Board of the Department of Natural Resources
Marine Resources Auditorium
Charleston, South Carolina
Friday, February 15, 2002
The regular meeting of the Board of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources was held at 10:00 a.m., on Friday, February 15, 2002, in the Marine Resources Auditorium, Charleston, South Carolina. Notice of the date, time and place of the meeting was posted and mailed to the news media. Chairman Dr. Joab Lesesne presided at the meeting. Board members present included Dr. Julius Leary, Danny Ford, Ben Gregg, M. Russell Holliday Jr., and Malloy McEachin, Jr. Board Member Dr. Douglas Rucker was absent from the meeting. 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 10:00 a.m. and welcomed everyone to the meeting.
Chairman Lesesne asked for a moment of silent meditation.
III. Approval of Minutes
Chairman Lesesne asked if there were any corrections or additions to the minutes of the January 25, 2002, meeting. Dr. Leary made a motion that the minutes of the January 25, 2002, meeting be approved as submitted. Ms. Holliday seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
Dr. Sandifer asked Billy McTeer to make a presentation. Mr. McTeer stated that the Department presented two awards last month at the SC Veterinarian’s Association meeting in Spartanburg. This year the Department recognized The Birds of Prey and Dr. Paul Shealy.
Dr. Sandifer read a letter received from Chief of Police Warren Gall, of Myrtle Beach, expressing appreciation for DNR Officer Todd Prince’s assistance during the search operation for the suspect in the shooting of Myrtle Beach Police Officer William “Marc” Jackson.
Dr. Sandifer thanked staff and sponsors involved with the DNR legislative reception held on January 29. Dr. Sandifer noted that there were 56 House members and 14 Senators in attendance along with many committee staff.
Dr. Sandifer announced that a program in which the Marine Resources Division participates along with researchers from the Medical University, NOAA and the College of Charleston on marine genomic research was included in the National Science Foundation’s Annual report to Congress
V. Advisory Committee Reports
A. Heritage Trust
Mr. McEachin reported that the Heritage Trust Advisory Board discussed Jocassee Gorges. The Advisory Board received a report on the essential natural character description as well as an essential cultural character description of Jocassee. The Forestry Management Plan for Jocassee was presented. There has also been much discussion on what portion or all of Jocassee should be included in the Heritage Trust Program. Mr. McEachin stated that the Advisory Board also received a presentation by the Cultural Affairs Committee and discussed a new exhibit at the State Museum. The Heritage Trust budget was presented and there was discussion about projects and land acquisitions for the next fiscal year. Mr. McEachin distributed copies of the Heritage Land Trust annual report.
B. Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries
Ms. Holliday reported that the Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries Advisory Committee received updates on the Bald Eagle and AVM, loggerhead sea turtle, budget, and legislation. The Advisory Committee received a presentation on the pond stocking survey and the recovery effort for the bobwhite quail.
VI. Items for Board Information
A. Port Royal Adventure Guide
Chris Judge distributed copies of the Port Royal Adventure Guide to the Board. This guide contains hiking trails, equestrian trails, biking trails, boat landings in the Port Royal Sound complete with latitude/longitude, information on all heritage preserves and a map showing how to navigate through the Port Royal Sound.
B. Coastal Law Enforcement Activities
Captain John McClellan reviewed the activities of District 9 (Marine Patrol) officers for FY 2001. Captain McClellan stated that the ratio of officers to area of coverage equates to 1:415 square miles. Captain McClellan briefly outlined the increase in activity from 1997 to 2001.
Major Alvin Taylor updated the Board on the Joint Enforcement Agreement with NOAA and NMFS. This agreement allows the Department to patrol fisheries farther offshore. The 2001 JEA agreement will end in April and the 2002 agreement with NMFS has been signed. Major Taylor also briefly updated the Board on the Homeland Security efforts in the coastal area.
VII. Items for Board Action
A. Approval of Eligibility of Great Pee Dee Scenic River Study
Barry Beasley and Rich Scharf briefly reviewed the Great Pee Dee Scenic River Eligibility Study as was sent to Board Members earlier. The purpose of the SC Scenic Rivers Program is to preserve and protect unique and outstanding river resources throughout South Carolina. The proposal is for 70 miles of the Great Pee Dee River to be included as a State Scenic River.
The proposed scenic section begins at the US 378 bridge and terminates at the US 17 bridge. The South CarolinaRivers Assessment found that the Great Pee Dee River study area was rated as having “superior resources of statewide or greater significance” in four categories relevant to the State Scenic Rivers Program. In addition, the study area was rated as having “outstanding resources of regional significance “ in two categories. When compared to all other rivers evaluated in theRivers Assessment, the combined ratings for the Great Pee Dee River study area place this river as one of South Carolina’s top candidates for State Scenic River eligibility.
The recommendation is that the Great Pee Dee River be designated as a state scenic river from the US 378 bridge to the US 17 bridge, a total of 70 river miles. Classification of the river should be:
· An 8-mile river segment from the US 378 bridge between Florence and Marion Counties to the mouth of the Lynches River should be classified as a Type II Scenic River.
· A 29-mile river segment from the mouth of the Lynches River to the mouth of the Little Pee Dee River should be classified as a Type I Natural River.
· A 33-mile river segment from the mouth of the Little Pee Dee River to the US 17 bridge near Georgetown should be classified as a Type II Scenic River.
After much discussion, Mr. McEachin made a motion that the Board recommend to the General Assembly that the Great Pee Dee River, within boundaries presented today, be designated as a scenic river. Dr. Leary seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
B. Heritage Trust Property Acquisition
This item will be discussed in executive session.
