Taking and Importing Marine Mammals: Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Navy's Mission Activities at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division, 9628-9631 [2012-3714]

Download as PDF 9628 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 33 / Friday, February 17, 2012 / Notices DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Council Office (302) 526–5251 at least 5 days prior to the meeting date. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Dated: February 14, 2012. Tracey L. Thompson, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. RIN 0648–XB011 Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC); Public Meeting [FR Doc. 2012–3752 Filed 2–16–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice of a public meeting. AGENCY: The Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s (Council) AdHoc Atlantic Sturgeon Committee will hold a meeting. DATES: The meeting will be held on March 6, 2012, from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. ADDRESSES: The meeting will be held at Four Points by Sheraton BWI Airport, 7032 Elm Road, Baltimore, MD 21240; telephone: (410) 859–3300. Council address: Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, 800 N. State Street, Suite 201, Dover, DE 19901; telephone: (302) 674–2331. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Christopher M. Moore Ph.D., Executive Director, Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, 800 N. State Street, Suite 201, Dover, DE 19901; telephone: (302) 526–5255. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The purpose of this meeting is to identify and discuss potential management actions to minimize incidental catches of Atlantic sturgeon in fisheries managed by the Mid-Atlantic Council. A management response is necessary given the recent classification of Atlantic sturgeon under the Endangered Species Act. Although non-emergency issues not contained in this agenda may come before this group for discussion, in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), those issues may not be the subject of formal action during this meeting. Actions will be restricted to those issues specifically identified in this notice and any issues arising after publication of this notice that require emergency action under Section 305(c) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, provided the public has been notified of the Council’s intent to take final action to address the emergency. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: Special Accommodations The meeting is physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to M. Jan Saunders at the Mid-Atlantic VerDate Mar<15>2010 19:08 Feb 16, 2012 Jkt 226001 DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XA902 Taking and Importing Marine Mammals: Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Navy’s Mission Activities at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice; issuance of a Letter of Authorization. AGENCY: In accordance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), as amended, and implementing regulations, notification is hereby given that NMFS has issued a one-year Letter of Authorization (LOA), followed by a revised LOA that is valid for two years, to take marine mammals by harassment incidental to the U.S. Navy’s Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E) mission activities at the Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division (NSWC PCD) to the Commander, U.S. Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division, 110 Vernon Avenue, Panama City, FL 32407–7001 and persons operating under his authority. DATES: Effective from January 21, 2012, through January 20, 2014. ADDRESSES: Copies of the Navy’s September 1, 2011, LOA application, the LOA, the Navy’s 2011 marine species monitoring report and the Navy’s 2011 annual mission activities report are available by writing to P. Michael Payne, Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910, by telephoning the contact listed here (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT), or online at: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/ permits/incidental.htm#applications. Documents cited in this notice may be viewed, by appointment, during regular business hours, at the aforementioned address. SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Shane Guan, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS (301) 427–8418. 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 marine mammals by U.S. citizens who engage in a military readiness activity if certain findings are made and regulations are issued. Authorization may be granted for periods of 5 years or less if NMFS finds that the taking will have a negligible impact on the species or stock(s), 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 also must include requirements pertaining to the monitoring and reporting of such taking. Regulations governing the taking of marine mammals incidental to the U.S. Navy’s RDT&E activities at the NSWC PCD were published on January 21, 2010 (75 FR 3395), and remain in effect through January 21, 2015. They are codified at 50 CFR part 218 subpart S. These regulations include mitigation, monitoring, and reporting requirements for the incidental taking of marine mammals by the Navy’s RDT&E activities. For detailed information on these actions, please refer to the January 21, 2010 Federal Register notice and 50 CFR part 218 subpart S. On February 1, 2012, NMFS published a final rule (77 FR 