[PART II. RECOVERY]

195D-21 Habitat conservation plans. (a) The department may enter into a planning process with any landowner for the purpose of preparing and implementing a habitat conservation plan. An agreement may include multiple landowners. Applications to enter into a planning process shall identify:

(1) The geographic area encompassed by the plan;

(2) The ecosystems, natural communities, or habitat types within the plan area that are the focus of the plan;

(3) The endangered, threatened, proposed, and candidate species known or reasonably expected to occur in the ecosystems, natural communities, or habitat types in the plan area;

(4) The measures or actions to be undertaken to protect, maintain, restore, or enhance those ecosystems, natural communities, or habitat types within the plan area;

(5) A schedule for implementation of the proposed measures and actions; and

(6) An adequate funding source to ensure that the proposed measures and actions are undertaken in accordance with the schedule.

After a habitat conservation plan is prepared, the board shall notify the public of the proposed habitat conservation plan through the periodic bulletin of the office of environmental quality control and make the proposed plan and the application available for public review and comment not less than sixty days prior to approval. The notice shall include, but not be limited to, identification of the area encompassed by the plan, the proposed activity, and the ecosystems, natural communities, and habitat types within the plan area. The notice shall solicit public input and relevant data.

(b) Except as otherwise provided by law, the board, upon recommendation from the department, in cooperation with other state, federal, county, or private organizations and landowners, after a public hearing on the island affected, and upon an affirmative vote of not less than two-thirds of its authorized membership, may enter into a habitat conservation plan, if it determines that the plan will further the purposes of this chapter by protecting, maintaining, restoring, or enhancing identified ecosystems, natural communities, or habitat types upon which endangered, threatened, proposed, or candidate species depend within the area covered by the plan; that the plan will increase the likelihood of recovery of the endangered or threatened species that are the focus of the plan; and that the plan satisfies all the requirements of this chapter. Habitat conservation plans may allow conservation rental agreements, habitat banking, and direct payments. Any habitat conservation plan approved pursuant to this section shall be based on the best available scientific and other reliable data available at the time the plan is approved.

Each habitat conservation plan shall:

(1) Identify the geographic area encompassed by the plan; the ecosystems, natural communities, or habitat types within the plan area that are the focus of the plan; and the endangered, threatened, proposed, and candidate species known or reasonably expected to be present in those ecosystems, natural communities, or habitat types in the plan area;

(2) Describe the activities contemplated to be undertaken within the plan area with sufficient detail to allow the department to evaluate the impact of the activities on the particular ecosystems, natural communities, or habitat types within the plan area that are the focus of the plan;

(3) Identify the steps that will be taken to minimize and mitigate all negative impacts, including without limitation the impact of any authorized incidental take, with consideration of the full range of the species on the island so that cumulative impacts associated with the take can be adequately assessed; and the funding that will be available to implement those steps;

(4) Identify those measures or actions to be undertaken to protect, maintain, restore, or enhance the ecosystems, natural communities, or habitat types within the plan area; a schedule for implementation of the measures or actions; and an adequate funding source to ensure that the actions or measures, including monitoring, are undertaken in accordance with the schedule;

(5) Be consistent with the goals and objectives of any approved recovery plan for any endangered species or threatened species known or reasonably expected to occur in the ecosystems, natural communities, or habitat types in the plan area;

(6) Provide reasonable certainty that the ecosystems, natural communities, or habitat types will be maintained in the plan area, throughout the life of the plan, in sufficient quality, distribution, and extent to support within the plan area those species typically associated with the ecosystems, natural communities, or habitat types, including any endangered, threatened, proposed, and candidate species known or reasonably expected to be present in the ecosystems, natural communities, or habitat types within the plan area;

(7) Contain objective, measurable goals, the achievement of which will contribute significantly to the protection, maintenance, restoration, or enhancement of the ecosystems, natural communities, or habitat types; time frames within which the goals are to be achieved; provisions for monitoring (such as field sampling techniques), including periodic monitoring by representatives of the department or the endangered species recovery committee, or both; and provisions for evaluating progress in achieving the goals quantitatively and qualitatively; and

(8) Provide for an adaptive management strategy that specifies the actions to be taken periodically if the plan is not achieving its goals.

(c) The board shall disapprove a habitat conservation plan if the board determines, based upon the best scientific and other reliable data available at the time its determination is made, that the cumulative activities, if any, contemplated to be undertaken within the areas covered by the plan are not environmentally beneficial, or that implementation of the plan:

(1) Is likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered, threatened, proposed, or candidate species identified in the plan area;

(2) Is likely to cause any native species not endangered or threatened at the time of plan submission to become threatened or endangered;

(3) Fails to meet the criteria of subsections (a) and (b); or

(4) Fails to meet the criteria of section 195D-4(g).

The habitat conservation plan shall contain sufficient information for the board to ascertain with reasonable certainty the likely effect of the plan upon any endangered, threatened, proposed, or candidate species in the plan area and throughout its habitat range.

(d) Notwithstanding any other law to the contrary, the board shall suspend or revoke the approval of any habitat conservation plan approved under this section if the board determines that:

(1) Any parties to the plan, or their successors, have breached their obligations under the plan or under any agreement implementing the plan and have failed to cure the breach in a timely manner, and the effect of the breach is to diminish the likelihood that the plan will achieve its goals within the time frames or in the manner set forth in the plan; or

(2) The plan no longer has the funding source specified in subsection (a) or another sufficient funding source to ensure the measures or actions specified in subsection (b) are undertaken in accordance with this section.

(e) The rights and obligations under any habitat conservation plan shall run with the land and shall be recorded by the department in the bureau of conveyances or the land court, as may be appropriate.

(f) Participants in a habitat conservation plan shall submit an annual report to the department within ninety days of each fiscal year ending June 30, that includes a description of activities and accomplishments, analysis of the problems and issues encountered in meeting or failing to meet the objectives set forth in the habitat conservation plan, areas needing technical advice, status of funding, and plans and management objectives for the next fiscal year, including any proposed modifications thereto. [L 1997, c 380, pt of 2; am L 1998, c 237, 2]