Draft Safe Harbor Agreement for Nene at Haleakala Ranch, Maui, 4849-4851 [2019-02633]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 33 / Tuesday, February 19, 2019 / Notices on these applications. Before issuing any of the requested permits, we will take into consideration any information that we receive during the public comment period. You may submit your comments and materials by one of the methods in ADDRESSES. We will not consider comments sent by email or fax, or to an address not in ADDRESSES. We will not consider or include in our administrative record comments we receive after the close of the comment period (see DATES). When submitting comments, please specify the name of the applicant and the permit number at the beginning of your comment. Provide sufficient information to allow us to authenticate any scientific or commercial data you include. The comments and recommendations that will be most useful and likely to influence agency decisions are: (1) Those supported by quantitative information or studies; and (2) those that include citations to, and analyses of, the applicable laws and regulations. B. May I review comments submitted by others? You may view and comment on others’ public comments at http:// www.regulations.gov, unless our allowing so would violate the Privacy Act (5 U.S.C. 552a) or Freedom of Information Act (5 U.S.C. 552). tkelley on DSKBCP9HB2PROD with NOTICES C. Who will see my comments? If you submit a comment at http:// www.regulations.gov, your entire comment, including any personal identifying information, will be posted on the website. If you submit a hardcopy comment that includes personal identifying information, such as your address, phone number, or email address, you may request at the top of your document that we withhold this information from public review. However, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. Moreover, all submissions from organizations or businesses, and from individuals identifying themselves as representatives or officials of organizations or businesses, will be made available for public disclosure in their entirety. II. Background To help us carry out our conservation responsibilities for affected species, and in consideration of section 10(c) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), we invite public comments on permit applications before final action is taken. With some exceptions, the ESA VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:46 Feb 15, 2019 Jkt 247001 prohibits certain activities with listed species unless Federal authorization is issued that allows such activities. Permits issued under section 10(a)(1)(A) of the ESA allow otherwise prohibited activities for scientific purposes or to enhance the propagation or survival of the affected species. Service regulations regarding prohibited activities with endangered species, captive-bred wildlife registrations, and permits for any activity otherwise prohibited by the ESA with respect to any endangered species are available in title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations in part 17. 4849 of 1973, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), and its implementing regulations. Brenda Tapia, Program Analyst/Data Administrator, Branch of Permits, Division of Management Authority. [FR Doc. 2019–02621 Filed 2–15–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333–15–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–R1–ES–2018–N160; FXES11140100000–189–FF01E00000] III. Permit Applications We invite comments on the following applications. Applicant: Elizabeth Tapanes, Takoma Park, MD; Permit No. 09835D The applicant requests a permit to import biological samples from Diademed sifaka (Propithecus diadema) for the purpose of scientific research. This notification is for a single import. Applicant: Regis Opferman, Pueblo, CO; Permit No. 073270 The applicant requests a captive-bred wildlife registration under 50 CFR 17.21(g) for radiated tortoise (Astrochelys radiata), to enhance the propagation or survival of the species. This notification covers activities to be conducted by the applicant over a 5year period. Applicant: Robert Jackson, Jonesboro, AR; Permit No. 13264D The applicant requests a permit to import a sport-hunted trophy of one male bontebok (Damaliscus pygargus pygargus) culled from a captive herd maintained under the management program of the Republic of South Africa, for the purpose of enhancing the propagation or survival of the species. IV. Next Steps After the comment period closes, we will make decisions regarding permit issuance. If we issue permits to any of the applicants listed in this notice, we will publish a notice in the Federal Register. You may locate the notice announcing the permit issuance by searching http://www.regulations.gov for the permit number listed above in this document. For example, to find information about the potential issuance of Permit No. 12345A, you would go to regulations.gov and search for ‘‘12345A’’. V. Authority We issue this notice under the authority of the Endangered Species Act PO 00000 Frm 00087 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Draft Safe Harbor Agreement for Nene at Haleakala Ranch, Maui Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments. AGENCY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), have received an application from the Haleakala Ranch Company (the Ranch) for an enhancement of survival permit (permit) pursuant to the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA). The permit application includes a draft Safe Harbor Agreement (SHA) between the Ranch, the State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), and the Service. Implementation of the proposed SHA is intended to benefit the recovery of the nene (Hawaiian goose, Branta sandvicensis) on 3,056 acres of privately-owned Ranch land on the island of Maui. The proposed SHA conservation measures on the Ranch include nene habitat improvement and maintenance, establishment and maintenance of a nene release pen, and control of predators. The activities implemented under this SHA will aid in increasing the current range of the covered species, restoring this species to part of its historic range, and increasing the total population of the species, thus contributing to its overall recovery. The Service is making the permit application, including the proposed SHA, and the NEPA environmental action statement for categorical exclusion available for public review and invites comments, including the submission of written data. DATES: All comments from interested parties must be received on or before March 21, 2019. ADDRESSES: To request further information, obtain copies of documents, or submit written comments, please use one of the following methods. Please include your name and return address in your SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\19FEN1.SGM 19FEN1 tkelley on DSKBCP9HB2PROD with NOTICES 4850 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 33 / Tuesday, February 19, 2019 / Notices comments and refer to the ‘‘Safe Harbor Agreement for Nene at Haleakala Ranch’’: • Internet: Documents may be viewed on the internet at http://www.fws.gov/ pacificislands. • Email: pifwo_admin@fws.gov. Include ‘‘Safe Harbor Agreement for Nene at Haleakala Ranch’’ in the subject line of the message. • U.S. Mail: Field Supervisor, Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 300 Ala Moana Boulevard, Room #3–122, Honolulu, HI 96822. • In-Person Drop-off, Viewing, or Pickup: Documents will be available for public inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office. • Fax: Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office, 808–792–9580, Attn: Safe Harbor Agreement for Nene at Haleakala Ranch. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jodi Charrier, Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES), telephone 808–792–9400, or email pifwo_admin@fws.gov. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf, please call the Federal Relay Service at 800–877–8339. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Service has received an application from the Haleakala Ranch Company (the Ranch) for an enhancement of survival permit (permit) pursuant to the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). The permit application includes a draft SHA between the Ranch, the State of Hawaii DLNR, and the Service. Implementation of the proposed SHA is intended to benefit the recovery of the nene on 3,056 acres of privately-owned Ranch land on the island of Maui. The proposed SHA conservation measures on the Ranch include nene habitat improvement and maintenance, establishment and maintenance of a nene release pen, and control of predators. The activities implemented under this SHA will aid in increasing the current range of the nene, restoring this species to part of its historic range, and increasing the total population of this species, thus contributing to the overall recovery of the nene. The Service is making the permit application, including the proposed SHA, and the NEPA environmental action statement for categorical exclusion available for public review and comment. Background Under a SHA, participating landowners voluntarily undertake VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:46 Feb 15, 2019 Jkt 247001 management activities on their property to enhance, restore, or maintain habitat benefiting species listed under the ESA. SHAs, and the subsequent permit issued to participating landowners pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(A) of the ESA, encourage private and other non-Federal property owners to implement conservation actions for federally listed species by assuring the landowners that they will not be subjected to increased property use restrictions as a result of their efforts to either attract listed species to their property, or to increase the numbers or distribution of listed species already on their property. Enrolled landowners may make lawful use of the enrolled property during the permit term and may incidentally take the listed species named on the permit. Application requirements and issuance criteria for permits associated with SHAs are found in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) at 50 CFR 17.22(c). Draft Safe Harbor Agreement Nene were probably extirpated from Maui by the end of the 19th century. Today nene are found on Maui primarily within the boundaries of Haleakala National Park, where reintroduction efforts on Maui began in 1962. In addition, populations of the nene have been established through reintroduction programs at Piiholo Ranch on Maui, which has been successfully implementing a SHA for the reintroduction of nene since 2004. In 2011, the estimated population of nene on Maui was approximately 350 to 375 birds. The private lands subject to the proposed SHA and permit consist of 3,056 acres on the Ranch, and current land use practices include cattle ranching operations. Habitat on the Ranch varies and includes nonnativeplant-dominated grasslands, native and nonnative forests, and gulches. Land elevation ranges from sea level to approximately 3,000 feet. The baseline nene population for this SHA is zero (0) nene. The expected net conservation benefit to the nene as a result of the proposed SHA is the establishment of a breeding population of 200 nene on the Ranch. This benefit will be achieved by providing high-quality, predatorcontrolled nene habitat on Ranch property. Conservation measures proposed by the Ranch to encourage the establishment and survival of nene on the enrolled lands include allowing DLNR to: (1) Construct or expand a nene release pen; (2) make road improvements as needed to implement the agreement; (3) maintain the release pen and associated water source, and to PO 00000 Frm 00088 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 monitor nene throughout the term of the agreement; (4) allow DLNR to release nene into the release pen; and (5) allow DLNR to conduct predator control in and around the release pen. The proposed duration of the conservation measures contained in the SHA is for 10 years; however, the landowner may terminate the SHA after 5 years for reasons beyond their control and return to baseline. The proposed duration of the permit is for 50 years. The permit would authorize the incidental take of nene on the enrolled lands as a result of lawful activities at the Ranch, from the time the SHA is executed. The Ranch may continue current land use practices, undertake new ones, or make any other lawful use of the property, even if such use incidentally results in the loss of nene or their habitat covered under this SHA. Once the SHA has ended, the Ranch can return the enrolled lands to baseline conditions. The authority for incidental take of the nene associated with the return to baseline conditions is provided by the permit. During the nonbreeding season, the birds may disperse and have seasonal movement throughout Maui, but due to their site fidelity, they are expected to return to the protected pen for breeding. It is expected that some of the nene released under the SHA, and their progeny, will still utilize the site upon expiration or termination of the SHA and that a percentage of nene will remain on the Ranch property for the permit term and beyond. Based on experience from similar sites, the Service and DLNR anticipate this SHA will result in an increase in the number of nene on Maui and an increase in the total area of suitable habitat on private lands utilized by nene. Without this cooperative government/private landowner effort, these lands would not otherwise be utilized by nene in the foreseeable future. For these reasons, this SHA and the activities it covers, which are facilitated by the allowable incidental take, would provide a net conservation benefit to the nene. When this 10-year SHA expires, the parties have the option to extend the term of the SHA, or return to baseline numbers. By establishing the term of the permit at 50 years, the Ranch may defer returning the property to baseline conditions when the 10-year SHA expires. Nene would, in this case, continue to benefit from any ongoing or residual