Migratory Bird Subsistence Harvest in Alaska; Harvest Regulations for Migratory Birds in Alaska During the 2018 Season, 4623-4629 [2018-02001]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 22 / Thursday, February 1, 2018 / Proposed Rules Service, 1011 E. Tudor Road, Mail Stop 201, Anchorage, AK 99503; (907) 786– 3499. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Fish and Wildlife Service 50 CFR Part 92 [Docket No. FWS–R7–MB–2017–0087; FXMB12610700000–189–FF07M01000] RIN 1018–BC70 Migratory Bird Subsistence Harvest in Alaska; Harvest Regulations for Migratory Birds in Alaska During the 2018 Season Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior. ACTION: Proposed rule. AGENCY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service or we) is proposing migratory bird subsistence harvest regulations in Alaska for the 2018 season. These regulations allow for the continuation of customary and traditional subsistence uses of migratory birds in Alaska and prescribe regional information on when and where the harvesting of birds may occur. These regulations were developed under a comanagement process involving the Service, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and Alaska Native representatives. The rulemaking is necessary because the regulations governing the subsistence harvest of migratory birds in Alaska are subject to annual review. This rulemaking proposes region-specific regulations that would go into effect on April 2, 2018. DATES: We will accept comments received or postmarked on or before March 5, 2018. We must receive requests for public hearings, in writing, at the address shown in FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT by February 16, 2018. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by one of the following methods: • Federal eRulemaking Portal: https:// www.regulations.gov. Follow the instructions for submitting comments to Docket No. FWS–R7–MB–2017–0087. • U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, Attn: FWS–R7– MB–2017–0087; Division of Policy, Performance, and Management Programs; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 5275 Leesburg Place, MS: BPHC; Falls Church, VA 22041–3803. We will not accept email or faxes. We will post all comments on https:// www.regulations.gov. This generally means that we will post any personal information you provide us (see the Public Comment Procedures section, below, for more detailed information). FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Donna Dewhurst, U.S. Fish and Wildlife daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:25 Jan 31, 2018 Jkt 244001 Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041–3803; (703) 358–1714. Public Comment Procedures DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR SUMMARY: 4623 As stated above in more detail, before including your address, phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment—including your personal identifying information—may be made publicly available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. To ensure that any action resulting from this proposed rule will be as accurate and as effective as possible, we request that you send relevant information for our consideration. The comments that will be most useful and likely to influence our decisions are those that you support by quantitative information or studies and those that include citations to, and analyses of, the applicable laws and regulations. Please make your comments as specific as possible and explain the basis for them. In addition, please include sufficient information with your comments to allow us to authenticate any scientific or commercial data you include. You must submit your comments and materials concerning this proposed rule by one of the methods listed above in ADDRESSES. We will not accept comments sent by email or fax or to an address not listed in ADDRESSES. If you submit a comment via https:// www.regulations.gov, your entire comment—including any personal identifying information, such as your address, telephone number, or email address—will be posted on the website. When you submit a comment, the system receives it immediately. However, the comment will not be publicly viewable until we post it, which might not occur until several days after submission. If you mail or hand-carry a hardcopy comment directly to us that includes personal information, you may request at the top of your document that we withhold this information from public review. However, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. To ensure that the electronic docket for this rulemaking is complete and all comments we receive are publicly available, we will post all hardcopy comments on https:// www.regulations.gov. In addition, comments and materials we receive, as well as supporting documentation used in preparing this proposed rule, will be available for public inspection in two ways: (1) You can view them on https:// www.regulations.gov. Search for FWS– R7–MB–2017–0087, which is the docket number for this rulemaking. (2) You can make an appointment, during normal business hours, to view the comments and materials in person at the Division of Migratory Bird Management, MS: MB, 5275 Leesburg PO 00000 Frm 00019 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 Public Availability of Comments Length of Comment Period Implementation of the Service’s 2013 supplemental environmental impact statement on the hunting of migratory birds has resulted in changes to the overall timing of the annual regulatory schedule for the establishment of migratory bird hunting regulations and the Alaska migratory bird subsistence harvest regulations. That is, moving the annual Service Regulations Committee meeting from July to October has greatly shortened our period to publish the proposed regulations and solicit comments. We are further bounded by a subsistence harvest start date of April 2, 2018, making a 60-day comment period problematic and increasing the risk of not having regulations established before the start of the subsistence season. Thus, we have established a 30-day comment period for this proposed rule (see DATES, above), and we will be conducting tribal consultations within Alaska simultaneously. We believe a 30-day comment period gives the public adequate time to provide meaningful comments. In addition, the proposed regulations in this document for the 2018 season are the same as the final regulations we published on April 4, 2017 (82 FR 16298), for the 2017 season. Why is this rulemaking necessary? This rulemaking is necessary because, by law, the migratory bird harvest season is closed unless opened by the Secretary of the Interior, and the regulations governing subsistence harvest of migratory birds in Alaska are subject to public review and annual approval. This rule proposes regulations for the taking of migratory birds for subsistence uses in Alaska during the spring and summer of 2018. This proposed rule also sets forth a list of migratory bird season openings and closures in Alaska by region. E:\FR\FM\01FEP1.SGM 01FEP1 4624 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 22 / Thursday, February 1, 2018 / Proposed Rules How do I find the history of these regulations? Background information, including past events leading to this rulemaking, accomplishments since the Migratory Bird Treaties with Canada and Mexico were amended, and a history, were originally addressed in the Federal Register on August 16, 2002 (67 FR 53511) and most recently on April 4, 2017 (82 FR 16298). Recent Federal Register documents and all final rules setting forth the annual harvest regulations are available at https://www.fws.gov/alaska/ambcc/ regulations.htm or by contacting the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. What is the process for issuing regulations for the subsistence harvest of migratory birds in Alaska? The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing migratory bird subsistenceharvest regulations in Alaska for the 2018 season. These regulations allow for the continuation of customary and traditional subsistence uses of migratory birds in Alaska and prescribe regional information on when and where the harvesting of birds may occur. These regulations were developed under a comanagement process involving the Service, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and Alaska Native representatives. The Alaska Migratory Bird Comanagement Council (Co-management Council) held meetings on April 5–6, 2017, to develop recommendations for changes that would take effect during the 2018 harvest season. The Comanagement Council recommended no changes for the 2018 regulations. daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS Who is eligible to hunt under these regulations? Eligibility to harvest under the regulations established in 2003 was limited to permanent residents, regardless of race, in villages located within the Alaska Peninsula, Kodiak Archipelago, the Aleutian Islands, and in areas north and west of the Alaska Range (50 CFR 92.5). These geographical restrictions opened the initial migratory bird subsistence harvest to about 13 percent of Alaska residents. Highpopulated, roaded areas such as Anchorage, the Matanuska-Susitna and Fairbanks North Star boroughs, the Kenai Peninsula roaded area, the Gulf of Alaska roaded area, and Southeast Alaska were excluded from eligible subsistence harvest areas. In response to petitions requesting inclusion in the harvest in 2004, we added 13 additional communities VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:25 Jan 31, 2018 Jkt 244001 consistent with the criteria set forth at 50 CFR 92.5(c). These communities were Gulkana, Gakona, Tazlina, Copper Center, Mentasta Lake, Chitina, Chistochina, Tatitlek, Chenega, Port Graham, Nanwalek, Tyonek, and Hoonah, with a combined population of 2,766. In 2005, we added three additional communities for glaucouswinged gull egg gathering only in response to petitions requesting inclusion. These southeastern communities were Craig, Hydaburg, and Yakutat, with a combined population of 2,459, according to the latest census information at that time. In 2007, we enacted the Alaska Department of Fish and Game’s request to expand the Fairbanks North Star Borough excluded area to include the Central Interior area. This action excluded the following communities from participation in this harvest: Big Delta/Fort Greely, Healy, McKinley Park/Village, and Ferry, with a combined population of 2,812. In 2012, we received a request from the Native Village of Eyak to include Cordova, Alaska, for a limited season that would legalize the traditional gathering of gull eggs and the hunting of waterfowl during spring. This request resulted in a new, limited harvest of spring waterfowl and gull eggs starting in 2014. Amendments to Subpart C Under subpart C, General Regulations Governing Subsistence Harvest, we are amending § 92.22, the list of birds open to subsistence harvest, by adding emperor goose (Chen canagica) and by amending cackling goose to allow egg gathering. These changes were originally made in the 2017 regulations (82 FR 16298; April 4, 