4917) that allows for the issuance of multi-year LOAs, as long as the regulations governing such LOAs are valid. Summary of LOA Request NMFS received an application from the U.S. Navy for an LOA covering the Navy’s RDT&E activities at NSWC PCD off the U.S. Gulf of Mexico under the regulations issued on January 21, 2010 (75 FR 3395). The application requested authorization, for a period of two years, to take, by harassment, marine mammals incidental to proposed RDT&E activities that involve underwater explosive detonation, projectile firing, and sonar testing. E:\FR\FM\17FEN1.SGM 17FEN1 9629 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 33 / Friday, February 17, 2012 / Notices Summary of Activity Under the 2011 LOA As described in the Navy’s activities report, which covered the period between August 2, 2010, and August 1, 2011, the RDT&E activities conducted by the Navy were within the scope and amounts contemplated by the final rule. None of the testing events exceeded the average annual allotment authorized under the rule. No test activities involving underwater explosive detonations and projectile firing were conducted during the reporting period. As shown in Tables 1 and 2, most of the mid-frequency active sonar (MFAS) and high-frequency active sonar (HFAS) testing events were far below the levels authorized in the annual LOA. TABLE 1—TOTAL ANNUAL NUMBER OF EACH TYPE OF MFAS AND HFAS LISTED AT 50 CFR § 218.180 CONDUCTED IN THE NSWC PCD STUDY AREA IN TERRITORIAL WATERS (NUMBER AUTHORIZED VS. CONDUCTED) Number authorized (hrs) Sonar system AN/SQS–53/56 Kingfisher ........................................................................................................................................... Sub-bottom profiler (2–9 kHz) ..................................................................................................................................... REMUS SAS–LF ......................................................................................................................................................... REMUS Modem ........................................................................................................................................................... Sub-bottom profiler (2–16 kHz) ................................................................................................................................... AN/SQQ–32 ................................................................................................................................................................. REMUS–SAS–LF ......................................................................................................................................................... SAS–LF ........................................................................................................................................................................ AN/WLD–1RMS–ACL .................................................................................................................................................. BPAUV Sidescan ......................................................................................................................................................... TVSS ............................................................................................................................................................................ F84Y ............................................................................................................................................................................ BPAUV Sidescan ......................................................................................................................................................... REMUS–SAS–HF ........................................................................................................................................................ SAS–HF ....................................................................................................................................................................... AN/AQS–20 ................................................................................................................................................................. AN/WLD–11 RMS Navigation ...................................................................................................................................... BPAUV Sidescan ......................................................................................................................................................... 3 21 12 25 24 30 20 35 33.5 25 15 15 25 10 11.5 545 15 30 Number conducted (hrs) 0 0 1 20.8 8 0 17.8 34 0 9 0 0 0 10 8 269.57 4 0.1 TABLE 2—TOTAL ANNUAL NUMBER OF EACH TYPE OF MFAS AND HFAS LISTED AT 50 CFR § 218.180 CONDUCTED IN THE NSWC PCD STUDY AREA IN NON-TERRITORIAL WATERS (NUMBER AUTHORIZED VS. CONDUCTED) Number authorized (hrs) Sonar system AN/SQS–53/56 Kingfisher ............................................................................................................................................. Sub-bottom profiler (2–9 kHz) ....................................................................................................................................... REMUS Modem ............................................................................................................................................................. Sub-bottom profiler (2–16 