Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; U.S. Navy Training and Testing Activities in the Mariana Islands Training and Testing Study Area and the Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing Study Area, 65999-66000 [2016-22997]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 186 / Monday, September 26, 2016 / Notices Although other non-emergency issues not on the agenda may come before this group for discussion, in accordance with the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, those issues may not be the subject of formal action during this meeting. Actions will be restricted to those issues specifically identified in the agenda and any issues arising after publication of this notice that require emergency action under section 305(c) of the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, provided the public has been notified of the Council’s intent to take action to address the emergency. Dated: September 21, 2016. Tracey Thompson, Acting Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2016–23067 Filed 9–23–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XE890 Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; U.S. Navy Training and Testing Activities in the Mariana Islands Training and Testing Study Area and the Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing Study Area National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice of issuance of modified Letters of Authorization. AGENCY: In accordance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), as amended, and implementing regulations, notification is hereby given that modified Letters of Authorization (LOAs) have been issued to the U.S. Navy (Navy) for the take of marine mammals incidental to training and testing activities conducted in the Mariana Islands Training and Testing (MITT) Study Area and the Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing (AFTT) Study Area. These modifications reflect changes to Navy watchstander (lookout) reporting requirements, which do not affect current mitigation measures, for observed behavior of marine mammals during Major Training Exercises (MTEs) in the MITT and AFTT study areas. DATES: MITT: Effective through April 3, 2020; AFTT: Effective through November 13, 2018. mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:40 Sep 23, 2016 Jkt 238001 The LOAs and supporting documentation are available online at: www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/ incidental/military.htm. In case of problems accessing these documents, please call the contact listed below. ADDRESSES: FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: John Fiorentino, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, (301) 427–8401. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background Sections 101(a)(5)(A) and (D) of the MMPA (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.) direct the Secretary of Commerce to allow, upon request, the incidental, but not intentional, taking of small numbers of marine mammals by U.S. citizens who engage in a specified activity (other than commercial fishing) within a specified geographical region if certain findings are made and either regulations are issued or, if the taking is limited to harassment, a notice of a proposed authorization is provided to the public for review. An authorization for incidental takings shall be granted if NMFS finds that the taking will have a negligible impact on the species or stock(s), will not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of the species or stock(s) for subsistence uses (where relevant), and if the permissible methods of taking and requirements pertaining to the mitigation, monitoring and reporting of such takings are set forth. NMFS has defined ‘‘negligible impact’’ in 50 CFR 216.103 as ‘‘an impact resulting from the specified activity that cannot be reasonably expected to, and is not reasonably likely to, adversely affect the species or stock through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival.’’ The National Defense Authorization Act of 2004 (Pub. L. 108–136) removed the ‘‘small numbers’’ and ‘‘specified geographical region’’ limitations indicated above and amended the definition of ‘‘harassment’’ as applies to a ‘‘military readiness activity’’ to read as follows (section 3(18)(B) of the MMPA, 16 U.S.C. 1362(18)(B)): ‘‘(i) any act that injures or has the significant potential to injure a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild’’ (Level A Harassment); or ‘‘(ii) any act that disturbs or is likely to disturb a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild by causing disruption of natural behavioral patterns, including, but not limited to, migration, surfacing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering, to a point where such behavioral patterns are abandoned or significantly altered’’ (Level B Harassment). PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 65999 Summary of Request On December 4, 2013 and August 3, 2015, NMFS issued regulations under the MMPA governing the unintentional taking of marine mammals incidental to training and testing activities conducted in the AFTT and MITT study areas, respectively (78 FR 73010; 80 FR 46112). These regulations allowed us to issue LOAs for the incidental take of marine mammals during the Navy’s specified activities and timeframes, set forth the permissible methods of taking, set forth other means of effecting the least practicable adverse impact on marine mammal species or stocks and their habitat, and set forth requirements pertaining to the monitoring and reporting of the incidental take. On June 3, 2015, proposed changes to the watchstander reporting requirements for AFTT and MITT (and other active Navy Phase II training and testing rulemakings—i.e., Hawaii-Southern California Training and Testing; Gulf of Alaska Temporary Maritime Activities Area Training) were included in the proposed rule for the Navy’s training and testing activities in the Northwest Training and Testing (NWTT) Study Area (80 FR 31738). There were no comments received on the proposed watchstander modifications during the 45-day public comment period for the NWTT proposed rule, and NMFS issued regulations reflecting the new watchstander reporting modifications on November 24, 2015 (80 FR 73556). Authorization We have issued modified LOAs to the Navy authorizing the take of marine mammals incidental to training and testing activities, as described above; no changes to the LOAs other than the watchstander reporting modifications have been made. With these watchstander modifications, the Navy would no longer be required to report individual marine mammal sighting information when mitigation is not being implemented during the MTEs. After five years of collecting marine mammal sighting data for all animals sighted during MTEs, NMFS and the Navy have determined that this data set does not provide for any meaningful analysis beyond that which may be possible using mitigation-related observations alone because the Navy is unable to identify species information. NMFS and the Navy have thoroughly investigated several potential uses for the data prior to reaching this conclusion. Additionally, as discussed during the adaptive management process, this reporting requirement places an administrative burden on E:\FR\FM\26SEN1.SGM 26SEN1 66000 Federal Register / Vol. 81, No. 186 / Monday, September 26, 2016 / Notices ships’ watch teams, which is undue, given that the information collected does not contribute to any meaningful analysis. The Navy will continue to collect marine mammal sighting data during MTEs for every instance when any form of mitigation is employed, such as powering down or securing sonar, maneuvering the ship, or delaying an event—in other words, in instances where animals are closer to the sound source around which mitigation measures are implemented. This data is useful in supporting mitigation effectiveness analyses and also may be helpful in supporting an understanding of the frequency with which marine mammals (generally, not by species) may be encountered or detected in close proximity to a particular source (e.g., where the likelihood of auditory or other injury is higher). New England Fishery Management Council; telephone: (978) 465–0492. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Agenda The Committee will receive a report on Amendment 22 limited access qualification alternatives developed during the October 6, 2016 Joint Advisory Panel (AP)—Plan Development Team (PDT) meeting. They will also receive a summary of the 2015 Annual Monitoring Report from the PDT as well as discuss scheduling of actions and priorities for 2017. The Committee will have a closed session to review of AP applications for 2018–20 and make recommendations for approval to the Council’s Executive committee. Other business, as necessary. Special Accommodations This meeting is physically accessible to people with disabilities. Requests for sign language interpretation or other auxiliary aids should be directed to Thomas A. Nies, Executive Director, at (978) 465–0492, at least 5 days prior to the meeting date. Dated: September 20, 2016. Donna S. Wieting, Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2016–22997 Filed 9–23–16; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1801 et seq. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Dated: September 21, 2016. Tracey L. Thompson, Acting Deputy Director, Office of Sustainable Fisheries, National Marine Fisheries Service. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration [FR Doc. 2016–23127 Filed 9–23–16; 8:45 am] RIN 0648–XE907 BILLING CODE 3510–22–P BILLING CODE 5001–03–P National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice; public meeting. AGENCY: The New England Fishery Management Council (Council) is scheduling a public meeting of its Whiting Committee to consider actions affecting New England fisheries in the exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Recommendations from this group will be brought to the full Council for formal consideration and action, if appropriate. DATES: This meeting will be held on Thursday, October 13, 2016 at 10 a.m. ADDRESSES: Meeting address: The meeting will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn, One Thurber Street, Warwick, RI 02886 telephone: (401) 734–9600. Council address: New England Fishery Management Council, 50 Water Street, Mill 2, Newburyport, MA 01950. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Thomas A. Nies, Executive Director, mstockstill on DSK3G9T082PROD with NOTICES VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:40 Sep 23, 2016 Jkt 238001 Brenda S. Bowen, Army Federal Register Liaison Officer. [FR Doc. 2016–23084 Filed 9–23–16; 8:45 am] New England Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting SUMMARY: Improvements’’, Inventors Wetzel and Nenno, Filed March 1, 2016. DATES: The prospective partially exclusive license may be granted unless within fifteen (15) days from the date of this published notice, the U.S. Army Research Laboratory receives written objections including evidence and argument that 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. Competing applications completed and received by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory within fifteen (15) days from the date of this published notice will also be treated as objections to the grant of the contemplated exclusive license. Objections submitted in response to this notice will not be made available to the public for inspection and, to the extent permitted by law, will not be released under the Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. 552. ADDRESSES: Send written objections to U.S. Army Research Laboratory Technology Transfer and Outreach Office, RDRL–DPT/Thomas Mulkern, Building 321 Room 110, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD 21005–5425. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Thomas Mulkern, (410) 278–0889, Email: ORTA@arl.army.mil. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: None. DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Department of the Army DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE Notice of Intent To Grant Exclusive Patent License to GoXtudio, Inc.; Tempe, AZ Department of the Navy Department of the Army, DoD. Notice of intent. AGENCY: ACTION: Meeting of the Board of Visitors of Marine Corps University Department of the Navy, DOD. Notice of open meeting. AGENCY: ACTION: In compliance with 35 U.S.C. SUMMARY: The Board of Visitors of the 209(e) and 37 CFR 404.7(a)(1)(i), the Marine Corps University (BOV MCU) Department of the Army hereby gives notice of its intent to grant to GoXtudio, will meet to review, develop and provide recommendations on all aspects Inc.; a corporation having its principle of the academic and administrative place of business at 2121 S. Mill Ave. policies of the University; examine all Suite 214, Tempe, AZ 85282, exclusive aspects of professional military license in the fields of ankle and knee braces incorporating rate-actuated tether education operations; and provide such oversight and advice, as is necessary, to (RAT) straps. The proposed license facilitate high educational standards would be relative to the following: and cost effective operations. The Board • U.S. Patent Number 9,303,717 will be focusing primarily on the entitled ‘‘Rate Responsive, Stretchable internal procedures of Marine Corps Devices’’, Inventors Wetzel and Nenno, University. All sessions of the meeting Issue Date March 16, 2016. • U.S. Patent Application Number 15/ will be open to the public. 057,944 entitled ‘‘Rate Responsive, DATES: The meeting will be held on Stretchable Devices, Further Thursday, 13 October 2016, from 0800– SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\26SEN1.SGM 26SEN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 81, Number 186 (Monday, September 26, 2016)]
[Notices]
[Pages 65999-66000]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2016-22997]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 0648-XE890


Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; U.S. 
Navy Training and Testing Activities in the Mariana Islands Training 
and Testing Study Area and the Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing 
Study Area

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

ACTION: Notice of issuance of modified Letters of Authorization.

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

SUMMARY: In accordance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), as 
amended, and implementing regulations, notification is hereby given 
that modified Letters of Authorization (LOAs) have been issued to the 
U.S. Navy (Navy) for the take of marine mammals incidental to training 
and testing activities conducted in the Mariana Islands Training and 
Testing (MITT) Study Area and the Atlantic Fleet Training and Testing 
(AFTT) Study Area. These modifications reflect changes to Navy 
watchstander (lookout) reporting requirements, which do not affect 
current mitigation measures, for observed behavior of marine mammals 
during Major Training Exercises (MTEs) in the MITT and AFTT study 
areas.

DATES: MITT: Effective through April 3, 2020; AFTT: Effective through 
November 13, 2018.

ADDRESSES: The LOAs and supporting documentation are available online 
at: www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental/military.htm. In case of 
problems accessing these documents, please call the contact listed 
below.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: John Fiorentino, Office of Protected 
Resources, NMFS, (301) 427-8401.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    Sections 101(a)(5)(A) and (D) of the MMPA (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.) 
direct the Secretary of Commerce to allow, upon request, the 
incidental, but not intentional, taking of small numbers of marine 
mammals by U.S. citizens who engage in a specified activity (other than 
commercial fishing) within a specified geographical region if certain 
findings are made and either regulations are issued or, if the taking 
is limited to harassment, a notice of a proposed authorization is 
provided to the public for review.
    An authorization for incidental takings shall be granted if NMFS 
finds that the taking will have a negligible impact on the species or 
stock(s), will not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the 
availability of the species or stock(s) for subsistence uses (where 
relevant), and if the permissible methods of taking and requirements 
pertaining to the mitigation, monitoring and reporting of such takings 
are set forth. NMFS has defined ``negligible impact'' in 50 CFR 216.103 
as ``an impact resulting from the specified activity that cannot be 
reasonably expected to, and is not reasonably likely to, adversely 
affect the species or stock through effects on annual rates of 
recruitment or survival.''
    The National Defense Authorization Act of 2004 (Pub. L. 108-136) 
removed the ``small numbers'' and ``specified geographical region'' 
limitations indicated above and amended the definition of 
``harassment'' as applies to a ``military readiness activity'' to read 
as follows (section 3(18)(B) of the MMPA, 16 U.S.C. 1362(18)(B)): ``(i) 
any act that injures or has the significant potential to injure a 
marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild'' (Level A 
Harassment); or ``(ii) any act that disturbs or is likely to disturb a 
marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild by causing disruption 
of natural behavioral patterns, including, but not limited to, 
migration, surfacing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering, to a 
point where such behavioral patterns are abandoned or significantly 
altered'' (Level B Harassment).

Summary of Request

    On December 4, 2013 and August 3, 2015, NMFS issued regulations 
under the MMPA governing the unintentional taking of marine mammals 
incidental to training and testing activities conducted in the AFTT and 
MITT study areas, respectively (78 FR 73010; 80 FR 46112). These 
regulations allowed us to issue LOAs for the incidental take of marine 
mammals during the Navy's specified activities and timeframes, set 
forth the permissible methods of taking, set forth other means of 
effecting the least practicable adverse impact on marine mammal species 
or stocks and their habitat, and set forth requirements pertaining to 
the monitoring and reporting of the incidental take. On June 3, 2015, 
proposed changes to the watchstander reporting requirements for AFTT 
and MITT (and other active Navy Phase II training and testing 
rulemakings--i.e., Hawaii-Southern California Training and Testing; 
Gulf of Alaska Temporary Maritime Activities Area Training) were 
included in the proposed rule for the Navy's training and testing 
activities in the Northwest Training and Testing (NWTT) Study Area (80 
FR 31738). There were no comments received on the proposed watchstander 
modifications during the 45-day public comment period for the NWTT 
proposed rule, and NMFS issued regulations reflecting the new 
watchstander reporting modifications on November 24, 2015 (80 FR 
73556).

Authorization

    We have issued modified LOAs to the Navy authorizing the take of 
marine mammals incidental to training and testing activities, as 
described above; no changes to the LOAs other than the watchstander 
reporting modifications have been made. With these watchstander 
modifications, the Navy would no longer be required to report 
individual marine mammal sighting information when mitigation is not 
being implemented during the MTEs. After five years of collecting 
marine mammal sighting data for all animals sighted during MTEs, NMFS 
and the Navy have determined that this data set does not provide for 
any meaningful analysis beyond that which may be possible using 
mitigation-related observations alone because the Navy is unable to 
identify species information. NMFS and the Navy have thoroughly 
investigated several potential uses for the data prior to reaching this 
conclusion. Additionally, as discussed during the adaptive management 
process, this reporting requirement places an administrative burden on

[[Page 66000]]

ships' watch teams, which is undue, given that the information 
collected does not contribute to any meaningful analysis. The Navy will 
continue to collect marine mammal sighting data during MTEs for every 
instance when any form of mitigation is employed, such as powering down 
or securing sonar, maneuvering the ship, or delaying an event--in other 
words, in instances where animals are closer to the sound source around 
which mitigation measures are implemented. This data is useful in 
supporting mitigation effectiveness analyses and also may be helpful in 
supporting an understanding of the frequency with which marine mammals 
(generally, not by species) may be encountered or detected in close 
proximity to a particular source (e.g., where the likelihood of 
auditory or other injury is higher).

    Dated: September 20, 2016.
Donna S. Wieting,
Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries 
Service.
[FR Doc. 2016-22997 Filed 9-23-16; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P