Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
Commission Meeting

May 22, 2008

Commission Hearing Room
Texas Parks & Wildlife Department Headquarters Complex
4200 Smith School Road
Austin, TX 78744

BE IT REMEMBERED, that heretofore on the 22nd day of May 2008, there came to be heard matters under the regulatory authority of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission in the Commission Hearing Room of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Headquarters Complex, to wit:

APPEARANCES:

THE TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE COMMISSION:

THE TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT:


Donations of $500 or more not Previously Approved by the Commission
May 22, 2008 Commission Meeting
Item Donor Description Details *Amount
1 David Cotton Other Goods Deer Decoy for law enforcement purposes $1,421.49
2 Coastal Conservation Association Controlled Item Four (4) Motorola XTL 2500 radios, Five (5) Sony Handheld video cameras $16,876.67
3 Coastal Conservation Association Controlled Item Four (4) night vision goggles (ATN PVS7-3) $13,696.67
4 Friends of Colorado Bend State Park Other Goods 492 feet of used 2 7/8 pipe to build a pipe barrier fence near Gorman Falls and a foot bridge at Colorado Bend State Park. $767.70
5 Grande Communications Cash To assist funding the Outdoor Kids Program $750.00
6 United Forest Service Other Goods Long leaf pine seedlings to facilitate the long leaf restoration project on Alazan Bayou WMA $2,300.00
7 Weatherby Foundation International Cash Sponsorship for Wildlife EXPO $5,000.00
8 Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation Cash Marketing - to assist with costs of producing hunting and fishing license holders $60,000.00
9 Hickory Hills Development Cash In Memory of Faye Dickmann $1,000.00
10 Jefferson-Orange County Pilots Commission Cash Boater Education Programs $20,000.00
11 Albert T. Lowery Cash Wildfire caused water system repairs for Chaparral WMA $2,500.00
12 Wild Sheep Foundation Cash Desert Bighorn sheep restoration and management $63,000.00
13 National Shooting Sports Foundation Cash 2008 Southeastern Association of Fish & Wildlife Agencies (SEAFWA) Conference $2,000.00
14 Vishal Bhagat Foundation Cash Safety Signs for Lake Corpus Christi $5,000.00
15 Sportsman's Warehouse Other Goods Prizes for Outdoor Kid's Adventure Day $600.00
16 Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation Cash Construct new conference Center - Kerr WMA $904.94
17 Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation Cash Sheldon Lake Observation Tower $125,000.00
18 Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation Cash Salary for Part-time employee $6,500.00
19 Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation Cash Printing of combo surveys $15,212.80
20 South Texas Chapter - Quail Unlimited Cash Purchase of shredder for habitat enhancement activities on Daughtrey and Chaparral WMA $15,000.00
21 Jack Sparks Central Texas Flyrodders Club Cash To help purchase a river sampling boat to be used by District 2B $2,500.00
22 Battleship Texas Foundation Cash T-21 Grant matching funds to build the Visitors' Center at the San Jacinto Monument $175,000.00
23 Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation Cash To assist various agency programs $240,000.00
24 Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation (Toyota Bass Classic) Cash Contribution from the Texas Bass Classic Foundation to hire a contractor to take the 'Fish Texas' trailer on the road. This person will set up and organize activities and presentation at events around the state. $40,000.00
25 Maritech Resources Cash Creation of marine reef habitat in Gulf of Mexico $67,200.00
26 Maritech Resources Cash Creation of marine reef habitat in Gulf of Mexico $321,058.00
      Total $1,203,288.27

*Estimated value used for goods and services


Service Awards
Division Name Title Location Service
State Parks Jerry L. Salmon Program Supervisor II Wichita Falls, TX 35 Years
Executive Office James D. Heater Auditor IV Austin, TX 35 Years
State Parks Christine A. Clopton Park Ranger II Bend, TX 20 Years
State Parks Paul E. Harris Program Supervisor II Pittsburg, TX 20 Years
State Parks Joan E. Nitschke Administrative Assistant IV Spring Branch, TX 20 Years
State Parks Lucien O. Thompson, III Manager II Austin, TX 20 Years

Public Testimony
Name/Organization, Address Item Number Matter of Interest
Mr. Kirby Brown, Texas Wildlife Association, 2800 NE Loop 410, Suite 105, San Antonio, TX 78218 7 — Action — Public Lands Proclamation For
Dr. Phillip Lee, Bio Marine Technology, 8111 Broadway, Galveston, TX 77554 9 — Action — Offshore Aquaculture Rules For
Mr. John Ericsson, Gulf Marine Institute, P.O. Box 776, Gulf Breeze, FL 32562 9 — Action — Offshore Aquaculture Rules For
Mr. Chris Marlow, Denbury Green Pipeline — Texas, LLC, 2615 Colder Avenue, Suite 620, Beaumont, TX 77702, **Waived request to speak** 15 — Action — Pipeline Easement — Orange County — Tony Houseman Wildlife Management Area For
Mr. Richard Leonhard, Denbury Green Pipeline — Texas, LLC, 10113 Tiffany Drive, River Ridge, LA 70123, **Waived request to speak** 15 — Action — Pipeline Easement — Orange County — Tony Houseman Wildlife Management Area For

P R O C E E D I N G S

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Good morning, everyone. Guess we'll go ahead and call the meeting to order.

Before proceeding with any business, Mr. Smith, I believe you have a statement to make.

MR. SMITH: I do, thank you. Mr. Chairman, good morning. A public notice of this meeting containing all items on the proposed agenda has been filed in the Office of the Secretary of State, as required by Chapter 551, Government Code, referred to as the Open Meetings Act. I would like for this fact to be noted in the official record of this meeting.

Mr. Chairman, one other, just announcement I want to make; I mean, first, I just want to welcome all of you who have joined us today; we very much appreciate your participation in the Commission meeting process. And so we're delighted you're here.

Just a couple of things I would ask of you as you're with us today. If you've got a cell phone or BlackBerry or PDA, if you would be so kind as to turn that off for us. And then secondly, I would ask for those of you who wish to address the Commission on a matter that we're going to talk about today, there's a sign-in table outside; if you'll sign in, and identify which topic you'd like to speak on.

At the appropriate time, the Chairman will recognize you and ask you to come forward, ask you to identify your name and agency and your position on the subject. You'll be given three minutes to talk about that issue.

And then last but not least, if you have anything you'd like to hand to the Commissioners, my colleagues here, Michelle Klaus and Carole Hemby would be happy to take those items from you and then pass that out to the Commissioners. Thank you for joining us today; we appreciate your being here.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you, Mr. Smith; appreciate it.

Next is approval of the minutes from the previous meeting which have already been distributed; do we have a motion for approval?

COMMISSIONER BROWN: So move.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Moved by Commissioner Brown.

COMMISSIONER FALCON: Second.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Second by Commissioner Falcon, all in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any opposed?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Hearing none, motion carries.

And now, Acceptance of a Revised Donations List, which has also been distributed. Do we have a motion?

COMMISSIONER HIXON: So move.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Moved by Commissioner Hixon.

COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Second.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Second by Commissioner Bivins. All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any opposed?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Hearing none, motion carries.

Next, for the Service Awards and the special recognition.

Mr. Smith, please make your presentations.

MR. SMITH: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners. For the record, I'm Carter Smith and I'm the Executive Director, Parks and Wildlife Department.

Our first recognition today is for someone who has been with us for 35 years, and Lynn Salmon started his career, Commissioner Bivins, as an intern, or a seasonal up there in God's country, at Palo Duro Canyon State Park, I know near and dear to your geography and in home ground.

He has steadily worked his way up through the park ranks; he's been a park peace officer and law enforcement officer for about 16 years; he is currently our superintendent there at Lake Arrowhead near Wichita Falls; and he's been particularly active in helping us work on how we get kids fishing. And so he's done a remarkable job, and like I said, he's done it for 35 years for this department.

So we're very proud to recognize him today, Lynn Salmon. And so if he'll come forward, and would you come join us, Mr. Chairman?

(Applause.)

MR. SMITH: Yesterday you all had a chance to meet our new chief auditor, and there's a really important member of his team that has also worked for this agency for 35 years in Internal Audit: David Heater.

And David is upstairs, he's been involved in a whole suite of very important audits for this agency related to law enforcement and parks, and ‑‑ you name it, across the agency, he's seen it all, he's been a very productive member of our team and we're proud to recognize David for his 35 years of service to this great agency. So, David, please come forward.

(Applause.)

MR. SMITH: Christine Clopton has been with our Parks team for two decades, and she is a park ranger there at Colorado Bend State Park, there on the Lampasas River; started out there at Enchanted Rock in the Hill Country, had a great career with us, been very involved in all of the suites of things that our park rangers do on a daily basis, interpretation, natural resource management, promoting getting people into the out-of-doors, and having a quality experience and making sure they do that safely. So we're proud to have Christine with us today to celebrate 20 years of service to this agency. Please join me in welcoming Christine Clopton. Christine?

(Applause.)

MR. SMITH: You all hear us talk a lot about the Parks and Wildlife family, and I think that is a culture that we all try to instill and inculcate in all of our employees inside the agency. For Paul Harris, it's been a real family operation, here.

His father was a game warden with the agency; his sister used to work for the Department as well; he's been with us for 20 years, started out at Lake Bob Sandlin State Park, there in East Texas; moved over as a manager to Cooper Lake State Park; he's now come back to Lake Bob Sandlin, and just really worked hard to promote our state parks, as destinations for people to get out and enjoy the great outdoors.

And so we're real pleased to celebrate Paul's 20th anniversary; so please join me in congratulating him. Paul?

(Applause.)

MR. SMITH: Joan Nitschke has the very enviable assignment, I think, of working there on the Guadalupe River and at Honey Creek State Natural Area in the state park there, at Spring Branch just north of Bulverde. And you could not ask for a nicer and more scenic place to work on behalf of our Parks team.

Joan has been with us for 20 years; she's one of our administrative assistants, she takes on a lot of responsibilities to make sure that our operations run smoothly there at our state parks; I think all of you are acutely aware that as we have instituted new, tighter fiscal control practices, it's really our administrative team that has principal responsibility for ensuring that that goes smoothly and seamlessly.

And Joan has done a great job. She loves the out-of-doors and she's right there in a beautiful spot in the Hill Country; we're proud to celebrate her 20th year with this department. Joan?

(Applause.)

MR. SMITH: We've got another 20-year veteran that started his career there at Guadalupe River State Park and Honey Creek State Natural Area, Luke Thompson. And Luke has worked through a series of positions there, in State Parks, again starting out in the Hill Country, he was there at Matagorda Island in the early days; and then he moved over to help us really with our customer service operations, and is now the director of our call center, so that when people call in to make reservations and want to look or go experience and visit one of our great state parks, he and his team are there to make sure that it's done right.

I will attest from firsthand experience, Luke is a great, great troubleshooter; whenever there is a problem, Luke is the first one on the phone to call back and to try to fix it and make sure that someone is able to visit the park at another time; he just does a phenomenal job representing this agency, and really proud to help him celebrate 20 years. So Luke Thompson, please come forward.

(Applause.)

MR. SMITH: Well, our next announcement gives me reason to smile, but in sort of a bittersweet way. For nearly 25 years, Larry McKinney, as someone has said, has literally and figuratively carried the water for Fish and Wildlife in this state. He's been a great scientist, just wonderful scientific acumen that he brings to our policy and conservation, he's been a great visionary; he's instituted a whole host of programs during his leadership tenure at this agency, from protecting our seagrasses to our wetlands, to promoting the establishment of paddling trails, working with private landowners to provide incentives to help protect endangered species, and certainly last but not least, to help ensure that we have adequate water coming down our creeks and rivers and streams into our bays and estuaries, and nobody has advocated that more passionately and more effectively than Larry McKinney, in his role as Director of Coastal Fisheries.

He has been a courageous conservationist in every sense of those words; we could not be more proud to able to work alongside him. He has just accepted, I think as all of you know, a wonderful opportunity to head up the Harte Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies at Texas A&M Corpus Christi. And Larry is going to do a phenomenal job there, bringing his wealth of experience and acumen to that research institute; they're going to be a great partner for us, in a place that we need to have a lot more focus. And that is, the Gulf of Mexico.

And so, Chairman, would you come forward and say a few words for the Commission, for ‑‑

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Larry, where do we start. I think about your many contributions and I just, on behalf of the Commission and certainly our Chairman, who regrets not being able to be here today, I want to thank you for your leadership and for the legacy that you've really established within this department, and for your many contributions to the state. We're deeply indebted and grateful to you. Thank you.

I think some other Commissioners may want to say a few words as well.

COMMISSIONER PARKER: I became interested in saltwater issues because I have three sons that said, "Dad, Dad, Dad," and then I met Larry McKinney. What a hero he has been for our saltwater folks. And that's exactly what he is; he's a hero. And not only is he just a hero, he is a hero that has actually done something; he has been a hands-on guy for 25 years; he has fought for the saltwater fisherman, and he's done a magnificent job.

And I just want to sum it up; right now, Texas is in a battle with our federal government. But we've been in battles with them before. And Larry has been the general. And when he stood up, a couple months ago, and he made the presentation entitled, "The Status of Saltwater Fishing in Texas," does it seem to you ‑‑ and he said this to the federal government, too.

And I want to tell you, not only did Larry do it, but Larry planted some ‑‑ he planted a crop, in Mike Ray, and Robin Riechers, that would go to the federal meetings, and say, "This is what Texas is going to do. You all can do whatever you please, but this is what Texas is going to do."

He said, "Does it seem to you that there are more and more boats in the bays, and in front of you on the ramp these days, even with escalating gas prices, no matter how early you leave the dock, someone is already on your favorite fishing spot? Does it keep you at a low simmer that the fish never seem to have a chance to settle down because the boats are buzzing in the flat?

"If that is what you think, you are right, and here are the facts to prove it." And I'm not going to read you all the facts that he has gathered because it would take much too long; but believe me, the facts are there. Texas is the only state in the Union that is taking care of her own nautical nine-mile waters. And to that, we have to thank Larry McKinney.

And Larry, thanks for being the champion for Texas.

(Applause.)

COMMISSIONER BROWN: Larry, we are counting on you to know the good fishing spots down in Corpus Christi ‑‑

(Laughter.)

COMMISSIONER BROWN: — and even though you're working offshore, hopefully we can go down and fish Laguna Madre with you also. But we're going to miss you, and thanks for all you've done for Parks and Wildlife, and for the State of Texas. You're a great American. Thank you.

MR. SMITH: Larry, I hope we have embarrassed you sufficiently. If not, we'll just keep going. I'm not sure your face is red enough.

(Laughter.)

MR. SMITH: Larry, one very, very, small token of our appreciation that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department wanted to give you as a remembrance of your time at this department is a lifetime hunting and fishing license. So get out and enjoy it. All right.

(Laughter.)

DR. McKINNEY: Well, I don't know what to say after all of that. I've really come to understand that old saying of, you never really appreciate something until you lose it or until you leave it behind, and it certainly is the case here.

It's really with a lot of mixed emotions, tremendously grateful for all the support and really the hundreds of letters and emails and messages congratulating me and also commiserating a little bit about leaving. I've really appreciated that; the wonderful words of outdoor writers, I guess I've kept them fooled for a few more years than I thought I probably could. But I appreciate all of that.