kHz) ..................................................................................................................................... AN/SQQ–32 ................................................................................................................................................................... SAS–LF .......................................................................................................................................................................... AN/WLD–1RMS–ACL .................................................................................................................................................... BPAUV Sidescan ........................................................................................................................................................... TVSS .............................................................................................................................................................................. F84Y .............................................................................................................................................................................. REMUS–SAS–HF .......................................................................................................................................................... SAS–HF ......................................................................................................................................................................... AN/AQS–20 ................................................................................................................................................................... BPAUV Sidescan ........................................................................................................................................................... mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Planned Activities for 2012 and 2013 In 2012 and 2013, the Navy expects to conduct the same type and amount of RDT&E activities identified in the final rules and 2011 LOA. No modification is proposed by the Navy for its planned 2012–2013 activities under the 2010 rule. Estimated Take for 2012–2013 The estimated takes for the Navy’s proposed 2012 RDT&E activities are the same as those in authorized in 2011. No VerDate Mar<15>2010 19:08 Feb 16, 2012 Jkt 226001 change has been made in the estimated takes from the 2011 LOA. Summary of Monitoring, Reporting, and Other Requirements Under the 2009 LOA Annual Mission Activities Report The Navy submitted their 2011 annual mission activities report covering the period from August 2, 2010, through August 1, 2011 within the required timeframes and it is posted on NMFS Web site: http:// www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/ PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 1 1 12 1 1 15 5 38 16.5 15 25 15 15 25 Number conducted (hrs) 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 8 8 0 0 0 11 0 incidental.htm#applications. NMFS has reviewed the report and it contains the information required by the 2011 LOA. The report lists the amount of hours sonar testing was conducted during the reporting period. During this time period, NSWC PCD conducted 409.27 hours of sonar testing, 382.27 hours in territorial waters (Table 1) and 27 hours in non-territorial waters (Table 2). No RDT&E activities associated with underwater detonations were conducted during this period. E:\FR\FM\17FEN1.SGM 17FEN1 9630 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 33 / Friday, February 17, 2012 / Notices mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Monitoring and Annual Monitoring Reports The Navy submitted a marine species monitoring report within the required timeframes and it is posted on NMFS Web site: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/ permits/incidental.htm#applications. The monitoring report covers the period between August 2, 2010, and August 1, 2011. NSWC PCD conducted two aerial monitoring events for tests of the AN/ AQS–20 sonar system during the reporting period. Observers searched for and subsequently recorded any present cetacean and sea turtle species during pre-test, during-test, and post-test monitoring for both sonar events. No stranded or injured marine mammals or sea turtles were observed during either aerial monitoring effort. Aerial monitoring was conducted July 5–9, 2011, in good to fair sighting conditions, with all sightings made in Beaufort sea states between 1 and 4. The monitoring included two re-test flights; two flights during the test; and one posttest flight. Focal follow behavioral data were collected during two of the sightings. Observers visually surveyed 2,067 km (1,116 nm) of systematic (oneffort) trackline and 2,749 km (1,484 nm) of total trackline during five days for approximately 14.3 hours of total survey effort. Twenty-one cetacean sightings were recorded: Thirteen groups of bottlenose dolphins; one group of Atlantic spotted dolphins; and seven groups of unidentified dolphins. The second monitoring event took place July 23–26, 2011, in good to fair sighting conditions, with sightings made in Beaufort sea states between 1 and 4. This monitoring included two pre-test flights; one flight during the test; and one post-test flight. Focal follow behavioral data were collected during two of the sightings. Observers visually surveyed 1,475 km (796 nm) of systematic (on-effort) trackline and 1,937 km (1,046 nm) of total trackline during four days for approximately 7.8 hours of total survey effort. Seventeen