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anagement Plan Review 

 

Summary of the

 

Draft Management Plan and

Draft Environmental Impact Statement

March 20, 2015

 

Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary is jointly managed by the

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the State of Hawaiދi.

http://hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov

 

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This document describes the federally-mandated review and update of the Hawaiian Islands Humpback

Whale National Marine Sanctuary Management Plan, which outlines a proposed shift to ecosystem-based

management supported by a new forward looking document of management activities, along with a suite

of sanctuary-wide and location-specific regulations designed to enhance protection of sanctuary

resources while limiting, to the extent possible, adverse impacts to the public. Additionally, up to five

boundary additions are proposed, the sum of which amounts to 235.2 square miles, or 17 percent of the

current size of the sanctuary.

 

Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary Context

The Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary (sanctuary) covers approximately

1,370 square miles of federal and state waters in the Hawaiian Islands. Congress designated the sanctuary

in 1992 through the Hawaiian Islands National Marine Sanctuary Act (HINMSA). The Act requires the

development of a comprehensive management plan with implementing regulations to govern the overall

management of the site and to protect sanctuary resources and qualities. As expressed by Congress in the

HINMSA, the purposes of the sanctuary are to (1) protect humpback whales and their habitat in the area

described in section 2305(b); (2) educate and interpret for the public the relationship of humpback whales

to the Hawaiian Islands marine environment; (3) manage human uses of the sanctuary consistent with the

Act and National Marine Sanctuaries Act (NMSA); and (4) provide for the identification of marine

resources and ecosystems of national significance for possible inclusion in the sanctuary.

The sanctuary is co-managed by the National Oceanic and

Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the State of

Hawai‘i (State) through a compact agreement that was

signed in 1998. NOAA and the State entered into an

intergovernmental Compact Agreement in 1998 for the

purpose of clarifying the relative jurisdiction, authority, and

conditions of the NOAA-State partnership for managing the

sanctuary. It clarifies the State's continuing authority and

jurisdiction over its State waters, submerged lands, and

other resources within the sanctuary. The agreement

establishes provisions with respect to NOAA's collaboration

with the State of Hawai‘i on sanctuary management issues Seale/HIHWNMS/NOAA Fisheries MMHSRP Permit #14682

and recognizes that no federal, state, or local title or authority to manage and regulate submerged lands,

resources, or activities, has been limited, conveyed or relinquished. The Compact Agreement states that

NOAA and the State will collaborate in the management of the sanctuary and its resources, and clarifies

that the sanctuary management plan will apply throughout the sanctuary, including the portion of the

sanctuary within the seaward boundary of the State. The Department of Land and Natural Resources

(DLNR) serves as the lead agency in administering the co-management of the sanctuary.

Management Plan Review Process

The sanctuary management plan was last updated in 2002. A sanctuary management plan is a site-specific

planning and management tool that describes the sanctuary’s goals, objectives, guides future activities,

outlines staffing and budget needs, and sets priorities and performance measures for resource protection,

research and education programs. The NMSA requires the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries

 

Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary is jointly managed by the

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the State of Hawaiދi.

http://hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov

 

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(ONMS) to periodically review and evaluate the progress in implementing the management plan and

goals for each sanctuary, with special focus on the effectiveness of site-specific approaches and strategies.

ONMS must revise management plans and regulations as necessary to fulfill the purposes and policies of

the NMSA (16 U.S.C. §1434(e)) to ensure that sanctuary sites continue to best conserve, protect, and

enhance their nationally significant living and cultural resources.

Sanctuary management has been considering the need for a more comprehensive approach to marine

resource management in Hawai‘i for some time. The Hawaiian Islands National Marine Sanctuary Act

(HINMSA) expressly states that the sanctuary will “provide for the identification of marine resources and

ecosystems of national significance for possible inclusion in the sanctuary” (Section 2304(b)). During the

2002 management plan review (MPR), the sanctuary received comments from the general public

requesting that the sanctuary consider the conservation and management of marine resources in addition

to humpback whales and their habitat. In response, sanctuary management included a goal in the 2002

management plan to “identify and evaluate resources and ecosystems for possible inclusion in the

sanctuary” (HIHWNMS Management Plan 2002). This updated management plan is designed to address

all of these factors and through the management plan review process to inform (and be informed by)

sanctuary constituents regarding the sanctuary, its accomplishments to date, and its revised goals,

objectives and planned management actions.

