[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 182 (Tuesday, September 20, 2016)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 64414-64426]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-22592]



Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 17

[Docket No. FWS-R1-ES-2016-0057; 4500030113]
RIN 1018-BB54

Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants; Threatened Species 
Status for the Iiwi (Drepanis coccinea)

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: 12-Month petition finding; proposed rule.


SUMMARY: We, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service), announce a 
12-month finding on a petition to list the iiwi (Drepanis coccinea), a 
bird species from the Hawaiian Islands, as a threatened species under 
the Endangered Species Act (Act). After review of all best available 
scientific and commercial information, we find that listing the iiwi as 
a threatened species under the Act is warranted. Accordingly, we 
propose to list the iiwi as a threatened species throughout its range. 
If we finalize this rule as proposed, it would extend the Act's 
protections to this species. The effect of this regulation will be to 
add this species to the Federal List of Endangered and Threatened 

DATES: We will accept comments received or postmarked on or before 
November 21, 2016. Comments submitted electronically using the Federal 
eRulemaking Portal (see ADDRESSES below) must be received by 11:59 p.m. 
Eastern Time on the closing date. We must receive requests for public 
hearings, in writing, at the address shown in FOR FURTHER INFORMATION 
CONTACT by November 4, 2016.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by one of the following methods:
    (1) Electronically: Go to the Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. In the Search box, enter FWS-R1-ES-2016-0057, 
which is the docket number for this rulemaking. Then, in the Search 
panel on the left side of the screen, under the Document Type heading, 
click on the Proposed Rules link to locate this document. You may 
submit a comment by clicking on ``Comment Now!''
    (2) By hard copy: Submit by U.S. mail or hand-delivery to: Public 
Comments Processing, Attn: FWS-R1-ES-2016-0057; U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service Headquarters, MS: BPHC, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 
    We request that you send comments only by the methods described 
above. We will post all comments on http://www.regulations.gov. This 
generally means that we will post any personal information you provide 
us (see Public Comments below for more information).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mary Abrams, Field Supervisor, Pacific 
Islands Fish and Wildlife Office, 300 Ala Moana Boulevard, Room 3-122, 
Honolulu, HI 96850; by telephone (808-792-9400); or by facsimile (808-
792-9581). Persons who use a telecommunications device for the deaf 
(TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 800-877-

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This document consists of: (1) A 12-month 
petition finding that listing the iiwi under the Act is warranted; and 
(2) a proposed rule to list the iiwi as a threatened species under the 

Executive Summary

    Why we need to publish a rule. Under the Endangered Species Act, 16 
U.S.C. 1531 et seq., a species or subspecies may warrant protection 
through listing if it is endangered or threatened throughout all or a 
significant portion of its range. Critical habitat shall be designated, 
to the maximum extent prudent and determinable, for any species 
determined to be an endangered or threatened species under the Act.
    We are proposing to list the iiwi (Drepanis coccinea) as threatened 
under the Act because of current and future threats, and listing can 
only be done by issuing a rule. The iiwi no longer occurs across much 
of its historical range, and faces a variety of threats in the form of 
diseases and impacts to its remaining habitat.
    Delineation of critical habitat requires, within the geographical 
area occupied by the species, identification of the physical or 
biological features essential to the species' conservation. A careful 
assessment of the biological needs of the species and the areas that 
may have the physical or biological features essential for the 
conservation of the species and that may require special management 
considerations or protections, and thus qualify for designation as 
critical habitat, is particularly complicated in this case by the 
ongoing and projected effects of climate change and will require a 
thorough assessment. We require additional time to analyze the best 
available scientific data in order to identify specific areas 
appropriate for critical habitat designation and to analyze the impacts 
of designating such areas as critical habitat. Accordingly, we find 
designation of critical habitat for the iiwi to be ``not determinable'' 
at this time.
    What this document does. This document proposes the listing of the 
iiwi as a threatened species. We previously published a 90-day finding 
for the iiwi, and this document includes a 12-month finding and 
proposed listing rule, which assesses all available information 
regarding status of and threats to the iiwi.
    The basis for our action. Under the Act, we can determine that a 
species is an endangered or threatened species based on any of five 
factors: (A) The present or threatened destruction, modification, or 
curtailment of its habitat or range; (B) Overutilization for 
commercial, recreational, scientific, or educational purposes; (C) 
Disease or predation; (D) The inadequacy of existing regulatory 
mechanisms; or (E) Other natural or manmade factors affecting its 
continued existence. We have determined that the primary threats to the 
iiwi are its susceptibility to avian malaria (Factor C) and the 
expected reduction in disease-free habitat as a result of increased 
temperatures caused by climate change (Factor E). Although not 
identified as primary threat factors, rapid ohia death, a disease that 
affects the tree species required by iiwi for nesting and foraging, and 
impacts from nonnative invasive plants and feral ungulates, contribute 
to the degradation and curtailment of the iiwi's remaining, disease-
free native ohia forest habitat, exacerbating threats to the species' 
    We will seek peer review. We will seek comments from independent 
specialists to ensure that our designation is based on scientifically 
sound data, assumptions, and analyses. We will invite these peer 
reviewers to comment on our listing proposal. Because we will consider 
all comments and information received during the comment period, our 
final determination may differ from this proposal.
    A species status report for the iiwi was prepared by a team of 
Service biologists, with the assistance of scientists from the U.S. 
Geological Survey's (USGS) Pacific Islands Ecosystems Research Center 
and the Service's Pacific Islands Climate Change

[[Page 64415]]

Cooperative. We also obtained review and input from experts familiar 
with avian malaria and avian genetics. The species status report 
represents a compilation of the best scientific and commercial data 
available concerning the status of the species, including the past, 
present, and future threats to the iiwi. We will invite at least three 
scientists with expertise in Hawaiian forest bird biology, avian 
malaria, and climate change to conduct an independent peer review of 
the species status report. The species status report and other 
materials relating to this proposal can be found at http://www.regulations.gov, at Docket No. FWS-R1-ES-2016-0057, or by 
contacting the Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office (see FOR 

Information Requested

Public Comments

    We intend that any final action resulting from this proposed rule 
will be based on the best scientific and commercial data available and 
be as accurate and as effective as possible. Therefore, we request 
comments or information from the public, including land owners and land 
managers, other concerned governmental agencies, the scientific 
community, industry, or any other interested parties concerning this 
proposed rule. We particularly seek comments concerning:
    (1) The iiwi's biology, range, and population trends, including:
    (a) Biological or ecological requirements of the species, including 
habitat requirements for feeding, breeding, and sheltering;
    (b) Genetics and taxonomy;
    (c) Historical and current range including distribution patterns;
    (d) Historical and current population levels, and current and 
projected trends; and
    (e) Past and ongoing conservation measures for the species, its 
habitat, or both.
    (2) Factors that may affect the continued existence of the species, 
which may include habitat modification or destruction, overutilization, 
disease, predation, the inadequacy of existing regulatory mechanisms, 
or other natural or manmade factors.
    (3) Biological, commercial trade, or other relevant data concerning 
any threats (or lack thereof) to this species and existing regulations 
that may be addressing those threats.
    (4) Additional information concerning the historical and current 
status, range, distribution, and population size of this species, 
including the locations of any additional populations of the iiwi.
    (5) Specific information on:
     What areas currently occupied, and that contain the 
necessary physical or biological features essential for the 
conservation of the iiwi, we should include in any future designation 
of critical habitat and why;
     Whether special management considerations or protections 
may be required for the physical or biological features essential to 
the conservation of the iiwi; and
     What areas not currently occupied are essential to the 
conservation of the iiwi and why.
    Please include sufficient information with your submission (such as 
scientific journal articles or other publications) to allow us to 
verify any scientific or commercial information you include.
    Please note that submissions merely stating support for or 
opposition to the action under consideration without providing 
supporting information, although noted, will not be considered in 
making a determination, as section 4(b)(1)(A) of the Act directs that 
determinations as to whether any species is a threatened or endangered 
species must be made ``solely on the basis of the best scientific and 
commercial data available.''
    You may submit your comments and materials concerning this proposed 
rule by one of the methods listed in ADDRESSES. We request that you 
send comments only by the methods described in ADDRESSES.
    If you submit information via http://www.regulations.gov, your 
entire submission--including any personal identifying information--will 
be posted on the Web site. If your submission is made via a hardcopy 
that includes personal identifying information, you may request at the 
top of your document that we withhold this information from public 
review. However, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. We 
will post all hardcopy submissions on http://www.regulations.gov.
    Comments and materials we receive, as well as supporting 
documentation we used in preparing this proposed rule, will be 
available for public inspection on http://www.regulations.gov, or by 
appointment, during normal business hours, at the U.S. Fish and 
Wildlife Service, Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office (see FOR 

Public Hearing

    Section 4(b)(5) of the Act provides for one or more public hearings 
on this proposal, if requested. Requests must be received within 45 
days after the date of publication of this proposed rule in the Federal 
Register. Such requests must be sent to the address shown in FOR 
FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. We will schedule one or more public 
hearings on this proposal, if any are requested, and announce the 
dates, times, and places of those hearings, as well as how to obtain 
reasonable accommodations, in the Federal Register and local newspapers 
at least 15 days before the hearing.

Peer Review

    In accordance with our joint policy on peer review published in the 
Federal Register on July 1, 1994 (59 FR 34270), we will seek the expert 
opinions of appropriate and independent specialists regarding this 
proposed rule and the accompanying draft species status report (see 
Status Assessment for the Iiwi, below). The purpose of peer review is 
to ensure that our listing determination is based on scientifically 
sound data, assumptions, and analyses. Peer reviewers have expertise in 
the iiwi's life history, habitat, physical and biological requirements, 
avian diseases including malaria, and climate change, and are currently 
reviewing the draft species status report, which will inform our 
determination. We invite comment from the peer reviewers during this 
public comment period.


