Notice of Availability of Community-Based Restoration Program Guidelines, 56442-56444 [2015-23503]

Download as PDF 56442 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 181 / Friday, September 18, 2015 / Notices tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES diamond sawblades, including diamond sawblade cores and diamond sawblade segments. Diamond sawblade cores are circular steel plates, whether or not attached to non-steel plates, with slots. Diamond sawblade cores are manufactured principally, but not exclusively, from alloy steel. A diamond sawblade segment consists of a mixture of diamonds (whether natural or synthetic, and regardless of the quantity of diamonds) and metal powders (including, but not limited to, iron, cobalt, nickel, tungsten carbide) that are formed together into a solid shape (from generally, but not limited to, a heating and pressing process). Sawblades with diamonds directly attached to the core with a resin or electroplated bond, which thereby do not contain a diamond segment, are not included within the scope of the order. Diamond sawblades and/or sawblade cores with a thickness of less than 0.025 inches, or with a thickness greater than 1.1 inches, are excluded from the scope of the order. Circular steel plates that have a cutting edge of non-diamond material, such as external teeth that protrude from the outer diameter of the plate, whether or not finished, are excluded from the scope of the order. Diamond sawblade cores with a Rockwell C hardness of less than 25 are excluded from the scope of the order. Diamond sawblades and/or diamond segment(s) with diamonds that predominantly have a mesh size number greater than 240 (such as 250 or 260) are excluded from the scope of the order. Merchandise subject to the order is typically imported under heading 8202.39.00.00 of the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS). When packaged together as a set for retail sale with an item that is separately classified under headings 8202 to 8205 of the HTSUS, diamond sawblades or parts thereof may be imported under heading 8206.00.00.00 of the HTSUS. On October 11, 2011, the Department included the 6804.21.00.00 HTSUS classification number to the customs case reference file, pursuant to a request by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).5 The tariff classification is provided for convenience and customs purposes; however, the written description of the scope of the order is dispositive. Continuation of the Order As a result of the determinations by the Department and the ITC that 5 See Diamond Sawblades and Parts Thereof From the Republic of Korea: Preliminary Results of Antidumping Duty Administrative Review, 76 FR 76128 (December 6, 2011). VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:47 Sep 17, 2015 Jkt 235001 revocation of the AD order would likely lead to a continuation or recurrence of dumping and material injury to an industry in the United States, pursuant to section 75l(d)(2) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.218(a), the Department hereby orders the continuation of the AD order on diamond sawblades from the PRC. We will instruct CBP to continue to collect AD cash deposits at the rates in effect at the time of entry for all imports of subject merchandise. The effective date of the continuation of the AD order will be the date of publication in the Federal Register of this notice of continuation. Pursuant to section 751(c)(2) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.218(c)(2), the Department intends to initiate the next five-year review of this order not later than 30 days prior to the fifth anniversary of the effective date of this continuation notice. This five-year sunset review and this notice are in accordance with section 751(c) of the Act and published pursuant to section 777(i)(1) of the Act and 19 CFR 351.218(f)(4). Dated: September 14, 2015. Ronald K. Lorentzen, Acting Assistant Secretary for Enforcement and Compliance. [FR Doc. 2015–23468 Filed 9–17–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–DS–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XE173 Notice of Availability of CommunityBased Restoration Program Guidelines National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice of availability of Community-based Restoration Program Guidelines; request for comments. AGENCY: NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is seeking comment on revised guidelines for the Community-based Restoration Program (Program). Since guidelines were first issued in 2000, the Program has not only evolved alongside the field of habitat restoration but has been designed to more effectively support sustainable fisheries and contribute to the recovery and conservation of protected resources. These goals are aligned with NMFS’ core mandates, the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act and Endangered Species Act. The Program has built a strong foundation of SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 technical and financial assistance capabilities that enables NOAA to proactively identify and develop priority habitat restoration projects, build community-based partnerships to leverage resources, and implement technically sound restoration actions that have maximum impact on coastal and marine species and the ecosystems on which they depend. This document replaces previous guidelines and describes the Program’s goals and scope of implementation for FY 2016 and beyond. This is not a solicitation of project proposals. DATES: Comments are due October 19, 2015. ADDRESSES: Additional information about the Program is available at: http://www.habitat.noaa.gov/ restoration/programs/crp.html. Interested parties that wish to send comments may send an email to tisa.shostik@noaa.gov. Interested parties that wish to send comments through regular mail may use the following mailing address: NOAA Restoration Center (F/HC3), ATTN: CRP Guidelines, 1315 East West Highway, RM 14853, Silver Spring, MD 20910. