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Board Meeting Minutes

FINAL MINUTES  
(APPROVED AT THE AUGUST 21, 2003, MEETING OF THE BOARD OF GAME & INLAND FISHERIES)

BOARD OF GAME AND INLAND FISHERIES MEETING
4000 WEST BROAD STREET
RICHMOND, VIRGINIA 

JUNE 27, 2003, 9:00 A.M.

PRESENT:  Charles McDaniel, Chairman, Dan Hoffler, Jimmy Dean, Richard Railey, Jr., Will McNeely, Sherry Crumley, Charles H. Cunningham; ABSENT:  Jack T. Shoosmith (personal illness), Richard L. Corrigan (schedule conflict), Dan R. McCoy, (son’s illness), Cecil T. Campbell (schedule conflict).  LEGAL COUNSEL:  Roger Chaffe; DIRECTOR:  William L. Woodfin, Jr., SENIOR STAFF:  Raymond E. Davis, Gary F. Martel, Robert W. Duncan, Jeff Uerz, Herb Foster, David Whitehurst, Charlie Sledd 

Chairman McDaniel called the meeting to order at 9:00 a.m. and Jeff Uerz was requested to lead the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag. 

In open session at 9:03 a.m., Sherry Crumley, moved, seconded by Mr. Cunningham, passed unanimously that the Board go into a closed session pursuant to § 2.2-3711.A.1 of the Code of Virginia for discussion or consideration of employment, assignment, appointment, promotion, performance, demotion, salaries, disciplining, or resignation of specific public officers, appointees or employees of the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, specifically regarding the Board’s annual evaluation of the performance of the Director. 

In open session at 9:25 a.m., Ms. Crumley certified, seconded by Mr. Railey, passed unanimously that whereas the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries had convened a closed meeting on this date pursuant to an affirmative recorded vote and in accordance with the provisions of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, and whereas § 2.2-3712.D of the Code requires a certification by this Board that such closed meeting was conducted in conformity with Virginia law, now, therefore, be it resolved that the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries hereby certifies that (i) to the best of each member’s knowledge, only public business matters lawfully exempted from open meeting requirements by Virginia law were discussed in the closed meeting to which this certification resolution applies, and (ii) only such public business matters as were identified in the motion convening the closed meeting were heard, discussed or considered by the Board. 

Mr. McNeely moved, seconded by Ms. Crumley, passed unanimously that the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries authorize a bonus of the maximum allowed by law for the Director, based on this past year’s performance.  This bonus shall be paid during the first full pay period of fiscal year 2004 (beginning July 1, 2003). 

Public Comments, Non-Agenda Items:  Ms. Dale Taylor, Beaverdam, Virginia, on behalf of the Virginia Watchdog, distributed a handout to the Board (a copy was not provided to the record keeper for the official record), and indicated that under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, she had acquired a copy of the recorded October 24, 2002 meeting of the Board where the Board authorized the Department to allow VIPNet to conduct on-line transactions (boat registration renewals).  VIPNet creates an electronic database from on-line transactions and it can subsequently sell that information to others when requested for marketing purposes.  The Virginia Watchdog opposes the sale of that information as well as possible access to such information on the worldwide web. 

The Board practices a three and five-minute time rule to insure that everyone interested in approaching the Board with concerns is provided equal access. When reminded that her allotted time had expired, Ms. Taylor abruptly left the meeting.  

RECOGNITION OF EMPLOYEES AND OTHERS:  Charlie Sledd was recognized.  Julia Dixon Smith and Becky Wajda were recognized for receiving the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) winner’s circle awards of excellence for two communication campaigns they developed on the snakehead fish and the zebra mussel.   

Colonel Herb Foster recognized Major Terry Bradbery, the recipient of the Darrell Holt Memorial Award at the recent 2003 International Hunter Education Association (IHEA) conference.  Major Bradbery was recognized for his outstanding work in enhancing hunter education in Virginia.  Major Bradbery also serves on the Holiday Lake 4-H Education Center Board of Directors. 

Volunteer Hunter Education Instructors John W. Dodson and Dr. William E. Nichols were recognized for their outstanding work when they received Hall of Fame awards from the International Hunter Education Association. 

The Board asked and was informed that Lieutenant Ron Henry is home and recuperating from serious injuries suffered when he was intentionally struck by an ATV being operated by a juvenile. 

