NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program Science Plan, 26004-26007 [2015-10453]

Download as PDF 26004 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 87 / Wednesday, May 6, 2015 / Notices of certain circular welded non-alloy steel pipe from Mexico for the period November 1, 2013, through October 31, 2014. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Institute of Standards and Technology National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Assessment Prospective Grant of Exclusive Patent License NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program Science Plan The Department will instruct U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to assess antidumping duties on all appropriate entries. Because the Department is rescinding this administrative review in its entirety, the entries to which this administrative review pertained shall be assessed antidumping duties at rates equal to the cash deposit of estimated antidumping duties required at the time of entry, or withdrawal from warehouse, for consumption, in accordance with 19 CFR 351.212(c)(1)(i). The Department intends to issue appropriate assessment instructions to CBP 41 days after the publication of this notice. tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Notifications This notice serves as a final reminder to importers of their responsibility under 19 CFR 351.402(f)(2) to file a certificate regarding the reimbursement of antidumping duties prior to liquidation of the relevant entries during this review period. Failure to comply with this requirement could result in the Department’s presumption that reimbursement of the antidumping duties occurred and the subsequent assessment of doubled antidumping duties. This notice also serves as a final reminder to parties subject to administrative protective order (APO) of their responsibility concerning the return or destruction of proprietary information disclosed under APO in accordance with 19 CFR 351.305, which continues to govern business proprietary information in this segment of the proceeding. Timely written notification of the return/destruction of APO materials or conversion to judicial protective order is hereby requested. Failure to comply with the regulations and terms of an APO is a violation which is subject to sanction. This notice is issued and published in accordance with sections 751(a)(1) and 777(i)(1) of the Tariff Act of 1930, as amended, and 19 CFR 351.213(d)(4). Dated: April 30, 2015. Christian Marsh, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping and Countervailing Duty. National Institute of Standards and Technology, Commerce. AGENCY: Notice of prospective grant of exclusive patent license. ACTION: This is a notice in accordance with 35 U.S.C. 209(e) and 37 CFR 404.7(a)(1)(i) that the National Institute of Standards and Technology (‘‘NIST’’), U.S. Department of Commerce, is contemplating the grant of an exclusive license in the United States of America, its territories, possessions and commonwealths, to NIST’s interest in the invention embodied in U.S. Patent No. 8,918,884, entitled ‘‘K-zero day safety,’’ (NIST Docket No. 12–017) to the George Mason Research Foundation, Inc. The grant of the license would be for all fields of use. SUMMARY: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Honeyeh Zube, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Technology Partnerships Office, 100 Bureau Drive, Stop 2200, Gaithersburg, MD 20899, (301) 975–2209, honeyeh.zube@nist.gov. The prospective exclusive license will be royalty bearing and will comply with the terms and conditions of 35 U.S.C. 209 and 37 CFR 404.7. The prospective exclusive license may be granted unless, within fifteen (15) days from the date of this published notice, NIST receives written evidence and argument which establish that the grant of the license would not be consistent with the requirements of 35 U.S.C. 209 and 37 CFR 404.7. U.S. Patent No. 8,918,884 is co-owned by George Mason University and the U.S. Government, as represented by the Secretary of the Department of Commerce. The patent, which issued on December 23, 2014, describes systems and methods for determining a safety level of a network vulnerable to attack. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Kevin A. Kimball, Chief of Staff. [FR Doc. 2015–10497 Filed 5–5–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–13–P [FR Doc. 2015–10623 Filed 5–5–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–DS–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:43 May 05, 2015 Jkt 235001 PO 00000 Frm 00010 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 National Ocean Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. ACTION: Response to comments and release of final science plan. AGENCY: The National Ocean Service (NOS) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) publishes this notice to announce the availability of response to comments and release of the final science plan for the NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program. SUMMARY: The final science plan for the NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program will be available at http:// restoreactscienceprogram.noaa.gov/ science-plan. Inquiries about the plan may be addressed to Becky Allee at NOAA Office for Coastal Management, Gulf of Mexico Division, Bldg. 1100, Rm. 232, Stennis Space Center, MS 39529. ADDRESSES: For further information, contact: Becky Allee (becky.allee@noaa.gov, 228–688– 1701). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: NOAA is publishing this Notice to announce Response to Comments received on the Draft Science Plan and release of the Final Science Plan for the NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program. The final plan will be posted on May 6, 2015. The Final Science Plan is being issued after careful consideration and adjudication of public comments received following a 45-day comment period from October 30, 2014— December 15, 2014. Section 1604 of the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States Act of 2012 (RESTORE Act) establishes the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Science, Observation, Monitoring, and Technology Program (Science Program) to be administered by NOAA and to carry out research, observation, and monitoring to support the long-term sustainability of the ecosystem, fish stocks, fish habitat, and the recreational, commercial, and charter fishing industry in the Gulf of Mexico. The Final Science Plan for the NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program lays out the path forward for the program. The SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: E:\FR\FM\06MYN1.SGM 06MYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 87 / Wednesday, May 6, 2015 / Notices tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES plan provides an overview of the program and its establishing legislation, describes our three short-term and 10 long-term research priorities and the process by which they were determined, and summarizes the Program’s structure and administration. The plan is organized in three sections. Section I includes: background on legislative requirements and mission; the vision, goal, and outcomes for the program; research scope and priorities; NOAA’s roles; geographic scope; and approach to engagement. Section II describes each of the 10 long-term research priorities identified for the program. For each priority we include the management needs that drive the priority, desired outcomes, examples of key activities; and examples of potential outputs. This section also includes a brief discussion on the importance of synthesis and integration of the research conducted under these priorities. Section III, which describes the program’s structure and administration, includes sections on program management, consultation and coordination, program parameters, funding opportunities and competitive process; environmental compliance, and data and information sharing. Response to Comments ‘‘NOAA received 19 sets of comments from organizations and private citizens (241 total recommendations). Many of the comments were supportive of the science plan as a whole while only offering minor editorial suggestions or requesting clarification on elements of the plan. The breakdown of the 19 submissions was 7 individuals, 6 nongovernmental organizations or groups (represented 9 organizations), 2 federal agencies, 1 state agency, 1 academic institution, 1 regional ocean observing partnership, and 1 fishery management organization.’’ Of the comments addressing core components of the plan, the topics most frequently raised were NOAA’s role in the program; the process for translating the long-term research priorities into future funding opportunities; prioritization of data synthesis; integration, communication, and coordination with other programs; and a process for measuring the success of the program and research carried out under the program. From the draft version of the plan to this final version of the plan, the key changes are a clearer description of NOAA’s role in the program, additional information on the factors the program will consider in translating the long-term research priorities into future funding opportunities, and additional information on the geographic scope of the program. VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:43 May 05, 2015 Jkt 235001 26005 The following section, organized by category (1–9), presents a summary of the comments and NOAA’s responses. The number of total recommendations (of the 241) is listed for each category. Editorial corrections will not be extensively addressed in this Notice; however a few examples have been provided. For further information on Response to Comments, contact: Becky Allee (becky.allee@noaa.gov, 228–688– 1701). Response 2 1. General Comments 2. NOAA’ role 3. Program Scope 4. Research Priorities 5. Clarification of Priorities 6. Performance Measures 7. Coordination and Engagement 8. Funding, Eligibility and Prioritization 9. Editorial Category 3: Program Scope and Domain (34 Recommendations) Category 1: General Comments (22 Recommendations) (a) Is there a mechanism to include previous research or outside research? (b) Cite the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority’s (CPRA) Coastal Master Plan in the references. Response 1 Overall, the program received several comments supporting the goals and activities of the plan and complimenting the program on developing the plan. One comment queried the program’s plan for inclusion of previous research or outside research. The revised plan highlights the immediate responsibility of the program to manage the data requirements of projects funded under the program. A comprehensive, integrated mechanism to pull all research together is the objective of one of the priorities presented in this plan. Other comments ranged from recommendations to include missing references (e.g., CPRA’s Coastal Master Plan, considered a regionally significant accomplishment) or requests to update references cited in the plan (e.g., Gulf Councils updated list of research and priority needs for 2015–2019). The majority of the general comments were supportive