    Section 4(b)(3)(B) of the Act requires that, for any petition to 
revise the Federal Lists of Threatened and Endangered Wildlife and 
Plants (Lists) that contains substantial scientific or commercial 
information indicating that listing a species may be warranted, we make 
a finding within 12 months of the date of receipt of the petition that 
the petitioned action is either: (a) Not warranted; (b) warranted; or 
(3) warranted, but the immediate proposal of a regulation implementing 
the petitioned action is precluded by pending proposals to determine 
whether other species are endangered or threatened, and expeditious 
progress is being made to add or remove qualified species from the 
Lists. With this publication, we have determined that the petitioned 
action to list the iiwi is warranted, and we are proposing to list the 

Previous Federal Actions

    On August 25, 2010, we received a petition dated August 24, 2010, 
from Noah Greenwald, Center for Biological Diversity, and Dr. Tony 
Povilitis, Life Net, requesting that the iiwi be listed as an 
endangered or threatened species and that critical habitat be 
designated under the Act. In a September 10, 2010, letter to the 
petitioners, we responded

[[Page 64416]]

that we had reviewed the information presented in the petition and 
determined that issuing an emergency regulation temporarily listing the 
species under section 4(b)(7) of the Act was not warranted. We also 
stated that we were required to complete a significant number of 
listing and critical habitat actions in Fiscal Year 2010, including 
complying with court orders and court-approved settlement agreements 
with specific deadlines, listing actions with absolute statutory 
deadlines, and high-priority listing actions. Our listing and critical 
habitat funding for Fiscal Year 2010 was committed to complying with 
these court orders, settlement agreements, and statutory deadlines. 
Therefore, we were unable to further address the petition to list the 
iiwi at that time.
    We published a 90-day finding for the iiwi in the Federal Register 
on January 24, 2012 (77 FR 3423). Based on that review, we found that 
the petition presented substantial information indicating that listing 
the iiwi may be warranted, and we initiated a status review of the 
species. With the publication of this notice, we provide our 12-month 
finding and a proposal to list the iiwi as a threatened species under 
the Act.

Status Assessment for the Iiwi

    A thorough review of the taxonomy, life history, and ecology of the 
iiwi (Drepanis coccinea) is presented in the draft Iiwi (Drepanis 
coccinea) Species Status Report, available online at http://www.regulations.gov under Docket No. FWS-R1-ES-2016-0057. The species 
status report documents the results of our comprehensive biological 
status review for the iiwi, including an assessment of the potential 
stressors to the species. The species status report does not represent 
a decision by the Service on whether the iiwi should be proposed for 
listing as a threatened or endangered species under the Act. It does, 
however, provide the scientific basis that informs our regulatory 
decision, which involves the further application of standards within 
the Act and its implementing regulations and policies. The following is 
a summary of the key results and conclusions from the species status 

Summary of Biological Status

    A medium-sized forest bird notable for its iconic bright red 
feathers, black wings and tail, and a long, curved bill (Hawaii Audubon 
Society 2011, p. 97), the iiwi belongs to the family Fringillidae and 
the endemic Hawaiian honeycreeper subfamily, Drepanidinae (Pratt et al. 
2009, pp. 114, 122). Iiwi songs are complex with variable creaks (often 
described as sounding like a ``rusty hinge''), whistles, or gurgling 
sounds, and they sometimes mimic other birds (Hawaii Audubon Society 
2011, p. 97). The species is found primarily in closed canopy, montane 
wet or montane mesic forests composed of tall stature ohia 
(Metrosideros polymorpha) trees or ohia and koa (Acacia koa) tree mixed 
forest. The iiwi's diet consists primarily of nectar from the flowers 
of ohia and mamane (Sophora chrysophylla), various plants in the 
lobelia (Campanulaceae) family (Pratt et al. 2009, p. 193), and 
occasionally, insects and spiders (Pratt et al. 2009, p. 193; Hawaii 
Audubon Society 2011, p. 97).
    Although iiwi may breed anytime between October and August (Hawaii 
Audubon Society 2011, p. 97), the main breeding season occurs between 
February and June, which coincides with peak flowering of ohia (Fancy 
and Ralph 1997, p. 2). Iiwi create cup-shaped nests typically within 
the upper canopy of ohia (Hawaii Audubon Society 2011, p. 97), and 
breeding pairs defend a small area around the nest and disperse after 
the breeding season (Fancy and Ralph 1997, p. 2). An iiwi clutch 
typically consists of two eggs, with a breeding pair raising one to two 
broods per year (Hawaii Audubon Society 2011, p. 97).
    Well known for their seasonal movements in response to the 
availability of flowering ohia and mamane, iiwi are strong fliers that 
move long distances following their breeding season to locate nectar 
sources (Fancy and Ralph 1998, p. 3; Kuntz 2008, p. 1; Guillamet et al. 
2015, pp. EV-8--EV-9). The iiwi's seasonal movement to lower elevation 
areas in search of nectar sources is an important factor in the 
exposure of the species to avian diseases, particularly malaria 
(discussed below).
    Although historical abundance estimates are not available, the iiwi 
was considered one of the most common of the native forest birds in 
Hawaii by early naturalists, described as ``ubiquitous'' and found from 
sea level to the tree line across all the major islands (Banko 1981, 
pp. 1-2). Today the iiwi is no longer found on Lanai and only a few 
individuals may be found on Oahu, Molokai, and west Maui. Remaining 
populations of iiwi are largely restricted to forests above 
approximately 3,937 feet (ft) (1,200 meters (m)) in elevation on Hawaii 
Island (Big Island), east Maui, and Kauai. As described below, the 
present distribution of iiwi corresponds with areas that are above the 
elevation at which the transmission of avian malaria readily occurs 
(``disease-free'' habitats). The current abundance of iiwi rangewide is 
estimated at a mean of 605,418 individuals (range 550,972 to 659,864). 
Ninety percent of all iiwi now occur on Hawaii Island, followed by east 
Maui (about 10 percent), and Kauai (less than 1 percent) (Paxton et al. 
2013, p. 10).
    Iiwi population trends and abundance vary across the islands. The 
population on Kauai appears to be in steep decline, with a modeled rate 
of decrease equivalent to a 92 percent reduction in population over a 
25-year period (Paxton et al. 2013, p. 10); the total population on 
Kauai is estimated at a mean of 2,551 birds (range 1,934 to 3,167) 
(Paxton et al. 2013, p. 10). Trends on Maui are mixed, but populations 
there generally appear to be in decline; East Maui supports an 
estimated population of 59,859 individuals (range 54,569 to 65,148) 
(Paxton et al. 2013, p. 10). On Hawaii Island, which supports the 
largest remaining numbers of iiwi at an estimated average of 543,009 
individuals (range 516,312 to 569,706), there is evidence for stable or 
declining populations on the windward side of the island, while trends 
are strongly increasing on the leeward (Kona) side. As noted above, 
iiwi have been extirpated from Lanai, and only a few individual birds 
have been sporadically detected on the islands of Oahu, Molokai, and on 
west Maui in recent decades. Of the nine iiwi population regions for 
which sufficient information is available for quantitative inference, 
five of those show strong or very strong evidence of declining 
populations; one, a stable to declining population; one, a stable to 
increasing population; and two, strong evidence for increasing 
populations. Four of the nine regions show evidence of range 
contraction. Overall, based on the most recent surveys (up to 2012), 
approximately 90 percent of remaining iiwi are restricted to forest 
within a narrow band between 4,265 and 6,234 ft (1,300 and 1,900 m) in 
elevation (Paxton et al. 2013, pp. 1, 10-11, and Figure 1) (See the 
Population Status section of the draft species status report for 

Summary of Factors Affecting the Species

    The Act directs us to determine whether any species is an 
endangered species or a threatened species because of any of five 
various factors affecting its continued existence. Our species status 
report evaluated many potential stressors to iiwi, particularly direct 
impacts on the species from introduced diseases, as well as predation 

[[Page 64417]]

