Proposed Increase to Incidental Take of Bat and Nēnē at Kaheawa

March 3, 2017, 3:27 PM HST · Updated March 3, 3:29 PM
Wendy Osher · 0 Comments
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Maui’s first windfarm project, the Kaheawa Windfarm, is located in Māʻalaea. Aerial photography by Wendy Osher.

The state is proposing to issue an amended Incidental Take License at Kaheawa Wind Power II above Mā‘alaea to increase the amount of deaths allowed for the Hawaiian hoary bat and the nēnē during facility operations.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources proposes to approve an amended Habitat Conservation Plan to increase incidental take for the Hawaiian hoary bat from 11 to 62 adults (or juveniles surviving to adult), and for nēnē from 30 to 48 adults (or juveniles surviving to adult) during the remaining 20-year permit that was issued in 2012.

Kaheawa Wind Power II operates a 21-megawatt wind energy generation facility on leased State of Hawaiʻi Conservation District lands and supplies electricity to Maui Electric Company.

The project has an approved Habitat Conservation Plan to monitor and mitigate for take of three bird species and one bat species protected under state and federal Endangered Species laws.

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Under the amended plan, KWP II would implement avoidance and minimization measures and monitoring, and provide mitigation commensurate with the new take levels.

According a project Environmental Impact Statement Preparation Notice, “The proposed action would result in benefits at the local and state level by producing clean, renewable energy in line with Hawaiʻi’s clean energy goals. Effects to the Hawaiian hoary bat and nēnē would be offset by funding research, restoration, or land acquisition to mitigate for the take of each species. Based on the mitigation efforts, no adverse impacts to either species is anticipated.”

Proposed mitigation efforts include:
  • Restore bat habitat or implement other mitigation measures at an approved conservation site commensurate with the requested take;
  • Add a new mitigation measure to fund or support bat research that would provide life history, occupancy, habitat usage, and/or foraging information and aid in the recovery of the species;
  • Continue to provide additional funding at an existing pen or at a site where nēnē regularly forage or nest to increase survival rates and productivity and thereby mitigate take of nēnē;
  • Create additional tiers of mitigation for additional take of Hawaiian hoary bat and nēnē; and
  • Continue current Low Wind Speed Curtailment regime; 5.5 m/s from February 15 through December 15 from sunset to sunrise.

Public comments on the proposal are due by March 28, 2017. Comments should be sent to the approving agency/accepting authority (Department of Land and Natural Resources, Division of Forestry and Wildlife, Glenn Metzler, Habitat Conservation Planning Associate, [email protected] 1151 Punchbowl Street, Room 325, Honolulu, HI 96813) and copy the applicant (Kaheawa Wind Power II, LLC, Mitchell Craig, [email protected] P.O. Box 567, Wailuku, HI 96793) and the consultant (SWCA Environmental Consultants Amanda Childs, [email protected] 1220 SW Morrison, Suite 700, Portland, OR 97205).

Wendy Osher
Wendy Osher leads the Maui Now news team. She is also the news voice of parent company, Pacific Media Group, having served nearly 20 years as News Director for the company’s six Maui radio stations.

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