Board of the Department of Natural Resources
Greenville County Council Chambers
301 University Ridge
Greenville, South Carolina
Friday, August 17, 2001
The regular meeting of the Board of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources was held at 9:30 am, on Friday, August 17, 2001, in the Greenville County Council Chambers, Greenville, 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.
Chairman Lesesne asked for a moment of silent meditation.
III. Introduction of Guests
Chairman Lesesne asked John Frampton to introduce guests present at the meeting. Mr. Frampton stated that four of the guests present had requested to make constituent comment.
IV. Constituency Comments
Mr. Frampton introduced Mr. Pete Johnson, Vice Chair, SC Sierra Club, and asked him to address the Board. Mr. Johnson's comments were directed toward the placement of Jocassee Gorges in the Heritage Trust Program. Mr. Johnson also distributed copies of a resolution, to this effect, to the Board (copy attached to original minutes).
Mr. Frampton introduced Mrs. Meg Benko, Clemson Chapter of the League of Women Voters. Mrs. Benko's comments were also directed toward the placement of Jocassee Gorges in the Heritage Trust Program. Mrs. Benko also distributed copies of a resolution, to this effect, to the Board (copy attached to original minutes).
Mr. Frampton stated that he had received requests for comment from two individuals this morning. Mr. Frampton asked the will of the Board. The Board agreed to receive these comments.
Mr. Frampton introduced Mr. John Brubaker, SC Native Plant Society. Mr. Brubaker's comments were also directed toward the placement of Jocassee Gorges in the Heritage Trust Program.
Mr. Frampton introduced Mr. Dennis Chastain, SC Sportsmen's Coalition. Mr. Chastain recommended that he and most hunter groups had strong reservations regarding designating Jocassee as a Heritage Preserve. He also stated that some clearing and thinning of timber is necessary to maintain and create diversity and to promote habitat for wildlife.
Mr. Frampton introduced Scott Kieffer, Greenville News, and Dave Wielicki, SC Waterfowl Association, as guests in attendance.
Chairman Lesesne stated that the Board approves management plans for Jocassee whether or not the property is placed in the Heritage Trust Program. Chairman Lesesne then noted that he, personally, felt content of the management plan is more important than whether or not the property is placed in the Heritage Trust Program.
Mr. Gregg asked about the process and timeline for decisions on management plans and asked again of the possibility that a committee be formed consisting of DNR, other state agencies, federal agencies, private non-profit organizations and private sector, to review management plans. Mr. Gregg also stated that the public needs to be made aware of the process and timeframe for management plans.
Dr. Sandifer informed Mr. Gregg that he has not made the progress he had hoped to make because of the ongoing budget crisis. Dr. Sandifer stated that he and Billy McTeer have discussed this suggestion and they will develop a recommendation relative to some form of ad hoc committee. Dr. Sandifer noted that there is currently an interim management plan for Jocassee and asked Billy McTeer to report on the status of the final plan. Mr. McTeer reported that the original management plan was Board approved several years ago as a guide for the management of the area. Mr. McTeer stated that he felt that most concern from the public is on the writing of a forest management plan. Mr. McTeer introduced Mark Hall and informed the Board that Mr. Hall's duties over the next year or two is to develop a forest management plan. Mr. McTeer noted that within that time there would be ample opportunity for public input.
Mr. Gregg stated that it's a step in the right direction to have someone working on this full-time, but he still feels that forming a group to meet and work out the issues and come up with some consensus would be better.
Dr. Leary expressed his appreciation for those in attendance from across the state with an interest and comments on Jocassee. Dr. Leary asked if there is a significant decrease in wildlife population in the Jocassee area, as Mr. Chastain referred to in his comments. Dr. Leary asked if there is some way to document populations, growth or lack thereof, in the Jocassee area? Mr. McTeer responded that staff seem to believe that there is stable turkey and deer populations in the area. Mr. McTeer also stated that as an area progresses into a mature forest there will be wildlife changes. Dr. Leary then asked if there is some way a quantitative study of wildlife be included in the management plan.
Chairman Lesesne noted that one of the first things the Department did upon receiving this property was to deal with the serious erosion issue in the area. The National Guard was brought in to assist with this effort. Chairman Lesesne stated acknowledgement that the staging area was larger than it should have been and one of the helicopter pads was not built as it should have been but this situation has been resolved. Chairman Lesesne reiterated the reason the helicopter pads were built. The helicopter pads were built in order to close some of the roads and there had to be a way to manage fire and search and rescue is secondary. Chairman Lesesne stated that a way needs to be worked to do the best thing to please the population of South Carolina, not just for this generation but also for 100 years from now. He also stated that the weight on the Department to develop the right management plan with the best input from all interested parties is extraordinarily important with the only higher priority being to have as much land in the State preserved as possible during this period of rapid development. Chairman Lesesne stated that it is important to him; not speaking for the Board, to make sure the Heritage Trust lands are used wisely. Chairman Lesesne said that this is a high order of priority and one that needs to be taken seriously.
