Why is the Kaua`i Seabird Habitat Conservation Program (KSHCP)

July 2015
Fact Sheet
Kaua‘i Seabird Habitat
Conservation Program
The Kaua‘i Seabird Habitat Conservation Program
(KSHCP) is a 30-year habitat conservation plan
under which multiple entities can request permits for
authorized incidental take of listed seabird species on
Kaua‘i. The KSHCP will cover incidental take of
listed seabirds caused by the effects of light
Why is the Kaua‘i Seabird Habitat
Conservation Program (KSHCP) needed?
Seabirds can also accidentally fly into utility lines,
often at night when the lines are impossible to see, an
event that often results in injury or death.
The KSHCP will address light attraction affecting
seabird species on Kaua‘i. The program will enable
multiple applicants to apply under one conservation
program for authorized incidental take from the
effects of light attraction. Conservation actions will
mitigate for the harm caused. In addition, the KSHCP
would enable beneficial uses of lights, decrease of
light pollution (sky glow, glare, and light trespass),
increase benefits related to energy conservation,
improve light effectiveness, and protect the darkness
of skies for recreational enjoyment and cultural
What seabird species are affected?
Lights are used for many essential purposes. For
example lights are needed for safety, security,
commerce, and recreation. Although not their
purpose, use of lights is known to cause harm to
endangered and threatened seabird species on Kaua‘i
and in some circumstances the green sea turtle. This
type of harm is referred to as “incidental take” under
state and federal laws, and if not authorized, this take
is not legal. The only way to authorize incidental take
of a listed species is with an approved conservation
plan or program.
Lights harm seabirds in the following way. Seabirds,
which fly in darkness, are attracted to artificial lights
during flights to and from the sea. Fledgling birds are
more likely to be affected by lights as they depart
mountain nests to reach the sea for the first time.
Seabirds typically circle the lights or brightly lit area
until they either fall to the ground exhausted, called
“fallout”, or collide with man-made or natural
structures. On the ground seabirds are vulnerable to
traffic, starvation, predation, and other types of
mortality. Those that fallout but are not seriously
injured may often be treated, rehabilitated, and
released, thus giving them a second chance.
The harmful effects of light attraction on seabirds
have been documented on Kaua‘i for over three
decades. This seasonal problem, in combination with
other land-based threats, such as predation and habitat
alteration, are thought to have contributed to severe
declines in seabird numbers.
The three seabird species affected by light attraction
‘ua‘u , Hawaiian petrel (Pterodroma
sandwichensis, endangered);
‘a‘o, Newell’s shearwater (Puffinus newelli,
threatened), and
‘akē‘akē, band-rumped storm petrel
(Oceanodroma castro, a federal candidate for
listing with endangered status in Hawai‘i).
Hatchlings of the green sea turtle can also be affected
by artificial lights and are covered under the KSHCP.
The seabirds list above, and the green sea turtle, are
the “Covered Species” in the context of the HCP.
What is “take”?
“Take” is defined in the federal Endangered Species
Act (ESA) as harassing, harming, pursuing, hunting,
shooting, wounding, killing, trapping, capturing, or
collecting any threatened or endangered species.
Harm may include significant habitat modification
where it actually kills or injures a listed species by
impairing its essential behavior (e.g., nesting or
reproduction). Incidental take occurs unintentionally
during otherwise lawful activities and can be
authorized under the habitat conservation plan
process. Light attraction is an example of incidental
take. “Take” of listed species is prohibited under
section 9 of the Endangered Species Act and Hawai‘i
Revised Statutes §195D-4.
(ESA), b) Incidental Take License (ITL) under State
of Hawai‘i Revised Statues §195D-4.
What is a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP)?
Wildlife Service (USFWS) and the Hawai‘i
Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR),
Board of Land and Natural Resources.
cover the placement and maintenance of lights with
potential to cause incidental take. The types of
applicants expected to request authorized take include
resorts and condominiums, small businesses, and state
agencies. Any entity with lighting that has potential to
cause incidental take can apply under the KSHCP.
potential terrestrial coverage of the HCP area could
include any land parcel within the Island of Kaua'i. It
is anticipated that most applicant facilities will be
located along the coastal areas of Kaua‘i where most
of the development occurs. Conservation actions are
expected to occur at specific, select areas containing
seabird breeding presence.