The process to develop the sanctuary draft management plan

proposed in this document began in the summer of 2010 when

the sanctuary initiated a 90-day public scoping process.

During that time, sanctuary management conducted a series of

public meetings to solicit feedback from the public about how

to proceed with management. In total, several hundred

community members, stakeholders, and agency

representatives attended ten public scoping meetings held on

the islands of Hawai‘i, O‘ahu, Kaua‘i, Maui, Moloka‘i, and

LƗna‘i. Individuals and stakeholders who were unable to

attend the public scoping meetings also had the opportunity to

submit written comments online or in writing.

A total of 12,375 public submissions were submitted to the sanctuary by agencies, organizations, elected

officials and community members. The sanctuary advisory council (council) reviewed the public scoping

comments and established working groups to further examine priority issues. The working groups were

made up of council members, community and user group representatives, and technical experts. The

working groups produced reports that overwhelmingly illustrated the need for a more holistic approach to

managing marine resources within the sanctuary. The Ecosystem Protections Recommendation Report,

developed by the Ecosystem Protections working group, specifically recommended ecosystem-based

management as an appropriate approach to effectively managing the marine environment. The Native

Hawaiian Culture Recommendation Report, developed by the Native Hawaiian working group, provided

guidance about integrating traditional Native Hawaiian management perspectives into an ecosystem-based

management framework. The activities described in the draft management plan reflect these

recommendations and describe how the sanctuary proposes to transition from single-species management

of humpback whales to an ecosystem-based management approach.

 

Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary is jointly managed by the

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the State of Hawaiދi.

http://hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov

 

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Structure of the Draft Management Plan and Draft Environmental Impact Statement

This document summarizes the draft management plan (DMP) and a draft environmental impact

statement (DEIS). The DEIS evaluates the potential environmental, cultural and socioeconomic impacts

of the proposed sanctuary actions, including: changing the name from Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale

National Marine Sanctuary to Hawaiian Islands National Marine Sanctuary - NƗ Kai ‘Ewalu, expanding

sanctuary boundaries, revising sanctuary regulations and implementing new sanctuary action plans. The

DEIS has been prepared in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as amended

(NEPA), 42 U.S.C. § 4321 et seq., its implementing regulations (40 C.F.R. § 1500-1508), and NOAA’s

implementing procedures for NEPA (NAO 216-6). Below is a summary of each of the major sections of

the combined DMP/DEIS.

Section 1 (Introduction) of the document explains the components and function of the draft management

plan and draft environmental impact statement, and points to the NEPA required sections.

Section 2 (Background) provides overviews of the sanctuary, the National Marine Sanctuary System,

DLNR, and the sanctuary advisory council. It also describes the mandate of the ONMS under the National

Marine Sanctuaries Act.

Section 3 (Sanctuary Management Plan Review) describes the process undertaken to produce the

management plan proposed in the DMP/DEIS. This section describes the history of considering a more

holistic approach to resource management in the sanctuary, beginning with assessing additional resources

in the sanctuary, followed by workshops and briefings with the sanctuary advisory council, staff and the

public. A public scoping process was initiated by the sanctuary in 2010 and over 12,000 comments were

received. Based on the priority issues identified from that feedback, the sanctuary organized workshops

that lead to the development of the action plans presented in the DMP/DEIS.

Section 4 (Purpose and Need) articulates the reasoning for the sanctuary’s proposed transition to

ecosystem-based management. This section defines ecosystem-based management and how its application

in the sanctuary could benefit marine resources in Hawai‘i, honoring the legacy of native Hawaiian

stewardship. The section also includes the purpose that drives the proposed action, which includes the

sanctuary’s vision, mission, values, guiding principles and goals. These elements were inspired by the

findings of the Visioning Workshop conducted with the sanctuary advisory council and sanctuary staff.

