Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designating Critical Habitat on Molokai, Lanai, Maui, and Kahoolawe for 135 Species, 32922-32928 [2015-13850]

Download as PDF 32922 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 111 / Wednesday, June 10, 2015 / Proposed Rules matter pertaining to the payment to or utilization of a subcontractor. [FR Doc. 2015–14055 Filed 6–9–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6820–EP–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service 50 CFR Part 17 [Docket No. FWS–R1–ES–2013–0003; 4500030113] RIN 1018–AZ25 Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designating Critical Habitat on Molokai, Lanai, Maui, and Kahoolawe for 135 Species Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Proposed rule; reopening of comment period. AGENCY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the reopening of the comment period on our June 11, 2012 (77 FR 34464), proposal to designate or revise critical habitat for 135 plant and animal species on the Hawaiian Islands of Molokai, Lanai, Maui, and Kahoolawe under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). These 135 species include 2 plant species for which we reaffirmed their endangered listing status on May 28, 2013 (78 FR 32014); 37 plant and animal species we proposed for listing on June 11, 2012, and subsequently listed as endangered on May 28, 2013 (78 FR 32014); 11 plant and animal species that are also already listed as endangered but do not have critical habitat designations; and 85 plant species that are already listed as endangered or threatened and have designated critical habitat, but for which we proposed revisions to critical habitat. We are reopening the comment period to allow all interested parties further opportunity to comment on areas that we are considering for exclusion in the final rule. Comments previously submitted on the proposed rule do not need to be resubmitted, as they will be fully considered in preparation of the final rule. DATES: Written Comments: We will consider comments received or postmarked on or before June 25, 2015. Please note comments submitted electronically using the Federal eRulemaking Portal (see ADDRESSES section, below) must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the closing date. If you are submitting your comments by hard copy, please mail asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:20 Jun 09, 2015 Jkt 235001 them by June 25, 2015, to ensure that we receive them in time to give them full consideration. ADDRESSES: Document Availability: You may obtain copies of the June 11, 2012, proposed rule, this document, and the draft economic analysis of the proposed designation of critical habitat at http:// www.regulations.gov at Docket Number FWS–R1–ES–2013–0003, from the Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office’s Web site (http://www.fws.gov/ pacificislands/), or by contacting the Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office directly (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). Written Comments: You may submit written comments by one of the following methods, or at the public information meeting or public hearing: (1) Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http:// www.regulations.gov. Search for Docket No. FWS–R1–ES–2013–0003, which is the docket number for this rulemaking, and follow the directions for submitting a comment. (2) By hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–R1–ES–2013– 0003; Division of Policy, Performance, and Management Programs; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; MS: BPHC; 5275 Leesburg Pike; Falls Church, VA 22041– 3803. We will post all comments we receive on http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means that we will post any personal information you provide us (see the Public Comments section, below, for more information). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kristi Young, Acting Field Supervisor, Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office, 300 Ala Moana Boulevard, Room 3–122, Honolulu, HI 96850; by telephone at 808–792–9400; or by facsimile at 808– 792–9581. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800–877–8339. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Public Comments We will accept written comments and information during this reopened comment period on our proposed designation of critical habitat for 135 species on the Hawaiian Islands of Molokai, Lanai, Maui, and Kahoolawe (collectively, ‘‘Maui Nui’’) that was published in the Federal Register on June 11, 2012 (77 FR 34464). In that proposed rule, we proposed to list 38 species as endangered, reaffirm the listing of 2 endemic Hawaiian plants currently listed as endangered, and designate critical habitat for 39 of these PO 00000 Frm 00056 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 40 plant and animal species on the Hawaiian Islands of Molokai, Lanai, and Maui; and to designate critical habitat for 11 plant and animal species that are already listed as endangered, and revise critical habitat for 85 plant species that are already listed as endangered or threatened on the Hawaiian Islands of Molokai, Lanai, Maui, and Kahoolawe. On May 28, 2013, we published a final rule listing 38 Maui Nui species (35 plants and 3 tree snails) as endangered and reaffirming the listing of 2 plant species as endangered (78 FR 32014). Critical habitat has not yet been finalized. We have previously extended or reopened the comment period on the proposed critical habitat twice: once for 30 days, on August 9, 2012 (77 FR 47587), and again for 30 days on January 31, 2013 (78 FR 6785). In particular we are seeking public comment on the areas that we are considering for exclusion from the final designation of critical habitat. Although we had previously indicated that we were considering the possible exclusion of non-Federal lands, especially areas in private ownership, and asked for comment on the broad public benefits of encouraging collaborative conservation efforts with local and private partners, we are now offering an additional opportunity for public comment on this issue. We will consider information and recommendations from all interested parties. We are particularly interested in comments concerning whether the benefits of excluding any particular area from critical habitat outweigh the benefits of including that area as critical habitat under section 4(b)(2) of the Act (16 U.S. C. 1531 et se.), after considering the potential impacts and benefits of the proposed critical habitat designation. We are considering the possible exclusion of non-Federal lands, especially areas in private ownership, and whether the benefits of exclusion may outweigh the benefits of inclusion of those areas. We, therefore, request specific information on: • The benefits of including any specific areas in the final designation and supporting rationale. • The benefits of excluding any specific areas from the final designation and supporting rationale. • Whether any specific exclusions may result in the extinction of the species and why. For non-Federal lands in particular, we are interested in information regarding the potential benefits of including such lands in critical habitat versus the benefits of excluding such lands from critical habitat. This information does not need to include a E:\FR\FM\10JNP1.SGM 10JNP1 asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 111 / Wednesday, June 10, 2015 / Proposed Rules detailed technical analysis of the potential effects of designated critical habitat on non-Federal property. In weighing the potential benefits of exclusion versus inclusion of nonFederal lands, the Service may consider whether existing partnership agreements provide for the management of the species. This consideration may include, for example, the status of conservation efforts, the effectiveness of any conservation agreements to conserve the species, and the likelihood of the conservation agreement’s future implementation. In addition, we may consider the formation or fostering of partnerships with non-Federal entities that result in positive conservation outcomes for the species, as evidenced by the development of conservation agreements, as a potential benefit of exclusion. We request comment on the broad public benefits of encouraging collaborative efforts and encouraging local and private conservation efforts. Our final determination concerning the designation of critical habitat for 135 species on the Hawaiian Islands of Molokai, Lanai, Maui, and Kahoolawe will take into consideration all written comments and information we receive during all comment periods; from peer reviewers; and during the public information meeting, as well as comments and public testimony we received during the public hearing, that we held in Kihei, Maui, on February 21, 2013 (see 78 FR 6785; January 31, 2013). The comments will be included in the public record for this rulemaking, and we will fully consider them in the preparation of our final determination. On the basis of peer reviewer and public comments, as well as any new information we may receive, we may, during the development of our final determination concerning critical habitat, find that areas within the proposed critical habitat designation do not meet the definition of critical habitat, that some modifications to the described boundaries are appropriate, or that areas may or may not be appropriate for exclusion under section 4(b)(2) of the Act. If you submitted comments or information on the proposed rule (June 11, 2012; 77 FR 34464) during any of the previous open comment periods from June 11, 2012, through September 10, 2012 (77 FR 34464 and 77 FR 47587), from January 31, 2013, through March 4, 2013 (78 FR 6785), or at the public information meeting or hearing on February 21, 2013, please do not resubmit them. We will fully consider them in the preparation of our final determinations. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:20 Jun 09, 2015 Jkt 235001 You may submit your comments by one of the methods listed in the ADDRESSES section. We will post your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—on http://www.regulations.gov. If you submit your comment via U.S. mail, you may request at the top of your document that we withhold personal information such as your street address, phone number, or email address from public review; however, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. Comments and materials we receive will be available for public inspection on http://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS–R1–ES–2013–0003, or by appointment, during normal business hours, at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). Background The topics discussed below are relevant to designation of critical habitat for 135 species on the Hawaiian Islands of Molokai, Lanai, Maui, and Kahoolawe. For more information on previous Federal actions concerning these species, refer to the proposed listing and designation of critical habitat published in the Federal Register on June 11, 2012 (77 FR 34464), and the final listing rule for 38 species on Molokai, Lanai, and Maui published in the Federal Register on May 28, 2013 (78 FR 32014), both of which are available online at http:// www.regulations.gov (at Docket Number FWS–R1–ES–2011–0098), or from the Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). Previous Federal Actions On June 11, 2012, we published a proposed rule (77 FR 34464) to list 38 species as endangered and designate or revise critical habitat for 135 plant and animal species. We proposed to designate a total of 271,062 acres (ac) (109,695 hectares (ha)) on the Hawaiian Islands of Molokai, Lanai, Maui, and Kahoolawe (collectively called Maui Nui) as critical habitat. Approximately 47 percent of the area proposed as critical habitat is already designated as critical habitat for other species, including 85 plant species for which critical habitat was designated in 1984 (49 FR 44753; November 9, 1984) and 2003 (68 FR 1220, January 9, 2003; 68 FR 12982, March 18, 2003; 68 FR 25934, May 14, 2003). Within that proposed rule, we announced a 60-day comment period, which we subsequently extended for an additional 30 days (77 FR 47587; August 9, 2012); in total, the comment period began on June 11, PO 00000 Frm 00057 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 32923 2012, and ended on September 10, 2012. On January 31, 2013, we announced the availability of the draft economic analysis on the proposed designation of critical habitat, and reopened the comment period on our proposed rule, the draft economic analysis, and amended required determinations for another 30 days, through March 4, 2013 (78 FR 6785). On January 31, 2013, we also announced a public information meeting in Kihei, Maui, which we held on February 21, 2013, followed by a public hearing on that same day. Critical Habitat Section 3 of the Act defines critical habitat as the specific areas within the geographical area occupied by a species, at the time it is listed in accordance with the Act, on which are found those physical or biological features essential to the conservation of the species and that may require special management considerations or protection, and specific areas outside the geographical area occupied by a species at the time it is listed, upon a determination that such areas are essential for the conservation of the species. If the proposed rule is made final, section 7 of the Act will prohibit destruction or adverse modification of critical habitat by any activity funded, authorized, or carried out by any Federal agency unless it is exempted pursuant to the provisions of the Act (16 U.S. C. 1536(e)–(n) and (p)). Federal agencies proposing actions affecting critical habitat must consult with us on the effects of their proposed actions, under section 7(a)(2) of the Act. Consistent with the best scientific data available, the standards of the Act, and our regulations, we have initially identified, for public comment, a total of 271,062 ac (109,695 ha) in 100 units for the 130 plants, 44 units for each of the 2 forest birds, 5 units for each of the Lanai tree snails, and 1 unit for the Maui tree snail, located on the Hawaiian Islands of Molokai, Lanai, Maui, and Kahoolawe, that meet the definition of critical habitat for the 135 plant and animal species. In addition, the Act provides the Secretary with the discretion to exclude certain areas from the final designation after taking into consideration economic impacts, impacts on national security, and any other relevant impacts of specifying any particular area as critical habitat. Consideration of Impacts Under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act Section 4(b)(2) of the Act requires that we designate or revise critical habitat based upon the best scientific data available, after taking into consideration E:\FR\FM\10JNP1.SGM 10JNP1 asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS 32924 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 111 / Wednesday, June 10, 2015 / Proposed Rules the economic impact, impact on national security, or any other relevant impact of specifying any particular area as critical habitat. We may exclude an area from critical habitat if we determine that the benefits of excluding the area outweigh the benefits of including the area as critical habitat, provided such exclusion will not result in the extinction of the species. When considering the benefits of inclusion for an area, we consider the additional regulatory benefits that area would receive from the protection from adverse modification or destruction as a result of actions with a Federal nexus (activities conducted, funded, permitted, or authorized by Federal agencies), the educational benefits of mapping areas containing essential features that aid in the recovery of the listed species, and any benefits that may result from designation due to State or Federal laws