Notice of Availability of a Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Hawaiian Monk Seal Recovery Actions, 20172-20174 [2014-08207]

Download as PDF 20172 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 70 / Friday, April 11, 2014 / Notices that date will be distributed to the members but may not be considered at the meeting. Copies of Council meeting minutes will be available within 90 days of the meeting. Dated: April 8, 2014. Ingrid Mitchem, Director, Industry Trade Advisory Center. [FR Doc. 2014–08189 Filed 4–10–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–DR–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Institute of Standards and Technology II. Method of Collection Proposed Information Collection; Comment Request; Manufacturing Extension Partnership Program Management Information Reporting System for the Business and Talent Management Self-Diagnostic The information will be collected from the NIST-hosted web application via the MEP Web site at www.smartalent.gov using a passwordprotected interface. National Institute of Standards and Technology, Commerce. ACTION: Notice. AGENCY: The Department of Commerce, as part of its continuing effort to reduce paperwork and respondent burden, invites the general public and other Federal agencies to take this opportunity to comment on proposed and/or continuing information collections, as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. DATES: Written comments must be submitted on or before June 10, 2014. ADDRESSES: Direct all written comments to Jennifer Jessup, Departmental Paperwork Clearance Officer, Department of Commerce, Room 6616, 14th and Constitution Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20230 (or via the Internet at jjessup@doc.gov). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Requests for additional information or copies of the information collection instrument and instructions should be directed to Stacey Wagner, Stacey.wagner@nist.gov, 301–975–4850. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: SUMMARY: tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES I. Abstract The Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP), sponsored by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), is a national network of locally-based manufacturing extension centers working with small manufacturers to assist them improve productivity, improve profitability, and enhance their economic competitiveness. In order for small and medium-sized manufacturers to understand the systemic alignment VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:55 Apr 10, 2014 Jkt 232001 between their business goals and workforce investments, they will need to compare their internal business goals/ targets and their talent management efforts. By comparing their own internal data that reflects all of their business strategies, small and medium-sized manufacturers will understand how aligned their workforce skills are with their business investments and execution. This self-diagnostic service will be offered by MEP centers to their manufacturing clients. The results of the service information will enable the NIST MEP to provide systematic business analysis assistance to their clients. III. Data OMB Control Number: None. Form Number: None. Type of Review: Regular submission (new information collection). Affected Public: Business or other forprofit organizations. Estimated Number of Respondents: 600. Estimated Time per Response: 30 minutes. Estimated Total Annual Burden Hours: 300. Estimated Total Annual Cost to Public: $0. IV. Request for Comments Comments are invited on: (a) Whether the proposed collection of information is necessary for the proper performance of the functions of the agency, including whether the information shall have practical utility; (b) the accuracy of the agency’s estimate of the burden (including hours and cost) of the proposed collection of information; (c) ways to enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (d) ways to minimize the burden of the collection of information on respondents, including through the use of automated collection techniques or other forms of information technology. Comments submitted in response to this notice will be summarized and/or included in the request for OMB approval of this information collection; they also will become a matter of public record. PO 00000 Frm 00008 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Dated: April 8, 2014. Gwellnar Banks, Management Analyst, Office of the Chief Information Officer. [FR Doc. 2014–08196 Filed 4–10–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–13–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XZ21 Notice of Availability of a Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement for Hawaiian Monk Seal Recovery Actions National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice of Availability of a Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement; Request for Comments. AGENCY: NMFS announces the availability of the ‘‘Final Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for Hawaiian monk seal Recovery Actions.’’ Publication of this notice begins the official public comment period for the Final PEIS. The purpose of the Final PEIS is to evaluate, in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the potential direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts on the human environment from implementing the alternative approaches for funding, undertaking, and permitting research and enhancement activities on Hawaiian monk seals (Monachus schauinslandi). SUMMARY: Written comments must be received on or before May 12, 2014. While NMFS is not required to respond to comments received on the Final PEIS, we will review and consider them prior to issuing a Record of Decision. The Record of Decision will include information on the alternatives considered, the preferred alternative and why we chose it, and required mitigation and monitoring. ADDRESSES: Comments on the Final PEIS for this action may be submitted by: • Email: monkseal@noaa.gov. • Fax: 301–713–0376. • Mail: NOAA, NMFS, 1315 EastWest Highway, SSMC3, F/PR1, Room 13715, Silver Spring, MD 20910 (ATTN: Monk Seal PEIS). