Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Missile Launch Operations from San Nicolas Island, CA, 58365-58366 [2010-24026]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 185 / Friday, September 24, 2010 / Notices Dated: September 17, 2010. Andrew McGilvray, Executive Secretary. [FR Doc. 2010–24035 Filed 9–23–10; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XY60 Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Missile Launch Operations from San Nicolas Island, CA National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Department of Commerce. ACTION: Notice; request for comments on proposed revised Letter of Authorization. AGENCY: In June, 2009, pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), NMFS issued regulations to govern the unintentional taking of marine mammals incidental to U.S. Navy (Navy) missile launch operations, a military readiness activity, from San Nicolas Island (SNI), California, for the period of June 2009 through June 2014. The second Letter of Authorization (LOA) for the incidental take of marine mammals during the described activities and specified timeframes is effective from June 4, 2010, through June 3, 2011. Following issuance of the LOA, the Navy submitted a revised monitoring plan for their activities at SNI. NMFS is proposing to issue a revised LOA, which would incorporate the revised monitoring plan, to replace the one that is currently in effect. DATES: Comments and information must be received no later than October 25, 2010. SUMMARY: Comments on the revised monitoring plan should be addressed to Michael Payne, Chief, Permits, Conservation, and Education Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service, 1315 EastWest Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910. The mailbox address for providing email comments is PR1.0648– XY60@noaa.gov. NMFS is not responsible for email comments sent to addresses other than the one provided here. Comments sent via email, including all attachments, must not exceed a 10–megabyte file size. Instructions: All comments received are a part of the public record and will srobinson on DSKHWCL6B1PROD with NOTICES ADDRESSES: VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:12 Sep 23, 2010 Jkt 220001 generally be posted to http:// www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/ incidental.htm without change. All Personal Identifying Information (for example, name, address, etc.) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit Confidential Business Information or otherwise sensitive or protected information. A copy of the revised monitoring plan may be obtained by writing to the address specified above, telephoning the contact listed below (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT), or visiting the internet at: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/ pr/permits/incidental.htm. Documents cited in this notice may also be viewed, by appointment, during regular business hours, at the aforementioned address. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Michelle Magliocca, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, 301–713–2289, or Monica DeAngelis, NMFS, 562–980– 3232. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background Section 101(a)(5)(A) of the MMPA (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.) directs the Secretary of Commerce to allow, upon 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 and regulations are issued. However, for military readiness activities, the National Defense Authorization Act (Public Law 108–136) removed the ‘‘small numbers’’ and ‘‘specified geographical region’’ limitations. 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 notification and opportunity for public comment, that the taking will have a 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) for subsistence uses. In addition, NMFS must prescribe regulations that include 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, paying particular attention to rookeries, mating grounds, and areas of similar significance. The regulations must include requirements for monitoring and reporting of such taking. PO 00000 Frm 00019 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 58365 Regulations governing the taking of Northern elephant seals (Mirounga angustirostris), Pacific harbor seals (Phoca vitulina richardsi), and California sea lions (Zalophus californianus), by harassment, incidental to missile launch operations at SNI, were issued on June 2, 2009, and remain in effect until June 2, 2014 (74 FR 26580). The most recent LOA under these regulations was issued on June 4, 2010 (75 FR 