that may apply to critical habitat. In the case of the 135 Maui Nui species, the benefits of critical habitat include public awareness of the presence of one or more of these species and the importance of habitat protection, and, where a Federal nexus exists, increased habitat protection for the species due to protection from adverse modification or destruction of critical habitat. In practice, situations with a Federal nexus exist primarily on Federal lands or for projects undertaken by Federal agencies. Under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, when considering the benefits of exclusion, we consider, among other things, whether exclusion of a specific area is likely to result in conservation; the continuation, strengthening, or encouragement of conservation partnerships; or implementation of a management plan. We also consider the potential economic impacts that may result from the designation of critical habitat. In weighing the benefits of exclusion versus inclusion, we consider a number of factors, including whether the landowners have developed any habitat conservation plans (HCPs) or other management plans for the area, or whether there are conservation partnerships that would be encouraged by designation of, or exclusion from, critical habitat. We consider the establishment and encouragement of strong conservation partnerships with non-Federal landowners to be especially important in the State of Hawaii, where there are relatively few lands under Federal ownership; we cannot achieve the conservation and recovery of listed species in Hawaii without the help and cooperation of non-Federal landowners. We consider building partnerships and VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:20 Jun 09, 2015 Jkt 235001 promoting voluntary cooperation of landowners essential to understanding the status of species on non-Federal lands and necessary to implement recovery actions, such as the reintroduction of listed species, habitat restoration, and habitat protection. Many non-Federal landowners derive satisfaction from contributing to endangered species recovery. Conservation agreements with nonFederal landowners, safe harbor agreements, other conservation agreements, easements, and State and local regulations enhance species conservation by extending species protections beyond those available through section 7 consultations. We encourage non-Federal landowners to enter into conservation agreements based on a view that we can achieve greater species conservation on nonFederal lands through such partnerships than we can through regulatory methods alone, particularly for listed plants which are not subject to the Act’s section 9 prohibition on taking (USFWS and NOAA 1996c (61 FR 63854; December 2, 1996)). Because so many important conservation areas for the Maui Nui species occur on lands managed by nonFederal entities, collaborative relationships are essential for their recovery. The Maui Nui species and their habitat are expected to benefit substantially from voluntary land management actions that implement appropriate and effective conservation strategies, or that add to our knowledge of the species and their ecological needs. The conservation benefits of critical habitat, on the other hand, are primarily regulatory or prohibitive in nature. Where consistent with the discretion provided by the Act, the Service believes it is both desirable and necessary to implement policies that provide positive incentives to nonFederal landowners and land managers to voluntarily conserve natural resources and to remove or reduce disincentives to conservation (Wilcove et al. 1996, pp. 1–14; Bean 2002, p. 2). Thus, we believe it is imperative for the recovery of the Maui Nui species to support ongoing conservation activities such as those with non-Federal partners, and to provide positive incentives for other non-Federal land managers who might be considering implementing voluntary conservation activities but have concerns about incurring incidental regulatory, administrative, or economic impacts. Many landowners perceive critical habitat as an unnecessary and duplicative regulatory burden, particularly if those landowners are already developing and PO 00000 Frm 00058 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 implementing conservation and management plans that benefit listed species on their lands. In certain cases, we believe the exclusion of non-Federal lands that are under positive conservation management is likely to strengthen the partnership between the Service and the landowner, which may encourage other conservation partnerships with that landowner in the future. As an added benefit, by modeling positive conservation partnerships that may result in exclusion from critical habitat, such exclusion may also help encourage the formation of new partnerships with other landowners, with consequent benefits to the listed species. For all of these reasons, we place great weight on the value of conservation partnerships with non-Federal landowners when considering the potential benefits of inclusion versus exclusion of areas in critical habitat. In the proposed rule (June 11, 2012; 77 FR 34464), we identified several specific areas under consideration for exclusion from critical habitat, totaling approximately 40,973 ac (16,582 ha) of private lands under perpetual conservation easement, voluntary conservation agreement, conservation or watershed preserve designation, or similar conservation protection. The areas initially identified for potential exclusion, as detailed in our proposed rule, included lands owned or managed by The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Maui Land and Pineapple Company, Ulupalakua Ranch, Haleakala Ranch Company, and East Maui Irrigation Company. In the document reopening the comment period on our proposed rule, published January 31, 2013 (78 FR 6785), we specifically noted that we are considering the possible exclusion of non-Federal lands, especially areas in private ownership, and whether the benefits of exclusion may outweigh the benefits of inclusion of those areas. We asked for public comment on such potential exclusions, and for information regarding the potential benefits of including private lands in critical habitat versus the benefits of excluding such lands from critical habitat. We further noted that exclusions in the final rule would not necessarily be limited to those we had initially identified in the proposed rule. Subsequent to publication of the proposed rule on June 11, 2012 (77 FR 34464), we have identified additional private or non-Federal lands that we are considering for exclusion from critical habitat. These include lands owned or managed by Nuu Mauka Ranch; Kaupo Ranch; Wailuku Water Company; E:\FR\FM\10JNP1.SGM 10JNP1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 111 / Wednesday, June 10, 2015 / Proposed Rules asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS County of Maui, Department of Water Supply; Kamehameha Schools; Makila Land Company; Kahoma Land Company; and Lanai Resorts (Pulama Lanai) and Castle and Cooke Properties. In total, the areas being considered for exclusion from the final critical habitat amount to roughly 85,000 ac (34,400 ha), including approximately 59,500 ac (24,080 ha) on the islands of Maui and Molokai, and 25,413 ac (10,284 ha) on the island of Lanai (which would result in the exclusion of all lands proposed as critical habitat on Lanai). No lands are currently under consideration for exclusion on Kahoolawe. Here we present brief descriptions of the additional non-Federal lands under consideration for exclusion from critical habitat. Nuu Mauka Ranch—Native Watershed Forest Restoration at Nuu Mauka Conservation Plan, Leeward Haleakala Watershed Restoration Partnership Management Plan, and Southern Haleakala Forest Restoration Project We are considering exclusion of 2,094 ac (848 ha) of lands that are owned by Nuu Mauka Ranch. The ongoing management under the Native Watershed Forest Restoration Conservation Plan, Leeward Haleakala Watershed Restoration Partnership (LHWRP) management plan, and the Southern Haleakala Forest Restoration Project agreement for Nuu Mauka Ranch lands on east Maui provides for the conservation of 46 plants and the 2 forest birds and their habitat, and demonstrates the positive benefits of the conservation partnership that has been established with Nuu Mauka Ranch. Nuu Mauka Ranch is involved in several important voluntary conservation agreements with the Service and other agencies, and is currently carrying out activities on their lands for the conservation of rare and endangered species and their habitats. In 2008, the Ranch worked with the United States Geological Survey (USGS)-Pacific Island Ecosystem Research Center and Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to develop cost-effective, substrate appropriate restoration methodologies for establishment of native koa (Acacia koa) forests in degraded pasturelands. Nuu Mauka Ranch is a current partner of the LHWRP, with the main goal of protection and restoration of leeward Haleakala’s upland watershed. In 2012, Nuu Mauka Ranch obtained a conservation district use permit for a watershed protection project. The ultimate goal of this project is to improve water quality and groundwater recharge through the restoration of VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:20 Jun 09, 2015 Jkt 235001 degraded agricultural land to a native forest community. Nuu Mauka Ranch has contributed approximately $500,000 of their own funds, and received additional funding through the Service and NRCS, for construction of a 7.6-mile (12-kilometer) long deer-proof fence to prevent access by deer and goats into a 1,023-ac (414-ha), upper elevation watershed area on the south slopes of leeward Haleakala (Southern Haleakala Forest Restoration Project). Nuu Mauka Ranch has also prepared a conservation plan, ‘‘Native Watershed Forest Restoration at Nuu Mauka’’ (2012), and has appended it to the LHWRP management plan. Restoration activities outlined in the plan include mechanical and chemical control of invasive plant species, which are known threats to the 48 species and their habitat. Currently, Nuu Mauka Ranch conducts removal of feral ungulates from all fenced areas, along with fence monitoring and followup monitoring to assess erosion rates. Also, with fencing and ungulate removal completed, the plan includes continued restoration activities such as replanting and seed scattering of common native plant species. Kaupo Ranch—Leeward Haleakala Watershed Restoration Partnership Management Plan and Southern Haleakala Forest Restoration Project We are considering exclusion of 931 ac (377 ha) of lands that are owned or managed by Kaupo Ranch. Kaupo Ranch has undertaken voluntary conservation measures on their lands, demonstrating their value as a partner through participation in the LHWRP management plans and the appended written commitments by Kaupo Ranch, and the Southern Haleakala Forest Restoration Project for Kaupo Ranch lands on east Maui. These actions provide positive conservation benefits for 25 plant species and their habitat. Kaupo Ranch is a current partner of the LHWRP, with the main goal of protection and restoration of leeward Haleakala’s upland. Kaupo Ranch has identified the following conservation actions that will be appended to the LHWRP: (1) Fence existing native koa forest and remove ungulates. Kaupo Ranch also plans to expand koa forest restoration on their lands. These actions will benefit adjacent koa forest managed by the State (Kipahulu Forest Reserve (FR)). (2) Continue nonnative plant control, not only to improve their pasturelands, but to benefit adjacent conservation lands (Haleakala National Park (HNP) and Kipahulu FR) by serving as a buffer area. (3) Fence areas dominated by native vegetation on Kaupo Ranch lands, with some fencing PO 00000 Frm 00059 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 32925 already completed in cooperation with HNP and Nuu Mauka Ranch. (4) Fence some of their coastal lands and control feral goats. In addition, Kaupo Ranch has been a long time cooperator with HNP, providing access to the park’s Kaupo Gap hiking trail across their private lands. This trail extends from the park’s boundary near the summit of Haleakala through Kaupo Ranch lands to the coast. The Ranch was also a cooperator with the Service in the creation of Nuu Makai Wetland Reserve, contributing 87 ac (35 ha) of their ranch lands in the coastal area to support landscape-scale wetland protection. In addition, Kaupo Ranch participated in the construction of an ungulate exclusion fence on the upper portion of their lands, bordering HNP, that protects 50 ac (20 ha) of native montane dry forest habitat (Southern Haleakala Forest Restoration Project) and acts as a buffer to the lower boundary of the montane mesic ecosystem that provides habitat for forest birds. Additional conservation actions in this fenced area include weed control and outplanting of native plants. Wailuku Water Company—West Maui Mountains Watershed Partnership Management Plan, and Partners for Fish and Wildlife Agreements We are considering exclusion of 7,410 ac (2,999 ha) of lands owned or managed by Wailuku Water Company on west Maui, and under management as part of the West Maui Mountains Watershed Partnership (WMMWP). Ongoing conservation actions through the WMMWP management plan and Partners for Fish and Wildlife Agreements for Wailuku Water Company lands on west Maui provide important conservation benefits for 51 plants and 2 forest birds and their habitat, and demonstrate the positive benefits of the conservation partnership that has been established with Wailuku Water Company. Wailuku Water Company is one of the founding members and a funder of the WMMWP, created in 1998. This partnership serves to protect over 47,000 ac (19,000 ha) of forest and watershed vegetation on the summit and slopes of the west Maui mountains (WMMWP 2013). Management priorities of the watershed partnership are: (1) Feral animal control; (2) nonnative plant control; (3) human activities management; (4) public education and awareness; (5) water and watershed monitoring; and (6) management coordination (WMMWP 2013). Four principal streams, Waihee, Waiehu, Iao, and Waikapu, are part of the watershed area owned by the Wailuku Water E:\FR\FM\10JNP1.SGM 10JNP1 32926 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 111 / Wednesday, June 10, 2015 / Proposed Rules asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Company on west Maui, which primarily provide water for agricultural use. Conservation actions described in the WMMWP management plan are partly funded by Service grants through the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, with at least three grants recently funding projects on Wailuku Water Company lands. Wailuku Water Company’s conservation commitments include the following conservation actions: (1) Strategic fencing and removal of ungulates; (2) regular monitoring for ungulates after fencing; (3) monitoring of habitat recovery through photopoints and vegetation succession analyses; and (4) continued surveys for rare taxa prior to fence installations. In 2009, four strategic fences were installed in Waiehu on Wailuku Water Company lands through a Service Partnership agreement. Wailuku Water Company allows surveys for rare taxa on their lands. Additional conservation actions in this area include weed control and outplanting of native plants. County of Maui, Department of Water Supply (DWS)—West Maui Mountains Watershed Partnership Management Plan, and Partners for Fish and Wildlife Agreements We are considering exclusion of 3,690 ac (1,493 ha) of lands owned by the County of Maui DWS on west Maui, and under management as part of the WMMWP. The County of Maui DWS is a founding partner and funder of the WMMWP, which provides for important conservation actions that benefit the Maui Nui species through implementation of the