VIII. Director’s Briefings
Dr. Sandifer and Colonel Wright met with Eddie Monts, President of SC Wildlife Law Enforcement Officers Association, to discuss pending legislation and issues of interest to the Association and the department.
At the request of USFWS, Dr. Sandifer participated in a conference call that was held as part of a management audit of the Service’s Regional Office organization, structure, functions and responsibilities.
Dr. Sandifer and Colonel Wright attended a reception of Palmetto Pride honoring USC Coach Lou Holtz for his efforts in the litter campaign in South Carolina.
Dr. Sandifer attended the Governor’s Summit on Agriculture held on February 7. Dr. Sandifer commended Freddy Vang and his staff for the success of this event.
Dr. Sandifer participated in Clemson’s Department of Environmental Toxicology External Advisory Committee meeting held in Clemson.
Dr. Sandifer reported that the Conservation Bank bill will be up for final debate either Tuesday or Wednesday of next week.
Dr. Sandifer reminded the Board that their Statement of Economic Interest forms need to be completed and returned to the Ethics Commission by April 15, 2002.
Dr. Sandifer noted that a presentation will be made at the March meeting regarding license fees.
IX. Habitat Protection Activities
John Frampton reported that the federal legislative process has begun. Mr. Frampton stated that budget recommendations taken to Washington by he and Robert Boyles requests approximately $64 million for DNR. Mr. Frampton noted that two points of interest for this year is Teaming with Wildlife/CARA and the national fish hatcheries. Mr. Frampton reported that the first thing Steve Williams, USFWS Director, signed as director was the Federal Register approval for the waterfowl season extension. Mr. Frampton stated that DNR was able to secure $3.6 million from the FY 02 budget for Forest Legacy. Mr. Frampton commended Emily Cope for her efforts in writing this grant.
Barry Beasley reported that the Conservation Bank bill has had a tremendous public response. There have been approximately 126 amendments posed by the House. Mr. Beasley stated that several of the amendments have passed, nothing that is particularly harmful to the core intent of the bill. Debate has been set on the bill itself for Tuesday, February 19.
X. Legislative Report
Derrick Meggie reported that all amendments for the Conservation Bank Act (S 297) are complete and the final debate is set for February 19. Mr. Meggie stated that the Water Rec bill (S 856) has passed the Senate. Dr. Sandifer informed the Board that the Saltwater Recreational Fishing License Fee has passed and is awaiting ratification and the Governor’s signature. Mr. Meggie reported that the Restoration of Size Limits on Striped Bass on Lake Murray is on the Senate Fish, Game and Forestry Committee agenda for February 20 and also scheduled for House debate on February 20. The Bear Law Changes (S 893) and turkey Law Changes (S 894) have passed the Senate and been sent to House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee. Mr. Meggie stated that the Authority to Regulate DNR-Owned Lands and the Seasons, Limits, Methods of Take/Special Use Restriction’s on WMA’s regulations have been adopted by the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee and will be before the Senate Fish, Game and Forestry Committee on February 20. The Drought Planning Response is also set to be before the Senate Fish, Game and Forestry Committee on February 20.
XI. Deputy Directors’ Reports
A. Conservation Education and Communications and Administrative Services
No further report.
David Whitaker stated that today is the final day to turn in comments to NMFS on their proposed modifications to the TED regulations. Mr. Whitaker noted that he and Sally Murphy have worked out a recommendation asking NMFS to increase the size of the opening in TED’s to allow the lager loggerhead turtles to escape. This recommendation was sent to NMFS yesterday. Mr. Whitaker also reported that Sea Turtle Stranding Network and commercial fishermen are working together on a Turtle Protection bill for introduction. DNR is assisting with this effort.
Dr. Al Segars updated the Board on the project that examines Sea Turtle health. Dr. Segars noted that the project is currently in the third year of a four-year grant. Dr. Segars recognized the organizations/agencies involved in this project. Dr. Segars gave a brief overview of a typical day working on this project.
C. Land, Water and Conservation
No further report.
D. Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries
Billy McTeer reminded the Board that the April meeting will be held at the Webb Center.
E. Law Enforcement
Colonel Wright reported that the Law Enforcement Division has promoted the first female Lieutenant, Joey Rentiers. Lt. Rentiers will be over the Hunter and Boating Education Program.
XII. Executive Session
At this time Dr. Leary made a motion that the Board hold an Executive Session to discuss personnel, legal, and contractual matters.
XIII. Return to Regular Session
The Board returned to regular session and invited staff and guests to join the meeting.
Dr. Leary made a motion that the Board purchase the Johnston tract as part of the Little Pee Dee Heritage Preserve. Mr. McEachin seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
Dr. Leary made a motion, that in light of the continuing criminal investigations by Law Enforcement, the Board not support H 4746 at the present time. Mr. McEachin seconded the motion. Dr. Leary moved to amend the motion by removing “at the present time”. Mr. McEachin seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
Dr. Leary made a motion that the Board approve an additional DLEO for the Greenville Watershed. Mr. McEachin seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
Mr. Gregg made a motion that the Board approve the appointments/reappointments of conservation district commissioners, as mailed to the Board. (copy attached to original minutes) Ms. Holliday seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
XIV. Time and Location of the Next Meeting
The March meeting will be held in Rosewood’s at the State Fairgrounds on Friday, March 22, beginning at 9:30 a.m.
The April meeting will be held at the Webb Center on Friday, April 26.
There being no further business to be brought before the DNR Board at this time, the meeting was adjourned.