[Federal Register Volume 85, Number 49 (Thursday, March 12, 2020)]
[Pages 14497-14499]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [http://www.gpo.gov/]
[FR Doc No: 2020-05044]



Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R1-ES-2020-N003; FXES11140100000-201-FF01E00000]

Kauai Seabird Habitat Conservation Plan and Draft Environmental 
Assessment, Kauai, Hawaii

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), received 
incidental take permit applications pursuant to section 10 of the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA), from eight parties 
seeking authorization to take listed seabirds on Kauai due to impacts 
associated with nighttime light attraction. Each of the applications 
relies on the Kauai Seabird Habitat Conservation Plan (KSHCP), which 
describes the actions the applicants will take to minimize and mitigate 
the impacts of taking the threatened Newell's shearwater, endangered 
Hawaiian petrel, and the endangered Hawaii distinct population segment 
of the band-rumped storm-petrel incidental to the otherwise lawful use 
of nighttime lighting on the island of Kauai, Hawaii. We also announce 
the availability of each applicant's draft KSHCP participant inclusion 
plan specific to the applicant's facilities, as well as a draft 
environmental assessment (EA) developed by the Service that addresses 
the effects of the KSHCP and the proposed permits on the human 
environment in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act. 
We invite the public to review and comment on these documents.

DATES: To ensure consideration, written comments must be received from 
interested parties no later than April 13, 2020.

ADDRESSES: To request further information or submit written comments, 
please use one of the following methods:
     Internet: You may view or download copies of the KSHCP, 
draft EA, each applicant's draft KSHCP participant inclusion plan, and 
obtain additional information on the internet at http://www.fws.gov/pacificislands/.
     Email: [email protected]. Include ``Kauai Seabird 
HCP/EA'' in the subject line of the message.
     U.S. Mail: You may obtain a CD-ROM with electronic copies 
of these documents by writing to Ms. Katherine Mullett, Field 
Supervisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pacific Islands Fish and 
Wildlife Office, 300 Ala Moana Boulevard, Room 3-122, Honolulu, HI 
     Telephone: Call 808-792-9400 during regular business 

Fish and Wildlife Service (see ADDRESSES), by telephone at 808-792-9400 
or by email at [email protected]. If you use a telecommunications 
device for the deaf, please call the Federal Relay Service at 800-877-

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:  The Service received incidental take permit 
(ITP) applications from eight entities (applicants), pursuant to 
section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species Act, as amended (ESA; 16 
U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). Each applicant has requested a 30-year permit 
term that would authorize ``take'' of the threatened Newell's 
shearwater (Puffinus auricularis newelli; Hawaiian name ao), the 
endangered Hawaiian petrel (Pterodroma sandwichensis; Hawaiian name 
uau), and the endangered Hawaii distinct population segment of the 
band-rumped storm-petrel (Oceanodroma castro; Hawaiian name akeake), 
hereafter collectively referred to as the covered species. Take of the 
covered species would be incidental to the use of nighttime lighting on 
the island of Kauai, Hawaii. The applications are accompanied by a 
single habitat conservation plan, referred to as the Kauai Seabird 
Habitat Conservation Plan (KSHCP), which describes the actions each 
applicant will take to

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minimize and mitigate the impacts of the taking on the covered species 
under each individual applicant's draft KSHCP participant inclusion 
plan (PIP), which is specific to each applicant's facilities.


    Nighttime lighting is an essential activity in most homes, 
businesses, and industry centers. Each of the eight applicants 
developed a PIP under the KSHCP to collectively provide an island-wide 
conservation program to avoid and minimize the impacts of the taking of 
the covered species through implementation of measures such as the use 
of wildlife-friendly nighttime lights, and to mitigate for unavoidable 
incidental take impacts caused by nighttime lighting in support of 
their request to obtain ESA authorization, as appropriate, to 
incidentally take listed seabirds. Although the KSHCP identifies 
measures to avoid and minimize take of the Central North Pacific 
distinct population segment (DPS) of the endangered green sea turtle 
(Chelonia mydas; Hawaiian name honu), no ITP for the green sea turtle 
is being requested by the applicants. The eight applicants are: (1) 
Norwegian Cruise Line-NCL America; (2) Princeville Resort Kauai; (3) 
Hawaii Department of Transportation; (4) Kauai Marriott Resort; (5) 
Alexander & Baldwin, Inc.; (6) Kauai Blue, Inc. doing business as 
Sheraton Kauai; (7) Kauai Coffee Company; and (8) Kauai County.
    The Service proposes to issue the requested 30-year ITPs based on 
the applicants' commitment to implement the KSHCP, in accordance with 
eight applicant-specific PIPs, if permit issuance criteria are met. 
Potentially covered activities include the full range of artificial 
nighttime lighting types present on Kauai. A variety of lighting types 
are used on Kauai depending upon the purposes for the lighting. Under 
the KSHCP, all types of artificial lighting, including land-based 
lights found at parks, retail stores, resorts, condominium complexes, 
agribusiness, and industrial facilities, can be covered, as well as 
lighting on ocean-going vessels such as cruise ships. Artificial 
lighting includes current light structures, as well as the placement 
and operation of new or future lights that have similar effects. 
Outdoor lighting fixtures may include, but are not limited to, parking 
lot lights, security lights, spotlights, floodlights, building and 
structural or architectural lights, landscape lighting, recreational 
lights, and signage lights. Instead of each applicant implementing 
small scale, PIP-specific mitigation projects with limited conservation 
benefits for listed seabirds, the eight applicants will contribute 
funds that will be pooled to create and manage the Kahuamaa Seabird 
Preserve (Preserve); conduct barn owl (Tyto alba) control in Kalalau 
Valley; and to conduct feral cat (Felis catus) control along Kalalau 
Valley rim to reduce predation at existing seabird colonies and deter 
cat presence in the vicinity of the Preserve.