of the programs draft plan. Many others, while acknowledged, did not warrant changes in the document. Category 2: NOAA’s Role (4 Recommendations) Commenters asked for clarification on the role NOAA staff and scientists have in administering and carrying out the NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program, for example, involvement in research activities, processes for funding expenditures, participation in research results synthesis and integration activities, etc. PO 00000 Frm 00011 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 The final science plan has a subsection titled, ‘‘NOAA’s Role’’ in Section I.4. This section restates the specific actions that NOAA will (or will not) carry out as authorized by the RESTORE Act [Section 1604(b)(4)]. Specifically regarding the question on synthesis and integration, a paragraph addressing this was added in Section II, ‘‘Long-term Research Priorities’’. (a) Include a section on adaptive management. (b) What is the geographical scope of the program? (c) Include further details and clarification on terms and species within plan. (d) Recommendations to include research areas. Response 3 The Program received several comments on the need for more information and clarification on its scope. One comment encouraged the inclusion of an adaptive management discussion in the document. The Program recognizes the important role of adaptive management in addressing resource issues in the Gulf of Mexico; however, since the NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program is a research program and not a resource management program, we decided this was beyond the scope of the plan. The Program will not provide direct financial support to management activities, but will support science that intends to inform management decisions. Many comments inquired about the geographic scope (domain) of the program. They expressed concern that the domain extended too far inland or that offshore and deepwater environments and their associated biological communities were not included. We revised Section I.5, ‘‘Geographic Scope’’ to better define our intent, including extent of watershed activities. Further clarification on included species has been added throughout the plan. Following these revisions we determined that the ‘‘Program Scope’’ section was mostly redundant with information presented elsewhere in the plan so the section was removed in the final version. Category 4: Research Priorities (14 Recommendations) (a) Missing management needs, outcomes, example activities, or outputs for some aspects of research priorities. E:\FR\FM\06MYN1.SGM 06MYN1 26006 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 87 / Wednesday, May 6, 2015 / Notices (b) Redundancy among example activities, outputs, and/or outcomes across research priorities. (c) Requests for expanded discussion on short-term priorities. (d) How will priorities be further ‘‘prioritized’’ or sequenced? tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES Response 4 (a) Management needs, outcomes, example activities, and outputs identified under each of the 10 longterm research priorities represent the types of activities and outputs that could be undertaken and developed in support of research and management needs and do not represent an exhaustive list. Rather, we have provided an initial list based on review of existing documents from the Gulf of Mexico, stakeholder input, conversations with partners, and expertise of program staff. Language in the plan that explained this use of examples was further clarified. (b) We agree with comments about redundancy among example activities, outputs, and/or outcomes across research priorities. Upon further review, we determined that some activities, outputs, and/or outcomes were not appropriate for the research priority under which they were listed and so they were removed. In other cases, simple edits were sufficient to address any issue(s). However, in some instances, redundancy should be expected. It is quite acceptable to expect like activities to occur in support of ecosystem research, recognizing that ultimately the activities are intended to answer different sets of questions. (c) Several comments requested that the plan elaborate and invest more discussion on short-term priorities. Since the short-term priorities were originally released in the Program’s Framework document (December 2013), and subsequently were the focus of a federal funding opportunity (FFO), they are not covered in greater depth in this plan. The focus of this plan is to establish the long-term research priorities that will guide future implementation of this Program. (d) A considerable number of comments expressed concern over the Program’s ability to address all of the long-term research priorities and requested information on the Program’s plan for further prioritizing and sequencing priorities. Refer to Section III.4, ‘‘Funding Opportunities and Competitive Process’’, for a revised list of factors that will inform sequencing among the Program’s long-term research priorities. VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:43 May 05, 2015 Jkt 235001 Category 5: Priority Clarification (42 Recommendations) (a) Provide greater detail. (b) Build on existing data/knowledge better. Response 5 (a) A number of comments requested that the plan provide greater detail on the long-term research priorities, intended actions to be carried out under these priorities, and the anticipated outcomes. The plan identifies priorities for the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem that will add to our understanding