COASTAL COORDINATION COUNCIL MEETING OF DECEMBER 7, 2000
DAVID DEWHURST, CHAIR
AGENDA ITEM III. Approval of the minutes of the September 26, 2000, meeting.
COASTAL COORDINATION COUNCIL
September 26, 2000
AGENDA ITEM I: Call to order and opening remarks.
The Coastal Coordination Council (Council) convened on Tuesday, September 26,
2000, in the Beaumont Civic Center Complex, 701 Main Street, Beaumont, Texas.
Chairman David Dewhurst called the meeting to order at 1:50 p.m. Chairman Dewhurst
announced that Janet L. Fatheree – who has been Council Secretary since 1992 – has
stepped down to take a part-time position as a policy analyst in the Coastal
Management Division. Ms. Fatheree was presented with a certificate of appreciation
and a resolution to commend her for her outstanding service to the Council, the
Executive Committee, and the State of Texas.
Council members present:
David Dewhurst Texas Land Commissioner
John Barrett Agriculture Representative
William Clayton Local Government Representative
Jack Hunt Member, Texas Water Development Board
Robert Huston Chairman, Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission
John Johnson Commissioner, Texas Transportation Commission
Elizabeth Nisbet Coastal Resident Representative
Donald Swann Member, Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board
Michael Williams Commissioner, Railroad Commission of Texas
Council members absent:
Bob Dunkin Coastal Business Representative
Mark Watson Member, Parks & Wildlife Commission of Texas
AGENDA ITEM II: General Public Comment.
Chairman Dewhurst invited public comment. The first speaker was Mr. Sidney S.
McClendon, West Galveston Island Property Owners Association. Mr. McClendon
expressed his concerns about balancing the public’s access, use and enjoyment of the
beach with coastal communities land use needs for the continuation of their economic
vitality. Mr. McClendon distributed a packet of information entitled “The Beach and Our
Challenge, Executive Summary” (see attachment A). Mr. McClendon prepared this
material to describe his views on the way to defend both the beach and the land. Mr.
McClendon commented that the Council is very important to the future of Texas and its
The second speaker was Mr. Jerry Mohn, President of the West Galveston Island
Property Owner’s Association. Mr. Mohn brought forth three viewpoints relating to
violations of the Open Beaches Act and the Coastal Erosion Planning and Response
Act (CEPRA) program. First, he requested a moratorium in the condemnation of any
structures seaward of the line of vegetation until July 1, 2005. He believes that a
moratorium on the condemnation of houses on the public beach is justified because it
will allow the state time to re-establish the eroded beaches through the CEPRA
program, thus protecting the public’s access to the beach and the private property
owner’s homes. He commended the CEPRA program and Commissioner Dewhurst,
but stating that $15 million in funding over a two-year period is not sufficient. He stated
that he would like to see CEPRA become a permanent act and not subject to renewal
every two years.
Secondly, Mr. Mohn expressed his view that the Galveston County Beach Erosion Task
Force is very fortunate to have the General Land Office appropriate $6.5 million of the
$15 million in CEPRA funding, to Galveston County. He detailed the number of
subdivisions on the West End of Galveston that will benefit from the program and
expressed his confidence that these subdivisions will establish sand re-nourishment
Finally, Mr. Mohn expressed his belief that five homes in the Bermuda Beach
subdivision on the West End of Galveston Island should be allowed to be repaired,
replaced or fixed up. These five homes suffered severe damage from Tropical Storm
Frances and were a part of the 107 homes initially referred by the General Land Office
to the Attorney General to be reviewed under the Open Beaches Act. Mr. Mohn would
like to see these properties repaired in accordance with the Open Beaches Act and
referred the council to the last page of his handout (see attachment B).