conservation actions on the Ranch for an additional period of time. Providing for a 50-year term of the permit also offers flexibility to the Ranch landowner; if there is no immediate need to return to baseline E:\FR\FM\19FEN1.SGM 19FEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 33 / Tuesday, February 19, 2019 / Notices tkelley on DSKBCP9HB2PROD with NOTICES conditions, the Ranch landowner may therefore be interested in having nene on the Ranch for a longer period of time. The Ranch will notify DLNR and the Service in advance of conducting any activities that it anticipates will adversely affect the nene and also report any dead, injured, or diseased nene during the term of the permit, as well as provide a report on the status of the reintroduced nene population every 5 years after the SHA expires for the 50year term of the permit. If at the end of 10 years the Ranch plans to return to baseline conditions, they will notify DLNR and the Service to provide time to relocate nene from the property. At the end of the term of the SHA, the Ranch may also remove any nene habitat and return the property to the baseline conditions existing prior to the SHA. Additionally, the Ranch will provide 1-year notice to DLNR and the Service prior to a potential return to baseline conditions to allow DLNR to develop a suitable alternate site and move birds. The SHA may be renewed upon approval by the Service and DLNR. National Environmental Policy Act Compliance The development of the draft SHA and the proposed issuance of a permit is a Federal action that triggers the need for compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.). The Service has made a preliminary determination that the proposed SHA and permit application are eligible for a categorical exclusion under NEPA, based on the following criteria: (1) Implementation of the SHA would result in minor or negligible adverse effects on federally listed, proposed, and candidate species and their habitats; (2) implementation of the SHA would result in minor or negligible adverse effects on other environmental values or resources; and (3) impacts of the SHA, considered together with the impacts of other past, present, and reasonably foreseeable similarly situated projects, would not result, over time, in cumulative adverse effects to environmental values or resources which would be considered significant. We explain the basis for this determination in more detail in an Environmental Action Statement (EAS) that is also available for public review. Based on the EAS, we have preliminarily determined that the issuance of the associated permit would have minor or negligible adverse effects on the species covered in the SHA. Therefore, we determined that the SHA qualifies for categorical exclusion under VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:46 Feb 15, 2019 Jkt 247001 NEPA, as provided by the Department of the Interior NEPA regulations (43 CFR part 46). Public Availability of Comments All comments and materials we receive become part of the public record associated with this action. Before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comments, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. Comments and materials we receive, as well as supporting documentation we use in preparing the EAS, will be available for public inspection by appointment, during normal business hours, at our Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES). Authority We provide this notice in accordance with the requirements of section 10(c) of the ESA and its implementing regulations (50 CFR 17.22 and 17.32) and NEPA and its implementing regulations (40 CFR 1506.6). Katherine B. Hollar, Acting Deputy Regional Director, Pacific Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. [FR Doc. 2019–02633 Filed 2–15–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4333–15–P DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR Fish and Wildlife Service [FWS–R1–ES–2018–N147]; [FXES11140100000–189–FF01E00000] Proposed Green Diamond Resource Company Candidate Conservation Agreement With Assurances for Fisher in Oregon Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments. AGENCY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), have received an enhancement of survival permit application from Green Diamond Resource Company pursuant to the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The requested permit would authorize the incidental take of fisher should the species become federally listed in the future under the ESA. The permit application is associated with a SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00089 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 4851 template candidate conservation agreement with assurances (CCAA) previously developed for the conservation of the fisher. We also have prepared a draft environment action statement (EAS) pursuant to the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA) for the potential issuance of this individual permit. We are making the permit application package and draft EAS available for public review and comment. DATES: To ensure consideration, written comments must be received from interested parties no later than March 21, 2019. ADDRESSES: To request further information or submit written comments, please use one of the following methods, and note that your information request or comments are in reference to the ‘‘Green Diamond CCAA.’’ • Internet: Documents may be viewed on the internet at http://www.fws.gov/ oregonfwo/. • Email: GreenDiamondCCAAcomments@ fws.gov. Include ‘‘Green Diamond CCAA’’ in the subject line of the message or comments. • U.S. Mail: State Supervisor, Oregon Fish and Wildlife Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 2600 SE 98th Avenue, Suite 100 Portland, OR 97266. • Fax: 503–231–6195, Attn: Green Diamond CCAA. • In-Person Drop-off, Viewing, or Pickup: Comments and materials received will be available for public inspection, by appointment (necessary for viewing or picking up documents only), during normal business hours at the Oregon Fish and Wildlife Office (at the above address); call 503–231–6179 to make an appointment. Written comments can be dropped off during regular business hours at the above address on or before the closing date of the public comment period (see DATES). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Richard Szlemp (see ADDRESSES); telephone: 503–231–6179; facsimile: 503–231– 6195. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf, please call the Federal Relay Service at 800–877–8339. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), have received an enhancement of survival permit application from Green Diamond Resource Company pursuant to section 10(a)(1)(A) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). The requested permit would authorize the incidental take of fisher (Pekania pennanti) during E:\FR\FM\19FEN1.SGM 19FEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 33 (Tuesday, February 19, 2019)]
[Notices]
[Pages 4849-4851]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-02633]


