Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; U.S. Navy Training Activities in the Gulf of Alaska Temporary Maritime Activities Area, 24679-24681 [2017-11037]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 102 / Tuesday, May 30, 2017 / Notices reasonably accommodated during the meeting, the International Trade Administration may conduct a lottery to determine the speakers. Speakers are requested to submit a copy of their oral comments by email to Ms. Gunderson for distribution to the participants in advance of the meeting. Any member of the public may submit written comments concerning the REEEAC’s affairs at any time before or after the meeting. Comments may be submitted to the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Advisory Committee, c/o: Victoria Gunderson, Designated Federal Officer, Office of Energy and Environmental Industries, U.S. Department of Commerce; 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Mail Stop: 4053; Washington, DC 20230. To be considered during the meeting, written comments must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. EST on Friday, July 21, 2017, to ensure transmission to the REEEAC prior to the meeting. Comments received after that date will be distributed to the members but may not be considered at the meeting. Copies of REEEAC meeting minutes will be available within 30 days following the meeting. Dated: May 23, 2017. Edward A. O’Malley, Director, Office of Energy and Environmental Industries. [FR Doc. 2017–10999 Filed 5–26–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–DR–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE International Trade Administration Advisory Committee on Supply Chain Competitiveness: Notice of Public Meetings International Trade Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce. ACTION: Notice of open meetings. AGENCY: This notice sets forth the schedule and proposed topics of discussion for public meetings of the Advisory Committee on Supply Chain Competitiveness (Committee). DATES: The meetings will be held on June 21, 2017, from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., and June 22, 2017, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time (EST). sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: The meetings on June 21 and 22 will be held at the U.S. Department of Commerce, 1401 Constitution Avenue NW., Research Library (Room 1894), Washington, DC 20230. ADDRESSES: VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:59 May 26, 2017 Jkt 241001 FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Richard Boll, Office of Supply Chain, Professional & Business Services (OSCPBS), International Trade Administration. (Phone: (202) 482–1135 or Email: richard.boll@trade.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background: The Committee was established under the discretionary authority of the Secretary of Commerce and in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act (5 U.S.C. App.). It provides advice to the Secretary of Commerce on the recommended elements of a comprehensive policy approach to supply chain competitiveness designed to support U.S. export growth and national economic competitiveness, encourage innovation, facilitate the movement of goods, and improve the competitiveness of U.S. supply chains for goods and services in the domestic and global economy; and provides advice to the Secretary on regulatory policies and programs and investment priorities that affect the competitiveness of U.S. supply chains. For more information about the Committee visit: http://trade.gov/td/services/oscpb/ supplychain/acscc/. Matters to Be Considered: Committee members are expected to continue to discuss the major competitivenessrelated topics raised at the previous Committee meetings, including trade and competitiveness; freight movement and policy; trade innovation; regulatory issues; finance and infrastructure; and workforce development. The Committee’s subcommittees will report on the status of their work regarding these topics. The agenda may change to accommodate other Committee business. The Office of Supply Chain, Professional & Business Services will post the final detailed agendas on its Web site, http://trade.gov/td/services/ oscpb/supplychain/acscc/, at least one week prior to the meeting. The meetings will be open to the public and press on a first-come, firstserved basis. Space is limited. The public meetings are physically accessible to people with disabilities. Individuals requiring accommodations, such as sign language interpretation or other ancillary aids, are asked to notify Mr. Richard Boll, at (202) 482–1135 or richard.boll@trade.gov five (5) business days before the meeting. Interested parties are invited to submit written comments to the Committee at any time before and after the meeting. Parties wishing to submit written comments for consideration by the Committee in advance of this meeting must send them to the Office of PO 00000 Frm 00021 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 24679 Supply Chain, Professional & Business Services, 1401 Constitution Ave. NW., Room 11014, Washington, DC 20230, or email to richard.boll@trade.gov. For consideration during the meetings, and to ensure transmission to the Committee prior to the meetings, comments must be received no later than 5:00 p.m. EST on June 12, 2017. Comments received after June 12, 2017, will be distributed to the Committee, but may not be considered at the meetings. The minutes of the meetings will be posted on the Committee Web site within 60 days of the meeting. Dated: May 23, 2017. Maureen Smith, Director, Office of Supply Chain. [FR Doc. 2017–11074 Filed 5–26–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–DR–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XF435 Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; U.S. Navy Training Activities in the Gulf of Alaska Temporary Maritime Activities Area National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice of issuance of a Letter of Authorization. AGENCY: In accordance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) as amended, and implementing regulations, notice is hereby given that a Letter of Authorization (LOA) has been issued to the U.S. Navy (Navy) to take marine mammals incidental to Navy training activities conducted in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) Temporary Maritime Activities Area (Study Area). These activities are considered military readiness activities pursuant to the MMPA, as amended by the National Defense Authorization Act of 2004 (NDAA). DATES: Effective from April 26, 2017 to April 26, 2022. ADDRESSES: The LOA and supporting documents may be obtained online at: www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/ incidental/military.htm. In case of problems