The third speaker was Mr. Ellis Pickett, Chairman of the Texas Chapter of the Surfrider
Foundation. Mr. Pickett commented that the Texas Chapter is concerned with the
condition of the Texas coast. He proceeded to display a suitcase filled with debris that
was picked up on the beach in the Village of Surfside Beach after the Village
demolished and burned the “Octagon” house on the beach. He stated that their national
organization recently released its first annual “State of the Beach Report” and Texas
received poor marks in all six reporting categories. Mr. Pickett hopes that his
foundation and many others can work together to help the Coastal Coordination
Council, the General Land Office, and the Attorney General’s Office to make
improvements before the next report is issued.
Next, Mr. Pickett distributed to the Council a Texas Beach Flow Chart that he compiled
(see attachment C). The report consists of several photographs taken by Mr. Pickett
that document his claim that 20 inches of sand disappeared between August 19 and
September 16 of this year in the Village of Surfside. Mr. Pickett commented on how the
Texas Chapter of Surfrider Foundation has been engaged in a number of activities to
help improve the condition of local beaches. The Foundation’s goal is to become active
partners in identifying solutions to erosion problems and beach access and use issues.
He stressed the need to come up with solutions that the State, thirty years from now,
can look back on and say that the right choice was made. He also described an
experimental type of artificial surfing reef constructed in Australia and under
construction in California. He suggested that if future data indicates these reefs
stabilize the beach, then the frequency of beach nourishment projects might decrease.
Mr. Pickett finished by stating that all users of the beach need to be heard when
shoreline protection or beach improvements are being discussed.
Chairman Dewhurst commented that the Land Office is listening to the public. He
stated that in May of 1999, the Land Office referred to the Attorney General, not for
condemnation, but for the appropriate enforcement of the Open Beaches Act, homes that
were seaward of the line of vegetation. He mentioned that the Attorney General took a
position that all but four of these homes did not significantly block access to the public
Mr. McClendon commented that he and Mr. Pickett agreed to get together and see if they
could talk through their differences on issues relating to the public beach, and come up
with some ideas that may be helpful to the Land Office as well.
The fourth speaker was Mr. John Howard of the Gilchrist Community Association. Mr.
Howard thanked the Council for their efforts to help Gilchrist and Bolivar Peninsula with
geotubes. He expressed his support for the use of geotubes to halt erosion, describing
how he believed that the East Coast has successfully used geotubes to protect their
eroding beaches. He further thanked the Council for giving him the opportunity to speak
and for holding the meeting in Beaumont.
The fifth speaker was Mr. Mike Slay of the Gilchrist Community Association. Mr. Slay
thanked the Council, the General Land Office and Galveston County for making a success
story in Gilchrist through the use of geotubes to protect the eroding shoreline. Mr. Slay
stated that he has witnessed the geotubes successfully withstand tidal surges with no
more loss of land during the past couple of months. He thinks the project has been very
successful in protecting property, protecting and stabilizing the beach, and providing the
public with a beach to use. Council staff noted that the Council and the General Land
Office played no role in the geotube project in Gilchrist.
Mr. John M. Arrington of the West Galveston Island Property Owners Association was the
sixth speaker. Mr. Arrington expressed his frustration that seven years after the Land
Office’s beach/dune program was implemented none of the county’s local beach/dune
plans have been approved. He stated that all plans have received conditional approval,
but that he thought that all of the counties’ beach/dune plans must be compliant with the
Coastal Management Program. He further claimed that the 1996 Memorandum of
Understanding between the Council and the Corps of Engineers (relating to Corps
maintenance dredging projects) has not produced dredged material that can be used to
place sand on the beaches. Mr. Arrington also stated within 43 days after Hurricane Alicia,
Attorney General Mattox invoked the “50% rule” which allowed repairs to homes that
incurred less than 50% damage. He questioned why Commissioner Dewhurst has not
been able to achieve similar results two years after Tropical Storm Frances.
Mr. Arrington expressed his view that the CEPRA projects aren’t progressing and voiced
his concern that the money will be returned to a general fund. He thinks that CEPRA
funds are being spent in places where there are issues concerning violation of local, state,
and federal laws. Mr. Arrington thinks that these are issues that can be fixed and he has
high expectations that the Council will pursue them.
