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January 2013 Commission Meeting

January 10-11, 2013
Ft Pierre - AmericInn

summary

Division of Administration Audio

Action Items
Approve minutes of the December 2012 meeting
Additional Commissioner Salary Days
License List Requests

  • South Dakota Bowhunters Inc. (SDBI) for list of S.D. archery license holders to send information on annual convention and invitation to the event, seeking nonprofit exception to fee status, approved
  • Delta Waterfowl Foundation for current list of resident and nonresident waterfowl license holders to send information and membership invitation, seeking nonprofit exception to fee status, approved

Information items
License Sales Report

  • Estimates made in advance of 2012 license year were very close to what final numbers will be; very important to have a good prediction of sales when preparing a budget
  • Revenues from fishing license sales helped offset a small decrease in nonresident small game license sales and deer license sales
  • First report of year, 6.5% ahead of same time with fishing license sales and combination license sales ahead of 2012

Department Sponsored Legislation Audio

  • House Bill 1028: Repeal the requirement that a minor be accompanied by an adult while hunting mourning doves; this exception is not a part of other small game hunting and is an anomaly in rules
  • House Bill 1029: Exempt persons hunting mountain lions from the requirement to wear fluorescent orange exterior garments; currently an exception is in place for turkey hunters; at time of year when mountain lion hunting takes place safety is less of an issue
  • House Bill 1030: Authorize the South Dakota Building Authority to finance the construction of a sanitary sewer system at Angostura Recreation Area near Hot Springs for GFP and to declare an emergency; will provide necessary funding to move forward with treatment; will lead to about $1.5 million bonding
  • House Bill 1050 (for Dept of Ag): Authorize the South Dakota Building Authority to finance the construction of a sanitary sewer system at Angostura Recreation Area near Hot Springs for GFP and to declare an emergency;
  • Have heard discussion that may see bill to allow use of leashed dogs to retrieve big game animals; may be couple versions to a bill that would allow party fishing and party hunting of upland game birds; Wildlife Damage Management programs may be part of a look at how to fund these programs; bill to require GFP to pay for access for hunters that use School & Public lands; bill to require a public access easement in order for the public to access public waters that are over private land; bill to require loss of preference points for people who are convicted of illegally taking trophy big game animals; amend definition of off road vehicles to include battery powered vehicles; bill to give authority over nonresident waterfowl licenses to GFP Commission; bill to restrict conservation easements to maximum of 30 years

Agency Review Update Audio

  • Nathan Sanders from Governor's Office updated Commission on agency review process of big game management
  • RFP was published last October and Dec. 31 was the submission deadline
  • Received 4 proposals that will be reviewed by Governor's Office and Governor will select the contractor
  • At March Commission meeting will share recommendation for contractor and request expenditure authority
  • Final report 180 days after start date of contract

Open Forum

  • No speakers

Public Hearing at 2 PM Audio

  • Curt Babler representing the Bighorn Sheep Association in favor of the proposal to auction a bighorn sheep license and hopes to present the auction opportunity at their national convention in late January

Finalizations
Bighorn Sheep Hunting Season Audio

  • Staff recommended change from proposal to change "any bighorn sheep" tag designation to "ram bighorn sheep"
  • Season run from Sept. 1 - Dec. 31
  • Unit 1 (Pennington Co. west of Hwy 79, except Mt Rushmore National Memorial) with 1 license available; and Unit 2 (Custer Co. west of Hwy 79, except Custer State Park, Wind Cave Park, and Jewel Cave Park) with 2 licenses available; one of those 2 licenses will be available for auction and valid in either Unit 1 or Unit 2 pending approval by the Interim Rules Review Committee
  • IRRC meeting is not scheduled until April so will try to organize a meeting of that committee at an earlier convenience; hope is to open auction of the license at national bighorn sheep meeting the end of January
  • Commission motion to approve change from proposal to make license for ram only
  • Commission then finalized the season as amended
Division of Parks and Recreation Audio