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tisa Shostik at tisa.shostik@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background NMFS started the Community-based Restoration Program (Program) in 1996 to provide technical and financial assistance to support the implementation of community-driven habitat restoration. The Program collaborates with partners to restore coastal wetlands, coral reef, shellfish, estuarine, and riverine habitat to benefit coastal and marine species under NMFS jurisdiction. Restoration implemented under the Program include projects such as dam removal and fish passage projects, hydrologic reconnection projects, shellfish and coral reef restoration projects. To date, the Program has implemented more than 1,700 habitat restoration projects in 37 states. It has restored more than 55,000 acres of habitat and opened 2,500 miles of rivers and streams. The Program is housed within the NMFS Office of Habitat Conservation’s Restoration Center and was authorized in the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Reauthorization Act of 2006. Prior guidelines for the Program were provided at 65 FR 16890, March 30, 2000, and then revised at 73 FR 55816, September 26, 2008. Since the guidelines were last updated in 2008, base funding for the Program has E:\FR\FM\18SEN1.SGM 18SEN1 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 181 / Friday, September 18, 2015 / Notices remained relatively level, with the exception of several specific initiatives such as the Coastal and Marine Habitat Restoration Grants funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and the Open Rivers Initiative (2007–2010). Program Guidelines tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES a. Purpose of These Guidelines These guidelines provide information to the public and partnering organizations regarding the Program’s scope and focus. The guidelines describe the broad range of the Program’s activities and influence including, but not limited to, technical and financial assistance capabilities that are managed in a manner to most effectively advance the goals established under NMFS’ core mandates. Previous published guidelines included more information on financial assistance mechanisms and procedures. These discussions have been removed from these updated guidelines in order to focus on the Program’s goals, scope, and capabilities, rather than administrative process. b. Program Overview NMFS’ primary goals under its core mandates include ensuring the productivity and sustainability of fisheries and recovering and conserving protected resources. Healthy ecosystems and the availability of habitat are critical to these resources and therefore restoring coastal, marine, and riverine habitat is an essential element of NMFS’ strategy to achieve its primary goals. To support this strategy, the Program provides technical and financial assistance to identify, develop, implement, and evaluate communitydriven habitat restoration projects that yield the greatest benefit to the resources under NMFS’ jurisdiction. Program staff leads coordination efforts across NOAA and other Federal and non-Federal partners to identify shared habitat priorities and focus resource investments to increase the impact of habitat conservation and restoration actions. The Program’s restoration specialists, including fish biologists, ecologists, and engineers, located throughout the country, provide comprehensive expertise to facilitate effective habitat restoration. To support project implementation through financial assistance, the Program primarily establishes cooperative agreement funding awards with nonFederal partners. Competitive solicitations are issued as Federal funding announcements on Grants.gov. Non-Federal partners may include non- VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:47 Sep 17, 2015 Jkt 235001 governmental organizations, tribes, states, and local government agencies and communities. Habitat restoration projects implemented through the Program are developed in partnership with the communities in which they are based and reflect the needs and interests of local stakeholders. As restoration is conducted using a collaborative, ecosystem approach, projects such as dam removal, floodplain reconnection, and coastal wetland restoration often result in multiple benefits beyond the Program’s primary goals. These benefits may include increased coastal resiliency, improved infrastructure, enhanced public safety, increased recreational opportunities, and strengthened coastal economies. The Program also fosters natural resource stewardship and local community engagement by supporting outreach, education, or volunteer opportunities as restoration project components. c. Program Activities and Priorities The Program will continue to support projects featuring all aspects of coastal habitat restoration, conservation, and protection that recover threatened and endangered species