Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Construction and Operation of Offshore Oil and Gas Facilities in the Beaufort Sea, Alaska, 31011-31013 [E9-15188]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 123 / Monday, June 29, 2009 / Notices Issuance of this permit, as required by the ESA, was based on a finding that such permit: (1) was applied for in good faith; (2) will not operate to the disadvantage of such endangered species; and (3) is consistent with the purposes and policies set forth in section 2 of the ESA. Documents may be reviewed in the following locations: Permits, Conservation and Education Division, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, 1315 East-West Highway, Room 13705, Silver Spring, MD 20910; phone (301)713–2289; fax (301)427–2521; Northwest Region, NMFS, 7600 Sand Point Way NE, BIN C15700, Bldg. 1, Seattle, WA 98115–0700; phone (206)526–6150; fax (206)526–6426; Alaska Region, NMFS, P.O. Box 21668, Juneau, AK 99802–1668; phone (907)586–7221; fax (907)586–7249; Southwest Region, NMFS, 501 West Ocean Blvd., Suite 4200, Long Beach, CA 90802–4213; phone (562)980–4001; fax (562)980–4018; and Pacific Islands Region, NMFS, 1601 Kapiolani Blvd., Rm 1110, Honolulu, HI 96814–4700; phone (808)944–2200; fax (808)973–2941. Dated: June 24, 2009. P. Michael Payne, Chief, Permits, Conservation and Education Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. E9–15344 Filed 6–26–09; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jennifer Skidmore or Amy Sloan (301)713–2289. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The requested permit amendment has been issued under the authority of the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, as amended (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.), and the Regulations Governing the Taking and Importing of Marine Mammals (50 CFR part 216). Permit No. 984–1587 authorized captive research activities on two bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) and juvenile California sea lions (Zalophus californianus) undergoing rehabilitation at The Marine Mammal Center through June 7, 2009. The minor amendment (No. 984–1587– 08) extends the duration of the permit through September 7, 2009, but does not change any other terms or conditions of the permit. In compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.), a final determination has been made that the activity proposed is categorically excluded from the requirement to prepare an environmental assessment or environmental impact statement. Dated: June 23, 2009. P. Michael Payne, Chief, Permits, Conservation and Education Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. E9–15343 Filed 6–26–09; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration International Trade Administration RIN 0648–XP94 Marine Mammals; File No. 984–1587–08 National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice; issuance of permit amendment. sroberts on PROD1PC70 with NOTICES AGENCY: SUMMARY: Notice is hereby given that the Dr. Terrie Williams, Department of Biology, University of California at Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA 95064 has been issued an amendment to scientific research Permit No. 984–1587–07. ADDRESSES: The amendment and related documents are available for review upon written request or by appointment in the following office: Permits, Conservation and Education Division, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, 1315 East-West Highway, Room 13705, Silver Spring, MD 20910; phone (301)713–2289; fax (301)427–2521. VerDate Nov<24>2008 19:07 Jun 26, 2009 Jkt 217001 The Manufacturing Council: Meeting AGENCY: International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. ACTION: Notice of an open meeting. SUMMARY: The Manufacturing Council will hold an introductory meeting with the Secretary of Commerce to discuss topics related to the U.S. manufacturing sector. DATES: July 20, 2009. Time: 10:30 a.m.–3 p.m. Location: U.S. Department of Commerce, Room 4832, 1401 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20230. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: J. Marc Chittum, The Manufacturing Council, Room 4043, 1401 Constitution Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20230; telephone: 202–482–4501; and e-mail: Marc.Chittum@mail.doc.gov. PO 00000 Frm 00012 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 31011 Dated: June 23, 2009. J. Marc Chittum, Executive Secretary, The Manufacturing Council. [FR Doc. E9–15232 Filed 6–26–09; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–DR–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XP92 Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Construction and Operation of Offshore Oil and Gas Facilities in the Beaufort Sea, Alaska AGENCY: National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice of issuance of a letter of authorization. SUMMARY: In accordance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), as amended, and implementing regulations, notice is hereby given that NMFS has issued a letter of authorization (LOA) to BP Exploration (Alaska), Inc. (BPXA) to take marine mammals incidental to the production of offshore oil and gas at the Northstar development in the Beaufort Sea off Alaska. DATES: This Authorization is effective from July 7, 2009, through July 6, 2010. ADDRESSES: The LOA and supporting documentation may be obtained by writing to P. Michael Payne, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, 1315 EastWest Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910, or by telephoning one of the contacts listed here. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Candace Nachman (301) 713–2289 or Brad Smith (907) 271–3023. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Section 101(a)(5)(A) of the MMPA (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.) directs NMFS to allow, on request, the incidental, but not intentional, taking of small numbers of marine mammals by U.S. citizens who engage in a specified activity (other than commercial fishing) within a specified geographical region, if certain findings are made by NMFS and regulations are issued. Under the MMPA, the term ‘‘take’’ means to harass, hunt, capture, or kill or to attempt to harass, hunt, capture, or kill marine mammals. Authorization may be granted for periods up to 5 years if NMFS finds, after notice and opportunity for public comment, that the taking will have a E:\FR\FM\29JNN1.SGM 29JNN1 31012 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 123 / Monday, June 29, 2009 / Notices negligible impact on the species or stock(s) of marine mammals and will not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of the species or stock(s) of marine mammals for subsistence uses. In addition, NMFS must prescribe regulations setting forth the permissible methods of taking and other means of effecting the least practicable adverse impact on the species and its habitat, and on the availability of the species for subsistence uses. The regulations also must include requirements pertaining to the monitoring and reporting of such taking. Regulations governing the taking of marine mammals incidental to construction and operation of the offshore oil and gas facility at Northstar became effective on April 6, 2006 (71 FR 11314, March 7, 2006), and remain in effect until April 6, 2011. For detailed information on this action, please refer to that document. These regulations include mitigation, monitoring, and reporting requirements. The six species of marine mammals that BP may take in small numbers during construction and operation of the Northstar facility are bowhead whales, gray whales, beluga whales, ringed seals, spotted seals, and bearded seals. sroberts on PROD1PC70 with NOTICES Summary of Request On May 5, 2009, NMFS received a request from BPXA for a renewal of an LOA issued on July 1, 2008, for the taking of small numbers of marine mammals incidental to oil production operations at Northstar, under the regulations issued on March 7, 2006 (71 FR 11314). This request (BPXA, 2009) contains information in compliance with 50 CFR 216.209, which updates information provided in BPXA’s original application for takings incidental to construction and operations at Northstar. BPXA also submitted the required activity and monitoring report under the 2008–2009 LOA. Summary of Activity and Monitoring Under the 2008–2009 LOA One offshore ice road was built during the 2007–2008 ice-covered season. Helicopters made 222 round trips to Northstar during the 2007–2008 icecovered season to transport crew and materials to and from the facility and recommended flight corridors and altitude restrictions were maintained. Tucker tracked vehicles made a total of 111.5 round trips between West Dock and Northstar Island, and the hovercraft made 426 round trips during the 2007– 2008 ice-covered season. Drilling activities were conducted over two well sites on Northstar Island VerDate Nov<24>2008 19:07 Jun 26, 2009 Jkt 217001 from January 18, 2008, to May 12, 2008. Vibratory pile driving occurred from February 15 to 19, 2008, and from July 24 to August 10, 2008, to place thermosiphons as part of the new protections system. No impact pile driving activities took place during the present reporting period. The 2008 repair activities consisted of placement of boulders along the northeast corner of the island during the ice-covered season from March 7 to April 24, 2008 and some minor repair activities during the open-water season in August 2008. Aerial overflights were conducted weekly to inspect the pipeline for leaks or spills. There were nine reportable Northstar-related spills during the 2007–2008 ice-covered season and the 2008 open-water season. Two of the nine reportable spills reach Beaufort Sea water or ice. The contaminated material was recovered completely. Materials that reached Beaufort Sea water or ice included power steering fluid and hydraulic fluid. Material from the seven remaining spills did not reach the Beaufort Sea or sea ice. Contaminated snow, ice, and gravel were removed with various types of equipment and sorbents. No clean-up activity was necessary after Northstar flare events during the reporting period. During the 2008 open-water period, there were 119 helicopter round trips, 445.5 hovercraft round trips, 45 tug and barge trips, and 55 Alaska Clean Seas Bay-class boat round trips to Northstar. There were an additional six trips by Bay-class boats in association with acoustic monitoring of the bowhead