BOARD OF THE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES
Meeting House, Keowee Toxaway State Park
Sunset, South Carolina
Friday, December 8, 2000
The regular meeting of the Board of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources was held at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, December 8, 2000, at the Meeting House at Keowee Toxaway State Park, Sunset, 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, Malloy McEachin and Dr. Douglas Rucker. Board Member Russell Holliday was absent from the meeting. 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.
III. Introduction of Guests
Chairman Lesesne asked Cary Chamblee to introduce guests present at the meeting. Mr. Chamblee introduced Yon Lambert, Palmetto Trail; Dennis Chastain, Sporting Protection League; Ted Snyder, Sierra Club; Rebecca Park, Forest Watch; Dennis Cunningham, Forest Watch and Sierra Club; Pat Robertson, The State newspaper; Hank Stallworth, Governor’s Office; and Johnathan Leary, Vice Chairman Leary’s son.
IV. Constituency Comments
Mr. Chamblee stated that there were no requests for constituent comment.
V. Approval of Minutes
Chairman Lesesne asked if there were any corrections or additions to the minutes of the November 17, 2000, meeting. There being no corrections or additions Dr. Leary made a motion that the minutes of the November 17, 2000 meeting be approved as submitted. Dr. Rucker seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
Dr. Sandifer commended staff involved with the First Annual All Women Duck Hunt at Samworth. Dr. Sandifer also read notes of thanks from two participants.
Dr. Sandifer commended staff involved in the recent review of the Science and Technology of SC DNR. A group of outside experts conducted this review.
Dr. Sandifer announced that DNR’s Officer of the Year, Michael Prosser, has also been named the AG’s Officer of the Year for the Pee Dee Region. Officer Prosser will be considered for their statewide Officer of the Year.
Dr. Sandifer recognized Skip Still’s attendance at this meeting as a mentee of the Department’s Leadership Program.
VII. Advisory Committee Reports
A. Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries
Breck Carmichael reported that the Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Advisory Committee met December 7. Several members participated in a tour of the Walhalla Fish Hatchery and the Bad Creek Hydroelectric Facility on December 6. The committee received a presentation from Dr. Tim Fendley, Clemson University, on black bear research. Mr. Carmichael also stated that the committee discussed DNR legislative priorities; the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation campaign; fox enclosure issues; and the potential transfer of Lake Murray to the state and the current status. Mr. Carmichael reported that Derrell Shipes gave the committee an update on the recent AVM outbreak.
VIII. Item for Board Information
A. Jocassee Partnership
Charles Harrison, Director, Parks and Recreation Division, SC Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism, highlighted several areas in which PRT and DNR are utilizing their partnership to fulfill their individual mission.
Mr. Harrison stated that there is belief that Keowee Toxaway State Park can serve as an “educational center” for Jocassee Gorges. Mr. Harrison noted that information can be provided to the public as to the activities of Jocassee Gorges and visitors would have the opportunity to walk the trails of the park and feel they have experienced Jocassee Gorges.
IX. Items for Board Action
A. Craig Pond Conservation Easement
Stuart Greeter reviewed the history of and items contained in the Craig Pond Conservation Easement and reviewed one amendment proposed to the easement. The proposed amendment is in paragraph 13, which deals with public visitation. The original paragraph stated that essentially anyone could enter by giving notice; the proposed amendment will read “access to the property for visitation for educational or scientific research purposes will be allowed if reasonable notice is given to the Grantor and approval is obtained from the Grantor, or its agents. It is the intent of the Grantors to use Craig Pond for educational and scientific research purposes by interested members of the public.” Mr. McEachin made a motion that the Board adopt the Craig Pond Conservation Easement including the proposed amendment. Dr. Leary seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
B. Crowfield Plantation Conservation Easement
Chris Judge reviewed the history and items contained in the Crowfield Plantation Conservation Easement. Mr. McEachin made a motion that the Board adopt the Crowfield Plantation Conservation Easement as presented. Dr. Rucker seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
Rob Harrison reviewed the proposed management plan for the Clear Creek Heritage Preserve. Mr. McEachin made a motion that the Board approve the Clear Creek Heritage Preserve Management Plan as presented. Dr. Leary seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
This item was deferred to executive session.
