Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to the Chevron Richmond Refinery Long Wharf Maintenance and Efficiency Project in San Francisco Bay, California, 17788-17804 [2019-08415]

Download as PDF 17788 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 81 / Friday, April 26, 2019 / Notices of the Companion Manual for NOAA Administrative Order 216–6A, which do not individually or cumulatively have the potential for significant impacts on the quality of the human environment and for which we have not identified any extraordinary circumstances that would preclude this categorical exclusion. Accordingly, NMFS has determined that the issuance of the Renewal IHA qualifies to be categorically excluded from further NEPA review. IHA Renewal NMFS has issued an IHA Renewal that includes the previously described mitigation, monitoring, and reporting requirements to PISCO for the harassment of small numbers of the three marine mammal species incidental to conducting rocky intertidal monitoring surveys off the coasts of Oregon and California for a period of one year. Dated: April 22, 2019. Donna S. Wieting, Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2019–08392 Filed 4–25–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration RIN 0648–XG876 Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to the Chevron Richmond Refinery Long Wharf Maintenance and Efficiency Project in San Francisco Bay, California National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Commerce. ACTION: Notice; proposed incidental harassment authorization; request for comments on proposed authorization and possible renewal. AGENCY: NMFS has received a request from Chevron for authorization to take marine mammals incidental to pile driving and removal associated with the Long Wharf Maintenance and Efficiency Project (LWMEP) in San Francisco Bay, California. Pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), NMFS is requesting comments on its proposal to issue an incidental harassment authorization (IHA) to incidentally take marine mammals during the specified activities. NMFS is also requesting comments on a possible one-year amozie on DSK9F9SC42PROD with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:28 Apr 25, 2019 Jkt 247001 renewal that could be issued under certain circumstances and if all requirements are met, as described in Request for Public Comments at the end of this notice. NMFS will consider public comments prior to making any final decision on the issuance of the requested MMPA authorizations and agency responses will be summarized in the final notice of our decision. DATES: Comments and information must be received no later than May 28, 2019. ADDRESSES: Comments should be addressed to Jolie Harrison, Chief, Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. Physical comments should be sent to 1315 EastWest Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910 and electronic comments should be sent to ITP.Pauline@noaa.gov. Instructions: NMFS is not responsible for comments sent by any other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the end of the comment period. Comments received electronically, including all attachments, must not exceed a 25megabyte file size. Attachments to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word or Excel or Adobe PDF file formats only. All comments received are a part of the public record and will generally be posted online at https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/permit/ incidental-take-authorizations-undermarine-mammal-protection-act without change. All personal identifying information (e.g., name, address) voluntarily submitted by the commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit confidential business information or otherwise sensitive or protected information. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rob Pauline, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, (301) 427–8401. Electronic copies of the application and supporting documents, as well as a list of the references cited in this document, may be obtained online at: https:// www.fisheries.noaa.gov/permit/ incidental-take-authorizations-undermarine-mammal-protection-act. In case of problems accessing these documents, please call the contact listed above. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Background The MMPA prohibits the ‘‘take’’ of marine mammals, with certain exceptions. Sections 101(a)(5)(A) and (D) of the MMPA (16 U.S.C. 1361 et seq.) direct the Secretary of Commerce (as delegated to NMFS) to allow, upon request, the incidental, but not intentional, taking of small numbers of marine mammals by U.S. citizens who PO 00000 Frm 00017 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 engage in a specified activity (other than commercial fishing) within a specified geographical region if certain findings are made and either regulations are issued or, if the taking is limited to harassment, a notice of a proposed incidental take authorization may be provided to the public for review. Authorization for incidental takings shall be granted if NMFS finds that the taking will have a negligible impact on the species or stock(s) and will not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of the species or stock(s) for taking for subsistence uses (where relevant). Further, NMFS must prescribe the permissible methods of taking and other ‘‘means of effecting the least practicable adverse impact’’ on the affected species or stocks and their habitat, paying particular attention to rookeries, mating grounds, and areas of similar significance, and on the availability of such species or stocks for taking for certain subsistence uses (referred to in shorthand as ‘‘mitigation’’); and requirements pertaining to the mitigation, monitoring and reporting of such takings are set forth. National Environmental Policy Act To comply with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA; 42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and NOAA Administrative Order (NAO) 216–6A, NMFS must review our proposed action (i.e., the issuance of an incidental harassment authorization) with respect to potential impacts on the human environment. This action is consistent with categories of activities identified in Categorical Exclusion B4 (incidental harassment authorizations with no anticipated serious injury or mortality) of the Companion Manual for NOAA Administrative Order 216–6A, which do not individually or cumulatively have the potential for significant impacts on the quality of the human environment and for which we have not identified any extraordinary circumstances that would preclude this categorical exclusion. Accordingly, NMFS has preliminarily determined that the issuance of the proposed IHA qualifies to be categorically excluded from further NEPA review. We will review all comments submitted in response to this notice prior to concluding our NEPA process or making a final decision on the IHA request. Summary of Request On January 17, 2019, NMFS received a request from Chevron for an IHA to take marine mammals incidental to pile E:\FR\FM\26APN1.SGM 26APN1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 81 / Friday, April 26, 2019 / Notices amozie on DSK9F9SC42PROD with NOTICES driving and pile removal associated with the LWMEP in San Francisco Bay, California. The application was deemed adequate and complete on April 8, 2019. Chevron’s request is for take of a small number of seven species of marine mammals, by Level B harassment and Level A harassment. Neither Chevron nor NMFS expects serious injury or mortality to result from this activity and, therefore, an IHA is appropriate. NMFS previously issued an IHA to Chevron for similar work (82 FR 27240; June 17, 2017). However, the construction schedule and scope was revised and no work was conducted under that IHA. NMFS issued a second IHA on May 31, 2018 to Chevron for work not conducted in 2017 (83 FR 27578; June 13, 2018). This newly proposed IHA would cover one year of this larger project for which Chevron obtained the prior IHAs, and Chevron also intends to request take authorizations for subsequent facets of the project. The larger multi-year project involves various construction activities that would allow Chevron to comply with Marine Oil Terminal Engineering and Maintenance Standards (MOTEMS) and to improve safety and efficiency at the Long Wharf. Chevron complied with VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:28 Apr 25, 2019 Jkt 247001 all the requirements (e.g., mitigation, monitoring, and reporting) of the previous IHA and information regarding their monitoring results may be found in the Estimated Take section. Because of the similarity of the work and marine mammal impacts to that covered in previous IHAs, we have often cited back to previous documents for more detailed descriptions. Description of Proposed Activity Overview Chevron’s Richmond Refinery Long Wharf (Long Wharf) located in San Francisco Bay, is the largest marine oil terminal in California. The existing configuration of these systems have limitations to accepting more modern, fuel efficient vessels with shorter parallel mid-body hulls and in some cases do not meet current MOTEMS requirements. The purpose of the proposed LWMEP is to comply with current MOTEMS requirements and to improve safety and efficiency at the Long Wharf. Impact and vibratory pile driving and removal will be employed during the proposed construction project. These actions could produce underwater sound at levels that could result in the PO 00000 Frm 00018 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 17789 injury or behavioral harassment of marine mammal species. The proposed IHA would be effective from June 1, 2019 through May 31, 2020. Dates and Duration Pile driving activities would be timed to occur within the standard NMFS work windows for Endangered Species Act (ESA)-listed fish species (June 1 through November 30) over multiple years. An estimated 67 days of pile driving activity within the designated work window are planned for 2019. Additional work in the future will require subsequent IHAs. The proposed IHA would be effective from June 1, 2019 through May 31, 2020. Specific Geographic Region The Long Wharf is located in San Francisco Bay (the Bay) just south of the eastern terminus of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge (RSRB) in Contra Costa County. The wharf is located in the northern portion of the central bay, which is generally defined as the area between the RSRB, Golden Gate Bridge, and San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge (SFOBB). BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\26APN1.SGM 26APN1 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 81 / Friday, April 26, 2019 / Notices Figure 1. Long Wharf Maintenance and Efficiency Project (LWMEP) Location. BILLING CODE 3510–22–C VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:28 Apr 25, 2019 Detailed Description of Specific Activity The proposed project would involve modifications at Berths 1, 2, 3, and 4 as shown in Figure 1. NMFS refers the Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00019 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 reader to the documents related to the previously issued 2018 IHA for more detailed description of the project activities, which include vibratory E:\FR\FM\26APN1.SGM 26APN1 EN26AP19.000</GPH> amozie on DSK9F9SC42PROD with NOTICES 17790 17791 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 81 / Friday, April 26, 2019 / Notices driving and removal as well as impact pile driving. These previous documents include the Federal Register notice of the issuance of the 2018 IHA for Chevron’s LWMEP project (83 FR 27578; June 13, 2018), the Federal Register notice of the proposed IHA (83 FR 18802; April 30, 2018), as well as Chevron’s current IHA application for the 2019 work season. The current application is requesting take for the pile driving that will occur during the 2019 work season as shown in Table 1. TABLE 1—PILE DRIVING SUMMARY FOR 2019 WORK SEASON Number of piles Pile type Pile driver type 60-inch steel pipe piles ................................................. 36-inch steel template pile (Installation and removal) 20-inch steel template pile (Installation and removal) 22-inch concrete pile removal ...................................... 24-inch square concrete ............................................... 12-inch composite barrier piles .................................... Timber pile removal ...................................................... Impact ........................................................................... Vibratory/Impact Proofing ............................................. Vibratory ....................................................................... Vibratory ....................................................................... Impact ........................................................................... Vibratory ....................................................................... Vibratory ....................................................................... Proposed mitigation, monitoring, and reporting measures are described in detail later in this document (please see Proposed Mitigation and Proposed Monitoring and Reporting). Description of Marine Mammals in the Area of Specified Activities Table 2 lists species that may occur in the vicinity of the project area. A description of the marine mammals in the area of the activities is found in the Federal Register notice of the issuance of the 2018 IHA for Chevron’s LWMEP project (83 FR 27578; June 13, 2018), the Federal Register notice of the proposed IHA (83 FR 18802; April 30, 2018), as well as Chevron’s current IHA application for the 2019 work season.. NMFS has reviewed the monitoring data from the initial IHA, recent draft Stock Assessment Reports, information on relevant Unusual Mortality Events, and other scientific literature, and determined that neither this nor any Number of driving days 8 8 8 5 39 52 106 8 4 4 1 30 11 9 other new information affects which species or stocks have the potential to be affected or the pertinent information in the Description of the Marine Mammals in the Area of Specified Activities contained in the supporting documents for the initial IHA. Specifically, the only change from the 2018 IHA is an increase in numbers of the eastern north Pacific stock of gray whale which have increased 20,990 to 26,960. TABLE 2—MARINE MAMMALS POTENTIALLY PRESENT IN THE VICINITY OF THE PROJECT AREA Common name Scientific name ESA/ MMPA status; strategic (Y/N) 1 Stock Stock abundance (CV, Nmin, most recent abundance survey) 2 Annual M/SI 3 PBR Order Cetartiodactyla—Cetacea—Superfamily Mysticeti (baleen whales) Family Eschrichtiidae: Gray whale ......................... Family Delphinidae: Bottlenose dolphin .............. Family Phocoenidae (porpoises): Harbor porpoise .................. Eschrichtius robustus ................ Eastern North Pacific ................ -/-; (N) 26,960 (0.05, 25,849, 2016). 801 138 Tursiops truncatus .................... California Coastal ..................... -/-; (N) 453 (0.06, 346, 2011) ..... 2.7 ≥2.0 Phocoena Phocoena ................ San Francisco-Russian River Stock. -/-; (N) 9,886 (0.51, 6,625, 2011) 66 0 9,200 389 2,498 451 108 1.8 1,641 4,882 43 8.8 Order Carnivora—Superfamily Pinnipedia Family Otariidae (eared seals and sea lions): California sea lion ............... amozie on DSK9F9SC42PROD with NOTICES Steller sea lion .................... Northern fur seal ................. Family Phocidae (earless seals): Pacific harbor seal .............. Northern elephant seal ....... Zalophus californianus .............. Eastern U.S. stock .................... -/-; (N) Eumetopias jubatus .................. Callorhinus ursinus ................... Eastern U.S. stock .................... California stock ......................... -/-; (N) -/-; (N) 296,750 (-, 153,337, 2011). 41,638 (-, 41,638, 2015) 14,050 (-, 7,524, 2013) .. Phoca vitulina ........................... Mirounga angustirostris ............ California stock ......................... California Breeding stock .......... -/-; (N) -/-; (N) 30,968 (-,27,348, 2012) .. 179,000 (-, 81,368, 2010) 1 Endangered Species Act (ESA) status: Endangered (E), Threatened (T)/MMPA status: Depleted (D). A dash (-) indicates that the species is not listed under the ESA or designated as depleted under the MMPA. Under the MMPA, a strategic stock is one for which the level of direct human-caused mortality exceeds PBR or which is determined to be declining and likely to be listed under the ESA within the foreseeable future. Any species or stock listed under the ESA is automatically designated under the MMPA as depleted and as a strategic stock. 2 NMFS marine mammal stock assessment reports online at: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/marine-mammal-protection/marine-mammal-stock-assessmentreports-region#reports. CV is coefficient of variation; Nmin is the minimum estimate of stock abundance. 3 These values, found in NMFS’s SARs, represent annual levels of human-caused mortality plus serious injury from all sources combined (e.g., commercial fisheries, ship strike). Annual M/SI often cannot be determined precisely and is in some cases presented as a minimum value or range. A CV associated with estimated mortality due to commercial fisheries is presented in some cases. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:28 Apr 25, 2019 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00020 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\26APN1.SGM 26APN1 17792 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 81 / Friday, April 26, 2019 / Notices Marine Mammal Hearing Hearing is the most important sensory modality for marine mammals underwater, and exposure to anthropogenic sound can have deleterious effects. To appropriately assess the potential effects of exposure to sound, it is necessary to understand the frequency ranges marine mammals are able to hear. Current data indicate that not all marine mammal species have equal hearing capabilities (e.g., Richardson et al., 1995; Wartzok and Ketten, 1999; Au and Hastings, 2008). To reflect this, Southall et al. (2007) recommended that marine mammals be divided into functional hearing groups based on directly measured or estimated hearing ranges on the basis of available behavioral response data, audiograms derived using auditory evoked potential techniques, anatomical modeling, and other data. Note that no direct measurements of hearing ability have been successfully completed for mysticetes (i.e., low-frequency cetaceans). Subsequently, NMFS (2018) described generalized hearing ranges for these marine mammal hearing groups. Generalized hearing ranges were chosen based on the approximately 65 decibel (dB) threshold from the normalized composite audiograms, with the exception for lower limits for lowfrequency cetaceans where the lower bound was deemed to be biologically implausible and the lower bound from Southall et al. (2007) retained. Marine mammal hearing groups and their associated hearing ranges are provided in Table 3. TABLE 3—MARINE MAMMAL HEARING GROUPS [NMFS, 2018] Generalized hearing range * Hearing group Low-frequency (LF) cetaceans (baleen whales) ..................................................................................................................... Mid-frequency (MF) cetaceans (dolphins, toothed whales, beaked whales, bottlenose whales) ........................................... High-frequency (HF) cetaceans (true porpoises, Kogia, river dolphins, cephalorhynchid, Lagenorhynchus cruciger & L. australis). Phocid pinnipeds (PW) (underwater) (true seals) ................................................................................................................... Otariid pinnipeds (OW) (underwater) (sea lions and fur seals) .............................................................................................. 7 Hz to 35 kHz. 150 Hz to 160 kHz. 275 Hz to 160 kHz. 50 Hz to 86 kHz. 60 Hz to 39 kHz. * Represents the generalized hearing range for the entire group as a composite (i.e., all species within the group), where individual species’ hearing ranges are typically not as broad. Generalized hearing range chosen based on ∼65 dB threshold from normalized composite audiogram, with the exception for lower limits for LF cetaceans (Southall et al. 2007) and PW pinniped (approximation). amozie on DSK9F9SC42PROD with NOTICES The pinniped functional hearing group was modified from Southall et al. (2007) on the basis of data indicating that phocid species have consistently demonstrated an extended frequency range of hearing compared to otariids, especially in the higher frequency range (Hemila¨ et al., 2006; Kastelein et al., 2009; Reichmuth and Holt, 2013). For more detail concerning these groups and associated frequency ranges, please see NMFS (2018) for a review of available information. Seven marine mammal species (three cetacean and four pinniped (two otariid and two phocid) species) have the reasonable potential to co-occur with the proposed survey activities. Of the cetacean species that may be present, one is classified as a low-frequency cetacean (i.e., gray whale), one is classified as a mid-frequency cetacean (i.e., bottlenose dolphin), and one is classified as a highfrequency cetacean (i.e., harbor porpoise). Potential Effects of Specified Activities on Marine Mammals and Their Habitat A description of the potential effects of the specified activities on marine mammals and their habitat may be found in the Federal Register notice of the issuance of the 2018 IHA for Chevron’s LWMEP project (83 FR 27578; June 13, 2018) and the Federal Register notice of the proposed IHA (83 FR 18802; April 30, 2018). This information remains applicable to the VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:28 Apr 25, 2019 Jkt 247001 issuance of the proposed 2019 IHA. NMFS has reviewed the monitoring data from the initial IHA and other scientific literature, and found no new information that would affect our initial analysis of impacts on marine mammals and their habitat. The Estimated Take by Incidental Harassment section later in this document includes a quantitative analysis of the number of individuals that are expected to be taken by this activity. The Negligible Impact Analysis and Determination section considers the content of this section, the Estimated Take by Incidental Harassment section, and the Proposed Mitigation section, to draw conclusions regarding the likely impacts of these activities on the reproductive success or survivorship of individuals and how those impacts on individuals are likely to impact marine mammal species or stocks. Estimated Take This section provides an estimate of the number of incidental takes proposed for authorization through this IHA, which will inform both NMFS’ consideration of ‘‘small numbers’’ and the negligible impact determination. Harassment is the only type of take expected to result from these activities. Except with respect to certain activities not pertinent here, section 3(18) of the MMPA defines ‘‘harassment’’ as any act of pursuit, torment, or annoyance, which (i) has the potential to injure a PO 00000 Frm 00021 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild (Level A harassment); or (ii) has the potential to disturb a marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild by causing disruption of behavioral patterns, including, but not limited to, migration, breathing, nursing, breeding, feeding, or sheltering (Level B harassment). Authorized takes would primarily be by Level B harassment, as use of the acoustic source (i.e., pile driving) has the potential to result in disruption of behavioral patterns for individual marine mammals. There is also some potential for limited auditory injury (Level A harassment) to result, primarily for high frequency species (harbor porpoises) because predicted auditory injury zones are larger than for other functional hearing groups and for phocids (harbor seals) as there is a sizable harbor seal haulout (Castro Rocks) located in close proximity to the project area. The proposed mitigation and monitoring measures are expected to minimize the severity of such taking to the extent practicable. As described previously, no mortality is anticipated or proposed to be authorized for this activity. Below we describe how the take is estimated. Generally speaking, we estimate take by considering: (1) Acoustic thresholds above which NMFS believes the best available science indicates marine mammals will be behaviorally harassed or incur some degree of permanent E:\FR\FM\26APN1.SGM 26APN1 17793 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 81 / Friday, April 26, 2019 / Notices hearing impairment; (2) the area or volume of water that will be ensonified above these levels in a day; (3) the density or occurrence of marine mammals within these ensonified areas; and, (4) and the number of days of activities. We note that while these basic factors can contribute to a basic calculation to provide an initial prediction of takes, additional information that can qualitatively inform take estimates is also sometimes available (e.g., previous monitoring results or average group size). Below, we describe the factors considered here in more detail and present the proposed take estimate. Acoustic Thresholds Using the best available science, NMFS has developed acoustic thresholds that identify the received level of underwater sound above which exposed marine mammals would be reasonably expected to be behaviorally harassed (equated to Level B harassment) or to incur PTS of some degree (equated to Level A harassment). Level B Harassment for non-explosive sources—Though significantly driven by received level, the onset of behavioral disturbance from anthropogenic noise exposure is also informed to varying degrees by other factors related to the source (e.g., frequency, predictability, duty cycle), the environment (e.g., bathymetry), and the receiving animals (hearing, motivation, experience, demography, behavioral context) and can be difficult to predict (Southall et al., 2007). Based on what the available science indicates and the practical need to use a threshold based on a factor that is both predictable and measurable for most activities, NMFS uses a generalized acoustic threshold based on received level to estimate the onset of behavioral harassment. NMFS predicts that marine mammals are likely to be behaviorally harassed in a manner we consider Level B harassment when exposed to underwater anthropogenic noise above received levels of 120 dB re 1 microPascal, root mean square (mPa (rms) for continuous (e.g., vibratory piledriving), and above 160 dB re 1 mPa (rms) for non-explosive impulsive (e.g., seismic airguns) or intermittent (e.g., scientific sonar) sources. Chevron’s proposed activity includes the use of continuous (vibratory pile driving and removal) and intermittent (impact pile driving) sources and, therefore, the 120 and 160 dB re 1 mPa (rms) are applicable. Level A harassment for non-explosive sources—NMFS’ Technical Guidance for Assessing the Effects of Anthropogenic Sound on Marine Mammal Hearing (Version 2.0) (NMFS, 2018) identifies dual criteria to assess auditory injury (Level A harassment) to five different marine mammal groups (based on hearing sensitivity) as a result of exposure to noise from two different types of sources (impulsive or nonimpulsive). Chevron’s proposed activity includes the use of impulsive (impact pile driving) and non-impulsive (vibratory pile driving and removal) sources. These thresholds are provided in Table 4 below. The references, analysis, and methodology used in the development of the thresholds are described in NMFS 2018 Technical Guidance, which may be accessed at https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/ national/marine-mammal-protection/ marine-mammal-acoustic-technicalguidance. TABLE 4—THRESHOLDS IDENTIFYING THE ONSET OF PERMANENT THRESHOLD SHIFT PTS onset acoustic thresholds * (received level) Hearing group Impulsive Low-Frequency (LF) Cetaceans ...................................... Mid-Frequency (MF) Cetaceans ...................................... High-Frequency (HF) Cetaceans ..................................... Phocid Pinnipeds (PW) (Underwater) ............................. Otariid Pinnipeds (OW) (Underwater) ............................. Cell Cell Cell Cell Cell 1: 3: 5: 7: 9: Lpk,flat: Lpk,flat: Lpk,flat: Lpk,flat: Lpk,flat: 219 230 202 218 232 dB; dB; dB; dB; dB; Non-impulsive LE,LF,24h: 183 dB ......................... LE,MF,24h: 185 dB ........................ LE,HF,24h: 155 dB ........................ LE,PW,24h: 185 dB ....................... LE,OW,24h: 203 dB ....................... Cell Cell Cell Cell Cell 2: LE,LF,24h: 199 dB. 4: LE,MF,24h: 198 dB. 6: LE, HF,24h: 173 dB. 8: LE,PW,24h: 201 dB. 10: LE,OW,24h: 219 dB. * Dual metric acoustic thresholds for impulsive sounds: Use whichever results in the largest isopleth for calculating PTS onset. If a non-impulsive sound has the potential of exceeding the peak sound pressure level thresholds associated with impulsive sounds, these thresholds should also be considered. Note: Peak sound pressure (Lpk) has a reference value of 1 μPa, and cumulative sound exposure level (LE) has a reference value of 1μPa2s. In this Table, thresholds are abbreviated to reflect American National Standards Institute standards (ANSI 2013). However, peak sound pressure is defined by ANSI as incorporating frequency weighting, which is not the intent for this Technical Guidance. Hence, the subscript ‘‘flat’’ is being included to indicate peak sound pressure should be flat weighted or unweighted within the generalized hearing range. The subscript associated with cumulative sound exposure level thresholds indicates the designated marine mammal auditory weighting function (LF, MF, and HF cetaceans, and PW and OW pinnipeds) and that the recommended accumulation period is 24 hours. The cumulative sound exposure level thresholds could be exceeded in a multitude of ways (i.e., varying exposure levels and durations, duty cycle). When possible, it is valuable for action proponents to indicate the conditions under which these acoustic thresholds will be exceeded. amozie on DSK9F9SC42PROD with NOTICES Ensonified Area Here, we describe operational and environmental parameters of the activity that will feed into identifying the area ensonified above the acoustic thresholds, which include source levels and transmission loss coefficient. Source Levels The project includes impact pile driving, vibratory pile driving and vibratory pile removal. Source levels of pile driving activities are based on hydroacoustic testing performed in 2018 at the LWMEP location as well as VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:28 Apr 25, 2019 Jkt 247001 reviews of measurements of the same or similar types and dimensions of piles available in the literature. Based on this information, the source levels described below are assumed for the underwater noise produced by construction activities. Eight batter steel pipe piles, 60-inch diameter would be installed adjacent to the existing Wharf structure to retrofit the Berth 4 loading platform to limit displacement in a seismic event. An impact driver will be used to install these piles, as it is difficult to vibrate in batter piles and these piles have very PO 00000 Frm 00022 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 high axial design loads that can only be achieved by impact driving methods. Other projects conducted under similar circumstances were reviewed in order to estimate the approximate noise effects of the 60-inch steel piles. The best match found for sound source levels is from summary values provided by Caltrans in their hydroacoustic guidance document (Caltrans 2015). Summary values for the impact pile driving of 60-inch steel pipe piles indicates that noise levels of up to 210 peak, 185 dB SEL (single strike), and 195 RMS would be produced at 10 E:\FR\FM\26APN1.SGM 26APN1 amozie on DSK9F9SC42PROD with NOTICES 17794 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 81 / Friday, April 26, 2019 / Notices meters during pile driving using no sound attenuation such as a bubble curtain. The use of properly functioning bubble curtains is expected to reduce the peak and RMS noise levels by about 7 dB. As a result, noise levels of 203 dB peak, 178 dB SEL (single strike), and 188 dB are utilized to assess potential acoustic impacts. It is expected that just one 60-inch pile would be driven over one (1) hour of active driving in a given day and that only one (1) pile would be installed in a given week. Installation could require up to 2,400 blows from an impact hammer, such as a HHK–16 or similar diesel hammer, producing approximately 173,000 to 217,000 ft. lbs. maximum energy per blow and 1.5 to 2 sec/blow average. As noted above, bubble curtains will be used during the installation of the 60-inch steel pipe piles in order to reduce underwater noise levels, with an assumed attenuation of 7 dB. NMFS acknowledges that noise level reductions measured at different project locations as well as different received ranges can vary widely. However, NMFS believes it reasonable to use a source level reduction factor for sound attenuation device implementation during impact pile driving. NMFS reviewed Caltrans’ bubble curtain ‘‘on and off’’ studies conducted in San Francisco Bay in 2003 and 2004. Based on near distance measurements (a total of 28 measurements, with 14 during bubble curtain on and 14 during bubble curtain off), the linear averaged noise level reduction is 7 dB. As a conservative approach, NMFS will use a standard reduction of 7 dB of the source level for impact zone estimates. Installation of 24-inch diameter square concrete piles is proposed for the modifications at the four berths. Approximately one to two of these piles would be installed in one work day, using impact driving methods and a bubble curtain attenuation system. Based on measured blow counts for 24inch concrete piles driven at the Long Wharf Berth 4 in 2011, installation for each pile could require up to approximately 300 blows from a DelMag D62 22 or similar diesel hammer, producing approximately 165,000 ft lbs maximum energy (may not need full energy) and 1.5 second per blow average over a duration of approximately 20 minutes per pile, with 40 minutes of pile driving time per day if two (2) piles are installed. To estimate the noise effects of the 24inch square concrete piles, the underwater noise measurements recorded for this pile type at the Long Wharf during the 2018 construction VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:28 Apr 25, 2019 Jkt 247001 season are utilized. These measured values were: 191 dB peak, 161 dB SEL (single strike), and 173 dB RMS during attenuated impact driving (AECOM 2018). As part of the Berth 4 Loading Platform seismic retrofit, four (4) clusters of 13 composite piles (52 piles total) will be installed to provide protection to the infrastructure. These plastic encased concrete piles would be installed with a vibratory pile driver (APE 400B King Kong or similar vibratory driver), with a drive time of approximately 10 minutes per pile. Up to five (5) of these piles could be installed in any single work day. Projects conducted under similar circumstances with similar piles were reviewed in order to approximate the noise effects of the 12-inch composite barrier piles. Since these piles will be composed of concrete encased in plastic, vibratory installation of similarly sized concrete piles would provide a good surrogate. However, concrete piles are rarely installed with a vibratory driver, and no suitable data could be located. In the absence of this data, we are conservatively using data from the Anacortes Ferry Terminal in Washington State, where 13-inch plastic coated steel piles were installed with a vibratory hammer. RMS noise levels produced during this installation varied from 138 to 158 dB RMS at 43 meters (141 feet) from the pile (Laughlin 2012). From these measurements, a peak noise value of 178 dB and an average RMS value of 168 dB normalized to a 10 meter (33 feet) distance was used to estimate the extent of underwater noise from installation of the 12-inch composite piles. During installation of the 12-inch composite barrier piles for the proposed Project, up to 50 minutes of vibratory driving could occur per day. For the Berth 4 Loading Platform seismic retrofit, eight (8) 36-inch diameter temporary steel piles would be installed using a vibratory pile driver (APE 400B King Kong or similar vibratory driver) will be needed to support the guide template for the driving of the permanent 60-inch steel pipe piles. Each 36-inch temporary pile has an estimated drive time of approximately 10 minutes per pile. Up to four (4) of these piles could be installed in any single work day. Projects conducted under similar circumstances with similar piles were reviewed in order to approximate the noise effects of the 36-inch steel pipe. The best match for estimated noise levels is from the Explosive Handling Wharf-2 (EHW–2) project located at the Naval Base Kitsap in Bangor, Washington (Illingworth and Rodkin PO 00000 Frm 00023 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 2013) During vibratory pile driving associated with this Project, which occurred under similar circumstances, average peak noise levels were approximately 180 dB, and the RMS was approximately 170 dB at a 10 meter (33 feet) distance (Caltrans 2015a). Installation of the 36-inch steel pipe piles is expected to be require 40 minutes per day. In total, two of the eight 36-inch temporary piles will require proofing using an impact hammer. Each pile will require up to 30 strikes from an impact hammer during proofing which will take place during the last foot of pile driving. Up to two (2) piles would be proofed in one day, with each pile requiring up to 30 strikes from an impact hammer, for a total of 60 strikes in one day. The best match found for sound source levels is from summary values provided by Caltrans in their hydroacoustic guidance document (Caltrans 2015). Summary values for the impact pile driving of 36-inch steel pipe piles in water less than 5m deep indicates that noise levels of up to 210 peak, 180 dB SEL (single strike), and 193 RMS would be produced at 10 meters during pile driving. Since impact hammers are often operated at reduced power output during proofing, the source levels are likely to be lower than the values for impact driving used here. Due to very limited time that pile proofing would occur (60 strikes total, over a few minutes of active hammering) no sound attenuation would be used. The Berth 4 Loading Platform seismic retrofit will require vibratory installation of, eight (8) 20-inch diameter temporary steel piles (APE 400B King Kong or similar vibratory driver) to support the guide template needed for the driving the permanent 60-inch steel pipe piles. Each 20-inch temporary pile has a drive time per pile of approximately 10 minutes. Up to four (4) of these piles could be installed in any single work day. The best match for estimated noise levels is from vibratory driving of 24-inch piles at the Explosive Handling Wharf-2 (EHW–2) project located at the Naval Base Kitsap in Bangor, Washington (Illingworth and Rodkin 2013). During vibratory pile driving associated with this Project, which occurred under similar circumstances, measured peak noise levels were approximately 180 dB, and the RMS was approximately 163 dB at a 10 meter (33 feet) distance (Illingworth and Rodkin 2013). During installation of the 20-inch steel pipe piles will require approximately 40 minutes per day. The project includes the removal of 106 16-inch timber piles, and five (5) 18 E:\FR\FM\26APN1.SGM 26APN1 17795 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 81 / Friday, April 26, 2019 / Notices to 24-inch square concrete piles using a vibratory pile driver. Up to 12 of these piles could be extracted in one (1) work day. Extraction time needed for each pile may vary greatly, but could require approximately 400 seconds (approximately seven (7) minutes) from an APE 400B King Kong or similar driver. The most applicable noise values for wooden pile removal from which to base estimates for the LWMEP are derived from measurements taken at the Pier 62/63 pile removal in Seattle, Washington. During vibratory pile extraction associated with this Project, which occurred under similar circumstances, the RMS was approximately 152 dB (WSDOT 2011). Applicable sound values for the removal of concrete piles could not be located, but they are expected to be similar to the levels produced by wooden piles described above, as they are similarly sized, non-metallic, and will be removed using the same methods. For pile driving that does not have project specific hydroacoustic data available, the practical spreading model with a transmission loss coefficient of 15 (4.5 dB per doubling of distance) is used. However, project-specific transmission loss values have been measured for the impact driving of concrete piles and the vibratory driving of concrete piles. For those types of pile driving, a transmission loss factor of 20 (∼8 dB per doubling of distance) has been measured and will be applied. This value is calculated from hydroacoustic monitoring of vibratory driving of steel piles and attenuated impact driving of concrete piles conducted as part of the LWMEP. The results of the 2018 hydroacoustic monitoring are provided in Appendix A of the application. When the NMFS Technical Guidance (2016) was published, in recognition of the fact that ensonified area/volume could be more technically challenging to predict because of the duration component in the new thresholds, we developed a User Spreadsheet that includes tools to help predict a simple isopleth that can be used in conjunction with marine mammal density or occurrence to help predict takes. We note that because of some of the assumptions included in the methods used for these tools, we anticipate that isopleths produced are typically going to be overestimates of some degree, which may result in some degree of overestimate of Level A harassment take. However, these tools offer the best way to predict appropriate isopleths when more sophisticated 3D modeling methods are not available, and NMFS continues to develop ways to quantitatively refine these tools, and will qualitatively address the output where appropriate. For stationary sources (such as impact and vibratory pile driving), NMFS User Spreadsheet predicts the closest distance at which, if a marine mammal remained at that distance the whole duration of the activity, it would not incur PTS. Inputs used in the User Spreadsheet, and the resulting isopleths are reported below in Table 5. TABLE 5—INPUTS FOR USER SPREADSHEET Spreadsheet tab used E.1–2: Impact pile driving A.1: Vibratory driving Pile type 60-inch steel 24-inch concrete 36-inch steel 12-inch Composite 36-inch steel 20-inch steel Source Level ................................. Weighting Factor Adjustment (kHz). Number of strikes in 1 h OR number of strikes per pile. Number of piles per day ............... Propagation (xLogR) ..................... Duration to Drive single pile (minutes). Distance of source level measurement (meters). 178 SEL ...... 2 .................. 161 SEL ...... 2 .................. 180 SEL ...... 2 .................. 168 RMS ..... 2.5 ............... 170 RMS ..... 2.5 ............... 150 RMS ..... 2.5 ............... 152 RMS. 2.5. 2,400 ........... 300 .............. 30 ................ NA ............... NA ............... NA ............... NA. 1 .................. 15 ................ NA ............... 2 .................. 20 ................ NA ............... 2 .................. 15 ................ NA ............... 5 .................. 15 ................ 10 ................ 4 .................. 20 ................ 10 ................ 4 .................. 20 ................ 10 ................ 12. 15. 7. 10 ................ 10 ................ 10 ................ 10 ................ 10 ................ 10 ................ 10. Table 6 shows the Level A harassment isopleths as determined utilizing inputs from Table 5. Note that for all calculations, the results based on SELss are larger than SPLpk, therefore, distances calculated using SELss are used to calculate the area. Level B Harassment isopleths for impact and Wood/ concrete vibratory driving and extraction are shown in Table 7. TABLE 6—RADIAL DISTANCES TO LEVEL A HARASSMENT ISOPLETHS DURING IMPACT AND VIBRATORY DRIVING Source levels at 10 meters (dB) amozie on DSK9F9SC42PROD with NOTICES Project element requiring pile installation Attenuated Impact Driving (with bubble curtain): 60-inch steel pipe (1 per day) ....... 24-inch square concrete (1–2 per day). Impact Pile Proofing (no bubble curtain): 36-inch steel pipe pile (2 total) ...... Vibratory Driving/Extraction: VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:28 Apr 25, 2019 Jkt 247001 Distance to Level A threshold in meters (feet) Peak RMS/SEL Lowfrequency cetaceans 203 .............. 191 .............. 178 SEL ...... 161 SEL ...... 831 (2,726) 19 (64) 210 .............. 180 SEL ...... 97 (317) PO 00000 Frm 00024 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Midfrequency cetaceans Highfrequency cetaceans Phocid pinnipeds 30 (97) 2 (5) 990 (3,247) 22 (73) 445 (1,459) 12 (40) 32 (106) 2 (6) 3 (11) 115 (377) 52 (170) 4 (12) E:\FR\FM\26APN1.SGM 26APN1 Otariid pinnipeds 17796 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 81 / Friday, April 26, 2019 / Notices TABLE 6—RADIAL DISTANCES TO LEVEL A HARASSMENT ISOPLETHS DURING IMPACT AND VIBRATORY DRIVING— Continued Source levels at 10 meters (dB) Project element requiring pile installation 12-inch Composite Barrier Pile (5 per day). 36-inch steel pipe pile (4 per day) 20-inch steel pipe pile (4 per day) Wood and concrete pile extraction (12 per day). Distance to Level A threshold in meters (feet) Lowfrequency cetaceans Midfrequency cetaceans Highfrequency cetaceans Phocid pinnipeds Otariid pinnipeds Peak RMS/SEL 178 .............. 168 RMS ..... 18 (58) 2 (5) 26 (86) 11 (35) 1 (2) 195 .............. 180 .............. No Data ....... 170 RMS ..... 163 RMS ..... 152 RMS ..... 17 (57) 8 (25) 2 (7) 3 (9) 1 (4) 0 (<1) 23 (76) 10 (34) 3 (10) 12 (39) 5 (17) 1 (4) 2 (5) 1 (2) 0 (<1) TABLE 7—RADIAL DISTANCES TO LEVEL B HARASSMENT ISOPLETHS DURING IMPACT AND VIBRATORY DRIVING Source levels at 10 meters (dB) Pile type Peak Attenuated Impact Driving (with Bubble curtain): 60-inch steel pipe (1 per day) .......................................................................................... 24-inch square concrete (1–2 per day) ............................................................................ Impact Pile Proofing (no Bubble curtain): 36-inch steel pipe pile (2 total) ......................................................................................... Vibratory Driving/Extraction: 12-Inch Composite Barrier Piles (5 per day) ................................................................... 36-inch steel pipe pile (4 per day) ................................................................................... 20-inch steel pipe pile (4 per day) ................................................................................... Wood and concrete pile extraction (12 per day) .............................................................. RMS Distance to threshold 160/ 120 dB RMS (Level B) in meters (feet) 203 191 188 173 736 (2,413) 45 (147) 210 193 1,585 (5,198) 178 180 180 * 168 170 163 152 15,849 (51,984) 3,162 (10,372) 1,413 (4,633) 1,359 (4,459) * No Data Available. amozie on DSK9F9SC42PROD with NOTICES Marine Mammal Occurrence In this section we provide the information about the presence, density, or group dynamics of marine mammals that will inform the take calculations. For the 2019 IHA application, a combination of nearby haul-out occupancy and at-sea densities were used to develop take estimates, in order to account for both local movements of harbor seals that haul out at Castro Rocks and other individuals that may be foraging in the more distant part of the Level B Harassment zone. By using hydroacoustic data collected in 2018, extent of the harassment zones was refined for vibratory driving of steel piles and attenuated impact driving of concrete piles by using the transmission loss measured during 2018 project (20logr). As the Level B Harassment zones estimated for the 2019 IHA are generally more localized, only the occupancy from the local Castro Rocks haul-out is used. Castro Rocks, located approximately 1.3 km northwest of the project site, is the largest harbor seal haul out site in the northern part of San Francisco Bay and is the second largest pupping site in the Bay (Green et al. 2002). Tidal stage is a major controlling factor of haul out VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:28 Apr 25, 2019 Jkt 247001 usage at Castro Rocks with more seals present during low tides than high tide periods (Green et al. 2002). Additionally, the number of seals hauled out at Castro Rocks also varies with the time of day, with proportionally more animals hauled out during the nighttime hours (Green et al. 2002). Therefore, the number of harbor seals in the water around Castro Rocks will vary throughout the work period. Pile driving would occur intermittently during the day with average active driving times typically of a few hours per day, so varying sets of animals may be hauled out or in the water. However, there are no systematic counts available for accurately estimating the number of seals that may be in the water near the Long Wharf at any given time. The National Park Service provided recent data indicating that up to 176 seals could be present each day at Castro Rocks. This value was conservatively based on the highest mean plus the standard error of harbor seals observed at Castro Rocks per day (Codde, S. and S. Allen. 