Posted by: lokahipath | June 21, 2011

Monk Seal Critical Habitat Defined!! 5 meters inland from shoreline to 500 meter depth

Monk Seals Critical Habitat Defined!

The much anticipated proposal from the National Marine Fishery Services to protect shorelines and nearshore waters as habitat critical to the survival of monk seals has been finally released.

Areas in the MHI includes all the terrestrial environment extending 5 m inland (in length) from the shoreline described by the upper reaches of the wash of the waves, other than storm or seismic waves, at high tide during the season in which the highest wash of the waves occurs, usually evidenced by the edge of vegetation growth or the upper limit of debris and all marine habitat from the waters edge to the 500-m depth contour around the following areas (except those areas indicated as not included for each island): Kaula Island, Niihau, Kauai, Oahu, Mai Nui (including Molokai, Lanai, Maui, and Kahoolawe), and Hawaii.

03-30-11_0648-BA81_Draft HMS Critical Habitat 4(b)(2)

The proposed shoreline protections–called “critical habitat”–are the result of a petition filed by KAHEA and the Center for Biological Diversity, as well as the voices and support of individuals around the islands advocating for monk seal critical habitat.

With a few key exceptions for the Navy and certain bays and harbors, the overwhelming majority of Hawai’i’s shores are on the proposed list for protection from government permits and actions that would destroy them.

DRAFT Biological Report available

05-23-11_0648-BA81_DraftBiologicalReport

This means the U.S. government cannot do things on these beaches — like subsidize a commercial cattle pasture — that would impair the quality of these resources for monk seal survival.

Public hearings will be announced soon and the comment deadline is set for August 31st.

Federal Register available

monk seal fed register

You can email NMFS directly at: http://www.regulations.gov (ref: 0648-BA81).

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