UPDATED: July 3, 2003
MINUTES OF 18 JUNE 2003 STATE GAME COMMISSION MEETING.
Minutes will be adopted in final form at the next scheduled Commission Meeting.
NEW MEXICO STATE GAME COMMISSION
Santa Fe, New Mexico 87501
June 18, 2003
9:00 am 5:00 pm
AGENDA ITEM NO. 1 Meeting Called to Order
The meeting was called to order at 9:16 am by Chairman Arvas.
AGENDA ITEM NO. 2 Roll Call
Director Thompson called roll:
Commissioner David Henderson - Present
Commissioner Alfredo Montoya - Present
Commissioner Jennifer Montoya - Present
Commissioner Peter Pino - Present
Commissioner Guy Riordan - Absent
Commissioner Leo Sims - Absent
Chairman Tom Arvas - Present
Director Thompson stated that there is a quorum.
AGENDA ITEM NO. 3 Introduction of Guests
Chairman Arvas requested members of the audience introduce themselves.
Guests and staff introduced themselves.
Chairman Arvas asked Director Thompson to recognize Roberta Henry, Glenn Case and Steve Henry for all they have done for the Department of Game and Fish and this is their last Commission meeting as employees of the Department
AGENDA ITEM NO. 4 Approval of Minutes (May 16, 2003)
MOTION: Commissioner Jennifer Montoya moved to accept the minutes as presented. Commissioner Pino seconded motion.
VOTE: Voice call vote taken. All present voted in the affirmative. Motion carried.
Chairman Arvas recognized that Commissioner Sims has arrived and is now present at the meeting 9:25 am.
AGENDA ITEM NO. 5 Approval of Agenda (June 18, 2003)
MOTION: Commissioner Pino moved to accept the agenda as presented. Commissioner Henderson seconded the motion. VOTE: Voice call vote taken. All present voted in the affirmative. Motion carried.
AGENDA ITEM NO. 6 Revocation Status of Jeffrey Miller
Presented by Dan Brooks The State Game Commission asked for a complete review of the Jeffrey Miller Revocation Case #274. Included in this agenda item are the complete evidence and transcription of the case for consideration. Upon review of the case, it was found that the Department recommended mitigating circumstances, however the Hearing Officer failed to note this on his report. Because of Commission direction the record was transcribed and the Hearing Officer was asked to reconsider the case of Jeffrey Miller. The Department is bringing forth the Hearing Officer’s recommendation that the Commission take no action on this matter.
Commissioner Sims asked for clarification on whether or not Jeffrey Miller has hunted or fished for the past three years. Dan Brooks stated that he has held licenses, but has done so in a lawful manner. Commissioner Pino asks for clarification on the recommendation. Dan Brooks stated the hearing officer amended the original recommendation to state that he recommends no revocation for Jeffrey Miller.
MOTION: Commissioner Alfredo Montoya moves to adopt the hearing officer’s recommendation and take no action against Mr. Miller’s hunting, fishing and trapping privileges. Commissioner Pino seconds the motion. VOTE: Voice call vote taken. All present voted in the affirmative. Motion carried unanimously.
AGENDA ITEM NO. 7 Consent Agenda
Presented by Dan Brooks The Department provided a list of candidates for revocation consideration by the commission from the current criteria.
MOTION: Commissioner Henderson moves to adopt the Department’s or Hearing Officer’s recommendations on revocation and point assessment of the attached list of individuals for the period of time specified. Commissioner Sims seconded the motion. VOTE: Voice call vote taken. All present voted in the affirmative. Motion carried unanimously.
Presented by Pat Block The Department requested State Game Commission approval to dispose of fixed assets that are no longer cost effective to maintain. The items include pickup trucks, heavy equipment and other items. This request is made in accordance with 13-6-1 (Sale of Public Property) of the New Mexico Statutes (Sale of Public Property). This section of law requires that an agency’s governing body approve the disposal of personal property prior to the disposing of the items. If the Commission approves this request, the mobile homes will be sold at the state’s annual surplus property auction to be held at the State Police Complex on Saturday, July 19, 2003.
MOTION: Commissioner Jennifer Montoya moves that the Commission approve the Department’s request to dispose of the fixed assets covered in this agenda item. Commissioner Sims seconded the motion. VOTE: Voice call vote taken. All present voted in the affirmative. Motion carried unanimously.
AGENDA ITEM NO. 8 Denial of Importation Permit by Lanny Corter
Presented by Dan Brooks Stated that the Department was prepared to present this, but Dan Brooks received a letter from Lanny Corter stating that he wanted to withdraw his request for the appeal, so this matter is closed. Chairman Arvas stated that this was a satisfactory report. Dan Brooks also stated that the coatimundi was returned to the out-of-state source where it came from and has not been in the state for 2 months.
Director Thompson explains to the public that the “Speaker Card” is being re-instated. He explained that people would be allowed to speak even if they did not fill out a card.
AGENDA ITEM NO. 9 Hearing of Appeal of Denied Importation Privileges for Trophy Fish Ranch
Presented by Mike Sloane Trophy Fish Ranch applied for approval to import salmonid fishes (trout) into the State of New Mexico. The Fisheries Management Division reviewed the application and denied the request based on the immediate potential of the fish to carry whirling disease (126.96.36.199 G NMAC). The initial denial was based on a fish health report that indicated the use of stream water for rearing fish. Analysis showed that the stream in question was the Fremont River and it is known to be whirling disease positive. Subsequent to the denial, the Utah Department of Agriculture and Trophy Fish Ranch stated that the source was a spring that flowed to the rearing units across a “bit of pasture”. Fisheries issued a second denial based on the fact that the water source is an open spring flowing through a pasture and into earthen rearing units seventy-five (75) feet from the Fremont River. The system, as designed, has the immediate potential to carry the causative agent for whirling disease and to pass that potential to fish.