Section 5 (Site Description) details the physical attributes of the Hawaiian archipelago, including the

geology, geomorphology/bathymetry, oceanography, ocean chemistry, meteorology and climatology. This

general information provides context for the description, in the following section, of the aspects of the

environment that could be affected by the proposed action.

Section 6 (Affected Environment) provides a description of biophysical and human environments in

Hawai‘i as subtext to the management plan, as well as context for understanding how each of the

alternatives may affect those environments. The description of the biophysical environment of Hawai‘i

includes habitat types, marine species, protected marine species, and water quality, as well as a summary

of the current threats to the biophysical environment. The description of the human environment

encompasses economic, social, cultural, and historical aspects of the population in Hawai‘i, both resident

and visitor alike, including human uses of the marine environment. The description of the institutional

 

Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary is jointly managed by the

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the State of Hawaiދi.

http://hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov

 

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environment in Hawai‘i provides context for how the sanctuary operates amongst other state and federal

agencies. The current roles of sanctuary staff, and the facilities that the sanctuary operates, are all

described in the subsection on operational environment.

Section 7 (Site Specific Affected Environment) details the environments, both human and biophysical,

within and adjacent to specific locations proposed for inclusion in the sanctuary or for which site-specific

actions are proposed. The biophysical environment of each specific location is detailed, including habitats

and marine species, along with the threats to marine resources. The cultural and historic significance of

the area, along with current human uses of the marine environment, are included to provide context for

the local human environment. Institutions with particular management objectives in the area are described

to explain how sanctuary actions will complement current management. The areas detailed in this section

are Ni‘ihau, Haena, Hanalei and PƯla‘a on Kaua‘i, Ali‘i Beach and Maunalua Bay on O‘ahu, Penguin

Bank off Moloka‘i and the Maui Nui area. The information in this section is used to analyze the potential

consequences (see Section 9) of the proposed actions (see Section 8).

Section 8 (Proposed Action and Alternatives) describes a suite of alternatives, each of which describes a

differing set of proposed boundary additions, new and revised regulations, and non-regulatory actions

(see Table 1).

The section explains how the ONMS and sanctuary superintendent developed these alternatives. In

addition, the section describes alternatives considered, but eliminated, and explains the reasons for such

eliminations. Alternatives analyzed herein include the following (summarized in brief):

Alternative 1 – Status Quo

x Continued operation under the 2002 Management Plan

x Existing regulations protecting humpback whales and their habitats

x Existing sanctuary boundaries

 

Alternative 2

x Five boundary changes:

o Establishing new sanctuary boundaries around Ni‘ihau

o Extending boundary to Ali‘i Beach on the North Shore of O‘ahu

o Aligning boundary with the ahupua‘a of Ha‘ena on Kaua‘i

o Aligning boundary with the ahupua‘a of PƯla‘a on Kaua‘i

o Extending the boundary around the ledges on the south end of Penguin Bank

x Revised management plan with an ecosystem-based approach (see Section 10)

x New and revised regulations

o Sanctuary name changed to Hawaiian Islands National Marine Sanctuary – NƗ Kai ‘Ewalu

o Revision of existing sanctuary-wide regulations (see explanation below)

o New sanctuary-wide regulation prohibiting the disturbance of submerged cultural and maritime

heritage resource

o New Special Sanctuary Management Area regulations (see explanation below) apply to Penguin

Bank and Maui Nui

 

 

 

Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary is jointly managed by the

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the State of Hawaiދi.

http://hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov

 

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Alternative 3 (preferred alternative)

x Same boundary changes as under Alternative 2

x Same revised management plan as Alternative 2

x Same new and revised regulations as Alternative 2, plus

o New Special Sanctuary Management Area regulations apply to Maunalua Bay in addition to

Penguin Bank and the Maui Nui Area

 