listed under the Endangered Species Act, sustain or help rebuild fish stocks managed under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, or benefit other coastal and marine species with a connection to NMFS management. Within this broad authority, the Program is focusing its efforts to more effectively achieve NMFS’ species recovery and fisheries sustainability goals, as well as demonstrate the results and multiple benefits of the Program’s investments. Focused and coordinated approaches are critical because funding for coastal habitat restoration remains insufficient to fully address the needs of all habitatlimited coastal and marine species. To help set priorities and inform strategic decisions on where and how the Program targets its efforts, Program staff coordinates across NOAA and develops key partnerships with other Federal agencies, tribes, states, counties, local communities, and other nongovernmental organizations. This leadership and collaboration helps set shared priorities and goals, and increases the impact of the Program’s coastal restoration funding by leveraging resources and coordinating investments from multiple habitat restoration and conservation organizations and programs involved in habitat conservation and restoration. To execute the Program’s targeted habitat restoration goals, the Program PO 00000 Frm 00007 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 56443 may focus its technical assistance and funding on specific geographic areas, habitats, restoration techniques, actions identified in protected species recovery plans or fishery management plans, or where NOAA and partner resources are aligned to yield a greater collective impact. The Program will provide restoration project funding to nonFederal partners through open, competitive solicitations announced through Federal Funding Opportunities (FFOs). The Program’s targeted goals and priorities will be explicitly outlined within each FFO and applications will be evaluated on how well the proposed activity meets those priorities. Funding may be provided through cooperative agreements for restoration planning and feasibility studies, engineering and design, implementation and construction, and monitoring and evaluation efforts. In addition to providing funds for restoration projects, the Program provides leadership and technical expertise to foster the development and implementation of habitat restoration actions that support the recovery of protected species and sustainability of fisheries. To most effectively meet these core mandate goals, Program staff proactively identifies restoration opportunities, coordinates with other entities to help drive investments towards the highest priorities, and develops solutions to overcome obstacles to restoration success. Program staff provides technical expertise to ensure that restoration partners have the necessary support to successfully carry out complex habitat restoration activities such as dam removals and large-scale hydrologic reconnection projects. The technical assistance that Program staff provides to restoration project partners includes guidance on project feasibility assessments, engineering and design, project implementation oversight, regulatory compliance, and monitoring planning. The Program also accelerates the delivery of resources and implementation of restoration by streamlining permitting and environmental compliance processes when possible through the development and use of programmatic approaches. These core technical and financial assistance capabilities enable the Program to efficiently support the implementation of other targeted habitat conservation and restoration initiatives within NOAA. As the practice of habitat restoration has developed, the Program has contributed to its advancement through targeted implementation and effectiveness monitoring and technology E:\FR\FM\18SEN1.SGM 18SEN1 56444 Federal Register / Vol. 80, No. 181 / Friday, September 18, 2015 / Notices transfer. Monitoring carried out by the Program has supported science-based decision making and led to improvements in the design and implementation of habitat restoration projects. To evaluate the effectiveness of restoration actions in a cost-effective way, the Program is establishing consistent processes for monitoring and evaluating the performance of individual and collective restoration actions. The Program collects and reports this information in a manner that will inform future projects and investments, and ultimately improve the performance of the Program. The Program also facilitates increased public access to monitoring and evaluation data by implementing NOAA’s Data Sharing Policy for Grants and Cooperative Agreements issued in 2012 which requires that all NOAA grantees share data produced under NOAA grants and cooperative agreements. Program staff works with cooperative agreement recipients to develop a data sharing plan as part of their cooperative agreement award narrative. tkelley on DSK3SPTVN1PROD with NOTICES d. Funding Sources, Mechanisms, and Eligible Participants As described in the prior sections, providing financial assistance is a tool that the Program uses to accomplish habitat restoration, complemented by the Program’s leadership, coordination, and technical assistance capabilities. Financial assistance is provided competitively through FFO announcements and awarded and managed following the Department of Commerce Grants and Cooperative Agreements Manual and 2 CFR