[Federal Register: August 26, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 165)]
[Page 52546-52547]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R1-R-2010-N157; 1265-0000-10137-S3]

Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge, Hawai`i County, HI; 
Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Environmental Assessment

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
availability of our draft comprehensive conservation plan and 
environmental assessment (Draft CCP/EA) for the Hakalau Forest National 
Wildlife Refuge (refuge) for public review and comment. The Draft CCP/
EA describes our proposal for managing the refuge for the next 15 

DATES: To ensure consideration, please send us your written comments by 
September 15, 2010.

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. 
Alternatively, you may fax comments to the refuge at (808) 443-2304, or 
e-mail them 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/hakalauforest/. You may request the CCP/EA for review by 
any of the above contact methods, or you may view or download it at 

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



    With this notice, we continue the CCP process for the Hakalau 
Forest National Wildlife Refuge. We began this process by publishing a 
notice of intent in the

[[Page 52547]]

Federal Register on February 25, 2009 (74 FR 8564).
    The Hakalau Forest Refuge is located on the Island of Hawai'i. It 
encompasses two refuge units, the Hakalau Forest Unit and the Kona 
Forest Unit. The Hakalau Forest Unit was established in 1985 to protect 
endangered forest birds and their rainforest habitat. The Hakalau 
Forest Unit encompasses 32,733 acres of land, located on the eastern or 
windward slope of Mauna Kea, which supports a diversity of native birds 
and plants. The refuge's Kona Forest Unit was established in 1997, on 
the southwestern or leeward slope of Mauna Loa, to protect native 
forest birds and the `alala, an endangered Hawaiian crow. The Kona 
Forest Unit supports diverse native bird and plant species, as well as 
rare habitats found in lava tubes and lava tube skylights.


The CCP Process

    The CCP/EA was prepared under the National Wildlife Refuge System 
Administration Act of 1966 (16 U.S.C. 668dd-668ee), as amended (Refuge 
Administration Act), and the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 
(42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) (NEPA). The Refuge Administration Act requires 
us to develop a CCP for each national wildlife refuge. The purpose of 
developing a CCP is to provide refuge managers a 15-year plan for 
achieving refuge purposes and contributing toward the mission of the 
National Wildlife Refuge System, consistent with sound principles of 
fish and wildlife conservation, management, legal mandates, and our 
policies. In addition to outlining broad management direction for 
conserving wildlife and their habitats, CCPs identify wildlife-
dependent recreational opportunities available to the public, including 
hunting, fishing, wildlife observation and photography, and 
environmental education and interpretation. We will review and update 
the CCPs at least every 15 years in accordance with the Refuge 
Administration Act.

Public Outreach

    We began the public scoping phase of the CCP planning process by 
publishing a notice of intent in the Federal Register on February 25, 
2009 (74 FR 8564), announcing our intention to complete a CCP/EA for 
the refuge, inviting the public to two open house meetings, and 
requesting public comments. Simultaneously, we distributed Planning 
Update 1 to our mailing list announcing the beginning of the CCP 
planning process, requesting comments on refuge management issues, and 
inviting the public to attend two open house meetings. The meetings 
were held March 3 and 4, 2009, in Hilo, HI, and Captain Cook, HI, 
    In October 2009 we distributed Planning Update 2. In Planning 
Update 2 we provided a summary of the comments we received and draft 
vision statements. The public comments we received throughout the 
planning process were considered during development of the Draft CCP/

Draft Alternatives We Are Considering

    We drafted three alternatives for managing the refuge. All of the 
alternatives will include actions to control invasive species, develop 
or improve partnerships, continue coordination with Hawai'i's 
Department of Forestry and Wildlife, develop volunteer opportunities, 
and construct a fence around the Kona Forest Unit. Brief descriptions 
of the alternatives follow.

Alternative A

    Alternative A is the no-action alternative. We would continue 
existing refuge management activities under Alternative A, including 
fencing projects currently under way at the Kona Forest Unit. Staff 
would conduct limited additional restoration of various koa forest 
habitats. Volunteer opportunities to assist refuge staff with planting 
native plants would continue. Refuge staff would provide limited 
outreach regarding management activities.

Alternative B

    Alternative B is the preferred alternative. We would increase 
reforestation, restoration, and ungulate removal efforts under 
Alternative B. Additional areas in both units would be protected 
through fencing and ungulate removal. Refuge staff, with the assistance 
of volunteers, would increase efforts to restore understory species in 
reforested areas. Staff would provide additional opportunities for 
outreach and environmental education and interpretation. We would work 
with partners and neighboring landowners to explore habitat protection 
and restoration opportunities, including the potential for refuge 
boundary expansion. Opportunities for additional land acquisition would 
focus on protection of forest birds and their habitats in response to 
climate change concerns.

Alternative C

    Under Alternative C, we would focus on maintaining existing koa 
forest and allowing natural regeneration of the understory on the Kona 
Forest Unit. We would place less emphasis on ungulate removal and 
maintenance. Additional grassland areas would be maintained for 
foraging and nesting n[emacr]n[emacr]. We would open additional areas 
of the Hakalau Forest Unit to the public. Fewer volunteer opportunities 
would be provided. As in Alternative B, we would explore habitat 
protection opportunities.

Public Availability of Documents

    We encourage you to stay involved in the CCP planning process by 
reviewing and commenting on the proposals we have developed in the 
Draft CCP/EA. Copies of the Draft CCP/EA are available by request from 
Jim Kraus or via the internet (see ADDRESSES).

Next Steps

    After this comment period ends, we will analyze the comments and 
address them in the final CCP.

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.

    Dated: August 10, 2010.
Theresa E. Rabot,
Acting Regional Director, Region 1, Portland, Oregon.
[FR Doc. 2010-21289 Filed 8-25-10; 8:45 am]