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Amy Sloan (301–427–8401, monkseal@ noaa.gov). DATES: E:\FR\FM\11APN1.SGM 11APN1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 70 / Friday, April 11, 2014 / Notices NMFS is the Federal agency responsible for management, recovery and conservation of Hawaiian monk seals under the Endangered Species Act (ESA; 16 United States Code [U.S.C.] 1531 et seq.) and the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA; 16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.). As part of their responsibilities, NMFS funds, permits, and conducts research and enhancement activities on endangered Hawaiian monk seals in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI), main Hawaiian Islands (MHI), and at Johnston Atoll. NMFS proposes to implement research and enhancement actions identified in the 2007 Hawaiian Monk Seal Recovery Plan, with the goal of conserving and recovering the species. This Final PEIS provides decision-makers and the public with an evaluation of the environmental, social, and economic effects of the proposed recovery actions and alternatives. The agency’s recommended Preferred Alternative is Alternative 3 (Limited Translocation). Alternative 3 encompasses a broad scope of research and enhancement activities that would yield greater recovery benefits to the species over the next several years than would be expected under the other alternatives. It is important to note that while Alternative 4 (Enhanced Implementation) was Preferred in the Draft PEIS, Alternative 3 has been selected as the Preferred Alternative in the Final PEIS. The only distinction between these two Alternatives is that Alternative 3 (Preferred) does not include any translocation option that would involve taking seals born in the NWHI and releasing them in the MHI. tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background The Hawaiian monk seal is a critically endangered species found only in the U.S., within the Hawaiian Archipelago and at Johnston Atoll. The population is estimated to have around 1,200 individuals and is declining by roughly 4% each year. Since the 1980’s, NMFS has conducted research to understand, and enhancement activities to mitigate, threats to the survival of monk seals. Most of this work has been in the NWHI where the majority of seals live and breed. More recently, a natural increase in the number of seals in the MHI has prompted researchers and managers to begin studying and aiding seals in the MHI. Despite measures taken to save the monk seal, the species is not showing signs of recovery. In the NWHI, young seals are continuing to starve to death, nursing and newly weaned pups are being killed by sharks, seals are getting entangled in marine debris, and sea VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:55 Apr 10, 2014 Jkt 232001 level rise threatens terrestrial habitats. Low juvenile survival over the past two decades is the primary cause of the population’s decline. There is insufficient recruitment into the breeding population, and the population decline will likely continue without additional intervention. On October 1, 2010, NMFS provided public notice (75 FR 60721) that it would prepare a PEIS to assess the impacts of implementing specific management actions and administering a research and enhancement program to improve survival of Hawaiian monk seals. The 45-day public scoping period was extended 15 days (75 FR 69398) and ended November 30, 2010. As part of scoping, NMFS hosted public meetings to introduce the project proposal, describe the PEIS process, and solicit input on the issues and alternatives to be evaluated. Public scoping meetings were held in October 2010 on the islands of O‘ahu, Hawai‘i, Maui, Moloka‘i, and Kaua‘i. During the scoping comment period, 139 public comments were received. The Scoping Report is available on the project Web site: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/ permits/eis/hawaiianmonkseal.htm. On August 19, 2011, NMFS provided public notice (76 FR 51945) that the Draft PEIS for Hawaiian Monk Seal Recovery Actions was available for public comment, and the Draft PEIS was released for public review on the project Web site listed above. The public comment period ended on October 17, 2011. A total of 341 comment submissions were received from agencies and the public on the Draft PEIS. These submissions generated 1,180 substantive comments. Comments received during the scoping process and public comment period on the Draft PEIS raised issues that have been addressed or incorporated in the Final PEIS. A Comment Analysis Report is included in Appendix C to the Final PEIS and is available on the project Web site listed above. This report includes public comments received, NMFS’ responses, and where in the PEIS the comments are addressed or revisions are made. Alternatives NMFS has evaluated a preferred alternative (Alternative 3) and three others in the Final PEIS. These are summarized as follows: Alternative 1: Status Quo Alternative: Under the Status Quo Alternative, research and enhancement activities would be carried out as currently permitted under the MMPA and ESA. New permits could be issued in the future to maintain the current levels of PO 00000 Frm 00009 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 20173 research and enhancement activities. Some elements of this alternative include: • Monitoring via ground, vessel, and aerial surveys; • Marking and photo ID; • Health screening and instrumentation; • De-worming research; • Specimen collection and import/ export of specimens; • Disentanglement and dehooking; • Adult male removal for enhancement; and • Translocation for enhancement including: Æ Translocating abandoned nursing pups to a prospective foster mother or their natural mother within their birth island or atoll; Æ Translocating weaned pups from a high risk area (e.g., known shark predation) to a low risk area within the same island or atoll in the NWHI or Johnston Atoll; translocations in the MHI may be to a different location on the same island or to a different island in the MHI; Æ Translocating weaned pups in subpopulations where juvenile survival is low to subpopulations with higher rates of juvenile survival; seals may only be translocated among subpopulations within the NWHI. No new activities or expanded scope of existing activities would occur under the Status Quo Alternative. Alternative 2: No Action: Under this alternative, the above-mentioned permitted research and enhancement activities would stop in June 2014 when the current permit expires. At that time, all research and enhancement activities that require a permit would cease except for those activities covered by the NMFS Marine Mammal Health and Stranding Response Program, such as responding to stranded, injured, or entangled seals in need of intervention. Alternative 3: Limited Translocation (Preferred Alternative): Alternative 3 includes activities described in the Status Quo as well as new and expanded activities. The new and expanded activities include, but are not limited to: • Vaccination studies and potential implementation of a vaccination program to prevent or mitigate infectious disease. • Potential implementation of deworming as an enhancement tool to improve juvenile Hawaiian monk seal survival. • Expanded scope and number of seal