Rembert C. Dennis Building, Room 335
1000 Assembly Street, Columbia, SC
Friday, March 26, 2004
The regular meeting of the Board of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources was held at 9:30 am, on Friday, March 26, 2004, at the Rembert C. Dennis Building, 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, and Smith Ragsdale. Mr. John Frampton and staff members of the Department of Natural Resources were present at the meeting, as were various guests.
Chairman McShane called the meeting to order at 9:30 a.m. and welcomed everyone to the meeting.
Chairman McShane asked Lt. Col. Van McCarty to offer the invocation.
Mr. Chamblee introduced Noel Hurley, USGS; Angela Viney, SC Wildlife Federation; and Zane Wilson, Sun News.
IV. Constituent Comment
Mr. Chamblee informed the Board that there were no requests for constituent comment.
Mr. McShane asked if there were any corrections or additions to the minutes of the February 13, 2004, meeting. There being no corrections or additions, Mr. Ragsdale made a motion that the Board approve the minutes of the February 13, 2004, meeting as submitted. Mr. Davis seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
Mr. Frampton commended Officers Dudley Britt, Stephanie Brown, and John Lewis for their efforts during the search and rescue mission on the Broad River near Columbia on February 21.
Mr. Frampton commended Officers Darrin Hayes and Ginger Pop and all others who helped in the successful rescue of a three year old who was missing at Pawleys Island.
Mr. Frampton commended Lisa Jones on her completion of the process and examination to become an Association of State Floodplain Managers (ASFPM) Certificated Floodplain Manager.
Mr. Frampton introduced Kirk Thomas, National Coordinator/Founder of Wheelin’ Sportsmen with the National Wild Turkey Federation. Mr. Thomas described the Wheelin’ Sportsmen program as a program that provides all disabled people the opportunity to enjoy the outdoors. Mr. Thomas and Mr. Frampton then signed the Wheelin’ Sportsmen NWTF Program Partnership Agreement between the NWTF and the Department.
VII. Advisory Committee Reports
A. Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series
Robert Boyles informed the Board that the Governor Cup Billfishing Series Advisory Board met on February 25, 2004, in Charleston. The majority of discussion by the Advisory Board was regarding a rule change for the 2004 tournament. Mr. Boyles noted that this rule change is moving away from tagging, due to concerns over tagging mortality. Mr. Boyles reported that the other main topic was an update on the South Atlantic Fisheries Management Council’s plan for the dolphin and Wahoo fishery management.
B. Law Enforcement
Mr. Campbell reported that the Law Enforcement Advisory Committee met on March 10, 2004, at Cheraw State Park. Mr. Campbell stated that the main topic of conversation was the budget situation. Mr. Campbell noted that Lt. Steve Walters gave the Advisory Committee a legislative update. Major Alvin Taylor gave the Advisory Committee an update on educational programs and JEA program.
Mr. Ragsdale informed the Board that the Waterfowl Advisory Committee met on March 17, 2004, in Columbia. The meeting opened with a discussion about the budget situation. The Advisory Committee established goals to improve duck hunting and continuing to improve the communication between waterfowl enthusiasts and DNR and improve and develop additional methods to survey waterfowl harvests. Mr. Ragsdale reported that the wood duck box project is underway and they are working out specifics with DNR; $37,000 has been raised to date. The Advisory Committee discussed increasing the SC Waterfowl Stamp and using the increase in fees specifically for funding of new waterfowl habitat impoundments and their management. Ed Duncan gave a presentation on the FERC relicensing process which affects Santee Cooper Lakes. Dave Wielicki gave a report on the aquatic weed situation on the Santee Cooper Lakes. The Habitat Oversight Committee has been working on the Yawkey Center at South Island. Mr. Ragsdale stated that the Advisory Committee received a report on increasing public hunting opportunities. The Advisory Committee discussed hunting regulations with the first topic of discussion being disturbance.
Mr. Ragsdale informed the Board of the members of the Santee Lakes Submersed Aquatic Plant Committee. Mr. Ragsdale stated that their report shows that since the 1970’s-1980’s the population of mallards at the Santee Refuge has dropped from 115,000 to 361 according to the past year’s survey. The report gave numerous reasons for this decrease and are working with Santee Cooper, DNR and the Corps of Engineers to develop recommendations on the reversal of this situation.
VIII. Item for Board Information
A. Nuisance Alligator Protocol
Derrell Shipes distributed copies and reviewed the changes to the alligator response protocol. Mr. Shipes then reviewed the criteria for evaluating alligator complaints. Mr. Shipes stated that he would like to amend the law to read “In addition to programs established by regulation under this chapter, the Department may issue permits for the removal and disposition of nuisance or dangerous alligators to property owners, property owners associations, property holding companies and local governments or their agents. Such permit shall specify the number and size of alligators to be removed, the area from which the animals may be removed, the methods of removal, reporting requirements, and disposition of parts and products of the animals taken.” Mr. Shipes noted that he feels this is an important step in moving to privatization. At this time, Mr. Frampton stated that he felt with the current budget situation it is imperative to move quickly toward privatization. Mr. Davis made a motion that the Board encourage staff to pursue privatization of the alligator removal program and take the necessary steps to make legislative changes. Mr. Evans seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
B. Presentation on Aquatic Weeds
Freddy Vang showed the Board several examples of weed problems. Mr. Vang reviewed the creation of the Aquatic Plant Management Program and the establishment of the Aquatic Plant Management Council. Mr. Vang then reviewed the responsibilities of the Council and noted that the Council has an annual planning process, which receives public input. Mr. Vang explained how this plan is also a part of FERC Relicensing. Mr. Vang reiterated that the key to the Aquatic Weed Management Plan is to be sure that it is open for public comment through the entire process.
