Taking and Importing Marine Mammals: Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Navy Training Exercises in Three East Coast Range Complexes, 31333-31335 [2012-12778]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 102 / Friday, May 25, 2012 / Notices BOEM’s Atlantic Geological and Geophysical Programmatic EIS. The Council will respond to a proposal to remove Individual Transferable Quotas (ITQs) from Monkfish Amendment 6. During the Listening Session a presentation on the effects of climate on fisheries resources of the Mid-Atlantic region will be presented by Jon Hare of NMFS. On Wednesday, June 13—Discussion on the background and context of the Visioning project, review the objectives and methods for stakeholder data gathering presentation and discussion of stakeholder data report, and the proposal for the next phase of the visioning and strategic plan. The Mackerel, Squid, and Butterfish Committee will meet as a Committee of the Whole to select Amendment 14 alternatives to recommend to NMFS for implementation. The Surfclam and Ocean Quahog Committee will meet as a Committee of the Whole to review and consider changes to the 2013 quota specifications for surfclams and ocean quahogs and update PSP, data collection, 2012 survey, and stock assessment. There will be a presentation by Tom Warren of NMFS on HMS Amendment 7 Scoping (Bluefin tuna management). On Thursday, June 14—NMFS proposal to review/revise National Standard 1 Guidelines will be discussed. There will be a presentation by Cindy Zipf, regarding Clean Ocean Action. Doug Potts of NMFS will provide a presentation on SBRM alternatives. The Council will hold its regular Business Session to approve the April 2012 minutes, receive Organizational Reports, the New England Council Liaison Report, the Executive Director’s Report, Science Report, Committee Reports, and conduct any continuing and/or new business. Special Accommodations mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES These meetings are physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aid should be directed to M. Jan Saunders, (302) 526–5251, at least 5 days prior to the meeting date. Dated: May 21, 2012. Tracey L. Thompson, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2012–12684 Filed 5–24–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:55 May 24, 2012 Jkt 226001 DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XC024 Taking and Importing Marine Mammals: Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to Navy Training Exercises in Three East Coast Range Complexes National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice; issuance of three modified Letters 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 three Letters of Authorization (LOAs) to take marine mammals by harassment, incidental to the U.S. Navy’s training activities within the Virginia Capes (VACAPES), Jacksonville (JAX), and Cherry Point (CHPT) Range Complexes to the Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces Command, 1562 Mitscher Avenue, Suite 250, Norfolk, VA 23551–2487 and persons operating under his authority. DATES: Effective from June 5, 2012, through June 4, 2014. ADDRESSES: Copies of the Navy’s request for LOAs, the Navy’s 2011–2012 marine mammal monitoring report and the Navy’s 2011–2012 exercise report are available by writing to Tammy C. 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. SUMMARY: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Shane Guan, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS (301) 724–8401. 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 either regulations are issued or, if the taking is limited to harassment, a notice of a PO 00000 Frm 00044 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 31333 proposed authorization is provided to the public for review. 