Daily Rules, Proposed Rules, and Notices of the Federal Government
• All of these species face threats from the present destruction and modification of their habitats, primarily from introduced ungulates, such as feral pigs and goats, and the spread of nonnative plants.
• Six of these species face threats from habitat destruction and modification from fire.
• Fourteen species face threats from destruction and modification of their habitats from hurricanes, landslides, rockfalls, and flooding.
• The projected effects of climate change will likely exacerbate the effects of the other threats to these species.
• There is a serious threat of widespread impacts of predation and herbivory on 19 of the 20 plant species by nonnative pigs, goats, rats, and invertebrates; and predation on the three damselflies by nonnative fish, bullfrogs, and ants.
• Some of the plant species face the additional threat of trampling.
• The inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms (specifically, inadequate protection of habitat and inadequate protection from the introduction of nonnative species) poses a current and ongoing threat to all 23 species.
• There are current and ongoing threats to nine plant species and the three damselflies due to factors associated with small numbers of populations and individuals.
• The three damselflies face further threats from the loss of native host plants, from habitat degradation and loss due to agriculture and urban development, from stream diversion and channelization, and by dewatering of aquifers.
• These threats are exacerbated by these species' inherent vulnerability to extinction from stochastic events at any time because of their endemism, small numbers of individuals and populations, and restricted habitats.
• This rule designates a total of 42,804 acres (ac) (17,322 hectares (ha)) as critical habitat.
• We fully considered comments from the public and peer reviewers on the proposed rule and made additional field visits, in order to refine our designation and remove areas that are not essential to the conservation of the species. We found changes in land use had occurred in certain areas within the proposed critical habitat that preclude these areas from supporting the primary constituent elements, and that these areas do not meet the definition of critical habitat.
• A total of 307 ac (124 ha) have been removed in this final designation from the area originally proposed, as a result of refinement in unit areas made in response to public comments and additional field visits. These areas do
• In addition, Department of Defense lands on Naval Station Pearl Harbor Lualualei Branch (NAVMAG PH Lualualei) and Naval Radar Transmittal Facility at Lualualei (NRTF Lualualei) (380 acres; 154 hectares) with a completed and effective integrated natural resource management plan (INRMP) have been exempted from this final designation under section 4(a)(3) of the Act.
• All lands being designated as critical habitat are either (1) currently considered to be occupied by one or more of the 124 species, and contain physical or biological features essential to the conservation of the species by supporting the life-history needs of the species and that may require special management, or (2) areas outside the geographical areas occupied by the species at the time of listing, which the Secretary has determined are essential for the conservation of the species.
Federal actions for these species prior to August 2, 2011, are outlined in our proposed rule (76 FR 46362), which was published on that date. Publication of the proposed rule opened a 60-day comment period, which closed on October 3, 2011. In addition, we published a public notice of the proposed rule on August 6, 2011, in the local Honolulu Star Advertiser newspaper. On April 12, 2012 (77 FR 21936) we made available the draft economic analysis (DEA) on proposed critical habitat designation, and opened a 30-day comment period on the DEA, as well as reopened the comment period on the entire August 2, 2011 proposed rule (76 FR 46362). This second comment period closed on May 14, 2012.