2013, 2015, and 2017), a value of 176 seals. The 2018 draft Long Wharf marine mammal monitoring report indicated that 24 harbor seals were observed within the Level B harassment PO 00000 Frm 00025 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 zone and zero individuals were observed within the Level A harassment zone over 10 days of pile driving, which equals less than 1 percent of the authorized number of harbor seals with an average of 2.4 animals per day. The maximum number observed per day was six. Since there are no California sea lion haul-outs in the vicinity of the project area, relatively few animals are expected to be present. However, monitoring for the RSRB did observe limited numbers in the north and central portions of the Bay during working hours. During monitoring for the San FranciscoOakland Bay Bridge (SFOBB) Project in the central Bay, 83 California sea lions were observed in the vicinity of the bridge over a 17-year period from 2000– 2017, and from these observations, an estimated at-sea density of 0.16 animals per square kilometer is derived (NMFS 2018). This bridge is located approximately 25 km south of the LWMEP location and is considered by NMFS to be the best available information. The 2018 Long Wharf draft monitoring report did not record any observations of sea lions. Small numbers of northern elephant seal may haul out or strand on coastline E:\FR\FM\26APN1.SGM 26APN1 17797 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 81 / Friday, April 26, 2019 / Notices within the Central Bay. Monitoring of marine mammals in the vicinity of the SFOBB has been ongoing for 15 years. From those data, Caltrans has produced an estimated at-sea density for northern elephant seal of 0.16 animal per square mile (0.06 animal per square kilometer) (Caltrans, 2015b). Most sightings of northern elephant seal in San Francisco Bay occur in spring or early summer, and are less likely to occur during the periods of in-water work for this project. As a result, densities during pile driving for the proposed action are likely to be lower. Additionally, this species was not observed by the marine mammal observers in the vicinity of the Long Wharf during 2018 pile driving monitoring. The occurrence of northern fur seal in San Francisco Bay depends largely on oceanic conditions, with animals more likely to strand during El Nin˜o events. Equatorial sea surface temperatures are above average across most of the Pacific Ocean this year, and El Nin˜o is expected to continue through winter of 2019 and into spring (NOAA 2019). There are no estimated at-sea densities for this species in San Francisco Bay and no seals were recorded during 2018 Long Wharf marine mammal monitoring. A small but growing population of harbor porpoises utilizes San Francisco Bay which are typically spotted in the vicinity of Angel Island and the Golden Gate (6 and 12 kilometers [3.7 and 7.5 miles] southwest respectively) and the vicinity of Treasure Island (Caltrans 2018). However, they may occur in other areas in the Central Bay in low numbers, including the project area. Based on monitoring conducted for the SFOBB project in 2017, an in-water density of 0.17 animals per square kilometer has been estimated by Caltrans for this species (NMFS 2018). No members of this species were recorded during 2018 during pile driving activities at LWMEP. Bottlenose dolphins are typically found close to the Golden Gate Bridge when they are observed in San Francisco Bay. There are no estimated at-sea densities for this species in San Francisco Bay available for calculating a take estimate. Beginning in 2015, two individuals have been observed frequently in the vicinity of Oyster Point (GGCR 2018; Perlman, 2017). The average reported group size for bottlenose dolphins is five. Reports show that a group normally comes into San Francisco Bay, is near Yerba Buena Island once per week for approximately two (2) weeks and then leaves (NMFS, 2017). Gray whales have been observed entering the Bay during their northward migration period, and are most often sighted in the Bay between February and May. Most venture only about 2 to 3 km (about 1–2 miles) past the Golden Gate. However, gray whales have occasionally been sighted as far north as San Pablo Bay. Pile driving is not expected to occur during the FebruaryMay period, and gray whales are not likely to be present at other times of year. No whales were observed as part of 2018 Long Wharf marine mammal monitoring activities. Take Calculation and Estimation Here we describe how the information provided above is brought together to produce a quantitative take estimate. When density data was available, take for the project was calculated by multiplying the density times the harassment zone (km2) associated with pile driving activities that are underway times the number of construction days. Since density data was only available for harbor seals, harbor porpoises, and California sea lions, these were the only species whose take was calculated using this methodology. For species without density information, information on average group size or local observational data was used as described below. Pacific Harbor Seal Chevron initially estimated that all harbor seals (176) at Castro Rocks would be exposed to noise that reaches the threshold for Level B harassment on every day on which there was pile driving. The areas of the Level A harassment zones in which take by injury could occur were determined by subtracting the shutdown zone areas from Level A harassment zone areas. Estimated Level A take for impact driving of the 60-inch and 36-inch steel piles was then estimated by taking Level B take and multiplying it by the ratio of the Level A zone area to the Level B zone area. Level A take is not requested for vibratory driving. This resulted in an estimated 11,968 takes by Level B harassment and 513 takes by Level A harassment. However, given that the 2018 IHA, overestimated the amount of authorized seal takes by a considerable margin (based on recorded <1 percent of the authorized number of takes observed), this initial 2019 estimate is likely to also be too high. Therefore, NMFS proposes to conservatively assume that only 25 percent of these initially calculated take numbers will actually occur, resulting in a proposal of 2,992 takes by Level B harassment and 128 takes by Level A harassment. Even in consideration of animals that were likely taken but not detected, this results in a likely conservative average of 47 harbor seal takes per day. TABLE 8—LEVEL A AND LEVEL B HARASSMENT ESTIMATE FOR PACIFIC HARBOR SEAL [Per Day] Level B zone (sq km) Pile type Level A zone, minus shutdown zone (sq km) Level B take per day—total Level A take per day—total 15 15 10 15 0 0 0 0 176 176 176 176 NA NA NA NA 20 30 0 0.62 176 176 NA 64.06 30 0.01 176 0.14 Exclusion zone radius (m) Estimated take per day Vibratory Driving amozie on DSK9F9SC42PROD with NOTICES 12-inch composite pile ....................................................... 36-inch steel pipe pile ........................................................ 20-inch steel pipe pile ........................................................ Timber/Concrete Pile Removal .......................................... 165.62 22.90 5.72 5.33 Impact Driving 24-inch concrete pile .......................................................... 60-inch steel pile ................................................................ 0.01 1.70 Impact Proofing 36-inch steel pile ................................................................ VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:28 Apr 25, 2019 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00026 6.92 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\26APN1.SGM 26APN1 17798 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 81 / Friday, April 26, 2019 / Notices For impact pile driving of the 60-inch steel piles, the proposed shutdown zones (30 m) are notably smaller than the Level A harassment zone and the applicant has accordingly requested take by Level A harassment for harbor seal so that pile driving can be completed on schedule without frequent shutdowns. Individuals occurring within the Level A harassment zone but outside of the shut-down zone may experience Level A harassment, if they reside in that area for a long enough duration. However, these animals can be highly mobile, and remaining within the small injury zone for an extended period is unlikely, though it could occur. California Sea Lion to develop a density of 0.16 California sea lions per square kilometer. This density and the areas of the potential Level B Harassment zones are used in Table 9. Level A harassment take of this species is not requested, due to the small size of the Level A harassment zone for otariid pinnipeds. Monitoring data from the SFOBB Project over a 17-year period was used TABLE 9—LEVEL B HARASSMENT ESTIMATE FOR CALIFORNIA SEA LION [per day] Level B zone (km2) Pile type Level B take estimate (based on Central Bay density of 0.16 animals per km2 ) Vibratory Driving 12-inch composite pile ............................................................................................................................................. 36-inch steel pipe pile .............................................................................................................................................. 20-inch steel pipe pile .............................................................................................................................................. Timber/Concrete Pile Removal ................................................................................................................................ 165.62 22.90 5.72 5.33 26.50 3.66 0.91 0.85 0.01 1.70 0.01 0.27 6.92 1.11 Impact Driving 24-inch concrete pile ............................................................................................................................................... 60-inch steel pile ...................................................................................................................................................... Impact Proofing 36-inch steel pile ...................................................................................................................................................... Harbor Porpoise Based on monitoring conducted for the SFOBB project in 2017, an in-water density of 0.17 animals per square kilometer has been estimated by Caltrans for this species (NMFS 2018). Using this in-water density and the areas of potential Level A and Level B harassment, take is estimated for harbor porpoise as provided in Table 10. Level A harassment zone areas in which PTS could occur were determined by subtracting the shutdown zone areas from Level A harassment zone areas. Level A take is not requested for vibratory driving. TABLE 10—LEVEL A AND LEVEL B HARASSMENT ESTIMATE FOR PACIFIC HARBOR PORPOISE [Per day] Level B zone (km2) Pile type Level A zone, minus shutdown zone (km2) Level B estimate Central Bay inwater—0.17 per km2 50 50 50 50 NA NA NA NA 28.16 3.89 0.97 0.91 NA NA NA NA 50 50 0 0.23 0.01 0.29 0 0.52 80 0 1.18 <0.01 Exclusion zone (m) Estimated Level A take per day Vibratory Driving 12-inch composite barrier pile ............................................. 36-inch steel pipe pile .......................................................... 20-inch steel pipe pile .......................................................... Timber/Concrete Pile Removal ............................................ 165.62 22.90 5.72 5.33 amozie on DSK9F9SC42PROD with NOTICES Impact Driving 24-inch concrete pile ............................................................ 60-inch steel pile .................................................................. 0.01 0.21 Impact Proofing 36-inch steel pile .................................................................. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:59 Apr 25, 2019 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00027 0.31 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\26APN1.SGM 26APN1 17799 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 81 / Friday, April 26, 2019 / Notices Northern Elephant Seal As noted above, elephant seal densities are expected to be extremely low. Therefore, Chevron did not use density data to calculate take. Additionally, this species was not observed by the marine mammal observers in the vicinity of the LWMEP during 2018 pile driving marine mammal monitoring activities. Therefore, Caltrans will conservatively assume that a lone northern elephant seal may enter the Level B Harassment area once per every three days during pile driving. As such, Chevron requests and NMFS proposes to authorize a total of 23 takes by Level B harassment. Level A harassment of this species is not expected to occur. Northern Fur Seal With weak El Nin˜o conditions predicted to continue into spring and, perhaps, summer (NOAA 2019). There is a chance that fur seals could occur near the project area. Since there are no estimated at-sea densities for this species in San Francisco Bay, Chevron conservatively requested and NMFS proposes to authorize 10 takes of fur seals by Level B harassment. Level A harassment of this species is not anticipated. Bottlenose Dolphin As noted above, there are no estimated at-sea densities for this species in San Francisco Bay available for calculating a take estimate although they have been observed. Beginning in 2015, two individuals have been observed frequently in the vicinity of Oyster Point (GGCR, 2016; GGCR 2017; Perlman, 2017). The average reported group size for bottlenose dolphins is five. Assuming the dolphins come into San Francisco Bay once every 10 days, 34 takes would be anticipated, if the group enters the areas over which the Level B harassment thresholds may be exceeded. Gray Whale Gray whales are most often sighted in the Bay between February and May. However, LWMEP pile driving is not expected to occur during this time, and gray whales are unlikely to be present at other times of year. However, should pile driving occur during the northward migration period, Chevron requests and NMFS proposes to authorize two (2) Gray whale takes by Level B harassment. The Level B Harassment estimates shown in Table 11 are based on the number of individuals assumed to be exposed per day, the number of piles driven per day and the number of days of pile driving expected based on an average installation rate. The Level A Harassment estimates for harbor seals and harbor porpoises are derived by taking the Level B Harassment estimates and multiplying it by the fractional ratio of the area of the Level A zone to the Level B zone as shown in Table 12. Values for harbor seals in both Table 11 and Table 12 are shown as 25 percent of total sums. Take by Level A harassment is not proposed for any other species. TABLE 11—SUMMARY OF ESTIMATED TAKE LEVEL B HARASSMENT FOR 2019 WORK SEASON Species Pile type Pile driver type Number of piles Number of driving days Harbor seal CA sea lion Harbor porpoise Gray whale N. elephant seal N. fur seal Bottlenose dolphin 60-inch steel pipe. 36-inch steel pipe pile **. 36-inch steel pipe pile. 20-inch steel pipe pile **. Concrete pile removal. 24-inch concrete. 12-inch composite pile installation. Timber pile removal. Impact ........... 8 8 1,408 2.18 2.31 NA 2.66 NA NA Vibratory ........ 8 4 704 14.66 15.57 NA 1.33 NA NA Impact Proofing. Vibratory ........ 2 1 176 1.11 1.18 NA 0.33 NA NA 8 4 704 3.66 3.89 NA 1.33 NA NA Vibratory ........ 5 1 176 0.91 0.97 NA 0.33 NA NA Impact ........... 39 30 5,280 0.03 0.04 NA 10 NA NA Vibratory ........ 52 11 1,936 291.50 309.72 NA 3.66 NA NA Vibratory ........ 106 9 1,584 7.68 8.16 NA 3 NA NA Total Proposed Take by Species (2019). ....................... .................... .................... * 2,992 322 342 2 23 10 34 * Stated value equivalent to 25% of total sum. amozie on DSK9F9SC42PROD with NOTICES TABLE 12—SUMMARY OF ESTIMATED TAKE LEVEL A HARASSMENT FOR 2019 WORK SEASON Number of piles Pile type Pile driver type 60-inch steel pipe .............................. 36-inch steel pipe pile ....................... 36-inch steel pipe pile ....................... 20-inch steel pipe pile ** ................... Concrete pile removal ....................... 24-inch concrete ............................... 12-inch composite pile installation .... Timber pile removal .......................... Impact ............................................... Vibratory ........................................... Impact Proofing ................................ Vibratory ........................................... Vibratory ........................................... Impact ............................................... Vibratory ........................................... Vibratory ........................................... VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:28 Apr 25, 2019 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00028 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Number of driving days 8 8 2 8 5 39 52 106 E:\FR\FM\26APN1.SGM 8 4 1 4 1 30 11 9 26APN1 Harbor seal 512.49 0 0.14 0 0 0 0 0 Harbor porpoise 4.18 0 <0.01 0 0 0 0 0 17800 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 81 / Friday, April 26, 2019 / Notices TABLE 12—SUMMARY OF ESTIMATED TAKE LEVEL A HARASSMENT FOR 2019 WORK SEASON—Continued Pile driver type Number of piles Number of driving days ........................................................... ........................ ........................ Pile type Total Proposed Take ................. Harbor porpoise Harbor seal * 128 4 * Stated value equivalent to 25% of total sum. TABLE 13—PROPOSED AUTHORIZED TAKE AND PERCENTAGE OF STOCK OR POPULATION Species Stock Authorized Level A takes Harbor seal ............................................ California sea lion .................................. Harbor porpoise ..................................... Northern elephant seal .......................... Gray whale ............................................. Northern fur seal .................................... Bottlenose Dolphin ................................. California ............................................... Eastern U.S ........................................... San Francisco—Russian River ............. California Breeding ................................ Eastern North Pacific ............................ California ............................................... California Coastal .................................. 128 .............................. 4 .............................. .............................. .............................. .............................. Proposed Mitigation In order to issue an IHA under Section 101(a)(5)(D) of the MMPA, NMFS must set forth the permissible methods of taking pursuant to such activity, and other means of effecting the least practicable impact on such species or stock and its habitat, paying particular attention to rookeries, mating grounds, and areas of similar significance, and on the availability of such species or stock for taking for certain subsistence uses (latter not applicable for this action). NMFS regulations require applicants for incidental take authorizations to include information about the availability and feasibility (economic and technological) of equipment, methods, and manner of conducting such activity or other means of effecting the least practicable adverse impact upon the affected species or stocks and their habitat (50 CFR 216.104(a)(11)). In evaluating how mitigation may or may not be appropriate to ensure the least practicable adverse impact on species or stocks and their habitat, as well as subsistence uses where applicable, we carefully consider two primary factors: (1) The manner in which, and the degree to which, the successful implementation of the measure(s) is expected to reduce impacts to marine mammals, marine mammal species or stocks, and their habitat, as well as subsistence uses. This considers the nature of the potential adverse impact being mitigated (likelihood, scope, range). It further considers the likelihood that the measure will be effective if implemented (probability of accomplishing the mitigating result if implemented as planned), the likelihood of effective implementation (probability implemented as planned), and; (2) the practicability of the measures for applicant implementation, which may consider such things as cost, impact on operations, and, in the case of a military readiness activity, personnel safety, practicality of implementation, and impact on the effectiveness of the military readiness activity. Mitigation for Marine Mammals and Their Habitat The following mitigation measures are proposed for Chevron’s LWMEP: Noise Attenuation—Bubble curtains will be used during all impact pile driving of 60-inch steel shell pile and 24-inch square concrete piles to Authorized Level B takes Percent (instances of take compared to population abundance) 2,992 322 342 23 2 10 34 10.07 <0.01 3.49 <0.01 <0.01 <0.01 7.51 interrupt acoustic pressure and reduce impact on marine mammals. The use of bubble curtains is expected to reduce underwater noise levels by approximately 7 dB, which greatly reduces the area over which the cumulative SEL threshold for Level A Harassment may be exceeded. Bubble curtains would also decrease the size of the Level B harassment zone, reducing the numbers of marine mammals affected by potential behavioral impacts. Daylight Construction Period—Work would occur only during daylight hours (7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.) when visual marine mammal monitoring can be conducted. Establishment of a Shutdown Zone— For all pile driving/removal and drilling activities, Chevron will establish shutdown zones. The purpose of a shutdown zone is generally to define an area within which shutdown of activity would occur upon sighting of a marine mammal (or in anticipation of an animal entering the defined area). A shutdown zone will be established which will include all or a portion of the area where SPLs are expected to reach or exceed the cumulative SEL thresholds for Level A harassment as provided in Table 14. TABLE 14—SHUTDOWN ZONES FOR LWMEP amozie on DSK9F9SC42PROD with NOTICES Exclusion zones meters Project element requiring pile installation Low-frequency cetaceans Mid-frequency cetaceans High-frequency cetaceans 840 20 30 10 50 50 30 15 35 10 100 10 80 30 10 Attenuated Impact Driving (with bubble curtain): 60-inch steel pipe ....................................................... 24-inch square concrete ............................................. Impact Pile Proofing (no bubble curtain): 36-inch steel pipe pile ................................................. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:28 Apr 25, 2019 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00029 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 E:\FR\FM\26APN1.SGM 26APN1 Phocid pinnipeds Otariid pinnipeds 17801 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 81 / Friday, April 26, 2019 / Notices TABLE 14—SHUTDOWN ZONES FOR LWMEP—Continued Exclusion zones meters Project element requiring pile installation Low-frequency cetaceans Mid-frequency cetaceans High-frequency cetaceans 20 20 10 10 10 10 10 10 50 50 50 50 amozie on DSK9F9SC42PROD with NOTICES Vibratory Driving/Extraction: 12-inch Composite Barrier Pile ................................... 36-inch steel pipe pile ................................................. 20-inch steel pipe pile ................................................. Wood and concrete pile extraction ............................. Establishment of Monitoring Zones for Level A and Level B—Chevron will establish and monitor Level A harassment zones during impact driving for harbor seal extending to 450 meters and harbor seals and extending to 990 for harbor porpoises. These are areas beyond the shutdown zone in which animals could be exposed to sound levels that could result in Level A harassment in the form of PTS. Chevron will also establish and monitor Level B harassment zones which are areas where SPLs are equal to or exceed the 160 dB rms threshold for impact driving and the 120 dB rms threshold during vibratory driving and extraction as shown in Table 7. Monitoring zones provide utility for observing by establishing monitoring protocols for areas adjacent to the shutdown zones. Monitoring zones also enable observers to be aware of and communicate the presence of marine mammals in the project area outside the shutdown zone and thus prepare for a potential cease of activity should the animal enter the shutdown zone. Level B harassment exposures will be recorded and extrapolated based upon the number of observed take and the percentage of the Level B harassment zone that was not visible. 