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 certain subsistence uses, and if the permissible methods of taking and requirements pertaining to the mitigation, monitoring and reporting of such taking are set forth. Regulations governing the taking of marine mammals incidental to the U.S. Navy’s training activities at the VACAPES, JAX, and CHPT Range Complexes were published on June 15, 2009 (VACAPES: 74 FR 28328; JAX: 74 FR 28349; CHPT: 74 FR 28370) and remain in effect through June 4, 2014. They are codified at 50 CFR part 218 subpart A (VACAPES), subpart B (JAX), and subpart C (CHPT). These regulations include mitigation, monitoring, and reporting requirements for the incidental taking of marine mammals by the Navy’s range complex training exercises. For detailed information on these actions, please refer to the June 15, 2009 Federal Register Notices and 50 CFR part 218 subparts A, B, and C. An interim final rule was issued on May 26, 2011 (76 FR 30552) to allow certain flexibilities concerning Navy’s training activities at VACAPES and JAX, and LOAs were issued to the Navy on June 1, 2011 (76 FR 33266; June 8, 2011). These LOAs were subsequently modified on January 6, 2012, to allow takes of marine mammals by using timedelayed firing devices (i.e., detonation is controlled by a time-delaying devices instead of being promptly executed) with improved monitoring and mitigation measures (77 FR 2040; January 13, 2012). On February 12, 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, and finalized the May 26, 2011 interim rule. Summary of LOA Request On January 19, 2012, the Navy submitted an application to take marine mammals incidental to training activities at VACAPES, JAX, and CHPT Range Complexes under the regulations issued on June 15, 2009 (VACAPES: 74 FR 28328; JAX: 74 FR 28349; CHPT: 74 FR 28370) and modified on February 12, 2012 (77 FR 4917). The application requested authorization for two years, to take marine mammals by harassment, incidental to proposed training activities that involve the use of E:\FR\FM\25MYN1.SGM 25MYN1 31334 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 102 / Friday, May 25, 2012 / Notices underwater detonations and the use of time-delay firing devices, as described in the January 13, 2012 Federal Register notice announcing the issuance of modified LOAs (77 FR 2040). Summary of Activity Under the 2011 VACAPES, JAX, and CHPT LOAs As described in the Navy’s Annual Range Complex Exercise Report for the NAVSEA VACAPES, JAX, and CHPT Range Complexes, between January 2, 2011, and January 1, 2012, the training activities conducted by the Navy were within the scope and amounts contemplated by the final rule and identified by the 2011 LOAs. A detailed description of the Navy’s 2011 training activities can be found in the exercise reports posted on NMFS Web site: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/ incidental.htm#applications. Planned Activities for 2012–2014 In 2012 through June 2014, the Navy expects to conduct the same type and amount of training activities identified in the final rules and 2011 LOAs, including the use of time-delay firing devices. No modification is proposed by the Navy for its planned 2012–2014 activities. Estimated Take for 2012–2014 The estimated takes for the Navy’s proposed training activities are the same as those contemplated in the regulations and authorized in the 2011 LOAs. mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Summary of Monitoring, Reporting, and other requirements under the 2011 LOA Annual Exercise Report The Navy submitted its 2011 exercise reports within the required timeframes and it is posted on the 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 LOAs. The reports list the amount of training activities conducted between January 2, 2011 and January 1, 2012. Specifically, at the VACAPES Range Complex, the Navy conducted 14 5-lb charge, 28 10-lb charge, and 3 20-lb charge mine exercise (MINEX); 5 Mk-82 (500 lb bomb) Air-to-Surface Bombing Exercises (BOMEX); 28 AGM–114 (Hellfire missile) exercises and 1 AGM– 65 (Maverick missile) exercise (MISSIEX); and 13 5′ explosive Naval gunfire exercises (FIREX with IMPASS). No AGM–88 (HARM missile) and MK– 83/GBU–32 (1,000 lb bomb) exercise was conducted during the reporting period. At the JAX Range Complex, the Navy conducted 9 AGM–114 (Hellfire missile) VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:55 May 24, 2012 Jkt 226001 exercises and 3 AGM–65 (Maverick missile) exercises; and 6 FIREX with IMPASS. No MINEX and no Small Arms Training was conducted during the reporting period. At the CHPT Range Complex, the Navy conducted only one FIREX with IMPASS. No other exercise (MINEX and MISSIEX) was conducted. Monitoring and Annual Monitoring Report The Navy submitted their 2011 annual marine mammal monitoring reports covering the period from January 2, 2011, through January 1, 2012, 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 LOAs and described in the Monitoring Reports. For training exercises at the VACAPES Range Complex, the Navy implemented vessel and aerial surveys and deployed passive acoustic monitoring (PAM) devices. The