WMMWP management plan on west Maui. The management plans and projects supported by the County of Maui DWS provide for the conservation of 38 plants and the 2 forest birds and their habitat on their lands, and demonstrate their value as a conservation partner. Maui County DWS provides water to approximately 35,000 customers on Maui and Molokai combined. The DWS is a founding partner and funder of the WMMWP, with the main goal of protection and restoration of west Maui’s upland watershed. The Maui County DWS provides financial support to both the Maui and Molokai watershed partnerships, and to other organizations, private landowners, Federal, and State agencies. Conservation actions by Maui County DWS conducted through the WMMWP are also partly funded by Service grants through the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program. Maui County DWS’s conservation commitments include the following conservation actions: (1) Strategic VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:20 Jun 09, 2015 Jkt 235001 fencing and removal of ungulates and removal of invasive nonnative plants; (2) regular monitoring to detect changes in management programs; (3) reduce the threat of fire; and (4) gain community support for conservation programs. In addition, the DWS received funding for installation of an ungulate exclusion fence on the upper portion of their lands on west Maui that protects native habitat and acts as a buffer to the lower boundary of the habitat for plants and the two forest birds. The DWS also received funding in 2010 for feral animal removal from their lands. Other conservation actions in this fenced area include weed control and outplanting of native plants. Kamehameha Schools—West Maui Mountains Watershed Partnership Management Plan, and Partners for Fish and Wildlife Agreements We are considering excluding 1,217 ac (492 ha) of lands owned or managed by Kamehameha Schools on west Maui, and under management as part of the WMMWP. Kamehameha Schools is an established conservation partner, and has participated the development, implementation, and funding of management plans and projects that benefit the Maui Nui species and other listed species throughout the Hawaiian Islands. In this case, the ongoing conservation actions through the WMMWP management plan for Kamehameha Schools’ lands on west Maui provide for the conservation of 42 plants and 2 forest birds and their habitat. Kamehameha Schools was established in 1887, through the will of Princess Bernice Pauahi Paki Bishop. The trust is used primarily to operate a college preparatory program; however, part of Kamehameha School’s mission is to protect Hawaii’s environment through recognition of the significant cultural value of the land and its unique flora and fauna. Kamehameha Schools has established a policy to guide the sustainable stewardship of its lands including natural resources, water resources, and ancestral places. Kamehameha Schools is a founder and funder of the WMMWP, and also participates in the watershed partnerships for Oahu, Molokai, Kauai, and the island of Hawaii. Conservation actions conducted by the WMMWP are partly funded by Service grants through the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program. Kamehameha Schools’ conservation commitments include the following conservation actions: (1) Strategic fencing and removal of ungulates; (2) regular monitoring for ungulates after fencing; (3) monitoring PO 00000 Frm 00060 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 of habitat recovery; and (4) continued surveys for rare taxa prior to new fence installations. In addition, Kamehameha Schools participated in the construction of strategic ungulate exclusion fences on the upper elevations of their lands on west Maui, that protect native habitat and act as a buffer to the lower boundary of the lowland mesic, montane wet, and wet cliff ecosystems. Other conservation actions in this area include weed control and outplanting of native plants. Kamehameha Schools is also conducting voluntary actions to promote the conservation of rare and endangered species and their lowland dry ecosystem habitats on the island of Hawaii, including installing fencing to exclude ungulates, restoring habitat, conducting actions to reduce rodent populations, reestablishing native plant species, and conducting activities to reducing the threat of wildfire. Makila Land Company—West Maui Mountains Watershed Partnership Management Plan, and Partners for Fish and Wildlife Agreements We are considering exclusion of 3,150 ac (1,275 ha) of lands owned and managed by Makila Land Company on west Maui, and under management as part of the WMMWP. The Makila Land Company is an established partner in the WMMWP, and ongoing conservation actions through the WMMWP management plan for Makila Land Company lands on west Maui provide for the conservation of 47 plants and 2 forest birds and their habitat. Makila Land Company has set aside upper elevation areas of their property at Puehuehunui and Kauaula on west Maui for conservation and protection of rare dry to mesic forest communities. Makila Land Company is a long-time cooperator with the WMMWP. Conservation actions conducted by the WMMWP are partly funded by Service grants through the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program. Makila Land Company’s conservation commitments include the following conservation actions: (1) Strategic fencing and removal of ungulates; (2) regular monitoring for ungulates after fencing; (3) vegetation monitoring; and (4) allowing surveys for rare taxa by the State and Service’s Plant Extinction Prevention Program (PEPP) staff. Much of the area is accessible only by helicopter due to waterfalls and steep terrain. The installation of strategic ungulate exclusion fences on the higher elevation portions of its lands protects native habitat and acts as a buffer to the boundaries of the montane wet and wet cliff ecosystem habitat. Additional conservation actions in these fenced E:\FR\FM\10JNP1.SGM 10JNP1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 111 / Wednesday, June 10, 2015 / Proposed Rules areas include weed control and outplanting of native plants. asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS Kahoma Land Company—West Maui Mountains Watershed Partnership Management Plan, and Partners for Fish and Wildlife Agreements We are considering exclusion of 46 ac (19 ha) of lands owned or managed by Kahoma Land Company on west Maui, and under management as part of the WMMWP. The ongoing conservation actions through the WMMWP management plan for Kahoma Land Company lands on west Maui provide for the conservation of 25 plants and 2 forest birds and their habitat, and demonstrate their value as a conservation partner. Kahoma Land Company is a coalition of Maui residents formed in June, 2000, to acquire former sugar cane land adjacent to Kahoma Valley on west Maui. Kahoma Land Company’s longterm management goals for this area include development of land tracts, diversified agriculture, and ecotourism ventures. Approximately 690 ac (279 ha) of the coalition’s lands are within the WMMWP boundaries between two State Natural Area Reserves, and 46 ac (19 ha) are within proposed critical habitat. Kahoma Land Company is also a current member of the WMMWP. Kahoma Land Company’s conservation actions conducted by the WMMWP are partly funded by Service grants through the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program. Its conservation commitments include the following conservation actions: (1) Strategic fencing and removal of ungulates; (2) regular monitoring for ungulates after fencing; (3) monitoring of habitat recovery through vegetation succession analyses; and (4) continued surveys for rare taxa prior to new fence installations. The WMMWP management plan includes actions taken on Kahoma lands to control ungulates, including construction of strategic fencing. Ungulate control checks are currently underway on Kahoma lands, with addition of new check installations. Additional conservation actions in this area include weed control and outplanting of native plants. Lanai Resorts, LLC, and Castle & Cooke Properties, Inc.—Lanai Conservation Plan and Lanai Conservation Agreement We are considering exclusion of 25,413 ac (10,284 ha) of lands from critical habitat, under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, that are owned by Lanai Resorts, also known as Pulama Lanai (PL) and Castle & Cooke Properties, Inc. (CCPI). Our partnership with PL and CCPI provides significant conservation VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:20 Jun 09, 2015 Jkt 235001 benefits to 38 plant and 2 Lanai tree snail species on Lanai, as demonstrated by the ongoing conversation efforts on the island, the commitment to develop the Lanai Natural Resources Plan (LNRP), and the recently signed memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Service and PL and CCPI. In 2001, the Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) approved its department’s (Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR)) participation in a Lanai watershed management program that included the Service (through a private stewardship grant), the Hawaii Department of Health, and CCPI. In 2002, the Service and CCPI entered into a memorandum of agreement (MOA) for construction of ungulate-proof fence at Lanaihale, intended to prevent entry by ungulates and to protect the watershed and the listed species within the area. The term of the MOA was for 10 years. The fencing of the summit at Lanaihale was planned to be constructed in three stages or ‘‘increments.’’ In 2004, the DLNR also provided funding through the Landowner Incentive Program to the Bishop Museum to remove nonnative plants and outplant and establish a population of more than 500 individuals of Bidens micrantha ssp. kalealaha and Pleomele fernaldii in Waiapaa Gulch at Lanaihale. Museum staff were to also collect seed for long-term storage and provide educational experiences for local Lanai students. In 2006, a fire resulted in the loss of half of the remaining wild individuals of B. micrantha ssp. kalealaha, and by 2007, none remained. Outplanting was conducted within an ungulate-free exclosure at Awehi Gulch. Also in 2007, the west side (Increment II) of the Lanaihale summit fence perimeter was completed; however, ungulates were able to access the fenced area because the gates were not completed. In 2008, more wild individuals of B. micrantha ssp. kalealaha were discovered in Waiapaa Gulch, and many seedlings were grown for outplanting by a student group at the local high school, with a second outplanted population established in 2009. This population was fenced by the Lanai Institute for the Environment (LIFE). The Service and PL and CCPI signed an expansive MOU on January 26, 2015, with a term that extends through 2028. Among the commitments made by PL and CCPI in this MOU are the following: (1) The completion of a Lanai natural resources plan (LNRP) within 18 months of the date of the agreement. Implementation of the LNRP will include identification of priority ecosystems and species, prioritization of PO 00000 Frm 00061 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 32927 management actions required, and commitment of funding; (2) maintenance and monitoring of the completed existing Lanaihale predatorproof fences; (3) ungulate eradication within the Lanaihale fences and other priority areas as identified in the LNRP; (4) cooperation with, and support of management and monitoring within, TNC’s Kanepuu Preserve units; (5) protection of rare plant clusters; (6) Lanai tree snail protection, management, and monitoring; (7) identification of rare species for immediate protective intervention efforts; (8) protection of coastal areas; (9) establishment of nearly 7,000 ac (2,800 ha) of ‘‘no development areas’’ as determined by the LNRP, within which enhancement of overall ecological condition and conservation of listed species will be emphasized; and (10) an overall commitment to ensuring a net conversation benefit for listed species on Lanai. PL and CCPI additionally agree to provide more than $200,000 annually in funding toward achievement of the conservation measures described in the MOU. Under the terms of the MOU, PL and CCPI are currently developing the LNRP. This plan will include a description of detailed management actions with timelines that will benefit and provide protection for 38 plant species, the two Lanai tree snails, and their habitat on the island of Lanai. The Service is a member of the LNRP planning and implementation team, and will therefore be an active participant in the ongoing conservation efforts on the island of Lanai. PL has committed to implementing certain protective measures in advance of the LNRP to ensure species conversation. Actions currently being implemented include: (1) Planning and construction of an enclosure for the protection of the two Lanai tree snails; (2) planning, construction, and maintenance of fences around three rare plant populations; (3) out-planting of rare species in protected locations; (4) implementation of bio-security measures to avoid the incursion and spread of invasive species; (5) maintenance of all existing fences; (6) predator control where necessary and appropriate to protect listed species; and (7) identification of other priority actions and sites. These measures are currently underway and being conducted in coordination with the Service. Summary of Potential Exclusions We are considering exclusion of these non-Federal lands because we believe the exclusion would be likely to result E:\FR\FM\10JNP1.SGM 10JNP1 32928 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 111 / Wednesday, June 10, 2015 / Proposed Rules asabaliauskas on DSK5VPTVN1PROD with PROPOSALS in the continuation, strengthening, or encouragement of important conservation partnerships that will contribute to the long-term conservation of the Maui Nui species. The development and implementation of management plans, and ability to access private lands necessary for surveys or monitoring designed to promote the conservation of these federally listed plant species and their habitat, as well as provide for other native species of concern, are important outcomes of these conservation partnerships. These specific exclusions will be considered on an individual basis or in any combination thereof. In addition, the final designation may not be limited VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:20 Jun 09, 2015 Jkt 235001 to these exclusions, but may also consider other exclusions as a result of continuing analysis of relevant considerations (scientific, economic, and other relevant factors, as required by the Act) and the public comment process. In particular, we solicit comments from the public on whether to make the specific exclusions we are considering, and whether there are other areas that are appropriate for exclusion. The final decision on whether to exclude any area will be based on the best scientific data available at the time of the final designation, including information obtained during the comment periods and information about the economic impact of the designation. PO 00000 Frm 00062 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 9990 Authors The primary authors of this notice are the staff members of the Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office, Pacific Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Authority The authority for this action is the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). Date: June 1, 2015. Michael Bean, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks. [FR Doc. 2015–13850 Filed 6–9–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4310–55–P E:\FR\FM\10JNP1.SGM 10JNP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 111 (Wednesday, June 10, 2015)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 32922-32928]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-13850]