introduced mammals, competition with nonnative birds, climate change, 
ectoparasites, and the effects of small population size. We also 
assessed stressors that may affect the extent or quality of the iiwi's 
required ohia forest habitat, including ohia dieback, ohia rust, 
drought, fires, volcanic eruptions, climate change, and particularly 
rapid ohia death and habitat alteration by nonnative plants and feral 
    All species experience stressors; we consider a stressor to rise to 
the level of a threat to the species if the magnitude of the stressor 
is such that it places the current or future viability of the species 
at risk. In considering what stressors or factors might constitute 
threats to a species, we must look beyond the exposure of the species 
to a particular stressor to evaluate whether the species may respond to 
that stressor in a way that causes impacts to the species now or is 
likely to cause impacts in the future. If there is exposure to a 
stressor and the species responds negatively, the stressor may be a 
threat. We consider the stressor to be a threat if it drives, or 
contributes to, the risk of extinction of the species such that the 
species warrants listing as endangered or threatened as those terms are 
defined in the Act. However, the identification of stressors that could 
affect a species negatively may not be sufficient to compel a finding 
that the species warrants listing. The information must include 
evidence sufficient to suggest that these stressors are operative 
threats that act on the species to the point that the species may meet 
the definition of endangered or threatened under the Act.
    Our species status report examines all of the potential stressors 
to iiwi in detail. Here we describe those stressors that we conclude 
rise to the level of a threat to the long-term viability of iiwi.
    Based on our comprehensive assessment of the status of the iiwi in 
our species status report, we conclude that the best scientific data 
available consistently identifies avian malaria as the primary driver 
of declines in abundance and distribution of iiwi observed since the 
turn of the 20th century. This conclusion is supported by the extremely 
high mortality rate of iiwi (approximately 95 percent) in response to 
avian malaria, and the disappearance of iiwi from low-elevation ohia 
forest where it was formerly common and where malaria is prevalent 
today. Both the life cycle of the mosquito vector and the development 
and transmission of the malaria parasite are temperature-limited, thus 
iiwi are now found primarily in high elevation forests above 3,937 ft 
(1,200 m) where malaria prevalence and transmission is only brief and 
episodic, or nonexistent, under current conditions. Iiwi have not 
demonstrated any substantial sign of developing resistance to avian 
malaria to date and do not appear to be genetically predisposed to 
evolve resistance (Jarvi et al. 2004, pp. 2,164-2,166). As the 
prevalence of avian malaria increases in association with warmer 
temperatures (e.g., LaPointe et al. 2012, p. 217), the extent and 
impact of avian diseases upon iiwi are projected to become greatly 
exacerbated by climate change during this century.
    Additionally, on Hawaii Island where 90 percent of the iiwi 
currently occur, the disease rapid ohia death was identified as an 
emergent source of habitat loss and degradation that has the potential 
to exacerbate other stressors to ohia forest habitat, as well as reduce 
the amount of habitat remaining for iiwi in an already limited, 
disease-free zone contained within a narrow elevation band. Rapid ohia 
death, a recently discovered tree disease that leads to significant 
mortality of the ohia that iiwi depend upon for nesting and foraging, 
is quickly becoming a matter of urgent concern. If rapid ohia death 
continues to spread across the native ohia forests, it will directly 
threaten iiwi by eliminating the limited, malaria-free native forest 
areas that remain for the species.
    Based on the analysis in our species status report, invasive, 
nonnative plants and feral ungulates have major, adverse impacts on 
ohia forest habitat. Although we did not find that the historical and 
ongoing habitat alteration by nonnative species is the primary cause of 
the significant observed decline in iiwi's abundance and distribution, 
the cumulative impacts to iiwi's habitat, and in particular the 
activities of feral ungulates, are not insignificant and likely 
exacerbate the effects of avian malaria. Feral ungulates, particularly 
pigs (Sus scrofa), goats (Capra hircus), and axis deer (Axis axis), 
degrade ohia forest habitat by spreading nonnative plant seeds and 
grazing on and trampling native vegetation, and contributing to erosion 
(Mountainspring 1986, p. 95; Camp et al. 2010, p. 198). Invasive 
nonnative plants, such as strawberry guava (Psidium cattleianum) and 
albizia trees (Falcataria moluccana), prevent or retard regeneration of 
ohia forest used by iiwi for foraging and nesting. The combined effects 
of drought and nonnative, invasive grasses have resulted in increased 
fire frequency and the conversion of mesic ohia woodland to exotic 
grassland in many areas of Hawaii ((D'Antonio and Vitousek 1992, p. 67; 
Smith and Tunison 1992, pp. 395-397; Vitousek et al. 1997, pp. 7-8; 
D'Antonio et al. 2011, p. 1,617). Beyond alteration of ohia forest, 
feral pig activities that create mosquito habitat in ohia forest where 
there would otherwise be very little to none is identified as an 
important compounding stressor that acts synergistically with the 
prevalence of malaria and results in iiwi mortality. Although habitat 
loss and degradation is not, by itself, considered to be a primary 
driver of iiwi declines, the habitat impacts described above contribute 
cumulatively to the vulnerability of the species to the threat of avian 
malaria by degrading the quality and quantity of the remaining disease-
free habitat upon which the iiwi depends. In this regard, rapid ohia 
death, discussed above, is quickly becoming a matter of urgent concern 
as it can further exacerbate and compound effects from the suite of 
stressors that impact iiwi (see below).

Avian Diseases

    The introduction of avian diseases transmitted by the introduced 
southern house mosquito (Culex quinquefasciatus), including avian 
malaria (caused by the protozoan Plasmodium relictum) and avian pox 
(Avipoxvirus sp.), has been a key driving force in both extinctions and 
extensive declines over the last century in the abundance, diversity, 
and distribution of many Hawaiian forest bird species, including 
declines of the iiwi and other endemic honeycreepers (e.g., Warner 
1968, entire; Van Riper et al. 1986, entire; Benning et al. 2002, p. 
14,246; Atkinson and LaPointe 2009a, p. 243; Atkinson and LaPointe 
2009b, pp. 55-56; Samuel et al. 2011, p. 2,970; LaPointe et al. 2012, 
p. 214; Samuel et al. 2015, pp. 13-15). Nonnative to Hawaii, the first 
species of mosquitoes were accidentally introduced to the Hawaiian 
Islands in 1826, and spread quickly to the lowlands of all the major 
islands (Warner 1968, p. 104; Van Riper et al. 1986, p. 340). Early 
observations of birds with characteristic lesions suggest that avian 
poxvirus was established in Hawaii by the late 1800s (Warner 1968, p. 
106; Atkinson and LaPointe 2009a, p. 55), and later genetic analyses 
indicate pox was present in the Hawaiian Islands by at least 1900 
(Jarvi et al. 2008, p. 339). Avian malaria had arrived in Hawaii by at 
least 1920 (Warner 1968, p. 107; Van Riper et al. 1986, pp. 340-341; 
Atkinson and LaPointe 2009, p. 55; Banko and Banko 2009, p. 52), likely 
in association with imported cage birds (Yorinks and Atkinson 2000, p. 
731), or through the deliberate introduction of nonnative birds to 
replace the native birds that had

[[Page 64418]]

by then disappeared from the lowlands (Atkinson and LaPointe 2009a, p. 

Avian Malaria

    As noted above, avian malaria is a disease caused by the protozoan 
parasite Plasmodium relictum; the parasite is transmitted by the 
mosquito Culex quinquefasciatus, and invades the red blood cells of 
birds. Birds suffering from malaria infection undergo an acute phase of 
the disease during which parasitemia, a quantitative measure of the 
number of Plasmodium parasites in the circulating red blood cells, 
increases steadily. Because the parasite destroys the red blood cells, 
anemia and decline of physical condition can quickly result. In native 
Hawaiian forest birds, death may result either directly from the 
effects of anemia, or indirectly when anemia-weakened birds become 
vulnerable to predation, starvation, or a combination of other 
stressors (LaPointe et al. 2012, p. 213). Studies have demonstrated 
that native Hawaiian birds that survive avian malaria remain 
chronically infected, thus becoming lifetime reservoirs of the disease 
(Samuel et al. 2011, p. 2,960; LaPointe et al. 2012, p. 216) and 
remaining capable of further disease transmission to other native 
birds. In contrast, nonnative birds in Hawaii are little affected by 
avian malaria and later become incapable of disease transmission 
(LaPointe et al. 2012, p. 216).
    Wild iiwi infected with malaria are rarely captured, apparently 
because the onset of infection leads to rapid mortality, precluding 
their capture (Samuel et al. 2011, p. 2,967; LaPointe et al. 2016, p. 
11). However, controlled experiments with captive birds have 
demonstrated the susceptibility of native Hawaiian honeycreepers to 
avian malaria; mortality is extremely high in some species, including 
iiwi, experimentally infected with the disease. As early as the 1960s, 
experiments with Laysan finches (Telespiza cantans) and several other 
species of native Hawaiian honeycreepers demonstrated 100 percent 
mortality from malaria in a very short period of time (Warner 1968, pp. 
109-112, 118; Fig. 426). In a study specific to iiwi, Atkinson et al. 
(1995, entire) demonstrated that the species suffers approximately 95 
percent mortality when infected with malaria (Atkinson et al. 1995, p. 
S65). In that study, iiwi and a nonnative control species were exposed 
to avian malaria through infective mosquito bites, and subjected to 
different dosages of infection (single vs. multiple bites). Following 
exposure to biting mosquitoes, food consumption, weight, and 
parasitemia were monitored for all test groups. None of the nonnative 
birds developed malarial infections, while all of the exposed iiwi 
developed infections within 4 days. Mortality of the high-dose iiwi 
reached 100 percent by day 29, and mortality of the low-dose birds 
reached 90 percent by day 37, an average of 95 percent mortality 
between the two groups (Atkinson et al. 1994, p. S63). A single male 
iiwi survived the initial infection and, following re-exposure with the 
same Plasmodium isolate, no subsequent increase in parasitemia was 
detected, suggesting a possible development of some immunity (Atkinson 
et al. 1995, p. S66). The authors suggested that iiwi may lack 
sufficient diversity in the major histocompatibility complex or 
genetically based immunity traits capable of recognizing and responding 
to malarial antigens, an important factor in iiwi's susceptibility to 
introduced disease (Atkinson et al. 1995, pp. S65-S66).
    Despite extremely high mortality of iiwi from avian malaria in 
general, the aforementioned study as well as two other studies have 
demonstrated that a few individuals are capable of surviving the 
infection (Van Riper et al. 1986, p. 334; Atkinson et al. 1995, p. S63; 
Freed et al. 2005, p. 759). If a genetic correlation were identified, 
it is possible that surviving individuals could serve as a potential 
source for the evolution of genetic resistance to malaria, although 
evidence of this is scant to date. Eggert et al. (2008, p. 8) reported 
a slight but detectable level of genetic differentiation between iiwi 
populations located at mid and high elevation, potentially the first 
sign of selection acting on these populations in response to disease. 
Additionally, the infrequent but occasional sighting of iiwi on Oahu 
indicates a possible developed resistance or tolerance to avian 
    Despite these observations, there is, as of yet, no indication that 
iiwi have developed significant resistance to malaria such that 
individuals can survive in areas where the disease is strongly 
prevalent, including all potential low-elevation forest habitat and 
most mid-elevation forest habitat (Foster et al. 2007, p. 4,743; Eggert 
et al. 2008, p. 2). In one study, for example, 4 years of mist-netting 
effort across extensive areas of Hawaii Island resulted in the capture 
of a substantial number of iiwi, yet no iiwi were captured in low-
elevation forests and only a few were captured in mid-elevation forests 
(Samuel et al. 2015, p. 11). In addition, the results of several 
studies indicate that iiwi have low genetic variability, and even 
genetic impediments to a possible evolved resistance to malaria in the 
future (Jarvi et al. 2001, p. 255; Jarvi et al. 2004, Table 4, p. 
2,164; Foster et al. 2007, p. 4,744; Samuel et al. 2015, pp. 12-13). 
For example, Eggert et al. (2008, p. 9) noted that gene variations that 
may confer resistance appear to be rare in iiwi. Three factors--the 
homogeneity of a portion of the iiwi genome, the high mortality rate of 
iiwi in response to avian malaria, and high levels of gene flow 
resulting from the wide-ranging nature of the species--suggest that 
iiwi would likely require a significant amount of time for development 
of genetic resistance to avian malaria, assuming the species retains a 
sufficiently large reservoir of genetic diversity for a response to 
natural selection. Genetic studies of iiwi have also noted a dichotomy 
between the lack of variation in mitochondrial DNA (Tarr and Fleischer 
1993, 1995; Fleischer et al. 1998; Foster et al. 2007, p. 4,743), and 
maintenance of variation in nuclear DNA (Jarvi et al. 2004, p. 2,166; 
Foster et al. 2007, p. 4,744); both attributes suggest that iiwi may 
have historically experienced a drastic reduction in population size 
that led to a genetic bottleneck. Studies have also found low diversity 
in the antigen-binding sites of the iiwi's major histocompatibility 
complex (that part of an organism's immune system that helps to 
recognize foreign or incompatible proteins (antigens) and trigger an 
immune response).
    The relationship between temperature and avian malaria is of 
extreme importance to the current persistence of iiwi and the viability 
of the species in the future. The development of the Plasmodium 
parasite that carries malaria responds positively to increased 
temperature, such that malaria transmission is greatest in warm, low-
elevation forests with an average temperature of 72[emsp14][deg]F (22 
[deg]C), and is largely absent in high-elevation forests above 4,921 ft 
(1,500 m) with cooler mean annual temperatures around 57[emsp14][deg]F 
(14 [deg]C) (Ahumada et al. 2004, p. 1,167; LaPointe et al. 2010, p. 
318; Liao et al. 2015, p. 4,343). High-elevation forests thus currently 
serve as disease-free habitat zones for Hawaiian forest birds, 
including iiwi. Once one of the most common birds in forests throughout 
the Hawaiian islands, iiwi are now rarely found at lower elevations, 
and are increasingly restricted to high-elevation mesic and wet forests 
where cooler temperatures limit both the development of the malarial 
parasite and mosquito densities (Scott et al.

