DLNR NEWS RELEASE: DLNR to Hold Public Hearing on Nāpu‘u Conservation Project

Posted on Feb 19, 2016 in Latest News

Concerns draft habitat conservation plan for game management at Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a and Pu‘u Anahulu

HILO, HAWAII —  The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), pursuant to Chapter 195D, Hawaiʻi Revised Statutes, will hold a public hearing to receive testimony on the Nāpu‘u Conservation Project Draft Habitat Conservation Plan for Game Management at Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a and Pu‘u Anahulu.

The DLNR  Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) manages lands in the Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Forest Reserve and the Pu‘u Anahulu Game Management Area, in North Kona, on the island of Hawai‘i.  Current land management in the Pu‘u Anahulu Game Management Area is primarily for maintenance of non-native game mammal populations for hunting, in addition to conservation of native habitat. Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a Forest Reserve is a multi-use area where management includes game population maintenance for hunting, natural resource conservation and restoration, and other activities such as cattle grazing and trail use. The habitat conservation plan is intended to consider and mitigate for the potential impacts from game mammal management activities on endangered species within the Pu‘u Wa‘awa‘a and Pu‘u Anahulu areas.

DATE:             March 1 and 7, 2016
TIME:              5:30 p.m.       
PLACE:           March 1, 2016: Auntie Sally’s Luau Hale, 799 Piilani Street, Hilo, HI  96720
March 7, 2016: West Hawaii Civic Center, Community Hale, 74-5044 Ane   Keohokalole Highway

The anticipated life of the project is 25 years. Prior to the expiration of the 25-year period, DOFAW will evaluate whether to pursue an extension of the incidental take license.

DOFAW has prepared a draft Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) – in consultation with staff and local experts, – for authorization and issuance of an incidental take license for incidental take of endangered species associated with game management activities.  The draft HCP was published in the November 8, 2015 Office of Environmental Quality and Control’s Environmental Notice and is currently available for public review and comments for a one hundred and twenty day period.

The purpose of the draft HCP is to mitigate for potential impacts to the threatened and endangered species found in the project area.

It is anticipated that game management activities have the potential to result in the incidental take of one animal species, Blackburn’s sphinx moth (Manduca blackburni), and 15 state and federally listed  plant species:  Asplenium peruvianum var. insulare, Hala pepe (Chrysodracon hawaiiensis), Kauila (Colubrina oppositifolia), Honohono (Haplostachys haplostachya), Ma‘o hau hele (Hibiscus brackenridgei ssp. brackenridgei), Koki‘o (Kokia drynarioides), Neraudia ovata, ‘Aiea (Nothocestrum breviflorum), Uhiuhi (Mezoneuron kavaiense) Po‘e (Portulaca sclerocarpa), Hawaiian Catchfly (Silene lanceolata), Pōpolo kū mai (Solanum incompletum), Creeping Mint (Stenogyne angustifolia), A‘e (Zanthoxylum dipetalum var. tomentosum), and A‘e (Zanthoxylum hawaiiense).

Potential negative impacts on these listed plant species are primarily in the form of take from grazing, browsing, and trampling associated with the management of game mammals and cattle in the project area.

Potential impacts to Blackburn’s sphinx moth larvae and eggs are from the clearing and maintenance of fuel breaks and four-wheel drive access roads.

No other listed, proposed, or candidate plant or animal species are anticipated to be taken by project activities. The HCP outlines provisions for net benefit to the covered species and environment, and contributes to the recovery of each of these species.

The appointed hearing officer will be: James Cogswell, wildlife program manager, DOFAW. Should Jim Cogswell be unable to act as hearing officer, DOFAW will substitute appropriate staff as needed to conduct the public hearing.

Copies of the draft HCP are available for review at the Division of Forestry and Wildlife offices in Honolulu and Hilo, as a link provided in the Office of Environmental Quality Control’s November 8, 2015 issue of the Environmental Notice, and copies will be available at the public hearing.

Anyone who plans to attend the hearing and requires auxiliary aids (taped materials or sign language interpreter), please request assistance by contacting the Division of Forestry and Wildlife, 1151 Punchbowl Street, Room 325, Honolulu, HI 96813; (808) 587-0166.

If you are unable to attend the hearing and wish to provide testimony, please send comments to the aforementioned address, attention Afsheen Siddiqi. Comments should be received by March 7, 2016.

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Media Contact:
Deborah Ward
DLNR Communications specialist
Phone: (808) 587-0320