western Regional Advisory panel
May 2013 Summary
Western Regional Advisory Panel
May 9, 2013
Outdoor Campus - Rapid City
Panel Members Present: Terry Mayes, Dennis Nash, Travis Bies, Derek Alexander, Scott Philips, Rolf Kraft, Kenneth McIlravy.
Panel Members unable to attend:Â Jeff Sleep.
Others Attending: Mike Kintigh - GFP Regional Supervisor, Keith Fisk - WDM Coordinator, Summer Boock - Sr. Secretary
Our meeting was started out with a re-visitation to a topic from the last meeting, that being elk management in the Black Hills. Elk management remains a hot button topic in the Hills and much of the controversy centers on elk impacts to private lands and grazing competition on USFS allotments. The issue is compounded with drought conditions and lowered forage production. The 1996 USFS Management Plan, which states the State and the USFS agree to manage for 4500 elk, is a sticking point! Interpretation of the 4500 number is unclear and the USFS staff give different meaning to that number depending upon their position with the USFS. GFP's recently completed elk survey indicates a current population of 6100 elk and has publically commented a desire to increase the herd size further. USFS permitees have already been put on notice of possible grazing reductions due to the draught. Derek Alexander provided a letter he attempted to send to the GFP Commission prior to their April meeting in Winner where the elk season was finalized. The discussion gravitated towards management problems with the USFS. Panel members were in general agreement that the USFS management, while good intentioned, is very ineffective due to litigation at every turn and excessive regulations & procedures which delay any effective management. Travis Bies pointed out that timber management, or lack thereof, is a bigger threat to grazing forage production than anything. Open meadow areas are now closed in with pine encroachment. Timber sales or treatments are litigated by special interests and nothing happens in a timely fashion. Kintigh asked the panel - How might we (GFP and/or the Panel) assist the USFS with it's management efforts? No ideas expressed. It was suggested that at the next panel meeting, someone from the USFS attend and a discussion continue on this subject.
Kintigh provided an update to the panel in regards to the re-organization of the Law Enforcement section within the Region. Scott Mikkelson has been selected to serve as the Regional Conservation Officer Supervisor. Under Scott, serving as District Conservation Officer Supervisors are Jim McCormick and Brian Meiers. A 3rd DCOS will be selected soon. The Region will be divided into 3 "squad" districts, each having a DCOS and 4 to 5 Conservation Officers. The shift to a squad approach was described to the panel members. Terry Mayes commented that the Highway Patrol went through a similar reorganization years ago and while there were initial growing pains, it has worked well for them. Several questions were asked regarding who local people would call for assistance under the new organization.
Kintigh presented an idea being discussed within the Game Management Program for managing deer. Called the Zone Management of Antlerless Deer, this approach is being discussed and refined by our managers for possible implementation. 3 management philosophies exist - Liberal, Moderate and Restrictive. Under each designation a description of license options are detailed as available to be used. A deer unit would be evaluated and classified as needing to decrease, maintain or increase in numbers and then the appropriate philosophy applied to reach that goal. The panel had several questions related to how the deer unit was evaluated - specifically what input from landowners and sportsmen would be taken, would this manage whitetail and mule deer separately. Panel members expressed concern over excessive harvest on public lands and mule deer not being managed with mule deer specific tags anymore.
A working lunch was held.
The rest of our meeting was spent reviewing and discussing the SD GFP Strategic Guidance for Planning, Programs and Policies manual. Director Leif has indicated a desire to review and rewrite this document in order to reflect current issues and challenges faced by the Dept. Input from the WRAP panel is desirable. The conversations were lively and several good points were brought forth to be included in future discussions with senior GFP staff during the document review process.
The next meeting date was set for July 11th 2013.Â Focus of the meeting to be Elk again. Attempt to have someone from the USFS present, please have Blair Waite present.