ENDANGERED SPECIES ACT
U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE
PROPOSES DOWNLISTING OF THE HAWAIIAN GOOSE (NENE) FROM ENDANGERED TO THREATENED STATUS
On April 2, 2018, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published a proposed rule in the Federal Register to reclassify the Hawaiian Goose (nene) from endangered to threatened. As a result of the protections of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), captive breeding programs with support from private landowners, and effective management partnerships we believe the Hawaiian Goose (nene) has recovered sufficiently so that it no longer meets the definition of endangered. The current statewide nene population estimate is 2,855 individuals, and there are wild populations on the islands of Kauai, Maui, Molokai, and Hawaii. Populations on Kauai, Maui, and Hawaii are exhibiting a stable or increasing trend, while the nene population on Molokai is experiencing a fluctuation in population numbers. Current population trends are expected to continue into the foreseeable future, as long as current management practices such as predator control and habitat enhancement are maintained.
Our analysis shows continued threats to the nene from habitat destruction due to human activities, climate change, and predation from introduced mammals such as mongooses, dogs, cats, rats, and pigs. These threats remain significant and will continue to require additional management practices to mitigate their impact to nene. Existing regulatory mechanisms remain inadequate for full recovery.
As the nene increase in numbers and expand in range, they face increased interaction and potential conflict with landowners and businesses. In addition to the reclassification, we are also proposing a rule that would allow additional flexibility for businesses and land owners to manage nene on their property. This rule, called a 4(d) rule, would allow non-lethal intentional harassment (hazing), predator control, and habitat enhancement activities that are otherwise prohibited under Section 9 of the ESA. The rule would facilitate nene recovery by encouraging support for habitat management and providing state and private landowners with a way to reduce human-wildlife conflicts such as vehicle collisions, crop depredation, feeding, and intrusion into residential and recreational areas.
A complete copy of the proposal was published in the Federal Register (83 FR 13919) on April 2, 2018, and can be found at http://www.fws.gov/pacificislands. That announcement opend a 60-day comment period to allow the public to review and comment on the proposal to reclassify the nene from endangered to threatened, and to provide additional information. All relevant comments and information received by June 1, 2018, will be considered. If you would like a copy of the proposed rule to be mailed to you, please contact the Field Supervisor at the address or phone number below.
DATES: Written comments may be submitted electronically, or by U.S. mail or hand delivered. Written comments may be submitted electronically via the Federal eRulemaking portal at http://www.regulations.gov. Search for FWS-R1-ES-2017-0050 which is the docket number. Or written comments may be submitted via U.S. mail or hand-delivered to: Submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R1-ES-2017-0050, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, MS: BPHC, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-3808. We will not accept e-mail or faxes. We will post all comments on http://www.regulations.gov. This generally means that we will post any personal information you provide us.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mary Abrams, Field Supervisor, Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office, 300 Ala Moana Blvd., Room 3-122, Honolulu, HI 96850; telephone 808-792-9400; facsimile 808-792-9581.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service works with others to conserve, protect, and enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people. For more information, visit www.fws.gov/pacific, or connect with us through any of these social media channels at www.facebook.com/USFWSPacific, www.flickr.com/photos/usfwspacific/, www.tumblr.com/blog/usfwspacific, or www.twitter.com/USFWSPacific.