monitoring efforts for 2011 were conducted within the mine neutralization exercise (MINEX) W–50 box in conjunction with a MINEX event, and the Firing Exercise (FIREX) 7C/7D training boxes in junction with a FIREX event. A vessel survey was conducted on July 14, 2011, in association with a FIREX with IMPASS training event off the coast of Virginia. Four marine mammal observers (MMOs) were stationed aboard a Navy vessel. No marine mammal species were sighted. Vessel surveys were also conducted in association with a MINEX training event off the coast of Virginia Beach, Virginia. Seven MMOs were stationed aboard a Navy vessel. Surveys were conducted on August 7–9, 2011 before, during, and after the training event. During the 3day monitoring trip, a total of 19 bottlenose dolphin sightings including approximately 91–149 individuals were recorded by the Navy MMOs. No injuries or mortalities of marine mammals were observed during the MINEX training. No marine mammal was sighted between 30 minutes predetonation and 30 minutes postdetonation. In addition, aerial surveys were conducted in association with a FIREX training event with IMPASS off the coast of Virginia. Line-transect surveys were conducted on July 13–15, 2011, before, during, and after the training event. Three sightings of marine mammals were made during the 1-day pre-FIREX survey; two sightings of marine mammals were recorded throughout the 1-day during FIREX survey period; and four sightings of PO 00000 Frm 00045 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 marine mammals were recorded during the 1-day post-FIREX survey. No injuries or mortalities of marine mammals were observed during the FIREX training event on July 14. No live explosive rounds were used during the FIREX training. Therefore, no animals were exposed during this VACAPES FIREX with IMPASS training event. Finally, acoustic buoys were deployed on August 7 and 8, 2011, to monitor marine mammal vocalization activity before, during, and after the MINEX event. Six buoys were deployed on both days. Total successful recording time was approximately 38.3 hours, which included 22.75 hours on August 7 and 15.5 hours on August 8. A preliminary analysis of the acoustic recordings was performed on the August 8 data using 1minute spectrogram window, which showed some odontocete whistles. Based on earlier sightings from that day, the Navy stated that the vocalizations are most likely from bottlenose dolphins. For training exercises at the JAX Range Complex, aerial surveys were conducted in association with a FIREX training event with IMPASS off the coast of Georgia and Florida. Linetransect surveys were conducted on September 19–21, 2011, before, during, and after the training event. No sightings of marine mammals were recorded during these surveys. For training exercises at the CHPT Range Complex, aerial surveys were conducted in association with a FIREX with IMPASS training event off the coast of North Carolina. The pre-FIREX line-transact survey on November 29, 2011, was cancelled due to poor weather and low ceiling conditions. No sightings of marine mammals were recorded during the 1.4 hours of total survey flight time (includes on-effort and off-effort intervals) within the survey area covering a 1-day period (November 30, 2011). One large unidentified whale was briefly seen approximately 18 km south of Lookout Bight, North Carolina (approximately 100 km outside of the survey area) on the transit back to the airport. 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. E:\FR\FM\25MYN1.SGM 25MYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 77, No. 102 / Friday, May 25, 2012 / Notices 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 requested from the Navy for the 2012–2014 LOAs for VACAPES, JAX, and CHPT Range Complexes. Authorization Since there are no changes in the Navy’s proposed training activities at the VACAPES, JAX, and CHPT Range Complexes, NMFS’ determination that the Navy’s training activities at these Range Complexes 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 and the interim regulations, is still valid. There is no subsistence use of marine mammals that could potentially be impacted by the Navy’s training activities at the VACAPES, JAX, and CHPT Range Complexes. Further, the level of taking authorized in June 2012 through June 2014 for the Navy’s VACAPES, JAX, and CHPT Range Complexes training activities is consistent with our previous findings made for the total taking allowed under the