But it's also very humbling and embarrassing. You know, when I look back on it, the things that have been attributed to me as far as getting done, really I just had the honor of being part of a wonderful team, here, just to be part of it. And all of those things that have been accomplished have been accomplished by all those folks here at Parks and Wildlife.

I've never worked with a ‑‑ you know, a greater, more dedicated group of people. When I sent you all on the Commission the note, and had my little list of Commissioners, executive directors and all those things that I've worked with over time, I would tell you that today, I think Parks and Wildlife has the best team that they can have, best team I've ever seen in place, with the Commission, and executive leadership and staff.

And that makes it even more difficult to leave, at a time when there's a lot of challenges in front of us. But when I can leave knowing that it's in really good hands, and I appreciate that; I appreciate that greatly.

But I'm also very excited about the opportunity to go to the Harte Research Institute. As I've told folks, it's an opportunity of a lifetime, it's a wonderful institution with a tremendous intellectual capital and I think the capacity to really do something very positive for the Gulf of Mexico, which we all love and need tremendously.

And so the opportunity to help lead that group forward and working with you all is wonderful; but again, it's a mixed deal, leaving and all that type of thing, but it's tough, but, again, I'm very excited, and as ‑‑ Carter, as you said, you haven't seen the last of me. So we'll be there, and you'll just have another advocate outside, pushing you along, because there is no other agency like Parks and Wildlife. I've worked with many, and it is a one-of-a-kind.

And as you give these service awards at your meeting, of 20 and 30 years, you can see why; the folks are tremendous. So I guess I'll just leave you with some words of one of our great statesmen in Texas, one of the last, Bob Bullock, "God bless Texas," and "See you." Thank you very much.

(Applause.)

MR. SMITH: Thank you, Larry, and God bless you.

One of the great programs that Larry and his team have executed over the years has been the shrimp license buy-back program, arguably one of the, if not the most important things we have done to help protect the health of our bays and estuaries.

And there have been a host of people over the years that have been involved in making that such a success. I want to ask a couple of those to come forward now, Dick Davis, the executive director from the Parks and Wildlife Foundation, to talk about the last phase of the fundraising, that the Foundation helped us do to make this come to fruition; and then our former chairman, Joseph Fitzsimons, who's going to talk about a little bit of the history of this program, and specifically the involvement of the Harte Family and others, in seeing this come to fruition.

So, Dick would you please come forward?

MR. DAVIS: Thank you. Mr. Smith, for the record, Commissioners, I'm Dick Davis, Executive Director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation.

In 1996, the Commission and the Department launched an innovative and challenging yet aggressive and strategic program of coastal conservation, titled, "Commercial Shrimp License Buy-Back Program." It has spanned four terms of Commission chairs. Lee Bass, Katharine Armstrong Love who is here this morning, Mr. Joseph Fitzsimons, who is here this morning, and now Peter Holt.

It has also spanned the ten years of three executive directors, beginning with Mr. Andy Sansom, Bob Cook and now Carter Smith. Through the multiple phases of this effort and until fairly recently, nearly $12 million has been raised, primarily in public funds, to retire more than 1800 commercial shrimp licenses on the Texas Gulf Coast.

Some funding from various individuals and foundations at strategic times was provided from partners such as the Coastal Conservation Association, the Earl Sams Foundation, and the Saltwater Conservation Association of Texas; 18 months ago, Commission Chair, then Joseph Fitzsimons, suggested that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation establish the William Nagley Conservation Fund to both honor the late and great coastal conservation advocate, and to raise funds for the final phase of the program.

The foundation board, under the leadership of chairman Pat Oles, did just that. The goal was to purchase and retire 325 licenses, available from willing sellers. To kick off the campaign, Chairman Fitzsimons, Ed Harte, Will Harte, who is also here this morning, the Harte Charitable Foundation, Commissioners Dan Friedkin and Commission Chairman Peter Holt were the charter contributors to the Nagley Fund, donating $400,000.

Led by board members Mimi Zoch, Karen Hixon ‑‑ who was then a foundation board member, now a commissioner, and by Board member Pat Murray, the foundation recruited the following partners: The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, the Robert J. and Helen C. Kleberg Foundation, the Meadows Foundation, the Amon Carter Foundation, Texas Coastal Conservation Association, seven other foundations, and 23 individuals, who together contributed $800,000.

Let me just say that once again, it is the foundation's privilege and honor to be the partner of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and we are thrilled this morning to be able to announce the successful completion of the multi-year Commercial Shrimp License Buy-Back Program, and so today the foundation is happy to present this check to the department.

I'd like to ask Commissioner Fitzsimons, Carter, Larry McKinney, Will Harte, Katharine Armstrong Love, to join us up here for a picture; and the check is in the amount of $1.2 million.

(Applause.)

MR. FITZSIMONS: Thank you, Carter. Boy, it's great to be back just for the victories. I mean, Katharine will tell you, that's one of the best things about being a former. You get to come back for the victory laps; you don't have to stick around and do all the hard work that you Commissioners do.

(Laughter.)

MR. FITZSIMONS: But I just wanted to say a couple of words for those of you who didn't know Bill Nagley, why today it's so fitting, in memory of Bill. Bill was my stepfather. I was honored to know him most of my life, and if you knew Bill, you knew that this program that was so near and dear to his heart, really reflected the man. Because he was a gentle, fair and deliberate man. And this program really reflected that; it respected the people who had those licenses; it was a fair and deliberate approach to conservation. Using markets, using incentives to do what needed to be done.

And it's a great day; we all made promises to Bill in the past that we would get this done. I wish he was still here with us to see today, but if anyone's at the Happy Hunting Grounds, we know it's Bill. And I want to thank all of you and everybody at the foundation for making today happen.

But as those of you up there know that Commissioners talk, but somebody has to go do what the Commission talks about; and really the people who did what we talked about, Larry McKinney, whom we honor today, Larry stayed with this, frankly when the program was stalled.

And when the program was stalled, one day it just ‑‑ you know, it happens this way: I get a phone call, and the phone call was from Will Harte. And Will said, "You know, we have the Harte Institute. We're very interested, our family, in making a difference on the Coast and in marine resources; tell me the one thing we can do right now that would have the greatest impact."

And I told him, "We need to finish the buy-back. We need to finish the job we started in saving those bays." And they promptly put their money where their mouth is, and everything dominoed from there. So I want to thank Larry McKinney and Will Harte and the rest of the Harte family for making today possible, and thank you all. Bye-bye.

(Applause.)

MR. SMITH: Thank you, Joseph. Yesterday we talked quite a bit about the Battleship Texas. But I suspect it's very few of us who actually have met somebody who actually watched the Battleship Texas in action overseas, shelling German troops over D-Day. And you are about to meet such an individual: Captain Charles Alcorn, who is the president of the Battleship Texas Foundation. They've been a great partner, as we talked yesterday about, our proposal to put the battleship in dry berth there at San Jacinto at the monument.

The Battleship Texas Foundation has agreed to privately fund-raise an additional $4 million to help make that possible. In addition, they've been a partner there at our San Jacinto complex as a whole, and recognize that we need an appropriate visitor center, an interpretive center there to help educate the public about the importance of that battle site.

And so with us today is Captain Alcorn, and he's going to present a check on behalf of the Foundation to help make that visitor center possible. So please help me in welcoming him.

CAPTAIN ALCORN: I would like to introduce my companions, Tony Gregory, who is treasurer of the foundation, and Steven Howell, who is the executive director of the foundation. And I would like to ask Steven to make a few remarks.

MR. HOWELL: Thank you, sir. My name is Steven Howell; I have the honor to serve as the executive director of the Battleship Texas Foundation. On behalf of the board of trustees of the Battleship Texas Foundation, including our chairman, Charles Alcorn, and our treasurer, Anthony Gregory, please allow me to thank the Texas Parks and Wildlife Board members, as well as senior management, for the opportunity to speak with you briefly this morning.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Battleship Texas Foundation represent a public-private partnership that shares the responsibility for the preservation, restoration and presentation of the world's last dreadnaught-class ship, the Battleship Texas. We worked together to ensure that this unique vessel will continue to be a hands-on learning experience for our children and our grandchildren.

To help accomplish this worthy goal, the foundation has engaged in private sector fundraising. That, with the continued help and cooperation of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, will result in the permanent dry-berthing of the Texas at its present location, adjacent to the San Jacinto battleground.

While dry-berthing moves forward, the foundation will continue to carry out the approved master plan for the site immediately surrounding the ship. As part of this master plan, the structures on the south side of the slip, including the ticketing facility, ship's store, snack bar building, as well as a restroom building, will be removed.

Two monuments, also on the south side of the slip, and monuments that were put in their places after 1948, will be relocated; in addition, two existing parking lots will be removed.

The result will be that no structures will be located at the site of the Texian camp. Several groups have expressed a desire to conduct additional archeological research in that location, and this foundation recognizes that as part of our partnership with Texas Parks and Wildlife, we have that obligation to make that site available and we are doing our best to make that happen.

This $175,000 grant directly supports the design and construction of the visitor center, a building which will house Texas Parks and Wildlife Department offices, a ticketing facility, restrooms and a gift shop, while giving visitors an overview of the range of things to see and do: the San Jacinto State Park, the monument and museum, the battleground, the restored marsh, and the Battleship Texas.

The Battleship Texas Foundation is proud to assist Texas Parks and Wildlife Department in making this visitor center a reality. Thank you.

(Applause.)

MR. SMITH: Thank you all very much for your spirit of generosity and your partnership. We appreciate it very, very much.

I think as all of you are aware, since 1895, our Texas game wardens have worked to protect our lands and waters, our fish, our wildlife, our property, and sometimes our lives. And they do that not only on the land, but they oftentimes do it on the water. And they do it under situations of great duress at times; we are part of a Southern States Association that works to promote boater safety, and we work with those 17 states, the Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico to help develop new tools and techniques to help folks, keep them safe on the water. And each year they recognize a law enforcement officer of the year for his or her contributions to that charge. And we could not be more pleased to announce that this year, it's one of our own. It's our Conroe, Texas, game warden, Alan Biggerstaff.

Alan graduated from the academy back in 1988, he's worked there on Lake Conroe, he's been involved in a lot of search and rescue over the years, he's worked very proactively with teachers in trying to promote boater safety among young people; he is very engaged in bringing other officers from around the state, when necessary, for saturation patrols to help enforce our boater safety laws, and has done a great job in keeping alcohol use down while folks are boating on that lake.

Remarkable job, we're really proud to have him as part of our team, and he's recognized this year as the 2008 Southern States Boating Officer of the Year. Please join me in congratulating Alan Biggerstaff. Alan?

(Applause.)

MR. SMITH: Mr. Chairman, I think this concludes my remarks. Thank you all.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Okay. Thank you all very much. At this time I'd like to inform the audience that everyone is welcome to stay for the remainder of the meeting; however if anyone wishes to leave, now would be an appropriate time to do so. Thank you.

(Laughter.)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Okay, first order of business is Item Number 1, Action ‑‑ it's an action item, Approval of a Revised Agenda. Is there a motion for approval?

COMMISSIONER BROWN: So moved.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Okay, moved by Commissioner Brown.

COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Second.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Second by Commissioner Bivins. All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any opposed?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Hearing none, motion carries.

Thank you. Okay.

And Item 2, which is a briefing, Civilian Corps, CCC, 75th Anniversary Celebration. Mr. Carl Orbison and Ms. Janelle Taylor.

MR. ORBISON: Good morning. Pleasure to be here. Ms. Janelle Taylor, I'd like to have her stand up. Her and I partnered on the celebration of the 75th anniversary of the CCC. We'll talk about that in a minute but I thought we'd give a little quick review of what the CCC is and what it means to us.

CCC, that's an acronym for the Civilian Conservation Corps. This structure that you're looking at now is one that they built, that's at Palmetto State Park; that's the refectory there. A key part of Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal, as you know, the country was in dire straits at that time, a lot of people out of work. It was an ambitious economic recovery, started soon after President Roosevelt was inaugurated.

At that time there were 3 million young men that signed up for the CCC, and also some World War I vets. Now, that represents about 3 million families. These families were in extremely difficult trouble due to the economic situation of the country, so they were interested in getting into this, and they undertook, a massive conservation in all 50 states, the Virgin Islands and also Puerto Rico.

Nationally, there were 4,500 camps. Camps typically were between 100 and 200 folks, of these young men. Texas Parks and Wildlife stewards 30 parks and historic sites that were built and approved by the CCC, and they are, Abilene, Balmorhea, Bastrop, Big Springs, Blanco, Bonham, Buescher, Caddo Lake, Cleburne, Daingerfield, Davis Mountains, Fort Parker, Garner, Goliad, Goose Island, Huntsville, Indian Lodge, Inks Lake, Lake Brownwood, Lake Corpus Christi, Lake Mineral Wells, Lockhart, Longhorn Caverns, Meridian, Mission Tejas, Mother Neff, Palmetto, Palo Duro Canyon, and Possum Kingdom and Tyler State Parks.

State parks were started in 1923 by the Legislature; however, it was very difficult at that time to get funding for these park sites. A number of requests had been presented and they were declined. So in the late '20s, Governor Ferguson made a request for federal funding for 26 CCC projects.

Of those 26 projects, 15 were approved as state parks. In the nine years CCC Camp was active, 50,000 Texans enrolled in these camps. There were 130 camps throughout Texas. Professional architects from the National Parks Service guided and taught these young men and gave them the skills to perform the tasks necessary to construct these facilities, these roads, dams, et cetera.

The program was active from 1933 to 1942. Needless to say, World War II brought along part of the conclusion of the CCC. CCC architecture is unparalleled with beauty for park design. If you travel this country, this state, there are no mistaking the state parks built by the CCC, or the structures. It truly stands alone as a true architectural achievement, that we enjoy and use.

In addition to parks, the CCC also were involved in soil conservation, reforestation, dams, they did some municipal parks, and roads. They left a legacy and a history for the State of Texas. They started the foundation of the park system for Texas Parks and Wildlife.

So, 75th anniversary came up this year. We just celebrated just shortly, back in March, we had at least 70 CCC veterans in attendance. I'd also like to point out that we have some CCC veterans here today, and I'm going to ask them to raise their hand, if you are a vet, please raise your hand.

(Applause.)

MR. ORBISON: The celebration was held at Bastrop State Park. On this slide, that panoramic picture is a picture of the original camp and the young men that were in that camp. Some of them attended the celebration.

It was our intent at the celebration to recognize the CCC'ers and their architecture, but also we wanted to do some interpretive education of the folks that had come to watch it.

So with the help of some of the CCC'ers, craftsmen from our Infrastructure Division and Parks Division, we brought in our interpreters and every park was represented there; we put on demonstrations on how the work was performed, using the original tools that the CCC used.

In this picture, in this slide actually, that's the sheriff of Bastrop County with her daughter. They were very interested in how this went, and that CCC'er standing next to them was explaining how they did the work. Here, Stanley King is a master stonemason that works for the Infrastructure Division of Force Account. He's showing these young men how to face and cut stones exactly like it was done in the CCC. Had two young men there ‑‑ of course, we took all the safety precautions.

They were fascinated, these young people were fascinated that all these structures were actually built by hand with no power tools. This young lady is working on a bench of which we built two at the celebration, and they are left at Bastrop on the trails. These benches were built from the original plans, from the CCC drawings, at Bastrop State Park.

