SCDNR Board Meeting Minutes
The regular meeting of the Board of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources washeld, virtually, at 10:00 a.m., January 20, 2022. Notice of the date, time and place of the meeting was posted and mailed to the news media. Chairman Norman Pulliam presided at the meeting. Board members present included Dr. Mark Hartley, Mike Hutchins, Jerry Lee, Carlisle Oxner, Jake Rasor, Jr., and Duane Swygert. Director Boyles and staff members of the Department of Natural Resources were present at the meeting.
Chairman Norman Pulliam called the meeting to order and welcomed everyone to the meeting.
Chaplain Dave Tafaoa, SC Law Enforcement Assistance Program (SC LEAP), offered the invocation.
Mr. Hutchins led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Blaik Keppler, Acting Deputy Director for Marine Resources, introduced Tiara Pitts, SC Realtors Association; Coyet Green, Department of Administration; Riley Egger, Coastal Conservation League; Angie Price, Renewable Water Resources; and Sammy Fretwell, The State.
Ms. Keppler reported that were no requests for comment.
Chairman Pulliam asked if there were any additions, deletions or corrections to the minutes of the November 18, 2021 10:00 AM and 11:00 AM meetings. Dr. Hartley made a motion that the Board approve the minutes of the November 18, 2021 10:00 AM and 11:00 AM meetings as presented. Mr. Swygert seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
Director Boyles commended staff who helped with the Celebration of Life Ceremony on January 3 for Deputy Director Phil Maier commemorating his life and service to the State and who helped in support of Phil’s family and staff during his illness and passing. Director Boyles commended SCLEAP Chaplain Dave Tafaoa for his steadfast support of the family and staff. The contributions of Marine Division Acting Deputy Director Blaik Keppler, Tom Salisbury, Maia Ingle, Erin Weeks, Tanya Darden, Olivia Bueno, Tim Snoots, Colonel Chisolm Frampton and other Department staff who offered support and assistance were acknowledged.
Director Boyles commended Mark Litz, Director of Information Technology of the Administration Division, for his leadership as they focus on how IT can evolve to better meet the needs of the diverse user base at SCDNR. Mark has started the process by reaching out to all SCDNR staff with a request to assist IT in reviewing all its internal business processes to improve services and to pass along any suggestions or needs.
Director Boyles commended Officer Jason Davis of Law Enforcement who was commended in an email from a constituent praising Officer Davis’ professionalism and concern for their family in the search and recovery of a missing boater on Lake Murray. He noted “He is a wonderful young man, a great ambassador for DNR and a valuable asset to your team.”
Director Boyles commended Preston Chrisman of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries for his podcast highlighting his fisheries work and making that work available to a podcast audience.
Director Boyles commended Brooke Myres and Deanne Myrick of Land, Water and Conservation and Zadok Moss of Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries for their participation in the Palmetto Leadership in the Environment, Agriculture and Forestry (PLEAF) Institute. Brooke Myres participated in Cohort 1 and is scheduled to finish in March and Deanne Myrick and Zadok Moss will participate in Cohort 2. PLEAF is a two-year commitment and attracts the brightest and best of SC’s current and future leaders in the environmental, agricultural, forestry and natural resources sector.
Mr. Swygert reported that the Marine Advisory Committee met virtually on January 7, 2022. The Advisory Committee received reports on Applied Mariculture Research to Improve Marine Fish Production at the Waddell Mariculture Center, Blue Crab Status and Engaging the Next Generation of Coastal Stewards.
- Climate Update
Melissa Griffin, Land, Water and Conservation Division, reported on the recent snow event. Ms. Griffin informed the Board of the SC 2021 – Weather and Climate Annual Review to be held virtually on January 27, 2022. Ms. Griffin provided rainfall totals, precipitation percentiles, streamflow, lake levels, groundwater monitoring wells around the state, precipitation forecast and temperature forecast.
- Overview of Oyster Shell Recycling Program
Ben Dyar, Marine Resources Division, gave the Board a brief presentation on the Oyster Shell Recycling Program. The presentation included the oyster life cycle; the economic, supporting, maintaining and cultural value; the history of the recycling program; the number of bushes recycled by season; sources of shell; and oyster shell planting.
- Dewees Island Update
Shannon Bobertz, General Counsel, gave the Board a brief update on the progress with Dewees Island Conservation Easement. Mrs. Bobertz reviewed changes made since the last discussion. There has been a Community Residence Board that would assist with enforcing the short-term rental rules. There will be a maximum of six residences at any given time that could be rented on the island. There can be no more than 56 days per calendar year that a residence can be rented. In lieu of doing a 14-day minimum stay they would like to have two seven-day rentals. The community will be holding a straw poll regarding the rentals and will hopefully provide the results prior to the March 18, 2021 Board meeting.
Director Boyles thanked Mr. Hutchins for attending the House Ways and Means Subcommittee meeting.
Director Boyles asked Caleb Cohoon to give the Board a brief auditing report. Mr. Cohoon reported on the State Auditor’s Report, the State Fiscal Accountability Authority report and the US Fish and Wildlife Service – Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Program audit.
Director Boyles gave the Board an update on the conservation easement that DNR holds at Patriots Point. The option to extend the conservation easement would be considered soon and a recommendation on that may be presented to the Board at its next meeting.
Kevin Ryan, Director of Government Affairs, reported on S. 980 – Red Snapper Bag and Size Limits in State Waters, the Wildlife Subcommittee Meeting, Recovering America’s Wildlife Act (RAWA) and deer-dog hunting.
Nothing further to report.
- Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries
Emily Cope, Deputy Director for Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, informed the Board of the “Partner with a Payer” event that highlighted the use of Sportfish Restoration funding. Ms. Cope also reported on the Striped Bass Challenge held January 8.
- Law Enforcement
LTC Jamie Landrum reported on the swearing in of the new class of officers. LTC Landrum stated that 10-15 officers should be hired by May 1. LTC Landrum that 107 officers were on ice and snow detail during the last event and 119 officers will be on ice and snow detail for the upcoming event.
- Marine Resources
Ms. Keppler announced that Dr. Tanya Darden has been selected to serve as the Director of the Marine Resources Research Institute.
Angie Cassella, Deputy Director for Administration, gave the Board an update on the Brandt conversion.
- Land, Water and Conservation
No further report.
Approval of Craven Creek Fish Kill Report
Ross Self, Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Division, reviewed the Craven Creek Fish Kill Report, as included in the meeting packet. Mr. Hutchins made a motion that the DNR Board approve the Craven Creek Fish Kill Report as presented and recommended by staff. Mr. Swygert seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
The Board’s next meeting is scheduled for February 17, 2022 at the Marine Resources Division in Charleston.
Dr. Hartley made a motion that the meeting be adjourned. Mr. Lee seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
The SCDNR Board Minutes for January 20, 2022 (PDF) have been provided in the Adobe PDF file format. Adobe® Reader® is required to open the above file and is available as a free download from the Adobe® Web site.