Protecting & Restoring Native Ecosystems by Managing Non-native Ungulates Plan/EIS
Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park has undertaken a planning and environmental impact analysis process for Protecting and Restoring Native Ecosystems by Managing Non-Native Ungulates. The purpose of the plan is to develop a comprehensive and systematic framework for managing non-native ungulates that supports long-term ecosystem protection; supports natural ecosystem recovery and provides desirable conditions for active ecosystem restoration; and supports protection and preservation of cultural resources.
Hawai'i supports a rich diversity of native plants and animals found nowhere else in the world. Many of these unique species are rare and in danger of becoming extinct. Non-native ungulates, or mammals with hooves, are an issue of concern because Hawaiian ecosystems evolved without large mammalian herbivores and are particularly vulnerable to the effects of non-native ungulates. Goats, pigs, sheep, mouflon sheep, axis deer, and cattle, all of which are non-native ungulates, destroy habitat, inhibit native forest regeneration and cause local extinctions of vulnerable species. Non-native ungulates also have the potential to damage cultural resources at the park, which include archeological sites, cultural landscapes, and ethnographic resources.
The park was created in 1916, and has been addressing populations of non-native species, including ungulates, since the 1920s. However, the park's most recent environmental impact statement (EIS) addressing non-native ungulate control was completed 30 years ago. Consequently, the new plan and EIS will provide a parkwide framework to systematically guide non-native ungulate management activities over the next decades that considers the recently acquired Kahuku Unit; new invasive species challenges; and current NPS policy and guidance.
In the spring of 2008, we asked for your input on our stated goals for the plan, and the issues which could arise through its implementation. We held three public scoping (comment) meetings at that time, and used the feedback we received, along with input from a team of scientists and park staff, to develop a range of management alternatives for meeting those goals.
The no action and four action alternatives were analyzed for impacts on natural and cultural resources and the broader human environment, and the analysis was included in the Draft Plan/Environmental Impact Statement (plan/DEIS) for Protecting and Restoring Native Ecosystems by Managing Non-native Ungulates.
The plan/DEIS was made available for public review and comment from November 19, 2011 through January 20, 2012. The NPS again held three public meetings during the comment period, and used feedback received to prepare the Final Plan/Environmental Impact Statement (plan/FEIS) for Protecting and Restoring Native Ecosystems by Managing Non-native Ungulates.
The NPS published the plan/FEIS for public inspection during a 30-day waiting period, which ended on February 24, 2012.
Subsequently, the Record of Decision—which documents the alternative the National Park Service has selected for implementation and why—was signed by the Regional Director of the National Park Service's Pacific West Region on April 1, 2013 completing this important planning effort for the park.
You can access the DEIS, FEIS, and the Record of Decision by clicking on the 'Document List' link on the left hand side of this page, and then following the links to the document you wish to view.
Chief of Natural Resources Management
Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park