Board of the Department of Natural Resources
Marine Resources Division
Marine Resources Research Institute Classroom
217 Ft. Johnson Road
Charleston, SC
July 8, 2009 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, July 8, 2009, at the Marine Resources Research Institute, 217 Ft. Johnson Road, Charleston, 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 Michael Campbell, Stephen Davis, John Evans, Frank Murray, Norman Pulliam and Caroline Rhodes. Director John Frampton and staff members of the Department of Natural Resources were present at the meeting.

  1. Call to Order
    Chairman Mike McShane called the meeting to order at 10:00 a.m. and welcomed everyone to the meeting.
  2. Invocation
    Chairman McShane asked Rev. Eddie Driggers to offer the invocation.
  3. Pledge of Allegiance
    Vice Chairman Michael Campbell led the group in the Pledge of Allegiance.
  4. Introduction of Guests
    Don Winslow, Chief of Staff, introduced Representative David Umphlett; Scott Moore, South Carolina Interactive (SCI); Dr. Eric Heiden; Bo Peterson, Post and Courier; Jayson Ward; Greg Arthurs; Mike Able; Scott Whitaker, Executive Director, CCA; Jeff Dennis, Lowcountry Outdoors; and Douglas Ford, Research Director, Senate Fish, Game and Forestry Committee.
  5. Constituent Comments
    Mr. Winslow informed the Board that Representative Umphlett requested to make comments to the Board. Representative Umphlett commented on the budget situation and legislative matters. Representative Umphlett also commented on a cormorant survey and stated that he didn’t believe it was totally accurate. Representative Umphlett would like for DNR to do this study so legislation can be proposed to control cormorants.

    Mr. Winslow informed the Board that Scott Moore, SCI, requested to make comments to the Board. Mr. Moore’s comments concerned the recent concerns with slow processing of license transactions. Mr. Moore reported that internet sales have increased by 34%, cost center sales have increased by 57% and point of sale transactions have increased by 49% over last year. Mr. Moore also noted that transactions more than doubled the high daily volume on July 3. Mr. Moore reported that the plan to handle the increased traffic is to separate the infrastructure, having one server for the host website and a separate server for transaction traffic.

    Mr. Winslow informed the Board that Mike Able requested to make comments to the Board. Mr. Able’s comments concerned the processing of license transactions. Mr. Able stated that there were problems last year and again this year, and a solution needs to be found.

    Mr. Winslow informed the Board that Dr. Eric Heiden requested to make comments to the Board. Dr. Heiden’s comments concerned spearfishing at artificial reefs by non residents. Dr. Heiden provided the following comments.

    H. ERIC HEIDEN, D. D. S.

    843-979-6145 HOME
    843-320-7286 CELL


    I am Capt. Eric Heiden of Pawleys Island with over 55 years of offshore fishing experience. I am here representing the oldest and largest fishing club in S.C., the Florence Bluewater Fishing Club as well as myself. I appreciate this opportunity to address several issues that involve offshore fishing South Carolina. I will make every effort to be brief:

    1. Several years ago a team of Florence Bluewater Fishing Club members went to Washington to lobby for making S.C. a pilot project State to enforce federal and state Regulations up to 200 miles. Sen. Hollings understood this need and granted S.C. several million dollars to purchase chase boats and equip them and train DNR personnel to man these vessels. The funding to maintain and pursue this effort has vanished and we would like to see this worthwhile program re-established and surface once again.Several Florida commercial boats docking at Stormy Seas in Georgetown was observed by my friend, Seymour Birnbaum of Georgetown and others, off loading a huge catch from a five day fishing trip, each boat unloading up to 15,000 pounds of grouper that were all speared via deep sea diving equipment. [as documented by nearby crew members]. While there was no supposed illegal activities observed, it made me aware of some serious Loopholes in our laws. This was confirmed by my friend, Officer Steve Pop of DNR, who sets a lofty example of what our DNR program represents. His frustrations led me to investigate further. The Post and Courier picked up on some of these facts and sent out an AP release which made the national media and aroused groups of recreational fishermen up and down the East Coast.
    2. Why are these Florida based boats even fishing S.C. waters every year? I understand that S.C. may be the only state that doesn't require an active commercial boat to announce it's arrival at the offloading site so DNR officials can know when they arrive and inspect their catch for possible violations and proper data and paperwork. Sometimes these boats may unload at early morning hours and their catch is quickly dispensed before any inspections can be properly done. We may never know the accuracy of the amount of fish brought in by these Florida based boats or if they were even all caught legally. Remembering that bang stick harvesting fish is still illegal, however the majority of these grouper were seen with holes almost exactly in the same gill plate locations. It makes one wonder how accurate spear fishing really is. Accurate data of legally harvested fish is our goal and perhaps the present Red Snapper dilemma upon us will not become a following Grouper issue in the near future.
    3. Another serious issue that also pertains to commercial fishing is simply that our many developed offshore fishing reefs, havens, and protected areas are STILL legally open to commercial fishing. Artificia1 reefs were designed and maintained for the smal1 boat recreational fisherman, not to be legally fished with Miami rigs or diving with spears for commercial gain. I think this was an oversight in our previous bang stick ordinance that did not include the commercial exploitation of these sites. I am sure this was not the true intent of that law.
    4. Lastly, there has to be a more determined effort by DNR to change the system of our State legislature having total authority to determine the future of our fishing resource by deciding what is good for S.C., when that authority should belong to our most competent and knowledgeable DNR Boards and officials.  Once again, we are the only State that allows this backwards management system.