28587). For more detailed information on this action, please refer to these documents. The regulations and LOA include mitigation, monitoring, and reporting requirements for the incidental take of marine mammals during missile launches at SNI. Northern elephant seals, Pacific harbor seals, and California sea lions are found on various haul-out sites and rookeries on SNI. The current LOA authorizes take of the three pinniped species listed above that may result from the launching of up to 40 missiles from SNI per year. Up to 10 launches per year may occur at night. Nighttime launches will only occur when required by the test objectives, e.g., when testing the Airborne Laser system. The noise generated by Navy activities may result in the incidental harassment of pinnipeds, both behaviorally and in terms of physiological (auditory) impacts. The noise and visual disturbances from missile launches may cause the animals to move towards or enter the water. The current LOA authorizes the following numbers of pinnipeds to be incidentally taken by Level B harassment annually: 474 Northern elephant seals; 467 Pacific harbor seals; and 1,606 California sea lions. Summary of the Modification On June 7, 2010, NMFS received a revised monitoring plan for vehicle launches at SNI, California, in association with an LOA issued on June 4, 2010 and in effect through June 3, 2011. The revised monitoring plan was updated to reflect new equipment and procedures proposed by the Navy, along with a proposal to discontinue targeted monitoring of Northern elephant seals. After reviewing the revised monitoring plan, the Marine Mammal Commission (Commission) further recommended that the Navy obtain, analyze, and review existing information regarding potential displacement of Northern elephant seals, Pacific harbor seals, and California sea lions from those rookeries and haul out sites affected by launch activities. NMFS marine mammal surveys from SNI have since been reviewed for any indications of decreasing trends in pinniped E:\FR\FM\24SEN1.SGM 24SEN1 58366 Federal Register / Vol. 75, No. 185 / Friday, September 24, 2010 / Notices abundance or changes in distribution since the take of marine mammals incidental to launches from SNI were authorized beginning in August 2001. The surveys do not indicate any significant changes in abundance or distribution; therefore, NMFS proposes that the Navy’s revised monitoring plan remain as is. The following are the only proposed modifications to the current LOA; all other mitigation and monitoring requirements would remain unchanged. srobinson on DSKHWCL6B1PROD with NOTICES Nighttime Launches The Navy recently acquired forward looking infrared (FLIR) HS–324 Command thermal imaging cameras for nighttime monitoring of pinnipeds before, during, and after each missile launch. Previously, no cameras were available for nighttime monitoring of pinniped haul out sites. The thermal imaging cameras, made by FLIR Systems, Inc., would be located to overlook haul out sites up to 6 hours prior to a launch, depending on safety restrictions. Placement of the cameras would cause minimal disturbance to pinnipeds and would focus on a subgroup of pinnipeds within the haul out aggregation. The cameras record data internally and are capable of storing more than 5 hours of video; however, they do not record sound, so no simultaneous audio recording separate from the acoustic monitoring data, collected as described in the regulations (74 FR 26580) and current LOA (75 FR 28587), would be available. Navy biologists would make direct visual observations of the pinniped groups, prior to deployment of the thermal imaging cameras, in order to record weather conditions, species, locations of any pinnipeds hauled out, etc. Monitoring of Northern Elephant Seals The Navy proposes to eliminate targeted monitoring of Northern elephant seals during all future launches of Vandal- and Coyote-size, and smaller, vehicles on SNI. During the majority of launches monitored over the past 9 years, Northern elephant seals exhibited little reaction to vehicle launches. The Navy’s most recent monitoring report estimated that zero Northern elephant seals were harassed by launches from SNI. During future launches, Northern elephant seals would only be monitored if they happen to be alongside other monitored pinniped species (i.e., Pacific harbor seals and California sea lions) and in the camera’s field of view. Monitoring sites would be chosen based primarily on the presence of Pacific harbor seals and VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:12 Sep 23, 2010 Jkt 220001 California sea lions. By eliminating