Technical Guidance for Assessing the Effects of Anthropogenic Sound on Marine Mammal Hearing-Acoustic Threshold Levels for Onset of Permanent and Temporary Threshold Shifts, 24950-24951 [2017-11035]

Download as PDF 24950 Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 103 / Wednesday, May 31, 2017 / Notices of ‘Foreseeable Future’ in Section 3(20) of the Endangered Species Act’’(Jan. 16, 2009)). The time period that constitutes the foreseeable future is case-specific and should consider the life history of the species, habitat characteristics, availability of data, kinds of threats, ability to predict threats and their impacts, and the reliability of models used to forecast threats over that ‘‘foreseeable future.’’ Major Threat: A ‘major’ threat is defined as a threat whose scope, immediacy, and intensity results in a response by the species that prevents the improvement of its status to the point that such species may not be reclassified or delisted based on the factors set out in section 4(a)(1) of the ESA. Conversely, non-major threats are those threats whose scope, immediacy, and intensity results in a response by the species but singularly or cumulatively do not prevent the improvement of its status to the point that such species may be reclassified or delisted based on the factors set out in section 4(a)(1) of the ESA. Technically Feasible: Technically feasible refers to the scientific, engineering, and operational aspects of management or protective actions that are capable of being implemented. Threatened species: Any species which is likely to become an endangered species within the foreseeable future throughout all or a significant portion of its range. A ‘‘threatened species’’ is not presently in danger of extinction, but is likely to become so in the foreseeable future. The primary statutory difference between a threatened species and an endangered species is the timing of when a species is in danger of extinction, either presently (endangered) or in the foreseeable future (threatened). Authority: 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq. Dated: May 24, 2017. Alan D. Risenhoover, Acting Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2017–11157 Filed 5–30–17; 8:45 am] nlaroche on DSK30NT082PROD with NOTICES BILLING CODE 3510–22–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:54 May 30, 2017 Jkt 241001 DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XC969 Technical Guidance for Assessing the Effects of Anthropogenic Sound on Marine Mammal Hearing—Acoustic Threshold Levels for Onset of Permanent and Temporary Threshold Shifts National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice; request for comments. AGENCY: The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) seeks public comment to assist the Secretary of Commerce’s review of NMFS’ August 2016 Technical Guidance for Assessing the Effects of Anthropogenic Sound on Marine Mammal Hearing: Underwater Acoustic Thresholds for Onset of Permanent and Temporary Threshold Shifts (Technical Guidance), pursuant to section 10 of Presidential Executive Order (EO) 13795, Implementing an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy (April 28, 2017). DATES: Comments must be received by July 17, 2017. ADDRESSES: The Technical Guidance is available in electronic form via the Internet at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/ pr/acoustics/. You may submit comments by including NOAA–NMFS– 2013–0177, by either of the following methods: Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D= NOAA-NMFS-2013-0177, click the ‘‘Comment Now!’’ icon, complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments Mail: Send comments to: Chief, Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910– 3226, Attn: Acoustic Guidance. Instructions: NMFS may not consider comments if they are sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the comment period ends. All comments received are a part of the public record and NMFS will generally post for public viewing on www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily by the sender is SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00017 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous comments (enter ‘‘N/A’’ in the required fields if you wish to remain anonymous). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Amy Scholik-Schlomer, Office of Protected Resources, 301–427–8449, Amy.Scholik@noaa.gov. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Presidential Executive Order (EO) 13795, Implementing an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy (82 FR 20815; April 28, 2017), states in section 2 that ‘‘It shall be the policy of the United States to encourage energy exploration and production, including on the Outer Continental Shelf, in order to maintain the Nation’s position as a global energy leader and foster energy security and resilience for the benefit of the American people, while ensuring that any such activity is safe and environmentally responsible.’’ Among the requirements of EO 13795 is section 10, which calls for a review of NMFS’ Technical Guidance for Assessing the Effects of Anthropogenic Sound on Marine Mammal Hearing as follows: ‘‘The Secretary of Commerce shall review [NMFS’ Technical Guidance] for consistency with the policy set forth in Section 2 of this order and, after consultation with the appropriate Federal agencies, take all steps permitted by law to rescind or revise that guidance, if appropriate.’’ The 2016 Technical Guidance referred to in EO 13795 is a technical document that compiles, interprets, and synthesizes scientific literature, to produce updated thresholds for assessing the effects of underwater sound on marine mammal hearing. The document provides updated received levels, or acoustic thresholds, above which individual marine mammals under NMFS’ jurisdiction are predicted to experience changes in their hearing sensitivity (either temporary or permanent) for all underwater humanmade sound sources. It is intended for use by NMFS analysts and managers and other relevant user groups and stakeholders, including other Federal agencies, when seeking to determine whether and how their activities are expected to result in hearing impacts to marine mammals via acoustic exposure. The Technical Guidance does not represent the entirety of an impact assessment but rather serves as one tool to help evaluate a proposed action. Mitigation and monitoring requirements in connection with any permits or authorizations issued by NMFS are management decisions made in the context of a proposed activity and a comprehensive effects analysis as well E:\FR\FM\31MYN1.SGM 31MYN1 nlaroche on DSK30NT082PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 82, No. 103 / Wednesday, May 31, 2017 / Notices as legal