Minutes
Board of the Department of Natural Resources
Rembert C. Dennis Building, Room 335
1000 Assembly Street
Columbia, SC
December 10, 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, December 10, 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 Caroline Rhodes. Board member Norman Pulliam participated by speakerphone. Director John Frampton and staff members of the Department of Natural Resources were present at the meeting.

  1. Call to Order
    Chairman Mike McShane called the meeting to order at 10:00 a.m. and welcomed everyone to the meeting.
  2. Invocation
    Chairman McShane asked Rev. Ron Kenyon to offer the invocation.
  3. Pledge of Allegiance
    Vice Chairman, Michael Campbell, led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance.
  4. Introduction of Guests
    Don Winslow, Chief of Staff, introduced Jerry Hilbish, Santee-Cooper Striped Bass Stakeholders Group; Scott Whitaker, Executive Director, Coastal Conservation Association; Terri Jenkins, US Fish and Wildlife Service; Ben Gregg, Executive Director, SC Wildlife Federation; and Douglas Ford, Research Director, Senate Fish, Game and Forestry Committee.
  5. Constituent Comments
    Mr. Winslow informed the Board that Jerry Hilbish requested the opportunity to comment to the Board. Following are the comments submitted and read by Mr. Hilbish.

    Santee-Cooper Striped Bass Stakeholders Working Group

    The Santee-Cooper Striped Bass Stakeholders Working Group met on December 7 and had in attendance Senator Glenn McConnell and Representative Joe Jefferson, who was representing the Berkeley County Legislative Delegation.
    1. We discussed with the legislator our analysis and endorsement of the DNR report from Freshwater Fisheries addressing issues regarding fingerling mortality in the Santee-Cooper system as per the "McConnell" amendment to HR 4548 that established the current regulations of striped bass fishing. As you have heard previously the Stakeholders Group was impressed with the work done by the Freshwater Fisheries on this report and strongly endorsed its findings and proposals to Senator McConnell and Representative Jefferson.
    2. The Stakeholders group expressed to Senator McConnell and Representative Jefferson our disappointment with the lack of priority given by DNR Enforcement Division to the new regulations. We consider the new regulations vital to the recovery of this fishery and the recovery of the fishery a key issue for the economics of the Five County region of the Santee-Cooper Lakes. Recovery of the striped bass resource is more than a fish and wildlife issue but is vital to the economy of the region. Full participation of Enforcement in this effort would also advance our goals of educating the public on the existence and value to the new regulations.
    3. The Stakeholders group also recommended a modification of the current regulation to close the Santee-Cooper Lakes to targeted fishing of striped bass during the period of the first of June to the end of September. DNR Freshwater Fisheries has been very cooperative in developing language for such an amendment and the legislators indicated they would aggressively pursue this amendment during the upcoming legislative session.

    Contact information:

    Jerry Hilbish
    Hilbish@biol.sc.edu
    803-777-6629 (office)
    803-750-0626 (home)

    Mr. Winslow informed the Board that Scott Whitaker requested the opportunity to comment to the Board. Mr. Whitaker commented on red snapper and the actions taken by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council. Mr. Whitaker also commented on a recent presentation on the red drum stock assessment and that it appears that current activities have been successful.

    Mr. Winslow informed the Board that Ben Gregg requested the opportunity to comment to the Board. Mr. Gregg commented on the collaborative efforts of SC Wildlife Federation and SCDNR. Mr. Gregg reported that at the Camo Coalition’s Annual Meeting, it was decided that the group’s top priority is to defend DNR's budget.

  6. Approval of Minutes
    Chairman McShane asked if there were any amendments, additions, deletions or corrections to the November 13, 2009, meeting minutes. Mr. Campbell made a motion that the Board approve the minutes of the November 13, 2009, meeting, as submitted. Mr. Davis seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
  7. Commendations
    Mr. Frampton commended Emily Cope for her efforts in coordinating and hosting the Woodbury dedication event on November 13.

