Navy Issues Record of Decision for Hawaii-Southern California Training and Testing Environmental Impact Statement

The U.S. Navy has issued a Record of Decision (ROD) for the Hawaii-Southern California Training and Testing (HSTT) Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement (EIS/OEIS).

A Navy ship at Pearl Harbor last week.

A Navy ship at Pearl Harbor last week.

Following several years of research, environmental analysis, and public involvement, the Navy has chosen Alternative 2, the Preferred Alternative described in the HSTT Final EIS/OEIS, to accomplish the Proposed Action. This alternative includes establishment of new range capabilities, adjustments to the types and levels of training and testing and modifications to existing capabilities.

The Navy’s Proposed Action is to conduct training and testing activities – which will include the use of active sonar and explosives – throughout the in-water areas around the Hawaiian Islands, off the coast of Southern California, in the transit corridor between Hawaii and Southern California, and at Navy pierside locations. The Proposed Action also includes sonar maintenance and gunnery exercises conducted concurrently with ship transits as well as pierside testing conducted as part of overhaul, modernization, maintenance and repair activities at Navy piers located in Hawaii and Southern California.

“This EIS was developed with the best available science and will enable the Navy to continue training and testing in Hawaii and Southern California while minimizing potential injury to the environment, as we have safely done for more than 60 years,” said Alex Stone, senior environmental planner for the U.S. Pacific Fleet and HSTT EIS project manager. “This training and testing is essential for the fleet to fulfill its mission of defending the nation and the global commons and leading America’s rebalance to the Indo-Asia-Pacific.”

The Navy prepared the EIS/OEIS to assess potential environmental impacts from its training and testing activities and to support authorizations, permits and consultations required under the Endangered Species Act, Marine Mammal Protection Act, and other relevant statutes.

The ROD is now available to the public. The document and the HSTT Final EIS/OEIS can be found online at www.HSTTEIS.com.

 

Kona and Kauai to Get New WestJet Flights From Canada

WestJet today announced new, daily service between Vancouver and Hawaii Island (Kona) and between Vancouver and Kauai (Lihue), starting this December.

On December 12, 2013, service between Vancouver and Hawaii Island increases to daily from four times weekly last winter. Service between Vancouver and Kauai also increases to daily, beginning December 14, 2013, from three times weekly.

WestJet

“WestJet is the airline of choice for Canadians who love the Hawaiian Islands,” said Chris Avery, WestJet Vice-President, Network Planning, Alliances and Corporate Development. “With seamless connections from many cities across Canada and no need to pick up your bag before you pre-clear U.S. customs in Vancouver, it’s never been easier to take that fabulous Hawaiian vacation you’ve been waiting for.”

In addition to increased service to Hawaii Island and Kauai, WestJet also offers twice-daily service from Vancouver to both Honolulu and Maui.

Flights are now available for sale at westjet.com.

WestJet Vacations has something for everyone, offering 29 hotels and condos situated on Hawaii Island from Kailua-Kona to Waikoloa, and on Kauai from Poipu to Princeville. Hawaii Island is inspirational with its diverse beauty and Kauai, the tropical island of discovery, is visually spectacular. More information on vacation packages is available at westjetvacations.com.

About WestJet
WestJet is Canada’s most preferred airline, offering scheduled service to 86 destinations in North America, Central America and the Caribbean. Powered by an award-winning culture of care, WestJet pioneered low-cost flying in Canada. Recognized nationally as a top employer, WestJet now has more than 9,000 WestJetters across Canada. Operating a fleet of more than 100 Boeing Next-Generation 737 and Bombardier Q400 NextGen aircraft, WestJet strives to be one of the five most successful international airlines in the world. This year, WestJet launched its new regional airline, WestJet Encore.

 

Hawaii State Website Gets New Design

The new Hawaii.gov portal just might be the coolest government website you have ever seen.

Ehawaii

The touch-first design, Hawaiian themes, dynamic data and enhanced search represent a huge evolutionary step forward in government web sites.

The New Hawaii.gov Website from ehawaii.gov on Vimeo.

Hawaii.gov is designed for mobile with a touch-first Responsive web design. Built for touch, speech, and with accessibility for all users, the new design showcases the very best in Web design thinking. Highlighting Hawaii’s diversity, native culture, and the uniqueness of each island, Hawaii.gov also provides a Web experience that truly reflects the Aloha State.

Kayakers Rescued by Honolulu Fire Department and Coast Guard

The Coast Guard and Honolulu Fire Department rescued a group of kayakers offshore of Honolulu, Saturday.

Honolulu Fire Department received a call from one of a group of six kayakers at approximately 8 a.m. stating that some of their kayaks had overturned and  four people were in the water. HFD deployed a rescue helicopter, rescue boat, fire boat and engine and contacted the Coast Guard Sector Honolulu Command Center.

Sector Honolulu responded by issuing an urgent marine information broadcast to request the assistance of mariners in the area and launching a 45-foot Response-Boat Medium from Coast Guard Station Honolulu.

Upon arriving on scene the Coast Guard response boat crew rescued four people from the water and took one person aboard from a kayak. They were then able to recover three kayaks, and escort the sixth member of the group as he paddled to Kaimana Beach. The five people aboard the response boat  and their kayaks were taken to Ala Wai Boat Harbor with no reported injuries. Everyone was wearing a lifejacket.

Maritime accidents can occur quickly and without warning, even under the best weather conditions. Lifejackets, hand held marine VHF radios and signaling devices can greatly increase the chance of survival should the unexpected occur. Visitors to the Hawaiian Islands as well as residents should ensure they have appropriate safety equipment, weather information and experience before heading out on the water.

For more information on lifejackets visit www.uscgboating.org.

Sea conditions at the time were one to two foot swells, calm winds and clear skies. For more information contact the 14th Coast Guard District public affairs office at (808) 535-3230.

Worldwide Voyage Receives First Major Sponsorship

Hawaiian Airlines Pledges Crew Travel and Cargo Transportation

In a significant display of support for the mission of the Polynesian Voyaging Society’s Worldwide Voyage, Hawaiian Airlines has pledged to provide air transportation for PVS crew and cargo throughout Hawaiian’s route network for the duration of the four-year voyage.

