A public meeting on the Draft Restoration Plan and Environmental Assessment was held on June 21, 2000, at the Kapaa Public Library on Kauai, Hawaii. The audience members asked a number of questions of the Trustees. Listed below is a brief summary of the questions and the responses.
Response: The purpose of this meeting is to discuss the Restoration Plan and the proposed restoration activities rather than response activities. Please contact Tesoro Hawaii Corporation if you'd like to discuss the response activities in more detail.
Response: Nothing can be done at this time to help directly the injured species and there is no real way to compensate for the loss. We can provide ways to increase population growth to compensate for injured birds by yielding more chicks. Also, fishing nets are a potential entanglement hazard and their removal will reduce potential injury to seals and turtles, other threatened/endangered species, and the reefs.
Response: Fishermen lose their nets and they become tangled up on the shoreline or in the intertidal where they can injure resources such as the opihi and endangered/threatened species. We can increase the value of their environment, make things better for these species, by removing the nets. We found 133 during the survey.
Response: One hundred and five birds were found oiled, approx. 30 were cleaned and released, and some died. We didn't do full sampling and analysis. We know that oil upsets the thermoregulatory process in birds and there are some questions as to whether cleaned and released birds can even reproduce successfully (sublethal effects). It is costly to measure sublethal effects, but we can do some things to help existing populations.
Response: The economic impact evaluation was done by a third-party. A Tesoro representative from the audience stated that the claim line was opened and the company received claims for about $20,000.00 from fishermen with fouled lines; there were no claims by the hotels. The representative believed that the "hotel packs" which were brought in immediately seemed to be effective.
Response: When the settlement negotiations have been concluded, the Consent Decree is entered, and the Plan is final.
|Charles O'Neill||733 Bishop St., Honolulu, HI||Reinwald O'Connor and Playdon||808-524-8350|
|Jude Schwarce||3040 Umi St.||Dept. Health||808-241-3323|
|Don Heacock||3060 Eiwa St., Lihue||DAR/DLNR||808-274-3344|
|Melisa Mars||Garden Island Newspaper||808-249-3681|
|Tom Telfer||3060 Elwa St., Lihue||DLNR/DOFAN||808-274-3433|
|Dave Aplin||PO Box 1128, Kileauea||USFWS||808-828-1413|
|Carol Terry||1151 Punchbowl St., Honolulu||DLNR/DFW||808-587-0166|
|Barry Ogilby||Three Embarcadero Ctr., San Francisco, CA||McCutchen, Doyle, Brown & Enersen||415-393-2000|
|D.H. Leonard||733 Bishop St., Honolulu, HI||Tesoro Hawaii||808-547-3688|
|F. David Hoffman, Jr.||733 Bishop St., Honolulu, HI||Tesoro Hawaii||808-547-3280|
|R. Chris Jansen||733 Bishop St., Honolulu, HI||Tesoro Hawaii||808-547-3242|
|Nathan Hokama||733 Bishop St., Honolulu, HI||Tesoro Hawaii||808-547-3639|
|Susan A. Kusunoki||733 Bishop St., Honolulu, HI||Tesoro Hawaii||808-547-3425|
|Gary Gill||Dept. Health|
|Curtis Martin||Dept. Health, HEER|
|Kathleen Ho||Hawaii Office of Attorney General|
|Francis Oishi||Dept. Land and Natural Resources, Aquatic Resources|
Two written public comments were received during the public comment period (June 7-July 10, 2000). Their comments are provided below, along with the responses by the Trustees.
The Trustees appreciate the input from these two individuals:
Carl J. Berg, Jr. Brian A. Cooper
Ph.D, Zoology Senior Research Biologist
P.O. Box 681 ABR, Inc. Environmental
Kilauea, HI 96754 Research and Services
firstname.lastname@example.org P.O. Box 249
Forest Grove, OR 97116
4.5.3: Preferred Alternative: Predator Control in Newell's Shearwater Colonies on Kauai (pp. 44-46)
Comment: p. 44. Be VERY careful that the predator removal efforts do not actually increase predation by opening up trails through the uluhe fern. Frankly, the only way to keep this from happening might be to fence in the entire colony, which might not be feasible. (Cooper)
Response: The Trustees appreciate your concern regarding the potential to increase predation in the Newell's shearwater colonies. The colonies proposed for predator control work are already compromised by trail systems and have known mammalian predation. As noted in the Final Restoration Plan, we will attempt to minimize trail enhancement and disturbance to the birds by limiting access points to the colony. Fencing colonies from rat predators was not considered to be a viable option since it would be expensive, impracticable, and potentially more disruptive to nesting seabirds.
