BOARD OF THE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES
Myrtle Beach Wyndham
Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
Friday, January 15, 1999
The regular meeting of the Board of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources was held at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, January 15, 1999, at the Myrtle Beach Wyndham, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Notice of the date, time and place of the meeting was posted and mailed to the news media. Dr. George Graham presided at the meeting. Board Members present included Tommy Miller, Marion Burnside, Campbell Coxe, Edwin Oxner, Mary Pope Waring and Edward Lee. 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 Graham called the meeting to order at 10:00 a.m. and welcomed everyone to the meeting.
Chairman Graham asked for a moment of silent meditation.
III. Introduction of Guests
Dr. Graham recognized Lynn Youmans, co-chair of the Land, Water and Conservation Advisory Committee; Marge Davenport, US Geological Survey; and Jim Knight, town of Briarcliffe Acres. Chairman Graham asked Mr. Knight to introduce his guests. Mr. Knight introduced Mayor Dennis Blanton , Monnie Gerald, Hal Groves and Mike Gerald.
IV. Constituency Comments
Mr. Knight presented the Board with the Town of Briarcliffe Acres' concerns of the urban deer population and asked for assistance with the management of this issue. (copy of remarks attached to original minutes)
Due to the common issue, Dr. Graham asked if there was any opposition to moving ahead on the agenda to the action item Urban Deer Depredation Program Guidelines. There being no objection, Charles Ruth was asked to proceed with his review of the recommendation.
V. Items for Board Action
A. Proposed Urban Deer Depredation Program Guidelines
Mr. Ruth reviewed the proposed Urban Deer Depredation Program Guidelines. While discussing the proposed guidelines, Mr. Ruth suggested that the title may need to be Urban Deer Management Guidelines rather than Urban Deer Depredation Guidelines. Mr. Miller stated that he agreed that the title should be changed to management. Mr. Lee questioned the dates of September 15 - February 1, instead of being year round. Mr. Ruth stated that the date should read September 15 - March 1 and explained that the reason dates are included is that any lethal removal will be primarily aimed at female deer and taking into account the reproductive cycle, this is the most ethical time. Mr. Coxe made a motion that the Board support the proposed Urban Deer Management Guidelines to include the name change from Depredation to Management and the corrected dates. Mr. Lee seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
Dr. Sandifer introduced David Dwyer, Chairman of the Land Protection Committee for the Winyah Bay Focus Area and President of the Historic Ricefields Association. Mr. Dwyer announced that 155 acres of land on the Waccamaw River has been purchased and donated to the Heritage Trust Program. This is the third parcel they have purchased in Horry County under the wetlands mitigation program.
Dr. Sandifer announced that John Frampton received one of three of the 1998 Conservation Leadership Awards from the Conservation Fund.
Dr. Sandifer reported that Chisolm Frampton, District 9 Marine Patrol Law Enforcement Officer, received the Order of the Palmetto from former Governor David Beasley, for his service on the Governor's Protection Detail.
Dr. Sandifer noted that Ed Muckenfuss has been elected chair of the South Carolina Forestry Commission.
VII. Approval of Minutes
Chairman Graham asked if there were any corrections or additions to the minutes of the November 20, 1998 meeting. There being no corrections or additions, the minutes of the November 20, 1998, were approved as mailed.
VIII. Advisory Committee Reports
A. Law Enforcement
Mr. Miller reported that the Law Enforcement Advisory Committee met on December 7, 1998. Col. Wright opened the meeting discussing the accomplishments and goals for the division. Maj. Pulaski reported on a study of the activities in the Francis Marion National Forest. Maj. Taylor reported on the record number of shrimp bait permits. Maj. Taylor noted that DNR has received $900,000 from the NMFS to be utilized by purchasing equipment and re-powering Wildlife I.
Mr. Miller reported that Dr. Greg Yarrow and Emily Pope, from Clemson, presented information on the deer depredation study in Orangeburg and Newberry counties. An analysis of this system will be completed and Clemson Extension will meet with DNR staff to make a recommendation whether to continue, expand or discontinue this program.