translocations in addition to those in the status quo, including: E:\FR\FM\11APN1.SGM 11APN1 tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES 20174 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 70 / Friday, April 11, 2014 / Notices • Taking seals with unmanageable human interactions from the MHI to NWHI. • Taking juvenile and older seals from the MHI to NWHI to examine their subsequent survival. • Implementing a two-stage translocation program whereby weaned pups are taken from areas of lower survival to areas of higher survival (within the NWHI, within the MHI, or from the MHI to NWHI, but not from the NWHI to MHI), with the option of returning them to their natal location or nearest appropriate site at age 2 years and older. Note that seals originally born in the MHI and translocated to the NWHI may be returned to the MHI. • Supplemental feeding of monk seals in NWHI locations where seals are released after being cared for in captivity (post-rehabilitation). • Research to develop tools for modifying undesirable Hawaiian monk seal behavior related to interactions with humans and fishing gear in the MHI. If proven effective by research, these tools would be implemented. • Chemical alteration of aggressive male monk seal behavior using a drug to reduce testosterone. Alternative 4: Enhanced Implementation: The only difference between Alternative 4 and Alternative 3 (Preferred) is that Alternative 4 would also allow for two-stage translocation of weaned pups from the NWHI to the MHI and their subsequent return at age 2 or 3 years to the NWHI. The ability under Alternative 4 to conduct two-stage translocation from the NWHI to the MHI would allow for maximal flexibility to take advantage of the potential benefits of two-stage translocation, because weaned pups could be moved to wherever their survival chances are best. However, implementing two-stage translocations from the NWHI to the MHI would be infeasible at this time. NWHI pups, once brought to the MHI, could become involved in fishery and other human interactions, just as has occurred among some seals born in the MHI. Capacity and techniques for monitoring translocated seals, and intervening to prevent and mitigate such interactions, must be further developed before this action can be conducted without risking failure as measured both in terms of seal survival and public attitudes toward monk seal conservation. Thus, while Alternative 4 was the preferred alternative in the Draft PEIS, it is not the preferred alternative in the Final PEIS. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq. and 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq. VerDate Mar<15>2010 18:55 Apr 10, 2014 Jkt 232001 Dated: April 4, 2014. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2014–08207 Filed 4–10–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XD219 Fisheries of the South Atlantic; South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (Council); Public Meeting National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Department of Commerce. ACTION: Notice of public meetings. AGENCY: 5. Elect a new Chairperson and ViceChair for the AP. 6. Discuss the principles of effective science communication as well as the creation of effective science communication products. Deepwater Shrimp AP Agenda, Tuesday May 6, 2014, 1 p.m. Through 12 Noon Wednesday, May 7, 2014 1. Receive a status update on Coral Amendment 8, pertaining to Coral Habitat Areas of Particular Concern (HAPCs) and transit through the Oculina Bank HAPC. 2. Review the draft Oculina Evaluation Team Report. 3. Provide input on potential changes to HAPCs (Coral Amendment 9). Coral AP Agenda, Wednesday, May 7, 2014, 1 p.m. Through 4:30 p.m. Thursday, May 8, 2014 The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council (SAFMC) will hold meetings of its Information & Education Advisory Panel (AP) Meeting and Science Communication Workshop; Deepwater Shrimp AP; and Coral AP, in North Charleston, SC. DATES: The meetings will be held from 8 a.m. on Monday, May 5, 2014 until 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 8, 2014. ADDRESSES: The meetings will be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, 4831 Tanger Outlet Blvd., North Charleston, SC 29418; telephone: (877) 227–6963 or (843) 744–4422; fax: (843) 744–4472. Council address: South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, 4055 Faber Place Drive, Suite 201, N. Charleston, SC 29405. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kim Iverson, Public Information Officer, SAFMC; telephone: (843) 571–4366 or toll free: (866) SAFMC–10; fax: (843) 769–4520; email: kim.iverson@ safmc.net. The items of discussion in the individual meeting agendas are as follows: 1. Receive a status update on Coral Amendment 8. 2. Receive a status update of the SAFMC’s Cooperative Agreement proposal with NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program. 3. Review the draft Oculina Evaluation Team Report. 4. Provide input for potential changes to HAPCs (Coral Amendment 9). Although non-emergency issues not contained in this agenda may come before this group for discussion, those issues may not be the subject of formal action during these meetings. Action 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 Fishery Conservation and Management Act, provided the public has been notified of the Council’s intent to take final action to address the emergency. Special Accommodations SUMMARY: SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Information & Education AP Agenda & Science Communication Workshop, Monday, May 5, 2014, 8 a.m. Until 5 p.m. Tuesday, May 6, 2014 1. Receive an update on SAFMC outreach activities 2013–14. 2. Receive an overview and update on the Council’s Snapper Grouper Visioning Project and port meetings. 3. Review the draft Oculina Evaluation Team Report. 4. Receive an update on the Marine Resources Education Program (MREP) for the Southeast region. PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 9990 These meetings are physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for auxiliary aids should be directed to the council office (see ADDRESSES) 3 days prior to the meeting. Note: The times and sequence specified in this agenda are subject to change. Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. Dated: April 8, 2014. Tracey L. Thompson, Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2014–08147 Filed 4–10–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\11APN1.SGM 11APN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 70 (Friday, April 11, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 20172-20174]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-08207]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 0648-XZ21


