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Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Kauai Seabird Habitat Conservation Plan -- Public Comments Open
By News Release @ 11:52 PM :: 590 Views :: Kauai County, Education K-12, Environment

Kauai Seabird Habitat Conservation Plan and Draft Environmental Assessment, Kauai, Hawaii

A Federal Register Notice by the Fish and Wildlife Service on 03/12/2020

AGENCY:  Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION:  Notice of availability; request for comments.

SUMMARY:

We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), received incidental take permit applications pursuant to section 10 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA), from eight parties seeking authorization to take listed seabirds on Kauai due to impacts associated with nighttime light attraction. Each of the applications relies on the Kauai Seabird Habitat Conservation Plan (KSHCP), which describes the actions the applicants will take to minimize and mitigate the impacts of taking the threatened Newell's shearwater, endangered Hawaiian petrel, and the endangered Hawaii distinct population segment of the band-rumped storm-petrel incidental to the otherwise lawful use of nighttime lighting on the island of Kauai, Hawaii. We also announce the availability of each applicant's draft KSHCP participant inclusion plan specific to the applicant's facilities, as well as a draft environmental assessment (EA) developed by the Service that addresses the effects of the KSHCP and the proposed permits on the human environment in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act. We invite the public to review and comment on these documents.

DATES:  To ensure consideration, written comments must be received from interested parties no later than April 13, 2020.

ADDRESSES:

To request further information or submit written comments, please use one of the following methods:

Internet: You may view or download copies of the KSHCP, draft EA, each applicant's draft KSHCP participant inclusion plan, and obtain additional information on the internet at http://www.fws.gov/​pacificislands/​.

Email:

U.S. Mail: You may obtain a CD-ROM with electronic copies of these documents by writing to Ms. Katherine Mullett, Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office, 300 Ala Moana Boulevard, Room 3-122, Honolulu, HI 96850.

Telephone: Call 808-792-9400 during regular business hours.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:

Ms. Jiny Kim or Mr. Aaron Nadig, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (see ADDRESSES), by telephone at 808-792-9400 or by email at KauaiSeabirdHCP@fws.gov. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf, please call the Federal Relay Service at 800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

The Service received incidental take permit (ITP) applications from eight entities (applicants), pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species Act, as amended (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). Each applicant has requested a 30-year permit term that would authorize “take” of the threatened Newell's shearwater (Puffinus auricularis newelli; Hawaiian name ao), the endangered Hawaiian petrel (Pterodroma sandwichensis; Hawaiian name uau), and the endangered Hawaii distinct population segment of the band-rumped storm-petrel (Oceanodroma castro; Hawaiian name akeake), hereafter collectively referred to as the covered species. Take of the covered species would be incidental to the use of nighttime lighting on the island of Kauai, Hawaii. The applications are accompanied by a single habitat conservation plan, referred to as the Kauai Seabird Habitat Conservation Plan (KSHCP), which describes the actions each applicant will take to Start Printed Page 14498minimize and mitigate the impacts of the taking on the covered species under each individual applicant's draft KSHCP participant inclusion plan (PIP), which is specific to each applicant's facilities.

Background

Nighttime lighting is an essential activity in most homes, businesses, and industry centers. Each of the eight applicants developed a PIP under the KSHCP to collectively provide an island-wide conservation program to avoid and minimize the impacts of the taking of the covered species through implementation of measures such as the use of wildlife-friendly nighttime lights, and to mitigate for unavoidable incidental take impacts caused by nighttime lighting in support of their request to obtain ESA authorization, as appropriate, to incidentally take listed seabirds. Although the KSHCP identifies measures to avoid and minimize take of the Central North Pacific distinct population segment (DPS) of the endangered green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas; Hawaiian name honu), no ITP for the green sea turtle is being requested by the applicants. The eight applicants are: (1) Norwegian Cruise Line-NCL America; (2) Princeville Resort Kauai; (3) Hawaii Department of Transportation; (4) Kauai Marriott Resort; (5) Alexander & Baldwin, Inc.; (6) Kauai Blue, Inc. doing business as Sheraton Kauai; (7) Kauai Coffee Company; and (8) Kauai County.

The Service proposes to issue the requested 30-year ITPs based on the applicants' commitment to implement the KSHCP, in accordance with eight applicant-specific PIPs, if permit issuance criteria are met. Potentially covered activities include the full range of artificial nighttime lighting types present on Kauai. A variety of lighting types are used on Kauai depending upon the purposes for the lighting. Under the KSHCP, all types of artificial lighting, including land-based lights found at parks, retail stores, resorts, condominium complexes, agribusiness, and industrial facilities, can be covered, as well as lighting on ocean-going vessels such as cruise ships. Artificial lighting includes current light structures, as well as the placement and operation of new or future lights that have similar effects. Outdoor lighting fixtures may include, but are not limited to, parking lot lights, security lights, spotlights, floodlights, building and structural or architectural lights, landscape lighting, recreational lights, and signage lights. Instead of each applicant implementing small scale, PIP-specific mitigation projects with limited conservation benefits for listed seabirds, the eight applicants will contribute funds that will be pooled to create and manage the Kahuamaa Seabird Preserve (Preserve); conduct barn owl (Tyto alba) control in Kalalau Valley; and to conduct feral cat (Felis catus) control along Kalalau Valley rim to reduce predation at existing seabird colonies and deter cat presence in the vicinity of the Preserve.….

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