Final Updated Framework for the National System of Marine Protected Areas and Response to Comments, 16626-16628 [2015-07262]

Download as PDF 16626 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 60 / Monday, March 30, 2015 / Notices 9 a.m.–10:30 a.m. Golden Tilefish —Review 2016 specifications —Discuss timetable for Framework 10:30 a.m.–11:30 a.m. 2015 Implementation Plan —Consider initiation of Deepwater Complex FMP —Review and approve possible revisions to the Plan 11:30 a.m.–12 p.m. Control Rule Clarifications —Review staff and SSC recommendations —Approve changes in regulatory language 1:30 p.m.–2 p.m. Industry Funded Observer Amendment —Discuss and approve additional alternatives for Public Hearing Document 2 p.m.–2:30 p.m. River Herring Technical Expert Working Group (TEWG) —Update on recent activities 2:30 p.m.–3 p.m. Delaware River Herring/Shad Recreational Fishery, John Punola 3 p.m.–4 p.m. Bycatch Reduction in Summer Flounder Recreational Fishery, Dr. Jim Salierno and Carl Benson 4 p.m.–5 p.m. Proposed Rule—National Standards 1, 3, and 7, Deb Lambert 5 p.m.–6 p.m. Listening Session—Squid Capacity Amendment Scoping, Jason Didden Science Report, Rich Seagraves Committee Reports —SSC Continuing and New Business Although non-emergency issues not contained in this agenda may come before this group for discussion, in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act (Magnuson-Stevens Act), those issues may not be the subject of formal action during these meetings. Actions will be restricted to those issues specifically identified in this notice and any issues arising after publication of this notice that require emergency action under section 305(c) of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, provided the public has been notified of the Council’s intent to take final action to address the emergency. Special Accommodations 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: March 25, 2015. Tracey L. Thompson, Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2015–07157 Filed 3–27–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XD849 9 a.m. Council Convenes mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Thursday, April 16, 2015 Fisheries of the South Atlantic; South Atlantic Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting AGENCY: 9 a.m.–1 p.m. Business Session Organization Reports —NMFS Greater Atlantic Regional Office —NMFS Northeast Fisheries Science Center —NOAA Office of General Counsel —NOAA Office of Law Enforcement —U.S. Coast Guard —Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission Liaison Reports —New England Council —South Atlantic Council Executive Director’s Report, Chris Moore —Review and approve changes to Council SOPPs VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:57 Mar 27, 2015 Jkt 235001 National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NOAA, Commerce. ACTION: Notice of a joint meeting of the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s (Council) Shrimp Advisory Panel and Deepwater Shrimp Advisory Panel (AP). The South Atlantic Fishery Management Council will hold a joint meeting of its Shrimp and Deepwater Shrimp APs in North Charleston, SC. The meeting is open to the public. DATES: The meeting will be held from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Thursday, April 16, 2015. ADDRESSES: Meeting address: The meeting will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn, 5265 SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00011 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 International Blvd., N. Charleston, SC 29418; telephone: (843) 308–9330. 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, South Atlantic Fishery Management Council, 4055 Faber Place Drive, Suite 201, N. Charleston, SC, 29405; telephone: (843) 571–4366 or toll free (866) SAFMC–10; fax: (843) 769–4520; email: kim.iverson@safmc.net. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Shrimp and Deepwater Shrimp Advisory Panels will meet jointly and receive an update on the NOAA Fisheries Biological Opinion for shrimp that includes the status of terms and conditions for the fishery, the Southeast Data, Assessment, and Review (SEDAR) 2014 Shrimp Procedural Workshop including data and procedures for a shrimp stock assessment and bycatch estimations, and the Oculina Evaluation Team Report which includes a response by the team to consider a shrimp access area within the area currently closed to fishing. The AP members will provide comments and recommendations on these agenda items as appropriate. The AP members will also receive an update on the status of Amendment 8 to the Coral Fishery Management Plan to expand coral protected areas and address other business as necessary. Special Accommodations The meeting is 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. Dated: March 26, 2015. Tracey L. Thompson, Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2015–07310 Filed 3–27–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Final Updated Framework for the National System of Marine Protected Areas and Response to Comments National Marine Protected Areas Center, Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, National Ocean Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric AGENCY: E:\FR\FM\30MRN1.SGM 30MRN1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 60 / Monday, March 30, 2015 / Notices Administration, Department of Commerce. ACTION: Notice of availability of the final updated Framework for the National System of Marine Protected Areas of the United States and response to comments on Draft Updated Framework. The Department of Commerce and the Department of the Interior (DOI) jointly propose an updated Framework for the National System of Marine Protected Areas of the United States (Framework). The Framework is required by Executive Order 13158 on Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). This Framework provides overarching guidance for collaborative efforts among federal, state, commonwealth, territorial, tribal and local governments and stakeholders to implement an effective National System of MPAs (National System) from existing sites, build management capacity among MPA programs, coordinate collaborative efforts to address common management issues and identify ecosystem-based gaps in the protection of significant natural and cultural resources for possible future action by the nation’s MPA authorities. This document updates the previous version of the Framework, completed in November 2008, using experience gained implementing the National System and advice from the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee and MPA programs. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lauren Wenzel, Acting Director, National Marine Protected Areas Center, 301–713–7265 or lauren.wenzel@ noaa.gov. Copies of the updated Framework can be downloaded or viewed on the Internet at marineprotectedareas.noaa.gov. Copies can also be obtained through the contact person noted above. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: SUMMARY: mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES I. Background on MPA Framework The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Marine Protected Areas Center (MPA Center), within the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, in cooperation with the Department of the Interior (DOl), completed the Framework for the National System of Marine Protected Areas of the United States (Framework) to meet requirements under Executive Order 13158 on Marine Protected Areas (Order) in November 2008. NOAA and DOI updated this Framework to reflect five years of implementation experience as well as advice from MPA VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:57 Mar 27, 2015 Jkt 235001 management agencies and the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee. The purpose of this notice is to notify the public of the availability of the updated Framework and to respond to public comment received on a draft update published October 27, 2014. Executive Order 13158 calls for the development of a National System of MPAs to ‘‘enhance the conservation of our Nation’s natural and cultural marine heritage and the ecologically and economically sustainable use of the marine environment for future generations.’’ Established in November 2008, the National System provides a mechanism for MPA managers to voluntarily collaborate on shared management challenges; strengthen linkages among sites to enhance the management of marine resources; and build management capacity. This proposed updated Framework is streamlined for greater clarity and readability, has an increased focus on the functions of the National System, and describes the role of the MPA Center in coordinating and supporting the National System. It also includes substantial revisions to the criteria for cultural resources, adding a criterion that allows MPAs created by tribes and indigenous people to be eligible for the National System. II. Comments and Responses On October 27, 2014, NOAA and DOI (agencies) published the updated Framework for public comment (79 FR 63899). By the end of the two-month comment period, five individual submissions had been received. Several of the comments raised more than one issue, so related comments have been summarized and grouped below into thematic categories. For each of the categories listed below, a summary of comments is provided, and a corresponding response provides an explanation and rationale about changes that were or were not made in the final updated Framework. MPA Networks and New MPAs Comment: The updated Framework puts a greater emphasis on expanding MPA networks and creating new MPAs, moving the focus from more pressing needs of existing sites. Moreover, the focus on ecosystem connectivity may not be appropriate for existing MPAs, and may not serve a larger conservation purpose. Response: The development of MPA networks is a widely recognized marine conservation tool, acknowledged to be effective in providing the spatial links needed to maintain ecosystem processes PO 00000 Frm 00012 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 16627 and connectivity, as well as improving resilience of ecosystems and the communities that depend on them. NOAA and DOI believe that encouraging the science-based creation of MPA networks is fundamental to fulfilling the goals of the National System of MPAs. This focus on enhancing ecosystem connectivity will actually help realize the achievement of existing conservation objectives of MPAs. The updated Framework notes the importance of fostering effective management of existing MPAs as well as identifying priorities for conservation where new MPAs may be an appropriate solution. Contributing to planning for new MPAs is not a major focus of the updated Framework, but part of an overall approach to developing an effective and representative National System of MPAs. Defining and Implementing ‘‘Avoid Harm’’ Provision Comment: The updated Framework should provide more clarity regarding definitions and implementation of the requirement in Executive Order 13158 for federal agencies to ‘‘avoid harm’’ to the resources protected by an MPA. Response: The updated Framework notes that the Executive Order does not provide new legal authority for any federal agency or the MPA Center to review activities of any other federal agency or to create different standards for existing reviews. Instead, the implementation of Section 5, and the national policy it articulates, is achieved using existing legal authorities that shape how federal action agencies identify, review, mitigate, or otherwise alter their activities based on impacts to natural or cultural resources of National System MPAs. NOAA and DOI believe that given the importance of individual agency authorities in implementing this requirement of Executive Order 13158, no single definition of ‘‘harm’’ is possible. The important context of each agency’s authorities will govern agencies’ analyses of harm, including major versus minor or direct versus indirect harm. The language in the Executive Order that stipulates that federal agencies avoid harm ‘‘to the maximum extent practicable’’ allows for the consideration of important social and economic implications of proposed activities within an MPA. Where appropriate, and upon request by one or more agency, the MPA Center may provide technical assistance (e.g., guidance on best practices), coordination, or facilitation to agencies E:\FR\FM\30MRN1.SGM 30MRN1 16628 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 60 / Monday, March 30, 2015 / Notices seeking to avoid harm to National System MPAs. clear that it is to be implemented in the context of existing authorities. Social and Economic Importance of the Marine Environment Comment: The updated Framework lacks a discussion about the social and economic importance of the marine environment to local communities and economies. Response: The agencies have modified the Framework to more fully acknowledge the social