of the condition of its living coastal and marine resources and wildlife populations, and the human coastal communities that are dependent upon this ecosystem. To achieve this holistic understanding requires a broad array of multi-disciplinary research projects that address both the natural and socioeconomic sciences. To address each in fine detail would be an immense undertaking, particularly for a new Program such as this one. At this early stage of the Program’s development, the plan was purposefully written at a higher level with less detail to allow space for the Program to mature its own niche and fill unmet research needs in the region, all within the scope of the Program’s authorization. This plan will be revised approximately every 5 years and more frequently if deemed necessary. As the Program matures, long-term research priorities may be refined. (b) Several comments requested that the plan recognize certain existing data and knowledge and seek to build off this previous work. We reviewed the plan and added additional references to previous work and mentioned additional opportunities to leverage ongoing or previous activities Category 6: Performance Measures (10 Recommendations) (a) What is the process for evaluating success? (b) How will performance be measured? (c) What are the metrics for success? Response 6 There were several comments on performance management, many of which were focused on the long-term research priorities. We are currently developing our approach to performance management; however, it will not be completed in time for inclusion with the Final Science Plan. We will vet our approach for performance management with our internal and external advisory bodies (refer to Section III.1, ‘‘Program PO 00000 Frm 00012 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Management Structure’’ for more details on our advisory structure). Category 7: Coordination and Engagement (32 Recommendations) (a) Elaborate on the coordination and engagement process. (b) Coordinate with the Centers of Excellence Research Grants Program. (c) Emphasis placed on interactions with Gulf state agencies. (d) Will the science plan be revised to reflect finalized coordination plans? Response 7 Additional text describing the Program’s approach to coordination was added to the plan in Section III.2, ‘‘Consultation and Coordination.’’ That revised section addresses how we will meet legislative requirements for consultation and coordination with other Gulf of Mexico-focused programs. Avoiding duplication of effort is one of the main goals we will work on with our partner programs. The inclusion of citizen science was also recommended in several comments but did not require revisions to the plan. Refer to Section I.6, ‘‘Engagement’’, for details on the Program’s approach to stakeholder engagement. Category 8: Funding, Eligibility, and Prioritization (20 Recommendations) (a) Provide more details on FFOs, the decision process for proposal reviews, evaluation, and prioritization. (b) Who is eligible for support? (c) Explicitly state funding on upstream research. (d) Is there a contingency plan for research in response to future disasters? (e) Encouragement for the facilitation of student opportunities. Response 8 The Program received several comments regarding the process we will use to develop FFOs. The Program has added language to clarify our approach to FFO development, including a list of factors that will inform the selection of topical priorities for specific funding opportunities. Refer to Section III.4, ‘‘Funding Opportunities and Competitive Process’’ for additional information on our approach to FFO development. This section also includes subsections that cover eligibility requirements for applying for funding, funding mechanisms, peer-review process, scientific integrity, and partnerships. Category 9: Editorial (63 Recommendations) (a) Typographical errors; (b) Grammatical errors; and E:\FR\FM\06MYN1.SGM 06MYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 87 / Wednesday, May 6, 2015 / Notices (c) Recommendations for rewording or reorganizing. Response 9 All typographical and grammatical errors pointed out in comments were corrected. In many cases, requests for rewording or reorganizing were accepted (e.g., outcomes, outputs, and example activities listed under each long-term research priority in Section II were reordered to example activities, example outputs, and outcomes); however, some requests would have required extensive rewriting of the plan or were beyond the scope of this document. In other cases, the requested information was already in the plan— this revised version improves the organization and alignment of information and section headers throughout the plan to make it easier to locate specific information. There were several comments regarding some confusion on information presented in appendices. Several appendices have been revised and their captions have been clarified. Non-essential appendices have been removed from the plan. Dated: April 27, 2015. Mary C. Erickson, Director, National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, National Ocean Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. [FR Doc. 2015–10453 Filed 5–5–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE Rural Utilities Service DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Telecommunications and Information Administration Broadband Opportunity Council Webinar Rural Utilities Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and National Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. ACTION: Notice of public webinar. AGENCY: In