Alternative 4

x Same boundary changes as under Alternatives 2 and 3, plus

o Extending boundary 1.5 miles up the Hanalei River on Kaua‘i

x Same revised management plan as Alternative 2 and 3

x Same new and revised regulations as Alternative 2 and 3, plus

o New Special Sanctuary Management Area regulations apply sanctuary-wide

 

Regulations

Revised New

Boundarylternative Sanctuary- Sanctuary- Special Sanctuary Management Area

changes

Wide Wide Regulations

Regulations Regulations

1 Status Quo – none of the above boundary changes or regulations apply.

Ni‘ihau

North Shore,

O‘ahu Sanctuary- Sanctuary- Penguin Bank/

2

Ha‘ena, Kaua‘i wide wide Maui Nui

PƯla‘a, Kaua‘i

Penguin Bank

Ni‘ihau

North Shore,

3 O‘ahu Sanctuary- Sanctuary-

Penguin Bank/ Maui Nui and Maunalua

(Preferred) Ha‘ena, Kaua‘i wide wide

PƯla‘a, Kaua‘i

Penguin Bank

Ni‘ihau

North Shore O‘ahu

Ha‘ena, Kaua‘i Sanctuary- Sanctuary-

4 Sanctuary-wide

PƯla‘a, Kaua‘i wide wide

Penguin Bank

Hanalei, Kaua‘i

Table 1. Comparison of Proposed Alternatives and Preferred Alternative (Alternative 3).

Special Sanctuary Management Area regulations, which apply to differing areas in Alternatives 2, 3 and

4, include prohibitions against: (1) taking or possessing marine species in addition to humpback whales;

 

Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary is jointly managed by the

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the State of Hawaiދi.

http://hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov

 

image image image image image 

 

(2) discharging from within the sanctuary; (3) discharging from outside the sanctuary anything that enters

and injures a sanctuary resource; (4) altering submerged lands; (5) using explosives; (6) introducing non-

native species; and (7) damaging or destroying signs.

The revisions to the current sanctuary-wide regulations, proposed under Alternative 2, 3 and 4, include:

(1) the approach regulation would be clarified and articulated; (2) the two regulations prohibiting the

taking and possession of humpback whales would be combined into one regulation; (3) the prohibition

against discharge in the sanctuary would be removed as the current language provides no real regulatory

authority to the sanctuary to directly address this issue; (4) the prohibition against discharging from

outside the sanctuary anything that enters and injures a sanctuary resource would be removed as the

current language provides no real regulatory authority to the sanctuary to directly address this issue; (5)

the prohibition on altering submerged lands would be removed as the current language provides no real

regulatory authority to the sanctuary to directly address this issue; and (6) authority to issue sanctuary

permits and authorizations would be added.

The sanctuary proposes four boundary changes under Alternatives 2, 3, and 4 including extending the

western sanctuary boundary on the north shore of O‘ahu to include Ali‘i Beach Park, extending the

sanctuary eastern and western boundaries on the north shore of Kaua‘i to include the PƯla‘a ahupua‘a and

the HƗ‘ena ahupua‘a, and establishing new sanctuary boundaries around NI‘ihau. In addition, Alternative

4 proposes to incorporate the estuarine waters of the Hanalei River into the sanctuary on the north shore

of Kaua‘i.

 

Figure 1. Proposed boundary changes for the Hawaiian Islands National Marine Sanctuary.

 

Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary is jointly managed by the

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the State of Hawaiދi.

http://hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov

 

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Section 9 (Environmental Consequences) provides a summary of potential impacts of the proposed

alternatives on the natural and human environment in comparison to the baseline of No Action. The

impact analysis for each of the alternatives occurs on three levels: (1) the set of actions proposed for each

of the alternatives; (2) the physical, biological, and cultural resources and human uses impacted by those

actions; and (3) the specific locations where these impacts occur. A discussion of the factors used to

determine the significance of direct and indirect impacts (pursuant to 40 C.F.R. § 1508.8 section 5.1.2) is

included.