10-Meter Shutdown Zone—During the in-water operation of heavy machinery (e.g., barge movements), a 10-m shutdown zone for all marine mammals will be implemented. If a marine mammal comes within 10 m, operations shall cease and vessels shall reduce speed to the minimum level required to maintain steerage and safe working conditions. Soft Start—The use of a soft-start procedure are believed to provide additional protection to marine mammals by providing warning and/or giving marine mammals a chance to leave the area prior to the hammer operating at full capacity. Chevron shall use soft start techniques when impact pile driving. Soft start requires contractors to provide an initial set of strikes at reduced energy, followed by a VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:28 Apr 25, 2019 Jkt 247001 thirty-second waiting period, then two subsequent reduced energy strike sets. Pre-Activity Monitoring—Pre-activity monitoring shall take place from 30 minutes prior to initiation of pile driving activity and post-activity monitoring shall continue through 30 minutes post-completion of pile driving activity. Pile driving may commence at the end of the 30-minute pre-activity monitoring period, provided observers have determined that the shutdown zone is clear of marine mammals, which includes delaying start of pile driving activities if a marine mammal is sighted in the zone, as described below. If a marine mammal approaches or enters the shutdown zone during activities or pre-activity monitoring, all pile driving activities at that location shall be halted or delayed, respectively. If pile driving is halted or delayed due to the presence of a marine mammal, the activity may not resume or commence until either the animal has voluntarily left and been visually confirmed beyond the shutdown zone or 15 minutes have passed without re-detection of the animal. Pile driving activities include the time to install or remove a single pile or series of piles, as long as the time elapsed between uses of the pile driving equipment is no more than thirty minutes. Non-authorized Take Prohibited—If a species for which authorization has not been granted or a species for which authorization has been granted but the authorized takes are met, is observed approaching or within the monitoring zone, pile driving and removal activities must shut down immediately using delay and shut-down procedures. Activities must not resume until the animal has been confirmed to have left the area or an observation time period of 15 minutes has elapsed. Based on our evaluation of the Chevron’s proposed measures, as well as other measures considered by NMFS, we have preliminarily determined that the proposed mitigation measures provide the means effecting the least practicable impact on the affected species or stocks and their habitat, paying particular attention to rookeries, PO 00000 Frm 00030 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Phocid pinnipeds Otariid pinnipeds 15 15 10 10 10 10 10 10 mating grounds, and areas of similar significance. Proposed Monitoring and Reporting In order to issue an IHA for an activity, Section 101(a)(5)(D) of the MMPA states that NMFS must set forth requirements pertaining to the monitoring and reporting of such taking. The MMPA implementing regulations at 50 CFR 216.104 (a)(13) indicate that requests for authorizations must include the suggested means of accomplishing the necessary monitoring and reporting that will result in increased knowledge of the species and of the level of taking or impacts on populations of marine mammals that are expected to be present in the proposed action area. Effective reporting is critical both to compliance as well as ensuring that the most value is obtained from the required monitoring. Monitoring and reporting requirements prescribed by NMFS should contribute to improved understanding of one or more of the following: • Occurrence of marine mammal species or stocks in the area in which take is anticipated (e.g., presence, abundance, distribution, density); • Nature, scope, or context of likely marine mammal exposure to potential stressors/impacts (individual or cumulative, acute or chronic), through better understanding of: (1) Action or environment (e.g., source characterization, propagation, ambient noise); (2) affected species (e.g., life history, dive patterns); (3) co-occurrence of marine mammal species with the action; or (4) biological or behavioral context of exposure (e.g., age, calving or feeding areas); • Individual marine mammal responses (behavioral or physiological) to acoustic stressors (acute, chronic, or cumulative), other stressors, or cumulative impacts from multiple stressors; • How anticipated responses to stressors impact either: (1) Long-term fitness and survival of individual marine mammals; or (2) populations, species, or stocks; E:\FR\FM\26APN1.SGM 26APN1 17802 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 81 / Friday, April 26, 2019 / Notices amozie on DSK9F9SC42PROD with NOTICES • Effects on marine mammal habitat (e.g., marine mammal prey species, acoustic habitat, or other important physical components of marine mammal habitat); and • Mitigation and monitoring effectiveness. mammal observer during construction activities; (3) Other PSOs may substitute education (degree in biological science or related field) or training for experience; and (4) Chevron shall submit PSO CVs for approval by NMFS; Visual Monitoring • Chevron will ensure that observers have the following additional The following visual monitoring qualifications: measures are required as part of the (1) Ability to conduct field issued IHA. observations and collect data according • One day of biological monitoring would occur within one week before the to assigned protocols; (2) Experience or training in the field project’s start date to establish baseline identification of marine mammals, observations; • Monitoring distances, in accordance including the identification of behaviors; with the identified shutdown, Level A, (3) Sufficient training, orientation, or and Level B zones, will be determined experience with the construction by using a range finder, scope, handoperation to provide for personal safety held global positioning system (GPS) during observations; device or landmarks with known (4) Writing skills sufficient to prepare distances from the monitoring positions; a report of observations including but • Monitoring locations will be not limited to the number and species established at locations offering best of marine mammals observed; dates and views of the monitoring zone; • Monitoring would be conducted 30 times when in-water construction activities were conducted; dates, times, minutes before, during, and 30 minutes and reason for implementation of after pile driving/removal and drilling mitigation (or why mitigation was not activities. In addition, observers shall implemented when required); and record all incidents of marine mammal marine mammal behavior; and occurrence, regardless of distance from (5) Ability to communicate orally, by activity, and shall document any radio or in person, with project behavioral reactions in concert with personnel to provide real-time distance from piles being driven or information on marine mammals removed. Pile driving/removal and observed in the area as necessary. drilling activities include the time to install or remove a single pile or series Hydroacoustic Monitoring of piles, as long as the time elapsed Sound Source Verification (SSV) between uses of the pile driving testing of would be conducted under equipment is no more than 30 minutes. this IHA. The purpose of the planned • Monitoring will be continuous acoustic monitoring plan is to collect unless the contractor takes a break underwater sound-level information at longer than 2 hours from active pile both near and distant locations during driving, in which case, monitoring will vibratory pile extraction and installation be required 30 minutes prior to and impact pile installation. restarting pile installation; Hydroacoustic monitoring would be • For in-water pile driving, under conducted by a qualified monitor during conditions of fog or poor visibility that pile extraction and driving activities as might obscure the presence of a marine described in the Hydroacoustic mammal within the shutdown zone, the Monitoring plan and will likely include pile in progress will be completed and the following during 2019: then pile driving suspended until • Acoustic monitoring for at least two visibility conditions improve; (2) 60-inch steel pipe piles at Berth 4; • At least two PSOs will be actively • Acoustic monitoring for at least one scanning the monitoring zone during all (1) 36-inch pile at Berth 4; pile driving activities; • Acoustic monitoring for at least one • Monitoring of pile driving shall be (1) 20-inch pile at Berth 4; conducted by qualified PSOs (see • Acoustic monitoring of a below), who shall have no other representative pile removal; and assigned tasks during monitoring • Acoustic monitoring of two (2) periods. Chevron shall adhere to the composite piles. following conditions when selecting Proposed Reporting Measures observers: (1) Independent PSOs shall be used A draft marine mammal monitoring (i.e., not construction personnel); report would be submitted to NMFS within 90 days after the completion of (2) At least one PSO must have prior pile driving and removal and drilling experience working as a marine VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:28 Apr 25, 2019 Jkt 247001 PO 00000 Frm 00031 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 activities. It will include an overall description of work completed, a narrative regarding marine mammal sightings, and associated PSO data sheets. Specifically, the report must include: • Dates and times (begin and end) of all marine mammal monitoring; • Construction activities occurring during each daily observation period, including how many and what type of piles were driven or removed and by what method (i.e., impact or vibratory); • Weather parameters and water conditions during each monitoring period (e.g., wind speed, percent cover, visibility, sea state); • The number of marine mammals observed, by species, relative to the pile location and if pile driving or removal was occurring at time of sighting; • Age and sex class, if possible, of all marine mammals observed; • PSO locations during marine mammal monitoring; • Distances and bearings of each marine mammal observed to the pile being driven or removed for each sighting (if pile driving or removal was occurring at time of sighting); • Description of any marine mammal behavior patterns during observation, including direction of travel; • Number of individuals of each species (differentiated by month as appropriate) detected within the monitoring zone, and estimates of number of marine mammals taken, by species (a correction factor may be applied to total take numbers, as appropriate); • Detailed information about any implementation of any mitigation triggered (e.g., shutdowns and delays), a description of specific actions that ensued, and resulting behavior of the animal, if any; • Description of attempts to distinguish between the number of individual animals taken and the number of incidences of take, such as ability to track groups or individuals; and • Level B harassment exposures recorded by PSOs must be extrapolated based upon the number of observed takes and the percentage of the Level B harassment zone that was not visible. If no comments are received from NMFS within 30 days, the draft final report will constitute the final report. If comments are received, a final report addressing NMFS comments must be submitted within 30 days after receipt of comments. In the unanticipated event that the specified activity clearly causes the take of a marine mammal in a manner prohibited by the IHA (if issued), such E:\FR\FM\26APN1.SGM 26APN1 amozie on DSK9F9SC42PROD with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 81 / Friday, April 26, 2019 / Notices as an injury, serious injury or mortality, Chevron would immediately cease the specified activities and report the incident to the Chief of the Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, and the West Coast Regional Stranding Coordinator. The report would include the following information: • Description of the incident; • Environmental conditions (e.g., Beaufort sea state, visibility); • Description of all marine mammal observations in the 24 hours preceding the incident; • Species identification or description of the animal(s) involved; • Fate of the animal(s); and • Photographs or video footage of the animal(s) (if equipment is available). Activities would not resume until NMFS is able to review the circumstances of the prohibited take. NMFS would work with Chevron to determine what is necessary to minimize the likelihood of further prohibited take and ensure MMPA compliance. Chevron would not be able to resume their activities until notified by NMFS via letter, email, or telephone. In the event that Chevron discovers an injured or dead marine mammal, and the lead PSO determines that the cause of the injury or death is unknown and the death is relatively recent (e.g., in less than a moderate state of decomposition as described in the next paragraph), Chevron would immediately report the incident to the Chief of the Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, and the West Coast Regional Stranding Coordinator. The report would include the same information identified in the paragraph above. Activities would be able to continue while NMFS reviews the circumstances of the incident. NMFS would work with Chevron to determine whether modifications in the activities are appropriate. In the event that Chevron discovers an injured or dead marine mammal and the lead PSO determines that the injury or death is not associated with or related to the activities authorized in the IHA (e.g., previously wounded animal, carcass with moderate to advanced decomposition, or scavenger damage), Chevron would report the incident to the Chief of the Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, and the West Coast Regional Stranding Coordinator, within 24 hours of the discovery. Chevron would provide photographs, video footage (if available), or other documentation of the stranded animal sighting to NMFS and the Marine Mammal Stranding Network. VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:28 Apr 25, 2019 Jkt 247001 Negligible Impact Analysis and Determination NMFS has defined negligible impact as an impact resulting from the specified activity that cannot be reasonably expected to, and is not reasonably likely to, adversely affect the species or stock through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival (50 CFR 216.103). A negligible impact finding is based on the lack of likely adverse effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival (i.e., populationlevel effects). An estimate of the number of takes alone is not enough information on which to base an impact determination. In addition to considering estimates of the number of marine mammals that might be ‘‘taken’’ through harassment, NMFS considers other factors, such as the likely nature of any responses (e.g., intensity, duration), the context of any responses (e.g., critical reproductive time or location, migration), as well as effects on habitat, and the likely effectiveness of the mitigation. We also assess the number, intensity, and context of estimated takes by evaluating this information relative to population status. Consistent with the 1989 preamble for NMFS’s implementing regulations (54 FR 40338; September 29, 1989), the impacts from other past and ongoing anthropogenic activities are incorporated into this analysis via their impacts on the environmental baseline (e.g., as reflected in the regulatory status of the species, population size and growth rate where known, ongoing sources of human-caused mortality, or ambient noise levels). Pile driving and extraction associated with Chevron’s LWMEP project as outlined previously have the potential to injure, disturb or displace marine mammals. Specifically, the proposed activities may result in Level B harassment (behavioral disturbance) for seven marine mammal species authorized for take from underwater sound generated during pile driving and removal operations. Level A harassment in the form of limited PTS may also occur to animals of two species. No marine mammal stocks for which incidental take authorization are listed as threatened or endangered under the ESA or determined to be strategic or depleted under the MMPA. No serious injuries or mortalities are anticipated to occur as a result of Chevron’s pile driving activities. A limited number of animals (128 harbor seals and 4 harbor porpoises) could experience Level A harassment in the form of PTS if they stay within the Level A harassment zone during impact PO 00000 Frm 00032 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 17803 driving of 60-inch steel and 36-inch steel piles. The degree of injury is expected to be mild and is not likely to affect the reproduction or survival of the individual animals. It is expected that, if hearing impairments occurs, most likely the affected animal would lose a few dB in its hearing sensitivity, which in most cases is not likely to affect its survival and recruitment. The Level B takes that are anticipated and authorized are expected to be limited to short-term behavioral harassment. Marine mammals present near the action area and taken by Level B harassment would most likely show overt brief disturbance (e.g., startle reaction) and avoidance of the area from elevated noise level during pile driving. However, this is unlikely to result in any significant realized decrease in fitness for the affected individuals or stocks for which take is authorized. While harbor seals from Castro Rocks may experience some temporary lowlevel behavioral impacts, the number of seals potentially affected is conservatively estimated at approximately 10 percent of the stock. This number, however, likely includes multiple takes of the same individuals. Furthermore, Castro Rocks and the LWMEP location represent a small portion of the range of the California stock of harbor seal. These two factors indicate that a much lower percentage of the stock would potentially be affected and, therefore, no adverse impacts to the stock as a whole are expected. The project is not expected to have significant adverse effects on affected marine mammal habitat. The activities may cause fish to leave the area temporarily. This could impact marine mammals’ foraging opportunities in a limited portion of the foraging range; but, because of the relatively short duration of driving activities and the relatively small area of affected habitat, the impacts to marine mammal habitat are not expected to cause significant or long-term negative consequences. Furthermore, there are no biologically important areas identified in the project area. The likelihood that marine mammals will be detected by trained observers is high under the environmental conditions described for the project. The employment of the soft-start mitigation measure during impact driving would also allow marine mammals in or near the shutdown and Level A zone zones to move away from the impact driving sound source. Therefore, the mitigation and monitoring measures are expected to reduce the potential for injury and reduce the amount and intensity of E:\FR\FM\26APN1.SGM 26APN1 17804 Federal Register / Vol. 84, No. 81 / Friday, April 26, 2019 / Notices amozie on DSK9F9SC42PROD with NOTICES behavioral harassment. Furthermore, the pile driving activities analyzed here are similar to, or less impactful than, numerous construction activities conducted in other similar locations which have taken place with no reported injuries or mortality to marine mammals, and no known long-term adverse consequences from behavioral harassment. In summary and as described above, the following factors primarily support our preliminary determination that the impacts resulting from this activity are not expected to adversely affect the species or stock through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival: • No mortality is anticipated or authorized; • Anticipated incidences of Level A harassment would be in the form of a small degree of PTS to a limited number of animals; • Anticipated incidents of Level B harassment consist of, at worst, temporary modifications in behavior; • No biologically important areas have been identified in the vicinity of the project area; • The small percentage of the stock that may be affected by project activities (<10.07 percent for all stocks); and • Efficacy of mitigation measures is expected to minimize the likelihood and severity of the level of harassment. Based on the analysis contained herein of the likely effects of the specified activity on marine mammals and their habitat, and taking into consideration the implementation of the proposed monitoring and mitigation measures, NMFS preliminarily finds that the total marine mammal take from the proposed activity will have a negligible impact on all affected marine mammal species or stocks. Small Numbers As noted above, only small numbers of incidental take may be authorized under Sections 101(a)(5)(A) and (D) of the MMPA for specified activities other than military readiness activities. The MMPA does not define small numbers and so, in practice, where estimated numbers are available, NMFS compares the number of individuals taken to the most appropriate estimation of abundance of the relevant species or stock in our determination of whether an authorization is limited to small numbers of marine mammals. Additionally, other qualitative factors may be considered in the analysis, such as the temporal or spatial scale of the activities. Table 13 depicts the number of animals that could be exposed to Level A and Level B harassment from work VerDate Sep<11>2014 17:28 Apr 25, 2019 Jkt 247001 associated with Chevron’s proposed project. The analysis provided indicates that authorized take would account for no more than 10.07 percent of the populations of the stocks that could be affected. These are small numbers of marine mammals relative to the sizes of the affected stocks. Based on the analysis contained herein of the proposed activity (including the proposed mitigation and monitoring measures) and the anticipated take of marine mammals, NMFS preliminarily finds that small numbers of marine mammals will be taken relative to the population size of the affected species or stocks. Unmitigable Adverse Impact Analysis and Determination There are no relevant subsistence uses of the affected marine mammal stocks or species implicated by this action. Therefore, NMFS has determined that the total taking of affected species or stocks would not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of such species or stocks for taking for subsistence purposes. Endangered Species Act (ESA) Section 7(a)(2) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA: 16 U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) requires that each Federal agency insure that any action it authorizes, funds, or carries out is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any endangered or threatened species or result in the destruction or adverse modification of designated critical habitat. No incidental take of ESA-listed species is proposed for authorization or expected to result from this activity. Therefore, NMFS has determined that formal consultation under section 7 of the ESA is not required for this action. Proposed Authorization As a result of these preliminary determinations, NMFS proposes to issue an IHA to Chevron for conducting pile driving and removal activities at Chevron’s Long Wharf from June 1, 2019 through May 31, 2020, provided the previously mentioned mitigation, monitoring, and reporting requirements are incorporated. A draft of the proposed IHA can be found at https:// www.fisheries.noaa.gov/permit/ incidental-take-authorizations-undermarine-mammal-protection-act. Request for Public Comments We request comment on our analyses, the proposed authorization, and any other aspect of this Notice of Proposed IHA for the proposed action. We also request comment on the potential for PO 00000 Frm 00033 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 9990 renewal of this proposed IHA as described in the paragraph below. Please include with your comments any supporting data or literature citations to help inform our final decision on the request for MMPA authorization. On a case-by-case basis, NMFS may issue a one-year IHA renewal with an expedited public comment period (15 days) when (1) another year of identical or nearly identical activities as described in the Specified Activities section is planned or (2) the activities would not be completed by the time the IHA expires and a second IHA would allow for completion of the activities beyond that described in the Dates and Duration section, provided all of the following conditions are met: • A request for renewal is received no later than 60 days prior to expiration of the current IHA. • The request for renewal must include the following: (1) An explanation that the activities to be conducted under the proposed Renewal are identical to the activities analyzed under the initial IHA, are a subset of the activities, or include changes so minor (e.g., reduction in pile size) that the changes do not affect the previous analyses, mitigation and monitoring requirements, or take estimates (with the exception of reducing the type or amount of take because only a subset of the initially analyzed activities remain to be completed under the Renewal); and (2) A preliminary monitoring report showing the results of the required monitoring to date and an explanation showing that the monitoring results do not indicate impacts of a scale or nature not previously analyzed or authorized. • Upon review of the request for renewal, the status of the affected species or stocks, and any other pertinent information, NMFS determines that there are no more than minor changes in the activities, the mitigation and monitoring measures will remain the same and appropriate, and the findings in the initial IHA remain valid. Dated: April 23, 2019. Catherine Marzin, Acting Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine Fisheries Service. [FR Doc. 2019–08415 Filed 4–25–19; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3510–22–P E:\FR\FM\26APN1.SGM 26APN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 84, Number 81 (Friday, April 26, 2019)]
[Notices]
[Pages 17788-17804]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2019-08415]