part 200. The Program primarily establishes cooperative agreement awards with selected applicants based on a competitive, technical review process to maximize opportunities for public access to Program resources. In limited circumstances, contracts may also be awarded. All domestic applicants other than individuals may apply for financial assistance. Activities that constitute legally required mitigation or are required by federal, state, or local law or court order are not part of the Program. e. Reporting The Program uses a specific reporting format that has received Paperwork Reduction Act clearance. The progress report format assists recipients of Program funding in tracking their progress towards self-defined milestones and performance measures. Progress reports may also include monitoring and evaluation results. The Program-specific form also helps the Program populate a project tracking VerDate Sep<11>2014 18:47 Sep 17, 2015 Jkt 235001 database, which supports agency-wide performance measure reporting and provides public information through the Restoration Atlas at www.habitat.noaa.gov/restoration/ restorationatlas. f. Regulatory Compliance The Program assists its restoration partners and financial assistance recipients in completing their regulatory compliance responsibilities when possible, and may serve as lead agency for consultation and analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act, Endangered Species Act, National Historic Preservation Act, and other applicable federal laws and regulations. The Program takes a programmatic approach to regulatory compliance when available. A current list of programmatic compliance documents that may be used to fulfill regulatory compliance responsibilities can be found at http://www.habitat.noaa.gov/ funding/applicantresources.html. Dated: September 14, 2015. Samuel D. Rauch III, Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2015–23503 Filed 9–17–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Submission for OMB Review; Comment Request The Department of Commerce will submit to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for clearance the following proposal for collection of information under the provisions of the Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35). Agency: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Title: Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation, Planning, Protection, or Restoration. OMB Control Number: 0648–0459. Form Number(s): None. Type of Request: Regular (extension of a currently approved information collection). Number of Respondents: 51. Average Hours per Response: Plans, 120 hours to develop, 35 hours to revise or update; project application and checklist, 20 hours; semi-annual and annual reporting, 5 hours each. Burden Hours: 1,410. Needs and Uses: This request is for extension of a currently approved information collection. PO 00000 Frm 00008 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 9990 The FY 2002 Commerce, Justice, State Appropriations Act directed the Secretary of Commerce to establish a Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program (CELCP) to protect important coastal and estuarine areas that have significant conservation, recreation, ecological, historical, or aesthetic values, or that are threatened by conversion, and to issue guidelines for this program delineating the criteria for grant awards. The guidelines establish procedures for eligible applicants who choose to participate in the program to use when developing state conservation plans, proposing or soliciting projects under this program, applying for funds, and carrying out projects under this program in a manner that is consistent with the purposes of the program. Guidelines for the CELCP can be found on NOAA’s Web site at: http://www.coast.noaa.gov/czm/ landconservation/ or may be obtained upon request via the contact information listed above. The CELCP was reauthorized in under P.L. 111–111, the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act, as a component of the Coastal Zone Management Act. NOAA also has, or is given, additional authority under the Coastal Zone Management Act, annual appropriations or other authorities, to issue funds to coastal states, localities or other recipients for planning, conservation, acquisition, protection, restoration, or construction projects. The required information enables NOAA to implement the CELCP, under its current or future authorization, and facilitate the review of similar projects under different, but related, authorities. Affected Public: State, local or tribal government; not-for-profit institutions. Frequency: One time, semi-annually. Respondent’s Obligation: Required to obtain or retain benefits. This information collection request may be viewed at reginfo.gov. Follow the instructions to view Department of Commerce collections currently under review by OMB. Written comments and recommendations for the proposed information collection should be sent within 30 days of publication of this notice to OIRA_Submission@ omb.eop.gov or fax to (202) 395–5806. Dated: September 15, 2015. Sarah Brabson, NOAA PRA Clearance Officer. [FR Doc. 2015–23451 Filed 9–17–15; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–08–P E:\FR\FM\18SEN1.SGM 18SEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 80, Number 181 (Friday, September 18, 2015)]
[Notices]
[Pages 56442-56444]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2015-23503]


