Board of the Department of Natural Resources
Rembert C. Dennis Building, Room 335
1000 Assembly Street
March 11, 2009 11:00 a.m.
The regular meeting of the Board of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources was held at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, March 11, 2009, in Room 335 of the Rembert C. Dennis Building, 1000 Assembly Street, 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 Norman Pulliam. Board member Caroline Rhodes’ absence was excused. Director John Frampton and staff members of the Department of Natural Resources were present at the meeting, as were various guests.
- Call to Order
Chairman Mike McShane called the meeting to order at 11:00 a.m. and welcomed everyone to the meeting.
Chairman McShane asked Rev. Eric Skidmore to offer the invocation.
- Pledge of Allegiance
Vice Chairman Mike Campbell led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance.
- Introduction of Guests
Don Winslow, Chief of Staff, introduced Ben Gregg, Executive Director, SC Wildlife Federation; Clinch Heyward, Chairman, SC Wildlife Federation; Cary Chamblee, Legislative Liaison, SC Wildlife Federation; Ann Timberlake, Executive Director, Conservation Voters of SC; Scott Whitaker, Executive Director, Coastal Conservation Association; and Douglas Ford, Research Director, Senate Fish, Game and Forestry Committee.
- Constituent Comments
Clinch Heyward said he has served as Chairman of the SC Wildlife Federation for approximately two months and offered DNR the support of SCWF.
Ben Gregg thanked DNR and the Board for the position taken on the proposed Santee Cooper coal-fired power plant. Mr. Gregg referenced the economic impact DNR has on the state and noted the legislature doesn’t seem to be aware of this. Mr. Gregg also gave the Board an update on the Camo Coalition and their willingness to assist with pertinent legislation.
Cary Chamblee thanked DNR and the Board for their efforts regarding the placement of the cable on the lower Saluda River. Mr. Chamblee gave the Board an update on SCWF’s position on several pieces of legislation.
Ann Timberlake informed the Board that 32 states have some form of conservation league, but noted that the Conservation Voters of South Carolina is truly a bi-partisan organization. Ms. Timberlake also thanked DNR and the Board for their position on the proposed Santee Cooper coal-fired power plant.
Scott Whitaker briefed the Board on the South Atlantic Marine Fisheries Council’s proposed regulation changes for snapper and noted that CCA supports this ruling.
- Approval of Minutes
Chairman McShane asked if there were any amendments, additions, deletions or corrections to the February 13, 2009, meeting minutes. There being no amendments, deletions, or corrections, Mr. Davis made a motion that the Board approve the minutes of the February 13, 2009, meeting as presented. Mr. Campbell seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
Chairman McShane informed the Board that the distributed, proposed, amended December 11, 2008, Board meeting minutes include the more thorough report on the proposed Santee Cooper coal-fired power plant from Bob Perry. Mr. Pulliam made a motion that the Board approve the amended minutes of the December 11, 2008, meeting as presented. Mr. Evans seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
Mr. Frampton commended Bob Perry for receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award from the SC Chapter of The Wildlife Society for his accomplishments in wildlife biology and management through his education, research and administrative actions.
Mr. Frampton commended Bill Marshall, the Land, Water and Conservation Division and Graphics staff involved with the Little Pee Dee Scenic River Management Plan which was selected by the SC State Library to receive one of ten Notable State Document Awards for 2008.
Emily Cope, President, SC Chapter of The Wildlife Society, presented Billy Dukes with the Society’s Professional Wildlife Management Award.
- Advisory Committee Report
Barry Beasley reported that the Heritage Trust Advisory Board received a presentation on the DNR public lands website. The Advisory Board received updates and status reports on Dungannon and Victoria Bluff Heritage Preserve Management Plans, Lewis Ocean Bay issues, Congaree Land Trust, the Conservation Bank and Poinsett Bridge Heritage Preserve. The Advisory Board discussed the Department’s position on the proposed Santee Cooper coal-fired power plant and the budget.
- Items for Board Information
- Drought Update
Ken Rentiers, Deputy Director for Land, Water and Conservation, informed the group that the Drought Response Committee upgraded 16 counties along the coast and Pee Dee region from no drought status to incipient, and five counties in the Catawba-Wateree River Basin were downgraded to moderate. The Drought Response Committee meets again on April 15, 2009. Mr. Rentiers reviewed streamflows, lake levels and ground-water monitoring wells around the state.
- The 2006 Economic Benefits of Freshwater Fishing in South Carolina
Ross Self, Chief of Fisheries, briefly reviewed The 2006 Economic Benefits of Freshwater Fishing in South Carolina, as included in the Board meeting package. Mr. Self noted that the data for this report were obtained from the 2006 National Survey of Fishing, Hunting, and Wildlife-Associated Recreation conducted by the US Fish and Wildlife Service.
Mr. Frampton briefly discussed the Economic Impact of SCDNR report that was discussed at the February 13, 2009, meeting, noting that more areas will be included in Dr. Woodward’s final report. Mr. Frampton mentioned various methods to publicly release this information.
Mr. Pulliam made a motion that the Board approve the appointment of Mr. Bobby Garmony to the Waterfowl Advisory Committee. Mr. Evans seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
- Items for Board Action
- Dungannon Plantation Heritage Preserve Management Plan
Mr. Davis made a motion that the Board approve the Dungannon Plantation Heritage Preserve Management Plan as included in the Board package. Mr. Campbell seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
- Victoria Bluff Heritage Preserve Management Plan
Mr. Campbell made a motion that the Board approve the Victoria Bluff Heritage Preserve Management Plan as included in the Board package. Mr. Pulliam seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
- Proposed 2009 Sterile Grass Carp Stocking in Public Waters
Mr. Evans made a motion that the Board approve the proposed 2009 Sterile Gras Carp Stocking in public waters as included in the Board package, with the contingency that the Deputy Director and Assistant Deputy Director discuss this with the Director. Mr. Murray seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
- Director’s Briefing
Mr. Frampton responded to SCE&G’s request concerning placement of the Saluda River barrier but has not yet received a response.