Chairman Dewhurst thanked Mr. Arrington for his comments. He proceeded to reference
the amendment to the Open Beaches Act, passed in 1985, which became effective
October 1, 1986, that stipulates that if property owners found their homes on the public
beach they were subject to a suit by the State of Texas to remove their homes. The
definition of the line of vegetation is clearly delineated in the Open Beaches statute, but
the Attorney General decides on the appropriate enforcement of the Act.
Chairman Dewhurst also explained that under the Open Beaches Act, the Land Office
does not have the legal authority to authorize repairs if homes are seaward of the line of
vegetation. He suggested that the County Commissioners in Galveston County and in
Brazoria County follow-up on their initial offer to have local property tax abatements equal
to the present value of the property and the amount it would cost to move the homes, as a
possible solution to the issue. It also seems possible to have an legal opinion that land
donated to the nature conservancy of the land of the State of Texas would be eligible for a
charitable federal tax donation, if the land was donated to either a 501(c)(3) organization
or to the State of Texas.
Next, Chairman Dewhurst commented on the geotube issue. He mentioned that the Land
Office has struggled with what would make the most sense with the use of geotubes. By
placing geotubes on the beach, Chairman Dewhurst is concerned that, over time, the
geotubes will accelerate erosion seaward of the geotube. Chairman Dewhurst stated that
he visited with Mr. Arrington several times and believed he gave him a very detailed report
on proposed erosion projects that are in the construction process. Chairman Dewhurst
stated the money is committed and he is dedicated to putting sand on the beach,
protecting the gulf coast, the bays, and the marshes.
Ashley K. Wadick, Deputy Commissioner for Resource Management at the Land Office,
pointed out that enforcement of the Open Beaches Act is strictly an Attorney General
matter, including the setting of the time line for enforcement. The Land Commissioner
does not have the authority to condemn property or houses nor to enforce the Open
Mr. John Barrett stated that Mr. Arrington has every right, as a member of the public, to
make his views known to the Council; but, that it is unfair to criticize the Land
Commissioner or the Land Office for action or inaction taken by the present or past
Attorneys General. Mr. Barrett believes that local and state entities are using every tool
available to them under state and federal law to try to make the most of a naturally
occurring situation. Mr. Barrett also stated that he appreciated Mr. McClendon’s and Mr.
Pickett’s earlier comments about trying to work together proactively with the state to try to
solve this problem. Mr. Mohn further stated that Mr. Arrington’s comments are his own
personal comments and not those of the West Galveston Island Property Owner’s
Association or the Galveston Beach Erosion Task Force. Both of these organizations are
pleased with the efforts that the Land Office has made with the CEPRA funds, and are
pleased with the progress and the leadership that Commissioner Dewhurst has taken, as
well as Deputy Commissioner Wadick.
The seventh speaker, Ms. Barbara McNeill, commented about the Rollover Fish Pass and
associated erosion problems. She asked that care be taken when decisions are made to
realize the type of effects that will follow; and asked officials to keep in mind the individuals
who have lost 55 homes in that area within two miles on the east and west side of the
pass. Chairman Dewhurst thanked Ms. McNeill for her comments and stated that the
situation will be looked at from an engineering point of view and from a legal prospective,
to determine what can be done to address the pass and erosion problems.
The eighth speaker, Mr. J. Martin Green, an attorney in Beaumont, read a letter written by
Ms. Patty Neild (see attachment D). Ms. Neild’s letter raised issues concerning Rollover
Fish Pass and made three suggestions: 1) shut down the erosion-causing problem that
Rollover Pass is 2) replenish the beach through the nourishment project and 3) create
fishing opportunities by building other public accommodations that would be of benefit.
Chairman Dewhurst thanked Mr. Green and offered the following comments to Ms.
