[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 99 (Monday, May 23, 2011)]
[Pages 29782-29783]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-12564]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R1-R-2010-N273; 1265-0000-10137-S3]

Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge, Hawai`i County, HI; 
Final Comprehensive Conservation Plan and Finding of No Significant 
Impact for Environmental Assessment

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, announce the 
availability of our final Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) and 
Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the Environmental 
Assessment (EA) for the Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge 
(Refuge). In this final CCP, we describe how we will manage this refuge 
for the next 15 years.

ADDRESSES: You may view or obtain copies of the final CCP and FONSI by 
any of the following methods. You may request a hard copy or CD-ROM.
    Agency Web site: Download the CCP/FONSI at http://www.fws.gov/pacific/planning.
    E-mail: FW1PlanningComments@fws.gov. Include ``Hakalau Forest 
National Wildlife Refuge Final CCP'' in the subject line of the 
    Mail: Hakalau Forest National Wildlife Refuge, 60 Nowelo Street, 
Suite 100, Hilo, HI 96720.
    In-Person Viewing or Pickup: Hakalau Forest National Wildlife 
Refuge, 60 Nowelo Street, Suite 100, Hilo, HI 96720.

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



    With this notice, we finalize the CCP process for the Hakalau 
Forest National Wildlife Refuge. We started this process through a 
notice of intent in the Federal Register (74 FR 8564; February 25, 
2009). We released the draft CCP/EA to the public, announcing and 
requesting comments in a notice of availability in the Federal Register 
(75 FR 52546; August 26, 2010).
    The Refuge is located on the Island of Hawai`i. It encompasses two 
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 windward (eastern) slope of Mauna 
Kea, which supports a diversity of native birds and plants. The Kona 
Forest Unit, at 5,300 acres, was established in 1997 on the leeward 
(southwestern) slope of Mauna Loa to protect native forest birds and 
the `alal[amacr], the 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.
    We announce our decision and the availability of the FONSI for the 
final CCP for Hakalau Refuge in accordance with National Environmental 
Policy Act (NEPA) (40 CFR 1506.6(b)) requirements. We completed a 
thorough analysis of impacts on the human environment, which we 
included in the draft CCP/EA.
    The CCP will guide us in managing and administering the Refuge for 
the next 15 years. Alternative B, as we described in the final CCP, is 
the foundation for the CCP.


    The National Wildlife Refuge System Administration Act of 1966 (16 
U.S.C. 668dd-668ee) (Refuge Administration Act), as amended by the 
National Wildlife Refuge System Improvement Act of 1997, requires us to 
develop a CCP for each refuge. The purpose for developing a CCP is to 
provide refuge managers with 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 
management, conservation, legal mandates, and our policies. We will 
review and update the CCP at least every 15 years in accordance with 
the Refuge Administration Act.

CCP Alternatives, Including Selected Alternative

    During our CCP planning process we identified several issues. To 
address the issues, we developed and evaluated the following 
alternatives in our draft CCP/EA.

Alternative A (No Action)

    Under Alternative A, we would continue existing Refuge management 
activities, including fencing projects currently under way at the Kona 
Forest Unit. Staff would conduct limited additional restoration of 
various koa forest habitats and predator control. Volunteer 
opportunities to assist Refuge staff with planting native plants would 
continue, along with public pig hunting. Refuge staff would provide 
limited outreach regarding management activities.

[[Page 29783]]

Alternative B (Preferred Alternative)

    Under Alternative B, we would increase reforestation, restoration, 
and threat (e.g., predators, nonnative species, etc.) removal efforts. 
Additional areas in both units would be protected through fencing and 
increased management. 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, while closing public 
hunting. 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 and predator 
removal. Additional grassland areas would be maintained for 
n[emacr]n[emacr] foraging. 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 through acquisition.


    We solicited comments on the draft CCP/EA from August 26, 2010, to 
September 15, 2010. We received 19 comments via letters, e-mails, or at 
the public open house on the draft CCP/EA, all of which were thoroughly 
evaluated. To address public comments, minor changes and clarifications 
were made to the final CCP where appropriate.

Selected Alternative

    After considering the comments we received, we have selected 
Alternative B for implementation. Alternative B was the most supported 
alternative identified by the comments received. By implementing 
Alternative B, we will increase habitat supporting threatened and 
endangered species including the `alal[amacr], 
`akiap[omacr]l[amacr]`au, Clermontia lindseyana, Cyanea stictophylla, 
and others. Major management actions will center on habitat protection 
through fencing, restoration and reforestation via an enhanced 
outplanting program, and threat mitigation by removal of predators, 
ungulates, and invasive weed species. Through partnering, opportunities 
for additional land acquisitions will focus on protection of forest 
birds and their habitats in response to concerns regarding climate 
change. Prioritizing data collection and research supporting adaptive 
management will occur. Additional outreach and environmental education 
opportunities will increase along with public use through a new 
interpretive trail and expanded volunteer program.

Public Availability of Documents

    In addition to the methods in ADDRESSES, you can view or obtain 
documents at the following locations:
     Our Web site: http://www.fws.gov/hakalauforest/.
     During regular library hours at:
     [cir] Hawai`i State Library (478 S. King Street, Honolulu, HI 
     [cir] Hilo Public Library (300 Waianuenue Avenue, Hilo, HI 96720)
     [cir] Kailua-Kona Public Library (75-138 Hual[amacr]lai Road, 
Kailua-Kona, HI 96740)
     [cir] National Conservation Training Center Library (698 
Conservation Way, Shepherdstown, WV 25443)

    Dated: May 17, 2011.
Richard R. Hannan,
Acting Regional Director, Region 1, Portland, Oregon.
[FR Doc. 2011-12564 Filed 5-20-11; 8:45 am]