1991, pp. Predator control measures have improved survival and reproductive success and contributed to population increases in managed areas. 50-52); and (3) consideration for delisting could occur once all of the downlisting criteria had been met, and population levels on Hawaii, Maui Nui, and Kauai had all shown a stable or increasing trend (from downlisting levels) for a minimum of 15 additional years (i.e., for total of 30 years). Control of introduced predators and habitat management are identified as two primary recovery actions for nene (USFWS 2004, p. 52). Although initially the recent eruption temporarily altered nene behavior by causing them to spend much more time at Wright Road farms, Volcano Winery, and Volcano Golf and Country Club, by December 2018, State biologists reported that “business is as usual” for nene in the volcano area (Mello 2018, in litt.). Recovery may be achieved without all of the criteria in a recovery plan being fully met. Between 1989 and 1999, lack of adequate food or water also appeared to be a factor limiting nene recruitment in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (Rave et al. Nene are a highly adaptable species, which bodes well for recovery of the species. 2015, pp. This 4(d) rule targets activities to facilitate conservation and management of nene where they currently occur and may occur in the future by excepting the Federal take prohibition under certain conditions. We are uncertain as to the impacts on nene into the foreseeable future; however, due to the low incidence, we do not view this a species-level threat. 364-370; Banko et al. is down from an estimate of 78 in 2015, likely due to predation (Franklin 2017, in litt.). (6) Comment: The Department of the Navy requested that the Service amend the proposed 4(d) rule to allow the safe hazing of nene families and goslings away from dangerous areas such as roadways, airfields, and construction areas. Reports should be made to the Service's Office of Law Enforcement at (808) 861-8525, or the Service's Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office at (808) 792-9400. However, these efforts are localized and overall predator populations are not being reduced; therefore, predators can readily recolonize an area. State agencies often possess scientific data and valuable expertise on the status and distribution of endangered, threatened, and candidate species of wildlife and plants. Four of these have active incidental take permits and associated HCPs, one is in the process of finalizing a HCP to receive an incidental take permit for take of nene, three are not permitted for take of nene (because take is unlikely to result from operations on Oahu), and one of the three not currently permitted for take of nene is just beginning the process to seek coverage for nene. Under this 4(d) rule, hazing and other deterrence activities that may cause indirect injury to nene by disrupting normal behavioral patterns, but are not likely to be lethal or cause direct injury (including the need for veterinary care or rehabilitation), are classified as intentional harassment not likely to cause direct injury or mortality, and are allowed under Federal law. 1999, pp. Barn owls occur on all of the main Hawaiian islands in all habitat types, from sea level to upper elevation forests, and in recent years have been sighted with increasing frequency on offshore islets. Genus: Branta Scopoli, 1769 - brent geese Goslings occasionally drown in stock ponds, water troughs, and other water sources where exit to land is difficult (Banko et al. The official bird of the state of Hawaiʻi, the nene is exclusively found in the wild on the islands of Oahu, Maui, Kauaʻi, Molokai, and Hawaiʻi. 2015, pp. In the central Pacific, modeling projects an increase of up to two additional tropical cyclones per year in the main Hawaiian islands by 2100 (Murakami et al. (12) Comment: The HDLNR commented that a divide exists between the downlisting criteria outlined in the nene recovery plan and the definitions of “endangered” and “threatened” species under the Act. 7-10). are not part of the published document itself. Such activities may include the use of predator effigies (including raptor kites, predator replicas, etc. Nene have been very successful in these areas, indicating their adaptability to a variety of habitats. We sought comments from independent specialists to ensure that our determination is based on scientifically Start Printed Page 69919sound data, assumptions, and analyses. Habitat destruction and modification from urbanization, agricultural activities, drought, feral ungulates, and invasive plant species remain threats to nene. 2018, in litt. Periods of drought are expected to continue and are likely to be exacerbated by the effects of climate change. The Service has developed a species-specific 4(d) rule that is designed to address the nene's specific threats and conservation needs. (5) We added a definition of “qualified biologist” to the 4(d) rule. The HDLNR noted that their 2017 count includes the most recent translocation efforts. (iii) Person means a person as defined by section 3(13) of the Act. When flightless and during molt, goslings and adults are extremely vulnerable to predation by any of these predators (USFWS 2004, p. 21). In addition, the drying trend, especially on leeward sides of islands, creates suitable conditions for increased invasion by nonnative grasses and enhances the risk of wildfire. CHAPTER 5 - EMBLEMS AND SYMBOLS. Although State and Federal regulatory mechanisms have not prevented the introduction into Hawaii of nonnative predators or their spread between islands, with sustained management commitments, these mechanisms could be an important tool to ameliorate this threat. (25) Comment: One commenter