regulations and interim regulations for these Range Complexes. Accordingly, NMFS has issued three two-year LOAs for Navy’s training activities conducted at the VACAPES, JAX, and CHPT Range Complexes from June 5, 2012, through June 4, 2014. Dated: May 21, 2012. Helen M. Golde, Acting Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2012–12778 Filed 5–24–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P COMMITTEE FOR PURCHASE FROM PEOPLE WHO ARE BLIND OR SEVERELY DISABLED Additions On March 16, 2012 (77 FR 15736) and March 23, 2012 (77 FR 17035), 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 products and service and impact of the additions on the current or most recent contractors, the Committee has determined that the products and service listed below are suitable for procurement by the Federal Government under 41 U.S.C. 8501–8506 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 furnish the products and service to the Government. 2. The action will result in authorizing small entities to furnish the products and service 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 products and service proposed for addition to the Procurement List. AGENCY: End of Certification Accordingly, the following products and service are added to the Procurement List: This action adds products and a service to the Procurement List that Products Product Name/NSN: Parts Kit, Soft Top Troop Area Enclosure, Humvee, Tan/ 2540–01–329–8073 NPA: Montgomery County Chapter, NYSARC, Inc., Amsterdam, NY. Contracting Activity: Defense Logistics Procurement List; Additions mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES will be furnished by nonprofit agencies employing persons who are blind or have other severe disabilities. DATES: Effective Date: June 25, 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. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Patricia Briscoe, Telephone: (703) 603– 7740, Fax: (703) 603–0655, or email CMTEFedReg@AbilityOne.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled. ACTION: Additions to the Procurement List. SUMMARY: VerDate Mar<15>2010 17:55 May 24, 2012 Jkt 226001 PO 00000 Frm 00046 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 31335 Agency Land and Maritime, Columbus, OH. Coverage: C–List for 100% of the requirement of the Department of Defense, as aggregated by the Defense Logistics Agency Land and Maritime, Columbus, OH. Product Names/NSNs: Ice Melt/De-Icer, 10 lbs./6850–01–598– 1946 Ice Melt/De-Icer, 20 lbs./6850–01–598– 1926 Ice Melt/De-Icer, 40 lbs./6850–01–598– 1933 NPA: Bosma Industries for the Blind, Inc., Indianapolis, IN. Contracting Activity: Defense Logistics Agency Aviation, Richmond, VA. Coverage: C–List for 100% of the requirement of the Department of Defense, as aggregated by the Defense Logistics Agency Aviation, Richmond, VA. Service Service Type/Locations: Facilities Maintenance Services, Defense Information Systems Agency, JITC, 2001 Brainard Rd., Building 57305, Fort Huachuca, AZ. 3341 Strauss Avenue, Building 900, Indian Head, MD. 4465 Indian Head Highway, Ely Building, Indian Head, MD. 6910 Cooper Avenue, Fort Meade, MD. NPAs: Beacon Group SW., Inc., Tucson, AZ (Prime Contractor. The Centers for Habilitation/TCH, Tempe, AZ (Subcontractor). Didlake, Inc., Manassas, VA (Subcontractor). Contracting Activity: defense information systems agency (DISA), DITCO–FT HUACHUCA PL65, Fort Huachuca, AZ. Patricia Briscoe, Deputy Director, Business Operations, (Pricing and Information Management). [FR Doc. 2012–12756 Filed 5–24–12; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6353–01–P COMMITTEE FOR PURCHASE FROM PEOPLE WHO ARE BLIND OR SEVERELY DISABLED Procurement List; Proposed Additions and Deletion Committee for Purchase From People Who Are Blind or Severely Disabled. ACTION: Proposed additions to and deletion from the Procurement List. AGENCY: The Committee is proposing to add products and services to the Procurement List that will be furnished by nonprofit agencies employing persons who are blind or have other severe disabilities, and deletes a service previously provided by such agency. Comments Must Be Received on or Before: June 25, 2012. SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\25MYN1.SGM 25MYN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 77, Number 102 (Friday, May 25, 2012)]
[Notices]
[Pages 31333-31335]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2012-12778]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 0648-XC024


