[Federal Register: February 25, 2009 (Volume 74, Number 36)]
[Page 8564-8565]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R1-R-2009-N00006; 1265-0000-10137-S3]

Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge, Hawai'i, HI

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of intent to prepare a comprehensive conservation plan 
and environmental assessment; announcement of public open house 
meetings; and request for comments.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service, we) intend to 
prepare a comprehensive conservation plan (CCP) for the Hakalau Forest 
National Wildlife Refuge (Refuge), including the Hakalau Forest and the 
Kona Forest Units. We will also prepare an environmental assessment 
(EA) to evaluate the effects of various CCP alternatives. This notice 
also announces public open house meetings; see SUPPLEMENTARY 
INFORMATION for the details. We furnish this notice in compliance with 
our CCP policy to advise other agencies and the public of our 
intentions, and to obtain comments and information on the scope of 
issues to be considered in the planning process.

DATES: Please provide written comments by March 27, 2009. We will hold 
public open house meetings on March 3 and 4, 2009, to begin the CCP 
planning process; see SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION for dates, times, and 

ADDRESSES: Address comments, questions, and requests for further 
information to Jim Kraus, Refuge Manager, Hakalau Forest National 
Wildlife Refuge, 60 Nowelo Street, Suite 100; Hilo, HI 96720. Comments 
may be faxed to the Refuge at (808) 443-2304, or e-mailed to 
FW1PlanningComments@fws.gov. Include ``Hakalau Forest Refuge CCP'' in 
the subject line of the message. Additional information concerning the 
Refuge is available on the Internet at http://www.fws.gov/

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jim Kraus, Refuge Manager, (808) 443-

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: With this notice, we initiate the CCP 
process for the Hakalau Forest Refuge.


    The National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 
(Refuge Administration Act), as amended by the National Wildlife Refuge 
System Improvement Act of 1997 (16 U.S.C. 668dd-668ee), requires us to 
develop a CCP for each national wildlife refuge. The purpose of 
developing a CCP is to provide a refuge manager a 15-year strategy for 
achieving refuge purposes and contributing toward the mission of the 
National Wildlife Refuge System (NWRS), consistent with sound 
principles of fish and wildlife management, conservation, legal 
mandates, and Service policies. In addition to outlining management 
direction for conserving wildlife and their habitats, CCPs identify 
wildlife-dependent recreation opportunities, including opportunities 
for wildlife observation, wildlife photography, and environmental 
education and interpretation.
    The Service will prepare an EA to evaluate the environmental 
effects of CCP alternatives, in accordance with the National 
Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA), as amended (42 U.S.C. 4321 et 
seq.); NEPA Regulations (40 CFR parts 1500-1508); other appropriate 
Federal laws and regulations; and our policies and procedures for 
compliance with those laws and regulations.
    Each unit of the NWRS is established for specific purposes. We use 
these purposes to develop and prioritize management goals and 
objectives within the NWRS mission, and to guide refuge public uses. 
The planning process provides opportunities for the public to 
participate in evaluating our management goals and objectives for 
conserving important wildlife and its habitat, while providing 
wildlife-dependent recreation opportunities that are compatible with a 
refuge's establishing purpose(s) and the mission of the NWRS.

Public Involvement

    We will conduct a planning process that will provide opportunities 
for the public; State and local governments; agencies; Native Hawaiian 
organizations; and other interest groups to participate. We request 
input for issues, concerns, ideas, and suggestions for the future 
management of the Refuge. We will also give the public an opportunity 
to provide input at open houses to scope issues and concerns. All 
information provided voluntarily by mail, phone, or at public meetings 
becomes part of our official public record. We will handle requests for 
comments received in accordance with the Freedom of Information Act, 

[[Page 8565]]

and Service and Departmental policies and procedures.

Refuge Overview

    Both the Hakalau Forest and Kona Forest Units are part of the 
Hakalau Forest Refuge. The Hakalau Forest Unit was established in 1985 
to protect and manage endangered forest birds and their rain forest 
habitat. Located on the west slope of Mauna Kea Mountain on Island of 
Hawai'i, the 32,733-acre refuge unit supports a diversity of native 
birds and plants. The Kona Forest Unit was established in 1997 to 
protect native forest birds and the endangered Hawaiian crow (alala). 
Located on the west slope of Mauna Loa, the 5,300-acre refuge unit 
supports diverse native bird and plant species as well as the rare 
habitats found in lava tubes and lava tube skylights.

Preliminary Issues, Concerns, and Opportunities

    We have identified preliminary issues, concerns, and opportunities 
that we may address in the CCP. During public scoping, we may identify 
additional issues. During the CCP planning process the Service will 
analyze methods for protecting refuge resources in the long term, while 
providing opportunities for wildlife-dependent recreation.
    The Service will specifically evaluate the Refuge's forest 
restoration program, which encompasses volunteer efforts, control of 
avian diseases and invasive species (both plant and animal), endangered 
plant propagation, and outplanting. We will also consider possible 
improvements to our public use programs and an evaluation of its 
impacts to wildlife, and opportunities for native gathering rights.

Public Open House Meetings

    We will host two public open house meetings to provide information 
on the CCP and receive public comments. The first meeting will be held 
March 3, 2009, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., at the Hakalau Forest 
Refuge Office at 60 Nowelo Street, Room M02, Hilo, HI 96720. The second 
meeting will be held March 4, 2009, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., at 
Yano Hall at 82-6156 Mamalahoa Highway, Captain Cook, HI 96745. 
Opportunities for additional public input will be announced throughout 
the planning process.

Public Availability of Comments

    Before including your address, phone number, e-mail address, or 
other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be 
aware that your entire comment--including your personal identifying 
information--may be made publicly available at any time. While you can 
ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying 
information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be 
able to do so. We will make all comments part of the official public 
record. We will handle requests for such comments in accordance with 
the Freedom of Information Act, NEPA, and Service and Departmental 
policies and procedures.

    Dated: February 20, 2009.
Robyn Thorson,
Regional Director, Region 1, Portland, Oregon.
 [FR Doc. E9-4093 Filed 2-24-09; 8:45 am]