HONOLULU (KHON2) — Friday night lights are returning for high school football games.
In past years, football games couldn’t be played at night because the field lights can attract endangered seabirds.
The county was able to work out a solution with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to play three games at night on September 20, 27 and October 4.
Fledging season for endangered seabirds run from mid-September to December.
“We are committed to bringing back a long-standing national tradition of Friday Night Lights to our keiki and families here on Kauai, while ensuring the protection of our environment,” said Mayor Kawakami. “While the Kauai Seabird Habitat Conservation Plan is currently being finalized, we are grateful that this MOU will address the conservation of our endangered or threatened seabird species. Thank you to our federal, state, county, and community partners for your continuous dedication to our community while being strong stewards of our island and our precious environment.”
“This is good news for the Kauai community,” said U.S. Senator Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii). “Together, the county and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service were able to balance the valued tradition of Friday night football with the conservation of endangered species like Newell’s shearwater. While both sides will need to continue to work toward a permanent solution, today’s announcement is a win for everyone.”
The county is participating in the Kauai Seabird Habitat Conservation Plan.
This plan, a coordinated framework that defines a set of actions to minimize and mitigate the effects of light attraction on the protected seabirds and defines conservation goals, is currently being finalized by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources – Division of Forestry and Wildlife and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.
“Partnerships are essential for the conservation of threatened and endangered species,” said Katherine Mullett, Acting Field Supervisor, Pacific Islands Fish and Wildlife Office, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “Working together, we can ensure a future for Kauai’s uau, endangered Hawaiian petrel, akeake, endangered band-rumped storm petrel, and ao, threatened Newell’s shearwater.”
As young uau, akeake, or ao fly from their mountain burrows to the ocean, they can become disoriented by bright lights or strike tall objects in their path, causing them to fall to the ground.
These grounded birds may be injured or become prey to invasive predators.
If you see one of these birds on the ground, you can contact one of the licensed wildlife rehabilitators on Kauai for assistance.
To learn more about what you can do, visit https://saveourshearwaters.org/rescue101.
To view the MOU, environmental assessment, and other related documents, please visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife website at https://www.fws.gov/pacificislands.