Notice of Intent To Conduct a Public Scoping Meeting and Perform an Environmental Review for the Kaua`i Island Utility Cooperative Habitat Conservation Plan, Kaua`i Island, HI, 70888-70890 [E7-24149]

Download as PDF 70888 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 239 / Thursday, December 13, 2007 / Notices The Service’s Environmental Assessment considers the environmental consequences of five alternatives. The Proposed HCP Project Alternative consists of the issuance of the incidental take permit and implementation of the Plan and Implementing Agreement. With Alternative 2 (Operation to Breakdown), maintenance would be deferred until an emergency condition resulted, rather than performed routinely or for minor damage. With Alternative 3 (Fencelineto-fenceline Disturbance), the entire right-of-way along the canals would be cleared of vegetation. With Alternative 4 (Alternative Maintenance Procedures), various methods of road maintenance, rodent control, vegetation control, and erosion control that were previously considered and rejected would be selected and used to develop this alternative. With the No Action alternative, the HCP would not be implemented and the applicant would apply for permits each time take occurred. Public Review mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with NOTICES We invite the public to review the Plan, Implementing Agreement and Environmental Assessment during a 60day public comment period (see DATES). 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 may 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. We provide this notice pursuant to section 10(a) of the Act and the regulations for implementing NEPA, as amended (40 CFR 1506.6). We will evaluate the application, associated documents, and comments submitted thereon to determine whether the application meets the requirements of NEPA regulations and section 10(a) of the Act. If we determine that those requirements are met, we will issue a permit to the Applicant for the incidental take of the covered species. We will make our final permit decision no sooner than 60 days from the date of this notice. Dated: December 7, 2007. Ken McDermond, Deputy Regional Director, California and Nevada Region, Sacramento, California. [FR Doc. E7–24135 Filed 12–12–07; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–55–P VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:10 Dec 12, 2007 Jkt 214001 DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service Notice of Intent To Conduct a Public Scoping Meeting and Perform an Environmental Review for the Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative Habitat Conservation Plan, Kaua‘i Island, HI Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of intent; scoping meeting. AGENCY: SUMMARY: Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) intends to conduct public scoping necessary to gather information to prepare an environmental assessment (EA) or environmental impact statement (EIS) (collectively referred to as ‘‘environmental document’’) for a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) being prepared by the Kaua‘i Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC). The draft HCP is being prepared under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). KIUC intends to apply for an incidental take permit under the ESA to authorize take of the federally endangered Hawaiian Petrel (Pterodroma sandwichensis), the federally threatened Newell’s Shearwater (Puffinus auricularis newelli), and the Bandrumped Storm-Petrel (Oceanodroma castro), a Federal candidate for listing that could become listed during the term of the permit (collectively referred to as the ‘‘Covered Species’’). This notice is provided to (1) describe the proposed action and possible alternatives; (2) advise other Federal and State agencies, affected Tribes, and the public of our intent to prepare an environmental document; (3) announce the initiation of a public scoping period and the holding of a public scoping meeting; (4) obtain information to assist the Service in determining whether to prepare an EA or EIS; and (5) obtain suggestions and information on the scope of issues and alternatives to be addressed in the environmental document. Written comments will be accepted at a public meeting. In addition, written comments may be submitted by mail, facsimile transmission, or e-mail. DATES: Written comments must be received on or before February 8, 2008. Oral or written comments may be submitted at a public scoping meeting to be held on January 23, 2008, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. ADDRESSES: The public scoping meeting will be held at the Planning Commission Conference Room, PO 00000 Frm 00073 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Mo’ikeha Building, 4444 Rice Street, ¯ Lıhu‘e, Kaua‘i, HI. Written comments, or questions related to the preparation of the environmental document, should be submitted to Jeff Newman, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office, 300 Ala Moana Boulevard, Room 3–122, [or P.O. Box 50088], Honolulu, HI 96850–5000, fax (808) 792–9580, e-mail Jeff_Newman@fws.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jeff Newman, Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES), or phone (808) 792–9400. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Reasonable Accommodation Persons needing reasonable accommodations in order to attend and participate in the public meeting should contact Jeff Newman as soon as possible. In order to allow sufficient time to process requests, please call no later than one week before the public meeting. Information regarding this proposed action is available in alternative formats upon request. Statutory Authority Section 9 of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1538) and the implementing regulations prohibit the take of animal species listed as endangered or threatened. The term ‘‘take’’ is defined under the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1532(19)) as to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct. ‘‘Harm’’ is defined by Service regulation (50 CRF 17.3) to include significant habitat modification or degradation where it actually kills or injures wildlife by significantly impairing essential behavioral patterns, including breeding, feeding, and sheltering. However, under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA, the Service may issue permits to authorize ‘‘incidental take’’ of listed species. ‘‘Incidental take’’ is defined by the ESA as take that is incidental to, and not the purpose of, carrying out an otherwise lawful activity. Regulations governing permits for threatened and endangered species are found in the Code of Federal Regulations at 50 CFR 17.32 and 50 CFR 17.22. Section 10 of the ESA specifies the requirements for the issuance of incidental take permits to non-Federal entities. Any proposed take must be incidental to otherwise lawful activities and cannot appreciably reduce the likelihood of the survival and recovery of the species in the wild. The impacts of such take must also be minimized and mitigated to the maximum extent practicable. To obtain an incidental take E:\FR\FM\13DEN1.SGM 13DEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 239 / Thursday, December 13, 2007 / Notices mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with NOTICES permit, an applicant must prepare an HCP describing the impact that will likely result from the proposed taking, the measures for minimizing and mitigating the take, the funding available to implement such measures, alternatives to the taking, and the reason why such alternatives are not being implemented. NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) requires that Federal agencies conduct an environmental analysis of their proposed actions to determine if the actions may significantly affect the human environment. Under NEPA, a reasonable range of alternatives to the proposed action is developed and considered in the Service’s environmental review. Alternatives considered for analysis in an environmental document may include: Variations in the scope of covered activities; variations in the location, amount, and type of conservation; variations in permit duration; or a combination of these elements. In addition, the environmental document will identify potentially significant direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts on biological resources, land use, air quality, water quality, water resources, socioeconomics, and other environmental issues that could occur with the implementation of the proposed action and alternatives. For potentially significant impacts, the environmental document may identify avoidance, minimization and mitigation measures to reduce these impacts, where feasible, to a level below significance. Background KIUC is a utility cooperative that generates and distributes electricity to the entire island of Kaua‘i, Hawai‘i. KIUC is developing a draft HCP in anticipation of applying for an incidental take permit. The proposed HCP will address the incidental take of three Covered Species associated with the operation and maintenance of KIUC’s existing and anticipated facilities over a period of 50 years. The three Covered Species are seabird species that breed on Kaua‘i and feed on the open ocean. Each of the covered species spends a large part of the year at sea. Adults generally return to their colonial nesting grounds in the interior mountains of Kaua‘i beginning in March and April, and depart beginning in September. Fledglings (i.e., young birds learning how to fly) fly from the nesting colony to the sea in the fall. Both adults and fledglings are known to occasionally collide with tall buildings, towers, powerlines, and other structures while flying at night between their VerDate Aug<31>2005 17:10 Dec 12, 2007 Jkt 214001 nesting colonies and at-sea foraging areas. These birds, and particularly fledglings, are also attracted to bright lights. Disoriented birds are commonly observed circling repeatedly around exterior light sources until they fall exhausted to the ground or collide with structures. To address the issue that existing facilities currently impact the Covered Species, the Service and KIUC entered into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) in November 2002, and again in January 2005. Under the MOAs KIUC agreed to implement certain defined interim conservation measures (ICMs) to reduce the impacts of its facilities on seabirds while more long-term conservation actions are being developed in a HCP. Examples of ICMs implemented to date include: Shielding streetlights on KIUC power poles to minimize lighting disorientation of seabirds; and funding, enhancing and taking the lead on implementing the state’s ‘‘Save Our Shearwaters’’ (SOS) program to rescue downed fledglings. Proposed