=======================================================================
-----------------------------------------------------------------------

DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[Docket No. FWS-R1-ES-2013-0003; 4500030113]
RIN 1018-AZ25


Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Designating 
Critical Habitat on Molokai, Lanai, Maui, and Kahoolawe for 135 Species

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule; reopening of comment period.

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

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce the 
reopening of the comment period on our June 11, 2012 (77 FR 34464), 
proposal to designate or revise critical habitat for 135 plant and 
animal species on the Hawaiian Islands of Molokai, Lanai, Maui, and 
Kahoolawe under the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (Act). 
These 135 species include 2 plant species for which we reaffirmed their 
endangered listing status on May 28, 2013 (78 FR 32014); 37 plant and 
animal species we proposed for listing on June 11, 2012, and 
subsequently listed as endangered on May 28, 2013 (78 FR 32014); 11 
plant and animal species that are also already listed as endangered but 
do not have critical habitat designations; and 85 plant species that 
are already listed as endangered or threatened and have designated 
critical habitat, but for which we proposed revisions to critical 
habitat. We are reopening the comment period to allow all interested 
parties further opportunity to comment on areas that we are considering 
for exclusion in the final rule. Comments previously submitted on the 
proposed rule do not need to be resubmitted, as they will be fully 
considered in preparation of the final rule.

