[Federal Register: August 24, 2005 (Volume 70, Number 163)]
[Page 49668-49669]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



Fish and Wildlife Service

Draft Revised Recovery Plan for Hawaiian Waterbirds, Second Draft 
of Second Revision

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of document availability for review and comment.


SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (we) announces the 
availability of the Draft Revised Recovery Plan for Hawaiian 
Waterbirds, Second Draft of Second Revision, for public review and 

DATES: Comments on the second draft revised recovery plan must be 
received on or before October 24, 2005.

ADDRESSES: Copies of the second draft revised recovery plan are 
available for inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours 
at the following location: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pacific 
Islands Fish and Wildlife Office, 300 Ala Moana Boulevard, Room 3-122, 
Box 50088, Honolulu, Hawaii 96850 (telephone: 808-792-9400). Requests 
for copies of the second draft revised recovery plan and written 
comments and materials regarding this plan should be addressed to the 
Field Supervisor, Ecological Services, at the above Honolulu address. 
An electronic copy of the second draft revised recovery plan is also 
available at http://endangered.fws.gov/recovery/index.html#plans.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Eric VanderWerf, Fish and Wildlife 
Biologist, at the above Honolulu address.



    Recovery of endangered or threatened animals and plants is a 
primary goal of the Endangered Species Act (Act) (16 U.S.C. 1531 et 
seq.) and our endangered species program. Recovery means improvement of 
the status of listed species to the point at which listing is no longer 
required under the criteria set out in section 4(a)(1) of the Act. 
Recovery plans describe actions considered necessary for the 
conservation of the species, establish criteria for downlisting or 
delisting listed species, and estimate time and cost for implementing 
the measures needed for recovery.
    The Act requires the development of recovery plans for endangered 
or threatened species unless such a plan would not promote the 
conservation of the species. Section 4(f) of the Act requires that 
public notice, and an opportunity for public review and comment, be 
provided during recovery plan development. We will consider all 
information presented during the public comment period on each new or 
revised recovery plan. Substantive comments may result in changes to a 
recovery plan. Substantive comments regarding recovery plan 
implementation may not necessarily result in changes to the recovery 
plan, but will be forwarded to appropriate Federal agency or other 
entities so that they can take these comments into account during the 
course of implementing recovery actions. Individual responses to 
comments will not be provided.
    This second draft revised recovery plan addresses four species of 
Hawaiian waterbirds: The Hawaiian duck or koloa maoli (Anas 
wyvilliana), Hawaiian coot or `alae ke`oke`o (Fulica alai), Hawaiian 
common moorhen or `alae `ula (Gallinula chloropus sandvicensis), and 
Hawaiian stilt or ae`o (Himantopus mexicanus knudseni), all listed as 
endangered. A recovery plan for these four waterbirds was first 
published in 1978, and the first revision of the recovery plan was 
published in 1985. On July 9, 1999, we published in the Federal 
Register a notice announcing the availability for comment of a draft of 
the second revision to the recovery

[[Page 49669]]

plan (64 FR 37148). However, we never finalized that draft. The plan we 
are releasing at this time is the second draft of the second revised 
recovery plan for Hawaiian waterbirds.
    Historically, these four species of waterbirds were found on all of 
the main Hawaiian Islands except Lana`i and Kaho`olawe. Currently, 
Hawaiian ducks are found on the islands of Ni`ihau, Kaua`i, O`ahu, 
Maui, and Hawai`i; Hawaiian coots and stilts are found on all of the 
main Hawaiian Islands except Kaho`olawe; and Hawaiian common moorhens 
are found only on the islands of Kaua`i and O`ahu. Population estimates 
indicate the numbers of birds fluctuate among years and that currently 
none of these species consistently number more than 2,000 individuals, 
with the exception of the Hawaiian coot, but these estimates are 
reliable only for the coot and the stilt.
    These endangered Hawaiian waterbirds are found in a variety of 
wetland habitats including freshwater marshes and ponds, coastal 
estuaries and ponds, artificial reservoirs, taro (Colocasia esculenta) 
patches, irrigation ditches, sewage treatment ponds, and in the case of 
the Hawaiian duck, montane streams and swamplands. The most important 
cause of decline of the four species of endangered Hawaiian waterbirds 
is loss of wetland habitat. Other factors that have contributed to 
waterbird population declines, and which continue to be detrimental, 
include predation by introduced animals, altered hydrology, alteration 
of habitat by invasive nonnative plants, disease, and possibly 
environmental contaminants. Hunting in the late 1800's and early 1900's 
took a heavy toll on Hawaiian duck populations, and to a lesser extent 
on populations of the other three endemic waterbirds. Currently, 
predation by introduced animals may be the greatest threat to the coot, 
moorhen, and stilt, and hybridization with feral mallards is the most 
serious threat to the Hawaiian duck.
    The recovery of the endangered waterbirds focuses on the following 
objectives: (1) Increasing population numbers to be consistently stable 
or increasing with a minimum of 2,000 birds for each species; (2) 
establishing multiple, self-sustaining breeding populations throughout 
each species' historical range; (3) establishing and protecting a 
network of both core and supporting wetlands that are managed as 
habitat suitable for waterbirds, including the maintenance of 
appropriate hydrological conditions and control of invasive nonnative 
plants; (4) for all four species, eliminating or controlling the 
threats posed by introduced predators, avian diseases, and 
contaminants; and (5) for the Hawaiian duck, removing the threat of 
hybridization with feral mallards. If the recovery criteria presented 
in the second draft revised recovery plan are met, downlisting could be 
initiated in 2010 and delisting in 2015.

Public Comments Solicited

    We solicit written comments on the second draft revised recovery 
plan described. All comments received by the date specified above will 
be considered prior to approval of this plan.


    The authority for this action is section 4(f) of the Endangered 
Species Act, 16 U.S.C. 1533 (f).

    Dated: May 11, 2005.
David J. Wesley,
Acting Regional Director, Region 1, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 05-16833 Filed 8-23-05; 8:45 am]