    Our Florence Club only wants your efforts to become reality and is willing to do whatever it takes to make all this happen.

    Respectfully submitted

    Capt. Eric Heiden [Founding Board Member of the Florence Bluewater Fishing Club]

    Mr. Winslow informed the Board that Jayson Ward requested to make comments to the Board. Mr. Ward’s comments concerned recreational spearfishing and the South Atlantic Marine Fisheries Council’s proposed changes for grouper and snapper.
  6. Approval of Minutes
    Chairman McShane asked if there were any amendments, additions, deletions or corrections to the June 18, 2009, meeting minutes. Mr. Davis made a motion that the Board approve the minutes of the June 18, 2009, meeting with the following amendment. Mrs. Rhodes seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
    1. Items for Board Action
      1. Use of Interest from Wildlife Endowment Fund
        Carole Collins, Deputy Director for Outreach and Support Services, explained the restrictions on using the interest from the Wildlife Endowment Fund and noted that no interest has been used since before 2001. If approved, it will only be used for FY 2009-2010. Mr. Davis made a motion that the Board authorize the expenditure of the Wildlife Endowment Fund Interest Account, not exceeding of up to $330,000, during FY 2009-2010, for appropriate operating expenses. Mrs. Rhodes seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
  7. Presentations/Commendations
    Mr. Frampton commended DNR Law Enforcement staff for their increased boating safety efforts over the busy 4th of July weekend, noting that officers issued 1,893 warnings and 597 citations.

    Mr. Frampton commended Daryl Stubbs, with the Artificial Reef Program, and informed the Board that he would retire in five days.

    Mr. Frampton reported that 14 employees have taken advantage of the incentive programs, noting that eight are from Law Enforcement.
  8. Items for Board Information
    1. Abandoned Vessels
      Lt. Gary Sullivan briefed the Board on the statute that passed in December 2008, regarding abandoned vessels. Officers in Region 4 surveyed vessels on the coast, gathering information such as location by GPS, registration number, vessel name, condition, etc. Investigative case files and individual investigations were then conducted on each vessel. The second survey was a more intense investigation and resulted in an additional 25-30 vessels. Once the surveys were completed a placard was attached to each boat determined to be illegally anchored. Lt. Sullivan reported that of the 209 vessels surveyed, 33 were legally anchored, 91 were illegally anchored, 25 are not located, 9 are on private property, 38 have been abandoned, 10 were removed by Folly Beach and 3 were removed by the owner.
    2. Drought Update
      Mark Malsick, Severe Weather Liaison, reminded the Board that the Drought Response Committee announced in June that the drought is officially over and since that time rainfall has decreased. Mr. Malsick reviewed streamflows, lake levels and ground-water monitoring wells around the state.
    3. Twelvemile Creek /Lake Hartwell Restoration Plan Update
      Ross Self, Chief of Fisheries, gave the Board a brief report on the activities concerning this issue since the last meeting. The Trustees Council met with Schlumberger on July 2, in an attempt to resolve some of the issues with the proposal. The Council and Schlumberger reached an agreement on the sediment release and a timetable, which was reported to the Court. At the hearing on July 7, Judge Anderson made clear his dissatisfaction with the way his consent decree had been implemented. Judge Anderson assumed control of the implementation of the consent decree and issued deadlines for compliance. Schlumberger has a deadline of July 1, 2010, to complete all sediment removal, dam removal and the initial stages of stream restoration.
  9. Items for Board Action
    1. 2009-2010 State Waterfowl Stamp Budget
      Breck Carmichael, Deputy Director for Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries, reviewed the 2009-2010 State Waterfowl Stamp Budget as included in the Board meeting package. Mr. Carmichael noted that the Wood Duck Program is not included in this year’s proposal and stated that it is only being postponed. Chairman McShane noted, with regard to the Mottled Duck Telemetry Project, his disclosure that he serves as a Trustee with the Nemours Foundation. Chairman McShane recommended that private funding be sought for the Wood Duck Program. Mr. Pulliam made a motion that the 2009-2010 State Waterfowl Stamp Budget be approved as presented. Mr. Campbell seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously. Staff will evaluate the number of wood duck boxes on hand and look at opportunities to continue the program this year at a reduced distribution level as well as look into possible outside funding and report back to the Board at the September meeting.




