[Federal Register: July 8, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 131)]
[Page 39025-39026]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R1-ES-2008-N0121; 10120-1112-0000-F2]

Incidental Take Permit Application for Construction and Operation 
of Seven Meteorological Towers on Lanai, Hawaii

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; draft environmental assessment and 
habitat conservation plan; and receipt of application for an incidental 
take permit.


SUMMARY: Castle and Cooke Resorts, LLC (Applicant), has submitted an 
application to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) for an 
incidental take permit (permit) pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA). The Applicant is 
requesting a permit because incidental take of four species listed 
under the ESA may occur as a result of construction and operation of 
seven meteorological towers on the island of Lanai, Hawaii: The 
endangered Hawaiian petrel (Pterodroma sandwichensis), endangered 
Hawaiian stilt (Himantopus mexicanus knudseni), endangered Hawaiian 
hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus semotus), and the threatened Newell's 
(Townsend's) shearwater (Puffinus auricularis newelli). Six of the 
seven towers have already been constructed. If approved, the permit 
would authorize take, incidental to otherwise lawful activities. The 
permit application includes a draft Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) 
that describes the Applicant's actions and the measures the Applicant 
will implement to minimize, mitigate, and monitor take of listed 
species. The Service also announces the availability of a draft 
Environmental Assessment (EA) that has been prepared in response to the 
permit application in accordance with requirements of the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA). We are making the permit application 
package available for public review and comment.

DATES: All comments from interested parties must be received on or 
before August 7, 2008.

ADDRESSES: Please address written comments to Patrick Leonard, Project 
Leader, Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, 300 Ala Moana Boulevard, Room 3-122, 
Honolulu, HI 96850. You may also send comments by facsimile at (808) 

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Bill Standley, Fish and Wildlife 
Biologist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (see ADDRESSES above), 
telephone (808) 792-9400.


Availability of Documents

    The permit application, which includes a draft HCP and a draft EA, 
are available for public inspection, by appointment between the hours 
of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office 
(see ADDRESSES above). You may also request copies of the documents by 
contacting the Service's Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office (see 
    We specifically request information, views, and opinions from the 
public on the proposed Federal action of issuing a permit, including 
the identification of any aspects of the human environment not already 
analyzed in our draft EA. Further, we specifically solicit information 
regarding the adequacy of the HCP relative to minimizing, mitigating, 
and monitoring the impacts of taking each of the covered listed species 
and relative adaptive management, as evaluated against our permit 
issuance criteria found in 50 CFR 13.21, 17.22, and 17.32. Pursuant to 
section 10(c) of the ESA, the Service is making the permit application 
package available for public review and comment for 30 days for the 
purposes of the Federal action (see DATES section above).
    All comments received will become part of the public record for 
this proposed action. Our practice is to make comments, including names 
and home addresses of respondents, available for public review during 
regular business hours. Respondents may request that we withhold their 
identity from the administrative record. We will honor such requests to 
the extent allowed by law. If you wish us to withhold your identity 
(e.g., individual name, home address, and home phone number), you must 
state this prominently at the beginning of your comments.


    Section 9 of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) and Federal 
regulations prohibit the ``take'' of fish and wildlife species listed 
as endangered or threatened. The term ``take'' means to harass, harm, 
pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to 
attempt to engage in any such conduct (16 U.S.C.1538). However, under 
section 10(a) of the ESA, we may issue permits to authorize 
``incidental take'' of listed fish and wildlife species. Incidental 
take is defined by the ESA as take that is incidental to, and not the 
purpose of, carrying out an otherwise lawful activity. Regulations 
governing incidental take permits for threatened and endangered species 
are found at 50 CFR 17.32 and 17.22. If issued, the permittee would 
receive assurances under the Service's ``No Surprises'' regulation.
    The Applicant has applied to the Service for an incidental take 
permit for the endangered Hawaiian petrel, endangered Hawaiian stilt, 
endangered Hawaiian hoary bat, and the threatened Newell's (Townsend's) 
shearwater (covered species), pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(B) of the 
ESA. The Applicant has constructed six meteorological (met) towers and 
they are proposing construction of a seventh met tower, on private land 
that they own. The activities proposed to be covered by the permit are 
the construction of the seventh met tower and the operation and 
maintenance of all seven towers. The met towers would be used for up to 
2 years to collect data on wind patterns;

[[Page 39026]]

these data would be used to assess the suitability of the wind regime 
to sustain a wind-turbine facility for electrical energy production. 
Each met tower is 165-feet-tall (50-meters-tall) and each rest on a 
steel base plate approximately 9 square feet (0.8 square meter) in 
size. Each met tower is supported with aircraft cable guy wires in four 
directions at each of six guy levels. The guy wire radius is 100 feet 
to 110 feet (30.5 to 33.5 meters). The guy wires are anchored with 
standard dead-man type anchors to a depth of 5 to 8 feet (1.5 to 2.4 
meters). The met towers are located within a combined footprint area of 
approximately 13 acres (5.3 hectares).
    The activities proposed to be covered are the construction of one 
met tower and the maintenance and operation of seven met towers. No 
listed species are known to inhabit the area in the immediate vicinity 
of the towers, however, incidental take may occur via collision of 
individual animals flying through the air space occupied by the towers 
and guy wires. Removal of invasive plants in the mitigation area may 
also result in take in the form of disturbance of the covered species.
    Incidental take of covered species may occur as a result of these 
proposed covered activities. The Applicant proposes to minimize, 
mitigate, and monitor the impacts of taking listed species by 
implementing the following measures: (1) Siting the towers as far from 
the island's Hawaiian petrel colony and Newell's shearwater nesting 
habitat as possible; (2) marking towers and guy wires with bird 
diverters and flagging to increase visibility; (3) monitoring towers 
for dead or injured birds and bats throughout the period they are 
operated; (4) conducting predator control within the island's Hawaiian 
petrel colony, Newell's shearwater nesting habitat and hoary bat 
habitat; (5) conducting predator control at the island's wastewater 
treatment plant where Hawaiian stilts nest; and (6) removing invasive 
plants, primarily strawberry guava (Psidium cattleianum), to facilitate 
the re-establishment of native vegetation within forest habitat 
adjacent to the Hawaiian petrel colony and within Newell's shearwater 
and hoary bat habitat.
    Our EA considers the direct, indirect, and cumulative effects of 
the proposed action of permit issuance, including the measures that 
would be implemented to minimize and mitigate such impacts. The EA 
contains an analysis of three alternatives: (1) No Action (no permit 
issuance and the met towers would be removed); (2) the Proposed Action 
(with issuance of the permit and implementation of the HCP); and (3) 
the use of monopole met towers. Under the third alternative, met towers 
that do not require the use of guy wires but require a much larger 
foundation would be constructed.
    This notice is provided pursuant to section 10(c) of the ESA and 
NEPA regulations (40 CFR 1506.6). The public process for the proposed 
Federal action will be completed after the public comment period, at 
which time we will evaluate the permit application, the HCP and 
associated documents, and comments submitted thereon to determine 
whether the application meets the requirements of section 10(a) of the 
ESA and NEPA regulations. If we determine that those requirements are 
met, we will issue an incidental take permit to the Applicant.

    Dated: May 28, 2008.
David J. Wesley,
Deputy Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Region 1, 
Portland, Oregon.
[FR Doc. E8-15417 Filed 7-7-08; 8:45 am]