[Federal Register: November 4, 2004 (Volume 69, Number 213)]
[Page 64317]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Draft Revised Recovery Plan for the Laysan Duck (Anas laysensis)

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of document availability for review and comment.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (we) announces the 
availability of the Draft Revised Recovery Plan for the Laysan Duck 
(Anas laysanensis) for public review and comment.

DATES: Comments on the draft revised recovery plan must be received on 
or before January 3, 2005.

ADDRESSES: Copies of the draft revised recovery plan are available for 
inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours at the 
following location: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pacific Islands 
Fish and Wildlife Office, 300 Ala Moana Boulevard, Room 3-122, 
Honolulu, Hawaii 96850 (telephone: (808) 792-9400). Requests for copies 
of the draft revised recovery plan and written comments and materials 
regarding this plan should be addressed to the Field Supervisor, 
Ecological Services, at the above Honolulu address. An electronic copy 
of the draft revised recovery plan is also available at http://endangered.fws.gov/recovery/index.html#plans

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Holly Freifeld, Fish and Wildlife 
Biologist, at the above Honolulu address.



    Recovery of endangered or threatened animals and plants is a 
primary goal of the Endangered Species Act (Act) (16 U.S.C. 1531 et 
seq.) and our endangered species program. Recovery means improvement of 
the status of listed species to the point at which listing is no longer 
required under the criteria set out in section 4(a)(1) of the Act. 
Recovery plans describe actions considered necessary for the 
conservation of the species, establish criteria for downlisting or 
delisting listed species, and estimate time and cost for implementing 
the measures needed for recovery.
    The Act requires the development of recovery plans for endangered 
or threatened species unless such a plan would not promote the 
conservation of the species. Section 4(f) of the Act requires that 
public notice, and an opportunity for public review and comment, be 
provided during recovery plan development. We will consider all 
information presented during the public comment period on each new or 
revised recovery plan. Substantive technical comments may result in 
changes to a recovery plan. Substantive comments regarding recovery 
plan implementation may not necessarily result in changes to the 
recovery plans, but will be forwarded to appropriate Federal agency or 
other entities so that they can take these comments into account during 
the course of implementing recovery actions. Individual responses to 
comments will not be provided.
    The Laysan duck is federally listed as endangered and is also 
listed as endangered by the State of Hawaii. This species currently is 
found only on the small island of Laysan in the Northwestern Hawaiian 
Islands, but it was also known historically from the island of 
Lisianski, and bones or fossils have been found in the Main Hawaiian 
Islands on Hawaii, Maui, Molokai, Oahu, and Kauai, indicating it 
previously had a much wider distribution. The Main Hawaiian Island 
populations of this species likely were extirpated by nonnative 
mammalian predators around the time of human settlement. The Laysan 
duck's current population is estimated to be 459 birds, but its numbers 
on Laysan have fluctuated from 7 to 688 adult birds during the past 
century. This species uses all available habitats on Laysan, including 
coastal areas, a hypersaline lagoon, mudflats, and densely vegetated 
upland areas. It eats a variety of arthropods, sometimes seeds, leaves, 
and algae, and at certain seasons consumes large quantities of aquatic 
midge larvae. The primary threats to this species are its small 
population size and restricted range, stochastic fluctuations in food 
availability that cause its numbers to vary, potential inbreeding 
depression and disease susceptibility, and storms that could cause 
direct mortality and destroy the duck's habitat on the single low-lying 
island to which it is currently restricted.
    The recovery goals are to conserve and recover the Laysan duck to 
the point where it can be downlisted (reclassified from endangered to 
threatened status) and eventually to delist the species (remove it from 
the List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants). The 
objectives by which these goals will be met are to protect the existing 
population on Laysan and reestablish additional viable populations of 
the duck in areas that are managed to be free of predators. To 
accomplish these objectives, this recovery plan outlines high priority 
tasks that fall generally into four categories. First, the duck 
population on Laysan must be monitored and its habitat restored and 
protected. Second, wild juvenile ducks must be translocated to 
appropriate predator-free Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and eventually 
to sites in the Main Hawaiian Islands where predators are effectively 
controlled. Translocated populations must be closely monitored and 
managed to enhance population growth. Third, a captive propagation 
program must be initiated, with the aim of producing Laysan ducks for 
release primarily at predator-controlled Main Hawaiian Island sites. 
Fourth, further research must be undertaken on the life history, 
demography, disease susceptibility, and genetics of the Laysan duck to 
refine the recovery criteria and management techniques for this 

Public Comments Solicited

    We solicit written comments on the draft revised recovery plan 
described. All comments received by the date specified above will be 
considered prior to approval of this plan.

    Authority: The authority for this action is section 4(f) of the 
Endangered Species Act, 16 U.S.C. 1533(f).

    Dated: August 12, 2004.
David J. Wesley,
Acting Regional Director, Region 1, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 04-24619 Filed 11-3-04; 8:45 am]