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

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 0648-XE173


Notice of Availability of Community-Based Restoration Program 
Guidelines

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

ACTION: Notice of availability of Community-based Restoration Program 
Guidelines; request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: NOAA's National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) is seeking 
comment on revised guidelines for the Community-based Restoration 
Program (Program). Since guidelines were first issued in 2000, the 
Program has not only evolved alongside the field of habitat restoration 
but has been designed to more effectively support sustainable fisheries 
and contribute to the recovery and conservation of protected resources. 
These goals are aligned with NMFS' core mandates, the Magnuson-Stevens 
Fishery Conservation and Management Act and Endangered Species Act. The 
Program has built a strong foundation of technical and financial 
assistance capabilities that enables NOAA to proactively identify and 
develop priority habitat restoration projects, build community-based 
partnerships to leverage resources, and implement technically sound 
restoration actions that have maximum impact on coastal and marine 
species and the ecosystems on which they depend. This document replaces 
previous guidelines and describes the Program's goals and scope of 
implementation for FY 2016 and beyond. This is not a solicitation of 
project proposals.

DATES: Comments are due October 19, 2015.

ADDRESSES: Additional information about the Program is available at: 
http://www.habitat.noaa.gov/restoration/programs/crp.html. Interested 
parties that wish to send comments may send an email to 
tisa.shostik@noaa.gov. Interested parties that wish to send comments 
through regular mail may use the following mailing address: NOAA 
Restoration Center (F/HC3), ATTN: CRP Guidelines, 1315 East West 
Highway, RM 14853, Silver Spring, MD 20910.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Tisa Shostik at tisa.shostik@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

Background

    NMFS started the Community-based Restoration Program (Program) in 
1996 to provide technical and financial assistance to support the 
implementation of community-driven habitat restoration. The Program 
collaborates with partners to restore coastal wetlands, coral reef, 
shellfish, estuarine, and riverine habitat to benefit coastal and 
marine species under NMFS jurisdiction. Restoration implemented under 
the Program include projects such as dam removal and fish passage 
projects, hydrologic reconnection projects, shellfish and coral reef 
restoration projects. To date, the Program has implemented more than 
1,700 habitat restoration projects in 37 states. It has restored more 
than 55,000 acres of habitat and opened 2,500 miles of rivers and 
streams.
    The Program is housed within the NMFS Office of Habitat 
Conservation's Restoration Center and was authorized in the Magnuson-
Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Reauthorization Act of 
2006. Prior guidelines for the Program were provided at 65 FR 16890, 
March 30, 2000, and then revised at 73 FR 55816, September 26, 2008. 
Since the guidelines were last updated in 2008, base funding for the 
Program has

[[Page 56443]]

remained relatively level, with the exception of several specific 
initiatives such as the Coastal and Marine Habitat Restoration Grants 
funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and the 
Open Rivers Initiative (2007-2010).