V. Approval of Minutes
Chairman Lesesne asked if there were any corrections or additions to the minutes of the June 15 and June 25, 2001, meetings. Mr. Gregg made a motion that the minutes of the June 15 and June 25, 2001, meetings be approved as submitted. Dr. Leary seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
Dr. Sandifer asked Maj. Van McCarty to make introductions and give a brief background for the Greenville Saltwater Sportfishing Club Scholarship presentation. Maj. McCarty introduced Mr. Sammie DuBose and Mr. Jim Ellefson, of the Greenville Saltwater Sportfishing Club and Lee Taylor, scholarship recipient, Maj. Alvin Taylor and family. Mr. McCarty informed the Board that last year the Greenville Saltwater Sportfishing Club offered the Department a scholarship to the son or daughter of a Law Enforcement officer. Information of this scholarship was distributed to Law Enforcement Division employees. Mr. Lee Taylor was chosen as the recipient for this year's award, based upon his application.
Dr. Sandifer recognized the work of Dr. Pam Jutte, Assistant Marine Scientist, Marine Center. Dr. Jutte just completed 10 days of saturation diving in the world's only underwater research lab off the coast of Key Largo, Florida.
Dr. Sandifer also reported that Greg Lucas, CEC Division, and Mike Alveshire, Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division, have gone out west as volunteers to fight wild fires.
Dr. Sandifer thanked Marine Corps Air Station personnel out of Beaufort for their rescue of DNR Conservation Officers Joel O'Quinn and Barrett Baxter whose boat sank.
Dr. Sandifer thanked Paul Blackmon, Land, Water and Conservation Division, for his assistance in making arrangements for the Board meeting.
VII. Items for Board Information
A. 2000-2001 Waterfowl Season Update
Tommy Strange reported on population statistics and harvest results of the 2000-2001 waterfowl season. Mr. Strange distributed copies of the 2000-2001 Waterfowl Status Report for Board review. Mr. Strange reviewed the recommendation for the late migratory bird season. Ms. Holliday noted for the record that the Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Advisory Committee approved these recommendations.
VIII. Items for Board Action
A. 2001-2002 Late Migratory Bird Season
Ms. Holliday made a motion that the Board approve the late migratory bird season as presented. Dr. Leary seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
B. 2001-2002 Early Migratory Bird Season
Tim Ivey reviewed the recommendation for the early migratory bird season. Ms. Holliday noted for the record that the Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Advisory Committee approved these recommendations. Ms. Holliday made a motion that the Board approve the early migratory bird season as presented. Dr. Leary seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
C. 2001-2002 Duck Stamp Budget
Mr. McTeer stated that the proposed 2001-2002 Duck Stamp Budget had been mailed to Board members with their meeting package and he would address any questions. Dr. Leary made a motion that the Board adopt the 2001-2002 Duck Stamp Budget as proposed. Ms. Holliday seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
D. Adoption of Drought Regulations
Hope Mizzell informed the Board that the SC Drought Response Act was originally enacted in 1985 and was amended in 2000. The amendments to the regulations were primarily to adjust drought management areas to correspond with the state's four major river basins, restructure local drought committees and clarify existing procedures. The regulations have been reviewed by various agencies and individuals. The Board held a public hearing on June 25, 2001, to provide opportunity for any additional public comment on the proposed regulations. Comments were received from the SC Chamber of Commerce, International Paper, Progress Energy and the SC Pulp and Paper Association. Mrs. Mizzell reported that changes based upon input received have been incorporated in the regulations mailed to the Board for their review. Dr. Leary made a motion that the Board adopt the drought regulations as presented. Dr. Rucker seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
Mrs. Mizzell then updated the Board on the drought status.
E. Emergency Regulations for Activities on DNR Owned Properties
Billy McTeer noted that there are some amendments to the proposed emergency regulations since they were mailed to the Board in their meeting package. Mr. McTeer noted that the proposed emergency regulations would be effective and go through the fall season, and permanent regulations would be presented to the Board at the September meeting. Mr. McTeer reviewed the proposed Emergency Regulations for activities on DNR owned properties. Dr. Leary made a motion that the Board adopt the Emergency Regulations as proposed and presented. Ms. Holliday seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
F. Emergency and Permanent Regulations for Hunting Season
Tim Ivey distributed the corrected version of the proposed Emergency Regulations for the 2001-2002 Hunting Season and the proposed Permanent Hunting Regulations. The corrections have been made since they were mailed to the Board in their meeting package. Dr. Leary made a motion that the Board adopt the Emergency and Permanent Regulations for Hunting Season. Ms. Holliday seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
G. 2002 Farm Bill
Mr. Gregg distributed copies of recommended language for a resolution concerning the 2002 Farm Bill. Mr. Gregg also distributed an article that gives background for the bill (resolution and article are attached to the original minutes). Mr. Gregg reported that each and every constituency would be affected by this bill. Mr. Gregg noted that there is hope that a strong element of conservation will be included in the bill. Mr. Gregg stated that this resolution would recognize that we are under severe budget constraints with our State Appropriations and that this is an alternative source of much needed revenue that has potential impact on the Board's highest priority, land and habitat protection. Mr. Gregg stated that it is important for the different groups involved, from farmers to conservationists to the hunting and fishing communities, to work together on this endeavor. Mr. Gregg made a motion that the Board approve the Resolution as submitted. Ms. Holliday seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously. Mr. Gregg thanked Ann Nolte for her efforts in composing the Resolution on short notice.