requirements, and are beyond the direct scope of the Technical Guidance (i.e., the Technical Guidance may inform these decisions, but the Technical Guidance does not mandate any specific mitigation be required). NMFS acknowledges the importance of supporting sustainable ocean use, such as energy exploration and production on the Outer Continental Shelf, provided activities are conducted in a safe and environmentally responsible manner. Our development and implementation of the Technical Guidance are consistent with allowing activities vital to our nation’s security and economy to proceed, including those mentioned in EO 13795. As an example, during the development of the Technical Guidance, NMFS recognized that action proponents may have varying abilities to model and estimate exposure, and that the Technical Guidance may be more complex than some action proponents are able to incorporate. Accordingly, NMFS developed optional user tools in the form of an alternative methodology and associated user spreadsheet to assist action proponents with the application the more complex acoustic thresholds. Additionally, NMFS recognized that for some proposed actions, analyses may have already substantially progressed using the prior thresholds or other methods for assessing hearing effects, and it would be impractical to begin those analyses anew, taking into account timing constraints, expense, and other considerations. Hence, NMFS has been using a transitional approach for ‘‘pipeline’’ cases that considers various factors to determine the extent to which the Technical Guidance would be considered. The Office of Management and Budget previously classified the Technical Guidance as a Highly Influential Scientific Assessment (HISA). As such, the document underwent three independent peer reviews, at three different stages its development, including a follow-up to one of the peer reviews, prior to its dissemination by NMFS. Details of each peer review are included within the Technical Guidance (Appendix C), and specific peer reviewer comments and NMFS’ responses are at http://www.nmfs.noaa. gov/pr/acoustics/. In addition to three independent peer reviews, there were three public comment periods. A previously published Federal Register Notice (81 FR 51694; August 4, 2016) provides substantive public comments and NMFS’ responses. NMFS is soliciting public comment and will also consult the appropriate Federal agencies to assist the Secretary VerDate Sep<11>2014 14:54 May 30, 2017 Jkt 241001 of Commerce in reviewing the Technical Guidance for consistency with the policy in section 2 of EO 13795. The Technical Guidance will remain in use during this review, and this review will not delay the processing of any permits, applications, or consultations currently underway. NMFS advises the public to focus comments on those relating to the purpose of the review of the Technical Guidance under section 10 of EO 13795, which is to ensure consistency with the policy in section 2 of the EO, cited above. For example, NMFS welcomes comments on two particular aspects of the Technical Guidance: (1) Peer-reviewed scientific literature: Information regarding the availability of published new science relevant to marine mammal hearing or impacts of noise on hearing since the publication of the Technical Guidance and suggestions for how to consider new information within the Technical Guidance, and (2) Implementation support: Recommendations regarding how NMFS can further aid in the application and implementation of the Technical Guidance (based on difficulties encountered and/or ways NMFS can facilitate and/or improve implementation for action proponents). Dated: May 24, 2017. Donna S. Wieting Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2017–11035 Filed 5–30–17; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XF466 Western Pacific Fishery Management Council; Public Meeting National Marine Fisheries Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Commerce. ACTION: Notice of a public meeting. AGENCY: The Western Pacific Fishery Management Council (Council) will hold a meeting of its Hawaii Archipelago Fishery Ecosystem Plan (FEP) Advisory Panel (AP) to discuss and make recommendations on fishery management issues in the Western Pacific Region. DATES: The Hawaii Archipelago FEP AP will meet on Thursday, June 15, 2017, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. All times listed SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00018 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 24951 are local island times. For specific times and agendas, see SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION. The Hawaii Archipelago FEP AP will meet at the Council Office, 1164 Bishop St., Suite 1400, Honolulu, HI 96813 and by teleconference. The teleconference will be conducted by telephone. The teleconference numbers are: U.S. toll-free: 1–888–482–3560 or International Access: +1 647 723–3959, and Access Code: 5228220. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kitty M. Simonds, Executive Director, Western Pacific Fishery Management Council; telephone: (808) 522–8220. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Public comment periods will be provided in the agenda. The order in which agenda items are addressed may change. The meetings will run as late as necessary to complete scheduled business. ADDRESSES: Schedule and Agenda for the Hawaii Archipelago FEP AP Meeting Thursday, June 15, 2017, 9 a.m.–11 a.m. 1. Welcome and Introductions 2. Report on Previous Council Action Items 3. Council Issues A. Sustainable Fisheries Fund Marine Conservation Plan B. Options for Fishing Regulations in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Monument Expansion Area C. Research Priorities i. Cooperative Research ii. Five-year Research Priorities D. Re-specification of ACL for the MHI Kona Crab Fishery 4. Hawaii FEP Community Activities 5. Hawaii FEP AP Issues A. Report of the Subpanels i. Island Fisheries Subpanel ii. Pelagic Fisheries Subpanel iii. Ecosystems and Habitat Subpanel iv. Indigenous Fishing Rights Subpanel B. Other Issues 6. Public Comment 7. Discussion and Recommendations 8. Other Business Although other non-emergency issues not on the agenda may come before this group for discussion, those issues may not be the subject of formal action during this meeting. Actions will be restricted to those issues specifically listed in this notice 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 final action to address the emergency. E:\FR\FM\31MYN1.SGM 31MYN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 82, Number 103 (Wednesday, May 31, 2017)]
[Notices]
[Pages 24950-24951]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2017-11035]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 0648-XC969