Mr. Vang distributed copies and reviewed the AVM summary. The points reviewed were what is known about AVM and what is not known about AVM. It is thought that it is a natural toxin because surveys of AVM lakes indicate a consistent presence of abundant aquatic vegetation and the presence of a particular species of blue green alga, Stigonematales, which may produce neurotoxins. Many reservoirs are diagnosed with AVM shortly after colonization by exotic vegetation.
C. Geographic Information Systems
Mr. Vang reported that he attended a meeting with state agencies and there appears to be general agreement about the need for enhanced coordination. Chairman McShane stated that at a recent Governor’s Cabinet meeting it was brought up that many different agencies all look at GIS as the tool to use but there is really no coordination of personnel, software and hardware. Mr. Frampton offered DNR’s help in coordination and will report back to the Cabinet.
D. Red-cockaded Woodpecker Plan for Lewis Ocean Bay
Tom Kohlsaat gave the Board a presentation of the plan for Red-cockaded Woodpecker on Lewis Ocean Bay. The number of active clusters has dropped from five to three. Mr. Kohlsaat noted that there are two sites on the property that staff are considering for recruitment clusters. Mr. Kohlsaat highlighted the qualities of the two recruitment sites. After much discussion and many questions, Chairman McShane asked Mr. Kohlsaat for further research to be done and report back to the Board.
IX. Director’s Briefings
Mr. Frampton reminded Board Members to complete and mail their Statement of Economic Interests Form to the Ethics Commission by April 15.
Mr. Frampton noted that Chairman McShane, Vice Chairman Campbell and he met with several legislators on March 23-24 to discuss DNR’s budget situation. Mr. Frampton reviewed some problems passed by the House version of the budget.
Mr. Frampton informed the Board that the Department will be hosting the Spring directors’ meeting of the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies in Columbia, April 30-May 2, 2004.
Mr. Frampton stated that a dedication ceremony for the Bonneau Ferry Property is scheduled for Friday, June 4. Final plans and location will be announced soon.
A. Legislative Report
Derrick Meggie informed the Board that their weekly update will be sent today. Mr. Meggie highlighted the following bills: Restructuring, ATV Safety and Registration, Criminal Reporting by other Law Enforcement Agencies, and the bill involving DNR Regulating its leased lands.
B. Habitat Task Force
Chairman McShane and Mr. Frampton informed the group that Barry Beasley will be heading up the Habitat Protection Program. Mr. Beasley reported that with the new responsibilities of the Habitat Protection Program. One of the first priorities will be to revisit the Habitat Protection Strategy including priorities and criteria.
X. Deputy Directors’ Reports
1. Land, Water and Conservation
Mr. Vang provided the Board with the April Climate Outlook as prepared by State Climatologist Hope Mizzell. Mr. Vang also distributed a report titled “Meeting Challenges with Geologic Maps” prepared by American Geological Institute.
2. Conservation Education and Communications and Administrative Services
Mr. Vang reported that Ms. Collins is currently at the Palmetto Sportsmen’s Classic. Mr. Vang noted that Ms. Collins wanted to report that the next South Carolina Wildlife television show will be aired April 10. Ms. Collins also wanted to inform the Board that license sales are up over this time last year.
3. Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries
Mr. McTeer gave the Board an update on the recent Farm Bill Workshop meetings and the Quail seminars held at the Webb Center.
4. Law Enforcement
Col. Wright gave the Board a summary of the In-Service Training and commended the staff. Col. Wright informed the Board that there is BUI training planned for the summer. Col. Wright stated that the Take One Make One trailer is located in the Ruff Building at the Palmetto Sportsmen’s Classic.
Robert Boyles reported that the deployment of the inshore artificial reefs in Winyah Bay began this week. Mr. Boyles distributed photos of the Sealand Pride incident that occurred in late February.
XI. Board Member Comments
Vice Chairman Campbell elaborated on the success of the meetings they had with Senators this past week. Mr. Campbell acknowledged the support of Senators McGill and Drummond. Mr. Campbell spoke on the effects of officers being cut and the rise in the number of boating fatalities. Mr. Campbell also spoke of the economic impact of the Department on the State. Mr. Campbell encouraged the group to speak to State Senators, House Members and conservation groups about the Department’s budget situation. Mr. Frampton stated that as facilities are closing the agency is being reshaped around the hubs and the hubs are being put in a position so that, through time, some staffing can be eliminated in the Columbia office and allow better decision and communication processes to occur in the hubs. Chairman McShane stated that he knows the Department will not come out of the Senate with a zero dollar cut, but the intent is to minimize the cut.
XII. Executive Session
At this time Mr. Campbell made a motion that the Board hold an Executive Session to discuss contractual, legal and personnel matters. Mr. Davis seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
XIII. Return to Regular Session
Mr. Evans made a motion that the Board approve the appointment of Charles Broadwell to the Land, Water and Conservation Advisory Committee. Mr. Ragsdale seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
Mr. Davis made a motion that the Board approve the appointment of William Hoole, Jr., to the Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Advisory Committee. Mr. Ragsdale seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
Mr. Ragsdale made a motion that the Waterfowl Advisory Committee’s Aquatic Weed Management Plan be approved in principal as a high priority for DNR, with the ability of DNR Board to revisit this issue as needed. Mr. Evans seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
XIV. Time and Location of the Next Meeting
The next meeting of the DNR Board will be held Monday, March 29, 2004, at 3:00 pm, at the Rembert C. Dennis Building, Columbia, SC.
The April meeting of the DNR Board will be held Friday, April 16, 2004.
There being no further business to be brought before the DNR Board at this time, the meeting was adjourned.