DATES: Written Comments: We will consider comments received or 
postmarked on or before June 25, 2015. Please note comments submitted 
electronically using the Federal eRulemaking Portal (see ADDRESSES 
section, below) must be received by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on the 
closing date. If you are submitting your comments by hard copy, please 
mail them by June 25, 2015, to ensure that we receive them in time to 
give them full consideration.

ADDRESSES: Document Availability: You may obtain copies of the June 11, 
2012, proposed rule, this document, and the draft economic analysis of 
the proposed designation of critical habitat at http://www.regulations.gov at Docket Number FWS-R1-ES-2013-0003, from the 
Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office's Web site (http://www.fws.gov/pacificislands/), or by contacting the Pacific Islands Fish 
and Wildlife Office directly (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).
    Written Comments: You may submit written comments by one of the 
following methods, or at the public information meeting or public 
hearing:
    (1) Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Search for Docket No. FWS-R1-ES-2013-0003, which 
is the docket number for this rulemaking, and follow the directions for 
submitting a comment.
    (2) By hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to: Public 
Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R1-ES-2013-0003; Division of Policy, 
Performance, and Management Programs; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 
MS: BPHC; 5275 Leesburg Pike; Falls Church, VA 22041-3803.
    We will post all comments we receive on http://www.regulations.gov. 
This generally means that we will post any personal information you 
provide us (see the Public Comments section, below, for more 
information).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kristi Young, Acting Field Supervisor, 
Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office, 300 Ala Moana Boulevard, Room 
3-122, Honolulu, HI 96850; by telephone at 808-792-9400; or by 
facsimile at 808-792-9581. Persons who use a telecommunications device 
for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service 
(FIRS) at 800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Public Comments

    We will accept written comments and information during this 
reopened comment period on our proposed designation of critical habitat 
for 135 species on the Hawaiian Islands of Molokai, Lanai, Maui, and 
Kahoolawe (collectively, ``Maui Nui'') that was published in the 
Federal Register on June 11, 2012 (77 FR 34464). In that proposed rule, 
we proposed to list 38 species as endangered, reaffirm the listing of 2 
endemic Hawaiian plants currently listed as endangered, and designate 
critical habitat for 39 of these 40 plant and animal species on the 
Hawaiian Islands of Molokai, Lanai, and Maui; and to designate critical 
habitat for 11 plant and animal species that are already listed as 
endangered, and revise critical habitat for 85 plant species that are 
already listed as endangered or threatened on the Hawaiian Islands of 
Molokai, Lanai, Maui, and Kahoolawe. On May 28, 2013, we published a 
final rule listing 38 Maui Nui species (35 plants and 3 tree snails) as 
endangered and reaffirming the listing of 2 plant species as endangered 
(78 FR 32014). Critical habitat has not yet been finalized. We have 
previously extended or reopened the comment period on the proposed 
critical habitat twice: once for 30 days, on August 9, 2012 (77 FR 
47587), and again for 30 days on January 31, 2013 (78 FR 6785).
    In particular we are seeking public comment on the areas that we 
are considering for exclusion from the final designation of critical 
habitat. Although we had previously indicated that we were considering 
the possible exclusion of non-Federal lands, especially areas in 
private ownership, and asked for comment on the broad public benefits 
of encouraging collaborative conservation efforts with local and 
private partners, we are now offering an additional opportunity for 
public comment on this issue. We will consider information and 
recommendations from all interested parties.
    We are particularly interested in comments concerning whether the 
benefits of excluding any particular area from critical habitat 
outweigh the benefits of including that area as critical habitat under 
section 4(b)(2) of the Act (16 U.S. C. 1531 et se.), after considering 
the potential impacts and benefits of the proposed critical habitat 
designation. We are considering the possible exclusion of non-Federal 
lands, especially areas in private ownership, and whether the benefits 
of exclusion may outweigh the benefits of inclusion of those areas. We, 
therefore, request specific information on:
     The benefits of including any specific areas in the final 
designation and supporting rationale.
     The benefits of excluding any specific areas from the 
final designation and supporting rationale.
     Whether any specific exclusions may result in the 
extinction of the species and why.
    For non-Federal lands in particular, we are interested in 
information regarding the potential benefits of including such lands in 
critical habitat versus the benefits of excluding such lands from 
critical habitat. This information does not need to include a

[[Page 32923]]

detailed technical analysis of the potential effects of designated 
critical habitat on non-Federal property. In weighing the potential 
benefits of exclusion versus inclusion of non-Federal lands, the 
Service may consider whether existing partnership agreements provide 
for the management of the species. This consideration may include, for 
example, the status of conservation efforts, the effectiveness of any 
conservation agreements to conserve the species, and the likelihood of 
the conservation agreement's future implementation. In addition, we may 
consider the formation or fostering of partnerships with non-Federal 
entities that result in positive conservation outcomes for the species, 
as evidenced by the development of conservation agreements, as a 
potential benefit of exclusion. We request comment on the broad public 
benefits of encouraging collaborative efforts and encouraging local and 
private conservation efforts.
    Our final determination concerning the designation of critical 
habitat for 135 species on the Hawaiian Islands of Molokai, Lanai, 
Maui, and Kahoolawe will take into consideration all written comments 
and information we receive during all comment periods; from peer 
reviewers; and during the public information meeting, as well as 
comments and public testimony we received during the public hearing, 
that we held in Kihei, Maui, on February 21, 2013 (see 78 FR 6785; 
January 31, 2013). The comments will be included in the public record 
for this rulemaking, and we will fully consider them in the preparation 
of our final determination. On the basis of peer reviewer and public 
comments, as well as any new information we may receive, we may, during 
the development of our final determination concerning critical habitat, 
find that areas within the proposed critical habitat designation do not 
meet the definition of critical habitat, that some modifications to the 
described boundaries are appropriate, or that areas may or may not be 
appropriate for exclusion under section 4(b)(2) of the Act.
    If you submitted comments or information on the proposed rule (June 
11, 2012; 77 FR 34464) during any of the previous open comment periods 
from June 11, 2012, through September 10, 2012 (77 FR 34464 and 77 FR 
47587), from January 31, 2013, through March 4, 2013 (78 FR 6785), or 
at the public information meeting or hearing on February 21, 2013, 
please do not resubmit them. We will fully consider them in the 
preparation of our final determinations.
    You may submit your comments by one of the methods listed in the 
ADDRESSES section. We will post your entire comment--including your 
personal identifying information--on http://www.regulations.gov. If you 
submit your comment via U.S. mail, you may request at the top of your 
document that we withhold personal information such as your street 
address, phone number, or email address from public review; however, we 
cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so.
    Comments and materials we receive will be available for public 
inspection on http://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS-R1-ES-2013-
0003, or by appointment, during normal business hours, at the U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service, Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office (see FOR 
FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

Background

    The topics discussed below are relevant to designation of critical 
habitat for 135 species on the Hawaiian Islands of Molokai, Lanai, 
Maui, and Kahoolawe. For more information on previous Federal actions 
concerning these species, refer to the proposed listing and designation 
of critical habitat published in the Federal Register on June 11, 2012 
(77 FR 34464), and the final listing rule for 38 species on Molokai, 
Lanai, and Maui published in the Federal Register on May 28, 2013 (78 
FR 32014), both of which are available online at http://www.regulations.gov (at Docket Number FWS-R1-ES-2011-0098), or from the 
Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 
CONTACT).

Previous Federal Actions

    On June 11, 2012, we published a proposed rule (77 FR 34464) to 
list 38 species as endangered and designate or revise critical habitat 
for 135 plant and animal species. We proposed to designate a total of 
271,062 acres (ac) (109,695 hectares (ha)) on the Hawaiian Islands of 
Molokai, Lanai, Maui, and Kahoolawe (collectively called Maui Nui) as 
critical habitat. Approximately 47 percent of the area proposed as 
critical habitat is already designated as critical habitat for other 
species, including 85 plant species for which critical habitat was 
designated in 1984 (49 FR 44753; November 9, 1984) and 2003 (68 FR 
1220, January 9, 2003; 68 FR 12982, March 18, 2003; 68 FR 25934, May 
14, 2003). Within that proposed rule, we announced a 60-day comment 
period, which we subsequently extended for an additional 30 days (77 FR 
47587; August 9, 2012); in total, the comment period began on June 11, 
2012, and ended on September 10, 2012. On January 31, 2013, we 
announced the availability of the draft economic analysis on the 
proposed designation of critical habitat, and reopened the comment 
period on our proposed rule, the draft economic analysis, and amended 
required determinations for another 30 days, through March 4, 2013 (78 
FR 6785). On January 31, 2013, we also announced a public information 
meeting in Kihei, Maui, which we held on February 21, 2013, followed by 
a public hearing on that same day.