Minutes of the May 1, 2003 Meeting.  The minutes of the May 1, 2003 meeting were provided to the Board with their briefing materials.  Chairman McDaniel called for any additions or corrections to the minutes.  As there was none, Mr. Railey moved, seconded by Mr. McNeely, passed unanimously that the minutes be approved as written. 

Agency 2003-2004 Budget:  Using Power Point, Director Woodfin presented the agency’s proposed operating and capital budgets.  The Department’s operating budget cannot exceed the legislative appropriation for FY 04, which is $41 million.  The capital budget is approximately $4 million.   The Department’s maximum employment level is 472.  Also, the Department’s rule is that personnel costs should not exceed 65% of the total operating costs (FY 04 is 63%) and it maintains the Board’s, by policy, required operating reserve of $4 million.  Central services costs are $1 million plus. 

With the Department’s Mission Statement and budget principles serving as a guide, the budget is developed in four functional areas:  Wildlife Associated and Boating Outdoor Recreation, Wildlife Associated and Boating Outdoor Education, Environmental Diversity, and Administration.  The proposed budget for FY 2004 amounted to a total of $44.9 million, composed of $18.4 million from license revenue, $10.9 million in federal funds, $5.3 million in boat revenue and $10.3 million from other sources.  

For the record, Director Woodfin reminded the Board that the Budget Bill overrides all other state law.  As a result of the state’s budget deficit, the Department received a revenue reduction in the 2003 budget bill by $4.9 million ($3.2 million from the watercraft sales and use tax and $1.7 from HB 38 funds, thus the proposed budget recommendations reflect work being cut in areas that have traditionally been funded from these revenue sources. 

The differences in the FY03 and FY 04 budgets are:  eliminate enforcement continuing education, enforcement firearms training is reduced from four to three times per year, the long-term bear and grouse research projects have ended, the Wildlife Division will be reorganized, no major IT programs are planned due to the VITA transformation, development of a point-of-sale license delivery system has been eliminated, the Vinton District Office was closed, fish hatcheries have been closed to public visitation, the Department is reevaluating its regional office structure (considering moving Ashland employees to Richmond), surplus the Department’s airplanes, reductions in the boating recreation program, reductions in boating access facility maintenance and improvements, wage positions reduced by 90%, the hunting and fishing laws digests have been changed, the shad reintroduction work into the Rappahannock River system has expanded, the addition of an introduction of fishing into school physical education programs, development of a comprehensive wildlife conservation plan, and strategy for incorporating new federal funding into existing programs (Wildlife Conservation and Restoration Program, WCRP, State Wildlife Grants, SWG, and the Landowner Incentive Program, LIP).   

The budget anticipates a salary increase for employees.  This is a balanced budget, and if new initiatives are planned, adjustments will be required.  The agency’s revenue fluctuates with license agent reporting periods.  Director Woodfin indicated that one full-time employee is dedicated to looking for and acquiring new grant funding sources. 

Major capital projects included in this budget include the construction of wildlife resource centers on existing wildlife management areas, continued renovations for the King and Queen Hatchery, construction of the Marion Regional Office, and additional development of rifle ranges on department-owned lands.  Boat access site development will only occur when an outside entity provides 25% match funding.  The agency continues to look for opportunities to own its own regional office facilities.  Chairman McDaniel noted for the record that the capital needs of the agency are paramount. 

Because of the reduction in the part time work force, the agency has implemented temporary boat registration decals to allow owners to continue to use their boats while they are waiting for their renewals from the Department. 

At the conclusion of Director Woodfin’s budget presentation at 10:45 a.m., Chairman McDaniel called for a break.  The meeting reconvened at 10:55 a.m. and the Board discussed the proposed budget.   

Director Woodfin notified the Board that the agency is working with Mike Ellerbrock, an economist with Virginia Tech’s Extension Program, to identify work being performed by the agency for which no identified revenue sources are provided. 

Upon completion of its discussion of the budget, Chairman McDaniel called for a motion.  Ms. Crumley moved, seconded by Mr. Hoffler, passed unanimously, that the budget be approved as proposed.   

Webless Migratory Game Bird Seasons:  Bob Duncan presented the following framework and staff recommendations for webless migratory game bird seasons.  He noted for the record that the final framework would not be available until late August.   Based on this, the Board authorized staff to adjust the approved seasons, as needed, to meet framework requirements.   Except as noted, shooting hours are between one-half hour before sunrise to sunset in both the federal framework and seasons recommended by staff. 