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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

[FWS-R1-ES-2018-N160; FXES11140100000-189-FF01E00000]


Draft Safe Harbor Agreement for Nene at Haleakala Ranch, Maui

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Notice of availability; request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), have 
received an application from the Haleakala Ranch Company (the Ranch) 
for an enhancement of survival permit (permit) pursuant to the 
Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA). The permit 
application includes a draft Safe Harbor Agreement (SHA) between the 
Ranch, the State of Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources 
(DLNR), and the Service. Implementation of the proposed SHA is intended 
to benefit the recovery of the nene (Hawaiian goose, Branta 
sandvicensis) on 3,056 acres of privately-owned Ranch land on the 
island of Maui. The proposed SHA conservation measures on the Ranch 
include nene habitat improvement and maintenance, establishment and 
maintenance of a nene release pen, and control of predators. The 
activities implemented under this SHA will aid in increasing the 
current range of the covered species, restoring this species to part of 
its historic range, and increasing the total population of the species, 
thus contributing to its overall recovery. The Service is making the 
permit application, including the proposed SHA, and the NEPA 
environmental action statement for categorical exclusion available for 
public review and invites comments, including the submission of written 
data.

DATES: All comments from interested parties must be received on or 
before March 21, 2019.

ADDRESSES: To request further information, obtain copies of documents, 
or submit written comments, please use one of the following methods. 
Please include your name and return address in your

[[Page 4850]]

comments and refer to the ``Safe Harbor Agreement for Nene at Haleakala 
Ranch'':
     Internet: Documents may be viewed on the internet at 
http://www.fws.gov/pacificislands.
     Email: pifwo_admin@fws.gov. Include ``Safe Harbor 
Agreement for Nene at Haleakala Ranch'' in the subject line of the 
message.
     U.S. Mail: Field Supervisor, Pacific Islands Fish and 
Wildlife Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 300 Ala Moana 
Boulevard, Room #3-122, Honolulu, HI 96822.
     In-Person Drop-off, Viewing, or Pickup: Documents will be 
available for public inspection, by appointment, during normal business 
hours between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's 
Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office.
     Fax: Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office, 808-792-
9580, Attn: Safe Harbor Agreement for Nene at Haleakala Ranch.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jodi Charrier, Pacific Islands Fish 
and Wildlife Office (see ADDRESSES), telephone 808-792-9400, or email 
pifwo_admin@fws.gov. If you use a telecommunications device for the 
deaf, please call the Federal Relay Service at 800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Service has received an application from 
the Haleakala Ranch Company (the Ranch) for an enhancement of survival 
permit (permit) pursuant to the ESA (16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.). The 
permit application includes a draft SHA between the Ranch, the State of 
Hawaii DLNR, and the Service. Implementation of the proposed SHA is 
intended to benefit the recovery of the nene on 3,056 acres of 
privately-owned Ranch land on the island of Maui. The proposed SHA 
conservation measures on the Ranch include nene habitat improvement and 
maintenance, establishment and maintenance of a nene release pen, and 
control of predators. The activities implemented under this SHA will 
aid in increasing the current range of the nene, restoring this species 
to part of its historic range, and increasing the total population of 
this species, thus contributing to the overall recovery of the nene. 
The Service is making the permit application, including the proposed 
SHA, and the NEPA environmental action statement for categorical 
exclusion available for public review and comment.

Background

    Under a SHA, participating landowners voluntarily undertake 
management activities on their property to enhance, restore, or 
maintain habitat benefiting species listed under the ESA. SHAs, and the 
subsequent permit issued to participating landowners pursuant to 
section 10(a)(1)(A) of the ESA, encourage private and other non-Federal 
property owners to implement conservation actions for federally listed 
species by assuring the landowners that they will not be subjected to 