Critical Habitat

    Section 3 of the Act defines critical habitat as the specific areas 
within the geographical area occupied by a species, at the time it is 
listed in accordance with the Act, on which are found those physical or 
biological features essential to the conservation of the species and 
that may require special management considerations or protection, and 
specific areas outside the geographical area occupied by a species at 
the time it is listed, upon a determination that such areas are 
essential for the conservation of the species. If the proposed rule is 
made final, section 7 of the Act will prohibit destruction or adverse 
modification of critical habitat by any activity funded, authorized, or 
carried out by any Federal agency unless it is exempted pursuant to the 
provisions of the Act (16 U.S. C. 1536(e)-(n) and (p)). Federal 
agencies proposing actions affecting critical habitat must consult with 
us on the effects of their proposed actions, under section 7(a)(2) of 
the Act.
    Consistent with the best scientific data available, the standards 
of the Act, and our regulations, we have initially identified, for 
public comment, a total of 271,062 ac (109,695 ha) in 100 units for the 
130 plants, 44 units for each of the 2 forest birds, 5 units for each 
of the Lanai tree snails, and 1 unit for the Maui tree snail, located 
on the Hawaiian Islands of Molokai, Lanai, Maui, and Kahoolawe, that 
meet the definition of critical habitat for the 135 plant and animal 
species. In addition, the Act provides the Secretary with the 
discretion to exclude certain areas from the final designation after 
taking into consideration economic impacts, impacts on national 
security, and any other relevant impacts of specifying any particular 
area as critical habitat.

Consideration of Impacts Under Section 4(b)(2) of the Act

    Section 4(b)(2) of the Act requires that we designate or revise 
critical habitat based upon the best scientific data available, after 
taking into consideration

[[Page 32924]]

the economic impact, impact on national security, or any other relevant 
impact of specifying any particular area as critical habitat. We may 
exclude an area from critical habitat if we determine that the benefits 
of excluding the area outweigh the benefits of including the area as 
critical habitat, provided such exclusion will not result in the 
extinction of the species.
    When considering the benefits of inclusion for an area, we consider 
the additional regulatory benefits that area would receive from the 
protection from adverse modification or destruction as a result of 
actions with a Federal nexus (activities conducted, funded, permitted, 
or authorized by Federal agencies), the educational benefits of mapping 
areas containing essential features that aid in the recovery of the 
listed species, and any benefits that may result from designation due 
to State or Federal laws that may apply to critical habitat. In the 
case of the 135 Maui Nui species, the benefits of critical habitat 
include public awareness of the presence of one or more of these 
species and the importance of habitat protection, and, where a Federal 
nexus exists, increased habitat protection for the species due to 
protection from adverse modification or destruction of critical 
habitat. In practice, situations with a Federal nexus exist primarily 
on Federal lands or for projects undertaken by Federal agencies.
    Under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, when considering the benefits of 
exclusion, we consider, among other things, whether exclusion of a 
specific area is likely to result in conservation; the continuation, 
strengthening, or encouragement of conservation partnerships; or 
implementation of a management plan. We also consider the potential 
economic impacts that may result from the designation of critical 
habitat.
    In weighing the benefits of exclusion versus inclusion, we consider 
a number of factors, including whether the landowners have developed 
any habitat conservation plans (HCPs) or other management plans for the 
area, or whether there are conservation partnerships that would be 
encouraged by designation of, or exclusion from, critical habitat. We 
consider the establishment and encouragement of strong conservation 
partnerships with non-Federal landowners to be especially important in 
the State of Hawaii, where there are relatively few lands under Federal 
ownership; we cannot achieve the conservation and recovery of listed 
species in Hawaii without the help and cooperation of non-Federal 
landowners. We consider building partnerships and promoting voluntary 
cooperation of landowners essential to understanding the status of 
species on non-Federal lands and necessary to implement recovery 
actions, such as the reintroduction of listed species, habitat 
restoration, and habitat protection.
    Many non-Federal landowners derive satisfaction from contributing 
to endangered species recovery. Conservation agreements with non-
Federal landowners, safe harbor agreements, other conservation 
agreements, easements, and State and local regulations enhance species 
conservation by extending species protections beyond those available 
through section 7 consultations. We encourage non-Federal landowners to 
enter into conservation agreements based on a view that we can achieve 
greater species conservation on non-Federal lands through such 
partnerships than we can through regulatory methods alone, particularly 
for listed plants which are not subject to the Act's section 9 
prohibition on taking (USFWS and NOAA 1996c (61 FR 63854; December 2, 
1996)).
    Because so many important conservation areas for the Maui Nui 
species occur on lands managed by non-Federal entities, collaborative 
relationships are essential for their recovery. The Maui Nui species 
and their habitat are expected to benefit substantially from voluntary 
land management actions that implement appropriate and effective 
conservation strategies, or that add to our knowledge of the species 
and their ecological needs. The conservation benefits of critical 
habitat, on the other hand, are primarily regulatory or prohibitive in 
nature. Where consistent with the discretion provided by the Act, the 
Service believes it is both desirable and necessary to implement 
policies that provide positive incentives to non-Federal landowners and 
land managers to voluntarily conserve natural resources and to remove 
or reduce disincentives to conservation (Wilcove et al. 1996, pp. 1-14; 
Bean 2002, p. 2). Thus, we believe it is imperative for the recovery of 
the Maui Nui species to support ongoing conservation activities such as 
those with non-Federal partners, and to provide positive incentives for 
other non-Federal land managers who might be considering implementing 
voluntary conservation activities but have concerns about incurring 
incidental regulatory, administrative, or economic impacts. Many 
landowners perceive critical habitat as an unnecessary and duplicative 
regulatory burden, particularly if those landowners are already 
developing and implementing conservation and management plans that 
benefit listed species on their lands. In certain cases, we believe the 
exclusion of non-Federal lands that are under positive conservation 
management is likely to strengthen the partnership between the Service 
and the landowner, which may encourage other conservation partnerships 
with that landowner in the future. As an added benefit, by modeling 
positive conservation partnerships that may result in exclusion from 
critical habitat, such exclusion may also help encourage the formation 
of new partnerships with other landowners, with consequent benefits to 
the listed species. For all of these reasons, we place great weight on 
the value of conservation partnerships with non-Federal landowners when 
considering the potential benefits of inclusion versus exclusion of 
areas in critical habitat.
    In the proposed rule (June 11, 2012; 77 FR 34464), we identified 
several specific areas under consideration for exclusion from critical 
habitat, totaling approximately 40,973 ac (16,582 ha) of private lands 
under perpetual conservation easement, voluntary conservation 
agreement, conservation or watershed preserve designation, or similar 
conservation protection. The areas initially identified for potential 
exclusion, as detailed in our proposed rule, included lands owned or 
managed by The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Maui Land and Pineapple 
Company, Ulupalakua Ranch, Haleakala Ranch Company, and East Maui 
Irrigation Company.
    In the document reopening the comment period on our proposed rule, 
published January 31, 2013 (78 FR 6785), we specifically noted that we 
are considering the possible exclusion of non-Federal lands, especially 
areas in private ownership, and whether the benefits of exclusion may 
outweigh the benefits of inclusion of those areas. We asked for public 
comment on such potential exclusions, and for information regarding the 
potential benefits of including private lands in critical habitat 
versus the benefits of excluding such lands from critical habitat. We 
further noted that exclusions in the final rule would not necessarily 
be limited to those we had initially identified in the proposed rule. 
Subsequent to publication of the proposed rule on June 11, 2012 (77 FR 
34464), we have identified additional private or non-Federal lands that 
we are considering for exclusion from critical habitat. These include 
lands owned or managed by Nuu Mauka Ranch; Kaupo Ranch; Wailuku Water 
Company;

[[Page 32925]]

County of Maui, Department of Water Supply; Kamehameha Schools; Makila 
Land Company; Kahoma Land Company; and Lanai Resorts (Pulama Lanai) and 
Castle and Cooke Properties. In total, the areas being considered for 
exclusion from the final critical habitat amount to roughly 85,000 ac 
(34,400 ha), including approximately 59,500 ac (24,080 ha) on the 
islands of Maui and Molokai, and 25,413 ac (10,284 ha) on the island of 
Lanai (which would result in the exclusion of all lands proposed as 
critical habitat on Lanai). No lands are currently under consideration 
for exclusion on Kahoolawe. Here we present brief descriptions of the 
additional non-Federal lands under consideration for exclusion from 
critical habitat.

Nuu Mauka Ranch--Native Watershed Forest Restoration at Nuu Mauka 
Conservation Plan, Leeward Haleakala Watershed Restoration Partnership 
Management Plan, and Southern Haleakala Forest Restoration Project

    We are considering exclusion of 2,094 ac (848 ha) of lands that are 
owned by Nuu Mauka Ranch. The ongoing management under the Native 
Watershed Forest Restoration Conservation Plan, Leeward Haleakala 
Watershed Restoration Partnership (LHWRP) management plan, and the 
Southern Haleakala Forest Restoration Project agreement for Nuu Mauka 
Ranch lands on east Maui provides for the conservation of 46 plants and 
the 2 forest birds and their habitat, and demonstrates the positive 
benefits of the conservation partnership that has been established with 
Nuu Mauka Ranch.
    Nuu Mauka Ranch is involved in several important voluntary 
conservation agreements with the Service and other agencies, and is 
currently carrying out activities on their lands for the conservation 
of rare and endangered species and their habitats. In 2008, the Ranch 
worked with the United States Geological Survey (USGS)-Pacific Island 
Ecosystem Research Center and Natural Resources Conservation Service 
(NRCS) to develop cost-effective, substrate appropriate restoration 
methodologies for establishment of native koa (Acacia koa) forests in 
degraded pasturelands. Nuu Mauka Ranch is a current partner of the 
LHWRP, with the main goal of protection and restoration of leeward 
Haleakala's upland watershed. In 2012, Nuu Mauka Ranch obtained a 
conservation district use permit for a watershed protection project. 
The ultimate goal of this project is to improve water quality and 
groundwater recharge through the restoration of degraded agricultural 
land to a native forest community. Nuu Mauka Ranch has contributed 
approximately $500,000 of their own funds, and received additional 
funding through the Service and NRCS, for construction of a 7.6-mile 
(12-kilometer) long deer-proof fence to prevent access by deer and 
goats into a 1,023-ac (414-ha), upper elevation watershed area on the 
south slopes of leeward Haleakala (Southern Haleakala Forest 
Restoration Project). Nuu Mauka Ranch has also prepared a conservation 
plan, ``Native Watershed Forest Restoration at Nuu Mauka'' (2012), and 
has appended it to the LHWRP management plan. Restoration activities 
outlined in the plan include mechanical and chemical control of 
invasive plant species, which are known threats to the 48 species and 
their habitat. Currently, Nuu Mauka Ranch conducts removal of feral 
ungulates from all fenced areas, along with fence monitoring and 
follow-up monitoring to assess erosion rates. Also, with fencing and 
ungulate removal completed, the plan includes continued restoration 
activities such as replanting and seed scattering of common native 
plant species.

