[Federal Register: September 22, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 182)]
[Page 48284-48285]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R1-ES-2009-N0096; 10120-1113-0000-C2]

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Revised Recovery 
Plan for the Laysan Duck (Anas laysanensis)

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of document availability; revised recovery plan.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announce the 
availability of the Revised Recovery Plan for the Laysan Duck (Anas 
laysanensis). This species, found only on Laysan Island and Midway 
Atoll in the northwestern Hawaiian Islands, was federally listed as 
endangered in 1967.

ADDRESSES: An electronic copy of the recovery plan is available at 
http://endangered.fws.gov/recovery/index.html#plans. The recovery plan 
is also available by request from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 
Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office, 300 Ala Moana Boulevard, Room 
3-122, Box 50088, Honolulu, HI 96850 (phone: 808/792-9400).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Holly Freifeld, Fish and Wildlife 
Biologist, at the above Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office 
address and phone number.



    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 in section 4(a)(1) of the Act.
    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. Recovery plans help guide the recovery 
effort by describing actions considered necessary for the conservation 
of the species, and estimating time and cost for implementing the 
measures needed for recovery. We originally completed a recovery plan 
for the Laysan duck in 1982, but the recommendations contained in that 
plan are outdated given the species' current status.
    Section 4(f) of the Act requires that public notice and an 
opportunity for public review and comment be provided during recovery 
plan development. In fulfillment of this requirement, we made the Draft 
Revised Recovery Plan for the Laysan Duck (Anas laysanensis) available 
for public comment from November 4, 2004, to January 3, 2005 (69 FR 
64317; November 4, 2004). Information provided during the public 
comment period was considered in our preparation of this recovery plan, 
and is summarized in an appendix to the plan. We welcome continuing 
public comment on this recovery plan, and we will consider all 
substantive comments on an ongoing basis to inform the implementation 
of recovery activities and future updates to the recovery plan.
    The Laysan duck is endemic to the Hawaiian Islands, where subfossil 
remains of the species have been found throughout the archipelago. This 
species has been listed as an endangered species by the United States 
since the first Federal listing of endangered species in 1967 (32 FR 
4001; March 11, 1967). It is also listed as endangered by the State of 
Hawaii. Currently, the Laysan duck occurs in only two locations: the 
single remaining natural population on Laysan Island; and at Midway 
Atoll, where a population has become established through two 
translocations conducted in 2004 and 2005. Laysan and Midway both are 
part of the National Wildlife Refuge System and the Papahanaumokuakea 
Marine National Monument.
    The Laysan duck was extirpated from the main Hawaiian Islands in 
prehistory, likely because of a combination of predation by introduced 
mammals and habitat loss and degradation. In recorded history, the 
Laysan duck occurred naturally on Laysan Island and on neighboring 
Lisianski. The species was lost from Lisianski during the 19th century, 
following the accidental introduction of mice and near-devegetation of 
the island. Similar habitat destruction took place on Laysan in the 
early 20th century, when rabbits were introduced to that island. The 
Laysan duck population dwindled to as few as a dozen individuals, and 
several other bird species endemic to the island became extinct. 
Although the duck population on Laysan eventually recovered to several 
hundred individuals, and the island is now substantially vegetated, the 
loss of some freshwater seeps and the slow infilling of the hypersaline 
lake in the island's interior are enduring consequences of the island's 
devegetation a century ago and continued erosion today.
    Forty-two fledged juvenile Laysan ducks were translocated to Midway 
Atoll during 2004 and 2005, following

[[Page 48285]]

intensive habitat restoration and wetland creation in the atoll. 
Subsequently, the duck population at Midway Atoll has grown rapidly and 
currently comprises 200 to 300 individuals despite mortality from an 
outbreak of avian botulism in 2008.
    This revised recovery plan replaces the original recovery plan for 
the Laysan duck, which was published in 1982. The strategy presented in 
this revised recovery plan includes (1) management to address threats 
to the species where it occurs now (Laysan Island and Midway Atoll) and 
(2) improvement of the species' distribution and total population size 
through protection and enhancement of suitable habitat in the 
Northwestern and Main Hawaiian Islands and reduction or elimination of 
threats to allow reestablishment of additional wild populations. The 
recovery actions are designed to assess and address threats to the 
Laysan duck; create, monitor, and manage new self-sustaining 
populations; and fill critical gaps in our scientific knowledge of the 
species. The recovery goal is to downlist the Laysan duck to threatened 
status and eventually delist the species (remove it from the List of 
Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants).

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

    Dated: July 7, 2009.
David J. Wesley,
Acting Regional Director, Region 1, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. E9-22829 Filed 9-21-09; 8:45 am]