Technical Guidance for Assessing the Effects of Anthropogenic 
Sound on Marine Mammal Hearing--Acoustic Threshold Levels for Onset of 
Permanent and Temporary Threshold Shifts

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

ACTION: Notice; request for comments.

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

SUMMARY: The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) seeks public 
comment to assist the Secretary of Commerce's review of NMFS' August 
2016 Technical Guidance for Assessing the Effects of Anthropogenic 
Sound on Marine Mammal Hearing: Underwater Acoustic Thresholds for 
Onset of Permanent and Temporary Threshold Shifts (Technical Guidance), 
pursuant to section 10 of Presidential Executive Order (EO) 13795, 
Implementing an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy (April 28, 
2017).

DATES: Comments must be received by July 17, 2017.

ADDRESSES: The Technical Guidance is available in electronic form via 
the Internet at http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/acoustics/. You may submit 
comments by including NOAA-NMFS-2013-0177, by either of the following 
methods:
    Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: Go to www.regulations.gov/#!docketDetail;D=NOAA-NMFS-2013-0177, click the ``Comment Now!'' icon, 
complete the required fields, and enter or attach your comments
    Mail: Send comments to: Chief, Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle 
Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine 
Fisheries Service, 1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910-
3226, Attn: Acoustic Guidance.
    Instructions: NMFS may not consider comments if they are sent by 
any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after 
the comment period ends. All comments received are a part of the public 
record and NMFS will generally post for public viewing on 
www.regulations.gov without change. All personal identifying 
information (e.g., name, address, etc.), confidential business 
information, or otherwise sensitive information submitted voluntarily 
by the sender is publicly accessible. NMFS will accept anonymous 
comments (enter ``N/A'' in the required fields if you wish to remain 
anonymous).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Amy Scholik-Schlomer, Office of 
Protected Resources, 301-427-8449, Amy.Scholik@noaa.gov.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Presidential Executive Order (EO) 13795, 
Implementing an America-First Offshore Energy Strategy (82 FR 20815; 
April 28, 2017), states in section 2 that ``It shall be the policy of 
the United States to encourage energy exploration and production, 
including on the Outer Continental Shelf, in order to maintain the 
Nation's position as a global energy leader and foster energy security 
and resilience for the benefit of the American people, while ensuring 
that any such activity is safe and environmentally responsible.''
    Among the requirements of EO 13795 is section 10, which calls for a 
review of NMFS' Technical Guidance for Assessing the Effects of 
Anthropogenic Sound on Marine Mammal Hearing as follows: ``The 
Secretary of Commerce shall review [NMFS' Technical Guidance] for 
consistency with the policy set forth in Section 2 of this order and, 
after consultation with the appropriate Federal agencies, take all 
steps permitted by law to rescind or revise that guidance, if 
appropriate.''
    The 2016 Technical Guidance referred to in EO 13795 is a technical 
document that compiles, interprets, and synthesizes scientific 
literature, to produce updated thresholds for assessing the effects of 
underwater sound on marine mammal hearing. The document provides 
updated received levels, or acoustic thresholds, above which individual 
marine mammals under NMFS' jurisdiction are predicted to experience 
changes in their hearing sensitivity (either temporary or permanent) 
for all underwater human-made sound sources. It is intended for use by 
NMFS analysts and managers and other relevant user groups and 
stakeholders, including other Federal agencies, when seeking to 
determine whether and how their activities are expected to result in 
hearing impacts to marine mammals via acoustic exposure. The Technical 
Guidance does not represent the entirety of an impact assessment but 
rather serves as one tool to help evaluate a proposed action. 
Mitigation and monitoring requirements in connection with any permits 
or authorizations issued by NMFS are management decisions made in the 
context of a proposed activity and a comprehensive effects analysis as 
well