Kaupo Ranch--Leeward Haleakala Watershed Restoration Partnership 
Management Plan and Southern Haleakala Forest Restoration Project

    We are considering exclusion of 931 ac (377 ha) of lands that are 
owned or managed by Kaupo Ranch. Kaupo Ranch has undertaken voluntary 
conservation measures on their lands, demonstrating their value as a 
partner through participation in the LHWRP management plans and the 
appended written commitments by Kaupo Ranch, and the Southern Haleakala 
Forest Restoration Project for Kaupo Ranch lands on east Maui. These 
actions provide positive conservation benefits for 25 plant species and 
their habitat.
    Kaupo Ranch is a current partner of the LHWRP, with the main goal 
of protection and restoration of leeward Haleakala's upland. Kaupo 
Ranch has identified the following conservation actions that will be 
appended to the LHWRP: (1) Fence existing native koa forest and remove 
ungulates. Kaupo Ranch also plans to expand koa forest restoration on 
their lands. These actions will benefit adjacent koa forest managed by 
the State (Kipahulu Forest Reserve (FR)). (2) Continue nonnative plant 
control, not only to improve their pasturelands, but to benefit 
adjacent conservation lands (Haleakala National Park (HNP) and Kipahulu 
FR) by serving as a buffer area. (3) Fence areas dominated by native 
vegetation on Kaupo Ranch lands, with some fencing already completed in 
cooperation with HNP and Nuu Mauka Ranch. (4) Fence some of their 
coastal lands and control feral goats.
    In addition, Kaupo Ranch has been a long time cooperator with HNP, 
providing access to the park's Kaupo Gap hiking trail across their 
private lands. This trail extends from the park's boundary near the 
summit of Haleakala through Kaupo Ranch lands to the coast. The Ranch 
was also a cooperator with the Service in the creation of Nuu Makai 
Wetland Reserve, contributing 87 ac (35 ha) of their ranch lands in the 
coastal area to support landscape-scale wetland protection. In 
addition, Kaupo Ranch participated in the construction of an ungulate 
exclusion fence on the upper portion of their lands, bordering HNP, 
that protects 50 ac (20 ha) of native montane dry forest habitat 
(Southern Haleakala Forest Restoration Project) and acts as a buffer to 
the lower boundary of the montane mesic ecosystem that provides habitat 
for forest birds. Additional conservation actions in this fenced area 
include weed control and outplanting of native plants.

Wailuku Water Company--West Maui Mountains Watershed Partnership 
Management Plan, and Partners for Fish and Wildlife Agreements

    We are considering exclusion of 7,410 ac (2,999 ha) of lands owned 
or managed by Wailuku Water Company on west Maui, and under management 
as part of the West Maui Mountains Watershed Partnership (WMMWP). 
Ongoing conservation actions through the WMMWP management plan and 
Partners for Fish and Wildlife Agreements for Wailuku Water Company 
lands on west Maui provide important conservation benefits for 51 
plants and 2 forest birds and their habitat, and demonstrate the 
positive benefits of the conservation partnership that has been 
established with Wailuku Water Company.
    Wailuku Water Company is one of the founding members and a funder 
of the WMMWP, created in 1998. This partnership serves to protect over 
47,000 ac (19,000 ha) of forest and watershed vegetation on the summit 
and slopes of the west Maui mountains (WMMWP 2013). Management 
priorities of the watershed partnership are: (1) Feral animal control; 
(2) nonnative plant control; (3) human activities management; (4) 
public education and awareness; (5) water and watershed monitoring; and 
(6) management coordination (WMMWP 2013). Four principal streams, 
Waihee, Waiehu, Iao, and Waikapu, are part of the watershed area owned 
by the Wailuku Water

[[Page 32926]]

Company on west Maui, which primarily provide water for agricultural 
use. Conservation actions described in the WMMWP management plan are 
partly funded by Service grants through the Partners for Fish and 
Wildlife Program, with at least three grants recently funding projects 
on Wailuku Water Company lands. Wailuku Water Company's conservation 
commitments include the following conservation actions: (1) Strategic 
fencing and removal of ungulates; (2) regular monitoring for ungulates 
after fencing; (3) monitoring of habitat recovery through photopoints 
and vegetation succession analyses; and (4) continued surveys for rare 
taxa prior to fence installations. In 2009, four strategic fences were 
installed in Waiehu on Wailuku Water Company lands through a Service 
Partnership agreement. Wailuku Water Company allows surveys for rare 
taxa on their lands. Additional conservation actions in this area 
include weed control and outplanting of native plants.

County of Maui, Department of Water Supply (DWS)--West Maui Mountains 
Watershed Partnership Management Plan, and Partners for Fish and 
Wildlife Agreements

    We are considering exclusion of 3,690 ac (1,493 ha) of lands owned 
by the County of Maui DWS on west Maui, and under management as part of 
the WMMWP. The County of Maui DWS is a founding partner and funder of 
the WMMWP, which provides for important conservation actions that 
benefit the Maui Nui species through implementation of the WMMWP 
management plan on west Maui. The management plans and projects 
supported by the County of Maui DWS provide for the conservation of 38 
plants and the 2 forest birds and their habitat on their lands, and 
demonstrate their value as a conservation partner.
    Maui County DWS provides water to approximately 35,000 customers on 
Maui and Molokai combined. The DWS is a founding partner and funder of 
the WMMWP, with the main goal of protection and restoration of west 
Maui's upland watershed. The Maui County DWS provides financial support 
to both the Maui and Molokai watershed partnerships, and to other 
organizations, private landowners, Federal, and State agencies. 
Conservation actions by Maui County DWS conducted through the WMMWP are 
also partly funded by Service grants through the Partners for Fish and 
Wildlife Program. Maui County DWS's conservation commitments include 
the following conservation actions: (1) Strategic fencing and removal 
of ungulates and removal of invasive nonnative plants; (2) regular 
monitoring to detect changes in management programs; (3) reduce the 
threat of fire; and (4) gain community support for conservation 
programs. In addition, the DWS received funding for installation of an 
ungulate exclusion fence on the upper portion of their lands on west 
Maui that protects native habitat and acts as a buffer to the lower 
boundary of the habitat for plants and the two forest birds. The DWS 
also received funding in 2010 for feral animal removal from their 
lands. Other conservation actions in this fenced area include weed 
control and outplanting of native plants.

Kamehameha Schools--West Maui Mountains Watershed Partnership 
Management Plan, and Partners for Fish and Wildlife Agreements

    We are considering excluding 1,217 ac (492 ha) of lands owned or 
managed by Kamehameha Schools on west Maui, and under management as 
part of the WMMWP. Kamehameha Schools is an established conservation 
partner, and has participated the development, implementation, and 
funding of management plans and projects that benefit the Maui Nui 
species and other listed species throughout the Hawaiian Islands. In 
this case, the ongoing conservation actions through the WMMWP 
management plan for Kamehameha Schools' lands on west Maui provide for 
the conservation of 42 plants and 2 forest birds and their habitat.
    Kamehameha Schools was established in 1887, through the will of 
Princess Bernice Pauahi Paki Bishop. The trust is used primarily to 
operate a college preparatory program; however, part of Kamehameha 
School's mission is to protect Hawaii's environment through recognition 
of the significant cultural value of the land and its unique flora and 
fauna. Kamehameha Schools has established a policy to guide the 
sustainable stewardship of its lands including natural resources, water 
resources, and ancestral places. Kamehameha Schools is a founder and 
funder of the WMMWP, and also participates in the watershed 
partnerships for Oahu, Molokai, Kauai, and the island of Hawaii. 
Conservation actions conducted by the WMMWP are partly funded by 
Service grants through the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program. 
Kamehameha Schools' conservation commitments include the following 
conservation actions: (1) Strategic fencing and removal of ungulates; 
(2) regular monitoring for ungulates after fencing; (3) monitoring of 
habitat recovery; and (4) continued surveys for rare taxa prior to new 
fence installations. In addition, Kamehameha Schools participated in 
the construction of strategic ungulate exclusion fences on the upper 
elevations of their lands on west Maui, that protect native habitat and 
act as a buffer to the lower boundary of the lowland mesic, montane 
wet, and wet cliff ecosystems. Other conservation actions in this area 
include weed control and outplanting of native plants. Kamehameha 
Schools is also conducting voluntary actions to promote the 
conservation of rare and endangered species and their lowland dry 
ecosystem habitats on the island of Hawaii, including installing 
fencing to exclude ungulates, restoring habitat, conducting actions to 
reduce rodent populations, reestablishing native plant species, and 
conducting activities to reducing the threat of wildfire.