This young lady was doing what's called throwing shingles. She learned how to actually make shingles, and she makes them. They were a very hot item; everybody wanted to make them, and guess what, they wanted to take them home too. So ‑‑

(Laughter.)

MR. ORBISON: — we didn't have to clean up the shingles, they just went with them.

Blacksmithing, a huge part of the CCC. All the hinges, pulls, lanterns, chandeliers, whatever was made, wrought iron items, they were actually made onsite; and they were taught the art and the trade of blacksmithing. This gentleman here was replicating some of the work they did with the tools that they used. It was another very, very popular demonstration.

Again, these young folks working on the bench, these folks are working on a ‑‑ and Mr. King, they're working on a stone that became a monument for a group that's here also today; in the background, those two young people standing there, they are part of the Environmental Corps, or we call them AmeriCorps.

They're the new CCC. They work for us in our parks, they help us with environmental issues, they're always ready to attend and help, and they've been a real asset for some of these celebrations we've done. And we have some of those folks here today, and I'd like them to stand up.

(Applause.)

MR. ORBISON: Mr. Parc Smith is their leader, who is also here, and you have some of the information that's been given to you, we hope; or it will be. They are a true asset; they have helped us at a number of our events, always willing to serve, they never say no, put on a tremendous effort.

That's the bench as it's finished; that's P.J. Trissler, another one of our craftsmen that works with the Force Account Division, out of Infrastructure. It's exactly like the CCC built them, so we left two of them there as a monument to this celebration. There it is; that young man learned how to carve stone, so he made that monument that says, "AmeriCorps."

These two CCC gentlemen were telling these young people, "This is exactly how we did this work." It's amazing, these gentlemen are in their nineties and have pretty good recall how it went, and there they are. I have a hard time sometimes recalling some things yesterday.

We had a little over 70 gentlemen attend; the average age is 90. We had ‑‑ the youngest one was 83, and we had a number of them there that were 94 years old; these folks were there also.

That's the whole group, and all the park staff put on, with the AmeriCorps folks; in the background is the refectory for Bastrop, and there was a gentleman there that worked on that refectory, that came to the event. We were really honored to have him.

That pretty well tells the story. That is an actual cartoon that was published in the '30s by the CCC, and of course it says, "1933, The Great Depression Ravaged America. Out of Work? CCC'ers Wanted: Young Men, Ages 17-25, Unmarried and Healthy. Benefits," this was their ‑‑ we heard this over and over, "three hots and a cot."

That kind of tells the story; and they got medical, dental, school, and here's the important part: they got a wage of $30, starting out. What's important about that, it's hard for us to grasp, probably. But they got $5, $25 was sent back home.

I've had the privilege of doing oral history with some of the CCC men. The first thing they tell me was, "We're hungry; we were very hungry." I don't know about that. The way they said it, I've never understood that. So the $25 that went back to their family saved their lives. I heard that over and over and over.

So we have a passion for these folks and what they did. And with that, we have a CCC gentleman here, E.H. Baeza. He was a veteran that worked at Balmorhea State Park, we asked him to come and address you, just kind of tell you what the CCC did for him and what it meant for him. He currently resides in El Paso, Texas, and he and his wife drove all the way from El Paso just to come speak to you. So with that, I'd like to introduce Mr. Baeza.

(Applause.)

MR. BAEZA: Thank you, Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, ladies and gentlemen. Excuse me, I got a little choked up. You know, it's been many, many years ago, about 70, I guess, since I started at a CC Camp. My father was a sharecrop farmer; he raised cotton. Sometimes during the year he had trouble furnishing the needs that our family needed. So I quit school, in the eighth grade, and joined the CC Camp, in order to provide ‑‑ for him to provide the necessary means for our family to live.

I was involved in the construction of the Balmorhea State Park. I don't know whether you all have visited that place or not, but we were very young people. I was 15 years old. My father had to sign in order for me to get in the CC Camps. We dug up rock or stone, whatever you call it, out of the quarry; it was hauled into the park, and then it was selected.

We were assigned places where we could lay a stone, we first took the stone and shaped it into different sizes of stone, and you, all day long, there must have been 40, 50 people in there, you could hear the noise, with a chisel and a hammer, clink, clink, clink, clink, all day long.

And we helped build that park; we laid stone, we mixed mortar, we cleaned mortar and done many other things. It was about 40 of us, I take it back there was about, probably 200 people in the camp. We lived in cots, in tents. It was ‑‑ today, I go back 70 years ago, and if it hadn't been for the CC Camp, probably a lot of families would not be here today, especially me.

I've been very fortunate, and I've done many things in my life. But without the CC Camp, I could have never achieved what I've done today. In 1943, I was inducted into the Army. And after basic training, I was sent to the South Pacific, landed in New Guinea, the Philippines, and finally ended up in Japan at the end of the war.

I ‑‑ they shipped me home; in 1943 I was discharged, in Fort Bliss, Texas, and I settled in the city, a little town that was just right outside of El Paso. I started working as a concrete man, for one of the builders in El Paso. He was the biggest home builder in El Paso. I worked for him for two years. In 1948, I became general superintendent of his company.

I went to the International Correspondence School, took many courses in the building trade. In 1955, I decided that I would start my own construction company. I've been in business now 53 years. I still work.

Like I say, the CCC Camp started my life and many others like me. I guess I, at the start I knew what I wanted to do, and I wanted to build things. So I became a homebuilder. I built over 2,000 homes in the City of El Paso today. Like I say, I'm still in business, I work very hard. I'm a believer that the harder you work, the luckier you get.

(Laughter.)

MR. BAEZA: My accomplishments are too many to mention, but I'll mention you a few. I decided that I was going to serve my city, and I ran for councilman, was elected in 1973 to 1975; in 1975 I was elected Mayor Pro Tem by the City of El Paso, and served until '77. I am past president of the Association of Homebuilders of El Paso, National Association; president and board of directors of the El Paso board; the St. Joseph Hospital; East Valley YMCA; board of trustees of the Columbia Hospital, chairman of the board from 1988 to '95; I serve as president of the Development Authority of the El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce; I was the first Hispanic to be honored by the El Paso Historical Society as a Citizen of Vision, Courage and Creative Spirit.

I was co-founder and board member of the Montwood National Bank of El Paso; Builder of the Year recipient, and cofounder of the KHB-TV, now known as KINT-TV.

I've done many things in my life which I could never accomplish without the CC Camp. I am very grateful for the Lord for all my accomplishments and my success. I am 83 years old, and still working. I am married to my wife, Henrietta, 63 years.

(Applause.)

MR. BAEZA: We have three children, two sons and one daughter; my two sons are in the construction business on their own, and my daughter is a schoolteacher. Thank you for allowing me to tell you a little bit about my history; there's a lot more to it. I don't want to bore you, but if you have any questions, I'll try to answer them. Thank you.

(Applause.)

MR. ORBISON: It's kind of easy to see why we have a passion for these fine men. I've talked to so many of them, I've heard so many stories, and they always tell me, "We really didn't think we did anything too significant." CCC built the foundation of the Texas Parks and Wildlife park system, and they last, yet today. This slide here is of Caddo Lake State Park, and I stuck it in there because I want to tell you where we are now on this, and where we're going.

Parks Division, with a passion, aggressively pursues the preservation and maintenance, and sometimes renovation of these facilities. We partner with our coworkers in Infrastructure, and these are always high on our list of items we want to take care of.

The thing is, these are truly national historic treasures, national landmarks, national view sheds, state historic sites, and they are not static. They are rented daily; millions of people use our CCC facilities every year.

So it's incumbent upon us to make sure we do the very best we can with the dollars that are allotted us from the Legislature, to keep these things in top shape. It's my desire, Parks Division's desire, Infrastructure's desire, that 75 years from now, our ancestors and your ancestors can come and see these and use them just like they are today, in as good a shape or better, and learn the story of the CCC, have some interpretive education about how they were done.

It was an honor to present this to you. Do you have any questions?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you very much.

MR. ORBISON: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: I think that was very helpful for all of us, and obviously the CCC is the backbone of our park system, and it was good for all of us, I think, to hear about it.

Mr. Baeza and Mrs. Baeza, thank you for making the journey from El Paso to be with us today. We're honored to have all of you here, and have such a great turnout, and congratulate you on your 75th anniversary. Thank you.

(Applause.)

COMMISSIONER BIVINS: I would like to take just a brief opportunity here to thank you all as well, and just to share with you some of my experiences that I've had with the structures that have been built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in our state park system.

The, I guess the real gem in my mind is Indian Lodge, but I was honored to be on the McDonald Observatory Board of Visitors for many years, and as amazing as the observatory is, I was actually more impressed with Indian Lodge than I was with all the facilities that they've built on top of Mount Locke.

Then I've also had the good fortune to stay at Balmorhea State Park, and also in the cabins at Palo Duro Canyon. But one thing I wanted to mention is that, we're currently looking at trying to build a facility in Palo Duro Canyon for ‑‑ a group gathering facility.

And the biggest priority in my mind is to try to make the structure resemble the structures built by the Civilian Conservation Corps. And not look like something that we'd build today, because the existing structures in Palo Duro Canyon are so impressive, for us to put something there that doesn't closely resemble those structures would be a real disservice, not only to the Corps, but to the canyon itself. So, thank you all very much. It's a real pleasure to be a part of this process.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you.

(Applause.)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any comments?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Okay. Item Number 3, Action Item, Designation of Nonprofit Partners. Ann Bright.

MS. BRIGHT: Good morning, Commissioners. I'm Ann Bright, General Counsel. I'm coming to you today with the annual designation of nonprofit partners. As a little bit of background, the Parks and Wildlife Code authorizes the Department to select and work with nonprofit partners. I'm going to be talking about two types of nonprofit partners today, but there's actually a third type, which is the official nonprofit partner, and as you probably know, that is the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation, which was designated by the Commission a number of years ago.

The Parks and Wildlife Code also requires that our nonprofit partners actually be designated by the Commission, so we keep a very comprehensive list of all of the nonprofits with which we work. There's ‑‑ apart from the official nonprofit partner, we have two big categories of nonprofit partners.

One are just general nonprofit partners, and these are all sorts of organizations, nonprofits all over the state that serve on advisory boards, provide funding, donations to the department, and maybe have an agreement with us in some way.

The other group are the closely related nonprofit partners, and these are primarily our friends groups. Most of them are associated with a state park.

We come today to request the addition of some new general nonprofit partners: The Black Bear Conservation Committee, Friends of Brazos River, Native Plants Society of Texas, RISE Adventures, Inc., which is an organization that provides outdoor recreation for disabled individuals; and the Texas Field Archery Association, Texas Rivers Protection Association.

The same time we'd like to delete some of the nonprofit partners. Most of these either haven't been active in the last several years, or have been dissolved; the corporation has actually been dissolved.

And those are, the Alligator Farmers Association, Bell County Juvenile Probation actually continues to exist but that is actually a governmental entity and normally we don't list those as nonprofit partners; Chaparral Rails to Trails, Cross-Timbers Trailblazers, Davis Mountains Trans-Pecos Heritage Association, Freshwater Anglers Association, Fossil Rim Foundation, and the Sportsmen Conservationists of Texas.

We'd like to add one closely related nonprofit partner, here in our friends group. This is Friends of Abilene State Park. And then there are a number that we want to delete. All but one of these are the result of sites that have been transferred to other entities, either the Texas Historical Commission or the Texas State Railroad Authority.

And these are, Friends of Casa Navarro, United Supporters for Eisenhower's Birthplace, Old Fort Griffin Memorial Regiment, Old Fort Lancaster Regiment, Friends of Fort McKavett State Historic Site, Friends of Fulton Mansion State Historic Park, Friends of Landmark Inn, Casa Magoffin Companeros, Rusk-Palestine Partners, Friends of Maxey House, Friends of Starr Home, Friends of the Texas State Railroad, Varner-Hogg Volunteer Organization, and Tyler Bicycle Club.

Tyler Bicycle Club is the only one that's not associated with one of the transfer sites. We're going to request that you adopt a resolution that would make these changes, and the recommended motion is before you. I'd be happy to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Ann, can you tell me why Fossil Rim Foundation is dropping out, as a general nonprofit partner?

MS. BRIGHT: Yes. When we did a check of that organization with the Secretary of State ‑‑ as you know, that's where, you know, people get their charter to be a nonprofit; it's actually been dissolved.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any other questions for discussion? Here nobody is signed up to talk on this ‑‑ a motion for approval?

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: I move.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: By Duggins. Commissioner Martin seconds.

All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Opposed?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Motion carries.

Motion carries.

Item Number 4, Action Item, Approval of Projects Regarding Marketing Funded from the TPWD Conservation and Capital Account. Darcy.

MS. BONTEMPO: Good morning, Commissioners. I'm Darcy Bontempo, I'm the marketing director for Texas Parks and Wildlife, and I'm here this morning to request Commission approval to spend dollars from the Conservation and Capital Account as required by Parks and Wildlife Code.

I'm requesting approval to spend dollars on marketing-related projects to promote the Department's specialty license plates, the conservation license plates. The total dollar request for these combined products is $54,822.

Thanks to the Legislature, we now have authority to spend not only the crude balances in this account, but also additional dollars that we raise as a result of marketing the plates. And of course that makes it all the more important that we do a really good job marketing the plates.

What you see before you is a print ad that we plan to run in a number of Texas publications, and we're also going to be doing an online media campaign, because as of this year, TxDOT has made it possible for customers to purchase a license plate online, so we see that as a great opportunity.

And we'll also be of course leveraging partnerships to promote the plate, in as cost-effective a way as we can. Just a little bit of history, these plates are already very successful; the horned lizard is the top third plate in the state, specialty plate in the state. All of the plates are in the top 25; there are about, almost 100 specialty license plates in Texas right now.

And it's ‑‑ today we've raised more than $3 million from the sale of these license plates, and that goes to support wildlife diversity, state park operations, bass fishing, hunting and wildlife management, and so forth.

A couple of things I also might want to mention to the Commission is, this is an unusual product in the sense that we do not have to spend any money to produce it or to fulfill the product; TxDOT and the county tax offices have those responsibilities, so it is a really terrific ROI opportunity for us.

And in addition, while there is no hard data available from TxDOT, we do believe that most customers keep these plates for many years. And that's probably going to be even more so the case now that TxDOT again, just this year, there's been a number of changes this year, another one is that they're going to be including renewal of the license plate on the vehicle registration bill that customers receive.

So for example if our marketing efforts sell today a customer a conservation license plate and they keep it for five years, that results in $110 of revenue to the department for that sale. So it truly is a revenue-generating program that benefits the agency in a number of our programs.

So we are requesting the motion before you, the staff is recommending the motion before you, approval of marketing expenditures to promote the conservation license plates as outlined in the materials that were provided to you, and that concludes my presentation. I'd be happy to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thanks, Darcy for your work on this. Any questions?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Motion?

COMMISSIONER HIXON: So move.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Moved by Commissioner Hixon.

COMMISSIONER BROWN: Second.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Second by Commissioner Brown. All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any opposed?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Hearing none, motion carries. Thanks, Darcy.

MS. BONTEMPO: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Item Number 5, Facility Use Fees at Parrie Haynes Ranch. Ernie Gammage.

MR. GAMMAGE: Good morning, Mr. Chairman and Commissioners, my name is Ernie Gammage. I am Branch Chief for the Urban Outdoor Programs, here to talk to you about Parrie Haynes Ranch fees.

