BOARD OF THE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES
Rembert C. Dennis Building, Room 335
Columbia, South Carolina
Friday, November 17, 2000
The regular meeting of the Board of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources was held at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, November 17, 2000, 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, Russell Holliday, 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 10:00 a.m. and welcomed everyone to the meeting.
Chairman Lesesne asked for a moment of silent meditation. Dr. Lesesne asked that Russell Holliday’s family be remembered during the meditation because of the recent loss of her father.
III. Introduction of Guests
Chairman Lesesne asked Cary Chamblee to introduce guests present at the meeting. Mr. Chamblee introduced Amy Grier, Associated Press; Joey Holleman, The State; Pat Robertson, The State; Dick Watkins, Friends of the Congaree, Sierra Club and other organizations; Bob Bailey, Sportsmen’s Coalition; Kirkman Finley, Sporting Protection League; and Jim Hammond, Greenville News.
IV. Constituency Comments
Mr. Chamblee stated that there were two requests for constituency comment made by Danny Wyndham and Chip Sharpe. Mr. Wyndham was not present at the meeting. Mr. Sharpe expressed his concern about obtaining information from the agency pursuant to FOIA request. Mr. Sharpe asked if the Department was covering for an employee.
Mr. Buford Mabry informed the Board that the matter Mr. Sharpe is requesting information about, has been handled by the 15th Circuit Solicitor’s Office, being processed in due course. The Solicitor’s Office has also been the recipient of an expungement order issued by the Circuit Court and the Solicitor’s Office has forwarded that Order to the agency. The Department took administrative action in the matter and has taken the position that the administrative action is not discoverable under the FOIA.
V. Approval of Minutes
Chairman Lesesne asked if there were any corrections or additions to the minutes of the October 20, 2000, meeting. There being no corrections or additions Dr. Leary made a motion that the minutes of the October 20, 2000 meeting be approved as submitted. Mr. Gregg seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
Dr. Sandifer asked Bethany Narboni to introduce Angie Williams, recently hired assistant auditor.
Dr. Sandifer referred to an article in the Post and Courier from November 6, 2000. A Marine Center employee , Doug Mellichamp, is recognized for bone marrow donation that resulted in a life saving medical procedure for a cancer victim in Florida.
Dr. Sandifer commended Heritage Trust staff on the commemoration ceremony held at Forty Acre Rock Heritage Preserve. Dr. Sandifer noted that 150-200 attendees were expected but there were approximately 600 in attendance.
Dr. Sandifer also commended the Administrative Services Division staff who have kept things running smoothly in Benny’s absence.
Dr. Sandifer recognized the attendance of Jean Leitner, a mentee in the W.I.L.D. program, and David Cupka, Jean’s mentor, at today’s Board meeting.
Chairman Lesesne recognized Van McCarty and asked him to introduce his guest. Maj. McCarty introduced Ron Kenyon, one of the chaplains in the Chaplaincy Program.
VII. Advisory Committee Reports
A. Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series
David Cupka reported that the Governor’s Cup Board met and finalized the tournament schedule for next year. The Tournament Committee brought several items before the Governor’s Cup Board for their consideration, such as, the need to review the individual tournament rules for consistency; whether the billfish series should be a total tag and release event; and also problems with allowing boats to fish out of different ports. Mr. Cupka advised that the Governor’s Cup Board will be considering the issues and making decisions on whether or not changes will be made.
Mr. Gregg was unable to attend the advisory committee meeting and asked Mr. Cupka to give the report. Mr. Cupka reported on Thursday prior to the Friday meeting the Marine Advisory Committee has a session to discuss growth issues in the coastal area. Presenters for this session were Jeff Allen, Director of the SC Water Resources Center at Clemson University; Freddy Vang; and Fred Holland. At the regular meeting of the Advisory Committee the Committee received an update on the education efforts relating to the saltwater license fee increase. The Advisory Committee also discussed creel limits on spade fish.
C. Law Enforcement
Dr. Leary reported that the Law Enforcement Advisory Committee met on November 8, at Chester State Park. The Committee received reports on several items such as representation at several meetings held throughout the southeast and officer training. Offers have been made for the 18 vacancies within the Law Enforcement Division. Saturation patrols at Jocassee have occurred over the last several weekends. Boating accidents and fatalities are fewer this year. Tim Baxley was named as the Southeastern Boating Officer of the Year. Dr. Leary expressed his thanks to Maj. Taylor and his work with the CARA legislation. The committee discussed the DLEO program and coyotes.
D. Heritage Trust
Mr. McEachin reported that the Heritage Trust Advisory Board met on November 3. Dr. Bruce Rippeteau was recognized for his outstanding service on the Board. The Board approved a management plan for Clear Creek Heritage Preserve and conservation easements were received for Crowfield Plantation and Craig Pond. Staff reported that 2,032 acres were acquired this fiscal year at a cost of just over $4 million. Terry Ferguson was elected as chairman.