a request for comment (RFC) published in the Federal Register on April 29, 2015, the Departments of Agriculture and Commerce, which are co-chairing the Broadband Opportunity Council (Council), asked for public input on barriers that are hampering deployment of broadband, ways to promote public and private investment in broadband, challenges facing areas that lack access to broadband, and ways to measure broadband availability, tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:43 May 05, 2015 Jkt 235001 adoption, and speed.1 To explain the RFC’s purpose and objectives, and to allow an opportunity for members of the public to pose questions regarding the RFC, the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will host a webinar on May 20, 2015. DATES: The webinar will be held on May 20, 2015, from 4:00 p.m. until 5:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. ADDRESSES: The webinar will be open to the public and press on a first-come, first-served basis. To help assure that adequate space is provided, all attendees are required to register for the webinar at https:// attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/ 4277364480826458625 by May 13, 2015. Upon registration, webinar information will be distributed, including both the link to the webinar (video) as well as the dial-in information (sound). Due to the limited capacity, we encourage and request that parties at the same location share a webinar link. Refer to the Supplemental Information below and to http://www.rd.usda.gov and http:// www.ntia.doc.gov/ for additional information on the webinar. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jennifer Holtz, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW, Room 4878, Washington, DC 20230; telephone: (202) 482–2048; email: broadbandusa@ntia.doc.gov or Denise Scott, Rural Development, Rural Utilities Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, 1400 Independence Avenue SW, Washington, DC 20250; telephone: (202) 720–1910; email: Denise.Scott1@ wdc.usda.gov. Please direct media inquiries to NTIA’s Office of Public Affairs, (202) 482–7002. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 26007 is seeking public comment on steps federal agencies can take to help promote broadband deployment, adoption and competition. The Presidential Memorandum also directs the Council to consult with state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, as well as telecommunications companies, utilities, trade associations, philanthropic entities, policy experts, and other interested parties to identify and assess regulatory barriers and determine possible actions. This Notice seeks public participation, especially from the named stakeholders above, in the Council’s RFC webinar to ensure that the RFC will bolster the Council’s work and to improve the number and quality of ideas expressed in response to the RFC. I. Background On January 13, 2015, President Obama announced new Administration efforts to help more people, in more communities around the country, gain access to fast and affordable broadband.2 With this effort, President Obama created an interagency Broadband Opportunity Council, which II. Objectives of This Notice The RFC requests public input on: (i) Ways the federal government can promote best practices, modernize outdated regulations, promote coordination, and offer more services online; (ii) identification of regulatory barriers to broadband deployment, competition, and adoption; (iii) ways to promote public and private investment in broadband; (iv) ways to promote broadband adoption; (v) issues related to state, local, and tribal governments; (vi) issues related to vulnerable communities and communities with limited or no broadband; (vii) issues specific to rural areas; and (viii) ways to measure broadband availability, adoption, and speed. This Notice announces a public webinar on May 20, 2015 to inform all stakeholders and other interested parties on how they can share their perspectives and recommend actions that the federal government can take to promote broadband deployment, adoption, and competition, including by identifying and removing regulatory barriers unduly impeding investments in broadband technology. The webinar will educate stakeholders and other interested parties on the purpose and objectives of the RFC. It will also provide the public with information on how to participate in the RFC, while also allowing the public to ask any questions about the RFC. 1 Broadband Opportunity Council Notice and Request for Comment, 80 FR 23785 (April 29, 2015), available at www.ntia.doc.gov/federal-registernotice/2015/broadband-opportunity-council-noticeand-request-comment. 2 See FACT SHEET: Broadband That Works: Promoting Competition & Local Choice In NextGeneration Connectivity, White House, January 13, 2015, available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/thepress-office/2015/01/13/fact-sheet-broadbandworks-promoting-competition-local-choice-nextgener. III. Public Webinar The purpose of the webinar is to inform the public of the Council’s RFC and how interested parties may participate in the request. The webinar will be open to the public and press on a first-come, first-served basis. Refer to ADDRESSES above for information on registration for the webinar. Should problems arise with webinar PO 00000 Frm 00013 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\06MYN1.SGM 06MYN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 87 (Wednesday, May 6, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 26004-26007]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-10453]