2017), but were mistakenly set to expire August 31, 2017. We intended these changes to subpart C to be permanent; therefore, we are setting them forth again in this proposed rule with the intent to make them permanent when we publish a final rule for this action. How would the service ensure that the subsistence migratory bird harvest complies with the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and would not threaten the conservation of endangered and threatened species? We have monitored subsistence harvest for the past 25 years through the use of household surveys in the most heavily used subsistence harvest areas, such as the Yukon–Kuskokwim Delta. In recent years, more intensive surveys combined with outreach efforts focused on species identification have been added to improve the accuracy of PO 00000 Frm 00020 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 information gathered from regions still reporting some subsistence harvest of listed or candidate species. Based on our monitoring of the migratory bird species and populations taken for subsistence, we find that this regulation would provide for the preservation and maintenance of migratory bird stocks as required by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (Act; 16 U.S.C. 703 et seq.). The Act’s 16 U.S.C. 712(1) provision states that the Service, ‘‘is authorized to issue such regulations as may be necessary to assure that the taking of migratory birds and the collection of their eggs, by the indigenous inhabitants of the State of Alaska, shall be permitted for their own nutritional and other essential needs, as determined by the Secretary of the Interior, during seasons established so as to provide for the preservation and maintenance of stocks of migratory birds.’’ Communication and coordination between the Service, the Co-management Council, and the Pacific Flyway Council have allowed us to set harvest regulations to ensure the longterm viability of the migratory bird stocks. In addition, Alaska migratory bird subsistence harvest rates have continued to decline since the inception of the subsistence-harvest program, reducing concerns about the program’s consistency with the preservation and maintenance of stocks of migratory birds. As for the ensuring the conservation of Endangered Species Act (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), listed species, spectacled eiders (Somateria fischeri) and the Alaska-breeding population of Steller’s eiders (Polysticta stelleri) are listed as threatened species. Their migration and breeding distribution overlap with areas where the spring and summer subsistence migratory bird hunt is open in Alaska. Both species are closed to hunting, although harvest surveys and Service documentation indicate both species are taken in several regions of Alaska. We have determined that this proposed rule would comply with the ESA (see Endangered Species Act Consideration discussion, below). The Service has dual objectives and responsibilities for authorizing a subsistence harvest while protecting migratory birds and threatened species. Although these objectives continue to be challenging, they are not irreconcilable, provided that: (1) Regulations continue to protect threatened species, (2) measures to address documented threats are implemented, and (3) the subsistence community and other conservation partners commit to working together. With these dual E:\FR\FM\01FEP1.SGM 01FEP1 daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 22 / Thursday, February 1, 2018 / Proposed Rules objectives in mind, the Service, working with North Slope partners, developed measures in 2009 to further reduce the potential for shooting mortality or injury of closed species. These conservation measures included: (1) Increased waterfowl hunter outreach and community awareness through partnering with the North Slope Migratory Bird Task Force; and (2) continued enforcement of the migratory bird regulations that are protective of listed eiders. This proposed rule continues to focus on the North Slope from Utqiagvik (formerly known as Barrow) to Point Hope because Steller’s eiders from the listed Alaska breeding population are known to breed and migrate there, and harvest survey data and direct observations indicate take during subsistence harvest has occurred there. These regulations are designed to address several ongoing eidermanagement needs by clarifying for subsistence users that (1) Service law enforcement personnel have authority to verify species of birds possessed by hunters, and (2) it is illegal to possess any species of bird closed to harvest. This proposed rule also describes how the Service’s existing authority of emergency closure would be implemented, if necessary, to protect Steller’s eiders. We are always willing to discuss regulations with our partners on the North Slope to ensure protection of closed species while providing subsistence hunters an opportunity to maintain the culture and traditional migratory bird harvest of the community. These regulations pertaining to bag checks and possession of illegal birds are deemed necessary to monitor take of closed eider species during the subsistence hunt. In collaboration with North Slope partners, a number of conservation efforts have been implemented to raise awareness and educate hunters in and around Utqiagvik on Steller’s eider conservation via the local bird outreach festival, meetings, radio shows, signs, school visits, and one-on-one contacts. Limited intermittent monitoring on the North Slope, focused primarily at Utqiagvik, found no evidence that listed eiders were shot in 2009 through 2012; one Steller’s eider and one spectacled eider were found shot during the summer of 2013; one Steller’s eider was found shot in 2014; and no listed eiders were found shot in 2015 through 2017. Elsewhere in Alaska, one spectacled eider that appeared to have been shot was found dead on the YukonKuskokwim Delta in 2015. The Service acknowledges progress made with the other eider conservation measures, VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:25 Jan 31, 2018 Jkt 244001 including partnering with the North Slope Migratory Bird Task Force, for increased waterfowl-hunter awareness, continued enforcement of the regulations, and in-season verification of the harvest. To reduce the threat of shooting mortality of threatened eiders, we continue to work with North Slope partners to conduct education and outreach. In addition, the emergencyclosure authority provides another level of assurance if an unexpected number of Steller’s eiders are killed by shooting (50 CFR 92.21 and 50 CFR 92.32). The longstanding general emergencyclosure provision at 50 CFR 92.21 specifies that the harvest may be closed or temporarily suspended upon finding that a continuation of the regulation allowing the harvest would pose an imminent threat to the conservation of any migratory bird population. With regard to Steller’s eiders, the regulations at 50 CFR 92.32, carried over from the past 7 years, clarify that we would take action under 50 CFR 92.21 as is necessary to prevent further take of Steller’s eiders, and that action could include temporary or long-term closures of the harvest in all or a portion of the geographic area open to harvest. When and if mortality of threatened eiders is documented, we would evaluate each mortality event by criteria such as cause, quantity, sex, age, location, and date. We would consult with the Comanagement Council when we are considering an emergency closure. If we determine that an emergency closure is necessary, we would design it to minimize its impact on the subsistence harvest. Endangered Species Act Consideration Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (16 U.S.C. 1536) requires the Secretary of the Interior to ‘‘review other programs administered by him (or her) and utilize such programs in furtherance of the purposes of the Act’’ and to ‘‘insure that any action authorized, funded, or carried out * * * is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered species or threatened species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of [critical] habitat. * * *’’ Prior to issuance of annual spring and summer subsistence regulations, we would consult under section 7 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, as amended (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), to ensure that the 2018 subsistence harvest is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any species designated as endangered or threatened, or modify or destroy its critical habitats, and that the regulations are consistent PO 00000 Frm 00021 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 4625 with conservation programs for those species. Consultation under section 7 of the ESA for the annual subsistence take regulations may cause us to change these regulations. Our biological opinion resulting from the section 7 consultation is a public document available from the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. Statutory Authority We derive our authority to issue these regulations from the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, at 16 U.S.C. 712(1), which authorizes the Secretary of the Interior, in accordance with the treaties with Canada, Mexico, Japan, and Russia, to ‘‘issue such regulations as may be necessary to assure that the taking of migratory birds and the collection of their eggs, by the indigenous inhabitants of the State of Alaska, shall be permitted for their own nutritional and other essential needs, as determined by the Secretary of the Interior, during seasons established so as to provide for the preservation and maintenance of stocks of migratory birds.’’ Required Determinations Executive Order 13771—Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory Costs This proposed rule is not subject to the requirements of Executive Order 13771 (82 FR 9339, February 3, 2017) because this proposed rule would establish annual harvest limits related to routine hunting or fishing. Regulatory Planning and Review (Executive Orders 12866 and 13563) Executive Order 12866 provides that the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) will review all significant rules. OIRA has determined that this proposed rule is not significant. Executive Order 13563 reaffirms the principles of E.O. 12866 while calling for improvements in the nation’s regulatory system to promote predictability, to reduce uncertainty, and to use the best, most innovative, and least burdensome tools for achieving regulatory ends. The executive order directs agencies to consider regulatory approaches that reduce burdens and maintain flexibility and freedom of choice for the public where these approaches are relevant, feasible, and consistent with regulatory objectives. E.O. 13563 emphasizes further that regulations must be based on the best available science and that the rulemaking process must allow for public participation and an open exchange of ideas. We have developed E:\FR\FM\01FEP1.SGM 01FEP1 4626 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 22 / Thursday, February 1, 2018 / Proposed Rules Unfunded Mandates Reform Act this proposed rule in a manner consistent with these requirements. Regulatory Flexibility Act The Department of the Interior certifies that, if adopted, this proposed rule would not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities as defined under the Regulatory Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.). A regulatory flexibility analysis is not required. Accordingly, a Small Entity Compliance Guide is not required. This proposed rule would legalize a pre-existing subsistence activity, and the resources harvested would be consumed. daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act This proposed rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804(2), the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act. This proposed rule: (a) Would not have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more. It legalizes and regulates a traditional subsistence activity. It would not result in a substantial increase in subsistence harvest or a significant change in harvesting patterns. The commodities that would be regulated under this rule are migratory birds. This proposed rule deals with legalizing the subsistence harvest of migratory birds and, as such, does not involve commodities traded in the marketplace. A small economic benefit from this proposed rule derives from the sale of equipment and ammunition to carry out subsistence hunting. Most, if not all, businesses that sell hunting equipment in rural Alaska qualify as small businesses. We have no reason to believe that this proposed rule would lead to a disproportionate distribution of benefits. (b) Would not cause a major increase in costs or prices for consumers; individual industries; Federal, State, or local government agencies; or geographic regions. This proposed rule does not deal with traded commodities and, therefore, would not have an impact on prices for consumers. (c) Would not have significant adverse effects on competition, employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the ability of U.S.-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises. This proposed rule deals with the harvesting of wildlife for personal consumption. It would not regulate the marketplace in any way to generate substantial effects on the economy or the ability of businesses to compete. VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:25 Jan 31, 2018 Jkt 244001 We have determined and certified under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (2 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.) that this proposed rule would not impose a cost of $100 million or more in any given year on local, State, or tribal governments or private entities. The proposed rule would not have a significant or unique effect on State, local, or tribal governments or the private sector. A statement containing the information required by the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act is not required. Participation on regional management bodies and the Comanagement Council requires travel expenses for some Alaska Native organizations and local governments. In addition, they assume some expenses related to coordinating involvement of village councils in the regulatory process. Total coordination and travel expenses for all Alaska Native organizations are estimated to be less than $300,000 per year. In a notice of decision (65 FR 16405; March 28, 2000), we identified 7 to 12 partner organizations (Alaska Native nonprofits and local governments) to administer the regional programs. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game also incurs expenses for travel to Comanagement Council and regional management body meetings. In addition, the State of Alaska would be required to provide technical staff support to each of the regional management bodies and to the Comanagement Council. Expenses for the State’s involvement may exceed $100,000 per year, but should not exceed $150,000 per year. When funding permits, we make annual grant agreements available to the partner organizations and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to help offset their expenses. Takings (Executive Order 12630) Under the criteria in Executive Order 12630, this proposed rule would not have significant takings implications. This proposed rule is not specific to particular land ownership, but applies to the harvesting of migratory bird resources throughout Alaska. A takings implication assessment is not required. Federalism (Executive Order 13132) Under the criteria in Executive Order 13132, this proposed rule does not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant the preparation of a federalism summary impact statement. We discuss effects of this proposed rule on the State of Alaska in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act section, above. We worked PO 00000 Frm 00022 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 with the State of Alaska to develop these proposed regulations. Therefore, a federalism summary impact statement is not required. Civil Justice Reform (Executive Order 12988) The Department, in promulgating this proposed rule, has determined that it would not unduly burden the judicial system and that it meets the requirements of sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988. Government-to-Government Relations With Native American Tribal Governments Consistent with Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249; November 6, 2000), ‘‘Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal Governments,’’ and Department of Interior policy on Consultation with Indian Tribes (December 1, 2011), we will send letters via electronic mail to all 229 Alaska Federally recognized Indian tribes. Consistent with Congressional direction (Pub. L. 108–199, div. H, Sec. 161, Jan. 23, 2004, 118 Stat. 452, as amended by Pub. L. 108–447, div. H, title V, Sec. 518, Dec. 8, 2004, 118 Stat. 3267), we also send letters to approximately 200 Alaska Native corporations and other tribal entities in Alaska soliciting their input as to whether or not they would like the Service to consult with them on the 2018 migratory bird subsistence harvest regulations. We implemented the amended treaty with Canada with a focus on local involvement. The treaty calls for the creation of management bodies to ensure an effective and meaningful role for Alaska’s indigenous inhabitants in the conservation of migratory birds. According to the Letter of Submittal, management bodies are to include Alaska Native, Federal, and State of Alaska representatives as equals. They develop recommendations for, among other things: Seasons and bag limits, methods and means of take, law enforcement policies, population and harvest monitoring, education programs, research and use of traditional knowledge, and habitat protection. The management bodies involve village councils to the maximum extent possible in all aspects of management. To ensure maximum input at the village level, we required each of the 11 participating regions to create regional management bodies consisting of at least one representative from the participating villages. The regional management bodies meet twice annually to review and/or submit proposals to the Statewide body. E:\FR\FM\01FEP1.SGM 01FEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 22 / Thursday, February 1, 2018 / Proposed Rules Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA) This proposed rule does not contain any new collections of information that require Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval under the PRA (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). We may not conduct or sponsor and you are not required to respond to a collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. OMB has reviewed and approved our collection of information associated with: • Voluntary annual household surveys that we use to determine levels of subsistence take (OMB Control Number 1018–0124, expires October 31, 2019). • Permits associated with subsistence hunting (OMB Control Number 1018– 0075, expires June 30, 2019). • Emperor Goose Spring Subsistence Harvest Survey (to include number of geese harvested, age, sex, and mass of birds harvested associated) (OMB Control Number 1090–0011, expires August 31, 2018). National Environmental Policy Act Consideration (42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) The annual regulations and options are considered in an October 2017 environmental assessment, ‘‘Managing Migratory Bird Subsistence Hunting in Alaska: Hunting Regulations for the 2018 Spring/Summer Harvest.’’ Copies are available from the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT or at https:// www.regulations.gov. Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use (Executive Order 13211) daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS Executive Order 13211 requires agencies to prepare Statements of Energy Effects when undertaking certain actions. This is not a significant regulatory action under this Executive Order; it allows only for traditional subsistence harvest and improves conservation of migratory birds by allowing effective regulation of this harvest. Further, this proposed rule is not expected to significantly affect energy supplies, distribution, or use. Therefore, this action is not a significant energy action under Executive Order 13211, and a Statement of Energy Effects is not required. List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 92 Hunting, Treaties, Wildlife. Proposed Regulation Promulgation For the reasons set out in the preamble, we propose to amend title 50, chapter I, subchapter G, of the Code of Federal Regulations as follows: VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:25 Jan 31, 2018 Jkt 244001 PART 92—MIGRATORY BIRD SUBSISTENCE HARVEST IN ALASKA 1. The authority citation for part 92 continues to read as follows: ■ Authority: 16 U.S.C. 703–712. Subpart C—General Regulations Governing Subsistence Harvest 2. Amend § 92.22 by: a. Redesignating paragraph (a)(3) as paragraph (a)(4); ■ b. Adding a new paragraph (a)(3); and ■ c. Revising paragraph (a)(6). The addition and revision read as follows: ■ ■ § 92.22 Subsistence migratory bird species. * * * * * (a) * * * (3) Emperor goose (Chen canagica). * * * * * (6) Canada goose, subspecies cackling goose. * * * * * Subpart D—Annual Regulations Governing Subsistence Harvest 3. Amend subpart D by adding § 92.31 to read as follows: ■ § 92.31 Region-specific regulations. The 2018 season dates for the eligible subsistence-harvest areas are as follows: (a) Aleutian/Pribilof Islands Region. (1) Northern Unit (Pribilof Islands): (i) Season: April 2–June 30. (ii) Closure: July 1–August 31. (2) Central Unit (Aleutian Region’s eastern boundary on the Alaska Peninsula westward to and including Unalaska Island): (i) Season: April 2–June 15 and July 16–August 31. (ii) Closure: June 16–July 15. (iii) Special Black Brant Season Closure: August 16–August 31, only in Izembek and Moffet lagoons. (iv) Special Tundra Swan Closure: All hunting and egg gathering closed in Game Management Units 9(D) and 10. (3) Western Unit (Umnak Island west to and including Attu