targeted monitoring of Northern elephant seals, the Navy would focus on these more responsive pinniped species and remaining questions about the frequency and extent of these responses. All other aspects of the Navy’s monitoring requirements, as stated in the regulations (74 FR 26580) and current LOA (75 FR 28587), would remain the same. COMMITTEE FOR PURCHASE FROM PEOPLE WHO ARE BLIND OR SEVERELY DISABLED Summary of Activity and Monitoring Conducted During 2010 SUMMARY: The Navy submitted a preliminary, qualitative review of marine mammal monitoring activities between June 4, 2010, and September 1, 2010, as part of their proposal for a revised monitoring plan. The review briefly describes two single launches from SNI on two different days. These launches occurred during daylight hours. A single Coyote missile was launched on each of two days, June 9 and July 8, 2010, from the Alpha Launch Complex located 190 m (623 ft) above sea level on the westcentral part of SNI. For each launch, three remote video cameras and three or four audio recorders were deployed at varying distances from the launch site. Trained staff also collected general information on environmental conditions and the status and behavior of focal animal groups prior to and following each launch. Behavioral responses were similar to those observed during previously monitored launches. The authorized level of take was not exceeded, and no evidence of injury or mortality was observed during or immediately succeeding the launches for the monitored pinniped species. Proposed Authorization The Navy continues to comply with the requirements of the current 2010 LOA. NMFS has preliminarily determined that this action would continue to have a negligible impact on the affected species or stocks of marine mammals on SNI, and there are no subsistence uses of these three pinniped species in California waters. Accordingly, NMFS proposes to issue a revised LOA to the Navy authorizing the take of three marine mammal species, by harassment, incidental to missile launch activities from SNI. The revised LOA would expire one year from the date of issuance. Dated: September 20, 2010. Helen M. Golde, Deputy Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2010–24026 Filed 9–23–10; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–S PO 00000 Frm 00020 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Procurement List Additions Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled. ACTION: Additions to the Procurement List. AGENCY: This action adds services to the Procurement List that will be provided by nonprofit agencies employing persons who are blind or have other severe disabilities. DATES: Effective Date: 10/25/2010. ADDRESSES: Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled, Jefferson Plaza 2, Suite 10800, 1421 Jefferson Davis Highway, Arlington, Virginia 22202–3259. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Barry S. Lineback, Telephone: (703) 603–7740, Fax: (703) 603–0655, or email CMTEFedReg@AbilityOne.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Additions On 6/11/2010 (75 FR 33270–33271) and 7/16/2010 (75 FR 41451), the Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled published notices of proposed additions to the Procurement List. After consideration of the material presented to it concerning capability of qualified nonprofit agencies to provide the services and impact of the additions on the current or most recent contractors, the Committee has determined that the services listed below are suitable for procurement by the Federal Government under 41 U.S.C. 46–48c and 41 CFR 51–2.4. Regulatory Flexibility Act Certification I certify that the following action will not have a significant impact on a substantial number of small entities. The major factors considered for this certification were: 1. The action will not result in any additional reporting, recordkeeping or other compliance requirements for small entities other than the small organizations that will provide the services to the Government. 2. The action will result in authorizing small entities to provide the services to the Government. 3. There are no known regulatory alternatives which would accomplish the objectives of the Javits-WagnerO’Day Act (41 U.S.C. 46–48c) in connection with the services proposed for addition to the Procurement List. E:\FR\FM\24SEN1.SGM 24SEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 75, Number 185 (Friday, September 24, 2010)]
[Notices]
[Pages 58365-58366]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2010-24026]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 0648-XY60