Notice of Availability of a Final Programmatic Environmental 
Impact Statement for Hawaiian Monk Seal Recovery Actions

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

ACTION: Notice of Availability of a Final Programmatic Environmental 
Impact Statement; Request for Comments.

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

SUMMARY: NMFS announces the availability of the ``Final Programmatic 
Environmental Impact Statement (PEIS) for Hawaiian monk seal Recovery 
Actions.'' Publication of this notice begins the official public 
comment period for the Final PEIS. The purpose of the Final PEIS is to 
evaluate, in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act 
(NEPA), the potential direct, indirect, and cumulative impacts on the 
human environment from implementing the alternative approaches for 
funding, undertaking, and permitting research and enhancement 
activities on Hawaiian monk seals (Monachus schauinslandi).

DATES: Written comments must be received on or before May 12, 2014. 
While NMFS is not required to respond to comments received on the Final 
PEIS, we will review and consider them prior to issuing a Record of 
Decision. The Record of Decision will include information on the 
alternatives considered, the preferred alternative and why we chose it, 
and required mitigation and monitoring.

ADDRESSES: Comments on the Final PEIS for this action may be submitted 
by:
     Email: monkseal@noaa.gov.
     Fax: 301-713-0376.
     Mail: NOAA, NMFS, 1315 East-West Highway, SSMC3, F/PR1, 
Room 13715, Silver Spring, MD 20910 (ATTN: Monk Seal PEIS).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Amy Sloan (301-427-8401, 
monkseal@noaa.gov).