and economic importance of the marine environment in the section on ‘‘Benefits of an Effective National System’’ as well as the introduction. Monitoring and Evaluation mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Role of Regional Planning Bodies Comment: The updated Framework should not reference linkages between the National System of MPAs in assisting Regional Planning Bodies in potential work to plan new MPAs, as these Bodies have not been established by statute and could unnecessarily restrict access for certain human uses. Response: Regional Planning Bodies (RPBs) were called for in the Final Recommendations of the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force, and are a key component of the National Ocean Policy and the Framework for Effective Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning. Insofar as the RPBs, or equivalent regional planning efforts may consider MPAs and other forms of place-based conservation within the broader mosaic of ocean management, NOAA and DOI will provide expertise on MPA issues and provide information and tools to support decisions about place-based management. The Framework has been updated to recognize that regional planning bodies are but one type of regional marine management initiative, and they are referenced as such. National System of MPAs and Magnuson-Stevens Act Comment: The updated Framework should clarify that MPAs must be managed in a manner consistent with existing laws. NOAA and DOI should clarify that the concept of ‘‘sustainable fisheries’’ is to be implemented within the context of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. Response: The purpose of the updated Framework is to provide a common reference for all federal, state, territorial and tribal programs who wish to participate in the National System of MPAs. As such, it must address all authorities relevant to MPA governance, not solely the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. The updated Framework makes VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:57 Mar 27, 2015 Jkt 235001 Comment: Monitoring and evaluation efforts to determine the effectiveness of the current National System of MPAs should be a priority. The MPA Center should provide an analytical basis for identifying which MPAs that are accomplishing their goals and which are not. The MPA Center should publish a biennial ‘‘State of the National System’’ report as called for in the Executive Order. Response: The role of the MPA Center related to monitoring and evaluation is to build the capacity of federal and state marine protected area programs to more effectively manage natural and cultural marine resources, and to serve as a unique and neutral source of marine protected area-related science, information and tools for coastal and ocean decision-makers. Individual MPA programs are responsible for conducting their own monitoring and evaluation, and assessing progress toward program and site-level goals. Periodically, the MPA Center may undertake an evaluation of the National System itself, with the aim of identifying opportunities for improving the collaboration among the nation’s MPA programs, including addressing gaps in spatial protection for important areas. For example, in October 2013, the MPA Center published, Marine Protected Areas of the United States: Conserving Our Oceans, One Place at a Time—a summary of the state of all US MPAs and of the National System. Tribal Representation Comment: The updated Framework should consider including more than one tribal representative to the National System Programs Workgroup. Tribal interests are diverse, and having a single representative appointed to speak for other tribes is a concern. Response: The updated Framework states that there will be one member of the National System Workgroup for each participating MPA program. Therefore, each tribal government formally participating in the National System of MPAs would have membership on the Workgroup. In addition, the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee advises NOAA and DOI on issues related to cultural resource management, including areas managed by and important to tribes, and has established a Cultural Heritage Resources Workgroup to provide expertise on these issues. PO 00000 Frm 00013 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Funding Summary: NOAA should be realistic about what funding will be available and what can be accomplished with existing funding. It should also include an estimate of funding needed to guide implementation of the updated Framework. Response: NOAA and DOI believe that the updated Framework is not intended to be an implementation plan, and detailed information on funding is not appropriate for this document. The updated Framework does note that implementation of activities will be dependent on levels of funding. Dated: March 11, 2015. Daniel J. Basta, Director, Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, National Ocean Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. [FR Doc. 2015–07262 Filed 3–27–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–NK–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Interagency Working Group on the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act National Ocean Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. ACTION: Notice, Webinars. AGENCY: The National Ocean Service (NOS) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) publishes this notice to announce a series of webinars designed to initiate conversation between federal representatives and stakeholders on a number of topics related to harmful algal blooms (HABs) and hypoxia, as mandated by the Harmful Algal Bloom and Hypoxia Research and Control Amendments Act of 2014 (HABHRCA). HABHRCA tasks federal agencies to advance the understanding of HAB and hypoxia events, and to respond to, detect, predict, control, and mitigate these events to the greatest extent possible. The Interagency Working Group on HABHRCA (IWG–HABHRCA) is comprised of representatives from a number of federal agencies. Through these webinars, the group seeks to connect and speak with a wide range of stakeholders, including relevant management and planning bodies, resource officials, economists, tribal SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\30MRN1.SGM 30MRN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 60 (Monday, March 30, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 16626-16628]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-07262]