Dr. Sandifer introduced Josh Sandt. Dr. Sandifer reported that Mr. Sandt would be making an extraordinary presentation at today's meeting. Mr. Sandt stated that it was his pleasure to be at the meeting, representing the North American Waterfowl Management Plan. Mr. Sandt reported that the North American Waterfowl Management has been the most successful management plan dealing with any wildlife issue in the last decade and the reason the plan has been successful is because of the dedication of several people. Mr. Sandt recognized John Frampton for his contributions to the success of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan.
IX. Executive Session
At this time Dr. Leary made a motion that the Board hold an Executive Session to discuss personnel, legal, and contractual matters.
X. 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 appointments and reappointments of conservation district commissioners be approved as submitted (copy attached to original minutes). Dr. Rucker seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
Dr. Leary made a motion that the Board accept the Reedy River proposal for protection of the wetland bird population in association with the SC Waterfowl Association as presented. Mr. McEachin seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
Dr. Leary made a motion that the Board approve the acquisition and protection of the Phase I project areas under the SC Forest Legacy Program's Coastal Forest Ecosystem Restoration Project. Ms. Holliday seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
Dr. Leary made a motion that the Board approve the acquisition of a coastal barrier island complex utilizing Federal Department of Commerce funding under the National Estuarine research Reserve Program, pending final approval by the Board. Ms. Holliday seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
XI. Advisory Committee Reports
Mr. Gregg reported that the Marine Advisory Committee discussed marine protected areas, artificial reefs and offshore disposal areas.
B. Law Enforcement
Dr. Leary reported that the Law Enforcement Advisory Committee presented the Order of the Silver Crescent to David Cline. The Committee also discussed the budget and ongoing cases.
C. Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries
Ms. Holliday reported that the Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Advisory Committee approved recommendations on the Duck Stamp Budget, the waterfowl seasons and the emergency and permanent regulations, which the Board also approved at this meeting. Ms. Holliday stated that the Committee also received a report on furbearer depredation permits.
D. Heritage Trust
Mr. McEachin reported that the Heritage Trust Advisory Board discussed management plans on several sites, registration agreements and reviewed the proposed budget.
E. Governor's Cup Billfishing Series
John Frampton stated that John Miglarese distributed a list of award winners to the Board and the Governor's Cup banquet will be held in Charleston on August 23.
XII. Director's Briefings
A. Executive Office
Dr. Sandifer informed the Board that the meeting for the release of the final flood maps for the Congaree will be Monday, August 20, at 1:00 pm, at the Richland County Council Chambers in Columbia.
Dr. Sandifer made the Board aware of the nice retirement party for Benny Reeves. Dr. Sandifer also thanked all who were involved with this send-off.
Dr. Sandifer attended SCLEOA installation banquet on August 8, at which time Lt. Robert McCullough was installed as 2nd Vice-President for the coming year.
Dr. Sandifer participated in a press conference and dedication ceremony held at the Congaree Bluffs Heritage Preserve on August 10.
Dr. Sandifer informed the Board that he has begun meetings with all Law Enforcement Districts to discuss the budget situation. Dr. Sandifer stated that he will also meet with staff in other divisions.
B. Habitat Protection Activities
John Frampton reported that work is continuing on the habitat protection strategy document. This document should be presented to the deputy directors in September and to the Board in October. Mr. Frampton also reported that they are actively working with constituency groups to build a strong grassroots support base for the legislation concerning land protection that may be back on the floor in February.
C. Legislative Report
Dr. Sandifer reported that the Senate had considered meeting today and the House is recessed until they are called back by the Chair. The Senate has to finish their work on reapportionment and the House finished yesterday. The House also adopted the conference committee's report on the red drum bill and we are awaiting Senate action on this report.
XI. Deputy Directors' Reports
A. Conservation Education and Communications and Administrative Services
Carole Collins reported that the Association for Conservation Information presented their annual awards. The agency received a 3rd place award in the poster category for the Raven Cliff Falls poster; a 1st place award in the education category for Reel Kids; and 1st place in photography for SC Wildlife Magazine.
B. Marine Resources
John Frampton informed the Board that the weekend of September 28-30, there will be festivities surrounding completion of the Ocean Exploration Expedition to the Charleston Bump. John Miglarese will keep the Board informed of this event.
C. Land. Water and Conservation
No further report.
D. Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries
Billy McTeer reported that there is a signed MOU with Palmetto Trail. Mr. McTeer also announced that National Hunting and Fishing Day will be September 22.
E. Law Enforcement
Col. Wright reported that the Officer of the Year banquet will be held after the September Board meeting.
XII. Time and Location of the Next Meeting
Vice Chairman Leary stated the next scheduled meeting for the Board is Friday, September 21, 2001, in Columbia, beginning at 9:30 a.m.
There being no further business to be brought before the DNR Board at this time, the meeting was adjourned.