[[Page 20173]]


SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NMFS is the Federal agency responsible for 
management, recovery and conservation of Hawaiian monk seals under the 
Endangered Species Act (ESA; 16 United States Code [U.S.C.] 1531 et 
seq.) and the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA; 16 U.S.C. 1361 et 
seq.). As part of their responsibilities, NMFS funds, permits, and 
conducts research and enhancement activities on endangered Hawaiian 
monk seals in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI), main Hawaiian 
Islands (MHI), and at Johnston Atoll. NMFS proposes to implement 
research and enhancement actions identified in the 2007 Hawaiian Monk 
Seal Recovery Plan, with the goal of conserving and recovering the 
species. This Final PEIS provides decision-makers and the public with 
an evaluation of the environmental, social, and economic effects of the 
proposed recovery actions and alternatives.
    The agency's recommended Preferred Alternative is Alternative 3 
(Limited Translocation). Alternative 3 encompasses a broad scope of 
research and enhancement activities that would yield greater recovery 
benefits to the species over the next several years than would be 
expected under the other alternatives. It is important to note that 
while Alternative 4 (Enhanced Implementation) was Preferred in the 
Draft PEIS, Alternative 3 has been selected as the Preferred 
Alternative in the Final PEIS. The only distinction between these two 
Alternatives is that Alternative 3 (Preferred) does not include any 
translocation option that would involve taking seals born in the NWHI 
and releasing them in the MHI.

Background

    The Hawaiian monk seal is a critically endangered species found 
only in the U.S., within the Hawaiian Archipelago and at Johnston 
Atoll. The population is estimated to have around 1,200 individuals and 
is declining by roughly 4% each year. Since the 1980's, NMFS has 
conducted research to understand, and enhancement activities to 
mitigate, threats to the survival of monk seals. Most of this work has 
been in the NWHI where the majority of seals live and breed. More 
recently, a natural increase in the number of seals in the MHI has 
prompted researchers and managers to begin studying and aiding seals in 
the MHI.
    Despite measures taken to save the monk seal, the species is not 
showing signs of recovery. In the NWHI, young seals are continuing to 
starve to death, nursing and newly weaned pups are being killed by 
sharks, seals are getting entangled in marine debris, and sea level 
rise threatens terrestrial habitats. Low juvenile survival over the 
past two decades is the primary cause of the population's decline. 
There is insufficient recruitment into the breeding population, and the 
population decline will likely continue without additional 
intervention.
    On October 1, 2010, NMFS provided public notice (75 FR 60721) that 
it would prepare a PEIS to assess the impacts of implementing specific 
management actions and administering a research and enhancement program 
to improve survival of Hawaiian monk seals. The 45-day public scoping 
period was extended 15 days (75 FR 69398) and ended November 30, 2010. 
As part of scoping, NMFS hosted public meetings to introduce the 
project proposal, describe the PEIS process, and solicit input on the 
issues and alternatives to be evaluated. Public scoping meetings were 
held in October 2010 on the islands of O`ahu, Hawai`i, Maui, Moloka`i, 
and Kaua`i. During the scoping comment period, 139 public comments were 
received. The Scoping Report is available on the project Web site: 
http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/eis/hawaiianmonkseal.htm.
    On August 19, 2011, NMFS provided public notice (76 FR 51945) that 
the Draft PEIS for Hawaiian Monk Seal Recovery Actions was available 
for public comment, and the Draft PEIS was released for public review 
on the project Web site listed above. The public comment period ended 
on October 17, 2011. A total of 341 comment submissions were received 
from agencies and the public on the Draft PEIS. These submissions 
generated 1,180 substantive comments. Comments received during the 
scoping process and public comment period on the Draft PEIS raised 
issues that have been addressed or incorporated in the Final PEIS. A 
Comment Analysis Report is included in Appendix C to the Final PEIS and 
is available on the project Web site listed above. This report includes 
public comments received, NMFS' responses, and where in the PEIS the 
comments are addressed or revisions are made.

