BOARD OF THE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES
Clemson, South Carolina
Friday, July 16, 1999
The regular meeting of the Board of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources was held at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, July 16, 1999, at the Madren Center, Clemson, South Carolina. Notice of the date, time and place of the meeting was posted and mailed to the news media. Dr. Joab Lesesne presided at the meeting. Board Members present included Danny Ford, Ben Gregg, Russell Holliday, Dr. Julius Leary, Malloy McEachin and Dr. Douglas Rucker. 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
Dr. Sandifer called the meeting to order at 10:00 a.m. and welcomed everyone to the meeting.
II. Administration of Oath of Office
Cary Chamblee administered the Oath of Office to the newly appointed Chairman, Dr. Joab M. Lesesne, Jr.
Chairman Lesesne asked for a moment of silent meditation.
IV. Introduction of Guests
Cary Chamblee introduced Dr. Bill Wehrenberg, Dean of the College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences, Clemson University; and Dr. James A. Timmerman, Jr., Director Emeritus, SC Department of Natural Resources.
Dr. Timmerman congratulated the Board Members on their appointment and welcomed them to DNR.
Mr. Chamblee then introduced Bob Bailey, Executive Director, SC Sportsmen's Coalition; and Dennis Chastain, Director, Sportsmen's League.
V. Constituency Comments
Mr. Chamblee asked Steve Johnson, Sierra Club, to make his comments to the Board. Mr. Johnson addressed the Board regarding concerns of ATV use at Jocassee. Mr. Johnson also addressed the Board with concerns about Sassafras Mountain.
Mr. Chamblee asked Meg Bencko, Sierra Club and League of Women Voters, to make her comments to the Board. Ms. Bencko addressed the Board regarding forestry management and road construction at Jocassee.
Mr. Chamblee asked Dennis Chastain, Sportsmen's League, to make his comments to the Board. Mr. Chastain spoke, as a follow up of his comments from last month, about the critical importance for DNR or other public interests to acquire Crescent's property, south of Highway 11. Mr. Chastain also spoke of his concerns about rumored sale and use of Sassafras Mountain and other tracts. Mr. Chastain updated the Board on the status of archery hunts at Croft State Park in cooperation with PRT.
VI. Approval of Minutes
Chairman Lesesne asked if there were any corrections or additions to the minutes of the June 18, 1999, meeting. Dr. Rucker stated that there is a correction to the date in the first paragraph of the minutes, it should be June 18 instead of May 21. Dr. Leary made a motion that the minutes of the June 18, 1999, meeting be approved with the noted correction. Ms. Holliday seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
Chairman Lesesne recognized Senator Drummond and asked him to address the Board. Senator Drummond congratulated the members of the Board on their new appointment and the staff for their hard work and accomplishments.
VII. Advisory Committee Meetings
Chairman Lesesne called on John Miglarese for the report from the Marine Advisory Committee. Dr. Miglarese stated that the MAC met on July 13. The committee received an update on the Coastal Fisheries Bill and other offshore fishery issues. Dr. Miglarese reported that major discussion items with the public included feedback with commercial shrimp fishermen on the Coastal Fisheries Bill and the Coastal Conservation Association asked to be heard and made a statement with regard to spade fish fishery.
VIII. Items for Board Information
A. Boating Safety Act Update
Chairman Lesesne asked Maj. Alvin Taylor to update the Board on the Boating Safety Act. Maj. Taylor began by giving a background on boating in South Carolina and the history of the proposed bill. Maj. Taylor explained that the Boating Safety Act increases penalties for boating under the influence; it allows testing of blood alcohol content with probable cause; it adds a section for reckless operation; it raised boating registration fees which allows the addition of 27 officers for the waters of the State; and it allows the Department the authority to suspend the privilege to operate a boat. Maj. Taylor shared with the Board that Randall and Karen Smith's son was killed in a boating accident on Lake Murray several years ago and they were the biggest supporters of the effort for this Act. Maj. Taylor informed the Board that BUI training has started. Col. Wright thanked Senator Drummond for his assistance with this legislation.
IX. Items for Board Action
Election of Vice Chair
Chairman Lesesne opened the floor for the election of a vice chair. Dr. Rucker nominated Dr. Julius Leary to serve as Vice-Chairman of the Board of the Department of Natural Resources. Mr. Gregg seconded the motion. With no other nominations being made, the motion carried unanimously.
Advisory Committee Appointments
Chairman Lesesne commended staff for their efforts in the recent Board Education Retreat. Chairman Lesesne noted that this retreat also allowed Board members to get to know each other and one another's interests, with this in mind he made the following advisory committee appointments, with the understanding this would be for one year and at the end of that year they will review the appointments.
Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries - Holliday - Chair
Marine - Gregg - Chair
Marine Recreational Fisheries - Gregg - Board Representative
Heritage Trust - McEachin - Board Representative
Land, Water and Conservation - Rucker - Board Representative
Law Enforcement - Leary - Chair
Conservation Education and Communications - Ford - Chair
Migratory Waterfowl - no decision at this point
Finance Committee - McEachin - Chair, Gregg - Member, Lesesne - Member
Audit Committee - McEachin - Chair, Gregg - Member
Proposed 1999-2000 Early Migratory Bird Seasons
Chairman Lesesne asked John Frampton to review the recommendations for the 1999-2000 Early Migratory Bird Seasons. After Mr. Frampton's review, Dr. Leary made a motion that the Board accept the proposed 1999-2000 Early Migratory Bird Season as presented. Ms. Holliday seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously. (Copy attached to original minutes).
