TITLE 31. NATURAL RESOURCES AND CONSERVATION

PART 2. TEXAS PARKS AND WILDLIFE DEPARTMENT

CHAPTER 53. FINANCE

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission in a duly noticed meeting on March 23, 2017 adopted amendments to §§53.2, 53.14, 53.60, and 53.91, concerning Finance, without changes to the proposed text as published in the December 23, 2016, issue of the Texas Register (41 TexReg 10066). The amendments are a result of the department's review of its regulations under the provisions of Government Code, §2001.039, which requires a state agency to review each of its regulations no less frequently than every four years and to re-adopt, adopt with changes, or repeal each rule as a result of the review.

The amendment to §53.2, concerning License Issuance Procedures, Fees, and Exemption Rules, corrects statutory and regulatory cross-references in subsection (a)(3)(B)(iii) and (iv). Current §53.2(a)(3) provides that a person who has acquired a hunting license electronically may hunt prior to obtaining the physical license so long as the person has a valid confirmation number. However, the current provisions in subparagraph (B)(iii) and (iv), regarding hunting on certain public lands and or department-leased land, contain inaccurate references to provisions authorizing those public hunting activities. The amendment corrects the inaccuracy.

The amendment to §53.14, concerning Deer Management and Removal Permits deletes the reference to the "antlerless and spike buck control permit application processing fee." The regulations providing for the issuance of antlerless and spike buck control permits were repealed by action of the Parks and Wildlife Commission in March 2016, and published in the August 12, 2016 issue of the Texas Register (41 TexReg 6052). The elimination of the antlerless and spike buck control permit obviates the need for the associated permit application fee.

The amendment to §53.60, concerning Stamps, modifies the references to stamp form, design, and issuance to reflect current practice, and eliminates provisions regarding nongame and endangered species stamps and collector's edition stamps. The department no longer issues collector's edition stamps. Currently, a "stamp" is issued as an endorsement on the appropriate license issued through the department's electronic license sales system. The amendment is necessary to reflect current practice.

The amendment to §53.91, concerning Documented Vessels, clarifies various provisions. The amendment adds the term "certificate of number" in subsection (a) and "participating Tax Assessor-Collector office" in subsections (a) - (c) to more accurately describe the locations where vessels may be registered. The amendment also eliminates the reference to the tax for vessels greater than 65 feet in length in subsection (c)(3), since the tax on these vessels is not collected by the department. In addition, a reference to Parks and Wildlife Code, §31.026, is added to subsection (c)(4) to more completely describe the authority for collection of the appropriate registration fee.

The department received no comments opposing adoption of the proposed amendments.

The department received six comments supporting adoption of the proposed amendments.

SUBCHAPTER A. FEES

DIVISION 1. LICENSE, PERMIT, AND BOAT AND MOTOR FEES

31 TAC §53.2, §53.14

The amendments are adopted under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, §42.006 which authorizes the commission to prescribe by rule requirements relating to the possessing a license issued under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 42; §42.010, which allows the department to issue tags for deer during each year or season; §61.054, which requires the commission to regulate the periods of time when it is lawful to hunt, take, or possess game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life in this state; the means, methods, and places in which it is lawful to hunt, take, or possess game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life in this state; the species, quantity, age or size, and, to the extent possible, the sex of the game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life authorized to be hunted, taken, or possessed; and the region, county, area, body of water, or portion of a county where game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life may be hunted, taken, or possessed; and §61.057, which authorizes the commission to determine when conditions warrant the issuance of antlerless permits.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the adoption and found it to be a valid exercise of the agency's legal authority.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on June 12, 2017.

TRD-201702292

Robert D. Sweeney, Jr.

Acting General Counsel

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Effective date: July 2, 2017

Proposal publication date: December 23, 2016

For further information, please call: (512) 389-4775


SUBCHAPTER B. STAMPS

31 TAC §53.60

The amendment is adopted under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, §11.055 and §11.056, which authorize, but do not require, the department to issue art decal or stamps; §12.701, which allows the department to authorize the issuance of a license, stamp, permit, or tag by a license deputy; Parks and Wildlife Code, §12.702, which authorizes the commission to set collection and issuance fees by rule for a license, stamp, tag, permit, or other similar item issued under any chapter of the code; §42.010 which requires the department to prescribe the form of and issue the license and tags authorized by Chapter 42.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the adoption and found it to be a valid exercise of the agency's legal authority.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on June 12, 2017.

TRD-201702293

Robert D. Sweeney, Jr.

Acting General Counsel

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Effective date: July 2, 2017

Proposal publication date: December 23, 2016

For further information, please call: (512) 389-4775


SUBCHAPTER E. DISPLAY OF BOAT REGISTRATION

31 TAC §53.91

The amendment is adopted under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, §§31.024, 31.025, and 31.0341, which provide for the submission of an application to and issuance by the county tax assessor-collector of certificates of number and certificate of title for vessels; Parks and Wildlife Code, §31.026 concerning the establishment of fees by the commission for an original or renewal certificate of number for a vessel; Parks and Wildlife Code, §31.003(1) and Tax Code, Chapter 160 which does not include vessels greater than 65 feet in length from the provisions regarding the collection of taxes in Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 31, and Tax Code, Chapter 160.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the adoption and found it to be a valid exercise of the agency's legal authority.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on June 12, 2017.

TRD-201702294

Robert D. Sweeney, Jr.

Acting General Counsel

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Effective date: July 2, 2017

Proposal publication date: December 23, 2016

For further information, please call: (512) 389-4775


CHAPTER 57. FISHERIES

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission in a duly noticed meeting on March 23, 2017 adopted amendments to §§57.117, 57.120, 57.252, 57.392, 57.395, 57.399, and 57.951, concerning Fisheries, without changes to the proposed text as published in the February 17, 2017, issue of the Texas Register (42 TexReg 650).

The amendments are a result of the department's review of its regulations under the provisions of Government Code, §2001.039, which requires a state agency to review each of its regulations no less frequently than every four years and to re-adopt, adopt with changes, or repeal each rule as a result of the review.

The amendment to §57.117, concerning Exotic Species Permit: Application Requirements, alters subsection (a)(5) to waive the permit fee for persons removing prohibited nuisance aquatic vegetation in accordance with an approved treatment proposal. Because such activity is consistent with department goals, department-approved, and is not undertaken at department expense, the department believes that a fee waiver is appropriate. The amendment to §57.120, concerning Exotic Species Permit: Expiration and Renewal, alters subsection (a) to clarify that permits allowing removal of prohibited plants from a public water body in accordance with an approved treatment proposal may share the same period of validity with the treatment proposal. The amendment will increase efficiency and prevent confusion regarding the removal of exotic plants pursuant to approved treatment proposals.

The amendment to §57.252, concerning General Provisions, alters subsection (d) to provide that a period of permit validity other than 60 days may be specified in the terms and conditions of the permit, which is intended to enhance efficiency and compliance in instances in which repeated introductions are scheduled over a period of time longer than 60 days or when a project is delayed.

The amendment to §57.392, concerning General Rules, alters subsection (a) to eliminate the reference to a saltwater stamp. A valid recreational fishing license now includes a freshwater stamp, saltwater stamp, or both. The language being removed is an artifact and predates the implementation of the freshwater stamp.

The amendment to §57.395, concerning Broodfish Permits; Fees, Terms of Issuance, alters subsection (d) to eliminate the reference to the $25 fee for a broodfish permit. The fees for such permits are established in §53.15(h)(3).

The amendment to §57.399, concerning Permit Denial Review, alters paragraph (3)(C) to afford additional latitude in the composition of panels that review agency decisions to deny issuance or renewal of permits. The current rules require the Deputy Executive Director for Natural Resources, the Director of the Coastal Fisheries Division, and the Deputy Director of the Coastal Fisheries Division to function as the review panel. In practice this is problematic, because such personnel are typically not in the same place at the same time very often, making the scheduling of review panels difficult. Therefore, the amendment requires a review panel to consist of three agency employees at the level of program director or above who have knowledge of the affected resources, to be appointed by the Executive Director or the Chief Operating Officer.

The amendment to §57.951, concerning Definitions, alters the definitions of "Agent" in paragraph (1) and "Applicant" in paragraph (2) to clarify that an "Applicant" includes the applicant's agent.

The department received no comments opposing adoption of the amendments as proposed.

The department received one comment supporting adoption of the amendments as proposed.

SUBCHAPTER A. HARMFUL OR POTENTIALLY HARMFUL FISH, SHELLFISH, AND AQUATIC PLANTS

31 TAC §57.117, §57.120

The amendments are adopted under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, §66.0072, which authorizes the commission to regulate by rule or permit the importation, possession, sale, and placement into the public water of this state exotic harmful or potentially harmful aquatic plants.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the adoption and found it to be a valid exercise of the agency's legal authority.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on June 19, 2017.

TRD-201702377

Robert D. Sweeney, Jr.

Acting General Counsel

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Effective date: July 9, 2017

Proposal publication date: February 17, 2017

For further information, please call: (512) 389-4775


SUBCHAPTER C. INTRODUCTION OF FISH, SHELLFISH AND AQUATIC PLANTS

31 TAC §57.252

The amendment is adopted under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, §66.015, which requires the department to establish rules and regulations governing the issuance of permits under that section.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the adoption and found it to be a valid exercise of the agency's legal authority.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on June 19, 2017.

TRD-201702378

Robert D. Sweeney, Jr.

Acting General Counsel

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Effective date: July 9, 2017

Proposal publication date: February 17, 2017

For further information, please call: (512) 389-4775


SUBCHAPTER F. COLLECTION OF BROODFISH FROM TEXAS WATERS

31 TAC §§57.392, 57.395, 57.399

The amendments are adopted under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, §43.552, which requires the commission to prescribe by rule the requirements and conditions for issuance of a permit authorized under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 43, Subchapter P.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the adoption and found it to be a valid exercise of the agency's legal authority.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on June 19, 2017.

TRD-201702380

Robert D. Sweeney, Jr.

Acting General Counsel

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Effective date: July 9, 2017

Proposal publication date: February 17, 2017

For further information, please call: (512) 389-4775


SUBCHAPTER M. ARTIFICIAL REEFS

31 TAC §57.951

The amendment is adopted under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 89, which authorizes the commission to adopt rules and guidelines as necessary to implement the chapter.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the adoption and found it to be a valid exercise of the agency's legal authority.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on June 19, 2017.

TRD-201702381

Robert D. Sweeney, Jr.

Acting General Counsel

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Effective date: July 9, 2017

Proposal publication date: February 17, 2017

For further information, please call: (512) 389-4775


SUBCHAPTER N. STATEWIDE RECREATIONAL AND COMMERCIAL FISHING PROCLAMATION

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission in a duly noticed meeting on March 23, 2017 adopted amendments to §§57.971, 57.973, 57.981, and 57.992, concerning the Statewide Recreational and Commercial Fishing Proclamations. Section 57.973, concerning Devices, Means, and Methods, is adopted with changes to the proposed text as published in the February 17, 2017, issue of the Texas Register (42 TexReg 652). Sections 57.971, 57.981, and 57.992 are adopted without change and will not be republished.

The change to §57.973 affects the gear restrictions proposed for Kirby Lake in Taylor County. The department has determined that additional outreach and communications efforts are required; therefore, the proposed gear restrictions were not adopted.

The amendment to §57.971, concerning Definitions, adds the Alabama bass to the list of game fishes and makes a grammatical correction. In Texas, Alabama bass are known to exist only in Alan Henry Reservoir, and heretofore have been considered a subspecies of spotted bass. However, this fish is now considered a separate species called the Alabama bass. The amendment also makes a nonsubstantive grammatical correction in paragraph (5).

The amendment to §57.973, concerning Devices, Means, and Methods, prohibits the use of commercial crab traps in waters north and west of Highway 146 where it crosses the Houston Ship Channel in Harris County. The public waters north of Highway 146 represent a very large geographical expanse and commercial crabbing in the area is not intense (because of a Department of State Health Services consumption advisory).

The amendment to §57.981, concerning Bag, Possession, and Length Limit, consists of several actions.

Department data indicate decreased angling success for smallmouth bass in the Devils River, which skirts the western edge of the Edwards Plateau. The average number of smallmouth bass caught per angler day in 2015 (6.8 fish) was 37% less than in previous years (10.8 fish). Outfitters, Devils River State Natural Area staff, and anglers have reported an increase in the harvest of black bass for consumption during float trips (i.e., shore meals). The current level of fishing pressure may be having a negative effect on the Devils River black bass populations, resulting in decreased in fishing quality. Therefore, the amendment to §57.981 restricts the harvest of black bass to catch-and-release only on the Devils River and its tributaries from the State Highway 163 bridge downstream to Big Satan Creek Canyon. The current harvest regulations impose an 18-inch minimum length limit and three-fish daily bag limit on smallmouth bass between the State Highway 163 bridge and Dolan Falls, with the remainder of the river under the statewide standard of a 14-inch minimum length limit and five-fish daily bag limit. The goal of the amendment is to maintain black bass abundance and angling success by protecting against overharvest. Catch-and-release angling is biologically consistent with the preservation-focused management model implemented on the Devils River.