Hikianalia on its way to Hawaii last year.

Hikianalia on its way to Hawaii last year.

Under a sponsorship contract signed this week, Hawaiian Airlines will provide 32 million air miles for crew travel, as well as cargo support for supplies needed as the sailing canoes Hōkūle‘a and Hikianalia travel to international ports throughout the Pacific.  The value of the sponsorship is estimated to be $1 million.

Hawaiian will be the lead sponsor of the voyage, which will be known as “The Worldwide Voyage Sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines.”

The Dalai Lama blessed the Hokulea at Kualoa Park last year.  Photo courtesy of Pillars of Peace

The Dalai Lama blessed the Hōkūle‘a at Kualoa Park last year. Photo courtesy of Pillars of Peace

“We are deeply appreciative of Hawaiian’s extraordinary commitment to our mission to inspire young people throughout the world to care for and sustain our planet, and to coexist in peace and compassion,” said navigator Nainoa Thompson, PVS president.  “Sailing Hōkūle‘a has taught us the importance of understanding and connecting with our natural resources.  She is a reminder to us all of the need to celebrate and protect the natural and cultural treasures of Island Earth.”

“The Worldwide Voyage honors a legacy of connecting islands throughout the Pacific that Polynesian navigators created centuries ago. It is our privilege as modern-day navigators and beneficiaries of that legacy to support this voyage and its message of sustainability and resource protection,” said Mark Dunkerley, Hawaiian Airlines’ president and CEO.

The Worldwide Voyage Sponsored by Hawaiian Airlines will begin in June 2013 with a series of voyages throughout the Hawaiian archipelago, and continue through 2017 with visits to more than 60 ports in more than 20 countries.

The Hōkūle‘a being worked on. Picture courtesy of Pillars of Peace

The Hōkūle‘a being worked on. Picture courtesy of Pillars of Peace

The 48-month voyage involves more than 400 crewmembers from 16 countries.  This includes educators and scientists who will be using the voyage to research ocean wellness, using Native Hawaiian and western science research methods, and to create voyaging-based curriculum to be disseminated in as many Hawai‘i schools as possible, including Mālama Honua, a newly created charter school affiliated with the voyage.  Hikianalia, the solar- and wind-powered support and sister vessel to Hōkūle‘a, will be a platform for marine science, documentation, education outreach, communication and teacher training, while Hōkūle‘a will continue to be a platform for indigenous knowledge, experiential learning and sustainability.

PVS expects to have approximately 5,000 of Hawai‘i’s school children physically on the canoes during the first year of the Worldwide Voyage, and more than 100,000 Hawai’i students and teachers on board PVS’s third canoe, the website http://hokulea.org, throughout the four-year voyage as part of their curriculum.  Students from several public and private schools in Hawai‘i have already been involved in preparing for the voyage by assisting in dry docks (restoration and repair work) for Hōkūle‘a and Hikianalia, studying the sail plan, and participating in crew training and classroom work on the wa‘a.

Photo courtesy of Pillars of Peace

The blessing of the Hokulea. Photo courtesy of Pillars of Peace

“The involvement of our youth has been one of the most powerful aspects of planning for this voyage,” remarked Thompson.  “We can count on this next generation of voyagers to perpetuate the values and practices that will guide our planet toward good health.”

Commented Dunkerley: “The students who will be touched by this voyage, either by participating in it or by learning from the science-based curriculum it will produce, are the future workforce of Hawaiian Airlines.  So it is fitting that Hawai‘i-based companies such as ours support this journey.”

Student Rates Announced for the 2013 Hawaii Conservation Conference

The Hawai‘i Conservation Alliance in partnership with Hauʻoli Mau Loa Foundation proudly announces the 2013 Hawaiʻi Conservation Conference Student Rate Program.

2013 Conservation Conference

Under this program, Hawaiʻi high school students, college students, and emerging professionals may be qualified to attend this yearʻs Hawaiʻi Conservation Conference at a special rate of $50.

Muralist Wyland and others at the 2012 Conservation Conference

Muralist Wyland and others at the 2012 Conservation Conference

Our neighboring island recipients will also receive at $200 travel stipend.

Hawaii Conservation Conference 2012

Please visit the following link for more details, eligibility requirements and applications (printable & fillable pdfs). Applications are due by May 30th, 2013.

http://hawaiiconservation.org/activities/hawaii_conservation_conference/conferences/2013/student_rate

 

 

Education Effort Aims to Improve Wildlife Viewing Experience for Public and Protect Hawaii’s Unique Marine Resources

In an effort to better educate visitors and residents about proper marine wildlife viewing, the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), along with Honua Consulting and more than 20 community partners, has created a series of video public service announcements about Hawai`i’s marine resources.

DLNR

“We recognize the need to be proactive in managing human-wildlife interactions in Hawai‘i,” explained William Aila, Chairman of the Board of Land and Natural Resources. “As part of the Governor’s New Day plan for better environmental stewardship, the more we can educate visitors and residents about proper wildlife viewing, the more we can keep both the public and marine animals safe.”

The videos also encourage the public to choose tour operators that keep their distance when viewing marine wildlife like spinner dolphins, Hawaiian monk seals, turtles, and humpback whales.

The PSAs are particularly important as incidents of both monk seal hookings and humpback whale ship strikes continue to occur. In the 2012-2013 whale season, there have been 10 confirmed whale-vessel contacts. In 2012 there were 17 confirmed monk seal hookings. This year, there have been 6 confirmed hookings so far.

The project, Respect Ocean and Aquatic Resources (ROAR) Hawai‘i, was funded by the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority. The videos, which were shot and produced locally by ‘Ōiwi TV, also feature the Hawaiian language. “Part of what makes the Hawaiian Islands such a unique and special destination is our rich natural environment and unique host culture,” said Mike McCartney, president and CEO of the Hawai‘i Tourism Authority. “We are pleased to partner with DLNR and Honua Consulting to educate visitors and kama‘āina about the proper way to protect our ocean and marine life, while also highlighting the Hawaiian language.”

The videos can be viewed at the project website, http://roarhawaii.org/media/

If you would like hi-resolution copies of the PSAs for use and distribution please email roarhawaii@gmail.com.

