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

Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement

NOAA Fisheries has approved the Final PEIS for Hawaiian Monk Seal Recovery Actions for public review!

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. We propose 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 moving seals born in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands to 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. We will accept comments on the Final PEIS until Monday, May 12, 2014. Submit comments on the Final PEIS in writing:

Where can I find copies of the PEIS?

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

To obtain a paper copy or a USB flash drive containing the Final PEIS, please send a written request to the address listed above (postal or email) with your full name, physical address, and phone number. The document will be mailed within 10 days of processing the request.

While NOAA Fisheries is not required to respond to comments received on the Final PEIS, we will review and consider them prior to issuing a Record of Decision after close of the comment period.

The Record of Decision will include information on the alternatives considered, the preferred alternative and why we chose it, and required mitigation and monitoring.

Permit Application

The NOAA Fisheries Pacific Island Fisheries Science Center has applied for a Marine Mammal Protection Act/ Endangered Species Act permit to conduct scientific research and enhancement activities on endangered Hawaiian monk seals. The permit application was available for review and comment through April 15, 2013.

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: April 11, 2014