Community input sought on NOAA’s proposed Hawaiian Monk Seal recovery actions

| October 17, 2012 | 0 Comments

NOAA News Release

NOAA Fisheries and Pacific Legacy, Inc., are holding a series of community meetings seeking community input on proposed Hawaiian monk seal recovery actions.

Monk seal KP2, or Ho’ailona, lounges at the Kaunakakai Harbor before NOAA officials removed him in 2009. NOAA is now seeking public input on how cultural resources and practices may be affected by its Hawaiian monk seal recovery action.

On Molokai, the meeting will be Oct. 29 from 6-8 p.m. at Molokai High School. A previous PEIS public hearing on the monk seal recovery action was held on Molokai in September of 2011.

Specifically, NOAA is seeking information on potential adverse effects to historic properties and/or traditional cultural properties (e.g., archaeological sites), as well as information on potential impacts to cultural resources and practices (e.g., fish ponds and fish pond operation) that may result from implementation of actions proposed in the Draft Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for Hawaiian Monk Seal Recovery.

The purpose of these meetings is to gather input and consult with interested parties for the preparation of a cultural impact assessment (CIA) and compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act section 106 for the Hawaiian Monk Seal Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement.

Examples of the proposed actions include capture, veterinary treatment, transportation, and release of monk seals on shorelines throughout the Hawaiian archipelago. The Draft PEIS is available for review here.

These meetings are not about monk seals or the monk seal recovery program in general, but are specifically focused on impacts to cultural practices and effects on historic properties that may result from the recovery actions proposed in the PEIS.

Prior to conducting the monk seal recovery actions proposed in the PEIS, NOAA Fisheries will comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). NEPA requires federal agencies to analyze and disclose the impacts of their actions on the human environment, including the social and cultural environment, and NHPA Section 106 requires federal agencies to take into account the effects of their undertakings on historic properties.

These community meetings are specific to the actions proposed in the Monk Seal Recovery Actions PEIS, and will not focus on proposed Hawaiian Monk Seal Critical Habitat, the Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Management Plan Review, or other ongoing initiatives.

These meetings are also not directly related to our Hawaiian Monk Seal Main Hawaiian Islands Management Plan. However, the information and input gathered may inform management strategies or other considerations related to MHI management, especially if the input is directly related to actions discussed in the PEIS.

NOAA stated it will do its best to differentiate the purpose of these upcoming community meetings from the other ongoing monk seal-related initiatives in any outreach opportunities planned for the near future and in the presentation that will be given at the beginning of the community meetings.

For further information or to request sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids, contact Paul Cleghorn at, (808) 263-4800 (phone), or (808) 263-4300 (fax). These meetings are accessible to people with disabilities.

Category: Hawaiian Culture, News

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