Alternative 1 upholds the status quo therefore has no new environmental impacts, positive or negative.

Each subsequent alternative has increasingly beneficial impacts to the biophysical environment due to the

increased area proposed for inclusion in the sanctuary and increased protection by regulatory and non-

regulatory actions. As such, Alternative 4 offers the most benefits to biological and physical resources. In

the summary below of environmental consequences of proposed actions, the impacts of regulatory and

non-regulatory action, both positive and negative, increase in each subsequent alternative due to the

increasing size of the sanctuary as a whole and the regulated Special Sanctuary Management Areas

therein.

Given the ecosystem-based management approach adopted in developing the proposed management plan

and regulations, many aspects of the marine ecosystems within the sanctuary should benefit from these

actions. For example, through water quality monitoring and restoration activities proposed in the Water

Quality Protection Action Plan along with the proposed discharge regulation, water quality should see a

significant benefit. Management activities outlined in actions plans, such as Understanding and

Managing Species and Habitats and Resilience to a Changing Climate, should benefit marine species and

habitats. The application of Special Sanctuary Management Area regulations, including the prohibition of

taking and possessing special marine species, altering submerged lands, discharging, using explosives,

and introducing non-native species, marine species and habitats in the sanctuary should benefit from

increased protections.

Most aspects of the human environment in the sanctuary should benefit from the proposed actions through

the conservation of cultural, historic and natural resources. The proposed regulatory and non-regulatory

ecosystem-based management actions should provide economic benefits by preserving a healthy

ecosystem, which is more valuable than an unhealthy one to both ocean users and non-users. Cultural and

maritime heritage resources should benefit both from the proposed regulation prohibiting disturbance of

these resources, as well as the non-regulatory actions proposed in the Living and Evolving Cultural

Traditions and Maritime Heritage Action Plans. Human activities that depend on healthy marine

resources, such as fishing, recreation and tourism, should also benefit from the proposed regulatory and

non-regulatory ecosystem-based management actions. Legal fishing activities will not be negatively

impacted by the prohibitions against altering submerged lands and discharging in the sanctuary due to

exceptions to those prohibitions. Education, research and monitoring efforts should benefit from the

support and opportunities provided in Ocean Literacy and Understanding and Managing Species and

Habitats Action Plans. Human health and safety in the sanctuary and adjacent areas would benefit from

the protections outlined in the Emergency Preparedness and Damage Assessment Action Plan.

Section 10 (Action Plans) presents sixteen action plans designed to guide sanctuary management over the

next five to ten years in transitioning to ecosystem-based management and achieving the sanctuary vision,

mission and goals outlined in the DMP/DEIS. This section explains how the action plans were developed

 

Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary is jointly managed by the

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the State of Hawaiދi.

http://hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov

 

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based on public comments and working group recommendations. Each action plan begins with an

overview, which explains the issues their activities aim to address, and a desired future outcome attained

through the plan’s activities. An output is defined for each activity and performance measures based on

these outputs are designed to guide the sanctuary’s accomplishment of the plans. Sanctuary staff

developed budgets for the execution of each plan over the next five years. Table 2 lists the sixteen action

plans by thematic area, along with the desired future outcome that the sanctuary seeks to attain through

implementing the plan.

Action Plan Desired Outcomemplementing Ecosystem Protection

Understanding and A resilient marine ecosystem able to respond to and recover from change, that

Managing Species and supports sustainable ecosystem functions and services, and healthy populations of

Habitats biologically, culturally, and economically significant marine species and habitats.

Resilience to a A climate resilient sanctuary maintained through innovative management approaches

Changing Climate and supported by an informed public.

Water quality standards and levels of compliance that support healthy ecosystems,

Water Quality Protection habitats and marine resources, as well as human activities that are compatible with

resource protection.

Perpetuating Cultural Heritage

Ho‘ohawai‘i: foster the uniqueness of Hawai‘i through the understanding of both

Living and Evolving historical and contemporary local knowledge about coastal and marine environments,

Cultural Traditions and the perpetuation of customary environmental practices and principles within the

sanctuary.