The Commission may overturn the Department’s denial based on the following 188.8.131.52 G NMAC : The Commission may set aside the decision of the Department only if:
i. The Commission determines that the decision of the Department was arbitrary or capricious;
ii. The decision of the Department was not based on law or regulation;
iii. The appellant provides additional data or proves significant impact that contradicts the data of the department.
Commissioner Henderson asks about the tests. He asks if the Department ever does it’s own follow-up tests. Mike Sloane stated no since these are out-of-state and we would have to travel.
John Dimas states he is opposed to introducing non-native species because there is no liability to the importer and if there is a disease the public will be the ones who pay for it.
MOTION: Commissioner Pino moves to support the Department’s denial of importation privileges for Trophy Fish Ranch pursuant to 184.108.40.206 G NMAC. Commissioner Sims seconded the motion. VOTE: Voice call vote taken. All present voted in the affirmative. Motion carried unanimously.
AGENDA ITEM NO. 10 Proposed Shooting Preserve, Luna County
Presented by Pat Baca The Valley Game Birds of Mimbres, NM, is applying for a shooting preserve license in accordance to 17-3-35 through 17-3-42, NMSA, 1978 Compilation (Regulated Shooting Preserve Act) and 19.35.3 NMAC, Shooting Preserves. The property manager intends to release pheasants and chukars onto the preserve if approved. The SW Area personnel have inspected the property as per the application and agree that the application meets the terms of law and rule. The property is composed of 320 contiguous acres of private land.
Commissioner Henderson asks a general question on shooting preserves, asks what the Department’s policy is on releasing these birds and wants to know if there is a concern about releasing these birds. Pat Baca stated the Department has allowed release of birds for decades and that there is no record of any chukars breeding that weren’t taken during the hunt.
John Dimas these birds have the potential to bring in diseases. Andy Dimas does not support the introduction of non-native species into the state, wants to know what type of environmental analysis was done. Pat Baca stated that officers went to the location and found it is suitable holding habitat for chukars they found quail present (Gambel’s and scaled), the habitat is a good holding location for chukars. Chairman Arvas asks when they bring in the birds, are they brought in from out of state or are they raised in-state. Dan Brooks stated that there are 2 ways to get these birds, either an in-state licensed bird propagator or an importation permit, both issued through the Department. There is a statutory mandate and although the State Game Commission can control the release and possession there is a statutory basis and so when it comes to any type of environmental analysis we’re not mandated like the federal government. Chairman Arvas asks if there has ever been a history of any disease. Dan Brooks stated not during his time. Commissioner J. Montoya feels that Mr. Dimas may be more in opposition of the statute and the Commission does not have any control over the statute. Commissioner Pino states that 320 acres is not much land and wonders who the neighbors are. Dan Brooks states that 30 acres is the minimum for a shooting preserve. Commissioner Pino states that on any future shooting preserves more information needs to be provided to the Commission, such as names of neighbors, outlined map, more detail.
MOTION: Commissioner Sims moves to approve the issuance of a shooting preserve license to Valley Game Birds contingent upon Valley Game Birds meeting the requirements of law and rule regulating shooting preserves. Commissioner Jennifer Montoya seconded the motion. VOTE: Voice call vote taken. All present voted in the affirmative. Motion carried unanimously.
AGENDA ITEM NO. 11 Changes to Fishing Rule (19.31.4 NMAC) and Manner and Method Rule (19.31.10 NMAC)
Presented by Mike Sloane Passage of House Bill 516 requires the Commission to allow fishing with 2 rods in all water of the State with the purchase of a stamp or validation. The Bill requires the validation or stamp for anglers fishing with 2 poles in trout waters beginning July 1, 2003 and for all anglers beginning April 1, 2004. The stamp or validation is priced by statute at $3.00.
The changes to rule necessitated by this legislation present the opportunity to consolidate rule by moving the duplicative Manner and Method section (220.127.116.11) in the Fishing Rule to the Manner and Method Rule (19.31.10).
Jan Crawford would like clarification on bag limit. If they have 2 rods does it change the bag limit and with law enforcement how do you plan to enforce? Mike Sloane stated that the bag limits stay the same and that law enforcement would watch the anglers and identify those who were using 2 poles.
MOTION: Commissioner J. Montoya moves to adopt the changes as presented by Mike Sloane. Commissioner Henderson seconded the motion. VOTE: Voice call vote taken. All present voted in the affirmative. Motion carried unanimously.
AGENDA ITEM NO. 12 Changes to Fishing Rule (19.31.4 NMAC)
Presented by Mike Sloane The Fisheries Management Division proposes to change the fishing rule (19.31.4 NMAC) to allow fishing in all waters on the Valles Caldera National Preserve and to limit fishing to tiger muskellunge to catch and release only.
The Valles Caldera National Preserve has indicated verbally and in newspaper articles a desire to open the Preserve, or a portion of the Preserve, to fishing this summer. The Fishing Rule was previously amended at the request of the Preserve to close the Preserve to fishing. The current change would open all waters on the Preserve to angling with the same regulation strategy applied to regular trout waters. The Preserve has indicated that they would prefer to limit anglers to the use of artificial flies or lures with single barbless hooks and to apply a two fish bag limit. The regulation strategy is contrary to the Department’s long-term goal of restoring Rio Grande cutthroat trout in waters of the Preserve. The Department’s strategy will reduce the number of non-native sport fishes through angling prior to restoration rather than having to remove all these fishes through the application of a fish toxicant.
Public Law 106-248, the Valles Caldera Preservation Act, states in part: “Nothing in this title shall be construed as affecting the responsibilities of the State of New Mexico with respect to fish and wildlife, including the regulation of hunting, fishing, and trapping within the Preserve, except that the Trust may, in consultation with the Secretary and the State of New Mexico, designate zones where and establish periods when no hunting, fishing, or trapping shall be permitted for reasons of public safety, administration, the protection of nongame species and their habitats, or public use and enjoyment.” (Section 105 f).
