[Federal Register: August 24, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 163)]
[Page 52027-52028]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Proposed Safe Harbor Agreement With Chevron Hawaii Refinery at 
James Campbell Industrial Park for Management of the Hawaiian Stilt and 
Hawaiian Coot, Oahu, HI

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; receipt of application.


SUMMARY: The Chevron Hawaii Refinery (Chevron) has applied to the Fish 
and Wildlife Service (Service) for an enhancement of survival permit 
pursuant to the Endangered Species Act, (ESA). The permit application 
includes a proposed Safe Harbor Agreement (Agreement) between Chevron, 
the Service, and the Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources. 
The proposed Agreement and permit application are available for public 
    The proposed Agreement allows for the management of nesting and 
foraging habitat for the endangered Hawaiian stilt (Himantopus 
mexicanus knudseni) and endangered Hawaiian coot (Fulica alai) at the 
Chevron Hawaii Refinery. The proposed duration of the Agreement and 
permit is 6 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. We explain the 
basis for this determination in an Environmental Action Statement, 
which is also available for public review.

DATES: Written comments must be received by September 23, 2004.

ADDRESSES: Comments should be addressed to Mr. Jeff Newman, Acting 
Field Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, P.O. Box 50088, 
Honolulu, Hawaii 96850; facsimile (808) 792-9580.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Arlene Pangelinan, Supervisory 
Fish and Wildlife Biologist (see ADDRESSES), or telephone (808) 792-



    Under a Safe Harbor Agreement, participating property owners 
voluntarily undertake management activities on their property to 
enhance, restore, or maintain habitat benefiting species listed under 
the ESA. 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 ESA section 10(a)(1)(A) enhancement of survival 
permits based on Safe Harbor Agreements are found in 50 CFR 17.22(c).
    Through a Cooperative Agreement, the Service and Chevron have been 
working together since 1992 to manage Rowland's Pond (6 acres) for 
Hawaiian stilt nesting habitat, located at the Chevron Hawaii Refinery 
on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. In lieu of renewing the Cooperative 
Agreement, the Service has been working with Chevron and the Hawaii 
Department of Land and Natural Resources to develop a Safe Harbor 
Agreement to continue the management of habitat for the endangered 
Hawaiian stilt and, in addition, the endangered Hawaiian coot at the 
refinery. Under the proposed Agreement, Chevron would: (1) Maintain 6 
acres of stilt nesting habitat at Rowland's Pond (e.g., manage water 
level and vegetation) and 5 acres of stilt and coot foraging habitat at 
the Impounding Basin and Oxidation Ponds; (2) implement a program to 
control predators (e.g., cats, mongoose) at Rowland's Pond, the 
Impounding Basin, and Oxidation Ponds during the stilt and coot 
breeding season; and (3) monitor stilts and coots during the breeding 
season. In addition, Chevron would conduct an education program for its 
employees and contractors about the Hawaiian stilt and Hawaiian coot at 
the refinery.
    The conservation measures set forth in the Agreement are expected 
to result in the following net conservation benefits to the covered 
species: (1) Contribute offspring to stilt and coot populations to 
achieve recovery goals; and (2) increase availability of predator-
reduced nesting and foraging habitat for stilts and coots.
    Consistent with Safe Harbor policy and regulations, the Service 
proposes to issue a permit to Chevron authorizing take of Hawaiian 
stilt and Hawaiian coot incidental to otherwise lawful activities 
(i.e., normal refinery operations and refinery maintenance activities) 
at the refinery, as long as baseline conditions are maintained and the 
terms of the Agreement are implemented. Proposed activities include 
incidental take of stilts or coots from: (1) Release of oil, other 
petroleum, or chemical products into Rowland's Pond from a tank 
rupture; (2) release of oil or other petroleum products from a tank 
overflow; (3) appearance of oil or petroleum products in the sediment 
and/or water used in the Oxidation Pond, Impounding Basin, and 
Rowland's Pond; (4) accidental crushing of stilt or coot chicks by 
vehicles; (5) accidental crushing of stilt or coot eggs during refinery 
maintenance; (6) flooding of nests and eggs; and (7) measures to 
prevent stilts from nesting or attempting to nest outside of the usual 
stilt nesting areas at the refinery. The proposed permit would also 
authorize incidental take resulting from stilt and coot monitoring 
activities. We expect that the maximum level of incidental take 
proposed to be authorized under this permit would never be realized due 
to Chevron Hawaii Refinery's history of successful maintenance and 
operation of the facility to prevent releases of oil or other petroleum 
products, and proposed monitoring activities during the breeding season 
to track stilt and coot nesting success and identify situations when 
management actions may need to be immediately implemented to prevent 
injury to the coots and stilts at the refinery.
    The proposed permit would also allow Chevron to return to baseline 
conditions at the end of the term of the Agreement, if so desired by 
Chevron. However, when the proposed Agreement expires, we anticipate 
that any stilts or coots that were nesting at Chevron when Rowland's 
Pond was managed pursuant to the Agreement would not be injured or 
harmed, but would relocate on their own to other suitable wetlands. We 
anticipate that the benefits of entering into the proposed Agreement 
would outweigh the risks of attracting Hawaiian stilts and Hawaiian 
coots to an oil refinery, taking into account the potential for 
incidental take, the benefits resulting from implementing the proposed 
Agreement and minimization measures to reduce take, the fact that there 
has never been a catastrophic oil release since the refinery was 
established in 1959, and our successful management with Chevron 
pursuant to the Cooperative Agreement. Therefore, we anticipate that 
the environmental effects of the proposed Agreement and the activities 
it covers, which would be facilitated by the allowable incidental take, 
would provide a net conservation

[[Page 52028]]

benefit to the Hawaiian stilt and Hawaiian coot.

Public Review and Comments:

    Individuals wishing copies of the permit application, the 
Environmental Action Statement, and/or copies of the full text of the 
proposed Agreement, including a map of the proposed permit area, 
references, and legal descriptions of the proposed permit area, should 
contact the Service office in Honolulu (see ADDRESSES and FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT). Documents also will be available for public 
inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at this 
    We request comments from the public on the permit application, 
Agreement, and Environmental Action Statement. All comments received, 
including names and addresses, will become part of the Administrative 
record and may be released to the public. If you wish us to withhold 
your name and/or address, you must state this prominently at the 
beginning of your comment. Anonymous comments will not be considered. 
All submissions from organizations or businesses, and from individuals 
identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations 
or businesses, are available for public inspection in their entirety.
    We will evaluate the permit application, the proposed Agreement, 
associated documents, and comments submitted thereon to determine 
whether or not the permit application meets the requirements of section 
10(a) of the ESA and National Environmental Policy Act regulations. If 
the requirements are met, the Service will sign the proposed Agreement 
and issue an enhancement of survival permit under section 10(a)(1)(A) 
of the ESA to Chevron for the incidental take of stilts and coots as a 
result of otherwise lawful activities in accordance with the terms of 
the Agreement. The Service will not make a final decision until after 
the end of the 30-day comment period and will fully consider all 
comments received during the comment period.
    The Service provides this notice pursuant to section 10(c) of the 
ESA and pursuant to implementing regulations for the National 
Environmental Policy Act (40 CFR 1506.6).

    Dated: July 12, 2004.
David J. Wesley,
Deputy Regional Director, Fish and Wildlife Service, Portland, Oregon.
[FR Doc. 04-19311 Filed 8-23-04; 8:45 am]