McNeild’s letter. He acknowledged her feeling that the pass is taking sand from the gulf
and putting it in the bay. He commented that there is regular dredging of the bay and that
sand is being put back, on the beach, by the Corps of Engineers in a continuous dredging
cycle. He further stated that Rollover Fish Pass is on private land, and pointed out a
possible solution might be to raise the weirs and slow down the volume of water and
perhaps this would slow down the sand coming though the channel into the bay side.
Chairman Dewhurst pointed out that the Council hasn’t really looked at the Rollover Pass
issue, but the Land Office has been looking at this issue as the agent for the CEPRA. He
mentioned that he was simply reminding GLO staff to continue to look at the legal and
other issues in this situation and provide constructive options.
He commented on the difficulty of this issue and asked anyone that wants to talk to him or
to Ashley K. Wadick may do so. And, that they will be glad to speak with any individuals
and go to great lengths to pursue solutions to this problem.
Mr. McNeill also pointed out the effect of erosion on agriculture and mentioned that the
salt-water intrusion into East Bay through Rollover Pass has changed a brackish marsh
into a salt-water area.
AGENDA ITEM III: Approval of the minutes of the June 28, 2000, meeting.
Chairman Dewhurst called for a motion to approve the minutes of the June 28, 2000,
meeting as presented in the agenda packet. Liz Nisbet moved that the minutes be
approved, and Mr. Barrett seconded. The minutes were unanimously approved as
AGENDA ITEM IV: Discussion and possible delegation to the Executive Committee of
authority for final approval of the upcoming Coastal Zone Management Act §309
Chairman Dewhurst recognized Sally Davenport, Director of the Coastal Management
Division at the Land Office. Ms. Davenport reviewed the agenda packet materials. She
explained that the state’s §309 assessment and strategy is due to the National Oceanic
and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on March 1, 2001. Because there is a
required thirty-day public comment period, and only one Council meeting between today
and March 1, 2001, staff is recommending that the Council delegate final approval of
the assessment to the Executive Committee.
Mr. Huston moved to amend the staff recommendation, to have a draft presented to the
Council at the December 7 Council meeting, have the Executive Committee review the
document and comments received during the public comment period, make
modifications to the document as they see fit and then submit the document to the
Council Chairman. The Chairman will then determine if there is a need to send the
document to the entire Council for further review. If there is no need for further review
by the Council members, the Chairman will approve the document for submission to
NOAA. Mr. Barrett seconded the amended motion, and it passed unanimously.
AGENDA ITEM V: Approval of the Council’s response to National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
comments on the Coastal Nonpoint Source Pollution Control Program and approval of
the 15-year program strategy and 5-year implementation plan.
Chairman Dewhurst recognized Jeb Boyt, staff attorney of the General Land Office. Mr.
Boyt reviewed the agenda packet materials. He explained that staff is asking for
Council approval to submit the Council’s response to NOAA and EPA comments on the
Council’s 1998 Coastal Nonpoint Source Pollution Control Program document, and
response to comments on the Nonpoint Source 15-Year Program Strategy and 5-Year
Implementation Plan. Mr. Huston emphasized that it should be made clear in the
Council’s response to NOAA/EPA that implementation of the NPS program in Texas is
not purely regulatory, but contains important mechanisms that are not regulatory. Mr.
Barrett agreed with Mr. Huston, and Chairman Dewhurst committed to having staff
carefully monitor NOAA/EPA’s response to this issue. Both Mr. Huston and Mr. Barrett
expressed their appreciation to the workgroup members who put together the response
documents. Mr. Huston moved to approve submission of the two response-to-comment
documents to NOAA and EPA, and Ms. Nisbet seconded. The motion passed
AGENDA ITEM VI: Approval of commitment of remaining Coastal Zone Management
Act §6217 funds for Coastal Management Program (CMP) Grant Cycle 5.