cetacean sightings were recorded: Fifteen groups of bottlenose dolphins and two groups of Atlantic spotted dolphins. No monitoring opportunities were available for explosive events in the NSWC PCD Study Area as none of these activities were conducted during this reporting period. Adaptive Management In general, adaptive management allows NMFS to consider new information from different sources to determine (with input from the Navy regarding practicability) if monitoring VerDate Mar<15>2010 19:08 Feb 16, 2012 Jkt 226001 efforts should be modified if new information suggests that such modifications are appropriate. All of the 5-year rules and LOAs issued to the Navy include an adaptive management component, which includes an annual meeting between NMFS and the Navy. NMFS and the Navy conducted an adaptive management meeting in October 2011, which representatives from the Marine Mammal Commission participated in, wherein we reviewed the Navy monitoring results through August 1, 2011, discussed other Navy research and development efforts, and discussed other new information that could potentially inform decisions regarding Navy mitigation and monitoring. No changes were proposed for the 2012 monitoring plan for the NSWC PCD RDT&E activities. Integrated Comprehensive Monitoring Report The 2010 LOA required that the Navy update the ICMP Plan to reflect development in three areas, specifically: (1) Identifying more specific monitoring sub-goals under the major goals that have been identified; (2) characterizing Navy Range Complexes and study areas within the context of the prioritization guidelines described in the ICMP Plan; and (3) continuing to develop data management, organization and access procedures. The Navy has updated the ICMP Plan as required. Because the ICMP is an evolving Program, we posted the ICMP on NMFS Web site: http:// www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/ incidental.htm. 2011 Monitoring Meeting The regulations that established the framework for authorizing the taking of marine mammals incidental to Navy RDT&E activities required the Navy, with guidance and support from NMFS, to convene a Monitoring Workshop in 2011 (50 CFR 218.184(i)). The Marine Mammal Monitoring Workshop, which included scientists, representatives from non-governmental organizations, and Marine Mammal Commission staff, took place in June 2011. Pursuant to the regulations, this workshop presented a consolidated overview of monitoring activities conducted in 2010, as well as the outcomes of selected monitoringrelated research. In 2010, the Navy convened a Scientific Advisory Group (SAG), comprised of experts in the fields of marine mammals and underwater acoustics, to review the Navy’s current monitoring plans and make recommendations. The results of the SAG’s review were also presented at the meeting. Participants engaged in open discussion of the lessons learned, PO 00000 Frm 00011 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 and discussed how to improve the Navy’s monitoring plan moving forward. If changes to monitoring approaches are identified at the workshop that can be implemented during the annual LOA renewal process and subsequent 5-year regulations, the Navy and NMFS will modify the Navywide monitoring plan and propose appropriate changes to the monitoring measures in specific LOAs for the different Range Complexes and study areas. For Range Complexes or study areas with substantive monitoring modifications, NMFS will subsequently publish proposed LOAs, with the modifications, in the Federal Register and solicit public input. After addressing public comments and making changes as appropriate, NMFS will issue new training area LOAs that reflect the new Navy-wide monitoring plan. Authorization The Navy complied with the requirements of the 2011 LOA. Based on our review of the Navy’s annual mission activities report, which shows that the amount of sonar testing hours was below the annual authorized levels and that no underwater detonation and projectile firing were conducted during FY 2011, NMFS has determined that the effects to marine mammals that resulted from the 2011 NWSC PCD RDT&E activities were likely lower than analyzed. Two monitoring activities were conducted during the period between August 2, 2010, and August 1, 2011, for sonar testing activities, as required by the 2011 LOA. The monitoring results showed that the RDT&E activities at the NSWC PCD had no more than a negligible impact on the affected species or stock of marine mammals. There is no subsistence use of marine mammals that could potentially be impacted by the Navy’s activities at NSWC PCD. Further, the level of taking authorized in 2012 and 2013 for the Navy’s NSWC PCD RDT&E activities is consistent with our previous findings made for the total taking allowed under the NSWC PCD regulations. Finally, the record supports NMFS’ conclusion that the total number of marine mammals taken by the 2012 and 2013 RDT&E PCD activities will have no more than a negligible impact on the affected species or stock of marine mammals and will not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of these species or stocks for taking for subsistence uses. Accordingly, NMFS has issued a oneyear LOA for the Navy’s RDT&E activities conducted in the NSWC PCD Study Area from January 21, 2012, E:\FR\FM\17FEN1.SGM 17FEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 33 / Friday, February 17, 2012 / Notices through January 20, 2013, followed by a new LOA that is effective from January 21, 