increased property use restrictions as a result of their efforts to 
either attract listed species to their property, or to increase the 
numbers or distribution of listed species already on their property. 
Enrolled landowners may make lawful use of the enrolled property during 
the permit term and may incidentally take the listed species named on 
the permit. Application requirements and issuance criteria for permits 
associated with SHAs are found in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 
at 50 CFR 17.22(c).

Draft Safe Harbor Agreement

    Nene were probably extirpated from Maui by the end of the 19th 
century. Today nene are found on Maui primarily within the boundaries 
of Haleakala National Park, where reintroduction efforts on Maui began 
in 1962. In addition, populations of the nene have been established 
through reintroduction programs at Piiholo Ranch on Maui, which has 
been successfully implementing a SHA for the reintroduction of nene 
since 2004. In 2011, the estimated population of nene on Maui was 
approximately 350 to 375 birds.
    The private lands subject to the proposed SHA and permit consist of 
3,056 acres on the Ranch, and current land use practices include cattle 
ranching operations. Habitat on the Ranch varies and includes 
nonnative-plant-dominated grasslands, native and nonnative forests, and 
gulches. Land elevation ranges from sea level to approximately 3,000 
feet. The baseline nene population for this SHA is zero (0) nene.
    The expected net conservation benefit to the nene as a result of 
the proposed SHA is the establishment of a breeding population of 200 
nene on the Ranch. This benefit will be achieved by providing high-
quality, predator-controlled nene habitat on Ranch property. 
Conservation measures proposed by the Ranch to encourage the 
establishment and survival of nene on the enrolled lands include 
allowing DLNR to: (1) Construct or expand a nene release pen; (2) make 
road improvements as needed to implement the agreement; (3) maintain 
the release pen and associated water source, and to monitor nene 
throughout the term of the agreement; (4) allow DLNR to release nene 
into the release pen; and (5) allow DLNR to conduct predator control in 
and around the release pen.
    The proposed duration of the conservation measures contained in the 
SHA is for 10 years; however, the landowner may terminate the SHA after 
5 years for reasons beyond their control and return to baseline. The 
proposed duration of the permit is for 50 years. The permit would 
authorize the incidental take of nene on the enrolled lands as a result 
of lawful activities at the Ranch, from the time the SHA is executed. 
The Ranch may continue current land use practices, undertake new ones, 
or make any other lawful use of the property, even if such use 
incidentally results in the loss of nene or their habitat covered under 
this SHA. Once the SHA has ended, the Ranch can return the enrolled 
lands to baseline conditions. The authority for incidental take of the 
nene associated with the return to baseline conditions is provided by 
the permit.
    During the nonbreeding season, the birds may disperse and have 
seasonal movement throughout Maui, but due to their site fidelity, they 
are expected to return to the protected pen for breeding. It is 
expected that some of the nene released under the SHA, and their 
progeny, will still utilize the site upon expiration or termination of 
the SHA and that a percentage of nene will remain on the Ranch property 
for the permit term and beyond. Based on experience from similar sites, 
the Service and DLNR anticipate this SHA will result in an increase in 
the number of nene on Maui and an increase in the total area of 
suitable habitat on private lands utilized by nene. Without this 
cooperative government/private landowner effort, these lands would not 
otherwise be utilized by nene in the foreseeable future. For these 
reasons, this SHA and the activities it covers, which are facilitated 
by the allowable incidental take, would provide a net conservation 
benefit to the nene.
    When this 10-year SHA expires, the parties have the option to 
extend the term of the SHA, or return to baseline numbers. By 
establishing the term of the permit at 50 years, the Ranch may defer 
returning the property to baseline conditions when the 10-year SHA 
expires. Nene would, in this case, continue to benefit from any ongoing 
or residual conservation actions on the Ranch for an additional period 
of time. Providing for a 50-year term of the permit also offers 
flexibility to the Ranch landowner; if there is no immediate need to 
return to baseline