Chairman Dewhurst recognized Melissa Porter of Council staff. Ms. Porter reviewed the
agenda packet materials. Mr. Barrett moved to approve the staff recommendation to
allocate $10,000 of the remaining Grant Cycle 5 §6217 funds to the Port Isabel-San
Benito Navigation District to install a publicly available marina pump-out station at the
South Point Marina in Port Isabel, and Mr. Johnson seconded. The motion passed
AGENDA ITEM VII: Approval of the Fiscal Year 2000 CMP Annual Report.
Chairman Dewhurst recognized Claire Randle-Martinez of Council staff. Ms. Randle-
Martinez reviewed the 2000 CMP Annual Report, noting that one wording change to the
report had been made at the request of TNRCC. Mr. Williams moved to approve the FY
2000 Annual Report with the wording change requested by TNRCC and Mr. Swann
seconded. The motion passed unanimously.
AGENDA ITEM VIII: Authorization of revised General Concurrence regarding the U.S.
Army Corps of Engineers actions authorized under Letters of Permission and other 15-
Chairman Dewhurst recognized Jeb Boyt, staff attorney with the General Land Office.
Mr. Boyt reviewed the staff recommendation to delegate authority to the Chairman to
approve revisions to the existing General Concurrence between the Council and the
Corps of Engineers relating to consistency review of Corps permits authorized as
Letters of Permission. Staff was asking for delegation of approval in the hope that the
General Concurrence could be revised and implemented before the next Council
meeting in December. The main purpose of revising the General Concurrence is to
expand the number of Minor Corps actions that the Council could review in 15 days
rather than the normal 45 days, providing a faster process for permit applicants. Mr.
Huston asked that a specified list of authorizations covered by the general concurrence
be included in the revised General Concurrence. Staff said the Corps was preparing
that list of authorizations and assured Mr. Huston that it would be included. Mr.
Williams moved to approve the staff recommendation as presented, and Mr. Swann
seconded. The motion passed unanimously.
AGENDA ITEM IX: Discussion of Texas Natural Resource Conservation Commission’s
Clean Water Act §401 certification program and its relationship to the CMP.
Chairman Dewhurst recognized Tom Calnan of Council staff. Mr. Calnan reviewed the
agenda packet materials, outlining the basic provisions of the Memorandum of
Agreement (MOA) between the TNRCC and the Corps concerning the TNRCC §401
certification process for the Corps of Engineers §404 dredge and fill projects. Texas
reached an agreement with NOAA during the development of the CMP to use the §401
water quality certification program in lieu of establishing a new state program for
permitting activities in wetlands. Because of this, staff is anticipating that NOAA may
raise concerns about changes to the §401 program and its effect on the CMP during the
upcoming §312 evaluation.
Mr. Bruce Moulton, TNRCC staff, added that the MOA between TNRCC and the Corps
was signed on August 17, 2000. Mr. Moulton also added that the TNRCC and the
Corps have committed to monitoring the revised process and making changes deemed
appropriate to ensure compliance with the Clean Water Act; and to ensure that
proposed projects are consistent with the CMP goals and policies. Mr. Moulton added
that TNRCC would be amending their Chapter 279 rules to incorporate changes to their
§401 water quality certification program. These rules correspond directly to the CMP
and were certified by the Council as consistent with the CMP. TNRCC will submit the
revised rules to the Council for certification. Mr. Calnan commented that Council staff
would continue to meet with TNRCC staff to look at options for conducting consistency
review for projects that are now Tier I projects under the §401 certification process.
Mr. Huston added that he thinks the Council can readily resolve the issue of how
coastal consistency meshes into the §401 process and visa versa. He also stated that
TNRCC has now initiated the next step with the Corps of Engineers, and is working on
another MOA concerning enforcement of the new agreement.
AGENDA ITEM X: Discussion of upcoming Coastal Zone Management Act §312
Chairman Dewhurst recognized Janet Fatheree of Council staff. Ms. Fatheree outlined the
process of preparing for the upcoming §312 evaluation, noting that the NOAA evaluation
team would like to meet with most members of the Council when they are in Texas in
December. She stated that Council staff would be working closely with the Executive
Committee members preparing for the evaluation and site visit.