2012, through January 20, 2014, after the NMFS’ multi-year LOA regulations (77 FR 4917) become effective on February 1, 2012. Dated: February 9, 2012. James H. Lecky, Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2012–3714 Filed 2–16–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P COMMITTEE FOR PURCHASE FROM PEOPLE WHO ARE BLIND OR SEVERELY DISABLED Procurement List; Proposed Additions and Deletions Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled. ACTION: Proposed additions to and deletions from the Procurement List. AGENCY: The Committee is proposing to add services to the Procurement List that will be provided by nonprofit agencies employing persons who are blind or have other severe disabilities and delete services previously provided by such agencies. DATES: Comments Must Be Received on or Before: March 19, 2012. 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. SUMMARY: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION OR TO SUBMIT COMMENTS CONTACT: Barry S. Lineback, mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Telephone: (703) 603–7740, Fax: (703) 603–0655, or email CMTEFedReg@AbilityOne.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This notice is published pursuant to 41 U.S.C. 8503(a)(2) and 41 CFR 51–2.3. Its purpose is to provide interested persons an opportunity to submit comments on the proposed actions. Additions If the Committee approves the proposed additions, the entities of the Federal Government identified in this notice will be required to procure the services listed below from nonprofit agencies employing persons who are blind or have other severe disabilities. 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: VerDate Mar<15>2010 19:08 Feb 16, 2012 Jkt 226001 1. If approved, 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. If approved, 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. 8501–8506) in connection with the services proposed for addition to the Procurement List. Comments on this certification are invited. Commenters should identify the statement(s) underlying the certification on which they are providing additional information. End of Certification The following services are proposed for addition to the Procurement List for production by the nonprofit agencies listed: Services Service Type/Location: Base Supply Center & Individual Equipment Element, 310 M Street, Keesler AFB, MS. NPA: L.C. Industries for the Blind, Inc., Durham, NC. Contracting Activity: Dept. of the Air Force, FA3010 81 CONS CC, Keesler AFB, MS. Service Type/Location: Base Supply Center, Securities and Exchange Commission, 100 F Street NE., Washington, DC. NPA: Winston-Salem Industries for the Blind, Inc., Winston-Salem, NC. Contracting Activity: Securities and Exchange Commission, Office of Acquisitions, Alexandria, VA. Deletions 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. If approved, the action will not result in additional reporting, recordkeeping or other compliance requirements for small entities. 2. If approved, the action may 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. 8501–8506) in connection with the services proposed for deletion from the Procurement List. End of Certification The following services are proposed for deletion from the Procurement List: Services Service Type/Location: Custodial Services, PO 00000 Frm 00012 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 9631 Veterans Center, 1642 42nd Street NE., Cedar Rapids, IA. NPA: Goodwill Industries of the Heartland, Iowa City, IA. Contracting Activity: Department of Veterans Affairs, NAC, Hines, IL. Service Type/Location: Janitorial/Custodial, U.S. Federal Building, First and Water Street, Alpena, MI. NPA: Northeastern Michigan Rehabilitation and Opportunity Center (NEMROC), Alpena, MI. Contracting Activity: General Services Administration, Public Buildings Service, Property Management Service Center, Detroit, MI. Barry S. Lineback, Director, Business Operations. [FR Doc. 2012–3748 Filed 2–16–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6353–01–P CONSUMER PRODUCT SAFETY COMMISSION Sunshine Act Meeting Wednesday, February 22, 2012, 10 a.m.–12 p.m. PLACE: Hearing Room 420, Bethesda Towers, 4330 East West Highway, Bethesda, Maryland. STATUS: Commission Meeting—Open to the Public. MATTER TO BE CONSIDERED: Decisional Matter: Bed Rails—Final Rule. A live webcast of the Meeting can be viewed at www.cpsc.gov/webcast. For a recorded message containing the latest agenda information, call (301) 504–7948. CONTACT PERSON FOR MORE INFORMATION: Todd A. Stevenson, Office of the Secretary, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, 4330 East West Highway, Bethesda, MD 20814, (301) 504–7923. TIME AND DATE: Dated: February 14, 2012. Todd A. Stevenson, Secretary. [FR Doc. 2012–3857 Filed 2–15–12; 11:15 am] BILLING CODE 6355–01–P DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Office of the Secretary Defense Policy Board; Federal Advisory Committee Meeting Notice Department of Defense, Office of the Under Secretary of Defense (Policy). ACTION: Federal Advisory Committee Meeting Notice. AGENCY: Under the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act of SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\17FEN1.SGM 17FEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 33 (Friday, February 17, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 9628-9631]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-3714]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 0648-XA902