On the island of Oahu, as on most of the Hawaiian Islands, native species that occur in the same habitat types (ecosystems) depend on many of the same biological features and on the successful functioning of that ecosystem to survive. We have therefore organized the species addressed in this final rule by common ecosystems. Although the listing determination for each species is analyzed separately, we have organized the specific analysis for each species within the context of the broader ecosystem in which it occurs, to avoid redundancy. In addition, native species that share ecosystems often face a suite of common factors that may pose threats to them, and ameliorating or eliminating these threats requires similar management actions. Effective management of these threats often requires implementation of conservation actions at the ecosystem scale, to enhance or restore critical ecological processes and provide for long-term viability of those species in their native environment. Thus, by taking this approach, we hope not only to organize this rule efficiently, but also to more effectively focus conservation management efforts on the common threats that occur across these ecosystems, restore ecosystem functionality for the recovery of each species, and provide conservation benefits for associated native species, thereby potentially precluding the need to list other species under the Act (16 U.S.C. 1531
We are listing
Most of these species are found in multiple ecosystems. For each species, we identified and evaluated those factors that pose threats to the species and that may be common to all of the species at the ecosystem level (see discussion below in Summary of Factors Affecting the 23 Species). For example, climate change is considered a threat to each species within each ecosystem. As a result, this threat factor is considered to be a multiple ecosystem threat, as
Under the Act, we are required to designate critical habitat to the maximum extent prudent and determinable concurrently with the publication of a final determination that a species is endangered or threatened. In this rule, we are designating critical habitat for the 23 Oahu species which we have found to meet the definition of an endangered species. We are also designating critical habitat for two Oahu plants that are already listed as endangered species but for which critical habitat has not been previously designated. In addition, we are revising critical habitat for 99 Oahu plants already listed as endangered or threatened species. When critical habitat was designated for these 99 Oahu plant species in 2003 (68 FR 35950; June 17, 2003), it was based primarily on the specific localities where the species were known to occur. We are revising critical habitat for these species because since then, we have learned that many native Hawaiian plants and animals can thrive when reintroduced into historical habitats when threats are effectively managed. For this reason, we believe it is important to designate unoccupied habitat where it is essential for the recovery of the species. Based on new information on plant occurrences and a better understanding of the species' biological requirements, the physical or biological features have been more precisely identified, and now include elevation, precipitation, substrate, canopy, subcanopy, and understory characteristics. We believe the added precision will be helpful in identifying the special management considerations or protections needed in specific occupied areas to recover the species. In addition, because the 2003 designation focused on discrete areas occupied by the species at the time of listing, the result was an overlapping and confusing patchwork of critical habitat areas for the 99 plant species that was difficult for the public to interpret. Although this revision of critical habitat is solely based on our determination of the lands that meet the statutory definition of critical habitat (16 U.S.C. 1532(5) and other applicable provisions (e.g., 16 U.S.C. 1533(4)(b)(2)), we believe the end result will provide for greater public understanding of the conservation and recovery needs of each of the species in the specific areas addressed in this rule.
In this rule, we are designating critical habitat for 124 species in 62 multiple-species critical habitat units. Although critical habitat is identified for each species individually, we have found that the conservation of each depends, at least in part, on the successful functioning of the physical or biological features of the commonly shared ecosystem. Each critical habitat unit identified in this rule contains the physical or biological features essential to the conservation of those individual species that occupy that particular unit, or contains areas essential to the conservation of those individual species that do not presently occupy that particular unit, but depend on that ecosystem type for recovery purposes. Where the unit is not known to be occupied by a particular species, we believe it is still essential for the conservation of that species. The designation of unoccupied habitat allows for the expansion of its range and reintroduction of individuals into areas where it occurred historically, and provides areas for recovery in the case of a stochastic event at one or more locations where the species occurs.
Each of the designated areas represents critical habitat for multiple species, based upon their shared habitat requirements, and takes into account any species-specific conservation needs as appropriate (see discussion below in Methods). For example, the presence of a perennial stream is essential for the conservation of the blackline Hawaiian damselfly, but is not a requirement shared by all species within the same ecosystem; however, a functioning ecosystem is also essential to the damselfly because the ecosystem provides other physical or biological features that support the damselfly's specific life-history requirements.