ROAR Hawaii is a collection of information on Native Hawaiian ocean related practices and resources with the purpose of encouraging understanding and appreciation of our ocean through research, education, and culture.

Coast Guard Sentinels to Continue Hawaiian Watch

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Honolulu are called to action by a urgent request for assistance. A vessel captain reports that his 24-foot charter vessel, the Mellow Yellow, is disabled six miles east of the Big Island of Hawaii with two people aboard. The crew of the Coast Guard Cutter Kiska launches as they have done so many times before.

The charter vessel Mellow Yellow, center, is escorted back to Hilo by the crew aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Kiska, foreground, March 3, 2013, approximately six miles off the coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. Kiska crewmembers responded to the disabled boat after receiving a report stating the Mellow Yellow had a steering malfunction. Kiska engineers boarded the Mellow Yellow and made temporary repairs to assist the crew by making a rudder system out of wood and rope. Kiska crewmembers remained aboard and escorted the Mellow Yellow back to shore and completed a post search and rescue boarding. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

The charter vessel Mellow Yellow, center, is escorted back to Hilo by the crew aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Kiska, foreground, approximately six miles off the coast of the Big Island of Hawaii. Kiska crewmembers responded to the disabled boat after receiving a report stating the Mellow Yellow had a steering malfunction. Kiska engineers boarded the Mellow Yellow and made temporary repairs to assist the crew by making a rudder system out of wood and rope. Kiska crewmembers remained aboard and escorted the Mellow Yellow back to shore and completed a post search and rescue boarding. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

Chief Petty Officer Jacob Buckley, a machinery technician stationed aboard the 110-foot Island Class patrol boat, noted that conditions were far from optimal. Fighting through eight to 10-foot seas and 20-knot winds, the crew arrived on scene and managed to lower their small boat into the water to render assistance. Once aboard the Mellow Yellow, they inspected the entire steering system to see if repairs were possible.

“After seeing there was no way to make repairs to the installed steering system, we had two options,” Buckley said. The options were either tow the Mellow Yellow and crew back to shore or try to rig an emergency steering system and drive them back to Hilo. With daylight waning and a tow requiring reduced speeds, the crew decided to improvise.

Buckley and other crewmembers made an emergency steering system by rigging a six-foot board to the left outboard engine. They secured it in place using duct tape, 20-feet of line and a little ingenuity, allowing the vessel to be steered as they escorted it back to shore.

Chief Petty Officer Jacob L. Buckley, a machinery technician from the Coast Guard Cutter Kiska, helps steer the Mellow Yellow back to shore, March 3, 2013 approximately six miles off the Big Island of Hawaii. Kiska crewmembers responded to the disabled boat after receiving a report stating the Mellow Yellow had a steering malfunction. Kiska engineers boarded the Mellow Yellow and made temporary repairs to assist the crew by making a rudder system out of wood and rope. Kiska crewmembers remained aboard and escorted the Mellow Yellow back to shore and completed a post search and rescue boarding. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

Chief Petty Officer Jacob L. Buckley, a machinery technician from the Coast Guard Cutter Kiska, helps steer the Mellow Yellow back to shore, approximately six miles off the Big Island of Hawaii. Kiska crewmembers responded to the disabled boat after receiving a report stating the Mellow Yellow had a steering malfunction. Kiska engineers boarded the Mellow Yellow and made temporary repairs to assist the crew by making a rudder system out of wood and rope. Kiska crewmembers remained aboard and escorted the Mellow Yellow back to shore and completed a post search and rescue boarding. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

The 23-year-old Kiska, home-ported on the Big Island of Hawaii, is one of two 110-foot Island Class patrol boats in the Hawaiian Islands. The second, the Coast Guard Cutter Galveston Island, is home-ported in Honolulu. Since the 1980’s, the 20-person crews aboard these vessels have conducted search and rescue, law enforcement and environmental protection missions throughout the Hawaiian Islands and the Pacific.

The Coast Guard Cutter Galveston Island, a 110-foot Island Class patrol boat, sits on stilts at a dry dock in Honolulu, Feb. 14, 2013. The Galveston Island is having maintenance done in order to extend the cutter's service life. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Anthony L. Soto)

The Coast Guard Cutter Galveston Island, a 110-foot Island Class patrol boat, sits on stilts at a dry dock in Honolulu.  The Galveston Island is having maintenance done in order to extend the cutter’s service life. (U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Anthony L. Soto)

Despite the capabilities of these ships, most of the 110’s in the Coast Guard are past their intended service life, established when a ship is designed. As cutters age, crewmembers endure numerous engineering challenges in keeping them operational. Continued heavy use requires constant maintenance and repair. These needs are increasingly preventing the crews from being able to perform their designated missions.

“The cutter does experience casualties. They range from sewage issues, gray-water issues, exhaust leaks, minor system malfunctions to something larger,” said Chief Petty Officer David Jones, a machinery technician and the Galveston Island engineering officer. “Usually they’re small problems, but they take time to fix, and they add up.”

Due to the age of the Galveston Island and Kiska, some parts are no longer available from the manufacturer or the manufacturer is no longer in business. That being the case, getting underway highly depends on whether or not the part that is needed is essential to the ship’s functioning.

The combined issues cost the crews valuable time and reduce service to the people of the Hawaiian Islands, Jones noted. As maintenance issues become more complex the potential impact on mission execution increases. In the context of a search and rescue case this could lead to loss of life.

The delicate balance between maintenance and operations has not gone unnoticed and efforts are being undertaken at the highest levels of the service to ensure the missions and service of the Coast Guard patrol boat fleet are maintained.

“Parts availability and conditions of the ships have been key considerations in the decision to bring new ships to the fleet,” said Lt. Justin Nadolny, a Fast Response Cutter sponsor representative at the Coast Guard’s Office of Cutter Forces in Washington D.C.

The Acquisitions Directorate, the office in charge of recapitalization projects, has worked with industry partners to develop the Sentinel Class Fast Response Cutter. This new class of ship features an array of new technologies, communications systems and living quarters for the crew. Four of these ships are already in use in Miami and two are set to be stationed in Hawaii within the next decade.

