COLUMBIA — An agency-wide salary study and a variety of ways to improve customer service at the S.C. Department of Natural Resources are among the objectives of a draft 100-day plan the agency board is reviewing.
The draft also calls for officials to consider whether any of the agency’s various advisory boards should be eliminated. It also says staff should ramp up public outreach efforts to help residents address nuisance animals and begin the process of raising the cost of hunting and fishing licenses so that they are closer to the Southeastern states’ average fees. The cost increases would be submitted to the General Assembly.
Board members from the second and third congressional district did not respond to messages regarding the draft. S.C. Wildlife Federation lobbyist Cary Chamblee reviewed the document and said it was “all in all, a good plan.”
As for the proposed salary study, the plan suggests it might lead to raises.
“As funds are available, correct salary inequities,” states the plan, which says the study will be complete by the end of February.
A Moore School of Business report that the state’s natural resources are the source of nearly $8 billion in income, $30 billion in economic impact, and 236,000 jobs.
The 100-day plan was undertaken at the direction of Republican Gov. Nikki Haley, who was elected in November.
Other priorities of the plan include:
• Increasing the DNR’s use of social media, including how-tovideo clips, in addition to making public-education submissions to local media outlets.
• Consolidating office space for the Land, Water and Conservation division, which has seen employee reductions.
• Drafting a plan to address the effects of climate change on the state’s natural resources. A document could be posted on the agency Web site as early as next month for public comment.
• Providing live-streaming video of DNR Board meetings.
• Focusing courtesy boat inspections in order to boost customer service.
• Initiating negotiations with Georgia and North Carolina for an interstate boaters compact.
• Offering expanded Saturday hours for the public to purchase licenses in Columbia. The draft says a customer service pilot project found that it was not cost-effective, after factoring in air-conditioning and staff salaries.
• Beginning discussions about creating boating speed limits for reservoirs.