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Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for Hawaiian Monk Seal Recovery Actions

Scientific Research and Enhancement Permit

On June 16, 2014, NOAA Fisheries issued scientific research and enhancement Permit No. 16632-00 to the Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center Hawaiian Monk Seal Research Program to carry out recovery actions on Hawaiian monk seals over a 5-year period.  The permit has been issued under the authority of the Marine Mammal Protection Act and Endangered Species Act.

The activities authorized are consistent with the Preferred Alternative (Alternative 3: Limited Translocation) in the Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for Hawaiian monk seal Recovery Actions.

Please note that this permit does not authorize any translocation option that involves taking seals born in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and releasing them in the main Hawaiian Islands.

Record of Decision for Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement

On June 10, 2014, NOAA Fisheries finalized the Record of Decision for the Final PEIS for Hawaiian Monk Seal Recovery Actions. The Record of Decision includes information on the alternatives considered, the preferred alternative and why it was chosen, and mitigation and monitoring that will be required to implement the preferred alternative, Alternative 3 (Limited Translocation).

Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement

NOAA Fisheries approved the Final PEIS for Hawaiian Monk Seal Recovery Actions for public review on April 4, 2014.

NOAA Fisheries funds, permits, and conducts research and enhancement activities on endangered Hawaiian monk seals in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, main Hawaiian Islands, and at Johnston Atoll. NOAA proposes to implement research and enhancement actions identified in the Hawaiian Monk Seal Recovery Plan, with the goal of conserving and recovering the species. This Final PEIS evaluates the environmental, social, and economic effects of the proposed recovery program as well as alternatives.

The Preferred Alternative identified in the Final PEIS is Alternative 3, Limited Translocation. The Preferred Alternative does not include any translocation option that involves taking seals born in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and releasing them in the main Hawaiian Islands. Please read the final newsletter for more information.

The Notice of Availability for the Final PEIS published in the Federal Register on April 11, 2014, marking the start of a 30-day comment period. The comment period for the Final PEIS closed on May 12, 2014.

Where can I find copies of the PEIS?

The Final PEIS may be downloaded here, and paper copies of the Final PEIS are available at the following public libraries:

Community Meetings on Cultural Impacts

NOAA Fisheries Service and Pacific Legacy, Inc., held a series of community meetings seeking community input on potential adverse effects to historic or traditional cultural properties (such as archaeological sites), as well as information on potential impacts to cultural resources and practices (such as fish ponds and fish pond operation) that may result from implementation of actions proposed in the Draft PEIS for Hawaiian Monk Seal Recovery Actions.

The purpose of these meetings was to gather input and consult with interested parties for the preparation of a Cultural Impact Assessment and compliance with the National Historic Preservation Action Section 106 for the Hawaiian Monk Seal Recovery Actions PEIS. A list of meeting dates and times [pdf] is available on our website.

Comments on the Draft PEIS

The Draft Hawaiian Monk Seal Recovery Actions PEIS comment period closed on October 17, 2011.

A Comment Analysis Report will be available with the Final PEIS. Comments received after October 17 are not included in the Comment Analysis Report.

During the comment period, public hearings were held from September 12-17, 2011 to give the public an opportunity to comment on the Draft PEIS. Handouts at the hearings included:

Project Newsletters

Three project newsletters have been published and are available online:

The third and final newsletter provides information about the:

The second newsletter [pdf] was published in August 2011 and provides information about the:

The first newsletter [pdf], distributed in October 2010, provides information about the:

Notice of Intent and Scoping

On October 1, 2010, NOAA Fisheries provided public notice that it is preparing a PEIS to assess the impacts of implementing specific management actions and administering a research and enhancement program to improve survival of Hawaiian monk seals. Please read the first newsletter [pdf] for more information regarding the PEIS process.

From October 21-26, 2010, NOAA Fisheries hosted public meetings on Oahu, Hawaii, Maui, Molokai, and Kauai. The scoping period ended on November 30, 2010 and 139 comments were received. These comments are summarized in the Scoping Summary Report [pdf].

Steps in the NEPA Process

More Information

Questions? Email: monkseal@noaa.gov.

Updated: June 18, 2014