[[Page 24951]]

as legal requirements, and are beyond the direct scope of the Technical 
Guidance (i.e., the Technical Guidance may inform these decisions, but 
the Technical Guidance does not mandate any specific mitigation be 
required).
    NMFS acknowledges the importance of supporting sustainable ocean 
use, such as energy exploration and production on the Outer Continental 
Shelf, provided activities are conducted in a safe and environmentally 
responsible manner. Our development and implementation of the Technical 
Guidance are consistent with allowing activities vital to our nation's 
security and economy to proceed, including those mentioned in EO 13795. 
As an example, during the development of the Technical Guidance, NMFS 
recognized that action proponents may have varying abilities to model 
and estimate exposure, and that the Technical Guidance may be more 
complex than some action proponents are able to incorporate. 
Accordingly, NMFS developed optional user tools in the form of an 
alternative methodology and associated user spreadsheet to assist 
action proponents with the application the more complex acoustic 
thresholds. Additionally, NMFS recognized that for some proposed 
actions, analyses may have already substantially progressed using the 
prior thresholds or other methods for assessing hearing effects, and it 
would be impractical to begin those analyses anew, taking into account 
timing constraints, expense, and other considerations. Hence, NMFS has 
been using a transitional approach for ``pipeline'' cases that 
considers various factors to determine the extent to which the 
Technical Guidance would be considered.
    The Office of Management and Budget previously classified the 
Technical Guidance as a Highly Influential Scientific Assessment 
(HISA). As such, the document underwent three independent peer reviews, 
at three different stages its development, including a follow-up to one 
of the peer reviews, prior to its dissemination by NMFS. Details of 
each peer review are included within the Technical Guidance (Appendix 
C), and specific peer reviewer comments and NMFS' responses are at 
http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/pr/acoustics/. In addition to three 
independent peer reviews, there were three public comment periods. A 
previously published Federal Register Notice (81 FR 51694; August 4, 
2016) provides substantive public comments and NMFS' responses.
    NMFS is soliciting public comment and will also consult the 
appropriate Federal agencies to assist the Secretary of Commerce in 
reviewing the Technical Guidance for consistency with the policy in 
section 2 of EO 13795. The Technical Guidance will remain in use during 
this review, and this review will not delay the processing of any 
permits, applications, or consultations currently underway.
    NMFS advises the public to focus comments on those relating to the 
purpose of the review of the Technical Guidance under section 10 of EO 
13795, which is to ensure consistency with the policy in section 2 of 
the EO, cited above. For example, NMFS welcomes comments on two 
particular aspects of the Technical Guidance:
    (1) Peer-reviewed scientific literature: Information regarding the 
availability of published new science relevant to marine mammal hearing 
or impacts of noise on hearing since the publication of the Technical 
Guidance and suggestions for how to consider new information within the 
Technical Guidance, and
    (2) Implementation support: Recommendations regarding how NMFS can 
further aid in the application and implementation of the Technical 
Guidance (based on difficulties encountered and/or ways NMFS can 
facilitate and/or improve implementation for action proponents).

    Dated: May 24, 2017.
Donna S. Wieting
Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries 
Service.
[FR Doc. 2017-11035 Filed 5-30-17; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P