BOARD OF THE DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES
Rembert C. Dennis Building, Room 335
Columbia, South Carolina
Friday, October 16, 1998
The regular meeting of the Board of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources was held at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, October 16, 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 Tommy Miller, Marion Burnside, Campbell Coxe, Edwin Oxner, Mary Pope Waring and Edward Lee. 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.
Chairman Graham asked for a moment of silent meditation.
III. Introduction of Guests
Dr. Graham introduced Lisa Sox, Research Director with the Senate Fish, Game and Forestry Committee and Angela Viney, Executive Director of the SC Wildlife Federation.
IV. Constituency Comments
Ms. Viney distributed information to the Board about the W.A.I.T. program, described its success and plans for expansion. Ms. Viney stated that W.A.I.T. (Wildlife and Industry Together) is a program that encourages industries to protect and enhance wildlife habitat on their sites.
V. Approval of Minutes
Chairman Graham asked if there were any corrections or additions to the minutes of the September 18, 1998 meeting. There being no corrections or additions, Mr. Burnside made a motion that the Board approve the minutes of the September 18, 1998, as mailed. Mr. Lee seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
Freddy Vang recognized and presented awards to Jack Skolds, President and Chief Operating Officer with SCE&G and Roger Schrum, General Manager, Public Affairs with SCE&G in appreciation for their assistance and sponsorship of the Beach Sweep/River Sweep program over the past years and for their commitment for future years. Rick DeVoe, Executive Director of the Sea Grant Consortium and a major coordinator of the program, assisted with the awards.
Chairman Graham and Dr. Sandifer recognized and appointed Michael L. Thompson as an Honorary Lt. Col. and Aide de Camp to the Board.
VII. Items for Board Information
Chairman Graham asked Tom Kohlsaat to introduce the guest in attendance associated with the Clemson Biodiversity Initiative. Mr. Kohlsaat reported that the Department has a long standing, very broad working relationship with Clemson University and recently has made it broader with the addition of the Clemson Biodiversity Initiative. This is an effort by a group of faculty members who are combining their knowledge and resources to deal with questions about conservation of biodiversity. One of the issues the group is considering is the need for DNR to help set up a statewide biological survey. Mr. Kohlsaat introduced the several members of the Biological Survey Working Group from Clemson University who were present for the presentation. Mr. Kohlsaat then introduced Dr. Brian Armitage, supervisor of the Ohio Biological Survey. Dr. Armitage gave a brief presentation to the Board on the Ohio program, explained several benefits that South Carolina would reap by creating a biological survey and answered questions posed by Board Members.
Dr. Sandifer read a letter faxed to him from Patrick Morgan announcing Mr. Morgan's resignation from The Nature Conservancy to be effective November 15, 1998.
VIII. Items for Board Action
A. 1998-99 Goals and Objectives
Dr. Sandifer noted that a draft version of the Department's goals and objectives for 1998-99 had been presented to the Board for information at the last meeting, and a final version had been mailed our for review and approval at this meeting. Dr. Sandifer requested approval of the 1998-99 Goals and Objectives. Mr. Miller made a motion that the Board approve the 1998-99 Goals and Objectives as submitted. Mr. Lee seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
B. Proposed Naming of New Clemson Office Building for Dr. Lloyd Webb
Dr. Sandifer reviewed a request from staff of the Clemson office to name the new facility for Dr. Lloyd G. Webb. Dr. Webb was a long time professor at Clemson University who has played a major role in the education of graduate students. Several of Dr. Webb's former students are now employees of the agency or otherwise distributed in the wildlife community throughout the southeast. Dr. Webb's former students are unanimous in their praise of him as a graduate professor and mentor and have requested to have him recognized through the naming of the building for Dr. Webb. Mr. Burnside made a motion that the Board approve the naming of the new Clemson Office Building for Dr. Lloyd G. Webb. Mr. Lee seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
C. Holly Hill Watershed Plan and Environmental Assessment
Mr. Vang stated that this document was produced pursuant to a 1987 request from the Town of Holly Hill for a flood prevention plan. A series of public hearings were held in 1994, 1995 and 1998 around the county. A plan was developed to re-engineer the drainage in that area of the county. Eighty-nine percent of the area was already engineered and a mechanism was developed to allow a reduction in flooding. After negotiations with DNR's Permit Review Committee, an agreement was reached and a finding of no significant impact came forward. This finding was published in the Federal Register on July 30, 1998, with no unresolved conflicts. Mr. Vang noted that, if approved, a sum of $900,000 will be appropriated and used to reduce the flooding. Mr. Vang made a request to the Board to approve the Holly Hill Watershed Plan and Environmental Assessment. Mr. Vang reported that the Legal Department has reviewed the document and they feel there is no problem with this plan. Mr. Lee made a motion that the Board approve the Holly Hill Watershed Plan and Environmental Assessment. Mrs. Waring seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
IX. Advisory Committee Reports
A. Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries
Mr. Coxe reported that the Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Advisory Committee met in Columbia on October 8.