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

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program Science Plan

AGENCY: National Ocean Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce.

ACTION: Response to comments and release of final science plan.

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

SUMMARY: The National Ocean Service (NOS) of the National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) publishes this notice to announce the 
availability of response to comments and release of the final science 
plan for the NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program.

ADDRESSES: The final science plan for the NOAA RESTORE Act Science 
Program will be available at http://restoreactscienceprogram.noaa.gov/science-plan. Inquiries about the plan may be addressed to Becky Allee 
at NOAA Office for Coastal Management, Gulf of Mexico Division, Bldg. 
1100, Rm. 232, Stennis Space Center, MS 39529.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: For further information, contact: 
Becky Allee (becky.allee@noaa.gov, 228-688-1701).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: NOAA is publishing this Notice to announce 
Response to Comments received on the Draft Science Plan and release of 
the Final Science Plan for the NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program. The 
final plan will be posted on May 6, 2015. The Final Science Plan is 
being issued after careful consideration and adjudication of public 
comments received following a 45-day comment period from October 30, 
2014--December 15, 2014.
    Section 1604 of the Resources and Ecosystems Sustainability, 
Tourist Opportunities, and Revived Economies of the Gulf Coast States 
Act of 2012 (RESTORE Act) establishes the Gulf Coast Ecosystem 
Restoration Science, Observation, Monitoring, and Technology Program 
(Science Program) to be administered by NOAA and to carry out research, 
observation, and monitoring to support the long-term sustainability of 
the ecosystem, fish stocks, fish habitat, and the recreational, 
commercial, and charter fishing industry in the Gulf of Mexico. The 
Final Science Plan for the NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program lays out 
the path forward for the program. The

[[Page 26005]]

plan provides an overview of the program and its establishing 
legislation, describes our three short-term and 10 long[hyphen]term 
research priorities and the process by which they were determined, and 
summarizes the Program's structure and administration. The plan is 
organized in three sections. Section I includes: background on 
legislative requirements and mission; the vision, goal, and outcomes 
for the program; research scope and priorities; NOAA's roles; 
geographic scope; and approach to engagement. Section II describes each 
of the 10 long-term research priorities identified for the program. For 
each priority we include the management needs that drive the priority, 
desired outcomes, examples of key activities; and examples of potential 
outputs. This section also includes a brief discussion on the 
importance of synthesis and integration of the research conducted under 
these priorities. Section III, which describes the program's structure 
and administration, includes sections on program management, 
consultation and coordination, program parameters, funding 
opportunities and competitive process; environmental compliance, and 
data and information sharing.

Response to Comments

    ``NOAA received 19 sets of comments from organizations and private 
citizens (241 total recommendations). Many of the comments were 
supportive of the science plan as a whole while only offering minor 
editorial suggestions or requesting clarification on elements of the 
plan. The breakdown of the 19 submissions was 7 individuals, 6 non-
governmental organizations or groups (represented 9 organizations), 2 
federal agencies, 1 state agency, 1 academic institution, 1 regional 
ocean observing partnership, and 1 fishery management organization.'' 
Of the comments addressing core components of the plan, the topics most 
frequently raised were NOAA's role in the program; the process for 
translating the long-term research priorities into future funding 
opportunities; prioritization of data synthesis; integration, 
communication, and coordination with other programs; and a process for 
measuring the success of the program and research carried out under the 
program. From the draft version of the plan to this final version of 
the plan, the key changes are a clearer description of NOAA's role in 
the program, additional information on the factors the program will 
consider in translating the long-term research priorities into future 
funding opportunities, and additional information on the geographic 
scope of the program.
    The following section, organized by category (1-9), presents a 
summary of the comments and NOAA's responses. The number of total 
recommendations (of the 241) is listed for each category. Editorial 
corrections will not be extensively addressed in this Notice; however a 
few examples have been provided. For further information on Response to 
Comments, contact: Becky Allee (becky.allee@noaa.gov, 228-688-1701).

1. General Comments
2. NOAA' role
3. Program Scope
4. Research Priorities
5. Clarification of Priorities
6. Performance Measures
7. Coordination and Engagement
8. Funding, Eligibility and Prioritization
9. Editorial

Category 1: General Comments (22 Recommendations)

    (a) Is there a mechanism to include previous research or outside 
research?
    (b) Cite the Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority's (CPRA) 
Coastal Master Plan in the references.

Response 1

    Overall, the program received several comments supporting the goals 
and activities of the plan and complimenting the program on developing 
the plan. One comment queried the program's plan for inclusion of 
previous research or outside research. The revised plan highlights the 
immediate responsibility of the program to manage the data requirements 
of projects funded under the program. A comprehensive, integrated 
mechanism to pull all research together is the objective of one of the 
priorities presented in this plan. Other comments ranged from 
recommendations to include missing references (e.g., CPRA's Coastal 
Master Plan, considered a regionally significant accomplishment) or 
requests to update references cited in the plan (e.g., Gulf Councils 
updated list of research and priority needs for 2015-2019). The 
majority of the general comments were supportive of the programs draft 
plan. Many others, while acknowledged, did not warrant changes in the 
document.

