MINUTES

BOARD OF THE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES

Rembert C. Dennis Building, Room 335

Columbia, South Carolina

Friday, July 17, 1998

10:00 a.m.



The regular meeting of the Board of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources was held at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, July 17, 1998, in room 335 of 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. Dr. George Graham presided at the meeting. Board Members present included Marion Burnside, Campbell Coxe, Edwin Oxner, Mary Pope Waring and Edward Lee. Board Member Tommy Miller was absent due to illness. 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.

II. Meditation

Chairman Graham asked for a moment of silent meditation.

III. Approval of Minutes

Chairman Graham asked if there were any corrections or additions to the minutes of the June 19, 1998 meeting. There being no corrections or additions the minutes of the June 19, 1998 meeting were accepted as mailed.

IV. Presentations/Commendations

Chairman Graham mentioned the award presented to Board Member Tommy Miller at the Jocassee property dedication by the Governor on behalf of the Department of Natural Resources Board for his efforts in bringing the Jocassee contract to fruition.

V. Items for Board Action

A. Agreement with Harry Hampton Memorial Wildlife Fund

Chairman Graham stated that the members of the Harry Hampton Memorial Wildlife Fund will be arriving at 1:00 p.m. This item will be deferred until that time.

B. Proposed Early Migratory Bird Seasons for 1998-99

Mr. Brock Conrad presented the proposed early season for migratory bird hunting framework. Mr. Conrad announced that there is also the opportunity for an experimental blue wing teal season. This would be a nine day season during the month of September. Mr. Conrad recommended that this season be only in the area east of Highway 17. The experimental teal season will be for three years. The Department will have to evaluate the season and report to the US Fish and Wildlife Service. The decision for the experimental teal season does not have to be made until August 1. Mr. Burnside made a motion that the Board approve the Early Migratory Bird Seasons for 1998-99 as proposed in writing by the staff (not including teal season) (copy attached to the original minutes). Mr. Lee seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Burnside made a motion that within 10 days a telephone meeting of the Board be held on the experimental teal season, with information and data being mailed to Board Members and provided to the public prior to that time. Further, the public will be notified of the time and place of an open telephone conference Board meeting. Mr. Coxe seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

C. Waterfowl Stamp 1998-99 Budget

John Frampton requested that the 1998-99 Waterfowl Stamp Budget be approved as submitted to the Board (budget attached to the original minutes). Mr. Coxe made a motion that the Board approve the 1998-99 Waterfowl Stamp Budget as presented. Mrs. Waring seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

D. Antlerless Deer Tag 1998-99 Budgets

Charles Ruth reviewed revisions to the previously mailed 1998-99 Antlerless Deer Tag Budgets and requested approval of the budget dated July 17, 1998 (revised budget attached to the original minutes). Mr. Coxe made a motion that the Board approve the 1998-99 Anterless Deer Budget for the Coastal Plain. Mr. Burnside seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

Mr. Coxe made a motion that the Board approve the 1998-99 Antlerless Deer Budget for the Piedmont. Mrs. Waring seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

E. Proposed Acquisition of Fort Frederick for the Heritage Trust Program

Chris Judge reviewed the proposal for the acquisition of Fort Frederick as submitted to the Board (proposal attached to the original minutes). Mr. Lee made a motion that the Board approve the acquisition of Fort Frederick for the Heritage Trust Program as submitted. Mrs. Waring seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

F. Proposed Deer Hunt with Dogs on the Hellhole Unit, Francis Marion

Bill Mahan reviewed the proposed one day deer hunt with dogs on the Hellhole Wildlife Management Area in the Francis Marion. Mr. Mahan also stated that staff would like to expand or reduce this opportunity depending on biological needs. Mr. Conrad stated that he understands that the Law Enforcement Advisory Committee would like to take this issue up at their next meeting. Mr. Coxe made a motion that the Board postpone a decision on the Francis Marion, Hellhole one day dog hunting season until the August meeting of the Board. Mr. Lee seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

G. Revisions to Deputy Law Enforcement Officer Policy (300.01)

This action item will be taken into consideration at the August meeting of the Board.

VI. Items for Board Information

A. Law Enforcement Manpower Study

Steve Walters presented and explained the Law Enforcement Manpower Study. According to this study, the Department needs 107 additional officers. Dr. Sandifer mentioned that since restructuring in 1994 the agency has received only one position (internal auditor). Mrs. Waring commended the Law Enforcement Division and the Conservation Education and Communications Division for their work on this report. Mrs. Waring questioned whether the General Assembly would accept this study or would they want an independent assessment. Dr. Sandifer responded that there may be some points that an independent assessment may be necessary. Mr. Lee questioned whether some of the duties currently performed by Law Enforcement Officers could be transferred to other areas. Dr. Sandifer stated that this effort has been studied and some of the duties are already being performed by other areas.