Island): (i) Season: April 2–July 15 and August 16–August 31. (ii) Closure: July 16–August 15. (b) Yukon/Kuskokwim Delta Region. (1) Season: April 2–August 31. (2) Closure: 30-day closure dates to be announced by the Service’s Alaska Regional Director or his designee, after consultation with field biologists and the Association of Village Council President’s Waterfowl Conservation Committee. This 30-day period will occur between June 1 and August 15 of each year. A press release announcing PO 00000 Frm 00023 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 4627 the actual closure dates will be forwarded to regional newspapers and radio and television stations. (3) Special Black Brant and Cackling Canada Goose Season Hunting Closure: From the period when egg laying begins until young birds are fledged. Closure dates to be announced by the Service’s Alaska Regional Director or his designee, after consultation with field biologists and the Association of Village Council President’s Waterfowl Conservation Committee. A press release announcing the actual closure dates will be forwarded to regional newspapers and radio and television stations. (c) Bristol Bay Region. (1) Season: April 2–June 14 and July 16–August 31 (general season); April 2–July 15 for seabird egg gathering only. (2) Closure: June 15–July 15 (general season); July 16–August 31 (seabird egg gathering). (d) Bering Strait/Norton Sound Region. (1) Stebbins/St. Michael Area (Point Romanof to Canal Point): (i) Season: April 15–June 14 and July 16–August 31. (ii) Closure: June 15–July 15. (2) Remainder of the region: (i) Season: April 2–June 14 and July 16–August 31 for waterfowl; April 2– July 19 and August 21–August 31 for all other birds. (ii) Closure: June 15–July 15 for waterfowl; July 20–August 20 for all other birds. (e) Kodiak Archipelago Region, except for the Kodiak Island roaded area, which is closed to the harvesting of migratory birds and their eggs. The closed area consists of all lands and waters (including exposed tidelands) east of a line extending from Crag Point in the north to the west end of Saltery Cove in the south and all lands and water south of a line extending from Termination Point along the north side of Cascade Lake extending to Anton Larsen Bay. Marine waters adjacent to the closed area are closed to harvest within 500 feet from the water’s edge. The offshore islands are open to harvest. (1) Season: April 2–June 30 and July 31–August 31 for seabirds; April 2–June 20 and July 22–August 31 for all other birds. (2) Closure: July 1–July 30 for seabirds; June 21–July 21 for all other birds. (f) Northwest Arctic Region. (1) Season: April 2–June 14 and July 16– August 31 (hunting in general); waterfowl egg gathering April 2–June 14 only; seabird egg gathering May 20–July 12 only; hunting molting/non-nesting waterfowl July 1–July 15 only. E:\FR\FM\01FEP1.SGM 01FEP1 daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS 4628 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 22 / Thursday, February 1, 2018 / Proposed Rules (2) Closure: June 15–July 15, except for the taking of seabird eggs and molting/non-nesting waterfowl as provided in paragraph (f)(1) of this section. (g) North Slope Region. (1) Southern Unit (Southwestern North Slope regional boundary east to Peard Bay, everything west of the longitude line 158°30′ W and south of the latitude line 70°45′ N to the west bank of the Ikpikpuk River, and everything south of the latitude line 69°45′ N between the west bank of the Ikpikpuk River to the east bank of Sagavinirktok River): (i) Season: April 2–June 29 and July 30–August 31 for seabirds; April 2–June 19 and July 20–August 31 for all other birds. (ii) Closure: June 30–July 29 for seabirds; June 20–July 19 for all other birds. (iii) Special Black Brant Hunting Opening: From June 20–July 5. The open area consists of the coastline, from mean high water line outward to include open water, from Nokotlek Point east to longitude line 158°30′ W. This includes Peard Bay, Kugrua Bay, and Wainwright Inlet, but not the Kuk and Kugrua river drainages. (2) Northern Unit (At Peard Bay, everything east of the longitude line 158°30′ W and north of the latitude line 70°45′ N to west bank of the Ikpikpuk River, and everything north of the latitude line 69°45′ N between the west bank of the Ikpikpuk River to the east bank of Sagavinirktok River): (i) Season: April 2–June 6 and July 7– August 31 for king and common eiders; April 2–June 15 and July 16–August 31 for all other birds. (ii) Closure: June 7–July 6 for king and common eiders; June 16–July 15 for all other birds. (3) Eastern Unit (East of eastern bank of the Sagavanirktok River): (i) Season: April 2–June 19 and July 20–August 31. (ii) Closure: June 20–July 19. (4) All Units: Yellow-billed loons. Annually, up to 20 yellow-billed loons total for the region inadvertently entangled in subsistence fishing nets in the North Slope Region may be kept for subsistence use. (5) North Coastal Zone (Cape Thompson north to Point Hope and east along the Arctic Ocean coastline around Point Barrow to Ross Point, including Iko Bay, and 5 miles inland). (i) No person may at any time, by any means, or in any manner, possess or have in custody any migratory bird or part thereof, taken in violation of subparts C and D of this part. (ii) Upon request from a Service law enforcement officer, hunters taking, VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:25 Jan 31, 2018 Jkt 244001 attempting to take, or transporting migratory birds taken during the subsistence harvest season must present them to the officer for species identification. (h) Interior Region. (1) Season: April 2–June 14 and July 16–August 31; egg gathering May 1–June 14 only. (2) Closure: June 15–July 15. (i) Upper Copper River Region (Harvest Area: Game Management Units 11 and 13) (Eligible communities: Gulkana, Chitina, Tazlina, Copper Center, Gakona, Mentasta Lake, Chistochina and Cantwell). (1) Season: April 15–May 26 and June 27–August 31. (2) Closure: May 27–June 26. (3) The Copper River Basin communities listed above also documented traditional use harvesting birds in Game Management Unit 12, making them eligible to hunt in this unit using the seasons specified in paragraph (h) of this section. (j) Gulf of Alaska Region. (1) Prince William Sound Area West (Harvest area: Game Management Unit 6[D]), (Eligible Chugach communities: Chenega Bay, Tatitlek): (i) Season: April 2–May 31 and July 1–August 31. (ii) Closure: June 1–30. (2) Prince William Sound Area East (Harvest area: Game Management Units 6[B]and [C]—Barrier Islands between Strawberry Channel and Softtuk Bar), (Eligible Chugach communities: Cordova, Tatitlek, and Chenega Bay): (i) Season: April 2–April 30 (hunting); May 1–May 31 (gull egg gathering). (ii) Closure: May 1–August 31 (hunting); April 2–30 and June 1– August 31 (gull egg gathering). (iii) Species Open for Hunting: Greater white-fronted goose; snow goose; gadwall; Eurasian and American wigeon; blue-winged and green-winged teal; mallard; northern shoveler; northern pintail; canvasback; redhead; ring-necked duck; greater and lesser scaup; king and common eider; harlequin duck; surf, white-winged, and black scoter; long-tailed duck; bufflehead; common and Barrow’s goldeneye; hooded, common, and redbreasted merganser; and sandhill crane. Species open for egg gathering: Glaucous-winged, herring, and mew gulls. (iv) Use of Boats/All-Terrain Vehicles: No hunting from motorized vehicles or any form of watercraft. (v) Special Registration: All hunters or egg gatherers must possess an annual permit, which is available from the Cordova offices of the Native Village of Eyak and the U.S. Forest Service. (3) Kachemak Bay Area (Harvest area: Game Management Unit 15[C] South of PO 00000 Frm 00024 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 4702 a line connecting the tip of Homer Spit to the mouth of Fox River) (Eligible Chugach Communities: Port Graham, Nanwalek): (i) Season: April 2–May 31 and July 1–August 31. (ii) Closure: June 1–30. (k) Cook Inlet. (Harvest area: Portions of Game Management Unit 16[B] as specified below) (Eligible communities: Tyonek only): (1) Season: April 2–May 31—That portion of Game Management Unit 16(B) south of the Skwentna River and west of the Yentna River, and August 1–31— That portion of Game Management Unit 16(B) south of the Beluga River, Beluga Lake, and the Triumvirate Glacier. (2) Closure: June 1–July 31. (l) Southeast Alaska. (1) Community of Hoonah (Harvest area: National Forest lands in Icy Strait and Cross Sound, including Middle Pass Rock near the Inian Islands, Table Rock in Cross Sound, and other traditional locations on the coast of Yakobi Island. The land and waters of Glacier Bay National Park remain closed to all subsistence harvesting (50 CFR part 100.3(a)): (i) Season: Glaucous-winged gull egg gathering only: May 15–June 30. (ii) Closure: July 1–August 31. (2) Communities of Craig and Hydaburg (Harvest area: Small islands and adjacent shoreline of western Prince of Wales Island from Point Baker to Cape Chacon, but also including Coronation and Warren islands): (i) Season: Glaucous-winged gull egg gathering only: May 15–June 30. (ii) Closure: July 1–August 31. (3) Community of Yakutat (Harvest area: Icy Bay (Icy Cape to Point Riou), and coastal lands and islands bordering the Gulf of Alaska from Point Manby southeast to and including Dry Bay): (i) Season: Glaucous-winged gull egg gathering: May 15–June 30. (ii) Closure: July 1–August 31. ■ 4. Amend subpart D by adding § 92.32 to read as follows: § 92.32 Emergency regulations to protect Steller’s eiders. Upon finding that continuation of these subsistence regulations would pose an imminent threat to the conservation of threatened Steller’s eiders (Polysticta stelleri), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Alaska Regional Director, in consultation with the Comanagement Council, will immediately under § 92.21 take action as is necessary to prevent further take. Regulation changes implemented could range from a temporary closure of duck hunting in a small geographic area to large-scale regional or Statewide long-term closures of all subsistence migratory bird E:\FR\FM\01FEP1.SGM 01FEP1 Federal Register / Vol. 83, No. 22 / Thursday, February 1, 2018 / Proposed Rules hunting. These closures or temporary suspensions will remain in effect until the Regional Director, in consultation with the Co-management Council, determines that the potential for additional Steller’s eiders to be taken no longer exists. 4629 Dated: January 16, 2018. Jason Larrabee, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks Exercising the Authority of the Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks. [FR Doc. 2018–02001 Filed 1–31–18; 8:45 am] daltland on DSKBBV9HB2PROD with PROPOSALS BILLING CODE 4333–15–P VerDate Sep<11>2014 16:25 Jan 31, 2018 Jkt 244001 PO 00000 Frm 00025 Fmt 4702 Sfmt 9990 E:\FR\FM\01FEP1.SGM 01FEP1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 83, Number 22 (Thursday, February 1, 2018)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 4623-4629]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2018-02001]



