, John Evans, Frank Murray and Norman Pulliam. Board member Caroline Rhodes’ absence was excused. Director John Frampton and staff members of the Department of Natural Resources were present at the meeting.
- Call to Order
Chairman Mike McShane called the meeting to order at 10:00 a.m. and welcomed everyone to the meeting.
Chairman McShane asked Rev. Eric Skidmore to offer the invocation.
- Pledge of Allegiance
Vice Chairman Michael Campbell led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance.
- Introduction of Guests
Don Winslow, Chief of Staff, introduced Representative David Umphlett; Douglas Ford, Research Director, Senate Fish, Game and Forestry Committee; David Wielicki, South Carolina Waterfowl Association; Childs Cantey, South Carolina Attorney General’s Office; Hank Stallworth, retired DNR employee.
- Constituent Comments
Mr. Winslow informed the Board that David Wielicki requested to make comments to the Board. Mr. Wielicki’s comments concerned the upcoming migratory waterfowl season. Mr. Wielicki stated that there has been a good wood duck hatch, things are looking better, and they anticipate a good season. Mr. Wielicki also noted that USFWS has received money for refuges.
- Approval of Minutes
Chairman McShane asked if there were any amendments, additions, deletions or corrections to the July 8, 2009, meeting minutes. Mr. Evans made a motion that the Board approve the minutes of the July 8, 2009, meeting with the amendment to attach the 2009-2010 Budget for Waterfowl Stamp Funds, as approved; and the 2009-2010 Early Migratory Bird Hunting season, as approved. Mr. Davis seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
- Advisory Committee Reports
- Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries
Breck Carmichael, Deputy Director for Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, reported that the Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Advisory Committee met July 14 in Columbia. The Advisory Committee received presentations and updates on problems with non-native species in waterways, alligator hunting program, the managed lands website, results of the economic impact survey, the 2008-2009 youth hunts, recommendations for the 2009-2010 early migratory bird season and legislation.
- Land, Water and Conservation
Ken Rentiers, Deputy Director for Land, Water and Conservation, reported that the Land, Water and Conservation Advisory Committee met July 16. The Advisory Committee received presentations and updates on climate, LIDAR progress, conservation education programs and the Savannah River Optimization Model . The Advisory Committee also approved conservation district commissioner reappointments, which are scheduled for Board approval.
- Migratory Waterfowl
Bryan Kyzer, Outreach and Support Services Division, reported that the Migratory Waterfowl Advisory Committee met August 4 in Columbia. Mr. Kyzer stated that the main topic of discussion was DNR’s commission contract with Jim Killen. The Advisory Committee recommended that Mr. Killen be contacted and asked to add two additional years to the current four year contract.
Mr. Carmichael reported that the Waterfowl Advisory Committee met August 4 at Santee National Wildlife Refuge. The Advisory Committee received an overview of the Refuge, selected Lin Fore to serve as Vice Chairman, received the peer review team report of Bonneau Ferry and Sandy Beach and reviewed dates and locations for the public listening sessions. The Advisory Committee discussed the 2009-2010 Late Season Migratory Bird Frameworks, as provided by USFWS, and staff recommendation for the season. The Advisory Committee passed a motion to amend the staff recommendations and submit them for Board consideration.
At this time the Board discussed the two recommendations for the 2009-2010 Late Season Migratory Bird Seasons. After much discussion, Mr. Evans made a motion that the Board approve the 2009-2010 Late Season Migratory Bird Seasons as recommended by the Advisory Committee. Mr. Pulliam seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
2009-2010 Migratory Bird Seasons
- Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series
Robert Boyles, Deputy Director for Marine Resources, reported that the Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series Advisory Committee met August 6 in Charleston. The Advisory Committee approved the 2008 Annual Report to be considered by the Board. The Advisory Committee reviewed and accepted the budget as presented. The Advisory Committee reviewed and approved the 2010 schedule which includes the concept for the Carolina Billfish Classic. The Advisory Committee approved rule changes for the multi-fish affidavit and the minimum size for Blue Marlin. Mr. Pulliam made a motion that the Board accept the 2008 Annual Report as submitted. Mr. Davis seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
- Law Enforcement
Mr. Campbell reported that the Law Enforcement Advisory Committee met July 12 in Columbia. The Advisory Committee received updates on Law Enforcement activities, spearfishing, the radio/communication system and the youth shooting program.
- Items for Board Information
- Climate Update
Hope Mizzell, State Climatologist, reviewed precipitation percentiles, streamflows, lake levels, ground-water monitoring wells around the state, and she provided a tropical systems update.
- Alligator Permit Fees
Mr. Carmichael reported that 1,475 applications were received for the 2008 alligator permit season; of those, 136 were nonresidents, with 91 nonresidents being drawn. There were 3,714 applications received for 2009 with approximately 11.5% nonresidents being drawn. Mr. Carmichael reported on fees for Georgia, Florida and South Carolina. Resident fees are as follows: Georgia - $50 plus hunting license, Florida - $271.50, and South Carolina - $100 plus license. Nonresident fees are as follows: Georgia - $200 plus nonresident hunting license, Florida - $1,021.50, and South Carolina $100 plus nonresident hunting license. The Board asked staff to develop recommendations for changes in nonresident fees and any other necessary changes.