AGENDA ITEM XI: Update on Council’s Strategic Plan.
Chairman recognized Claire Randle-Martinez of Council staff. Ms. Randle-Martinez
briefly reviewed the agenda packet materials outlining the status of the Council’s
strategic plan. She acknowledged Mr. Williams’ comment about his agency’s delay in
providing information for the report and assured him that his staff is working with her to
provide that information. She explained that a strategic planning session would be held
with the Executive Committee members after their meeting on October 25. The
purpose of this session is to identify the top issues that the Council feels need to be
addressed in the strategic plan and to identify potential projects that can be
implemented to address gaps and overlaps in state agency activities that result from the
strategic planning process.
AGENDA ITEM XII: Status reports on Coastal Erosion Planning and Response Act
program, consistency review, CZMA §306/306A grants, Individual and Small Business
Permitting Assistance Program, and Council’s sunset review.
Chairman Dewhurst explained that staff was not planning on making presentations on
each of the status reports unless the Council members wanted them to. He asked Ms.
Porter to explain why money was being returned to NOAA from Grant Cycles 2 and 3.
Ms. Porter explained that Texas will be returning approximately $94,000 of Grant Cycle
2 funds to NOAA, because the Corpus Christi Botanical Society was unable to complete
its project, and the City of Galveston completed its project under budget. Since there is
not enough time left in the grant cycle to award the monies to anyone else, the money
will be returned to NOAA next month.
She explained that approximately $176,000 of Grant Cycle 3 funds would be returned to
NOAA. Again, two subrecipients are unable to complete their projects. NOAA denied
approval of the Aransas County project, and the Council has only been able to
reimburse the County for $70,000 in engineering costs of the $215,000 awarded for the
digital-mapping project. The Town of Bayside encountered initial permitting problems
involving wetland protection and problems with adjacent landowners that prevented it
from completing construction of its sewer treatment plant, $79,000 will be returned.
Ms. Porter explained that staff has developed stricter monitoring procedures that were
implemented with Grant Cycle 4. The new procedures have already resulted in the
identification of funds that can be allocated to 12 projects applied for in the Cycle 4
surplus funding process. Mr. Hunt also offered the assistance of the Texas Water
Development Board staff in identifying monitoring systems. At Mr. Huston’s request,
Ms. Porter committed to providing a report on the new procedures at the next Council
Chairman Dewhurst asked Ray Newby of the Land Office’s Coastal Projects Division to
provide an update on the CEPRA projects.
Mr. Newby explained that the Land Office initially identified 60 potential erosion
response projects that could be funded with the $15 million in Coastal Erosion Planning
and Response Act (CEPRA) funds allocated for expenditure during the 2000-2001
biennium. Twenty-nine of the 60 projects have project sponsors identified and are
ready to be implemented. At this time, three projects are currently underway, nine more
are scheduled to begin before January 2001, and an additional nine projects should
begin in early 2001. The Land Office anticipates that 24 of the 29 projects will be
completed by the August 31, 2001 deadline. The remaining projects are long term,
multi-year projects that the Land Office hopes to fund in a subsequent biennium.
Chairman Dewhurst asked Ms. Fatheree to give a brief update on the Council’s Sunset
review. Ms. Fatheree stated that the Sunset Advisory Commission met on September
20 and Council members John Barrett, Liz Nisbet, Bob Huston and Donald Swann were
in attendance at the hearing. She distributed the Advisory Commission’s Decision
document and a summary of the statutory recommendations (see attachment E) that
will be presented to the Legislature for consideration in 2001. Chairman Dewhurst
asked each Council member to call and let him know what their thoughts are on the
recommendations. His staff will be working with legislative staff over the next several
months to follow the bill drafting process.
AGENDA ITEM XIII: Adjourn.
With no further business to discuss the Council adjourned at 4:06 p.m.
Staff recommends approval of the minutes of the September 26, 2000, Coastal
Coordination Council meeting.
Approved with Changes: _____
Not Approved: _____