[Federal Register: July 10, 2002 (Volume 67, Number 132)]
[Page 45755-45756]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Proposed Programmatic Safe Harbor Agreement for the Hawaiian 
Goose on the Island of Molokai, HI

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: The State of Hawaii, Department of Land and Natural Resources, 
Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) has applied to the Fish and 
Wildlife Service (Service) for an enhancement of survival permit 
pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(A) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, 
as amended. The permit application includes a programmatic Safe Harbor 
Agreement (programmatic Agreement) between DOFAW and the Service. The 
programmatic Agreement and permit application are available for public 
    The proposed programmatic Agreement allows for the protection of 
habitat for the endangered Hawaiian goose or nene (Branta sandvicensis) 
that may occupy or breed on private lands following the reintroduction 
of nene to Molokai in 2001 through the previously approved ``Safe 
Harbor Agreement for the Reintroduction of the Nene to Puu O Hoku 
Ranch, Island of Molokai.'' The proposed programmatic Agreement allows 
individual landowners to enroll in the program through a Certificate of 
Inclusion and Cooperative Agreement. The proposed duration of the 
Programmatic Agreement is 30 years; the proposed duration of the permit 
is 50 years.
    The proposed permit would allow enrolled landowners to return to 
baseline conditions established in the Cooperative Agreement. We expect 
this Programmatic Agreement to result in a net conservation benefit by 
aiding and supporting the restoration of nene to the Island of Molokai.
    The Service has made a preliminary determination that the proposed 
Programmatic Agreement and permit application are eligible for 
categorical exclusion under the National Environmental Policy Act of 
1969. We explain the basis for this determination in an Environmental 
Action Statement,

[[Page 45756]]

which also is available for public review.
    We request comments from the public on the permit application, 
Agreement, and Environmental Action Statement. All comments we receive, 
including names and addresses, will become part of the administrative 
record and may be released to the public.

DATES: Written comments should be received on or before August 9, 2002.

ADDRESSES: Comments should be addressed to Mr. Paul Henson, Field 
Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 50088, Honolulu, 
Hawaii 96850; facsimile 808-541-3470.

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


Document Availability

    You may obtain copies of the documents for review by contacting the 
office named above. You also may make an appointment to view the 
documents at the above address during normal business hours.


    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 Endangered Species 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 DOFAW to develop a programmatic Safe Harbor 
Agreement for the protection of habitat for the endangered Hawaiian 
goose or nene on the Island of Molokai, Hawaii. Under this Agreement, 
individual landowners enrolled in the program and/or DOFAW will: (1) 
Report the presence or absence of nene on their lands to DOFAW; (2) 
allow access to covered lands for management and monitoring of nene; 
(3) implement a program to control predators; (4) agree not to disturb 
nene nests until after the birds have hatched their eggs; (5) assist 
DOFAW with preparation of their annual report; and (6) identify other 
management actions in the Cooperative Agreement.
    We anticipate that this Programmatic Agreement will result in the 
following benefits: (1) Increased probability that nene will expand 
their range onto lands outside of Puu O Hoku Ranch; (2) increased 
number of nene in the wild (anticipated up to 125 individuals on 
enrolled properties); (3) increased ability to monitor distribution, 
abundance, and reproductive success of Molokai's nene population; and 
(4) increased predator control in areas utilized by nene will address a 
key threat to nene.
    Consistent with Safe Harbor policy, we propose to issue a permit to 
DOFAW authorizing them to enroll landowners (Cooperators) with 
Certificates of Inclusion under the Federal permit and State permit 
when Cooperators sign individual Cooperative Agreements that describe 
actions that will be taken to benefit nene. Thus, the Cooperators will 
be authorized for incidental take of nene and their progeny, which 
occur on the enrolled lands, as a result of lawful activities on 
enrolled lands, as long as baseline conditions are maintained and terms 
of the Cooperative Agreement are implemented. These activities may 
include, but are not limited to: (1) Driving vehicles; (2) building or 
fence construction; (3) grazing of livestock; (4) gardening; (5) 
forestry; (6) hunting; (7) farming; (8) mowing; and (9) cultivation of 
agricultural crops. We expect that the maximum level of incidental take 
authorized under this programmatic Agreement will never be realized. We 
anticipate that any nene taken when the proposed Programmatic Agreement 
expires will not be injured or harmed, but will be relocated, with 
permission from landowners, to other suitable lands. Therefore, the 
cumulative impact of this Programmatic Agreement and the activities it 
covers, which are facilitated by the allowable incidental take, will 
provide a net conservation benefit to nene.
    We provide this notice pursuant to section 10(c) of the Endangered 
Species Act and pursuant to implementing regulations for the National 
Environmental Policy Act (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 Endangered Species Act and National Environmental 
Policy Act regulations. If we determine that the requirements are met, 
we will sign the programmatic Safe Harbor Agreement and issue an 
enhancement of survival permit under section 10(a)(1)(A) of the 
Endangered Species Act to DOFAW for take of nene incidental to 
otherwise lawful activities in accordance with the terms of the 
Agreement. We will not make our final decision until after the end of 
the 30-day comment period and will fully consider all comments received 
during the comment period.

    Dated: June 19, 2002.
Rowan W. Gould,
Deputy Regional Director, Region 1.
[FR Doc. 02-17298 Filed 7-9-02; 8:45 am]