VIII. Item for Board Information
A. Aquifer Delineation of the Coastal Plain
Rod Cherry offered a brief background of the project, explaining that it is the largest project the Hydrology Section has undertaken. The products from this project will be maps, reports, and computerized models which will tell how much water can be taken from an aquifer in a particular area of the state.
Joe Gellici informed the Board that in 1996 DNR entered into a cooperative project with USGS. USGS paid for the majority of this project and also offered expertise in the field of coastal plain geology.
Dr. David Prowell, USGS, described the role of USGS in this ongoing project. Dr. Prowell explained that the strategy was to use existing wells and drill some new. There will be a well throughout the coastal plain at approximately 25-30 miles spacing. An intensive study was performed at each of these sites. When USGS extracted the cores for their geologic information they installed water wells in the holes for water monitoring.
Mr. Gellici reported that DNR’s role in the project was to delineate and map the principal aquifers of the coastal plains. This project also allows the capability to provide information on the location of aquifers, the depth of aquifers, the thickness of aquifers and how much water can be obtained from each of the aquifers.
Karen Waters explained some of the other benefits of this project, such as a monitoring network, well head protection, and mitigation of future water problems. Ms. Waters also informed the Board that the core holes that were drilled were put at schools to be used for educational outreach.
IX. Items for Board Action
A. Black River Scenic River Eligibility Study
Mary Crockett briefly reviewed the Black River Scenic River Eligibility Study as was sent to Board Members earlier. The purpose of the SC Scenic Rivers Program is to preserve and protect unique and outstanding river resources throughout South Carolina. Ms. Crockett stated that the proposal is for 75 miles of the black River to be included as a State Scenic River.
The county councils of Clarendon, Williamsburg and Georgetown have given their support in the form of a Scenic Black River Resolution all by unanimous vote. They are now seeking the support of the DNR Board and see that a bill proceeds to the General Assembly in order to seek official State Scenic River designation for the Black River.
The proposed scenic section begins at the County Road 40 Bridge in Clarendon County and ends at Pea House Landing in Georgetown County. The eligibility study found that the Black River possesses outstanding scenic, recreational, botanical, fishery, wildlife, and historic values.
The Black River floodplain contains a ribbon of wild and undeveloped land that provides high quality habitat for a variety of plant and animal species. There are rare, threatened and endangered species known to inhabit the Black River corridor. At this time Dr. Rucker made a motion that the Board accept the Black River Eligibility Study's recommendation that a 74.84 mile segment of the Black River from County Road 40 bridge to Pea House Landing on County Road 38 be designated a State Scenic River. Ms. Holliday seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
B. Approval of 2001 Legislative Package
Derrick Meggie distributed a notebook containing the 2001 Legislative Proposal to each Board Member. Mr. Meggie reviewed the legislation by preliminary priority. There was much discussion regarding the proposed road hunting legislation. Buford Mabry informed the Board that there is another version available which he drafted.
Mr. McEachin made a motion to amend the proposed legislation regarding the authority to regulate DNR-owned lands in the following manner: “Section 50-11-2200, Section I (D) A person violating this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be fined not less than twenty-five dollars nor more than maximum jurisdiction magistrate’s court fine or be imprisoned for not more than thirty days, or both.” Mr. Gregg seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
The Board had much discussion regarding the proposed legislation for authority to regulate DNR owned lands.
Mr. Meggie brought the proposed legislation for the Operation Game Thief Program to the Board’s attention. Dr. Sandifer requested approval of this legislation with the understanding that the restitution issue will have to be studied further.
After a brief discussion, Mr. McEachin made a motion that the Board approve the proposed legislative packet, including the amendment to authority to regulate on DNR-owned lands and both versions regarding road hunting, for prefiling. Dr. Leary seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
X. Director’s Briefings
Dr. Sandifer reported that he had lunch with the Becoming an Outdoors-Woman group at Clemson on October 21. His wife, Betty, participated in BOW activities and had a great experience.
Dr. Sandifer participated in two DNR Regional Staff meetings held in Pinopolis on October 23 and 24 for employees in Berkeley, Charleston, Georgetown and Williamsburg Counties.
Dr. Sandifer attended the Fall meeting of the Agency Directors’ Organization held on October 25-27, at the Madren Center at Clemson.
Dr. Sandifer attended the Fall meeting of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies on October 28-November 1, in Baton Rouge.
Dr. Sandifer attended an executive committee meeting on Land Initiative on November 2.
Dr. Sandifer attended the SC Forestry Association annual meeting on November 8-10, at Hilton Head where he also served on a panel entitled “Growth, Open Space and Forestry”. Dr. Sandifer also gave a report on DNR’s Land Protection Initiative.