“The FRC’s offer significantly improved sea keeping over the 110,” Nadolny said. “It has a much better ability to launch its small boat and improved crew habitability.” Nadolny also pointed out that the FRC’s are capable of traveling farther than the 110’s, an important factor in Hawaii’s vast area of operations.

Today, two 110-foot patrol boats provide essential missions to the Hawaiian Islands and beyond, but due to the increase of maintenance issues, their time is running out. With the introduction of the Sentinel Class Fast Response Cutter, a new and capable platform will provide the Hawaiian community with readiness they can rely for generations to come.

Translocation of Hawaiian Monk Seals From the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands to the Main Islands, Deferred

The Hawaiian monk seal research program permit application for conducting activities implementing the monk seal recovery program was published yesterday in the Federal Register.

Monk Seal Institute

The application has deferred for up to 5 years, the proposed translocation of juvenile monk seals from the NWHI to the main islands; the permit application specifically states “no seals would be moved from the NWHI to the MHI.” The merits of the translocation proposal have been debated for the last several years among marine scientists, ocean users and conservationists. (See: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/monkseal16632.htm).

According to Trisha Kehaulani Watson, who represents the Marine Conservation Institute in Hawai‘i, the deferral was the appropriate move at this time but should be reconsidered for future permit applications based on the seal’s recovery progress over the next five years:

“Translocation of a few seals to the main islands, and then returning them to the NWHI as adults, was something NMFS wanted to try as an experiment to see if it could build up the subpopulation of seals in the NWHI which is currently declining.  It was a novel idea, and not everyone agreed it would work. But NMFS deserves credit for considering it as one measure to maintain the monk seal as part of Hawai‘i’s ‘ohana.  Translocations of individual seals within the main islands are allowed under the permit application, and we support these as necessary to protect their important role in Hawai‘i’s ecology and culture.  Moving seals within the MHI to appropriate locations where they can thrive will be an increasingly important tool as the population of monk seals continues to naturally increase in the main islands.”

“Frankly,” said Watson, “the Hawai‘i office of NMFS is in no position to finance an expensive translocation project right now because the agency’s budget for the monk seal recovery program has been cut by NOAA’s managers from around $5. 5 million in 2010 to roughly $3.5 million in 2012, and further cuts may be in the offing.  NMFS Hawai‘i cannot even pay for things it should be doing now like mounting effective outreach and volunteer programs, responding to the growing number of harmful human actions toward monk seals, and financing its scientific research projects, including its summer research camp in the NWHI.  The focus of the limited funds available needs to be on activities in Papahānaumokuākea and on managing the seal population currently in the main Hawaiian Islands.”

“If the people of Hawai‘i and across the United States want to see the monk seal properly managed and recovered,” she said, “they are going to have to ask their congressional delegation to intervene on the NOAA budget when it comes before the Congress this spring.” Watson noted that 30% of the seals seen alive today are alive because of interventions made by seal managers in Hawai‘i. “That’s a terrific record achieved by NMFS,” she said.

See our Monk Seal Fact Sheet for further information.

About Marine Conservation Institute

Marine Conservation Institute is a U.S. nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting marine ecosystems. We work with scientists, politicians, government officials and other organizations in the United States and around the world to fashion solutions to problems affecting marine ecosystems which are long lasting and compatible with sustainable ocean use. Honua Consulting represents Marine Conservation Institute in Hawai`i.

 

NOAA Announces Rules to Protect False Killer Whales off Hawaii

Measures reduce bycatch in longline fisheries; protect the insular population from extinction

Complying with the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and two federal court orders, today NOAA Fisheries announced two actions to protect false killer whales in the Pacific Islands.  False killer whales (Pseudorca crassidens), are members of the dolphin family and, though naturally uncommon, are found worldwide. As top predators, false killer whales play an important role in the biodiversity of the oceans by helping maintain balance within the ecosystem.

A False Killer Whale and her baby

Rule to Reduce Bycatch under the Marine Mammal Protection Act

Under the MMPA, NOAA Fisheries is establishing measures to reduce incidental catch of two stocks of false killer whales in the Hawaii-based commercial longline fisheries. The MMPA requires the development of take reduction plans for certain marine mammal stocks where there is frequent or occasional bycatch of marine mammals in commercial fisheries.  False killer whales in waters around Hawaii are incidentally caught in the Hawaii-based tuna and swordfish longline fisheries and have adapted to take bait and fish off longline fishing hooks, which can cause them to become hooked or entangled. Currently, the bycatch of two false killer whale stocks, the Hawaii Pelagic and Main Hawaiian Islands Insular stocks, exceed the allowable levels established by the MMPA.

“The steps NOAA Fisheries is taking today will help mitigate the impact on these populations of false killer whales from accidental bycatch by longline fishing,” said Sam Rauch, NOAA’s deputy assistant administrator for fisheries. “NOAA worked closely with fishermen and stakeholders to develop scientifically-based and common-sense solutions to reduce the unintended catch of these mammals. We look forward to continuing our conversations with fishermen and others on bycatch reduction efforts.”

In 2010, NOAA Fisheries convened a take reduction team of government, conservation, academic, and industry stakeholders to develop recommendations to reduce false killer whale interactions in Hawaii’s commercial longline fisheries.

After careful consideration of the team’s recommendations, NOAA Fisheries published a proposed take reduction plan in 2011. NOAA Fisheries revised several aspects of the plan in response to public comments and additional analyses. The final plan requires the use of specific fishing hooks, implements closed fishing areas, and requires fishermen to receive training and certification in ways to release false killer whales that are incidentally caught. NOAA is under a court order to issue the final plan by November 30.

NOAA Fisheries will continue to partner with state agencies, conservation organizations, and the fishing industry to find ways to further reduce bycatch of false killer whales without unduly hampering fishing activities.

Complying with the Endangered Species Act and a court order to issue a final listing determination, NOAA Fisheries today is listing the Main Hawaiian Islands insular population of false killer whales as an endangered distinct population segment to protect it from possible extinction. The ESA defines an endangered species as “any species which is in danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its range.”

Main Hawaiian Islands insular false killer whales, which are found in and around the waters of Hawaii’s eight main islands, face a number of threats, including their small population (estimated at only 151 individuals) and low genetic diversity, as well as hooking and entanglement in fisheries. Surveys conducted by several independent researchers indicate the population has been in decline for at least the past two decades. In taking this action, NOAA reviewed a range of factors, including the population’s risk of going extinct based on its small numbers, threats facing the population, and current efforts to protect the population. NOAA is currently under a court order to issue the final listing determination by December 10.

