MINUTES

BOARD OF THE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES

Rembert C. Dennis Building, Room 335

Columbia, South Carolina

Friday, August 20, 1999

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 Friday, August 20, 1999, 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. 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

Chairman Lesesne called the meeting to order at 11:00 a.m. and welcomed everyone to the meeting.

II. Meditation

Chairman Lesesne asked for a moment of silent meditation.

III. Introduction of Guests

Cary Chamblee introduced Henry Brzezinski, Humane Society/SPCA Columbia, SC; Gordon Stamler, Sea Pines Association for the Protection of Wildlife; Patricia Friedman, AWARE and Sea Pines Association for the Protection of Wildlife; and Richard E. Clapp, Sea Pines Association for the Protection of Wildlife.

Dr. Sandifer welcomed Billy McTeer to his first meeting as Deputy Director for Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries.

IV. Constituency Comments

Mr. Chamblee asked Jimmy Parish, President of SC Off Road Enthusiasts (SCORE), to present his comments to the Board regarding an article that was in the Greenville News about off road vehicles at Jocassee Gorges. Mr. Parish asked to the Board to consider providing more motorized recreation and providing trails in managed areas, and possibly organizing a task force to study this issue.

Mr. Chamblee asked Dell Isham, Executive Director of the Sierra Club of South Carolina, to present his comments. Mr Isham expressed the concerns of the Sierra Club regarding off road vehicles, need for increased law enforcement and purchase of additional privately owned properties at Jocassee Gorges.

Mr. Chamblee asked John Frampton to respond to the issues raised. Mr. Frampton briefed the Board on the status of some of the issues at Jocassee and answered questions posed by Board Members. Two new law enforcement officers will be assigned to Oconee and Pickens Counties and one new biologist will be hired to manage the property.

V. Approval of Minutes

Chairman Lesesne asked if there were any corrections or additions to the minutes of the July 16, 1999, meeting. Ms. Holliday made a motion that the minutes of the July 16, 1999, meeting be approved as presented. Dr. Rucker seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

VI. Presentations Commendations

Dr. Sandifer congratulated CEC staff for the awards recently presented to them by the Association of Conservation Information (ACI). Dr. Sandifer asked Sonny Baines to inform the Board of the awards received.

Dr. Sandifer congratulated Benny Reeves, James Duke and staff on their selection by States Organization for Boating Access to receive the "Boating Access Program Excellence Award" for 1999.

VII. Advisory Committee Meetings

Land, Water and Conservation

Chairman Lesesne called on Dr. Rucker for the report from the Land, Water and Conservation Advisory Committee. Dr. Rucker stated that the Advisory Committee met on August 8, in Charleston in conjunction with the National Association of Conservation Districts' Southeast Regional meeting. Items discussed at this meeting were water quality/quantity trends analysis, a climate update, update on water level monitoring network, DNR's aquatic plant position on Santee Cooper Lakes, draft Flood Hazard Mitigation Plan, Cost Share Program, Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program, and the Savannah River Basin Comprehensive Study.

Governor's Cup Billfishing Series

Chairman Lesesne called on John Miglarese for the report from the Governor's Cup Billfishing Series. Dr. Miglarese stated that discussion of the possibility of transition to a total tag and release accounted for most of the meeting.

Heritage Trust

Chairman Lesesne called on Mr. McEachin for the report from the Heritage Trust Advisory Board. Mr. McEachin stated that the principle item of this meeting was to identify individuals to fill the vacancies. There was also discussion on several proposed sites for acquisition, the problem of the 100,000 acre cap, and the use of ATV's on Heritage Trust property.

Law Enforcement

Chairman Lesesne called on Dr. Leary for the report from the Law Enforcement Advisory Committee. Dr. Leary stated that the Advisory Committee met on August 11, in Spartanburg. Items discussed were the restructuring of the Law Enforcement Division, Property Watch Program and status of hiring new officers. Dr. Leary reminded the Board that the Officer of the Year Banquet is scheduled for September 17, at Embassy Suites. Dr. Leary reported following a lengthy discussion a bill relating to the Unlawful Display of Game, has been recommended for inclusion in the Department's Legislative Package.

Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries

Chairman Lesesne called on Ms. Holliday for the report from the Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Advisory Committee. Ms. Holliday reported that the Advisory Committee met August 12, in Columbia. The Committee received reports from the Hardwood Management Committee, a legislative report, the 1999-2000 waterfowl seasons, and the status of coyotes.

VIII. Items for Board Information

A. Strategic Plan

Dr. Sandifer reviewed the three principle responsibilities established by the Plan, the Mission Statement, the Core Values and the Emphasis Areas of the Department Strategic Plan.

1999-2000 Goals and Objectives

Dr. Sandifer explained that the goals and objectives are used as a "road map" for implementing the Strategic Plan over the next year. Dr. Sandifer and staff answered questions concerning the 1999-2000 Goals and Objectives.

IX. Items for Board Action

1999-2000 Migratory Waterfowl Season

Chairman Lesesne asked Billy McTeer and John Frampton to present the proposed recommendations for the 1999-2000 Migratory Waterfowl Season. Mr. McTeer asked Mr. Frampton and Tommy Strange to give the Board the background of the decision making process for making recommendations for seasons to the Board. Mr. Frampton distributed copies of the new Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Advisory Committee recommendations. The sheet contains a minor change caused by a change in the framework from USFWS pertaining to the Brant season. Mr. Frampton stated that the recommendation allows the maximum number of hunting days with the maximum number of ducks that can be harvested.