The teal season was assessed and an overview was given by Tommy Strange. There appears to have been very little participation in the teal season.
John Frampton gave a presentation on the Take One Make One Program.
Mr. Coxe stated that the turkey results were assessed and it appears that there is a better than average brood from last spring's nesting. Results are incomplete at this time, but it appears better than last year.
Mr. Coxe noted that there were some proposed antlerless deer tag changes in the lowcountry which they are still discussing before they make a recommendation to the Board.
Mr. Coxe reported that Mr. D. Byrd Miller III, from Spartanburg has been appointed to the Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Advisory Committee. Mr. Coxe stated that they are looking forward to serving with Mr. Miller, and thanked Allen Cauthen for his years of service and dedication to the Department.
B. Natural Resources Enforcement
Mr. Miller reported that the Natural Resources Enforcement Advisory Committee met in District 6 at Millaree. Two visitors asked to be recognized at this meeting.
Mr. Bob Bailey with the Sportsmen's Coalition expressed his concern about wildlife violations and how little emphasis the judiciary system seemed to place on these violations. He expressed strong interest in seeing that the penalties be increased. Mr. Bailey offered his support to the Committee through his 5,000 constituent members.
The second visitor stated that he felt he had been arbitrarily singled out in a dove baiting case and wanted to make a presentation to the Committee. The Committee received his presentation as information.
Mr. Miller stated that Maj. Taylor reported that there have been 27 boating fatalities, 117 boating accidents with some 40% involving personal watercraft. Maj. Taylor also noted that this is a record year for shrimp baiting permits, with over 17,000 having been sold to date by the Marine Resources Division.
Mr. Miller noted that Maj. McCarty reviewed the Law Enforcement budget process. Maj. McCarty also addressed the physical fitness requirements for Department officers.
X. Director's Briefings
A. Executive Office
Dr. Sandifer stated that Cary Chamblee is attending the Executive Institute today. Dr. Sandifer also noted that Robert Boyles, of the Marine Resources Division, is attending the Governor's Excel Program.
Dr. Sandifer reported that he, Benny Reeves and David Hegler have continued having meetings with members of the General Assembly regarding our budget request.
Dr. Sandifer noted that he met with Betty Mabry, Director of Department of Transportation, to discuss mitigation banking.
Dr. Sandifer attended one day of the Wildlife Biologists meeting at the Webb Center.
Dr. Sandifer, Billy McTeer and Ed Duncan met with David Dwyer and members of the Land Protection Committee of the Winyah Bay Focus Area to discuss the Sarvis, Oliver, Bucksport tract. The agreement from this meeting was that USFWS needs to more fully describe how they intend to manage the refuge properties they will eventually acquire and we would participate with them in developing the management plan.
Dr. Sandifer attended the annual partnering meeting with the Corps of Engineers. This partnering effort was started by Dr. Timmerman to try to get the Corps and DNR to work more closely together.
Dr. Sandifer participated in the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies meeting in Orlando, Florida. Dr. Sandifer stated that one of the most important sessions he attended was on the marketing of fisheries.