accessing these documents, please call the contact listed below (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jolie Harrison or Stephanie Egger, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, 301–427– 8401. SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\30MYN1.SGM 30MYN1 24680 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 102 / Tuesday, May 30, 2017 / Notices sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background Section 101(a)(5)(A) of the MMPA directs 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 regulations are issued. Under the MMPA, the term ‘‘take’’ means to harass, hunt, capture, or kill or to attempt to harass, hunt, capture, or kill marine mammals. We, NMFS, have been delegated the authority to issue such regulations and Authorizations. The NDAA (Pub. L. 108–136) removed the ‘‘small numbers’’ and ‘‘specified geographical region’’ limitations indicated above and amended the definition of ‘‘harassment’’ as it applies to a ‘‘military readiness activity’’ to read as follows (Section 3(18)(B) of the MMPA): ‘‘(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). 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.’’ Regulations governing the taking of individuals of 19 species of marine mammals, representing 27 stocks, by Level B harassment and one species of marine mammal (Dall’s porpoise) by Level A harassment incidental to Navy training activities in the GOA Study Area are in effect from April 26, 2017 through April 26, 2022 (82 FR 19530, April 27, 2017) and are codified at 50 VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:59 May 26, 2017 Jkt 241001 CFR part 218, subpart P. The regulations include mitigation, monitoring, and reporting requirements. Pursuant to those regulations, NMFS issued a fiveyear LOA for the incidental take of marine mammals during training activities in the GOA Study Area on April 26, 2017. For detailed information on this action, please refer to the April 27, 2017 Federal Register notice and 50 CFR part 218, subpart P. Summary of Request On July 28, 2014, NMFS received an application from the Navy requesting regulations and a subsequent LOA for the take of 19 species of marine mammals, representing 27 stocks, incidental to Navy training activities to be conducted in the GOA Study Area over 5 years. On October 14, 2014, the Navy submitted a revised application to reflect minor changes in the number and types of training activities. To address minor inconsistencies with the draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement (DSEIS/OEIS), the Navy submitted a final revision to the application on January 21, 2015. In November 2016, the Navy requested that the final rule and LOA be issued for the training activities addressed by Alternative 1 of the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement/ Overseas Environmental Impact Statement (FSEIS/OEIS). The Navy’s application was based on the training activities addressed by Alternative 2 of the DSEIS/OEIS; therefore, our proposed rule (81 FR 9950; February 26, 2016) analyzed the level of activities as described by Alternative 2. Pursuant to the Navy’s November 2016 request, the final rule (82 FR 19530; April 27, 2017) reflects the training activities addressed by Alternative 1 of the FSEIS/OEIS, which include a subset of the activities analyzed in the proposed rule. The change from Alternative 2 to Alternative 1 results in a significant reduction in proposed training activities (i.e., lessening the number of the Carrier Strike Group Events from 2 to 1 per year, and the number of SINKEXs from 2 to 0 per year, which means that several types of explosives will no longer be used and there will be no live MISSILEX). This significantly decreases the number of anticipated and authorized takes for this activity compared to what was presented in the proposed rule. The Study Area is a polygon roughly the shape of a 300 nm by 150 nm rectangle oriented northwest to southeast in the long direction, located south of Prince William Sound and east of Kodiak Island, Alaska. The activities PO 00000 Frm 00022 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 conducted within the Study Area are classified as military readiness activities. The final rule (82 FR 19530, April 27, 2017) and GOA FSEIS/OEIS include a complete description of the Navy’s specified training activities incidental to which NMFS is authorizing take of marine mammals. Sonar use and underwater detonations are the stressors most likely to result in impacts on marine mammals that could rise to the level of harassment. Authorization We have issued an LOA to the Navy authorizing the take of marine mammals by harassment incidental to training activities in the GOA Study Area, as described above. The level and type of take authorized by the LOA is the same as the level and type of take analyzed in the final rule (82 FR 19530, April 27, 2017). There are no mortality takes of any species predicted or authorized for any training activities in the GOA Study Area. Take of marine mammals will be minimized through implementation of mitigation measures, including: preexercise visual or aerial monitoring during certain training activities; the use of lookouts to monitor for marine mammals and begin powerdown and shutdown of sonar when marine mammals are detected within ranges where the received sound level is likely to result in threshold shift or injury; use of exclusion zones that avoid exposing marine mammals to levels of explosives likely to result in injury or death of marine mammals; avoidance of marine mammals by vessels; limitation of activities in a North Pacific Right Whale ‘‘Cautionary Area’’; and implementation of a stranding response plan, among others. The Navy is also required to comply with monitoring and reporting measures under 50 CFR 218.155. Additionally, the rule and LOA include an adaptive management component that allows for timely modification of mitigation or monitoring measures based on new information, when appropriate. For full details on the mitigation, monitoring, and reporting requirements, please refer to the final rule (82 FR 19530; April 27, 2017). Issuance of the LOA is based on findings, described in the preamble to the final rule, that the total taking of marine mammals incidental to the Navy’s training activities in the GOA Study Area will have a negligible impact on the affected marine mammal species or stocks and will not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of such species or stocks for taking for subsistence purposes. The LOA will remain valid through April 26, 2022, provided that the Navy E:\FR\FM\30MYN1.SGM 30MYN1 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 102 / Tuesday, May 30, 2017 / Notices remains in conformance with the conditions of the regulations and the LOA, including