Board of the Department of Natural Resources

Millaree Hunt Club
Columbia, SC
December 15, 2006 10:00 a.m.

The regular meeting of the Board of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources was held at 10:00 am, on Friday, December 15, 2006, at Millaree Hunt Club, Columbia, South Carolina. 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. Mr. John Frampton and staff members of the Department of Natural Resources were present at the meeting, as were various guests.

  1. Call to Order
    Chairman McShane called the meeting to order at 10:00 a.m. and welcomed everyone to the meeting.
  2. Invocation
    Chairman McShane asked Col. Alvin Taylor to offer the invocation.
  3. Pledge of Allegiance
    Vice Chairman Campbell led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance.
  4. Introduction of Guests
    Emily Cope introduced Joey Holleman, The State newspaper; Scott Whitaker, CCA; Joanna Weitzel, Executive Director of Carolina Wildlife Care, Inc.; and Chip Sharpe, retired DNR employee.
  5. Constituent Comments
    Chairman McShane asked Joanna Weitzel to address the Board. Ms. Weitzel updated the Board on the formation of a committee tasked with exploring the need for legislation and regulations for wildlife rehabilitators. Ms. Weitzel asked the Department to consider moving legislation forward for wildlife rehabilitation activities. Ms. Weitzel noted that the cost could be minimal if permitting was done by photo documentation instead of site visits, much like USFWS. Breck Carmichael thanked Ms. Weitzel for her willingness to work on this topic. Mr. Carmichael noted that DNR has a biologist on duty each day to handle nuisance and orphaned wildlife calls. Mr. Pulliam commented that he read that DNR does not have regulatory authority over exotic animals. Chairman McShane asked that staff work with partners, such as Carolina Wildlife Care, to address inconsistencies in regulations and also address the unfunded mandates.
  6. Approval of Minutes
    Chairman McShane asked if there were any additions, deletions, or corrections to the minutes of the November 17, 2006, meeting. There being none, Mr. Davis made a motion that the Board approve the minutes of the November 17, 2006, meeting as submitted. Mr. Pulliam seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
  7. Constituent Comments
    Chairman McShane noted that the minutes of the November 2006 meeting, contain discussion on proposed trappers legislation. Mr. Frampton and Mr. Sharpe have met and the only difference of opinion between Mr. Frampton and Mr. Sharpe is the fee. Mr. Frampton has recommended a $100 permit fee, per year for the entity, and a $25 per year fee for each participant hired by the commercial trapper. Mr. Sharpe noted that the Trappers Association believes that the $100/$25 fee is a bit expensive for the smaller, part time trapper. The Trappers Association would like to see a $50 annual permit fee and $10 annual fee for each participant. Mr. Pulliam made a motion to take the Director’s recommendation into consideration. Mr. Campbell seconded the motion. After such discussion, the motion carried unanimously.
  1. Presentations/Commendations
    Chairman McShane informed the Board that Mr. Pulliam had recently retired as Chair for the SC School for the Deaf and Blind. Mr. Pulliam was honored by his colleagues on the Board and the school for his 20 years of service, 13 serving as chair..

    Mr. Frampton thanked the Greenville Saltwater Sportfishing Club for their award of two, $1,000 scholarships each year to the agency, one to a dependent of a Law Enforcement employee and the other to a dependent of a non-law enforcement employee. This year’s recipients were William Collier (Law Enforcement employee, father Russell Collier in Orangeburg County) and Bradley Collins (non-law enforcement employee, father Mark Collins from the Marine Resources Division).