Marine Center Library Funding Resolution
Chairman Lesesne asked Dr. Miglarese to review the Resolution for the Marine Center Library Funding. Dr. Miglarese explained that this Resolution is in support of forming an exploratory committee to review the possibility of private funding along with public funding for library expansion at the Marine Center. Dr. Rucker made a motion that the Board accept the Resolution as presented. Mr. McEachin seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously. (Copy attached to original minutes).
SCE&G Power Line Right of Way/Mason Tract/McCormick County
Chairman Lesesne asked Paul League to address the Board on the SCE&G Power Line Right of Way. Mr. League explained that the parcel of property borders the Savannah River, mostly west of Highway 28, part of it is separated by the road. This property was taken as a bequest in 1990 from James Mason. It is now managed as a Wildlife Management Area. SCE&G has requested an easement along a public county road which covers a portion of the property to provide electrical service to an existing subdivision. Mr. League explained that the reason for "zigzagging" the lines across the road is to avoid intrusion on the property any more than necessary. The Department would receive $1 for the easement and $200 for trees that would have to be cleared. Mr. League stated that Mr. Frampton can inform the Board of the Department's concerns and position and Mr. Thomas Fox, from SCE&G, who may provide some information on why they want to zigzag the lines. Mr. Frampton stated that he and two Department biologists have looked at this property from the standpoint of overhead line versus an underground line. Mr. Frampton noted that in this case he would have to recommend overhead because if it is underground it will require at least a 10 foot easement off the highway right of way, which means a considerable number of trees would have to be cut. At this time, Messrs. League, Frampton and Fox answered questions posed by Board members. Dr. Leary suggested that this property acquisition issue be taken up in executive session.
Heritage Trust Conservation Easement
This item is a property transfer and will be discussed in executive session.
X. Director's Briefings
A. Executive Office
Dr. Sandifer thanked the Board members for their attention and participation in the education retreat.
Dr. Sandifer reported that the Department had a good year this year as far as legislation and budget. Most of the funding received this year was in nonrecurring funds.
Dr. Sandifer commended the activities of the Marine Division in trying to get Coastal Fisheries rewrite passed. The bill passed both Houses, in slightly different forms, but has run into problems in Conference Committee. It is anticipated that the problems will be resolved during next year's legislative session and the bill will be passed.
Dr. Sandifer mentioned the Jocassee Gorges map and thanked Greg Lucas, CEC and other staff for their efforts.
Dr. Sandifer thanked Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries staff for their work in planning Brock Conrad's retirement dinner. Dr. Sandifer also thanked Dr. Leary and Mr. Gregg for their attendance at the dinner. Dr. Sandifer stated that he would brief the Board in executive session on the status of the selection for Brock's successor.
Dr. Sandifer mentioned his attendance at the initial meeting of the Interagency Council on Natural Resources Policy. Three emphasis areas, as identified by Governor Hodges are environmental education, water quality and land protection. The next meeting will be held on August 10.
Dr. Sandifer informed the Board that he has met with Law Enforcement personnel on budget and legislation passed during 1999.
Dr. Sandifer mentioned that he met Lt. Col. Mark Held, the new Corps of Engineers District Engineer for Charleston.
Dr. Sandifer informed the Board of his upcoming events. He will be attending the meeting of the Atlantic Flyway Council, July 27-30, in Key West, FL. He will be speaking at the National Marine Educators Association Annual Conference at the Lightsey Conference Center at the College of Charleston.
Billy McTeer reviewed the contents for the legislative package and the steps for assembling the package. Mr. McTeer informed the Board that Representative Sharpe is going to form a cross-sectional ad hoc committee to try to reach a consensus on the Road Hunting bill.
B. Deputy Directors
1. Conservation Education and Communications
Nothing further to report.
The next meeting of the Marine Advisory Committee will be August 26.
3. Land, Water and Conservation
Nothing further to report.
4. Administrative Services
Benny Reeves reported that the 1996-97 audit has been completed by the State Auditor and we should be receiving a copy of that report soon. The 1997-98 audit should be completed today and we should be receiving a copy of that report within the next 60 days. The Federal Auditors are in from the Department of Defense, they've been hired by USFWS, and anticipate being here for approximately 6 months.
5. Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries
Breck Carmichael provided the Board with preliminary information about a relatively small fish kill in the Little Saluda River.
6. Law Enforcement
Col. Wright commended the officers of District 1 for the success of their Fishing Rodeos. This year, District 1 held 4 or 5 rodeos with approximately 4,500 youth participating.
XI. Executive Session
At this time, Dr. Leary made a motion that the Board hold an Executive Session for a legal, contractual and personnel issues. Dr. Rucker 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.
Dr. Leary made a motion that the Board grant the easement to SCE&G on the Mason Tract according to their proposed plan to the DNR. Mr. McEachin seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
Dr. Leary made a motion that the Board accept the conservation easement on Bird Mountain as presented. Dr. Rucker seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
XII. Time and Location of the Next Meeting
Chairman Lesesne stated that the next meeting of the DNR Board will be held on Friday, August 20, at 11:00 a.m., at the Rembert C. Dennis Building, 1000 Assembly Street, Columbia.
There being no further business to be brought before the DNR Board at this time, the meeting was adjourned.