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

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


Final Updated Framework for the National System of Marine 
Protected Areas and Response to Comments

AGENCY: National Marine Protected Areas Center, Office of National 
Marine Sanctuaries, National Ocean Service, National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric

[[Page 16627]]

Administration, Department of Commerce.

ACTION: Notice of availability of the final updated Framework for the 
National System of Marine Protected Areas of the United States and 
response to comments on Draft Updated Framework.

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

SUMMARY: The Department of Commerce and the Department of the Interior 
(DOI) jointly propose an updated Framework for the National System of 
Marine Protected Areas of the United States (Framework). The Framework 
is required by Executive Order 13158 on Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). 
This Framework provides overarching guidance for collaborative efforts 
among federal, state, commonwealth, territorial, tribal and local 
governments and stakeholders to implement an effective National System 
of MPAs (National System) from existing sites, build management 
capacity among MPA programs, coordinate collaborative efforts to 
address common management issues and identify ecosystem-based gaps in 
the protection of significant natural and cultural resources for 
possible future action by the nation's MPA authorities. This document 
updates the previous version of the Framework, completed in November 
2008, using experience gained implementing the National System and 
advice from the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee and 
MPA programs.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lauren Wenzel, Acting Director, 
National Marine Protected Areas Center, 301-713-7265 or 
lauren.wenzel@noaa.gov.
    Copies of the updated Framework can be downloaded or viewed on the 
Internet at marineprotectedareas.noaa.gov. Copies can also be obtained 
through the contact person noted above.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