B. Materials for Cabinet Retreat

Dr. Sandifer reminded the Board that the Cabinet and quasi-Cabinet agencies have been requested to prepare a five year plan with emphasis on major goals and objectives, major cost issues and capital needs. Dr. Sandifer will present this information to the Governor's staff on August 20.

C. Automated License System

Benny Reeves gave the Board an update on the automated license system. This system will provide an alternate source of licenses that will be available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week. It is also thought that this system would stimulate the sale of licenses, allow the development of a database, and it would provide additional opportunity for the Department to continue to create a positive image within South Carolina and neighboring states. Mr. Reeves stated that the Department is now in a position to request proposals. Mr. Reeves and Dr. Sandifer answered several questions asked by Board Members.

D. State Survey Results

Larry Cartee distributed copies of the results of the most recent State Survey. Mr. Cartee then reviewed the Survey questions and the responses and responded to Board questions and comments.

VII. Director's Briefings

A. Executive Office

1. Director

Dr. Sandifer thanked the Board Members who were able to attend the recent Jocassee signing ceremony. Interest has been expressed by several members of the General Assembly to visit the area this fall. This will provide an opportunity to make them aware of the manpower needs.

Dr. Sandifer reported that a news release had been prepared regarding the Department requesting an extension on the waterfowl season, similar to what has been offered to Mississippi. Dr. Sandifer mentioned that the day this was in The State newspaper Brock Conrad received a fax from US Fish and Wildlife stating they would not be granting extensions this year to any state. John Frampton reported that US Fish and Wildlife Service is trying to take the position that they will not offer the extension to anyone, but their stand has been changing quickly and often.

Dr. Sandifer stated that Michael Thompson has resigned his position with the Department. Mr. Thompson has been appointed as the Interim Commissioner for the Commission for the Blind.

Dr. Sandifer mentioned several events he has been involved with this month.

a. Spoke at the Heritage Tourism Conference in Charleston on "American Heritage Rivers and Rivers as a Resource" and also on the Scenic Rivers Program.

b. Participated with the Wildlife Federation in certifying the BMW Plant, in the Greer area, as a participant in the Wildlife and Industry Together (WAIT) program. Dr. Sandifer commended Angela Viney, Executive Director of the Wildlife Federation, and Skip Still, wildlife biologist, for their efforts with this program.

c. Attended the Governor's Full Cabinet meeting on July 16. Dr. Sandifer had the opportunity to make the Governor aware that we are in a moderate state of drought.

Dr. Sandifer commented on several upcoming events.

a. There is a Corps of Engineers/Santee Cooper/DNR Partnering meeting on July 21, in Charleston.

b. Dr. Sandifer will be participating in a Catawba River field trip with Duke Power on July 22.

c. Dr. Sandifer will be attending a national Shrimp Virus Management Workshop in New Orleans, July 28-29.

Dr. Sandifer reminded the Board of the International Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies meeting in Savannah, Georgia. There will be a Commissioners' meeting on Monday, September 14, from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. at the Hyatt in Savannah.

Dr. Sandifer reviewed the Energy Performance Data Analysis received from the Budget and Control Board, Division of Regional Development. The Department received high marks of "efficiency" in energy use.

Dr. Sandifer recognized John Watford and his staff for their efforts at the recent DLEO in-service training.

Dr. Sandifer reported that DHEC has provided the Governor a briefing on the EPA's ozone issue along with a timetable for compliance.

2. Associate Director

Cary Chamblee distributed copies of a letter from Senator Drummond officially informing the Department that the Reorganization Commission is no longer in existence, but also encouraging the follow up on the LAC report. He also distributed a response to Senator Drummond from Dr. Sandifer assuring him that the Department is committed to making the needed improvements identified by the LAC and Reorganization Commission.

Mr. Chamblee reported on the first meeting of Conservation Education and Communications Advisory Committee sub committee. Mr. Burnside delivered the charge to the committee of reviewing the agency education and communication programs. The members of the sub committee are Richard Peterson, chairman; Pete Wyrick; Charles Harrison, Pinckney Skinner and Dr. Carolyn Randolph.

Mr. Chamblee mentioned that one of the recommendations in the LAC report was to review the permits issued by the agency for possible streamlining or consolidation. A staff committee has been meeting and developed a draft report. According to this report there are 25 routine permits issued by the agency and eight complex permits. Two of the complex permits were issued by the Executive Office, one was hybrid bass and the second was non-indigenous shrimp mariculture permit. The hybrid bass will be retained by the Executive Office and the non-indigenous shrimp permit has been moved to the Marine Center's Executive Office. It is felt that standardizing forms and consolidating permits is not feasible at this time, because of the complexity and variations. It was also found that centralizing issuance of permits is not feasible. One problem that was found is that the fee structure is inadequate.

Mr. Chamblee reported on work currently underway to develop a wetlands mitigation policy. This policy is being reviewed by the agency environmental staff, led by Ed Duncan. This should be available for Board review by September.

Mr. Chamblee distributed a copy of the Department Directive regarding the donation of deer meat. This Directive is also in response to an LAC recommendation.