Action items
Public Water Safety Zone Proposals

  • Recommended change would repeal current safety zone designated on Helgeson Slough in Clark County, and repeal the current safety zone designated for portions of Rock Creek Game Production Area and East Stink Lake in Marshall County
  • Justification: Department staff has determined these respective public safety zones no longer serve the objective as when initially designated as a safety zone. Islands or shorelines associated with these safety zones where developed and used as Canada goose “feeding sites”. These feeding sites are one tool used to alleviate depredation damage to crops by Canada geese and the safety zones reduced or eliminated disturbance by boaters in these areas to improve the attractiveness of these areas by local Canada geese. Due to recent land use changes and observed behavior of Canada geese, these areas no longer function as a successful management tool as a feeding site. Therefore, these safety zones can be removed on these areas and anglers will benefit from these local fisheries that have recently developed.
  • Add a new safety zone in Charles Mix County to create a "public swim zone" at: waters of Lake Francis Case fronting on that portion of the shoreline of Platte Creek Recreation Area, from a point on the west facing culvert near the road across from the Cabin #2 pull off, extending 140 feet in a north-northwesterly direction to the water's edge, then extending 250 feet along the shoreline in a south-southwesterly direction
  • Justification: A public swimming zone currently does not exist at Platte Creek Recreation Area. Approximately 60,000 visitors come to the recreation area annually, many of which are day users who come to the park specifically to partake in swimming and beach activities. Designation of a zoned swimming beach would increase personal safety for swimmers. Boats and personal watercrafts are prohibited within a public swimming zone. The recreation area has other shoreline that is suitable to meet the needs of boaters.
  • Repeal two safety zones that are "public swimming zones" on Clear Lake: one on the waters fronting on the north shore starting approximately 50 feet south of the cement boat ramp at the Clear Lake Resort and running in a southeasterly direction for approximately 200 feet; and the other on the waters fronting on the east shore starting approximately 150 feet north of the south edge of Clear lake Recreation Area and running northerly approximately 600 feet
  • Justification: Department staff has determined that these respective public safety zones no longer serve the objective as when initially designated as a safety zone. The Clear Lake Resort no longer exists as an operating business and the boat ramp has been removed. The public no longer frequents the area to swim. The Clear Lake Recreation Area has been reclassified as a Lakeside Use Area and the predominant public use is as a boat launch site. The area sees very little swimming activity.
  • Commission proposed these rule changes as recommended by staff

Information items
Campground Reservation System Update

  • Contract to run reservation system was switched to Leisure Interactive last year and new system was implemented in early January 2 at 7:00 a.m.
  • Lawrence & Schiller out of Sioux Falls subcontracts as the call center
  • Received many requests to rent park cabins from ice fishermen
  • Took 1,562 reservations on Jan. 2
  • Jan. 7 started taking lodge reservations and most filled
  • New system has accounted for over $350,000 worth of sales and things have gone well
  • Customers will have more online reservation options and online comment card; will be advertise special events through system; will be able to purchase licenses at both Parks and Wildlife offices and pay by credit card; picnic shelters will go online beginning March 1; parks will be getting mobile application to use within park to sell items so customer doesn't have to make trek to the park office
  • Next big milestone will be February when the 90 day window opens for free park entrance weekend camping, then a week later when Memorial Day weekend opens

Custer State Park Mountain Pine Beetle Update

  • Adam Gahagan, Senior Forester at Custer State Park updated the Commission
  • Work began in Sylvan Lake are and this is still focus of most work
  • Aerial photos show growth of beetle infested trees in wilderness area growing from 2004-2011
  • Efforts have kept infestation outside park boundaries
  • Mortality of trees in Sylvan Lake area was 36 per acre while outside park boundaries it was 178/acre
  • Current estimate 46,000 infested trees
  • Treatments: 50% of trees will be harvested and removed, and 50% will be cut and chunked
  • 5 private contractors will harvest and removed infested trees
  • 3 private contractors will cut and chunk infested trees
  • To date: Marked 28,000 trees on 12,000 acres and treated 7,500 trees
  • Total cost Fiscal Year 2012 $2.2 million; total cost from 2005-2012 over $3.7 million
  • FY12 accomplishments include: Treat approximately 100,000 trees (55,000 cut and removed, 45,000 cut and chunked); thinned 667 acres; prepared 2,500 acres of timber sales
  • Pressure still very intense along north boundary and west boundary
  • Prescribed burn west of airport to cleanup some timber and understory will total around 250 acres

2012 Park Revenue and Visitation Report

  • 6.9 million visitors in 2012 a new record for state park system
  • 270,000 camping units also a new record
  • 2012 Park revenue was up 11.6% over same time in 2011
  • Visitation was up 11%
  • Total Fee Area Camper Units was up 13.4%