- Endangered Species List Changes – Peregrine Falcon and Bald Eagle Delisting
Mr. Carmichael reviewed the proposed changes to the State Endangered Species List. The proposed changes are to remove the American Peregrine Falcon and the Southern Bald Eagle from the facing extinction list and add them to the threatened and in need of management list. Mr. Carmichael noted that these changes were necessary to be in compliance with Federal law. Mr. Campbell made a motion that the Board approve the proposed changes to the State Endangered Species List as presented. Mr. Murray seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
- Pee Dee Electric Generation Station 401/Navigable Waters Permit Application
Bob Perry, Director of Environmental Programs, reported that Santee Cooper has refiled for the 401 and navigable waters permits for the Pee Dee Electric Generation Station. The application does indicate that the solid waste facilities are not part of the project and there is less wetland impact on the site. Mr. Perry distributed copies of a draft letter to the regulatory agencies that addresses the remaining concerns. Mr. Perry noted that the deadline for comments is August 31.
Mr. Perry distributed and reviewed a summary of the proposed SCE&G Settlement Agreement for the Saluda Hydroelectric Project and a summary of the proposed Catawba-Wateree Comprehensive Relicensing Agreement.
Mr. Perry reported that on July 20, 2009, the Woodruff Roebuck Water District Team met with DNR staff. DNR staff agreed to meet with them again along with the other resource agencies, with a minimum being DHEC staff, so the Woodruff Roebuck Water District Team could re-present their Needs and Alternatives Analysis. Mr. Pulliam informed the Board that he recently met with Cary Kirkland, the consultant hired by the Woodruff Roebuck Water District, and the Director of the Water District and heard their concerns with the commenting/permitting process for this project. Mr. Pulliam suggested that Director Frampton send a letter stating what is necessary, specifically referencing the need for an EIS. Director Frampton stated that he will write them noting that this project was discussed in the Board meeting and the Department would like to follow up, and make sure they know that an EIS is required for projects with significant environmental impacts.
Mr. Perry informed the Board that the Pacolet project is nearing the stage for the licensee to submit its draft application to FERC. Mr. Perry reported that he met with Pacolet Milliken and Lockhart Power officials to seek some concurrence before engaging with FERC.
- Items for Board Action
- Proposed Permanent WMA Regulations; Proposed Croft State Park Deer Hunts Emergency Regulations; Proposed Public Dove Fields and Youth Hunts Emergency Regulations; and Proposed WMA Regulations
Mr. Carmichael reviewed the Proposed Permanent WMA Regulations; Proposed Croft State Park Deer Hunts Emergency Regulations; Proposed Public Dove Fields and Youth Hunts Emergency Regulations; and Proposed WMA Regulations as included in the Board meeting package. Mr. Pulliam made a motion that the Board approve the Proposed Permanent WMA Regulations; Proposed Croft State Park Deer Hunts Emergency Regulations; Proposed Public Dove Fields and Youth Hunts Emergency Regulations; and Proposed WMA Regulations as presented. Mr. Evans seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
- Shealy’s Pond Heritage Preserve Management Plan
Mr. Carmichael reviewed the proposed Shealy’s Pond Heritage Preserve Management Plan as included in the Board meeting package. Mr. Campbell made a motion that the Board approve the Shealy’s Pond Heritage Preserve Management Plan as presented. Mr. Evans seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
- Director’s Briefing
Mr. Frampton gave the Board an update on the budget. Mr. Frampton informed the Board that the Department has sequestered 5% in anticipation of a 4% cut. Mr. Frampton stated that there is a hiring freeze, except for critical positions, and equipment purchases are on hold.
Mr. Frampton distributed the publication Great Outdoors America – The Report of the Outdoor Resources Review Group, July 2009. Mr. Frampton served as the Governor’s representative on the Outdoor Resources Review Group.
Page 6 of 8 Mr. Frampton distributed copies of Proviso 89.27 (GP: State Owned Aircraft – Maintenance Logs) and copies of flight logs that were provide to Senator David Thomas and the Associated Press. Chairman McShane stated that Law Enforcement has always kept a log of every operation of aircraft that are assigned to the agency, no matter who was on it. It was through an FOIA request that the Department became aware of the proviso relating to state aircraft. Mr. Frampton stated that the proviso was in place in 1996 and 1997. During that time period SLED provided aircraft travel for the Governor and a confidentiality provision was placed in a proviso concerning travel by the Governor. DNR was never aware of the proviso and apparently SLED wasn’t aware of the context of the proviso. The proviso states that state officials can only be flown with a sworn statement from the highest ranking official of the agency certifying that the state official’s trip was in conjunction with the official business of the agency. Mr. Frampton stated that DNR’s position is that based on the transfer of its aircraft in 2003 and the DNR’s responsibility for security for the Governor that DNR is responsible for the Governor’s security for transportation when called on by SLED or the Governor’s Office. Chairman McShane stated that Colonel Taylor and his Division keep impeccable records of the flight logs and that if the Department is guilty of anything it is not knowing about the proviso nor its applicability.
