[Federal Register: June 7, 2001 (Volume 66, Number 110)]
[Page 30746-30747]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Availability of an Environmental Action Statement and Receipt of 
an Application for a Permit To Enhance the Survival of the Hawaiian 
Duck or Koloa and Endangered Hawaiian Goose or Nene through a Safe 
Harbor Agreement for Umikoa Ranch, HI

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: This notice advises the public that Umikoa Ranch, Limited 
(Ranch) has applied to the Fish and Wildlife Service (we, the Service) 
for an enhancement of survival permit pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(A) 
of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act) for Hawaiian 
Duck or Koloa (Anas wyvilliana) and Endangered Hawaiian Goose or Nene 
(Branta sandvicensis). The permit application includes a Safe Harbor 
Agreement (Agreement) between the Ranch, the Service, and the Hawaii 
Department of Land and Natural Resources. The proposed permit and 
Agreement would become effective upon initialization of the Agreement 
and remain in effect for 20 years. The Service has made a preliminary 
determination that the proposed Agreement and permit application are 
eligible for categorical exclusion under the National Environmental 
Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). We explain the basis for this determination 
in an Environmental Action Statement, which also is available for 
public review.
    We announce the opening of a 30-day comment period to receive 
comments from the public on the Applicant's enhancement of survival 
permit application, the accompanying proposed Agreement, and 
Environmental Action Statement. For further information and instruction 
on the reviewing and commenting process, see Public Review and Comment 
section below.

DATES: Written comments must be received by July 9, 2001.

ADDRESSES: Comments should be addressed to Mr. Paul Henson, Field 
Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, PO Box 50088, Honolulu, 
Hawaii 96850; facsimile (808) 541-3470. (See Public Review and Comment 
section below.)

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Gina Shultz at the above address 
or telephone 808-541-3441.



    Under a Safe Harbor Agreement, participating property owners 
voluntarily undertake management activities on their property to 
enhance, restore, or maintain habitat benefitting species listed under 
the Act. Safe Harbor Agreements encourage private and other non-Federal 
property owners to implement conservation efforts for listed species by 
assuring property owners they will not be subjected to increased 
property use restrictions if their efforts attract listed species to 
their property or increase the numbers or distribution of listed 
species already on their property. Application requirements and 
issuance criteria for enhancement of survival permits through Safe 
Harbor Agreements are found in 50 CFR 17.22(c).
    We have worked with the Ranch and the Hawaii Department of Land and 
Natural Resources to develop a Safe Harbor Agreement for the creation 
and enhancement of habitat for the endangered Hawaiian duck or koloa 
and Hawaiian goose or nene on Umikoa Ranch, Hawaii. Under this 
Agreement, the Ranch will: (1) Construct and maintain wetland and 
associated upland habitat for nene and koloa; (2) maintain fences that 
exclude cattle from newly created wetland and associated upland 
habitats; (3) allow for controlled grazing to prevent encroachment of 
kikuyu grass and for maintenance of open, short grass habitat for nene; 
(4) prevent the establishment of problematic alien invasive plant 
species; (5) implement a program to control predators in and around 
newly created habitats where koloa and nene are likely to occur; (6) 
prohibit hunting in areas within the upper portion of the Ranch managed 
for koloa and nene; and (7) prevent the

[[Page 30747]]

introduction and establishment of non-native waterfowl.
    We anticipate that this Agreement will result in the following 
benefits: (1) Establishment of a self-sustaining population or 
expansion of core populations for nene and koloa on the island of 
Hawaii; (2) reduced likelihood of hybridization of koloa with feral 
mallards and preservation of genetic integrity of koloa on the island 
of Hawaii; (3) increased genetic diversity of nene; (4) safe nesting 
sites that will support reproduction and an increased number of koloa 
and nene in the wild (anticipated five pairs of koloa and ten pairs of 
nene); (5) greater understanding of the effectiveness of management 
techniques for koloa and nene; (6) and additional sources of koloa and 
nene for future management activities.
    Consistent with Safe Harbor policy, we propose to issue a permit to 
the Ranch authorizing incidental take of koloa and nene which occur on 
the enrolled lands, and their progeny, as a result of lawful activities 
at the Ranch, so long as baseline conditions are maintained and terms 
of the Agreement are implemented. These activities include 
unintentional incidental take of koloa and nene from: (1) Koa forestry; 
(2) eco-tourism; (3) cultivation of agricultural crops; and (4) cattle 
grazing. We expect that the maximum level of incidental take authorized 
under the Agreement will never be realized. The Ranch has no plans to 
change land uses. Further, we anticipate that any koloa or nene taken 
will not be injured or harmed, but will be relocated, with permission 
from landowners, to other suitable lands. We expect that the creation 
and enhancement of wetland and associated upland habitat will result in 
the establishment of a self-sustaining permanent population or 
expansion of core populations for nene and koloa on the island of 
Hawaii. Therefore, the cumulative impact of the Agreement and the 
activities it covers, which are facilitated by the allowable incidental 
take, will provide a net conservation benefit to koloa and nene.
    We provide this notice pursuant to section 10(c) of the Act and 
pursuant to implementing regulations for NEPA (40 CFR 1506.6). We will 
evaluate the permit application, associated documents, and comments 
submitted thereon to determine whether the permit application meets the 
requirements of section 10(a) of the Act and NEPA regulations. If, upon 
completion of the 30-day comment period, we determine that the 
requirements are met, we will sign the Agreement and issue an 
enhancement of survival permit under section 10(a)(1)(A) of the Act to 
Umikoa Ranch for take of koloa and nene incidental to otherwise lawful 
activities in accordance with the terms of the Agreement.

Public Review and Comments

    Individuals wishing copies of the permit application, the 
Environmental Action Statement, or copies of the full text of the 
Agreement, including a map of the proposed permit area, references, and 
legal descriptions of the proposed permit area, should contact the 
office and personnel listed in the ADDRESSES section above.
    If you wish to comment on the permit application, Environmental 
Action Statement, or the Agreement, you may submit your comments to the 
address listed in the ADDRESSES section of this document. Comments and 
materials received, including names and addresses of respondents, will 
be available for public review, by appointment, during normal business 
hours at the address in the ADDRESSES section above and will become 
part of the public record, pursuant to section 10(c) of the Act.

    Dated: May 23, 2001.
Anne Badgley,
Regional Director, Region 1, Portland, Oregon.
[FR Doc. 01-14324 Filed 6-6-01; 8:45 am]