I. Background on MPA Framework

    The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) 
National Marine Protected Areas Center (MPA Center), within the Office 
of National Marine Sanctuaries, in cooperation with the Department of 
the Interior (DOl), completed the Framework for the National System of 
Marine Protected Areas of the United States (Framework) to meet 
requirements under Executive Order 13158 on Marine Protected Areas 
(Order) in November 2008. NOAA and DOI updated this Framework to 
reflect five years of implementation experience as well as advice from 
MPA management agencies and the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory 
Committee. The purpose of this notice is to notify the public of the 
availability of the updated Framework and to respond to public comment 
received on a draft update published October 27, 2014.
    Executive Order 13158 calls for the development of a National 
System of MPAs to ``enhance the conservation of our Nation's natural 
and cultural marine heritage and the ecologically and economically 
sustainable use of the marine environment for future generations.'' 
Established in November 2008, the National System provides a mechanism 
for MPA managers to voluntarily collaborate on shared management 
challenges; strengthen linkages among sites to enhance the management 
of marine resources; and build management capacity.
    This proposed updated Framework is streamlined for greater clarity 
and readability, has an increased focus on the functions of the 
National System, and describes the role of the MPA Center in 
coordinating and supporting the National System. It also includes 
substantial revisions to the criteria for cultural resources, adding a 
criterion that allows MPAs created by tribes and indigenous people to 
be eligible for the National System.

II. Comments and Responses

    On October 27, 2014, NOAA and DOI (agencies) published the updated 
Framework for public comment (79 FR 63899). By the end of the two-month 
comment period, five individual submissions had been received. Several 
of the comments raised more than one issue, so related comments have 
been summarized and grouped below into thematic categories. For each of 
the categories listed below, a summary of comments is provided, and a 
corresponding response provides an explanation and rationale about 
changes that were or were not made in the final updated Framework.

MPA Networks and New MPAs

    Comment: The updated Framework puts a greater emphasis on expanding 
MPA networks and creating new MPAs, moving the focus from more pressing 
needs of existing sites. Moreover, the focus on ecosystem connectivity 
may not be appropriate for existing MPAs, and may not serve a larger 
conservation purpose.
    Response: The development of MPA networks is a widely recognized 
marine conservation tool, acknowledged to be effective in providing the 
spatial links needed to maintain ecosystem processes and connectivity, 
as well as improving resilience of ecosystems and the communities that 
depend on them. NOAA and DOI believe that encouraging the science-based 
creation of MPA networks is fundamental to fulfilling the goals of the 
National System of MPAs. This focus on enhancing ecosystem connectivity 
will actually help realize the achievement of existing conservation 
objectives of MPAs.
    The updated Framework notes the importance of fostering effective 
management of existing MPAs as well as identifying priorities for 
conservation where new MPAs may be an appropriate solution. 
Contributing to planning for new MPAs is not a major focus of the 
updated Framework, but part of an overall approach to developing an 
effective and representative National System of MPAs.

Defining and Implementing ``Avoid Harm'' Provision

    Comment: The updated Framework should provide more clarity 
regarding definitions and implementation of the requirement in 
Executive Order 13158 for federal agencies to ``avoid harm'' to the 
resources protected by an MPA.
    Response: The updated Framework notes that the Executive Order does 
not provide new legal authority for any federal agency or the MPA 
Center to review activities of any other federal agency or to create 
different standards for existing reviews. Instead, the implementation 
of Section 5, and the national policy it articulates, is achieved using 
existing legal authorities that shape how federal action agencies 
identify, review, mitigate, or otherwise alter their activities based 
on impacts to natural or cultural resources of National System MPAs. 
NOAA and DOI believe that given the importance of individual agency 
authorities in implementing this requirement of Executive Order 13158, 
no single definition of ``harm'' is possible. The important context of 
each agency's authorities will govern agencies' analyses of harm, 
including major versus minor or direct versus indirect harm.
    The language in the Executive Order that stipulates that federal 
agencies avoid harm ``to the maximum extent practicable'' allows for 
the consideration of important social and economic implications of 
proposed activities within an MPA. Where appropriate, and upon request 
by one or more agency, the MPA Center may provide technical assistance 
(e.g., guidance on best practices), coordination, or facilitation to 
agencies

[[Page 16628]]

seeking to avoid harm to National System MPAs.