Comment: I am familiar with the studies done on the seabirds of Kauai and the great concern over the diminishing population estimates for these federally listed threatened and endangered species. Section 4.5.3 does not address the significant "taking" of the Newell's shearwater and dark-rumped petrel by the power lines that intercept the birds during their flights between the ocean and their nesting habitats in the mountains of Kauai. I feel that something must be done to stop the killing of the birds by the power lines. Section 4.5.3 focuses, instead, on predator control within the breeding colonies. This I support. I strongly believe that action such as that proposed must be taken immediately to control population decline by the introduced predators. Furthermore, the benefits of predator control will far out weigh any disturbance to the natural habitat. We do not have the luxury of time to do further scientific studies. (Berg)
Response: The Restoration Plan notes that recent studies suggest that the decline of Newell's shearwaters on Kauai is due to the combination of predation by alien mammals and collision with power lines and lighted structures. Of these threats, predation was found to be the most serious threat to shearwater survival. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the State of Hawaii, Department of Lands and Natural Resources, organized the Save Our Shearwaters (SOS) program in 1978 to recover, rehabilitate, and release shearwaters injured by their attraction to lights and subsequent collisions with structures and power lines. This program has been highly successful in recovering and rehabilitating injured shearwaters. Additional measures have been developed to reduce fallout from collisions with lighted structures and power lines such as reducing the intensity of lights and placing lines underground at specific "hot spots" where the risk to shearwaters may be the greatest. These measures, however, are voluntary. Given the limited funds available for restoration, the high costs of placing power lines underground, and the success of the SOS program, the Trustees decided to focus efforts on an area which has not received attention to date, namely predator control. We appreciate your support of the proposed predator control project.
Comment: Some other restoration ideas not specifically mentioned: (1) bury existing power lines in bird "hot spots" where birds have been found historically, and (2) test marker balls effectiveness at reducing collision. (Cooper)
Response: Placement of power lines underground in seabird "hot spots" has been identified by scientists as a measure which would reduce seabird collisions. However, this measure is a voluntary effort and can be very expensive. The Trustees are focusing their efforts and limited funding on projects that will restore, protect, and enhance natural resources potentially injured by the spill and that will provide some compensation to the public and the environment for the loss suffered during the period until recovery is achieved. For this reason, broader research activities, such as testing the effectiveness of marker balls, were not considered in developing this Plan.
4.5.4 Preferred Alterative: Predator Control and Habitat Enhancement on Offshore Islands in the Hawaii Seabird Sanctuary (pp. 46-48)
Comment: The proposed action for offshore islands (Section 4.5.4) is well designed and backed by extensive experience. It will have significant impact on the restoration of seabirds. (Berg)
Response: The Trustees appreciate your comment.
4.5.5 Preferred Alternative: Extension of the Predator Fence at Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge on Kauai (pp. 48-50)
Comment: I am most familiar with the proposed alternative for the extension of the predator fence at Kilauea Point Natural Wildlife Refuge on Kauai (Section 4.5.5), as I am a volunteer hike leader at that refuge. The objectives of the proposed alternative are great, well worth the expenditure of funds, but I would like to offer some corrections and additions to the proposal. (Berg)
The proposed fence does not protect against mongooses, since none are present on Kauai, nor against mice and rats that can easily pass through the fence, nor against cats that may pass through or climb over. It functions primarily to keep dogs and humans from entering the refuge. (Berg)
Temporary breaches in the fence have resulted in significant mortalities of seabirds from uncontrolled dogs. While the hurricane did damage the fence, subsequent lack of maintenance and repair has allowed mass killings of birds up to as recently as this spring. The Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge is sorely lacking a Comprehensive Conservation Plan and the process of constructing one will not begin until the year 2007. Currently there is no formalized management plan for each of the species of birds that inhabit the refuge. The development of such a plan, one the specifically identifies fence survey and maintenance schedules, reporting schedules and the personnel responsible, should be a requirement of your funding. (Berg)
Specifically, under "Performance Criteria and Monitoring" should be the requirement for: (1) Conducting frequent surveys of the condition of the fence and recording of the number and locations of breaches etc. (2) Documentation of fence installation, repair and maintenance actions. (3) Reporting of the number of birds killed by each type of predator. (4) Standard monitoring. Techniques to document changes in colony size, survivorship, and productivity of each species of bird. (Berg)
It is unclear how the extension of the fence line as proposed by this restoration action plan is related to the extension currently underway and more importantly, how it is compatible with the proposed development of hiking trails, laboratories and a pavilion on the refuge's Crater Hill properties. These proposed developments will increase human disturbance of the birds and the probability of predation by dogs, thus negating any restoration activities on the refuge. A Comprehensive Conservation Plan is needed for the refuge. (Berg)
Response: The Trustees appreciate your support of this proposed project. The text has been revised to note that the predator fence provides protection primarily from dogs. Your suggestions regarding performance criteria and monitoring also have been incorporated into the Final Restoration Plan. Some of the performance criteria and monitoring actions are being addressed under other programs, such as the state-wide Hawaiian goose surveys, the state and federal fish and wildlife agencies' predator control work at the Kilauea Point NWR, and the red-footed booby colony surveys. The Trustees appreciate your concern regarding the development of a Comprehensive Conservation Plan (CCP) which specifically addresses the predator control fence. The Trustees will forward your comments concerning the CCP to the Kilauea Point NWR staff for consideration.