As a follow up, Maj. McCarty talked about physical fitness of the officers. Jean Cowell, Director of Human Resources, was in attendance and suggested that a program be started as voluntary rather than mandatory.
Mr. Miller reported that the next meeting will be a joint meeting of the Law Enforcement Advisory Committee and the Marine Advisory Committee.
B. Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries
Mr. Coxe reported that the Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Advisory Committee met on December 10, 1998. Steve Kresley, of Westvaco, gave a presentation on hardwood management in South Carolina. The information given in the presentation indicates that hardwood is growing faster than it's being harvested. There being some conflicting theories, the advisory committee charged Mr. Coxe appointing a subcommittee to review this issue and make recommendations. The advisory committee has recommended a committee made up of foresters and biologists to develop a public information campaign targeting private landowners and foresters, timber buyers and loggers to educate all parties concerning the importance of hardwood and preharvest planning. Mr. Coxe nominated Corky Lee to serve with him on this committee. Dr. Graham suggested that Brock Conrad be involved in this committee formation.
Mr. Coxe stated that they reviewed the proposed road hunting legislation, the proposed statewide antlerless deer tag program and the urban deer management program guidelines.
Mr. Coxe announced that the Future of Hunting Symposium will be held January 22, 1999, at the Sheraton in Columbia.
C. Governor's Cup
John Miglarese reported that the Governor's Cup Board met on January 13, 1999. They are undergoing a nomination process for review of the Governor's Cup Board membership. The relationship between the Harry Hampton Board and the Governor's Cup Board is under discussion. Dr. Miglarese noted that he, Chairman Cox and Don Hammond have met with the Harry Hampton Board. That discussion has reinvigorated the relationship between the two groups.
IX. Items for Board Action
A. Dedication of Jocassee Purchase in Honor of Dr. Timmerman - Senate Resolution
Dr. Sandifer reviewed the history of this proposal. The recommendation by staff is based on discussions held by the Board that appropriate naming of property should be done in honor of Dr. James A. Timmerman. This was followed up last year by introduction of a Senate Resolution by Senator John Drummond, President Pro Tempore of the SC State Senate, that passed the Senate but did not gain final approval in the House. Dr. Sandifer recommended to the Board, on behalf of staff, that the Board dedicate the Jocassee Gorges property that has been, and is being, acquired by the DNR as "the Jim Timmerman Natural Resources Area at Jocassee Gorges" in honor of Dr. James A. Timmerman, Jr., Director Emeritus of the DNR. Mr. Miller made a motion that the Board dedicate the Jocassee Gorges property acquired by the DNR as the "Jim Timmerman Natural Resources Area at Jocassee Gorges" in honor of this outstanding conservationist. Mr. Burnside seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
B. Proposed Statewide Antlerless Deer Tag Program
Charles Ruth reviewed the proposed statewide antlerless deer tag program guidelines. Currently, there are two regional antlerless deer tag programs. The program in the coastal plains is the land based program, which means, if you have a piece of property you can be issued a quota of tags or permits that are good on that piece of property. In the Piedmont, the program is an individual tag program and anyone can buy up to four tags and use them anywhere in the Piedmont that they have the right to hunt. The proposal, in essence, will allow the same programs but offer both of them statewide. Mr. Coxe made a motion that the Board approve the proposed statewide antlerless deer tag program as recommended by staff. Mr. Oxner seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
X. Items for Board Information
A. Report on Management of Heritage Preserves
Johnny Stowe reported on and described the various activities of the management of heritage preserves over the past year. After Mr. Stowe's presentation, questions posed by the Board were answered by Wildlife Diversity Section staff.
B. Billfish Distribution Data
Don Hammond gave an overview of the billfishery in South Carolina. Mr. Hammond noted that the Marine Resources Division is fortunate to have a program to monitor, identify and quantify the billfishery in South Carolina.
XI. Director's Briefings
A. Executive Office
Dr. Sandifer reported that he, Benny Reeves and David Hegler appeared before the House Ways and Means subcommittee last week to explain our carried forward balances.