The Department recently stocked tiger muskellunge in Quemado and Bluewater to reduce rough fishes. The proposed rule change would add tiger muskellunge to the Fishing Rule with a catch and release regulation. It is the Department’s desire to keep these fish in the lakes until a reduction in rough fish is observed. After a reduction is observed, a bag limit can be established to allow recreational angles to keep some fish. It is anticipated that the catch and release regulation will be in place for at least two (2) years but not more than five (5) years.
Mr. Trujillo from the Valles Caldera supports the Departments proposal and they have had to also work with the management objectives from the Preserve. Commissioner A. Montoya asks what type of fish are there now. Mr. Trujillo states mostly brown and rainbow trout. The long-term goal is to restore Rio Grande Cutthroat Trout. Chairman Arvas asks about the time table. Mike Sloane states the Department is ready to move forward, but a lot relies on the Preserve and following the proper steps. Commissioner Pino asks if there was any input from the people down-stream. Mr. Trujillo states the Department has taken the lead and they have had 3 public meetings so far and the outcome was mixed. Mike Sloane stated that 2 of the 3 meetings were positive to neutral and the 1 meeting was positive except for the use of chemicals. The negative remarks had to do with chemicals, not the re-introduction of the fish. Commissioner Henderson asked how is law enforcement going to be handled, will Game and Fish have access to the preserve. Mr. Trujillo states they would have full access and in the past we have had an officer residing on the preserve. Commissioner Pino states that the Valles Caldera charges an access fee to go hunting, will there also be an access fee for fishing. There will be an entrance fee of $10 per person and a $10 fee per rod for adults and $5 entrance fee and $5 fee per rod for ages 15 and under. Access is being permitted now as we pursue further activities.
Jan Crawford asks what is included in the access agreement between the Department and the preserve. Mike Sloane stated that it is the Department’s understanding that the Preserve can create the access agreement how they would like and they can add stipulations as well. Jan Crawford would like the establishment of a precedent that this is a special fishery. In order for the preserve to manage this they need “wiggle room”; she appreciates that we have allowed the Preserve to do this. Also with regard to the mandate that the Preserve needs to be self-sustaining and so the preserve needs to offer something special to justify the additional fees they are going to charge. John Dimas commends the managers of the Valles Caldera for trying to re-introduce the Rio Grande Cutthroat trout. His problem is with the Muskies. We have just introduced a non-native species and we will begin having Muskie problems. Mike Sloane stated that the fish are a cross and they are sterile, they will not reproduce. Director Thompson stated the recommendation for fishing on the Preserve has to do with setting the regulation and it is not about any Commission action regarding the access agreement.
Commissioner Pino understands that the Valles Caldera is an entity on its own. His confusion is with the way it was presented. Mike Sloane stated that the only action is that the Valles Caldera would be opened for fishing.
MOTION: Commissioner Pino moves to adopt 19.31.4 to provide fishing on the Valles Caldera. Commissioner A. Montoya seconded. VOTE: Voice call vote taken. All present voted in the affirmative. Motion carried unanimously.
MOTION: Commissioner J. Montoya moves to approve a rule to establish catch and release fishing for tiger muskellunge. Commissioner Sims seconded the motion. VOTE: Voice call vote taken. All present voted in the affirmative. Motion carried unanimously.
AGENDA ITEM NO. 13 Drawing for Incentive Oryx and Elk Authorizations
Presented by Reagan Smetak 19.31.8 NMAC provides for the drawing of 5 oryx and 2 Valle Vidal elk transferable incentive authorization certificates. The database for the drawing is made up of previous year deer and elk hunters who submitted their harvest surveys within the established deadlines. 19.31.8 NMAC also provides for the drawing of 1 oryx and 1 Valle Vidal elk transferable incentive authorization certificates. The database for the drawing is made up of previous year deer and elk hunters who submitted a valid sample of brain tissue from their legally harvested deer and/or elk. Commission members assisted with the random drawing that selected the following 7 individuals:
Clarence Landavazo Los Lunas, NM - Valle Vidal Elk Hunt
Hulen Wilson Somerset, Kentucky - Valle Vidal Elk Hunt
Aaron Short Burlingame, Kansas - Oryx hunt
Peter Piepkorn Clovis, NM - Oryx hunt
John Bliznak - Harvey, Louisiana - Oryx hunt
James Moss Burleson, Texas - Oryx hunt
Roy Stuart Albuquerque, NM - Oryx hunt
Ellory Worthan asks if the drawings are mandated under statute. Reagan Smetak states this is actually set in rule. Would like to see this rule where it states they can’t profit off these licenses. Oscar Simpson states the selling of the authorization should not be allowed to happen. They should either use the license or lose it. Chairman Arvas stated that this will be more closer looked at before next year. Dan Brooks read the applicable rule where it states “…by gift or sale…” Chairman Arvas states that this will be brought back before the Commission to be looked at. Larry Caudill agrees that the license should not be sold, but what if the person can not use the license do you draw an alternate. Reagan Smetak states that it can be worked in. Chairman Arvas states that this will be brought back before the Commission. Commissioner A Montoya states the whole intent of the drawing is to get as many people to return the drawings as possible. Wonders what will happen if we put too many restrictions on the intent, would the sample size be smaller.
Upon completion of the drawing, no further action required.
