News Release

September 18, 2013

Nikohu Ecostystem Restoration Project Draft Environmental Assessment Now Available

Media Contacts:
Lindsay Young, 808-741-9479, lindsay@pacificrimconservation.com

The Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge (KPNWR) is pleased to announce the availability of the Draft Environmental Assessment (DEA) for the Nihoku Ecosystem Restoration Project (NERP).  In collaboration with the American Bird Conservancy, the Kaua‘i Endangered Seabird Recovery Project, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and several other partners, KPNWR proposes to create a 7-acre refugium for native plant and animal communities and enhance existing seabird colonies by using the latest technology in predator-proof fencing.
 
KPNWR has prepared the DEA in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act for the NERP, evaluating the environmental effects of the NERP and a no-action alternative on KPNWR.  Under the proposed action, the construction of a predator-proof fence would keep introduced mammalian predators (such as cats, dogs, mongoose, rats, and mice) out of the area so that native species like the endangered nēnē (Hawaiian goose), the nēnē (Laysan albatross), and rare plants can flourish again in a protected environment.  In addition, the absence of introduced predators would make this restored site an appropriate future translocation site for the threatened ‘a‘o  (Newell's shearwater) and for the reintroduction of rare native plants. 
 
While this project would create the first predator-proof fence on Kaua‘i, this type of fencing has been used with great success in New Zealand, and on the island of O‘ahu, where it resulted in record numbers of seabird chicks fledging in the year immediately following the project's completion and natural recolonization by a seabird species not previously breeding on O‘ahu in its third year.  It is hoped that similar outcomes will be achieved on Kaua‘i.  This project comes at a particularly important time for Kaua‘i's seabirds which are now potentially being preyed on by mongooses, a new introduced predator in Kaua‘i's ecosystem.
 
The DEA concludes that the NERP would have primarily positive impacts on the biological resources of the Refuge and no significant impacts would be anticipated.  The full DEA is now available for public review and comment and may be found at http://www.fws.gov/kilaueapoint/.  Printed copies may be requested by contacting the Refuge at (808) 828.1413 or by email at scott_poland@fws.gov.  The deadline for public comment is October 31, 2013; please submit comments by mail to the Kaua‘i National Wildlife Refuge Complex, P.O. Box 1128, K+lauea, HI 96754, Attention: Nihoku Ecosystem Restoration Project or by email to FW1planningcomments@fws.gov with “Nihoku Ecosystem Restoration Project DEA” in the subject line. 
 
KPNWR was established in 1985 to preserve and enhance seabird nesting colonies, and in 1988, the refuge was expanded to include Crater Hill (Nihoku) and Mōkōlea Point. To learn more about the refuge, please visit www.fws.gov/kilaueapoint.