“NOAA Fisheries used the best data and scientific information available to make this determination,” continued Rauch. “Based on the whales’ small population size, low genetic diversity, and other factors, it became clear to list the Main Hawaiian Islands insular population under the ESA to protect them for future generations and to protect biodiversity in our oceans.”

NOAA Fisheries will continue to monitor the status of the Main Hawaiian Islands insular population of false killer whales through periodic surveys and assessments. NOAA Fisheries will also consider whether to propose designating critical habitat for the population, and will develop a recovery plan with actions to conserve the species. Finally, through the ESA consultation process, NOAA Fisheries will work with federal agencies to ensure that projects or activities that they fund, authorize, or carry out will not jeopardize the continued existence of the listed false killer whale population.

To read the ESA status review, MMPA stock assessment, and final ESA and MMPA actions, visit http://www.fpir.noaa.gov/PRD/prd_false_killer_whale.html

NOAA’s mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth’s environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Join us on Facebook, Twitter and our other social media channels at http://www.noaa.gov/socialmedia/.

On the Web: http://www.fpir.noaa.gov

Comedian Bill Maher to Give Performances on Oahu and Maui

Northern California based concert promoters Rick Bartalini Presents announced that Bill Maher, comedian and host of Real Time on HBO, will return to the Hawaiian Islands on December 31 at the Hawaii Theater on Oahu and January 1 at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. Tickets for both performances go on-sale Saturday, September 1 at 10:00 A.M. HST.

For the last twenty years, Bill Maher has set the boundaries of where funny, political talk can go on American television.  First on “Politically Incorrect” (Comedy Central, ABC, 1993-2002), and for the last nine years on HBO’s “Real Time,” Maher’s combination of unflinching honesty and big laughs have garnered him twenty-nine Emmy nominations.  In October of 2008, this same combination was on display in Maher’s uproarious and unprecedented swipe at organized religion, “Religulous,” directed by Larry Charles (“Borat”). The documentary has gone on to become the 8th Highest Grossing Documentary ever.

TICKETS:

Tickets for Bill Maher December 31 at the Hawaii Theatre are $79.50 and $99.50, plus service fees. Tickets are available at www.RBPconcerts.com, the Hawaii Theatre Box Office or charge by phone at 808-528-0506. Tickets for Bill Maher January 1 at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center are $65.50 and $85.50, plus service fees. Tickets are available at www.RBPconcerts.com, the Maui Arts & Cultural Center Box Office and charge by phone at 808-242-7469. Tickets for both performances go on-sale Saturday, September 1 at 10:00 A.M. HST.

Energy Conservation Workshops for Farmers and Ranchers

The Big Island Resource Conservation and Development Council (BIRCDC) will host a free Energy Efficiency Training Workshop on Friday, August 24 from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the County of Hawaii Aupuni Center Conference Room, 101 Pauhi Street in Hilo.

The workshop is made possible by a USDA Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) to assist underserved Pacific Rim farmers and ranchers.  All farmers and ranchers who are interested in reducing energy costs through enhanced efficiency and conservation measures are encouraged to attend.

BIRCDC has partnered with EnSave to educate participants about energy audits and how to ultimately minimize energy costs, as well as cost-share programs that could help offset their energy costs.  BIRCDC and EnSave will also be training a group of prequalified applicants from each of the Hawaiian Islands and Guam to perform energy audits in their communities.

EnSave has been providing agricultural energy efficiency, farm audits, consulting, training, and education services in the United States for over twenty years.  EnSave helps their clients achieve farm energy efficiency goals by providing energy-saving solutions that strengthen farms, agricultural producers and organizations.  They help agricultural producers become more sustainable and profitable through energy efficiency and resource conservation. For more information on EnSave visit www.ensave.com

For Workshop registration information contact Kawika Marquez at 808-987-9101

Big Island Resource Conservation and Development Council’s mission is to assist the people of the Big Island in achieving sustainable development while caring for and appreciating their natural environment; to ensure broadened economic opportunities, enriched communities, and better lives. For more information about BIRCDC visit www.bigislandrcd.org

The Making of a Navy Chief

In the Pacific Ocean, near the Hawaiian Islands, the USS Nimitz (CVN 68) is haze gray and underway. The ship has been in dry dock for a year and a half, and this is the first time at sea for much of the crew.  While the sailors train in skills crucial to mission success, a small group has begun another journey.

Mike Zagorski and I aboard the USS Ronald Reagan out in the middle of the Pacific Ocean back in 2010 (Link here: http://tinyurl.com/33x3l9r)

Over 300 Nimitz first class petty officers are up for promotion.  They’re under evaluation for the next several months, and if they make the cut, will put on anchors and join the ranks of the Navy chiefs.

Follow six Petty Officer 1st Classes from the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz (CVN 68) as they approach a major milestone in their careers.

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Local Companies Donate $300,000 to The Nature Conservancy of Hawai’i

With contributions from almost 80 businesses, The Nature Conservancy of Hawaii’s Corporate Council for the Environment raised $300,000 for local conservation in fiscal year 2012.

Dustin Sellers, President of ProService Hawaii and a Conservancy trustee, chairs the Corporate Council, which emphasizes the link between Hawaii’s environment and its economy. Since its launch in 1987, this coalition of local businesses has raised nearly $4 million to protect Hawaii’s natural resources.

Businesses that supported the Corporate Council at the leadership level ($10,000+) are: Alaska Airlines, Alexander & Baldwin Foundation, Aulani-A Disney Resort & Spa, Hawaiian Electric Industries, HEI Charitable Foundation/Hawaiian Electric Company, James Campbell Company, Macy’s Foundation, Monsanto Fund, Outrigger Enterprises Group, ProService Hawaii, Skyline Eco-Adventures, and The Shidler Family Foundation.

“Hawaii’s businesses are an invaluable partner in our work to protect our island home,” said Suzanne Case, the Conservancy’s Hawai‘i Executive Director. “In difficult economic times, protecting the environment can get deferred, but these companies know the importance of the environment to Hawaii’s economy. Their vision and commitment help us protect the lands and waters that sustain Hawaii’s people, economy and island way of life.”