Taking and Importing Marine Mammals: Taking Marine Mammals 
Incidental to Navy's Mission Activities at the Naval Surface Warfare 
Center Panama City Division

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

ACTION: Notice; issuance of a Letter of Authorization.

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

SUMMARY: In accordance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), as 
amended, and implementing regulations, notification is hereby given 
that NMFS has issued a one-year Letter of Authorization (LOA), followed 
by a revised LOA that is valid for two years, to take marine mammals by 
harassment incidental to the U.S. Navy's Research, Development, Test 
and Evaluation (RDT&E) mission activities at the Naval Surface Warfare 
Center Panama City Division (NSWC PCD) to the Commander, U.S. Naval 
Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division, 110 Vernon Avenue, Panama 
City, FL 32407-7001 and persons operating under his authority.

DATES: Effective from January 21, 2012, through January 20, 2014.

ADDRESSES: Copies of the Navy's September 1, 2011, LOA application, the 
LOA, the Navy's 2011 marine species monitoring report and the Navy's 
2011 annual mission activities report are available by writing to P. 
Michael Payne, Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of 
Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service, 1315 East-West 
Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910, by telephoning the contact listed 
here (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT), or online at: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental.htm#applications. Documents 
cited in this notice may be viewed, by appointment, during regular 
business hours, at the aforementioned address.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Shane Guan, Office of Protected 
Resources, NMFS (301) 427-8418.

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 marine mammals by U.S. citizens who engage in 
a military readiness activity if certain findings are made and 
regulations are issued.
    Authorization may be granted for periods of 5 years or less if NMFS 
finds that the taking will have a negligible impact on the species or 
stock(s), 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 also must include requirements pertaining to the monitoring 
and reporting of such taking.
    Regulations governing the taking of marine mammals incidental to 
the U.S. Navy's RDT&E activities at the NSWC PCD were published on 
January 21, 2010 (75 FR 3395), and remain in effect through January 21, 
2015. They are codified at 50 CFR part 218 subpart S. These regulations 
include mitigation, monitoring, and reporting requirements for the 
incidental taking of marine mammals by the Navy's RDT&E activities. For 
detailed information on these actions, please refer to the January 21, 
2010 Federal Register notice and 50 CFR part 218 subpart S.
    On February 1, 2012, NMFS published a final rule (77 FR 4917) that 
allows for the issuance of multi-year LOAs, as long as the regulations 
governing such LOAs are valid.

Summary of LOA Request

    NMFS received an application from the U.S. Navy for an LOA covering 
the Navy's RDT&E activities at NSWC PCD off the U.S. Gulf of Mexico 
under the regulations issued on January 21, 2010 (75 FR 3395). The 
application requested authorization, for a period of two years, to 
take, by harassment, marine mammals incidental to proposed RDT&E 
activities that involve underwater explosive detonation, projectile 
firing, and sonar testing.

[[Page 9629]]

Summary of Activity Under the 2011 LOA

    As described in the Navy's activities report, which covered the 
period between August 2, 2010, and August 1, 2011, the RDT&E activities 
conducted by the Navy were within the scope and amounts contemplated by 
the final rule. None of the testing events exceeded the average annual 
allotment authorized under the rule. No test activities involving 
underwater explosive detonations and projectile firing were conducted 
during the reporting period.
    As shown in Tables 1 and 2, most of the mid-frequency active sonar 
(MFAS) and high-frequency active sonar (HFAS) testing events were far 
below the levels authorized in the annual LOA.

 Table 1--Total Annual Number of Each Type of MFAS and HFAS Listed at 50
 CFR Sec.   218.180 Conducted in the NSWC PCD Study Area in Territorial
                Waters (Number Authorized vs. Conducted)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                 Number        Number
                Sonar system                   authorized     conducted
                                                  (hrs)         (hrs)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
AN/SQS-53/56 Kingfisher.....................           3            0
Sub-bottom profiler (2-9 kHz)...............          21            0
REMUS SAS-LF................................          12            1
REMUS Modem.................................          25           20.8
Sub-bottom profiler (2-16 kHz)..............          24            8
AN/SQQ-32...................................          30            0
REMUS-SAS-LF................................          20           17.8
SAS-LF......................................          35           34
AN/WLD-1RMS-ACL.............................          33.5          0
BPAUV Sidescan..............................          25            9
TVSS........................................          15            0
F84Y........................................          15            0
BPAUV Sidescan..............................          25            0
REMUS-SAS-HF................................          10           10
SAS-HF......................................          11.5          8
AN/AQS-20...................................         545          269.57
AN/WLD-11 RMS Navigation....................          15            4
BPAUV Sidescan..............................          30            0.1
------------------------------------------------------------------------


 Table 2--Total Annual Number of Each Type of MFAS and HFAS Listed at 50
     CFR Sec.   218.180 Conducted in the NSWC PCD Study Area in Non-
          Territorial Waters (Number Authorized vs. Conducted)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                  Number        Number
                 Sonar system                   authorized    conducted
                                                   (hrs)        (hrs)
------------------------------------------------------------------------
AN/SQS-53/56 Kingfisher......................           1              0
Sub-bottom profiler (2-9 kHz)................           1              0
REMUS Modem..................................          12              0
Sub-bottom profiler (2-16 kHz)...............           1              0
AN/SQQ-32....................................           1              0
SAS-LF.......................................          15              0
AN/WLD-1RMS-ACL..............................           5              0
BPAUV Sidescan...............................          38              8
TVSS.........................................          16.5            8
F84Y.........................................          15              0
REMUS-SAS-HF.................................          25              0
SAS-HF.......................................          15              0
AN/AQS-20....................................          15             11
BPAUV Sidescan...............................          25              0
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Planned Activities for 2012 and 2013