Program Guidelines

a. Purpose of These Guidelines

    These guidelines provide information to the public and partnering 
organizations regarding the Program's scope and focus. The guidelines 
describe the broad range of the Program's activities and influence 
including, but not limited to, technical and financial assistance 
capabilities that are managed in a manner to most effectively advance 
the goals established under NMFS' core mandates. Previous published 
guidelines included more information on financial assistance mechanisms 
and procedures. These discussions have been removed from these updated 
guidelines in order to focus on the Program's goals, scope, and 
capabilities, rather than administrative process.

b. Program Overview

    NMFS' primary goals under its core mandates include ensuring the 
productivity and sustainability of fisheries and recovering and 
conserving protected resources. Healthy ecosystems and the availability 
of habitat are critical to these resources and therefore restoring 
coastal, marine, and riverine habitat is an essential element of NMFS' 
strategy to achieve its primary goals. To support this strategy, the 
Program provides technical and financial assistance to identify, 
develop, implement, and evaluate community-driven habitat restoration 
projects that yield the greatest benefit to the resources under NMFS' 
jurisdiction. Program staff leads coordination efforts across NOAA and 
other Federal and non-Federal partners to identify shared habitat 
priorities and focus resource investments to increase the impact of 
habitat conservation and restoration actions. The Program's restoration 
specialists, including fish biologists, ecologists, and engineers, 
located throughout the country, provide comprehensive expertise to 
facilitate effective habitat restoration. To support project 
implementation through financial assistance, the Program primarily 
establishes cooperative agreement funding awards with non-Federal 
partners. Competitive solicitations are issued as Federal funding 
announcements on Grants.gov. Non-Federal partners may include non-
governmental organizations, tribes, states, and local government 
agencies and communities.
    Habitat restoration projects implemented through the Program are 
developed in partnership with the communities in which they are based 
and reflect the needs and interests of local stakeholders. As 
restoration is conducted using a collaborative, ecosystem approach, 
projects such as dam removal, floodplain reconnection, and coastal 
wetland restoration often result in multiple benefits beyond the 
Program's primary goals. These benefits may include increased coastal 
resiliency, improved infrastructure, enhanced public safety, increased 
recreational opportunities, and strengthened coastal economies. The 
Program also fosters natural resource stewardship and local community 
engagement by supporting outreach, education, or volunteer 
opportunities as restoration project components.

c. Program Activities and Priorities

    The Program will continue to support projects featuring all aspects 
of coastal habitat restoration, conservation, and protection that 
recover threatened and endangered species listed under the Endangered 
Species Act, sustain or help rebuild fish stocks managed under the 
Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, or benefit 
other coastal and marine species with a connection to NMFS management. 
Within this broad authority, the Program is focusing its efforts to 
more effectively achieve NMFS' species recovery and fisheries 
sustainability goals, as well as demonstrate the results and multiple 
benefits of the Program's investments. Focused and coordinated 
approaches are critical because funding for coastal habitat restoration 
remains insufficient to fully address the needs of all habitat-limited 
coastal and marine species. To help set priorities and inform strategic 
decisions on where and how the Program targets its efforts, Program 
staff coordinates across NOAA and develops key partnerships with other 
Federal agencies, tribes, states, counties, local communities, and 
other non-governmental organizations. This leadership and collaboration 
helps set shared priorities and goals, and increases the impact of the 
Program's coastal restoration funding by leveraging resources and 
coordinating investments from multiple habitat restoration and 
conservation organizations and programs involved in habitat 
conservation and restoration.
    To execute the Program's targeted habitat restoration goals, the 
Program may focus its technical assistance and funding on specific 
geographic areas, habitats, restoration techniques, actions identified 
in protected species recovery plans or fishery management plans, or 
where NOAA and partner resources are aligned to yield a greater 
collective impact. The Program will provide restoration project funding 
to non-Federal partners through open, competitive solicitations 
announced through Federal Funding Opportunities (FFOs). The Program's 
targeted goals and priorities will be explicitly outlined within each 
FFO and applications will be evaluated on how well the proposed 
activity meets those priorities. Funding may be provided through 
cooperative agreements for restoration planning and feasibility 
studies, engineering and design, implementation and construction, and 
monitoring and evaluation efforts.
    In addition to providing funds for restoration projects, the 
Program provides leadership and technical expertise to foster the 
development and implementation of habitat restoration actions that 
support the recovery of protected species and sustainability of 
fisheries. To most effectively meet these core mandate goals, Program 
staff proactively identifies restoration opportunities, coordinates 
with other entities to help drive investments towards the highest 
priorities, and develops solutions to overcome obstacles to restoration 
success. Program staff provides technical expertise to ensure that 
restoration partners have the necessary support to successfully carry 
out complex habitat restoration activities such as dam removals and 
large-scale hydrologic reconnection projects. The technical assistance 
that Program staff provides to restoration project partners includes 
guidance on project feasibility assessments, engineering and design, 
project implementation oversight, regulatory compliance, and monitoring 
planning. The Program also accelerates the delivery of resources and 
implementation of restoration by streamlining permitting and 
environmental compliance processes when possible through the 
development and use of programmatic approaches. These core technical 
and financial assistance capabilities enable the Program to efficiently 
support the implementation of other targeted habitat conservation and 
restoration initiatives within NOAA.
    As the practice of habitat restoration has developed, the Program 
has contributed to its advancement through targeted implementation and 
effectiveness monitoring and technology