Since 1980, The Nature Conservancy has protected almost 200,000 acres of natural lands in Hawai‘i and works with other public and private landowners to protect the islands’ key watersheds. The Conservancy manages a statewide network of 10 preserves. It is also active in protecting the nearshore waters of the main Hawaiian Islands, working in six coastal communities on three islands.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.

InnerSea Discoveries Adds Expedition Vessel to Hawaii in 2013

InnerSea Discoveries’ 76-guest expedition vessel Wilderness Explorer begins active adventure cruising among the Hawaiian Islands in fall 2013. The boat joins the line’s 36-guest upscale yacht Safari Explorer offering island explorations from the sea.

From November 2013 through April 2014, the Wilderness Explorer will sail seven-night AdventureBound Hawaii cruises between Oahu and the Big Island and reverse. The itinerary visits Ka’ena Point State Park, Wai’anae Harbor, Maui, Lana’i, Honomalino Bay, Opihihali and Kailua-Kona. Guests will also enjoy scenic cruising and searching for whales and dolphins in the wildlife-rich Humpback National Marine Sanctuary.

“We are sending the Wilderness Explorer to Hawaii to add another option for travelers seeking an active island adventure at a moderate price.” said Tim Jacox, executive vice president of sales and marketing. “It’s a tremendous value when you add in all the included activities and the ability to explore multiple scenic islands.”

Highlights of the new itinerary include snorkeling at Molokini’s undersea volcanic crater, a night snorkel with Giant Pacific Manta Rays, watching whales and dolphins and guided hikes exploring scenic areas on all four islands. Expert naturalists provide interpretation on guided excursions ashore and at sea.

The Wilderness Explorer has a swim platform for easy access to water sports equipment and entry into the water. A specially built kayak launch platform comfortably launches four kayaks at once. Guests enjoy included water sports activities such as kayaking, snorkeling, stand up paddle boarding, skiff explorations and swimming.  Guests may also take a spin on the innovative human-powered watercraft powered by two peddlers and up to six paddlers.

Google Rolls Out Expanded Street View of the Hawaiian Islands

Well it looks like Google has expanded it’s street view of the Hawaiian Islands… Check out Pahoa!

I have to admit, it’s kind of cool… in a creepy way!

RIMPAC 2012 to Begin on June 29th

Twenty-two nations, 42 ships, six submarines, more than 200 aircraft and 25,000 personnel will participate in the biennial Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) exercise scheduled June 29 to Aug. 3, in and around the Hawaiian Islands.

A picture I took when the US NAVY sent me out to the USS Ronald Reagan Aircraft Carrier.
http://damontucker.com/2011/02/05/happy-birthday-ronald-reagan-inside-the-ronald-reagan-room/dscn4637-3/

The world’s largest international maritime exercise, RIMPAC provides a unique training opportunity that helps participants foster and sustain the cooperative relationships that are critical to ensuring the safety of sea lanes and security on the world’s oceans. RIMPAC 2012 is the 23rd exercise in the series that began in 1971.

Hosted by U.S. Pacific Fleet, and led by Vice Adm. Gerald Beaman, commander of the U.S. Third Fleet (C3F), RIMPAC 2012 marks the first time non-U.S. officers will command components of the combined task force during the exercise. Commodore Stuart Mayer of the Royal Australian Navy will command the Maritime Component and Brig. Gen. Michael Hood of the Royal Canadian Air Force will command the Air Component. Other key leaders of the multinational force include Royal Canadian Navy Rear Adm. Ron Lloyd, deputy commander of the Combined Task Force (CTF), and Japan Maritime Self Defense Force Rear Adm. Fumiyuki Kitagawa, vice commander of the CTF.

The theme of RIMPAC 2012 is “Capable, Adaptive, Partners.” The participating nations and forces will exercise a wide range of capabilities and demonstrate the inherent flexibility of maritime forces. These capabilities range from disaster relief and maritime security operations to sea control and complex warfighting. The relevant, realistic training syllabus includes amphibious operations; gunnery, missile, anti-submarine and air defense exercises as well as counter-piracy, mine clearance operations, explosive ordnance disposal and diving and salvage operations.

RIMPAC 2012 will feature the first demonstration of a U.S. Navy “Great Green Fleet,” during which U.S. surface combatants and carrier-based aircraft will test, evaluate and demonstrate the cross-platform utility and functionality of biofuels. This demonstration will also incorporate prototype energy efficiency initiatives such as solid state lighting, on-line gas turbine waterwash and energy management tools.

This year’s exercise includes units or personnel from Australia, Canada, Chile, Colombia, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, the Republic of Korea, the Republic of the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Thailand, Tonga, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Details of RIMPAC activities and imagery are available at http://www.cpf.navy.mil/rimpac.

Unprecedented, Man-Made Trends in Ocean’s Acidity… Hawaiian Islands Will Be First to Feel Impact

Nearly one-third of CO2 emissions due to human activities enters the world’s oceans. By reacting with seawater, CO2 increases the water’s acidity, which may significantly reduce the calcification rate of such marine organisms as corals and mollusks. The extent to which human activities have raised the surface level of acidity, however, has been difficult to detect on regional scales because it varies naturally from one season and one year to the next, and between regions, and direct observations go back only 30 years.

These are yellow tangs frolicking among corals. Credit: Dwayne Meadows, NOAA

Combining computer modeling with observations, an international team of scientists concluded that anthropogenic CO2 emissions over the last 100 to 200 years have already raised ocean acidity far beyond the range of natural variations. The study is published in the January 22 online issue of Nature Climate Change.

The team of climate modelers, marine conservationists, ocean chemists, biologists and ecologists, led by Tobias Friedrich and Axel Timmermann at the International Pacific Research Center, University of Hawaii at Manoa, came to their conclusions by using Earth system models that simulate climate and ocean conditions 21,000 years back in time, to the Last Glacial Maximum, and forward in time to the end of the 21st century. They studied in their models changes in the saturation level of aragonite (a form of calcium carbonate) typically used to measure of ocean acidification. As acidity of seawater rises, the saturation level of aragonite drops. Their models captured well the current observed seasonal and annual variations in this quantity in several key coral reef regions.