Dr. Sandifer attended the Clemson Cooperative Unit Coordinating Committee meeting to review the projects that are underway.
Dr. Sandifer expressed his appreciation to Chairman Graham and Mr. Miller for their participation in the SC Senate Tour of Jocassee Gorges.
Dr. Sandifer stated that he served as M.C. for the groundbreaking ceremony for the MEHRL Building at Fort Johnson.
Dr. Sandifer reported that he had a breakfast meeting with Dr. Wehrenberg and Dr. Dunn of Clemson to discuss the future of academic programs and also some discussion about giving some of our staff the opportunity of distance learning programs to be able to pursue further degrees or at least additional course work.
Dr. Sandifer also attended a dinner meeting with Admiral James Watkins sponsored by MUSC. Admiral Watkins leads a national marine organization that may be of assistance to South Carolina institutions with regard to building congressional support for coastal and ocean studies.
Dr. Sandifer reminded the Board members of the Harry Hampton Marine Banquet tonight in Charleston and the ACE Basin 10 Year Celebration on Sunday at the Grove Plantation.
Dr. Sandifer reported that he would be serving as chair of the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission at Jekyll Island. Following this meeting, his tenure as Chair will end.
Dr. Sandifer asked John Frampton to report on recent Congressional actions. Mr. Frampton stated that the Federal budgets are finalized and are going to full vote. Mr. Frampton noted that Teaming with Wildlife is on the floor but will probably sit and come back for amendments and modifications. Dr. Sandifer stated that two companion bills were introduced in the House and Senate last week.
Dr. Sandifer distributed an attendance record for Board meetings and noted that §1-3-245, SC Code of Laws, requires that any member of a state board who has three consecutive unexcused absences be removed from that board.
Billy McTeer mentioned that the SC Senate Tour of Jocassee Gorges was successful. The Marine Center also hosted members of the General Assembly in Charleston for a meeting on proposed Chapter 5 legislation.
Mr. McTeer announced that Ms. Florence Baird has been hired as administrative assistant for the Legislative Services Section.
Mr. McTeer reported that the 1999 Legislative Proposal will be ready for final review and approval by the Board at the November meeting.
3. Human Resources
Jean Cowell reported that they have completed the panel interviews for the Law Enforcement officer vacancies. The scores will be determined and the top qualifiers will be sent to the Colonel for his review.
4. Audit Services
Bethany Narboni reported that the equipment review has been completed and the findings are currently being analyzed.
B. Deputy Directors
1. Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries
Brock Conrad announced that Breck Carmichael has been selected to fill the Assistant's position left vacant by Billy McTeer's selection as Director of Legislative Services.
Mr. Conrad distributed and reviewed materials concerning waterfowl season. With regard to an extended season framework, the National Flyway Council has made a recommendation that an extended framework be offered to all four flyways which would give five days on the first part of the hunting period and five days on the end of the hunting period, without penalties. Mr. Conrad reported that he had voted in favor but also submitted the following comment to USFWS: "this should be fully evaluated prior to implementation to determine the potential for over harvest of wood ducks and other species". Mr. Conrad stated that this is an available option but he feels the states in the middle of the flyways will vote against the option and chances are that the motion will not carry in the Atlantic Flyway Council.
Mr. Conrad noted that Senator Trent Lott attached a rider on the appropriations bill that would allow the State of Mississippi and other Lower Mississippi Flyway states' framework to end January 31.
Mr. Conrad reviewed a draft of a letter addressed to the director of the US Fish and Wildlife Service regarding the proposed baiting regulations for migratory birds. The Service has proposed a 10-day rule concerning the manipulation of natural vegetation in a moist soil hunting area. Mr. Conrad stated that DNR has asked that the 10-day rule be eliminated. The proposed regulation would also prohibit the taking of all migratory game birds over any lands where planting by top sown grain has occurred. We support this in South Carolina, but the Ad Hoc Committee on Baiting of the SEAFWA has recommended that each state decide whether they will allow hunting over top sown grain. Mr. Conrad noted that the USFWS is proposing strict liability, that is, any one caught hunting over bait would be considered liable whether they knew about the bait or not. However, a bill has passed the House that would state that a baiting case cannot be made unless the hunter knows the field was baited or should have known the field was baited. We believe that the removal of the strict liability would make enforcement of baiting regulations difficult. Therefore, we continue to support the retention of strict liability.