The amendment also alters harvest regulations for largemouth bass and sunfish on Bedford Boys Ranch Lake in Tarrant County. Bedford Boys Ranch Lake is a 5.4-acre impoundment located totally within a public park which qualifies it as a Community Fishing Lake (CFL). The reservoir was recently drained and renovated, and habitat was installed to benefit fish population. Department staff are working with the City of Bedford to provide quality fishing opportunities in the local area. Overharvest of fish such as bass and sunfish is a common problem in small urban ponds. Protecting these species from harvest will increase abundance and maintain catch rates for those species. Therefore, the amendment replaces the current harvest regulations for largemouth bass (14-inch minimum length limit and five-fish daily bag) and sunfish (no minimum length limit or daily bag) and implements a catch-and-release-only regulation for largemouth bass and sunfish.

The amendment to 57.981 also makes changes to harvest regulations where necessary to accommodate the nomenclature change for Alabama bass discussed earlier in the amendment to §57.971.

The remainder of the amendment to §57.981 and the amendment to §57.992, concerning Bag, Possession, and Length Limits for commercial fishing, alters bag and possession limits for great, scalloped, and smooth hammerhead sharks and black, gag, and Nassau grouper. The amendment prohibits the take of Nassau grouper, which were designated by the federal government as threatened on July 29, 2016 (81 FR 42268). The state cannot pre-empt or modify a federal designation of any species as threatened or endangered.

With respect to great, scalloped, and smooth hammerhead sharks and the two species of grouper (black and gag), the amendment implements state regulations that are consistent with federal regulations regarding those species. Federal action in 2013 (81 FR 40318) altered the minimum length and possession limits for great, scalloped, and smooth hammerhead sharks in federal waters and federal action in April of 2016 (81 FR 24039) implemented new bag and possession limits for gag and black grouper in federal waters. The amendment alters the current size and possession limits for those species to be consistent with the federal regulations, which the department believes will reduce confusion and enhance compliance, administration, and enforcement.

The department received no comments opposing adoption of the proposed amendment to §57.973 affecting commercial crab traps in Harris County.

The department received no comments supporting adoption of the proposed amendment.

The department received one comment opposing adoption of the portion of the proposed amendment to §57.981 that imposed catch-and-release restrictions on Bedford Boys Ranch Lake. The commenter stated that youth enjoy eating the catch and that the bag limit should therefore be lowered rather replaced with a catch-and-release restriction. The department disagrees with the comment and responds that the lake was recently drained and refilled, necessitating a conservative harvest regime in order for populations to establish themselves without being overfished. The department also notes that channel catfish and rainbow trout are stocked in Bedford Boys Ranch Lake, so all anglers have opportunities to harvest other fish species if they so desire. No changes were made as a result of the comment.

The department received 26 comments supporting adoption of the proposed amendment.

The department received seven comments opposing adoption of the portion of the proposed amendment to §57.981 that restricts the harvest of black bass on a portion of the Devils River to catch-and-release only. Of the seven comments, five presented a reason or rationale for opposing adoption. Those comments, accompanied by the department's response to each, follow.

One commenter opposed adoption and stated that the bag limit should be lowered instead of implementing catch-and-release restrictions, noting that there is no point to catching fish if one cannot eat them. The department disagrees with the comment and responds that the point of the regulation is to maintain a viable fishery for future generations. By imposing catch-and-release restrictions, the department hopes to maintain population abundances at their current levels and prevent against future overharvest. No changes were made as a result of the comment.

One commenter opposed adoption and stated that the rule would hurt local economies that depend on tournament fishing. The department disagrees with the comment and responds that it knows of no such tournaments occurring due to the size and remote location of the Devils River; therefore, there will not be any economic harm to local businesses. No changes were made as a result of the comment.

Two commenters opposed adoption and stated that the limit should be one smallmouth bass of at least 16 inches; one of the commenters also stated that kayak outfitters have more access than persons who access the river at the Del Norte Unit. The department disagrees with the comments and responds that staff are concerned that the smallmouth bass population in this reach of the river may be experiencing overharvest; therefore, implementation of a catch-and-release restriction is necessary to maintain the population and create a sustainable fishery. The department also responds that all person have equal access to the river, although some may access the river more frequently, which is not a suitable basis for establishing harvest restrictions, which are based on the totality of angling effort to which a population is subjected. The department also notes that staff will continue to monitor the resource and adjust harvest regulations as necessary to prevent depletion or waste of the resource. No changes were made as a result of the comment.

One commenter opposed adoption and stated that catch-and-release provisions should apply only to persons on commercial float trips. The department disagrees with the comment and responds that all persons are entitled to equal enjoyment of the resource. No changes were made as a result of the comment.

The department received 26 comments supporting adoption of the proposed amendment.

The department received 43 comments opposing adoption of the portion of the proposed amendment to §57.973 that would have imposed gear restrictions on Kirby Lake. The department agrees with the comments and the proposed change was withdrawn while the department conducts outreach efforts.

The department received 32 comments supporting adoption of the proposed amendment.

The department received two comments opposing adoption of the portion of the proposed amendment to §57.981 that designates the Alabama bass as a distinct species. The department disagrees with the comments. No changes were made as a result of the comments.

The department received 27 comments supporting adoption of the proposed amendment.

The department received 11 comments opposing adoption of the portion of the proposed amendment to §57.981and §57.992 that made state regulations for black grouper consistent with federal regulations for that species. Of the comments, four presented a reason or rationale for opposing adoption. Those comments, accompanied by the department's response to each, follow.

One commenter opposed adoption and stated that because the species is so rarely taken there is no need to change the rule. The department disagrees with the comment and responds that differential regulations in state and federal waters can cause confusion, noncompliance, and unintended consequences for anglers. No changes were made as a result of the comment.

One commenter opposed adoption and stated that the size limit should be retained with no bag limit. The department disagrees with the comment and responds that the purpose of the amendment is to create a standardized regulation; adopting a differential regulation would defeat that purpose. No changes were made as a result of the comment.

One commenter opposed adoption and stated that Texas is sovereign and the federal government cannot preempt bag and possession limits established by the state. The department disagrees with the comment and responds that rulemaking is not the result of federal preemption of state laws but an action of the state to make state rules consistent with the rules that apply in federal waters. No changes were made as a result of the comment.

One commenter opposed adoption and stated that no data was offered to support the change. The department agrees with the comment and responds that the rulemaking is not driven by resource management concerns but by a desire to eliminate possible angler confusion; therefore, biological data is not a factor. No changes were made as a result of the comment.

The department received 64 comments supporting adoption of the proposed amendment.

The department received nine comments opposing adoption of the portion of the proposed amendment to §57.981and §57.992 that made state regulations for gag grouper consistent with federal regulations for that species. Of the nine comments, three presented a reason or rationale for opposing adoption. Those comments, accompanied by the department's response to each, follow.

One commenter opposed adoption and stated that there is no reason to change the regulation. The department disagrees with the comment and responds that by making regulations consistent with regulations in federal waters with respect to these species, the chances of an uninformed angler becoming confused and unintentionally violating state or federal law are reduced. No changes were made as a result of the comment.

One commenter opposed adoption and stated that Texas is sovereign and the federal government cannot preempt bag and possession limits established by the state. The department disagrees with the comment and responds that rulemaking is not the result of federal preemption of state laws but an action of the state to make state rules consistent with the rules that apply in federal waters. No changes were made as a result of the comment.

One commenter opposed adoption and stated that no data was offered to support the change. The department agrees with the comment and responds that the rulemaking is not driven by resource management concerns but by a desire to eliminate possible angler confusion; therefore, biological data is not a factor. No changes were made as a result of the comment.

The department received 64 comments supporting adoption of the proposed amendment.

The department received eight comments opposing adoption of the portion of the proposed amendment to §57.981and §57.992 that prohibit the take of Nassau grouper. Of the eight comments, one presented a reason or rationale for opposing adoption. The commenter opposed adoption and stated that recreational anglers are getting blamed for the activities of commercial fishing. The department disagrees with the comment and responds that the federal determination to list a species as endangered is based on population, habitat, and threat assessments, and in any case, the federal decision is independent of the department and not within the authority of the Parks and Wildlife Commission to modify or rescind. No changes were made as a result of the comment.

The department received 66 comments supporting adoption of the proposed amendment.

The department received 21 comments opposing adoption of the portion of the proposed amendment to §57.981and §57.992 that made state regulations for hammerhead sharks consistent with federal regulations for that species. Of the 21 comments, nine presented a reason or rationale for opposing adoption. Those comments, accompanied by the department's response to each, follow.

One commenter opposed adoption and stated that the department should be going after poachers because there are too many laws and the department is only interested in enforcement actions against recreational anglers. The department disagrees with the comment and responds that poaching activity does not appear to be correlated to or predicate upon the presence, absence, or number of laws, and that the department does not engage in preferential enforcement with respect to commercial and recreational angling activities. No changes were made as a result of the comment.

Two commenters opposed adoption and stated that the harvest of hammerhead sharks should be catch-and-release. The department disagrees with the comment and responds that the harvest of hammerhead sharks is believed to be sustainable under the rules as adopted. No changes were made as a result of the comment.

One commenter opposed adoption and stated that the regulation of species that are seldom seen or caught results in increased costs and places a burden on persons who might accidentally catch such a species. The department disagrees with the comment and responds that the regulation of uncommon species costs no more than the regulation of common species and that catch that cannot be positively identified should not be retained. No changes were made as a result of the comment.

One commenter opposed adoption and stated that there is no reason to match federal rules with respect to sharks caught from the beach or near the shore. The department disagrees with the comment and responds that as a practical matter, once a resource has been transported from where it was caught, to determine where it was caught, which makes enforcement problematic. No changes were made as a result of the comment.

One commenter opposed adoption and stated that there are too many hammerhead sharks and there should be no size limit. The department disagrees with the comment and responds that biological data definitely support the imposition of harvest restrictions on hammerhead sharks in order to protect that species. No changes were made as a result of the comment.

One commenter opposed adoption and stated that not too many sharks are caught. The department disagrees with the comment and responds that biological data definitely support the imposition of harvest restrictions on hammerhead sharks in order to protect that species. No changes were made as a result of the comment.

One commenter opposed adoption and stated that Texas is sovereign and the federal government cannot preempt bag and possession limits established by the state. The department disagrees with the comment and responds that rulemaking is not the result of federal preemption of state laws but an action of the state to make state rules consistent with the rules that apply in federal waters. No changes were made as a result of the comment.

One commenter opposed adoption and stated that the increased length limit would effectively prohibit the harvest of smooth and scalloped hammerheads because it is near the maximum attainable size of those species. The department disagrees with the comment and responds that the rules are intended to reduce harvest of those two species, both of which are species of concern. No changes were made as a result of the comment.

The department received 64 comments supporting adoption of the proposed amendment.

DIVISION 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS

31 TAC §57.971, §57.973

The amendments are adopted under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 61, which requires the commission to regulate the periods of time when it is lawful to hunt, take, or possess aquatic animal life in this state; the means, methods, and places in which it is lawful to take, or possess aquatic animal life in this state; the species, quantity, age or size, and, to the extent possible, the sex of the aquatic animal life authorized to be taken or possessed; and the region, county, area, body of water, or portion of a county where aquatic animal life may be taken or possessed; and §67.004, which requires the commission to establish any limits on the taking, possession, propagation, transportation, importation, exportation, sale, or offering for sale of nongame fish or wildlife that the department considers necessary to manage the species.

§57.973.Devices, Means and Methods.

(a) In fresh water only, it is unlawful to fish with more than 100 hooks on all devices combined.

(b) Game and non-game fish may be taken only by pole and line in or on:

(1) community fishing lakes;

(2) sections of rivers lying totally within the boundaries of state parks;

(3) any dock, pier, jetty, or other manmade structure within a state park;

(4) Canyon Lake Project #6 (Lubbock County);

(5) Lake Pflugerville (Travis County);

(6) North Concho River (Tom Green County) from O.C. Fisher Dam to Bell Street Dam;

(7) South Concho River (Tom Green County) from Lone Wolf Dam to Bell Street Dam; and

(8) Wheeler Branch (Somervell County).

