Endangered Fish and Wildlife; Marine Mammal Protection Act, Draft Conservation Plan for the Cook Inlet Stock of Beluga Whales, 12853-12854 [05-5224]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 50 / Wednesday, March 16, 2005 / Notices We are issuing and publishing this determination and notice in accordance with sections 751(a)(1), 751(h), and 777(i)(1) of the Act and 19 C.F.R. 351.224(f). Dated: March 9, 2005. Barbara E. Tillman, Acting Assistant Secretary for Import Administration. [FR Doc. E5–1160 Filed 3–15–05; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–DS–S DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Science Advisory Board Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Department of Commerce. ACTION: Notice of open meeting. AGENCY: SUMMARY: The NOAA Science Advisory Board (SAB) was established by a Decision Memorandum dated September 25, 1997, and is the only Federal Advisory Committee with responsibility to advise the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere on long- and short-range strategies for research, education, and application of science to resource management and environmental assessment and prediction. SAB activities and advice provide necessary input to ensure that science programs are of the highest quality and provide optimal support the NOAA mission. Time and Date: The meeting will be held Tuesday, March 22, 2005, from 10:15 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. and Wednesday, March 23, 2005, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. These times and the agenda topics described below may be subject to change. Refer to the Web page listed below for the most up-to-date meeting agenda. Place: The meeting will be held both days in the Staff Auditorium at the National Geographic Society Headquarters, 1145 17th Street, NW., Washington, DC. Status: The meeting will be open to public participation with a 30-minute time period set aside on Wednesday, March 23, 2005, for direct oral statements or questions from the public. The SAB expects that public statements presented at its meetings will not be repetitive of previously submitted oral or written statements. In general, each individual or group making an oral presentation will be limited to a total time of five (5) minutes. Approximately VerDate jul<14>2003 16:45 Mar 15, 2005 Jkt 205001 thirty (30) seats will be available for the public including five (5) seats reserved for the media. Seats will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. Matters to be Considered: The meeting will include the following topics: (1) Status of NOAA Responses to SAB Actions and Recommendations Overview of NOAA Response to SAB/ Research Review Team Report; (2) Review NOAA’s Draft Policy to Formalize the Transition of Research to Operations and Information Services; (3) Progress Reports: External Ecosystem Task Team and the Physical and Social Science Task Team; (4) Draft NOAA Cooperative Institute Policy; (5) Report on the Review of the National Sea Grant College Extension Program and a Call for Greater National Commitment to Engagement; (6) Administration Response to Ocean Commission Report; (7) NOAA’s plans for the International Polar Year (IPY); (8) Briefing on the Integrated Surface Observing System (ISOS) Working Group; (9) Transitioning from the Integrated Ocean Observing System, NPOESS, GOES-R, NEXRAD, etc. to Integrated Earth Observing System (IEOS); (10) NOAA Role in Implementing the President’s Executive Order on the Great Lakes; (11) Overview of Predictions/Monitoring of 2004 Hurricanes (12) Tsunamis—Research and Observations; (13) Global Earth Observing Systems of Systems (GEOSS) Update; (14) 2006–2011 Strategic planning; (15) public statements. Dr. Michael Uhart, Executive Director, Science Advisory Board, NOAA, Rm. 11142, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, Maryland 20910. (Phone: 301– 713–9121, Fax: 301–713–3515, e-mail: Michael.Uhart@noaa.gov); or visit the NOAA SAB Web site at http:// www.sab.noaa.gov. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dated: March 10, 2005. Louisa Koch, Deputy Assistant Administrator, Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. [FR Doc. 05–5118 Filed 3–15–05; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–KD–P PO 00000 Frm 00018 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 12853 DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [I.D. 031105D] Endangered Fish and Wildlife; Marine Mammal Protection Act, Draft Conservation Plan for the Cook Inlet Stock of Beluga Whales National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice of availability; request for written comments. AGENCY: SUMMARY: The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) of 1972, as amended, requires the Secretary of Commerce to prepare a conservation plan for any species or stock designated as depleted under that Act. The Cook Inlet stock of beluga whales was designated as depleted on May 31, 2000, and this Conservation Plan is being written to promote the conservation and recovery of these whales. The goal of this Conservation Plan (Plan) will be met when the Cook Inlet stock of beluga whales are no longer considered depleted under the MMPA. DATES: Comments and information must be received by May 16, 2005. ADDRESSES: Copies of the Draft Conservation Plan may be reviewed and/or copied at the NMFS, Protected Resources Division, 222 W. 7th Ave., ι43, Anchorage, AK, 99513; or at the Alaska Regional Office, Protected Resources Division, 709 W. 9th St., P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802. The draft Conservation Plan is available on the Internet at the following address: http:/ /www.fakr.noaa.gov/protectedresources/ whales/beluga.htm. Comments on the Draft Conservation Plan should be sent to the above addresses, or can be electronically forwarded to the following e-mail address: Records.Fakr@noaa.gov. Please identify electronic comments with the header: Beluga Whale Conservation Plan. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kaja Brix, NOAA/NMFS, Alaska Region, (907) 586 7235, or Brad Smith, NOAA/ NMFS, Alaska Region, Anchorage Field Office, (907) 271 5006. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Cook Inlet beluga whale stock declined by greater than 50 percent during the last decade. In response to this significant decline, NMFS designated the Cook Inlet stock of beluga whales as depleted under the MMPA on May 31, 2000 (65 FR 34590). Subsequent surveys conducted between 1999 and 2004 have E:\FR\FM\16MRN1.SGM 16MRN1 12854 Federal Register / Vol. 70, No. 50 / Wednesday, March 16, 2005 / Notices resulted in abundance estimates ranging from 313 to 435, with no clear trend. Since 1999 the subsistence harvest of this stock has been significantly restricted as compared to previous years (down to 0–2 whales annually). However, the population has not shown any significant response as was expected following the restriction on the number of animals taken in the subsistence harvest. This draft Plan delineates reasonable actions necessary to protect the depleted Cook Inlet beluga whales under the MMPA. The conservation strategy outlined in the Plan is meant to guide Federal and other actions toward the goal of recovering the Cook Inlet beluga whales. The Plan provides a description of the biology and life history of the Cook Inlet stock of beluga whales, a description of the population trends in recent decades and their current depleted status under the MMPA, and management goals and objectives for recovery of the stock. The Plan also outlines known and possible factors that may be influencing the stock including natural factors such as stranding events, predation, disease and environmental change, and humaninduced factors that may be, or have been in recent years, influencing trends in the abundance of this stock. These human-induced factors include the subsistence harvest, commercial fishing and its potential to influence prey availability, pollution in the inlet, vessel traffic, noise, oil and gas development and possible effects from research activities. The Plan outlines a conservation strategy that addresses each of the natural and human-induced factors that may be influencing the recovery of the stock. It also outlines a monitoring strategy for future subsistence harvests and the development and use of beluga whale habitat in Cook Inlet, and a research plan as part of the monitoring and recovery strategy. The recommended conservation actions are developed for each known factor that may be influencing the stock, and linked to the applicable research recommendations. Public and Agency Involvement: The goals and objectives of the draft Plan can be achieved only if a long-term commitment is made to support the respective actions recommended herein. The shared resources and cooperative involvement of federal, state, and local governments, industry, academia, nongovernmental organizations, Alaska Natives, and other invested individuals will be required throughout the recovery period. VerDate jul<14>2003 16:45 Mar 15, 2005 Jkt 205001 NMFS is soliciting comments on the draft Plan with this notice. Comments can be forwarded to [see ADDRESSES]. Dated: March 11, 2005. Donna S. Wieting Acting Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 05–5224 Filed 3–15–05; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Department of the Army; Corps of Engineers Notice of Intent To Prepare a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for a Permit Application for the Proposed Timber Branch Subdivision Phase II, Near Covington, St. Tammany Parish, LA Department of the Army, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, DoD. ACTION: Notice of intent. AGENCY: DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary Office of the Actuary; Notice of a Meeting AGENCY: Department of Defense. Notice of meeting; DoD Medicare-Eligible Retiree Health Care Board of Actuaries. ACTION: SUMMARY: A meeting of the Board has been scheduled to execute the provisions of Chapter 56, Title 10, United States Code (10 U.S.C. 1114 et. seq.). The Board shall review DoD actuarial methods and assumptions to be used in the valuation of benefits under DoD retiree health care programs for Medicare-eligible beneficiaries. Persons desiring to: (1) Attend the DoD Medicare-Eligible Retiree Health Care Board of Actuaries meeting, or (2) make an oral presentation or submit a written statement for consideration at the meeting, must notify Bill Klunk at 703– 696–7404 by May 10, 2005. Notice of this meeting is required under the Federal Advisory Committee Act. DATES: June 3, 2005, 1:30 p.m.–5 p.m. 4040 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 270, Arlington, VA 22203. ADDRESSES: Bill Klunk, DoD Office of the Actuary, 4040 N. Fairfax Drive, Suite 308, Arlington, VA 22203, (703) 696–7404. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Dated: March 10, 2005. Jeannette Owings-Ballard, OSD Federal Register Liaison Officer, Department of Defense. [FR Doc. 05–5220 Filed 3–15–05; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 5001–06–M PO 00000 Frm 00019 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 SUMMARY: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New Orleans District, is initiating the preparation of an Environmental Impact Statement under the National Environmental Policy Act in compliance with a judicial order. The Environmental Impact Statement is for a Department of the Army permit issued under Section 404 of the Clean Water Act to install the infrastructure necessary to implement an approximately 82-acre residential development to provide single and multi-family residential lots in the vicinity of LA Hwy 1085 and Bricker Road, near Covington, Louisiana, some of the property containing regulated wetlands. The permit was subsequently enjoined by the United States District Court, Eastern District of Louisiana. Information obtained from preparation of this EIS will be utilized in the reevaluation of the enjoined permit decision. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Questions concerning the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) should be addressed to Mr. Brian Breaux at U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, OD–S, P.O. Box 60267, New Orleans, LA 70160–0267, phone (504) 862–1938, fax number (504) 862–2117 or by E-mail at brian.w.breaux@mvn02.usace.army.mil. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 1. Proposed Action. The proposed action would include land-clearing, excavation, and deposition of fill material for site preparation and construction of drainage, utility and roadway infrastructure. Single-family and multi-family residential lots would then be offered for public sale. The approximately 82-acre project site grades through ridge and swale hardwood, mixed pine-hardwood/ hardwood flats, pine flatwood, and pine savannah community types. Of the 82acre development, 38.9 acres of pine flatwood/pine savannah wetlands would be directly affected by development. E:\FR\FM\16MRN1.SGM 16MRN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 70, Number 50 (Wednesday, March 16, 2005)]
[Notices]
[Pages 12853-12854]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 05-5224]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