Plan Since November 2002, KIUC has been working with the Service to develop a draft HCP, and also to simultaneously implement certain interim conservation measures to benefit the Covered Species. (Because the Covered Species are also subject to protection under the State of Hawai‘i’s own endangered species law, KIUC has also coordinated with the State’s Department of Land and Natural Resources concerning the proposed HCP and the requirements for obtaining an incidental take license under state law.) Pursuant to NEPA, the Service conducted a public scoping meeting on the proposed HCP on September 16, 2004. Several comments received during that initial scoping period requested that additional information be made available regarding the proposed HCP, and that a second scoping meeting be convened after such additional information was provided. Since that time, KIUC has made progress in developing the draft HCP, based in part on consultations with the Service and the Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources. As a result, the Service is now able to provide additional information about the likely scope and contents of the proposed HCP, and has determined that it is appropriate to conduct an additional round of public scoping under NEPA at this time. The proposed HCP would cover KIUC activities within all areas on Kaua‘i where its facilities (e.g., generating stations, power lines, utility poles, lights) are located. These activities PO 00000 Frm 00074 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 70889 include the continuing operation, maintenance, and repair of these and other existing facilities, and the construction, operation, maintenance and repair of certain new facilities, during the term of the incidental take permit. The proposed HCP will describe the impacts of take associated with those activities on the Covered Species, and will propose a program to minimize and mitigate these impacts of that take on each of the Covered Species. Minimization measures in the proposed HCP may include: (i) Shielding KIUC’s streetlights and facility lighting; (ii) installing bird diverter devices on certain power lines; (iii) developing and implementing lighting and power line performance standards; and (iv) implementing design modifications that minimize or eliminate the risk of seabird collisions (e.g., installing power lines below seabird flight altitudes, modifying power line arrays, or installing bird diverter devices). Mitigation measures may include implementation of an expanded SOS program—a program begun by the State of Hawai‘i in the late 1970’s to retrieve, evaluate, rehabilitate and release back to the wild downed seabirds during the fall fledging season. KIUC’s proposed mitigation program may also include: breeding colony management actions aimed at reducing predation by invasive mammalian species; public education and outreach designed to reduce actions that contribute to bird downings; and additional scientific research. Environmental Review The Service will prepare an environmental document to analyze the environmental impacts associated with the potential issuance of the requested incidental take permit, and the associated implementation by KIUC of the HCP. A private contractor, Planning Solutions, Inc., will help to prepare the environmental document. The Service will supervise and be responsible for directing the consultant’s work and for the scope and content of the document. The environmental document will consider the proposed action and a reasonable range of alternatives. The Service currently anticipates that the alternatives may consist of the following: (1) A ‘‘no action’’ alternative, in which the requested incidental take permit would not be issued and the conservation program in the proposed HCP would not be implemented. However, this action is not considered to be viable because a permit for incidental take of the Covered Species is needed; (2) an ‘‘under-grounding’’ alternative in which some of KIUC’s E:\FR\FM\13DEN1.SGM 13DEN1 70890 Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 239 / Thursday, December 13, 2007 / Notices power lines would be placed underground, thereby eliminating several sources of take of the Covered Species; and (3) a conservation program alternative that in addition to the proposed minimization measures would implement a mitigation program aimed principally at actively managing multiple seabird breeding colonies with the biological goal of increasing reproductive success and colony size. We invite comments and suggestions from all interested parties to ensure that the environmental document addresses a reasonable range of alternatives and that all significant issues related to them are identified and addressed. Our environmental review will be conducted in accordance with the requirements of NEPA, its implementing regulations (40 CFR Parts 1500–1508), other applicable Federal laws and regulations, and applicable policies and procedures of the Service. This notice is being furnished in accordance with 40 CFR 1501.7 of the NEPA regulations to obtain suggestions and information from other agencies and the public on the scope of issues and alternatives to be addressed in the environmental document. The public scoping meeting will allocate time for presentations by the Service and KIUC; this will be followed by a period for the submission of oral and/or written comments. All comments and materials received, including names and addresses of those presenting them, will become part of the administrative record and may be released to the public. Land Management (BLM) Northwest Colorado Resource Advisory Council (RAC) Subcommittee on the Glenwood Springs Resource Management Plan (RMP) Revision will meet as indicated below. DATES: January 16 and 30, February 6 and 20, 2008; from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. ADDRESSES: The Glenwood Springs Subcommittee will meet at the Glenwood Springs Energy Office Conference Room, 2425 S. Grand Ave, Glenwood Springs, CO. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Brian Hopkins, Planning and Environmental Coordinator, 50629 Hwy. 6&24, Glenwood Springs, CO, telephone 970–947–2840. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Northwest Colorado RAC advises the Secretary of the Interior, through the Bureau of Land Management, on a variety of public land issues in northwestern Colorado. A subcommittee has been formed under this RAC to advise it regarding the Glenwood Springs RMP Revisions. The 14 individuals on this subcommittee represent a broad range of interests and have specific knowledge of the subcommittee represent a broad range of interests and have specific knowledge of the Field Offices. Recommendations developed by these subcommittees will be presented formally for discussion to the NW RAC at publicly announced meetings of the full NW RAC. Both the subcommittee meetings and the full NW RAC meetings have public comment opportunities. Dated: December 3, 2007. David J. Wesley, Deputy Regional Director, Region 1, Portland, Oregon. [FR Doc. E7–24149 Filed 12–12–07; 8:45 am] Dated: December 6, 2007. Jamie Connell, Glenwood Springs Field Manager, Lead Designated Federal Officer for the Northwest Colorado RAC. [FR Doc. 07–6041 Filed 12–12–07; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–55–P BILLING CODE 4310–JB–M DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Bureau of Land Management Bureau of Land Management [CO–140–08–1610–DP] [CO–150–08–1110–AL] Notice of Public Meeting, Northwest Colorado Resource Advisory Council Subcommittees for the Glenwood Springs Resource Management Plan Revision AGENCY: Bureau of Land Management, mstockstill on PROD1PC66 with NOTICES DOI. ACTION: Notice of Public Meeting. 17:10 Dec 12, 2007 Jkt 214001 Bureau of Land Management, Interior. ACTION: Notice of Public Meetings. AGENCY: In accordance with the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) and the Federal Advisory Committee Act of 1972 (FACA), the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Southwest SUMMARY: SUMMARY: In accordance with the Federal Land Policy and Management Act (FLPMA) and the Federal Advisory Committee Act of 1972 (FACA), the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of VerDate Aug<31>2005 Notice of Public Meetings, Southwest Colorado Resource Advisory Council Meetings PO 00000 Frm 00075 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Colorado Resource Advisory Council (RAC) will meet as indicated below. The Southwest Colorado RAC meetings will be held February 8, 2008; May 20, 2008; August 8, 2008; and November 14, 2008. DATES: The Southwest Colorado RAC meetings will be held February 8, 2008, at the Dolores Field Office, located at 29211 Highway 184, Dolores, CO; May 30, 2008, at the Holiday Inn Express, located at 1391 S. Townsend Avenue, in Montrose, CO; August 8, 2008, at the Chipeta Sun Lodge, 304 S. Lena, in Ridgway, CO; and November 14, 2008, at the Fred R. Field Western Heritage Center Concrete Room, 275 S. Spruce Street, in Gunnison, CO. The Southwest Colorado RAC meetings will begin at 9 a.m. and adjourn at approximately 4 p.m. Public comment periods regarding matters on the agenda will be at 2:30 p.m. ADDRESSES: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Barbara Sharrow, BLM Uncompahgre field manager, 2505 S. Townsend Avenue, Montrose, CO; telephone 970– 240–5300; or Melodie Lloyd, Public Affairs Specialist, 2815 H Road, Grand Junction, CO, telephone 970–244–3097. The Southwest Colorado RAC advises the Secretary of the Interior, through the Bureau of Land Management, on a variety of public land issues in Colorado. Topics of discussion for all Southwest Colorado RAC meetings may include field manager and working group reports, recreation, fire management, land use planning, invasive species management, energy and minerals management, travel management, wilderness, land exchange proposals, cultural resource management, and other issues as appropriate. These meetings are open to the public. The public may present written comments to the RACs. Each formal RAC meeting will also have time, as identified above, allocated for hearing public comments. Depending on the number of persons wishing to comment and time available, the time for individual oral comments may be limited. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Dated: November 29, 2007. Barbara Sharrow, Uncompahgre Field Manager, Designated Federal Officer, Southwest Colorado RAC. [FR Doc. E7–24051 Filed 12–12–07; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–JA–P E:\FR\FM\13DEN1.SGM 13DEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 72, Number 239 (Thursday, December 13, 2007)]
[Notices]
[Pages 70888-70890]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E7-24149]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service


