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Haleakal? Ranch Seeks to Help Endangered N?n?

Dick Daniels

A private landowner on Maui wants to help the endangered n?n?.

Haleakal? Ranch is applying for a permit to use its more than 3,000 acres of land to help the native bird population recover.

Under an agreement with the federal government, private landowners can voluntarily seek to help the recovery efforts of endangered species.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, in partnership with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, will guide the ranch on necessary conservation measures – such as habitat improvement and predator control.

"In general, when we're sitting down with a private landowner, and talking about endangered species on their land, we're trying to make sure that we have a good understanding of what their normal operations on their land are," said Michelle Bogardus, the Maui Nui and Hawai?i Island Team Manager for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "We're trying to preserve their ability to do those normal operations. It might just be with some modifications."

"So if n?n? are using the property, after they (Haleakal? Ranch) have been doing conservation measures to encourage n?n? on the property, they might have to be more careful about their use of heavy equipment."

Bogardus says these agreements with private landowners are vital to the recovery of species like the n?n?.

"N?n? require grasslands and open country. And there's very little land that's like that in the state of Hawaii except for ranch lands. So ranchers, especially on the Big Island and Maui, are critical to helping n?n? survive, and continue to grow on those islands."

Bogardus says there are more than 3,000 nene throughout the state.

A draft of Haleakal? Ranch's agreement with the state and federal government is open for public comment until March 21st. You can find the draft agreement here.

If approved, Bogardus says the n?n? will naturally move into the ranch.

You can submit comments using the following methods:

  • Email: Include "Safe Harbor Agreement for N?n? at Haleakal? Ranch" in the subject line of the message.
  • U.S. Mail: Field Supervisor, Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 300 Ala Moana Boulevard, Room #3-122, Honolulu, HI 96822
  • In-Person Drop-off, Viewing, or Pickup: Documents will be available for public inspection, by appointment, during normal business hours between 8 AM and 5 PM at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office.
  • Fax: Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office, 808-792-9580, Attn: Safe Harbor Agreement for N?n? at Haleakal? Ranch.
Casey Harlow is an HPR reporter and occasionally fills in as local host of Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Contact him at or on Twitter (@CaseyHarlow).
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