AGENDA ITEM NO. 15 Amendment of Boundary Descriptions and Predator Control Rules
Presented by Eric Rominger Desert Bighorn sheep are classified as state endangered. Recovery efforts are underway in several mountain ranges across the state. In order to afford protection from predators, desert sheep ranges are defined in the Boundary Descriptions Rule 19.30.4 NMAC and in the Predator Management Rule 19.30.6 as areas where the cougar sport hunting bag limit is 2 and where the Department controls cougars by contract trapping. An area in the Ladron Mountains that sheep have recently recolonized is not presently included within the bighorn sheep range descriptions delineated in the rules mentioned above. Additionally, 19.30.6 contains an exemption of Department cougar control activities in the Fra Cristobal Mountain. This exemption was put in place due to a previous lamb survival/cougar interactions study, which has now ended. The Department is seeking to include the newly recolonized sheep area and to remove the exemption in the Fra Cristobal Mountains from rule.
Chairman Arvas asks Eric to simplify the request. Eric Rominger states that on the procedures for lion control, there are 2 regulations. We would be extending the boundary to cover where the sheep are actually residing. Commissioner J. Montoya states that this is a complicated issue and she feels that the Department takes a critical view toward predator management instead of looking first at habitat. Wants to spend more time as a Department trying to find other ways to increase lion habitat so they could stay away from the sheep. Commissioner Henderson shares Commissioner J. Montoya’s concerns. Wants to be sure we are just not heading down a road that restricts our thinking on predator control being the end all to bighorn sheep management. Does not have a problem with the rule change as presented, but does want there to be more discussion on this issue. Eric Rominger states we are currently just finishing up the long-range plan for Desert Bighorn sheep and some of this is addressed in that plan. Chairman Arvas asks how many permits are sold/raffled? Eric Rominger states 1 by raffle, 1 to FNAWS. There are other permits given to the pueblos, 4 to Picuris and the Jicarilla has a permit to take a small ram. Chairman Arvas asks how the Pueblos get these permits. Darrel Weybright states the pueblos go through the scientific/education permit section and the request goes to the Director and then on to the permit section.
Commissioner Pino states on the written section of the agenda item it states “exemption of cougar removal”, understands that lions can’t be removed from the Fra Cristobal’s at this point. Eric Rominger states there is no mechanism to remove depredating lions; we would like to strike that wording out that exempts lion removal from the Fra Cristobal’s. Commissioner Henderson the Fra Cristobal’s are in the Armendaris Ranch which is private property, who does these removals, ranch staff or department staff? Eric Rominger states it can be done either way.
Tom Waddell states that lions in the Fra Cristobal’s are collared and they try to determine if the lion is going to kill and they remove it. Most of the removals are done by people on the ranch or by Department personnel. Larry Caudill feels that taking lions may not be the answer, but more specifically just take the offending lion. Doug Auckland approves of the re-introduction of desert bighorn sheep and hopes that there will be a huntable population.
MOTION: Commissioner Sims moves to amend boundary rule 19.30.4 and the predator management rule 19.30.6. Commissioner A. Montoya seconded the motion.
Commissioner Pino suggests the commission separates the two.
Chairman Arvas states that Commissioner Sims has moved to amend the boundary rules 19.30.4 NMAC to include a portion of the Ladron Mountains. Commissioner A. Montoya seconded the motion. The Attorney General’s office representative then called a point of order on how the motion was stated relative to wording of the agenda item in public notice. He asked that the vote be deferred until he could examine further.
Chairman Arvas decided to hold off on voting on this agenda item until after the executive session and lunch.
AGENDA ITEM NO. 14 Closed Executive Session
MOTION: Commissioner A. Montoya moves to go into executive session to discuss personnel matters, litigation and/or land acquisitions. Commissioner Sims seconded the motion. VOTE: Roll call vote taken. All present voted in the affirmative. Motion carried unanimously.
Commission goes into Executive Session at 11:37 am
Return from Executive Session 1:39 pm
MOTION: Commissioner Sims makes the motion to return from Closed Executive Session. Commissioner A. Montoya seconded the motion. VOTE: Voice call vote taken. All present voted in the affirmative. Motion carried unanimously.
Chairman Arvas states the matters discussed in closed executive session were limited to the items on the agenda for the closed session. No action was taken in the closed session.
Continuation of AGENDA ITEM NO. 15.
Commissioner Pino rescinds his motion regarding voting on the items separately. Commissioner A. Montoya as second accepts the motion being rescinded.
MOTION: Commissioner Sims makes a motion to amend the boundary 19.30.6 of the boundary and 19.30.4. Commissioner A. Montoya seconded the motion. VOTE: Voice call vote taken. Vote was split 2 no and 4 yes. (J. Montoya and P. Pino no). Motion carried.
AGENDA ITEM NO. 16 Antelope Bow Hunt for Unit 17
Presented by Steve Henry Antelope Management Unit 17 (AMU 17) has had both a bow and rifle hunting season for the past several years. The bow season was removed from rule at the Department’s request last fall. The Department wished to facilitate harvesting less antelope in the southern half of the unit by not having a public draw for bow hunters in the unit. We believed that no bow hunters hunted there under the system at that time. Previous to this change, public draw hunters could hunt any unit in the SW area. Now they are assigned a particular unit.
However, the northern half of AMU 17 is comprised of a large private property (the Armendaris Ranch) that has typically used about ½ of their allotted 30 landowner licenses during the bow hunt and the other half during the rifle hunt. The Department is asking the Commission to put the bow season back in this unit for both 2003 and 2004 and to provide for public bow licenses to be drawn in 2004 per license allocation based on Department survey results.
Doug Auckland encouraged to see that this is being corrected. Chairman Arvas asks how this happened. Steve Henry states that there were some changes to the antelope hunts and there was an omission in the rule proposed to the Commission previously.
MOTION: Commissioner A. Montoya moves to reinstate the antelope bow hunt in Unit 17 for 2003 and 2004. Commissioner J. Montoya seconded the motion. VOTE: Voice call vote taken. All present voted in the affirmative. Motion carried unanimously.
