Final Rule Published for the Hawaiian Monk Seal Critical Habitat

On August 21, 2015, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) announced the final rule to revise critical habitat for Hawaiian monk seals. Critical habitat triggers consultation requirements under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) for actions that are authorized, funded or carried out by Federal agencies. The revised critical habitat goes into effect September 21, 2015.

In the main Hawaiian Islands, the monk seal critical habitat includes the seafloor and marine habitat to 10 meters or approximately 33 feet above the seafloor from the 200-meter depth contour through the shoreline and extending into terrestrial habitat 5 meters or approximately 16.5 feet inland from the shoreline between identified boundary points around Kaula Island, Niihau, Kauai, Oahu, Maui Nui (including Kahoolawe, Lanai, Maui, and Molokai), and Hawaii. The marine portion of the critical habitat only includes the area 10 meters from the seafloor and does not include the remainder of the water column.

In the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, the critical habitat includes all beach areas, sand spits and islets, including all beach crest vegetation to its deepest extent inland as well as the seafloor and marine habitat 10 m in height above the seafloor from the shoreline out to the 200-m depth contour around 10 atolls, islands and reefs.
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Comment Period on the Green Turtle ESA-Listing Proposed Rule Extended to September 25, 2015

National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced a third extension on the public comment period on the proposed rule to revise the green turtle listing under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The extension is due to a recent typhoon in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI). Public comments will be due on September 25, 2015.

To read the full notice on the comment period extension, go to:

For more information about the proposed rule, read the original post:

To submit public comment on this proposed rule, go to this website and click on the “Comment Now!” icon:!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2012-0154


NMFS and FWS Announce Response to Green Turtle Delisting Petition

On March 20, 2015, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced the 12-month finding and proposed rule in response to the 2012 petition to delist the Hawaii green turtle from the Endangered Species Act (ESA). NMFS and FWS have denied the delisting petition after finding that the Hawaii population, while qualifying as a distinct population segment (DPS) called the Central North Pacific DPS, should continue to be listed as “threatened” due to its small and narrowly distributed nesting population and threats of climate change and sea level rise. The proposal will publish in the Federal Register on Monday, March 23, 2015.

The proposed rule will also change the status of green turtles in American Samoa, Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) from its current threatened listing to “endangered.” Guam and CNMI green turtles are considered part of a population called the Central Western Pacific DPS, and American Samoa part of the Central South Pacific DPS.

A public hearing is scheduled in Honolulu on April 8, 2015, 6-8pm at the Japanese Cultural Center, but no hearings are currently scheduled in the outer islands in Hawaii or in American Samoa, Guam or CNMI.

The proposed rule is open for public comment for 90-days until June 22, 2015.

To read the full proposed rule, see:

The status review that provides the scientific basis for the decision is available here:

To read the NMFS press release, see:


Honu – The Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle