Taking and Importing Marine Mammals: Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Navy's Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Activities at the NAVSEA Naval Undersea Warfare Center Keyport Range Complex, 30996-30998 [2012-12681]

Download as PDF 30996 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 101 / Thursday, May 24, 2012 / Notices transport vessels to receive Atlantic herring harvested by United States fishermen and to be used in sardine processing. Transshipment must occur from within the boundaries of the State of Maine or within the portion of the EEZ east of the line 69 degrees 30 minutes west and within 12 nautical miles from Maine’s seaward boundary. Section 204(d)(3)(D) of the MagnusonStevens Act provides that an application may not be approved until the Secretary determines that ‘‘no owner or operator of a vessel of the United States which has adequate capacity to perform the transportation for which the application is submitted has indicated * * * an interest in performing the transportation at fair and reasonable rates.’’ NMFS is publishing this notice as part of its effort to make such a determination with respect to the application described below. Summary of Application NMFS received an application requesting authorization for five Canadian transport vessels to receive transfers of herring from United States purse seine vessels, stop seines, and weirs for the purpose of transporting the herring to Canada for processing. The transshipment operations will occur within the boundaries of the State of Maine or within the portion of the EEZ east of the line 69°30′ W longitude and within 12 nautical miles from Maine’s seaward boundary. Dated: May 18, 2012. Rebecca Lent, Director, Office of International Affairs, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2012–12682 Filed 5–23–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XC023 srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Taking and Importing Marine Mammals: Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Navy’s Research, Development, Test and Evaluation Activities at the NAVSEA Naval Undersea Warfare Center Keyport Range Complex 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 SUMMARY: VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:31 May 23, 2012 Jkt 226001 (MMPA), as amended, and implementing regulations, notification is hereby given that NMFS has issued a four-year Letter of Authorization (LOA) to the U.S. Navy (Navy) to take marine mammals by harassment incidental to its Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E) activities at the NAVSEA Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Keyport Range Complex. DATES: Effective from May 17, 2012, through April 11, 2016. ADDRESSES: Copies of the Navy’s December 22, 2011, LOA application, and the LOA are available by writing to Tammy Adams, Acting 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) 427–8401. 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 training activities at the NAVSEA NUWC Keyport Range Complex were published on April 12, 2011 (76 FR 20257), and remain in effect PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 through April 11, 2016. They are codified at 50 CFR part 218 subpart R. 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 April 12, 2011, Federal Register notice and 50 CFR part 218 subpart R. 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 On December 23, 2011, NMFS received an application from the U.S. Navy for an LOA covering the Navy’s RDT&E activities at the NAVSEA NUWC Keyport Range Complex off the coast and inland waters of Washington State under the regulations issued on April 12, 2012 (76 FR 20257). The application requested authorization, for a period of four years, to take, by harassment, marine mammals incidental to proposed training activities that involve the use of low-intensity sonar and other active acoustic devices. Summary of Activity Under the 2011 LOA As described in the Navy’s Annual Range Complex Exercise Report for the NAVSEA NUWC Keyport Range Complex, between April and September 2011, the RDT&E activities conducted by the Navy were within the scope and amounts contemplated by the final rule and identified by the 2011 LOA. In fact, the number of RDT&E activities was below the Navy’s proposed 2011 operations. A detailed description of the Navy’s 2011 RDT&E activities can be found in the exercise report posted on NMFS Web site: http:// www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/ incidental.htm#applications. Planned Activities for 2012 Through 2016 In 2012 through April 2016, 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—2016 activities under the 2011 rule. Estimated Take for 2012—2016 The estimated takes for the Navy’s proposed training activities are the same as those 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 2011 LOA E:\FR\FM\24MYN1.SGM 24MYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 101 / Thursday, May 24, 2012 / Notices Annual Exercise Report The Navy submitted its 2011 exercise report within the required timeframes and it is posted on NMFS Web site: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/ incidental.htm. NMFS has reviewed the report and it contains the information required by the 2011 LOA. The report lists the amount of RDT&E activities conducted between April and September 2011. For sonar operations, there was no activity conducted at the Keyport Range site and the Quinault Underwater Tracking Range (QUTR) during the reporting period. The Navy conducted 2.5 hours (2.5% of total 100 allotted hours) operations on acoustic modem testing, 0.07 hour (1.2% of total 5.83 allotted hours) of S6 acoustic source torpedoes (both electric and thermal propulsion) operation, 0.112 hour (1.9% of total 5.83 allotted hours) of S7 acoustic source torpedoes (both electric and thermal propulsion) operation, and 0.014 hour (0.2% of total 5.83 allotted hours) of S8 acoustic source torpedoes (both electric and thermal propulsion) operation. For non-sonar activities, the Navy conducted 4 UUV operations (9% of the total 45 allotted) and 1 fleet diver activity (2% of the total 45 allotted) at the Keyport Range Site; 2 test vehicle (thermal) activities (2% of the total of 130 allotted), 7 test vehicle (electric/ chemical) activities (5% of the total 140 allotted), 2 acoustic and non-acoustic (magnetic array, oxygen) testing system activities (20% of the total 10 allotted), 3 fleet submarine activities (10% of the total 30 allotted), 7 surface launch craft activities (4% of the total 180 allotted), and 2 shore and pier deployment system activities (7% of the total 30 allotted) at Dobab Bay Range Complex (DBRC). srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Monitoring and Annual Monitoring Report The Navy submitted their 2011 annual marine mammal monitoring report covering the period from May through December 2011, and the reports are posted on NMFS Web site: http:// www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/ incidental.htm#applications. The Navy conducted the monitoring required by the 2011 LOA and described in the Monitoring Report, which included a minimum of two special visual surveys per year to monitor high-frequency active sonar (HFAS) and mid-frequency active sonar (MFAS) activities, respectively, at the DBRC site. In addition, visual and passive acoustic monitoring is also required for certain activities. For the high-frequency source event, the observers were used during a VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:31 May 23, 2012 Jkt 226001 torpedo test event to demonstrate torpedo against mobile target. The active sonar levels and output were intermittent and could vary within the S6, S7, and S8 source parameters as outlined in the NMFS Final Rule (76 FR 20257). For the mid-frequency source event, the observers were used while the Underwater Emergency Warning System (UWES) was being operated. It operates at the 700 Hz to 10.6 kHz at a source level of less than 170 dB re 1 mPa @ 1 m. The bandwidth is 18.75 Hz. This is similar to the modeled S4 source. Vessel-based and shore-based marine mammal surveys were conducted the day before, during, and the day following the HFAS and MFAS event between November 6 and 8, 2011. (1) Shore-Based Survey Shore-based surveys were conducted both from the DBRC site operations center at the Zelatched Point computer site on the bluff at the 75 foot elevation above the water using ‘‘Big-eye’’ binoculars, audible and LOFAR output from the bottom moored passive acoustic monitor and by walking along the beach and looking for hauled-out, distressed, injured, or stranded marine mammals. The beach surveys covered approximately 500 meters of shoreline along the eastern shore of Dabob Bay which is in addition to the shoreline surveyed via the vessel-based surveys. However, no marine mammals were seen using shore-based survey during the pre- and post-event surveys. No marine mammals were seen using the beach survey during HFAS and MFAS testing events. No marine mammal vocalizations were evident using the passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) either audibly or visually from the spectrum display. The PAM was monitored continuously in real time throughout the day of the event by observers including NMMO, escort Navy observer, Range Officer and other range personnel. Vessel-Based Survey For vessel-based surveys, the survey vessel left Naval Base Kitsap (NBK) Bangor in Hood Canal at approximately 0730 for both the pre and post surveys. The survey vessel was the NS–50 small range craft and it was used for pre- and post-event monitoring. The NS–50 vessel crew consisted of a Craft master, marine mammal lookout, and a Navy Marine Mammal Observer (NMMO). All three participated in looking for marine mammals. One observer was dedicated to the port side of the vessel and the other observer was responsible for the starboard side. The observers were also PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 30997 responsible for recording the global positioning system (GPS) coordinates of all sightings with a handheld GPS unit and logging the information onto datasheets. Marine mammal observations began immediately after departing NBK Bangor and continued throughout the transit to and from Dabob Bay. Observers used naked eye and 7 x 50 magnification binoculars with reticles to scan the area from dead ahead to dead astern. The survey transects were run from the south to the north on the west side of Dabob Bay and the return was north to south on the east side of Dabob Bay. This route covered the perimeter of Dabob Bay including the area used in the November 7 testing. It is possible to see from shore to shore in the Dabob Bay instrumented range. In addition to surveying over-water, the vessel based monitors also scanned the shoreline for hauled-out, distressed, injured, or stranded marine mammals. Effort and environmental information was collected when the observers began effort each day and as significant weather changes occurred. In total, 38 sightings of marine mammals totaling 84 individuals were recorded during the two days of preand post-event vessel-based surveys. At least 2 species were seen: Harbor seals, California sea lions, and 2 unidentified marine mammals. A harbor seal haulout with 16 to 26 individuals was identified on the west side of Dabob Bay just north of Pulali Point. This location has been previously identified in Jeffries et al. (2000) as location ID 256 and consists of intertidal rocks. According to Jeffries et al. (2000) this site has less than 100 individuals at any given time, but it is classified as a high use haulout. There were 25 sightings on the presurvey day and 13 sightings on the postsurvey day. When comparing the number of animals seen between the 2 days, the pre-survey day identified 45 individuals and the post-survey day identified 39 individuals. When looking at animals identified to species, four sea lions and 39 harbor seals were identified during the pre-survey. Two sea lions and 37 harbor seals were identified during the post-survey. No marine mammal active sounds were detected using the PAM. There were two sightings approximately 2 hours prior to the HFAS event. One sighting was an unidentified sea lion seen feeding. The second sighting was one minute later in approximately the same location, but this sighting was identified as a harbor seal with 1 to 2 individuals possible. The sighting cues (flipper verses head) allowed the observer to distinguish the E:\FR\FM\24MYN1.SGM 24MYN1 30998 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 101 / Thursday, May 24, 2012 / Notices difference between the sea lion and the seal. They did not have an obvious direction of travel and mitigation measures were not needed because sonar sources were not active at the time. The sea state was somewhat choppy during the actual HFAS test event and potentially contributed to the lack of marine mammals seen despite the elevated observation platform of the larger vessels. No marine mammals were observed before, during, or after the MFAS event. 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. For the 2012—2016 LOA, the Navy requested to make the following changes concerning marine mammal monitoring protocols. Specifically, the Navy requested to change the condition in 7(c)(i)(B) of the Monitoring and Reporting section of the LOA to address the Navy’s activity monitoring logistics and to ensure that visual monitoring is conducted in suitable conditions. The language would be changed from ‘‘For specified events, shore-based and vessel surveys shall be used 1 day prior to and 1–2 days post activity.’’ to srobinson on DSK4SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES ‘‘For specified events, shore-based and vessel surveys shall be used within 36 hours prior to and post activity during daylight hours.’’ After reviewing the Navy’s request, NMFS agrees with the Navy that this minor modification should be implemented in the renewed LOA. Authorization Since there are no changes in the Navy’s proposed RDT&E activities at the NAVSEA NUWC Keyport Range Complex, NMFS’ determination that the VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:31 May 23, 2012 Jkt 226001 Navy’s Keyport Range Complex RDT&E activities will have no more than a negligible impact on the affected species or stocks of marine mammals in the action area, as described in the original regulations, is still valid. There is no subsistence use of marine mammals that could potentially be impacted by the Navy’s RDT&E activities at Keyport Range Complex. Further, the level of taking authorized in May 2012 through April 2016 for the Navy’s Keyport Range Complex RDT&E activities is consistent with our previous findings made for the total taking allowed under the Keyport Range Complex regulations. Accordingly, NMFS has issued a fouryear LOA for Navy’s RDT&E activities conducted at the NAVSEA NUWC Keyport Range Complex from May 17, 2012, through April 11, 2016. Dated: May 14, 2012. Helen Golde, Acting Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2012–12681 Filed 5–23–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Defense Acquisition Regulations System [Docket No. DARS 2011–0072; Sequence 02] Information Collection Requirement; Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement; Government Property Defense Acquisition Regulations System, Department of Defense (DoD). ACTION: Notice and request for comments. AGENCY: In compliance with section 3506(c)(2)(A) of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. chapter 35), DoD announces the proposed extension of a public information collection requirement and seeks public comment on the provisions thereof. DoD invites comments on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of DoD, including whether the information will have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the estimate of the burden of the proposed information collection; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the information collection on respondents, including the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology. SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has approved this information collection for use through November 30, 2012. DoD proposes that OMB extend its approval for use for three additional years beyond the current expiration date. DoD will consider all comments received by July 23, 2012. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments, identified by OMB Control Number 0704–0246, using any of the following methods: Æ Federal eRulemaking Portal: http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments. Æ Email: dfars@osd.mil. Include OMB Control Number 0704–0246 in the subject line of the message. Æ Fax: 571–372–6094. Æ Mail: Defense Acquisition Regulations System, Attn: Ms. Meredith Murphy, OUSD (AT&L) DPAP (DARS), 3060 Defense Pentagon, Room 3B855, Washington, DC 20301–3060. Comments received generally will be posted without change to http://www. regulations.gov, including any personal information provided. To confirm receipt of your comment, please check www.regulations.gov approximately two to three days after submission to verify posting, except allow 30 days for posting of comments submitted by mail. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Meredith Murphy, 571–372–6098. The information collection requirements addressed in this notice are available on the World Wide Web at: http://www. acq.osd.mil/dpap/dars/dfars.html. Paper copies are available from Ms. Meredith Murphy, OUSD (AT&L) DPAP (DARS), 3060 Defense Pentagon, Room 3B855, Washington, DC 20301–3060. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Title, Associated Forms, and OMB Number: Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) part 245, Government Property, DFARS section 211.274, Reporting of Government-Furnished Equipment in the DoD Item Unique Identification (IUID) Registry; the related clauses at DFARS 252.245–7000 through –7004 and 252.211–7007; and the related forms, including DD Form 1149, Requisition and Invoice/Shipping Document; DD Form 1348–1A, DoD Single Line Item Release/Receipt Document; DD Form 1637, Notice of Acceptance of Inventory Schedules; DD Form 1639, Scrap Warranty; DD Form 1640, Request for Plant Clearance; DD Form 1641, Disposal Determination/ Approval; and DD Form 1822, End Use Certificate; OMB Control Number 0704– 0246. DATES: E:\FR\FM\24MYN1.SGM 24MYN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 101 (Thursday, May 24, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 30996-30998]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-12681]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 0648-XC023


Taking and Importing Marine Mammals: Taking Marine Mammals 
Incidental to Navy's Research, Development, Test and Evaluation 
Activities at the NAVSEA Naval Undersea Warfare Center Keyport Range 
Complex

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 four-year Letter of Authorization (LOA) to the 
U.S. Navy (Navy) to take marine mammals by harassment incidental to its 
Research, Development, Test and Evaluation (RDT&E) activities at the 
NAVSEA Naval Undersea Warfare Center (NUWC) Keyport Range Complex.

DATES: Effective from May 17, 2012, through April 11, 2016.

ADDRESSES: Copies of the Navy's December 22, 2011, LOA application, and 
the LOA are available by writing to Tammy Adams, Acting 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) 427-8401.

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 training activities at the NAVSEA NUWC Keyport Range 
Complex were published on April 12, 2011 (76 FR 20257), and remain in 
effect through April 11, 2016. They are codified at 50 CFR part 218 
subpart R. 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 April 12, 2011, Federal Register notice and 50 CFR 
part 218 subpart R. 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

    On December 23, 2011, NMFS received an application from the U.S. 
Navy for an LOA covering the Navy's RDT&E activities at the NAVSEA NUWC 
Keyport Range Complex off the coast and inland waters of Washington 
State under the regulations issued on April 12, 2012 (76 FR 20257). The 
application requested authorization, for a period of four years, to 
take, by harassment, marine mammals incidental to proposed training 
activities that involve the use of low-intensity sonar and other active 
acoustic devices.

Summary of Activity Under the 2011 LOA

    As described in the Navy's Annual Range Complex Exercise Report for 
the NAVSEA NUWC Keyport Range Complex, between April and September 
2011, the RDT&E activities conducted by the Navy were within the scope 
and amounts contemplated by the final rule and identified by the 2011 
LOA. In fact, the number of RDT&E activities was below the Navy's 
proposed 2011 operations. A detailed description of the Navy's 2011 
RDT&E activities can be found in the exercise report posted on NMFS Web 
site: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental.htm#applications.

Planned Activities for 2012 Through 2016

    In 2012 through April 2016, 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--2016 activities under the 2011 rule.

Estimated Take for 2012--2016

    The estimated takes for the Navy's proposed training activities are 
the same as those 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 2011 LOA

[[Page 30997]]

Annual Exercise Report

    The Navy submitted its 2011 exercise report within the required 
timeframes and it is posted on NMFS Web site: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental.htm. NMFS has reviewed the report and it contains 
the information required by the 2011 LOA. The report lists the amount 
of RDT&E activities conducted between April and September 2011. For 
sonar operations, there was no activity conducted at the Keyport Range 
site and the Quinault Underwater Tracking Range (QUTR) during the 
reporting period. The Navy conducted 2.5 hours (2.5% of total 100 
allotted hours) operations on acoustic modem testing, 0.07 hour (1.2% 
of total 5.83 allotted hours) of S6 acoustic source torpedoes (both 
electric and thermal propulsion) operation, 0.112 hour (1.9% of total 
5.83 allotted hours) of S7 acoustic source torpedoes (both electric and 
thermal propulsion) operation, and 0.014 hour (0.2% of total 5.83 
allotted hours) of S8 acoustic source torpedoes (both electric and 
thermal propulsion) operation.
    For non-sonar activities, the Navy conducted 4 UUV operations (9% 
of the total 45 allotted) and 1 fleet diver activity (2% of the total 
45 allotted) at the Keyport Range Site; 2 test vehicle (thermal) 
activities (2% of the total of 130 allotted), 7 test vehicle (electric/
chemical) activities (5% of the total 140 allotted), 2 acoustic and 
non-acoustic (magnetic array, oxygen) testing system activities (20% of 
the total 10 allotted), 3 fleet submarine activities (10% of the total 
30 allotted), 7 surface launch craft activities (4% of the total 180 
allotted), and 2 shore and pier deployment system activities (7% of the 
total 30 allotted) at Dobab Bay Range Complex (DBRC).

Monitoring and Annual Monitoring Report

    The Navy submitted their 2011 annual marine mammal monitoring 
report covering the period from May through December 2011, and the 
reports are posted on NMFS Web site: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental.htm#applications. The Navy conducted the monitoring 
required by the 2011 LOA and described in the Monitoring Report, which 
included a minimum of two special visual surveys per year to monitor 
high-frequency active sonar (HFAS) and mid-frequency active sonar 
(MFAS) activities, respectively, at the DBRC site. In addition, visual 
and passive acoustic monitoring is also required for certain 
activities.
    For the high-frequency source event, the observers were used during 
a torpedo test event to demonstrate torpedo against mobile target. The 
active sonar levels and output were intermittent and could vary within 
the S6, S7, and S8 source parameters as outlined in the NMFS Final Rule 
(76 FR 20257).
    For the mid-frequency source event, the observers were used while 
the Underwater Emergency Warning System (UWES) was being operated. It 
operates at the 700 Hz to 10.6 kHz at a source level of less than 170 
dB re 1 [mu]Pa @ 1 m. The bandwidth is 18.75 Hz. This is similar to the 
modeled S4 source.
    Vessel-based and shore-based marine mammal surveys were conducted 
the day before, during, and the day following the HFAS and MFAS event 
between November 6 and 8, 2011.

(1) Shore-Based Survey

    Shore-based surveys were conducted both from the DBRC site 
operations center at the Zelatched Point computer site on the bluff at 
the 75 foot elevation above the water using ``Big-eye'' binoculars, 
audible and LOFAR output from the bottom moored passive acoustic 
monitor and by walking along the beach and looking for hauled-out, 
distressed, injured, or stranded marine mammals. The beach surveys 
covered approximately 500 meters of shoreline along the eastern shore 
of Dabob Bay which is in addition to the shoreline surveyed via the 
vessel-based surveys. However, no marine mammals were seen using shore-
based survey during the pre- and post-event surveys.
    No marine mammals were seen using the beach survey during HFAS and 
MFAS testing events. No marine mammal vocalizations were evident using 
the passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) either audibly or visually from 
the spectrum display. The PAM was monitored continuously in real time 
throughout the day of the event by observers including NMMO, escort 
Navy observer, Range Officer and other range personnel.

Vessel-Based Survey

    For vessel-based surveys, the survey vessel left Naval Base Kitsap 
(NBK) Bangor in Hood Canal at approximately 0730 for both the pre and 
post surveys. The survey vessel was the NS-50 small range craft and it 
was used for pre- and post-event monitoring. The NS-50 vessel crew 
consisted of a Craft master, marine mammal lookout, and a Navy Marine 
Mammal Observer (NMMO). All three participated in looking for marine 
mammals. One observer was dedicated to the port side of the vessel and 
the other observer was responsible for the starboard side. The 
observers were also responsible for recording the global positioning 
system (GPS) coordinates of all sightings with a handheld GPS unit and 
logging the information onto datasheets. Marine mammal observations 
began immediately after departing NBK Bangor and continued throughout 
the transit to and from Dabob Bay. Observers used naked eye and 7 x 50 
magnification binoculars with reticles to scan the area from dead ahead 
to dead astern. The survey transects were run from the south to the 
north on the west side of Dabob Bay and the return was north to south 
on the east side of Dabob Bay. This route covered the perimeter of 
Dabob Bay including the area used in the November 7 testing. It is 
possible to see from shore to shore in the Dabob Bay instrumented 
range. In addition to surveying over-water, the vessel based monitors 
also scanned the shoreline for hauled-out, distressed, injured, or 
stranded marine mammals. Effort and environmental information was 
collected when the observers began effort each day and as significant 
weather changes occurred.
    In total, 38 sightings of marine mammals totaling 84 individuals 
were recorded during the two days of pre- and post-event vessel-based 
surveys. At least 2 species were seen: Harbor seals, California sea 
lions, and 2 unidentified marine mammals. A harbor seal haul-out with 
16 to 26 individuals was identified on the west side of Dabob Bay just 
north of Pulali Point. This location has been previously identified in 
Jeffries et al. (2000) as location ID 256 and consists of intertidal 
rocks. According to Jeffries et al. (2000) this site has less than 100 
individuals at any given time, but it is classified as a high use haul-
out.
    There were 25 sightings on the pre-survey day and 13 sightings on 
the post-survey day. When comparing the number of animals seen between 
the 2 days, the pre-survey day identified 45 individuals and the post-
survey day identified 39 individuals. When looking at animals 
identified to species, four sea lions and 39 harbor seals were 
identified during the pre-survey. Two sea lions and 37 harbor seals 
were identified during the post-survey. No marine mammal active sounds 
were detected using the PAM.
    There were two sightings approximately 2 hours prior to the HFAS 
event. One sighting was an unidentified sea lion seen feeding. The 
second sighting was one minute later in approximately the same 
location, but this sighting was identified as a harbor seal with 1 to 2 
individuals possible. The sighting cues (flipper verses head) allowed 
the observer to distinguish the

[[Page 30998]]

difference between the sea lion and the seal. They did not have an 
obvious direction of travel and mitigation measures were not needed 
because sonar sources were not active at the time. The sea state was 
somewhat choppy during the actual HFAS test event and potentially 
contributed to the lack of marine mammals seen despite the elevated 
observation platform of the larger vessels. No marine mammals were 
observed before, during, or after the MFAS event.

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.
    For the 2012--2016 LOA, the Navy requested to make the following 
changes concerning marine mammal monitoring protocols. Specifically, 
the Navy requested to change the condition in 7(c)(i)(B) of the 
Monitoring and Reporting section of the LOA to address the Navy's 
activity monitoring logistics and to ensure that visual monitoring is 
conducted in suitable conditions. The language would be changed from

    ``For specified events, shore-based and vessel surveys shall be 
used 1 day prior to and 1-2 days post activity.''

to

    ``For specified events, shore-based and vessel surveys shall be 
used within 36 hours prior to and post activity during daylight 
hours.''

    After reviewing the Navy's request, NMFS agrees with the Navy that 
this minor modification should be implemented in the renewed LOA.

Authorization

    Since there are no changes in the Navy's proposed RDT&E activities 
at the NAVSEA NUWC Keyport Range Complex, NMFS' determination that the 
Navy's Keyport Range Complex RDT&E activities will have no more than a 
negligible impact on the affected species or stocks of marine mammals 
in the action area, as described in the original regulations, is still 
valid. There is no subsistence use of marine mammals that could 
potentially be impacted by the Navy's RDT&E activities at Keyport Range 
Complex. Further, the level of taking authorized in May 2012 through 
April 2016 for the Navy's Keyport Range Complex RDT&E activities is 
consistent with our previous findings made for the total taking allowed 
under the Keyport Range Complex regulations. Accordingly, NMFS has 
issued a four-year LOA for Navy's RDT&E activities conducted at the 
NAVSEA NUWC Keyport Range Complex from May 17, 2012, through April 11, 
2016.

    Dated: May 14, 2012.
Helen Golde,
Acting Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-12681 Filed 5-23-12; 8:45 am]
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