FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 22, 2008
Contact: Barbara Maxfield, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 792-9531 or 753-0440
Draft Monument Management Plan Released For Public Review and Comment
In the spirit of Earth Day, Hawai‘i Governor Linda Lingle, Deputy Secretary of the Interior Lynn Scarlett, and Undersecretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator Vice Admiral Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Jr., U.S. Navy (Ret.), gathered at historic Washington Place today to announce the availability of the Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument Draft Management Plan and associated Environmental Assessment for public review and comment. Once completed, the documents will guide the future management of this unique and fragile part of Hawai‘i during the next 15 years.
“It is fitting to release the draft management plan for the nation’s largest conservation area on Earth Day,” said Governor Lingle, as she addressed many of the people involved in developing the management plan. “This vast area has a great deal of significance, not only to those concerned with protecting our environment, but to the Native Hawaiians who share such a strong cultural tie to the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands.”
The three government agencies responsible for managing the Monument – the State of Hawai‘i, U.S. Department of the Interior and U.S. Department of Commerce – in accordance with the Presidential Proclamation that established the Monument, developed this comprehensive plan to coordinate activities while also meeting agency requirements. The plan is organized into six priority management needs that address a range of issues from understanding and interpreting resources to managing human uses. Under these broad management needs, 22 action plans describe the specific activities that will be conducted, all of which will be carried out within the larger vision of protecting the health, diversity and resources of the monument.
“As we near the 100th anniversary of the creation of the Hawaiian Islands National Wildlife Refuge, and actually celebrate the 20th anniversary of Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge on this very day, we reaffirm the traditions of protecting this very special region,” said Deputy Secretary Scarlett. “From the early Polynesians who first visited these islands to today’s visitors to Midway Atoll, we share a sense of wonder over the remarkable wildlife that call Papahānaumokuākea home. Through this management plan, we hope to continue protecting and restoring their habitats so that future generations may also view them with awe.”
“The draft plan truly embodies the spirit of cooperative conservation," said Vice Adm. Lautenbacher. . “The document reflects the best thinking of the thousands of people who have raised their voices on behalf of the Monument. We look forward to working with the community and our fellow Monument co-trustees to ensure the protection of this special and globally significant place that is Papahanaumokuakea."
The four-volume, 1,200 page draft plan is available at Hawai‘i public libraries and on the monument website at http://www.papahanaumokuakea.gov. A limited number of copies on compact disk or in printed form are available by calling the Fish and Wildlife Service in Honolulu at (808) 792-9530. The 75-day federal public comment period on these documents officially begins on April 23 and ends July 8. Comments submitted between June 8 and July 8 will also be officially addressed by the State of Hawai‘i, though all comments will be reviewed and considered by the three managing agencies in developing a final plan.
Comments on the documents may be submitted in writing to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument, Box 50167, Honolulu, Hawai‘i 96850 or by e-mailing them to PMNM_MMP_Comments@fws.gov.
Comments also will be accepted orally during a series of public meetings to be held statewide in June. The nine meetings – three on O‘ahu, and one each on Kaua‘i, Lāna‘i, Maui, Moloka‘i and in West Hawai‘i and East Hawai‘i – will offer the public an opportunity to ask questions and seek clarification regarding the plan as well as provide formal comments.
The meetings are scheduled as follows:
O‘ahu: Wai‘anae Parks and Recreation Complex, June 9, 2008
In addition, a public meeting will be held in Washington, D.C. on June 11, 1:00 – 4:00 p.m. at the Auditorium in the Main Department of the Interior Building.
Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument is managed jointly by three co-trustees — the Department of Commerce, Department of the Interior and the State of Hawai‘i — and represents a cooperative conservation approach to protecting the entire ecosystem. The monument area includes the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve, the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge/Battle of Midway National Memorial, the Hawaiian Islands National Wildlife Refuge, the Hawai‘i State Seabird Sanctuary at Kure Atoll, and Northwestern Hawaiian Islands State Marine Refuge.
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