[[Page 4623]]

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DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR

Fish and Wildlife Service

50 CFR Part 92

[Docket No. FWS-R7-MB-2017-0087; FXMB12610700000-189-FF07M01000]
RIN 1018-BC70


Migratory Bird Subsistence Harvest in Alaska; Harvest Regulations 
for Migratory Birds in Alaska During the 2018 Season

AGENCY: Fish and Wildlife Service, Interior.

ACTION: Proposed rule.

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service or we) is 
proposing migratory bird subsistence harvest regulations in Alaska for 
the 2018 season. These regulations allow for the continuation of 
customary and traditional subsistence uses of migratory birds in Alaska 
and prescribe regional information on when and where the harvesting of 
birds may occur. These regulations were developed under a co-management 
process involving the Service, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, 
and Alaska Native representatives. The rulemaking is necessary because 
the regulations governing the subsistence harvest of migratory birds in 
Alaska are subject to annual review. This rulemaking proposes region-
specific regulations that would go into effect on April 2, 2018.

DATES: We will accept comments received or postmarked on or before 
March 5, 2018. We must receive requests for public hearings, in 
writing, at the address shown in FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT by 
February 16, 2018.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by one of the following methods:
     Federal eRulemaking Portal: https://www.regulations.gov. 
Follow the instructions for submitting comments to Docket No. FWS-R7-
MB-2017-0087.
     U.S. mail or hand-delivery: Public Comments Processing, 
Attn: FWS-R7-MB-2017-0087; Division of Policy, Performance, and 
Management Programs; U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; 5275 Leesburg 
Place, MS: BPHC; Falls Church, VA 22041-3803.
    We will not accept email or faxes. We will post all comments on 
https://www.regulations.gov. This generally means that we will post any 
personal information you provide us (see the Public Comment Procedures 
section, below, for more detailed information).

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Donna Dewhurst, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, 1011 E. Tudor Road, Mail Stop 201, Anchorage, AK 99503; (907) 
786-3499.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Public Comment Procedures

    To ensure that any action resulting from this proposed rule will be 
as accurate and as effective as possible, we request that you send 
relevant information for our consideration. The comments that will be 
most useful and likely to influence our decisions are those that you 
support by quantitative information or studies and those that include 
citations to, and analyses of, the applicable laws and regulations. 
Please make your comments as specific as possible and explain the basis 
for them. In addition, please include sufficient information with your 
comments to allow us to authenticate any scientific or commercial data 
you include.
    You must submit your comments and materials concerning this 
proposed rule by one of the methods listed above in ADDRESSES. We will 
not accept comments sent by email or fax or to an address not listed in 
ADDRESSES. If you submit a comment via https://www.regulations.gov, your 
entire comment--including any personal identifying information, such as 
your address, telephone number, or email address--will be posted on the 
website. When you submit a comment, the system receives it immediately. 
However, the comment will not be publicly viewable until we post it, 
which might not occur until several days after submission.
    If you mail or hand-carry a hardcopy comment directly to us that 
includes personal information, you may request at the top of your 
document that we withhold this information from public review. However, 
we cannot guarantee that we will be able to do so. To ensure that the 
electronic docket for this rulemaking is complete and all comments we 
receive are publicly available, we will post all hardcopy comments on 
https://www.regulations.gov.
    In addition, comments and materials we receive, as well as 
supporting documentation used in preparing this proposed rule, will be 
available for public inspection in two ways:
    (1) You can view them on https://www.regulations.gov. Search for 
FWS-R7-MB-2017-0087, which is the docket number for this rulemaking.
    (2) You can make an appointment, during normal business hours, to 
view the comments and materials in person at the Division of Migratory 
Bird Management, MS: MB, 5275 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22041-
3803; (703) 358-1714.

Public Availability of Comments

    As stated above in more detail, before including your address, 
phone number, email address, or other personal identifying information 
in your comment, you should be aware that your entire comment--
including your personal identifying information--may be made publicly 
available at any time. While you can ask us in your comment to withhold 
your personal identifying information from public review, we cannot 
guarantee that we will be able to do so.

Length of Comment Period

    Implementation of the Service's 2013 supplemental environmental 
impact statement on the hunting of migratory birds has resulted in 
changes to the overall timing of the annual regulatory schedule for the 
establishment of migratory bird hunting regulations and the Alaska 
migratory bird subsistence harvest regulations. That is, moving the 
annual Service Regulations Committee meeting from July to October has 
greatly shortened our period to publish the proposed regulations and 
solicit comments. We are further bounded by a subsistence harvest start 
date of April 2, 2018, making a 60-day comment period problematic and 
increasing the risk of not having regulations established before the 
start of the subsistence season. Thus, we have established a 30-day 
comment period for this proposed rule (see DATES, above), and we will 
be conducting tribal consultations within Alaska simultaneously. We 
believe a 30-day comment period gives the public adequate time to 
provide meaningful comments. In addition, the proposed regulations in 
this document for the 2018 season are the same as the final regulations 
we published on April 4, 2017 (82 FR 16298), for the 2017 season.

Why is this rulemaking necessary?

    This rulemaking is necessary because, by law, the migratory bird 
harvest season is closed unless opened by the Secretary of the 
Interior, and the regulations governing subsistence harvest of 
migratory birds in Alaska are subject to public review and annual 
approval. This rule proposes regulations for the taking of migratory 
birds for subsistence uses in Alaska during the spring and summer of 
2018. This proposed rule also sets forth a list of migratory bird 
season openings and closures in Alaska by region.

[[Page 4624]]

How do I find the history of these regulations?

    Background information, including past events leading to this 
rulemaking, accomplishments since the Migratory Bird Treaties with 
Canada and Mexico were amended, and a history, were originally 
addressed in the Federal Register on August 16, 2002 (67 FR 53511) and 
most recently on April 4, 2017 (82 FR 16298).
    Recent Federal Register documents and all final rules setting forth 
the annual harvest regulations are available at https://www.fws.gov/alaska/ambcc/regulations.htm or by contacting the person listed under 
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

What is the process for issuing regulations for the subsistence harvest 
of migratory birds in Alaska?

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing migratory bird 
subsistence-harvest regulations in Alaska for the 2018 season. These 
regulations allow for the continuation of customary and traditional 
subsistence uses of migratory birds in Alaska and prescribe regional 
information on when and where the harvesting of birds may occur. These 
regulations were developed under a co-management process involving the 
Service, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, and Alaska Native 
representatives.
    The Alaska Migratory Bird Co-management Council (Co-management 
Council) held meetings on April 5-6, 2017, to develop recommendations 
for changes that would take effect during the 2018 harvest season. The 
Co-management Council recommended no changes for the 2018 regulations.

Who is eligible to hunt under these regulations?

    Eligibility to harvest under the regulations established in 2003 
was limited to permanent residents, regardless of race, in villages 
located within the Alaska Peninsula, Kodiak Archipelago, the Aleutian 
Islands, and in areas north and west of the Alaska Range (50 CFR 92.5). 
These geographical restrictions opened the initial migratory bird 
subsistence harvest to about 13 percent of Alaska residents. High-
populated, roaded areas such as Anchorage, the Matanuska-Susitna and 
Fairbanks North Star boroughs, the Kenai Peninsula roaded area, the 
Gulf of Alaska roaded area, and Southeast Alaska were excluded from 
eligible subsistence harvest areas.
    In response to petitions requesting inclusion in the harvest in 
2004, we added 13 additional communities consistent with the criteria 
set forth at 50 CFR 92.5(c). These communities were Gulkana, Gakona, 
Tazlina, Copper Center, Mentasta Lake, Chitina, Chistochina, Tatitlek, 
Chenega, Port Graham, Nanwalek, Tyonek, and Hoonah, with a combined 
population of 2,766. In 2005, we added three additional communities for 
glaucous-winged gull egg gathering only in response to petitions 
requesting inclusion. These southeastern communities were Craig, 
Hydaburg, and Yakutat, with a combined population of 2,459, according 
to the latest census information at that time.
    In 2007, we enacted the Alaska Department of Fish and Game's 
request to expand the Fairbanks North Star Borough excluded area to 
include the Central Interior area. This action excluded the following 
communities from participation in this harvest: Big Delta/Fort Greely, 
Healy, McKinley Park/Village, and Ferry, with a combined population of 
2,812.
    In 2012, we received a request from the Native Village of Eyak to 
include Cordova, Alaska, for a limited season that would legalize the 
traditional gathering of gull eggs and the hunting of waterfowl during 
spring. This request resulted in a new, limited harvest of spring 
waterfowl and gull eggs starting in 2014.

Amendments to Subpart C

    Under subpart C, General Regulations Governing Subsistence Harvest, 
we are amending Sec.  92.22, the list of birds open to subsistence 
harvest, by adding emperor goose (Chen canagica) and by amending 
cackling goose to allow egg gathering. These changes were originally 
made in the 2017 regulations (82 FR 16298; April 4, 2017), but were 
mistakenly set to expire August 31, 2017. We intended these changes to 
subpart C to be permanent; therefore, we are setting them forth again 
in this proposed rule with the intent to make them permanent when we 
publish a final rule for this action.

How would the service ensure that the subsistence migratory bird 
harvest complies with the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, and would not 
threaten the conservation of endangered and threatened species?