    In 2012 and 2013, the Navy expects to conduct the same type and 
amount of RDT&E activities identified in the final rules and 2011 LOA. 
No modification is proposed by the Navy for its planned 2012-2013 
activities under the 2010 rule.

Estimated Take for 2012-2013

    The estimated takes for the Navy's proposed 2012 RDT&E activities 
are the same as those in authorized in 2011. No change has been made in 
the estimated takes from the 2011 LOA.

Summary of Monitoring, Reporting, and Other Requirements Under the 2009 
LOA

Annual Mission Activities Report

    The Navy submitted their 2011 annual mission activities report 
covering the period from August 2, 2010, through August 1, 2011 within 
the required timeframes and it is posted on NMFS Web site: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental.htm#applications. NMFS has 
reviewed the report and it contains the information required by the 
2011 LOA. The report lists the amount of hours sonar testing was 
conducted during the reporting period. During this time period, NSWC 
PCD conducted 409.27 hours of sonar testing, 382.27 hours in 
territorial waters (Table 1) and 27 hours in non-territorial waters 
(Table 2). No RDT&E activities associated with underwater detonations 
were conducted during this period.

[[Page 9630]]

Monitoring and Annual Monitoring Reports

    The Navy submitted a marine species monitoring report within the 
required timeframes and it is posted on NMFS Web site: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental.htm#applications. The 
monitoring report covers the period between August 2, 2010, and August 
1, 2011. NSWC PCD conducted two aerial monitoring events for tests of 
the AN/AQS-20 sonar system during the reporting period. Observers 
searched for and subsequently recorded any present cetacean and sea 
turtle species during pre-test, during-test, and post-test monitoring 
for both sonar events. No stranded or injured marine mammals or sea 
turtles were observed during either aerial monitoring effort.
    Aerial monitoring was conducted July 5-9, 2011, in good to fair 
sighting conditions, with all sightings made in Beaufort sea states 
between 1 and 4. The monitoring included two re-test flights; two 
flights during the test; and one post-test flight. Focal follow 
behavioral data were collected during two of the sightings. Observers 
visually surveyed 2,067 km (1,116 nm) of systematic (on-effort) 
trackline and 2,749 km (1,484 nm) of total trackline during five days 
for approximately 14.3 hours of total survey effort. Twenty-one 
cetacean sightings were recorded: Thirteen groups of bottlenose 
dolphins; one group of Atlantic spotted dolphins; and seven groups of 
unidentified dolphins.
    The second monitoring event took place July 23-26, 2011, in good to 
fair sighting conditions, with sightings made in Beaufort sea states 
between 1 and 4. This monitoring included two pre-test flights; one 
flight during the test; and one post-test flight. Focal follow 
behavioral data were collected during two of the sightings. Observers 
visually surveyed 1,475 km (796 nm) of systematic (on-effort) trackline 
and 1,937 km (1,046 nm) of total trackline during four days for 
approximately 7.8 hours of total survey effort. Seventeen cetacean 
sightings were recorded: Fifteen groups of bottlenose dolphins and two 
groups of Atlantic spotted dolphins.
    No monitoring opportunities were available for explosive events in 
the NSWC PCD Study Area as none of these activities were conducted 
during this reporting period.

Adaptive Management

    In general, adaptive management allows NMFS to consider new 
information from different sources to determine (with input from the 
Navy regarding practicability) if monitoring efforts should be modified 
if new information suggests that such modifications are appropriate. 
All of the 5-year rules and LOAs issued to the Navy include an adaptive 
management component, which includes an annual meeting between NMFS and 
the Navy. NMFS and the Navy conducted an adaptive management meeting in 
October 2011, which representatives from the Marine Mammal Commission 
participated in, wherein we reviewed the Navy monitoring results 
through August 1, 2011, discussed other Navy research and development 
efforts, and discussed other new information that could potentially 
inform decisions regarding Navy mitigation and monitoring. No changes 
were proposed for the 2012 monitoring plan for the NSWC PCD RDT&E 
activities.