Mr. Frampton asked Mr. Strange to make his presentation to the Board at this time. Mr. Strange showed a portion of a video from the USFWS which explains how data that are used to formulate the federal waterfowl framework.

Mr. Strange then reviewed some background information on waterfowl populations and answered questions posed by Board Members.

Ms. Holliday made a motion that the Board accept staff recommendations as approved by the Advisory Committee as distributed. Dr. Leary seconded the motion and the motion carried. (copy of recommendations attached to the original minutes)

Heritage Trust Land Acquisitions

Chairman Lesesne stated that this item will be discussed in Executive Session.

Habitat Protection Resolution

Chairman Lesesne asked Ben Gregg to explain this proposed resolution to the Board. Mr. Gregg stated that this resolution would establish habitat protection as the highest priority for the Board and explained the basis for this resolution. Mr. Gregg made a motion that the Board approve this resolution as presented. Mr. McEachin seconded the motion. At this time Board Members asked questions and had a brief discussion. The motion carried unanimously. Mr. Gregg read the resolution for the record. (copy of resolution attached to original minutes)

X. Director's Briefings

A. Executive Office

1. Director

Dr. Sandifer noted that he attended the Nature-Based Tourism Planning Committee meeting at PRT.

Dr. Sandifer reported that he attended the Atlantic Flyway Council meeting in Key West.

Dr. Sandifer stated that he was able to attend the Coastal Technicians meeting at the Webb Center.

Dr. Sandifer mentioned that he attended the Save the Light meeting on Morris Island Lighthouse held in Charleston. This group is interested in DNR taking responsibility for the Morris Island Lighthouse.

Dr. Sandifer reported that he spoke at the National Marine Educators Association Annual conference held at the College of Charleston.

Dr. Sandifer stated he, staff and Mr. Gregg met with Rod Welford, Minister for Environment, Heritage and Natural Resources of sister state Queensland, Australia. Minister Welford was given a briefing on DNR programs and projects.

Dr. Sandifer noted that he attended the Governor's Interagency Council on Natural Resources Policy meeting which focused on environmental education issues.

Dr. Sandifer stated that he was able to speak at a POWER for Wildlife signing ceremony held at Pine Island.

Dr. Sandifer reported that he met earlier this weeks with representatives from Ducks Unlimited, SC Sporting Protection League, Quail Unlimited, Sportsmen's Coalition and the Waterfowl Committee, to listen to their concerns regarding waterfowl and quail populations. There will be two ad hoc blue ribbon committees of sportsmen and others established to set realistic goals and plans to attempt improvement of the status of waterfowl and quail populations in the state.

Dr. Sandifer mentioned that the Board may want to schedule time for Brad Wyche, Chairman of DHEC Board, to brief the Board on issues of common concern and ways DNR may partner with DHEC.

Dr. Sandifer noted that he will be attending the American Fisheries Society annual meeting to be held August 29-September 2, in Charlotte.

Dr. Sandifer reported that he will be attending the IAFWA meeting in Vermont in September. Dr. Sandifer also noted that he will chair the Marine and Estuarine Committee meeting.

B. Deputy Directors

1. Law Enforcement

Col. Wright reported on recent activities of DNR Enforcement Officers. Col. Wright reviewed the interview and testing process for officer candidates. Col. Wright commended Lt. Steve Walters and Tara Fabian for their efforts in the development and promotion of the Property Watch Program. Col. Wright also commended Maj. Alvin Taylor and Capt. Johnny McClellan for their efforts with the Marine Patrol District. At this time, Col. Wright and staff answered questions from the Board.

2. Conservation Education and Communications

Nothing further to report.

Marine

John Miglarese announced that the Marine Advisory Committee will be meeting with DHEC - OCRM Appellate Panel.

Dr. Miglarese gave a brief presentation on the Shrimp Baiting issue and answered questions from the Board.

Land, Water and Conservation

Freddy Vang reported on climatology and distributed several maps and graphs relative to precipitation, drought conditions and minimum flow requirements. Mr. Vang answered questions from the Board. Mr. Gregg suggested that the Board and DNR make the assumption, for planning purposes, that the drought will be a difficult situation and recommended that staff educate the public so that if measures have to be taken the public will understand the problems. Chairman Lesesne suggested that the Board needs to be briefed as to their specific responsibilities are for this situation. Dr. Sandifer recommended that Mr. Vang and Mr. Mabry create a document for the Board to clearly and concisely outline their responsibilities and Mr. Vang and Mr. Baines work together and plan the public outreach in preparation for a drought.

Administrative Services

Nothing further to report.

Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries

Mr. McTeer stated that because of the drought there are problems in operating the Walhalla Fish Hatchery. Mr. McTeer updated the Board on the issue of Road Hunting.

XI. Board Member Comments

Mr. Gregg suggested that the Board provide input and direction in the content of the Millennium Issue of Wildlife Magazine.

XII. Executive Session

At this time, Dr. Leary made a motion that the Board hold an Executive Session to discuss appointments, legal, contractual and personnel matters. The motion was seconded and passed 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 approve the following land acquisitions: Hallman Tract, addition to Aiken Gopher Tortoise Preserve; Croft Mill Tract, addition to Henderson Preserve; and Douglas Tract, addition to Savage Bay Heritage Preserve. Ms. Holliday seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

Dr. Sandifer asked Col. Wright to make the announcement of the promotion of Capt. Gregg Smith to Major. Major Smith will be responsible for managing Region I (upstate).

XIII. Time and Location of the Next Meeting

Chairman Lesesne stated that the next meeting of the DNR Board will be held on Friday, September 17, at 9:30 a.m., in Columbia.

XIV. Adjournment

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