(c) No person may employ more than two pole-and-line devices at the same time on:

(1) any dock, pier, jetty, or other manmade structure within a state park;

(2) community fishing lakes that are not within or part of a state park;

(3) Canyon Lake Project #6 (Lubbock County);

(4) North Concho River (Tom Green County) from O. C. Fisher Dam to Bell Street Dam; and

(5) South Concho River (Tom Green County) from Lone Wolf Dam to Bell Street Dam.

(d) It is unlawful to take, attempt to take, or possess fish caught in public waters of this state by any device, means, or method other than as authorized in this subchapter.

(e) In salt water only, it is unlawful to fish with any device that is marked with a buoy made of a plastic bottle(s) of any color or size.

(f) Aquatic life (except threatened and endangered species) not addressed in this subchapter may be taken only by hand or with the devices defined as lawful for taking fish, crabs, oysters, or shrimp in places and at times as provided by the Parks and Wildlife Commission and regulations adopted by the Parks and Wildlife Code.

(g) Device restrictions. Devices legally used for taking fresh or saltwater fish or shrimp may be used to take crab as authorized by this subchapter.

(1) Cast net. It is unlawful to use a cast net exceeding 14 feet in diameter.

(A) Only non-game fish may be taken with a cast net.

(B) In salt water, non-game fish may be taken for bait purposes only.

(2) Crab line. It is unlawful to fish a crab line for commercial purposes that is not marked with a floating white buoy not less than six inches in height, six inches in length and six inches in width bearing the commercial crab fisherman's license plate number in letters of a contrasting color at least two inches high attached to the end fixtures.

(3) Crab trap. It is unlawful to:

(A) fish for commercial purposes under authority of a commercial crab fisherman's license with more than 200 crab traps at one time;

(B) fish for commercial purposes under authority of a commercial finfish fisherman's license with more than 20 crab traps at one time;

(C) fish for non-commercial purposes with more than six crab traps at one time;

(D) fish a crab trap in the fresh waters of this state;

(E) fish a crab trap that:

(i) exceeds 18 cubic feet in volume;

(ii) is not equipped with at least two escape vents (minimum 2-3/8 inches inside diameter) in each crab-retaining chamber, and located on the outside trap walls of each chamber; and

(iii) is not equipped with a degradable panel. A trap shall be considered to have a degradable panel if one of the following methods is used in construction of the trap:

(I) the trap lid tie-down strap is secured to the trap by a loop of untreated jute twine (comparable to Lehigh brand #530) or sisal twine (comparable to Lehigh brand #390). The trap lid must be secured so that when the twine degrades, the lid will no longer be securely closed; or

(II) the trap lid tie-down strap is secured to the trap by a loop of untreated steel wire with a diameter of no larger than 20 gauge. The trap lid must be secured so that when the wire degrades, the lid will no longer be securely closed; or

(III) the trap contains at least one sidewall, not including the bottom panel, with a rectangular opening no smaller than 3 inches by 6 inches. Any obstruction placed in this opening may not be secured in any manner except:

(-a-) it may be laced, sewn, or otherwise obstructed by a single length of untreated jute twine (comparable to Lehigh brand #530) or sisal twine (comparable to Lehigh brand #390) knotted only at each end and not tied or looped more than once around a single mesh bar. When the twine degrades, the opening in the sidewall of the trap will no longer be obstructed; or

(-b-) it may be laced, sewn, or otherwise obstructed by a single length of untreated steel wire with a diameter of no larger than 20 gauge. When the wire degrades, the opening in the sidewall of the trap will no longer be obstructed; or

(-c-) the obstruction may be loosely hinged at the bottom of the opening by no more than two untreated steel hog rings and secured at the top of the obstruction in no more than one place by a single length of untreated jute twine (comparable to Lehigh brand #530), sisal twine (comparable to Lehigh brand #390), or by a single length of untreated steel wire with a diameter of no larger than 20 gauge. When the twine or wire degrades, the obstruction will hinge downward and the opening in the sidewall of the trap will no longer be obstructed;

(F) fish a crab trap for commercial purposes under authority of a commercial crab fisherman's license:

(i) that is not marked with a floating white buoy not less than six inches in height, six inches in length, and six inches in width attached to the crab trap;

(ii) that is not marked with a white buoy bearing the commercial crab fisherman's license plate number in letters of a contrasting color at least two inches high attached to the crab trap;

(iii) that is marked with a buoy bearing a commercial crab fisherman's license plate number other than the commercial crab fisherman's license plate number displayed on the crab fishing boat;

(G) fish a crab trap for commercial purposes under authority of a commercial finfish fisherman's license:

(i) that is not marked with a floating white buoy not less than six inches in height, six inches in length, and six inches in width attached to the crab trap;

(ii) that is not marked with a white buoy bearing the letter 'F' and the commercial finfish fisherman's license plate number in letters of a contrasting color at least two inches high attached to the crab trap;

(iii) that is marked with a buoy bearing a commercial finfish fisherman's license plate number other than the commercial finfish fisherman's license plate number displayed on the finfish fishing boat;

(H) fish a crab trap for non-commercial purposes without a floating white buoy not less than six inches in height, six inches in length, and six inches in width, bearing a two-inch wide center stripe of contrasting color, attached to the crab trap;

(I) fish a crab trap in public salt waters for non-commercial purposes without a valid gear tag. Gear tags must be attached within 6 inches of the buoy and are valid for 10 days after date set out;

(J) fish a crab trap within 200 feet of a marked navigable channel in Aransas County; and in the water area of Aransas Bay within one-half mile of a line from Hail Point on the Lamar Peninsula, then direct to the eastern end of Goose Island, then along the southern shore of Goose Island, then along the eastern shoreline of the Live Oak Peninsula past the town of Fulton, past Nine Mile Point, past the town of Rockport to a point at the east end of Talley Island including that part of Copano Bay within 1,000 feet of the causeway between Lamar Peninsula and Live Oak Peninsula or possess, use or place:

(i) for recreational purposes, more than three crab traps in waters north and west of Highway 146 where it crosses the Houston Ship Channel in Harris County; or

(ii) for commercial purposes, a crab trap in waters north and west of Highway 146 where it crosses the Houston Ship Channel in Harris County.

(K) remove crab traps from the water or remove crabs from crab traps during the period from 30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise;

(L) place a crab trap or portion thereof closer than 100 feet from any other crab trap, except when traps are secured to a pier or dock;

(M) fish a crab trap in public waters that is marked with a buoy made of a plastic bottle(s) of any color or size; or

(N) use or place more than three crab traps in public waters of the San Bernard River north of a line marked by the boat access channel at Bernard Acres.

(4) Dip net.

(A) It is unlawful to use a dip net except:

(i) to aid in the landing of fish caught on other legal devices; and

(ii) to take non-game fish.

(B) In salt water, non-game fish may be taken for bait purposes only.

(5) Folding panel trap.

(A) Only crabs may be taken with a folding panel trap.

(B) It is unlawful to use a folding panel trap with an overall surface area, including panels, exceeding 16 square feet.

(6) Gaff.

(A) It is unlawful to use a gaff except to aid in landing fish caught by other legal devices, means or methods.

(B) Fish landed with a gaff may not be below the minimum, above the maximum, or within a protected length limit.

(7) Gig. Only non-game fish may be taken with a gig.

(8) Handfishing. For use in fresh water only.

(A) Only blue, channel, and flathead catfish may be taken by means of handfishing.

(B) It is unlawful to intentionally place or use a trap in public waters for the purpose of taking catfish by handfishing.

(9) Jugline. For use in fresh water only. Non-game fish, channel catfish, blue catfish and flathead catfish may be taken with a jugline. It is unlawful to use a jugline:

(A) with invalid gear tags. Gear tags must be attached within six inches of the free-floating device, are valid for 10 days after the date set out, and must include the number of the permit to sell non-game fish taken from fresh water, if applicable;

(B) for commercial purposes that is not marked with an orange free-floating device;

(C) for non-commercial purposes that is not marked with a free-floating device of any color other than orange;

(D) in Lake Bastrop in Bastrop County, Bellwood Lake in Smith County, Lake Bryan in Brazos County, Boerne City Park Lake in Kendall County, Lakes Coffee Mill and Davy Crockett in Fannin County, Dixieland Reservoir in Cameron County, Gibbons Creek Reservoir in Grimes County, Lake Naconiche in Nacogdoches County, and Tankersley Reservoir in Titus County.

(10) Lawful archery equipment. Only non-game fish may be taken with lawful archery equipment or crossbow.

(11) Minnow trap (fresh water and salt water). It is unlawful to use a minnow trap that is not equipped with a gear tag. A gear tag is valid for 10 days after the date it is set out.

(A) Only non-game fish may be taken with a minnow trap.

(B) It is unlawful to use a minnow trap that exceeds 24 inches in length or with a throat larger than one by three inches.

(12) Perch traps. For use in salt water only.

(A) Perch traps may be used only for taking non-game fish.

(B) It is unlawful to fish a perch trap that:

(i) exceeds 18 cubic feet in volume;

(ii) is not equipped with a degradable panel. A trap shall be considered to have a degradable panel if one of the following methods is used in construction of the trap:

(I) the trap lid tie-down strap is secured to the trap by a loop of untreated jute twine (comparable to Lehigh brand #530) or sisal twine (comparable to Lehigh brand #390). The trap lid must be secured so that when the twine degrades, the lid will no longer be securely closed; or

(II) the trap lid tie-down strap is secured to the trap by a loop of untreated steel wire with a diameter of no larger than 20 gauge. The trap lid must be secured so that when the wire degrades, the lid will no longer be securely closed; or

(III) the trap contains at least one sidewall, not including the bottom panel, with a rectangular opening no smaller than 3 inches by 6 inches. Any obstruction placed in this opening may not be secured in any manner except:

(-a-) it may be laced, sewn, or otherwise obstructed by a single length of untreated jute twine (comparable to Lehigh brand #530) or sisal twine (comparable to Lehigh brand #390) knotted only at each end and not tied or looped more than once around a single mesh bar. When the twine degrades, the opening in the sidewall of the trap will no longer be obstructed; or

(-b-) it may be laced, sewn, or otherwise obstructed by a single length of untreated steel wire with a diameter of no larger than 20 gauge. When the wire degrades, the opening in the sidewall of the trap will no longer be obstructed; or

(-c-) the obstruction may be loosely hinged at the bottom of the opening by no more than two untreated steel hog rings and secured at the top of the obstruction in no more than one place by a single length of untreated jute twine (comparable to Lehigh brand #530), sisal twine (comparable to Lehigh brand #390), or by a single length of untreated steel wire with a diameter of no larger than 20 gauge. When the twine or wire degrades, the obstruction will hinge downward and the opening in the sidewall of the trap will no longer be obstructed.

(iii) that is not marked with a floating visible orange buoy not less than six inches in height and six inches in width. The buoy must have a gear tag attached. Gear tags are valid for 10 days after date set out.

(13) Pole and line.

(A) Game and non-game fish may be taken by pole and line. It is unlawful to use a pole and line to take or attempt to take fish by foul-hooking, snagging, or jerking. A fish is foul-hooked when caught by a hook in an area other than the fish's mouth.

(B) Game and non-game fish may be taken by pole and line. It is unlawful to take fish with a hand-operated device held underwater except that a spear gun and spear may be used to take non-game fish.

(C) Game and non-game fish may be taken by pole and line, except that in the Guadalupe River in Comal County from the second bridge crossing on River Road upstream to a point 800 yards downstream of the Canyon Lake dam outlet, rainbow and brown trout may not be retained when taken by any method except artificial lures. Artificial lures cannot contain or have attached either whole or portions, living or dead, of organisms such as fish, crayfish, insects (grubs, larvae, or adults), or worms, or any other animal or vegetable material, or synthetic scented materials. This does not prohibit the use of artificial lures that contain components of hair or feathers. It is an offense to possess rainbow and brown trout while fishing with any other device in that part of the Guadalupe River defined in this paragraph.

(14) Purse seine.

(A) Purse seines may be used only for taking menhaden, only from that portion of the Gulf of Mexico within the jurisdiction of this state extending from one-half mile offshore to nine nautical miles offshore.

(B) Purse seines used for taking menhaden may not be used within one mile of any jetty or pass.

(C) The purse seine, not including the bag, shall not be less than three-fourths inch square mesh.

(15) Sail line. For use in salt water only.

(A) Non-game fish, red drum, spotted seatrout, and sharks may be taken with a sail line.

(B) Line length shall not exceed 1,800 feet from the reel to the sail.

(C) The sail and most shoreward float must be a highly visible orange or red color. All other floats must be yellow.

(D) No float on the line may be more than 200 feet from the sail.

(E) A weight of not less than one ounce shall be attached to the line not less than four feet or more than six feet shoreward of the last shoreward float.