Taking and Importing Marine Mammals; Taking Marine Mammals 
Incidental to Missile Launch Operations from San Nicolas Island, CA

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

ACTION:  Notice; request for comments on proposed revised Letter of 
Authorization.

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

SUMMARY:  In June, 2009, pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act 
(MMPA), NMFS issued regulations to govern the unintentional taking of 
marine mammals incidental to U.S. Navy (Navy) missile launch 
operations, a military readiness activity, from San Nicolas Island 
(SNI), California, for the period of June 2009 through June 2014. The 
second Letter of Authorization (LOA) for the incidental take of marine 
mammals during the described activities and specified timeframes is 
effective from June 4, 2010, through June 3, 2011. Following issuance 
of the LOA, the Navy submitted a revised monitoring plan for their 
activities at SNI. NMFS is proposing to issue a revised LOA, which 
would incorporate the revised monitoring plan, to replace the one that 
is currently in effect.

DATES:  Comments and information must be received no later than October 
25, 2010.

ADDRESSES:  Comments on the revised monitoring plan should be addressed 
to Michael Payne, Chief, Permits, Conservation, and Education Division, 
Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service, 1315 
East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910. The mailbox address for 
providing email comments is PR1.0648-XY60@noaa.gov. NMFS is not 
responsible for email comments sent to addresses other than the one 
provided here. Comments sent via email, including all attachments, must 
not exceed a 10-megabyte file size.
    Instructions: All comments received are a part of the public record 
and will generally be posted to http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental.htm without change. All Personal Identifying Information 
(for example, name, address, etc.) voluntarily submitted by the 
commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit Confidential 
Business Information or otherwise sensitive or protected information.
    A copy of the revised monitoring plan may be obtained by writing to 
the address specified above, telephoning the contact listed below (see 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT), or visiting the internet at: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental.htm. Documents cited in this 
notice may also be viewed, by appointment, during regular business 
hours, at the aforementioned address.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT:  Michelle Magliocca, Office of 
Protected Resources, NMFS, 301-713-2289, or Monica DeAngelis, NMFS, 
562-980-3232.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    Section 101(a)(5)(A) of the MMPA (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.) directs 
the Secretary of Commerce to allow, upon 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 and regulations are issued. However, for military readiness 
activities, the National Defense Authorization Act (Public Law 108-136) 
removed the ``small numbers'' and ``specified geographical region'' 
limitations. 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 notification and opportunity for public comment, that the 
taking will have a 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) for subsistence uses. In 
addition, NMFS must prescribe regulations that include 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, paying particular attention to 
rookeries, mating grounds, and areas of similar significance. The 
regulations must include requirements for monitoring and reporting of 
such taking.
    Regulations governing the taking of Northern elephant seals 
(Mirounga angustirostris), Pacific harbor seals (Phoca vitulina 
richardsi), and California sea lions (Zalophus californianus), by 
harassment, incidental to missile launch operations at SNI, were issued 
on June 2, 2009, and remain in effect until June 2, 2014 (74 FR 26580). 
The most recent LOA under these regulations was issued on June 4, 2010 
(75 FR 28587). For more detailed information on this action, please 
refer to these documents. The regulations and LOA include mitigation, 
monitoring, and reporting requirements for the incidental take of 
marine mammals during missile launches at SNI. Northern elephant seals, 
Pacific harbor seals, and California sea lions are found on various 
haul-out sites and rookeries on SNI. The current LOA authorizes take of 
the three pinniped species listed above that may result from the 
launching of up to 40 missiles from SNI per year. Up to 10 launches per 
year may occur at night. Nighttime launches will only occur when 
required by the test objectives, e.g., when testing the Airborne Laser 
system. The noise generated by Navy activities may result in the 
incidental harassment of pinnipeds, both behaviorally and in terms of 
physiological (auditory) impacts. The noise and visual disturbances 
from missile launches may cause the animals to move towards or enter 
the water. The current LOA authorizes the following numbers of 
pinnipeds to be incidentally taken by Level B harassment annually: 474 
Northern elephant seals; 467 Pacific harbor seals; and 1,606 California 
sea lions.

Summary of the Modification

    On June 7, 2010, NMFS received a revised monitoring plan for 
vehicle launches at SNI, California, in association with an LOA issued 
on June 4, 2010 and in effect through June 3, 2011. The revised 
monitoring plan was updated to reflect new equipment and procedures 
proposed by the Navy, along with a proposal to discontinue targeted 
monitoring of Northern elephant seals. After reviewing the revised 
monitoring plan, the Marine Mammal Commission (Commission) further 
recommended that the Navy obtain, analyze, and review existing 
information regarding potential displacement of Northern elephant 
seals, Pacific harbor seals, and California sea lions from those 
rookeries and haul out sites affected by launch activities. NMFS marine 
mammal surveys from SNI have since been reviewed for any indications of 
decreasing trends in pinniped

[[Page 58366]]

abundance or changes in distribution since the take of marine mammals 
incidental to launches from SNI were authorized beginning in August 
2001. The surveys do not indicate any significant changes in abundance 
or distribution; therefore, NMFS proposes that the Navy's revised 
monitoring plan remain as is. The following are the only proposed 
modifications to the current LOA; all other mitigation and monitoring 
requirements would remain unchanged.