stated that wind energy was harmful to nene and that there was a large increase in wind energy production between 2009 and 2015, with new prospects underway. We note that the court in Desert Survivors v. Department of the Interior, No. Shooting nene is prohibited under Federal and State law, and subject to both civil and criminal penalties. Only official editions of the Please see our responses to comment (1) regarding low genetic variation; comments (2) and (24) regarding downlisting and the 4(d) rule; comments (22) and (28) regarding climate change; and comment (25) regarding wind farms. (such as lava fields) and to walk without the typical waddle of other geese. New information received during the comment period revealed that flooding from increased storm frequency and intensity may negatively affect nene viability as past heavy rainfall during the nene breeding season has caused numerous failures of eggs and young goslings at Hawaii Volcanoes National Park (NPS 2018, in litt.). For example, nene on Kauai use primarily lowland Start Printed Page 69924areas in highly altered, human-impacted habitats such as pastures, agricultural fields, and golf courses (USFWS 2004, pp. 2012, p. 888). Conservation is defined in the Act to mean “the use of all methods and procedures which are necessary to bring any endangered species or threatened species to the point at which the measures provided pursuant to [the Act] are no longer necessary.” Additionally, section 4(d) of the Act states that the Secretary “may by regulation prohibit with respect to any threatened species any act prohibited under section 9(a)(1). Order: Anseriformes - ducks, geese, screamers, swans, waterfowl Nene are considered a conservation-reliant species, especially on the islands of Maui and Hawaii, where populations are spread across a large area and exposed to ongoing threats of predation and habitat loss (development, feral ungulates, nonnative plants) (Reed et al. Revised Statutes, Chapter 5 (EMBLEMS AND SYMBOL) Section 5-17 State bird. During the 1940s this species was almost wiped out by laws which allowed the birds to be hunted during their winter breeding seasons when the birds were most vulnerable. documents in the last year, 1002 However, despite Kauai having the lowest level of genetic diversity and high levels of inbreeding, nene numbers have increased dramatically on Kauai. Incidental take licenses require the development of an HCP (HRS 195D-21) or a safe harbor agreement (HRS 195D-22), and consultation with the State's Endangered Species Recovery Committee. There are also certain statutory exemptions from the prohibitions, which are found in sections 9 and 10 of the Act. These wind energy facilities are required to fully offset their requested take through mitigation that includes predator control, improving foraging (e.g., outplanting favored nene food plants), pen maintenance and construction, and other management actions that benefit the nene. Such nonlethal effects may also make nene more susceptible to trauma caused by vehicle collisions; in other species the prevalence of T. gondii infection has been observed to be greater in roadkilled individuals than in the general population (Work et al. on FederalRegister.gov Mongoose are a weasel-like animal totaling about 26″ in length with a long, brownish body, short legs and a tail as long as its body. Harm or harassment that is likely to cause mortality or injury continues to be prohibited because allowing these forms of take is incompatible with restoring robust populations of nene and restoring and maintaining their habitat. Similarly, volcanic activity is not a threat to the survival of the species because it is restricted to one island (Hawaii) and self-sustaining nene populations exist on three islands (Hawaii, Kauai, and Maui). In addition, projected warmer temperatures and increased storm severity resulting from climate change are likely to exacerbate other threats to nene, such as enhancing the spread of nonnative invasive plants into these species' native ecosystems in Hawaii. include documents scheduled for later issues, at the request The largest of these is at Wildfowl establishing the XML-based Federal Register as an ACFR-sanctioned (4) Possession and other acts with unlawfully taken specimens as provided in § 17.21(d)(2) through (4)). 479, 482 and Leopold and Hess 2014, pp. In other cases, recovery opportunities may be discovered that were not known when the recovery plan was finalized. By providing more flexibility to the landowners regarding management of nene, we expect enhanced support for the conservation of the species, by providing a tool to reduce potential human-wildlife conflicts in areas incompatible with the conservation of nene, as well as to promote expansion of the species' range into additional areas compatible with conservation of nene across the State. However, since 2009, decreases in contributed funding have limited the positive contributions of these groups to implementing the laws and rules that can protect and control threats to nene. Climate modelling projections indicate that drought frequency and intensity in the Hawaiian Islands are expected to increase over time (Loope and Giambelluca 1998, pp. #106923392 - Nene Goose,Hawaiian goose, (Branta Sandvicensis) Big Island Hawaii. Both black and Pacific rats have been found up to 7,000 ft (2,000 m) on Maui, but the Norway rat has been found only at lower elevations (Sugihara 1997, p. 194). 