[Federal Register: November 9, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 216)]
[Page 68821-68823]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R1-ES-2010-N219; 10120-1112-0000-F2]

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Permit; 
Construction and Operation of Kaheawa II Wind Energy Generation 
Facility, Maui, HI; Draft Habitat Conservation Plan and Draft 
Environmental Assessment

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

[[Page 68822]]

ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), have 
received an application from Kaheawa Wind Power II, LLC (KWP II) 
(Applicant) for an incidental take permit (permit) under the Endangered 
Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA). The Applicant is requesting an 
incidental take permit under the ESA to authorize take of three 
Federally endangered and one threatened bird species. The permit 
application includes a draft Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) and a 
draft Implementing Agreement (IA). We also announce 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 and draft EA available for public review and 

DATES: All comments from interested parties must be received on or 
before December 9, 2010.

ADDRESSES: Please address written comments to Loyal Mehrhoff, 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 to (808) 

Biologist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (see ADDRESSES above), 
telephone (808) 792-9400.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Applicant is requesting an incidental 
take permit under the ESA to authorize take of the Federally endangered 
Hawaiian petrel (Pterodroma sandwichensis), endangered Hawaiian goose 
(n[emacr]n[emacr]) (Branta sandvicensis), endangered Hawaiian hoary bat 
(Lasiurus cinereus semotus), and the threatened Newell's (Townsend's) 
shearwater (Puffinus auricularis newelli) (collectively these four 
species are hereafter referred to as the ``Covered Species''). 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 incidental take of 
the Covered Species, and a draft Implementing Agreement (IA).

Availability of Documents

    You may request copies of the permit application, which includes 
the draft HCP, IA, and EA, by contacting the Service's Pacific Islands 
Fish and Wildlife Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT above). 
These documents are also available electronically for review on the 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office 
Web site at http://www.fws.gov/pacificislands. Comments and materials 
we receive, as well as supporting documentation we use in preparing the 
NEPA document, will become part of the public record and will be 
available for public inspection by appointment, during regular business 
hours. 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 specifically request comments from the public on whether the 
application meets the statutory and regulatory requirements for issuing 
a permit, and identification of any aspects of the human environment 
that should be analyzed in the draft EA. We are also soliciting 
comments on the: adequacy of the HCP to minimize, mitigate, and monitor 
the proposed incidental take of the Covered Species; adequacy of the 
funding being provided to implement the proposed mitigation program and 
changed circumstances; adequacy of the adaptive management program; and 
certainty that mitigation will occur. Please evaluate against the 
permit issuance criteria found in section 10(a) of the ESA, 16 
U.S.C.1539(a), and 50 CFR 13.21, 17.22, and 17.32. In compliance with 
section 10(c) of the ESA (16 U.S.C 1539(c)), we are making the permit 
application package available for public review and comment for 30 days 
(see DATES section above).


    Section 9 of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1538) 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 (Id.). However, under section 10(a) of the ESA (16 
U.S.C.1539(a)), we may issue permits to authorize incidental take of 
listed fish and wildlife species. Incidental take is defined 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'' regulations at 50 CFR 17.32(b)(5) and 50 CFR 
    KWP II is a fully owned subsidiary of the Boston-based wind energy 
company, First Wind, and would supply wind-generated electricity to the 
Maui Electric Company. KWP II has developed a draft HCP that addresses 
the incidental take of the four Covered Species caused by the 
construction and operation of the KWP II wind energy facility over a 
period of 20 years.
    The proposed project is located southeast of the existing 30-
megawatt (MW), 21-turbine Kaheawa Wind Power I (KWP I) project. Like 
KWP II, KWP I is owned by First Wind and is operating under an existing 
HCP that addresses incidental take of the same four covered species. At 
KWP I, the Hawaiian petrel, Hawaiian goose, and Hawaiian hoary bat are 
known to have collided with wind turbine structures.
    The Hawaiian petrel and Newell's shearwater breed on Maui and feed 
in the open ocean. Both covered seabird species spend a large part of 
the year at sea. Adults generally return to their colonial nesting 
grounds in the interior mountains of Maui beginning in March and April, 
and depart beginning in September. Fledglings (i.e., young birds 
learning how to fly) travel from the nesting colony to the sea in the 
fall. Both adults and fledglings are known to collide with tall 
buildings, towers, powerlines, and other structures while flying at 
night between their nesting colonies and at-sea foraging areas. The 
n[emacr]n[emacr] is resident on site and is known to nest in areas 
adjacent to the proposed wind energy facility. The Hawaii hoary bat has 
been observed on site by acoustic monitoring; however, no evidence of 
roosts has been detected.