Today’s levels of aragonite saturation in these locations have already dropped five times below the pre-industrial range of natural variability. For example, if the yearly cycle in aragonite saturation varied between 4.7 and 4.8, it varies now between 4.2 and 4.3, which – based on another recent study – may translate into a decrease in overall calcification rates of corals and other aragonite shell-forming organisms by 15%. Given the continued human use of fossil fuels, the saturation levels will drop further, potentially reducing calcification rates of some marine organisms by more than 40% of their pre-industrial values within the next 90 years.

“Any significant drop below the minimum level of aragonite to which the organisms have been exposed to for thousands of years and have successfully adapted will very likely stress them and their associated ecosystems,” says lead author Postdoctoral Fellow Tobias Friedrich.

“In some regions, the man-made rate of change in ocean acidity since the Industrial Revolution is hundred times greater than the natural rate of change between the Last Glacial Maximum and pre-industrial times,” emphasizes Friedrich. “When Earth started to warm 17,000 years ago, terminating the last glacial period, atmospheric CO2 levels rose from 190 parts per million (ppm) to 280 ppm over 6,000 years. Marine ecosystems had ample time to adjust. Now, for a similar rise in CO2 concentration to the present level of 392 ppm, the adjustment time is reduced to only 100 – 200 years.”

On a global scale, coral reefs are currently found in places where open-ocean aragonite saturation reaches levels of 3.5 or higher. Such conditions exist today in about 50% of the ocean – mostly in the tropics. By end of the 21st century this fraction is projected to be less than 5%. The Hawaiian Islands, which sit just on the northern edge of the tropics, will be one of the first to feel the impact.

The upper panels shows simulated surface aragonite saturation for the years 1800, 2012 and 2100, respectively. White dots indicate present-day main coral reef locations. The lower panels shows atmospheric CO2 concentration in parts per million simulated for the years 1750 to 2100. Credit: Tobias Friedrich

The study suggests that some regions, such as the eastern tropical Pacific, will be less stressed than others because greater underlying natural variability of seawater acidity helps to buffer anthropogenic changes. The aragonite saturation in the Caribbean and the western Equatorial Pacific, both biodiversity hotspots, shows very little natural variability, making these regions particularly vulnerable to human-induced ocean acidification.

“Our results suggest that severe reductions are likely to occur in coral reef diversity, structural complexity and resilience by the middle of this century,” says co-author Professor Axel Timmermann.”

The Rain Follows the Forest – A Plan to Replenish Hawaii’s Source of Water

The Department of Land and Natural Resources released a plan to ensure mauka watersheds are fully functioning so fresh water resources can be utilized and enjoyed by the people of Hawaii in perpetuity.

Click picture to read the plan

FACT SHEET:

  • The Rain Follows the Forest seeks to ensure mauka watersheds are fully functioning so fresh water resources can be utilized and enjoyed by the people of Hawai`i in perpetuity. This plan implements the central goals of the Abercrombie administration’s A New Day in Hawaii plan to steward the natural resources that our survival, economy, and quality of life depend on.
  • The Rain Follows the Forest provides policy solutions to manage invasive species, increase Hawaii’s ability to withstand impacts from climate change, and restore capabilities of the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) by finding additional sources of funding.
  • Hawaii’s water supplies are under threat from hotter and drier conditions from climate change, as well as loss of watershed forests.
  • Over half of Hawaii’s forests have been lost. Invasive alien (non-native) species trample and devour vegetation, leaving bare ground or openings for alien plants that consume more water and increase runoff. Controlling these and other threats while also re-planting forests requires a large-scale effort.
  • Protecting mauka forest areas is the most cost effective and efficient way to absorb rainwater and replenish groundwater. The Hawaiian islands’ sustainability and continued over-all well being of its residents and future generations depends on the continued health of the upland forests.
  • In addition to protecting our water supply, the protection of forests is essential to prevent erosion that muddies beaches, coral reefs, and fisheries, reduce Hawaii’s greenhouse gas emissions, and protect the native plants and animals unique to our islands.
  • Currently only 10% of the priority watershed areas are protected, a level of management that has taken 40 years to achieve. DLNR’s goal is double the level of protection in the next ten years, which will require approximately $11 million a year. If funded, this initiative will create over 150 local jobs.
  • In an October 2011 statewide telephone poll of 700 residents, 78% of respondents were supportive of increased funding for watershed protection from $1 million to $11 million per year. A majority supported increased general funding (mean support was 7.4 out of 10), the use of environment-related taxes (7.4 out of 10), or a visitor-related tax (8.0 out of 10). Further, 59% of respondents indicated the urgent need to increase the protection of the sources (upland forests) of our fresh water supply, and rated the urgency to protect these sources at 8.4 out of 10, with 10 representing “Extremely Urgent.”
  • The Rain Follows the Forest identifies priority watersheds and outlines on-the-ground actions and projects required to protect and sustain Hawaii’s critical water sources. To be successful, these actions must occur on a large scale across ownership boundaries, through agreements and leveraged funds provided by the statewide watershed partnerships.

STATISTICS:

  • A century-long trendi of declining rainfall has accelerated, with a 12% decline in the last 20 years alone.
  • Groundwater head levels in Pearl Harbor, which supplies over 60% of Oahu’s municipal water, declined by half since 1910.
  • Hawaii’s native forests absorb moisture from rainfall and passing clouds that condense on the thick vegetation. Intercepting cloud drip increases water capture by as much as 30% of rainfall, and increases groundwater re-supply by 10-15%.vi On Lāna`i, fog water supplies even more water than direct rainfall.  There, loss of the forest’s fog capture would reduce by half the island’s only water supply.
  • Water users already pay for the loss of native forests – and those costs are high. Invasive and widespread strawberry guava evapotranspires 27%-53%ix more water than native forests, causing extensive water loss across landscapes. For example, in East Hawai`i invasive plants have already reduced estimated groundwater recharge by 85 million gallons a day.
  • Even a small percentage reduction in groundwater recharge can be costly. One study indicates that a 1% loss of recharge in the Ko`olau Mountains could cost O`ahu $42 million net present value. Another study indicates that a 10% loss of recharge in the Ko`olau Mountains could cost $1.7 million per year – over $173 million net present value.  The gradual invasion of alien plants into native forests may have already reduced the estimated groundwater recharge by up to 10% in certain aquifers.
  • A University of Hawai`i study examined the various services provided by Oahu’s Ko‘olau forests—including water recharge, water quality, climate control, biodiversity, and cultural, aesthetic, recreational, and commercial values. These services were calculated to have a net present value of between $7.4 and $14 billion.