      Santee Coastal Reserve NAWCA Grant Match: $25,000 (Year 1 of 2)
      This amount will be requested again in 2010-11, and is a cash match for a $1M NAWCA grant in partnership with DU for major enhancement activities on public and private lands along the coast. If the grant is approved, the Santee Coastal Reserve could receive up to $500,000 for enhancement work on the 2100 acre Ormand Hall area of the Cape. Plans are to cross-dike the area into 2 units by constructing 2 miles of dike and installing a number of water control structures. Completion of the project will improve the quality of waterfowl habitat on this section and add additional public hunting opportunities. The proposal was ranked number 1 in the Atlantic Flyway by NAWCA

      Mottled Duck Telemetry Project (pilot study): $6,000
      DNR will partner with private landowners and the Nemours Foundation on a research project investigating the natural history of mottled ducks on the coast of South Carolina. Mottled ducks were introduced into South Carolina over 25 years ago but very little work has been done on the nesting ecology and habitat use of the birds. They are an important bird in the bag along the coast. The pilot project would perfect techniques for attaching transmitters to the birds and determining monitoring frequency. The requested amount would be used to purchase up to 10 transmitters ($250-300 per unit) and to purchase or refurbish a receiver ($2500). Initial plans are to start in the ACE Basin and expand the scope of the study as needed.   

      Control of Undesirable Vegetation:  $20,000
      Efforts continue to control, limit and possibly eradicate noxious weeds from areas managed for waterfowl.  Phragmites in coastal areas and alligator weed in other areas continue to hamper management.  Treatment of phragmites is of primary importance.  Considerable progress has been made in phragmites control but annual maintenance will be necessary.

      Water Control Structure Materials:  $48,000
      Funds will be used to purchase materials for construction of wooden water control structures used in the management of waterfowl impoundments on the major coastal areas of Santee Coastal Reserve, Santee Delta, and Bear Island Wildlife Management Areas.  A substantial portion of public waterfowl hunting and waterfowl use occurs on these properties.

      Piedmont Habitat Management: $20,000
      These funds will be used for maintenance and management of the Beaverdam and Clemson Waterfowl Areas in Anderson County, Broad River Waterfowl Area in Fairfield County and three Category II Waterfowl Areas in Laurens and Union counties, and the Russell Creek Waterfowl Area in McCormick County. The funds will be used for supplemental agricultural plantings on all areas. Russell Creek will receive $1,000 for dike maintenance (rip-rap).

      Coastal Habitat Management: $40,000
      These funds will be used to manage waterfowl habitats (including supplemental agricultural plantings) on Donnelley WMA where Adult-Youth waterfowl hunts are conducted, as well as Bear Island, Santee Delta, Santee Coastal Reserve and Samworth WMAs where significant public waterfowl hunting opportunity and waterfowl use occurs.

      Waterfowl Hunter Public Listening Sessions: $8,000
      The DNR Waterfowl Advisory Committee desires to conduct a series of public listening sessions around the State to hear comments, concerns and suggestions from interested constituents.  To insure good publicity and communication with SC’s waterfowl hunters, the majority of these funds will be used to do a direct mail out notification (25,000 at .31 each) of the public listening sessions to all holders of State Waterfowl Permits (stamps).  Some funds may also be needed to rent adequate meeting facilities in some locations, but hopefully sites can be utilized at no charge.

      Previously approved:

      Santee NWR, Southern James Bay Canada Goose Study:  $15,000/yr. (Year 3)
      The objectives of this study are to determine the wintering range and habitat use of migratory Canada geese in the area surrounding Santee NWR and to determine breeding, migration and wintering sites for this unique subpopulation of geese.  Data from this study will allow managers and biologists to make informed decisions regarding harvest regulations for resident and migratory geese and provide guidance to other agencies, local governments, community planners, and developers on needed habitat protection and conservation efforts for migratory geese.   Duck Stamp funds will be matched from outside funding sources at a ratio of 1:1.5.        

