‘Ua‘a, or Hawaiian petrel. Photo courtesy of Pacific Island Parks/Jim Denny

‘Ua‘u, or Hawaiian petrel. Photo courtesy of Pacific Island Parks/Jim Denny

Kīlauea Point National Wildlife Refuge announced today the release of a Draft Environmental Assessment to gage the effects of a plan to avoid a potential local extinction of the ‘ua‘u, or Hawaiian petrel, from Kaua‘i.

‘Ua‘u, one of the rarest endemic species in Hawai‘i, measures 16 inches from head to tail, with a three-foot wingspan. They usually are dark grey on top and white below. They get their name from one of the various calls they make, which sounds like oo-ah-oo.

The DEA to evaluate the impacts of “Management Actions for Immediate Implementation to Reduce the Potential for Extirpation of ‘Ua‘u from Kaua‘i” is available at the KPNWR website.

In 2014, a predator proof fence was constructed on the Refuge to serve as a future nesting site for listed seabirds, and the proposed management actions put forth in the DEA represent the next steps in restoring the area within the Nihoku fence and providing additional protection for several listed species.

‘Ua‘a fencing at Kilauea Point National Wildlife Park

‘Ua‘u fencing at Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge

In accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act, this DEA presents a review of the conservation efforts to date to protect the ‘ua‘u on Kaua‘i, examines a range of alternative management measures, analyzes possible environmental effects of the alternatives, and serves as the basis for a decision by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on which alternative to implement.

The management actions presented in the DEA include a no-action alternative, the use of social attraction techniques alone at the Nihoku restoration site within KPNWR, and the combination of social attraction with translocation of ‘Ua‘u chicks to the Nihoku restoration site (preferred alternative).

None of the alternatives are expected to cause significant, irreversible impacts to the environment; therefore, the anticipated determination is a Finding of No Significant Impact. This project comes at a particularly important time for ‘ua‘u, which are