    We have monitored subsistence harvest for the past 25 years through 
the use of household surveys in the most heavily used subsistence 
harvest areas, such as the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta. In recent years, more 
intensive surveys combined with outreach efforts focused on species 
identification have been added to improve the accuracy of information 
gathered from regions still reporting some subsistence harvest of 
listed or candidate species.
    Based on our monitoring of the migratory bird species and 
populations taken for subsistence, we find that this regulation would 
provide for the preservation and maintenance of migratory bird stocks 
as required by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act (Act; 16 U.S.C. 703 et 
seq.). The Act's 16 U.S.C. 712(1) provision states that the Service, 
``is authorized to issue such regulations as may be necessary to assure 
that the taking of migratory birds and the collection of their eggs, by 
the indigenous inhabitants of the State of Alaska, shall be permitted 
for their own nutritional and other essential needs, as determined by 
the Secretary of the Interior, during seasons established so as to 
provide for the preservation and maintenance of stocks of migratory 
birds.'' Communication and coordination between the Service, the Co-
management Council, and the Pacific Flyway Council have allowed us to 
set harvest regulations to ensure the long-term viability of the 
migratory bird stocks. In addition, Alaska migratory bird subsistence 
harvest rates have continued to decline since the inception of the 
subsistence-harvest program, reducing concerns about the program's 
consistency with the preservation and maintenance of stocks of 
migratory birds.
    As for the ensuring the conservation of Endangered Species Act 
(ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), listed species, spectacled eiders 
(Somateria fischeri) and the Alaska-breeding population of Steller's 
eiders (Polysticta stelleri) are listed as threatened species. Their 
migration and breeding distribution overlap with areas where the spring 
and summer subsistence migratory bird hunt is open in Alaska. Both 
species are closed to hunting, although harvest surveys and Service 
documentation indicate both species are taken in several regions of 
Alaska. We have determined that this proposed rule would comply with 
the ESA (see Endangered Species Act Consideration discussion, below).
    The Service has dual objectives and responsibilities for 
authorizing a subsistence harvest while protecting migratory birds and 
threatened species. Although these objectives continue to be 
challenging, they are not irreconcilable, provided that: (1) 
Regulations continue to protect threatened species, (2) measures to 
address documented threats are implemented, and (3) the subsistence 
community and other conservation partners commit to working together. 
With these dual

[[Page 4625]]

objectives in mind, the Service, working with North Slope partners, 
developed measures in 2009 to further reduce the potential for shooting 
mortality or injury of closed species. These conservation measures 
included: (1) Increased waterfowl hunter outreach and community 
awareness through partnering with the North Slope Migratory Bird Task 
Force; and (2) continued enforcement of the migratory bird regulations 
that are protective of listed eiders.
    This proposed rule continues to focus on the North Slope from 
Utqiagvik (formerly known as Barrow) to Point Hope because Steller's 
eiders from the listed Alaska breeding population are known to breed 
and migrate there, and harvest survey data and direct observations 
indicate take during subsistence harvest has occurred there. These 
regulations are designed to address several ongoing eider-management 
needs by clarifying for subsistence users that (1) Service law 
enforcement personnel have authority to verify species of birds 
possessed by hunters, and (2) it is illegal to possess any species of 
bird closed to harvest. This proposed rule also describes how the 
Service's existing authority of emergency closure would be implemented, 
if necessary, to protect Steller's eiders. We are always willing to 
discuss regulations with our partners on the North Slope to ensure 
protection of closed species while providing subsistence hunters an 
opportunity to maintain the culture and traditional migratory bird 
harvest of the community. These regulations pertaining to bag checks 
and possession of illegal birds are deemed necessary to monitor take of 
closed eider species during the subsistence hunt.
    In collaboration with North Slope partners, a number of 
conservation efforts have been implemented to raise awareness and 
educate hunters in and around Utqiagvik on Steller's eider conservation 
via the local bird outreach festival, meetings, radio shows, signs, 
school visits, and one-on-one contacts. Limited intermittent monitoring 
on the North Slope, focused primarily at Utqiagvik, found no evidence 
that listed eiders were shot in 2009 through 2012; one Steller's eider 
and one spectacled eider were found shot during the summer of 2013; one 
Steller's eider was found shot in 2014; and no listed eiders were found 
shot in 2015 through 2017. Elsewhere in Alaska, one spectacled eider 
that appeared to have been shot was found dead on the Yukon-Kuskokwim 
Delta in 2015. The Service acknowledges progress made with the other 
eider conservation measures, including partnering with the North Slope 
Migratory Bird Task Force, for increased waterfowl-hunter awareness, 
continued enforcement of the regulations, and in-season verification of 
the harvest. To reduce the threat of shooting mortality of threatened 
eiders, we continue to work with North Slope partners to conduct 
education and outreach. In addition, the emergency-closure authority 
provides another level of assurance if an unexpected number of 
Steller's eiders are killed by shooting (50 CFR 92.21 and 50 CFR 
92.32).
    The longstanding general emergency-closure provision at 50 CFR 
92.21 specifies that the harvest may be closed or temporarily suspended 
upon finding that a continuation of the regulation allowing the harvest 
would pose an imminent threat to the conservation of any migratory bird 
population. With regard to Steller's eiders, the regulations at 50 CFR 
92.32, carried over from the past 7 years, clarify that we would take 
action under 50 CFR 92.21 as is necessary to prevent further take of 
Steller's eiders, and that action could include temporary or long-term 
closures of the harvest in all or a portion of the geographic area open 
to harvest. When and if mortality of threatened eiders is documented, 
we would evaluate each mortality event by criteria such as cause, 
quantity, sex, age, location, and date. We would consult with the Co-
management Council when we are considering an emergency closure. If we 
determine that an emergency closure is necessary, we would design it to 
minimize its impact on the subsistence harvest.

Endangered Species Act Consideration

    Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (16 U.S.C. 1536) requires 
the Secretary of the Interior to ``review other programs administered 
by him (or her) and utilize such programs in furtherance of the 
purposes of the Act'' and to ``insure that any action authorized, 
funded, or carried out * * * is not likely to jeopardize the continued 
existence of any endangered species or threatened species or result in 
the destruction or adverse modification of [critical] habitat. * * *'' 
Prior to issuance of annual spring and summer subsistence regulations, 
we would consult under section 7 of the Endangered Species Act of 1973, 
as amended (ESA; 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.), to ensure that the 2018 
subsistence harvest is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence 
of any species designated as endangered or threatened, or modify or 
destroy its critical habitats, and that the regulations are consistent 
with conservation programs for those species.
    Consultation under section 7 of the ESA for the annual subsistence 
take regulations may cause us to change these regulations. Our 
biological opinion resulting from the section 7 consultation is a 
public document available from the person listed under FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT.

Statutory Authority

    We derive our authority to issue these regulations from the 
Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, at 16 U.S.C. 712(1), which 
authorizes the Secretary of the Interior, in accordance with the 
treaties with Canada, Mexico, Japan, and Russia, to ``issue such 
regulations as may be necessary to assure that the taking of migratory 
birds and the collection of their eggs, by the indigenous inhabitants 
of the State of Alaska, shall be permitted for their own nutritional 
and other essential needs, as determined by the Secretary of the 
Interior, during seasons established so as to provide for the 
preservation and maintenance of stocks of migratory birds.''

Required Determinations

Executive Order 13771--Reducing Regulation and Controlling Regulatory 
Costs

    This proposed rule is not subject to the requirements of Executive 
Order 13771 (82 FR 9339, February 3, 2017) because this proposed rule 
would establish annual harvest limits related to routine hunting or 
fishing.

Regulatory Planning and Review (Executive Orders 12866 and 13563)

    Executive Order 12866 provides that the Office of Information and 
Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) will review all significant rules. OIRA has 
determined that this proposed rule is not significant.
    Executive Order 13563 reaffirms the principles of E.O. 12866 while 
calling for improvements in the nation's regulatory system to promote 
predictability, to reduce uncertainty, and to use the best, most 
innovative, and least burdensome tools for achieving regulatory ends. 
The executive order directs agencies to consider regulatory approaches 
that reduce burdens and maintain flexibility and freedom of choice for 
the public where these approaches are relevant, feasible, and 
consistent with regulatory objectives. E.O. 13563 emphasizes further 
that regulations must be based on the best available science and that 
the rulemaking process must allow for public participation and an open 
exchange of ideas. We have developed

[[Page 4626]]

this proposed rule in a manner consistent with these requirements.

Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The Department of the Interior certifies that, if adopted, this 
proposed rule would not have a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities as defined under the Regulatory 
Flexibility Act (5 U.S.C. 601 et seq.). A regulatory flexibility 
analysis is not required. Accordingly, a Small Entity Compliance Guide 
is not required. This proposed rule would legalize a pre-existing 
subsistence activity, and the resources harvested would be consumed.

Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act

    This proposed rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804(2), the 
Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act. This proposed rule:
    (a) Would not have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million 
or more. It legalizes and regulates a traditional subsistence activity. 
It would not result in a substantial increase in subsistence harvest or 
a significant change in harvesting patterns. The commodities that would 
be regulated under this rule are migratory birds. This proposed rule 
deals with legalizing the subsistence harvest of migratory birds and, 
as such, does not involve commodities traded in the marketplace. A 
small economic benefit from this proposed rule derives from the sale of 
equipment and ammunition to carry out subsistence hunting. Most, if not 
all, businesses that sell hunting equipment in rural Alaska qualify as 
small businesses. We have no reason to believe that this proposed rule 
would lead to a disproportionate distribution of benefits.
    (b) Would not cause a major increase in costs or prices for 
consumers; individual industries; Federal, State, or local government 
agencies; or geographic regions. This proposed rule does not deal with 
traded commodities and, therefore, would not have an impact on prices 
for consumers.
    (c) Would not have significant adverse effects on competition, 
employment, investment, productivity, innovation, or the ability of 
U.S.-based enterprises to compete with foreign-based enterprises. This 
proposed rule deals with the harvesting of wildlife for personal 
consumption. It would not regulate the marketplace in any way to 
generate substantial effects on the economy or the ability of 
businesses to compete.

