Hawai`i Governor David Ige gave the keynote speech to the Western Governors Association workshop on Species Conservation and Climate Change on Thursday.
“Hawaii is proud to be the first state in the nation, to institute, Habitat Conservation plans, for wind energy projects, ensuring a net benefit is provided for our native wildlife, while we work towards achieving our clean energy goals.”
All large-scale centralized energy projects in both urban and rural landscapes, displace and kill species during construction, and pose risks including death to various species after the systems go on-line.
Fossil fuel power plants kill wildlife in a variety of ways. Large-scale renewable solar and wind facilities also kill wildlife.
The first centralized wind generation facility on Maui was built at Kaheawa Pastures in the Ukumehame Ahupuaʻa on the West Maui Mountains mauka of Māʻalaea.
Kaheawa became the first wind generation facility in the United States to implement a Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP) to protect the long term health of local species, including four federally-listed and endangered species.
Adoption of the plan occurred during the Linda Lingle administration.
At risk were three endemic birds, the Hawaiian petrel (‘Ua’u, HAPE), Newell’s shearwater (‘a‘o, NESH), and the Hawaiian goose (Nēnē). There is also the endemic Hawaiian hoary bat (‘ope‘ape‘a).
The Habitat Conservation Plan (HCP), the Federal Incidental Take Permit (ITP) and the State of Hawaii Incidental Take License (ITL) were developed in in cooperation with the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), the Department of Land and Natural Resources- Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DLNR-DOFAW) and the Hawai`i Endangered Species Recovery Committee (ESRC).
Dead Canada geese, chickens, ducks, wedge-tailed shearwaters and rates were placed at the site to determine carcass persistence, also known as carcass retention (CARE).
Searches for dead carcasses were conducted by people and by dogs. Prior to searches taking place, dead carcasses were placed without the knowledge of searchers. This enabled detection rates to be established.
Using statistical mean and standard deviations, observed take is transformed into “estimated direct take at the 80% credibility level.”
The term mitigation is used to describe the propagation of birds at designated facilities. The net increase in population compared to births in the wild is used to offset takes (deaths) at the wind facilities.
The initial seabird mitigation for the two Kaheawa facilities are carried out at the Makamaka’ole Seabird Enclosures. The enclosed and monitored site contains artificial burrows, erosion control and the monitoring and trapping of potential predators. A second site will be constructed in East Maui this year.
Hawaiian petrel mitigation is handled by Pulama Lanai on the island of Lanai.
Nēnē mitigation occurs at the Haleakala Ranch pen.
Bat mitigation is being developed in conjunction with additional research and the creation of protocols.
During FY 2015 there were twenty observed bird deaths: Hawaiian petrel (2), Pueo (2), Nēnē (4), Gray francolin (3), White-tailed tropicbird (1), Eurasian skylark (1), Black francolin (1), Pacific golden plover (1), and the Ring-necked pheasant (5).
The White-tailed tropicbird and the Eurasian skylark (MBTA) are species covered by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (MBTA).
“Details of all HCP-covered fatalities are provided in Downed Wildlife Incident Reports that are submitted to DOFAW and USFWS within three days of each discovery.”
The ownership of the sind facility has changed hands from Zond Pacific, Enron Wind, Kaheawa Wind Power, Makani Nui Associates, LLC, UPC Wind Partners, First Wind Energy, and SunEdison.
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