[[Page 64419]]

1986, pp. 367-368; Ahumada et al. 2004, p. 1,167; LaPointe et al. 2010, 
p. 318; Samuel et al. 2011, p. 2,960; Liao et al. 2015, p. 4,346; 
Samuel et al. 2015, p. 14).
    Temperature also affects the life cycle of the malaria mosquito 
vector, Culex quinquefasciatus. Lower temperatures slow the development 
of larval stages and can affect the survival of adults (Ahumada et al. 
2005, pp. 1,165-1,168; LaPointe et al. 2012, p. 217). Although closely 
tied to altitude and a corresponding decrease in temperature, the 
actual range of mosquitoes varies with season. Generally, as 
temperature decreases with increasing elevation, mosquito abundance 
drops significantly at higher altitudes. In the Hawaiian Islands, the 
mosquito boundary occurs between 4,921 and 5,577 ft (1,500 and 1,700 m) 
(VanRiper et al. 1986, p. 338; LaPointe et al. 2012, p. 218). Areas 
above this elevation are at least seasonally relatively free of 
mosquitoes, thus malaria transmission is unlikely at these high 
elevations under current conditions.
    Early on, Ralph and Fancy (1995, p. 741) and Atkinson et al. (1995, 
p. S66) suggested that the seasonal movements of iiwi to lower 
elevation areas where ohia is flowering may result in increased contact 
with malaria-infected mosquitoes, which, combined with the iiwi's high 
susceptibility to the disease, may explain their observed low annual 
survivorship relative to other native Hawaiian birds. Compounding the 
issue, other bird species, which overlap with iiwi in habitat, 
including Apapane (Himatione sanguinea), are relatively resistant to 
the diseases and carry both Plasmodium and avian pox virus. As 
reservoirs, they carry these diseases upslope where mosquitoes are less 
abundant but still occur in numbers sufficient to facilitate and 
continue transmission to iiwi (Ralph and Fancy 1995, p. 741). 
Subsequent studies have confirmed the correlation between risk of 
malaria infection and iiwi altitudinal migrations, and suggest upper 
elevation forest reserves in Hawaii may not adequately protect mobile 
nectarivores such as iiwi. Kuntz (2008, p. 3) found iiwi populations at 
upper elevation study sites (6,300 ft (1,920 m)) declined during the 
non-breeding season when birds departed for lower elevations in search 
of flowering ohia, traveling up to 12 mi (19.4 km) over contiguous 
mosquito-infested wet forest. Guillamet et al. (2015, p. 192) used 
empirical measures of seasonal movement patterns in iiwi to model how 
movement across elevations increases the risk of disease exposure, even 
affecting breeding populations in disease-free areas. La Pointe et al. 
(unpublished data 2015) found that, based on malaria prevalence in all 
Hawaiian forest birds, species migrating between upper elevations to 
lower elevations increased their risk of exposure to avian malaria by 
as much as 27 times. The greater risk was shown to be due to a much 
higher abundance of mosquitoes at lower elevations, which in turn was 
attributable at least in part to the higher abundance of pigs and their 
activities in lower elevation forests (discussed further below).

Avian Pox

    Avian pox (or bird pox) is an infection caused by the virus 
Avipoxvirus, which produces large, granular, and eventually necrotic 
lesions or tumors on exposed skin or diphtheritic lesions on the mouth, 
trachea, and esophagus of infected birds. Avian pox can be transmitted 
through cuts or wounds upon physical contact or through the mouth parts 
of blood-sucking insects such as the mosquito Culex quinquefasciatus, 
the common vector for both the pox virus and avian malaria (LaPointe et 
al. 2012, p. 221). Tumors or lesions caused by avian pox can be 
crippling for birds, and may result in death. Although not extensively 
studied, existing data suggest that mortality from avian pox may range 
from 4 to 10 percent observed in Oahu Elepaio (Chasiempis ibidis) (for 
birds with active lesions (VanderWerf 2009, p. 743) to 100 percent in 
Laysan finches (Warner 1968, p. 108). VanderWerf (2009, p. 743) has 
also suggested that mortality levels from pox may correlate with higher 
rainfall years, and at least in the case of the Elepaio, observed 
mortality may decrease over time with a reduction in susceptible birds.
    As early as 1902 native birds suffering from avian pox were 
observed in the Hawaiian Islands, and Warner (1968, p. 106) described 
reports that epizootics of avian pox ``were so numerous and extreme 
that large numbers of diseased and badly debilitated birds could be 
observed in the field.'' As the initial wave of post-European 
extinctions of native Hawaiian birds was largely observed in the late 
1800s, prior to the introduction of avian malaria (Van Riper et al. 
1986, p. 342), it is possible that avian pox played a significant role, 
although there is no direct evidence (Warner 1968, p. 106). Molecular 
work has revealed two genetically distinct variants of the pox virus 
affecting forest birds in Hawaii that differ in virulence (Jarvi et al. 
2008, p. 347): One tends to produce fatal lesions, and the other 
appears to be less severe, based on the observation of recurring pox 
infections in birds with healed lesions (Atkinson et al. 2009, p. 56).
    The largest study of avian pox in scope and scale took place 
between 1977 and 1980, during which approximately 15,000 native and 
nonnative forest birds were captured and examined for pox virus lesions 
from 16 different locations on transects along Mauna Loa on Hawaii 
Island (Van Riper et al. 2002, pp. 929-942). The study made several 
important determinations, including that native forest birds were 
indeed more susceptible than introduced species, that all species were 
more likely to be infected during the wet season, and that pox 
prevalence was greatest at mid-elevation sites approximately 3,937 ft 
(1,200 m) in elevation, coinciding with the greatest overlap between 
birds and the mosquito vector. Of the 107 iiwi captured and examined 
during the study, 17 percent showed signs of either active or inactive 
pox lesions (Van Riper et al. 2002, p. 932). Many studies of avian pox 
have documented that native birds are frequently infected with both 
avian pox and avian malaria (Van Riper et al. 1986, p. 331; Atkinson et 
al. 2005, p. 537; Jarvi et al. 2008, p. 347). This may be due to 
mosquito transmission of both pathogens simultaneously, because 
documented immune system suppression by the pox virus renders 
chronically infected birds more vulnerable to infection by, or a 
relapse of, malaria (Jarvi et al. 2008, p. 347), or due to other 
unknown factors. The relative frequency with which the two diseases co-
occur makes it challenging to disentangle the independent impact of 
either stressor acting alone (LaPointe et al. 2012, p. 221), and we 
lack any indication of the degree to which pox may be a specific threat 
to iiwi or contributing to its decline.