Proposed Plan

    The activities proposed to be covered by the permit include the 
construction and operation of a new 21-megawatt, 14-turbine wind energy 
generation facility at Kaheawa Pastures above Maalaea, in the 
southwestern portion of the Island of Maui, Hawai`i. The proposed 
facility will consist of 14 General Electric wind turbine generators 
(WTGs), a maintenance building (and renovations to the existing 
Operations and Maintenance building), an electrical substation, a 
battery energy storage system, an underground electrical collection 
system carrying electrical power from individual WTGs to the

[[Page 68823]]

electrical substation, an overhead transmission line to connect the 
substation to the Maui Electric Company Ltd. transmission line, a 
permanent unguyed meteorological monitoring tower, and short service 
roads to connect the new WTGs and other facilities to the existing main 
access road servicing KWP I. The overall project is located within a 
combined footprint area of approximately 143 acres (58 hectares). The 
Applicant has also applied for a State of Hawai`i incidental take 
license under Hawai`i State law. The draft HCP describes the impacts of 
take associated with those activities on the Covered Species, and 
proposes a program to minimize and mitigate take on each of the Covered 
    KWP II is proposing mitigation measures that include: (1) Active 
management such as predator removal and construction of cat- and 
mongoose-proof fences at Hawaiian petrel and Newell's shearwater 
colonies; (2) captive propagation and release of n[emacr]n[emacr] 
goslings; (3) habitat management and predator control to increase 
n[emacr]n[emacr] breeding success and survival; (4) surveys to document 
the distribution and abundance of the Hawaiian hoary bat; and (5) 
habitat management and reforestation to benefit the recovery of the 
Hawaiian hoary bat. This HCP incorporates adaptive management 
provisions to allow for modifications to the mitigation and monitoring 
measures as knowledge is gained during implementation.
    We invite comments and suggestions from all interested parties and 
request that comments be as specific as possible. In particular, we 
request information and comments regarding the following issues:
    (1) The direct, indirect, and cumulative effects that 
implementation of any reasonable alternatives could have on endangered 
and threatened species;
    (2) Other reasonable alternatives consistent with the purpose of 
the proposed HCP as described above, and their associated effects;
    (3) Measures that would minimize and mitigate potentially adverse 
effects of the proposed action;
    (4) Adaptive management or monitoring provisions that may be 
incorporated into the alternatives, and their benefits to listed 
    (5) Other plans or projects that might be relevant to this action;
    (6) The proposed term of the Incidental Take Permit and whether the 
proposed conservation program would minimize and mitigate to the 
maximum extent practible the incidental take that would be expected to 
occur over 20 years; and
    (7) Whether the HCP meets other ESA sec. 10(a)(2)(B) (16 U.S.C. 
(a)(2)(B), issuance criteria; and
    (8) Any other information pertinent to evaluating the effects of 
the proposed action on the human environment.
    The draft EA considers the direct, indirect, and cumulative effects 
of the proposed action of permit issuance, including the measures that 
will be implemented to minimize and mitigate such impacts. The EA 
contains an analysis of three alternatives: (1) Issuance of an 
incidental take permit to KWP II on the basis of the proposed HCP with 
the downroad siting location; (2) the issuance of a permit based on the 
downwind/downstring siting location; and (3) No Action (no permit 
issuance and no measures by the Applicant to reduce or eliminate the 
take of Covered Species).
    This notice is provided under section 10(c) (16 U.S.C. 1539(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 (including the EA), and comments submitted 
thereon to determine whether or not the proposed action meets the 
requirements of section 10(a) (16 U.S.C. 1539(a)) of the ESA and has 
been adequately evaluated under NEPA.

    Dated: October 20, 2010.
Richard Hannan,
Deputy Regional Director.
[FR Doc. 2010-28197 Filed 11-8-10; 8:45 am]