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DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

RIN 0648-XG876


Takes of Marine Mammals Incidental to Specified Activities; 
Taking Marine Mammals Incidental to the Chevron Richmond Refinery Long 
Wharf Maintenance and Efficiency Project in San Francisco Bay, 
California

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

ACTION: Notice; proposed incidental harassment authorization; request 
for comments on proposed authorization and possible renewal.

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SUMMARY: NMFS has received a request from Chevron for authorization to 
take marine mammals incidental to pile driving and removal associated 
with the Long Wharf Maintenance and Efficiency Project (LWMEP) in San 
Francisco Bay, California. Pursuant to the Marine Mammal Protection Act 
(MMPA), NMFS is requesting comments on its proposal to issue an 
incidental harassment authorization (IHA) to incidentally take marine 
mammals during the specified activities. NMFS is also requesting 
comments on a possible one-year renewal that could be issued under 
certain circumstances and if all requirements are met, as described in 
Request for Public Comments at the end of this notice. NMFS will 
consider public comments prior to making any final decision on the 
issuance of the requested MMPA authorizations and agency responses will 
be summarized in the final notice of our decision.

DATES: Comments and information must be received no later than May 28, 
2019.

ADDRESSES: Comments should be addressed to Jolie Harrison, Chief, 
Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, 
National Marine Fisheries Service. Physical comments should be sent to 
1315 East-West Highway, Silver Spring, MD 20910 and electronic comments 
should be sent to [email protected].
    Instructions: NMFS is not responsible for comments sent by any 
other method, to any other address or individual, or received after the 
end of the comment period. Comments received electronically, including 
all attachments, must not exceed a 25-megabyte file size. Attachments 
to electronic comments will be accepted in Microsoft Word or Excel or 
Adobe PDF file formats only. All comments received are a part of the 
public record and will generally be posted online at https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/permit/incidental-take-authorizations-under-marine-mammal-protection-act without change. All personal identifying 
information (e.g., name, address) voluntarily submitted by the 
commenter may be publicly accessible. Do not submit confidential 
business information or otherwise sensitive or protected information.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Rob Pauline, Office of Protected 
Resources, NMFS, (301) 427-8401. Electronic copies of the application 
and supporting documents, as well as a list of the references cited in 
this document, may be obtained online at: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/permit/incidental-take-authorizations-under-marine-mammal-protection-act. In case of problems accessing these 
documents, please call the contact listed above.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Background

    The MMPA prohibits the ``take'' of marine mammals, with certain 
exceptions. Sections 101(a)(5)(A) and (D) of the MMPA (16 U.S.C. 1361 
et seq.) direct the Secretary of Commerce (as delegated to NMFS) to 
allow, upon request, the incidental, but not intentional, taking of 
small numbers of marine mammals by U.S. citizens who engage in a 
specified activity (other than commercial fishing) within a specified 
geographical region if certain findings are made and either regulations 
are issued or, if the taking is limited to harassment, a notice of a 
proposed incidental take authorization may be provided to the public 
for review.
    Authorization for incidental takings shall be granted if NMFS finds 
that the taking will have a negligible impact on the species or 
stock(s) and will not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the 
availability of the species or stock(s) for taking for subsistence uses 
(where relevant). Further, NMFS must prescribe the permissible methods 
of taking and other ``means of effecting the least practicable adverse 
impact'' on the affected species or stocks and their habitat, paying 
particular attention to rookeries, mating grounds, and areas of similar 
significance, and on the availability of such species or stocks for 
taking for certain subsistence uses (referred to in shorthand as 
``mitigation''); and requirements pertaining to the mitigation, 
monitoring and reporting of such takings are set forth.

National Environmental Policy Act

    To comply with the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA; 
42 U.S.C. 4321 et seq.) and NOAA Administrative Order (NAO) 216-6A, 
NMFS must review our proposed action (i.e., the issuance of an 
incidental harassment authorization) with respect to potential impacts 
on the human environment.
    This action is consistent with categories of activities identified 
in Categorical Exclusion B4 (incidental harassment authorizations with 
no anticipated serious injury or mortality) of the Companion Manual for 
NOAA Administrative Order 216-6A, which do not individually or 
cumulatively have the potential for significant impacts on the quality 
of the human environment and for which we have not identified any 
extraordinary circumstances that would preclude this categorical 
exclusion. Accordingly, NMFS has preliminarily determined that the 
issuance of the proposed IHA qualifies to be categorically excluded 
from further NEPA review.
    We will review all comments submitted in response to this notice 
prior to concluding our NEPA process or making a final decision on the 
IHA request.

Summary of Request

    On January 17, 2019, NMFS received a request from Chevron for an 
IHA to take marine mammals incidental to pile

[[Page 17789]]

driving and pile removal associated with the LWMEP in San Francisco 
Bay, California. The application was deemed adequate and complete on 
April 8, 2019. Chevron's request is for take of a small number of seven 
species of marine mammals, by Level B harassment and Level A 
harassment. Neither Chevron nor NMFS expects serious injury or 
mortality to result from this activity and, therefore, an IHA is 
appropriate.
    NMFS previously issued an IHA to Chevron for similar work (82 FR 
27240; June 17, 2017). However, the construction schedule and scope was 
revised and no work was conducted under that IHA. NMFS issued a second 
IHA on May 31, 2018 to Chevron for work not conducted in 2017 (83 FR 
27578; June 13, 2018). This newly proposed IHA would cover one year of 
this larger project for which Chevron obtained the prior IHAs, and 
Chevron also intends to request take authorizations for subsequent 
facets of the project. The larger multi-year project involves various 
construction activities that would allow Chevron to comply with Marine 
Oil Terminal Engineering and Maintenance Standards (MOTEMS) and to 
improve safety and efficiency at the Long Wharf. Chevron complied with 
all the requirements (e.g., mitigation, monitoring, and reporting) of 
the previous IHA and information regarding their monitoring results may 
be found in the Estimated Take section.
    Because of the similarity of the work and marine mammal impacts to 
that covered in previous IHAs, we have often cited back to previous 
documents for more detailed descriptions.

Description of Proposed Activity

Overview

    Chevron's Richmond Refinery Long Wharf (Long Wharf) located in San 
Francisco Bay, is the largest marine oil terminal in California. The 
existing configuration of these systems have limitations to accepting 
more modern, fuel efficient vessels with shorter parallel mid-body 
hulls and in some cases do not meet current MOTEMS requirements. The 
purpose of the proposed LWMEP is to comply with current MOTEMS 
requirements and to improve safety and efficiency at the Long Wharf.
    Impact and vibratory pile driving and removal will be employed 
during the proposed construction project. These actions could produce 
underwater sound at levels that could result in the injury or 
behavioral harassment of marine mammal species. The proposed IHA would 
be effective from June 1, 2019 through May 31, 2020.

Dates and Duration

    Pile driving activities would be timed to occur within the standard 
NMFS work windows for Endangered Species Act (ESA)-listed fish species 
(June 1 through November 30) over multiple years. An estimated 67 days 
of pile driving activity within the designated work window are planned 
for 2019. Additional work in the future will require subsequent IHAs. 
The proposed IHA would be effective from June 1, 2019 through May 31, 
2020.

Specific Geographic Region

    The Long Wharf is located in San Francisco Bay (the Bay) just south 
of the eastern terminus of the Richmond-San Rafael Bridge (RSRB) in 
Contra Costa County. The wharf is located in the northern portion of 
the central bay, which is generally defined as the area between the 
RSRB, Golden Gate Bridge, and San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge (SFOBB).
BILLING CODE 3510-22-P

[[Page 17790]]

[GRAPHIC] [TIFF OMITTED] TN26AP19.000

BILLING CODE 3510-22-C

Detailed Description of Specific Activity

    The proposed project would involve modifications at Berths 1, 2, 3, 
and 4 as shown in Figure 1. NMFS refers the reader to the documents 
related to the previously issued 2018 IHA for more detailed description 
of the project activities, which include vibratory

[[Page 17791]]

driving and removal as well as impact pile driving. These previous 
documents include the Federal Register notice of the issuance of the 
2018 IHA for Chevron's LWMEP project (83 FR 27578; June 13, 2018), the 
Federal Register notice of the proposed IHA (83 FR 18802; April 30, 
2018), as well as Chevron's current IHA application for the 2019 work 
season. The current application is requesting take for the pile driving 
that will occur during the 2019 work season as shown in Table 1.

                               Table 1--Pile Driving Summary for 2019 Work Season
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                     Number of       Number of
                   Pile type                            Pile driver type               piles       driving days
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
60-inch steel pipe piles......................  Impact..........................               8               8
36-inch steel template pile (Installation and   Vibratory/Impact Proofing.......               8               4
 removal).
20-inch steel template pile (Installation and   Vibratory.......................               8               4
 removal).
22-inch concrete pile removal.................  Vibratory.......................               5               1
24-inch square concrete.......................  Impact..........................              39              30
12-inch composite barrier piles...............  Vibratory.......................              52              11
Timber pile removal...........................  Vibratory.......................             106               9
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Proposed mitigation, monitoring, and reporting measures are 
described in detail later in this document (please see Proposed 
Mitigation and Proposed Monitoring and Reporting).

Description of Marine Mammals in the Area of Specified Activities

    Table 2 lists species that may occur in the vicinity of the project 
area. A description of the marine mammals in the area of the activities 
is found in the Federal Register notice of the issuance of the 2018 IHA 
for Chevron's LWMEP project (83 FR 27578; June 13, 2018), the Federal 
Register notice of the proposed IHA (83 FR 18802; April 30, 2018), as 
well as Chevron's current IHA application for the 2019 work season.. 
NMFS has reviewed the monitoring data from the initial IHA, recent 
draft Stock Assessment Reports, information on relevant Unusual 
Mortality Events, and other scientific literature, and determined that 
neither this nor any other new information affects which species or 
stocks have the potential to be affected or the pertinent information 
in the Description of the Marine Mammals in the Area of Specified 
Activities contained in the supporting documents for the initial IHA. 
Specifically, the only change from the 2018 IHA is an increase in 
numbers of the eastern north Pacific stock of gray whale which have 
increased 20,990 to 26,960.

                                     Table 2--Marine Mammals Potentially Present in the Vicinity of the Project Area
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                         ESA/MMPA status;    Stock abundance (CV,
             Common name                  Scientific name               Stock             strategic (Y/N)      Nmin, most recent       PBR     Annual M/
                                                                                                \1\          abundance survey) \2\               SI \3\
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                          Order Cetartiodactyla--Cetacea--Superfamily Mysticeti (baleen whales)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Family Eschrichtiidae:
    Gray whale......................  Eschrichtius robustus..  Eastern North Pacific..  -/-; (N)            26,960 (0.05, 25,849,         801        138
                                                                                                             2016).
Family Delphinidae:
    Bottlenose dolphin..............  Tursiops truncatus.....  California Coastal.....  -/-; (N)            453 (0.06, 346, 2011).        2.7      >=2.0
Family Phocoenidae (porpoises):
    Harbor porpoise.................  Phocoena Phocoena......  San Francisco-Russian    -/-; (N)            9,886 (0.51, 6,625,            66          0
                                                                River Stock.                                 2011).
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                         Order Carnivora--Superfamily Pinnipedia
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Family Otariidae (eared seals and
 sea lions):
    California sea lion.............  Zalophus californianus.  Eastern U.S. stock.....  -/-; (N)            296,750 (-, 153,337,        9,200        389
                                                                                                             2011).
    Steller sea lion................  Eumetopias jubatus.....  Eastern U.S. stock.....  -/-; (N)            41,638 (-, 41,638,          2,498        108
                                                                                                             2015).
    Northern fur seal...............  Callorhinus ursinus....  California stock.......  -/-; (N)            14,050 (-, 7,524,             451        1.8
                                                                                                             2013).
Family Phocidae (earless seals):
    Pacific harbor seal.............  Phoca vitulina.........  California stock.......  -/-; (N)            30,968 (-,27,348,           1,641         43
                                                                                                             2012).
    Northern elephant seal..........  Mirounga angustirostris  California Breeding      -/-; (N)            179,000 (-, 81,368,         4,882        8.8
                                                                stock.                                       2010).
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
\1\ Endangered Species Act (ESA) status: Endangered (E), Threatened (T)/MMPA status: Depleted (D). A dash (-) indicates that the species is not listed
  under the ESA or designated as depleted under the MMPA. Under the MMPA, a strategic stock is one for which the level of direct human-caused mortality
  exceeds PBR or which is determined to be declining and likely to be listed under the ESA within the foreseeable future. Any species or stock listed
  under the ESA is automatically designated under the MMPA as depleted and as a strategic stock.
\2\ NMFS marine mammal stock assessment reports online at: https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/marine-mammal-protection/marine-mammal-stock-assessment-reports-region#reports. CV is coefficient of variation; Nmin is the minimum estimate of stock abundance.
\3\ These values, found in NMFS's SARs, represent annual levels of human-caused mortality plus serious injury from all sources combined (e.g.,
  commercial fisheries, ship strike). Annual M/SI often cannot be determined precisely and is in some cases presented as a minimum value or range. A CV
  associated with estimated mortality due to commercial fisheries is presented in some cases.


[[Page 17792]]

Marine Mammal Hearing

    Hearing is the most important sensory modality for marine mammals 
underwater, and exposure to anthropogenic sound can have deleterious 
effects. To appropriately assess the potential effects of exposure to 
sound, it is necessary to understand the frequency ranges marine 
mammals are able to hear. Current data indicate that not all marine 
mammal species have equal hearing capabilities (e.g., Richardson et 
al., 1995; Wartzok and Ketten, 1999; Au and Hastings, 2008). To reflect 
this, Southall et al. (2007) recommended that marine mammals be divided 
into functional hearing groups based on directly measured or estimated 
hearing ranges on the basis of available behavioral response data, 
audiograms derived using auditory evoked potential techniques, 
anatomical modeling, and other data. Note that no direct measurements 
of hearing ability have been successfully completed for mysticetes 
(i.e., low-frequency cetaceans). Subsequently, NMFS (2018) described 
generalized hearing ranges for these marine mammal hearing groups. 
Generalized hearing ranges were chosen based on the approximately 65 
decibel (dB) threshold from the normalized composite audiograms, with 
the exception for lower limits for low-frequency cetaceans where the 
lower bound was deemed to be biologically implausible and the lower 
bound from Southall et al. (2007) retained. Marine mammal hearing 
groups and their associated hearing ranges are provided in Table 3.

                  Table 3--Marine Mammal Hearing Groups
                              [NMFS, 2018]
------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Hearing group                 Generalized hearing range *
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Low-frequency (LF) cetaceans (baleen   7 Hz to 35 kHz.
 whales).
Mid-frequency (MF) cetaceans           150 Hz to 160 kHz.
 (dolphins, toothed whales, beaked
 whales, bottlenose whales).
High-frequency (HF) cetaceans (true    275 Hz to 160 kHz.
 porpoises, Kogia, river dolphins,
 cephalorhynchid, Lagenorhynchus
 cruciger & L. australis).
Phocid pinnipeds (PW) (underwater)     50 Hz to 86 kHz.
 (true seals).
Otariid pinnipeds (OW) (underwater)    60 Hz to 39 kHz.
 (sea lions and fur seals).
------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Represents the generalized hearing range for the entire group as a
  composite (i.e., all species within the group), where individual
  species' hearing ranges are typically not as broad. Generalized
  hearing range chosen based on ~65 dB threshold from normalized
  composite audiogram, with the exception for lower limits for LF
  cetaceans (Southall et al. 2007) and PW pinniped (approximation).

    The pinniped functional hearing group was modified from Southall et 
al. (2007) on the basis of data indicating that phocid species have 
consistently demonstrated an extended frequency range of hearing 
compared to otariids, especially in the higher frequency range 
(Hemil[auml] et al., 2006; Kastelein et al., 2009; Reichmuth and Holt, 
2013).
    For more detail concerning these groups and associated frequency 
ranges, please see NMFS (2018) for a review of available information. 
Seven marine mammal species (three cetacean and four pinniped (two 
otariid and two phocid) species) have the reasonable potential to co-
occur with the proposed survey activities. Of the cetacean species that 
may be present, one is classified as a low-frequency cetacean (i.e., 
gray whale), one is classified as a mid-frequency cetacean (i.e., 
bottlenose dolphin), and one is classified as a high-frequency cetacean 
(i.e., harbor porpoise).

Potential Effects of Specified Activities on Marine Mammals and Their 
Habitat

    A description of the potential effects of the specified activities 
on marine mammals and their habitat may be found in the Federal 
Register notice of the issuance of the 2018 IHA for Chevron's LWMEP 
project (83 FR 27578; June 13, 2018) and the Federal Register notice of 
the proposed IHA (83 FR 18802; April 30, 2018). This information 
remains applicable to the issuance of the proposed 2019 IHA. NMFS has 
reviewed the monitoring data from the initial IHA and other scientific 
literature, and found no new information that would affect our initial 
analysis of impacts on marine mammals and their habitat.
    The Estimated Take by Incidental Harassment section later in this 
document includes a quantitative analysis of the number of individuals 
that are expected to be taken by this activity. The Negligible Impact 
Analysis and Determination section considers the content of this 
section, the Estimated Take by Incidental Harassment section, and the 
Proposed Mitigation section, to draw conclusions regarding the likely 
impacts of these activities on the reproductive success or survivorship 
of individuals and how those impacts on individuals are likely to 
impact marine mammal species or stocks.

Estimated Take

    This section provides an estimate of the number of incidental takes 
proposed for authorization through this IHA, which will inform both 
NMFS' consideration of ``small numbers'' and the negligible impact 
determination.
    Harassment is the only type of take expected to result from these 
activities. Except with respect to certain activities not pertinent 
here, section 3(18) of the MMPA defines ``harassment'' as any act of 
pursuit, torment, or annoyance, which (i) has the potential to injure a 
marine mammal or marine mammal stock in the wild (Level A harassment); 
or (ii) has the potential to disturb a marine mammal or marine mammal 
stock in the wild by causing disruption of behavioral patterns, 
including, but not limited to, migration, breathing, nursing, breeding, 
feeding, or sheltering (Level B harassment).
    Authorized takes would primarily be by Level B harassment, as use 
of the acoustic source (i.e., pile driving) has the potential to result 
in disruption of behavioral patterns for individual marine mammals. 
There is also some potential for limited auditory injury (Level A 
harassment) to result, primarily for high frequency species (harbor 
porpoises) because predicted auditory injury zones are larger than for 
other functional hearing groups and for phocids (harbor seals) as there 
is a sizable harbor seal haulout (Castro Rocks) located in close 
proximity to the project area. The proposed mitigation and monitoring 
measures are expected to minimize the severity of such taking to the 
extent practicable.
    As described previously, no mortality is anticipated or proposed to 
be authorized for this activity. Below we describe how the take is 
estimated.
    Generally speaking, we estimate take by considering: (1) Acoustic 
thresholds above which NMFS believes the best available science 
indicates marine mammals will be behaviorally harassed or incur some 
degree of permanent

[[Page 17793]]

hearing impairment; (2) the area or volume of water that will be 
ensonified above these levels in a day; (3) the density or occurrence 
of marine mammals within these ensonified areas; and, (4) and the 
number of days of activities. We note that while these basic factors 
can contribute to a basic calculation to provide an initial prediction 
of takes, additional information that can qualitatively inform take 
estimates is also sometimes available (e.g., previous monitoring 
results or average group size). Below, we describe the factors 
considered here in more detail and present the proposed take estimate.

Acoustic Thresholds

    Using the best available science, NMFS has developed acoustic 
thresholds that identify the received level of underwater sound above 
which exposed marine mammals would be reasonably expected to be 
behaviorally harassed (equated to Level B harassment) or to incur PTS 
of some degree (equated to Level A harassment).
    Level B Harassment for non-explosive sources--Though significantly 
driven by received level, the onset of behavioral disturbance from 
anthropogenic noise exposure is also informed to varying degrees by 
other factors related to the source (e.g., frequency, predictability, 
duty cycle), the environment (e.g., bathymetry), and the receiving 
animals (hearing, motivation, experience, demography, behavioral 
context) and can be difficult to predict (Southall et al., 2007). Based 
on what the available science indicates and the practical need to use a 
threshold based on a factor that is both predictable and measurable for 
most activities, NMFS uses a generalized acoustic threshold based on 
received level to estimate the onset of behavioral harassment. NMFS 
predicts that marine mammals are likely to be behaviorally harassed in 
a manner we consider Level B harassment when exposed to underwater 
anthropogenic noise above received levels of 120 dB re 1 microPascal, 
root mean square ([mu]Pa (rms) for continuous (e.g., vibratory pile-
driving), and above 160 dB re 1 [mu]Pa (rms) for non-explosive 
impulsive (e.g., seismic airguns) or intermittent (e.g., scientific 
sonar) sources.
    Chevron's proposed activity includes the use of continuous 
(vibratory pile driving and removal) and intermittent (impact pile 
driving) sources and, therefore, the 120 and 160 dB re 1 [mu]Pa (rms) 
are applicable.
    Level A harassment for non-explosive sources--NMFS' Technical 
Guidance for Assessing the Effects of Anthropogenic Sound on Marine 
Mammal Hearing (Version 2.0) (NMFS, 2018) identifies dual criteria to 
assess auditory injury (Level A harassment) to five different marine 
mammal groups (based on hearing sensitivity) as a result of exposure to 
noise from two different types of sources (impulsive or non-impulsive). 
Chevron's proposed activity includes the use of impulsive (impact pile 
driving) and non-impulsive (vibratory pile driving and removal) 
sources.
    These thresholds are provided in Table 4 below. The references, 
analysis, and methodology used in the development of the thresholds are 
described in NMFS 2018 Technical Guidance, which may be accessed at 
https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/national/marine-mammal-protection/marine-mammal-acoustic-technical-guidance.