The island of Oahu is the third oldest and third largest of the eight main Hawaiian Islands, located southeast of Kauai and northwest of Molokai and Lanai (Foote
The current soil classification system for the Hawaiian Islands distinguishes soil types based on their measurable physical and chemical properties, and environmental factors that influenced their formation. Widely ranging geological ages of rocks, different rates of weathering, and microclimates create these highly variable soils (Sherman 1972, pp. 205-207). Most soils are volcanic in origin; a few formed from organic material and sand (Foote
Because of its age and relative isolation, species diversity and endemism are high in the Hawaiian archipelago (Gagne and Cuddihy 1999, p. 45). However, the flora and fauna of Oahu have undergone extreme alterations because of past and present land use and other activities. Land with rich soils was altered by the early Hawaiians and, more recently, converted to agricultural use (Gagne and Cuddihy 1999, p. 45) or pasture. Intentional and inadvertent introduction of alien plant and animal species has contributed to the reduction in range of native species on the island (throughout this rule, the terms “alien,” “feral,” “nonnative,” and “introduced” all refer to species that are not naturally native to the Hawaiian Islands). Most of the taxa included in this rule persist on steep slopes, precipitous cliffs, valley headwalls, and other regions where unsuitable topography has prevented urbanization and agricultural development, or where inaccessibility has limited encroachment by nonnative plant and animal species.
The seven Oahu ecosystems that support the species addressed in this rule are described in the following sections.
The coastal ecosystem is found on all of the main Hawaiian Islands, with the highest species diversity in the least populated coastal areas of Hawaii, Maui, Molokai, Kahoolawe, Oahu, and Kauai, and their associated islets. On Oahu, the coastal ecosystem includes mixed herblands, shrublands, and grasslands, from sea level to 980 ft (300 m) in elevation, generally within a narrow zone above the influence of waves to within 330 ft (100 m) inland, sometimes extending further inland if strong prevailing onshore winds drive sea spray and sand dunes into the lowland zone (The Nature Conservancy (TNC) 2006a). The coastal vegetation zone is typically dry, with annual rainfall of less than 20 in (50 cm), however windward rainfall may be high enough (up to 40 in (100 cm)) to support mesic-associated and sometimes wet-associated vegetation (Gagne and Cuddihy 1999, pp. 54-66). Biological diversity is low to moderate in this ecosystem, but may include some specialized plants and animals such as nesting seabirds and the rare native plant
The lowland dry ecosystem includes shrublands and forests generally below 3,300 ft (1,000 m) elevation that receive less than 50 in (130 cm) annual rainfall, or are in otherwise prevailingly dry substrate conditions. Areas consisting of predominantly native species in the lowland dry ecosystem are now rare; however, this ecosystem is found on the islands of Hawaii, Molokai, Lanai, Kahoolawe, Oahu, and Kauai, and is best represented on the leeward sides of the islands (Gagne and Cuddihy 1999, p. 67). On Oahu, this ecosystem is typically found on the leeward side of the Waianae Mountains, and the leeward southern coast, including Diamond Head Crater (Gagne and Cuddihy 1999, p. 67; TNC 2006b). Biological diversity is low to moderate in this ecosystem, and includes specialized animals and plants such as the Hawaiian owl or pueo (
The lowland mesic ecosystem includes a variety of grasslands, shrublands, and forests, generally below 3,300 ft (1,000 m) elevation, that receive between 50 and 75 in (130 and 190 cm) annual rainfall, or are in otherwise mesic substrate conditions (TNC 2006c). In the Hawaiian Islands, this ecosystem is found on Hawaii, Maui, Molokai, Lanai, and Kauai, on both windward and leeward sides of the islands. On Oahu, this ecosystem is typically found on the leeward slopes of both the Waianae and Koolau Mountains (Gagne and Cuddihy 1999, p. 75; TNC 2006c). Biological diversity is high in this system (TNC 2006c). The plants