Unfunded Mandates Reform Act

    We have determined and certified under the Unfunded Mandates Reform 
Act (2 U.S.C. 1501 et seq.) that this proposed rule would not impose a 
cost of $100 million or more in any given year on local, State, or 
tribal governments or private entities. The proposed rule would not 
have a significant or unique effect on State, local, or tribal 
governments or the private sector. A statement containing the 
information required by the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act is not 
required. Participation on regional management bodies and the Co-
management Council requires travel expenses for some Alaska Native 
organizations and local governments. In addition, they assume some 
expenses related to coordinating involvement of village councils in the 
regulatory process. Total coordination and travel expenses for all 
Alaska Native organizations are estimated to be less than $300,000 per 
year. In a notice of decision (65 FR 16405; March 28, 2000), we 
identified 7 to 12 partner organizations (Alaska Native nonprofits and 
local governments) to administer the regional programs. The Alaska 
Department of Fish and Game also incurs expenses for travel to Co-
management Council and regional management body meetings. In addition, 
the State of Alaska would be required to provide technical staff 
support to each of the regional management bodies and to the Co-
management Council. Expenses for the State's involvement may exceed 
$100,000 per year, but should not exceed $150,000 per year. When 
funding permits, we make annual grant agreements available to the 
partner organizations and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to 
help offset their expenses.

Takings (Executive Order 12630)

    Under the criteria in Executive Order 12630, this proposed rule 
would not have significant takings implications. This proposed rule is 
not specific to particular land ownership, but applies to the 
harvesting of migratory bird resources throughout Alaska. A takings 
implication assessment is not required.

Federalism (Executive Order 13132)

    Under the criteria in Executive Order 13132, this proposed rule 
does not have sufficient federalism implications to warrant the 
preparation of a federalism summary impact statement. We discuss 
effects of this proposed rule on the State of Alaska in the Unfunded 
Mandates Reform Act section, above. We worked with the State of Alaska 
to develop these proposed regulations. Therefore, a federalism summary 
impact statement is not required.

Civil Justice Reform (Executive Order 12988)

    The Department, in promulgating this proposed rule, has determined 
that it would not unduly burden the judicial system and that it meets 
the requirements of sections 3(a) and 3(b)(2) of Executive Order 12988.

Government-to-Government Relations With Native American Tribal 
Governments

    Consistent with Executive Order 13175 (65 FR 67249; November 6, 
2000), ``Consultation and Coordination with Indian Tribal 
Governments,'' and Department of Interior policy on Consultation with 
Indian Tribes (December 1, 2011), we will send letters via electronic 
mail to all 229 Alaska Federally recognized Indian tribes. Consistent 
with Congressional direction (Pub. L. 108-199, div. H, Sec. 161, Jan. 
23, 2004, 118 Stat. 452, as amended by Pub. L. 108-447, div. H, title 
V, Sec. 518, Dec. 8, 2004, 118 Stat. 3267), we also send letters to 
approximately 200 Alaska Native corporations and other tribal entities 
in Alaska soliciting their input as to whether or not they would like 
the Service to consult with them on the 2018 migratory bird subsistence 
harvest regulations.
    We implemented the amended treaty with Canada with a focus on local 
involvement. The treaty calls for the creation of management bodies to 
ensure an effective and meaningful role for Alaska's indigenous 
inhabitants in the conservation of migratory birds. According to the 
Letter of Submittal, management bodies are to include Alaska Native, 
Federal, and State of Alaska representatives as equals. They develop 
recommendations for, among other things: Seasons and bag limits, 
methods and means of take, law enforcement policies, population and 
harvest monitoring, education programs, research and use of traditional 
knowledge, and habitat protection. The management bodies involve 
village councils to the maximum extent possible in all aspects of 
management. To ensure maximum input at the village level, we required 
each of the 11 participating regions to create regional management 
bodies consisting of at least one representative from the participating 
villages. The regional management bodies meet twice annually to review 
and/or submit proposals to the Statewide body.

[[Page 4627]]

Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA)

    This proposed rule does not contain any new collections of 
information that require Office of Management and Budget (OMB) approval 
under the PRA (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.). We may not conduct or sponsor 
and you are not required to respond to a collection of information 
unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number. OMB has 
reviewed and approved our collection of information associated with:
     Voluntary annual household surveys that we use to 
determine levels of subsistence take (OMB Control Number 1018-0124, 
expires October 31, 2019).
     Permits associated with subsistence hunting (OMB Control 
Number 1018-0075, expires June 30, 2019).
     Emperor Goose Spring Subsistence Harvest Survey (to 
include number of geese harvested, age, sex, and mass of birds 
harvested associated) (OMB Control Number 1090-0011, expires August 31, 
2018).

National Environmental Policy Act Consideration (42 U.S.C. 4321 et 
seq.)

    The annual regulations and options are considered in an October 
2017 environmental assessment, ``Managing Migratory Bird Subsistence 
Hunting in Alaska: Hunting Regulations for the 2018 Spring/Summer 
Harvest.'' Copies are available from the person listed under FOR 
FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT or at https://www.regulations.gov.

Energy Supply, Distribution, or Use (Executive Order 13211)

    Executive Order 13211 requires agencies to prepare Statements of 
Energy Effects when undertaking certain actions. This is not a 
significant regulatory action under this Executive Order; it allows 
only for traditional subsistence harvest and improves conservation of 
migratory birds by allowing effective regulation of this harvest. 
Further, this proposed rule is not expected to significantly affect 
energy supplies, distribution, or use. Therefore, this action is not a 
significant energy action under Executive Order 13211, and a Statement 
of Energy Effects is not required.

List of Subjects in 50 CFR Part 92

    Hunting, Treaties, Wildlife.

Proposed Regulation Promulgation

    For the reasons set out in the preamble, we propose to amend title 
50, chapter I, subchapter G, of the Code of Federal Regulations as 
follows:

PART 92--MIGRATORY BIRD SUBSISTENCE HARVEST IN ALASKA

0
1. The authority citation for part 92 continues to read as follows:

    Authority: 16 U.S.C. 703-712.

Subpart C--General Regulations Governing Subsistence Harvest

0
2. Amend Sec.  92.22 by:
0
a. Redesignating paragraph (a)(3) as paragraph (a)(4);
0
b. Adding a new paragraph (a)(3); and
0
c. Revising paragraph (a)(6).
    The addition and revision read as follows:


Sec.  92.22  Subsistence migratory bird species.

* * * * *
    (a) * * *
    (3) Emperor goose (Chen canagica).
* * * * *
    (6) Canada goose, subspecies cackling goose.
* * * * *

Subpart D--Annual Regulations Governing Subsistence Harvest

0
3. Amend subpart D by adding Sec.  92.31 to read as follows:


Sec.  92.31  Region-specific regulations.

    The 2018 season dates for the eligible subsistence-harvest areas 
are as follows:
    (a) Aleutian/Pribilof Islands Region. (1) Northern Unit (Pribilof 
Islands):
    (i) Season: April 2-June 30.
    (ii) Closure: July 1-August 31.
    (2) Central Unit (Aleutian Region's eastern boundary on the Alaska 
Peninsula westward to and including Unalaska Island):
    (i) Season: April 2-June 15 and July 16-August 31.
    (ii) Closure: June 16-July 15.
    (iii) Special Black Brant Season Closure: August 16-August 31, only 
in Izembek and Moffet lagoons.
    (iv) Special Tundra Swan Closure: All hunting and egg gathering 
closed in Game Management Units 9(D) and 10.
    (3) Western Unit (Umnak Island west to and including Attu Island):
    (i) Season: April 2-July 15 and August 16-August 31.
    (ii) Closure: July 16-August 15.
    (b) Yukon/Kuskokwim Delta Region. (1) Season: April 2-August 31.
    (2) Closure: 30-day closure dates to be announced by the Service's 
Alaska Regional Director or his designee, after consultation with field 
biologists and the Association of Village Council President's Waterfowl 
Conservation Committee. This 30-day period will occur between June 1 
and August 15 of each year. A press release announcing the actual 
closure dates will be forwarded to regional newspapers and radio and 
television stations.
    (3) Special Black Brant and Cackling Canada Goose Season Hunting 
Closure: From the period when egg laying begins until young birds are 
fledged. Closure dates to be announced by the Service's Alaska Regional 
Director or his designee, after consultation with field biologists and 
the Association of Village Council President's Waterfowl Conservation 
Committee. A press release announcing the actual closure dates will be 
forwarded to regional newspapers and radio and television stations.
    (c) Bristol Bay Region. (1) Season: April 2-June 14 and July 16-
August 31 (general season); April 2-July 15 for seabird egg gathering 
only.
    (2) Closure: June 15-July 15 (general season); July 16-August 31 
(seabird egg gathering).
    (d) Bering Strait/Norton Sound Region. (1) Stebbins/St. Michael 
Area (Point Romanof to Canal Point):
    (i) Season: April 15-June 14 and July 16-August 31.
    (ii) Closure: June 15-July 15.
    (2) Remainder of the region:
    (i) Season: April 2-June 14 and July 16-August 31 for waterfowl; 
April 2-July 19 and August 21-August 31 for all other birds.
    (ii) Closure: June 15-July 15 for waterfowl; July 20-August 20 for 
all other birds.
    (e) Kodiak Archipelago Region, except for the Kodiak Island roaded 
area, which is closed to the harvesting of migratory birds and their 
eggs. The closed area consists of all lands and waters (including 
exposed tidelands) east of a line extending from Crag Point in the 
north to the west end of Saltery Cove in the south and all lands and 
water south of a line extending from Termination Point along the north 
side of Cascade Lake extending to Anton Larsen Bay. Marine waters 
adjacent to the closed area are closed to harvest within 500 feet from 
the water's edge. The offshore islands are open to harvest.
    (1) Season: April 2-June 30 and July 31-August 31 for seabirds; 
April 2-June 20 and July 22-August 31 for all other birds.
    (2) Closure: July 1-July 30 for seabirds; June 21-July 21 for all 
other birds.
    (f) Northwest Arctic Region. (1) Season: April 2-June 14 and July 
16-August 31 (hunting in general); waterfowl egg gathering April 2-June 
14 only; seabird egg gathering May 20-July 12 only; hunting molting/
non-nesting waterfowl July 1-July 15 only.