Compounded Impacts--Feral Ungulates Create Habitat for Culex 
quinquefasciatus Mosquitoes and Exacerbate Impacts of Disease

    It has been widely established that damage to native tree ferns 
(Cibotium spp.) and rooting and wallowing activity by feral pigs create 
mosquito larval breeding sites in Hawaiian forests where they would not 
otherwise occur. The porous geology and relative absence of puddles, 
ponds, and slow-moving streams in most Hawaiian landscapes precludes an 
abundance of water-holding habitat sites for mosquito larvae; however, 
Culex quinquefasciatus mosquitoes, the sole vector for avian malaria in 
Hawaii, now occur in great density in many wet forests where their 
larvae primarily rely on habitats created by pig activity (LaPointe 
2006, pp. 1-3;

[[Page 64420]]

Ahumada et al. 2009, p. 354; Atkinson and LaPointe 2009, p. 60; Samuel 
et al. 2011, p. 2,971). Pigs compact volcanic soils and create wallows 
and water containers within downed, hollowed-out tree ferns, knocked 
over and consumed for their starchy pith (Scott et al. 1986, pp. 365-
368; Atkinson et al. 1995, p. S68). The abundance of C. 
quinquefasciatus mosquitoes is also much greater in suburban and 
agricultural areas than in undisturbed native forest, and the mosquito 
is capable of dispersing up to 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) within closed-
canopy native forest, including habitat occupied by the iiwi (LaPointe 
2006, p. 3; LaPointe et al. 2009, p. 409).
    In studies of native forest plots where feral ungulates (including 
pigs) were removed by trapping and other methods, researchers have 
demonstrated a correlation in the abundance of Culex spp. mosquitoes 
when comparing pig-free, fenced areas to adjacent sites where feral pig 
activity is unmanaged. Aruch et al. 2007 (p. 574), LaPointe 2006 (pp. 
1-3) and LaPointe et al. (2009, p. 409; 2012, pp. 215, 219) assert that 
management of feral pigs may be strategic to managing avian malaria and 
pox, particularly in remote Hawaiian rain forests where studies have 
documented that habitats created by pigs are the most abundant and 
productive habitat for larval mosquitoes. Studies suggest that 
reduction in mosquito habitat must involve pig management across large 
landscapes due to the tremendous dispersal ability of C. 
quinquefasciatus and the possibility of the species invading from 
adjacent areas lacking management (LaPointe 2006, pp. 3-4). The 
consequences of feral pig activities thus further exacerbate the 
impacts to iiwi from avian malaria and avian pox, by creating and 
enhancing larval habitats for the mosquito vector, thereby increasing 
exposure to these diseases.

Avian Diseases--Summary

    The relatively recent introduction of avian pox and avian malaria, 
in concert with the introduction of the mosquito disease vector, is 
widely viewed as one of the key factors underlying the loss and decline 
of native forest birds throughout the Hawaiian Islands. Evolving in the 
absence of mosquitoes and their vectored pathogens, native Hawaiian 
forest birds, particularly honeycreepers such as iiwi, lack natural 
immunity or genetic resistance, and thus are more susceptible to these 
diseases than are nonnative bird species (van Riper et al. 1986, pp. 
327-328; Yorinks and Atkinson 2000, p. 737). Researchers consider iiwi 
one of the most vulnerable species, with studies showing an average of 
95 percent mortality in response to infection with avian malaria 
(Atkinson et al. 1995, p. S63; Samuel et al. 2015, p. 2). Many native 
forest birds, including iiwi, are now absent from warm, low-elevation 
areas that support large populations of disease-carrying mosquitoes, 
and these birds persist only in relatively disease-free zones in high-
elevation forests, above roughly 4,921 to 5,577 ft (1,500 to 1,700 m), 
where both the development of the malarial parasite and the density of 
mosquito populations are held in check by cooler temperatures (Scott et 
al. 1986, pp. 85, 100, 365-368; Woodworth et al. 2009, p. 1,531; Liao 
et al. 2015, pp. 4,342-4,343; Samuel et al. 2015, pp. 11-12). Even at 
these elevations, however, disease transmission may occur when iiwi 
move downslope to forage on ephemeral patches of flowering ohia in the 
nonbreeding season, encountering disease-carrying mosquitoes in the 
process (Ralph and Fancy 1995, p. 741; Fancy and Ralph 1998, p. 3; 
Guillaumet et al. 2015, p. EV-8; LaPointe et al. 2015, p. 1). Iiwi have 
not demonstrably developed resistance to avian malaria, unlike related 
honeycreepers including Amakihi (Hemignathus spp.) and Apapane. Due to 
the known extreme mortality rate of iiwi when exposed to avian malaria, 
we consider avian malaria in particular to pose a threat to iiwi. 
Having already experienced local extinctions and widespread population 
declines, it is possible that the species may not possess sufficient 
genetic diversity to adapt to these diseases (Atkinson et al. 2009, p. 

Climate Change

    Based on the assessment of the best scientific data available in 
our species status report, we concluded that climate change exacerbates 
the impacts to iiwi from mosquito-borne disease, and this effect is 
likely to continue and worsen in the future. Air temperature in Hawaii 
has increased in the past century and particularly since the 1970s, 
with the greatest increases at higher elevations, and several 
conservative climate change models project continued warming in Hawaii 
into the future. As a result, the temperature barrier to the 
development and transmission of avian malaria will continue to move up 
in elevation in response to warmer conditions, leading to the 
curtailment or loss of disease-free habitats for iiwi. We briefly 
discuss below three climate studies that conservatively predict the 
iiwi will lose between 60 and 90 percent of its current (and already 
limited) disease-free range by the end of this century, with 
significant effects occurring by mid-century.

Climate Change Effects on Iiwi

    Climate change is a stressor that is likely to significantly 
exacerbate the effects of avian malaria on iiwi both directly through 
increased prevalence and mortality, and indirectly through the loss of 
disease-free habitat. Air temperature in Hawaii has increased in the 
past century and particularly since the 1970s, with greater increases 
at high elevation (Giambelluca et al. 2008, pp. 2-4; Wang et al. 2014, 
pp. 95, 97). Documented impacts of increased temperature include the 
prevalence of avian malaria in forest birds at increasing elevation, 
including high-elevation sites where iiwi are already declining, for 
example, on Kauai (Paxton et al. 2013, p. 13). Several projections for 
future climate in Hawaii describe a continued warming trend, especially 
at high elevations. In our species status report, we analyzed in 
particular three climate studies (summarized below) that address the 
future of native forest birds, including iiwi, in the face of the 
interactions between climate change and avian malaria.
    Benning et al. (2002) concluded that under optimistic assumptions 
(i.e., 3.6 [deg]F (2 [deg]C) increase in temperature by the year 2100), 
malaria-susceptible Hawaiian forest birds, including iiwi, will lose 
most of their disease-free habitat in the three sites they considered 
in their projection of climate change impacts. For example, current 
disease-free habitat at high elevation within the Hakalau Forest 
National Wildlife Refuge (NWR) on the island of Hawaii (where the 
environment is still too cold for development of the malarial parasite) 
would be reduced by 96 percent by the end of the century.
    Fortini et al. (2015) conducted a vulnerability assessment for 20 
species of Hawaiian forest birds based on a projected increase of 6.1 
[deg]F (3.4 [deg]C) under the A1B emissions scenario at higher 
elevations by 2100. Even under this relatively optimistic scenario, in 
which emissions decline after mid-century (IPCC 2007, p. 44), all 
species were projected to suffer range loss as the result of increased 
transmission of avian malaria at higher elevations with increasing 
temperature. Iiwi was predicted to lose 60 percent of its current range 
by the year 2100, and climate conditions suitable for the species will 
shift up in elevation, including into areas that are not currently 
forested, such as lava flows and high-elevation grasslands. Most of the 
remaining habitat for iiwi would be

[[Page 64421]]

restricted to a single island, Hawaii Island.
    Liao et al. (2015) generated temperature and precipitation 
projections under three alternative emissions scenarios and projected 
future malaria risk for Hawaiian forest birds. Irrespective of the 
scenario modeled, by mid-century (roughly 2040), malaria transmission 
rates and impacts to bird populations began increasing at high 
elevations. By 2100, the increased annual malaria transmission rate for 
iiwi was projected to result in population declines of 70 to 90 percent 
for the species, depending on the emissions scenario.
    All three of these studies consistently predict a significant loss 
of disease-free habitat for iiwi with consequent severe reductions in 
population size and distribution by the year 2100, with significant 
changes likely to be observed as early as 2040. As the iiwi's numbers 
and distribution continue to decline, the remaining small, isolated 
populations become increasingly vulnerable to loss of ohia forest 
habitat from other stressors such as rapid ohia death, as well as other 
environmental catastrophes and demographic stochasticity, particularly 
should all remaining iiwi become restricted to a single island (Hawaii 
Island), as some scenarios suggest.
    Climate change will likely exacerbate other stressors to iiwi in 
addition to disease. Changes in the amount and distribution of rainfall 
in Hawaii likely will affect the quality and extent of mesic and wet 
forests on which iiwi depend. However, changes in the trade wind 
inversion (which strongly influences rainfall) and other aspects of 
precipitation with climate change are difficult to model with 
confidence (Chu and Chen 2005, pp. 4,801-4,802; Cao et al. 2007, pp. 
1,158-1,159; Timm et al. 2015, p. 107; Fortini et al. 2015, p. 5; Liao 
et al. 2015, p. 4,345). In addition, potential increases in storm 
frequency and intensity in Hawaii as a result of climate change may 
lead to an increase in direct mortality of individual iiwi and a 
decline in the species' reproductive success. Currently, no well-
developed projections exist for these possible cumulative effects.