Mr. Chamblee stated that the 1999 Legislative Package is near completion and should be available to Board Members in the near future.

3. Legal

Ester Haymond stated that a final conclusion has been reached in the Walter Powell case. The case has been dismissed by the judge at the request of Mr. Powell.

4. Human Resources

Jean Cowell reported that the postings for the pilot positions are closed. Screening will begin next week and the determination for the interview process will be established.

Ms. Cowell also stated that it is time for recruitment of Law Enforcement officers. There are currently five positions vacant.

B. Deputy Directors

1. Marine

John Miglarese reported that on August 13, at 7:00 p.m., the ICCAT Advisory Committee will be at the Marine Center.

Dr. Miglarese stated that, with regard to shrimp growers, there is no shrimp virus to date, but not all facilities are stocked.

Dr. Miglarese mentioned the success, thus far, with the federal appropriations process.

Dr. Miglarese discussed the recent news articles regarding the red tide event. This is not a actually a red tide, it is a submerged red filamentous algae.

2. Land, Water and Conservation

Freddy Vang presented a map of the fault lines in South Carolina that was developed by the geology section.

Mr. Vang reported on the statewide teleconference on the State Water Plan. This was done with Clemson University Extension Service and the conservation districts. The response has been positive. Mr. Youmans will be attending the August meeting of the Board to present the Plan.

Mr. Vang distributed copies of the status of precipitation in South Carolina. Statewide there is both a short term and long term problem. The short term problem is one relative to agriculture and the long term problem is the prediction from the National Weather Service, with regard to rainfall. The prediction is that the Central US through Southeastern US will have a significant decline in rainfall through April.

3. Administrative Services

Mr. Reeves reported that the State Auditors are preforming the 1996-97 audit.

4. Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries

Mr. Conrad asked Charles Ruth to update the Board on the deer project at Sea Pines. Mr. Ruth explained that this is a situation that the Department has been involved with for five or six years. There has been a tremendous amount of work done with respect to the deer population at Sea Pines. The University of Georgia has already conducted an extensive two year project dealing with ecological and human aspects of the deer herd. Mr. Ruth indicated that the recent concerns arose because the Community Services Associates Board approved a proposal to continue research at Sea Pines. The University of Georgia proposal includes removal of an estimated 50% of the deer from the southern one-third of Sea Pines, the most densely populated area. After the removal, researchers would apply a fertility control technique to the females in of that area, the treatment area. The other half of the area will serve as a control and will not receive the fertility control technique. As a separate fertility control experiment using PZP immuno-contraceptive technique will be used in another area. As far as the fertility control techniques, these are experimental techniques that not only require permits from the Department but in order to implement them, researchers must have special permits from FDA. These techniques have not been used anywhere similar to the Sea Pines situation. The Department's role at Sea Pines has been and should continue to be that of providing technical assistance and for permitting.

5. Natural Resources Enforcement

Nothing to report.

6. Conservation Education and Communications

Carole Collins reported on the ACIA awards.

VIII. Item for Board Action

A. Agreement with Harry Hampton Memorial Wildlife Fund

Chairman Graham extended appreciation for the members of the Harry Hampton Memorial Wildlife Fund attending the meeting. Chairman Graham introduced David Cline, Chairman of the Harry Hampton Memorial Wildlife Fund; James O. Thomason, Acting Chair; Frank Sistare, Secretary; Dr. Wayne Beam; and Marvin DaVant.

Chairman Graham asked Buford Mabry to present the Agreement between DNR and the Harry Hampton Memorial Wildlife Fund. Mr. Coxe made a motion that the Board approve the Agreement between the DNR Board and the Harry Hampton Memorial Wildlife Fund. Mrs. Waring seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously. Mr. Mabry presented the Agreement for signature to Dr. Graham and David Cline (copy of signed agreement attached to the original minutes).

IX. Executive Session

At this time, Mr. Coxe made a motion that the Board hold an Executive Session to discuss conservation district commissioner appointments, law enforcement salary equity matters, personnel matters related to the Director and a legal briefing related to a possible land acquisition. Mrs. Waring seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

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RETURN TO REGULAR SESSION

Following the Executive Session, the regular meeting was resumed and participants were invited into the meeting.

Chairman Graham called the meeting back to order.

Following the Executive Session, Mr. Coxe made a motion that the Board accept staff recommendations for conservation district commissioner reappointments and new appointments (recommendations attached to the original minutes). Mr. Lee seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

Dr. Sandifer asked the Board for their preference in arranging the telephone conference Board meeting regarding the teal season. It was decided that the telephone conference Board meeting will be Friday, July 24, at 10:00 a.m.

X. Time and Location of the Next Meeting

Chairman Graham stated that the next meeting of the DNR Board will be held on Friday, August 21, 1998, at 10:00 a.m, in room 335 of the Rembert C. Dennis Building, in Columbia.

XI. Adjournment

There being no further business to be brought before the DNR Board at this time, the meeting was adjourned.