FEDERAL FRAMEWORK:  The federal outside season dates for dove are September 1, 2003 through January 15, 2004, with two available options for season length and bag limits.  Option A offers a season of not more than 70 days, with a bag limit of 12 daily, 24 in possession.  Option B offers a season of not more than 60 days, with a bag limit of 15, 30 in possession.  

Rails:  The outside season dates for rail are September 1, 2003 through January 20, 2004, with a season of not more than 70 days, straight or in two segments.  The bag limit for clapper/king rail is 15 daily, 30 in possession, sora/Virginia, 25 daily, 25 in possession.   

Woodcock:  The outside season dates are October 1, 2003 through January 31, 2004, with a season of not more than 30 days, straight or in two segments.  The bag limit is 3 daily, 6 in possession. 

Common Snipe:  The outside season dates are September 1, 2003 thorough January 31, 2004, with a season of not more than 107 days, straight or in two segments.  The bag limit is 8 daily, 16 in possession. 

Canada Goose:  The outside season dates for resident Canada goose are September 1- 25, 2003, with a bag limit of 8, 16 in possession. 

September Teal Season:  The outside dates are September 1-30, 2003, with a season up to nine days.  The bag limit is 4 daily, 8 in possession (only Blue winged and Green-winged teal). 

Falconry:  The outside season dates are September 1, 2003 thorough March 10, 2004, with a season of not more than 107 days on any species (firearms and falconry combined).  The bag limit is 3, 6 in possession.   

STAFF RECOMMENDATIONS-Dove:  Staff recommended Option A, a 70 days season split into three segments:  September 1 through September 27, 2003, October 8 through November 8, 2003 and December 31, 2003 through January 10, 2004.  The bag limit is 12 daily, 24 in possession.  Shooting hours are noon until sunset during the first segment. 

Rails:  (Clapper, King, Sora and Virginia):  Staff recommended season dates of September 10 through November 18, 2003, with a bag limit of 15 counted together daily, 30 in possession for Clapper and King rail.  The bag limit for Sora and Virginia rail is 25 counted together daily, 25 in possession. 

Woodcock:  A two-segment, 30-day season was recommended (November 1-15, 2003 and December 20, 2003 through January 3, 2004).  The bag limit is 3 daily, 6 in possession. 

Common Snipe:  Staff recommended a two-segment season (October 8-11, 2003 and October 21, 2003 thorough January 31, 2004.  The bag limit is 8, 16 in possession. 

Canada Goose:  Season dates recommended are September 1-25, 2003, with a bag limit of 5, 10 in possession, statewide. 

September Teal:  Season dates recommended are September 13-23, 2003, East of I-95.  The bag limit is 4 daily, 8 in possession, any combination of Blue-winged and Green-winged teal. 

Falconry:  Dove:  September 1 through November 8, 2003.  December 11, 2003 through January 17, 2004.  Rail:  September 10, 2003 through November 18, 2003.  Woodcock:  October 29, 2003 through February 1, 2004. Snipe:  October 8-11, 2003 and October 21, 2003 through January 31, 2004.  Goose:  September 1-25, 2003.  Teal:  September 13-23, 2003 (east of I-95 only). 

An opportunity was provided for the Board to discuss the recommended webless migratory game bird seasons.  Malcolm Wells, Richmond Dove Club, was unable to stay for the full meeting, but he indicated that the club supported staff recommendations for dove seasons.  As there were no other public requests received to comment, Chairman McDaniel called for a motion.  Mr. Cunningham moved, seconded by Mr. Railey, passed unanimously, that staff recommendations for webless migratory game bird seasons and bag limits be approved. 

Importation, Possession and Sale of Non-Native (Exotic) Animals:  David Whitehurst presented a proposal to the Board to amend 4 VAC 15-30-40 to limit the importation, possession and sale of all rodent species native to Africa by adding them to the Department’s list of predatory and undesirable non-native (exotic) animals. Persons currently in possession of these species would be required to obtain a permit to maintain them in captivity, and they would not be able to sell them without a permit.  After the effective date of the amended regulation, captive African rodents cannot be transferred from one person to another unless the recipient obtains a permit.  The proposed amendment would remove prairie dogs and all African rodents from the exception that allows certain non-native mammals to be imported into the Commonwealth under license or registration from the U. S. Department of Agriculture, without a permit from the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.   