AGENDA ITEM NO. 17 Upland Game Regulation
Presented by Tim Mitchusson Amendments to the 2003 2004 Upland Game Regulations are necessary in order to update resident upland game regulations and conform to USFWS frameworks on migratory species (i.e., September teal, sandhill crane, dove, and band-tailed pigeon) and adjust hunting opportunity where appropriate. The Department recommends the following: (1) Adjust upland game season dates for current calendar year; (2) Season dates and bag limits for the special Middle Rio Grande Valley (MRGV), Southwestern New Mexico (SW) and Estancia Valley (EV) sandhill crane hunts; (3) Number of permits for the special sandhill crane hunts; (4) Eliminate waterfowl identification course requirement for MRGV sandhill crane hunts; (6) Add Eurasian-collared doves to the aggregate dove bag limit; (7) Adjust falconry upland game season dates for the current calendar year; (8) Adjust September teal season dates for the current calendar year.
Commissioner Henderson feels the Commission gets the same correspondence that the Department does and is glad to see that the adjustment was made to Mearn’s quail. Chairman Arvas asks if there is any reason why the second half of the dove season can’t run concurrent with the opening of quail season. Tim Mitchusson states we could. Chairman Arvas states he is getting calls and correspondence asking for them to be concurrent because of the very poor quail population that we have at this time, at least if they do have the opportunity to shoot a dove they could go out and harvest a dove also. Asks what would we have to do to change the rule. Tim Mitchusson states all we need to do is change the regulation dates. Tim Mitchusson stated we are essentially moving the season date up 2 weeks. Chairman Arvas stated most of the requests are coming from Commissioner Sims part of the State. Commissioner J. Montoya states that there are discussions among the quail hunters regarding reducing the bag limit on quail to 10. Tim Mitchusson states that the bag limit does not have an impact on the population. To have an impact you need to reduce the number of hunting days. Chairman Arvas asks for an overall feeling of what the quail season in general has been like. What is the department doing to offset these problems. Tim Mitchusson states hunting has very little impact on total populations to begin with, it all boils down to habitat which is weather dependent which the Department has no control over at all. So far this year the weather is helping.
Mr. Richards disagrees with Tim Mitchusson. He manages 2 ranches and has no problem with quail. He uses management practices, and feels the Department can do the same thing. Would like the Department to consider an Upland Game Program. Chairman Arvas asks Dale Hall to come up and make a suggestion regarding the habitat. Tim Mitchusson states that quail management projects on the Armendaris and Ladder can’t be duplicated statewide simply because we don’t have the budget, we could increase the number of drinkers and that may have an impact on local populations but overall it’s a long term deal and nothing will happen overnight.
Commissioner J. Montoya states that the Department needs to do more public outreach and to educate the public. Commissioner Sims states that the money from the Sikes Acts project are benefiting the quail in his area tremendously. Oscar Simpson recommends that we make the land management agencies deal with habitat. We need to provide habitat for wildlife. Would like the Department to have a quail seminar like Arizona’s. We need to advertise the seminar way in advance and advertise in order to get the public and other agencies to come to it. Larry Caudill feels that quail are in bad shape and if you want to do something for quail then you need to look at reducing days. States that we need to take action that will help the situation and reducing the take of the brood stock the following year will be one place to go. With reference to the dove season, thinks the expectations among most of the hunters in the state is we’d have this split season basically September December. The thing about the December hunt with respect to Chairman Arvas is the December season encompasses the period between Christmas and New Year’s, an awful lot of businesses shut down, people are on vacation and have the opportunity to take a longer hunt, longer time away and they can go between the period of Christmas and New Year’s, if the season moved into November we would only have 30 days left in the second half, that means it would end December 15 and would not have the holiday period. The greatest issue would be this is a surprise season change and not much opportunity for the rank and file hunter to assess it, react to it, and either support it or disagree with it. Commissioner Henderson asks what the recommendation is based on, he would like more science to make his decisions. Tim Mitchusson states there is not really a good system to look at the trends. Tim states there is no exact science and we are just trying to determine what is out there. As for setting the dates we are basically submitting historical data. Quail are very short lived animals, maybe a year and possibly up to 3 years. Commissioner J. Montoya states the quail hunters are not here to make their comments. Commissioner Pino states that the time period for dove has been amended to a 30 day period.
MOTION: Commissioner J. Montoya moves to accept the proposal for upland game with the exception of shortening the quail season by 2 weeks and to end on January 31. Commissioner Sims seconded the motion. VOTE: Voice call vote taken. All present voted in the affirmative. Motion carried unanimously.
MOTION: Commissioner J. Montoya moves to amend her motion to accept the small game season recommendations made by Tim Mitchusson, but to eliminate the last 2 weeks of the season in February for quail and end it on January 31. In addition to make the last half of the dove season concurrent with the quail season. Commissioner Sims seconded the motion. VOTE: Voice call vote taken. All present voted in the affirmative. Motion carried unanimously.
MOTION: Commissioner J. Montoya moves to amend the amendment to state they want the dove season to run from November 15 and close on December 15 and to accept the upland game season recommendations with the exception of ending the season on January 31 as opposed to February 15. Commissioner Sims seconded the motion. VOTE: Voice call vote taken. All present voted in the affirmative. Motion carried unanimously.
AGENDA ITEM NO. 18 State Game Commission Approval Sought for Habitat Stamp Program Projects
Presented by Dale Hall In partnership with Federal land management agencies, sporting/conservation groups, and the Department; habitat improvement projects have been designed for funding by the Habitat Stamp Program. These projects have been reviewed, approved, and prioritized by 5 regional Citizen Advisory Committees. The committees, through the Department, will present new projects to the initiated in the 2004 and 2005 fiscal years to the State Game Commission for public review, comment, and approval. The Department seeks guidance on 2005 budget.