2017, in litt. Flooding may only occur on one island, or impact only one subpopulation on an island, leaving intact the remaining self-sustaining populations on other islands, or other subpopulations on a single island. This threat is anticipated to be exacerbated by the increasing global surface temperature associated with greenhouse gases resulting from human activities. Nene are a federally protected species. Continued monitoring of the occurrence of disease in nene populations, as well as early detection of avian botulism outbreaks or cases of avian influenza or WNV, should minimize the impacts of these threats. We have added this estimate to this final rule under Species Information. Where the best available information allows the Services to determine a status for the species rangewide, that determination should be given conclusive weight because a rangewide determination of status more accurately reflects the species' degree of imperilment and better promotes the purposes of the Act. Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Relay Service at 800-877-8339. the material on FederalRegister.gov is accurately displayed, consistent with 107-114). We have added an analysis of the effects of flooding resulting from storms and hurricanes to nene eggs and goslings under Factor E. Other Natural or Manmade Factors Affecting Its Continued Existence. We greatly appreciate the efforts made by privately held ranches on Hawaii, Maui, and Molokai. We are also adopting a rule under the authority of section 4(d) of the Act (a “4(d) rule”) to enhance conservation of the species through range expansion and management flexibility. The small Indian mongoose was introduced to the Hawaiian archipelago in 1883, and quickly became widespread on Oahu, Molokai, Maui, and Hawaii Island, from sea level to elevations as high as 7,000 ft (2,130 m) (Tomich 1986, pp. Until the ACFR grants it official status, the XML (20) Comment: Four commenters stated that predatory invasive species such as rats, mongoose, dogs, pigs, and cats are a threat to nene because nene are ground nesters, adults are incapable of flying during molting, and goslings do not fledge until after 10 weeks. the current document as it appeared on Public Inspection on We are always seeking more effective ways to best reach the public and create awareness about endangered species and surrounding issues, including nene. In general, tropical cyclones with the intensities of hurricanes have been an uncommon occurrence in the Hawaiian Islands. 703-712, 50 CFR 10.13), a domestic law that implements the U.S. commitment to four international conventions (with Canada, Japan, Mexico, and Russia) for the protection of shared migratory bird resources. Under section 7 of the Act, Federal agencies must still continue to ensure that any actions they authorize, fund, or carry out are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of nene. We have outlined such circumstances below as exceptions to the prohibitions of take. 1986, p. 363). More information and documentation can be found in our The rise in sea level projected by climate change models (Spada et al. Nene can become entangled or trapped in artificial hazards (e.g., old grass-covered fence wire; fishing line, predator traps; spilled tar) and some Start Printed Page 69933natural hazards (lava tube openings or deep depressions in ash deposits) (Banko et al. Many invasive, nonnative species established in Hawaii currently have limited but expanding ranges, and they cause considerable concern. Register, and does not replace the official print version or the official Wash. 2002). The detection of T. gondii in over 30 percent of feral cats sampled (n=67) at two locations on Mauna Kea, Hawaii Island (Danner et al. Regarding vehicle strikes, we agree vehicle strikes are a threat to nene, as outlined in the April 2, 2018, proposed rule and this final rule under Factor E. Other Natural or Manmade Factors Affecting Its Continued Existence, and we will continue to work with partners to reduce the impacts from vehicle strikes on Kauai and throughout the nene's range. Habitat enhancement can include predator control, mowing for conservation management purposes, outplanting, and supplemental feeding. Certain key populations are expected to maintain current levels or increase into the future if the current level of management is continued. Fish and Wildlife Service. 14, pp. Historical habitat loss was largely a result of human activities such as urban development and land conversion for agricultural activities, particularly in lowland areas, contributing to the extirpation of nene on Kauai and Molokai, and the loss of seasonally important leeward, lowland breeding areas on islands with elevations above 5,000 ft (1,524 m) (Hawaii and Maui). Information about this document as published in the Federal Register. We have determined that the nene no longer meets the Act's definition of an endangered species, but does meet the definition of a threatened species; therefore, downlisting is appropriate regardless of how or whether the recovery criteria have been met. We received the 2017 statewide nene count of individuals from the Hawaii DLNR, which includes a statewide population of 3,252 individuals comprised of 1,104 individuals on Hawaii, 1,482 individuals on Kauai, 627 individuals on Maui, 37 individuals on Molokai, and 2 individuals on Oahu. It's not only killing monk seals -- it's also threatening the endangered nene goose as well. According to the values provided, 493 nene were on Hawaii prior to the recent translocations. ; Uyehara 2016a, in litt.). These factors contribute to a lack of suitable breeding and flocking habitat and, in combination with predation (Factor C) and other human activities that cause mortality (Factor E), continue to threaten nene and limit expansion of nene populations. Sea-level rise is not expected to be uniform throughout the world, due to factors including, but not limited to: (1) Variations in oceanographic factors such as circulation patterns; (2) changes in Earth's gravitational field and rotation, and the flexure