                     Table 4--Thresholds Identifying the Onset of Permanent Threshold Shift
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                    PTS onset acoustic thresholds \*\ (received level)
             Hearing group              ------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                  Impulsive                         Non-impulsive
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Low-Frequency (LF) Cetaceans...........  Cell 1: Lpk,flat: 219 dB;   Cell 2: LE,LF,24h: 199 dB.
                                          LE,LF,24h: 183 dB.
Mid-Frequency (MF) Cetaceans...........  Cell 3: Lpk,flat: 230 dB;   Cell 4: LE,MF,24h: 198 dB.
                                          LE,MF,24h: 185 dB.
High-Frequency (HF) Cetaceans..........  Cell 5: Lpk,flat: 202 dB;   Cell 6: LE, HF,24h: 173 dB.
                                          LE,HF,24h: 155 dB.
Phocid Pinnipeds (PW) (Underwater).....  Cell 7: Lpk,flat: 218 dB;   Cell 8: LE,PW,24h: 201 dB.
                                          LE,PW,24h: 185 dB.
Otariid Pinnipeds (OW) (Underwater)....  Cell 9: Lpk,flat: 232 dB;   Cell 10: LE,OW,24h: 219 dB.
                                          LE,OW,24h: 203 dB.
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Dual metric acoustic thresholds for impulsive sounds: Use whichever results in the largest isopleth for
  calculating PTS onset. If a non-impulsive sound has the potential of exceeding the peak sound pressure level
  thresholds associated with impulsive sounds, these thresholds should also be considered.
Note: Peak sound pressure (Lpk) has a reference value of 1 [mu]Pa, and cumulative sound exposure level (LE) has
  a reference value of 1[mu]Pa\2\s. In this Table, thresholds are abbreviated to reflect American National
  Standards Institute standards (ANSI 2013). However, peak sound pressure is defined by ANSI as incorporating
  frequency weighting, which is not the intent for this Technical Guidance. Hence, the subscript ``flat'' is
  being included to indicate peak sound pressure should be flat weighted or unweighted within the generalized
  hearing range. The subscript associated with cumulative sound exposure level thresholds indicates the
  designated marine mammal auditory weighting function (LF, MF, and HF cetaceans, and PW and OW pinnipeds) and
  that the recommended accumulation period is 24 hours. The cumulative sound exposure level thresholds could be
  exceeded in a multitude of ways (i.e., varying exposure levels and durations, duty cycle). When possible, it
  is valuable for action proponents to indicate the conditions under which these acoustic thresholds will be
  exceeded.

Ensonified Area

    Here, we describe operational and environmental parameters of the 
activity that will feed into identifying the area ensonified above the 
acoustic thresholds, which include source levels and transmission loss 
coefficient.

Source Levels

    The project includes impact pile driving, vibratory pile driving 
and vibratory pile removal. Source levels of pile driving activities 
are based on hydroacoustic testing performed in 2018 at the LWMEP 
location as well as reviews of measurements of the same or similar 
types and dimensions of piles available in the literature. Based on 
this information, the source levels described below are assumed for the 
underwater noise produced by construction activities.
    Eight batter steel pipe piles, 60-inch diameter would be installed 
adjacent to the existing Wharf structure to retrofit the Berth 4 
loading platform to limit displacement in a seismic event. An impact 
driver will be used to install these piles, as it is difficult to 
vibrate in batter piles and these piles have very high axial design 
loads that can only be achieved by impact driving methods.
    Other projects conducted under similar circumstances were reviewed 
in order to estimate the approximate noise effects of the 60-inch steel 
piles. The best match found for sound source levels is from summary 
values provided by Caltrans in their hydroacoustic guidance document 
(Caltrans 2015). Summary values for the impact pile driving of 60-inch 
steel pipe piles indicates that noise levels of up to 210 peak, 185 dB 
SEL (single strike), and 195 RMS would be produced at 10

[[Page 17794]]

meters during pile driving using no sound attenuation such as a bubble 
curtain. The use of properly functioning bubble curtains is expected to 
reduce the peak and RMS noise levels by about 7 dB. As a result, noise 
levels of 203 dB peak, 178 dB SEL (single strike), and 188 dB are 
utilized to assess potential acoustic impacts.
    It is expected that just one 60-inch pile would be driven over one 
(1) hour of active driving in a given day and that only one (1) pile 
would be installed in a given week. Installation could require up to 
2,400 blows from an impact hammer, such as a HHK-16 or similar diesel 
hammer, producing approximately 173,000 to 217,000 ft. lbs. maximum 
energy per blow and 1.5 to 2 sec/blow average. As noted above, bubble 
curtains will be used during the installation of the 60-inch steel pipe 
piles in order to reduce underwater noise levels, with an assumed 
attenuation of 7 dB. NMFS acknowledges that noise level reductions 
measured at different project locations as well as different received 
ranges can vary widely. However, NMFS believes it reasonable to use a 
source level reduction factor for sound attenuation device 
implementation during impact pile driving. NMFS reviewed Caltrans' 
bubble curtain ``on and off'' studies conducted in San Francisco Bay in 
2003 and 2004. Based on near distance measurements (a total of 28 
measurements, with 14 during bubble curtain on and 14 during bubble 
curtain off), the linear averaged noise level reduction is 7 dB. As a 
conservative approach, NMFS will use a standard reduction of 7 dB of 
the source level for impact zone estimates.
    Installation of 24-inch diameter square concrete piles is proposed 
for the modifications at the four berths. Approximately one to two of 
these piles would be installed in one work day, using impact driving 
methods and a bubble curtain attenuation system. Based on measured blow 
counts for 24-inch concrete piles driven at the Long Wharf Berth 4 in 
2011, installation for each pile could require up to approximately 300 
blows from a DelMag D62 22 or similar diesel hammer, producing 
approximately 165,000 ft lbs maximum energy (may not need full energy) 
and 1.5 second per blow average over a duration of approximately 20 
minutes per pile, with 40 minutes of pile driving time per day if two 
(2) piles are installed.
    To estimate the noise effects of the 24-inch square concrete piles, 
the underwater noise measurements recorded for this pile type at the 
Long Wharf during the 2018 construction season are utilized. These 
measured values were: 191 dB peak, 161 dB SEL (single strike), and 173 
dB RMS during attenuated impact driving (AECOM 2018).
    As part of the Berth 4 Loading Platform seismic retrofit, four (4) 
clusters of 13 composite piles (52 piles total) will be installed to 
provide protection to the infrastructure. These plastic encased 
concrete piles would be installed with a vibratory pile driver (APE 
400B King Kong or similar vibratory driver), with a drive time of 
approximately 10 minutes per pile. Up to five (5) of these piles could 
be installed in any single work day.
    Projects conducted under similar circumstances with similar piles 
were reviewed in order to approximate the noise effects of the 12-inch 
composite barrier piles. Since these piles will be composed of concrete 
encased in plastic, vibratory installation of similarly sized concrete 
piles would provide a good surrogate. However, concrete piles are 
rarely installed with a vibratory driver, and no suitable data could be 
located. In the absence of this data, we are conservatively using data 
from the Anacortes Ferry Terminal in Washington State, where 13-inch 
plastic coated steel piles were installed with a vibratory hammer. RMS 
noise levels produced during this installation varied from 138 to 158 
dB RMS at 43 meters (141 feet) from the pile (Laughlin 2012). From 
these measurements, a peak noise value of 178 dB and an average RMS 
value of 168 dB normalized to a 10 meter (33 feet) distance was used to 
estimate the extent of underwater noise from installation of the 12-
inch composite piles. During installation of the 12-inch composite 
barrier piles for the proposed Project, up to 50 minutes of vibratory 
driving could occur per day.
    For the Berth 4 Loading Platform seismic retrofit, eight (8) 36-
inch diameter temporary steel piles would be installed using a 
vibratory pile driver (APE 400B King Kong or similar vibratory driver) 
will be needed to support the guide template for the driving of the 
permanent 60-inch steel pipe piles. Each 36-inch temporary pile has an 
estimated drive time of approximately 10 minutes per pile. Up to four 
(4) of these piles could be installed in any single work day.
    Projects conducted under similar circumstances with similar piles 
were reviewed in order to approximate the noise effects of the 36-inch 
steel pipe. The best match for estimated noise levels is from the 
Explosive Handling Wharf-2 (EHW-2) project located at the Naval Base 
Kitsap in Bangor, Washington (Illingworth and Rodkin 2013) During 
vibratory pile driving associated with this Project, which occurred 
under similar circumstances, average peak noise levels were 
approximately 180 dB, and the RMS was approximately 170 dB at a 10 
meter (33 feet) distance (Caltrans 2015a). Installation of the 36-inch 
steel pipe piles is expected to be require 40 minutes per day.
    In total, two of the eight 36-inch temporary piles will require 
proofing using an impact hammer. Each pile will require up to 30 
strikes from an impact hammer during proofing which will take place 
during the last foot of pile driving. Up to two (2) piles would be 
proofed in one day, with each pile requiring up to 30 strikes from an 
impact hammer, for a total of 60 strikes in one day. The best match 
found for sound source levels is from summary values provided by 
Caltrans in their hydroacoustic guidance document (Caltrans 2015). 
Summary values for the impact pile driving of 36-inch steel pipe piles 
in water less than 5m deep indicates that noise levels of up to 210 
peak, 180 dB SEL (single strike), and 193 RMS would be produced at 10 
meters during pile driving. Since impact hammers are often operated at 
reduced power output during proofing, the source levels are likely to 
be lower than the values for impact driving used here. Due to very 
limited time that pile proofing would occur (60 strikes total, over a 
few minutes of active hammering) no sound attenuation would be used.
    The Berth 4 Loading Platform seismic retrofit will require 
vibratory installation of, eight (8) 20-inch diameter temporary steel 
piles (APE 400B King Kong or similar vibratory driver) to support the 
guide template needed for the driving the permanent 60-inch steel pipe 
piles. Each 20-inch temporary pile has a drive time per pile of 
approximately 10 minutes. Up to four (4) of these piles could be 
installed in any single work day. The best match for estimated noise 
levels is from vibratory driving of 24-inch piles at the Explosive 
Handling Wharf-2 (EHW-2) project located at the Naval Base Kitsap in 
Bangor, Washington (Illingworth and Rodkin 2013). During vibratory pile 
driving associated with this Project, which occurred under similar 
circumstances, measured peak noise levels were approximately 180 dB, 
and the RMS was approximately 163 dB at a 10 meter (33 feet) distance 
(Illingworth and Rodkin 2013). During installation of the 20-inch steel 
pipe piles will require approximately 40 minutes per day.
    The project includes the removal of 106 16-inch timber piles, and 
five (5) 18

[[Page 17795]]

to 24-inch square concrete piles using a vibratory pile driver. Up to 
12 of these piles could be extracted in one (1) work day. Extraction 
time needed for each pile may vary greatly, but could require 
approximately 400 seconds (approximately seven (7) minutes) from an APE 
400B King Kong or similar driver. The most applicable noise values for 
wooden pile removal from which to base estimates for the LWMEP are 
derived from measurements taken at the Pier 62/63 pile removal in 
Seattle, Washington. During vibratory pile extraction associated with 
this Project, which occurred under similar circumstances, the RMS was 
approximately 152 dB (WSDOT 2011). Applicable sound values for the 
removal of concrete piles could not be located, but they are expected 
to be similar to the levels produced by wooden piles described above, 
as they are similarly sized, non-metallic, and will be removed using 
the same methods.
    For pile driving that does not have project specific hydroacoustic 
data available, the practical spreading model with a transmission loss 
coefficient of 15 (4.5 dB per doubling of distance) is used. However, 
project-specific transmission loss values have been measured for the 
impact driving of concrete piles and the vibratory driving of concrete 
piles. For those types of pile driving, a transmission loss factor of 
20 (~8 dB per doubling of distance) has been measured and will be 
applied. This value is calculated from hydroacoustic monitoring of 
vibratory driving of steel piles and attenuated impact driving of 
concrete piles conducted as part of the LWMEP. The results of the 2018 
hydroacoustic monitoring are provided in Appendix A of the application.
    When the NMFS Technical Guidance (2016) was published, in 
recognition of the fact that ensonified area/volume could be more 
technically challenging to predict because of the duration component in 
the new thresholds, we developed a User Spreadsheet that includes tools 
to help predict a simple isopleth that can be used in conjunction with 
marine mammal density or occurrence to help predict takes. We note that 
because of some of the assumptions included in the methods used for 
these tools, we anticipate that isopleths produced are typically going 
to be overestimates of some degree, which may result in some degree of 
overestimate of Level A harassment take. However, these tools offer the 
best way to predict appropriate isopleths when more sophisticated 3D 
modeling methods are not available, and NMFS continues to develop ways 
to quantitatively refine these tools, and will qualitatively address 
the output where appropriate. For stationary sources (such as impact 
and vibratory pile driving), NMFS User Spreadsheet predicts the closest 
distance at which, if a marine mammal remained at that distance the 
whole duration of the activity, it would not incur PTS. Inputs used in 
the User Spreadsheet, and the resulting isopleths are reported below in 
Table 5.

                                                                              Table 5--Inputs for User Spreadsheet
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
       Spreadsheet tab used                             E.1-2: Impact pile driving                                                       A.1: Vibratory driving
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
            Pile type                  60-inch steel         24-inch concrete        36-inch steel        12-inch Composite        36-inch steel          20-inch steel        Wood/ concrete
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Source Level.....................  178 SEL..............  161 SEL..............  180 SEL..............  168 RMS..............  170 RMS..............  150 RMS.............  152 RMS.
Weighting Factor Adjustment (kHz)  2....................  2....................  2....................  2.5..................  2.5..................  2.5.................  2.5.
Number of strikes in 1 h OR        2,400................  300..................  30...................  NA...................  NA...................  NA..................  NA.
 number of strikes per pile.
Number of piles per day..........  1....................  2....................  2....................  5....................  4....................  4...................  12.
Propagation (xLogR)..............  15...................  20...................  15...................  15...................  20...................  20..................  15.
Duration to Drive single pile      NA...................  NA...................  NA...................  10...................  10...................  10..................  7.
 (minutes).
Distance of source level           10...................  10...................  10...................  10...................  10...................  10..................  10.
 measurement (meters).
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Table 6 shows the Level A harassment isopleths as determined 
utilizing inputs from Table 5. Note that for all calculations, the 
results based on SELss are larger than SPLpk, 
therefore, distances calculated using SELss are used to 
calculate the area. Level B Harassment isopleths for impact and 
vibratory driving and extraction are shown in Table 7.

                              Table 6--Radial Distances to Level A Harassment Isopleths During Impact and Vibratory Driving
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                               Source levels at 10 meters  (dB)                  Distance to Level A threshold in meters  (feet)
                                     -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
   Project element requiring pile                                                            Low-         Mid-        High-
            installation                        Peak                    RMS/SEL           frequency    frequency    frequency      Phocid      Otariid
                                                                                          cetaceans    cetaceans    cetaceans    pinnipeds    pinnipeds
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Attenuated Impact Driving (with
 bubble curtain):
    60-inch steel pipe (1 per day)..  203.....................  178 SEL................  831 (2,726)      30 (97)  990 (3,247)  445 (1,459)     32 (106)
    24-inch square concrete (1-2 per  191.....................  161 SEL................      19 (64)        2 (5)      22 (73)      12 (40)        2 (6)
     day).
Impact Pile Proofing (no bubble
 curtain):
    36-inch steel pipe pile (2        210.....................  180 SEL................     97 (317)       3 (11)    115 (377)     52 (170)       4 (12)
     total).
Vibratory Driving/Extraction:

[[Page 17796]]

 
    12-inch Composite Barrier Pile    178.....................  168 RMS................      18 (58)        2 (5)      26 (86)      11 (35)        1 (2)
     (5 per day).
    36-inch steel pipe pile (4 per    195.....................  170 RMS................      17 (57)        3 (9)      23 (76)      12 (39)        2 (5)
     day).
    20-inch steel pipe pile (4 per    180.....................  163 RMS................       8 (25)        1 (4)      10 (34)       5 (17)        1 (2)
     day).
    Wood and concrete pile            No Data.................  152 RMS................        2 (7)       0 (<1)       3 (10)        1 (4)       0 (<1)
     extraction (12 per day).
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


          Table 7--Radial Distances to Level B Harassment Isopleths During Impact and Vibratory Driving
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                  Source levels at 10 meters       Distance to
                                                                             (dB)                threshold 160/
                           Pile type                           --------------------------------    120 dB RMS
                                                                                                  (Level B)  in
                                                                     Peak             RMS        meters  (feet)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Attenuated Impact Driving (with Bubble curtain):
    60-inch steel pipe (1 per day)............................             203             188       736 (2,413)
    24-inch square concrete (1-2 per day).....................             191             173          45 (147)
Impact Pile Proofing (no Bubble curtain):
    36-inch steel pipe pile (2 total).........................             210             193     1,585 (5,198)
Vibratory Driving/Extraction:
    12-Inch Composite Barrier Piles (5 per day)...............             178             168   15,849 (51,984)
    36-inch steel pipe pile (4 per day).......................             180             170    3,162 (10,372)
    20-inch steel pipe pile (4 per day).......................             180             163     1,413 (4,633)
    Wood and concrete pile extraction (12 per day)............               *             152     1,359 (4,459)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* No Data Available.