(F) Reflectors of not less than two square inches shall be affixed to the sail and floats and shall be visible from all directions for sail lines operated from 30 minutes after sunset to 30 minutes before sunrise.

(G) There is no hook spacing requirement for sail lines.

(H) No more than one sail line may be used per fisherman.

(I) Sail lines may not be used by the holder of a commercial fishing license.

(J) Sail lines must be attended at all times the line is fishing.

(K) Sail lines may not have more than 30 hooks and no hook may be placed more than 200 feet from the sail.

(16) Sand pump. It is unlawful for any person to use a sand pump:

(A) that is not manually operated; or

(B) for commercial purposes.

(17) Seine.

(A) Only non-game fish may be taken with a seine.

(B) It is unlawful to use a seine:

(i) which is not manually operated;

(ii) with mesh exceeding 1/2-inch square; or

(iii) that exceeds 20 feet in length.

(C) In salt water, non-game fish may be taken by seine for bait purposes only.

(18) Shad trawl. For use in fresh water only.

(A) Only non-game fish may be taken with a shad trawl.

(B) It is unlawful to use a shad trawl longer than six feet or with a mouth larger than 36 inches in diameter.

(C) A shad trawl may be equipped with a funnel or throat and must be towed by boat or by hand.

(19) Spear. Only non-game fish may be taken with a spear.

(20) Spear gun. Only non-game fish may be taken with spear gun.

(21) Throwline. For use in fresh water only.

(A) Non-game fish, channel catfish, blue catfish and flathead catfish may be taken with a throwline.

(B) It is unlawful to use a throwline in Lake Bastrop in Bastrop County, Bellwood Lake in Smith County, Lake Bryan in Brazos County, Boerne City Park Lake in Kendall County, Lakes Coffee Mill and Davy Crockett in Fannin County, Dixieland Reservoir in Cameron County, Gibbons Creek Reservoir in Grimes County, Lake Naconiche in Nacogdoches County, and Tankersley Reservoir in Titus County.

(C) It is unlawful to use a throwline that is not equipped with a gear tag. A gear tag is valid for 10 days after the date it is set out.

(22) Trotline.

(A) Non-game fish, channel catfish, blue catfish, and flathead catfish may be taken by trotline.

(B) It is unlawful to use a trotline:

(i) with a mainline length exceeding 600 feet;

(ii) with invalid gear tags. Gear tags must be attached within three feet of the first hook at each end of the trotline and are valid for 10 days after date set out, except on saltwater trotlines, a gear tag is not required to be dated;

(iii) with hook interval less than three horizontal feet;

(iv) with metallic stakes; or

(v) with the main fishing line and attached hooks and stagings above the water's surface.

(C) In fresh water, it is unlawful to use a trotline:

(i) with more than 50 hooks;

(ii) in Gibbons Creek Reservoir in Grimes County, Lake Bastrop in Bastrop County, Lakes Coffee Mill and Davy Crockett in Fannin County, Fayette County Reservoir in Fayette County, Pinkston Reservoir in Shelby County, Lake Bryan in Brazos County, Bellwood Lake in Smith County, Dixieland Reservoir in Cameron County, Boerne City Park Lake in Kendall County, Lake Naconiche in Nacogdoches County, and Tankersley Reservoir in Titus County.

(D) In salt water:

(i) it is unlawful to use a trotline:

(I) in or on the waters of the Gulf of Mexico within the jurisdiction of this state;

(II) from which red drum, sharks or spotted seatrout caught on the trotline are retained or possessed;

(III) placed closer than 50 feet from any other trotline, or set within 200 feet of the edge of the Intracoastal Waterway or its tributary channels. No trotline may be fished with the main fishing line and attached hooks and stagings above the water's surface;

(IV) baited with other than natural bait, except sail lines;

(V) with hooks other than circle-type hook with point curved in and having a gap (distance from point to shank) of no more than one-half inch, and with the diameter of the circle not less than five-eighths inch. Sail lines are excluded from the restrictions imposed by this clause; or

(VI) in Aransas County in Little Bay and the water area of Aransas Bay within one-half mile of a line from Hail Point on the Lamar Peninsula, then direct to the eastern end of Goose Island, then along the southern shore of Goose Island, then along the causeway between Lamar Peninsula and Live Oak Peninsula, then along the eastern shoreline of the Live Oak Peninsula past the town of Fulton, past Nine-Mile Point, past the town of Rockport to a point at the east end of Talley Island, including that part of Copano Bay within 1,000 feet of the causeway between Lamar Peninsula and Live Oak Peninsula.

(ii) No trotline or trotline components, including lines and hooks, but excluding poles, may be left in or on coastal waters between the hours of 1:00 p.m. on Friday through 1:00 p.m. on Sunday of each week, except that attended sail lines are excluded from the restrictions imposed by this clause. Under the authority of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Code, §66.206(b), in the event small craft advisories or higher marine weather advisories issued by the National Weather Service are in place at 8:00 a.m. on Friday, trotlines may remain in the water until 6:00 p.m. on Friday. If small craft advisories are in place at 1:00 p.m. on Friday, trotlines may remain in the water until Saturday. When small craft advisories are lifted by 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, trotlines must be removed by 1:00 p.m. on Saturday. When smallcraft advisories are lifted by 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, trotlines must be removed by 6:00 p.m. on Saturday. When small craft advisories or higher marine weather advisories are still in place at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, trotlines may remain in the water through 1:00 p.m. on Sunday. It is a violation to tend, bait, or harvest fish or any other aquatic life from trotlines during the period that trotline removal requirements are suspended under this provision for adverse weather conditions. For purposes of enforcement, the geographic area customarily covered by marine weather advisories will be delineated by department policy.

(iii) It is unlawful to fish for commercial purposes with:

(I) more than 20 trotlines at one time;

(II) any trotline that is not marked with yellow flagging attached to stakes or with a floating yellow buoy not less than six inches in height, six inches in length, and six inches in width attached to end fixtures;

(III) any trotline that is not marked with yellow flagging attached to stakes or with a yellow buoy bearing the commercial finfish fisherman's license plate number in letters of a contrasting color at least two inches high attached to end fixtures;

(IV) any trotline that is marked with yellow flagging or with a buoy bearing a commercial finfish fisherman's license plate number other than the commercial finfish fisherman's license plate number displayed on the finfish fishing boat;

(iv) It is unlawful to fish for non-commercial purposes with:

(I) more than 1 trotline at any time; or

(II) any trotline that is not marked with a floating yellow buoy not less than six inches in height, six inches in length, and six inches in width, bearing a two-inch wide stripe of contrasting color, attached to end fixtures.

(23) Umbrella net.

(A) Only non-game fish may be taken with an umbrella net.

(B) It is unlawful to use an umbrella net with the area within the frame exceeding 16 square feet.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the adoption and found it to be a valid exercise of the agency's legal authority.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on June 19, 2017.

TRD-201702371

Robert D. Sweeney, Jr.

Acting General Counsel

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Effective date: September 1, 2017

Proposal publication date: February 17, 2017

For further information, please call: (512) 389-4775


DIVISION 2. STATEWIDE RECREATIONAL FISHING PROCLAMATION

31 TAC §57.981

The amendment is adopted under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 61, which requires the commission to regulate the periods of time when it is lawful to take or possess aquatic animal life in this state; the means, methods, and places in which it is lawful to take or possess aquatic animal life in this state; the species, quantity, age or size, and, to the extent possible, the sex of the aquatic animal life authorized to be taken or possessed; and the region, county, area, body of water, or portion of a county where aquatic animal life may be taken or possessed.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the adoption and found it to be a valid exercise of the agency's legal authority.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on June 19, 2017.

TRD-201702372

Robert D. Sweeney, Jr.

Acting General Counsel

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Effective date: September 1, 2017

Proposal publication date: February 17, 2017

For further information, please call: (512) 389-4775


DIVISION 3. STATEWIDE COMMERCIAL FISHING PROCLAMATION

31 TAC §57.992

The amendment is adopted under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 61, which requires the commission to regulate the periods of time when it is lawful to take or possess aquatic animal life in this state; the means, methods, and places in which it is lawful to take or possess aquatic animal life in this state; the species, quantity, age or size, and, to the extent possible, the sex of the aquatic animal life authorized to be taken or possessed; and the region, county, area, body of water, or portion of a county where aquatic animal life may be taken or possessed.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the adoption and found it to be a valid exercise of the agency's legal authority.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on June 19, 2017.

TRD-201702373

Robert D. Sweeney, Jr.

Acting General Counsel

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Effective date: September 1, 2017

Proposal publication date: February 17, 2017

For further information, please call: (512) 389-4775


CHAPTER 58. OYSTERS, SHRIMP, AND FINFISH

SUBCHAPTER B. STATEWIDE SHRIMP FISHERY PROCLAMATION

31 TAC §58.165

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission in a duly noticed meeting on March 23, 2017, adopted an amendment to §58.165, concerning Noncommercial (Recreational) Shrimping, without changes to the proposed text as published in the February 17, 2017, issue of the Texas Register (42 TexReg 659).

The proposed amendment is a result of the department's review of its regulations under the provisions of Government Code, §2001.039, which requires a state agency to review each of its regulations no less frequently than every four years and to re-adopt, adopt with changes, or repeal each rule as a result of the review.

The amendment eliminates the count and size requirements for the Fall season by removing subsection (c)(3)(D). This action is necessary to provide consistency with commercial shrimping regulations. The amendment also alters subsection (d)(3) to provide consistency with commercial shrimping regulations by clarifying that legal shrimping hours are 30 minutes before sunrise to 30 minutes after sunset.

The department received no comments opposing adoption of the amendment as proposed.

The department received two comments supporting adoption of the amendment as proposed.

The amendment is adopted under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 77, which provides the Commission with authority to regulate the catching, possession, purchase, and sale of shrimp.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the adoption and found it to be a valid exercise of the agency's legal authority.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on June 19, 2017.

TRD-201702375

Robert D. Sweeney, Jr.

Acting General Counsel

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Effective date: July 9, 2017

Proposal publication date: February 17, 2017

For further information, please call: (512) 389-4775


CHAPTER 59. PARKS

SUBCHAPTER A. PARK ENTRANCE AND PARK USER FEES

31 TAC §§59.2 - 59.4

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission in a duly noticed meeting on March 23, 2017, adopted amendments to §§59.2 - 59.4, concerning State Parks, without changes to the proposed text as published in the December 23, 2016, issue of the Texas Register (41 TexReg 10082). The amendments are a result of the department's review of its regulations under the provisions of Government Code, §2001.039, which requires a state agency to review each of its regulations no less frequently than every four years and to re-adopt, adopt with changes, or repeal each rule as a result of the review.

The amendment to §59.2, concerning Park Entrance Fees, deletes references to "permit" in subsection (a). In parks at which a fee is required for park entrance, the department has determined that it is more accurate to describe the fee as an entrance fee, rather than a permit fee. The amendment also alters subsection (a)(3) to eliminate the reference to an overnight facility use fee, since such fees are addressed in §59.4. The amendment also replaces the word "imposed" in subsection (b) with the more accurate term "collected" to clarify that that fee is actually collected, rather than imposed.

The amendment to §59.3, concerning Park Entry Passes, deletes the reference to a "tour" fee, since that fee is addressed in §59.4(c)(7). In addition, the amendment deletes the word "other" from paragraph (1)(A)(ii) and (iii) because it is unnecessary for purposes of describing the number of persons authorized to enter a park by an annual park pass. Similarly, "motorcycle" is added to the list of means by which persons may enter a park other than a vehicle in paragraph (1)(A)(iii) and the word "guided" is removed from paragraph (1)(B)(ii), since not all tours in parks are guided. The amendment also removes reference to an "order of" the department's executive director from paragraphs (1)(D) and (2)(C) since the executive director may document the establishment of the referenced fee by a method other than an executive order.

The amendment to §59.4, concerning Activity and Facility Use Fees, combines the group day use facility fee in subsection (b)(3) with the group day use area fee in subsection (b)(4) and removes the reference to "recreation/meeting hall/dining hall" in subsection (b)(3) to better describe the facilities for which the fee is imposed. In addition, the amendment relocates the fee for group use of a swimming pool facility from subsection (c)(2)(C) to subsection (b)(8), since other group fees are located in subsection (b). The amendment also alters subsection (c)(7) by removing the detailed description of various types of tours and instead inserts a reference to "tour fees." The amendment also alters subsection (c)(7) to replace "$.25" with the more accurate "$0.25."

The department received no comments concerning adoption of the proposed amendments.

The department received eight comments supporting adoption of the proposed rules.