Hawaiian petrel, Brenda Zaun USFWS
A habitat conservation plan, or HCP, describes how a
permit applicant will, to the maximum extent
possible, minimize and mitigate the potential
incidental take of a listed species that may result from
its activities and facilities. The issuance of incidental
take permits via the HCP process authorizes the take
of the listed species, not the activities that result in the
take. Section 10 of the ESA and Hawai‘i Revised
Statutes §195D-21 provide for the HCP process to
allow development or activities to proceed while
promoting the conservation of listed species.
PERMIT HOLDER: Each approved entity would
sign state and federal permits requiring them to be
responsible for implementation of avoidance,
minimization, and take monitoring, as well as for
contributing HCP fees to fund mitigation, HCP
administration, take monitoring, and mitigation
In order for HCPs to be approved, they must include
descriptions of the covered species and activities,
measures to avoid and minimize take to the maximum
extent practicable, measures to mitigate for
unavoidable take, and measures to monitor and report
progress. Adaptive management is also part of the
HCP process, particularly when there is uncertainty
pertaining to species biology, status, take estimates,
or the efficacy of proposed mitigation measures.
available data and information, the amount of take
that would be potentially authorized under the
KSHCP are listed below.
A Snapshot of the Proposed Kaua‘i Seabird
PERMITS: a) Incidental Take Permit (ITP) under
Section 10 of the federal Endangered Species Act
Estimated Annual Fledgling Take
The take amounts are preliminary only and will be
determined by amounts requested by applicants and
authorized by the USFWS and the DLNR.
Preferred KSHCP mitigation areas are located in the
north portion of the island along the Nā Pali coast
because that area contains high amounts of active ‘a‘o
colonies. Additional areas for conducting seabird
colony creation and translocation will be identified as
Harmful effects to listed plants or other animals as a
result of the compensatory mitigation plan are not
expected. Plant and animal protection protocols,
including pre-work surveys and protective measures,
would be implemented during all field work to avoid
harm to listed plant and animal species.
the Covered Species are required to be minimized to
the maximum extent practicable and would entail: 1)
removing or turning off problematic lights; and 2)
minimizing impacts by the use of seabird-friendly
includes: shielded lighting, use of
full cut-off fixtures, pointing
lights down, lowering light
height, lowering light output
intensity, use of motion sensors,
avoidance of uplighting, request
guests & residents to close room
blinds, deactivate lights not
needed, and training employees
to ensure appropriate and safe
response to downed seabirds. All
light styles.
applicants would be required to
implement Avoidance and Minimization measures
tailored to their unique facilities as detailed in their
Seabird nesting habitat, Paul Belson KSHCP
Mitigation would also include recovering live fallout
birds and turning them into Save Our Shearwaters
(SOS) for treatment and release so that they may have
a second chance.
HCP FEES: Fees for KSHCP participation would
include costs for:
administration, monitoring
(compliance and effectiveness), SOS Program, and
mitigation. Mitigation costs include those estimated
for logistics, personnel, habitat protection actions,
nest protection actions, and species monitoring. Fees
paid by each permittee would be proportionate to the
amount of incidental take authorized.
measures to mitigate for the authorized take are based
upon current species recovery documents and would
be consistent with species recovery goals. KSHCP
fees provided by permittees would fund long-term
seabird nest site protection and new colony creation
designed to offset take and provide net benefits for
the seabird species. Protection of natural vegetation
and occupied nesting areas, and reducing seabird
predators, are actions that are anticipated to increase
adult, egg, and chick survival which would improve
nest success and colony population size over time.
Colony creation would enable breeding in an area free
from predators which has the best chance for a high
population growth rate.
administration and management would be overseen
by the DLNR and USFWS and implemented by a
small team. Annual review would be completed by
the Endangered Species Recovery Committee (ESRC)
with recommendations forwarded to the Board of
Land and Natural Resources.
We want to hear from you!
Entities interested in finding out more can contact the
KSHCP office. Potential applicants should contact
the office to find out if the KSHCP is right for your
organization or business.
Interested parties will have several opportunities to
provide comments during the planning processes. The
KSHCP and NEPA/HEPA environmental compliance
document will be prepared and made available for
public comment. Additionally public meetings will
be conducted to learn about the program and to
submit comments on the KSHCP and NEPA / HEPA
For Additional Information:
Yuki Reiss, Coordinator
Kauai Seabird HCP Office
4272-B Rice Street
Lihue, HI 96766
Tel.808 245 9160
[email protected]
Lasha Salbosa
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
300 Ala Moana Blvd, Room 3-122
Honolulu, HI 96850
Tel. 808 792 9400
[email protected]
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