[I.D. 031105D]


Endangered Fish and Wildlife; Marine Mammal Protection Act, Draft 
Conservation Plan for the Cook Inlet Stock of Beluga Whales

AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce.

ACTION: Notice of availability; request for written comments.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) of 1972, as amended, 
requires the Secretary of Commerce to prepare a conservation plan for 
any species or stock designated as depleted under that Act. The Cook 
Inlet stock of beluga whales was designated as depleted on May 31, 
2000, and this Conservation Plan is being written to promote the 
conservation and recovery of these whales. The goal of this 
Conservation Plan (Plan) will be met when the Cook Inlet stock of 
beluga whales are no longer considered depleted under the MMPA.

DATES: Comments and information must be received by May 16, 2005.

ADDRESSES: Copies of the Draft Conservation Plan may be reviewed and/or 
copied at the NMFS, Protected Resources Division, 222 W. 7\th\ Ave., 
43, Anchorage, AK, 99513; or at the Alaska Regional Office, 
Protected Resources Division, 709 W. 9\th\ St., P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, 
AK 99802. The draft Conservation Plan is available on the Internet at 
the following address: http://www.fakr.noaa.gov/protectedresources/
whales/beluga.htm. Comments on the Draft Conservation Plan should be 
sent to the above addresses, or can be electronically forwarded to the 
following e-mail address: Records.Fakr@noaa.gov. Please identify 
electronic comments with the header: Beluga Whale Conservation Plan.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kaja Brix, NOAA/NMFS, Alaska Region, 
(907) 586 7235, or Brad Smith, NOAA/NMFS, Alaska Region, Anchorage 
Field Office, (907) 271 5006.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Cook Inlet beluga whale stock declined 
by greater than 50 percent during the last decade. In response to this 
significant decline, NMFS designated the Cook Inlet stock of beluga 
whales as depleted under the MMPA on May 31, 2000 (65 FR 34590). 
Subsequent surveys conducted between 1999 and 2004 have

[[Page 12854]]

resulted in abundance estimates ranging from 313 to 435, with no clear 
trend. Since 1999 the subsistence harvest of this stock has been 
significantly restricted as compared to previous years (down to 0-2 
whales annually). However, the population has not shown any significant 
response as was expected following the restriction on the number of 
animals taken in the subsistence harvest.
    This draft Plan delineates reasonable actions necessary to protect 
the depleted Cook Inlet beluga whales under the MMPA. The conservation 
strategy outlined in the Plan is meant to guide Federal and other 
actions toward the goal of recovering the Cook Inlet beluga whales.
    The Plan provides a description of the biology and life history of 
the Cook Inlet stock of beluga whales, a description of the population 
trends in recent decades and their current depleted status under the 
MMPA, and management goals and objectives for recovery of the stock. 
The Plan also outlines known and possible factors that may be 
influencing the stock including natural factors such as stranding 
events, predation, disease and environmental change, and human-induced 
factors that may be, or have been in recent years, influencing trends 
in the abundance of this stock. These human-induced factors include the 
subsistence harvest, commercial fishing and its potential to influence 
prey availability, pollution in the inlet, vessel traffic, noise, oil 
and gas development and possible effects from research activities.
    The Plan outlines a conservation strategy that addresses each of 
the natural and human-induced factors that may be influencing the 
recovery of the stock. It also outlines a monitoring strategy for 
future subsistence harvests and the development and use of beluga whale 
habitat in Cook Inlet, and a research plan as part of the monitoring 
and recovery strategy. The recommended conservation actions are 
developed for each known factor that may be influencing the stock, and 
linked to the applicable research recommendations.
    Public and Agency Involvement: The goals and objectives of the 
draft Plan can be achieved only if a long-term commitment is made to 
support the respective actions recommended herein. The shared resources 
and cooperative involvement of federal, state, and local governments, 
industry, academia, non-governmental organizations, Alaska Natives, and 
other invested individuals will be required throughout the recovery 
period.
    NMFS is soliciting comments on the draft Plan with this notice. 
Comments can be forwarded to [see ADDRESSES].

    Dated: March 11, 2005.
Donna S. Wieting
Acting Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 05-5224 Filed 3-15-05; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S