Election of 2013 Officers at 4:45 PM Audio

  • Nominate Susie Knippling for Chair; Nominate John Cooper for Vice-Chair
  • Each was elected unanimously
  • Jeff Olson ended his 8-years on the condition and enjoyed for most part, but will not miss having to have discussions almost everywhere he goes; mainly will miss the people he has been able to work with, but will stay active in GFP and spend more time at The Outdoor Campus-West; will miss fellow Commissioner, nothing compares to the honesty and integrity of fellow Commissioners
  • Gary Jensen, Rapid City, replaces Olson and began his service with Commission
Division of Wildlife

Action items
Special Buck Licenses Proposal Audio

  • Recommended changes from 2012 would: 1 - limit an individual to either an East River Special Buck or a West River Special Buck license in any given year; and 2 - Special Buck license allocations will be based on a percentage of the current year license allocation of resident licenses including an "any deer" tag for the West River and East River deer seasons adopted as a proposal by the Commission. West River allocations for both residents and nonresident will be 4% of the total resident licenses which include an “any deer” tag. East River allocations for residents will be 3% of the total resident license allocation including an "any deer" tag.
  • These licenses are part of the East River and West River Deer seasons; single tag "any deer" license that is valid any where within that season open to hunting, but on private land only
  • Evaluation of these licenses included a look at timing of when proposal for license numbers is made; best method for linking license allocations to the respective seasons; and the type of licenses that are issued
  • From this came recommendation to use percentages based on current license allocations of licenses that include an "any deer" tag; suggested 4% for West River Deer as the best fit because that would be near 500 level last couple of years; the same was true using 3% as the level to determine East River Special Buck license allocation
  • Special Buck application will still be issued early and deadline will still be mid to late April, but the license number will not be set; in June the license numbers would be finalized and made available to Special Buck seasons; drawing for license holders would be held immediately after May Commission meeting so would only be a few days later than current schedule
  • Currently residents can draw both an East River and West River license in the same year; as demand for these licenses increases this allocation becomes a factor as well; last year 223 applied for both, and 61 received both; staff recommendation is to limit an individual to one or the other, but not both
  • Have a survey that has been sent out to 1,574 applicants from 2010-12 on how they view having one or both license and which license would be their preference
  • West River Deer 10-year average 553 and East River 790 (if East River at 3% would be 593)
  • If took 5 year average would be 553 for West River, 757 for East River
    Audio
  • Base proposal on a 5 year average of licenses with an “any deer” tag available, with 4% for West River and 3% for East River
  • WR allocation would be 553 for both residents and nonresidents and resident ER allocation would be 568
  • Motion to make proposal either a WR Special Buck or ER Special Buck, but not both; WR Special Buck allocation based on 4% of previous year allocation and ER Special Buck 4% of previous year
  • 461 for WR and 687 for ER allocations
  • Commission approved proposal on a 6-1 vote

Waterfowl Refuges Proposal Audio

  • Recommended change would remove the North Shore State Waterfowl Refuge on Lake Oahe
  • The North Shore State Waterfowl Refuge comprises an area on Lake Sharpe enclosed by a line beginning at the Corps of Engineers take line and the south section line of section 36, township 108 north, range 73 west of the fifth principal meridian, Buffalo County; then northerly along the Corps of Engineers take line to the north section line of section 24, township 108 north, range 73 west, Buffalo County; then west along the section line to the water's edge; then southerly along the water's edge to the south section line of section 35, township 108 north, range 73 west; then east along the section line to the point of beginning
  • Department staff has determined the North Shore State Waterfowl Refuge along the Missouri River in Buffalo County no longer meets its objective as when initially designated as a waterfowl refuge. The North Shore State Waterfowl Refuge is the only take line waterfowl refuge on the Missouri River that does not also include a water line waterfowl refuge. Without a water line waterfowl refuge in place, hunters can already legally hunt the bays within the refuge. Therefore, a take line waterfowl refuge is not necessary. There is currently no access to the refuge, other than by boat. Therefore, by removing this take line refuge it will likely not increase the hunting pressure by pass shooters. While the use of this area is expected to be minimal, this would open up additional public hunting opportunities for waterfowl hunters. Adjacent landowner is supportive of this recommendation
  • Commission proposed these rule changes as recommended