KULEANA – CARING FOR THE LAND:

  • The importance of forests for water has long been recognized – expressed in the ancient Hawaiian proverb “Hahai no ka ua i ka ululā`au” (the rain follows the forest). Protecting these forests has been codified into Hawaii’s customs and laws. In 1876, King David Kalākaua signed an Act for the Protection and Preservation of Woods and Forests. The Act included the construction of fences and barriers to prevent hooved animal trespass into forests important for water resources. In 1893, Queen Lili‘uokalani established the Bureau of Agriculture and Forestry for the “preservation of forests,” among other purposes. Following this, Article XI of the Constitution of the State of Hawaii includes the protection of all natural resources, held in the public trust.
  • This plan perpetuates ancient traditions of protecting and respecting the sacred wao akua -misty upland forests. The plants and wildlife within them are individually revered in Hawaiian traditions as manifestations of gods, or used for medicines, offerings, or other material needs.
  • Actions in this plan enhance these cultural practices by protecting these native natural and cultural resources from damage and extinction. Caring for these resources has been a way of life in Hawaiian traditions. Access to priority protected areas for traditional Hawaiian cultural practices is not restricted by this plan. In DOFAW areas, step-overs and gates will allow continued public access into fenced areas.
  • Although ungulate hunting is a contemporary recreational activity and a source of food for some, hunting (pig hunting in particular) is not a traditional Hawaiian practice. Reviews of firsthand testimonies in more than 60,000 native Hawaiian land documents dating from 1846 to 1910 revealed many references to pigs, but nearly every reference was in the context of them being near-home and being cared for (raised), not hunted.
  • On Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW) lands, public hunting will be a priority action in the first stage of ungulate removal in fenced areas wherever safe, feasible, and effective, and DOFAW will encourage and facilitate hunting access in other areas.
  • Fencing core areas within the priority I and II watersheds will be incremental, and will gradually reduce public ungulate hunting areas over this century. Once all of the priority watersheds are fenced, public ungulate hunting areas will be reduced by approximately 30%.  Approximately four percent of DOFAW lands are currently fenced.
  • This plan seeks to increase public access to enjoy and learn about the forests that help to sustain Hawaii. This will help to build an informed citizenry of life-long learners who value Hawaii’s uniqueness and live sustainably. Maintaining and creating access and trails will teach communities about the benefits of forests during volunteer trips and hikes.
  • As part of the local jobs that this initiative seeks to fund, DLNR will support continued and expanded programs that provide local youth jobs and career opportunities during in-the-field internships. This will instill current and future generations with a sense of kuleana to respect and give back to the life-giving forests.

New Habitat Protections Proposed for Endangered Hawaiian Monk Seals

Media Release:

The federal government has proposed to designate more than 11,000 square miles of critical habitat for endangered Hawaiian monk seals. The proposed rule protects beaches and coastal waters on all the main Hawaiian Islands and expands protected habitat in the Northwestern Islands. The proposal responds to a 2008 petition filed by the Center for Biological Diversity, KAHEA: The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance, and Ocean Conservancy. Hawaiian monk seals are among the most endangered marine mammals in the world, with a population of approximately 1,000 animals. The proposal will protect coastal areas for seals to raise pups and marine waters for foraging.

Map of Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monum...

Image via Wikipedia

“New habitat protections, including all of the Hawaiian Islands, are essential to bring endangered Hawaiian monk seals back from the brink of extinction,” said Miyoko Sakashita, oceans director at the Center. “The proposal to protect Hawaii’s coastline for monk seals is a landmark decision that will benefit seals and the coastal environment for generations.”

The proposed rule expands the current critical habitat area for the Hawaiian monk seal in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands to include deeper waters. It also designates new areas on all of the main Hawaiian Islands: Niʻihau, Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Molokaʻi, Lānaʻi, Kahoʻolawe, Maui and Hawaiʻi. Areas protected would include coastal land up to five meters inland and waters out to 500 meters in depth, with certain exclusions.

Studies have shown that species with critical habitat are twice as likely to be recovering as species without it. The revised habitat protections are vital for monk seal survival because monk seals are dying of starvation, and populations of the seals on the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands are plummeting. Seal pups have only about a one-in-five chance of surviving to adulthood. In contrast, monk seals in the main Hawaiian Islands are in better condition and giving birth to healthy pups. Hawaiian monk seals are present on each of the main islands, and their numbers are slowly increasing. Thus the main islands are essential important habitat for the monk seals. Additionally, habitat in the main islands will provide a refuge for monk seals as important beaches where seal pups are born and raised have been lost due to sea-level rise and erosion.

Monk Seal sign posted at Onekekaha Beach Park

“Critical habitat compels U.S. federal agencies to consider the survival of this Hawaiian seal before they permit shoreline development — protecting our beaches and reefs not only for monk seals, but also for Hawaii’s paddlers, fishers, surfers and all people of these islands,” said Miwa Tamanaha, executive director at KAHEA: The Hawaiian-Environmental Alliance.

Critical habitat designation will mean greater protection of Hawaiian monk seal habitat under the Endangered Species Act. Critical habitat protection does not close areas, but it does limit federal government activities that could harm monk seals or their habitat. Once designated, any federal activities that may affect the critical habitat must undergo review to ensure they will not destroy or damage that habitat. For example, habitat protections can help prevent pollution and require modification of construction activities to prevent destruction of the environment.

The proposed critical habitat designation for the Hawaiian monk seal is scheduled to be published in Thursday’s Federal Register. The National Marine Fisheries Service is accepting public comments on the proposal for 90 days.

For more information about Hawaiian monk seal critical habitat and how to comment on the critical habitat designation, go to: http://www.fpir.noaa.gov/PRD/prd_critical_habitat.html.