The amendments are adopted under Parks and Wildlife Code, §11.027(e), which authorizes the commission by rule to establish and provide for the collection of a fee for entering, reserving, or using a facility or property owned or managed by the department; §13.015(a), which authorizes the commission to set park user fees for park services; §13.018(e), which requires the commission to establish by rule the eligibility requirements and privileges available to the holder of a state parklands passport; and §13.0191, which authorizes the department to set fees for the use of a facility or lodging at a state park in an amount to recover the direct and indirect costs of providing the facility or lodging and provide a reasonable rate of return to the department.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the adoption and found it to be a valid exercise of the agency's legal authority.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on June 12, 2017.

TRD-201702296

Robert D. Sweeney, Jr.

Acting General Counsel

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Effective date: July 2, 2017

Proposal publication date: December 23, 2016

For further information, please call: (512) 389-4775


CHAPTER 65. WILDLIFE

SUBCHAPTER A. STATEWIDE HUNTING PROCLAMATION

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission in a duly noticed meeting on March 23, 2017, adopted the repeal of §§65.26, 65.28, 65.34, and 65.42, amendments to §§65.7, 65.9, 65.10, 65.24, 65.25, 65.33, and new §65.42, concerning the Statewide Hunting Proclamation. New §65.42, concerning Deer, is adopted with changes to the proposed text as published in the February 17, 2017, issue of the Texas Register (42 TexReg 660). The repeal of §§65.26, 65.28, 65.34, and 65.42 and amendments to §§65.7, 65.9, 65.10, 65.24, 65.25, and 65.33 are adopted without change and will not be republished.

The change to §65.42 corrects a typographical error in subsection (b)(2)(C). The bag limit for buck deer in the affected counties should be one buck deer, not two. As stated in the proposal preamble, the intent of the rulemaking is to remove references to certain deer-management programs and nonsubstantively reorganize the section for purposes of clarity (i.e., without any changes to season lengths, bag limits, or other substantive provisions). The buck bag limit for the affected counties has been one buck for many years and the department did not intend to increase it.

The repeals, amendments, and new section are a result of the department's review of its regulations under the provisions of Government Code, §2001.039, which requires a state agency to review each of its regulations no less frequently than every four years and to re-adopt, adopt with changes, or repeal each rule as a result of the review.

The repeal of §65.26, concerning Managed Lands Deer Permits (MLDP)--White-tailed Deer; §65.28, concerning Landowner Assisted Management Permit System (LAMPS); and §65.34, concerning Managed Lands Deer Permits (MLDP)--Mule Deer and the amendments to §65.7, concerning Harvest Log; §65.9, concerning Open Seasons: General Rules; §65.10, concerning Possession of Wildlife Resources; §65.24, concerning Permits; §65.25, concerning Wildlife Management Plan (WMP); and §65.33, concerning Mandatory Check Stations, are necessary to accommodate the provisions of §65.29, concerning Managed Lands Deer (MLD) Programs. In 2016, the department adopted new §65.29 Texas Register (41 TexReg 806), concerning Managed Lands Deer Program (MLDP), to replace the current MLDP programs for white-tailed and mule deer and the Landowner Assisted Management Program (LAMPS) for white-tailed deer. Those rules were adopted with an effective date that would allow program implementation beginning with the 2017-18 deer seasons. In order to prevent regulatory conflict, references to and provisions of the programs being replaced therefore need to be removed or altered.

The repeal of §65.42, concerning Deer, and new §65.42, concerning Deer, remove references to deer permit programs that no longer exist and nonsubstantively reorganize the remaining provisions of the current rule to make it more concise and user-friendly. As discussed earlier in this preamble, a single MLD program will take effect for the 2017-18 hunting seasons; therefore, references and provisions regarding the previous permit programs must be removed from the current rule or altered to conform to the new rule. In addition, the amendment also rewords the roadway definition that delineates the north and south deer zones in Val Verde County in the interests of clarity. Finally, new §65.42 nonsubstantively reorganizes and restructures existing provisions to eliminate repetition and categorizes regulatory provisions in a more consistent fashion.

The department received three comments opposing adoption of the rules as proposed. All three commenters provided a reason or rationale for opposing adoption. Those comments, accompanied by the department's response to each, follow.

One commenter opposed adoption and stated that the muzzleloader season should open on January 15 and run through February 15. The department disagrees with the comment and responds that as mentioned in the proposal preamble and earlier in this preamble, the intent of this rulemaking is a nonsubstantive reorganization of existing provisions and therefore it does not contemplate changes to existing season dates or bag limits. Deer harvest regulations are developed based upon the deer population characteristics within individual Deer Management Units (DMUs) and reviewed on a four-year cycle, which the department believes is the minimum length of time necessary to generate statistically meaningful data for purposes of assessing the biological impacts of harvest regulations. The next regulations cycle for deer harvest regulations will begin in November of 2019. No changes were made as a result of the comment.

One commenter opposed adoption and stated that in lieu of the MLD program in Milam County, each landowner should be allowed to shoot one doe. The department disagrees with the comment and responds that white-tailed deer are a public resource and the department is required by statute (Parks and Wildlife Code, §61.055) to "provide to the people the most equitable and reasonable privilege to hunt game animals or game birds or catch aquatic animal life." Therefore, the department cannot condition the privilege of harvesting deer upon land ownership. No changes were made as a result of the comment.

One commenter opposed adoption and stated that the deer harvest regulations for Goliad County should include "doe days." The department presumes that the commenter is alluding to the portion of Goliad County north of U.S. Hwy. 59, in which the take of antlerless deer is by permit only, and disagrees with the comment. As mentioned in the proposal preamble and earlier in this preamble, the intent of this rulemaking is a nonsubstantive reorganization of existing provisions and therefore it does not contemplate changes to existing season dates or bag limits. Deer harvest regulations are developed based upon the deer population characteristics within individual Deer Management Units (DMUs) and reviewed on a four-year cycle, which the department believes is the minimum length of time necessary to generate statistically meaningful data for purposes of assessing the biological impacts of harvest regulations. The next regulations cycle for deer harvest regulations will begin in November of 2019. No changes were made as a result of the comment.

The department received one comment supporting adoption of the rules as proposed.

DIVISION 1. GENERAL PROVISIONS

31 TAC §§65.7, 65.9, 65.10, 65.24, 65.25, 65.33

The amendments are adopted under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 42, which allows the department to issue tags for deer during each year or season; and Chapter 61, which requires the commission to regulate the periods of time when it is lawful to hunt, take, or possess game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life in this state; the means, methods, and places in which it is lawful to hunt, take, or possess game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life in this state; the species, quantity, age or size, and, to the extent possible, the sex of the game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life authorized to be hunted, taken, or possessed; and the region, county, area, body of water, or portion of a county where game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life may be hunted, taken, or possessed.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the adoption and found it to be a valid exercise of the agency's legal authority.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on June 19, 2017.

TRD-201702384

Robert D. Sweeney, Jr.

Acting General Counsel

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Effective date: July 9, 2017

Proposal publication date: February 17, 2017

For further information, please call: (512) 389-4775


31 TAC §§65.26, 65.28, 65.34

The repeals are adopted under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 42, which allows the department to issue tags for deer during each year or season; and Chapter 61, which requires the commission to regulate the periods of time when it is lawful to hunt, take, or possess game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life in this state; the means, methods, and places in which it is lawful to hunt, take, or possess game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life in this state; the species, quantity, age or size, and, to the extent possible, the sex of the game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life authorized to be hunted, taken, or possessed; and the region, county, area, body of water, or portion of a county where game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life may be hunted, taken, or possessed.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the adoption and found it to be a valid exercise of the agency's legal authority.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on June 19, 2017.

TRD-201702382

Robert D. Sweeney, Jr.

Acting General Counsel

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Effective date: July 9, 2017

Proposal publication date: February 17, 2017

For further information, please call: (512) 389-4775


DIVISION 2. OPEN SEASONS AND BAG LIMITS

31 TAC §65.42

The repeal is adopted under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 42, which allows the department to issue tags for deer during each year or season; and Chapter 61, which requires the commission to regulate the periods of time when it is lawful to hunt, take, or possess game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life in this state; the means, methods, and places in which it is lawful to hunt, take, or possess game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life in this state; the species, quantity, age or size, and, to the extent possible, the sex of the game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life authorized to be hunted, taken, or possessed; and the region, county, area, body of water, or portion of a county where game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life may be hunted, taken, or possessed.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the adoption and found it to be a valid exercise of the agency's legal authority.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on June 19, 2017.

TRD-201702383

Robert D. Sweeney, Jr.

Acting General Counsel

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Effective date: July 9, 2017

Proposal publication date: February 17, 2017

For further information, please call: (512) 389-4775


31 TAC §65.42

The new section is adopted under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 42, which allows the department to issue tags for deer during each year or season; and Chapter 61, which requires the commission to regulate the periods of time when it is lawful to hunt, take, or possess game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life in this state; the means, methods, and places in which it is lawful to hunt, take, or possess game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life in this state; the species, quantity, age or size, and, to the extent possible, the sex of the game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life authorized to be hunted, taken, or possessed; and the region, county, area, body of water, or portion of a county where game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life may be hunted, taken, or possessed.

§65.42.Deer.

(a) General.

(1) No person may exceed the applicable county bag limit or the annual bag limit of five white-tailed deer (no more than three bucks) and two mule deer (no more than one buck), except as provided by:

(A) §65.29 of this title (relating to Managed Lands Deer Program);

(B) use of an antlerless mule deer permit issued under §65.32 of this title (relating to Antlerless Mule Deer Permits);

(C) use of a special permit under the provisions of Subchapter H of this chapter (relating to Public Lands Proclamation); or

(D) use of special antlerless permit issued by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) for use on USFS lands that are part of the department's public hunting program.

(2) During an archery-only open season, deer may be taken only by the means described in §65.11(2) and (3) of this title (relating to Lawful Means).

(3) The issuance and use of MLDP tags is prescribed by §65.29 of this title.

(b) White-tailed deer. The open seasons and bag limits for white-tailed deer shall be as follows.

(1) South Zone. The general open season for the counties listed in this subparagraph is from the first Saturday in November through the third Sunday in January.

(A) In Aransas, Bee, Brooks, Calhoun, Cameron, Dimmit, Duval, Frio, Hidalgo, Jim Hogg, Jim Wells, Kenedy, Kinney (south of U.S. Highway 90), Kleberg, LaSalle, Live Oak, Maverick, McMullen, Medina (south of U.S. Highway 90), Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio, Starr, Uvalde (south of U.S. Highway 90), Val Verde (south of a line beginning at the International Bridge and proceeding along Spur 239 to U.S. Hwy. 90 and thence to the Kinney County line), Webb, Willacy, Zapata, and Zavala counties, there is a general open season. The bag limit is five deer, no more than three bucks.

(B) In Atascosa County there is a general open season.

(i) The bag limit is five deer, no more than two bucks; and

(ii) antler restrictions apply.

(2) North Zone. The general open season for the counties listed in this subparagraph is from the first Saturday in November through the first Sunday in January.

(A) In Bandera, Baylor, Bexar, Blanco, Burnet, Callahan, Coke, Coleman, Comal (west of Interstate 35), Concho, Crockett, Edwards, Gillespie, Glasscock, Haskell, Hays (west of Interstate 35), Howard, Irion, Jones, Kendall, Kerr, Kimble, Kinney (north of U.S. Highway 90), Knox, Llano, Mason, McCulloch, Medina (north of U.S. Highway 90), Menard, Mitchell, Nolan, Pecos, Real, Reagan, Runnels, San Saba, Schleicher, Shackelford, Sterling, Sutton, Taylor, Terrell, Throckmorton, Tom Green, Travis (west of Interstate 35), Upton, Uvalde (north of U.S. Highway 90), Val Verde (north of a line beginning at the International Bridge and proceeding along Spur 239 to U.S. Hwy. 90 and thence to the Kinney County line), and Wilbarger counties, the bag limit is five deer, no more than two bucks.

(B) In Archer, Bell (west of IH 35), Bosque, Brown, Clay, Coryell, Hamilton, Hill, Jack, Lampasas, McLennan, Mills, Palo Pinto, Somervell, Stephens, Wichita, Williamson (west of IH 35) and Young counties:

(i) the bag limit is five deer, no more than two bucks; and

(ii) the antler restrictions described in paragraph (3) of this subsection apply.

(C) In Armstrong, Borden, Briscoe, Carson, Childress, Collingsworth, Cottle, Crosby, Dickens, Donley, Fisher, Floyd, Foard, Garza, Gray, Hall, Hardeman, Hemphill, Hutchinson, Kent, King, Lipscomb, Motley, Ochiltree, Roberts, Scurry, Stonewall, and Wheeler counties, the bag limit is five deer, no more than one buck.

(D) In Brewster, Culberson, Jeff Davis, Presidio, and Reeves counties, the bag limit is four deer, no more than two bucks.