Dr. Sandifer noted that Governor Beasley's budget was released on Tuesday and explained that the new administration would have input on the proposal. Within Governor Beasley's budget DNR was included for $1 million in non-recurring funds to include, $250,000 for game operating; $500,000 for law enforcement personnel and equipment; and $250,000 for statewide maintenance. This will go to the General Assembly as the budget proposal from the former administration and the new administration will send along their recommendations.
Dr. Sandifer reported that there is a proposal from the public hearings on the boating safety bill that will likely lead to an increase in the Boat Titling and Registration fees which may increase Department revenues by as much as $1.5 million. Portions of these revenues will be used to support additional conservation officer positions, especially related to the coast and waterways.
Dr. Sandifer informed the Board that Governor Hodges will present the State of the State Address on January 20, 1999, at the State House.
Dr. Sandifer reported that he has established a Women in Natural Resourcesad hoc steering committee to review the statistics on women in state government and in this agency to make recommendations in the areas of recruitment and retention of women in the DNR workforce.
Dr. Sandifer informed the Board that he and Billy McTeer have met with the Governor's Chief of Staff and Assistant Chief of Staff and have established communication lines. Governor Hodges has agreed to present the Environmental Awareness Award on February 4, 1999, at 10:30 a.m.
Dr. Sandifer mentioned the controversy of geese at Lake Murray. The agency has attempted to work with Mr. and Mrs. Mungo to resolve their concerns while at the same time keeping the public's rights to hunt and otherwise recreate on the lake.
Paul League updated the Board on the Richard B. Russell litigation. The main issue at this point is how to permanently require the Army Corps of Engineers to mitigate damages.
Mr. League informed the Board that another suit has been received in connection with a slip and fall accident at our boat ramp at Murrell's Inlet.
Mr. League stated that his office is continuing to work on fallow deer cases. In two specific cases, an issue that has been raised is our interpretation of the statute under which they were charged.
Mr. League mentioned that fish in Lake Paul Wallace have been found to contain mercury. EPA is issuing a fish advisory at that lake. EPA does not know the source of the mercury.
Mr. League reported 13 cases brought against individuals hunting over a baited dove field in the Orangeburg/Calhoun area. The person suspected of baiting the field was discovered and charges were brought against that individual. The magistrate initially granted a continuance, as requested by the officer, but then reversed the course and ordered the case to trial. The magistrate dismissed the case for lack of sufficient proof. The Department has given notice of appeal.
Billy McTeer distributed copies of the current Legislative Proposal. Mr. McTeer noted that this is somewhat incomplete because there are two pieces of major legislation that are being prepared, Chapter 5 and the boating bill, both not yet introduced.
Mr. McTeer stated that the road hunting issue is finally receiving the attention that was anticipated. Representative Sharpe, Chair of the Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environmental Affairs Committee, is planning to introduce the lowcountry road hunting bill as one of his priorities this year.
Mr. McTeer reported that our legislation is proceeding. There are two major bills, Chapter 5 and the boating bill. Legislative Council has to go through Chapter 5 to make sure it is correct in bill form. The Senate has held hearings around the state on the boating bill. There was a meeting with Senator Hutto before Christmas to draft a bill based on the public hearings. That bill is being reviewed by the Senate.
Mr. McTeer stated that the dolphin bill has been taken to Senator Peeler and Representatives Sharpe and Witherspoon. Companion bills are being started in both houses.
Mr. McTeer informed the Board that a legislative reception will be held on Tuesday, February 23, at the State Museum.
4. Human Resources
Jean Cowell stated that the law enforcement classes will begin Monday.
Ms. Cowell was notified this week from the Human Affairs Commission that their report to the General Assembly will be released the first of February. According to this report, we are last as far as accomplishments in reaching our goals. Last year we had reached 61.7% of our goals, this year it is at 56.1%.
Ms. Cowell also mentioned the Women in Natural Resources committee. This committee is also in part a result of the Task Force Report on the Status of Women in State Government. One of the recommendations in that report is to establish a tuition assistance program, which we have done. Currently there are three participants, all are females.