Taking and Importing Marine Mammals: Taking Marine Mammals 
Incidental to Navy Training Exercises in Three East Coast Range 
Complexes

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

ACTION: Notice; issuance of three modified Letters 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 three Letters of Authorization (LOAs) to take 
marine mammals by harassment, incidental to the U.S. Navy's training 
activities within the Virginia Capes (VACAPES), Jacksonville (JAX), and 
Cherry Point (CHPT) Range Complexes to the Commander, U.S. Fleet Forces 
Command, 1562 Mitscher Avenue, Suite 250, Norfolk, VA 23551-2487 and 
persons operating under his authority.

DATES: Effective from June 5, 2012, through June 4, 2014.

ADDRESSES: Copies of the Navy's request for LOAs, the Navy's 2011-2012 
marine mammal monitoring report and the Navy's 2011-2012 exercise 
report are available by writing to Tammy C. 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) 724-8401.

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 either 
regulations are issued or, if the taking is limited to harassment, a 
notice of a proposed authorization is provided to the public for 
review.
    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 certain subsistence uses, 
and if the permissible methods of taking and requirements pertaining to 
the mitigation, monitoring and reporting of such taking are set forth.
    Regulations governing the taking of marine mammals incidental to 
the U.S. Navy's training activities at the VACAPES, JAX, and CHPT Range 
Complexes were published on June 15, 2009 (VACAPES: 74 FR 28328; JAX: 
74 FR 28349; CHPT: 74 FR 28370) and remain in effect through June 4, 
2014. They are codified at 50 CFR part 218 subpart A (VACAPES), subpart 
B (JAX), and subpart C (CHPT). These regulations include mitigation, 
monitoring, and reporting requirements for the incidental taking of 
marine mammals by the Navy's range complex training exercises. For 
detailed information on these actions, please refer to the June 15, 
2009 Federal Register Notices and 50 CFR part 218 subparts A, B, and C.
    An interim final rule was issued on May 26, 2011 (76 FR 30552) to 
allow certain flexibilities concerning Navy's training activities at 
VACAPES and JAX, and LOAs were issued to the Navy on June 1, 2011 (76 
FR 33266; June 8, 2011). These LOAs were subsequently modified on 
January 6, 2012, to allow takes of marine mammals by using time-delayed 
firing devices (i.e., detonation is controlled by a time-delaying 
devices instead of being promptly executed) with improved monitoring 
and mitigation measures (77 FR 2040; January 13, 2012).
    On February 12, 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, and finalized the May 26, 2011 interim 
rule.

Summary of LOA Request

    On January 19, 2012, the Navy submitted an application to take 
marine mammals incidental to training activities at VACAPES, JAX, and 
CHPT Range Complexes under the regulations issued on June 15, 2009 
(VACAPES: 74 FR 28328; JAX: 74 FR 28349; CHPT: 74 FR 28370) and 
modified on February 12, 2012 (77 FR 4917). The application requested 
authorization for two years, to take marine mammals by harassment, 
incidental to proposed training activities that involve the use of

[[Page 31334]]

underwater detonations and the use of time-delay firing devices, as 
described in the January 13, 2012 Federal Register notice announcing 
the issuance of modified LOAs (77 FR 2040).

Summary of Activity Under the 2011 VACAPES, JAX, and CHPT LOAs

    As described in the Navy's Annual Range Complex Exercise Report for 
the NAVSEA VACAPES, JAX, and CHPT Range Complexes, between January 2, 
2011, and January 1, 2012, the training activities conducted by the 
Navy were within the scope and amounts contemplated by the final rule 
and identified by the 2011 LOAs. A detailed description of the Navy's 
2011 training activities can be found in the exercise reports posted on 
NMFS Web site: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental.htm#applications.

Planned Activities for 2012-2014

    In 2012 through June 2014, the Navy expects to conduct the same 
type and amount of training activities identified in the final rules 
and 2011 LOAs, including the use of time-delay firing devices. No 
modification is proposed by the Navy for its planned 2012-2014 
activities.

Estimated Take for 2012-2014

    The estimated takes for the Navy's proposed training activities are 
the same as those contemplated in the regulations and authorized in the 
2011 LOAs.

Summary of Monitoring, Reporting, and other requirements under the 2011 
LOA

Annual Exercise Report

    The Navy submitted its 2011 exercise reports within the required 
timeframes and it is posted on the 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 LOAs. The 
reports list the amount of training activities conducted between 
January 2, 2011 and January 1, 2012.
    Specifically, at the VACAPES Range Complex, the Navy conducted 14 
5-lb charge, 28 10-lb charge, and 3 20-lb charge mine exercise (MINEX); 
5 Mk-82 (500 lb bomb) Air-to-Surface Bombing Exercises (BOMEX); 28 AGM-
114 (Hellfire missile) exercises and 1 AGM-65 (Maverick missile) 
exercise (MISSIEX); and 13 5' explosive Naval gunfire exercises (FIREX 
with IMPASS). No AGM-88 (HARM missile) and MK-83/GBU-32 (1,000 lb bomb) 
exercise was conducted during the reporting period.
    At the JAX Range Complex, the Navy conducted 9 AGM-114 (Hellfire 
missile) exercises and 3 AGM-65 (Maverick missile) exercises; and 6 
FIREX with IMPASS. No MINEX and no Small Arms Training was conducted 
during the reporting period.
    At the CHPT Range Complex, the Navy conducted only one FIREX with 
IMPASS. No other exercise (MINEX and MISSIEX) was conducted.

