Board of the Department of Natural Resources

Table Rock State Park Lodge
Pickens, SC
October 16, 2008 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 Thursday, October 16, 2008, 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 Stephen Davis, John Evans and Norman Pulliam. Board members Michael Campbell, Frank Murray and Caroline Rhodes’ absences were excused. Mr. John Frampton and staff members of the Department of Natural Resources were present at the meeting, as were various guests.

  1. Call to Order
    Chairman McShane called the meeting to order at 10:00 a.m. and welcomed everyone to the meeting.
  2. Invocation
    Chairman McShane asked Rev. Eric Skidmore to offer the invocation.
  3. Pledge of Allegiance
    Buford Mabry led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance.
  4. Introduction of Guests
    Don Winslow introduced Senator Larry Martin; Claire Bradberry, Greenville Conservation District Commissioner; Becky Wooten, Education Coordinator, Greenville Conservation District; David Norton, Pickens Conservation District Commissioner; Dale Powell, Pickens Conservation District Commissioner; Rex Ramsey, Oconee Conservation District Commissioner; Lynn Newton, Natural Resources Conservation Service, USDA; Ed Hughes, Natural Resources Conservation Service, USDA; Amy Clark, Greenville News; Jae Espey and son; and Caroline Pinckney, Senate Fish, Game and Forestry Committee.
  5. Constituent Comments
    Mr. Winslow informed the Board that Senator Martin wished to make comments. Senator Martin discussed the current budget situation and the benefits the Department of Natural Resources provides to the state and its citizens.

    Mr. Winslow informed the Board that Ms. Bradberry also requested to make comments. Ms. Bradberry thanked the Board and the Department for their support to the Conservation Districts.
  6. Approval of Minutes
    Chairman McShane asked if there were any amendments, additions, deletions or corrections to the minutes of the September 19, 2008, meeting. There being no amendments, deletions, or corrections, Mr. Evans made a motion that the Board approve the minutes of the September 19, 2008, meeting as presented. Mr. Pulliam seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
  7. Presentations/Commendations
    Mr. Frampton commended Cpl. Ken Cope, representing Region 3, on his selection as the 2008 Statewide Officer of the Year as well as the other regional recipients: Region 1 – Officer Adam Keeter, Region 2 – Sgt. Scott Stephens, Region 4 – Officer Walter Earl Pope, Jr., Law Enforcement Education – Sgt. Tony L. Spires and National Association of State Boating Law Administrators – Officer Jim Capps.
  8. Items for Board Information
    Chairman McShane asked Jae Espey, facilitator for the Deer/Dog Stakeholders Group, to give the Board an update on the group’s final meeting. Mr. Espey distributed and reviewed a summary of all Deer/Dog Stateholders Group meetings. The group is in 100% agreement in the following areas:
  9. The Board asked Mr. Espey to present his final report and recommendations for legislation at the November 20, 2008, meeting.
  10. Advisory Committee Reports
    1. Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series
      Robert Boyles reported that the Governor’s Cup Billfishing Series Advisory Committee met on October 9, 2008. The Committee thanked staff for their work on the Awards Ceremony and thanked Governor and Mrs. Sanford for hosting this event. The Advisory Board received the proposed tournament schedule, an update on the budget status, and staff requested that the Advisory Committee appoint a fundraising committee. The Advisory Committee had significant discussion on proposed rule changes for the 2009 series. The Advisory Committee received public comment on the Charleston Deep Reef Project. The Advisory Committee approved the 2006/2007 Annual Report and will submit it to the Board for approval at the November meeting.
    2. Land, Water and Conservation
      Steve de Kozlowski reported that the Land, Water and Conservation Advisory Committee met on October 9, 2008. Mr. Frampton informed the Advisory Committee of the current budget situation. The Advisory Committee received updates and reports on the digital mapping of estuarine shorelines, the natural area survey of the Woodbury Tract, the Island Apple Snail as an aquatic nuisance species, the drought and the Division’s Operational Plan. The Advisory Committee approved appointments and reappointments for conservation districts; these appointments will come before the Board at the November meeting.
    3. Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries
      Stephen Davis reported that the Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Advisory Committee received reports and updates on the results of public dove field opening day, alligator hunting season, Dog/Deer Stakeholders Group meeting, marketing, legislative priorities, seabird nesting and creel surveys from Lakes Thurmond and Russell.
  11. Items for Board Information
    1. Drought Update
      Hope Mizzell reported that the State Drought Committee will have their next meeting on October 28, 2008. Dr. Mizzell reported that nine upstate counties are currently in an extreme drought. Dr. Mizzell reviewed streamflows, lake levels and groundwater monitoring wells around the state.
    2. Proposed Flow Restrictions from Lake Thurmond
      Mr. de Kozlowski reported that based on predictions and models, Lakes Thurmond and Hartwell will be at the bottom of the conservation pool by this time 2010. Currently the release rate is 3600 cfs in an attempt to retain storage in these reservoirs. If Lake Thurmond drops to 312 feet, the plan is to move to level four control: releases will equal inflows. Georgia and South Carolina decided that flows from Thurmond need to be reduced to maintain storage in the upper system. The recommendation from both states is to reduce the flow from 3600 cfs to 3100 cfs during a five-month period, typically during the higher percipitation period, and attempt to capture the water in the lakes. The Corps of Engineers plans to begin the reduced flow regime November 1.
    3. Snapper/Grouper Reductions Update
      Mr. Boyles reported that the actions of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council on Amendment 16 are driven by mandates from the Magnuson-Stevens Reaughorization Act that require fisheries managers to implement measures to end overfishing within a one-year period after overfishing has been identified. Both gag grouper and vermilion snapper stocks were identified as undergoing overfishing in June 2007. The final stock assessment results will be reviewed in late November/early December 2008. Measures in Amendment 16 to end overfishing for gag include: a spawning season closure January through April for both commercial and recreational fishermen for gag and other shallow water groupers; a commercial quota for gag; and bag limits. Additional measures for vermilion snapper, include commercial quotasand bag limits.A recreational closed season is likely to be modified following the stock assessment. The amendment also establishes interim allocations for both gag and vermilion snapper.
  12. Items for Board Action
    1. Sale of Property
      Mr. Pulliam made a motion that the Board approve the sale of 0.74 acres of DNR land at Woodbury, Marion County, to DOT. Mr. Evans seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
    2. Reedy River Mitigation Trust Fund
      Barry Beasley reviewed the Reedy River Final Restoration Plan and the Draft Proposal to spend the remaining Reedy River Restoration Plan Funds, as included in the Board meeting package. Mr. Pulliam made a motion that the Department move forward with the spending plan as proposed, with the caveat that Chief Counsel will research whether administrative fees can be reimbursed through the trust fund. Mr. Davis seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
    3. 2009 Legislative Package
      Derrick Meggie reported that data are being updated for the Hatchery Permit legislation and the Blue Crab legislation is being revised. Mr. Meggie also informed the Board that language is pending for Dog Deer Hunting legislation, Point of Sale changes, Game and Fish Point System rewrite and Chapter 13 Fisheries rewrite.