    Mr. Frampton commended Emily Cope on her selection for attendance at the National Conservation Leadership Institute at the National Conservation Training Center.
  2. Advisory Committee Reports
    1. Saltwater Recreational Fisheries
      Robert Boyles reported that the Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Advisory Committee met November 30 in Charleston. The Advisory Committee received an update on artificial reef deployments, an overview of Marine Resources Division programs, a financial status report, and an update and discussion on finfish public meetings and legislation.
    2. Marine
      Mr. Evans reported that the Marine Advisory Committee met on December 1 at Bennett’s Point. The Advisory Committee received presentations on Marine Resources educational efforts and ACE Basin NERR. The Advisory Committee was briefed on the public meetings and legislation on finfish.
  3. Items for Board Information
    1. Saltwater License
      Mr. Boyles reported that the saltwater recreational constituency is growing on the coast. A saltwater fishing license is required if you are fishing from a private boat, exempting those under 16 and over 65, fishing from the shore, a pier, or a charter boat. Mr. Boyles noted that because of these exemptions, there is much information missing regarding the use of the resource. Mr. Boyles stated that the Marine Recreational Fisheries Statistical Survey has a number of shortcomings also. Congress has recently reauthorized the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Action. One provision in this reauthorization mentions an angler registry (license). Mr. Boyles noted that the Marine Resources Division is considering conducting opinion surveys regarding saltwater fishing license requirements and the use of the resource. Mr. Frampton stated that there will likely be mandates included with the reauthorization of the Act. Mr. Frampton noted that there is a $1 billion difference in NOAA’s budget between the House and Senate. Mr. Frampton stated that almost every aspect of the Marine Center operation is tied in with NOAA funding and with the uncertainty of NOAA’s budget, there may be some tough times ahead for the Marine Resources Division. Mr. Frampton informed the Board that this may be the time to start talking about expanding the saltwater license.
    2. Proposed Inland Port
      Ed Duncan distributed copies of CaroLinks Inland Port Business Overview and two newspaper articles regarding this proposed port. CaroLinks is proposing barging containers from the Charleston Harbor up the Cooper River to Santee. Bob Perry gave the Board an overview of the proposed process to be used to bring the barges from Charleston to Santee. Mr. Duncan then informed the Board of the permits that would be necessary to construct this inland port. After some discussion on this item, Mr. Pulliam made a motion that the DNR Board go on record opposing proposed movement of intermodal shipping containers, by barge, back and forth from between the Charleston Harbor through the Cooper River, Pinopolis Lock, Lake Moultrie, the Diversion Canal and into Lake Marion with dockage near Santee, SC. This action is taken pursuant to the Board’s indication to proactively protect the aquatic resources, habitats and public uses of these waterways. Mr. Campbell seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
    3. Aviation Program/F.L.I.R. Update
      Col. Taylor introduced Bucky Harris and asked him give the Board an update on the Aviation Program and F.L.I.R. Chief Pilot Harris reviewed each of the aircraft and its typical uses. Chief Pilot Harris then showed a video of a recent shining case using the F.L.I.R. This equipment is used primarily for surveillance and search and rescue.
    4. Safe Harbor Program
      Mr. Carmichael distributed copies of an article by USFWS regarding Safe Harbor Agreements. Mr. Carmichael reported that SC DNR became the second agency to hold a statewide permit for a Safe Harbor Program in the nation. South Carolina’s program has ensured habitat maintenance and enhancement for red-cockaded woodpeckers on private lands. Mr. Carmichael noted that prior to this program there was no incentive to manage for endangered or threatened species. Mr. Carmichael addressed the question of whether the Agreement follows the property if sold. It has been discovered that unless it is recorded it will not show in a title search. Staff are now developing a method of Discovery for the Department to know when properties have been sold.
  4. Director’s Briefings
    Mr. Frampton distributed a letter from the Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council thanking him and the Chairman for their participation in a recent meeting in Charleston.

    Mr. Frampton noted that staff will continue to educate owners of domestic cats as to the potential for them to become free ranging cats and also the effect they have on the environment, particularly birds. Mr. Pulliam made a motion that the Board adopt a policy encouraging owners of domestic cats to keep them indoors or restrained so they do not become free ranging cats. Mr. Evans seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

    Mr. Frampton informed the Board that the DNR Legislative Reception will be January 16, beginning at 6:00 p.m., at the Columbia Museum of Art.

    Mr. Frampton participated in Governor Sanford’s press outing on November 27, in Charleston, on his budget proposal to add $20 million to the Conservation Bank.

    Mr. Frampton attended the Harry Hampton Memorial Wildlife Fund Board of Directors meeting on December 8, in Columbia, at which time the Hampton Fund approved the Department’s 2007 funding request in the amount of $179,425.

    Mr. Frampton and Chairman McShane participated in the 2007 Duck Stamp artwork unveiling held in the State House Rotunda on December 12, at which time the artwork commissioned from Jim Killen for the first of four series beginning in 2007 was unveiled.

  5. Executive Session
    At this time Mr. Davis made a motion that the Board hold an Executive Session to discuss contractual, legal, and personnel matters. Mr. Campbell seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
  6. Return to Regular Session
    Mr. Pulliam made a motion that the Board return to regular session. Mr. Murray seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
  7. Legislative Report
    Derrick Meggie reported that there are 200 Senate prefiled bills and the House has somewhat fewer. Mr. Meggie then reviewed bills of interest to DNR that are being carried over from last year.
  8. Deputy Directors' Reports
    1. Law Enforcement
      Col. Taylor reported on the early waterfowl season noting that 559 cases were made; 318 being warnings and 241 being hard copies. Col. Taylor gave the Board an update on the hiring process for the next Law Enforcement class.
    2. Outreach and Support Services
      Carole Collins reported that for the month of November the Wildlife Shop sold over $100,000 in product. Ms. Collins also stated that over 6,000 of the 10,000 Atlases have been sold.
    3. Marine Resources
      No further report.
    4. Land, Water and Conservation
      Freddy Vang gave the Board an update on the 2007 hurricane season forecast, the medium range temperature and precipitation forecast.
    5. Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries
      Mr. Carmichael informed the Board of the federal order prohibiting interstate movement of fish from the Great Lakes due to Viral Hermorrhagic Septicemia (VHS). Mr. Carmichael distributed the 2006 Summer Wild Turkey Brood Survey results.
  9. Time and Location of the Next Meeting
    The January Board meeting will be held on Friday, January 19, in Columbia.
  10. Adjournment
    There being no further business to be brought before the DNR Board at this time, the meeting was adjourned.