Parrie Haynes Ranch is a 4,500-acre facility that's located in Bell County adjoining Fort Hood. It is leased from the Texas Youth Commission. And it is to be used, under the codicil of the will, "for the children of Texas."

The ranch is divided in two separate parcels. The eastern parcel is the equestrian center; it has a clubhouse, it has a very rugged, a little cabin that we call the Cowboy Cabin, and also pens and water for horses.

The western parcel, known as the Hilltop Complex, provides facilities, lodging, meals and activity opportunities that include sporting clays, fishing, kayaking, archery, overnight camping, equestrian trail rides and camping, ropes course, and day use of the ranch, and we just learned that to date, 73 species of birds have been identified on the ranch, so it will become a haven for birders.

The current fee structure that was adopted in February of 2004 shortly after the building of about $2 million worth of facilities on the ranch does not include all of these facilities and activity uses, nor does it recoup the majority of operational expenses for the ranch.

Proposed fees provide a base fee for all users including overnight lodging, meals, and outdoor activity opportunities, as well as a 40 percent discount for youth groups that use the ranch; provides a fee range for each one of these meals, lodging or activities that will allow us to increase fees incrementally over a period of time without having to come back to the Commission each time.

By way of comparison, the current fees to the proposed fees for the Hilltop Complex, which is the entire top of the western part of the ranch, the current fees are $1,000 to $5,000, proposed fees, which reflect reality in the marketplace and also our use of the ranch, are $2,250 to $3,500.

For fees for a cabin in the proposed ‑‑ I'm sorry in the current fees, there were no fees for cabins; there were only per bunk; in the proposed fees, we're going to go to a cabin rental structure, from $400 to $600, and meals, as originally proposed, the current meals are $21 to $48 per day, and of course we discovered that not all groups or people eat all three meals per day; so those have been amended to $5 to $25 per person per meal, that selection is at the charge of the people who actually get the meals, depending on the quality of the meals.

As far as public comment goes, we've received two opposing comments, one was that fees were already too high for the ranch, and the other was that $40 was too much for the Cowboy Cabin. As I mentioned, now it's a very rustic little cabin in the equestrian area; $40 is at the high end of the range, which actually begins at $20 a night, which we feel is fair.

There were four comments for the ranch. Our recommendation which we urge you to adopt today is that the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission adopts an amendment to Section 53.30 concerning facility admission and use fees, with changes as necessary to proposed text as published in the April 18, 2008, issue of the Texas Register, and we do have one proposal, which is the floor for the shooting sports, which right now has been published at from $20 to $40 per person to engage in a day's worth of shooting, be dropped to $10 so that we can engage more youth in that.

And that is our recommendation that we hope that you'll adopt today. I'd be happy to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thanks, Ernie. Questions?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Okay, thank you. Motion?

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: So move.

COMMISSIONER PARKER: Second.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Moved by Commissioner Duggins and Commissioner Parker, second. All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any opposed?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Hearing none, motion carries.

Moving right along, Item Number 6, Nobody's Waterproof Water Safety Campaign. Brandi Bradford and Major Al Campos. Thank you.

MAJOR CAMPOS: Good morning. I'm Alfonso Campos, Chief of Marine Enforcement for the Law Enforcement Division. And along with Ms. Brandi Bradford, our Boater Education Coordinator, we want to tell you about a program that we're following up on for the second year.

It's called, "Nobody's Waterproof." Law enforcement and the Communications Division will be conducting the program again this year; it's a comprehensive communications program developed by the Lower Colorado River Authority and implemented in 2006. In 2007 Parks and Wildlife partnered, and so we're taking it again statewide, this year. It's a nationally recognized program, and we're real excited about that because all of the water safety organizations and boating organizations are looking for programs that are popular and that can promote the safety programs.

The problem as we lay it out, 80 to 90 percent of fatality victims are not wearing life jackets. So it promotes life jacket wear, on the water and obviously on the boats. One-third of fatality accidents involve alcohol, so the Law Enforcement Division is going to step up alcohol enforcement while the boater education part is going to alert people to the dangers of alcohol.

One-third of the boating injuries involve personal watercraft, so there's an element regarding personal watercraft and being careful on those.

The typical accident, it's on your weekend, you know, the latter part of the day, victim falls overboard, not wearing a life jacket, and it's a male operator that's between 26 to 50 years of age.

The most common citations, once again we're going to be centered on life jacket use, because most people, you know, they don't have enough life jackets on board when they're cited; also children under 13 are not wearing their life jackets.

How do we do it, and I'm going to pass that over to Ms. Brandi Bradford to let you know how we do it.

MS. BRADFORD: This wouldn't be possible without full partnership participation statewide. We're the lead agency on this, and we took it over again from LCRA but it simply wouldn't be possible without all of our partners.

We were able to gain buy-in and full active participation from our partners from a variety of agencies, and they helped with staffing outreach events, creating the "Nobody's Waterproof" promotional materials, and using the "Nobody's Waterproof" logos statewide; promoting the "Nobody's Waterproof" website, and offering sites for the events, and offering staffing for those events.

The partnership groups included the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Coast Guard Auxiliary, U.S. Sail and Power Squadron, Water Safety Coalition, Statewide, North Texas, South Texas, Houston, all over the place. They've all indicated a wish to continue using the "Nobody's Waterproof" campaign in their regions, and will be assisting with development of resource-specific promotional items, additional safety tips for rivers and coastal areas, and things that are keeping in line with the "Nobody's Waterproof" branding we've already created.

Again, as a partnership, this has been really a Parks and Wildlife partnership as well with all the different divisions; it would not have been possible without Law Enforcement and Communications primarily working very closely together. Almost every division did help to make this campaign a success and get it off the ground last year.

The focus is the party crowd. "Nobody's Waterproof" campaign is really in person outreach directed at that target demographic at the highest risk for boating and water injuries and fatalities; the male, 18- to 34-year-old group that's out in those party coves; you'll never get them to come to an event. You'll never get them to come to the shoreline and put on a life jacket; we actually take it to them instead of asking them to come to us.

The secondary market is their peer groups, family groups, their girlfriends, the people who are tugging them on the shirt saying, "Hey, don't do that." It involves both water and ‑‑ on-water and shoreline events. And our in person outreach team uses a 21-foot donated boat from the Brittney Sage Lindt Fund, that we were able to receive last year from a family whose daughter was killed, unfortunately, on a lake in Lewisville two years ago, and they really wanted that boat to be used to promote boating safety.

Our interns are hired from the game warden intern recruits, and they have the personalities and are in the same age demographic as our target audience, and they have a desire to provide safety information to the public in a fun way.

The drivers outreach team are all selected for their expertise, their enthusiasm and their ‑‑ again their age demographic. We did use radio remotes at three events in San Antonio, Dallas and on Conroe; and those were associated with 10- to 30-second spots that played the week prior to the event.

Again, we go to where they go; the promotional items are all developed to appeal to that audience, and we use things like boating safety tips posters, Kevin Fowler water safety tips poster, laminated safety cards, so we don't only hand out the fun stuff like the coozies, the drink coozies and the waterproof boxes, things like that; we hand out these safety tips cards with every single boat that we reach.

And one of the most important things that we hand out, and we were able to get these from the Law Enforcement Division this year and last year, is an inflatable belt pack; this isn't just a fanny pack I carry around for my health. This is actually a Coast Guard approved life jacket, and we gave away almost 300 of these last year.

The key messages that we focus on out there, we usually have anywhere from 60 seconds to about a minute and a half to make this hard contact and give them something memorable. We always start with "Nobody's waterproof, play it safe, wear your life jacket, alcohol and boating don't mix, you always want to designate a driver for the boat and a safe ride home.

"Take your boating safety course, and pay attention to your party; everybody's out there for a party, but we want you to come back safe from that and be able to come back again and again. And other than that, be aware of your surroundings, know your area, and boat safely and have the proper equipment."

This is an example of one of our safety cards, and I'll be happy to get some of those for you if you'd like to see them up close and personal; you can see that some of those items are the things that appeal to that target demographic; my favorite one is the keg in the middle; it says, "A beer keg is not a personal flotation device."

(Laughter.)

MS. BRADFORD: Again, we are ‑‑ there's a several-pronged approach, on the water, land-based, we also have a website, the "Nobody's Waterproof" website, and we participate in the boat shows.

On the water and land we were able to reach over 5,000 people last year during six events, and that's with all of our partners working together. So we felt like it was a very strong contact last year. Some of the comments that we received on the water last year were, "We think it's great you all are out here doing this, I want my kids to do something like this when they're older." "We really support what you're doing out here, it's great to see such positive people out promoting safe boating." And, "This is a whole lot more fun than getting a ticket."

This is an example of one of our shoreline events, the setup that we used, and where we had radio remotes with the media impressions that we purchased last year, we were able to reach over 2-1/2 million people, additional people, through those media impressions.

Overall we feel like the statewide contacts and the positive public relations that we were able to gain through our partnerships and through being visible statewide were immeasurable. This is an example of our partners working together at one of the boat shows; we reached over 10,000 people at four major metropolitan boat shows last winter. So this program goes all year long.

For 2008 we have already begun, we've got our outreach team on board, we've taken the boat out for the first time on Clear Lake last weekend; we've been doing press events; we're actually right in the dead center of National Safe Boating Week right now; and we've got six events planned statewide this year.

You may have heard of the singer-songwriter Kevin Fowler. He was recruited in 2007 to act as our statewide campaign spokesperson; he's actively involved with Parks and Wildlife and other outdoor activities other than boating, and he very enthusiastically offered his services.

He again really appeals to that target demographic. His enthusiasm for the program has made him a great draw, and these PSAs have actually been highly requested by our partners around the state to promote state boating specifically to that target audience.

We want to thank you for all of your support of this program, and we hope you'll help us set the example. Parks and Wildlife staff is the safe-boating crew; we're always the safest boaters on the water, and we want to continue to be the lead agency in promoting safe boating statewide.

We'd like to wrap up with a video news release that Karen Loke put together for us, and it shows our "Nobody's Waterproof" team in action, and the public service announcement.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you.

MS. BRADFORD: Thanks.

(Playing video.)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you. Brandi, quick question. How many people will we reach this year, do you think? Is it expanding?

MS. BRADFORD: [inaudible] number of events so we hope to reach between 3,000 and 5,000 again.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Okay, great. Well, thanks for your leadership. Obviously a real important program for us. Thank you. Questions?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Okay ‑‑

COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Can we get some of the belt packs?

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Yes, those are pretty nice.

(Laughter.)

MS. BRADFORD: If you need one ‑‑

(Simultaneous discussion.)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Okay. Item Number 7, Action, Public Lands Proclamation.

Oh, there you go, okay. Excellent, very nice.

(Laughter.)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Okay, thank you. Linda.

MS. CAMPBELL: Good morning, Mr. Chairman and Commissioners. My name is Linda Campbell, I'm the Program Director for Private Lands and Public Hunting, and today I will be addressing three items affecting the public hunting program.

The first item is rulemaking affecting the public lands proclamation; the second is establishment of an annual open season on public hunting lands; and the third is the approval of public hunting activities on units of the state parks system for the 2008-2009 season.

At the March meeting of the Regulations Committee, staff was authorized to publish proposed amendments to the Public Lands Proclamation in the Texas Register, for public comment. Those amendments would create a mentored hunting permit and fee, and waive the access fee requirement for spectators at field dog trials held on wildlife management areas.

The mentored hunting permit would allow TPWD to hold weekend educational workshops targeting hunter recruitment on wildlife management areas. A mentored hunt then would be held following the workshop for participants.

We received very little public comment on the proposed rules; six people supported the proposal to create the mentored hunting permit, and four people opposed the proposal. Eight people supported the proposed fee of $25 and three people opposed it.

Two people offered specific reasons for their opposition; one person felt that there should be no fee, and one person felt the fee should be the same as the annual public hunting permit, which is $48. No other public comment was received.

Under Parks and Wildlife Code Chapter 81, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission may prescribe an open season on ‑‑ for hunting on public hunting lands. This is done on an annual basis, and the season is year-long.

The Commission also annually approves a list of ‑‑ designates a list of state parks ‑‑ approves a list of specific hunting activities to take place on units of the state park system during the year. And those activities are located in Exhibit C of this item.

Staff's ‑‑ request action then on these three items as shown in the recommended motion before you. So if you have any questions I'd be happy to try to answer those at this time.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Questions? Commissioner Duggins.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: What exactly is involved in the mentoring? I mean, what sort of training and hunter safety — I just would like some elaboration on that, please.

MS. CAMPBELL: Yes, sir. Absolutely. You know, we are planning one, our staff is planning one right now, to be held on Justin Hurst Wildlife Management Area. I think the plan is to look at all the things that people that are interested in hunting but have not done much would like to know. So, hunter safety, hunter skills, safety ethics, cleaning game, preparing game, where to hunt, all of those things that are ‑‑ that we feel may be barriers, to get people interested and actually out to try hunting.

So starting at the very basics, because we assume that these folks need just basic information about hunting, and the skills that are required.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Okay. Do we assume they have firearms, or bows and arrows, or do we help to supply them in that respect as well?

MS. CAMPBELL: I assume we are going to be able to provide firearms for borrowing; that's our plan right now. So we're not assuming that. You know, we encourage people to bring firearms if we have them, but we also are trying to plan to provide them as well.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any other questions? We have one person signed up to speak on this, our good friend, Kirby Brown.

Good morning, Kirby.

MR. BROWN: Good morning.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: How are you?

MR. BROWN: Mr. Chairman, Commissioners. My name's Kirby Brown, I'm Executive Vice President, Texas Wildlife Association, our members own or control over 35 million acres in Texas, and I want to welcome Commissioner Duggins. Appreciate you being a part of this group; a great partnership up there amongst the people that you're working with, very fine folks.

TWA is very proud of our partnership that we have with Parks and Wildlife and the Youth Hunting programs, and any efforts of this Commission and the Department to make Youth Hunting really an important piece of the hunting pie. And work on special youth seasons, work on waiving fees and reducing fees on the WMAs, and creating special hunting opportunities.

And we're delighted to see this mentored youth hunting event shaping up and taking place; we think this is a great idea, and we think this is a good way to go.

From our perspective, I'll just go back to your conversation yesterday, and say, Anything we can do together to address landowner liability is going to continue to open more gates in Texas. Because that continues to be the crux, especially regarding youth.

And we have to address that somehow, and we're glad to help, and we'll be glad to work with you on that.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you.

MR. BROWN: Thank you very much.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thanks, Kirby.

COMMISSIONER PARKER: I have a question for Kirby.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Commissioner Parker.

COMMISSIONER BROWN: Yes, sir?

COMMISSIONER PARKER: Mr. Brown, would you please elaborate on that last statement that you made about the [inaudible].

MR. BROWN: Commissioner Parker, we went ‑‑ Texas Parks and Wildlife was ‑‑ worked with Texas Wildlife Association and other groups in 1995, to establish the landowner liability law that's in place now that provides insurance. And if you have insurance, then basically your liability is capped at a million dollars, $500,000 per occurrence ‑‑ $500,000 per individual, a million per occurrence.

That has been very effective; it's really opened a lot of gates in Texas. We've been very proud of that. We are still, in talking with lawyers who work with our people in the state, there are still issues associated with that. We think we can clarify that in a few ways, and we think that especially if you're having public hunters or some sort of public opportunity, you have to clarify that.