Endangered Species Act

    Section 9 of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) prohibits ``take'' of 
fish and wildlife species listed as endangered or threatened. Under the 
ESA, 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 [16 U.S.C. 1532(19)]. The term ``harm'' is defined in our 
regulations to include significant habitat modification or degradation 
that results in death or injury to listed species by significantly 
impairing essential behavioral patterns, including breeding, feeding, 
or sheltering (50 CFR 17.3).
    Section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA contains provisions that authorize 
the Service to issue permits to non-Federal entities for the take of 
endangered and threatened species caused by otherwise lawful 
activities, provided the following criteria are met: (1) The taking 
will be incidental; (2) the applicant will, to the maximum extent 
practicable, minimize and mitigate the impact of such taking; (3) the 
applicant will ensure that adequate funding for the plan will be 
provided; (4) the taking will not appreciably reduce the likelihood of 
the survival and recovery of the species in the wild; and (5) the 
applicant will carry out any other measures that the Service may 
require as being necessary or appropriate for the purposes of the HCP. 
Regulations governing permits for endangered and threatened species are 
found at 50 CFR 17.22 and 17.32, respectively.

National Environmental Policy Act

    The proposed issuance of an ITP is a Federal action that triggers 
the need for compliance with the requirements of NEPA. On November 9, 
2010, the Service announced in the Federal Register our intent to 
prepare an environmental impact statement for the proposed KSHCP (75 FR 
68819) inclusive of the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC) HCP. At 
that time, the proposed KSHCP and the expected applications from public 
and private entities on Kauai for incidental take permits were intended 
to cover the incidental take of the ao, uau, and akeake due to adverse 
effects of light attraction, as well as collision with utility lines 
and associated structures. However, monitoring conducted in 2014 
reflected a much higher rate of seabird collisions with utility lines 
than previously estimated. As a result, in September 2015, the State 
decided to restrict the scope of the KSHCP to light attraction take and 
reserve consideration of line collision take to the Kauai Island 
Utility Cooperative Long-Term HCP. As a result, the mitigation program 
under the KSHCP was scaled to address the level of seabird take impacts 
caused by the eight applicants identified above. After a subsequent 
analysis based on the reduction in scope of the proposed KSHCP, the 
Service determined that it was appropriate to first prepare an 
environmental assessment (EA) to determine whether an EIS was 
warranted. We prepared a draft EA to analyze the environmental impacts 
of a range of alternatives related to the proposed issuance of the 
eight requested ITPs and implementation of the conservation program 
under the revised KSHCP. The alternatives analyzed in the draft EA 
include a no-action alternative (alternative A) and two action 
alternatives: (1) The proposed action (alternative B) and (2) a 
translocation alternative with additional mitigation measures 
(alternative C).

Public Comments

    You may submit your comments and materials by one of the methods 
listed in ADDRESSES. We specifically request written data, views, and 
suggestions from interested parties with respect to the eight 
applications regarding our proposed Federal action, including the 
adequacy of the KSHCP pursuant to the requirements for permits at 50 
CFR parts 13 and 17, and the adequacy of the draft EA pursuant to the 
requirements of NEPA.

Public Availability of Comments

    All comments and materials we receive become part of the public 
record associated with this action. Before including your address, 
phone number, email address, or other personally identifiable 
information in your comments, you should be aware that your entire 
comment--including your personally identifiable information--may be 
made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your 
comment to withhold your personally identifiable information from 
public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. All 
submissions from organizations or businesses, and from individuals 
identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations 
or businesses, will be made available for public disclosure in

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their entirety. Comments and materials we receive will be available for 
public inspection by appointment, during normal business hours, at our 
Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES).

Next Steps

    After public review we will assess the comments received and 
finalize the EA; we will determine whether the proposed action warrants 
a finding of no significant impact or whether an environmental impact 
statement should be prepared. We will evaluate each permit application, 
associated documents, and any comments received, to determine whether 
the permit application meets the requirements of section 10(a)(1)(B) of 
the ESA. We will also evaluate whether issuance of the requested 
section 10(a)(1)(B) permit would comply with section 7 of the ESA by 
conducting an intra-Service section 7 consultation under section 
7(a)(2) of the ESA on anticipated ITP actions. The final NEPA and 
permit determinations will not be completed until after the end of the 
30-day comment period and will fully consider all comments received 
during the comment period. If we determine that all requirements are 
met, we will issue an ITP under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA to each 
individual applicant for the take of the covered species, incidental to 
otherwise lawful covered activities.


    We provide this notice in accordance with the requirements of 
section 10(c) of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) and NEPA (42 U.S.C. 
4321 et seq.), and their implementing regulations (at 50 CFR 17.22 and 
17.32 and 40 CFR 1506.6, respectively).

Robyn Thorson,
Regional Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2020-05044 Filed 3-11-20; 8:45 am]