[[Page 4628]]

    (2) Closure: June 15-July 15, except for the taking of seabird eggs 
and molting/non-nesting waterfowl as provided in paragraph (f)(1) of 
this section.
    (g) North Slope Region. (1) Southern Unit (Southwestern North Slope 
regional boundary east to Peard Bay, everything west of the longitude 
line 158[deg]30' W and south of the latitude line 70[deg]45' N to the 
west bank of the Ikpikpuk River, and everything south of the latitude 
line 69[deg]45' N between the west bank of the Ikpikpuk River to the 
east bank of Sagavinirktok River):
    (i) Season: April 2-June 29 and July 30-August 31 for seabirds; 
April 2-June 19 and July 20-August 31 for all other birds.
    (ii) Closure: June 30-July 29 for seabirds; June 20-July 19 for all 
other birds.
    (iii) Special Black Brant Hunting Opening: From June 20-July 5. The 
open area consists of the coastline, from mean high water line outward 
to include open water, from Nokotlek Point east to longitude line 
158[deg]30' W. This includes Peard Bay, Kugrua Bay, and Wainwright 
Inlet, but not the Kuk and Kugrua river drainages.
    (2) Northern Unit (At Peard Bay, everything east of the longitude 
line 158[deg]30' W and north of the latitude line 70[deg]45' N to west 
bank of the Ikpikpuk River, and everything north of the latitude line 
69[deg]45' N between the west bank of the Ikpikpuk River to the east 
bank of Sagavinirktok River):
    (i) Season: April 2-June 6 and July 7-August 31 for king and common 
eiders; April 2-June 15 and July 16-August 31 for all other birds.
    (ii) Closure: June 7-July 6 for king and common eiders; June 16-
July 15 for all other birds.
    (3) Eastern Unit (East of eastern bank of the Sagavanirktok River):
    (i) Season: April 2-June 19 and July 20-August 31.
    (ii) Closure: June 20-July 19.
    (4) All Units: Yellow-billed loons. Annually, up to 20 yellow-
billed loons total for the region inadvertently entangled in 
subsistence fishing nets in the North Slope Region may be kept for 
subsistence use.
    (5) North Coastal Zone (Cape Thompson north to Point Hope and east 
along the Arctic Ocean coastline around Point Barrow to Ross Point, 
including Iko Bay, and 5 miles inland).
    (i) No person may at any time, by any means, or in any manner, 
possess or have in custody any migratory bird or part thereof, taken in 
violation of subparts C and D of this part.
    (ii) Upon request from a Service law enforcement officer, hunters 
taking, attempting to take, or transporting migratory birds taken 
during the subsistence harvest season must present them to the officer 
for species identification.
    (h) Interior Region. (1) Season: April 2-June 14 and July 16-August 
31; egg gathering May 1-June 14 only.
    (2) Closure: June 15-July 15.
    (i) Upper Copper River Region (Harvest Area: Game Management Units 
11 and 13) (Eligible communities: Gulkana, Chitina, Tazlina, Copper 
Center, Gakona, Mentasta Lake, Chistochina and Cantwell).
    (1) Season: April 15-May 26 and June 27-August 31.
    (2) Closure: May 27-June 26.
    (3) The Copper River Basin communities listed above also documented 
traditional use harvesting birds in Game Management Unit 12, making 
them eligible to hunt in this unit using the seasons specified in 
paragraph (h) of this section.
    (j) Gulf of Alaska Region. (1) Prince William Sound Area West 
(Harvest area: Game Management Unit 6[D]), (Eligible Chugach 
communities: Chenega Bay, Tatitlek):
    (i) Season: April 2-May 31 and July 1-August 31.
    (ii) Closure: June 1-30.
    (2) Prince William Sound Area East (Harvest area: Game Management 
Units 6[B]and [C]--Barrier Islands between Strawberry Channel and 
Softtuk Bar), (Eligible Chugach communities: Cordova, Tatitlek, and 
Chenega Bay):
    (i) Season: April 2-April 30 (hunting); May 1-May 31 (gull egg 
gathering).
    (ii) Closure: May 1-August 31 (hunting); April 2-30 and June 1-
August 31 (gull egg gathering).
    (iii) Species Open for Hunting: Greater white-fronted goose; snow 
goose; gadwall; Eurasian and American wigeon; blue-winged and green-
winged teal; mallard; northern shoveler; northern pintail; canvasback; 
redhead; ring-necked duck; greater and lesser scaup; king and common 
eider; harlequin duck; surf, white-winged, and black scoter; long-
tailed duck; bufflehead; common and Barrow's goldeneye; hooded, common, 
and red-breasted merganser; and sandhill crane. Species open for egg 
gathering: Glaucous-winged, herring, and mew gulls.
    (iv) Use of Boats/All-Terrain Vehicles: No hunting from motorized 
vehicles or any form of watercraft.
    (v) Special Registration: All hunters or egg gatherers must possess 
an annual permit, which is available from the Cordova offices of the 
Native Village of Eyak and the U.S. Forest Service.
    (3) Kachemak Bay Area (Harvest area: Game Management Unit 15[C] 
South of a line connecting the tip of Homer Spit to the mouth of Fox 
River) (Eligible Chugach Communities: Port Graham, Nanwalek):
    (i) Season: April 2-May 31 and July 1-August 31.
    (ii) Closure: June 1-30.
    (k) Cook Inlet. (Harvest area: Portions of Game Management Unit 
16[B] as specified below) (Eligible communities: Tyonek only):
    (1) Season: April 2-May 31--That portion of Game Management Unit 
16(B) south of the Skwentna River and west of the Yentna River, and 
August 1-31--That portion of Game Management Unit 16(B) south of the 
Beluga River, Beluga Lake, and the Triumvirate Glacier.
    (2) Closure: June 1-July 31.
    (l) Southeast Alaska. (1) Community of Hoonah (Harvest area: 
National Forest lands in Icy Strait and Cross Sound, including Middle 
Pass Rock near the Inian Islands, Table Rock in Cross Sound, and other 
traditional locations on the coast of Yakobi Island. The land and 
waters of Glacier Bay National Park remain closed to all subsistence 
harvesting (50 CFR part 100.3(a)):
    (i) Season: Glaucous-winged gull egg gathering only: May 15-June 
30.
    (ii) Closure: July 1-August 31.
    (2) Communities of Craig and Hydaburg (Harvest area: Small islands 
and adjacent shoreline of western Prince of Wales Island from Point 
Baker to Cape Chacon, but also including Coronation and Warren 
islands):
    (i) Season: Glaucous-winged gull egg gathering only: May 15-June 
30.
    (ii) Closure: July 1-August 31.
    (3) Community of Yakutat (Harvest area: Icy Bay (Icy Cape to Point 
Riou), and coastal lands and islands bordering the Gulf of Alaska from 
Point Manby southeast to and including Dry Bay):
    (i) Season: Glaucous-winged gull egg gathering: May 15-June 30.
    (ii) Closure: July 1-August 31.
0
4. Amend subpart D by adding Sec.  92.32 to read as follows:


Sec.  92.32  Emergency regulations to protect Steller's eiders.

    Upon finding that continuation of these subsistence regulations 
would pose an imminent threat to the conservation of threatened 
Steller's eiders (Polysticta stelleri), the U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service Alaska Regional Director, in consultation with the Co-
management Council, will immediately under Sec.  92.21 take action as 
is necessary to prevent further take. Regulation changes implemented 
could range from a temporary closure of duck hunting in a small 
geographic area to large-scale regional or Statewide long-term closures 
of all subsistence migratory bird

[[Page 4629]]

hunting. These closures or temporary suspensions will remain in effect 
until the Regional Director, in consultation with the Co-management 
Council, determines that the potential for additional Steller's eiders 
to be taken no longer exists.

    Dated: January 16, 2018.
Jason Larrabee,
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Fish and Wildlife and Parks 
Exercising the Authority of the Assistant Secretary for Fish and 
Wildlife and Parks.
[FR Doc. 2018-02001 Filed 1-31-18; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4333-15-P