Marine Mammal Occurrence

    In this section we provide the information about the presence, 
density, or group dynamics of marine mammals that will inform the take 
calculations.
    For the 2019 IHA application, a combination of nearby haul-out 
occupancy and at-sea densities were used to develop take estimates, in 
order to account for both local movements of harbor seals that haul out 
at Castro Rocks and other individuals that may be foraging in the more 
distant part of the Level B Harassment zone. By using hydroacoustic 
data collected in 2018, extent of the harassment zones was refined for 
vibratory driving of steel piles and attenuated impact driving of 
concrete piles by using the transmission loss measured during 2018 
project (20logr). As the Level B Harassment zones estimated for the 
2019 IHA are generally more localized, only the occupancy from the 
local Castro Rocks haul-out is used.
    Castro Rocks, located approximately 1.3 km northwest of the project 
site, is the largest harbor seal haul out site in the northern part of 
San Francisco Bay and is the second largest pupping site in the Bay 
(Green et al. 2002). Tidal stage is a major controlling factor of haul 
out usage at Castro Rocks with more seals present during low tides than 
high tide periods (Green et al. 2002). Additionally, the number of 
seals hauled out at Castro Rocks also varies with the time of day, with 
proportionally more animals hauled out during the nighttime hours 
(Green et al. 2002). Therefore, the number of harbor seals in the water 
around Castro Rocks will vary throughout the work period. Pile driving 
would occur intermittently during the day with average active driving 
times typically of a few hours per day, so varying sets of animals may 
be hauled out or in the water. However, there are no systematic counts 
available for accurately estimating the number of seals that may be in 
the water near the Long Wharf at any given time. The National Park 
Service provided recent data indicating that up to 176 seals could be 
present each day at Castro Rocks. This value was conservatively based 
on the highest mean plus the standard error of harbor seals observed at 
Castro Rocks per day (Codde, S. and S. Allen. 2013, 2015, and 2017), a 
value of 176 seals. The 2018 draft Long Wharf marine mammal monitoring 
report indicated that 24 harbor seals were observed within the Level B 
harassment zone and zero individuals were observed within the Level A 
harassment zone over 10 days of pile driving, which equals less than 1 
percent of the authorized number of harbor seals with an average of 2.4 
animals per day. The maximum number observed per day was six.
    Since there are no California sea lion haul-outs in the vicinity of 
the project area, relatively few animals are expected to be present. 
However, monitoring for the RSRB did observe limited numbers in the 
north and central portions of the Bay during working hours. During 
monitoring for the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge (SFOBB) Project in 
the central Bay, 83 California sea lions were observed in the vicinity 
of the bridge over a 17-year period from 2000-2017, and from these 
observations, an estimated at-sea density of 0.16 animals per square 
kilometer is derived (NMFS 2018). This bridge is located approximately 
25 km south of the LWMEP location and is considered by NMFS to be the 
best available information. The 2018 Long Wharf draft monitoring report 
did not record any observations of sea lions.
    Small numbers of northern elephant seal may haul out or strand on 
coastline

[[Page 17797]]

within the Central Bay. Monitoring of marine mammals in the vicinity of 
the SFOBB has been ongoing for 15 years. From those data, Caltrans has 
produced an estimated at-sea density for northern elephant seal of 0.16 
animal per square mile (0.06 animal per square kilometer) (Caltrans, 
2015b). Most sightings of northern elephant seal in San Francisco Bay 
occur in spring or early summer, and are less likely to occur during 
the periods of in-water work for this project. As a result, densities 
during pile driving for the proposed action are likely to be lower. 
Additionally, this species was not observed by the marine mammal 
observers in the vicinity of the Long Wharf during 2018 pile driving 
monitoring.
    The occurrence of northern fur seal in San Francisco Bay depends 
largely on oceanic conditions, with animals more likely to strand 
during El Ni[ntilde]o events. Equatorial sea surface temperatures are 
above average across most of the Pacific Ocean this year, and El 
Ni[ntilde]o is expected to continue through winter of 2019 and into 
spring (NOAA 2019). There are no estimated at-sea densities for this 
species in San Francisco Bay and no seals were recorded during 2018 
Long Wharf marine mammal monitoring.
    A small but growing population of harbor porpoises utilizes San 
Francisco Bay which are typically spotted in the vicinity of Angel 
Island and the Golden Gate (6 and 12 kilometers [3.7 and 7.5 miles] 
southwest respectively) and the vicinity of Treasure Island (Caltrans 
2018). However, they may occur in other areas in the Central Bay in low 
numbers, including the project area. Based on monitoring conducted for 
the SFOBB project in 2017, an in-water density of 0.17 animals per 
square kilometer has been estimated by Caltrans for this species (NMFS 
2018). No members of this species were recorded during 2018 during pile 
driving activities at LWMEP.
    Bottlenose dolphins are typically found close to the Golden Gate 
Bridge when they are observed in San Francisco Bay. There are no 
estimated at-sea densities for this species in San Francisco Bay 
available for calculating a take estimate. Beginning in 2015, two 
individuals have been observed frequently in the vicinity of Oyster 
Point (GGCR 2018; Perlman, 2017). The average reported group size for 
bottlenose dolphins is five. Reports show that a group normally comes 
into San Francisco Bay, is near Yerba Buena Island once per week for 
approximately two (2) weeks and then leaves (NMFS, 2017).
    Gray whales have been observed entering the Bay during their 
northward migration period, and are most often sighted in the Bay 
between February and May. Most venture only about 2 to 3 km (about 1-2 
miles) past the Golden Gate. However, gray whales have occasionally 
been sighted as far north as San Pablo Bay. Pile driving is not 
expected to occur during the February-May period, and gray whales are 
not likely to be present at other times of year. No whales were 
observed as part of 2018 Long Wharf marine mammal monitoring 
activities.

Take Calculation and Estimation

    Here we describe how the information provided above is brought 
together to produce a quantitative take estimate.
    When density data was available, take for the project was 
calculated by multiplying the density times the harassment zone (km\2\) 
associated with pile driving activities that are underway times the 
number of construction days. Since density data was only available for 
harbor seals, harbor porpoises, and California sea lions, these were 
the only species whose take was calculated using this methodology. For 
species without density information, information on average group size 
or local observational data was used as described below.

Pacific Harbor Seal

    Chevron initially estimated that all harbor seals (176) at Castro 
Rocks would be exposed to noise that reaches the threshold for Level B 
harassment on every day on which there was pile driving. The areas of 
the Level A harassment zones in which take by injury could occur were 
determined by subtracting the shutdown zone areas from Level A 
harassment zone areas. Estimated Level A take for impact driving of the 
60-inch and 36-inch steel piles was then estimated by taking Level B 
take and multiplying it by the ratio of the Level A zone area to the 
Level B zone area. Level A take is not requested for vibratory driving. 
This resulted in an estimated 11,968 takes by Level B harassment and 
513 takes by Level A harassment. However, given that the 2018 IHA, 
overestimated the amount of authorized seal takes by a considerable 
margin (based on recorded <1 percent of the authorized number of takes 
observed), this initial 2019 estimate is likely to also be too high. 
Therefore, NMFS proposes to conservatively assume that only 25 percent 
of these initially calculated take numbers will actually occur, 
resulting in a proposal of 2,992 takes by Level B harassment and 128 
takes by Level A harassment. Even in consideration of animals that were 
likely taken but not detected, this results in a likely conservative 
average of 47 harbor seal takes per day.

                    Table 8--Level A and Level B Harassment Estimate for Pacific Harbor Seal
                                                    [Per Day]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                      Estimated take per day
                                  Level B zone   Exclusion zone   Level A zone,  -------------------------------
           Pile type                 (sq km)       radius (m)     minus shutdown   Level B take    Level A take
                                                                   zone (sq km)   per day--total  per day--total
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                Vibratory Driving
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
12-inch composite pile.........          165.62              15                0             176              NA
36-inch steel pipe pile........           22.90              15                0             176              NA
20-inch steel pipe pile........            5.72              10                0             176              NA
Timber/Concrete Pile Removal...            5.33              15                0             176              NA
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                 Impact Driving
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
24-inch concrete pile..........            0.01              20                0             176              NA
60-inch steel pile.............            1.70              30             0.62             176           64.06
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                 Impact Proofing
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
36-inch steel pile.............            6.92              30             0.01             176            0.14
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 17798]]

    For impact pile driving of the 60-inch steel piles, the proposed 
shutdown zones (30 m) are notably smaller than the Level A harassment 
zone and the applicant has accordingly requested take by Level A 
harassment for harbor seal so that pile driving can be completed on 
schedule without frequent shutdowns. Individuals occurring within the 
Level A harassment zone but outside of the shut-down zone may 
experience Level A harassment, if they reside in that area for a long 
enough duration. However, these animals can be highly mobile, and 
remaining within the small injury zone for an extended period is 
unlikely, though it could occur.

California Sea Lion

    Monitoring data from the SFOBB Project over a 17-year period was 
used to develop a density of 0.16 California sea lions per square 
kilometer. This density and the areas of the potential Level B 
Harassment zones are used in Table 9. Level A harassment take of this 
species is not requested, due to the small size of the Level A 
harassment zone for otariid pinnipeds.

      Table 9--Level B Harassment Estimate for California Sea Lion
                                [per day]
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                           Level B take
                                                             estimate
                                                             (based on
                Pile type                  Level B zone     Central Bay
                                              (km\2\)       density of
                                                           0.16 animals
                                                            per km\2\ )
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                            Vibratory Driving
------------------------------------------------------------------------
12-inch composite pile..................          165.62           26.50
36-inch steel pipe pile.................           22.90            3.66
20-inch steel pipe pile.................            5.72            0.91
Timber/Concrete Pile Removal............            5.33            0.85
------------------------------------------------------------------------
                             Impact Driving
------------------------------------------------------------------------
24-inch concrete pile...................            0.01            0.01
60-inch steel pile......................            1.70            0.27
-----------------------------------------
             Impact Proofing
------------------------------------------------------------------------
36-inch steel pile......................            6.92            1.11
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Harbor Porpoise

    Based on monitoring conducted for the SFOBB project in 2017, an in-
water density of 0.17 animals per square kilometer has been estimated 
by Caltrans for this species (NMFS 2018). Using this in-water density 
and the areas of potential Level A and Level B harassment, take is 
estimated for harbor porpoise as provided in Table 10. Level A 
harassment zone areas in which PTS could occur were determined by 
subtracting the shutdown zone areas from Level A harassment zone areas. 
Level A take is not requested for vibratory driving.

                  Table 10--Level A and Level B Harassment Estimate for Pacific Harbor Porpoise
                                                    [Per day]
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                      Level B
                                                                   Level A zone,     estimate        Estimated
            Pile type              Level B zone   Exclusion zone       minus      Central Bay in-  Level A take
                                      (km\2\)           (m)       shutdown  zone    water--0.17       per day
                                                                      (km\2\)        per km\2\
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                Vibratory Driving
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
12-inch composite barrier pile..          165.62              50              NA           28.16              NA
36-inch steel pipe pile.........           22.90              50              NA            3.89              NA
20-inch steel pipe pile.........            5.72              50              NA            0.97              NA
Timber/Concrete Pile Removal....            5.33              50              NA            0.91              NA
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                 Impact Driving
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
24-inch concrete pile...........            0.01              50               0            0.01               0
60-inch steel pile..............            0.21              50            0.23            0.29            0.52
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                 Impact Proofing
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
36-inch steel pile..............            0.31              80               0            1.18           <0.01
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


[[Page 17799]]

Northern Elephant Seal

    As noted above, elephant seal densities are expected to be 
extremely low. Therefore, Chevron did not use density data to calculate 
take. Additionally, this species was not observed by the marine mammal 
observers in the vicinity of the LWMEP during 2018 pile driving marine 
mammal monitoring activities. Therefore, Caltrans will conservatively 
assume that a lone northern elephant seal may enter the Level B 
Harassment area once per every three days during pile driving. As such, 
Chevron requests and NMFS proposes to authorize a total of 23 takes by 
Level B harassment. Level A harassment of this species is not expected 
to occur.

Northern Fur Seal

    With weak El Ni[ntilde]o conditions predicted to continue into 
spring and, perhaps, summer (NOAA 2019). There is a chance that fur 
seals could occur near the project area. Since there are no estimated 
at-sea densities for this species in San Francisco Bay, Chevron 
conservatively requested and NMFS proposes to authorize 10 takes of fur 
seals by Level B harassment. Level A harassment of this species is not 
anticipated.

Bottlenose Dolphin

    As noted above, there are no estimated at-sea densities for this 
species in San Francisco Bay available for calculating a take estimate 
although they have been observed. Beginning in 2015, two individuals 
have been observed frequently in the vicinity of Oyster Point (GGCR, 
2016; GGCR 2017; Perlman, 2017). The average reported group size for 
bottlenose dolphins is five. Assuming the dolphins come into San 
Francisco Bay once every 10 days, 34 takes would be anticipated, if the 
group enters the areas over which the Level B harassment thresholds may 
be exceeded.

Gray Whale

    Gray whales are most often sighted in the Bay between February and 
May. However, LWMEP pile driving is not expected to occur during this 
time, and gray whales are unlikely to be present at other times of 
year. However, should pile driving occur during the northward migration 
period, Chevron requests and NMFS proposes to authorize two (2) Gray 
whale takes by Level B harassment.
    The Level B Harassment estimates shown in Table 11 are based on the 
number of individuals assumed to be exposed per day, the number of 
piles driven per day and the number of days of pile driving expected 
based on an average installation rate. The Level A Harassment estimates 
for harbor seals and harbor porpoises are derived by taking the Level B 
Harassment estimates and multiplying it by the fractional ratio of the 
area of the Level A zone to the Level B zone as shown in Table 12. 
Values for harbor seals in both Table 11 and Table 12 are shown as 25 
percent of total sums. Take by Level A harassment is not proposed for 
any other species.

                                                           Table 11--Summary of Estimated Take Level B Harassment for 2019 Work Season
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                                                                Species
                                                                              Number of    Number of  ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                 Pile type                          Pile driver type            piles       driving                                 Harbor                 N. elephant                Bottlenose
                                                                                              days     Harbor seal  CA sea lion    porpoise    Gray whale      seal     N. fur seal    dolphin
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
60-inch steel pipe.........................  Impact........................            8            8        1,408         2.18         2.31           NA         2.66           NA           NA
36-inch steel pipe pile **.................  Vibratory.....................            8            4          704        14.66        15.57           NA         1.33           NA           NA
36-inch steel pipe pile....................  Impact Proofing...............            2            1          176         1.11         1.18           NA         0.33           NA           NA
20-inch steel pipe pile **.................  Vibratory.....................            8            4          704         3.66         3.89           NA         1.33           NA           NA
Concrete pile removal......................  Vibratory.....................            5            1          176         0.91         0.97           NA         0.33           NA           NA
24-inch concrete...........................  Impact........................           39           30        5,280         0.03         0.04           NA           10           NA           NA
12-inch composite pile installation........  Vibratory.....................           52           11        1,936       291.50       309.72           NA         3.66           NA           NA
Timber pile removal........................  Vibratory.....................          106            9        1,584         7.68         8.16           NA            3           NA           NA
                                                                            --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Total Proposed Take by Species (2019)..  ..............................  ...........  ...........      * 2,992          322          342            2           23           10           34
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Stated value equivalent to 25% of total sum.


                   Table 12--Summary of Estimated Take Level A Harassment for 2019 Work Season
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                     Number of       Number of                        Harbor
           Pile type            Pile driver type       piles       driving days     Harbor seal      porpoise
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
60-inch steel pipe............  Impact..........               8               8          512.49            4.18
36-inch steel pipe pile.......  Vibratory.......               8               4               0               0
36-inch steel pipe pile.......  Impact Proofing.               2               1            0.14           <0.01
20-inch steel pipe pile **....  Vibratory.......               8               4               0               0
Concrete pile removal.........  Vibratory.......               5               1               0               0
24-inch concrete..............  Impact..........              39              30               0               0
12-inch composite pile          Vibratory.......              52              11               0               0
 installation.
Timber pile removal...........  Vibratory.......             106               9               0               0
                                                 ---------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 17800]]

 
    Total Proposed Take.......  ................  ..............  ..............           * 128               4
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
* Stated value equivalent to 25% of total sum.


                    Table 13--Proposed Authorized Take and Percentage of Stock or Population
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                                                    Percent
                                                                                                 (instances of
             Species                       Stock         Authorized  Level  Authorized  Level   take compared to
                                                              A takes            B takes           population
                                                                                                   abundance)
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Harbor seal......................  California..........                128              2,992              10.07
California sea lion..............  Eastern U.S.........  .................                322              <0.01
Harbor porpoise..................  San Francisco--                       4                342               3.49
                                    Russian River.
Northern elephant seal...........  California Breeding.  .................                 23              <0.01
Gray whale.......................  Eastern North         .................                  2              <0.01
                                    Pacific.
Northern fur seal................  California..........  .................                 10              <0.01
Bottlenose Dolphin...............  California Coastal..  .................                 34               7.51
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Proposed Mitigation

    In order to issue an IHA under Section 101(a)(5)(D) of the MMPA, 
NMFS must set forth the permissible methods of taking pursuant to such 
activity, and other means of effecting the least practicable impact on 
such species or stock and its habitat, paying particular attention to 
rookeries, mating grounds, and areas of similar significance, and on 
the availability of such species or stock for taking for certain 
subsistence uses (latter not applicable for this action). NMFS 
regulations require applicants for incidental take authorizations to 
include information about the availability and feasibility (economic 
and technological) of equipment, methods, and manner of conducting such 
activity or other means of effecting the least practicable adverse 
impact upon the affected species or stocks and their habitat (50 CFR 
216.104(a)(11)).
    In evaluating how mitigation may or may not be appropriate to 
ensure the least practicable adverse impact on species or stocks and 
their habitat, as well as subsistence uses where applicable, we 
carefully consider two primary factors:
    (1) The manner in which, and the degree to which, the successful 
implementation of the measure(s) is expected to reduce impacts to 
marine mammals, marine mammal species or stocks, and their habitat, as 
well as subsistence uses. This considers the nature of the potential 
adverse impact being mitigated (likelihood, scope, range). It further 
considers the likelihood that the measure will be effective if 
implemented (probability of accomplishing the mitigating result if 
implemented as planned), the likelihood of effective implementation 
(probability implemented as planned), and;
    (2) the practicability of the measures for applicant 
implementation, which may consider such things as cost, impact on 
operations, and, in the case of a military readiness activity, 
personnel safety, practicality of implementation, and impact on the 
effectiveness of the military readiness activity.

Mitigation for Marine Mammals and Their Habitat

    The following mitigation measures are proposed for Chevron's LWMEP:
    Noise Attenuation--Bubble curtains will be used during all impact 
pile driving of 60-inch steel shell pile and 24-inch square concrete 
piles to interrupt acoustic pressure and reduce impact on marine 
mammals. The use of bubble curtains is expected to reduce underwater 
noise levels by approximately 7 dB, which greatly reduces the area over 
which the cumulative SEL threshold for Level A Harassment may be 
exceeded. Bubble curtains would also decrease the size of the Level B 
harassment zone, reducing the numbers of marine mammals affected by 
potential behavioral impacts.
    Daylight Construction Period--Work would occur only during daylight 
hours (7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.) when visual marine mammal monitoring can 
be conducted.
    Establishment of a Shutdown Zone--For all pile driving/removal and 
drilling activities, Chevron will establish shutdown zones. The purpose 
of a shutdown zone is generally to define an area within which shutdown 
of activity would occur upon sighting of a marine mammal (or in 
anticipation of an animal entering the defined area). A shutdown zone 
will be established which will include all or a portion of the area 
where SPLs are expected to reach or exceed the cumulative SEL 
thresholds for Level A harassment as provided in Table 14.

                                       Table 14--Shutdown Zones for LWMEP
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                              Exclusion zones meters
 Project element requiring pile --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
          installation            Low-frequency   Mid-frequency   High-frequency      Phocid          Otariid
                                    cetaceans       cetaceans       cetaceans        pinnipeds       pinnipeds
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Attenuated Impact Driving (with
 bubble curtain):
    60-inch steel pipe.........             840              30               50              30              35
    24-inch square concrete....              20              10               50              15              10
Impact Pile Proofing (no bubble
 curtain):
    36-inch steel pipe pile....             100              10               80              30              10

[[Page 17801]]

 
Vibratory Driving/Extraction:
    12-inch Composite Barrier                20              10               50              15              10
     Pile......................
    36-inch steel pipe pile....              20              10               50              15              10
    20-inch steel pipe pile....              10              10               50              10              10
    Wood and concrete pile                   10              10               50              10              10
     extraction................
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Establishment of Monitoring Zones for Level A and Level B--Chevron 
will establish and monitor Level A harassment zones during impact 
driving for harbor seal extending to 450 meters and harbor seals and 
extending to 990 for harbor porpoises. These are areas beyond the 
shutdown zone in which animals could be exposed to sound levels that 
could result in Level A harassment in the form of PTS. Chevron will 
also establish and monitor Level B harassment zones which are areas 
where SPLs are equal to or exceed the 160 dB rms threshold for impact 
driving and the 120 dB rms threshold during vibratory driving and 
extraction as shown in Table 7. Monitoring zones provide utility for 
observing by establishing monitoring protocols for areas adjacent to 
the shutdown zones. Monitoring zones also enable observers to be aware 
of and communicate the presence of marine mammals in the project area 
outside the shutdown zone and thus prepare for a potential cease of 
activity should the animal enter the shutdown zone. Level B harassment 
exposures will be recorded and extrapolated based upon the number of 
observed take and the percentage of the Level B harassment zone that 
was not visible.
    10-Meter Shutdown Zone--During the in-water operation of heavy 
machinery (e.g., barge movements), a 10-m shutdown zone for all marine 
mammals will be implemented. If a marine mammal comes within 10 m, 
operations shall cease and vessels shall reduce speed to the minimum 
level required to maintain steerage and safe working conditions.
    Soft Start--The use of a soft-start procedure are believed to 
provide additional protection to marine mammals by providing warning 
and/or giving marine mammals a chance to leave the area prior to the 
hammer operating at full capacity. Chevron shall use soft start 
techniques when impact pile driving. Soft start requires contractors to 
provide an initial set of strikes at reduced energy, followed by a 
thirty-second waiting period, then two subsequent reduced energy strike 
sets.
    Pre-Activity Monitoring--Pre-activity monitoring shall take place 
from 30 minutes prior to initiation of pile driving activity and post-
activity monitoring shall continue through 30 minutes post-completion 
of pile driving activity. Pile driving may commence at the end of the 
30-minute pre-activity monitoring period, provided observers have 
determined that the shutdown zone is clear of marine mammals, which 
includes delaying start of pile driving activities if a marine mammal 
is sighted in the zone, as described below.
    If a marine mammal approaches or enters the shutdown zone during 
activities or pre-activity monitoring, all pile driving activities at 
that location shall be halted or delayed, respectively. If pile driving 
is halted or delayed due to the presence of a marine mammal, the 
activity may not resume or commence until either the animal has 
voluntarily left and been visually confirmed beyond the shutdown zone 
or 15 minutes have passed without re-detection of the animal. Pile 
driving activities include the time to install or remove a single pile 
or series of piles, as long as the time elapsed between uses of the 
pile driving equipment is no more than thirty minutes.
    Non-authorized Take Prohibited--If a species for which 
authorization has not been granted or a species for which authorization 
has been granted but the authorized takes are met, is observed 
approaching or within the monitoring zone, pile driving and removal 
activities must shut down immediately using delay and shut-down 
procedures. Activities must not resume until the animal has been 
confirmed to have left the area or an observation time period of 15 
minutes has elapsed.
    Based on our evaluation of the Chevron's proposed measures, as well 
as other measures considered by NMFS, we have preliminarily determined 
that the proposed mitigation measures provide the means effecting the 
least practicable impact on the affected species or stocks and their 
habitat, paying particular attention to rookeries, mating grounds, and 
areas of similar significance.