Category 2: NOAA's Role (4 Recommendations)

    Commenters asked for clarification on the role NOAA staff and 
scientists have in administering and carrying out the NOAA RESTORE Act 
Science Program, for example, involvement in research activities, 
processes for funding expenditures, participation in research results 
synthesis and integration activities, etc.

Response 2

    The final science plan has a sub-section titled, ``NOAA's Role'' in 
Section I.4. This section restates the specific actions that NOAA will 
(or will not) carry out as authorized by the RESTORE Act [Section 
1604(b)(4)]. Specifically regarding the question on synthesis and 
integration, a paragraph addressing this was added in Section II, 
``Long-term Research Priorities''.

Category 3: Program Scope and Domain (34 Recommendations)

    (a) Include a section on adaptive management.
    (b) What is the geographical scope of the program?
    (c) Include further details and clarification on terms and species 
within plan.
    (d) Recommendations to include research areas.

Response 3

    The Program received several comments on the need for more 
information and clarification on its scope. One comment encouraged the 
inclusion of an adaptive management discussion in the document. The 
Program recognizes the important role of adaptive management in 
addressing resource issues in the Gulf of Mexico; however, since the 
NOAA RESTORE Act Science Program is a research program and not a 
resource management program, we decided this was beyond the scope of 
the plan. The Program will not provide direct financial support to 
management activities, but will support science that intends to inform 
management decisions.
    Many comments inquired about the geographic scope (domain) of the 
program. They expressed concern that the domain extended too far inland 
or that offshore and deepwater environments and their associated 
biological communities were not included. We revised Section I.5, 
``Geographic Scope'' to better define our intent, including extent of 
watershed activities. Further clarification on included species has 
been added throughout the plan. Following these revisions we determined 
that the ``Program Scope'' section was mostly redundant with 
information presented elsewhere in the plan so the section was removed 
in the final version.

Category 4: Research Priorities (14 Recommendations)

    (a) Missing management needs, outcomes, example activities, or 
outputs for some aspects of research priorities.

[[Page 26006]]

    (b) Redundancy among example activities, outputs, and/or outcomes 
across research priorities.
    (c) Requests for expanded discussion on short-term priorities.
    (d) How will priorities be further ``prioritized'' or sequenced?

Response 4

    (a) Management needs, outcomes, example activities, and outputs 
identified under each of the 10 long-term research priorities represent 
the types of activities and outputs that could be undertaken and 
developed in support of research and management needs and do not 
represent an exhaustive list. Rather, we have provided an initial list 
based on review of existing documents from the Gulf of Mexico, 
stakeholder input, conversations with partners, and expertise of 
program staff. Language in the plan that explained this use of examples 
was further clarified.
    (b) We agree with comments about redundancy among example 
activities, outputs, and/or outcomes across research priorities. Upon 
further review, we determined that some activities, outputs, and/or 
outcomes were not appropriate for the research priority under which 
they were listed and so they were removed. In other cases, simple edits 
were sufficient to address any issue(s). However, in some instances, 
redundancy should be expected. It is quite acceptable to expect like 
activities to occur in support of ecosystem research, recognizing that 
ultimately the activities are intended to answer different sets of 
questions.
    (c) Several comments requested that the plan elaborate and invest 
more discussion on short-term priorities. Since the short-term 
priorities were originally released in the Program's Framework document 
(December 2013), and subsequently were the focus of a federal funding 
opportunity (FFO), they are not covered in greater depth in this plan. 
The focus of this plan is to establish the long-term research 
priorities that will guide future implementation of this Program.
    (d) A considerable number of comments expressed concern over the 
Program's ability to address all of the long-term research priorities 
and requested information on the Program's plan for further 
prioritizing and sequencing priorities. Refer to Section III.4, 
``Funding Opportunities and Competitive Process'', for a revised list 
of factors that will inform sequencing among the Program's long-term 
research priorities.

Category 5: Priority Clarification (42 Recommendations)

    (a) Provide greater detail.
    (b) Build on existing data/knowledge better.