B. Deputy Directors
1. Land, Water and Conservation
Dr. Sandifer reported for Freddy Vang, since he was attending the luncheon of the SCACD. Copies of the SCANA Insight publication were reviewed. Dr. Sandifer brought attention to the pictorial article on the Beach Sweep/River Sweep program. Forty-three tons of trash were removed by 5,800 volunteers in this year's effort.
Dr. Sandifer reviewed the Reedy River brochure which was distributed. The next meeting of the Reedy River Task Force will be sometime in February.
There has been a request from local legislators on the lower end of the Ashley River to look at a technical amendment to the legislation that established the Ashley as a scenic river to add a one and one half mile downstream segment to that designation.
2. Administrative Services
Benny Reeves asked James Duke to give an update on a ramp at Apple Island Landing, on Lake Hartwell, in Anderson County. Mr. Duke stated that at approximately the same time a conceptual plan for this boating event facility was underway, the mitigation plan for Lake Russell was being compiled. The Apple Island site on Lake Hartwell was included in the Russell plan. Not wanting to pursue two parallel courses which may or may not be in sync, a decision was made to wait and see how the mitigation plan for Lake Russell went. Mr. Duke said the mitigation effort is probably at best two years away from being completed. Mr. Duke asked for direction from the Board as to how to proceed. Mr. Miller made a motion that staff continue with their efforts and bring it to a conclusion at the earliest date possible. Mrs. Waring seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
3. Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries
Brock Conrad distributed copies of a report entitled 1996 Economic Benefits of Freshwater Fishing in South Carolina.
Mr. Conrad also distributed copies of a table with an on waterfowl harvest on WMA's through last week.
Mr. Conrad gave a brief report on the special deer hunt with dogs on Hellhole WMA. The estimate was for 650 people, 545 people were checked on the hunt, there were 6 wildlife management personnel and 10 conservation officers that handled the hunt. One hundred sixty-two deer were checked but more were probably harvested for a ratio of one deer for every four hunters.
Mr. Conrad thanked Mrs. Waring for her assistance in getting Crab Bank and three other sea bird preserves designated.
4. Law Enforcement
Col. Wright reported that the cases made in December were very diverse. These cases consisted of night hunting, illegal deer, and over the limit of deer.
Col. Wright stated that with relation to duck season the overall number of cases written last year was 273 cases and thus far this year there have been 276 cases.
Col. Wright reported that in 1998 there were 17,142 tickets were written by officers, 7,400 were warning tickets which were included in the number of cases made. The radio room has received 1,762 calls during the month of December.
5. Conservation Education and Communication
Sonny Baines distributed copies of the newly designed logo for Jocassee Gorges.
John Miglarese reported that shrimp season was closed north of Fripp last week and the season will close this afternoon south of Fripp.
Dr. Miglarese stated that shrimp baiting is a big issue with MAC. Mrs. Waring noted that Representative Limehouse, Senator Ravanel and Representative Campsen have all written and called her about the Department holding a series of public hearings on shrimp baiting. Mrs. Waring said her response has been that we are holding this public hearing to address the issue of illegal commercialization of the recreational shrimp, but at this point we don't have any proven information that there is a resource or water quality problem as a result of shrimp baiting. Although, if after this meeting it is determined that further study is needed, public hearings will be held.
Mrs. Waring proposed asking staff to come to the February meeting with a follow up letter to NMFS to comment on the draft management plan on highly migratory species and especially address the Charleston Bump.
XII. Executive Session
At this time, Mr. Coxe made a motion that the Board hold an Executive Session to discuss contracts dealing with audit services and Nature Conservancy, and to receive legal briefings on Migratory Waterfowl Committee and other cases. Mr. Lee seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
RETURN TO REGULAR SESSION
Following the Executive Session, the regular meeting was resumed and participants were invited into the meeting.
Chairman Graham stated that there were no items requiring Board action discussed in executive session.
XIII. Time and Location of the Next Meeting
Chairman Graham stated that the next meeting of the DNR Board will be held on Friday, February 19, 1999, at 10:00 a.m, at the Ramada Plaza Hotel in Fort Mill, South Carolina.
There being no further business to be brought before the DNR Board at this time, the meeting was adjourned.