Proposed Monitoring and Reporting

    In order to issue an IHA for an activity, Section 101(a)(5)(D) of 
the MMPA states that NMFS must set forth requirements pertaining to the 
monitoring and reporting of such taking. The MMPA implementing 
regulations at 50 CFR 216.104 (a)(13) indicate that requests for 
authorizations must include the suggested means of accomplishing the 
necessary monitoring and reporting that will result in increased 
knowledge of the species and of the level of taking or impacts on 
populations of marine mammals that are expected to be present in the 
proposed action area. Effective reporting is critical both to 
compliance as well as ensuring that the most value is obtained from the 
required monitoring.
    Monitoring and reporting requirements prescribed by NMFS should 
contribute to improved understanding of one or more of the following:
     Occurrence of marine mammal species or stocks in the area 
in which take is anticipated (e.g., presence, abundance, distribution, 
density);
     Nature, scope, or context of likely marine mammal exposure 
to potential stressors/impacts (individual or cumulative, acute or 
chronic), through better understanding of: (1) Action or environment 
(e.g., source characterization, propagation, ambient noise); (2) 
affected species (e.g., life history, dive patterns); (3) co-occurrence 
of marine mammal species with the action; or (4) biological or 
behavioral context of exposure (e.g., age, calving or feeding areas);
     Individual marine mammal responses (behavioral or 
physiological) to acoustic stressors (acute, chronic, or cumulative), 
other stressors, or cumulative impacts from multiple stressors;
     How anticipated responses to stressors impact either: (1) 
Long-term fitness and survival of individual marine mammals; or (2) 
populations, species, or stocks;

[[Page 17802]]

     Effects on marine mammal habitat (e.g., marine mammal prey 
species, acoustic habitat, or other important physical components of 
marine mammal habitat); and
     Mitigation and monitoring effectiveness.

Visual Monitoring

    The following visual monitoring measures are required as part of 
the issued IHA.
     One day of biological monitoring would occur within one 
week before the project's start date to establish baseline 
observations;
     Monitoring distances, in accordance with the identified 
shutdown, Level A, and Level B zones, will be determined by using a 
range finder, scope, hand-held global positioning system (GPS) device 
or landmarks with known distances from the monitoring positions;
     Monitoring locations will be established at locations 
offering best views of the monitoring zone;
     Monitoring would be conducted 30 minutes before, during, 
and 30 minutes after pile driving/removal and drilling activities. In 
addition, observers shall record all incidents of marine mammal 
occurrence, regardless of distance from activity, and shall document 
any behavioral reactions in concert with distance from piles being 
driven or removed. Pile driving/removal and drilling activities include 
the time to install or remove a single pile or series of piles, as long 
as the time elapsed between uses of the pile driving equipment is no 
more than 30 minutes.
     Monitoring will be continuous unless the contractor takes 
a break longer than 2 hours from active pile driving, in which case, 
monitoring will be required 30 minutes prior to restarting pile 
installation;
     For in-water pile driving, under conditions of fog or poor 
visibility that might obscure the presence of a marine mammal within 
the shutdown zone, the pile in progress will be completed and then pile 
driving suspended until visibility conditions improve;
     At least two PSOs will be actively scanning the monitoring 
zone during all pile driving activities;
     Monitoring of pile driving shall be conducted by qualified 
PSOs (see below), who shall have no other assigned tasks during 
monitoring periods. Chevron shall adhere to the following conditions 
when selecting observers:
    (1) Independent PSOs shall be used (i.e., not construction 
personnel);
    (2) At least one PSO must have prior experience working as a marine 
mammal observer during construction activities;
    (3) Other PSOs may substitute education (degree in biological 
science or related field) or training for experience; and
    (4) Chevron shall submit PSO CVs for approval by NMFS;
     Chevron will ensure that observers have the following 
additional qualifications:
    (1) Ability to conduct field observations and collect data 
according to assigned protocols;
    (2) Experience or training in the field identification of marine 
mammals, including the identification of behaviors;
    (3) Sufficient training, orientation, or experience with the 
construction operation to provide for personal safety during 
observations;
    (4) Writing skills sufficient to prepare a report of observations 
including but not limited to the number and species of marine mammals 
observed; dates and times when in-water construction activities were 
conducted; dates, times, and reason for implementation of mitigation 
(or why mitigation was not implemented when required); and marine 
mammal behavior; and
    (5) Ability to communicate orally, by radio or in person, with 
project personnel to provide real-time information on marine mammals 
observed in the area as necessary.

Hydroacoustic Monitoring

    Sound Source Verification (SSV) testing of would be conducted under 
this IHA. The purpose of the planned acoustic monitoring plan is to 
collect underwater sound-level information at both near and distant 
locations during vibratory pile extraction and installation and impact 
pile installation. Hydroacoustic monitoring would be conducted by a 
qualified monitor during pile extraction and driving activities as 
described in the Hydroacoustic Monitoring plan and will likely include 
the following during 2019:
     Acoustic monitoring for at least two (2) 60-inch steel 
pipe piles at Berth 4;
     Acoustic monitoring for at least one (1) 36-inch pile at 
Berth 4;
     Acoustic monitoring for at least one (1) 20-inch pile at 
Berth 4;
     Acoustic monitoring of a representative pile removal; and
     Acoustic monitoring of two (2) composite piles.

Proposed Reporting Measures

    A draft marine mammal monitoring report would be submitted to NMFS 
within 90 days after the completion of pile driving and removal and 
drilling activities. It will include an overall description of work 
completed, a narrative regarding marine mammal sightings, and 
associated PSO data sheets. Specifically, the report must include:
     Dates and times (begin and end) of all marine mammal 
monitoring;
     Construction activities occurring during each daily 
observation period, including how many and what type of piles were 
driven or removed and by what method (i.e., impact or vibratory);
     Weather parameters and water conditions during each 
monitoring period (e.g., wind speed, percent cover, visibility, sea 
state);
     The number of marine mammals observed, by species, 
relative to the pile location and if pile driving or removal was 
occurring at time of sighting;
     Age and sex class, if possible, of all marine mammals 
observed;
     PSO locations during marine mammal monitoring;
     Distances and bearings of each marine mammal observed to 
the pile being driven or removed for each sighting (if pile driving or 
removal was occurring at time of sighting);
     Description of any marine mammal behavior patterns during 
observation, including direction of travel;
     Number of individuals of each species (differentiated by 
month as appropriate) detected within the monitoring zone, and 
estimates of number of marine mammals taken, by species (a correction 
factor may be applied to total take numbers, as appropriate);
     Detailed information about any implementation of any 
mitigation triggered (e.g., shutdowns and delays), a description of 
specific actions that ensued, and resulting behavior of the animal, if 
any;
     Description of attempts to distinguish between the number 
of individual animals taken and the number of incidences of take, such 
as ability to track groups or individuals; and
     Level B harassment exposures recorded by PSOs must be 
extrapolated based upon the number of observed takes and the percentage 
of the Level B harassment zone that was not visible.
    If no comments are received from NMFS within 30 days, the draft 
final report will constitute the final report. If comments are 
received, a final report addressing NMFS comments must be submitted 
within 30 days after receipt of comments.
    In the unanticipated event that the specified activity clearly 
causes the take of a marine mammal in a manner prohibited by the IHA 
(if issued), such

[[Page 17803]]

as an injury, serious injury or mortality, Chevron would immediately 
cease the specified activities and report the incident to the Chief of 
the Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, 
NMFS, and the West Coast Regional Stranding Coordinator. The report 
would include the following information:
     Description of the incident;
     Environmental conditions (e.g., Beaufort sea state, 
visibility);
     Description of all marine mammal observations in the 24 
hours preceding the incident;
     Species identification or description of the animal(s) 
involved;
     Fate of the animal(s); and
     Photographs or video footage of the animal(s) (if 
equipment is available).
    Activities would not resume until NMFS is able to review the 
circumstances of the prohibited take. NMFS would work with Chevron to 
determine what is necessary to minimize the likelihood of further 
prohibited take and ensure MMPA compliance. Chevron would not be able 
to resume their activities until notified by NMFS via letter, email, or 
telephone.
    In the event that Chevron discovers an injured or dead marine 
mammal, and the lead PSO determines that the cause of the injury or 
death is unknown and the death is relatively recent (e.g., in less than 
a moderate state of decomposition as described in the next paragraph), 
Chevron would immediately report the incident to the Chief of the 
Permits and Conservation Division, Office of Protected Resources, NMFS, 
and the West Coast Regional Stranding Coordinator. The report would 
include the same information identified in the paragraph above. 
Activities would be able to continue while NMFS reviews the 
circumstances of the incident. NMFS would work with Chevron to 
determine whether modifications in the activities are appropriate.
    In the event that Chevron discovers an injured or dead marine 
mammal and the lead PSO determines that the injury or death is not 
associated with or related to the activities authorized in the IHA 
(e.g., previously wounded animal, carcass with moderate to advanced 
decomposition, or scavenger damage), Chevron would report the incident 
to the Chief of the Permits and Conservation Division, Office of 
Protected Resources, NMFS, and the West Coast Regional Stranding 
Coordinator, within 24 hours of the discovery. Chevron would provide 
photographs, video footage (if available), or other documentation of 
the stranded animal sighting to NMFS and the Marine Mammal Stranding 
Network.

Negligible Impact Analysis and Determination

    NMFS has defined negligible impact as an impact resulting from the 
specified activity that cannot be reasonably expected to, and is not 
reasonably likely to, adversely affect the species or stock through 
effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival (50 CFR 216.103). A 
negligible impact finding is based on the lack of likely adverse 
effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival (i.e., population-
level effects). An estimate of the number of takes alone is not enough 
information on which to base an impact determination. In addition to 
considering estimates of the number of marine mammals that might be 
``taken'' through harassment, NMFS considers other factors, such as the 
likely nature of any responses (e.g., intensity, duration), the context 
of any responses (e.g., critical reproductive time or location, 
migration), as well as effects on habitat, and the likely effectiveness 
of the mitigation. We also assess the number, intensity, and context of 
estimated takes by evaluating this information relative to population 
status. Consistent with the 1989 preamble for NMFS's implementing 
regulations (54 FR 40338; September 29, 1989), the impacts from other 
past and ongoing anthropogenic activities are incorporated into this 
analysis via their impacts on the environmental baseline (e.g., as 
reflected in the regulatory status of the species, population size and 
growth rate where known, ongoing sources of human-caused mortality, or 
ambient noise levels).
    Pile driving and extraction associated with Chevron's LWMEP project 
as outlined previously have the potential to injure, disturb or 
displace marine mammals. Specifically, the proposed activities may 
result in Level B harassment (behavioral disturbance) for seven marine 
mammal species authorized for take from underwater sound generated 
during pile driving and removal operations. Level A harassment in the 
form of limited PTS may also occur to animals of two species. No marine 
mammal stocks for which incidental take authorization are listed as 
threatened or endangered under the ESA or determined to be strategic or 
depleted under the MMPA. No serious injuries or mortalities are 
anticipated to occur as a result of Chevron's pile driving activities.
    A limited number of animals (128 harbor seals and 4 harbor 
porpoises) could experience Level A harassment in the form of PTS if 
they stay within the Level A harassment zone during impact driving of 
60-inch steel and 36-inch steel piles. The degree of injury is expected 
to be mild and is not likely to affect the reproduction or survival of 
the individual animals. It is expected that, if hearing impairments 
occurs, most likely the affected animal would lose a few dB in its 
hearing sensitivity, which in most cases is not likely to affect its 
survival and recruitment.
    The Level B takes that are anticipated and authorized are expected 
to be limited to short-term behavioral harassment. Marine mammals 
present near the action area and taken by Level B harassment would most 
likely show overt brief disturbance (e.g., startle reaction) and 
avoidance of the area from elevated noise level during pile driving. 
However, this is unlikely to result in any significant realized 
decrease in fitness for the affected individuals or stocks for which 
take is authorized. While harbor seals from Castro Rocks may experience 
some temporary low-level behavioral impacts, the number of seals 
potentially affected is conservatively estimated at approximately 10 
percent of the stock. This number, however, likely includes multiple 
takes of the same individuals. Furthermore, Castro Rocks and the LWMEP 
location represent a small portion of the range of the California stock 
of harbor seal. These two factors indicate that a much lower percentage 
of the stock would potentially be affected and, therefore, no adverse 
impacts to the stock as a whole are expected.
    The project is not expected to have significant adverse effects on 
affected marine mammal habitat. The activities may cause fish to leave 
the area temporarily. This could impact marine mammals' foraging 
opportunities in a limited portion of the foraging range; but, because 
of the relatively short duration of driving activities and the 
relatively small area of affected habitat, the impacts to marine mammal 
habitat are not expected to cause significant or long-term negative 
consequences. Furthermore, there are no biologically important areas 
identified in the project area.
    The likelihood that marine mammals will be detected by trained 
observers is high under the environmental conditions described for the 
project. The employment of the soft-start mitigation measure during 
impact driving would also allow marine mammals in or near the shutdown 
and Level A zone zones to move away from the impact driving sound 
source. Therefore, the mitigation and monitoring measures are expected 
to reduce the potential for injury and reduce the amount and intensity 
of

[[Page 17804]]

behavioral harassment. Furthermore, the pile driving activities 
analyzed here are similar to, or less impactful than, numerous 
construction activities conducted in other similar locations which have 
taken place with no reported injuries or mortality to marine mammals, 
and no known long-term adverse consequences from behavioral harassment.
    In summary and as described above, the following factors primarily 
support our preliminary determination that the impacts resulting from 
this activity are not expected to adversely affect the species or stock 
through effects on annual rates of recruitment or survival:
     No mortality is anticipated or authorized;
     Anticipated incidences of Level A harassment would be in 
the form of a small degree of PTS to a limited number of animals;
     Anticipated incidents of Level B harassment consist of, at 
worst, temporary modifications in behavior;
     No biologically important areas have been identified in 
the vicinity of the project area;
     The small percentage of the stock that may be affected by 
project activities (<10.07 percent for all stocks); and
     Efficacy of mitigation measures is expected to minimize 
the likelihood and severity of the level of harassment.
    Based on the analysis contained herein of the likely effects of the 
specified activity on marine mammals and their habitat, and taking into 
consideration the implementation of the proposed monitoring and 
mitigation measures, NMFS preliminarily finds that the total marine 
mammal take from the proposed activity will have a negligible impact on 
all affected marine mammal species or stocks.

Small Numbers

    As noted above, only small numbers of incidental take may be 
authorized under Sections 101(a)(5)(A) and (D) of the MMPA for 
specified activities other than military readiness activities. The MMPA 
does not define small numbers and so, in practice, where estimated 
numbers are available, NMFS compares the number of individuals taken to 
the most appropriate estimation of abundance of the relevant species or 
stock in our determination of whether an authorization is limited to 
small numbers of marine mammals. Additionally, other qualitative 
factors may be considered in the analysis, such as the temporal or 
spatial scale of the activities.
    Table 13 depicts the number of animals that could be exposed to 
Level A and Level B harassment from work associated with Chevron's 
proposed project. The analysis provided indicates that authorized take 
would account for no more than 10.07 percent of the populations of the 
stocks that could be affected. These are small numbers of marine 
mammals relative to the sizes of the affected stocks.
    Based on the analysis contained herein of the proposed activity 
(including the proposed mitigation and monitoring measures) and the 
anticipated take of marine mammals, NMFS preliminarily finds that small 
numbers of marine mammals will be taken relative to the population size 
of the affected species or stocks.

Unmitigable Adverse Impact Analysis and Determination

    There are no relevant subsistence uses of the affected marine 
mammal stocks or species implicated by this action. Therefore, NMFS has 
determined that the total taking of affected species or stocks would 
not have an unmitigable adverse impact on the availability of such 
species or stocks for taking for subsistence purposes.

Endangered Species Act (ESA)

    Section 7(a)(2) of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 (ESA: 16 
U.S.C. 1531 et seq.) requires that each Federal agency insure that any 
action it authorizes, funds, or carries out is not likely to jeopardize 
the continued existence of any endangered or threatened species or 
result in the destruction or adverse modification of designated 
critical habitat.
    No incidental take of ESA-listed species is proposed for 
authorization or expected to result from this activity. Therefore, NMFS 
has determined that formal consultation under section 7 of the ESA is 
not required for this action.

Proposed Authorization

    As a result of these preliminary determinations, NMFS proposes to 
issue an IHA to Chevron for conducting pile driving and removal 
activities at Chevron's Long Wharf from June 1, 2019 through May 31, 
2020, provided the previously mentioned mitigation, monitoring, and 
reporting requirements are incorporated. A draft of the proposed IHA 
can be found at https://www.fisheries.noaa.gov/permit/incidental-take-authorizations-under-marine-mammal-protection-act.

Request for Public Comments

    We request comment on our analyses, the proposed authorization, and 
any other aspect of this Notice of Proposed IHA for the proposed 
action. We also request comment on the potential for renewal of this 
proposed IHA as described in the paragraph below. Please include with 
your comments any supporting data or literature citations to help 
inform our final decision on the request for MMPA authorization.
    On a case-by-case basis, NMFS may issue a one-year IHA renewal with 
an expedited public comment period (15 days) when (1) another year of 
identical or nearly identical activities as described in the Specified 
Activities section is planned or (2) the activities would not be 
completed by the time the IHA expires and a second IHA would allow for 
completion of the activities beyond that described in the Dates and 
Duration section, provided all of the following conditions are met:
     A request for renewal is received no later than 60 days 
prior to expiration of the current IHA.
     The request for renewal must include the following:
    (1) An explanation that the activities to be conducted under the 
proposed Renewal are identical to the activities analyzed under the 
initial IHA, are a subset of the activities, or include changes so 
minor (e.g., reduction in pile size) that the changes do not affect the 
previous analyses, mitigation and monitoring requirements, or take 
estimates (with the exception of reducing the type or amount of take 
because only a subset of the initially analyzed activities remain to be 
completed under the Renewal); and
    (2) A preliminary monitoring report showing the results of the 
required monitoring to date and an explanation showing that the 
monitoring results do not indicate impacts of a scale or nature not 
previously analyzed or authorized.
     Upon review of the request for renewal, the status of the 
affected species or stocks, and any other pertinent information, NMFS 
determines that there are no more than minor changes in the activities, 
the mitigation and monitoring measures will remain the same and 
appropriate, and the findings in the initial IHA remain valid.

    Dated: April 23, 2019.
Catherine Marzin,
Acting Director, Office of Protected Resources, National Marine 
Fisheries Service.
[FR Doc. 2019-08415 Filed 4-25-19; 8:45 am]
 BILLING CODE 3510-22-P