of the crust and upper mantle due to melting of land-based ice; and (3) vertical land movement due to postglacial rebound of topographically depressed land, sedimentation compaction, groundwater and fossil fuel withdrawals, and other non-climatic factors (Spada et al. Where nene occur on NWR lands (Hanalei, Kilauea Point, Hakalau Forest, Kealia Pond, and James Campbell NWRs), their habitats in these areas are protected from large-scale loss or degradation due to the Service's mission “to administer a national network of lands and waters for the conservation, management, and where appropriate, restoration of the fish, wildlife, and plant resources and their habitats within the United States for the benefit of present and future generations of Americans” (16 U.S.C. documents in the last year, 778 The threat is significant if it drives or contributes to the risk of extinction of the species, such that the species warrants listing as endangered or threatened as those terms are defined by the Act. Any injury or mortality of nene associated with the actions excepted under paragraphs (d)(3)(iii)(A) through (C) of this section must be reported to the Service and authorized State wildlife officials within 72 hours, and specimens may be disposed of only in accordance with directions from the Service. However, she's beginning to fly. This final rule adopts the currently accepted scientific name, Branta sandvicensis, and the common Hawaiian name “nene,” on the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife (List; 50 CFR 17.11(h)). Access to managed grassland habitats and habitat enhancement during the breeding season improved foraging opportunities and resulted in increased survival and breeding success. As of December 2018, all inspector positions were staffed; however, even with full staffing, only 1 to 5 percent of containers can be inspected (Ige 2018, in litt.). Although we do not have specific data to support this hypothesis, we find it a reasonable assumption based on recent population genetics research. (24) Comment: Six commenters suggested that reclassification from endangered to threatened status will significantly increase harassment and human wildlife conflict. Be sure to leave feedback using the 'Feedback' button on the bottom right of each page! We are uncertain whether or not avian influenza or West Nile virus will be introduced to Hawaii, and current available data does not include modeling to determine any potential future risk. On Maui, the current population estimate is 627 (including translocated birds), with approximately half of the population in Haleakala National Park, and the remainder distributed across areas of western Maui, southern Maui, and the northwestern slopes of Haleakala. The Present or Threatened Destruction, Modification, or Curtailment of Its Habitat or Range in this final rule. In addition, Hawaii's population increased almost 10 percent between 2003 and 2013, further increasing demands on limited land and water resources in the islands (Hawaii Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism 2013, in litt.). These commenters support efforts to decrease motor vehicle strikes, as a lot occur in Hanalei Valley. The degree of foreseeability varies with respect to the different various threats to nene. ; Phillips and Lucey 2016). 108-120; Black et al. Predation by mongoose, pigs, rats, cats, and dogs is expected to continue into the foreseeable future, if not indefinitely. Please also see our response to comment (2). to the courts under 44 U.S.C. The publication of the proposed downlisting with a 4(d) rule opened a 60-day comment period, ending on June 1, 2018. National wildlife refuges must also conduct section 7 consultations under the Act (discussed below) for any refuge activity that may result in adverse effects to nene. (2) During the comment period, we received new information regarding impacts of floods resulting from storms and hurricanes on nene eggs and goslings. Despite supplemental food and water and localized predator control efforts, nene at these sites experienced high rates of adult mortality and low rates of gosling survival that were attributed to inadequate nutrition caused by habitat factors such as poor forage quality, drought, and exposure. Predation by introduced mammals continues to be a major factor limiting nene breeding success and survival. We also appreciate the information on nene translocation efforts between 2011 and 2016. Nonlethal take on any farms, taro or otherwise, is allowed consistent with the 4(d) rule if permitted by the State and in the case of the NWRs, if permitted by their lease language. At Nawiliwili Harbor (Kauai), the Department of Health is actively implementing a mongoose detection program and has been for the past 2 years (Cecconi, 2019, pers. We are aware that data indicate an increase in frequency and intensity of both drought and hurricanes, and indicate species range shifts due to a warming ambient global temperature, and we will work with partners to do our best to minimize such impacts to nene and nene habitat. 1532(6)). The threat of destruction and modification of habitat, particularly in lowland areas, by urbanization and land use conversion, including agriculture, is ongoing and expected to continue to limit the amount of nene foraging and nesting habitat. Although we conclude State and Federal regulatory mechanisms do not adequately address the threats to nene and their habitats from potential new introductions of nonnative species or continued expansion of existing nonnative species populations on and between islands and watersheds, we believe that with sustained management commitment, these mechanisms could be important tools to ameliorate these threats. 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