And we think that will make a lot of difference. There's a couple of things that I think we can do; it will take lawyers to tell me exactly what those are, but I think we need to have that happen.

COMMISSIONER BROWN: Sir, may I?

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Commissioner Brown.

COMMISSIONER BROWN: From that standpoint, do you ‑‑ are you proposing that we do something or attempt to do something in the next legislative session?

MR. BROWN: Yes, sir. If ‑‑ we need to try and act on this sooner rather than later. I think we have good protection in place; I think we can improve that protection, and that's our goal.

COMMISSIONER PARKER: Would you elaborate a little bit more on that ‑‑

MR. BROWN: On how to ‑‑ how the existing protection works?

COMMISSIONER PARKER: Yes, sir, and then what we need to do to ‑‑ in your opinion, the opinion of the Board of Directors [inaudible].

MR. BROWN: The existing protection works well in the fact that it creates a cap; and it also, under that insurance, it allows the insurance company to fight your battle, and that's a favorable situation for a landowner.

Right now, a landowner under the code owes no more duty than he does to a trespasser if you do not, in the previous year, charge for hunting or recreational activities more than 20 times your ad valorem taxes. That's the way the law reads right now.

Now, what that does, though, is that still leaves a landowner who does not have that insurance open to ‑‑ he's got to go to court, got to hire lawyers, got to do everything if there's any problems at all.

So those types of things still exist. By what we understand and where we have our major problems are dealing with youth. Because youth actually, under the law and under waivers and under other pieces, youth under 8 in particular, youth under 16 in total, those classes under the law are actually looked at differently, and we have insurers and other people tell us, you know, there's different things that we have to do in those circumstances, and we're not sure legally we're able to do that right now. So we need to address that very specifically.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: And to work on a system where there is potentially automatic protection, as opposed to something that has to be purchased.

MR. BROWN: I agree. And ‑‑ 100 percent. To me, the Colorado ski laws make the most sense. In terms of looking at, if our goal is to open the gates and create access to hunting, if we look at those Colorado ski laws, we really get a long ways down the road. So that's where we need to go.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Yes. Good comparison. Great. That's good.

Commissioner Parker?

COMMISSIONER PARKER: I think that's ‑‑ that covers my question.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Yes.

COMMISSIONER PARKER: I would just like to make a comment that I would like to see the leadership in the Commission really aggressively take hold of this problem to the tune of creating a committee within the Commission, you know, a legal mind, my colleague, Mr. Duggins, to look into this matter to [inaudible] try to find a solution to it.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Well, I know that, you know, based on our discussion yesterday and also discussions I've had with Chairman Holt, that's a priority for him, and I certainly agree with that. So, thank you.

MR. BROWN: I will tell you that one of your past members, Commissioner Umphrey would be an excellent person to involve in that committee, because he was involved in the creation of that initial law.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Yes, he would.

MR. BROWN: Thank you very much.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you. Okay. So, any other discussion or questions?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: And how about a motion for approval?

COMMISSIONER MARTIN: So move.

COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Second.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Moved by Commissioner Martin, second by Commissioner Bivins. All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any opposed?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Hearing none, motion carries. All right. Let's see where we are here, Item 8, Briefing, Stocking Fish in Freshwater ‑‑ Where and Why. Mr. Brian VanZee.

MR. VANZEE: Good morning, Commissioners. I'm Brian VanZee and I'm a regional director for the Inland Fisheries Division out of Waco. I'd like to begin today by thanking you for the opportunity to come and give this briefing.

One of the most commonly asked questions that we are asked by our anglers is simply, what species of fish do we stock and where do we stock them. But before we get into answering that question, we really first need to understand why do we even stock fish at all.

Well, and the answer to that is really quite simple: because historically, Texas had over 190,000 miles of rivers and streams that flowed unimpeded to the Gulf of Mexico. However, today there are more than 800 impoundments and few unregulated stretches of river within the state.

Now, the creation of all these reservoirs significantly increased the amount of aquatic habitat in the state, but in doing so it also significantly altered the original habitat. These new and diverse environments were not conducive to many of our native fishes, but they did open up the door for trying a lot of ‑‑ a variety of new sport fish species; and as a result, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department began experimenting in stocking hatcheries fish of various species in an effort to meet the challenges of these altered systems.

To give you an idea of just how long hatcheries fish have been stocked in the State of Texas, the first initial stockings occurred back in the mid-1800s, and those fish all came from federal fish hatcheries.

Today the first state-owned hatchery was opened nearly 83 years ago, and it was located in what is now the Heart of the Hills Research Station. Today, the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department owns and operates five freshwater fish hatcheries that stock nearly 15 million fish of various species throughout the entire state on an annual basis.

Here's a list of the species that we typically stock on an average year: in addition to these species, though, we have experimented with a lot of other species; however either those species did not take or they were not ‑‑ they didn't prove as viable populations within the reservoirs, or quite simply the cost to benefit ratio produced in those fish and maintaining them in the reservoirs was simply prohibitive.

In addition to these species, though, we also will get special requests from our staff to produce additional species or hybrids that are used for specific management objectives, as well as research projects. And you can tell by looking at this whole total list of species here, that we are able to provide fishing opportunities in essentially any reservoir within the state.

Now, all of our stockings are geared towards meeting a specific management objective. However, in general, there are six primary reasons as to why we stock fish. The first one is to develop new populations in new or renovated reservoirs; the second one is to supplement fish populations that have limited natural reproduction, such as the striped bass.

The next one is to restore a population that may have experienced a catastrophic event such as golden algae or a severe drought situation, as well as to restore native species such as the Guadalupe bass.

We also stock fish into small urban ponds in an effort to provide better angling opportunities for the 17-plus million Texans who live within those areas. We will also stock to enhance the genetic composition of a fish population, which is what we do with our Florida largemouth bass program.

And finally we also stock to take advantage of new and improved habitat. Often, this new habitat is the result of either increased water levels or the direct result of habitat enhancement projects that we have occurring at the time.

Now, throughout the entire stocking process, great care is taken and ensured that our ‑‑ the fish that we produce are used in reservoirs that need them the most and to where they will have the greatest impact on fishing. However, in general, there are four primary steps to this stocking process.

The first one is to survey the fish populations; the second one is to develop a statewide stocking plan; the third one is to raise and to produce the fish on the hatcheries; and the fourth one is to actually stock the fish within the reservoirs.

Now, in Step 1, our district biologists will use a multitude of techniques, such as ledge fishing, fishing, gill netting, trap netting and angler surveys to assess the status and use of those fish populations. They then will use this data in conjunction with other information, such as the water level fluctuations, as well as the types and the amount of habitat found within the reservoir to determine which water bodies could benefit most from stocking.

In Step 2, the district biologists will prepare a prioritized stocking plan for each species and reservoir within the respective districts. These district stocking plans are then combined into a regional plan, and then ultimately into a statewide plan. Now, each and every individual request on the statewide stocking plan is reviewed to ensure that it meets the established criteria as well as that it receives the approval from the regional directors prior to being prioritized for the final time on a statewide basis.

This extensive process of developing, reviewing and prioritizing the statewide stocking plan is necessary to ensure that our valuable and often limited hatchery resources are used in locations where they are needed the most.

Step 3, after we produce the statewide stocking plan it is given to our hatchery biologists, who in turn will develop a production plan. This production plan is geared towards raising enough fish of the appropriate species and sizes to meet the needs of our public waters. Our hatchery staff will go to great lengths to ensure that the fish they produce are of the highest possible quality, and to ensure that the fish have the greatest chance of survival after stocking.

In Step 4, after the fish are raised on the hatchery, the hatchery staff will deliver them to the reservoirs in the priority order as established on the statewide stocking plan. Now, the timing of these stockings really varies depending on the species as well as the size of fish being requested by the district biologists.

In general most species are stocked as two-inch fingerlings, and they're stocked between the months of April and July. However channel catfish, which can range anywhere from two inches up to 12 inches, they may be stocked any times from March through November, and at the same time our catchable-sized rainbow trout are stocked in December through March. So in a sense, we are stocking fish somewhere within the state on a year-round basis.

In summary, I'd like to point out that all of our stockings are based upon identified need, and they're directed towards answering or meeting a specific management objective. There's a lot of time and effort put into the stocking process to ensure that our hatchery resources are used where they're needed most and where they'll have the greatest impact for our anglers.

And yes, the anglers and even the public are very interested in our stocking programs. Often, we pull up to a lake, they are more than willing to climb up onto their hauling units to take a look inside, and as you see the pictures up there, even help stock the fish.

But basically, ultimately the goal of any stocking program is to have this kind of a result. And because our stocking programs have been so successful, we have what is arguably some of the best and most diverse angling opportunities of anywhere in the nation.

And with that I'll answer any questions you may have.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Questions?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: That's great. Great work. Thank you very much.

MR. VANZEE: You bet. Thank you, Commissioners.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Okay. Item Number 9, Action Item, Aquaculture Rules. Mr. Mike Ray.

MR. RAY: Good morning everyone. For the record, my name is Mike Ray and I'm with Coastal Fisheries.

Yesterday there was some discussion that was questioning the need for an offshore aquaculture program for a very few potential permits. And I'd just like to suggest that one reason would be, to be proactive and to put a framework in place before the industry begins.

And we did learn a pretty hard lesson a number of years ago with the shrimp-farming industry, when it started really without any regulations in place. And it took many, many years and a lot of staff resources to work with the Legislature and the industry and other state agencies and NGOs, and folks like that, to try to resolve the issues, and certainly it would be best if we could try to keep as much of this at the Commission level as we could.

This industry is likely to develop and we certainly want to be out in front of it, and frankly, that has happened. You have passed regulations, and I thank you for doing that.

Okay, the Commission adopted aquaculture rules in 2006, and since that time we've been in conversations with the respective applicants which have resulted in some proposed changes to the rules. And these were presented to you in March and again yesterday, and we were also approved to go to the Texas Register for comments. And these proposals were procedural and operational in nature, and there were no changes recommended to the science-based regulations.

We did receive eight comments in favor, and we had one against, and the one against had no reason for why that happened. We did, from those who were for, get some comments that were requesting that a modification be made to the proposed GLO lease language, and that would ‑‑ certainly to help clarify the intent. And the staff agrees that that should be done.

And with that, the staff recommends that the Commission adopt the proposed amendments with changes to the GLO permit language, and with that I'll try to answer any questions that you might have.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: We have a few people that signed up. Dr. Phillip Lee.

DR. LEE: I'm Dr. Phillip Lee and I received my doctorate degree from Texas A&M, and I've been a professor at the University of Texas Medical Branch ever since, in Galveston.

And I'm the principal investigator of the National Resource Center for Cephalopods, the longest-running marine aquaculture program in the South, continuously funded by the federal government, that being the National Institutes of Health.

In the last year I've transferred that into the Gulf Marine Institute of Technology, which is one of the applicants for a Texas offshore aquaculture permit.

What I'd really like to talk to you about today is the need for this, and it's all about market. Seafood is disappearing, yet demand is increasing. Some headlines from just the last week, China now has become the world's number one importer of seafood, passing Japan and the United States which had been in those roles for the last 20 years.

At the same time, China just recently imported $2 billion worth of seafood into the United States. So at the time that they're importing the most, they're actually exporting $2 billion to us.

We have about a $9- to $10 billion a year deficit in seafood, making it second only to oil in terms of natural products. So we need more seafood, this is a way to do this with offshore aquaculture, there are several examples that have been very successful around the world.

Salmon farming has grown to about a $6 billion a year industry, and it's done that with a lot of R&D that was done in the United States, yet we make very little of that gross revenue out of it.

There's a need for this because of the collapsing fisheries, again some recent headlines that you've probably seen, our shrimpers are screaming about diesel in this country but in France they've actually, the fishermen there blocked one of the major oil ports into France to try to make that, and actually rioted in the streets of Paris just like they did in the French Revolution.

In Argentina, the hake fishery has just recently collapsed, and the government is looking now about who's responsible for letting it collapse, the fishermen or the fishing regulations.

So we're having a disappearing quantity and an increasing demand, and we're going to be competing for that, what is the healthiest meat protein in the world, our fish. Again in a medical school that's very important to me for people to eat more fish; we know it's better for them. And yet it's disappearing.

I've handed out a handout here that shows the history of Mediterranean sea farm, this is sea bass and sea bream in the Mediterranean, and the Greeks and Turks, in a little over 20 years, have created a $1.5 billion industry on those two fish. We have better fishes in the Gulf of Mexico.

Also you'll see there times at which Bio-Marine, the company that's applied for this, started back in the mid-'90s and acquired a platform in '99, since '99 in the years that we've tried to pursue all the permits necessary to do this, in the Mediterranean they've made $7 billion growing fish. At the same time, we've consumed $100 billion of foreign aquacultured fish.

And I want to thank the members of the Coastal Fisheries for working with us on this, Dr. McKinney and Mike Ray. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you very much. It's interesting.

John Ericsson, I think I'm saying that correctly; is that right?

MR. ERICSSON: I'm John Ericsson, I'm President of Bio-Marine Technologies and I'm the Managing Director for Gulf Marine Institute of Technology. Our companies have been working and collaborating for many years, starting with Bio-Marine in 1989, being a for-profit company owned by 215 stockholders, presently; and Gulf Marine Institute, which is a nonprofit research institute, established in 1995.

The purpose of GMIT, as I will call it, Gulf Marine Institute, is basically to do research and development in the Gulf of Mexico to establish offshore marine sea-farming technologies and systems. We started off in 1989 trying to figure out how to farm the Gulf of Mexico and start providing some of our much-needed seafood by farming offshore like we do so much onshore.

And found that we would be required to have a platform complex far enough offshore where we have deep enough water, and water quality whereby we could put large nets in the seas, stock them with infant fingerlings, feed them the pelletized feed process, and grow them to a harvestable product in a relatively short period of time.

In the process of all these years, one of the main topics that we had to overcome was what species in the Gulf of Mexico there might be that would make a great product, that had the potential of exceeding the $5 billion industry that's been created by the salmon farming industry, growing one species of fish.

We found that to be the candidates of cobia, and amberjack, bread fish that you're very familiar with, and others that have potential, that we spent many, many years and right today about $5-1/2, $6 million of research money to determine that there are in fact great species in the Gulf of Mexico that could be farmed and grown into a huge industry.

And when I say huge, in the world we have a $5 billion industry, again growing salmon, but in the Mediterranean we have two species of fish primarily grown, only to about a pound, a pound and a half a year, by a billion-dollar, billion-and-a-half dollar industry with the Greeks taking the lead.

Many public companies, the Norwegians, have hundreds of billions of dollars invested in doing salmon farming in Chile and in Norway; they have said, matter of fact when I was in Oslo just not too many years ago, in a major publication, that the offshore sea-farming industry and shoreline sea-farming industry of Norway would soon overtake the revenues generated by the Norwegian offshore oil and gas industry.

The point is, we have in Texas and in our Gulf of Mexico the same potential, and greater, to develop the same kinds of industries that are literally booming in growth today with growing Gulf of Texas sea-farmed animals. We are the only company in the history of the United States to ever acquire an offshore platform specifically for doing research and development of marine sea farming, and it's located ten miles off Port O'Connor, Texas.

We are the only two companies to ever receive permitted sites from the U.S. federal agencies including the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers, to put sea farming in the Gulf of Mexico.

And in Texas, we also have a second environmental permit from the Texas TCEQ issued. So we have both federal as well as state permits for the Texas project, again in Port O'Connor.