NOAA, the State of Hawai‘i, partner agencies, businesses and local communities are

engaged in the identification and appreciation of maritime heritage resources in

Maritime Heritage

Hawai‘i to effectively preserve these resources for the benefit of current and future

generations.

Transitioning Towards Sustainability

Informed and empowered human communities that are actively engaged in dialogues

Community Partnerships and initiatives to facilitate an integrated management approach that perpetuates a

healthy co-existence between humans and the marine environment.

 

Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary is jointly managed by the

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the State of Hawaiދi.

http://hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov

 

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Action Plan Desired Outcome

An ocean literate public with increased awareness, knowledge and appreciation of

Ocean Literacy natural and cultural marine resources in order to promote and enhance ocean

stewardship.

Vibrant coastal communities and economies that promote the sustainable use of the

Sustainable Use

marine environment.

 

Sanctuary Focus Areas

The preservation of healthy coastal and marine ecosystems, and the rich cultural

Ni‘ihau

history of Ni‘ihau.

A replicable model for applying both traditional Hawaiian and western science-based

PƯla‘a management practices to restore the health of nearshore ecosystems in the PƯla‘a

ahupuaa.

Establish a research area in the waters of the MƗދalaea area of Maui island to better

Southern Maui Nui

understand and improve water quality.

The community’s kuleana of Maunalua Bay characterized by healthy coral reef and

Maunalua Bay sea grass habitats, abundant coral reef marine life and high water quality standards is

achieved by caring for this place with future generations in mind.

Ensuring Management Effectiveness

Effective and well-planned operations, human resources and adequate physical

Operational Foundation

infrastructure to support effective management of the sanctuary.

A high level of compliance achieved through the adherence to sanctuary regulations,

Compliance and

guidelines, and best practices resulting in increased protection of the marine

Enforcement

environment within the sanctuary.

Emergency Increased protection of sanctuary resources from both natural hazards and human-

Preparedness and caused incidents or injuries, through coordinated emergency response and damage

Damage Assessment assessment.

 

Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary is jointly managed by the

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the State of Hawaiދi.

http://hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov

 

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A performance evaluation framework to continually gauge the sanctuary’s progress in  Assessing Progress meeting its management goals and objectives

Table 2. Action plans grouped in thematic areas with desired outcomes.

The DMP/DEIS includes twelve appendices: Appendix A lists relevant protected species in Hawai’i;

Appendix B lists cultural sites occur within or adjacent to the sanctuary; Appendix C describes military

activities in Hawai‘i; Appendix D details the proposed sanctuary regulations; Appendix E describes the

proposed new regulations, permits and authorization; Appendix F includes other authorities in Hawai‘i

who regulate the same activities the sanctuary proposes to regulate; Appendix G lists State of Hawai‘i

DLNR marine bottom ecosystem classifications; Appendix H lists agencies receiving copies of the

DMP/DEIS; Appendix I lists acronyms used in the document and their meaning; Appendix J lists

Hawaiian terms used in the document and their English translations; Appendix K defines technical words

used in the document; Appendix L is the sanctuary designation document; Appendix M lists credits for

images used in the document.

It should be noted that a separate rulemaking package will be proposed in the Federal Register to request

public comment on the proposed changes to the sanctuary’s regulations under the proposed action.

Descriptions of these potential regulatory changes appear in Section 8; and the environmental

consequences of these regulatory changes are analyzed in Section 9.

A notice will be published in the Federal Register to alert the public of both the availability of the joint

DMP/DEIS as well as the opening of a public comment period. Written public comments can be

submitted via e-mail, fax, phone or letter. Oral public comments can be submitted at any of the several

public hearings that ONMS will hold in the state. For more information on these public hearings or on

how to submit public comments, in addition to all the documents developed for the management plan

review, please visit the sanctuary’s management plan website at:

http://hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov/management/management_plan_review.html

Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary is jointly managed by the

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the State of Hawaiދi.

http://hawaiihumpbackwhale.noaa.gov