[[Page 4851]]

conditions, the Ranch landowner may therefore be interested in having 
nene on the Ranch for a longer period of time. The Ranch will notify 
DLNR and the Service in advance of conducting any activities that it 
anticipates will adversely affect the nene and also report any dead, 
injured, or diseased nene during the term of the permit, as well as 
provide a report on the status of the reintroduced nene population 
every 5 years after the SHA expires for the 50-year term of the permit.
    If at the end of 10 years the Ranch plans to return to baseline 
conditions, they will notify DLNR and the Service to provide time to 
relocate nene from the property. At the end of the term of the SHA, the 
Ranch may also remove any nene habitat and return the property to the 
baseline conditions existing prior to the SHA. Additionally, the Ranch 
will provide 1-year notice to DLNR and the Service prior to a potential 
return to baseline conditions to allow DLNR to develop a suitable 
alternate site and move birds. The SHA may be renewed upon approval by 
the Service and DLNR.

National Environmental Policy Act Compliance

    The development of the draft SHA and the proposed issuance of a 
permit is a Federal action that triggers the need for compliance with 
the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended (NEPA; 42 
U.S.C. 4321 et seq.). The Service has made a preliminary determination 
that the proposed SHA and permit application are eligible for a 
categorical exclusion under NEPA, based on the following criteria: (1) 
Implementation of the SHA would result in minor or negligible adverse 
effects on federally listed, proposed, and candidate species and their 
habitats; (2) implementation of the SHA would result in minor or 
negligible adverse effects on other environmental values or resources; 
and (3) impacts of the SHA, considered together with the impacts of 
other past, present, and reasonably foreseeable similarly situated 
projects, would not result, over time, in cumulative adverse effects to 
environmental values or resources which would be considered 
significant. We explain the basis for this determination in more detail 
in an Environmental Action Statement (EAS) that is also available for 
public review.
    Based on the EAS, we have preliminarily determined that the 
issuance of the associated permit would have minor or negligible 
adverse effects on the species covered in the SHA. Therefore, we 
determined that the SHA qualifies for categorical exclusion under NEPA, 
as provided by the Department of the Interior NEPA regulations (43 CFR 
part 46).

Public Availability of Comments

    All comments and materials we receive become part of the public 
record associated with this action. Before including your address, 
phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information 
in your comments, you should be aware that your entire comment--
including your personal identifying information--may be made publicly 
available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold 
your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot 
guarantee that we will be able to do so. Comments and materials we 
receive, as well as supporting documentation we use in preparing the 
EAS, will be available for public inspection by appointment, during 
normal business hours, at our Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office 
(see ADDRESSES).

Authority

    We provide this notice in accordance with the requirements of 
section 10(c) of the ESA and its implementing regulations (50 CFR 17.22 
and 17.32) and NEPA and its implementing regulations (40 CFR 1506.6).

Katherine B. Hollar,
Acting Deputy Regional Director, Pacific Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service.
[FR Doc. 2019-02633 Filed 2-15-19; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 4333-15-P