The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued its final rule Tuesday designating critical habitat for 125 federally protected species found in Hawaii.
The final designation covers 157,000 acres on Molokai, Maui and Kahoolawe, which is 85,161 acres less than initially proposed. All 25,413 acres that were proposed for Lanai were excluded.
“The Service listened to public and agency comments and amended the original proposed critical habitat based on the best scientific information and for the greatest protections for the resources,” said Mary Abrams, state supervisor for the Service’s Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office, in a release.
“The areas excluded from the final designation are based on solid conservation agreements with local groups, which will protect threatened and endangered species while supporting land use,” she said. “These conservation agreements demonstrate that threatened and endangered species can successfully coexist with the interests of private and public landowners.”
Overall, the habitat is 20 percent federal lands, 55 percent state and 25 percent private, according to a FWS release.
“Critical habitat will speed restoration efforts for many of these imperiled species so I’m glad to see that happen,” said Loyal Mehrhoff, endangered species recovery director at the Center for Biological Diversity, in a release. “The Endangered Species Act continues to save hundreds of Hawaiian species from extinction and can be a significant force to save these species too.”