whale migration. Seal observations in 2008 were conducted during 54 days from May 15– July 15. A total of 415 seals were observed (including presumed repeat sightings of the same animal on different days), which is more than in previous years over the same period. Results of seal counts conducted from Northstar Island during the reporting period did not provide evidence, or reason to suspect, that any seals were killed or injured by Northstar-related activities during 2008. No Northstar activity capable of reaching 180 or 190 dB (rms) in the water occurred during the last year, and, therefore, no monitoring of these ‘‘safety radii’’ was implemented. An array of 10 Directional Autonomous Seafloor Acoustic Recorders (DASARs) were installed in August 2008. The array was deployed for approximately 29 days between August 27 and September 25, 2008. In 2008, the scope of the bowhead whale acoustic monitoring study was augmented relative to that in 2005–2007 PO 00000 Frm 00013 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 and was generally similar to that in 2001–2004, although the study design was somewhat modified from that in 2001–2004. The geometry of the DASAR array was changed, and new emphasis was placed on understanding how far Northstar sounds propagate offshore. DASARs were deployed at locations 8.5–38.5 km (5.3–24 mi) NNE of Northstar Island and recorded sounds continuously for approximately 29 days, until September 25, 2008. Simultaneously, near-island recordings were obtained from three DASARs placed approximately 450 m (1,476 ft) north of Northstar over the same period. In total, 85,669 bowhead whale calls were detected on the records of the 10 array DASARs combined from a total of 350,597 call detections. When expressed as a number of calls per day, the 2008 number (1,337 calls/day) is the highest since the beginning of the study in 2001, exceeding the previous record of 989 calls/day in 2004. The much higher call counts in 2008 compared to the lower counts in 2005 and 2006 are probably related to the absence of nearshore pack ice during the 2008 season, meaning there were probably more whales closer to shore. Post-field analyses of the near-island DASARs revealed the presence of a previously undetected pulsed sound. As soon as possible after ice break-up in 2009, a hydrophone will be used to determine if this sound is still present. If present, attempts will be made to localize the source and to either remove it or reduce its sound output. Subsistence hunters from Nuiqsut who traveled to Cross Island for the annual bowhead whale hunt did not report any negative effects from Northstar activities on their ability to conduct the hunt. In 2008, Nuiqsut whalers landed their full quota of four whales. Authorization BPXA complied with the requirements of the 2008 LOA, and NMFS has determined that the marine mammal take resulting from the 2008 construction and operation activities is within that analyzed in and anticipated by the associated regulations. Accordingly, NMFS has issued a 1-year LOA to BPXA, authorizing the taking of small numbers of marine mammals incidental to oil production construction and operations at the Northstar offshore facility in state and Federal waters in the U.S. Beaufort Sea. Issuance of this LOA is based on findings described in the preamble to the final rule (71 FR 11314, March 7, 2006) and supported by information contained in BPXA’s 2008 annual report E:\FR\FM\29JNN1.SGM 29JNN1 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 123 / Monday, June 29, 2009 / Notices that the activities described in the LOA will result in the taking of no more than small numbers of bowhead whales, beluga whales, ringed seals, and, possibly California gray whales, bearded seals, and spotted seals and that the total taking will have a negligible impact on these marine mammal stocks and would not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of these species or stocks for taking for subsistence uses. This LOA will be renewed annually based on review of the annual monitoring report. Dated: June 18, 2009. James H. Lecky, Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. E9–15188 Filed 6–26–09; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Department of the Navy to the respective meeting to allow adequate time for consideration. The Designated Federal Officer will review all timely submissions with the CNO Executive Panel Chairperson and will ensure they are provided to members of the CNO Executive Panel before the meeting that is the subject of this notice. Individuals desiring to participate via teleconference must submit their contact information (to include e-mail address) to CDR Catherine Masar at the below address. To contact the Designated Federal Officer, write to Executive Director, CNO Executive Panel (N00K), 4825 Mark Center Drive, 2nd Floor, Alexandria, VA 22311–1846. Dated: June 23, 2009. A. M. Vallandingham, Lieutenant Commander, Judge Advocate General’s Corps, U.S. Navy, Federal Register Liaison Officer. [FR Doc. E9–15243 Filed 6–26–09; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3810–FF–P Notice of Open Meeting of the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Executive Panel Department of the Navy, DoD. Notice. AGENCY: ACTION: The Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Executive Panel will deliberate on the findings and proposed recommendations of the Subcommittee on Diversity. The matters to be discussed include: Female and minority male officer accessions, retention, development, command climate, evaluation and mentoring programs, and accountability. DATES: The meeting will be held on Thursday, July 16, 2009, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. ADDRESSES: The meeting will be held in the Boardroom, CNA, 4825 Mark Center Drive, Alexandria, VA 22311–1846. Some members of the Executive Panel may participate via teleconference. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: CDR Catherine Masar, CNO Executive Panel, 4825 Mark Center Drive, Alexandria, VA 22311–1846, telephone: (703) 681–9633. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Individuals or interested groups may submit written statements for consideration by the CNO Executive Panel at any time or in response to the agenda of the scheduled meeting. All requests or statements must be submitted to the Designated Federal Officer at the address detailed below. Statements submitted in response to the agenda mentioned in this meeting notice must be received by the CNO Executive Panel at least five days prior sroberts on PROD1PC70 with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Nov<24>2008 20:04 Jun 26, 2009 Jkt 217001 DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Department of the Navy Notice of Partially Closed Meeting of the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Executive Panel Department of the Navy, DoD. Notice. AGENCY: ACTION: SUMMARY: The Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) Executive Panel will report on the findings and recommendations to the Chief of Naval Operations of the Subcommittee on the Navy’s Industrial Baseline in the Economic Downturn. The matters to be discussed during the meeting have been divided into Open and Closed matters. Open matters to be discussed are: Current U.S. Navy budgets; Navy budget drivers; Navy’s ability to plan, protect and optimize its future budgeting process; general anticipated effects on Navy’s industrial base caused by the current state of the economy; related challenges facing this Administration and the U.S. Navy. Closed matters to be discussed are: The current status of the U.S. Navy shipbuilding, aircraft, and science & technology industrial bases; near and far-term actions that the U.S. Navy can take to protect, provide visibility into the viability of second and third order suppliers, and optimize the Navy’s industrial bases (quality, reliability, visibility, affectivity, flexibility, diversity, capacity, on-time delivery, and cost); and a conclusion/summary of PO 00000 Frm 00014 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 31013 the classified discussions. The executive session of this meeting will be closed to the public. DATES: The open sessions of the meeting will be held on Monday, July 13, 2009, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. The closed Executive session will be held from 2:15 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. ADDRESSES: The meeting will be held in Conference Room 1A01, CNA, 4825 Mark Center Drive, Alexandria, VA 22311–1846. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. Brian D. Shaw, CNO Executive Panel, 4825 Mark Center Drive, Alexandria, VA 22311–1846, (703) 681–4906. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The matters to be presented during the closed session of this meeting are of acquisition sensitive and/or business/ proprietary nature and as such cannot be released to the public. Pursuant to title 5 of the United States Code, section 552b(c)(4), these matters are exempt from public disclosure. Individuals or interested groups may submit written statements for consideration by the CNO Executive Panel at any time or in response to the agenda of the scheduled meeting. All requests or statements must be submitted to the Designated Federal Officer at the address detailed below. Statements submitted in response to the agenda mentioned in this meeting notice must be received by the CNO Executive Panel at least five days prior to the respective meeting to allow adequate time for consideration. The Designated Federal Officer will review all timely submissions with the CNO Executive Panel Chairperson and will ensure they are provided to members of the CNO Executive Panel before the meeting that is the subject of this notice. To contact the Designated Federal Officer, write to Executive Director, CNO Executive Panel (N00K), 4825 Mark Center Drive, 2nd Floor, Alexandria, VA 22311–1846. Dated: June 23, 2009. A.M. Vallandingham, Lieutenant Commander, Office of the Judge Advocate General, U.S. Navy, Federal Register Liaison Officer. [FR Doc. E9–15244 Filed 6–26–09; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3810–FF–P DELAWARE RIVER BASIN COMMISSION Notice of Commission Meeting and Public Hearing Notice is hereby given that the Delaware River Basin Commission will E:\FR\FM\29JNN1.SGM 29JNN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 123 (Monday, June 29, 2009)]
[Notices]
[Pages 31011-31013]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-15188]