Climate Change--Summary

    The natural susceptibility of native forest birds to introduced 
diseases, in combination with the observed restriction of Hawaiian 
honeycreepers to high-elevation forests, led Atkinson et al. (1995, p. 
S68) to predict two decades ago that a shift in the current mosquito 
distribution to higher elevations could be ``disastrous for those 
species with already reduced populations.'' Thus, climate change has 
significant implications for the future of Hawaiian forest birds, as 
predictions suggest increased temperatures may largely eliminate the 
high-elevation forest currently inhospitable to the transmission of 
mosquito-borne diseases (Benning et al. 2002, pp. 14,247-14,249; 
LaPointe et al. 2012, p. 219; Fortini et al. 2015, p. 9). Samuel et al. 
(2015, p. 15) predict further reductions and extinctions of native 
Hawaiian birds as a consequence, noting that the iiwi is particularly 
vulnerable due to its high susceptibility to malaria. Several 
independent studies project consistently significant negative impacts 
to the iiwi as a result of climate change and the increased exposure to 
avian malaria as disease-free habitats shrink. As iiwi are known to 
exhibit 95 percent mortality on average as a result of avian malaria, 
the current numbers of iiwi are of little consequence should all or 
most of the remaining individuals become exposed to the disease in the 

Rapid Ohia Death

    Our species status report identified rapid ohia death (ROD), a type 
of Ceratosystis spp. vascular wilt (fungal) disease, as a factor with 
the potential to exacerbate the impacts currently affecting iiwi 
habitat and reduce the amount of disease-free habitat remaining by 
destroying high-elevation ohia forest. ROD was first detected in 2012 
as ohia trees began mysteriously dying within lowland forests of the 
Puna Region of Hawaii Island. In June 2015, researchers identified the 
disease as ROD with an estimated area at the time of 15,000 ac (6,070 
ha) of infected ohia trees (Keith et al. 2015, pp. 1-2). ROD affects 
non-contiguous ohia forest stands ranging in size from <1 ac (<0.4 ha) 
up to 247 ac (100 ha) with nearly all trees in these areas infected. At 
present the disease remains restricted to Hawaii island, with the 
largest affected area within the Puna District, where infected trees 
have been observed within approximately 4,000 discontinuous acres 
(1,619 ha) (Hughes 2016, pers. comm.). Based upon the most recent 
research, ROD-infected stands of ohia often initially show greater than 
50 percent mortality, and within 2 to 3 years nearly 100 percent of 
trees in a stand succumb to the disease (College of Tropical 
Agriculture and Human Resources 2016 (http://www2.ctahr.hawaii.edu/forestry/disease/ohia_wilt.html)).
    Affected trees are found at elevations ranging from sea level up to 
approximately 5,000 ft (1,524 m), including at Wailuku Forest near 
Hakalau Forest NWR (Hughes 2016, pers. comm.), which contains a stable 
to increasing iiwi population (Paxton et al. 2013, p. 12). As of March 
2016, the amount of forest area affected on Hawaii Island is estimated 
to be approximately 34,000 ac (13,759 ha) (Hughes 2016, pers. comm.). 
Two different strains of the virus appear to be responsible for ROD 
(Hughes 2016, pers. comm.). These estimates demonstrate that the amount 
of ohia forest on Hawaii Island infected by ROD more than doubled 
between 2015 and 2016. While ROD is presently reported only from the 
island of Hawaii, it has spread across a large portion of the island, 
which is home to 90 percent of the current iiwi population. In some 
areas, affected trees have been observed within the range of iiwi 
(Hughes 2016, pers. comm.). Hawaii Island is particularly important for 
the future of iiwi, as iiwi are predicted to be largely if not entirely 
restricted to that island under some future climate change projections 
(Fortini et al. 2015, p. 9, Supplement 6).

Evaluation of Existing Regulatory Mechanisms and Conservation Measures

    Our species status report evaluated several regulatory and other 
measures in place today that might address or are otherwise intended to 
ameliorate the stressors to iiwi. Our analysis concluded that forest 
habitat protection, conservation, and restoration has the potential to 
benefit iiwi by protecting and enhancing breeding and foraging areas 
for the species while simultaneously reducing the abundance of mosquito 
breeding sites, despite the disease vector's (Culex quinquefasciatus) 
1-mi (1.6-km) dispersal ability (LaPointe et al. 2009, pp. 408; 411-
412; LaPointe et al. 2012, p. 215).
    Efforts to restore and manage large, contiguous tracts of native 
forests have been shown to benefit iiwi, especially when combined with 
fencing and ungulate removal (LaPointe et al. 2009, p. 412; LaPointe et 
al. 2012, p. 219). While forest restoration and ungulate management at 
the Hakalau Forest NWR on Hawaii Island are excellent examples of what 
is needed to increase iiwi abundance, many similar large-scale projects 
would be necessary rangewide to simply reduce mosquito abundance and 
protect the species from current habitat threats alone. However, even 
wide-scale landscape habitat management would be unable to fully 
address the present scope of the threat of disease, and sufficient 
high-elevation forest is not available to provide disease-free habitat 
for iiwi in the face

[[Page 64422]]

of future climate change. Even if disease-free habitat within managed 
areas could be restored and protected now, much of this habitat will 
lose its disease-free status as avian malaria moves upward in elevation 
in response to warming temperatures, as is occurring already within the 
Alakai Wilderness on the island of Kauai.
    New opportunities are emerging, such as large-scale vector control 
using new genetics technology, that have the potential to assist 
Hawaiian forest birds (LaPointe et al. 2009, pp. 416-417; Reeves et al. 
2014, p. e97557; Gantz et al. 2015, pp. E6736-E6743). These tools 
include the potential introduction of sterile male mosquitoes and 
transgenic insect techniques that introduce new genetic material into 
mosquito populations, including self-sustaining genes that will help 
drive an increase of the new desirable trait, i.e., inability or 
decreased ability to transmit diseases throughout a mosquito 
population, thereby improving long-term transmission control. While 
promising, our report concludes that these new technologies for 
achieving large-scale control or eradication of mosquitoes in Hawaii 
are still in the research and planning stage and have yet to be 
implemented or proven effective.
    Our species status report also evaluated several regulations and 
agreements pertaining to climate change. Although the United States and 
some other countries have passed some regulations specifically intended 
to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate 
change, the scope and effect of such regulations are limited. Indeed, 
during the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 
(UNFCCC) meeting in December 2015, the UNFCCC indicated that, even if 
all the member countries' intended contributions to greenhouse gas 
reductions were fully implemented and targets met, the goal of limiting 
the increase in global average temperature to 2 [deg]C 
(3.6[emsp14][deg]F) by the year 2100 would not be achieved.
    Many of the efforts to tackle the primary stressors to iiwi are 
still in the research and development stage, or are implemented only on 
a small or limited scale. Because the primary stressor, avian malaria, 
continues to have negative impacts, and these impacts are exacerbated 
by climate change, we must conclude that no current conservation 
measures or regulations are sufficient to offset these impacts to the 

Summary of Biological Status and Threats

    We have reviewed the best scientific and commercial data available 
regarding iiwi populations and the stressors that affect the species. 
This information includes, notably, a recent comprehensive analysis of 
iiwi abundance, distribution, and population trends (Paxton et al. 
2013); numerous studies that provide information on the particularly 
high mortality of iiwi in response to avian malaria; and recent models 
examining the current relationship between climate and malaria, as well 
as the likely future consequences of climate change for iiwi and other 
Hawaiian forest birds (including Benning et al. 2002, Fortini et al. 
2013, and Liao et al. 2015). Our review also reflects the expert 
opinion of the species' status report team members, and input provided 
by specialists familiar with avian malaria and iiwi genetics. We direct 
the reader to the draft iiwi species status report for our detailed 
evaluation of the biological status of the iiwi and the influences that 
may affect its continued existence.
    Once one of the most common of the native Hawaiian forest birds, 
the iiwi has declined across large portions of its range, has been 
extirpated or nearly so from some islands, and many of the few 
remaining populations are declining. The iiwi's range is contracting 
upslope in most areas, and population declines and range contraction 
are concurrent with increasing prevalence of avian malaria. Clear 
evidence exists that the iiwi is highly susceptible to avian malaria, 
and that the prevalence of this disease is moving upslope in Hawaiian 
forests correlated with temperature increases associated with global 
climate change. The evidence suggests this disease and its trend of 
increasing prevalence at increasing elevation are the chief drivers of 
observed iiwi population declines and range contraction. Although 
habitat management to reduce breeding habitat for mosquitoes may have 
slowed the decline of iiwi and other forest birds to some degree in a 
few locations, no landscape-scale plans or strategies exist for 
eradicating mosquitoes or otherwise reducing the risk posed by avian 
malaria to iiwi and other susceptible Hawaiian bird species.
    The documented trend of temperature increase, which is greatest at 
high elevation, is projected to continue at least through the 21st 
century. The transmission of avian malaria is currently limited or 
absent at higher elevations, where temperatures are too cool for the 
development of the malaria parasite. However, multiple independent 
modeling efforts consistently project that the prevalence of avian 
malaria will continue to increase upslope with increasing temperature, 
eventually eliminating most or all remaining disease-free habitat in 
the islands. These models, which incorporate data on the distribution 
of forest birds and on disease transmission, project moderate to high 
avian malaria transmission at the highest elevations of the iiwi's 
current range by the end of this century, with some significant effects 
predicted within the next few decades. As a consequence, significant 
declines in iiwi populations are projected, on the order of 70 to 90 
percent by 2100, depending on the future climate scenario.
    The impacts of other stressors to iiwi, such as loss or degradation 
of native forest by nonnative species (disturbance or destruction by 
feral ungulates; invasion by nonnative plants; impacts from nonnative 
pathogens such as ROD), predation by rats and other nonnative 
predators, and small-population stressors such as demographic 
stochasticity and loss of genetic diversity, have not been well 
documented or quantified. However, any stressors that result in further 
degradation or fragmentation of the forests on which the iiwi relies 
for foraging and nesting, or result in increased mortality or reduced 
reproductive success, are likely to exacerbate the impacts of disease 
on the species. The effects of climate change are likely to exacerbate 
these other stressors to iiwi as well.
    As the number and distribution of iiwi continue to decline, the 
remaining small, isolated populations become increasingly vulnerable to 
environmental catastrophes and demographic stochasticity; this will 
particularly be the case should all remaining iiwi become restricted to 
Hawaii Island, as some modeling scenarios suggest. Ninety percent of 
the rangewide iiwi population is already restricted to Hawaii Island, 
where ROD has recently emerged as a fast-moving threat to the already 
limited ohia forest habitat required by iiwi.
    In consideration of all of this information, we conclude that avian 
malaria, as exacerbated by the ongoing effects of climate change, poses 
a threat to iiwi, and the action of these stressors places the species 
as a whole at an elevated risk of extinction. Because the vast majority 
of the remaining iiwi population is restricted to the island of Hawaii, 
we consider rapid ohia death to pose a threat to the future viability 
of iiwi as well, as it may result in major loss of forest within the 
iiwi's remaining range on that island.