Integrated Comprehensive Monitoring Report

    The 2010 LOA required that the Navy update the ICMP Plan to reflect 
development in three areas, specifically: (1) Identifying more specific 
monitoring sub-goals under the major goals that have been identified; 
(2) characterizing Navy Range Complexes and study areas within the 
context of the prioritization guidelines described in the ICMP Plan; 
and (3) continuing to develop data management, organization and access 
procedures. The Navy has updated the ICMP Plan as required. Because the 
ICMP is an evolving Program, we posted the ICMP on NMFS Web site: 
http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental.htm.

2011 Monitoring Meeting

    The regulations that established the framework for authorizing the 
taking of marine mammals incidental to Navy RDT&E activities required 
the Navy, with guidance and support from NMFS, to convene a Monitoring 
Workshop in 2011 (50 CFR 218.184(i)). The Marine Mammal Monitoring 
Workshop, which included scientists, representatives from non-
governmental organizations, and Marine Mammal Commission staff, took 
place in June 2011. Pursuant to the regulations, this workshop 
presented a consolidated overview of monitoring activities conducted in 
2010, as well as the outcomes of selected monitoring-related research. 
In 2010, the Navy convened a Scientific Advisory Group (SAG), comprised 
of experts in the fields of marine mammals and underwater acoustics, to 
review the Navy's current monitoring plans and make recommendations. 
The results of the SAG's review were also presented at the meeting. 
Participants engaged in open discussion of the lessons learned, and 
discussed how to improve the Navy's monitoring plan moving forward. If 
changes to monitoring approaches are identified at the workshop that 
can be implemented during the annual LOA renewal process and subsequent 
5-year regulations, the Navy and NMFS will modify the Navy-wide 
monitoring plan and propose appropriate changes to the monitoring 
measures in specific LOAs for the different Range Complexes and study 
areas. For Range Complexes or study areas with substantive monitoring 
modifications, NMFS will subsequently publish proposed LOAs, with the 
modifications, in the Federal Register and solicit public input. After 
addressing public comments and making changes as appropriate, NMFS will 
issue new training area LOAs that reflect the new Navy-wide monitoring 
plan.

Authorization

    The Navy complied with the requirements of the 2011 LOA. Based on 
our review of the Navy's annual mission activities report, which shows 
that the amount of sonar testing hours was below the annual authorized 
levels and that no underwater detonation and projectile firing were 
conducted during FY 2011, NMFS has determined that the effects to 
marine mammals that resulted from the 2011 NWSC PCD RDT&E activities 
were likely lower than analyzed. Two monitoring activities were 
conducted during the period between August 2, 2010, and August 1, 2011, 
for sonar testing activities, as required by the 2011 LOA. The 
monitoring results showed that the RDT&E activities at the NSWC PCD had 
no more than a negligible impact on the affected species or stock of 
marine mammals. There is no subsistence use of marine mammals that 
could potentially be impacted by the Navy's activities at NSWC PCD. 
Further, the level of taking authorized in 2012 and 2013 for the Navy's 
NSWC PCD RDT&E activities is consistent with our previous findings made 
for the total taking allowed under the NSWC PCD regulations. Finally, 
the record supports NMFS' conclusion that the total number of marine 
mammals taken by the 2012 and 2013 RDT&E PCD activities will have no 
more than a negligible impact on the affected species or stock of 
marine mammals and will not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the 
availability of these species or stocks for taking for subsistence 
uses. Accordingly, NMFS has issued a one-year LOA for the Navy's RDT&E 
activities conducted in the NSWC PCD Study Area from January 21, 2012,

[[Page 9631]]

through January 20, 2013, followed by a new LOA that is effective from 
January 21, 2012, through January 20, 2014, after the NMFS' multi-year 
LOA regulations (77 FR 4917) become effective on February 1, 2012.

    Dated: February 9, 2012.
James H. Lecky,
Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries 
Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-3714 Filed 2-16-12; 8:45 am]
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