We have been collaborating with Texas Parks and Wildlife for many years, suggesting many things as we came about through the permitting process, cooperating with Dr. McKinney and many other staffers, and I'm happy to see that today before you is some amendments to your offshore regulations that, if implemented, will possibly result in you having the creation of an industry that without these modifications you would probably never have.

There were several issues regarding your regulations that were essential to be modified. For corporations like ours, to put in multimillion-dollar offshore installations growing marine animals that again had to be changed, and we worked with Dr. McKinney and Mr. Ray, and we thought when we began this process, quite frankly, that we were just going to run into another bureaucratic red tape possibility of delaying this project for another few more years. We've already been at it now for ten.

To our dismay, and to our satisfaction, we have had a great response from the Texas Parks and Wildlife and Dr. McKinney, Mr. Ray, in addressing these items and getting them through the Commission and hearing and taking your time to address the problems that we've had, and that today these things will be resolved.

And I again want to compliment your staff, Dr. McKinney, about the way that you have cooperatively addressed these problems, and how you have cooperatively worked with us to resolve these problems, and again I want to thank your time and effort, and commend you and your staff for doing a well-done job. Any questions.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Commissioner Parker?

COMMISSIONER PARKER: Sir, when do you project we'll ‑‑ your first unit [inaudible]?

MR. ERICSSON: The project, again, must have a Texas Parks and Wildlife permit as you know them to be under these new regulations. As soon as that permit has been issued, then we will have one other final issue, which is to finalize our negotiations with the GLO, to get a new 30-year lease at that site.

When those two things are accomplished, we will be able to start a project this winter, and hopefully have cages in spring at the site. We have investment banking relationships in New York and in London, to raise a very significant amount of capital for our company, our for-profit company, BioMarine, in the next few months, and quite frankly this project in Texas, because of the delays in getting these issues resolved, we've had to put it back to second position to another project that we have in Florida, until we get this ‑‑ all of the issues resolved.

But if we can get all of the final problems, there are only two, the GLO and this issue with the regulations, we should be able to launch the project end of this year or next year.

COMMISSIONER PARKER: Good, thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Commissioner Brown?

COMMISSIONER BROWN: Yes, I was just wondering, as far as what the investment ‑‑ what type of investment is going to be required to develop a commercially feasible fish-farming operation? What type of initial investment are you looking at, to do that?

MR. ERICSSON: Are you speaking of the money portion, or other infrastructure?

COMMISSIONER BROWN: Well, money and cost to build the infrastructure to do this project.

MR. ERICSSON: The budgets for both of our projects involve a minimum $16 to $20 million, total, which includes building an onshore, multi-species, Gulf marine hatchery for fingerling production, as well as an ‑‑ on the Texas site, an offshore on the platform hatchery-nursery, that would be able to basically have all the essential ingredients for farming the seas, being the hatchery-nursery, at the platform, and the cage culture farming, feeding process at the platform.

So basically once you have all these items up and operational, you have a fully functional and mostly offshore operational facility.

By the way, I might mention, it would be the only one of its type in the world; it would be a beacon of light to how we in Texas and how we in the United States are going to address this world crisis issue on where we're going to get our future seafood.

COMMISSIONER BROWN: Another question on that. How ‑‑ what timeline do you have from the time you have your fingerlings, from that point to having product available to sell?

MR. ERICSSON: That's a great question. And that's what makes this exciting. These species ‑‑

COMMISSIONER BROWN: I only ask this because I was in the fish-farming business ‑‑

(Laughter.)

COMMISSIONER BROWN: — I hope you have better luck than I had.

MR. ERICSSON: Well, we've spent 18 years trying to figure out how to do it, and we're just now to the point where we know that we have a great chance of being successful at it.

Because quite frankly, the species development and technology, and the methods for being able to do this, has had to evolve over the life of my company which is now almost 19 years, before I could look my investors in the eye, and the people who are sponsoring this both in the governments, and say, "We've got a better than even chance to make this a success," not only for the science, which is part of it, but also for the industry that we want to try to create.

And so, the question that you brought up is very important. The species of fish that we intend to grow are primarily cobia and amberjack. Cobia grows from a little fingerling fish of 10-20 grams to a 16-pound fish in twelve months. A salmon in 12 months weighs a half a pound. So our cobia fish grows 40 times faster than salmon, has twice the market value in many of the areas of the country, than salmon, and has the potential market of being just as big as the $5 billion sea-farming industry with salmon.

So what we have the opportunity to be, again, is to regain our position in this country, to become not only somewhat self-sufficient with providing fresh, wholesome, never frozen, by the way, fish into our markets. But also to become eventually a large enough industry that we're exporting seafood again like we were when this country began.

There's a potential here of over 500,000 new jobs to be created, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture statistics, the Secretary of Commerce Gutierrez was just in a meeting with Dr. McKinney and I and others in Washington, saying that this could be a huge new industry for this country; and the Secretary of Commerce is pushing it, the Bush Administration is pushing it, and we're the only ones at this point that has the licenses, permits and the equipment and sites to do Gulf sea farming in the United States, and probably within the territorial waters of the United States.

COMMISSIONER BROWN: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER BIVINS: What name is cobia marketed under, on a retail basis?

MR. ERICSSON: Cobia on the Gulf Coast is very well known as cobia. There are a number of other names for the fish, ling is another one; on the East Coast it's called also I think blackfish. Dr. McKinney would probably tell us a whole lot of the names that we're ‑‑ that cobia come under.

DR. McKINNEY: None other I know of.

MR. ERICSSON: Beg your pardon?

DR. McKINNEY: None other I know of.

MR. ERICSSON: Right. So it's a very popular fish under different names, but I also want you to know that the cobia is a warm-water fish, and that's the reason why it grows so fast. It has a fast metabolism; it converts feed at about 1.5 to 1 ratio; that means if you feed them a pound and a half of feed, it will create a pound of growth. So they're really like little sea pigs.

(Laughter.)

MR. ERICSSON: They actually do have personalities; we have ‑‑ we've grown them in tanks and we've put names on them, because they have, they exhibits personalities in captive systems. But Dr. Lee and I and the university, and now ‑‑ and the NRCC have been involved in developing these guys for a long time. And it's an excellent and exciting situation; I'm a native of Texas from El Campo, Texas, of all places, and here I am, I've been all over the world doing research with Dr. Lee and others, seeing how other people are doing it, and I'm ending up looking at launching a project, the biggest in the United States and possibly one of the most exciting things in the world, just a few miles from my hometown.

So again I appreciate the Texas Parks and Wildlife efforts in working with us on our behalf, and I again endorse these modifications, and I appreciate cooperating with you in any way we can, and we'd love to put a PowerPoint presentation on before you in some future meeting about the whole thing on here.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Commissioner Duggins. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Sir, did you say that you were seeking a 30-year lease from the GLO?

MR. ERICSSON: That's correct.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: If I understand the regulations, the permit though is only ‑‑ has a maximum term of five years. Is that your understanding?

MR. ERICSSON: Yes, sir. The ‑‑ let me say that there are a number of overlapping permitting and leasing issues involved in one doing these projects. The Army Corps permits are issued five years, and they're renewed on a five-year basis; the EPA permits, both Texas' as well as federal, are issued for five years.

Now, the lease issue is subject ‑‑ is just having the land to do the project on. So you can have a 30-year lease but you've still got to renew the ‑‑ all the permits on a more regular basis than that. Either five or more years.

Now, I think our current proposed permit is five years for the Texas Parks and Wildlife permit, which coincides with the federal permitting and the EPA permitting.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: But you're saying you're going to seek a 30-year lease in spite of knowing that your permit from the Department might only be in existence for five years.

MR. ERICSSON: Our experience has been, through the permitting process in both the Florida as well as in Texas, that these permits have been issued and renewed successfully. Now, for two times; three times in one regard, over the last ‑‑ since 1993.

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any other questions?

COMMISSIONER PARKER: One more question. Are you currently producing fish in Florida waters?

MR. ERICSSON: No, we are not producing fish in Florida waters at this time. We have done research, we have research facilities growing fish in Gulf Breeze, Florida, at our marine research facilities, and we have been growing our species of ‑‑ candidate species here in Texas, in Galveston with Dr. Lee at the UTMB facilities.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thanks, Mr. Ericsson.

MR. ERICSSON: Thank you, sir.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Good luck with your venture, it sounds very interesting. Thank you.

MR. ERICSSON: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Motion for approval?

COMMISSIONER FALCON: So move.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Moved by Commissioner Falcon ‑‑

COMMISSIONER BROWN: Second.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: — second by Commissioner Brown. All in favor.

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any opposed?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Hearing none, motion carries. Thanks.

Okay, Item Number 10, Briefing, Coastal Fishing Forecast. Robin Riechers.

MR. RIECHERS: Good morning, Commissioners. For the record, my name is Robin Riechers with the Coastal Fisheries Division. What I'm here to present to you today is kind of a closeout of the year 2007 in regard to fishing activity along the Texas coast, and give you a forecast for the rest of '08 and the beginning of '09. What happened in 2007, well, the first thing that happened in 2007 was, we saw an 11 percent decline in the overall fishing effort along the Texas coast, and we certainly believe fuel prices and a wet, stormy summer had a lot to do with that.

In addition, that led to a 13 percent decline in landings and a 2 percent decline in the overall catch rates of all species along the Texas coast.

When we look at the spotted sea trout in particular, as one of our most sought-after species, we saw a decrease in the landings of, overall, 5 percent. That led to an increase in catch rates though, of 8 percent, so those people who did get out on the water actually caught more per hour of angling than the people who had done so in previous years.

What set the stage for that was our gill net catch rates going into last year were near-record numbers, and they were the highest in the last six years, so the fish were certainly available.

When we look at red drum we see decrease in landings of 24 percent, a greater decrease than you saw in spotted sea trout, and also a decrease in the catch rates of 13 percent. Again, the fish were there, people just weren't able to catch them, and we do believe that that stormy and wet summer had something to do with that.

As we look to southern flounder as one of our other three key species, southern flounder still remain a concern for us on the Texas coast; 2007 landings and abundance trends are at record low levels, and certainly we're looking at those, we're continuing to do our research on that, and we anticipate coming to you with a recommendation for the statewide proclamation next year, in November.

So where does that leave us with our coastal fishing prospects for 2008? We typically base these prospects and forecasts on our spring '07 and fall '07 gill net catches, and we also look at what we're seeing at the angler boat ramps where we do interviews and talking to anglers there.

While all in all spotted sea trout and red drum numbers in all bays will equal or exceed the long term averages, so we certainly believe the fish are going to be available and we're going to have a good year.

When we look at it specifically by region, we see that Sabine Lake, the catch rates in our gill nets for spotted sea trout and red drum are up; I will tell you that facilities and navigation problems still persist from Hurricane Rita, but I'm glad to say that just recently, in visiting with our ecosystem leader over in that area, due to some of the emergency disaster relief funding that we were able to receive from National Marine Fisheries Service, three of the four county boat ramps are now open. That just has recently happened, and that's through joint efforts between us and Jefferson County.

They're still doing some work over there, so it's still going to be a little bit of an inconvenience, but they are up and running, so we're certainly glad to be able to tell you that.

When we look at Galveston Bay, spring gill nets produced the highest spotted seat trout catches in 23 years, and it's kind of interesting; we had certainly a greater potential catch rate or greater catch rates in the Oak Island Trinity Bay area of striped bass last year over in the area; a lot of fish in the 24-inch range of striped bass over there.

I can also tell you that we've off to a big start in 2008, with a real good bull black drum run off the Galveston jetties. So we're certainly exited about that.

When we looked at Matagorda Bay, spring gill nets produced highest level of spotted sea trout ever recorded, and our angler surveys are showing that Atlantic croaker and spike croaker abundance levels are way up; so we expect that we'll have a good fall croaker run, probably like many of you can remember when we had those real excellent runs of the past.

Also, in Matagorda Bay, triple-tail continue to be a species that has a growing following, and certainly we gave that fish, you all gave that fish some protection in 2006, with the three-fish bag limit, so that we could try to up those populations and just recently in a Texas International Oilmen's fishing tournament, a 28-pounder was landed.

When we look at San Antonio Bay, spotted sea trout and red drum gill net catch rates are down from record highs from last year. This was one of the bay systems that was most affected by the heavy rains and flooding that occurred along the Texas coast last year.

But being that we've had two hot years in a row, if the weather cooperates, we expect it to be a really good year. And contrary to the rest of the coast, this is a ‑‑ the San Antonio Bay system, our flounder abundance has actually increased in the net bay system.

Next, we turn to the Coastal Bend. First we'll talk about the Aransas Bay systems, spotted sea trout numbers in gill nets have been increasing dramatically from last year, and red drum abundance increased over last year as well. This also, as many of you remember, is where we have our Redfish Bay State Scientific Area, where we have the protection rule for seagrass; we're certainly glad to report that we're seeing some very exciting signs that that work, at this point in time, and we would just try to remind the public that as they go through those areas and other seagrass meadows on the Texas coast, they remember our motto of, "lift, drift, pole and troll" as you go across those areas.

Next, we'll turn our attention to Corpus Christi Bay. And what we see there is spotted sea trout and red drum catch rates remain stable, but the good news is, they're stable at a very high level. So we're certainly looking forward to good catches there as well, and this is also a bay system where flounder catch rates in our gill nets have been up for the last three years.

As we turn to Upper Laguna Madre and Baffin Bay, this is an area that is always known for large spotted sea trout, and I will tell you that even though we're lowest catch rates in four years for our gill nets, we are again still at very high rates, and the encouraging part about those big fish numbers is, we see about 20 percent of our fish over 24 inches, in that area. So we expect some big fish to come out of that area again, as we typically do.

Red drum catch rates in that area are second highest on record as well. I might also add that there were a lot of catches of Spanish and King mackerel off the Packery Channel jetties last year, and we expect that you would see some of that as well this year.

In the Lower Laguna Madre, our red drum gill net catch rates were near record highs, and our spotted sea trout spring gill nets were higher than last year. And of course, this is the first year we're working under the five-fish spotted sea trout limit under there; we're seeing a lot of fish in the 15- to 17-inch range, and we would expect that the fishing's just going to continue to get better down there with that five-fish bag limit you put into place last year.

In addition in the lower Laguna Madre, anglers have an opportunity to catch some fish you don't necessarily see on other parts of the coast, and they had excellent catches last year of snook, tarpon and mangrove snapper, and with the fairly mild winter we had you would expect to see that again in 2008.

With that, certainly what we would do is invite everyone, all the anglers who don't have a license, go purchase one, and those who do, certainly to come down and take advantage of the outstanding year in 2008 we anticipate having. With that, I'd be happy to answer any questions at this time.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Commissioner Brown.

COMMISSIONER BROWN: Robin, what impact, if any, has the opening of Packery Channel had on the Laguna Madre and that area as far as trout, redfish, red drum?

MR. RIECHERS: Well, as you can see by our gill net catch rates, everything ‑‑ you know, we're at record highs, still. So things are still in good shape there. Now, long-term, obviously there's going to be some flow dynamics that change there, and we're going to be looking at that. But right now, it's provided access for a lot of folks to get to the Gulf a little bit easier and take advantage of some of those resources, and, you know, we'll certainly be continuing to look at just what those impacts are.