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

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 0648-XP92


Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; Taking Marine Mammals 
Incidental to Construction and Operation of Offshore Oil and Gas 
Facilities in the Beaufort Sea, Alaska

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

ACTION:  Notice of issuance of a letter of authorization.

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

SUMMARY:  In accordance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), 
as amended, and implementing regulations, notice is hereby given that 
NMFS has issued a letter of authorization (LOA) to BP Exploration 
(Alaska), Inc. (BPXA) to take marine mammals incidental to the 
production of offshore oil and gas at the Northstar development in the 
Beaufort Sea off Alaska.

DATES:  This Authorization is effective from July 7, 2009, through July 
6, 2010.

ADDRESSES: The LOA and supporting documentation may be obtained by 
writing to P. Michael Payne, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, 1315 
East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910, or by telephoning one of 
the contacts listed here.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Candace Nachman (301) 713-2289 or Brad 
Smith (907) 271-3023.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Section 101(a)(5)(A) of the MMPA (16 U.S.C. 
1361 et seq.) directs NMFS to allow, on request, the incidental, but 
not intentional, taking of small numbers of marine mammals by U.S. 
citizens who engage in a specified activity (other than commercial 
fishing) within a specified geographical region, if certain findings 
are made by NMFS and regulations are issued. Under the MMPA, the term 
``take'' means to harass, hunt, capture, or kill or to attempt to 
harass, hunt, capture, or kill marine mammals.
    Authorization may be granted for periods up to 5 years if NMFS 
finds, after notice and opportunity for public comment, that the taking 
will have a

[[Page 31012]]

negligible impact on the species or stock(s) of marine mammals and will 
not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of the 
species or stock(s) of marine mammals for subsistence uses. In 
addition, NMFS must prescribe regulations setting forth the permissible 
methods of taking and other means of effecting the least practicable 
adverse impact on the species and its habitat, and on the availability 
of the species for subsistence uses. The regulations also must include 
requirements pertaining to the monitoring and reporting of such taking. 
Regulations governing the taking of marine mammals incidental to 
construction and operation of the offshore oil and gas facility at 
Northstar became effective on April 6, 2006 (71 FR 11314, March 7, 
2006), and remain in effect until April 6, 2011. For detailed 
information on this action, please refer to that document. These 
regulations include mitigation, monitoring, and reporting requirements. 
The six species of marine mammals that BP may take in small numbers 
during construction and operation of the Northstar facility are bowhead 
whales, gray whales, beluga whales, ringed seals, spotted seals, and 
bearded seals.

Summary of Request

    On May 5, 2009, NMFS received a request from BPXA for a renewal of 
an LOA issued on July 1, 2008, for the taking of small numbers of 
marine mammals incidental to oil production operations at Northstar, 
under the regulations issued on March 7, 2006 (71 FR 11314). This 
request (BPXA, 2009) contains information in compliance with 50 CFR 
216.209, which updates information provided in BPXA's original 
application for takings incidental to construction and operations at 
Northstar. BPXA also submitted the required activity and monitoring 
report under the 2008-2009 LOA.