the mitigation, monitoring, and reporting requirements described in 50 CFR part 218, subpart P and the LOA. Dated: May 23, 2017. Donna S. Wieting, Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2017–11037 Filed 5–26–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XF118 Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Gull Monitoring and Research in Glacier Bay National Park, Alaska, 2017 National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice; issuance of an incidental harassment authorization. AGENCY: In accordance with the regulations implementing the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) as amended, notification is hereby given that the NMFS has issued an incidental harassment authorization (IHA) to the National Park Service (NPS) to incidentally harass, by Level B harassment only, marine mammals during gull monitoring and research activities in Glacier Bay National Park (Glacier Bay NP) from May through September, 2017. DATES: This Authorization is effective from May 1, 2017 through September 30, 2017. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Stephanie Egger, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, (301) 427–8401. Electronic copies of the application and supporting documents, as well as a list of the references cited in this document, may be obtained online at http:// www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/ incidental/research.htm. In case of problems accessing these documents, please call the contact listed above. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: sradovich on DSK3GMQ082PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: Background Sections 101(a)(5)(A) and (D) of the MMPA direct the Secretary of Commerce to allow, upon request by U.S. citizens who engage in a specified activity (other than commercial fishing) within a specified area, the incidental, VerDate Sep<11>2014 19:59 May 26, 2017 Jkt 241001 but not intentional, taking of small numbers of marine mammals, provided that certain findings are made and the necessary prescriptions are established. The incidental taking of small numbers of marine mammals shall be allowed if NMFS (through authority delegated by the Secretary) finds that the total taking by the specified activity during the specified time period will (i) have a negligible impact on the species or stock(s) and (ii) not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of the species or stock(s) for subsistence uses (where relevant). Further, the permissible methods of taking, as well as the other means of effecting the least practicable adverse impact on the species or stock and its habitat (i.e., mitigation) must be prescribed. Last, requirements pertaining to the monitoring and reporting of such taking must be set forth. Where there is the potential for serious injury or death, the allowance of incidental taking requires promulgation of regulations under section 101(a)(5)(A). Subsequently, a Letter (or Letters) of Authorization may be issued as governed by the prescriptions established in such regulations, provided that the level of taking will be consistent with the findings made for the total taking allowable under the specific regulations. Under section 101(a)(5)(D), NMFS may authorize incidental taking by harassment only (i.e., no serious injury or mortality), for periods of not more than one year, pursuant to requirements and conditions contained within an IHA. The promulgation of regulations or issuance of IHAs (with their associated prescripted mitigation, monitoring, and reporting) requires notice and opportunity for public comment. 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.’’ NMFS has defined ‘‘unmitigable adverse impact’’ in 50 CFR 216.103 as ‘‘. . . an impact resulting from the specified activity: (1) That is likely to reduce the availability of the species to a level insufficient for a harvest to meet subsistence needs by: (i) Causing the marine mammals to abandon or avoid hunting areas; (ii) directly displacing subsistence users; or (iii) placing physical barriers between the marine mammals and the subsistence hunters; and PO 00000 Frm 00023 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 24681 (2) That cannot be sufficiently mitigated by other measures to increase the availability of marine mammals to allow subsistence needs to be met. Except with respect to certain activities not pertinent here, section 3(18) of the MMPA defines ‘‘harassment’’ as: Any act of pursuit, torment, or annoyance which (i) has the potential to injure a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild (Level A harassment); or (ii) has the potential to disturb a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild by causing disruption of behavioral patterns, including, but not limited to, migration, breathing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering (Level B harassment). Summary of Request On November 22, 2016, NMFS received an application from Glacier Bay NP requesting taking by harassment of marine mammals, incidental to conducting monitoring and research studies on glaucous-winged gulls (Larus glaucescens) within Glacier Bay NP, Alaska. The application was considered adequate and complete on February 10, 2017. NMFS previously issued three IHAs to Glacier Bay NP for the same activities from 2014 to 2016 (79 FR 56065, September 18, 2014; 80 FR 28229, May 18, 2015; 81 FR 34994, May 16, 2016). For the 2017 research season, Glacier Bay NP plans to conduct ground-based and vessel-based surveys to collect data on the number and distribution of nesting gulls within six study sites in Glacier Bay, Alaska. Marine mammals have only been observed at four of the six study sites. The planned activities would occur over the course of five months, from May through September 2017. The following aspects of the planned gull research activities have the potential to take marine mammals: Noise generated by motorboat approaches and departures; noise generated by researchers while conducting ground surveys; and human presence (visual disturbance) during the monitoring and research activities. Harbor seals hauled out at the study sites may flush into the water or exhibit temporary modification in behavior (Level B harassment). Thus, Glacier Bay NP has requested an authorization to take harbor seals by Level B harassment only. Although Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) may be present in the action area, Glacier Bay NP will avoid any site used by Steller sea lions. Description of the Specified Activity Glacier Bay NP plans to identify the onset of gull nesting; conduct mid- E:\FR\FM\30MYN1.SGM 30MYN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 102 (Tuesday, May 30, 2017)]
[Notices]
[Pages 24679-24681]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-11037]