Social and Economic Importance of the Marine Environment

    Comment: The updated Framework lacks a discussion about the social 
and economic importance of the marine environment to local communities 
and economies.
    Response: The agencies have modified the Framework to more fully 
acknowledge the social and economic importance of the marine 
environment in the section on ``Benefits of an Effective National 
System'' as well as the introduction.

Role of Regional Planning Bodies

    Comment: The updated Framework should not reference linkages 
between the National System of MPAs in assisting Regional Planning 
Bodies in potential work to plan new MPAs, as these Bodies have not 
been established by statute and could unnecessarily restrict access for 
certain human uses.
    Response: Regional Planning Bodies (RPBs) were called for in the 
Final Recommendations of the Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force, and 
are a key component of the National Ocean Policy and the Framework for 
Effective Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning. Insofar as the RPBs, or 
equivalent regional planning efforts may consider MPAs and other forms 
of place-based conservation within the broader mosaic of ocean 
management, NOAA and DOI will provide expertise on MPA issues and 
provide information and tools to support decisions about place-based 
management. The Framework has been updated to recognize that regional 
planning bodies are but one type of regional marine management 
initiative, and they are referenced as such.

National System of MPAs and Magnuson-Stevens Act

    Comment: The updated Framework should clarify that MPAs must be 
managed in a manner consistent with existing laws. NOAA and DOI should 
clarify that the concept of ``sustainable fisheries'' is to be 
implemented within the context of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery 
Conservation and Management Act.
    Response: The purpose of the updated Framework is to provide a 
common reference for all federal, state, territorial and tribal 
programs who wish to participate in the National System of MPAs. As 
such, it must address all authorities relevant to MPA governance, not 
solely the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act. 
The updated Framework makes clear that it is to be implemented in the 
context of existing authorities.

Monitoring and Evaluation

    Comment: Monitoring and evaluation efforts to determine the 
effectiveness of the current National System of MPAs should be a 
priority. The MPA Center should provide an analytical basis for 
identifying which MPAs that are accomplishing their goals and which are 
not. The MPA Center should publish a biennial ``State of the National 
System'' report as called for in the Executive Order.
    Response: The role of the MPA Center related to monitoring and 
evaluation is to build the capacity of federal and state marine 
protected area programs to more effectively manage natural and cultural 
marine resources, and to serve as a unique and neutral source of marine 
protected area-related science, information and tools for coastal and 
ocean decision-makers. Individual MPA programs are responsible for 
conducting their own monitoring and evaluation, and assessing progress 
toward program and site-level goals. Periodically, the MPA Center may 
undertake an evaluation of the National System itself, with the aim of 
identifying opportunities for improving the collaboration among the 
nation's MPA programs, including addressing gaps in spatial protection 
for important areas. For example, in October 2013, the MPA Center 
published, Marine Protected Areas of the United States: Conserving Our 
Oceans, One Place at a Time--a summary of the state of all US MPAs and 
of the National System.

Tribal Representation

    Comment: The updated Framework should consider including more than 
one tribal representative to the National System Programs Workgroup. 
Tribal interests are diverse, and having a single representative 
appointed to speak for other tribes is a concern.
    Response: The updated Framework states that there will be one 
member of the National System Workgroup for each participating MPA 
program. Therefore, each tribal government formally participating in 
the National System of MPAs would have membership on the Workgroup. In 
addition, the Marine Protected Areas Federal Advisory Committee advises 
NOAA and DOI on issues related to cultural resource management, 
including areas managed by and important to tribes, and has established 
a Cultural Heritage Resources Workgroup to provide expertise on these 
issues.

Funding

    Summary: NOAA should be realistic about what funding will be 
available and what can be accomplished with existing funding. It should 
also include an estimate of funding needed to guide implementation of 
the updated Framework.
    Response: NOAA and DOI believe that the updated Framework is not 
intended to be an implementation plan, and detailed information on 
funding is not appropriate for this document. The updated Framework 
does note that implementation of activities will be dependent on levels 
of funding.

    Dated: March 11, 2015.
Daniel J. Basta,
Director, Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, National Ocean 
Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
[FR Doc. 2015-07262 Filed 3-27-15; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-NK-P