[[Page 56444]]

transfer. Monitoring carried out by the Program has supported science-
based decision making and led to improvements in the design and 
implementation of habitat restoration projects. To evaluate the 
effectiveness of restoration actions in a cost-effective way, the 
Program is establishing consistent processes for monitoring and 
evaluating the performance of individual and collective restoration 
actions. The Program collects and reports this information in a manner 
that will inform future projects and investments, and ultimately 
improve the performance of the Program. The Program also facilitates 
increased public access to monitoring and evaluation data by 
implementing NOAA's Data Sharing Policy for Grants and Cooperative 
Agreements issued in 2012 which requires that all NOAA grantees share 
data produced under NOAA grants and cooperative agreements. Program 
staff works with cooperative agreement recipients to develop a data 
sharing plan as part of their cooperative agreement award narrative.

d. Funding Sources, Mechanisms, and Eligible Participants

    As described in the prior sections, providing financial assistance 
is a tool that the Program uses to accomplish habitat restoration, 
complemented by the Program's leadership, coordination, and technical 
assistance capabilities. Financial assistance is provided competitively 
through FFO announcements and awarded and managed following the 
Department of Commerce Grants and Cooperative Agreements Manual and 2 
CFR part 200. The Program primarily establishes cooperative agreement 
awards with selected applicants based on a competitive, technical 
review process to maximize opportunities for public access to Program 
resources. In limited circumstances, contracts may also be awarded. All 
domestic applicants other than individuals may apply for financial 
assistance. Activities that constitute legally required mitigation or 
are required by federal, state, or local law or court order are not 
part of the Program.

e. Reporting

    The Program uses a specific reporting format that has received 
Paperwork Reduction Act clearance. The progress report format assists 
recipients of Program funding in tracking their progress towards self-
defined milestones and performance measures. Progress reports may also 
include monitoring and evaluation results. The Program-specific form 
also helps the Program populate a project tracking database, which 
supports agency-wide performance measure reporting and provides public 
information through the Restoration Atlas at www.habitat.noaa.gov/restoration/restorationatlas.

f. Regulatory Compliance

    The Program assists its restoration partners and financial 
assistance recipients in completing their regulatory compliance 
responsibilities when possible, and may serve as lead agency for 
consultation and analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act, 
Endangered Species Act, National Historic Preservation Act, and other 
applicable federal laws and regulations. The Program takes a 
programmatic approach to regulatory compliance when available. A 
current list of programmatic compliance documents that may be used to 
fulfill regulatory compliance responsibilities can be found at http://www.habitat.noaa.gov/funding/applicantresources.html.

    Dated: September 14, 2015.
Samuel D. Rauch III,
Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2015-23503 Filed 9-17-15; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P