Information items
Web-based developer's tool Audio

  • Crucial Habitat Assessment Tool
  • Effort to identify migration corridors and crucial habitats to preserve crucial lands across the west
  • Want to integrate wildlife concerns into development plans for large-scale projects, in particular energy projects
  • These tools do not replace on-ground evaluations and consultation with state agencies
  • Tools developed for each state, as well as one for all of western United States
  • Identify large intact blocks and corridors of land; species and habitats of concern; terrestrial game and sport fish needs; and crucial habitat roll-up to put all these aspects together
  • South Dakota worked on project with Nebraska and North Dakota to look at impacts of wind energy development
  • Still early in process; have draft models and will incorporate more species; will make information available in 2013; continue to update models and website

Ice fishing access program Audio

  • Maintain access on nearly 100 sites in 31 counties with snow removal on roads, ramps and lakes
  • Include 93 sites; 84 sites maintained by Parks Division
  • Working on an interactive map for website that will show sites and give updated information on condition

2012 fish hatcheries report

  • 267 waters stocked in 2012; 11 species and over 60.2 million fish and 6.8 million perch eggs; 15 species trapped and transferred including 195,000 fish and 34 million perch eggs
  • Walleye stocking from hatcheries in 80 waters, 3.8 million fry raised in Blue Dog Hatchery ponds and result in 1.56 million fingerlings across state along with 50.65 million fry
  • Trap and transfer involved 14 different species and 194,700 fish; also take perch eggs which are already fertilized and move 34.1 million to other waters so do not have to go through a hatchery
  • 221,800 chinook salmon stocked in Lake Oahe; 228,700 catchable trout stocked in different waters
  • New for 2013 is a water heating system that is enhancing production at Blue Dog and will produce larger fish to stock in urban fisheries and in public waters that might need a jump start for the fishery
  • 2013 stocking schedule is in place and can be adapted if there is a change in water conditions, winter kill, ability to take eggs in the spring, and new opportunities for stock

East river bobcat hunting/trapping season report Audio

  • Harvested total of 33 bobcats (12 males, 21 females)
  • Brule Co. = 6; Charles Mix = 14; Bon Homme = 6; and Yankton = 7
  • Will study the bobcat carcasses and survey reports to research season recommendation for next year

2012-13 Mountain Lion Hunting Season update

  • As of Dec. 26 there were 46 mountain lions available for harvest with 31 of those adults; 29 were females and 17 males; hunter return on collared lions is important research information
  • Harvested 13 lions between Dec. 26-31
  • Currently at 21 total harvest
  • Have 3751 licenses sold so far, which is near total for 2012
  • Have harvested 11 females
  • Two of lions that have been harvested were collared
  • For 2012 total mortalities; harvest mortality was 90 (73 from 2012 season, 13 from 2013 season, and 4 landowner taken); and total mortality was 122

Marcotte Contract with City of Sturgis Audio

  • Sale of 61 acre Game Production Area on edge of Sturgis City limits and city has identified the areas as a parks and recreation area
  • Agreement has been finalized in the past few weeks and entered into a contract for deed; 10% downpayement received from city and final payment in July 2015

Wind Cave elk movement

  • Plan to herd out of Wind Cave and into Custer State Park and Unit 3 elk area
  • Experiment on move elk by horseback from NE corner of Wind Cave; herd of approximately 200 elk tried to move north and moved to a certain degree, but many of the elk did not want to move; move a group of about 14 through on drop gate, and another group got to the gate and then turned back
  • Exercise was meant to see how elk would react and returned quite a bit on how to move forward, including use of helicopter to herd elk

Open houses planned for 2013 Audio

  • Division of Wildlife will be hosting open houses around the state giving citizens a chance to interact with staff, hear presentations, and share concerns and ideas; open houses allow public to come and go by their schedule
  • Plan to host 5-6 events in each of four regions of state
  • Focus on many topics, big game management one of the main issues
  • Each region has a Regional Advisory Panel that meets 3-4 times throughout the year

Division of Wildlife annual report

  • Just completed Division annual report; private lands activity report; Wildlife Damage Management report; and Law Enforcement report
  • Information available to Commission, legislators, and available on website to public
  • Gives summary of many of Division's activities over the past year