Commissioner Sims asks if the committee is appointed by the Governor. Dale Hall states yes. We have sent the list of members to the Governor, but have not heard back from him regarding re-appointing the committee. Apparently this is the last year that the committee can be appointed. We are trying to come up with some language for the legislation to allow the State Game Commission to appoint the committee members. Commissioner J. Montoya compliments Dale Hall on the program. Terrific program and feels that we should authorize the emergency funds request also. Pat Block states we have a separate fund with State Treasurer and this money is set aside for a specific purpose.
MOTION: Commissioner A. Montoya moves to accept Dale’s recommendations as follows: 1) Accept the list of projects that were recommended. 2) Authorize $100,000 for emergency expenditures that Commissioner J. Montoya will over see and to allow the emergency fund for those instances where there isn’t enough time for Commission approval. 3)Direct the Department to allow for a budget of $1,532,640 which includes the additional 10% that was recommended for 2005.
Tod Stevenson would like to make a comment that the Commission put the budget as a proposal that we will look at for Commission approval in August. The reason for this flexibility is we will potentially get some guidelines from DFA and the Governor’s office as far what we can do with budgets. This will give us some guidance as far as developing that 2005 budget. If the budget guidance came in and said flat or 5% below flat we would have to modify the amount that we are going to ask for on the Sikes Act proposal.
MOTION CONTINUED: Commissioner A. Montoya would like to amend his motion to state the $1,532,640 is a proposal until the Department can bring the final budget to the Commission for approval. Commissioner Sims seconded motion. VOTE: Voice call vote taken. All present voted in the affirmative. Motion carried unanimously.
AGENDA ITEM NO. 19 State Game Commission Approval sought for activities on Commission Owned Properties
Presented by Jeff Pederson The Department is presenting the following requests from third party interests seeking approval to conduct activities on Commission owned properties.
A. Approve acceptance from Mr. Elick Cox of free right-of-way to be granted to the Commission to access the Farmer’s prairie chicken area in Roosevelt County.
B. Approve granting right-of-way to Williams Production Co. for well pad and pipeline for Rosa 201, a location on Navajo Lake project lands. All clearances have been completed. Commission does not own the mineral rights.
C. Approve granting right-of-way to City of Farmington for electric power line extension, cathodic protection at Rosa 234 and Rosa 180 to well locations on Navajo Lake project lands. All clearances have been completed. Commission does not own the mineral rights.
D. Approve granting right-of-way to Valor Telcom for buried telephone cable along state highway at Fenton Lake property for upgrade of neighborhood service. All clearances have been completed.
E. Approve finalizing new lease for public fishing at Springer Lake, from 2003 to 2023, contingent upon final appraisal and funding. Current lease cost $80,000 for 20 years.
Chairman Arvas wants to pull item E off the block. Commissioner Pino asks about A and E is this where the state pays the lease and if B, C, D are right of ways? Jeff Pederson states yes, Game Protection pays for A & E and we get the standard fees set by State Land Office on B, C & D.
MOTION: Commissioner Pino moves to accept the items A, B, C & D as presented. Commissioner A. Montoya seconds the motion. VOTE: Voice call vote taken. All present voted in the affirmative. Motion carried unanimously.
AGENDA ITEM NO. 20 Wildlife Conservation and Environmental Education Center Development Project
Presented by Roberta Salazar-Henry Staff from the architectural firm of Mahlman and Miles presented to the Commission the indoor and outdoor design elements of the education center and their associated estimated cost. In addition Roberta Henry briefly discussed exhibit development, program development, staffing and maintenance and operating costs and activities. Guidance was requested from the Commission in the manner of approval on the design and associated costs.
Roberta Henry states this is still a work in progress, but some decisions need to be made. Along the lines of program development, we are just planning on expanding what we have already. We are looking at developing new education opportunities. We are going to solicit sponsor’s for the exhibits and get their help. We will also look to partner with the different industries such as oil and gas, PNM, Intel, Qwest, etc. We are estimating 3 FTE’s to run the center, we are looking to outsource the volunteers and janitorial services.
Commissioner A. Montoya asks Roberta to elaborate on the warehouse, where is it, what it is used for and how much is it worth. Roberta Henry explains where it is off Richards Avenue in Santa Fe, it houses our fisheries lab, the co-op students live in a mobile home trailer, we still store vehicles out there. It has been discussed for sale with previous commissions. Jeff Pederson states it is 23 acres and some is arroyo it was worth about $600,000 dollars 2 years ago. Commissioner A. Montoya states he asked because money is always a sensitive issue. Commissioner Sims asks if there has been any other interest in the Richard’s property other than the City. Jeff Pederson states there is quite a bit of interest in acquiring that land. Commissioner A. Montoya wants to discuss this further and if the design is approved then the next step is to put it out to bid for construction. Roberta Henry states there are open space funds available from City and County grants. There are private industries that we can solicit. Roberta is just asking the Commission to authorize the Department an up to figure of $3,500,000. Roberta Henry states we need to first get Board of Finance approval; and in order to even approach the Board of Finance we need Commission approval. Commissioner A. Montoya stressed importance of showing Board of Finance the sources of all proposed project funding. Commissioner Henderson states that he is afraid to commit the Commission to a project that we are short on. Feels that it would then be up to the Commission to find the shortage. In concept he is fine, would not vote on a commitment. Director Thompson states we are asking for approval with the understanding that as the project goes forward that we may need to scale back.
Richard Becker attended the Sikes Act advisory committee and there was a similar situation and you all need to look long-term and think about what this center will provide the public in the future.
MOTION: Commissioner A. Montoya moves to approve the design elements and the estimated costs of the wildlife conservation and environmental education center development with a budget up to $3,500,000. Commissioner Henderson seconds the motion. VOTE: Voice call vote taken. 3 voted in the affirmative and 1 negative (Commissioner Sims). Motion passed.