Monitoring and Annual Monitoring Report

    The Navy submitted their 2011 annual marine mammal monitoring 
reports covering the period from January 2, 2011, through January 1, 
2012, 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 LOAs and described in the 
Monitoring Reports.
    For training exercises at the VACAPES Range Complex, the Navy 
implemented vessel and aerial surveys and deployed passive acoustic 
monitoring (PAM) devices. The monitoring efforts for 2011 were 
conducted within the mine neutralization exercise (MINEX) W-50 box in 
conjunction with a MINEX event, and the Firing Exercise (FIREX) 7C/7D 
training boxes in junction with a FIREX event.
    A vessel survey was conducted on July 14, 2011, in association with 
a FIREX with IMPASS training event off the coast of Virginia. Four 
marine mammal observers (MMOs) were stationed aboard a Navy vessel. No 
marine mammal species were sighted. Vessel surveys were also conducted 
in association with a MINEX training event off the coast of Virginia 
Beach, Virginia. Seven MMOs were stationed aboard a Navy vessel. 
Surveys were conducted on August 7-9, 2011 before, during, and after 
the training event. During the 3-day monitoring trip, a total of 19 
bottlenose dolphin sightings including approximately 91-149 individuals 
were recorded by the Navy MMOs. No injuries or mortalities of marine 
mammals were observed during the MINEX training. No marine mammal was 
sighted between 30 minutes pre-detonation and 30 minutes post-
detonation. In addition, aerial surveys were conducted in association 
with a FIREX training event with IMPASS off the coast of Virginia. 
Line-transect surveys were conducted on July 13-15, 2011, before, 
during, and after the training event. Three sightings of marine mammals 
were made during the 1-day pre-FIREX survey; two sightings of marine 
mammals were recorded throughout the 1-day during FIREX survey period; 
and four sightings of marine mammals were recorded during the 1-day 
post-FIREX survey. No injuries or mortalities of marine mammals were 
observed during the FIREX training event on July 14. No live explosive 
rounds were used during the FIREX training. Therefore, no animals were 
exposed during this VACAPES FIREX with IMPASS training event. Finally, 
acoustic buoys were deployed on August 7 and 8, 2011, to monitor marine 
mammal vocalization activity before, during, and after the MINEX event. 
Six buoys were deployed on both days. Total successful recording time 
was approximately 38.3 hours, which included 22.75 hours on August 7 
and 15.5 hours on August 8. A preliminary analysis of the acoustic 
recordings was performed on the August 8 data using 1-minute 
spectrogram window, which showed some odontocete whistles. Based on 
earlier sightings from that day, the Navy stated that the vocalizations 
are most likely from bottlenose dolphins.
    For training exercises at the JAX Range Complex, aerial surveys 
were conducted in association with a FIREX training event with IMPASS 
off the coast of Georgia and Florida. Line-transect surveys were 
conducted on September 19-21, 2011, before, during, and after the 
training event. No sightings of marine mammals were recorded during 
these surveys.
    For training exercises at the CHPT Range Complex, aerial surveys 
were conducted in association with a FIREX with IMPASS training event 
off the coast of North Carolina. The pre-FIREX line-transact survey on 
November 29, 2011, was cancelled due to poor weather and low ceiling 
conditions. No sightings of marine mammals were recorded during the 1.4 
hours of total survey flight time (includes on-effort and off-effort 
intervals) within the survey area covering a 1-day period (November 30, 
2011). One large unidentified whale was briefly seen approximately 18 
km south of Lookout Bight, North Carolina (approximately 100 km outside 
of the survey area) on the transit back to the airport.

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.

[[Page 31335]]

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 requested from the Navy for the 2012-2014 LOAs for 
VACAPES, JAX, and CHPT Range Complexes.

Authorization

    Since there are no changes in the Navy's proposed training 
activities at the VACAPES, JAX, and CHPT Range Complexes, NMFS' 
determination that the Navy's training activities at these Range 
Complexes 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 and the interim regulations, is still valid. 
There is no subsistence use of marine mammals that could potentially be 
impacted by the Navy's training activities at the VACAPES, JAX, and 
CHPT Range Complexes. Further, the level of taking authorized in June 
2012 through June 2014 for the Navy's VACAPES, JAX, and CHPT Range 
Complexes training activities is consistent with our previous findings 
made for the total taking allowed under the regulations and interim 
regulations for these Range Complexes. Accordingly, NMFS has issued 
three two-year LOAs for Navy's training activities conducted at the 
VACAPES, JAX, and CHPT Range Complexes from June 5, 2012, through June 
4, 2014.

    Dated: May 21, 2012.
Helen M. Golde,
Acting Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2012-12778 Filed 5-24-12; 8:45 am]
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