Notice of Intent To Conduct a Public Scoping Meeting and Perform 
an Environmental Review for the Kaua`i Island Utility Cooperative 
Habitat Conservation Plan, Kaua`i Island, HI

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of intent; scoping meeting.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: Pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the 
Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) intends to conduct public scoping 
necessary to gather information to prepare an environmental assessment 
(EA) or environmental impact statement (EIS) (collectively referred to 
as ``environmental document'') for a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) 
being prepared by the Kaua`i Island Utility Cooperative (KIUC). The 
draft HCP is being prepared under section 10(a)(1)(B) of the Endangered 
Species Act (ESA). KIUC intends to apply for an incidental take permit 
under the ESA to authorize take of the federally endangered Hawaiian 
Petrel (Pterodroma sandwichensis), the federally threatened Newell's 
Shearwater (Puffinus auricularis newelli), and the Band-rumped Storm-
Petrel (Oceanodroma castro), a Federal candidate for listing that could 
become listed during the term of the permit (collectively referred to 
as the ``Covered Species''). This notice is provided to (1) describe 
the proposed action and possible alternatives; (2) advise other Federal 
and State agencies, affected Tribes, and the public of our intent to 
prepare an environmental document; (3) announce the initiation of a 
public scoping period and the holding of a public scoping meeting; (4) 
obtain information to assist the Service in determining whether to 
prepare an EA or EIS; and (5) obtain suggestions and information on the 
scope of issues and alternatives to be addressed in the environmental 
document. Written comments will be accepted at a public meeting. In 
addition, written comments may be submitted by mail, facsimile 
transmission, or e-mail.