Mr. Frampton reminded the Board that the Statement of Economic Interests forms are due by April 15.
Mr. Frampton gave the Board an update on an Ohio man charged with illegal transport of white-tailed deer from Ohio to South Carolina. Chairman McShane stated for the record that because he knows the individual, he has had no involvement in this investigation.
Mr. Frampton and Col. Alvin Taylor met with Senator Hugh Leatherman and Representatives Liston Barfield and Brian White for a discussion of budget and legislative issues.
Mr. Frampton will represent DNR at the North American Wildlife and Natural Resources Spring Conference in Arlington, VA.
- Environmental Report
Bob Perry, Director of Environmental Programs, reported that he and Mr. Frampton met with Lonnie Carter and R. M. Singletary of Santee Cooper. Mr. Perry referenced a letter received from Santee Cooper following that meeting and his response (copies distributed). Mr. Perry informed the Board that they will meet with Santee Cooper staff to discuss how coal combustion byproducts would be handled and stored at the proposed facility. It is anticipated that Santee Cooper will apply soon for the landfill permits. The short-term objectives in discussions with Santee Cooper will include further determination of the potential impacts on the Great Pee Dee River related to downstream assets and water quality as a result of these landfill operations, to include bottom ash, fly ash and scrubber sludge. Staff wishes to determine what toxic materials are in the byproducts and the risk(s) they pose. Mr. Perry will tour one of Santee Cooper’s facilities to see their latest technology for handling, marketing and storing coal combustion byproducts.
Santee Cooper announced a plan to try to create 20% of their energy output using wind energy by 2030. The short-term plan is to place weather buoys off North Island with probably little to no environmental impact. They plan to erect at least two fixed towers in the ocean and permitting will be required for these.
Staff met with Duke Energy to discuss concerns on the low inflow protocol for the Catawba River.
The Saluda project will have an event to initiate the relicensing settlement negotiations. Mr. Perry stated that in the previous week DNR withdrew its stated position on a two foot trigger for the low inflow protocol because SCE&G proposed a one foot trigger.
- Legislative Report
Derrick Meggie, Director of Legislative Services, reported that this week the budget is on the House floor, and the Senate is waiting for figures from BEA so they can develop their budget. Mr. Meggie gave a brief status report on proposed legislation.
- Deputy Directors Reports
Robert Boyles reported on the two motions of the Saltwater Recreational Fisheries Advisory Committee Workshop, as noted in the February 13, 2009, Board meeting minutes. Staff are working on a plan for expenditures for next year in the areas brought out by the Advisory Committee. Mr. Boyles will report to the Advisory Committee that the Department is considering an overhaul of licenses and fees in response to their motion to give customers who purchase a saltwater license the option to pay an additional $5 with their license with the revenue earmarked for Marine programs. Mr. Boyles reported that the Blue Crab ad hoc committee met and made recommendations for minor changes to the proposed legislation; he will present this to the Marine Advisory Committee at their meeting tomorrow. Mr. Boyles informed the Board that the Marine Resources Division requests the authority to open all or portions of the general trawling area for the shrimp trawl fishery. Mr. Campbell made a motion that the Board authorize the Director and Marine Resources Division Deputy Director permission to open all or portions of the general trawling area within state waters for the shrimp trawl fishery, based on analysis of data from trawls conducted by DNR Crustacean Management and Research staff, consultation with numerous members of the commercial shrimp fishery and consideration of other pertinent factors after consulting with the Board. Mr. Evans seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
- Land, Water and Conservation
Mr. Rentiers reported that he attended the Charleston Conservation District meeting where Mr. William Kennerty was recognized for his 21 years of service and bestowed on him the title of Commissioner Emeritus on behalf of the agency. Mr. Rentiers noted that staff continue to work with DHEC and Georgia EPD to identify and recommend to the Corps of Engineers appropriate releases from the Savannah Lakes that protect both the lakes and the Savannah River.
- Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries
Breck Carmichael briefly reviewed the proposed amendment to the DNR Facilities Use Directive (D701) to add the Belfast house. Mr. Evans made a motion that the Board affirm this amendment to D701 as presented. Mr. Davis seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously. Mr. Carmichael reported that DHEC has recovered monetary damages of $16,748 from the City of Rock Hill for the Wildcat Fish Creek Kill, which will be passed on to DNR.
- Law Enforcement
Col. Taylor announced the following promotions: Region 1 – Lt. Mike Isaacs and Region 4 – Lt. Gentry Thames. Col. Taylor also informed the Board that Lt. Jim Wagers is working closely with Wendy’s again this year for coupons to be given to youths wearing life jackets.
- Outreach and Support Services
Carole Collins reminded the Board that the Palmetto Sportsman’s Classic will be March 27-29. Ms. Collins reported that there were 437 entries in the Reel Kids art competition. Ms. Collins read a positive customer comment from a Boat Titling customer.
- Executive Session
At this time, Mr. Campbell made a motion for the Board to hold an Executive Session to discuss contractual, legal and personnel matters. Mr. Pulliam seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
- Return to Regular Session
Mr. Campbell made a motion that the Board return to regular session and noted that no actions were taken in Executive Session. Mr. Murray seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
- Time and Location of the Next Meeting
The April Board meeting will be held Thursday, April 23, 2009, in Lone Star.
There being no further business to be brought before the DNR Board at this time, the meeting was adjourned.