Alternatives

    NMFS has evaluated a preferred alternative (Alternative 3) and 
three others in the Final PEIS. These are summarized as follows:
    Alternative 1: Status Quo Alternative: Under the Status Quo 
Alternative, research and enhancement activities would be carried out 
as currently permitted under the MMPA and ESA. New permits could be 
issued in the future to maintain the current levels of research and 
enhancement activities. Some elements of this alternative include:
     Monitoring via ground, vessel, and aerial surveys;
     Marking and photo ID;
     Health screening and instrumentation;
     De-worming research;
     Specimen collection and import/export of specimens;
     Disentanglement and dehooking;
     Adult male removal for enhancement; and
     Translocation for enhancement including:
    [cir] Translocating abandoned nursing pups to a prospective foster 
mother or their natural mother within their birth island or atoll;
    [cir] Translocating weaned pups from a high risk area (e.g., known 
shark predation) to a low risk area within the same island or atoll in 
the NWHI or Johnston Atoll; translocations in the MHI may be to a 
different location on the same island or to a different island in the 
MHI;
    [cir] Translocating weaned pups in subpopulations where juvenile 
survival is low to subpopulations with higher rates of juvenile 
survival; seals may only be translocated among subpopulations within 
the NWHI.

No new activities or expanded scope of existing activities would occur 
under the Status Quo Alternative.
    Alternative 2: No Action: Under this alternative, the above-
mentioned permitted research and enhancement activities would stop in 
June 2014 when the current permit expires. At that time, all research 
and enhancement activities that require a permit would cease except for 
those activities covered by the NMFS Marine Mammal Health and Stranding 
Response Program, such as responding to stranded, injured, or entangled 
seals in need of intervention.
    Alternative 3: Limited Translocation (Preferred Alternative): 
Alternative 3 includes activities described in the Status Quo as well 
as new and expanded activities. The new and expanded activities 
include, but are not limited to:
     Vaccination studies and potential implementation of a 
vaccination program to prevent or mitigate infectious disease.
     Potential implementation of de-worming as an enhancement 
tool to improve juvenile Hawaiian monk seal survival.
     Expanded scope and number of seal translocations in 
addition to those in the status quo, including:

[[Page 20174]]

     Taking seals with unmanageable human interactions from the 
MHI to NWHI.
     Taking juvenile and older seals from the MHI to NWHI to 
examine their subsequent survival.
     Implementing a two-stage translocation program whereby 
weaned pups are taken from areas of lower survival to areas of higher 
survival (within the NWHI, within the MHI, or from the MHI to NWHI, but 
not from the NWHI to MHI), with the option of returning them to their 
natal location or nearest appropriate site at age 2 years and older. 
Note that seals originally born in the MHI and translocated to the NWHI 
may be returned to the MHI.
     Supplemental feeding of monk seals in NWHI locations where 
seals are released after being cared for in captivity (post-
rehabilitation).
     Research to develop tools for modifying undesirable 
Hawaiian monk seal behavior related to interactions with humans and 
fishing gear in the MHI. If proven effective by research, these tools 
would be implemented.
     Chemical alteration of aggressive male monk seal behavior 
using a drug to reduce testosterone.
    Alternative 4: Enhanced Implementation: The only difference between 
Alternative 4 and Alternative 3 (Preferred) is that Alternative 4 would 
also allow for two-stage translocation of weaned pups from the NWHI to 
the MHI and their subsequent return at age 2 or 3 years to the NWHI. 
The ability under Alternative 4 to conduct two-stage translocation from 
the NWHI to the MHI would allow for maximal flexibility to take 
advantage of the potential benefits of two-stage translocation, because 
weaned pups could be moved to wherever their survival chances are best. 
However, implementing two-stage translocations from the NWHI to the MHI 
would be infeasible at this time. NWHI pups, once brought to the MHI, 
could become involved in fishery and other human interactions, just as 
has occurred among some seals born in the MHI. Capacity and techniques 
for monitoring translocated seals, and intervening to prevent and 
mitigate such interactions, must be further developed before this 
action can be conducted without risking failure as measured both in 
terms of seal survival and public attitudes toward monk seal 
conservation. Thus, while Alternative 4 was the preferred alternative 
in the Draft PEIS, it is not the preferred alternative in the Final 
PEIS.

    Authority:  16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq. and 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.

    Dated: April 4, 2014.
Samuel D. Rauch III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2014-08207 Filed 4-10-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P