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

DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 0648-XF435


Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; U.S. 
Navy Training Activities in the Gulf of Alaska Temporary Maritime 
Activities Area

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

ACTION: Notice of issuance of a Letter of Authorization.

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

SUMMARY: In accordance with the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) as 
amended, and implementing regulations, notice is hereby given that a 
Letter of Authorization (LOA) has been issued to the U.S. Navy (Navy) 
to take marine mammals incidental to Navy training activities conducted 
in the Gulf of Alaska (GOA) Temporary Maritime Activities Area (Study 
Area). These activities are considered military readiness activities 
pursuant to the MMPA, as amended by the National Defense Authorization 
Act of 2004 (NDAA).

DATES: Effective from April 26, 2017 to April 26, 2022.

ADDRESSES: The LOA and supporting documents may be obtained online at: 
www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/permits/incidental/military.htm. In case of 
problems accessing these documents, please call the contact listed 
below (see FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Jolie Harrison or Stephanie Egger, 
Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, 301-427-8401.

[[Page 24680]]


SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    Section 101(a)(5)(A) of the MMPA directs 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 regulations are 
issued. Under the MMPA, the term ``take'' means to harass, hunt, 
capture, or kill or to attempt to harass, hunt, capture, or kill marine 
mammals. We, NMFS, have been delegated the authority to issue such 
regulations and Authorizations.
    The NDAA (Pub. L. 108-136) removed the ``small numbers'' and 
``specified geographical region'' limitations indicated above and 
amended the definition of ``harassment'' as it applies to a ``military 
readiness activity'' to read as follows (Section 3(18)(B) of the MMPA): 
``(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).
    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.''
    Regulations governing the taking of individuals of 19 species of 
marine mammals, representing 27 stocks, by Level B harassment and one 
species of marine mammal (Dall's porpoise) by Level A harassment 
incidental to Navy training activities in the GOA Study Area are in 
effect from April 26, 2017 through April 26, 2022 (82 FR 19530, April 
27, 2017) and are codified at 50 CFR part 218, subpart P. The 
regulations include mitigation, monitoring, and reporting requirements. 
Pursuant to those regulations, NMFS issued a five-year LOA for the 
incidental take of marine mammals during training activities in the GOA 
Study Area on April 26, 2017. For detailed information on this action, 
please refer to the April 27, 2017 Federal Register notice and 50 CFR 
part 218, subpart P.