Response 5

    (a) A number of comments requested that the plan provide greater 
detail on the long-term research priorities, intended actions to be 
carried out under these priorities, and the anticipated outcomes. The 
plan identifies priorities for the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem that will 
add to our understanding of the condition of its living coastal and 
marine resources and wildlife populations, and the human coastal 
communities that are dependent upon this ecosystem. To achieve this 
holistic understanding requires a broad array of multi-disciplinary 
research projects that address both the natural and socioeconomic 
sciences. To address each in fine detail would be an immense 
undertaking, particularly for a new Program such as this one. At this 
early stage of the Program's development, the plan was purposefully 
written at a higher level with less detail to allow space for the 
Program to mature its own niche and fill unmet research needs in the 
region, all within the scope of the Program's authorization. This plan 
will be revised approximately every 5 years and more frequently if 
deemed necessary. As the Program matures, long-term research priorities 
may be refined.
    (b) Several comments requested that the plan recognize certain 
existing data and knowledge and seek to build off this previous work. 
We reviewed the plan and added additional references to previous work 
and mentioned additional opportunities to leverage ongoing or previous 
activities

Category 6: Performance Measures (10 Recommendations)

    (a) What is the process for evaluating success?
    (b) How will performance be measured?
    (c) What are the metrics for success?

Response 6

    There were several comments on performance management, many of 
which were focused on the long-term research priorities. We are 
currently developing our approach to performance management; however, 
it will not be completed in time for inclusion with the Final Science 
Plan. We will vet our approach for performance management with our 
internal and external advisory bodies (refer to Section III.1, 
``Program Management Structure'' for more details on our advisory 
structure).

Category 7: Coordination and Engagement (32 Recommendations)

    (a) Elaborate on the coordination and engagement process.
    (b) Coordinate with the Centers of Excellence Research Grants 
Program.
    (c) Emphasis placed on interactions with Gulf state agencies.
    (d) Will the science plan be revised to reflect finalized 
coordination plans?

Response 7

    Additional text describing the Program's approach to coordination 
was added to the plan in Section III.2, ``Consultation and 
Coordination.'' That revised section addresses how we will meet 
legislative requirements for consultation and coordination with other 
Gulf of Mexico-focused programs. Avoiding duplication of effort is one 
of the main goals we will work on with our partner programs. The 
inclusion of citizen science was also recommended in several comments 
but did not require revisions to the plan. Refer to Section I.6, 
``Engagement'', for details on the Program's approach to stakeholder 
engagement.

Category 8: Funding, Eligibility, and Prioritization (20 
Recommendations)

    (a) Provide more details on FFOs, the decision process for proposal 
reviews, evaluation, and prioritization.
    (b) Who is eligible for support?
    (c) Explicitly state funding on upstream research.
    (d) Is there a contingency plan for research in response to future 
disasters?
    (e) Encouragement for the facilitation of student opportunities.

Response 8

    The Program received several comments regarding the process we will 
use to develop FFOs. The Program has added language to clarify our 
approach to FFO development, including a list of factors that will 
inform the selection of topical priorities for specific funding 
opportunities. Refer to Section III.4, ``Funding Opportunities and 
Competitive Process'' for additional information on our approach to FFO 
development. This section also includes subsections that cover 
eligibility requirements for applying for funding, funding mechanisms, 
peer-review process, scientific integrity, and partnerships.

Category 9: Editorial (63 Recommendations)

    (a) Typographical errors;
    (b) Grammatical errors; and

[[Page 26007]]

    (c) Recommendations for rewording or reorganizing.

Response 9

    All typographical and grammatical errors pointed out in comments 
were corrected. In many cases, requests for rewording or reorganizing 
were accepted (e.g., outcomes, outputs, and example activities listed 
under each long-term research priority in Section II were reordered to 
example activities, example outputs, and outcomes); however, some 
requests would have required extensive rewriting of the plan or were 
beyond the scope of this document. In other cases, the requested 
information was already in the plan--this revised version improves the 
organization and alignment of information and section headers 
throughout the plan to make it easier to locate specific information. 
There were several comments regarding some confusion on information 
presented in appendices. Several appendices have been revised and their 
captions have been clarified. Non-essential appendices have been 
removed from the plan.

    Dated: April 27, 2015.
Mary C. Erickson,
Director, National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, National Ocean 
Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
[FR Doc. 2015-10453 Filed 5-5-15; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P