X. Director’s Briefings
Dr. Sandifer stated that there will be a press conference on the Morris Island Lighthouse deed transfer on December 13, at 3:30 p.m.
Dr. Sandifer informed the Board that there will be a dedication ceremony and naming of the Marine Environmental Health Research Laboratory (MEHRL) on December 21, at 11:45 a.m., at Ft. Johnson.
Dr. Sandifer reported that the Department has just completed its first comprehensive peer review of the practice and use of science in meeting management objectives. Dr. Sandifer then presented the credentials of the members of this review committee and shared some of the comments of the draft report.
Dr. Sandifer distributed a recommended change for EPMS review to members of the Board. Dr. Sandifer asked Jean Cowell to explain the recommended change. Ms. Cowell stated that this change provides CEC to pilot a universal review date. Dr. Leary made a motion that the Board approve the recommended change for the EPMS dates. Mr. McEachin seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
Dr. Sandifer reported that the Department has been making preparation for projected budget cuts.
Dr. Sandifer stated that he attended Clemson University’s 4-H Advisory Council meeting held on November 28, at the State Fairgrounds.
Dr. Sandifer asked Chris Judge to give the Board a brief report on the status of the Governor’s Task Force on Historic Preservation and Heritage Tourism.
2. Habitat Protection
John Frampton reported that the executive committee of the land protection group has had two meetings. Mr. Frampton stated that the executive committee is in the final stages of putting together the “steering committee” for this initiative.
3. Legislative Report
Derrick Meggie reviewed the legislative priorities for the upcoming legislative session. After lengthy discussion on the legislative items, Mr. McEachin made a motion that the Board adopt, as part of their upcoming legislative package, the proposal from last year regarding road hunting. Mr. Gregg seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
XI. Deputy Directors’ Reports
1. Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries
Billy McTeer reported to the Board on the Palmetto Trail. As a result of a previous meeting a proposal has been presented to DNR staff by the Palmetto Conservation Foundation to route, build and maintain the Palmetto Trail through the DNR’s Jocassee Gorges property. Mr. McTeer stated that they are closer to a compromise but there are still several concerns that need to be worked out. Mr. McTeer noted that this is a project that can be done and is something that would be good for all involved but at this time the Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division can not recommend beginning trail construction in January.
No further report.
3. Land, Water and Conservation
No further report.
4. Administrative Services
No further report.
5. Law Enforcement
Lt. Col. Stanley Smith reported on the number of hours spent at Jocassee Gorges this year.
6. Conservation Education and Communications
No further report.
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
Dr. Leary made a motion that the Board accept the Coosaw Island Shell Ring property acquisition as presented by the Heritage Trust Board. Mr. Gregg seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
Dr. Leary made a motion that the Board reappoint Micah LaRoche to the Marine Advisory Committee with a term expiration of September 30, 2004. Mr. Gregg seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
Dr. Leary made a motion that the Board present a meritorious service award to Otis Taylor of TCA International and International Paper for their efforts with the mobility impaired hunt. Mr. Gregg seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
Dr. Leary made a motion that the Board recommend that Dr. Sandifer sign the Lake Hartwell –Schlumberger MOU also to bring back any recommendations on expenditures to this Board for decision. Mr. Gregg seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
Mr. Gregg made a motion that the Personnel office, Legal office and Law Enforcement Divisions be directed to further develop and codify present policies, guidelines and procedures for imposing discipline for alleged Department employee violations of Title 50, SC Code of Laws; also move that the Executive Office institute a review of the FOIA policy to ensure that it provides maximum public access to Department records and that the Department work to develop these drafts of policies for Board consideration at its February meeting. Dr. Rucker seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
Mr. Gregg made a motion that federal fish and wildlife violations be included in his previous motion. 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, January 19, 2001, at the Rembert C. Dennis Building in Columbia.
The February meeting of the Board will be held in Charleston on Friday, February 16, 2001.
There being no further business to be brought before the DNR Board at this time, the meeting was adjourned.