[[Page 64423]]


    Section 4 of the Act (16 U.S.C. 1533), and its implementing 
regulations in title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations at 50 CFR 
part 424, set forth the procedures for adding species to the Federal 
Lists of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife and Plants. Under section 
4(a)(1) of the Act, we may list a species based on (A) The present or 
threatened destruction, modification, or curtailment of its habitat or 
range; (B) Overutilization for commercial, recreational, scientific, or 
educational purposes; (C) Disease or predation; (D) The inadequacy of 
existing regulatory mechanisms; or (E) Other natural or manmade factors 
affecting its continued existence. Listing actions may be warranted 
based on any of the above threat factors, singly or in combination.
    We have carefully assessed the best scientific and commercial 
information available regarding the past, present, and future threats 
to the iiwi. As described in the species status report, in considering 
the five listing factors, we evaluated many potential stressors to 
iiwi, including but not limited to: Stressors that may affect the 
extent or quality of the bird's ohia forest habitat (ohia dieback, ohia 
rust, ROD, drought, fires, volcanic eruptions, nonnative plants, and 
feral ungulates), introduced diseases, predation by introduced mammals, 
competition with nonnative birds, ectoparasites, climate change, and 
the effects of small population size. Based on our assessment, 
disease--particularly avian malaria--is the primary driver in the 
ongoing declines in abundance and range of iiwi, and climate change 
substantially exacerbates the impact of disease on the species and will 
continue to do so into the future.
    The greatest current threat to iiwi comes from exposure to 
introduced diseases carried by nonnative mosquitoes (Factor C). Avian 
malaria in particular has been clearly demonstrated to result in 
extremely high mortality of iiwi; avian pox may have significant 
effects on iiwi as well, although the evidence is not as clear or 
measurable. These diseases have resulted in significant losses of the 
once ubiquitous iiwi, which remains highly susceptible and, as of 
present, shows no clear indication of having developed substantial 
resistance or tolerance. Exposure to these diseases is ongoing, and is 
expected to increase as a consequence of the effects of climate change 
(Factor E).
    Several climate model projections predict that continued increases 
in temperature due to climate change will greatly exacerbate the 
impacts of avian diseases upon iiwi due to loss of disease-free 
habitat. Several iiwi populations, including those on Molokai, Kauai, 
West Maui, and possibly Oahu--all lower in elevation than East Maui and 
Hawaii Island--are already extremely small in size or are represented 
by only a few occasional individuals, probably owing to the loss of 
disease-free habitat. Iiwi may face extirpation in these places due to 
the inability to overcome the effects of malaria. The species is 
expected to first become restricted to Hawaii Island, perhaps by the 
year 2040. By the end of the century, the existence of iiwi is 
uncertain due to the ongoing loss of disease-free habitat; the 
potential impacts to ohia forests from ROD and other stressors could 
increase the risk to iiwi as well. These threats to iiwi are ongoing, 
most are rangewide, are expected to increase in the future, and are 
significant because they will likely result in increased mortality of 
iiwi and loss of remaining populations, as well as further decreases in 
the availability and amount of disease-free habitat at high elevation. 
As discussed above, current regulatory mechanisms are not sufficient to 
address these threats (Factor D).
    Some of the other stressors contributed to past declines in iiwi, 
or negatively affect the species or its habitat today; however, of the 
additional stressors considered, we found no information to suggest 
that any is currently a key factor in the ongoing declines in abundance 
and range of iiwi, although they may be contributing or exacerbating 
factors. Habitat loss and alteration (Factor A) caused by nonnative 
plants and ungulates is occurring rangewide, has resulted in degraded 
ohia forest habitat, and is not likely to be reduced in the future. 
While ohia forests still comprise the majority of native forest cover 
on most of the main Hawaiian Islands, climate change and its likely 
effects, such as increased drought frequency, are expected to further 
affect ohia forest habitat and compound other impacts, including the 
spread of invasive plants and perhaps the severity and frequency of 
ohia diseases. In particular, the rapidly spreading and highly lethal 
disease, rapid ohia death, poses an increasing risk to the native 
forest habitat of iiwi on Hawaii Island, where 90 percent of remaining 
iiwi occur. This emerging factor has the potential to exacerbate avian 
disease and other stressors in the future by accelerating the loss and 
degradation of iiwi's habitat. If this disease becomes widespread, it 
could further increase the vulnerability of the iiwi by eliminating the 
native forest it requires for foraging and nesting.
    We do not have any information that overutilization for commercial, 
recreational, scientific, or educational purposes (Factor B) poses a 
threat to iiwi.
    The Act defines an endangered species as any species that is ``in 
danger of extinction throughout all or a significant portion of its 
range'' and a threatened species as any species ``that is likely to 
become endangered throughout all or a significant portion of its range 
within the foreseeable future.'' We considered whether the iiwi meets 
either of these definitions, and find that the iiwi meets the 
definition of a threatened species for the reasons described below.
    We considered whether the iiwi is presently in danger of extinction 
and determined that proposing endangered status is not appropriate. 
Although the species has experienced significant reductions in both 
abundance and range, at the present time the species is still found on 
multiple islands and the species as a whole still occurs in relatively 
high numbers. Additionally, disease-free habitat currently remains 
available for iiwi in high-elevation ohia forests with temperatures 
sufficiently cool to prevent the development of the malarial parasite. 
For these reasons, we do not consider the iiwi to be in imminent danger 
of extinction, although this formerly common species has experienced 
threats of such severity and magnitude that it has now become highly 
vulnerable to continued decline and local extirpation, such that the 
species is likely to become endangered within the foreseeable future, 
as explained below.
    Based on our review of the best scientific and commercial data 
available, we expect that additional iiwi population declines will be 
observed range-wide within the next few decades, and indications are 
that declines are already taking place on Kauai and in some Maui and 
Hawaii Island populations as a result of increasing temperatures and 
consequent exposure to avian malaria at some elevations where the 
disease is uncommon or absent today. Iiwi has a very high observed 
mortality rate when exposed to avian malaria, and the warming effects 
of climate change will result in increased exposure of the remaining 
iiwi populations to this disease, especially at high elevation. Peer-
reviewed results of modeling experiments project that malaria 
transmission rates and effects on iiwi populations will begin 
increasing at high elevations by mid-century, and

[[Page 64424]]

result in population declines of 70 to 90 percent by the year 2100. We 
thus conclude that the iiwi is likely to become in danger of extinction 
throughout all of its range within the foreseeable future. Because the 
iiwi is not in imminent danger of extinction, but is likely to become 
in danger of extinction within the foreseeable future, it meets the 
definition of a threatened species. Therefore, on the basis of the best 
available scientific and commercial information, we propose listing the 
iiwi as threatened in accordance with sections 3(20) and 4(a)(1) of the 
    Under the Act and our implementing regulations, a species may 
warrant listing if it is endangered or threatened throughout all or a 
significant portion of its range. Because we have determined that the 
iiwi is threatened throughout all of its range, no portion of its range 
can be ``significant'' for purposes of the definitions of ``endangered 
species'' and ``threatened species.'' See the Final Policy on 
Interpretation of the Phrase ``Significant Portion of Its Range'' in 
the Endangered Species Act's Definitions of ``Endangered Species'' and 
``Threatened Species'' (79 FR 37577; July 1, 2014).