Prairie dogs and African rodent species were recently implicated in the United States with the transmission of the monkeypox virus to humans.  The Virginia Department of Health is concerned that the virus could be spread further, and due to these disease concerns, the Board was asked to approved the proposed regulation, to establish a 30-day public comment period for the proposed regulation to end July 26, 2003, to delegate to the Director, without further Board action, per § 29.1-103.12 of the Code of Virginia, the authority to adopt the amendment in final form, with any changes deemed appropriate at the completion of the public comment period, and direct that the final regulation amendment be made effective immediately upon its filing with the Registration of Regulations, the first business day after July 26, 2003. 

Dr. Suzanne Jenkins, Virginia Department of Health, spoke in support of the proposed regulation amendment and action due to the public health implications and a potential risk to native wildlife populations.   

Ms. Crumley moved, seconded by Mr. Hoffler, passed unanimously, that a proposed amendment to 4 VAC 15-30-40 be advertised for 30-days, and at the end of that 30-day period, the proposed amendment will be changed as necessary, and filed with the Registrar of Regulations, to be effective immediately upon filing.   

Director’s Report:  Director Woodfin recognized Catherine Slusser, from the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (DHR).   He indicated that DHR would like to nominate a site located on the department-owned Lands End Wildlife Management Area for inclusion in the Virginia Register for Historic Sites.   

Ms. Slusser presented DHR’s proposal to expand from 6 to 15 acres, a site located on the Lands End Wildlife Management Area for listing in the historic register.  This site is known as the Nanzattico Indian Village at the Lands End Wildlife Management Area located in King George County. The Board of Historic Resources has approved this listing, pending the approval of the Board of Game and Inland Fisheries.  Ms. Slusser reported that listing this property in the historic register will not impact the Department’s ability to own or manage this property. 

Ms. Crumley moved, seconded by Mr. Hoffler, passed unanimously, that the Department of Historic Resources be allowed to list in the Virginia Landmarks Register, an area located on the Lands End Wildlife Management Area known as the Nanzattico Indian Village.   

Mr. Woodfin reminded the Board that tickets will be available for any members interested in attending the Virginia Outdoors Sportsman Show being held at The Showplace in Richmond, Virginia August 8-10, 2003.    

Director Woodfin thanked the Board for the Vic Thomas retirement event that was attended by the Governor, members of the legislature and agency constituent group representatives.  Delegate Thomas appreciated the recognition.    

Governor Warner recently held a bill-signing event for Hunters for the Hungry that will provide for a $2.00 voluntary donation to the Hunters for the Hungry by purchasers of hunting licenses.   

Virgil Kopf presented a demonstration of an on-line system to purchase a hunting license.  This system is offered through VIPNet, and an additional fee will be charged by VIPNet to users of this system when they purchase their licenses.  Mr. Woodfin noted that information obtained from individuals purchasing licenses on-line will be available to the public under the state’s Freedom of Information Act via a database being created by VIPNet.  Once the purchaser’s requested information is provided and verified, they will be able to print their license.  Security measures will be in place for users of this system and the state’s privacy act requirements are being enforced.  The Board did not object to implementing this on-line ability to purchase hunting and fishing licenses. 

A bear carved from wood by children, under the supervision of a local artist, Willy Wilmoth, was shown to the Board.  The carving was taken to sportsmen and outdoor education events being attended by children, and they were provided an opportunity to participate in the carving.   

Mr. Hoffler was recognized.  He noted that Charles McDaniel’s term expires June 30, 2003, and he is ineligible for reappointment, having served nine plus years on the Board.  Mr. Hoffler presented Mr. McDaniel a plaque expressing the Department and Board’s appreciation to him for his dedicated services to the state’s sportsmen and the many accomplishments of the Board under his leadership.  Mr. McDaniel served as the Board chairman for four years.  A plaque was also presented to him recognizing his service to the Board as its chairman.   

Mr. McDaniel thanked the Board.  He then passed the Chairman’s Gavel to Dan Hoffler, the incoming Board Chairman. 

Adjournment.  Mr. McDaniel announced that the Board planned to tour the recently acquired 4016 West Broad Street office building.  Lunch was being provided when the tour was completed.  The Chairman adjourned the meeting at 12:15 p.m.

                                                                        Respectfully submitted, 

                                                                        Belle Harding
                                                                        Secretary to the Director

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