[Federal Register Volume 76, Number 193 (Wednesday, October 5, 2011)]
[Pages 61735-61736]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2011-25670]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R1-ES-2011-N161; 10120-1112-0000-F2]

Incidental Take Permit; Auwahi Wind Energy Generation Facility, 
Maui, HI; Draft Habitat Conservation Plan and Draft Environmental 

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; receipt of permit application.


SUMMARY: Auwahi Wind Energy LLC (applicant), a subsidiary of Sempra 
Generation, has submitted an application to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service (Service) for an incidental take permit under the Endangered 
Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA). The applicant is requesting an 
incidental take permit pursuant to the ESA to authorize take of two 
endangered Hawaiian bird species, one bat species, and one moth 
species. The permit application includes a draft Habitat Conservation 
Plan (HCP) describing 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). 
The Service also announces 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 comment.

DATES: All comments from interested parties must be received on or 
before November 21, 2011.

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) 792-9580.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dawn Greenlee, Fish and Wildlife 
Biologist, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (see ADDRESSES above); 
telephone (808) 792-9400.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The applicant is requesting an ITP to 
authorize take of the endangered Hawaiian petrel (uau, Pterodroma 
sandwichensis), endangered Hawaiian goose (nene, Branta sandvicensis), 
endangered Hawaiian hoary bat (opeapea, Lasiurus cinereus semotus), and 
the endangered Blackburn's sphinx moth (Manduca blackburni) 
(collectively these four species are hereafter referred to as the 
``Covered Species'').

Availability of Documents

    You may request copies of the permit application, which includes 
the draft Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP), draft Implementing Agreement 
(IA), and draft Environmental Assessment (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 used in preparing the EA under NEPA, 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.


    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. 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 the 
permit is issued, the permittee would receive assurances under the 
Service's ``No Surprises'' regulations at 50 CFR 17.32(b)(5) and 50 CFR 
    The proposed Auwahi Wind Farm Project on the island of Maui would 
supply wind-generated electricity to the Maui Electric Company. The 
applicant has developed a draft HCP that addresses the incidental take 
of the four Covered Species that may occur as a result of the 
construction and operation of the Auwahi Wind Farm Project over a 
period of 25 years. In addition, the draft HCP addresses proposed 
measures the applicant will implement to minimize, mitigate, and 
monitor the impacts of incidental take of the Covered Species.

Covered Species

    The Hawaiian petrel is a seabird that feeds in the open ocean and 
breeds on Maui. After spending the winter on the open ocean, adults 
return to breed at their colonial nesting grounds in the interior 
mountains of Maui, beginning in March and April. Fledglings (i.e., 
young birds on their first flight to the open ocean) fly from the 
nesting colony to the open ocean in the fall. Adults and fledglings are 
known to collide with tall buildings, towers, power lines, and other 
structures while flying at night between their nesting colonies and at-
sea foraging areas. The Hawaiian goose occurs in the vicinity of the 
proposed wind energy facility and may collide with project structures. 
Acoustic monitoring indicates that the Hawaiian hoary bat flies in the 
area proposed for wind turbine development, and that the species may 
roost on the project site. The adult Blackburn's sphinx moth feeds on 
the nectar of native plants and lays its eggs on native and nonnative 
    The proposed project will result in the permanent loss of 0.3 acre 
(0.1 hectare) of the Blackburn's sphinx moth native habitat and 27.2 
acres (11 hectares) of degraded Blackburn's sphinx moth habitat. The 
Hawaiian petrel, Hawaiian goose, and the Hawaiian hoary bat are known 
to have collided with the existing wind turbine structures at the 30-
megawatt (MW) 21-turbine Kaheawa Wind Power I project currently 
operating on Maui.

[[Page 61736]]

Proposed Plan

    The activities proposed to be covered by the permit include the 
construction and operation of a new 21-MW, eight-turbine wind energy 
generation facility on the lower slopes of Haleakala Volcano in the 
southern half of the Auwahi ahupuaa (i.e., watershed), in the 
southeastern portion of the Island of Maui. The proposed facility will 
consist of eight wind turbine generators (WTGs), a maintenance 
building, an electrical substation, a battery energy storage system, an 
underground electrical collection system carrying electrical power from 
individual WTGs to the electrical substation, an overhead transmission 
line to connect the substation to the Maui Electric Company Ltd. 
transmission line, a permanent guyed meteorological monitoring tower, 
and service roads to connect the new WTGs and other facilities to 
existing highways. Improvements to portions of Kula Highway (referred 
to as Upcountry Piilani Highway) and Papaka Road would also be made in 
order to accommodate transportation of oversized project loads. The 
applicant has also applied for a State of Hawaii incidental take 
license under Hawaii 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 of each of the Covered 
    The applicant is proposing mitigation measures on Maui that 
include: (1) Protection of a colony of breeding Hawaiian petrels on the 
slopes of Haleakala from cat, mongoose, and rat predators; (2) predator 
control or other management to conserve the Hawaiian goose at Haleakala 
National Park; (3) development of a permanent conservation easement and 
restoration of 350 acres of native forest habitat at Ulupalakua Ranch 
to conserve the Hawaiian hoary bat; (4) surveys to document the 
distribution and abundance of the Hawaiian hoary bat; and (5) 
restoration of Blackburn's sphinx moth habitat at Ulupalakua Ranch. 
This HCP incorporates adaptive management provisions to allow for 
modifications to the mitigation and monitoring measures as knowledge is 
gained during implementation.

Request for Comments

    We specifically request information from the public on whether the 
permit 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 information regarding the adequacy of the HCP to minimize, 
mitigate, and monitor the proposed incidental take of the Covered 
Species and to provide for adaptive management, as evaluated against 
our 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 above).
    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 HCP 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 practicable the incidental take that would be expected 
to occur over twenty years;
    (7) Whether the HCP meets ESA section 10(a)(2)(B) (16 U.S.C. 1539 
(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 a no action alternative (no permit issuance and 
no measures by the applicant to reduce or eliminate the take of Covered 
Species), and an alternative with a reduced permit term.


    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: September 8, 2011.
Hugh Morrison,
Acting Deputy Regional Director .
[FR Doc. 2011-25670 Filed 10-4-11; 8:45 am]