      TOTAL:   $182,000

    2. 2009-10 Early Season Migratory Bird Hunting Recommendations
      Breck Carmichael reviewed the 2009-2010 Early Migratory Bird Season Recommendations as included in the Board meeting package. After much discussion, Mr. Frampton recommended that the Early Teal dates be changed from September 18 -26 to September 15-30. Mr. Pulliam made a motion that the Board approve the 2009-2010 Early Season Migratory Bird Hunting recommendations, including the change in the Early Teal dates. Mr. Campbell seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

      (Doves, Teal, Rails, Woodcock, Snipe, Common Moorhens, Purple Gallinules and Canada Goose)
      Mourning Dove Sept. 5--Sept. 7 Sept. 8--Oct. 10 Nov. 21--Nov. 28 Dec. 21--Jan. 15 12 Noon until Sunset 1/2 Hour before Sunrise until Sunset 1/2 Hour before Sunrise until Sunset 1/2 Hour before Sunrise until Sunset 15 30
      Marsh Hens/Rails (Clapper, King, Sora & Virginia) Sept. 18--Sept. 23 Oct. 5--Dec. 7 1/2 Hour before Sunrise until Sunset 15 (King & Clapper) 25 (Sora & Va.) 30 (King & Clapper) 25 (Sora & Va.)
      Early Teal Sept. 17--Sept. 25  Sept. 15-30 Sunrise until Sunset 4 8
      Woodcock Jan. 2--Jan. 31 1/2 Hour before Sunrise until Sunset 3 6
      Common Snipe (Wilson's) Nov. 14--Feb. 28 1/2 Hour before Sunrise until Sunset 8 16
      Common Moorhens & Purple Gallinules Sept. 18--Sept. 23 Oct. 5--Dec. 7 1/2 Hour before Sunrise until Sunset 15 30
      **Canada Goose Sept.1--Sept. 30 1/2 Hour before Sunrise until Sunset 15 30
      **This season is statewide!!

    3. Francis Marion National Forest Emergency Deer Regulations
      Mr. Carmichael reviewed the Francis Marion National Forest Emergency Deer Regulations as included in the Board meeting package. Mr. Davis made a motion that the Francis Marion National Forest Emergency Deer Regulations be approved as presented. Mrs. Rhodes seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
  10. Director’s Briefing
    Mr. Frampton informed the Board that he met with Beth LeMaster, Acting Forest Supervisor for the Francis Marion and Sumter National Forests with the US Forest Service, on June 30 to discuss future forest plans and activities.

    Mr. Frampton will attend the American Sportfishing Association Board of Directors meeting in Orlando.

    Mr. Frampton will represent DNR at the Atlantic Flyway Council meeting on July 22-25 at Prince Edward Island.

    Mr. Frampton informed the Board that the Deputy Directors will have a workshop on July 29-30 at Donnelley.
  11. Environmental Report
    Bob Perry, Director of Environmental Programs, reported on the Woodruff-Roebuck Water District’s proposed reservoir and noted that a meeting has been set for July 20 to discuss the merits of the project. Mr. Perry noted that the groin permit application for DeBordieu was withdrawn on June 16. Mr. Perry reported that the transfer of the South Island Ferry went through on July 1.
  12. Deputy Directors’ Reports
    1. Wildlife and Freshwater Fisheries
      Mr. Carmichael gave the Board a brief report on 2009 striped bass stocking. Mr. Carmichael asked the Board for their input on changing Youth Dove Hunts on WMA properties to allow only the youth to shoot.
    2. Law Enforcement
      Col. Alvin Taylor, Deputy Director for Law Enforcement, reported on statewide activities over the July 4 weekend.
    3. Outreach and Support Services
      Carole Collins, Deputy Director for Outreach and Support Services, gave the Board a brief update on the intern program. Ms. Collins also reported that the Rules and Regulations for Hunting and Fishing are on the Web site.
    4. Marine
      Robert Boyles, Deputy Director for Marine Resources, reported that the Harry Hampton Marine Conservation Banquet has been cancelled for 2009. Mr. Boyles also reported on the artificial reef dedication that was held yesterday in North Myrtle Beach.
    5. Land, Water and Conservation
      Ken Rentiers, Deputy Director for Land, Water and Conservation, gave the Board a brief progress report on the Savannah River Potable Water Study. Mr. Rentiers gave the Board an update on the Town of Bluffton/Beaufort County water study. Mr. Rentiers informed the Board that he sent a memo to Conservation Districts requesting that they complete applications for DNR funding. Upon receipt of properly completed applications, DNR will distribute 70% ($10,500) of the funds available. The remainder of the funds will be held until the final quarter and the final distribution amount will be reduced by the same percentage of overall budget cuts sustained by the agency.
  13. Executive Session
    At this time, Mrs. Rhodes made a motion for the Board to hold an Executive Session to discuss legal matter and personnel issues. Mr. Campbell seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
  14. Return to Regular Session
    Mr. Davis made a motion that the Board return to regular session and noted that no actions were taken in Executive Session. Mr. Murray seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
  15. Time and Location of the Next Meetings
    The August Board meeting will be held Thursday, August 13, 2009, in Columbia.

    The September Board meeting will be held Thursday, September 24, 2009, in Columbia.
  16. Adjournment
    There being no further business to be brought before the DNR Board at this time, the meeting was adjourned.