Summary of Activity and Monitoring Under the 2008-2009 LOA

    One offshore ice road was built during the 2007-2008 ice-covered 
season. Helicopters made 222 round trips to Northstar during the 2007-
2008 ice-covered season to transport crew and materials to and from the 
facility and recommended flight corridors and altitude restrictions 
were maintained. Tucker tracked vehicles made a total of 111.5 round 
trips between West Dock and Northstar Island, and the hovercraft made 
426 round trips during the 2007-2008 ice-covered season.
    Drilling activities were conducted over two well sites on Northstar 
Island from January 18, 2008, to May 12, 2008. Vibratory pile driving 
occurred from February 15 to 19, 2008, and from July 24 to August 10, 
2008, to place thermosiphons as part of the new protections system. No 
impact pile driving activities took place during the present reporting 
period. The 2008 repair activities consisted of placement of boulders 
along the northeast corner of the island during the ice-covered season 
from March 7 to April 24, 2008 and some minor repair activities during 
the open-water season in August 2008.
    Aerial overflights were conducted weekly to inspect the pipeline 
for leaks or spills. There were nine reportable Northstar-related 
spills during the 2007-2008 ice-covered season and the 2008 open-water 
season. Two of the nine reportable spills reach Beaufort Sea water or 
ice. The contaminated material was recovered completely. Materials that 
reached Beaufort Sea water or ice included power steering fluid and 
hydraulic fluid. Material from the seven remaining spills did not reach 
the Beaufort Sea or sea ice. Contaminated snow, ice, and gravel were 
removed with various types of equipment and sorbents. No clean-up 
activity was necessary after Northstar flare events during the 
reporting period.
    During the 2008 open-water period, there were 119 helicopter round 
trips, 445.5 hovercraft round trips, 45 tug and barge trips, and 55 
Alaska Clean Seas Bay-class boat round trips to Northstar. There were 
an additional six trips by Bay-class boats in association with acoustic 
monitoring of the bowhead whale migration.
    Seal observations in 2008 were conducted during 54 days from May 
15-July 15. A total of 415 seals were observed (including presumed 
repeat sightings of the same animal on different days), which is more 
than in previous years over the same period. Results of seal counts 
conducted from Northstar Island during the reporting period did not 
provide evidence, or reason to suspect, that any seals were killed or 
injured by Northstar-related activities during 2008. No Northstar 
activity capable of reaching 180 or 190 dB (rms) in the water occurred 
during the last year, and, therefore, no monitoring of these ``safety 
radii'' was implemented.
    An array of 10 Directional Autonomous Seafloor Acoustic Recorders 
(DASARs) were installed in August 2008. The array was deployed for 
approximately 29 days between August 27 and September 25, 2008. In 
2008, the scope of the bowhead whale acoustic monitoring study was 
augmented relative to that in 2005-2007 and was generally similar to 
that in 2001-2004, although the study design was somewhat modified from 
that in 2001-2004. The geometry of the DASAR array was changed, and new 
emphasis was placed on understanding how far Northstar sounds propagate 
offshore. DASARs were deployed at locations 8.5-38.5 km (5.3-24 mi) NNE 
of Northstar Island and recorded sounds continuously for approximately 
29 days, until September 25, 2008. Simultaneously, near-island 
recordings were obtained from three DASARs placed approximately 450 m 
(1,476 ft) north of Northstar over the same period. In total, 85,669 
bowhead whale calls were detected on the records of the 10 array DASARs 
combined from a total of 350,597 call detections. When expressed as a 
number of calls per day, the 2008 number (1,337 calls/day) is the 
highest since the beginning of the study in 2001, exceeding the 
previous record of 989 calls/day in 2004. The much higher call counts 
in 2008 compared to the lower counts in 2005 and 2006 are probably 
related to the absence of nearshore pack ice during the 2008 season, 
meaning there were probably more whales closer to shore.
    Post-field analyses of the near-island DASARs revealed the presence 
of a previously undetected pulsed sound. As soon as possible after ice 
break-up in 2009, a hydrophone will be used to determine if this sound 
is still present. If present, attempts will be made to localize the 
source and to either remove it or reduce its sound output.
    Subsistence hunters from Nuiqsut who traveled to Cross Island for 
the annual bowhead whale hunt did not report any negative effects from 
Northstar activities on their ability to conduct the hunt. In 2008, 
Nuiqsut whalers landed their full quota of four whales.

Authorization

    BPXA complied with the requirements of the 2008 LOA, and NMFS has 
determined that the marine mammal take resulting from the 2008 
construction and operation activities is within that analyzed in and 
anticipated by the associated regulations. Accordingly, NMFS has issued 
a 1-year LOA to BPXA, authorizing the taking of small numbers of marine 
mammals incidental to oil production construction and operations at the 
Northstar offshore facility in state and Federal waters in the U.S. 
Beaufort Sea. Issuance of this LOA is based on findings described in 
the preamble to the final rule (71 FR 11314, March 7, 2006) and 
supported by information contained in BPXA's 2008 annual report

[[Page 31013]]

that the activities described in the LOA will result in the taking of 
no more than small numbers of bowhead whales, beluga whales, ringed 
seals, and, possibly California gray whales, bearded seals, and spotted 
seals and that the total taking will have a negligible impact on these 
marine mammal stocks and would not have an unmitigable adverse impact 
on the availability of these species or stocks for taking for 
subsistence uses. This LOA will be renewed annually based on review of 
the annual monitoring report.

    Dated: June 18, 2009.
James H. Lecky,
Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries 
Service.
[FR Doc. E9-15188 Filed 6-26-09; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S