First Wind Energy, LLC, was required by the state- and federally approved Habitat Conservation Plans (HCPs) for its three wind energy projects to develop a seabird conservation program that would mitigate impacts on the endangered Hawaiian petrel and threatened Newell’s shearwater. Specifically, the Makamaka’ole seabird mitigation site (West Maui) was proposed to provide mitigation for authorized take at the three wind projects (Kaheawa Wind Power, Kahuku Wind Power, and Kaheawa Wind Power II). The mitigation project was intended to result in chick production and adult survival well above baseline levels (i.e., without management) during the 20-year term of the wind project permits.
Our ecologists, including globally recognized experts on the species involved, were asked to develop a model that would evaluate mitigation success and outcome scenarios that are challenging to quantify. H. T. Harvey & Associates developed a deterministic population dynamics model for evaluating the effects of predation and predator control on Hawaiian petrels and Newell’s shearwaters at the mitigation site. The model accounted for baseline conditions and evaluated three separate mitigation scenarios to project the net recovery benefit for each species. Although our studies are still in progress, we have determined that, without the mitigation project, the seabird colony and breeding populations at the site would likely rapidly decline (assuming no substantial immigration from other colonies). According to the models we developed, providing effective predator control and supporting social attraction will successfully allow the populations to increase.
The mitigation project at Makamaka’ole therefore involves providing:
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