The installation and maintenance of the predator control fence, however, is an action that can occur in the absence of a CCP and which will provide significant and more immediate benefits to seabird resources, particularly in light of additional development in the area. A fencing plan was developed by the Kilauea Point NWR in 1997. It entailed erecting literally miles of fence, and in some places constructing two fences in parallel, to ensure that dogs would not decimate the seabird colonies at the refuge. Although the fencing plan has been initiated, there are insufficient funds to complete this entire project. The project outlined in this Restoration Plan will complement ongoing efforts and allow for completion of the predator exclusion fence at the refuge.
4.5.6 Non-Preferred Alternatives (p. 50-51)
Comment: I am in strong support of one of your non-preferred alternatives, the nest habitat improvement for wedge-tailed shearwaters at Kilauea Point. The Crater Hill properties could be greatly enhanced for nesting by the planting of native species of plants and construction of artificial burrows, once the area is properly fenced. Population densities are currently so low in this area to allow for expansion without any fear of population dependent disease outbreaks. I believe we would see an immediate increase in the number of successful nest sites the following breeding season. (Berg)
Response: The Trustees appreciate your support for this project. As mentioned in your comments, the Crater Hill properties need to be fenced prior to habitat enhancement due to disruption by predators such as dogs. The Trustees have no information suggesting that habitat is a limiting factor for wedge-tailed shearwaters. Therefore, our efforts focused on installing and maintaining a predator control fence in this area as a method to enhance seabird populations. However, we will share your suggestions for habitat enhancement with the Kilauea Point NWR staff.
Alternatives Not Raised in Draft Plan
Some other restoration ideas not specifically mentioned:
(1) Comment: Bury existing power lines in bird "hot spots" where birds have been found historically, and test marker balls effectiveness at reducing collision; Increase light shielding on Kauai. (Cooper)
Response: Scientists have developed a variety of measures (e.g., burying power lines and increasing light shielding) to reduce shearwater fallout from collisions with lighted structures and power lines. These measures, however, are voluntary and some, such as burying power lines, are very expensive. Others, such as increasing light shielding, are best approached through revisions in building codes. Given the limited funds available for restoration, the high costs of placing power lines underground, the alternatives for addressing light shielding issues, and the success of the SOS program, the Trustees decided to focus efforts on an area which has not received attention to date, namely predator control.
(2). Comment: Did you consider aerial dispersal of rodenticide (would have to be careful about non-target species, however)? (Cooper)
Response: Aerial dispersal was considered, however, pesticide registration for this technique has not yet been granted for the State of Hawaii.
(3) Comment: Do a predator assessment in the Alakai swamp--how many rats/cats are in the area? (Cooper)
Response: The Trustees are focusing their efforts and limited funding on projects that will restore, protect, and enhance natural resources potentially injured by the spill and that will provide some compensation to the public and the environment for the loss suffered during the period until recovery is achieved. For this reason, broader research survey activities were not considered in developing this Plan.
(4) Comment: Do radar surveys of the other main islands (Oahu, Maui, Molokai, Big Island) to obtain baseline information on distribution and abundance of petrels and shearwaters. (Cooper)
Response: As noted above, the Trustees are focusing on projects that will restore natural resources rather than broader research activities.