Makila Land Company--West Maui Mountains Watershed Partnership 
Management Plan, and Partners for Fish and Wildlife Agreements

    We are considering exclusion of 3,150 ac (1,275 ha) of lands owned 
and managed by Makila Land Company on west Maui, and under management 
as part of the WMMWP. The Makila Land Company is an established partner 
in the WMMWP, and ongoing conservation actions through the WMMWP 
management plan for Makila Land Company lands on west Maui provide for 
the conservation of 47 plants and 2 forest birds and their habitat.
    Makila Land Company has set aside upper elevation areas of their 
property at Puehuehunui and Kauaula on west Maui for conservation and 
protection of rare dry to mesic forest communities. Makila Land Company 
is a long-time cooperator with the WMMWP. Conservation actions 
conducted by the WMMWP are partly funded by Service grants through the 
Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program. Makila Land Company's 
conservation commitments include the following conservation actions: 
(1) Strategic fencing and removal of ungulates; (2) regular monitoring 
for ungulates after fencing; (3) vegetation monitoring; and (4) 
allowing surveys for rare taxa by the State and Service's Plant 
Extinction Prevention Program (PEPP) staff. Much of the area is 
accessible only by helicopter due to waterfalls and steep terrain. The 
installation of strategic ungulate exclusion fences on the higher 
elevation portions of its lands protects native habitat and acts as a 
buffer to the boundaries of the montane wet and wet cliff ecosystem 
habitat. Additional conservation actions in these fenced

[[Page 32927]]

areas include weed control and outplanting of native plants.

Kahoma Land Company--West Maui Mountains Watershed Partnership 
Management Plan, and Partners for Fish and Wildlife Agreements

    We are considering exclusion of 46 ac (19 ha) of lands owned or 
managed by Kahoma Land Company on west Maui, and under management as 
part of the WMMWP. The ongoing conservation actions through the WMMWP 
management plan for Kahoma Land Company lands on west Maui provide for 
the conservation of 25 plants and 2 forest birds and their habitat, and 
demonstrate their value as a conservation partner.
    Kahoma Land Company is a coalition of Maui residents formed in 
June, 2000, to acquire former sugar cane land adjacent to Kahoma Valley 
on west Maui. Kahoma Land Company's long-term management goals for this 
area include development of land tracts, diversified agriculture, and 
ecotourism ventures. Approximately 690 ac (279 ha) of the coalition's 
lands are within the WMMWP boundaries between two State Natural Area 
Reserves, and 46 ac (19 ha) are within proposed critical habitat. 
Kahoma Land Company is also a current member of the WMMWP. Kahoma Land 
Company's conservation actions conducted by the WMMWP are partly funded 
by Service grants through the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program. 
Its conservation commitments include the following conservation 
actions: (1) Strategic fencing and removal of ungulates; (2) regular 
monitoring for ungulates after fencing; (3) monitoring of habitat 
recovery through vegetation succession analyses; and (4) continued 
surveys for rare taxa prior to new fence installations. The WMMWP 
management plan includes actions taken on Kahoma lands to control 
ungulates, including construction of strategic fencing. Ungulate 
control checks are currently underway on Kahoma lands, with addition of 
new check installations. Additional conservation actions in this area 
include weed control and outplanting of native plants.

Lanai Resorts, LLC, and Castle & Cooke Properties, Inc.--Lanai 
Conservation Plan and Lanai Conservation Agreement

    We are considering exclusion of 25,413 ac (10,284 ha) of lands from 
critical habitat, under section 4(b)(2) of the Act, that are owned by 
Lanai Resorts, also known as Pulama Lanai (PL) and Castle & Cooke 
Properties, Inc. (CCPI). Our partnership with PL and CCPI provides 
significant conservation benefits to 38 plant and 2 Lanai tree snail 
species on Lanai, as demonstrated by the ongoing conversation efforts 
on the island, the commitment to develop the Lanai Natural Resources 
Plan (LNRP), and the recently signed memorandum of understanding (MOU) 
between the Service and PL and CCPI.
    In 2001, the Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) approved 
its department's (Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR)) 
participation in a Lanai watershed management program that included the 
Service (through a private stewardship grant), the Hawaii Department of 
Health, and CCPI. In 2002, the Service and CCPI entered into a 
memorandum of agreement (MOA) for construction of ungulate-proof fence 
at Lanaihale, intended to prevent entry by ungulates and to protect the 
watershed and the listed species within the area. The term of the MOA 
was for 10 years. The fencing of the summit at Lanaihale was planned to 
be constructed in three stages or ``increments.'' In 2004, the DLNR 
also provided funding through the Landowner Incentive Program to the 
Bishop Museum to remove nonnative plants and outplant and establish a 
population of more than 500 individuals of Bidens micrantha ssp. 
kalealaha and Pleomele fernaldii in Waiapaa Gulch at Lanaihale. Museum 
staff were to also collect seed for long-term storage and provide 
educational experiences for local Lanai students. In 2006, a fire 
resulted in the loss of half of the remaining wild individuals of B. 
micrantha ssp. kalealaha, and by 2007, none remained. Outplanting was 
conducted within an ungulate-free exclosure at Awehi Gulch. Also in 
2007, the west side (Increment II) of the Lanaihale summit fence 
perimeter was completed; however, ungulates were able to access the 
fenced area because the gates were not completed. In 2008, more wild 
individuals of B. micrantha ssp. kalealaha were discovered in Waiapaa 
Gulch, and many seedlings were grown for outplanting by a student group 
at the local high school, with a second outplanted population 
established in 2009. This population was fenced by the Lanai Institute 
for the Environment (LIFE).
    The Service and PL and CCPI signed an expansive MOU on January 26, 
2015, with a term that extends through 2028. Among the commitments made 
by PL and CCPI in this MOU are the following: (1) The completion of a 
Lanai natural resources plan (LNRP) within 18 months of the date of the 
agreement. Implementation of the LNRP will include identification of 
priority ecosystems and species, prioritization of management actions 
required, and commitment of funding; (2) maintenance and monitoring of 
the completed existing Lanaihale predator-proof fences; (3) ungulate 
eradication within the Lanaihale fences and other priority areas as 
identified in the LNRP; (4) cooperation with, and support of management 
and monitoring within, TNC's Kanepuu Preserve units; (5) protection of 
rare plant clusters; (6) Lanai tree snail protection, management, and 
monitoring; (7) identification of rare species for immediate protective 
intervention efforts; (8) protection of coastal areas; (9) 
establishment of nearly 7,000 ac (2,800 ha) of ``no development areas'' 
as determined by the LNRP, within which enhancement of overall 
ecological condition and conservation of listed species will be 
emphasized; and (10) an overall commitment to ensuring a net 
conversation benefit for listed species on Lanai. PL and CCPI 
additionally agree to provide more than $200,000 annually in funding 
toward achievement of the conservation measures described in the MOU.
    Under the terms of the MOU, PL and CCPI are currently developing 
the LNRP. This plan will include a description of detailed management 
actions with timelines that will benefit and provide protection for 38 
plant species, the two Lanai tree snails, and their habitat on the 
island of Lanai. The Service is a member of the LNRP planning and 
implementation team, and will therefore be an active participant in the 
ongoing conservation efforts on the island of Lanai.
    PL has committed to implementing certain protective measures in 
advance of the LNRP to ensure species conversation. Actions currently 
being implemented include: (1) Planning and construction of an 
enclosure for the protection of the two Lanai tree snails; (2) 
planning, construction, and maintenance of fences around three rare 
plant populations; (3) out-planting of rare species in protected 
locations; (4) implementation of bio-security measures to avoid the 
incursion and spread of invasive species; (5) maintenance of all 
existing fences; (6) predator control where necessary and appropriate 
to protect listed species; and (7) identification of other priority 
actions and sites. These measures are currently underway and being 
conducted in coordination with the Service.
Summary of Potential Exclusions
    We are considering exclusion of these non-Federal lands because we 
believe the exclusion would be likely to result

[[Page 32928]]

in the continuation, strengthening, or encouragement of important 
conservation partnerships that will contribute to the long-term 
conservation of the Maui Nui species. The development and 
implementation of management plans, and ability to access private lands 
necessary for surveys or monitoring designed to promote the 
conservation of these federally listed plant species and their habitat, 
as well as provide for other native species of concern, are important 
outcomes of these conservation partnerships.
    These specific exclusions will be considered on an individual basis 
or in any combination thereof. In addition, the final designation may 
not be limited to these exclusions, but may also consider other 
exclusions as a result of continuing analysis of relevant 
considerations (scientific, economic, and other relevant factors, as 
required by the Act) and the public comment process. In particular, we 
solicit comments from the public on whether to make the specific 
exclusions we are considering, and whether there are other areas that 
are appropriate for exclusion.
    The final decision on whether to exclude any area will be based on 
the best scientific data available at the time of the final 
designation, including information obtained during the comment periods 
and information about the economic impact of the designation.

Authors

    The primary authors of this notice are the staff members of the 
Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office, Pacific Region, U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service.

Authority

    The authority for this action is the Endangered Species Act of 
1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.).

    Date: June 1, 2015.
Michael Bean,
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 2015-13850 Filed 6-9-15; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4310-55-P