AGENDA ITEM NO. 21 License Fee Increase Update
Presented by Luke Shelby The Commission was briefed on a license fee increase proposal for the 2004 legislative session. The briefing included information regarding rationale, timeline, constituent participation plan, and a proposed legislative strategy. The proposal is based on financial planning necessary to ensure that the Department can provide excellent services for wildlife and wildlife-based recreation year-round into the future.
Commissioner Henderson asks if there has there been any preliminary conversations with the Governor’s office regarding a fee increase. Luke Shelby states there has not been any conversations with the Governor’s office recently. Commissioner J. Montoya asks which committee will hear this bill. Legislative Finance Committee and Water Conservation. Pat Block stated we may be able to get on an agenda in August. Chairman Arvas does not want the public to think this is something that has been thought up here recently, it is ongoing and has been a topic for a long time. Commissioner Sims feels the increase is fine with the public as long as they can see some type of improvement. Commissioner A. Montoya states there are several involved with the transition teams and this was one of the items that had to be reported on and those results were shared with the Governor’s Team also. Has always wondered, when you have cash balances does the legislature raid the cash balance or they set up special projects for the Department to fund, now if those special projects were not placed on the Department could the current fee structure handle the department’s expenses. He is not sold on a fee increase, it will take a lot of information to sell him on the reasons for the increase. Is going to need to be armed with a lot of information and wants to know what was done with the last fee increase and that we have a good plan for how the fee increase will be used. Commissioner Pino states the decision making process is pretty aggressive and would like the Commission to have a little more time to wrestle with the issue. Pat Block states that since the end of FY02 more than $18 million has been used or committed from the cash balance, $9 million to Eagle Nest Lake, $3 million for Eagle Nest Dam, $5.5 million to renovate Seven Springs Hatchery, $1.3 million remediation of the mine waste at Terrero, $1.3 million to continue development of the warm water hatchery, and $1.5 million for Bear Canyon Lake. Chairman Arvas asked how long did it take us to get to the $25 million surplus. Pat Block states it started in 1997 after our last fee increase. Commissioner J. Montoya was recently reminded that the Gila National Forest alone employs more people than our Department does statewide. Supports the Department on this fee increase.
Tony Suazo there is a lot of poverty in the area he lives in. The Department was disappointed when his organization got the last fee increase reversed. Strongly recommends that the Department get together with sportsmen, constituents etc and work this out. He fully intends to fight this harder than he did last time. States that the taxpayer paid for the Valles Caldera and now the people who paid for it are cut out from it, we now have to pay just to hike there. Oscar Simpson suggests we take a rapid approach, has supported fee increases to help the Department. Would like to see a proposal about why the money is needed. John Boretsky the outfitters will be affected by any fee increase. The non-residents bring a lot of new money to the state. Not excited about it, but they do understand it. Passed out a package to Commissioners on what the fees are from the surrounding states. Doug Auckland not opposed to running the Department as a business, not a profit making business but a business non the less, what he is concerned about is the diminishing services. Steve Padilla stated he was very instrumental in the last license fee passed and one of the criticism’s was that we waited so long before asking for a new increase, urges this Commission to look at this closely. Jan Crawford re-enforces what Commissioner Sims and Commission Montoya stated, if you are asking for an increase then you need to be sure that you have good reasons for asking for the increases. Access is very important to the citizen’s of New Mexico.
Commissioner Pino stated they were complimented by the legislature by not constantly asking for fee increases it went from 1984 to 1997 and then now. Chairman Arvas states that we now need to sit down and move some of the components of this issue. Would like the Department to be prepared in the next couple of weeks to make a presentation to the Governor and then to prepare for the interim finance meeting. Director Thompson states that Department staff are aware of how sportsmen feel about footing this increase and they feel that there are other entities that need to help provide Department funding. Luke Shelby suggests that the Commission allow the Department to build 2 components (one with cash balance increase, one without increase)
AGENDA ITEM NO. 22 Commission/Department Discussion
Jim Karp gave Commission an update on the Marquez Wildlife Area with regard to grazing use, getting a legal description of the property line and the water rights survey.
Director Thompson passed out a briefing paper regarding CWD that is from NM Elk Producers. Dan Brooks gave an update on the meeting about CWD. They talked about the rule and basically right now there is an animal health emergency in place that was established and can only be lifted at the Director’s discretion. This meeting was trying to determine if the emergency is still valid or not. It was felt that the rule establishes adequate criteria for the importers to follow that minimizes the risks of disease coming into the state. At the next Commission meeting the Department may present to the Commission some changes in the fee that is charged to importers. Right now it is a $6 fee and this does not nearly cover the cost of processing the importation permits. Chairman Arvas has heard comments that we are not destroying enough animals on White Sands. Dan Brooks responds that people do feel we are not being aggressive enough. Chairman Arvas asks how many states around us have this non-importation in effect. Dan Brooks does not have a number, but most states have some sort of importation criteria as well. Chairman Arvas asks for clarification regarding lifting the animal health emergency. Dan Brooks states that Director Thompson can lift the animal health emergency or keep it in place. The recommendation has been brought forward to him, however the Commission as a body has the ability to direct the Department in either changing the rule or even directing the Director in what the Commission thinks should happen because the Commission is actually charged with safe-guarding the state from infectious or contagious diseases by statue. Chairman Arvas asks what the recommendation was. Dan Brooks states that the rules are adequate and feel it could be lifted, but we would have to adhere to the importation rules.