Nighttime Launches

    The Navy recently acquired forward looking infrared (FLIR) HS-324 
Command thermal imaging cameras for nighttime monitoring of pinnipeds 
before, during, and after each missile launch. Previously, no cameras 
were available for nighttime monitoring of pinniped haul out sites. The 
thermal imaging cameras, made by FLIR Systems, Inc., would be located 
to overlook haul out sites up to 6 hours prior to a launch, depending 
on safety restrictions. Placement of the cameras would cause minimal 
disturbance to pinnipeds and would focus on a subgroup of pinnipeds 
within the haul out aggregation. The cameras record data internally and 
are capable of storing more than 5 hours of video; however, they do not 
record sound, so no simultaneous audio recording separate from the 
acoustic monitoring data, collected as described in the regulations (74 
FR 26580) and current LOA (75 FR 28587), would be available. Navy 
biologists would make direct visual observations of the pinniped 
groups, prior to deployment of the thermal imaging cameras, in order to 
record weather conditions, species, locations of any pinnipeds hauled 
out, etc.

Monitoring of Northern Elephant Seals

    The Navy proposes to eliminate targeted monitoring of Northern 
elephant seals during all future launches of Vandal- and Coyote-size, 
and smaller, vehicles on SNI. During the majority of launches monitored 
over the past 9 years, Northern elephant seals exhibited little 
reaction to vehicle launches. The Navy's most recent monitoring report 
estimated that zero Northern elephant seals were harassed by launches 
from SNI. During future launches, Northern elephant seals would only be 
monitored if they happen to be alongside other monitored pinniped 
species (i.e., Pacific harbor seals and California sea lions) and in 
the camera's field of view. Monitoring sites would be chosen based 
primarily on the presence of Pacific harbor seals and California sea 
lions. By eliminating targeted monitoring of Northern elephant seals, 
the Navy would focus on these more responsive pinniped species and 
remaining questions about the frequency and extent of these responses. 
All other aspects of the Navy's monitoring requirements, as stated in 
the regulations (74 FR 26580) and current LOA (75 FR 28587), would 
remain the same.

Summary of Activity and Monitoring Conducted During 2010

    The Navy submitted a preliminary, qualitative review of marine 
mammal monitoring activities between June 4, 2010, and September 1, 
2010, as part of their proposal for a revised monitoring plan. The 
review briefly describes two single launches from SNI on two different 
days. These launches occurred during daylight hours. A single Coyote 
missile was launched on each of two days, June 9 and July 8, 2010, from 
the Alpha Launch Complex located 190 m (623 ft) above sea level on the 
west-central part of SNI. For each launch, three remote video cameras 
and three or four audio recorders were deployed at varying distances 
from the launch site. Trained staff also collected general information 
on environmental conditions and the status and behavior of focal animal 
groups prior to and following each launch. Behavioral responses were 
similar to those observed during previously monitored launches. The 
authorized level of take was not exceeded, and no evidence of injury or 
mortality was observed during or immediately succeeding the launches 
for the monitored pinniped species.

Proposed Authorization

    The Navy continues to comply with the requirements of the current 
2010 LOA. NMFS has preliminarily determined that this action would 
continue to have a negligible impact on the affected species or stocks 
of marine mammals on SNI, and there are no subsistence uses of these 
three pinniped species in California waters. Accordingly, NMFS proposes 
to issue a revised LOA to the Navy authorizing the take of three marine 
mammal species, by harassment, incidental to missile launch activities 
from SNI. The revised LOA would expire one year from the date of 
issuance.

    Dated: September 20, 2010.
Helen M. Golde,
Deputy Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2010-24026 Filed 9-23-10; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-S