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DLNR NEWS RELEASE: Public hearing scheduled on draft habitat conservation plans for Pakini Nui, Ka’u District, Lalamilo, and South Kohala District, Hawai’i

Posted on Jul 29, 2016 in Latest Department News

KAILUA-KONA, HAWAII — The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW), State of Hawaiʻi, will hold a public hearing to receive testimony on the Draft Pakini Nui and Lalamilo Habitat Conservation Plans (HCPs).

The hearing will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, August 4, 2016 at the Hawai‘i Gateway Energy Center, Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawai‘i, 73-4485 Kahilihili Street, Kailua-Kona, Hawai‘i Island.

Tawhiri Power LLC (Tawhiri), the Pakini Nui project proponent, operates an existing 21-megawatt wind energy facility at South Point with 14 turbines and associated power lines. The facility has not previously operated under an HCP and associated incidental take license (ITL). Tawhiri has now prepared an HCP and is requesting a 20-year ITL.

As of March 2016, two endangered Hawaiian hoary bat (Lasiurus cinereus semotus) fatalities have been observed at the facility. Tawhiri has determined that the incidental take (a legal term including, but not limited to, any type of harm or harassment) of four endangered species could occur from continued facility operation: Hawaiian hoary bat, Hawaiian petrel (Pterodroma sandwichensis), Band-rumped storm petrel (Oceanodroma castro), and Hawaiian goose (Nēnē; Branta sandvicensis).

Low wind speed curtailment will be employed as a minimization measure. Mitigation for the Hawaiian hoary bat will consist of habitat improvement at the Kahuku Unit of Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park (HAVO) and associated bat monitoring to evaluate the improvement.

Mitigation for the Hawaiian petrel and Band-rumped storm petrel will consist of a monetary contribution toward maintenance of a cat-proof fence around a petrel nesting colony at HAVO, along with predator control. Mitigation for Nēnē is contribution of funding to DOFAW for recovery of the species. All mitigation measures were developed to provide a net ecological benefit to the species.

Lālāmilo Wind Company LLC (Lalamilo), the project proponent, has prepared an HCP and is requesting an associated 20-year Incidental Take License to operate a wind energy facility. The facility has a net generating capacity of 3.3 megawatts and includes five turbines with associated power lines.

Lālāmilo has determined that incidental take of two endangered species could occur as a result of wind energy operations: Hawaiian hoary bat and Hawaiian petrel. Mitigation for these two species will include the same actions as described above for Pakini Nui, although with a different level of effort commensurate with take.

Copies of the draft HCPs are available for review at the Division of Forestry and Wildlife office in Honolulu and as a link provided in the Office of Environmental Quality Control’s June 8, 2016 issue of the Environmental Notice. Copies will also be available at the public hearing.

Anyone who wants to attend the hearing that may require auxiliary aids (taped materials or sign language interpreter) please contact the Division of Forestry and Wildlife, 1151 Punchbowl Street, Room 325, Honolulu, HI 96813; (808) 587-0166.

If you are unable to attend the hearing and wish to provide testimony, please send comments to the aforementioned address, attention Kate Cullison or send to [email protected]. Comments should be received by August 8, 2016.

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Photos courtesy DLNR Division of Forestry and Wildlife:

Hawaiian hoary bat, Turbine with bat acoustic monitor,  turbines


Media contact:

Deborah Ward

DLNR Communications specialist

Phone: (808) 587-0320