    Mr. Frampton commended Robert Boyles on his election as Chair of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission.
  8. Advisory Committee Reports
    1. Law Enforcement
      Col. Alvin Taylor, Deputy Director for Law Enforcement, reported that the Law Enforcement Advisory Committee met November 18, at Styx. The Advisory Committee welcomed new member Dr. G.B. Ingram. The Advisory Committee received updates on the budget, alligator season, framework for waterfowl season and covert team activities. The Advisory Committee also received a presentation on the Archery in the Schools Program.
    2. Marine Resources
      David Whitaker, Assistant Deputy Director for Marine Resources, reported that the Marine Advisory Committee met December 3. The Advisory Committee received presentations on Shellfish Sanitation, offshore exploration for natural gas, red drum stock assessment and the Shore Line Change Advisory Committee. The Advisory Committee also received an update on weakfish and red snapper.
  9. Items for Board Information
    1. Climate Update
      Hope Mizzell, State Climatologist, reported that all counties have been removed from drought status. Dr. Mizzell reviewed rainfall totals, precipitation percentiles, streamflows, lake levels and ground-water monitoring wells around the state.
    2. Chapter 13 Fisheries Rewrite
      Buford Mabry, Chief Counsel, reported on the process used for the Chapter 13 Fisheries Rewrite. Four groups were invited to participate in the review and provide comment and input. Mr. Mabry informed the Board that the working draft will be placed on the website for comment and input.
  10. Items for Board Action
    1. Comprehensive Wildlife Conservation Plan Focus Areas
      Chairman McShane informed the Board that this item is not yet complete, so action will be deferred.
    2. Revisions of Grooming Policy (704.09)
      Terri McGee, Human Resources Director, reviewed the proposed revision to Policy 704.09. Mr. Pulliam made a motion that the Board approve the revisions to the Grooming Policy (704.09) as presented. Mr. Campbell seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
  11. Director’s Briefing
    Mr. Frampton gave the Board an update on the budget.
  12. Environmental Report
    Bob Perry, Director of Environmental Programs, informed the Board that the Environmental Section reviewed the Draft Shoreline Report, as proposed by OCRM, with the Marine Advisory Committee; reviewed and comments on a 401 permit application for the City of Augusta; and reviewed the SC DOT public notice regarding the replacement of bridges along SC-917. Mr. Perry provided the Board with a draft comment letter regarding SC-917 and I-73 and the combining of mitigation for these two projects.
  13. Deputy Directors’ Reports
    Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries
    Breck Carmichael, Deputy Director for Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, reported on the public opinion poll results concerning expenditure of the funds from the Lake Hartwell PCB settlement. Mr. Carmichael distributed information about the 2009 Upstate Cooperative Mobility Impaired Waterfowl Hunts.
  14. Legislative Report
    Derrick Meggie, Legislative Services Director, reported that DHEC has not provided feedback on the Surface Water Bill. Mr. Meggie reported on the multi-year and apprentice licenses. Mr. Meggie informed the Board that Senator Campsen is interested in drafting legislation for a 365 day license. Mr. Meggie reported on the boat titling, Botany Bay access fee and the non-resident alligator hunting license legislation.
  15. Deputy Directors’ Reports
    1. Law Enforcement
      Col. Taylor gave the Board an update on the first waterfowl season.
    2. Outreach and Support Services
      Carole Collins, Deputy Director for Outreach and Support Services, informed the Board of two recent personnel losses, Monica Linnenbrink, Marketing Director and Donna Swygert, Palmetto Sportsman’s Classic Director.
    3. Marine Resources
      Mr. Whitaker reported that red snapper harvest will close on January 4.
    4. Land, Water and Conservation
      Ken Rentiers, Deputy Director for Land, Water and Conservation, gave the Board a brief update on the Reedy River project.

    Mr. Pulliam made a motion that the Board affirm the draft letter to DOT regarding the mitigation for SC-917 and I-73. Mr. Evans seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

  16. Directors' Briefing
    Mr. Frampton distributed the Attorney General's new release regarding the cockfighting stings.

    Mr. Frampton distributed a letter from Representative Don Bowen regarding the development of a Savannah River Basin Advisory Council.
  17. Executive Session
    At this time, Mrs. Rhodes made a motion for the Board to hold an Executive Session to discuss legal, contractual and personnel matters. Mr. Davis seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
  18. 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. Evans seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

    Mr. Campbell made a motion to allocate $691,830 from the Reedy River Mitigation Trust Fund for two projects: 1) river access and public park (Coker Tracts I and II), and 2) public access area on Boyd Mill Pond. Mr. Evans seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

    Mr. Davis made a motion to provide preliminary approval to evaluate the proposed purchase of 20 acres of land adjoining the Aiken Gopher Tortoise Heritage Preserve. Mr. Murray seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

    Mrs. Rhodes made a motion to acquire 2,436 acres in Newberry County known as Belfast Plantation Phase II. Mr. Campbell seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
  19. Time and Location of the Next Meetings
    The January Board meeting will be held Thursday, January 28, 2010, in Columbia.

    The February Board meeting will be held Friday, February 12, 2010, at Edisto State Park.
  20. Adjournment
    There being no further business to be brought before the DNR Board at this time, the meeting was adjourned.