Available Conservation Measures

    Conservation measures provided to species listed as endangered or 
threatened species under the Act include recognition, recovery actions, 
requirements for Federal protection, and prohibitions against certain 
practices. Recognition from listing will result in public awareness and 
conservation by Federal, State, Tribal, and local agencies, private 
organizations, and individuals. The Act encourages cooperation with the 
States and other countries and calls for recovery actions to be carried 
out for listed species. The protection required by Federal agencies and 
the prohibitions against certain activities are discussed, in part, 
    The primary purpose of the Act is the conservation of endangered 
and threatened species and the ecosystems upon which they depend. The 
ultimate goal of such conservation efforts is the recovery of these 
listed species, so that they no longer need the protective measures of 
the Act. Subsection 4(f) of the Act calls for the Service to develop 
and implement recovery plans for the conservation of endangered and 
threatened species. The recovery planning process involves the 
identification of actions that are necessary to halt or reverse the 
species' decline by addressing the threats to its survival and 
recovery. The goal of this process is to restore listed species to a 
point where they are secure, self-sustaining, and functioning 
components of their ecosystems.
    Recovery planning includes the development of a recovery outline 
shortly after a species is listed and preparation of a draft and final 
recovery plan. The recovery outline guides the immediate implementation 
of urgent recovery actions and describes the process to be used to 
develop a recovery plan. Revisions of the plan may be done to address 
continuing or new threats to the species, as new substantive 
information becomes available. The recovery plan also identifies 
recovery criteria for review of when a species may be ready for 
downlisting or delisting, and methods for monitoring recovery progress. 
Recovery plans also establish a framework for agencies to coordinate 
their recovery efforts and provide estimates of the cost of 
implementing recovery tasks. Recovery teams (composed of species 
experts, Federal and State agencies, nongovernmental organizations, and 
other qualified persons) are often established to develop recovery 
plans. When completed, the recovery outline, draft recovery plan, and 
the final recovery plan for iiwi will be available on our Web site 
(http://www.fws.gov/endangered), or from our Pacific Islands Fish and 
Wildlife Office (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). The public will 
have an opportunity to comment on the draft recovery plan, and the 
Service will consider all information presented during the public 
comment period prior to approval of the plan.
    Implementation of recovery actions generally requires the 
participation of a broad range of partners, including other Federal 
agencies, States, Tribes, nongovernmental organizations, businesses, 
and private landowners. Examples of recovery actions include habitat 
restoration (e.g., restoration of native vegetation), research, captive 
propagation and reintroduction, and outreach and education. The 
recovery of many listed species cannot be accomplished solely on 
Federal lands because their range may occur primarily or solely on non-
Federal lands. To achieve recovery of these species requires 
cooperative conservation efforts on private, State, and Tribal lands. 
If this species is listed, funding for recovery actions will be 
available from a variety of sources, including Federal budgets, State 
programs, and cost-share grants for non-Federal landowners, the 
academic community, and nongovernmental organizations. In addition, 
pursuant to section 6 of the Act, the State of Hawaii would be eligible 
for Federal funds to implement management actions that promote the 
protection or recovery of the iiwi. Information on our grant programs 
that are available to aid species recovery can be found at: http://www.fws.gov/grants.
    Although the iiwi is only proposed for listing under the Act at 
this time, please let us know if you are interested in participating in 
recovery efforts for this species. Additionally, we invite you to 
submit any new information on this species whenever it becomes 
available and any information you may have for recovery planning 
    Section 7(a) of the Act requires Federal agencies to evaluate their 
actions with respect to any species that is proposed or listed as an 
endangered or threatened species and with respect to its critical 
habitat, if any is designated. Regulations implementing this 
interagency cooperation provision of the Act are codified at 50 CFR 
part 402. Section 7(a)(4) of the Act requires Federal agencies to 
confer with the Service on any action that is likely to jeopardize the 
continued existence of a species proposed for listing or result in 
destruction or adverse modification of proposed critical habitat. If a 
species is listed subsequently, section 7(a)(2) of the Act requires 
Federal agencies to ensure that activities they authorize, fund, or 
carry out are not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of the 
species or destroy or adversely modify its critical habitat. If a 
Federal action may affect a listed species or its critical habitat, the 
responsible Federal agency must enter into consultation with the 
    Federal agency actions within the iiwi's habitat that may require a 
conference or consultation or both as described in the preceding 
paragraph, include but are not limited to, management and any other 
landscape-altering activities on Federal lands administered by the U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Forest Service, and National Park 
Service; actions within the jurisdiction of the Natural Resources 
Conservation Service, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the U.S. Fish 
and Wildlife Service, and branches of the Department of Defense (DOD); 
and activities funded or authorized under the Federal Highway 
Administration, Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, and DOD 
construction activities related to training or other military missions.
    Under section 4(d) of the Act, the Service has discretion to issue 
regulations that we find necessary and advisable to provide for the 
conservation of threatened species. We are not proposing to issue a 
special rule

[[Page 64425]]

pursuant to section 4(d) for this species. Therefore, the provisions of 
50 CFR 17.31(a) and (b) would apply. These regulatory provisions apply 
the prohibitions of section 9(a)(1) of the Act to threatened wildlife 
and make it illegal for any person subject to the jurisdiction of the 
United States to take (which includes harass, harm, pursue, hunt, 
shoot, wound, kill, trap, capture, or collect; or to attempt any of 
these) threatened wildlife within the United States or on the high 
seas. In addition, it is unlawful to import; export; deliver, receive, 
carry, transport, or ship in interstate or foreign commerce in the 
course of commercial activity; or sell or offer for sale in interstate 
or foreign commerce any listed species. It is also illegal to possess, 
sell, deliver, carry, transport, or ship any such wildlife that has 
been taken illegally. Certain exceptions apply to employees of the 
Service, the National Marine Fisheries Service, other Federal land 
management agencies, and State conservation agencies.
    We may issue permits to carry out otherwise prohibited activities 
involving threatened wildlife under certain circumstances. Regulations 
governing permits are codified at 50 CFR 17.32. With regard to 
threatened wildlife, a permit may be issued for the following purposes: 
For scientific purposes, to enhance the propagation or survival of the 
species, or for incidental take in connection with otherwise lawful 
activities. There are also certain statutory exemptions from the 
prohibitions, which are found in sections 9 and 10 of the Act.
    It is our policy, as published in the Federal Register on July 1, 
1994 (59 FR 34272), to identify to the maximum extent practicable at 
the time a species is listed, those activities that would or would not 
constitute a violation of section 9 of the Act. The intent of this 
policy is to increase public awareness of the effect of a proposed 
listing on proposed and ongoing activities within the range of the 
species proposed for listing. Based on the best available information, 
actions that may result in a violation of section 9 include but are not 
limited to:
    (1) Development of land or the conversion of native ohia forest, 
including the construction of any infrastructure (e.g., roads, bridges, 
railroads, pipelines, utilities) in occupied iiwi habitat;
    (2) Unauthorized collecting, handling, possessing, selling, 
delivering, carrying, or transporting of the species, including import 
or export across State lines and international boundaries, except for 
properly documented antique specimens of this species at least 100 
years old, as defined by section 10(h)(1) of the Act;
    (3) Introduction of nonnative species that compete with or prey 
upon the iiwi, such as the new introduction of nonnative predators or 
competing birds to the State of Hawaii; and
    (4) Certain research activities: Collection and handling of iiwi 
for research that may result in displacement or death of individuals.
    Questions regarding whether specific activities would constitute a 
violation of section 9 of the Act should be directed to the Pacific 
Islands Fish and Wildlife Office, Ecological Services Field Office (see 

Required Determinations

Clarity of the Rule

    We are required by Executive Orders 12866 and 12988 and by the 
Presidential Memorandum of June 1, 1998, to write all rules in plain 
language. This means that each rule we publish must:
    (1) Be logically organized;
    (2) Use the active voice to address readers directly;
    (3) Use clear language rather than jargon;
    (4) Be divided into short sections and sentences; and
    (5) Use lists and tables wherever possible.
    If you feel that we have not met these requirements, send us 
comments by one of the methods listed in ADDRESSES. To better help us 
revise the rule, your comments should be as specific as possible. For 
example, you should tell us the numbers of the sections or paragraphs 
that are unclearly written, which sections or sentences are too long, 
the sections where you feel lists or tables would be useful, etc.

National Environmental Policy Act (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.)

    We have determined that environmental assessments and environmental 
impact statements, as defined under the authority of the National 
Environmental Policy Act (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), need not be 
prepared in connection with listing a species as an endangered or 
threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. We published a 
notice outlining our reasons for this determination in the Federal 
Register on October 25, 1983 (48 FR 49244).

References Cited

    A complete list of references cited in this rulemaking is available 
on the Internet at http://www.regulations.gov at Docket No. FWS-R1-ES-
2016-0057 and upon request from the Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife 


    The primary authors of this proposed rule are the staff members of 
the Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 17

    Endangered and threatened species, Exports, Imports, Reporting and 
recordkeeping requirements, Transportation.

Proposed Regulation Promulgation

    Accordingly, we propose to amend part 17, subchapter B of chapter 
I, title 50 of the Code of Federal Regulations, as set forth below:


1. The authority citation for part 17 continues to read as follows:

    Authority:  16 U.S.C. 1361-1407; 1531-1544; 4201-4245; unless 
otherwise noted.

2. In Sec.  17.11(h), add an entry for ``Iiwi (honeycreeper)'' to the 
List of Endangered and Threatened Wildlife in alphabetical order under 
BIRDS to read as set forth below:

Sec.  17.11  Endangered and threatened wildlife.

* * * * *
    (h) * * *

                                                                                              Listing citations
           Common name               Scientific name        Where listed         Status         and applicable
                                                  * * * * * * *

[[Page 64426]]

                                                  * * * * * * *
Iiwi (honeycreeper)..............  Drepanis coccinea..  Wherever found.....  T               [Federal Register
                                                                                              citation when
                                                                                              published as a
                                                                                              final rule].
                                                  * * * * * * *

    Dated: September 2, 2016.
 Bryan Arroyo,
Acting Director, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
[FR Doc. 2016-22592 Filed 9-19-16; 8:45 am]