Summary of Request

    On July 28, 2014, NMFS received an application from the Navy 
requesting regulations and a subsequent LOA for the take of 19 species 
of marine mammals, representing 27 stocks, incidental to Navy training 
activities to be conducted in the GOA Study Area over 5 years. On 
October 14, 2014, the Navy submitted a revised application to reflect 
minor changes in the number and types of training activities. To 
address minor inconsistencies with the draft Supplemental Environmental 
Impact Statement/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement (DSEIS/OEIS), 
the Navy submitted a final revision to the application on January 21, 
2015. In November 2016, the Navy requested that the final rule and LOA 
be issued for the training activities addressed by Alternative 1 of the 
Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas 
Environmental Impact Statement (FSEIS/OEIS). The Navy's application was 
based on the training activities addressed by Alternative 2 of the 
DSEIS/OEIS; therefore, our proposed rule (81 FR 9950; February 26, 
2016) analyzed the level of activities as described by Alternative 2. 
Pursuant to the Navy's November 2016 request, the final rule (82 FR 
19530; April 27, 2017) reflects the training activities addressed by 
Alternative 1 of the FSEIS/OEIS, which include a subset of the 
activities analyzed in the proposed rule. The change from Alternative 2 
to Alternative 1 results in a significant reduction in proposed 
training activities (i.e., lessening the number of the Carrier Strike 
Group Events from 2 to 1 per year, and the number of SINKEXs from 2 to 
0 per year, which means that several types of explosives will no longer 
be used and there will be no live MISSILEX). This significantly 
decreases the number of anticipated and authorized takes for this 
activity compared to what was presented in the proposed rule.
    The Study Area is a polygon roughly the shape of a 300 nm by 150 nm 
rectangle oriented northwest to southeast in the long direction, 
located south of Prince William Sound and east of Kodiak Island, 
Alaska. The activities conducted within the Study Area are classified 
as military readiness activities. The final rule (82 FR 19530, April 
27, 2017) and GOA FSEIS/OEIS include a complete description of the 
Navy's specified training activities incidental to which NMFS is 
authorizing take of marine mammals. Sonar use and underwater 
detonations are the stressors most likely to result in impacts on 
marine mammals that could rise to the level of harassment.

Authorization

    We have issued an LOA to the Navy authorizing the take of marine 
mammals by harassment incidental to training activities in the GOA 
Study Area, as described above. The level and type of take authorized 
by the LOA is the same as the level and type of take analyzed in the 
final rule (82 FR 19530, April 27, 2017). There are no mortality takes 
of any species predicted or authorized for any training activities in 
the GOA Study Area. Take of marine mammals will be minimized through 
implementation of mitigation measures, including: pre-exercise visual 
or aerial monitoring during certain training activities; the use of 
lookouts to monitor for marine mammals and begin powerdown and shutdown 
of sonar when marine mammals are detected within ranges where the 
received sound level is likely to result in threshold shift or injury; 
use of exclusion zones that avoid exposing marine mammals to levels of 
explosives likely to result in injury or death of marine mammals; 
avoidance of marine mammals by vessels; limitation of activities in a 
North Pacific Right Whale ``Cautionary Area''; and implementation of a 
stranding response plan, among others. The Navy is also required to 
comply with monitoring and reporting measures under 50 CFR 218.155. 
Additionally, the rule and LOA include an adaptive management component 
that allows for timely modification of mitigation or monitoring 
measures based on new information, when appropriate. For full details 
on the mitigation, monitoring, and reporting requirements, please refer 
to the final rule (82 FR 19530; April 27, 2017).
    Issuance of the LOA is based on findings, described in the preamble 
to the final rule, that the total taking of marine mammals incidental 
to the Navy's training activities in the GOA Study Area will have a 
negligible impact on the affected marine mammal species or stocks and 
will not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of such 
species or stocks for taking for subsistence purposes.
    The LOA will remain valid through April 26, 2022, provided that the 
Navy

[[Page 24681]]

remains in conformance with the conditions of the regulations and the 
LOA, including the mitigation, monitoring, and reporting requirements 
described in 50 CFR part 218, subpart P and the LOA.

    Dated: May 23, 2017.
Donna S. Wieting,
Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries 
Service.
[FR Doc. 2017-11037 Filed 5-26-17; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P