COMMISSIONER BROWN: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Robin, how are we doing with the prop scarring in some of the passage areas that we've protected in both the law enforcement standpoint and ‑‑

MR. RIECHERS: Right.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: — just habitat concerns.

MR. RIECHERS: Well, from habitat concerns, we are excited about the early results, but in reality we have one year of results at this point in time. So certainly we expect next year to ‑‑ we did flyovers in March and we'll be analyzing that, and that will give us a lot more information about where we really believe this is heading.

From a law enforcement perspective, I can only speak to ‑‑ Pete's wardens have been doing a great job down there, they have written some tickets, they have made some cases in court, and we're working real closely with them, but it's working out very well so far.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: It's working. Great. Thank you.

Commissioner Parker.

COMMISSIONER PARKER: Robin, do you ‑‑ can you go back to the flounder ‑‑ and speak a little bit more about the flounder issue, where you think we may be going and what we need to do.

MR. RIECHERS: Okay, certainly. You know, flounder's been a concern for a while for us. We've been doing and taking some steps, this Commission has taken some steps; it hasn't turned back the way we would like it to. We did some special studies to look at some of the night time issues regarding flounder over the course of the last year.

And we certainly believe we're going to be starting the stakeholder process this summer, and we hope to come to you in November with what we hope are some solutions and some options that will turn that fishery back around.

COMMISSIONER PARKER: Do you have any numbers right now, that reflect populations?

MR. RIECHERS: Well, again I mean, we do and certainly I can provide those to you, Commissioner Parker. But they're at all time lows. I mean, we haven't seen numbers like we've seen with the flounder population. With the bycatch numbers that we were receiving when we started buy-back programs and those kinds of things, we arrested that downward trend for a while, for a period of years. And we thought it was going to come back up, but now in the last couple, three years it hasn't really turned in the direction we wanted it to turn.

So again, as I indicated, we're going to be here in November, hopefully with some solutions for us, for you all to consider that would turn that fishery around.

COMMISSIONER PARKER: Good.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you. Any questions?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thanks, Robin. Appreciate it. Okay.

Another briefing, Game Warden Training and Officer Safety. Colonel Pete Flores.

COLONEL FLORES: Mr. Chairman, Commissioners, good morning. For the record my name is Peter Flores, Colonel, Game Warden, Parks and Wildlife. The purposes of this briefing this morning are an overview of our comprehensive training program for game wardens in Texas.

Paramount in that training program to us is officer safety. So the purpose of this discussion is to give a brief overview of this very comprehensive program that we have in the division for our game wardens in the field. And to do that I present Major Randy Odom, who's our chief of training for the division.

And Randy, you have the helm.

MAJOR ODOM: Thank you, Colonel. And thank you, Commission. My name is Randy Odom and I serve as the chief of training at the Game Warden Training Academy. And I want to say, I stand before you much hungrier than I was 15 minutes ago, after hearing these colorful and descriptive comments about fish farming. I thought I could suppress that feeling until I heard Mr. Jefferson here call McCormick & Schmidt's and make a lunch reservation, so I think I'll be joining ‑‑

(Laughter.)

MAJOR ODOM: It's great, it's great times to be with Parks and Wildlife. Before I begin, I just want to share with you there are three levels at which we teach and instruct officer safety, three levels of approach.

The first is the mental or the cognitive aspect of officer safety; teaching our officers to recognize and how to process dangerous scenes that they come upon or to process danger; and also process how to react to these dangers.

Secondly we teach them skills. These are manual skills, defensive tactics, the use of the tools on their belts whether it be the OC spray, or their weapon.

Thirdly, we provide safety for our officers by means of the equipment that we issue such as ballistic vests or life jackets. So having said that, we'll begin our presentation and discuss each.

Our defensive tactics training includes use of force. We teach our officers to process use of force, to understand what level of use of force they need to respond with; our officers respond to force levels one step higher than the person that we've contacted.

Our Simunitions Program, let me explain a little bit about it. We call it use of force training. This program we actually use all of the tools that they've been taught to use on their ‑‑ not only on their tool belt but also in their mind.

We do simulated vehicle stops, and in the course of these stops they make a contact, in a scenario situation, and the level of contact by the role players is really motivated by the actions of the officer as they get out, and sometimes they're able to handle that verbally, through taking charge and taking command of a situation.

If they see and evaluate and assess that there's further danger, we teach them to tactically retreat. They go to their midlevel force, which is their OC spray or hand-to-hand kinds of tactics, or if necessary they retreat and take cover.

And in Simunitions, we're very specific in how they use cover, and the commands that they use. At every aspect and at every level of threat force that they have in these scenarios, they're always taught to use verbal commands to try to de-escalate the situation. So I'll tell you that our focus is on that.

We do teach them defensive tactics, as indicated here, and that's hand-to-hand kinds of things, and also tactics of how to escape, and to make distance between the officer and their contact.

Weapons training, we spend a great deal of time on weapons training. That's our handgun is I guess our primary weapon in the sense that it's with us all the time; our long arms when necessary.

Ballistic vests, some of the equipment that we have. I'm proud to say that Captain Kevin Davis, who is the captain in Region 7, was on our staff for five years and he spent 12 months working in conjunction with the Department of Public Safety in identifying what we consider the best vest on the market.

As you know, technology changes daily, and of course in a couple of years it may not be the best; but today I can truthfully stand before you and tell you that it is one of the finest ballistic vests on the market today. We're proud that we issue that to our officers, and as well as the Department of Public Safety.

Our patrol tactics: We teach them patrol tactics both in vehicles and in boats, and I'll discuss boats in just a moment.

We teach them how to approach a vehicle safely; distance between, to watch violators as they exit vehicles; how to handle those violators, and how to assess different aspects of danger that they're posed with. Again, their verbal skills, their primary weapon; I mentioned the sidearm just a while ago; really their primary weapon and their most effective tool is their mind, is their ability to assess and understand and recognize danger.

And we continually, from early on in the academy, run them through these scenarios and evaluate their performance in these scenarios. Spanish, no I don't think that they can speak Spanish as fluently as Mr. Smith did at our graduation ceremony, but we do teach them to recognize dangerous phrases. We do teach them how to communicate on a very basic level with words and phrases.

But more than that, we teach them about the culture. And when dealing with that culture, how not to offend that culture, in ‑‑ as officers, and how not to aggravate a situation by understanding that culture; but also recognizing the dangers, the acts and the words that are spoken that they may begin to recognize, that may be ‑‑ may indicate danger to them and their contact.

Of course, officer safety we address and that's our primary concern, but officer safety is paramount as well as public safety. Safety for themselves is critical for them to be able to serve the public and protect the public.

In water rescue we teach them swimming; part of that swimming is rescue. When we talk about rescue, our first element of rescue is how to save themselves from any assaults that may occur in boats or on the water, or when they're in the process of rescuing someone who may be drowning or in danger, many times, you know, they're grappled, they're pushed under water, and it's how to rescue themselves.

Boat rescues, we teach them how to approach boats safely. And for instance, down on the Border and other tactical boat situations, not just a regular water safety weekend. We teach them various approaches, so we can have high visibility of vessels that we approach, so we can see the occupants, so we can see if there are any firearms or hidden weapons or hidden tools that may be a danger to them. And also to watch the occupants and their behaviors.

Boating patrol tactics I just discussed, vessel operation we just discussed, I just covered; coastal operations are the same. As you well know, there's tremendous traffic coming from below the Border up to the lower coast that provide a lot of danger; there are a lot of weapons that are involved in some of these illegal transports, whether it be drugs or illegal fishing that comes up from the border areas that are of great concern to us, and of great concern for us with regard to officer safety.

Inland operations are equally as important. There's a lot of activity that takes place out on our waters with illegal fishing, and other activities out on the water that's illegal, that poses a great concern to us, and with regard to officer safety.

We teach first aid, CPR, officer assistance; we respond to public assistance; we also work very closely with other agencies. I think it's important from an officer's safety perspective that we know how and when to communicate with other agencies, particularly in these border operations, as most of you are aware of, we work with many agencies, both federal and state.

So communications is essential, and speaking the same language is critical, and so they receive training in how to conduct themselves and how to interact appropriately with other agencies.

And with that, I'll just say that we've been serving Texas since 1895, and proudly do so, and I'll be glad to answer any questions you may have with regard to training and officer safety.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: We're proud of you, and appreciate all that you do. Any questions?

COMMISSIONER MARTIN: I wanted to also personally thank you. The presence and the integrity of your wardens, at least down in the border area, has made a tremendous difference, and the cooperation that you all have with the other agencies has been a tremendous asset to a lot of the landowners in that area. So you're not only enhancing the natural resources in our area, preserving them, but individuals as well. And so I wanted to thank you.

MAJOR ODOM: Well, thank you very much. I appreciate it, Commissioner Martin. And I will say, and proudly so, it's under the leadership of Colonel Flores that we've achieved these tremendous goals, and he's done an outstanding job in securing the funds and the cooperation of other agencies, and it's ‑‑ we appreciate what he does for us, and appreciate what you all do for us as well. Thank you.

COMMISSIONER MARTIN: Job well done.

MAJOR ODOM: Thanks.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thanks. Thank you.

Okay. Briefing Item Number 12, the Chaparral Wildlife Management Area Wildfire.

MR. POLASEK: Good morning, Chairman and Commissioners, my name is Len Polasek and I'm the Region 4 Wildlife Director in South Texas.

This morning myself and Mr. David Synatzske will give you a briefing on the wildfire which occurred on the Chaparral Wildlife Management Area in March of this year.

We're going to start our presentation by showing a video that was produced by the Communications Division as part of their video news release program.

(Playing video.)

MR. POLASEK: We want to thank the Communications Division for that video; I think it really drives home the point. While we're cuing up the slide show, I wanted to point out and set the stage for what occurred that day. And what we need to realize, is the Chaparral WMA is currently at half staff. And was at half staff at the time of the fire. As you were informed yesterday with the survey of organizational excellence, some of the salary issues are making it difficult for us to recruit and retain employees, especially at these remote locations.

We've had a biologist position vacant since November 2006, and two fish and wildlife technician positions have been open on and off since September 2007.

On the day that that predator hunt occurred on March 14, one biologist and one technician, Ms. Marina Rivieccio, and one technician, Robert Campos, were onsite. One of those employees had actually had permission to take annual leave that weekend, but due to the short staff we had to deny that request, and thank goodness we did or the situation could have been much worse, if we had only one employee onsite.

Once the fire actually entered the WMA, other staff members were contacted to assist; this included even the administrative assistant to get onsite and to handle the phone calls and keep us in communication with the fire service and so forth.

We also had a technician who had already rendered his ‑‑ or tendered his resignation, was supposed to leave Parks and Wildlife the following Monday. He came out and worked the entire weekend to help us with that fire.

We had a biologist that had to travel from 90 miles away to assist from the James Daughtrey WMA, and also one of our tech guidance biologists, more than 40 miles away.

So we scrambled as many people as we could to assist.

As a supervisor and a manager, these stressful situations really make you appreciate and make you proud of the very dedicated and hard-working staff that we have in the Wildlife Division.

I would like to read you two email messages that we received after the fire. The first one was from a Mr. Fred Mitchell. He states, "I was in a group selected to participate in a predator hunt March 14-16 at the Chaparral Wildlife Management Area. As you know, a massive wildfire swept the area and cut the hunt short. I would like to comment on the very professional and timely action of one of your wildlife biologists. Marina Rivieccio organized and led our group, and other groups of hunters, out and around the raging wildfire, since the way we came in was now in flames.

"She got us back to the safety of the paved road, 133, and then checked off our names off of the compartment list of hunters to make sure that we were all accounted for.

"You should be proud to have such dedicated and professional employees at the Parks and Wildlife Department."

The second message came from Mr. Daniel Lozano, who was on the video. And he stated, "I was at the Chap, this past weekend when the fire broke out, and was trapped on the ranch for almost an hour. The reason I am emailing is, I would like some sort of commendation given to the brave employees who risked their lives to save ours.

"They actually rescued a few, and then had to go back in and get the rest of us out. I was with a group of 12 still on the ranch, with no idea of how to get off, and there they came and showed a way out.

"I hope you can do something for these great people, or forward this on to someone that can."

We visited with Dr. Berger, our Wildlife Division Director and our Executive Director Carter Smith. And what we did, at our Wildlife Division staff meeting in April, we presented certificates of appreciation to five employees from the Chaparral Wildlife Management Area.

And this was presented for their heroic efforts to protect the public hunters and the state's assets and infrastructure. Those employees were Ms. Marina Rivieccio, Robert Campos, Chris Mostyn, Elena Lopez, and Jorge Urenda. And with that, I'll now turn the presentation over to Mr. David Synatzske, who is our Project Leader for both the Chaparral and James Daughtrey Wildlife Management Areas.

MR. SYNATZSKE: Thank you. Mr. Chairman, members of the Commission, I'm David Synatzske for the record, area Manager of the Chaparral and Daughtrey Wildlife Management Areas.

The Chaparral is a 15,000-acre wildlife management, primarily research and demonstration, area; it was acquired in 1969, and primarily serves purposes of managing from a holistic viewpoint, with ecosystem management in mind, managing basically for diversity of habitats, which result in diversity of wildlife. This photo was taken last year, about this time, following one of the heaviest rainfall years that we probably have had in recent years. This came on top of a two-year drought, immediately prior to that.

Fuel loads as a result of that on ‑‑ introduced grasses which we do not introduce, exotic grasses, I think we saw some demonstrations of that yesterday. Buffalo grass and native grasses, as is illustrated in the lower portion of this slide, fuel loads resultant of those abundant rainfalls, range from about 3,000 pounds per acre to 17,000 pounds per acre.

Average fuel load was 9,000 pounds per acre, which is in that portion of South Texas, virtually unprecedented, as a result of last year's rainfall.

The wildfire actually began to the south of the WMA, which is to the lower portion of this slide. This slide indicates our campground, which is an overflow and an RV campground, the area immediately to the right was an intense white brush thicket that basically was white-ashed out by the fire.

The fire came onto the management area as I mentioned, from the south, jumped a state highway; at that time the major thrust of the fire went to the north. By midnight, that fire had reached the Nueces River, which is approximately 12 miles north of that south boundary road. A secondary jump of the highway occurred on the western portion of the management area, and proceeded north at the same rate; these were very fast-moving fires, conditions at the time that the fires broke out were 7 percent humidity at approximately 5:00 p.m. on that Friday afternoon; 99 degree air temperatures, and southeast winds.

The fires, after proceeding through the major portion of the area in the center, only burned about 25 percent of the management area; the two flanking fires, the blue area and the pink area, were fires that resulted from passage of the fire creeping to the exterior boundaries of the management area.

The fire itself stayed on the property for 24 hours before leaving the property on the western edge; at that time, during that 24-hour period we went through three wind shifts, a rather sudden norther that was forecast came in at 4:00 a.m. on Saturday morning, creating an additional fire that came back down from the Nueces River; and then we had a head fire going to the west that basically turned into ‑‑ or a flanking fire that turned into a head fire as a result of a wind shift that Saturday afternoon late.

I'll flip through some photos of the fire, the main emphasis here is that we had so many different types of fires, that we had some low burn areas; we had some areas that did not burn; we also had some very intensely burned areas.

This photo was taken by the department photographer when Mr. Berger came down Saturday morning, this is looking towards the west; we have a flanking fire here; this is not a head fire, this is simply a flanking fire. You'll note that the wind is from the north direction, which is to the right of the screen.