2. Natural Resources Enforcement
Col. Wright reported that he had attended the Southeastern Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies meeting in Orlando, Florida. Some of the topics discussed at the Law Enforcement session were ATV theft, crime scene investigations, violators compact, community policing, and dove baiting.
Col. Wright reviewed the case activity for the month, which consisted of 887 cases, 635 hard copy summons and 252 warnings. Col. Wright stated that the most important thing to report is that since stepping up enforcement in the Francis Marion there have been 11 dog hunting cases made, 24 still hunting cases made and 7 warnings served.
Col. Wright thanked CEC section for the supplement put in the magazine.
Col. Wright stated that the radio room has moved and the telephone number has changed to 955-4000. Col. Wright commended Vandy Waller for his efforts related to moving the radio room.
Col. Wright reported on the upcoming boating safety public hearings.
3. Conservation Education and Communications
John Davis also mentioned the supplement to the magazine. There were 77,000 copies printed to be included with each magazine subscription and to be distributed at each Hunter Education course. A Boater Education supplement is planned for the March-April issue.
Mr. Davis presented some new items that are being carried in the Wildlife Shop.
David Cupka reported that the shrimp channel net season is now open.
Mr. Cupka discussed the legislative briefing on Chapter 5. There were 14 people in attendance at the two day briefing. The draft bill is being modified somewhat, based on the input received. Following approval by the Board, it will likely be introduced first in the House.
5. Land, Water and Conservation
Freddy Vang reported that the South Carolina Association of Conservation Districts held the first of three meetings. There were 125 conservation district commissioners in attendance, and they voted unanimously in support of the DNR budget. Senator Leventis and Representative Sharpe addressed the group and responded favorably to the issues presented.
Mr. Vang reminded the Board that the SCACD will be having their annual meeting at the Wyndham in Myrtle Beach on January 14-16, 1999.
Mr. Vang thanked the Marine Resources Division for their assistance with the Carolina Coastal Adventure.
Mr. Vang reported that a letter has been sent to the utilities regarding the water supply.
Benny Reeves mentioned that LAC is conducting a statewide audit land holdings of all agencies. This is being done at the request of the Ways and Means Committee.
Mr. Reeves reported that the State Auditors have returned to finish up the FY 1996-97 audit.
Mr. Reeves stated that our submission for the Governor's budget is due November 2.
XI. Executive Session
At this time, Mrs. Waring made a motion that the Board hold an Executive Session to discuss advisory committee appointments, proposed land acquisition for the Heritage Trust Program and personnel matters. Mr. Coxe 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.
Mr. Miller made a motion that the Board approve the purchase of 102 acres of additional property adjoining Woods Bay Heritage Preserve/State Park as proposed by the Heritage Trust Advisory Committee. Mr. Lee seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
Mr. Miller made a motion that the Board approve the following reappointments to the Land, Water and Conservation Advisory Committee: William S. Simpson III, with term expiring 10/21/2002; Glenn C. Alexander, with term expiring 10/21/2002; Patricia Edmonds, with term expiring 10/21/2002; Lynn H. Youmans, Jr., with term expiring 10/21/2002; Tom W. Dunway III, with term expiring 10/21/2002; Whitmarsh S. Smith, with term expiring 10/21/2002; Thomas E. Garrison III, with term expiring 10/21/2001 and Roger Leaks, Jr., with term expiring 10/21/2001. Mr. Burnside seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
XII. Time and Location of the Next Meeting
Chairman Graham stated that the next meeting of the DNR Board will be held on Friday, November 20, 1998, at 10:00 a.m, at Clemson.
There being no further business to be brought before the DNR Board at this time, the meeting was adjourned.