Chairman McShane stated for the record that what disappoints him about the August 10, 2009, article by Mr. Davenport is the statement, “And the law required the natural resources agency to keep official statements on flights, which it never has.” This is factually incorrect.
Mr. Pulliam asked for a statement that the Board reviewed the flight logs, policy and procedures for the use of the aircraft.
Chairman McShane offered the following:
The Colonel and his team have kept impeccable records concerning the activities and use of the plane and the Director has been very clear with the Colonel and his team of appropriate use of the plane. I don’t think it’s our position to question any Governor when we are fulfilling the security chief’s request for transportation. Chairman McShane asked that the DNR Board affirm the action taken by the Director to follow Proviso 89.27 requiring an affidavit to be completed for use of DNR aircraft.
Director Frampton stated that another thing to consider is that SLED is mainly responsible for the Governor’s security. DNR participates with SLED and provides security. When a Governor boards DNR’s aircraft, DNR assumes responsibility for his security. The pilot of the plane is usually the only other person on board with the Governor and he is a law enforcement officer, so in addition to being responsible for flying him, he is also responsible for the Governor’s security which is an agency function.
Mr. Frampton distributed copies of the letter on SC DNR, etc. vs. Vaught, LLC, and Eric Swider lawsuit settlement for $35,000 for damages to property at Lewis Ocean Bay Heritage Preserve.
- Deputy Directors’ Reports
- Land, Water and Conservation
Ken Rentiers, Deputy Director for Land, Water and Conservation, informed the Board that the National Association of Conservation Districts will have their Southeast Regional meeting in Charleston on August 23-26. Mr. Rentiers reported that the Water Budget study for the Town of Bluffton and Beaufort County will commence on October 1, with funding of $115,000 from the town and county. Mr. Rentiers will attend the National Collaborative Water Conference in Washington, DC, on August 26 and 27.
- Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries
Mr. Carmichael reported on the Clemson University cormorant study and noted that they can move forward with the Cormorant Management Plan since this study provides the necessary information required from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the application. Mr. Carmichael also informed the Board that he reviewed the Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Advisory Committee meeting minutes and the DNR Board meeting minutes (including listening to the recording) of the October 1995 DNR Board meeting held at Oconee State Park, and found no mention of a “trade off” of top sowing for all day dove hunting.
- Law Enforcement
Col. Alvin Taylor, Deputy Director for Law Enforcement, briefed the Board on Law Enforcement activities during the Beaufort Water Festival and the Rockville Regatta. Over 200 courtesy inspections were performed, resulting in 59 recorded preventive cases. The Rockville Regatta resulted in 45 summons, 66 warnings and 11 BUI cases. The Beaufort Water Festival resulted in 72 summons, 213 warnings and 10 BUI cases.
- Outreach and Support Services
Carole Collins, Deputy Director for Outreach and Support Services, gave the Board a brief update on meetings Bryan Kyzer and a SCEIS representative had with selected Point of Sale agents from across the state. Ms. Collins distributed Mr. Kyzer’s notes from these meetings.
- Marine Resources
Robert Boyles, Deputy Director for Marine Resources, reminded the Board of the Governor’s Cup Awards Reception scheduled for September 20.
- Executive Session
At this time, Mr. Davis made a motion for the Board to hold an Executive Session to discuss conservation district commissioner reappointments, contractual matters, legal matters and personnel issues. Mr. Murray seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
- Return to Regular Session
Mr. Davis made a motion that the Board return to regular session and noted that no actions were taken in Executive Session. Mr. Murray seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
Mr. Davis made a motion that the Board approve the expenditure of $302,500 from the Reedy River Mitigation Trust Fund for the construction of two river access areas in Greenville County, contingent upon the approval of this project by the Governor, one of the Natural Resources Trustees. Mr. Murray seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
Mr. Evans made a motion to approve the following reappointments of Conservation District Commissioners as recommended by the Land, Water and Conservation Advisory Committee: Thomas Garrison, Anderson; Mickey Bailey, Cherokee; Jefferson Wilson, Chester; Theron DeWitt, Darlington; James McLeod, Kershaw; Joseph Stogsdill, Kershaw; Joe Ghent, Lancaster; Robert Boyce, Lee; Dwight Davis, Lexington; James Huggins, Marion; Lawrence Dyck, Pickens; and Norris Fowler, Union. Mr. Davis seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
- Time and Location of the Next Meetings
The September Board meeting will be held Thursday, September 24, 2009, in Columbia.
The October Board meeting will be held Thursday, October 15, 2009, in Anderson.
There being no further business to be brought before the DNR Board at this time, the meeting was adjourned.