(E) In Comanche, Cooke, Denton, Eastland, Erath, Hood, Johnson, Montague, Parker, Tarrant, and Wise counties:

(i) the bag limit is four deer, no more than two bucks and no more than two antlerless;

(ii) the antler restrictions described in paragraph (3) of this subsection apply; and

(iii) on USFS, Corps of Engineers, and river authority lands, the take of antlerless deer shall be by MLDP tag only, except on USFS lands in Montague and Wise counties, where antlerless deer may be taken without MLDP tags from Thanksgiving Day through the Sunday immediately following Thanksgiving Day. On all other tracts of land, no MLDP tag is required to hunt antlerless deer unless MLDP antlerless tags have been issued for the tract of land.

(F) In Angelina, Brazoria, Chambers, Cherokee, Fort Bend, Galveston, Goliad (south of U.S. Highway 59), Hardin, Harris, Houston, Jackson (south if U.S. Highway 59), Jasper, Jefferson, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery, Newton, Orange, Polk, San Jacinto, Trinity, Tyler, Victoria (south of U.S. Highway 59), Walker, and Wharton (south of U.S. Highway 59) counties:

(i) the bag limit is four deer, no more than two bucks and no more than two antlerless;

(ii) the antler restrictions described in paragraph (3) of this subsection apply; and

(iii) antlerless deer may be taken without MLDP tags from opening day through the Sunday immediately following Thanksgiving Day. From the Monday immediately following Thanksgiving Day until the end of the season, antlerless deer may be taken by MLDP tag only.

(G) In Anderson, Bowie, Brazos, Camp, Cass, Gregg, Grimes, Harrison, Henderson, Lamar, Leon, Madison, Marion, Morris, Nacogdoches, Panola, Red River, Robertson, Rusk, Sabine, San Augustine, Shelby, and Upshur counties:

(i) the bag limit is four deer, no more than two bucks and no more than two antlerless;

(ii) the antler restrictions described in paragraph (3) of this subsection apply.

(iii) on USFS, Corps of Engineers, and river authority lands the take of antlerless deer shall be by MLDP tag only; and

(iv) on all other tracts of land, antlerless deer may be taken without MLDP tags during the first 16 days of the season. After the first 16 days of the season, antlerless deer may be taken by MLDP tag only.

(H) In Bell (East of IH 35), Burleson, Delta, Ellis, Falls, Fannin, Franklin, Freestone, Hopkins, Hunt, Kauffman, Limestone, Milam, Navarro, Rains, Smith, Titus, Van Zandt, Williamson (East of IH 35), and Wood counties:

(i) the bag limit is four deer, no more than two bucks and no more than two antlerless;

(ii) the antler restrictions described in paragraph (3) of this subsection apply; and

(iii) on USFS, Corps of Engineers, and river authority lands, the take of antlerless deer shall be by MLDP tag only, except in Fannin County; and

(iv) on all other tracts of land, antlerless deer may be taken without MLDP tag from Thanksgiving Day through the Sunday immediately following Thanksgiving Day. At all other times, antlerless deer may be taken by MLDP tag only.

(I) In Collin, Dallas, Grayson, and Rockwall counties there is a general open season:

(i) the bag limit is four deer, no more than two bucks and no more than two antlerless;

(ii) the antler restrictions described in paragraph (3) of this subsection apply; and

(iii) lawful means are restricted to lawful archery equipment and crossbows only, including properties for which MLDP tags have been issued.

(J) In Austin, Bastrop, Caldwell, Colorado, Comal (east of IH 35), De Witt, Fayette, Goliad (north of U.S. Highway 59), Gonzales, Guadalupe, Hays (east of IH 35), Jackson (north of U.S. Highway 59), Karnes, Lavaca, Lee, Travis (east of IH 35), Victoria (north of U.S. Highway 59), Waller, Washington, Wharton (north of U.S. Highway 59), and Wilson counties;

(i) the bag limit is four deer, no more than two bucks and no more than two antlerless;

(ii) the antler restrictions described in paragraph (3) of this subsection apply; and

(iii) antlerless deer may be taken by MLDP tag only.

(K) In Andrews, Bailey Castro, Cochran, Dallam, Dawson, Deaf Smith, Gaines, Hale, Hansford, Hartley, Hockley, Lamb, Lubbock, Lynn, Martin, Moore, Oldham, Parmer, Potter, Randall, Sherman, Swisher, Terry, and Yoakum counties, the bag limit is three deer, no more than one buck and no more than two antlerless.

(L) In Crane, Ector, Loving, Midland, Ward, and Winkler counties:

(i) the bag limit is three deer, no more than one buck and no more than two antlerless; and

(ii) antlerless deer may be taken by MLDP tag only.

(M) In all other counties, there is no general open season.

(3) Antler Restrictions. In any county for which antler restrictions are imposed under the provisions of this subsection:

(A) a legal buck is a buck deer with at least one unbranched antler or an inside spread of 13 inches or greater; and

(B) no person may take may more than one buck with an inside spread of 13 inches or greater.

(4) Special Late General Seasons.

(A) There is a special late general season during which harvest is restricted to antlerless and unbranched antlered deer, as follows:

(i) in the counties listed in paragraph (1)(A) and (B) of this subsection: 14 consecutive days starting the first Monday following the third Sunday in January;

(ii) in the counties listed in paragraph (2)(A)-(C) and (E) of this subsection: 14 consecutive days starting the first Monday following the first Sunday in January; and.

(iii) in all other counties there is no special late general season.

(B) The bag limit during a special late general season is the bag limit established for the county for the general open season and is not in addition to any other bag limit.

(5) Archery-only open seasons.

(A) The open season is from the Saturday closest to September 30 for 35 consecutive days.

(B) The bag limit in any given county is as provided for that county during the general open season.

(C) No tag is required to hunt antlerless deer unless MLDP tags have been issued for the property.

(6) Muzzleloader-only open seasons, and bag and possession limits shall be as follows. In Anderson, Angelina, Austin, Bastrop, Bell (East of IH 35), Bowie, Brazoria, Brazos, Brewster, Burleson, Caldwell, Camp, Cass, Chambers, Cherokee, Colorado, Comal (East of IH 35), Culberson, Delta, DeWitt, Ellis, Fannin, Falls, Fayette, Fort Bend, Franklin, Freestone, Galveston, Goliad, Gonzales, Gregg, Grimes, Guadalupe, Hardin, Harris, Harrison, Hays (East of IH 35), Henderson, Hopkins, Houston, Hunt, Jackson, Jasper, Jeff Davis, Jefferson, Karnes, Kaufman, Lamar, Lavaca, Lee, Leon, Liberty, Limestone, Madison, Marion, Matagorda, Milam, Montgomery, Morris, Nacogdoches, Navarro, Newton, Orange, Panola, Polk, Presidio, Rains, Red River, Reeves, Robertson, Rusk, Sabine, San Augustine, San Jacinto, Shelby, Smith, Titus, Travis (East of IH 35), Trinity, Tyler, Upshur, Van Zandt, Victoria, Walker, Waller, Washington, Wharton, Williamson (East of IH 35), Wilson and Wood counties, there is an open season during which deer may be taken only with a muzzleloader.

(A) The open season is 14 consecutive days starting the first Monday following the first Sunday in January.

(B) The bag limit is as specified in this section for the general season in the county in which take occurs.

(C) Special provisions:

(i) Buck deer. In any given county, all restrictions established in this subsection for the take of buck deer during the general season remain in effect.

(ii) Antlerless deer. No MLDP tag is required for the take of antlerless deer, except:

(I) on properties for which antlerless MLDP tags have been issued; and

(II) in the counties listed in paragraph (2)(J) of this subsection.

(7) Special Youth-Only Seasons. There shall be special youth-only general hunting seasons in all counties where there is a general open season for white-tailed deer.

(A) The early open season is the Saturday and Sunday immediately before the first Saturday in November.

(B) The late open season is 14 consecutive days starting the first Monday following the first Sunday in January.

(C) Bag limits, provisions for the take of antlerless deer, and special requirements in the individual counties listed in paragraph (2)(A)- (J) of this subsection shall be as specified for the first two days of the general open season in those counties, except as provided in subparagraph (D) of this paragraph.

(D) Provisions for the take of antlerless deer in the individual counties listed in paragraph (2)(H) of this subsection shall be as specified in those counties for the period of time from Thanksgiving Day through the Sunday immediately following Thanksgiving Day.

(E) Other than properties where MLDP tags have been issued under the provisions of §65.29(c)(2), only licensed hunters 16 years of age or younger may hunt deer during the seasons established by this paragraph, and any lawful means may be used.

(F) The stamp requirement of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 43, Subchapter I, does not apply during the seasons established by this paragraph.

(G) Antlerless deer may be taken without an MLDP tag on USFS lands.

(c) Mule deer. The open seasons and bag limits for mule deer shall be as follows:

(1) In Armstrong, Borden, Briscoe, Carson, Childress, Coke, Collingsworth, Cottle, Crosby, Dallam, Deaf Smith, Dickens, Donley, Fisher, Floyd, Foard, Garza, Gray, Hall, Hansford, Hardeman, Hartley, Hemphill, Hutchinson, Kent, King, Knox, Lipscomb, Moore, Motley, Ochiltree, Oldham, Potter, Randall, Roberts, Scurry, Sherman, Stonewall, Swisher, and Wheeler counties:

(A) the Saturday before Thanksgiving for 16 consecutive days;

(B) bag limit: one buck; and

(C) antlerless deer may be taken only by Antlerless Mule Deer permit or MLDP tag.

(2) In Crane, Crockett, Culberson, Ector, El Paso, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, Loving, Midland, Presidio, Reagan, Reeves, Upton, Val Verde, Ward, and Winkler counties:

(A) the Friday immediately following Thanksgiving for 17 consecutive days;

(B) bag limit: one buck; and

(C) antlerless deer may be taken only by antlerless mule deer permit or MLDP tag.

(3) In Brewster, Pecos, and Terrell counties:

(A) the Friday immediately following Thanksgiving for 17 consecutive days;

(B) bag limit: two deer, no more than one buck.

(4) In Andrews, Bailey, Castro, Cochran, Dawson, Gaines, Hale, Hockley, Lamb, Lubbock, Martin, Parmer, Terry, and Yoakum counties:

(A) the Saturday before Thanksgiving for nine consecutive days;

(B) bag limit: one buck; and

(C) antlerless deer may be taken by MLDP tag only.

(5) In all other counties, there is no general open season for mule deer.

(6) Archery-only open seasons and bag and possession limits shall be as follows.

(A) In Armstrong, Borden, Briscoe, Carson, Childress, Coke, Collingsworth, Cottle, Crane, Crockett, Crosby, Culberson, Dallam, Deaf Smith, Dickens, Donley, Ector, El Paso, Fisher, Floyd, Foard, Garza, Gray, Hall, Hansford, Hardeman, Hartley, Hemphill, Hudspeth, Hutchinson, Jeff Davis, Kent, King, Knox, Lipscomb, Loving, Midland, Moore, Motley, Ochiltree, Oldham, Potter, Presidio, Randall, Reagan, Reeves, Roberts, Scurry, Sherman, Stonewall, Swisher, Upton, Val Verde, Ward, Wheeler, and Winkler counties:

(i) from the Saturday closest to September 30 for 35 consecutive days; and

(ii) bag limit: one buck.

(B) In Brewster, Pecos, and Terrell counties:

(i) from the Saturday closest to September 30 for 35 consecutive days.

(ii) bag limit: two deer, no more than one buck. Antlerless deer may be harvested without a permit unless MLDP antlerless tags have been issued for the property.

(C) In all other counties, there is no archery-only open season for mule deer.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the adoption and found it to be a valid exercise of the agency's legal authority.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on June 19, 2017.

TRD-201702385

Robert D. Sweeney, Jr.

Acting General Counsel

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Effective date: July 9, 2017

Proposal publication date: February 17, 2017

For further information, please call: (512) 389-4775


DIVISION 2. OPEN SEASONS AND BAG LIMITS

31 TAC §65.40, §65.64

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission in a duly noticed meeting on March 23, 2017 adopted amendments to §65.40 and §65.64, concerning the Statewide Hunting Proclamation. Section 65.64 is adopted with changes to the proposed text as published in the February 17, 2017, issue of the Texas Register (42 TexReg 666). Section 65.40 is adopted without changes and will not be republished.

The change to §65.64, concerning Turkey, encloses the boundary description for Val Verde County in parentheses in subsection (b)(1)(A) and (C). The change is nonsubstantive.

