Home to hundreds of imperiled plants and animals, Hawaii is often called the endangered species capital of the world.

Now federal regulators angling to prevent extinctions want public input on a draft recovery plan for 44 endangered species in Maui County. Among them are 40 plants, three tree snails and a bee.

Waikamoi Preserve became a reality in 1983 when the Haleakalā Ranch Company granted a conservation easement to the Conservancy over 5,230 acres. The preserve was expanded in 2014 when landowner Alexander & Baldwin conveyed a conservation easement over an additional 3,721 adjacent acres, bringing the total to 8,951 acres and making Waikamoi the largest private nature preserve in the state. The preserve protects part of the 100,000-acre East Maui Watershed, which provides 60 billion gallons of clean water annually to Maui's residents, businesses and agricultural community. The Conservancy, Haleakalā Ranch and Alexander & Baldwin continue to work together (as part of the East Maui Watershed Partnership) to protect some of the best remaining forest in all of Hawai`i.Waikamoi Preserve is managed in partnership with the State Department of Land & Natural Resources through the Natural Area Partnership Program.
The Waikamoi Preserve on Maui was created in 1983. Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2017

The draft plan maps out a pathway to downlist these species to a less-precarious status. Doing so would require conservation officials and their partners to successfully hamper population declines by driving down threats to the species and their habitats, establishing new population sites and accounting for the perceived effects of climate change in species management approaches.

All the species in the draft recovery plan face similar threats — habitat loss, disease and invasive predators, such as rats, cats, and pigs. Climate change is accelerating these threats.

For the recovery of the 40 plant species, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service said it wants to make each species more resilient by partnering with government and private partners to establish and manage new population sites, thereby reducing the chances that the species could be wiped out by a wildfire, disease outbreak or hungry predator.

The three tree snail species should be protected with predator-proof enclosures or located in predator-free habitats, the agency said in its draft plan. It also aims to establish captive reared populations of the species.

For the yellow-faced bee, the agency wants to establish a captive rearing system for the bee, establish new populations and grow existing ones, and stamp out threats, such as habitat degradation, ants, yellow-jacket wasps and drought.

The public comment period ends on May 16.

Comments can be submitted by email to megan_laut@ fws.gov. Please include “44 Maui Nui Species Draft Recovery Plan Comments” in the subject line. 

Alternatively, comments can be submitted by mail to the following address: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office. 300 Ala Moana Boulevard, Room 3122, Honolulu, HI 96850. Please include in the address, “Attention: 44 Maui Nui Species Draft Recovery Plan, Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office.”

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