The lowland wet ecosystem is generally found below 3,300 ft (1,000 m) elevation on the windward sides of the main Hawaiian Islands, except Kahoolawe and Niihau (Gagne and Cuddihy 1999, p. 85; TNC 2006d). These areas include a variety of wet grasslands, shrublands, and forests that receive greater than 75 in (190 cm) annual precipitation, or are in otherwise wet substrate conditions (TNC 2006d). On Oahu, this system is best developed in wet valleys and slopes along the summit of the Koolau Mountains, with a small area located on the windward side of the summit of the Waianae Mountains (TNC 2006d). Biological diversity is high in this system (TNC 2006d). The plants
The montane wet ecosystem is composed of natural communities (grasslands, shrublands, forests, and bogs) found at elevations between 3,300 and 6,600 ft (1,000 and 2,000 m), in areas where annual precipitation is greater than 75 in (190 cm) (TNC 2006e). This system is found on all of the main Hawaiian Islands except Niihau and Kahoolawe (only the islands of Molokai, Maui, and Hawaii have areas above 4,020 ft (1,225 m) (TNC 2006e). On Oahu, this ecosystem is found only at the summit of the Waianae Mountains (TNC 2007). Biological diversity is moderate to high (TNC 2006e). Due to the restricted distribution of this ecosystem on Oahu, only the plants
The dry cliff ecosystem is composed of vegetation communities occupying steep slopes (greater than 65 degrees) in areas that receive less than 75 in (190 cm) of rainfall annually, or are in otherwise dry substrate conditions (TNC 2006f). This ecosystem is found on all
The wet cliff ecosystem is generally composed of shrublands on near-vertical slopes (greater than 65 degrees) in areas that receive more than 75 in (190 cm) of annual precipitation, or in otherwise wet substrate conditions (TNC 2006g). This system is found on the islands of Hawaii, Maui, Molokai, Lanai, Oahu, and Kauai. On Oahu, this ecosystem is typically found along the entire length of the summit of the Koolau Mountains and at the summit of Mt. Kaala in the Waianae Mountains (TNC 2006g). Biological diversity is low to moderate (TNC 2006g). The plants
Below is a brief description of each of the 23 species, presented in alphabetical order by genus. Plants are presented first, followed by animals.
The crimson Hawaiian damselfly (
The crimson Hawaiian damselfly breeds in the slow reaches of streams and seep-fed pools (Williams 1936, p. 306; Zimmerman 1948a, p. 369; Polhemus 1994a, p. 7; Polhemus 1994b, p. 37). Crimson Hawaiian damselfly naiads, the aquatic life-history stage, frequent open water, resting horizontally, or on submerged vegetation (Williams 1936, p. 309). Adults perch on streamside vegetation and patrol along the stream corridor, staying close to breeding pools (Polhemus and Asquith 1996, p. 65).
Between 1991 and 2003, over 150 sites were surveyed on the island of Oahu for native damselflies, and results indicate that one lowland species, the Pacific Hawaiian damselfly, has been extirpated from Oahu, and the orangeblack Hawaiian damselfly has been reduced to a single remnant population (Polhemus 2007, pp. 233-235). The crimson Hawaiian damselfly was known historically from approximately eight areas where it is now extirpated, including the windward side of the Waianae Mountains and scattered locations in the Koolau
The blackline Hawaiian damselfly (
The blackline Hawaiian damselfly was known historically from the Koolau and Waianae Mountains, from sea level to over 2,400 ft (730 m) (Williams 1936, p. 318; Polhemus 1994a, pp. 6-12). Currently, this species is found in the lowland wet ecosystem on the windward and leeward sides of the Koolau Mountains, in the headwaters and upper reaches of 17 streams: Koloa, Kaipapau, Maakua, upper Kaluanui, Palaa, Helemano headwaters, Poamoho, Kahana, Waiahole, Waiawa, Kaalaea, Waihee, Kahaluu, north Halawa, Heeia, Kalihi, and Maunawili (TNC 2007; Polhemus 2008a, in litt.; Wolff 2008, in litt.; HBMP 2008; Preston 2011, in litt.). Like the crimson Hawaiian damselfly, all colonies of the blackline Hawaiian damselfly are constrained to portions of streams not occupied by nonnative predatory fish—that is, stream portions above geologic or manmade barriers (e.g., waterfalls, steep gradients, dry stream midreaches, or constructed diversions). Currently, the 17 stream colonies are estimated to total 800 to 1,000 individuals, with approximately 50 individuals per stream (Polhemus 2008c, in litt.).