DATES: Written comments must be received on or before February 8, 2008. 
Oral or written comments may be submitted at a public scoping meeting 
to be held on January 23, 2008, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

ADDRESSES: The public scoping meeting will be held at the Planning 
Commission Conference Room, Mo'ikeha Building, 4444 Rice Street, 
Lihu`e, Kaua`i, HI. Written comments, or questions related to the 
preparation of the environmental document, should be submitted to Jeff 
Newman, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pacific Islands Fish and 
Wildlife Office, 300 Ala Moana Boulevard, Room 3-122, [or P.O. Box 
50088], Honolulu, HI 96850-5000, fax (808) 792-9580, e-mail Jeff--
Newman@fws.gov.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jeff Newman, Pacific Islands Fish and 
Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES), or phone (808) 792-9400.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Reasonable Accommodation

    Persons needing reasonable accommodations in order to attend and 
participate in the public meeting should contact Jeff Newman as soon as 
possible. In order to allow sufficient time to process requests, please 
call no later than one week before the public meeting. Information 
regarding this proposed action is available in alternative formats upon 
request.

Statutory Authority

    Section 9 of the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1538) and the implementing 
regulations prohibit the take of animal species listed as endangered or 
threatened. The term ``take'' is defined under the ESA (16 U.S.C. 
1532(19)) as to harass, harm, pursue, hunt, shoot, wound, kill, trap, 
capture, or collect, or to attempt to engage in any such conduct. 
``Harm'' is defined by Service regulation (50 CRF 17.3) to include 
significant habitat modification or degradation where it actually kills 
or injures wildlife by significantly impairing essential behavioral 
patterns, including breeding, feeding, and sheltering. However, under 
section 10(a)(1)(B) of the ESA, the Service may issue permits to 
authorize ``incidental take'' of listed species. ``Incidental take'' is 
defined by the ESA as take that is incidental to, and not the purpose 
of, carrying out an otherwise lawful activity. Regulations governing 
permits for threatened and endangered species are found in the Code of 
Federal Regulations at 50 CFR 17.32 and 50 CFR 17.22.
    Section 10 of the ESA specifies the requirements for the issuance 
of incidental take permits to non-Federal entities. Any proposed take 
must be incidental to otherwise lawful activities and cannot 
appreciably reduce the likelihood of the survival and recovery of the 
species in the wild. The impacts of such take must also be minimized 
and mitigated to the maximum extent practicable. To obtain an 
incidental take

[[Page 70889]]

permit, an applicant must prepare an HCP describing the impact that 
will likely result from the proposed taking, the measures for 
minimizing and mitigating the take, the funding available to implement 
such measures, alternatives to the taking, and the reason why such 
alternatives are not being implemented.
    NEPA (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) requires that Federal agencies 
conduct an environmental analysis of their proposed actions to 
determine if the actions may significantly affect the human 
environment. Under NEPA, a reasonable range of alternatives to the 
proposed action is developed and considered in the Service's 
environmental review. Alternatives considered for analysis in an 
environmental document may include: Variations in the scope of covered 
activities; variations in the location, amount, and type of 
conservation; variations in permit duration; or a combination of these 
elements. In addition, the environmental document will identify 
potentially significant direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts on 
biological resources, land use, air quality, water quality, water 
resources, socioeconomics, and other environmental issues that could 
occur with the implementation of the proposed action and alternatives. 
For potentially significant impacts, the environmental document may 
identify avoidance, minimization and mitigation measures to reduce 
these impacts, where feasible, to a level below significance.

Background

    KIUC is a utility cooperative that generates and distributes 
electricity to the entire island of Kaua`i, Hawai`i. KIUC is developing 
a draft HCP in anticipation of applying for an incidental take permit. 
The proposed HCP will address the incidental take of three Covered 
Species associated with the operation and maintenance of KIUC's 
existing and anticipated facilities over a period of 50 years.
    The three Covered Species are seabird species that breed on Kaua`i 
and feed on the open ocean. Each of the covered species spends a large 
part of the year at sea. Adults generally return to their colonial 
nesting grounds in the interior mountains of Kaua`i beginning in March 
and April, and depart beginning in September. Fledglings (i.e., young 
birds learning how to fly) fly from the nesting colony to the sea in 
the fall. Both adults and fledglings are known to occasionally collide 
with tall buildings, towers, powerlines, and other structures while 
flying at night between their nesting colonies and at-sea foraging 
areas. These birds, and particularly fledglings, are also attracted to 
bright lights. Disoriented birds are commonly observed circling 
repeatedly around exterior light sources until they fall exhausted to 
the ground or collide with structures.
    To address the issue that existing facilities currently impact the 
Covered Species, the Service and KIUC entered into a Memorandum of 
Agreement (MOA) in November 2002, and again in January 2005. Under the 
MOAs KIUC agreed to implement certain defined interim conservation 
measures (ICMs) to reduce the impacts of its facilities on seabirds 
while more long-term conservation actions are being developed in a HCP. 
Examples of ICMs implemented to date include: Shielding streetlights on 
KIUC power poles to minimize lighting disorientation of seabirds; and 
funding, enhancing and taking the lead on implementing the state's 
``Save Our Shearwaters'' (SOS) program to rescue downed fledglings.