The amendment to §65.40, concerning Pronghorn Antelope, expands the current experimental season for the take of buck pronghorn antelope to additional areas in the Texas Panhandle. Under Parks and Wildlife Code, §61.057, no person may hunt an antelope without first having acquired an antelope permit issued by the department. Under Parks and Wildlife Code, §61.051, the department is required to conduct scientific studies and investigations of game animals to determine, among other things, supply, sex ratios, and the effects of any factors or conditions causing increases or decreases in supply. Under Parks and Wildlife Code, §61.052, the commission is required to regulate the means, methods, places, and periods of time when it is lawful to hunt or possess game animals. Until 2013, all take of pronghorn antelope was by permit issued by the department to landowners, who then distributed the permits to the hunter. The department manages pronghorn antelope populations by the concept of the "herd unit." A herd unit is an area containing similar pronghorn densities (during the timeframe of population surveys) and habitats. Some herd units are bounded by natural or man-made barriers that prevent or inhibit immigration/emigration. Other herd units are bounded by man-made infrastructure that facilitates a descriptive boundary but does allow immigration/emigration. The department conducts population surveys and collects harvest data annually to determine the percentage of each herd unit that may be harvested each year without causing depletion or waste. Permits are then issued to landowners, who distribute them to hunters at their discretion. Over the last 10-15 years, pronghorn antelope populations in portions of the northern Panhandle have increased steadily and continue to expand their range. As a result, permit demand has increased and staff time accommodating that demand has increased accordingly. In response, the department in 2013 implemented an experimental season in three herd units where staff believe that buck populations could sustain additional hunting pressure. Under the experimental regulations, the bag limit and season length were retained; however, no permits for buck pronghorn antelope were issued to the landowners within the areas affected by the experimental season. Instead, the harvest of buck pronghorn antelope in those areas were conducted at the discretion of landowners. The amendment places additional areas under the effectiveness of the experimental season and merges current Areas 1 and 3. In order to measure the impact of the experiment and to assist law enforcement personnel in identifying lawfully taken pronghorn antelope, the department will continue to require hunters to obtain a permit from the department, attach it to harvested bucks, and present each harvested buck at a department-designated check station. The intent of the amendment is to reduce the amount of time spent on permit issuance by staff, increase hunter opportunity, and provide greater convenience for landowners, hunters, and outfitters.

The amendment to §65.64, concerning Turkey clarifies eastern turkey seasons on U.S. National Forest lands in Jasper County, corrects an error in the late spring youth-only season length, eliminates the option for hunters to present harvested eastern turkey at department-designated check stations, and rewords the roadway definition that delineates the north and south turkey zones in Val Verde County in the interests of clarity.

In 2015, the department closed the season for eastern turkey on National Forest lands in Jasper County. The department has since discovered that a small portion of the Sabine National Forest, jointly managed by the department as part of the Moore Plantation Wildlife Management Area, lies within Jasper County and the eastern turkey season was not intended to have been closed. The amendment corrects that oversight. In 2015 the department also extended the length of the fall youth-only turkey season from two days to 14 days, but inadvertently included the late spring youth-only season, which was not intended. The amendment rectifies that oversight as well. Department regulations in effect since 1994 require hunters to report the harvest of eastern turkey. Until 2013, this requirement could only be satisfied by presenting a harvested bird in person at a department-designated check station within 24 hours of take. In 2014 the department altered the regulation to allow hunters the option of complying with the reporting requirement by use of a mobile application, which has been effective to the point that the department no longer has a need to establish physical check stations. Therefore, the proposed amendment eliminates that option and requires all mandatory reporting of harvested eastern turkey to be done via the mobile application.

The department received no comments opposing adoption of the proposed rules.

The department received four comments supporting adoption of the proposed rules.

The amendments are adopted under the authority of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 42, which allows the department to issue tags for animals allowed by law to be killed during each year or season, including antelope and turkey; and Chapter 61, which requires the commission to regulate the periods of time when it is lawful to hunt, take, or possess game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life in this state; the means, methods, and places in which it is lawful to hunt, take, or possess game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life in this state; the species, quantity, age or size, and, to the extent possible, the sex of the game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life authorized to be hunted, taken, or possessed; and the region, county, area, body of water, or portion of a county where game animals, game birds, or aquatic animal life may be hunted, taken, or possessed.

§65.64.Turkey.

(a) The annual bag limit for Rio Grande and Eastern turkey, in the aggregate, is four, no more than one of which may be an Eastern turkey.

(b) Rio Grande Turkey. The open seasons and bag limits for Rio Grande turkey shall be as follows.

(1) Fall seasons and bag limits:

(A) The counties listed in this subparagraph are in the Fall South Zone. In Aransas, Atascosa, Bee, Calhoun, Cameron, Dimmit, Duval, Frio, Hidalgo, Jim Hogg, Jim Wells, Kinney (south of U.S. Highway 90), LaSalle, Live Oak, Maverick, McMullen, Medina (south of U.S. Highway 90), Nueces, Refugio, San Patricio, Starr, Uvalde (south of U.S. Highway 90), Val Verde (south of a line beginning at the International Bridge and proceeding along Spur 239 to U.S. Hwy. 90 and thence to the Kinney County line), Webb, Zapata, and Zavala counties, there is a fall general open season.

(i) Open season: first Saturday in November through the third Sunday in January.

(ii) Bag limit: four turkeys, gobblers or bearded hens.

(B) In Brooks, Kenedy, Kleberg, and Willacy counties, there is a fall general open season.

(i) Open season: first Saturday in November through the last Sunday in February.

(ii) Bag limit: four turkeys, either sex.

(C) The counties listed in this subparagraph are in the Fall North Zone. In Archer, Armstrong, Bandera, Baylor, Bell, Bexar, Blanco, Borden, Bosque, Briscoe, Brown, Burnet, Callahan, Carson, Childress, Clay, Coke, Coleman, Collingsworth, Comal, Comanche, Concho, Cooke, Coryell, Cottle, Crane, Crockett, Crosby, Dawson, Denton, Dickens, Donley, Eastland, Ector, Edwards, Erath, Fisher, Floyd, Foard, Garza, Gillespie, Glasscock, Goliad, Gonzales, Gray, Hall, Hamilton, Hardeman, Hartley, Haskell, Hays, Hemphill, Hill, Hood, Howard, Hutchinson, Irion, Jack, Johnson, Jones, Karnes, Kendall, Kent, Kerr, Kimble, King, Kinney (north of U.S. Highway 90), Knox, Lipscomb, Lampasas, Llano, Lynn, Martin, Mason, McCulloch, McLennan, Medina (north of U.S. Highway 90), Menard, Midland, Mills, Mitchell, Montague, Moore, Motley, Nolan, Ochiltree, Oldham, Palo Pinto, Parker, Pecos, Potter, Randall, Reagan, Real, Roberts, Runnels, Sutton, San Saba, Schleicher, Scurry, Shackelford, Somervell, Stephens, Sterling, Stonewall, Swisher, Tarrant, Taylor, Terrell, Throckmorton, Tom Green, Travis, Upton, Uvalde (north of U.S. Highway 90), Ward, Wheeler, Wichita, Wilbarger, Williamson, Wilson, Wise, Val Verde (north of a line beginning at the International Bridge and proceeding along Spur 239 to U.S. Hwy. 90 and thence to the Kinney County line), and Young counties, there is a fall general open season.

(i) Open season: first Saturday in November through the first Sunday in January.

(ii) Bag limit: four turkeys, either sex.

(2) Archery-only season and bag limits. In all counties where there is a general fall season for turkey there is an open season during which turkey may be taken only as provided for in §65.11(2) and (3) of this title (relating to Means and Methods).

(A) Open season: from the Saturday closest to September 30 for 35 consecutive days.

(B) Bag limit: in any given county, the annual bag limit is as provided by this section for the fall general season in that county.

(3) Spring season and bag limits.

(A) The counties listed in this subparagraph are in the Spring North Zone. In Archer, Armstrong, Baylor, Bell, Borden, Bosque, Briscoe, Brown, Burnet, Callahan, Carson, Childress, Clay, Coke, Coleman, Collingsworth, Comanche, Concho, Cooke, Coryell, Cottle, Crane, Crosby, Dawson, Denton, Dickens, Donley, Eastland, Ector, Ellis, Erath, Fisher, Floyd, Foard, Garza, Glasscock, Gray, Hall, Hamilton, Hardeman, Hartley, Haskell, Hemphill, Hill, Hood, Howard, Hutchinson, Irion, Jack, Johnson, Jones, Kent, King, Knox, Lampasas, Lipscomb, Llano, Lynn, Martin, Mason, McCulloch, McLennan, Menard, Midland, Mills, Mitchell, Montague, Moore, Motley, Nolan, Ochiltree, Oldham, Palo Pinto, Parker, Potter, Randall, Reagan, Roberts, Runnels, San Saba, Schleicher, Scurry, Shackelford, Somervell, Stephens, Sterling, Stonewall, Swisher, Tarrant, Taylor, Throckmorton, Tom Green, Travis, Upton, Ward, Wheeler, Wichita, Wilbarger, Williamson, Wise, and Young counties, there is a spring general open season.

(i) Open season: Saturday closest to April 1 for 44 consecutive days.

(ii) Bag limit: four turkeys, gobblers or bearded hens.

(B) The counties listed in this subparagraph are in the Spring South Zone. In Aransas, Atascosa, Bandera, Bee, Bexar, Blanco, Brewster, Brooks, Calhoun, Cameron, Comal, Crockett, DeWitt, Dimmit, Duval, Edwards, Frio, Gillespie, Goliad, Gonzales, Guadalupe, Hays, Hidalgo, Jeff Davis, Jim Hogg, Jim Wells, Karnes, Kendall, Kenedy, Kerr, Kimble, Kinney, Kleberg, LaSalle, Live Oak, Maverick, McMullen, Medina, Nueces, Pecos, Real, Refugio, San Patricio, Starr, Sutton, Terrell, Uvalde, Val Verde, Victoria, Webb, Willacy, Wilson, Zapata, and Zavala counties, there is a spring general open season.

(i) Open season: Saturday closest to March 18 for 44 consecutive days.

(ii) Bag limit: four turkeys, gobblers or bearded hens.

(C) In Bastrop, Caldwell, Colorado, Fayette, Jackson, Lavaca, Lee, Matagorda, Milam, and Wharton counties, there is a spring general open season.

(i) Open season: from April 1 through April 30.

(ii) Bag limit: one turkey, gobblers only.

(4) Special Youth-Only Seasons. Only licensed hunters 16 years of age or younger may hunt during the seasons established by this subsection.

(A) There shall be a special youth-only fall general hunting season in all counties where there is a fall general open season.

(i) open season: the weekend (Saturday and Sunday) immediately preceding the first Saturday in November and from the Monday immediately following the close of the general open season for 14 consecutive days.

(ii) bag limit: as specified for individual counties in paragraph (1) of this subsection.

(B) There shall be special youth-only spring general open hunting seasons for Rio Grande turkey in the counties listed in paragraph (3)(A) and (B) of this subsection.

(i) open seasons:

(I) the weekend (Saturday and Sunday) immediately preceding the first day of the general open spring season; and

(II) the weekend (Saturday and Sunday) immediately following the last day of the general open spring season.

(ii) bag limit: as specified for individual counties in paragraph (3) of this subsection.

(c) Eastern turkey. The open seasons and bag limits for Eastern turkey shall be as follows. In Bowie, Cass, Fannin, Grayson, Jasper (other than the Angelina National Forest), Lamar, Marion, Nacogdoches, Newton, Panola, Polk, Red River, Sabine, San Augustine, and Upshur counties, there is a spring season during which both Rio Grande and Eastern turkey may be lawfully hunted.

(1) Open season: from April 15 through May 14.

(2) Bag limit (both species combined): one turkey, gobbler only.

(3) In the counties listed in this subsection:

(A) it is unlawful to hunt turkey by any means other than a shotgun, lawful archery equipment, or crossbows;

(B) it is unlawful for any person to take or attempt to take turkeys by the aid of baiting, or on or over a baited area; and

(C) all turkeys harvested during the open season must be registered via the department's internet or mobile application within 24 hours of the time of kill. The department will publish the internet address and information on obtaining the mobile application in generally accessible locations, including the department internet web site (www.tpwd.texas.gov). Harvested turkeys may be field dressed but must otherwise remain intact.

(d) In all counties not listed in subsection (b) or (c) of this section, the season is closed for hunting turkey.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the adoption and found it to be a valid exercise of the agency's legal authority.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on June 19, 2017.

TRD-201702370

Robert D. Sweeney, Jr.