The oceanic Hawaiian damselfly (
Individuals of the immature stage of the oceanic Hawaiian damselfly are found in swiftly flowing sections of streams, usually amid rocks and gravel in stream riffles (stream sections with sufficient gradient to create small standing waves) and small cascades on waterfalls (Williams 1936, pp. 321-322; Polhemus and Asquith 1996, p. 106). While capable of swimming, the naiads usually crawl among gravel or submerged vegetation. Older naiads frequently forage out of the actual stream channel and have been observed among wet moss on rocks, and wet rock walls and seeps (Williams 1936, pp. 321-323). Adults are very bold and strong flyers, and when disturbed frequently fly upward into the forest canopy overhanging the stream or waterfall (Williams 1936, p. 323; Polhemus 1994b, p. 48).
Historically, the oceanic Hawaiian damselfly occurred on both the leeward and windward sides of the Koolau and Waianae Mountains, and was known, but is currently extirpated, from approximately 16 general localities, including the Waianae Mountains and all leeward streams of the Koolau Mountains (Englund and Polhemus 1994, p. 8). The species now currently occupies 12 sites above 300 ft (100 m) in elevation on the windward side of the Koolau Mountains at Kahawainui, Wailele, Koloa, Kaipapau, Maakua, upper Kaluanui, Kawaiiki, Opaeula, upper Helemano, Makaua, Waihee, and Kahaluu, in the lowland mesic, lowland wet, and wet cliff ecosystems (TNC 2007; Polhemus 2007, pp. 237-239; HBMP 2008; Preston 2011, in litt.). Like the crimson and blackline Hawaiian damselflies, the oceanic Hawaiian damselfly is constrained to portions of streams not occupied by nonnative predatory fish—that is, stream portions above geologic or manmade barriers (e.g., waterfalls, steep gradients, dry stream midreaches, or constructed diversions). No estimates of population size for the oceanic Hawaiian damselfly are available.
On August 2, 2011, we published a proposed rule to list these 23 Oahu species as endangered throughout their ranges, and to designate critical habitat for 124 species (76 FR 46362). The comment period for the proposal opened on August 2, 2011, and closed on October 3, 2011. We requested that all interested parties submit comments or information concerning the proposed listing and designation of critical habitat for the 124 species. We contacted all appropriate State and Federal agencies, county governments, elected officials, scientific organizations, and other interested parties and invited them to comment. In addition, we published a public notice of the proposed rule on August 6, 2011, in the local Honolulu Star Advertiser newspaper, at the beginning of the comment period. On April 12, 2012, we published a document (77 FR 21936) announcing the availability of our draft economic analysis, requesting comments on it until May 14, 2012, and reopening the comment period on the August 2, 2011, proposed rule (76 FR 46362) until that time as well.
During the comment periods, we received a total of 55 comment letters. We did not receive any requests for public hearings. Four commenters were peer reviewers, 5 were State of Hawaii agencies, 1 was a Federal agency (U.S. Navy), and 45 were nongovernmental organizations or individuals. Due to the nature of the proposed rule, we received combined comments from the public on both the listing action and the critical habitat; we have therefore addressed these issues in a single comment section.
Four of the comment letters supported the listing and designation of critical habitat for the Oahu species. Thirty-one commenters requested that we exclude 695 ac (281 ha) (representing entire or portions of five different critical habitat units), based on possible economic effects of the designation. We reviewed all comments we received for substantive issues and new data regarding the proposed listing of 23 species and designation of critical habitat for 124 species. We have fully considered all substantive comments in this final rule. Written comments we received during the comment periods are addressed in the following
In accordance with our peer review policy published in the