Dave Weingarten appreciates the opportunity to express his concerns about CWD, he appreciates the caution that the Department has shown. Steve Balok urges the Commission to allow the Director to lift the animal health emergency. He is making this request simply because this emergency has had a huge financial impact on the members of their organization. They have worked with the Department to create the rules and regulations that will protect the state and themselves against disease. Oscar Simpson just wanted to urge caution, agrees with Mr. Weingarten it is a liability to the state and how we are not going to allow the spread of CWD. Wants the Department to give the Commission a very in depth description as to what is going to happen. Dan Brooks states that we can probably put together some more in-depth information for the Commission. Chairman Arvas is concerned about financial implications to the Department, and the fact that the bottom line is the Game Protection Fund is responsible financially for CWD. Oscar Simpson stated he asked about the quality control of Dan’s staff, expected Dan to highlight those problems that were brought forward in the meeting. Ms. Ainsley animals are tracked from birth to death and are tracked with collars so they know immediately if an animal has escaped. By importing we can bring new genetics into the state that can only help the herds. States that the Class A Parks are not “canned hunts” they are quite difficult. They need the importation ban lifted and the fee could be raised no problems. Larry Caudill states there were 9 10 parks when the Chama Land and Cattle situation happened. 100% of these animals from the parks had escaped. Does not think class A parks are good for the state.
Steve Balok stated he refutes a few things that were said. There were animals tuned loose in Ft. Collins, Colorado. There has been very little about CWD in the wild. The state of NM has been testing for CWD for about 3 years. In NM there is not a Class A park within miles of where CWD was found. These farms were issued permits and made their preparations and spend thousands of dollars and then there was an animal health ban placed and now they are the only ones paying. They are going out of business.
Commissioner Sims in the map that was handed out, it shows where CWD is, why is there no CWD in Texas and they are one of the largest importers of exotics. Dan Brooks stated we don’t know their testing procedures. Chairman Arvas asks the Commission if they would like to direct Director Thompson or just let him decide on his own. Director Thompson states there are some more things that need to be done before he makes a decision. Chairman Arvas asks that when he makes up his mind, he needs to confer with the Commission first with his reasons and let them either agree or disagree with his decision. Mr. Balok understands that if CWD is introduced to the state then their business is history either way. They are going bankrupt now and if the importation is not lifted then they are out of business.
Chairman Arvas regarding Commission Short Course Session. 2-day course in Las Cruces. Would be nice to have one of the days on the weekend. Chairman Arvas states the Commission Short Course will be held on September 17 & 18, 2003.
Darrel Weybright informs the Commission about the Wheeler Peak Bighorn Sheep capture. We need to transplant 30 40 from both Wheeler Peak and Pecos this late summer, fall. We also need to remove about 30 from Red Rock. This is in part of our agreement with Arizona. Wheeler Trap is 8/8 - 8/15, Pecos is 9/22 9/26, Red Rock in October/November. Has been working with the War Chief and his staff at Taos Pueblo to work on the management activities. We have worked around their schedule.
Chairman Arvas states that the Department would like to not have a meeting in July, but one in August and September. August would be for the budget meeting. Commissioner J. Montoya states that she has been approached by people to have a meeting on a weekend. Chairman Arvas states the next meeting will be August 20, 2003.
Commissioner J. Montoya states that she has had requests for the briefings that the Commission gets be placed on the web site. Director Thompson states it could be done but it will take a lot of time to ensure all pages are put in electronic format.
Commissioner A. Montoya has been approached about having meetings outside of Santa Fe and Albuquerque. Chairman Arvas states that if there is an item specific to that area then they would consider it. Director Thompson states that we are going to come back to the Commission to set a series of meetings in advance. Chairman Arvas states he would like to hold meetings around the state, it is very expensive for the Department to do this, but as the need arises some of the meetings will move around.
Ms. Ainsley states that if the Commission decides to have a July meeting they need to take into consideration the timeframe for lifting the ban on the animal health emergency, there are times when they can’t move animals.
AGENDA ITEM NO. 23 General Public Comments
Dr. Rivera stated he was asked to attend this meeting by Chairman Arvas. Has a ranch in Unit 4 that has been in his family for about 100 years. It is a breeding area for elk and it is also a migratory basin. They try to do productive management. Was given numbers that elk provide $40 million to state coffers and $7 million to Rio Arriba County. His concern is with the LOSS system in Unit 4. The committee recommended to Governor Richardson that they promote habitat. His problem is the default tag system, apparently these default tags are not on the spreadsheet that is provided to the public. Has had increased trespassing and poaching in the area. There are decreasing elk population and quality in the area, due to the increased elk tags. Feels the LOSS systems needs to be re-done. Need to encourage the landowners to work together. Would like the Commission to have a meeting in Chama or the Northern part of the state.
Chairman Arvas states that there will be changes to the LOSS System. It is not working out for us. The Commission and Department will be reviewing this system and making the necessary changes that are required. Commissioner J. Montoya would like Dr. Rivera to provide the Commission with copies of the notes he read from.
Steve Padilla states that Chairman Arvas wanted Steve to bring the Commission up to speed on what he is doing. They have formed a coalition of the sporting organizations in the state in order to have a stronger voice among the sportsmen in the state.
MOTION: Commissioner A. Montoya moves to go into executive session for the purpose of discussions personnel matters, litigation and/or land acquisitions. Commissioner Sims seconded the motion. VOTE: Roll call vote taken. All present voted in the affirmative. Motion carried unanimously.
Commission entered Executive Session at 6:11 pm
MOTION: Commissioner A. Montoya moves to re-open the meeting from Closed Executive Session. Commissioner Sims seconded the motion. VOTE: Voice call vote taken. All present voted in the affirmative. Motion carried unanimously.
MOTION: Commissioner A. Montoya moves to adjourn. Commissioner Sims seconded motion. VOTE: Voice call vote taken. All present voted in the affirmative. Motion carried.
Meeting adjourned at 6:41 pm.
Bruce C. Thompson, Secretary to the Commission Date
New Mexico State Game Commission
Tom Arvas, Chairman Date
New Mexico State Game Commission
Transcribed by: Kelly Muniz