Proposed Plan

    Since November 2002, KIUC has been working with the Service to 
develop a draft HCP, and also to simultaneously implement certain 
interim conservation measures to benefit the Covered Species. (Because 
the Covered Species are also subject to protection under the State of 
Hawai`i's own endangered species law, KIUC has also coordinated with 
the State's Department of Land and Natural Resources concerning the 
proposed HCP and the requirements for obtaining an incidental take 
license under state law.) Pursuant to NEPA, the Service conducted a 
public scoping meeting on the proposed HCP on September 16, 2004. 
Several comments received during that initial scoping period requested 
that additional information be made available regarding the proposed 
HCP, and that a second scoping meeting be convened after such 
additional information was provided. Since that time, KIUC has made 
progress in developing the draft HCP, based in part on consultations 
with the Service and the Hawai`i Department of Land and Natural 
Resources. As a result, the Service is now able to provide additional 
information about the likely scope and contents of the proposed HCP, 
and has determined that it is appropriate to conduct an additional 
round of public scoping under NEPA at this time.
    The proposed HCP would cover KIUC activities within all areas on 
Kaua`i where its facilities (e.g., generating stations, power lines, 
utility poles, lights) are located. These activities include the 
continuing operation, maintenance, and repair of these and other 
existing facilities, and the construction, operation, maintenance and 
repair of certain new facilities, during the term of the incidental 
take permit.
    The proposed HCP will describe the impacts of take associated with 
those activities on the Covered Species, and will propose a program to 
minimize and mitigate these impacts of that take on each of the Covered 
Species. Minimization measures in the proposed HCP may include: (i) 
Shielding KIUC's streetlights and facility lighting; (ii) installing 
bird diverter devices on certain power lines; (iii) developing and 
implementing lighting and power line performance standards; and (iv) 
implementing design modifications that minimize or eliminate the risk 
of seabird collisions (e.g., installing power lines below seabird 
flight altitudes, modifying power line arrays, or installing bird 
diverter devices). Mitigation measures may include implementation of an 
expanded SOS program--a program begun by the State of Hawai`i in the 
late 1970's to retrieve, evaluate, rehabilitate and release back to the 
wild downed seabirds during the fall fledging season. KIUC's proposed 
mitigation program may also include: breeding colony management actions 
aimed at reducing predation by invasive mammalian species; public 
education and outreach designed to reduce actions that contribute to 
bird downings; and additional scientific research.

Environmental Review

    The Service will prepare an environmental document to analyze the 
environmental impacts associated with the potential issuance of the 
requested incidental take permit, and the associated implementation by 
KIUC of the HCP. A private contractor, Planning Solutions, Inc., will 
help to prepare the environmental document. The Service will supervise 
and be responsible for directing the consultant's work and for the 
scope and content of the document.
    The environmental document will consider the proposed action and a 
reasonable range of alternatives. The Service currently anticipates 
that the alternatives may consist of the following: (1) A ``no action'' 
alternative, in which the requested incidental take permit would not be 
issued and the conservation program in the proposed HCP would not be 
implemented. However, this action is not considered to be viable 
because a permit for incidental take of the Covered Species is needed; 
(2) an ``under-grounding'' alternative in which some of KIUC's

[[Page 70890]]

power lines would be placed underground, thereby eliminating several 
sources of take of the Covered Species; and (3) a conservation program 
alternative that in addition to the proposed minimization measures 
would implement a mitigation program aimed principally at actively 
managing multiple seabird breeding colonies with the biological goal of 
increasing reproductive success and colony size. We invite comments and 
suggestions from all interested parties to ensure that the 
environmental document addresses a reasonable range of alternatives and 
that all significant issues related to them are identified and 
addressed.
    Our environmental review will be conducted in accordance with the 
requirements of NEPA, its implementing regulations (40 CFR Parts 1500-
1508), other applicable Federal laws and regulations, and applicable 
policies and procedures of the Service. This notice is being furnished 
in accordance with 40 CFR 1501.7 of the NEPA regulations to obtain 
suggestions and information from other agencies and the public on the 
scope of issues and alternatives to be addressed in the environmental 
document.
    The public scoping meeting will allocate time for presentations by 
the Service and KIUC; this will be followed by a period for the 
submission of oral and/or written comments. All comments and materials 
received, including names and addresses of those presenting them, will 
become part of the administrative record and may be released to the 
public.

     Dated: December 3, 2007.
David J. Wesley,
Deputy Regional Director, Region 1, Portland, Oregon.
 [FR Doc. E7-24149 Filed 12-12-07; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4310-55-P