      Chairman McShane noted that DNR currently has Soil Classifier and Landscape Architect permitting authority within the State. Chairman McShane and Director Frampton believe that DNR no longer needs to have this authority and it should be moved under the S.C. Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. Director Frampton has had conversations with the Director of LLR and she is in agreement with this transfer. Mr. Davis made a motion that staff be directed to draft legislation to move Soil Classifier and Landscape Architect permitting authority to LLR. Mr. Pulliam seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

      Chairman McShane asked staff to work with the Forestry Commission to prepare draft legislation to providean incentive for properties under a conservation easement to receive priority for prescribed burn permits.
  13. Director’s Briefing
    Carole Collins reviewed the 10% cut projections as developed by the Deputy Directors. This information has been provided to the Governors Office, House Ways and Means and Senate Finance committees. The Board had significant discussion on the budget.

    Mr. Frampton discussed the SCE&G issue of a barrier across the lower Saluda River and distributed the letter he received in response to the letter the Board sending at the last meeting. The Board reaffirmed that they will not tolerate the exclusion of the public from fishing privileges for the benefit of the employees of SCE&G.
  14. Deputy Directors Reports
    1. Marine Resources
      Nothing further to report.
    2. Land, Water and Conservation
      Mr. de Kozlowski reported that the State Water Plan is due to be updated in 2009. This will begin once the Water Assessment is finished.
    3. Law Enforcement
      Capt. Larry Holbrooks distributed and reviewed the update on hunting accidents.
  15. Items for Board Information
    1. Waccamaw Heritage Preserve Management Plan Update
      Breck Carmichael reviewed the Waccamaw Heritage Preserve Management Plan Update as included in the Board meeting package.
    2. Henderson Heritage Preserve Management Plan Update
      Mr. Carmichael reviewed the Henderson Heritage Preserve Management Plan Update as included in the Board meeting package.
  16. Deputy Directors Reports
    1. Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries
      Mr. Carmichael reported on the two National Hunting and Fishing day events. Mr. Carmichael also gave a brief recap of alligator hunting season.
    2. Outreach and Support Services
      Ms. Collins informed the Board that SCEIS, the new state accounting system, is set to go live on November 3. Ms. Collins distributed a white paper on County Game and Fish and Water Recreation Funds. This item will be an information item at the November meeting.
  17. Executive Session
    At this time, Mr. Evans made a motion that the Board hold an Executive Session to discuss contractual, legal and personnel matters. Mr. Pulliam seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
  18. Return to Regular Session
    Mr. Evans made a motion that the Board return to regular session and noted that no actions were taken in Executive Session. Mr. Pulliam seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

    Chairman McShane noted that there were no items discussed in executive session that required action.
  19. Time and Location of the Next Two Meetings
    The November Board meeting will be held Thursday, November 20, 2008, in Columbia.
  20. Adjournment
    There being no further business to be brought before the DNR Board at this time, the meeting was adjourned.