Dr. Sandifer chaired a meeting of the SC Aquarium’s Animal Care Committee and attended the SC Aquarium Board of Directors meeting held on November 16, in Charleston.
Dr. Sandifer informed the Board that he is preparing for DNR Science Review to be held November 28-30 in Columbia.
Dr. Sandifer also reminded the board of the Jocassee/Shooting Tree Dedication that will be held on December 7, with a tour of Jocassee beginning at 11:00 am., the dedication beginning at 3:00 pm, and dinner will be hosted by the SC Chapter of the NWTF at 5:00 pm at the Barn at Table Rock. The Board meeting will follow on December 8.
Chairman Lesesne asked Mr. Chamblee to give a report on the Lake Murray issue. Mr. Chamblee stated that several staff throughout the agency are involved in this project. Staff are in the information gathering phase. Mr. Chamblee noted that approximately six meetings have been held with special interest groups. In addition to these meetings there will be four public meetings held.
2. Habitat Protection
Barry Beasley reported that the Executive Committee had an organizational meeting in November and has scheduled another meeting for December 5. Mr. Beasley stated that the larger steering committee will be meeting in January. This steering committee will be a more inclusive group that will bring all the significant interests to the table but the effort will still be lead by the smaller Executive Committee.
Mr. Beasley informed the Board that there are some initiatives moving forward such as the conservation bank proposal. Mr. Beasley also stated that there is interest in conservation easements.
XI. Deputy Directors’ Reports
1. Land, Water and Conservation - Freddy Vang reported that there were 8,000 volunteers participating in Beach Sweep/River Sweep this year.
2. Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries - Derrell Shipes reported that a physically impaired deer hunt was held the first weekend of November in Newberry County, co-sponsored by SCDNR and a local BuckMasters Chapter in which 47 individuals participated. Billy McTeer reported that staff is continuing to look into the possibility of doing survey work regarding the Tin contamination issue. Mr. McTeer distributed a copy of a briefing relative to the high fence and possession issues in South Carolina to Board members.
3. Law Enforcement - Col. Wright recognized five employees who represented the Department in the Veteran’s Day Parade this year. Col. Wright reported that there has been an increase in night hunting cases during November. Col. Wright also stated that officers have been concentrating their efforts to the Jocassee area.
4. Conservation Education and Communications - Carole Collins reported that there were 117 participants including five women from the Columbia area media and one from a Laurens County newspaper in this year’s BOW program. Ms. Collins stated that Sharon Wright worked with Wildlife Management staff on two “women only hunts”. Ms. Collins informed the Board that Tricia Way met with the Columbia Urban League in an effort to partner with them on more minority participation in Camp Wildwood and BOW. The Columbia Urban League will be sponsoring eight children at Camp Wildwood this year.
5. Marine Resources - Mr. Cupka distributed copies of a letter from ASMFC to the Secretary of Commerce and the Secretary of the Interior informing that the Commission has formally withdrawn their finding of non-compliance on the shad issue in South Carolina.
7. Environmental Update - Ed Duncan gave the Board a brief follow up on the proposed permit application by the South Island Dredging Association.
XII. Executive Session
At this time, Dr. Leary made a motion that the Board hold an Executive Session to discuss legal, contractual and personnel matters.
XIII. RETURN TO REGULAR SESSION
Following the Executive Session, the regular meeting was resumed and participants were invited into the meeting.
Dr. Leary made a motion that pursuant to the settlement agreement entered into by the Natural Resource Trustees and the attorneys, that as the Mitigation Fund Trustee the Board release to the Natural Resource Trustees funds which are adequate to pay the agreed upon attorneys fees in the matter of the Colonial Oil Case. Dr. Rucker seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
Dr. Leary made a motion that due to the size of the Greenville water system and immediate needs for law enforcement assistance in the area, that two additional DLEO’s be assigned to that area. Mr. Gregg seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
Dr. Leary made a motion that the Meritorious Service Award be awarded to Dr. Wallace Boyd. Dr. Boyd has been very helpful in providing property and other assistance for the mobility impaired hunts. Dr. Rucker seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
XIV. Time and Location of the Next Meeting
Chairman Lesesne stated that the next meeting of the DNR Board will be held on Friday, Friday, December 8, 2000, at Keowee-Toxaway State Park. The DNR Board will take part in a dedication ceremony at Jocassee Gorges on December 7.
XV. Executive Session
At this time, Dr. Leary made a motion that the Board hold an Executive Session to discuss a contractual matter.
XVI. RETURN TO REGULAR SESSION
Following the Executive Session, the regular meeting was resumed and participants were invited into the meeting. It was stated that no action is required on items discussed.
There being no further business to be brought before the DNR Board at this time, the meeting was adjourned.