HONOLULU — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has released a draft environmental assessment for the proposed experimental population of sihek (Guam kingfisher) to the Nature Conservancy's Cooper Island nature preserve and the Palmyra Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. This proposed rule will be available for public comment for 30 days.
The National Environmental Policy Act requires federal agencies to identify and disclose the anticipated effects of federal actions to human environments. The experimental release of sihek on Palmyra Atoll consists of the issuance of a new Federal Rule under section 10(j) of the Endangered Species Act. This draft environmental assessment analyzes potential effects to the human environment, alternative actions, and whether such effects may be significant.
In August 2022, the Service and its partners proposed the experimental release of sihek to Palmyra Atoll under section 10(j) of the ESA. Sihek are endemic to Guam, but have been extinct in the wild since 1988 due to predation by the brown tree snake. Currently, the species is managed under human care at Association of Zoos and Aquariums facilities in the continental U.S. and at Guam Department of Agriculture Division of Aquatic and Wildlife Resources. Captive bred sihek would be released on Palmyra Atoll as an experimental population under section 10(j) of the Endangered Species Act, which designates the population as experimental to support the reintroduction of the at-risk species to foster long-term recovery.
Information on the Sihek Conservation Introduction can be found on the Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office website.
The recovery of the sihek has been an ongoing partnership between the Service, Guam Department of Agriculture Division of Aquatic and Wildlife Resources, The Nature Conservancy, Association of Zoos and Aquariums, Sedgwick County Zoo, and Zoological Society of London.
To request additional information or submit written comments, please use one of the following methods.
- Submit written comments through the mail, postmarked by Jan. 21, 2023:
- Public Comments Processing; Attn: Docket No. FWS-R1-ES-2022-0061; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 300 Ala Moana Boulevard, Room 3-122, Honolulu, HI 96850.
- Send comments by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include “Draft Environmental Assessment for Experimental Population of Sihek” in the subject line.
In order to be considered, comments must be received on or before Jan. 21, 2023. All comments and materials received will become part of the public record associated with this action.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information, visit www.fws.gov/pacificislands, or connect with us through any of these social media channels at https://www.facebook.com/PacificIslandsFWS, www.flickr.com/photos/usfwspacific/, https://medium.com/usfwspacificislands or www.twitter.com/USFWSPacific.