The reverse side of that shows our western boundary; the fire lanes associated with that boundary, the FM 133, the county road to the south, you'll note that the property on the right side of that to the south was previously burned; that's where the fire came from that jumped onto the management area.

Due to the different levels of fire that we observed on the area we had a patchwork of burns. As you can see from this photograph, there's a lot of road system on the management area; some of which is paved, we have 30 miles of paved roads on the WMA as a result of a TxDOT project, but we've had so much seismic activity through the years that this 15,000-acre property has approximately 250 miles of roads on it.

Entities that were present during the fire, the Texas Forest Service Enforcement Branch was there, our department was there, the truck on the right is a Georgia fire truck, coming down as part of the efforts by the President to recognize the needs of wildfire management in Texas; the lower vehicle is a BLM, Bureau of Land Reclamation vehicle from Carson City, Nevada.

Some of the equipment that they brought with them, some of the personnel that are onsite of the fire, we also had approximately 14 local fire departments that participated in fighting fire activities on the area during the two days on the area and three days of the total fire.

Post-fire photos, this photo was taken two days after the fire departed the area. So because the fire occurred in the spring of the year, we expect the response to be very, very rapid, especially contingent upon the rainfall if we get that, and I'll refer to that in a moment.

Some of the more intense areas, the heaviest fuel loads generally associated with white brush thickets, which is in itself is a very volatile fuel; these are sites that will bear these scars for probably the next 30 or 40 years.

We've skeletonized these trees, lost many of the larger trees, wildlife mortalities, surprisingly, were very light on this fire. A lot of people have called about this, a lot of people have sent emails, but we within the ‑‑ a week of the fire had 25 biologists out on the management area doing some activities.

We took photos of every single wildlife mortality we observed, and I think we accounted for fewer than 40 white tail deer, we accounted for three, I think, horned lizards that we found out on the area; we accounted for a number of snakes, you would expect your reptiles and amphibians to maybe be more susceptible; I'm sure the mortalities on the smaller animals like rats, mice, those species is probably a higher mortality rate than on the larger animals, which because of the nature of the fire, were able to avoid the fire by going around or back through low flame areas.

Wildlife after the fire, we saw a lot of bird use on the area immediately following the fire, this is a hard slide to see but there are a pair of bobwhite quail there; mourning dove came into the wildlife management area very, very quickly, and still are there today, benefiting from the exposed surface area and the seeds that are on the management area.

Obviously we did not lose all of our reptile species.

(Laughter.)

MR. SYNATZSKE: Nor all of our Texas threatened species; we found ‑‑ Mr. Polasek and I were touring the area Saturday morning while the fire was still in progress on the area, and came across four of these in a relatively small area; so ‑‑ we'll be able to monitor that. We've monitored that species on the wildlife management area since 1990, and have over 6,000 recorded observations, and captures of that particular Texas threatened species, so we have a base to build upon.

We did not see the mortality that we expected on white tail deer; as I mentioned we only saw 40 carcasses on the management area. We confirmed that with a helicopter census that followed up on Thursday and Friday; we saw 595 deer, live deer, during that process. That is a deer to 25 acres on this habitat, which is very close to what would be our recommended carrying capacity postseason. So the mortality factors that we observed on white tail deer were really much lighter than we expected. Facilities damage, this is our headquarters complex; you can see the nature of the fires that went around it. Our headquarters complex down where the residences on the right, research building, our shop area, this area was basically saved by the action of the two staff members that were on board; they were in communications with me over the telephone; I was five hours north at a wedding; so they called me and we kept in contact, they backfired that and were able to save the majority of those facilities through those quick actions.

Research building that we lost was approximately seven or eight years old, that's what remains of it, and that site was just cleaned up this past week.

Other losses we had, we had an ADA viewing tower, that had approximately 150-foot ramp, ADA ramp on it; that was lost. We had considerable damage to our water system on the management area, which consists of about 40 to 50 miles of buried water line. I'm sure we'll find needs for those in the future.

Our high fence losses primarily consisted of opening up gaps in the wire due to heat; when these wood and creosote posts, the fence is 25 years old, when these posts catch fire, they burn with such an intense heat that they just melt that high fence wire just like you took a pair of shears to it.

Very minor losses to equipment; had a tire burned off of this particular maintainer ‑‑ tractor; we had a maintainer that lost a tire; our heaviest losses were probably to a couple of trailers that were stored on the area, as well as some of our hunt blinds, youth blinds, we had, as I mentioned, 25 staff there within two days after the fire; the activities that they participated in, and they came from Wildlife Region 4 as well as throughout the state, the other wildlife regions as well.

The primary priorities the first three days were to restore the research integrity to the fence, so that we had ‑‑ could maintain our research integrity to the WMA; also to establish vegetation photo points so that we could immediately respond with monitoring activities and stratify that into burned and unburned sites on the WMA; we did the helicopter census which I mentioned, and I think one thing which you can see here in this photo is the preponderance of prickly pear that we have on the wildlife management area; it is native brush habitat.

That particular species may be one of the most important species we have in South Texas, and as a result it's going to become part of our monitoring process through the years.

The vegetative photo points that we established were established on 48 sites, that we have been collecting data on since 1970; so there is a research base there to build upon; we will do considerable monitoring on prickly pear, since it's a species, if you'll look at the bottom of this photo, you'll see some strips where the undulates have taken ‑‑ deer and javelina have taken their dietary process to the level to where that's their primary food source, immediately following the fire.

Then we have the areas where the pear was burned; it's starting to recuperate already. And some areas, the pear did not burn as much.

On April 11, we had a strategic planning meeting on the Chap to discuss the research potential projects for the area. One that had already been begun was a post-fire white tail deer body condition and food habits study; we did not want to get to the point to where we were causing stress on the animals as a result of dietary needs during that fire.

We, at the same time wanted to monitor the food habits and track what was happening with those species, their primary diet the first two collection periods was prickly pear; I'm sure now they've shifted over to some of the succulent grasses, and some of the forbs that have started to come back in, in response to the rainfall.

Small mammal response to fire is important to us; avian density, neotropical birds as well as the game bird species we have; we want to look at a quail helicopter survey technique. As I mentioned, our first rain after the fire did not occur until the 11th of April. That was about one month post-fire. And within a week, this is what the area looked like, very, very quick response on that red sandy habitat in South Texas.

Two weeks ‑‑ two months post-fire, this is after about an additional four inches of rainfall, I can assure you that this week those same areas probably have jumped another six or eight inches in growth patterns.

We do have some needs. We lost our research building; I suspect due to the heat stress on the high fence we will have to replace that sometime in the future; depending upon how rapidly that fire degrades and rusts down, or the wire degrades and rusts down.

We lost some additional public access infrastructure, ADA viewing tower, hunting blinds, that we estimated cost us about $15,000 to replace. That figure is that low because most of our projects of that nature are taken care of with our prison project; we have eight ongoing TDCJ projects.

Our equipment repair losses were very minor; trailers, tires, signage on the management area, and I would like to also thank all of the participants from the Wildlife Division, the Wildlife Division Austin headquarters staff, and all of the regional staffs have gone out of their way to make forward funding that was available to them and that they saw that we had a greater need at that time.

The manpower, the funding, both of those are things that we could not have done without, within that first week or two after the fire. We've had organizations, conservation organizations, the universities call, ask how they can supply manpower, come down and help out. Adjacent landowners; one adjacent landowner called me and asked me if he could give us some deer to restock; I said, Well, I think we'll wait a while and see. We may actually be wanting to take a few more deer off, based upon the recovery of this habitat.

But most enjoyable of all was hearing from probably 15 or 20 individuals that either contacted us via email or telephone, that were hunters that had participated in the outdoor experience on the Chaparral. And you don't realize that those hunters think much about what you've accomplished, until you hear from them in those times of crisis.

Thank you very much, Commissioners, and I'd entertain any questions you might have.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Was there a ‑‑ thank you for that. That was helpful for us to understand it. Was there a measurable stress, nutritional stress?

MR. SYNATZSKE: Really not. We monitored ‑‑ the deer that we monitored, we started the week ‑‑ within about three weeks after the fire, the food habits indicated that they were feeding primarily on prickly pear, which is a high-energy food; it's not a high-protein diet but it is a high-energy food.

We found that in the fat indicia measurements we took, kidney fat, rump fat, mesenteric fat measurements, body weights, all of those type of things as well as some blood samples and looking at the reproductive condition of those deer, we found that they were in pretty good condition, especially considering that that portion of South Texas is still in a pretty severe drought.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Please convey our appreciation to everyone in the field for their dedication and their care, in dealing with something that was obviously a very difficult event and situation. So we appreciate everything you've done.

MR. SYNATZSKE: Thank you, sir.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you. Okay.

We are onto Item 13, an Action Item, Land Donation, Williamson County, 6.18 Acres at Twin Lakes County. Corky Kuhlmann.

MR. KUHLMANN: For the record, Corky Kuhlmann with the Land Conservation Program. This item is in Williamson County at Twin Lakes County Park. This park is right south of Cedar Park, between Cedar Park and Jollyville. The 70th Legislature of Texas gave us 50 acres donated by TxDOT for use as a county park, by Williamson County. They now wish to donate to us another 6.1 acres of ‑‑ at that site to be leased to Williamson County as part of the county park. As you can see in this frame, it's more or less an inholding in the original 50 acres.

Staff recommends you adopt the motion before you.

COMMISSIONER FALCON: So move.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Do I have a second?

COMMISSIONER PARKER: Second.

COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Motion by Falcon, second by Parker. All those in favor, say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER BIVINS: All opposed, no?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Hearing none, the motion passes. Thank you, Corky. The next item, Land Acquisition in Walker County, Approximately Four Acres at Huntsville State Park. Once again, Corky.

MR. KUHLMANN: Again for the record, Corky Kuhlmann. This is Walker County Huntsville State Park. Huntsville State Park is located right south of Huntsville, on 45, Interstate 45. This item is a four- to five-acre land acquisition. As you can see in the tan, brown line, it is a strip of about 40 foot that runs from the state park to a subdivision, to a lift station, and also to the City of Huntsville utilities.

The purpose of this is for us to hook to municipal utilities, City of Huntsville Water and Wastewater; it's a 40-foot strip, about 4,500 foot long, four to five acres which will be determined by survey. Staff recommends you adopt the motion before you.

COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Okay, we have a motion?

COMMISSIONER PARKER: So move.

COMMISSIONER MARTIN: Second.

COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Motion by Parker, second by Martin. All those in favor, please say aye.

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER BIVINS: All opposed, same sign.

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Hearing none, motion passes.

MR. KUHLMANN: Thanks.

COMMISSIONER BIVINS: Thank you, Corky.

Let's see, moving on, Agenda Item Number 15, Action Item, Pipeline Easement, Orange County, Tony Houseman Wildlife Management Area. Mr. Ted Hollingsworth.

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Chairman, Commissioners, good morning, my name is Ted Hollingsworth. I'm with the Land Conservation Program. This particular item pertains to a request from a company called Denbury to take a 24-inch carbon dioxide gas line across the Tony Houseman Wildlife Management Area.

The line will be shallow, directionally drilled, there will be one exit-entry point inside the WMA; there will be some clearing of vegetation that will take place,

for monitoring equipment for the pipeline; all impacts are considered to be temporary; as you can see, there will be some forested habitat involved and some wetlands involved.

The right-of-way will be adjacent to an existing right-of-way to minimize impacts. Staff is working with representatives of the company on terms and conditions for that pipeline and we're very near an agreement; and with your authorization we'll proceed to take a set of recommendations to the executive director for ‑‑ to give to the GLO, to issue that easement.

I'd be happy to answer any questions you have.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Questions for Ted? Thank you, Ted.

I think we have two people signed up to speak on this. First is Chris Marlow.

MR. MARLOW: Mr. Chairman, if it please the Commission, I'd like to waive my comments and just stand available for questioning.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you.

MR. MARLOW: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Okay. Is Mr. Leonard here, Richard Leonard?

MR. LEONARD: The same. I'll waive my right to speak ‑‑

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Okay. Thank you.

All right, any other questions, discussion?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Motion for approval?

COMMISSIONER BROWN: So move.

COMMISSIONER HIXON: Second.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: We're moved by Commissioner Brown and second by Commissioner Hixon. All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any opposed?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Hearing none, motion carries.

All right. Item 16, Land Acquisition, Brewster County, 20 Acres at Big Bend Ranch State Park. Mr. Ted Hollingsworth.

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Chairman, Commissioners, good morning, my name is Ted Hollingsworth, I'm with the Land Conservation Program. Staff recommends that the Commission authorize the executive director to proceed with the acquisition of a 20-acre inholding, inside the Big Bend Ranch State Park.

It's ‑‑ would be purchased from a willing seller at fair market value; staff feels that acquisition of this inholding would prevent the possibility of some incompatible development inside the state park, and request that you consider this motion.

I'd be happy to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any questions for Ted?

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: So move.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Moved by Commissioner Duggins.

COMMISSIONER BROWN: Second.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Second by Commissioner Brown. All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any opposed?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Hearing none, motion carries.

Ted, you're up. Let me ‑‑ we've moving so quickly, I got to remember where we are, here; 16, Action. Land Acquisition, Brewster County, 20 Acres of Big Bend Ranch State Park. Been there?

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: I can do that one again if you'd like ‑‑

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Land Acquisition, Brewster County, 610 Acres, also at Big Bend Ranch State Park.

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: My name is still Ted Hollingsworth, I'm still with the Land Conservation Program.

(Laughter.)

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: And this is an item to acquire another inholding at Big Bend Ranch State Park, this one being a little bit larger, and being on a paved, public road. Again, there's the potential for a great deal of incompatible development on this site, and staff has negotiated a contract at what we believe to be below fair market value for this particular property, and staff does recommend that the Commission authorize the executive director to proceed with the transaction.

I'd be happy to answer any questions.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Questions? Discussion?

COMMISSIONER DUGGINS: So move.

COMMISSIONER PARKER: Second.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Moved by Commissioner Duggins, second by Commissioner Parker. All in favor?

(A chorus of ayes.)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Any opposed?

(No response.)

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Hearing none, motion carries.

MR. HOLLINGSWORTH: Thank you.

COMMISSIONER FRIEDKIN: Thank you, Ted.

Okay. I think that does it, doesn't it? This Commission has completed its business. I declare us adjourned. Thank you very much.

(Whereupon, at 12:05 p.m., the meeting was adjourned.)

In official recognition hereof, we hereby affix our signatures as approved this

22nd day of May 2008.

______________________________
Peter M. Holt, Chairman

______________________________
T. Dan Friedkin, Vice Chairman

______________________________
Mark E. Bivins, Member

______________________________
J. Robert Brown, Member

______________________________
Ralph H. Duggins, Member

______________________________
Antonio Falcon, M.D., Member

______________________________
Karen J. Hixon, Member

______________________________
Margaret Martin, Member

______________________________
John D. Parker, Member

C E R T I F I C A T E

MEETING OF: Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission
Commission Meeting
LOCATION: Austin, Texas
DATE: May 22, 2008
I do hereby certify that the foregoing pages, numbers 1 through 131, inclusive, are the true, accurate, and complete transcript prepared from the verbal recording made by electronic recording by Penny Bynum before the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.
06/03/08
(Transcriber) (Date)
On the Record Reporting, Inc.
3307 Northland, Suite 315
Austin, Texas 78731


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