Acting General Counsel

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Effective date: September 1, 2017

Proposal publication date: February 17, 2017

For further information, please call: (512) 389-4775


CHAPTER 69. RESOURCE PROTECTION

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission in a duly noticed meeting on March 23, 2017 adopted the repeal of §69.6 and amendments to §§69.2, 69.8, 69.26, 69.102, 69.116, 69.121, 69.301 and 69.405, concerning Resource Protection. Sections 69.8 and 69.26 are adopted with changes to the proposed text as published in the December 23, 2016, issue of the Texas Register (41 TexReg 10083). The repeal of §69.6 and amendments to §§69.2, 69.102, 69.116, 69.121, 69.301 and 69.405 are adopted without change and will not be republished.

The repeal and amendments are a result of the department's review of its regulations under the provisions of Government Code, §2001.039, which requires a state agency to review each of its regulations no less frequently than every four years and to re-adopt, adopt with changes, or repeal each rule as a result of the review.

The change to §69.8, concerning Endangered and Threatened Plants, publishes the list of threatened species of plants to reflect the addition of the Neches River rose-mallow (Hibiscus dasycalyx) to the list of threatened species of plants in subsection (b). Although addressed in the preamble of the rulemaking as proposed, the published proposal indicated no changes to subsection (b), which is not the case.

The change to §69.26, concerning Commercial Species--Recovery Value, requires civil restitution to be assessed for all alligator eggs unlawfully taken or possessed and bases the civil restitution value on market value of alligator eggs in Texas. As proposed, the rule would have required civil recovery value to be calculated on the presumption that 85% of alligator eggs will hatch. The department has determined that civil recovery values should apply to all alligator eggs unlawfully taken or possessed, irrespective of viability. The change also specifies that the market value used to determine civil recovery values for alligator eggs is the market value in Texas.

The repeal of §69.6, concerning Permit and Tag, eliminates a duplicative provision regarding the fee for a commercial plant permit. Over the years, the department has sought to locate regulations regarding most department fees in 31 TAC Chapter 53. In 2004, the fee for the commercial plant permit was adopted as part of §53.15 (29 TexReg 6309) and is now at §53.15(h)(1) (34 TexReg 5381). Therefore, §69.6 is duplicative and unnecessary.

The amendment to §69.2, concerning Scientific Plant Permit, corrects a cross-reference in subsection (d)(2) regarding the letter of permission required to engage in regulated activities on public land. The requirement to obtain a letter of permission is contained in subsection (c)(3) rather than subsection (b)(3). The amendment corrects that error.

The amendment to §69.8, concerning Endangered and Threatened Plants, removes Johnston's frankenia (Frankenia johnstonii) from the list of endangered species of plants in subsection (a) and adds the Neches River rose-mallow (Hibiscus dasycalyx) to the list of threatened species of plants in subsection (b). Under Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 88, a species of plant is endangered, threatened, or protected if it is indigenous to Texas and (1) listed by the federal government as endangered, or (2) designated by the executive director of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department as endangered, threatened or protected. At the current time, the department maintains a single list of endangered plants that contains only those plants indigenous to Texas listed by the federal government as endangered. The amendment removes the Johnston's frankenia from the endangered species list because this species has been removed from the federal endangered species list.

The amendment to §69.26, concerning Commercial Species--Recovery Value, alters subsection (a) by adding a mechanism for calculating the value of alligator eggs. Parks and Wildlife Code, §12.301, provides that a "person who kills, catches, takes, possesses, or injures any fish, shellfish, reptile, amphibian, bird, or animal in violation of this code or a proclamation or regulation adopted under this code is liable to the state for the value of each fish, shellfish, reptile, amphibian, bird, or animal unlawfully killed, caught, taken, possessed, or injured." Parks and Wildlife Code, §12.302, requires the commission to adopt rules "to establish guidelines for determining the value of injured or destroyed fish, shellfish, reptiles, amphibians, birds and animals." The current per-foot calculation applicable to alligators does not accurately reflect the commercial value of alligator eggs in Texas. Therefore, the amendment adds a mechanism for more accurately calculating the value of alligator eggs based on the market price in Texas.

The amendments to regulations in Subchapter H, concerning Issuance of Marl, Sand and Gravel Permits, make several nonsubstantive changes. The amendment to §69.102, concerning Definitions, replaces the reference to "TNRCC" in paragraph (8) with the current agency name, Texas Commission in Environmental Quality. The amendment to §69.116, concerning Conditions, corrects cross-references, replacing "§65.115(b)' with "§69.115(a)" and "§69.101" with "§69.118." The amendment to §69.121, concerning Prices, eliminates an outdated reference to the previous royalty of 6.25% in subsection (a) and replaces "$.20 ton" with the more accurate "$0.20 ton."

The amendment to §69.301, concerning Definitions, updates taxonomical information regarding the definition of "raptor" in paragraph (3). From time to time the scientific community reclassifies an organism in light of consensus and/or emerging science. Scientific reclassification or change in nomenclature of taxa at any level in the taxonomic hierarchy does not, in and of itself, affect the status of a species as endangered, threatened or protected, but the department believes that the common and scientific names of listed organisms should reflect the most current agreement by the scientific community. Current §69.601(3) defines raptor by reference to the order Falconiformes or Stringiformes. However, the classification of Falconiformes has been split into two orders, Accipitriformes (eagles, hawks, kites, harriers, osprey, secretary bird, etc.) and Falconiformes (all falcons, caracaras). In addition, all New World vultures have been placed into their own Order, Cathartiformes, based upon recent phylogenetics research. The amendment makes these taxonomic changes. Strigiformes remains unchanged.

The amendment to §69.405, concerning Permit Renewal, eliminates a reference to a duplicative and inaccurate provision regarding the nongame species fee in §53.15(c)(5) and (6). Over the years, the department has sought to locate regulations regarding most department fees in 31 TAC Chapter 53. In 2004, the fee for a nongame species permit and permit renewal was included in the fees relocated to §53.15 (29 TexReg 6309), and was increased to $210 in 2009 and redesignated as §53.15(c)((5) and (6) (34 TexReg 5381).

The department received seven comments opposing adoption of the rules as proposed. All seven commenters provided a reason or rationale for opposing adoption. Those comments, accompanied by the department's response to each, follow.

Six commenters opposed adoption of the proposed amendments on the basis of a matter not germane to the rulemaking. The department disagrees with the comments. No changes were made as a result of the comments.

One commenter opposed adoption of the proposed amendment to §69.26 and stated that the change to alligator egg value devalued alligator eggs by assuming a certain percentage will not survive. The department agrees with the comment and has made changes accordingly. The commenter also opposed adoption of the proposed amendment to §69.8, and stated that the removal of one plant species from protection and addition of another does not explain how common or how much land is preserved or will be open for development or additional use after the change, and that mirroring federal law for the sake of mirroring federal law seems arbitrary. The department disagrees with the comment and responds that species are listed and delisted according to rarity and severity of threat. In regards to both Johnston's frankenia and Neches River rose mallow, the department agrees with the federal decision to remove Johnston's frankenia from the endangered list and to list the Neches River rose mallow as threatened; however, the decisions to delist one species and list another are not related. Johnston's frankenia is being delisted due to the significant increase in the number of documented populations, the major expansion of the species' range, added conservation protection for some populations, a population estimate of more than 4 million plants, and the lack of overall threats. The Neches River rose mallow is being designated as threatened because of habitat loss and modification. Already restricted to a narrow range, the Neches River rose mallow is mainly impacted by the encroachment of native and non-native plant species; the alteration of natural fire regimes and habitat hydrology; and the construction and maintenance of reservoirs, roads, and bridges. No changes were made as a result of the comment.

The department received eight comments supporting adoption of the rules as proposed.

SUBCHAPTER A. ENDANGERED, THREATENED, AND PROTECTED NATIVE PLANTS

31 TAC §69.2, §69.8

The amendments are adopted under Parks and Wildlife Code, §88.006, which requires the department to adopt regulations to administer the provisions of Parks and Wildlife Code, Chapter 88.

§69.8.Endangered and Threatened Plants.

(a) The following plants are endangered:

Figure: 31 TAC §69.8(a) (.pdf)

(b) The following plants are threatened:

Figure: 31 TAC §69.8(b) (.pdf)

(c) Scientific reclassification or change in nomenclature of taxa at any level in the taxonomic hierarchy will not, in and of itself, affect the status of a species as endangered, threatened or protected.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the adoption and found it to be a valid exercise of the agency's legal authority.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on June 12, 2017.

TRD-201702298

Robert D. Sweeney, Jr.

Acting General Counsel

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Effective date: July 2, 2017

Proposal publication date: December 23, 2016

For further information, please call: (512) 389-4775


31 TAC §69.6

The repeal is adopted under Parks and Wildlife Code §88.006, which requires the department to adopt regulations to administer Parks and Wildlife Chapter 88 concerning Endangered Plants, including regulations to address permit application fees.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the adoption and found it to be a valid exercise of the agency's legal authority.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on June 12, 2017.

TRD-201702297

Robert D. Sweeney, Jr.

Acting General Counsel

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Effective date: July 2, 2017

Proposal publication date: December 23, 2016

For further information, please call: (512) 389-4775


SUBCHAPTER B. FISH AND WILDLIFE VALUES

31 TAC §69.26

The amendment is adopted under Parks and Wildlife Code, §12.302, which requires the commission to adopt rules to establish guidelines for determining the value of injured or destroyed fish, shellfish, reptiles, amphibians, birds and animals.

§69.26.Commercial Species--Recovery Value.

(a) Recovery of value for commercial species is based on the following:

(1) ex-vessel or dockside price (by weight or individual as normally determined);

(2) for alligators, current per-foot market value; and

(3) for alligator eggs, a number derived by multiplying the current market alligator egg price in Texas by the number of alligator eggs unlawfully taken or possessed.

(b) Ex-vessel or dockside price is determined by:

(1) the most recent department data on commercial harvest data; or

(2) average annual ex-vessel price for fish landed in the Gulf of Mexico as obtained from the National Marine Fisheries Service for the most recent calendar year.

(c) When commercial species cannot be processed according to the provisions of Parks and Wildlife Code, §12.109, ex-vessel or dockside price of a commercial species is multiplied by three to derive the recovery value of a species. The economic multiplier used is based on data from the latest revision of "Structure of the Texas Economy" developed by H.W. Grubb.

(d) Full recovery value will be applied to all fish and shellfish taken by illegal means, methods or manners and from closed areas, during closed seasons or prohibited periods.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the adoption and found it to be a valid exercise of the agency's legal authority.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on June 12, 2017.

TRD-201702299

Robert D. Sweeney, Jr.

Acting General Counsel

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Effective date: July 2, 2017

Proposal publication date: December 23, 2016

For further information, please call: (512) 389-4775


SUBCHAPTER H. ISSUANCE OF MARL, SAND, AND GRAVEL PERMITS

31 TAC §§69.102, 69.116, 69.121

The amendments are adopted under Parks and Wildlife Code, §86.020, which authorizes the commission to adopt rules governing applications, fees, and permits to disturb, take or carry away marl, sand, gravel, shell or mudshell, sand, shell and gravel.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the adoption and found it to be a valid exercise of the agency's legal authority.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on June 12, 2017.

TRD-201702300

Robert D. Sweeney, Jr.

Acting General Counsel

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Effective date: July 2, 2017

Proposal publication date: December 23, 2016

For further information, please call: (512) 389-4775


SUBCHAPTER J. SCIENTIFIC, EDUCATIONAL, AND ZOOLOGICAL PERMITS

31 TAC §69.301

The amendment is adopted under Parks and Wildlife Code, §43.022, which requires the commission to adopt rules governing the collecting, holding, possession, propagation, release, display, or transport of protected wildlife for scientific research, zoological collection, rehabilitation and educational display.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the adoption and found it to be a valid exercise of the agency's legal authority.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on June 12, 2017.

TRD-201702301

Robert D. Sweeney, Jr.

Acting General Counsel

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Effective date: July 2, 2017

Proposal publication date: December 23, 2016

For further information, please call: (512) 389-4775


SUBCHAPTER K. SALE OF NONGAME SPECIES

31 TAC §69.405

The amendment is adopted under Parks and Wildlife Code, §67.004 and §67.0041, which requires the commission to establish by regulation any limits on the taking, possession, propagation, transportation, importation, exportation, sale, or offering for sale of nongame fish or wildlife that the department considers necessary to manage the species, and authorizes the department to issue permits for the taking, possession, propagation, transportation, importation, exportation, sale, or offering for sale of nongame fish or wildlife, and to establish fees for such permits.

The agency certifies that legal counsel has reviewed the adoption and found it to be a valid exercise of the agency's legal authority.

Filed with the Office of the Secretary of State on June 12, 2017.

TRD-201702302

Robert D. Sweeney, Jr.

Acting General Counsel

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

Effective date: July 2, 2017

Proposal publication date: December 23, 2016

For further information, please call: (512) 389-4775